Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Katsuhiko Sasaki, Tomoko Ai, Akihiko Hirata, Katsumasa Uchida
Directed by Ishirô Honda
Distributed by Classic Media
Now this is what I’m talking about! Aliens in wacky skin-tight suits wearing fish-like helmets, three different behemoths brawling and in turn wrecking Japan, a plot that thinks it’s deeper than it actually is, and a massive amount of explosions and destruction! Behold the key ingredients of a successful Godzilla flick. 1975’s (or 1977 here in the US) Terror of Mechagodzilla is the fifteenth and last of the original Godzilla series, and believe you me, it packs a serious amount of rubber-suited, ass-whippin’ action!
Just try and follow the plot — Aliens from a dying galaxy want to make Earth their new home so with the help of the evil Dr. Shinji Mafune (Hirata), along with his cyborg daughter, they use the twosome to rebuild Mechagodzilla. One giant guided missile shooting monster isn’t enough for our evil-doers so before you know it another recently discovered sea creature (who is under the power of mind control) named Titanosaurus is added to the mix to stop Earth’s biggest defense force, Godzilla! But how could even Big G hold his own against the monstrous tag-team? Simple! He has Interpol on his side, and they’ve discovered Titanosaurus’ weakness! Let the bodies hit the floor!
Everything is thrown in here but the kitchen sink! Terror of Mechagodzilla is nothing short of total and absolute Kaiju chaos! Buildings fall, people flee, and Godzilla sets the entire city of Tokyo ablaze! Watching this again made me feel like a little kid! I was giddy and grinning from ear to ear. This is a classic example of why these movies rock! Whether you’re a long-time fan or you’re just discovering these flicks and want to get your feet wet, this is simply a can’t miss bet, and probably one of the single greatest films in the franchise.
As with all of Classic Media’s Godzilla DVD releases, both the American and the Japanese cuts of the film are presented here completely remastered from the original Toho negative. Surprisingly enough, the American version clocks in at nearly six minutes longer than the Japanese one with a few extra scenes of exposition and goofy fun. Hell yeah!
In terms of extras, there’s an audio commentary with Keith Aiken, who worked on Dark Horse’s Godzilla comics from the Nineties as well as the Sony Godzilla cartoon, and writer/film historian Bob Johnson. The chemistry these two have together is undeniable, and as a result they turned in a way entertaining commentary track! Really good stuff! From there we get a ten-minute documentary called The Women of Godzilla that focuses on the female leads in the series. This was way more interesting than I thought it was going to be. Add in the poster and still galleries, and we’re all finished!
Classic Media needs to release a DVD of all its various featurettes that have appeared on these releases. They have crafted themselves a great time capsule of giant monster history that’s always insightful and, more importantly, never dull. Maybe one day we’ll even get a definitive box set of these films. Until then I’ll eagerly continue consuming these impressive releases for as long they’re hitting the market! Don’t delay, folks! Get yourself a copy of this flick now!
4 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5
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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here
Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar
Directed by Kimble Rendall
If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?
Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.
We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.
All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.
A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE
Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.
What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!
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The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube.
THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic
Directed by William Friedkin
Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.
It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.
The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?
In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.
Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.
Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.
Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!
As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.
See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.
- FortesqueX I bet there'll be a bunch of hillbillies.
- FlixtheCat You're very kind.
- FlixtheCat I speculate that Sheri Moon takes up a lot more screen time than anyone else in the cast, there's a ton of chopped up lines that count as dialogue, an obnoxiously droning classic rock sound track, and...
- Rottenjesus I knew this was coming but it still sucks hearing they're cancelling this awesome show. Dare I hope Netflix steps in and saves it?
- Steven Millan I'm speculating that the new film takes the JEEEPERS CREEPERS 3 route in taking place either between THE DEVIL'S REJECTS and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES or within the world of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS happening...
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