Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!

Last year we ended Giant Monster March with Zarkorr!! The Invader, so it’s only right to end this year’s run with the other direct-to-video giant monster movie produced by Full Moon Entertaiment (under their Monster Island Entertaiment label) and directed by Aaron Osborne, Kraa! The Sea Monster.

Always gotta scream your title, to be sure.

The plot sees the intergalactic overlord Lord Doom, master of the Dark Planet, Proyas (likely still salty over Gods of Egypt’s reception), send the giant monster known as Kraa on Earth in order to destroy and conquer it. A squad of the intergalactic teen guardians known as Planet Patrol tries to intervene, but it’s attacked by Lord Doom and so they enlist the only available agent, Mogyar, to reach Earth and destroy Kraa at all cost, even with the help of the planet’s inhabitants if need be.

Continua a leggere “Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!”

King Of The Lost World (2005) [REVIEW] | Simians & Dragons

If there’s a big blockbuster movie coming and somehow involving monsters or aliens (among others) or elements that also relate to “B-movies”, you can bet The Asylum has already launched a mockbuster of it one week earlier or after, because they’re the Zoidberg of the film industry…. well, not quite, because they have actual budgets that don’t involve papermaciè monsters and so on.

BUT WAIT, this time we have a rare example of a “mockbuster double combo”, one that ironically did better to skirt around copyright lawsuits than what the later did with mockbuster of first The Hobbit movie from 2012, where they got themselves a lawsuit as they were stupid enough to use the word “hobbit” in the title of their mockbuster movie, resulting in the movie itself being delayed.

Obviously it was released to cash into the Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake (literally released 1 day before the Peter Jackson’s movie hit theathers, classic), but cleverly didn’t use the word “kong” in the title or marketing (which got 1976’s A*P*E in trouble), which also has the benefit of making this one sneak by quietly as you won’t find it by simply searching for “king kong films”, and also attaching itself to The Lost World, as in the original novel by Conan Doyle, not “Jurassic Park 2”. But did – because it was legally fair – put on the cover of the DVD this phrase “the epic story that inspired King Kong and Jurassic Park”. Which is technically true. 🙂

So is this the mash up of both King Kong and The Lost World the title promises?

Basically, yes. Kinda. By that i mean that the basic premise it’s The Lost World, and ultimately the plot follows more the beats of that instead of King Kong’s, but eventually we have natives… not facing other more primitive ape-men, but making ritual human sacrifices to appease the creatures of the jungle. Yep, you’d think it would make sense to have them making tributes/sacrifices to their giant ape god, but i guess that way the company would seem begging to be sued again, so nope, the giant ape in question doesn’t actually have anything to do with anything else besides just existing and being feared by all creatures, he just shows up fighting some giant dragon-flying lizards and accidentally ruins the ritual.

Also, the natives aren’t actually natives (more on that later) oddly brainwash the survivors to join them, those they don’t choose as sacrifices, and since there’s no Empire State Building for “Ding King” to fall over (there are planes and jets, interestingly enough), the giant monster will have to be dealt with the only sensible solution available: nuking his ass to oblivion.

Yep, this is exactly how they dealth with the “dinosaur” in “King Dinosaur”, because when in doubt, ask yourself how Bert I. Gordon would have written the finale for your film. Then at least make your own footage for the rushed resolution.

Speaking of the monkey, it show ups early….. but it’s also hidden at the same time, because the effects are so bad and it’s shown in such quick cuts you can’t even screenshot the darn thing to see any detail of this “vague blurry giant monkey” thing that showed up on screen for a second. Even when it’s finally shown properly (in the last 10 minutes)…it still looks quite blurry.

Here’s the part where i would try to mount a legit, proper critique of the special effects… to just take the piss on them, but to be honest it’s exactly what i expected from an Asylum movie (especially a pre-2010s one), any further elaboration it’s really pointless and devoid of value for anyone.

BUT i didn’t expect them to pull off shit like “mummy mannequin” that’s supposed to be one of the guys being attacked, immediatly encased in giant spider’s webbing and dropped as a decaying mummified corpse 2 seconds later. It’s not that it looks bad, surprisingly, but its the way it’s presented that sucks, you could at least try to make the damn thing look as big as the person it’s supposed to be, or to make it look like it has some weight to it. Come on.

If nothing else, it starts pretty fast with a plane crash… as in, no pussyfooting around with establishing any of the characters or even spending some time on the plane ride itself, there’s no time or money for that, let’s get to the disaster already, we’ll figure everything else (like characters or motivations) later. Maybe.

As you could have guessed, the movie at its heart it’s a very loose adaptation of The Lost World, it’s no period piece of sorts (as it’s not set in the early 20th centhury like the original novel was), to be honest though i really didn’t expect it to be, since even their later 2009’s adaptation of The Land That Time Forgot wasn’t… totally, they at least found a way to kinda do both with the sci-fi twist of a portal/rift… but then again they did went with the Bermuda Triangle angle for that.

Here we don’t have any sci-fi elements, but we have a strange subplot that the tribal people you expect to be natives from the island (as they were in King Kong).. aren’t actually natives, but people that also crash landed there, kinda reverted back to a tribal lifestyle, and also brainwashed other survivors of plane crashes into joining them.

Well, maybe some were natives, but i’m just guessing, it’s never properly explained, and the entire subplot makes very little sense, to the point it would be better to have it cut entirely and just have the tribal people in the “lost world” just being prehistoric humans native to the island, instead of this convoluted non-sense.

But i’m inclined to believe it’s written this way to avoid the script having too many similarities to King Kong (or The Lost Word), deliberately put there to differentiate it enough so to avoid any risk of being properly sued. Or maybe i’m wrong, i could be.

acting is the kind i would like to write off as “ok” for this kind of hokum, with the bigger names delivering the best performances (and they’re names a more general audiences might actually recognize, with Boxleitner and Steves Railsback)…and i will, the bigger actors do a decent enough job to even out the moments where other actors either way over or under act their parts in a noticeable way.

The acting overall leans more to the “decent” side than most Asylum flicks, same for the characters, and you also get giant scorpions, dragons, giant spiders, some of which were not in either King Kong nor The Lost World, but yeah, more monsters it’s a good trade off, all things considered. I’ll take this instead of no monsters or a lot of padding.

So overall, King Of The Lost World….it’s alright, things happen at a decent pace, it’s not overly long, honestly it’s kinda one of the best mockbusters the Asylum spunked out over time, as it’s in itself an entertaining jungle romp, aside from being a double bootleg of two classic tales (leaning definitely more on side of The Lost World than King Kong), despite the very little on-screen presence of “Ding King”.

It doesn’t mean it’s good, it’s not, but it’s NOWHERE as bad as the reception and metascore on IDMB would lead you to believe, there’s definitely some effort, and it’s not a bad effort, considerin the tiny budget it has, i mean, even the aforementioned The Land That Time Forgot -also from the Asylum – had a noticeably bigger budget put to it.

Might be worth a look if you’re up for some low budget jungle adventure mish mash from the infamous company or having a mockbuster marathon.

Not that bad, surprisingly so.

The Giant Claw (1957) [REVIEW] | Battleship Buzzard

You know we had to do this one eventually, as The Giant Claw’s titular monster is the stuff of b-movie legends, for hilarious reasons etching the movie in the history of monster movies with one of the most laughable creatures ever conceived and built.

And if you never saw it before, it was eventually released in the Cold War Creatures boxset by Arrow Video, alongside three other Sam Katzman produced films, The Werewolf, Creature With The Atom Brain, and Zombies Of Mora Tau.

A pretty good boxset that in the case of The Giant Claw contains extras such as a video essay by Mike White on Sam Katzman’s output and the theme of Cold War paranoia in his produced movies, alongside a theatherical trailer, the usual photo gallery and a condensed 8mm version of the movie.

Continua a leggere “The Giant Claw (1957) [REVIEW] | Battleship Buzzard”

Orochi The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) [REVIEW] | Tsukuyomi Endless (Endless)

Ah yes, the classic go-to monster of japanese folklore for when a regular hydra just won’t cut it, and a name that will be immediatly recognized by anyone with some dedication to videogames, manga and cinema, especially if they involve the classic mediaval fantasy japanese settings, as he’s often the big bad monster like in Okami, or has an entire subseries of Warriors crossover titles with him as the catalyst of chaos. Or more close to the bone, being the ispiration for the classic Godzilla monster, King Ghidorah, since we’re going into the Toho territory of giant monsters once again.

But it’s not quite that, as this one isn’t a science fiction film as many giant monsters from the Godzilla series were, but instead is a straigh-foward old fashioned magical fantasy film that picks various mythological characters and story pieces from the ones about the formation of the Shinto religion, in this case being the tale of Yamato Takeru, his encounter with the Yamato-hime priestess, receiving the holy sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, the Tree Treasures, Susano’o, the fight with the god Tsukuyomi….

…and a lot more names that most likely don’t mean jack if you’re not familiar with japanese mythology, like at all, so it makes a bit more sense that they didn’t release it overseas under its original title of “Yamato Takeru”, despite it being more apt.

Continua a leggere “Orochi The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) [REVIEW] | Tsukuyomi Endless (Endless)”

War Of The Colossal Beast (1958) [REVIEW] | Recasting The Giant

Last year we tackled The Amazing Colossal Man, so it just common courtesy to cover the sequel, War Of The Colossal Beast, released just 1 year after and again directed, written and produced by the master of rear-projection cinema, Bert I. Gordon.

And yes, this isn’t just a loose remake/redo that might or might not take place after the original, this is actually a sequel, which isn’t always a given for this kind of movie, even more since it wasn’t marketed as a sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (hence the title that doesn’t include “colossal man” in it) and the cast is different. But like the first movie, it was originally released as a double-feature, this time with another Bert I. Gordon flick, Attack Of The Puppet People, which i already mentioned in the review for The Amazing Colossal Man (and has an amazing Rifftrax version out).

After an alarming number of food delivery trucks robberies in Mexico, Joyce Manning, the sister of lieutenant Glenn Manning, starts to investigate and believes his brother, mutated into the giant, actually survived being shot by a tank and falling off the Boulder Dam, as she suspect he might be behind the delivery trucks being robbed of food.

Continua a leggere “War Of The Colossal Beast (1958) [REVIEW] | Recasting The Giant”

Giant Monster March 2022 is GO!

Some things come and go, but giant monsters are forever!

Yeah, while i’m still keeping the bi-daily posting rate, starting tomorrow for this month every posting day when there’s not a new movie EXPRESSO review there will be a full lenght giant monster movie review. Simple as that, so see ya tomorrow for the first one of this year, hoping this will become a yearly institution! 🙂

Big Man Japan (2007) [REVIEW] | Now it’s history I see

If you have been searching for an original, fresh take on the kaiju movie, you simply cannot overlook a movie like Big Man Japan, directed, written and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto, a popular japanese comedian, here at it first full lenght feature, followed by Symbol, Saya Zamurai and R100.

Sure, in the movie there are giant monsters attacking Japan, there is an Ultraman style humanoid giant that fights them to protect the country and its citizens, but this isn’t a merry tale of people in rubber suits smacking the shit out of each other, getting set on fire by fireworks and hosed down by stage assistants.

This is actually the story of Masaru Daisato. Like his ancenstors before him, he can grow into a giant over 30 meters tall when shocked by electricity, and he uses this power to defend Japan from the giant monsters that routinely attack it…. in a completely unremarkable way, to be very polite about it.

Continua a leggere “Big Man Japan (2007) [REVIEW] | Now it’s history I see”

Reptilicus (1961) [REVIEW] | Danish Dragons

Denmark gave the world many things, despite what Shakespear told us, many influential painters and artists, many metal bands like King Diamond, Manticora, etc.

But you don’t exactly think Denmark when you think giant monster movies, and the only that still comes to mind is the old Reptilicus, a danish-american coproduction, with two existing versions, one completely shot in danish and the international release that was cut and changed by the screenwriters to make it more marketable (and american) by good ol’ American International Pictures.

While the movie it’s available in DVD fairly easy (and i do own it), i’ll mostly refer to a fansubbed copy of the original danish version. The international release, aside from a complete redub due to the cast very thick danish accent (kinda dumb how AIP didn’t expect that since the cast IS danish), cuts the scenes where Reptilicus flies… because the effects aren’t that great, but added the special effect of green poisonous saliva shooting out when the monster opens its jaw.

Continua a leggere “Reptilicus (1961) [REVIEW] | Danish Dragons”

King Kong VS Godzilla (1962) [REVIEW] | Kaiju Klassics

Finally, after years of rumors, delays, a new Godzilla VS Kong movie will hit theathers, and hopefully VOD because i can’t recommend getting the Coronavirus for the sake of seeing this one on the biggest screen possible. At the time of writing, i don’t know if i will able to see this is theathers or not, personally i would love to, but it appears this time we won’t have to wait much more for Godzilla to fight King Kong, as part of Legendary’s Monsterverse.

Like most monster movie fans known, this isn’t the first time the two titans clashed on the big screen, but it has been a while (almost 60 years), so it’s the perfect occasion for the youngins to hear if for the first time and for the old fans to have a refresher on the original King Kong VS Godzilla.

First, let’s go over the plot, before getting sidetracked with the plethora of production history facts you most likely have heard every time this movie is brought up.

Continua a leggere “King Kong VS Godzilla (1962) [REVIEW] | Kaiju Klassics”

Giant Monster March IS A GO!

As the long awaited Godzilla VS King Kong finally is set to it theathers pretty much everywhere (where theathers are open, not a given due to the pandemic), it’s time to celebrate, with a selection of giant monster movies reviews to showcase mostly lesser known titles or movies that nowadays are not as well known as they once were, despite still being remembered by genre fans.

Sorry it’s not a month of non-stop reviews this time. Enjoy!