Monday, May 19, 2014

Top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of All Time

Japanese monster movies have a life of their own. They are not just one sided, and they are not just based on Godzilla. Some are laughable, some are grand but no matter how you want to label them, you’ll find that the influence they have made on Hollywood is extraordinary. You may find that even today, the thrill of the mega monster movie is alive and well, and that’s not just because Godzilla just pulled $93 million at the box office over the weekend. Compiling this list was not easy, but hey, someone’s got to do it right? It’s with that in mind that I present to you the top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of all time! You can purchase these by visiting Amazon HERE, otherwise miss out on the biggest and the best.

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Dr. Who has created a mechanized monster that looks exactly like King Kong and is looking for Element X. It is found deep in the caverns of the North Pole, and fails due to the cold. At that point the mad scientist goes to Mondo Island to capture the beast known as Kong. The plot thickens and it’s like a poorly constructed version of the 1933 movie, only with robotic Kong as the villain and the Tokyo Tower playing as the backdrop for an epic battle. This one had me laughing, and I love the parody, even if it wasn’t intentional. This was just cool, I don’t know what else to say about it, and even the poster is cool. Watching Kong take on a metal counterfeit is pretty cool, and this one has a lot more appeal than just the poster, so watch out for it. I should've positioned it higher on my list, now that I think about it.

Matango (1963)

I saw this when I was a kid, thanks in large part to VHS and it’s awesome. A shipwreck lands a group of people on a far off island, and there they find wild mushrooms, but that’s not all, they discover Mushroom People! This iconic horror film is more comedic in nature, and on par with “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. There are some bleak tones, and themes that are beyond the imagination of average horror and fantasy movies. The weird science fiction elements play well with the mad scientist idea that comes at the beginning. This may not be the pinnacle of monster movies, nor is it going to sit well with many, but I think it’s a fine monster flick from Japan.

Goke (1968)

Goke is also known as Body Snatcher From Hell and other titles in the United States. The movie features a mix of vampire lore, and monster movie moments. Some people compare the movie to “Lost” but I find it more on par with a vampiristic type of horror movie. The survivors here face a fate worse than death, as they must fight to live amidst what very well maybe the best vampires coming out of Japan. There’s a lot of little things that make this one a classic, more than I can really talk about in a quick blurb here. Over time it has become one of the cult classics that has seen numerous releases, and lots of praise from more fans than just my pesky list.

Gamera 3 (1999)

I was in high school when I got a bootleg copy of this movie and it’s one fine monster movie. Gamera returns from the edges of lackluster film, and brings about one of the best comebacks ever. So much so that the critics and most fan boys agree that the special effects and story found in this one is top notch. Some critics even noted that the movie plays on an “X-Files” note, and it really does do more for the genre than most other movies that mimicked the success of Godzilla and the original Gamera. Some people don’t like this monster, but I’ve always liked the notion, perhaps it’s because I like turtles. Gamera is badass in this movie, just simply badass!

Godzilla (1954)

The mother of them all, right? Godzilla’s initial movie came out in 1954 and sparked incredible interest from all over the world. The movie presents a lot of science fiction tones, and can be seen as funny at times, but it’s quite the accomplishment for movie making. The plot involves a giant monster that ravages Tokyo with heavy devastation not unlike World War II. The special effects were top notch, the critical reception was grand, and it has changed the face of the monster movie in a lot of ways. Sure, King Kong from the 30s was grand, but compared to the rampage that Godzilla brings out, Kong is outmatched. This is the #1 monster movie from Japan, hands down.

There you have it, 5 of the best monster movies that have come out of Japan ever. If you are going to go back and see these iconic pieces of cinema, please purchase the dvd or stream them from Amazon here. It will help me get this site more reviews and possibly get a prize for you 3 or so readers still interested in what I do here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cockneys vs Zombies Review

Not another zombie movie, I thought to myself when my girlfriend decided to play this the other night. I’m a jaded horror movie fan, and it’s been a while since anything has caught my eye. Then the movie progressed, and I was hooked. Cockneys vs Zombies is not your traditional zombie movie, although there are a few things that you will definitely catch in the same light that you will from other movies. I found the beginning to be somewhat ok, but it’s the sum of the parts that really bring this movie to the top of my list of zombie creations in the recent years.

Some construction workers unearth a seal that brings about an outbreak in the East London area, and things really go south from there. Meanwhile, a group of young adults hatch a plan to rob a bank and save their grandparents from uncertain doom that will befall them when their retirement home closes down. That’s when we are introduced to Ray, the former gangster and one of the most badass characters ever concocted in zombie movie lore. Ray is awesome and I hope to be as badass as that character when I am an old dude. Sadly, I’ll probably be a stain on the underwear of old dudes, rather than some badass granddad. Heck, I don’t even have children.

The movie goes back and forth between the robbery, the group of friends, and the retirement home. Equal parts “Shaun of the Dead” and “Day of the Dead” this movie picks up fast, and doesn’t let you go. There’s some light hearted moments, and there are some harsh moments. The gore is amped up, the sequences are suspenseful, and there’s plenty of zombie madness to enjoy throughout this British horror film.

I found the movie to be entertaining, fast flowing, and definitely worth your time. I didn’t think it was the best production, but the characters were enough to hook me, especially the character of Ray and his old friends. I loved the nuances found between hardcore gore and CG effects which were done really well at times. For this being a lower budget film, it really did take on the best of the mainstream, and I enjoyed it greatly.

I highly recommend Cockneys vs Zombies, as it is a fun romp. It’s comedic at times, it’s predictable at others, and it is just overall an entertaining horror comedy. I can’t say enough about it. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in a while that really grabbed me, and that’s a great thing. Pick up the movie by going to amazon here, or whatever it is you do to see movies. I don’t know.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hell’s Ground Review

The Middle East is not known for their horror movies. They just aren’t. That’s why “Hell’s Ground” is so special, it’s straight out of Pakistan. That’s right, it’s a Pakistani horror movie and they do something that shocks your senses, even if the story is somewhat derivative. I’m not familiar with the culture there, but there are some notes in the movie that seem to point at the fact that the characters are getting what they deserve.

The story revolves around a group of teenagers or young adults, as they travel across their native land to check out some awesome rock music. Along the way the dead rise up, and they are victims of a treacherous, zombie like invasion. Mix equal parts slasher flick and zombie movie, and you get a sense of what you’re going to be getting with this one.

Gore is turned up to 11 here, and you’re going to get hit with it at all different sides of the proverbial coin. The kids are constantly asked why they aren’t doing more beneficial things instead of questing to see a band. This definitely points to the fact that the culture doesn’t necessarily appreciate the notion of rock and roll, and therefore the characters are going to get gutted for their “sins”.

“Hell’s Ground” is not an amazing movie. If you put it into context, however, you see something special. It’s a novelty horror movie at best, but one that is definitely needed in the cluster of terrible movies we’re seeing coming out today. It came out in 2007, and it holds up somewhat well. It’s a good flick to check out, whenever you’re out of movies to see. Chances are, no one in your party has seen this one, so buy it and enjoy the schlock. I give it thumbs up, and all that jazz.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

We Are What We Are Review

Jim Mickle directs this cannibal movie in a very artistic manner. “We Are What We Are” is based on a Mexican horror movie, and I only saw this one, not the other one. The film is a slow moving drama, until you realize that there is something sinister going on with the Parker family. They seem to be in need of food, and the only thing that will wet their whistle is human flesh. The movie takes a lot of time setting up the full reveal, with a lot of points that just seem unnecessary.

As far as visuals, this movie is interesting. You get a lot of artistic shots across the board, where nothing is left to chance. You will not find a shot that is not meant to reveal something or push the story forward, even if the dialogue is barren. It’s definitely an artistic and imaginative picture, but one that can seem tedious to trudge through. You aren’t given the tension boiling of “Ravenous” or the pay off, but you do get some very creepy moments here and there.

The movie ramps up the gore through the end, and when you finally want to shut it off, the director takes a major turn, leaving you with your jaw on the floor. The turn was definitely out of the blue for me, as I didn’t expect it to grab my attention at the end. I had given it a fair chance, and it most definitely paid off in an absolutely horrific way. I’ve seen a lot of on screen violence and gore, but this one had some components that were just cringe worthy.

Overall, the movie is good, but it’s slow paced. If you like slow moving pictures with artistry in the way they are filmed, check this one out. If you love cannibal movies from the 1970s and 1980s, this is not for you. It’s far too nuanced and dramatic for your tastes. This is not a Troma film, and it shows. “We Are What We Are” is available through streaming, or you can pick up a copy here. It will stay with you, but it takes a lot to stick with it, it’s a bit boring at times, at least in my opinion.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

The Troop by Nick Cutter Getting Serious Press

There is a lot of hype around “The Troop” by Nick Cutter. The front cover of the book touts a recommendation from Stephen King. Every review that I’ve read makes mention of that, with the exception of industry insider’s that talk about the bulk of the story. The story centers around a group of boy scouts on a trip in the woods. They encounter a man who has a deadly disease and while the scouts are ready to help, they end up discovering something sinister about the stranger, he’s part of a larger problem, a victim of a disease that is very much like “Cabin Fever”.

People are calling this book old school horror. The reviews are mostly positive so far, and it’s interesting to note. The cover is interesting, not too complex, and features something kind of boring to say the least. mentions that this is classic set up that you’ve already seen 100 times, and I can see how some may be turned off by that. They gave it a favorable review, and many other sites are pushing the same notes, that it’s an isolationist horror film.

“The Troop” by Nick Cutter is on my list to read right now. I haven’t bought it yet, and I’m debating getting the paperback when it comes out. I keep seeing it on trips to bookstores, and I just haven’t picked it up. However, the reviews are favorable, the sales are solid, and I may in fact invest. I recommend looking in this one, it’s getting hyped as an instant horror classic.

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