Archive for June, 2010

Maker of Monsters

Posted in Giant Monsters, Misc. Horror with tags , on June 30, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Ray Harryhausen

If you’ve ever seen UFOs dive-bombing screaming citizens, an octopus the size of a city block slime its way up the Brooklyn Bridge, or stood by while skeletons engaged in sword fights with humans, then you know the work of special effects film wizard, Ray Harryhausen.

Turning 90 on June 29, 2010 (man, that’s a solid run), Ray’s groundbreaking work in Dynamation, a pioneering form of stop-motion and matte photography, he breathed life into everything from Mighty Joe Young (1949) and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1952), to Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) and Clash of the Titans (1981). Ray is to film special effects what Jaques Cousteau was to scuba gear. And he did it all WITHOUT computers. Or a smart phone.

Inspired by Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion work on King Kong (1933), Ray took the animation techniques to the extreme and invented Dynamation, a word that wasn’t even in the dictionary until he thought it up. (All the new words I think up are not suitable for print.) Here’s how Dynamation works (as copied from Ray’s website):

“For many years Ray had had an idea that would allow the live action to be “split’” so enabling a model to be inserted directly into the action and appear to interact with the actors.”

“As far back as 1938/39 he had experimented with mattes for his production Evolution of the World and realized that if an area is matted out then why couldn’t two areas be matted out to create what was known as a split-screen.”

Dynamation

PUTTING IT ON THE GLASS
“The process was simple but very effective. He projected a live action image onto a rear screen in front of which was placed the animation table with the model. He would then place a glass sheet in front of both. When the live action plate had been shot Ray would establish where he wanted to make his matte line and so by looking through the camera viewfinder he would re-establish that line and with a wax pencil on the end of a stick, follow that line by drawing it on the glass.”

“When he was satisfied that the line was accurate he would then paint out, with black matt paint, the lower section, below the line. He would then photograph the animation of the model reacting to the live action on the plate. Afterwards Ray would then create a second pass in the camera to reinstate the lower previously matted out section so creating a combined image of the creature seemingly as part of the live action.”

Dynamation

The term Dynamation is legendary itself, taking the name from the word “Dynaflow” off a Buick dashboard while bored and stuck in traffic. (Good thing he wasn’t sitting on a bus, or we’d probably have something like Mass Transit-View or Bus-O-Vision.

And to think he did it all with miniature models, clay and a serious amount of patience. Happy Birthday, Ray – computers suck…you don’t!

Book of 1000 Deaths

Posted in Misc. Horror, Scream Queens with tags , on June 29, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Book of 1000 Deaths

You’d think a Book of 1000 Deaths would have more pages. An indie horror anthology featuring four stories and the 24 year-old dipped-in-ink porn amateur Misti Dawn (I bet that’s not her real name) as the Lila the Legend Teller (groan), Book of 1000 Deaths looks better on the surface than it does under the cover(s).

In The Clown Statue, a baby-sitter is targeted by a serial killer dressed up as a clown of all things. That’s just wrong as clowns are supposed to bring joy and happiness to the world. Killer clowns are SO not cool. (Quit yawning, there’s three more stories to go.)

Kidney Jacking is pretty much what it sounds like. A girl finds her boyfriend in bed with someone not herself, and goes to a bar and lets some other dude take her home because this shore up her poor self-esteem. She wakes up the next morning on the ultimate wet spot – an ice-filled bathtub. The kicker: her kidneys are missing. (I bet she left ’em in the bar along with her cell phone right before alcohol worked its rational magic.)

Book of 1000 Deaths

Bloody Mary involves six 20-nothings who invoke the legendary witch. They accomplish this by first drinking cups of refreshing adult beverages and then playing the game, which is pretty darn similar to how you’d drunk dial Candyman. They’re successful and Bloody Mary appears to kill them all and… Wait – come back! There’s one more…

The Man, The Myth The Legend is about two guys. Vince is highly successful with the ladies. Nate just got kicked to the curb by his girlfriend. Going to a party, Vince thinks he’ll be the real lady killer tonight. Not so fast, Romeo – Briggs, the real lady killer, just showed up. So, like, run Vince, run.

In-between all this crotch-gripping horror, Lila the Legend Teller pops up to to make joke-y comments on the killings. (Did Elvira give you permission to do this?) Book of 1000 Deaths comes up 996 short, so I’m thinking false advertising.

Hey, Misti/Lila/whoever you are – don’t quit your day job. Whatever that is.

Dude, Killer Waves

Posted in Misc. Horror with tags on June 28, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Haeundae

Despite its delicious name, Haeundae-gu is not an ethnic dessert dish. Rather, it’s a massively popular beach located on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula in the city of Busan. I’m visibly shocked you did not know that. So popular is this beach, it draws over one million visitors every year. So why not have a monster tidal wave slam into it while everyone’s there? Works for me!

Haeundae

Billed as South Korea’s first disaster film, Haeundae (aka, Tidal Wave), is making a big splash (sorry) here in the States for its realistic depiction of wholesale destruction. While deep sea fishing, a guy lost his girlfriend’s father to a 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean. (I bet he wasn’t wearing a life-preserver. Those things are there for a reason, people.)

This somehow ties into the ocean making the same fidgeting maneuvers it did all those years ago. These rumbling cause a mega-tsunami that’s heading towards Haeundae at over 500 m.p.h. All of a sudden, sunblock doesn’t seem so important.

Haeundae

Great movie posters for this epic deconstruction. I particularly like the seagulls flying high above the monster tidal wave, as if hoping for some food scraps to float up after the entire city is flooded. This, I feel, is a realistic portrayal of the modern seagull’s struggle to survive.

Haeundae came out in July of 2009, but it’s just now bubbling to the surface (sorry) in places like Amazon.com™, Blockbuster™ and Netflix™. That it coincides with this summer’s beach-y fun, makes it timely and timeless.

Haeundae

Destroy All Planets…Today If Possible

Posted in Giant Monsters with tags on June 27, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Destroy All Planets

OK, this one managed to slip under the radar. Not surprised given who released this tasty piece of public domain property and why.

Destroy All Planets 2010 (aka, Gamera Vs. Viras, 1968) was released with no fanfare on June 21, 2010, by Retromedia, the company run by Fred Olen Ray. The same Fred Olen Ray who has been making B-movie horror/sci-fi/cheesecake flicks since 1978 and has directed over 100 films, including The Brain Leeches (1980), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds (1995), and Billy Frankenstein (1998). Just so you understand where Fred’s leeched brain is at, eight of his movies have the word “bikini” in the title, including the upcoming Shakespearean-esque Bikini Frankenstein (2010).

So Fred sees the success Shout! Factory had with the recent re-release of Gamera: The Giant Monster, took a look at their roll-out of all Gamera movies, and got in on the action himself by chopping SF’s beef and rushing Destroy All Planets before they could. Greasy, yet shrewd.

While I’m gonna wait for the Shout! Factory version, here’s what you get in this package, which is manufactured-on-demand, by the way. (Recorded onto a DVD-R when an order comes in. Weak.)

From Retromedia’s press release: “We’ve transferred an original 16mm AIP-TV print and color corrected it two times to produce the best version of this film available. This Special Edition contains the commentary track by American star, Carl Craig.

Cool, and yet not. Gamera Vs. Viras has been quagmired in copyright hell since its release, allowing for such exploitative opportunity (i.e., re-naming it Destroy All Planets 2010 as a dis to Godzilla’s Destroy All Monsters, 1968).

Regardless, if you’re looking for a prescription-free head trip under $20, watch this movie and behold the alien’s bumble bee beach ball space ship, giant turtle Gamera’s butt flames, boy scout-commandeered submarines, and Viras, a super-sized parrot/squid monster that looks more like an Andy Warhol party favor than a creature from outer space. It’s better than drugs.

Gamera Vs. Viras

Faces of Schlock

Posted in Misc. Horror with tags on June 26, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Faces of Schlock

Faces of Schlock, a collection of four grindhouse-styled horror shorts, has a great marketing line, calling it the “Boobs and Blood Edition.” And I ask, who doesn’t like either? An anthology of underground films from even further underground filmmakers, there is definitely boobs and blood. Lots, actually. Here’s what you get…

SLAY RIDE
Abandoned by her family on Christmas Eve, a delinquent teenage girl is sucked into a frenzied spree of sex, murder and mayhem. Directed by Henrique Couto, starring Ruby LaRocca (The Lost, Lord of the G-Strings) and Sandy Behre.

MIKE WUZ HERE
The night shift at an old movie theater becomes a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse when the ghost of a suicide haunts the Century-old building. Directed by Justin Channell, starring Josh Lively, Zane Crosby and TJ Rogers.

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE
When malpractice results in the loss of a beautiful young dancer’s foot, she reanimates the appendage by black magic for a horrifying revenge. Directed by Chris LaMartina, starring George Stover (John Waters’ Hairspray) and Sara Cole.

BLOOD WITCH
Obsessed with revenge, a young woman uses occult powers to summon a 17th Century witch to perform diabolical deeds. Directed by Andrew Shearer, starring Monica Puller and Countess Samela.

Faces of Schlock is low-budget stuff, but you knew that. What you didn’t know is that it’s a burst vein of wicked humor, clever dialogue, and lots of goofy gore and…BOOBIES! Oh, and blood.

Here’s tech stuff for those needing more than just boobies (not me – daddy’s home):

DVD CONTENTS
Faces Of Schlock Feature: 105 minutes TRT: 208 minutes
Audio Commentary
Behind the Scenes Featurettes: 22 minutes
Outtakes and Bloopers: 20 minutes
World Premiere Featurette: 25 minutes
Cinema Wasteland 2009 Featurette: 30 minutes
Schlock Rock Music Video featuring Jasper the Colossal: 3 minutes
Official Trailer: 3 minutes
Website bonus material

STREET DATE: September 21, 2010
CATALOG NUMBER: ie101dv
UPC: 878746010191
RATING: NOT RATED MPAA “R” Equivalent
RUN TIME: Features: Feature: 105 MIN, TRT: 208 MIN
ASPECT RATIO 16 x9 anamorphic
AUDIO: 2.0 Stereo
SRP $14.98

20th Century Boys: Extreme Sci-Fi

Posted in Science Fiction with tags on June 25, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

20th Century Boys

If you thought Avatar was like eating mushrooms and putting your brain in a public toilet and flushing it 80 times (in a sort of nice way), then you’ll love Japan’s 20th Century Boys: The Complete Saga, just released on DVD as a four-disc box set from 4Digital Media. Mind you, it’s only available in Japan and the UK right now. But if you have overseas Facebook™ friends who could send it to you, you’re in luck. (You do know all your Facebook™ “friends,” don’t you?)

20th Century Boys

You may not know the name or even how to pronounce it, but Naoki Urasawa is the guy behind the immensely popular 20th Century Boys manga (Japanese comics), and illustrated it from 1999 to 2007. And at no point did he kiss a girl during that time. (Just kidding. His mom counts.)

The epic story spans five decades and involves so much cool and complicated stuff, I can only say that for someone to make a movie series out of it either had to have been on drugs, or has the powers of Jesus at his disposal. In fact, 20th Century Boys was deemed un-filmmable due to the expansive/expensive scope of the material. Don’t believe me? Then screw you! Uh, I mean, check out the pictures.

20th Century Boys

So popular is this series, the printed versions alone have sold over 25 million copies and has been translated for 13 countries; Holland, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Yep, no England in there. Yet. But hang on to your malt vinegar as its coming. As soon as everyone in England washes their hands.

A press quote from the movie’s website:
“It’s like making a movie out of the Holy Bible!” describes director Tsutsumi on his monstrous undertaking. “The half-a-century long saga of 20th Century Boys with hundreds of characters is beyond any conventional manga. It’s the kind of manga that you can’t put down until you’ve finished it. From the early stages of production, Naoki Urasawa, the creator of the original manga, helped supervise the whole story and co-write the first movie, giving a different twist to the trilogy.”

So here’s the deal: You can wait ’til the entire box set comes available on Amazon.com, or get the individual DVDs right now (I just checked – they have volumes 1 through 3): 20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End (2009), 20th Century Boys 2: The Last Hope (2010), and 20th Century Boys 3: Redemption (2010). They’ll run you anywhere from $20 to $23 future clams each. Or you can blow your entire life wad and get the complete anime series, of which there are double-digit installments.

Buy the box set, take a week off from work, and watch it start to finish. Jesus would want you to.

Sleazy ’70s Sci-Fi

Posted in Science Fiction, Scream Queens with tags on June 24, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Sleazy Sci-Fi

Three grindhouse era sci-fi (ahem) movies, designed for the discriminating gentleman (or woman). You need to see these movies to put your life into perspective. Over and over. Here’s what this disc features in all its uncensored glory…

2069: A Space Odyssey – Five sexy astronauts from the all-female planet Venus invade a town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Their mission: Seduce enough Earth-men to continue their race for another 10,000 years! (I love this plot as it has everything from clothes-hating alien chicks to international intrigue. What’s not to like?)

Invasion of the Bee Girls – While investigating a series of mysterious deaths, an agent for the US State Department discovers a secret facility designed to turn women into deadly “Bee Girls!” Campy, outrageous and filled with gratuitous nudity, Invasion of the Bee Girls is pure smutty fun from beginning to end. (They had me at gratuitous nudity.)

Dr. Dildo’s Secret – Obsessed with the desire to create a perfect woman, a mad scientist grows facsimiles in his basement – and breathes them into life through sex! (Best. Plot. Ever.)

This classic collection was released June 15 (2010 in case you needed closure) and will set you back twenty bones and… Um, let’s just call it $19.98 and some change. Feel free to watch it alone. You know, for relaxation purposes. Cough. Find it online – right now before you overthink it – at http://www.alternativecinema.com. Plan on spending a few more bucks as they have a ton of this kind of quality entertainment available for relaxation purposes.

Invasion/2069