Wednesday, December 2, 2020

This Watchalong is Cursed: The Monster Squad Live-Stream

I'm going back to many of my past live-streams and adding some much-needed timestamps for my viewers' listening convenience: from this year's Halloween watchalong, me and my spooky guests Andres, Andrew, and Brayton revisit the 1987 cult classic THE MONSTER SQUAD.

You know, the one where Dracula calls a small child a swear word, a werewolf is physically abused in the testicles, and The Mummy comes out of the closet! Oh, what a wholesome fun ride for the coke-out 1980s family!


0:40 - Theme song / introduction

4:10 - We don't like Neppo or other cartoon sidekicks for that matter

8:52 - Contemporary Star Trek is stupid

11:29 - Thundercats Roar and the decline of animation

21:41 - Anything pass 2005 in too old for hipsters

22:53 - Sexy animation background extras

28:45 - Batman's open house-cave of fun!

29:59 - The Beast Wars for Cybertron

34:01 - That sicko Bruce Timm answers to no one!

35:09 - Transformers voice actor controversy

41:38 - KaijuNoir's Halloween memories

48:27 - Andrew Batman enters the show

1:08:45 - Brayton and The Munsters / Addams Family gang wars

1:12:03 - The failings of The Universal Monsters

1:14:56 - James Rolfe stops by

1:15:50 - Closing out the pre-show

1:20:00 - Extreme technical difficulties with The Monster Squad

1:23:30 - Andrew recommends Night of The Creeps

1:25:21 - Dear Audience: Bring your own copies

1:30:30 - Savage Honesty, starring Cameron Mitchell

1:33:53 - Verbal proof that this live-watch is cursed

1:40:20 - The hosts go mad with insanity

1:44:00 - OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION (Finally!)

3:06:06 - Post-show thoughts and regrets

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Superman vs The Prehistoric Pterodactyls

 

Today, we're looking at the titular winged menaces from the second episode segment of "The New Adventures of Superman", "The Prehistoric Pterodactyls" (Filmation, September 17th 1966).

Playfully nicknamed by Superman as Terry #1 and Terry #2, they're a pair of gigantic pterodactyls awakened from suspended animation deep within some arctic icebergs.

Soon after awakening, the flying beasts began a brief reign of mayhem by attacking jet bombers, naval ships, and threatening Louis Lane (of course) in San Francisco before Superman battled and ultimately subdues the winged giants.


Captured and tied up in nets made of electric cables, Terry #1 and Terry #2 were then flown into space by Superman and safely exiled to an alien world where they can live peacefully.

It's likely pure coincidence but the script and its titular pterodactyls share some similarities with the more famous titular monsters of "Rodan" (1956) who were also jumbo-sized pteranodons awakened from a long slumber though in their case it was eggs buried deep underground and revived with super-heated volcanic water.



Despite being one of the earliest superheroes known for his incredible strengths and feats, I prefer Superman stories were a giant monster (or monsters) is either a worthy challenge to or equal force against The Last Son of Krypton. This balance of power works great for more energetic adventure stories but way less so for character-driven (talking head) tales. Hence why we see a lot of Superman vs. giant monster entries in older comic books and animated shows while modern media limit said giants to one-hit cameo defeats.

One-hit cameo defeats are highly impressive for Superman's abilities but also exceptionally of lame for us giant monster and action fans.

The Two Terrys are definitely among the simpler fair (fare?) coming from a Filmation produced children's cartoon but I honestly don't mind these slim-down Saturday morning shows of the sixties even if Hanna-Barbera were making superior versions of the same material with the likes of "The Herculoids" and "Space Ghost and Dino Boy".

ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF THE PREHISTORIC PTERODACTYLS:





Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Terror of The Tertiary Titans: July 2020

So... What the Hell is Terror of The Tertiary Titans?

This is a new series of articles where I showcase three or more minor monsters (giant or otherwise... but usually giant) from fiction who barely had enough screen-time or impact to deserve a full article and presented together with no particular rhythm or reason.

Yeah, that's about it.


Scavenger Raven: "What?"
SCAVENGER RAVEN
First Appearance: King Kong (1933).

A large species of scavenger bird native to Skull Island of whom sailor Jack Driscoll encounters as he approached the freshly killed carcass of the Meat-Eater (the official name of the not-quite-a-tyrannosaurus-rex-not-quite-an-allosaurus-either-dinosaur there). Startled by the human, the lone Scavenger Raven flies away.

Scavenger Ravens also appear in the 2005 novel Kong Reborn but I know nothing significant concerning said book to share here.

For the longest time, me and many other monster movie fans assumed this odd-duck (pun interned) was a Teratornis: a once living North American bird of prey whose size is virtually near that of the onscreen Scavenger Raven. While similar, The Scavenger Raven is supposed to be its own fictional bird which adds extra flavor to the relatively little seen fauna of the 1933 classic.

RELATED LINK: Wikipedia's page on this same character.



TRAUMA GAMERA
First Appearance: Gamera III: The Revenge of Iris (1998).

A terrifying nightmare version of the otherwise benevolent giant turtle, Trauma Gamera briefly appears in the black-and-white nightmares of Ayana Hirasaka, a high school student who blames Gamera for the death of her parents during the latter's battle with Super Gyaos four years prior, tying back to the events of Gamera: Guardian of The Universe (1995).

Gamera's current form in the 1998 film is not that dissimilar to Ayana's traumatic visions and the turtle's unintended but no-less-callous destruction of Shibuya while battling a pair of Hyper Gyaos only fuels Ayana's hatred, leading her into awakening the villainous monster Iris to ultimately battle Gamera to the death.

While this monster technically doesn't exist within the film's reality, Trauma Gamera has been given a secondary life through model kits and similarly rare merchandise (not to mention unofficial fan art and fan fiction). Trauma Gamera was created via a refurbished suit leftover from the aforementioned 1995 film.

Interestingly, an early concept for Gamera III was to have the trilogy's titular turtle go up against a pure evil variant of his own species before the creative crew opted for a more unique newer monster instead.


Another villainous clone of Gamera was featured as the surprise final boss in the 1995 video game adaptation of Gamera: Guardian of The Universe for the Japanese Game Boy.




BEZAZELSHUN
First Appearance: Godzilla In Hell, issue 1, variant cover by Jeff Zornow.

Okay, now we're getting to the truly obscure goodies!

Bezazelshun is a large Hell-spawn demon who appears only on the EC Comics inspired variant cover for the first issue of Godzilla In Hell (July 15th 2015).

While meant as a homage to EC Comics (the publisher famous for Tales From The Crypt and other 1950s horror comics), artist Jeff Zornow took a more imaginative and admittedly more awesome heavy metal route with the Hellish landscape it presents.

The winged humanoid goat demon who appears to be casting judgement on Godzilla has no finalized / official name but a helpful Facebook chat with Jeff Zornow himself christened his creation as Bezazelshun - an obvious play on Beelzebub.

Before we move onto the next entry, mention must be made of the two gigantic devil skulls littering the background, suggesting that far bigger demons once inhabited Hell.



EMERALD CITY COMIC CON MONSTERS
First Appearance: Emerald City Comicon 2008 advert by Dan Brereton

One-off postcard advert for the 2008 Emerald City Comicon, illustrated by comic creator Dan Brereton and featuring his genetically engineered hero Giantkiller up against two monsters while straddling The Seattle Space Needle.

Giantkiller himself (or Yochu as his scientist creator calls him) was the titular star of Brereton's 1999 comic book miniseries who hunts giant monsters that have crossed over from a paralleled universe, having taken over and settling in San Francisco, California, during their initial invasion.

While the miniseries featured a nice variety of monsters (heavily inspired by Japanese kaiju films and the pre-Spiderman-era monsters of Marvel Comics), the two featured above are wholly exclusive to this standalone advert.

Speaking of advertisement exclusive giant monsters...


THE THING (That Isn't Mothra)
First Appearance: American adverts for Godzilla vs The Thing (1964).

In one of the most blatant examples of misleading Hollywood ballyhoo, the North American release of Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) not only renamed the film Godzilla vs The Thing but also had the official poster (beautifully illustrated by poster artist Reynold Brown) pitting Godzilla against a tentacled eldritch horror hidden behind a censored sign, giving an ominous mystery to who The King of The Monsters could be fighting.

Of course, if my previous paragraph didn't give it all away, The Thing's true identity within the movie itself isn't some mind-blowing mass of horrific feelers but the more comprehensible form of Mothra.

While Mothra is a beloved figure in pop culture today whose popularity has garnered her multiple film appearances (something the more edgy giant monster fans regret, similar to hardcore Batman fans' resistance towards Robin), she was relatively new and untested in 1964 with this film being only her second appearance. 

American International Pictures (AIP) who distributed Mothra vs. Godzilla under the new title, felt audience wouldn't go for a monster movie where one of the titular beasts was basically a fuzzy butterfly and decided to hide that fact behind an admittedly cleaver mystery to what 'THE THING' might actually be.

I don't know how disappointed or pleasantly bemused American audiences were with Mothra's reveal but I can state that the hidden identity ploy extended into the US theatrical trailers as well, minus a few brief glimpses of Mothra's twin larvae babies and the brightly colored egg they both hatched from.



Of course, what conversation about misleading movie posters and giant Japanese movie monsters wouldn't be complete with mentioning those wacky Italians!

Italy released a steady steam of Kaiju EIga throughout the 1960s and the 1970s and, while that's commendable compared to other European countries that had less luck with the genre (SEE Britain and Russia), the Italian releases were a little infamous for their wildly misleading titles and wildly more misleading posters however beautifully painted many of them are.

Re-titled Watang! Nel favoloso impero dei mostri (literally means Watang! In the Fabulous Monster Empire in English), the Italian release of Mothra vs Godzilla took the original Reynold Brown ad art and reworked it to feature more dramatic background mayhem and an uncovered Thing itself, now an otherworldly starfish-like weirdo over a plant-like mass.

The Italian release poster for the original "Mothra vs Godzilla"

That's it for the first edition of Terror of The Tertiary Titans; when I do another one of these, I'll probably limit the number of featured monsters to three-or-less entries just to make things a little easier for my typing fingers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Daimajin and the Nerds Who Love Him

Our incredibly fearsome hero, ladies and gentlemen.

After the surprised success they had with the very first Gamera film, Daiei Films continued dipping their toes into the giant monster genre by producing AND releasing three films all within 1966 featuring Daimajin, a giant stone idol and supernatural deity who comes to life  to brutally punish mortal villains in feudal Japan.


The Daimajin trilogy joined the popular giant monster boom of the 1960s with the highly praised samurai period dramas of the same decade, resulting in a unique if brief series of dark fantasy films.

The channel Up From the Depths recently finished up their trio of video reviews on Daimajin presented here because why not (I felt like it, okay).

DAIMAJIN: The last remaining members of a royal family call upon their god to save their village from a brutal warlord.


RETURN OF DAIMAJIN: Two peaceful kingdoms call upon their god to save them from a rival invading clan.


DAIMAJIN STRIKES AGAIN: Four boys set out through the Majin's Mountain to rescue their family members from enslavement at the hands of a rival clan.


Last but certainly not least is a fantastic video lecture from the always awesome Maser Patrol discussing both the Daimajin trilogy alongside other giant-monsters-meet-samurai properties. Tons of cool obscurities and educational history points to chew on.


Since I too am a nerd who loves him, here's some more Daimajin images to end the post on.
Daimajin parts the waters, from "Return of Daimajin" (1966)
Daimajin in his inert statue form and his living form on the warpath.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Up Mill Creek: The Ape

In the suspect tradition of Fractured Flickers, Mad Movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, blah, blah, blah, comes the first episode of a new comedy-commentary series entitled UP MILL CREEK (WITHOUT A PADDLE), staring Brayton Conner, Andres Perez, and Raf Enshohma (hey, that's me).

In this inaugural pilot, the three jerks talk over the 1940 Boris Karloff vehicle THE APE with humorous results. Mockery aside, we're very happy with how this pilot turned out and I'm pleased to share that there's more episodes coming.



Here's the full uncut recording session for the episode complete with an unused pre-show segment based around the Gumby short Lion Around. Unlike the completed episode, this unlisted extra is something I'm less proud of but sharing it here for posterity sake (plus future blackmail).



Sunday, July 5, 2020

Zelmkethou, The Living Threshold

Time for old kooky Enshohma to once again share his original creations with you.


Zelmkethou, The Living Threshold

NAME: Zelmkethou (pronounced Zelm-Keth-Thoo)
SUBTITLE: The Living Threshold
ALTERNATE NAMES: The Abyssal God; Great Zelmkethou
SPECIES: Extradimensional

GENDER: Nonsexual (completely lacking any form of gender in a true evolutionary sense - extremely difficult for most humans to comprehend)

LENGTH: 299 meters (roughly 980 feet)
WEIGHT: 100,000 metric tons (estimated)
EYES: None

Zelmkethou is a gigantic sea dwelling monster who originated beyond our known universe and possesses a unique feature to its biology: housed within its orb-shaped shell lies a fully stable dimensional wormhole that reacts to the willing mental desires of anyone who enters it, hence making Zelmkethou a living gateway to anywhere within The Whole of Existence that anyone can wish to be transported to.

While this sounds like a living miracle, there are several key issues with this gateway, the first being that it's on the back of a giant monster and one that's particularly hostile towards anything outside of itself. Many attempts to reach Zelmkethou's shell via spaceship, submarine, and massive-sized robot have almost all but failed.

Secondly, smaller scale attempts such as single individuals simply swimming up to the beast is as dangerous for Zelmkethou is ignorant if not unresponsive to anything too small for its notice and thus many have been accidentally killed by beast during such attempts.

Thirdly, The Zelmkethou Gateway, the orb-like shell itself, is a one-way trip as those who have made it to the portal have never returned. This is simply the nature of The Zelmkethou Gateway much like how most time travel methods are highly limited to one temporal direction. There have been evidence confirming the lucky few have survived after entering the dimensional orb but this has still led to widespread conspiracies across the universe theorizing that there is no portal and Zelmkethough is simply using a giant deception to lure in smaller-sized prey - The Zelmkethou Gateway being nothing more than a illusion-sporting digestive organ.

Finally, the fourth reason why it's nearly impossible to reach The Zelmkethou Gateway... No one agrees what planet the great monster resides upon or within. It's fully agreed that Zelmkethou lives in a water-heavy environment to support its great weight but the exact identity of said world's been lost over time.

The gorgeous water world of Jumo-Umo, the dying oily seas of Ranagader Ex-Prime, the vapory gas giant of Vinhea, the weather chaotic world of Barley Open, the silver seas of Dahmeia Third, the water-ammonia oceans of Neptune, and the briny seas of Earth, all have been believed in being the home-world of Zelmkethou but no positive identification been made on the matter.

The Great Zelmkethou is a living miracle, a colossal hazard, and a frustrating mystery all wrapped up into one gigantic monstrous package.

ENSHOHMA'S COMMENTS:

Despite my love for the works of cosmic horror author H.P. Lovecraft and his various contemporaries, I have an admittedly tertiary knowledge of The Cthuhlu Mythos as a whole. Because of this, Zelmkethou is something of a repurposed blunder since its design started out as my misinformed (and misnamed) rendition on the titular monster from The Dweller in The Gulf, a 1932 short story written by Clark Ashton Smith.


I didn't even get The Dweller In The Gulf's name right!

Also known as The Eidolon of the Blind, The Dweller is is an ancient, possibly immortal subterranean creature that dwells deep within the planet Aihai (known to us humans as Mars). It is served and worshiped by a cult of Martians who have been captured and blinded by the beast as its equipped with two proboscises for the extraction of eyes (how charming, Clark).

While The Dweller in the Gulf resembled a tortoise, albeit one of gargantuan proportions, its more alien or at least chimeric in overall form and, despite its connections to The Cthuhlu Mythos, is a relatively tangible animal instead of the reality warping cosmic entity I had originally imagined based on a scantly read character description.

When I returned to revisit this design and compared it to its source inspiration, I realized it wouldn't work as an adaptation of The Dweller in The Gulf and revised it as my own loosely inspired creature, hence Zelmkethou The Living Threshold.

My friend Jesse Alonso helped with the monster's name which is a play on the Czech phrase for globe, zeměkoule.

RELATED LINKS:

The Dweller in the Gulf at Monster Wiki:

https://monster.fandom.com/wiki/Dweller_in_the_Gulf

The Dweller in the Gulf at H.P. Lovecraft Wiki:

https://lovecraft.fandom.com/wiki/Dweller_in_the_Gulf

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Giant Tortoise Against The Rocket Car!


Because I have no life, I often wander the web and stumble upon obscure giant monsters through Japanese-based blogs and twitter accounts. Again, I'm a lifeless nerd.

During one such time-wasting exodus, I found Tsutomu Blog: a nifty site dedicated to Japanese toys and model sets from yesteryear, particular ones involving giant monsters.

Unfortunately, Tsutomu Blog has been permanently discontinued and I plan to share as many salvaged images I had grabbed before it's shutdown starting with this spiky oddity.

Box art for "Rocket Car Against Gamess"


The toy is roughly called "Rocket Car Against Gamess" with the titular monster being a giant tortoise as Gamess (ガメス, or the English alternative 'Games') is a play on the Japanese word for turtle, kame.

Titanollante, one of the web-masters of Wikizilla, helped me with the description apparently offered by the box art though he noted that the following its a rough translation:

Inhabiting the deep waters of the Mariana Trench, its energy source is a kind of heavy liquid that flows out from the seams of the seabed strata, one supply powering it for 450 days.  Its personality is "ferocious". Spraying viscous body fluids from its mouth, Gamess will eat anything.

Turtle-based monsters have always been a personal favorite kaiju motif and Gamess is another fine addition to that shelled legacy. However, like many obscure giant monsters, Gamess' name is terribly vague in the English sense and hence I could track down ANY information online to confirm the release date for this set (
I'll add updated notations if I come across them later).



I also love the concept that you get a smaller but no less powerful super vehicle to combat against / play along with the larger monster figure, but the option to fit the car in its mouth doesn't come off too well in my opinion - I know Gamess will eat anything but that's still an unintentionally off-putting visual.

"I can't believe I regurgitated the whole thing!"

Once more, massive thanks to Titanollante of Wikizilla for the translations and a grateful salute to the late great Tsutomu Blog.