In a way i really had to do this one, after tackling The Killer Shrews, it’s only fair i review The Giant Gila Monster, to complete the Ray Kellogg double-feature, and they do feel cut from the same cloth, down to the similar – but very typical of the genre – intros.
And if anything, this sounds less of a joke, compared to the concept of “killer shrews”, just your regular 50s B-movie drive-in fair with giant reptiles, small town sheriffs and white bread teens played by people in their 30s, with a touch of rock n roll… incredibly regional, white rock n roll, but still, that penchant for music that will carry over into the 60s is typical and they even advertised some tracks on the poster itself, without irony, as that was a genuine selling point at the time.
Since i’ve more than mentioned this movie during the review of Deadly Eyes/Night Eyes, what the hell, let’s pay some respects to what it’s now a cult classic, especially for the more seasoned cinema buffs from the U.S. Side, as the movie was featured on Mistery Science Theather 3000 (alongside his double-feature debut companion, The Giant Gila Monster, also directed by Ray Kellogg), becoming one of the favorite episodes from the fans, and it can’t be denied this movie had some impact, as it was also featured or referenced in some way in other shows about bad movies.
It also managed to spawn a direct sequel in 2012 (63 years after the original came out), Return Of The Killer Shrews later with James Best reprising the role of Thorne Sherman, and a remake/parody in 2016, Attack Of The Killer Shrews. A lot for a movie made on a very low budget and serving as a perfect example of the decline of the “nuclear era” monster movies, because even for the time the idea sounded silly, and showcased how desperate you must have been to go with “shrew” as the scary mutant killer animal for your monster movie.
I would like to thank Canada for asking the question: can we remake The Killer Shrews and make it less crap, despite also making it about rats?
I mean, especially if you’re a fan of MST3K it’s hard not to think of that, not because the mutated animals are shrews, but because they did the same trick of dressing up dogs (daschunds here) with special effects to make the rats, alongside some puppet props.
To be fair, of course this movie was bound to have a bigger budget and be better given how notoriusly low the budget was for The Killer Shrews, how it was pretty much a “regional” drive-in flick with actors that were hard to understand due to the accents and dialect… and it’s a better movie all around. The old trick of using dogs masquerading as rats actually works here, because they do have better budgets for the effects, instead of just putting moss and bad wigs on the poor canines, so you don’t really notice they’re dogs while watching, and the rats puppets and props are actually decent-to-good in quality, so the answer to the question posed at the beginning is already “yes”.
I didn’t plan to do a Jim Wynorski-A-Thon when i accidentally started watching movies in my saved list that would soon abandon Amazon Prime Video (or gate themselves beyond another paywall), and i’m tired having to preface this already, but i can’t say i really wanted to see this movie that much.
Then again, i did put in the “watch for later” list because the robots in the thumbnail looked like the martian war machines in H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds.
Plot is sadly not as interesting, with a couple of experimental robots sporting advanced IA being carried on a plane over a desert Pacific island, plane crashes, and Navy Seals (because the OSI is busy learning not to plug the entire mainframe into a single wall socket) are sent in to recapture the robots, as they turned against the humans, and they’re getting smarter and smarter….
Script convenient criminals also happen to be arrive on the island, as they manage to get the helicopter stuck there after robbing 2 milions from a passenger cruise, but then again, the Navy (Such As) Seals might as well bring nerf guns, despite knowing the “supah” robots can be harmed only by a specific weapon. And they know because the scientist’s daughter, also a scientist and carrying on her father’s work, told me it is so.
It has got to this. We knew it would eventually come to this.
And to be honest it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, or half-baked by design like Super Mario 35, which was clearly not that well thought out, but also had a very short expiration date decided on birth, so why put more effort in if we decided we’re gonna kill it 6 months later regardless?
Like Tetris 99 once was, this is currently available as a free download for NSO subscribers, but this time it’s clearly being built as a freemium thing, since it had locked modes (the single player offerings of Score Attack, CPU Battle, and Blind Time Attack) at launch and paid themes. YAY.
Even more “YAY” how even private matches are walled beyond a paid upgrade.
But the main, free attraction is obviously the eponymous “Pacman 99” mode. While everyone plays in their separate mazes, by eating ghosts you sent mini-Pacmans into other players’ games, which aren’t deadly but will slow you down, and this can be used alongside the… NOT explained at all ability to choose how the power pellets operate to create more strategies: stronger power pellets will do more damage, but the time the ghosts will stay vulnerable for less time, etc. Also, while the mini-Pacs can be simply eaten, it’s better to not ignore them completely either…
There’s a bit more to digest here in terms of extra layers over the time-tested Pac Man formula in comparison to (take a swig) Tetris 99, so it may not be as immediatly intuitive, but regardless if you use the more advanced strategies or not, it’s yet again a surprisingly simple, addictive & effective way to adapt an arcade classic, enhancing the formula for modernity without compromising or ruining it in the process.
Another one for the ever increasing pile of movies i saved for later on Amazon Prime Video and ended up watching & reviewing before they get taken off or gated off another subscription service.
And yes, it’s a TV movie for Sci-Fi Channel, from before they just rebranded themselves as “SYFY”, but yeah, we’re going back yet again to the neverending well of trash, always flowing, always bursting and ripe for the picking by the cynical, the bored, and the masochist. And people like me, i guess.
To be honest, while i knew of this title since it was announced… i also kinda forgot about it, knew was coming out, but i didn’t particularly care, even if did look like Nights Into Dreams platformer, fairly obvious since this was from Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima’s new company, formed specifically to make this new title, the aptly titled Balan Company. It looked a bit cheapish, but whatever, could be fun, though i wondered why we didn’t see reviews already out for it.
Then i saw people in the internet calling it a “dumpster fire”, the press giving it low scores (very low scores), the fact that the demo could accidentally cause seizures due to an unforeseen bug, that Square Enix (who published the title) didn’t actually give out review codes for it, and then this week Square Enix removed the demo with just a couple of days notice before doing it, so people that want to see for themselves if the game it’s as bad as they heard now will have to pay the full 60 bucks. Or pirate it.
Thankfully i downloaded the demo on PS4 (and Switch and PC just for kicks) long before, so i was able to play that… and even from that you can get a grip of many problems pointed out in reviews for the full game.
And i really feel like i should say SOMETHING, because this is kinda tragic.
The second of the three mobile Godzilla games promised by Toho for 2021, advertised a month ago as Godzilla Battle Line, published by Nexon and co-developed by Neople and Studio 42.
After the odd but cute stats raising-pet simulator of Run Godzilla, now we have a more traditional offering for a mobile licensed spin-off game. It’s not exactly a proper tower defense, but more of a tapper with RTS elements: units despatch and attack automatically the enemy waves from building you can upgrade, but you can also tap on them for extra damage (especially when their weak points show up), or use the various Kaiju Cards left by fallen monsters and/or obtained via card packs, of course available to purchase for real money.
It’s a decent little timewaster, a little more engaging than the usual tapper, but it’s aggressively monetized, even if it’s oddly pushy in making you watch ads to boost stats like production speed or to get resources, instead of just saying “cough up the cash to save time”, and i feel it’s the lesser evil of the options they could have gone with. BUT it still feeds into the same objective: to get you spending real money on the card packs and batches of premium currency, especially since the game remembers you revenge can be had easier by wiewing ads, etc.
Presentation is good, the story is what you’d expect, as an EDF commander you organize a defense line to repel kaijus attacking Earth, often sent and/or resurrected by the evil aliens called Xilliens. By progressing you get new locations to build bases, the ability to summon new allies with passive abilities, new monsters (some obscure references to Toho’s non-Godzilla material), making for a decent and entertaining loop, even if you’d wish for a bit more depth to it.
I knew of Ex-Arm before the series was announced, as in i red the first volume of the manga, and thought that was.. alright.
Then in early november 2020 i discovered there was an anime planned for it, and apparently it was supposed to launch earlier, but got delayed a couple of times, post-poned until its January 2021 release on Crunchyroll, as one of their “Crunchyroll Originals” exclusive projects.
I heard about it on Twitter, alongside many baffled comments on why the hell is a live-action director with no experience in anime directing a 3D CG anime and also tasking a production company that also has no experience in anime… and i immediatly knew i would just “have” to review it, to witness the monstrum and write a report about what could be found in its wretched bowels.
Get confortable, as this autopsy-review will examine all the guts and decomposed organs, and there’s a LOT of those to rifle through with this one!