Category Archives: Giant Monsters

El Rey Network’s Kaiju Christmas – The destructive gift that keeps on giving…

via: Comingsoon.net

El Rey unleashes third annual 96 hour ‘Kaiju Christmas’ Godzilla movie marathon

Add some wanton, rubber-suit destruction to your holiday celebrations as El Rey Network trots out its third annual “Kaiju Christmas” marathon, bringing you over 96 hours of roaring action featuring the one and only giant Japanese atomic dinosaur, Godzilla. The marathon crashes into your home with the original film that started it all, the original 1954 Japanese flick Gojira (the U.S. cut, Godzilla: King of the Monsters will also screen) on Friday, December 23rd at 6AM ET/PT and culminates with Godzilla Raids Again (aka Gigantis The Fire Monster) on Monday, December 26th at 6AM ET/PT.

Check out the full schedule of Godzilla flicks below!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23RD

6:00 AM ET/PT           “GOJIRA”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS”

9:30 AM ET/PT           “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

11:30 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE”

1:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

3:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO”

5:00 PM ET/PT           “MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA”

7:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

8:30 PM ET/PT           “TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA”

10:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

1:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA”

3:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

4:30AM ET/PT            “RODAN”

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH

10:00 AM ET/ PT        “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

12:00 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

2:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DETOROYAH”

4:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

6:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

8:30 PM ET/ PT          “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

10:30 PM ET/ PT        “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS”

12:30 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

1:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

4:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA”

10:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

12:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

3:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

5:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA”

7:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

9:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH”

11:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH”

1:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE”

4:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

MONDAY, DECEMBER 26th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “RODAN”

7:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

10:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

11:30 AM ET/PT         “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

1:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

4:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH”

6:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

8:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA”

10:00 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA

12:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

2:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

4:30 AM ET/ PT          “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

To find El Rey Network in your area check out the channel finder here

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Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 20: Megashark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)

My advice to Mega Shark and Giant Octopus is go listen to War's Why Can't We Be Friends and resolve their differences.
My advice to Mega Shark and Giant Octopus is go listen to War’s Why Can’t We Be Friends and resolve their differences.

Synopsis: The California coast is terrorized by two enormous prehistoric sea creatures as they battle each other for supremacy of the sea.

Ever since Stephen Spielberg’s rise to fame through the little tale of a killer great white shark going by the name of Jaws filmgoers have had a bloodthirsty obsession with the ocean’s greatest predators. In the near four decades since a wide array of copycats have tried unsuccessfully to seize the same sense of unknown terror that looms off shore. In the case of Megashark vs. Giant Octopus it’s a standard monster flick set up with a pair of scientists (one of them being Debbie Gibson) stealing a submarine and studying the migration patterns of whales while at the same time a military helicopter drops some experimental sonar transmitters in the same area disrupting the whales to the point where they crash into a nearby glacier freeing a hibernating Megalodon and a ginormous octopus. With chompers and eight arms unleashed on the modern world they quickly choose to take several millions years of pent up aggression out on a dumbstruck society. As time begins to run out and few options remain Gibson takes charge leading a ragtag bunch of scientists and a pony tailed Lorenzo Lamas into battle desperately searching for a way to deal with this terrifying double dose of teeth and tentacles. Realizing that contemporary artillery is having little to no effect on either beast and inspired by the legendary boxing match Thrilla In Manilla between Muhammad Ali and Smokin’ Joe Fraizer humanity’s last hope is getting these two monsters to battle one another in a fight to extinction.

Throughout the history of mankind there have been some truly dastardly pair ups – Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Joe vs. The Volcano, Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason, and who could forget a rivalry intense as Vanilla Ice vs. Justin Bieber however all those pale in comparison to the monumental showdown between the notorious Megashark and Giant Octopus. I mean go ahead and try to get an appointment with wildlife expert Jack Hanna or wait until next August and tune into Shark Week on Discovery Channel chances are they won’t even acknowledge the age old question – Why do sharks and octopuses have such an undying hatred for one another? It remains one of those mysteries the likes of how far is up? Or why is the sky blue? Sure you could look long and hard and incorporate all sorts of scientific theory but as one day comes to a close and another begins it is easier to go with simple logic that both animals just can’t stand to be in the general vicinity of one another. In fact once the opening title logo pops up on the screen and these two prehistoric enemies are unthawed that’s exactly what they do, they head off on separate paths. I really can’t blame them for doing so as imagine getting into an intense argument with your roommate over who ate the last bag of Oreos when all of a sudden a freak ice age ends up cryogenically freezing you for 25 million years and then a weird accident ends up waking you up. Would you continue belittling one another immediately afterwards or would you suddenly realize that the world has drastically changed so nothing else really matters except exploring this new unknown. The Asylum has set up a film in which works well on one side of the coin whenever the Megashark pops up out of nowhere and causes a lot of collateral damage yet whenever Giant Octopus tries a relatively similar approach it becomes painfully repetitive. No matter how many times you see an octopus there’s nothing to get excited about it always has the same eight apendages so watching a tentacle fly out of the ocean and take down a navy aircraft or destroy an oil rig is about as exhilarating as working on your taxes or catching a marathon of The Boring World of Niels Bohr. Megashark vs. Giant Octopus teaches viewers valuable life lessons the likes of ‘Don’t love the ocean too much, it doesn’t love you back!’ or if you’re traveling on a jumbo commercial airliner and some turbulence begins to rock the plane whatever you do don’t tell the stewardess that you’re getting married in two days. Such a proclamation will only bring about the harbinger of death as well as an entirely new meaning to the idiom – Jumping the Shark. If you’re up to tackling this beast head on it’s going to take a pretty strong will and a high tolerance of bad acting from pretty much everyone who appears in front of the camera. As for the epic final confrontation between monstrosities there isn’t really much to write home about other than realizing you could probably be inspired to design a better ending with a keg of Old Milwaukee and a 10 year old copy of Adobe’s After Effects.

Final Grade: D+

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 19: Shin Godzilla (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016)

Shin Godzilla Official Motion Soundtrack

You can’t keep the King of the Monsters down. Yesterday was intended to be the last day audiences could catch Shin Godzilla in its limited theatrical run stateside however in one week’s time Shin Godzilla managed to rake in around $1.5 million in ticket sales, it’s with this monster success that Funimation and Toho decided to extend Godzilla’s North American vacation for the next  week until October 27th.  There will also be a special matinee screening in over 200 theaters on Saturday October 22nd. If you’ve been bogged down with work and life in general or stressed out with what all the talking heads  are blabbering on and on about with BS politics make the most of this extended opportunity to enjoy a night out before the mighty king descends back into the ocean for his long swim home.  For all the details on theater listings and where you can order tickets make sure to check out – funimationfilms.com/movie/shingodzilla/ 

Unfortunately for myself the nearest screening is three or four hours out of the way so I’ll have to patiently bide my time as I wait for an official Blu-ray/DVD release date to drop. Until then I plan to do the next best thing which is to spend a little time talking about the official soundtrack for Shin Godzilla which combines some of Arika Ifukube’s most iconic motifs with the modern stylings of Shirō Sagisu who best known for his work on Hideaki Anno’s popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anno was one of the co-directors on Shin Godzilla great collaborators are always difficult to separate). I haven’t really followed the anime culture but have heard rumblings through social media that Sagisu recycled several of his most popular Evangelion themes here and for someone who isn’t familiar with his work man does this guy know how to deliver music that can be completely sporadic when it comes to working the wider range of emotions but isn’t afraid to turn it on and be bombastic when Godzilla decides to lay out some destructive carnage. The two main themes that Shirō did compose for Shin Godzilla – Persecution of the Masses and Who Will Know are big sweeping orchestral numbers with an even amount of brass and choir. Perhaps the best way I could describe them is Mozart’s Requiem for Godzilla and while nothing can beat Ifukube in his prime the one thing I always ask for when it comes to the kaiju genre is having music that is just as enormous as the monster itself. You notice it right away and as you try to pull yourself away from the grotesque amalgamation you slowly began to realize there is  beauty deeply hidden beneath its core.

The Shin Godzilla Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is now available digitally through Amazon & iTunes thanks in part to Milan Records who have recently  hinted that physical copies (Vinyl and CD) might be available sometime in 2017.

Final Grade: A

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 15: The Millennium Bug (2011)

When the Millennium Bug hits the last thing you'll be worried about is technology.
When the Millennium Bug hits the last thing you’ll be worried about is technology.

Synopsis: The Haskin family seeks refuge from Y2K hysteria in the isolated forests of the Sierra Diablos Mountains. Abducted by a vicious hillbilly clan, the family battles for their lives…but neither they nor their captors could imagine the monstrous nightmare about to erupt from the bowels of the earth.

Every so often a person will witness something and immediately afterwards their initial shellshock will limit how they perceived said event until they sit down and really take it all in. More often than not a lot of indie film makers are the ones who come with the most creative/outside the box/utterly insane ideas that either work on every level or ultimately come crashing down in flames. For a little film called The Millennium Bug it ends up throwing everything at viewers (except the kitchen sink unfortunately). Right from the opening moments it’s not a film that follows the by the numbers formula a majority of today’s standard horror flicks go by. The comedic properties are so perversely dark and will either go over the heads of any good natured movie viewer or will end up rekindling horrific memories of classic thrillers the likes of Deliverance or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Then, if that wasn’t enough, all of a sudden in perhaps the biggest WTF moment a giant monster explodes from the earth ready to wreak havoc and destruction on any poor soul who happens to cross its path. So one can see where I’m coming from here after my first viewing of this glorious piece of sleazy grindhouse trash that figures the only limits to adhere to are no limits at all.

Besides having a multitude of unique concepts being mashed together the other element that gives The Millennium Bug such a distinctive identity is having no use of CGI at all. In the state of the modern film industry this ends up being a breath of fresh air as going to the theater and predicting when a plethora of mind numbing explosions are going to envelop the entire screen while the audience ooohs and ahhhs sadly have become way too tedious and boring. For those of us who grew up in the 1980s we end up leaving after the final credits with a pit in the bottom of stomach. I mean come on now, what happened to the 4th of July only coming once a year? When I sit and watch movies from the last two to three decades I still sit back in a state of awe taking in the art form of how special effects were done and when computers were still a novelty technically being in their infant forms. It’s the legendary special effect wizards the likes of Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, and the late great Stan Winston who were the bar in terms of making a practical effect look and feel real. How many digital artists/programmers can one name that have revolutionized the special effect industry the way Baker, Bottin, and Winston did? Not many, right? With the practical effects in The Millennium Bug they are not quite as good as the three big FX names above however one can’t deny the creativity that went into the final product so if No CGI Films (clever title for the company who made the film) continues to lovingly pay homage to the way effects were done in the past they’ll have no problems honing their craft and who knows maybe eventually somewhere down the road they’ll help redefine the industry.

Final Grade: B+

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 11: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
The end of an era. One of a kind. Forever. Godzilla.

Synopsis: The aftermath of the Oxygen Destroyer brings forth Destoroyah, a beast intent on killing Godzilla, who is on the verge of a nuclear meltdown.

Starting today and running for the next week in a limited North American theatrical engagement is the 29th Godzilla film in the long standing franchise (not including the two Hollywood versions) and the first Japanese Godzilla in 12 years. It’s with Shin Godzilla (which loosely translates as True Godzillla or God Godzilla and was at one point going to be released in the rest of the world as Godzilla Resurgence) where Toho has done something with a major property that very few movie studios could even dream of by licensing Godzilla’s likeness out to Hollywood to help build a multi-million dollar blockbuster franchise all the while having the creative freedom to continue forward with their own Godzilla productions that happen in completely independent universes. The beauty of having six decades worth of Godzilla is we’ve reached a point where if a person isn’t happy with how one incarnation of the King of the Monsters was handled they can move both backwards and forwards exploring how creature designs and the overall tones shifted with the ever changing times.  I can’t think of any better time to be a Godzilla fan and with the constantly evolving manner that Toho is taking to keep their property as culturally relevant as when he first set foot out of Tokyo bay.

At first glance the designs of Shin Godzilla and Godzilla ’95 don’t share a lot of similarities in common that is unless  you count how both are radical departures from what kaiju fans define as the quintessential Godzilla look. When Godzilla 95 first stomps into frame he’s a lot more bulkier and covered in glowing sores. The previews for Shin Godzilla have shown footage of the King glowing in an eerily similar fashion and  considering I haven’t had the opportunity to see the finished product yet I can only assume that his glowing is a side effect of how he absorbs radiation. Focusing on Godzilla vs. Destoroyah it had always been the so called black sheep of the series where I didn’t want to view it in its entirety until it got a proper Blu-Ray transfer with the Japanese language track. Oddly enough the first time I watched it was last Halloween and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Released during the coveted Heisei era Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was the first Godzilla film to incorporate the bleaker messages and imagery of the 1954 original since The Return of Godzilla a full decade prior. References to the Oxygen Destroyer  and having a plot point where there is a scientist following a similar path as Dr. Serizawa is where Godzilla vs. Destoroyah takes the series’ mythology into some bold new areas. Toho was also at their creative peak with their special effects work going beyond standardize miniatures and men in rubber suits. In my opinion this is where Suitmation crossed over from being an art form and reached a pinnacle of storytelling in the kaiju genre that since then hasn’t been reached. This is one of those rare accomplishments where in the year since my initial viewing I can sit here with goosebumps as I write this trying to imagine how in the hell the special effects crew were able to film this masterpiece without being driven to insanity. It’s one of those phenomenons that was designed to close out the Japanese film series for a while by passing the baton off to Hollywood. Unfortunately we all know how the first attempt at an American Godzilla went and it would take 16 years to course correct that mistake. I do find it somewhat ironic that back when Godzilla In Name Only was released in 1998 Toho was forced to end their sabbatical less then a year after Hollywood got the entire concept wrong. Now here we sit a couple years after Godzilla roared back on to the silver screen and Toho once again decided to end their sabbatical, not because of any negative feedback no instead this was to reaffirm that the king of the monsters could return in multiple forms bigger, badder, and more bad ass than ever. Once more – Welcome back king! Please stay around for as long as you see fit.

Final Grade: A+

*** Before closing out this year’s Godzilla entry I wanted to share an article that SciFiJapan did last year about the American Godzilla that unfortunately wasn’t. Some of you might be familiar with a few images of a Godzilla design the late great Stan Winston worked on. This was for that American Godzilla which would have been directed by Jan De Bont (Speed and Twister) and initially had Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt attatched to be in the lead roles. Check out the detailed article here — Godzilla Unmade: The Story of Jan De Bont’s Unproduced Tri-Star Film

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 6: Cloverfield (2008)

cloverfield
Lady Liberty is going to be feeling that one in the morning.

Synopsis: A group of friends venture deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.

There was a point in time where I generally detested found footage movies even if the premise was something naturally appealing to me the moment I found out it was taking the found footage approach I’d work myself up into an inconsolable rage. My general frame of thinking would always be why would I waste my time trying to enjoy one of these when all I want to do is walk up to the person working the camera and tell them to take a few deep breaths, calm your nerves and just hold the damn thing steady. It is sort of difficult to find any entertainment value when you walk into a movie theater the lights go dim and then all of a sudden the camera starts shaking wildly and you have to run to the nearest bathroom because motion sickness gets the better of you. I mean doesn’t that sound like an absolute wonderful night out at the movies? You come home and your friends/family/loved ones ask how the film was and you’re like oh it was pretty entertaining up until the point where I almost redecorated the floor of the cinema with the lunch I had this afternoon. Over time my feelings have began to simmer as I found the best way to view the found footage genre is through the comfort of your own living room television set (quite the revolutionary concept, isnt it?). No matter the consensus the shaky cam technique has left its mark transitioning into action films like the Jason Bourne series and will most likely continue to be a thorn in the side of those who wish film makers would lock the camera down in one stationary position until the final credits roll.

Its no secret that I live and breath Kaiju (giant monster) movies so long as there is a giant creature rising out of the earth finding its way towards civilization and toppling over humongous skyscrapers reigning down chaos and destruction I’m front and center. Cloverfield remained out of my collection until I came across it in the value DVD bin and thought to myself you’re too good of a deal to pass up but I’ll never find any tolerable way to get any sort of fulfillment out of you. Then a strange thing happened one night out of the blue (to quote Doc Brown) I figured what the hell popped the disc in the Blu-ray player and hit play. I managed to make it through the movie and to my complete and utter surprise I said to myself you know what this really isn’t half bad. Yes the shaky cam can be a bit irritating however keeping the point of view solely from the perspective of a group of people witnessing a monster attack at the very moment it happens is something that up until 2008 had never been done before. I really didn’t care for having a bland love story as the jumping off point but where the saving grace takes form is with the comedic relief in a great character actor by the name of T.J. Miller. The footage is shot from his point of view and he’s always keeping the mood light through his witty banter. There’s a point where his group of friends are walking in a subway tunnel and he brings up an incident that happened years prior to the monster attack where a maniac was lighting hobos on fire in the very same area. It’s probably the most sporadic line of dialogue in the entire film and part of me wonders if Miller ended up throwing that line out there in a random take to see how the rest of the cast and crew would react. Regardless I have a newfound respect for Cloverfield that I didn’t when it initially hit. It takes some splintered elements from Godzilla and Gamera and presents them for the modern generation who are constantly documenting things on the fly then minutes later upload the footage for the entire world to see warts and all.

Final Grade: B

The calm before the storm…

Hey all,

With less then a week remaining until October its time to drop in and post a quick little update on a few things before the Direct 2 Video Dungeon’s 3rd Annual Schlocktoberfest takes form.

First off remember when The Return of Godzilla was featured in last year’s marathon? I made note of the fact that at the current time it wasn’t officially available in North America and if one wanted to view it you would have to go the bootleg route. Well thanks to the folks over at Kraken Releasing The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1984) dropped on to store shelves via DVD and Blu-Ray a couple weeks back. I’ve always been a firm supporter of going through the legal means of owning all forms of entertainment so if by chance any of you picked up the bootleg DVD please do the right thing and click on the Amazon link embedded in the artwork below and pick up your own official copy that way Kraken can continue to work hand in hand with Toho to bring some other obscure Godzilla classics to North America.

The Return of Godzilla

While on the topic of new releases classic gamers will be ecstatic to find out that Super Castlevania IV is now available for the Nintendo 3DS. Truthfully I haven’t done any handheld gaming since the days of the original Game Boy however the fact that Nintendo is releasing one of their most iconic hits on the latest version of their extremely popular handheld console proves that a classic vampire slayer will forever remain immortal. Plus do I have to even mention the fact that you can pick this up for a mere $8! All I can say is good luck trying to find a used original cartridge and a working SNES for that much (you simply won’t).

For those of you wanting to know where Schlocktoberfest 2K16 will focus you’ll just have to wait and see what direction I choose to go in. If anyone has any suggestions that they would like featured this year by all means throw them my way via the comments section in this post.

That’s it until Saturday. See you then!