House: Two Stories & Miike’s Dead or Alive Trilogy Blu-Rays Coming in March!

AV_DeadlyBlessing_DVD.inddMVD Entertainment Group furthers the distribution of Arrow Video in the US with two amazing releases tailor made for cult and horror fans.
 
First out is Takashi Miike‘s classic Dead or Alive Trilogy starring Riki Takeuchi and Show Aikawa as their various characters deal drugs in Tokyo, put their yakuza assassin skills to good use and even meet cyborg soldiers in future Yokohama. Each film deftly shows off Miike at the height of his skills, and weaves a captivating tapestry of crime, action and character study.
 
Next up is a franchise any horror fan around in the late 80s and early 90s will recognise: House: Two Stories Limited Edition [House 1 & 2] which has a gorgeous 2K restoration of the first two films. With each film telling a different tale, and getting increasingly bonkers as the series goes on, the House films are equal parts funny, scary and entertaining. As much a joy for fans of weird cinema as they are for horror lovers.
Earlier in March, Arrow splits up the Death Walks Twice box set and offers Death Walks On High Heels and Death Walks At Midnight both on DVD and Blu-ray. These two films by Luciano Ercoli are beautifully restored Italian horror classics, with plenty of bonus features.
 
 
TAKASHI MIIKE’S DEAD OF ALIVE TRILOGY on DVD and Blu-ray (March 14)
 
Beginning with an explosive, six-minute montage of sex, drugs and violence, and ending with a phallus-headed battle robot taking flight, Takashi Miike’s unforgettable Dead or Alive Trilogy features many of the director’s most outrageous moments set alongside some of his most dramatically moving scenes. Made between 1999 and 2002, the Dead or Alive films cemented Miike’s reputation overseas as one of the most provocative enfants terrible of Japanese cinema, yet also one of its most talented and innovative filmmakers.
 
In Dead or Alive, tough gangster Ryuichi (Riki Takeuchi) and his ethnically Chinese gang make a play to take over the drug trade in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district by massacring the competition. But he meets his match in detective Jojima (Show Aikawa), who will do everything to stop them. 
 
Dead or Alive 2: Birds casts Aikawa and Takeuchi together again, but as new characters, a pair of rival yakuza assassins who turn out to be childhood friends; after a botched hit, they flee together to the island where they grew up, and decide to devote their deadly skills to a more humanitarian cause.
And in Dead or Alive: Final, Takeuchi and Aikawa are catapulted into a future Yokohama ruled by multilingual gangs and cyborg soldiers, where they once again butt heads in the action-packed and cyberpunk-tinged finale to the trilogy.
 
Each of them unique in theme and tone, the Dead or Alive films showcase Miike at the peak of his strengths, creating three very distinct movies connected only by their two popular main actors, each film a separate yet superb example of crime drama, character study, and action film making.

Bonus Materials

– High Definition digital transfers of all three films
– Original stereo audio
– Optional English subtitles for all three films
– New interview with actor Riki Takeuchi
– New interview with actor Sho Aikawa
– New interview with producer and screenwriter Toshiki Kimura
– New audio commentary for Dead or Alive by Miike biographer Tom Mes
– Archive interviews with cast and crew
– Archive making-of featurettes for DOA2: Birds and DOA: Final
– Original theatrical trailers for all three films
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Orlando Arocena

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger
 
BLU-RAY Specs

SKU: AV083
UPC: 760137975281
Street Date: 03/14/17
PreBook Date: 02/07/17
Label: Arrow Video »
Genre: Action/Adventure
Run Time: 291 mins
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: STEREO
Year of Production: 1999
Director: Takashi Miike
Actors: Riki Takeuchi, Sho Aikawa
Territory: US
Language: Japanese
SRP: $49.95
DVD Specs

SKU: AVD005
UPC: 760137975397
Street Date: 03/14/17
PreBook Date: 02/07/17
Label: Arrow Video »
Genre: Action/Adventure
Run Time: 291 mins
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: STEREO
Year of Production: 1999
Director: Takashi Miike
Actors: Riki Takeuchi, Sho Aikawa
Territory: US
Language: Japanese
SRP: $39.95
Pre-order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon
AV084-HouseHOUSE: TWO STORIES LIMITED EDITION [HOUSE 1 & 2] on Blu-ray (March 21)
Limited to 5000 units!

Step inside, we’ve been expecting you! At long-last, Arrow Video is proud to present the first two instalments of hit horror franchise House on Blu-ray for the first time! In the original House, William Katt (Carrie) stars as Roger Cobb, a horror novelist struggling to pen his next bestseller. When he inherits his aunt’s creaky old mansion, Roger decides that he’s found the ideal place in which to get some writing done. Unfortunately, the house’s monstrous supernatural residents have other ideas…
Meanwhile, House II: The Second Story sees young Jesse (Arye Gross) moving into an old family mansion where his parents were mysteriously murdered years before. Plans for turning the place into a party pad are soon thwarted by the appearance of Jesse’s mummified great-great-grandfather, his mystical crystal skull and the zombie cowboy who’ll stop at nothing to lay his hands on it!
From the team that brought you Friday the 13th, House and House II are era-defining horror classics – now newly restored and loaded with brand new extras!

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

– Brand new 2K restorations of House and House II: The Second Story
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– “The House Companion” limited edition 60-page book featuring new writing on the entire – – House franchise by researcher Simon Barber, alongside a wealth of archive material
HOUSE
– Audio commentary with director Steve Miner, producer Sean S. Cunningham, actor William – Katt and screenwriter Ethan Wiley
Ding Dong, You’re Dead! The Making of House – brand new documentary featuring interviews with Steve Miner, Sean S. Cunningham, Ethan Wiley, story creator Fred Dekker, stars William Katt, Kay Lenz, and George Wendt, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up and creature effects artists Barney Burman, Brian Wade, James Belohovek, Shannon Shea, Kirk Thatcher, and Bill Sturgeon, special paintings artists Richard Hescox and William Stout, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder
– Stills Gallery
– Theatrical Trailers
HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY
– Audio commentary with writer-director Ethan Wiley and producer Sean S. Cunningham
It’s Getting Weirder! The Making of House II: The Second Story – Brand new documentary featuring interviews with Ethan Wiley, Sean S. Cunningham, stars Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Lar Park Lincoln, and Devin DeVasquez, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up and creature effects artists Chris Walas, Mike Smithson, visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder
– Stills Gallery
– Theatrical Trailer
BLU-RAY Specs

SKU: AV084
UPC: 760137976486
Street Date: 03/21/17
PreBook Date: 02/14/17
Label: Arrow Video »
Genre: Cult
Run Time: 93 mins
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: STEREO
Year of Production: 1986
Director: Steve Miner, Ethan Wiley
Actors: William Katt, George Wendt, Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark
Territory: US
Language: English
SRP: $59.95
Pre-order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon

Movie Review: The Abandoned (2016)

Director: Eytan Rockaway, Writers: Ido Fluk (story), Ido Fluk, Stars: Jason Patric, Louisa Krause, Mark Margolis

The AbandonedDescription from the official film site: Take a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman. Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. But on her first night on duty, she discovers a horrifying presence lurking deep within the bowels of the decaying building. With her nerves already on edge, Streak must confront demons both real and imagined as she struggles to keep a grip on her sanity.

abandonedframe1I enjoyed The Abandoned. It was entertaining. Krause and Patric carry the film, and they are drawn especially well.  The location is beyond fantastic and the atmosphere is rich. But it isn’t scary. Not even a little. It feels like a mild Hammer made for TV chiller with a M. Night Shyamalan-style twist ending tacked on that, while not expected, wasn’t very surprising. I think had the film been a bit more ambiguous, it would have played better.

Again, I liked the film. It is worth a view. It’s on Netflix streaming. And while I can’t say I am crazy about The Abandoned, I do encourage you to see it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Movie Review: Hush (2016)

Director: Mike Flanagan, Writers: Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel, Stars: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco |

Hush posterI have scrolled past Hush several times on my Netflix streaming menu. It just did not jump out at me. But after hearing several friends praise the shocker, I decided to give it a try. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Expecting a twist on The Strangers and Hostel, I got something that vaguely resembled that mash-up but was much more.

Maddie (played by Kate Siegel) is a deaf writer who lives in a very secluded spot in the woods. After her close friends and only neighbors are viciously slaughtered by a masked maniac (John Gallagher Jr., in a very surprising performance) Maddie becomes the killer’s target and a senses-deprived game of cat and mouse develops.

hush2frameNow, full disclosure… I am not a huge fan of director Mike Flanagan’s previous work. I expected a very by the numbers slasher flick but when the enigmatic killer removes his mask, things get very different and deep. The whole dynamic of the picture changes, and you get to know the killer in a way that makes the premise much more frightening.

This movie is very stylish, does some very out of the box things, plot wise, and Siegel and Gallagher turn in marvelous performances. There are no clichés, no formulas, no moments of disbelief. Nothing for you to scoff at or roll your eyes. It’s tense, well-written, well-shot and well-acted.

Hush is a winner. I can’t wait to see more from everyone involved.

Blu-ray Review: Bride of Re-Animator

Director: Brian Yuzna. Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones. Theatrical release: 1989. Company: Wild Street. Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD release through Arrow Video

borframe1If you have read my Night Things books, you’ll see that I have a particular fondness for Herbert West. A character from a throw away episodic series that Lovecraft hobbled together (influenced mainly by Shelley’s Frankenstein), Dr. West has become an iconic horror figure. The first Re-Animator film is easily in my top three 80’s splatter fests. I have seen Bride of Re-Animator a few times over the years, but it never really found a spot in my video library. But when the new Arrow Video edition of Bride hit my player, it became evident to me that I had not really given the film a chance.

In this outing, Herbert (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) continue their mad experiments. Herbert uses a piece of Dan’s departed love (Megan’s heart) to build the perfect woman. Using various dead parts, he uses Dan’s misery over losing Megan to keep his assistant and experiments alive.

You simply cannot envision Herbert West without seeing Jeffrey Combs in the role. He embodies the part perfectly. If you think people threw a fit when Freddy and Jason were cast without Englund and Hodder, just imagine a reboot without Combs. Villages would burn.

Bride-Reanimator-Blu-rayWith this installment, West begins to show how mad he truly is. He takes more of a perverse pleasure in his experiments. You start to see that mean streak exhibited in Lovecraft’s original stories. Abbott works well as Herbert’s straight man, Dan Cain. But a few scenes of Herbert convincing Dan to continue with the work feel very flat. That is really my only complaint about the movie itself. Dan is convinced, fairly easily, to see Herbert’s creation through and I always felt Dan had a bit more backbone. The highlight of the film, of course, is the final act gorefest. The team of Screaming Mad George, Richard Kilroy, Robert Kurtzman and Greg Nicotero (you’ve heard of them, right?) hand in some great, gruesome practical effects.

The disc itself is packed with bonuses. The highlight is Brian Yuzna discussing what Bride would have been, given more time and money. The behind the scenes footage of David Gale as dead head Dr. Hill is a lot of fun as well. Arrow Video did a hell of a job with this one, folks. I highly recommend adding this to your collection, based on the extensive added bonuses. The film looks great. The 2K restoration makes this the best viewing you can possibly imagine. This might be one of the best horror film packages I have ever seen.

Check out this video from Arrow video regarding their special edition of Bride of Re-Animator:

Movie Review: L.A. Slasher (2015)

LA-Slasher
L. A. SLASHER is directed, written and produced by Martin Owen. Producers are Jeffrey Wright, Daniel Sollinger, and co-producer Sean Decker. Director of Photography is Chase Bowman. Starring Mischa Barton (“The O.C.”), Drake Bell (“Drake & Josh”), Brooke Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Abigail Wright (“Anger Management”), Tori Black (“Ray Donovan”), Frank Collison (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”), Marisa Lauren (Superhero Movie), Danny Trejo (Machete) and Andy Dick (“The Andy Dick Show”).
SYNOPSIS: A biting, social satire of reality TV and the glorification of those who are “famous for being famous,” L.A. SLASHER takes aim at the current state of the entertainment industry, where it is acceptable (and even admirable) to gain influence and wealth without merit or talent – but instead through shameful behavior, and the notoriety that comes from it. Driven to rage over the tawdry excess of reality television, a self-appointed cultural crusader kidnaps several famous nobodies to make his point – but his crimes only generate more tabloid frenzy.

MY THOUGHTS: Having had my damn fill of the Kardashians, Honey Boo-Boo and the Duck Dynasty crew, this was a refreshing and timely horror/comedy hybrid that I recommend. The direction and cinematography is fresh and the cast really skirts the line between reality and unreality. L.A. Slasher debuted in a limited theatrical release on June 26th. For more info: http://laslashermovie.com/

 

Check out the trailer:

TV Review: Penny Dreadful

Penny DreadfulHonestly, I had low expectations for the first season of Penny Dreadful. But I am happy to report that I walked away with another serious TV addiction. I am hooked and in love with this show.

The story, which takes place in Victorian England, introduces us to Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), a young woman troubled by demons and haunted by conscience over the betrayal of her childhood friend, Mina Harker. Mina’s father, Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) enlists the aid of a small band of warriors to combat the evil vampire who has seduced Mina and seems to be hungering, ultimately, for Vanessa. An unheard of ancient Egyptian prophecy also comes to light and it suggests that Vanessa could inevitably become the mother of a darkness that could drown humankind.

Fostering a love/hate relationship with Ives, Sir Malcolm nonetheless uses her to find his daughter Mina, hovering between life and undeath, before her soul is permanently damned.  Sir Malcolm also enlists a young Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and a Wild West performer and ace gunslinger harboring his own demon, Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett).

 

creatureWhat is outstanding about this show is how effortlessly it combines so many legendary fictional characters and monsters. It makes sense that so many creatures of shadow would be assembled in this place and time.

Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) is a brilliant standout character and Carney plays up the mundane trappings of immortality quite well. The Creature (Rory Kinnear) shows up to thwart Frankenstein’s second attempt at creating life from death and his back-story at the Grand Guignol makes perfect sense and it is heart wrenching to see the monster not know what to do with kindness when he finally receives it. Of note also is an all too brief role of Van Helsing as portrayed by the great David Warner.

What makes this series is the dialogue, which all at once feels authentic, barbed, purposeful and duplicitous. Eva Green is marvelous to behold in the role of Vanessa Ives. She looks as if she has walked from the set of a Universal Horror movie and she is often put through serious emotional, spiritual and physical upheavals. I thought her serviceable as an actress, but her turn in Penny Dreadful  shows her as a powerhouse performer.

 

Episode 104There are plot twists that you will see coming from a mile away, but that does not take away from the pleasure of watching this show. I am also very anxious to see what new characters, appropriate for the time period, may come.

Season Two began last night on Showtime, and it is off to a great start!

Made for TV Horror

 

When I was a kid and there were only a few television stations, it was always a thrill when a made for TV horror movie or mini-series was announced. I was a horror junkie before I hit the age of ten. But there were many movies I was not allowed to go see at the drive-in.

So when a made for TV horror flick hit the airwaves, I was allowed to watch it without question. At this period in time, there were no television age ratings and very seldom would you see a viewer advisory.

But make no mistake: some of these TV terrors made me plead for a nightlight after viewing them. They may have been relatively clean of foul language, sexual  situations and gore, but those have never been the ingredients required to make something frightening. These spooky television adaptations were scary as hell. Many left a deep impression and have become favorites of mine.

Here are my five top Made for TV Horror films:

Gargoyles
5. Gargoyles: 
This was released in 1972. I was seven years old. The story:  an anthropologist and his daughter who, while traveling through Arizona, stumble upon a settlement of evil gargoyles. Though the plot and writing were barely above mediocre standards, the award-winning effects provided by Stan Winston (his earliest professional effort, I believe) allowed this flick to rise above its cheesiness.

It

4. IT: Definitely Stephen King’s most terrifying creation, Pennywise the clown was brought to manic life by Tim Curry. This mini-series was aired in late 1990 and boasted a cast including the late John Ritter, Annette O’Toole and Richard Thomas. This was a highly enjoyable viewing experience, but even with the great Curry personifying IT, this adaptation felt like a diluted version of its source. Still, it provided enough chills to make my #4 spot.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Kim Darby plays a housewife stalked by little demons living in the hellish bowels of her mansion. This 1973 TV gem was remade not long ago by Guillermo del Toro. And while I adore his work, his version isn’t even half as creepy as the source.

Salem's Lot TV

2. Salem‘s Lot: It was a coin toss between this one and the number one on my list. Tobe Hooper’s 1979 mini-series which was based on Stephen King’s bestseller was an event in my house. It was looked forward to as feverishly as the Oscars or Superbowl. My family was hooked on the work of Stephen King, and everyone talked about this one for weeks afterwards. The casting was fantastic and standouts were David Soul as Ben Mears, a writer returning to his childhood home to bury his fears and James Mason as Straker, the (somewhat) human harbinger of Barlow the vampire.

The Night Stalker

1. The Night Stalker: The year was 1972 and this made for TV movie introduced us to a protagonist that would influence horror creators and fans for decades. Played by character actor Darren McGavin, Carl Kolchak is a tackily dressed but tenacious investigative reporter in Las Vegas. Hot on the heels of a serial killer claiming young beautiful women on the strip,  Carl discovers that the suspect, a 70 year-old Rumanian millionaire, may actually be a bloodthirsty creature of legend. A huge inspiration to the X-FilesNight Stalker would spawn a made for TV sequel and an often maligned and short-lived television series that is still more enjoyable than most modern horror fair. This is due to the dry wit, subtle genius of McGavin and Kolchak’s ability to embrace a situation (no matter how unlikely) when left with only the dark facts that can’t be dispelled. This is my favorite Dan Curtis production ever. The Night Stalker became ABC’s highest rated original TV movie, earning a 33.2 rating and 54 share.

Article: YUCK! The Top 5 Grossest Movie Monsters

MSDREAN EC004Though I consider myself a fan of horror that has a fair balance of artistic merit and visceral  scares, I am not above a first-class, old fashioned gore fest. My eyes have taken in the squishy crimson goodness of Re-Animator, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (initially Rated X over its violent gore), The Thing, Hellraiser, Cannibal Holocaust and every gleefully sadistic Herschel Gordon Lewis film ever made. And let’s be honest- few horror films these days go for broke in the gore department. Many big studio horror films look for a more lucrative PG-13 rating. The old adage- they don’t make them like they used to– has never been more appropriate. There may be bloody waves in micro budget films, but the fangs of gory horror have been dulled in comparison to the drive-in flicks of the 70s and 80s.

Many older over the top horror films would easily fill several different best of lists that I could compose. But, there were a few times at the drive-in when I had to put down that popcorn or concession stand hot dog because of a sight that made me green and queasy.

The following statement is merely to prepare you for my list: I am not going for gross-out scenes but rather creatures that turned my stomach. I won’t be mentioning Hostel or Saw. I am not what you would call an extreme horror fan; torture porn and gore for gore’s sake gain very low marks on my laminated scorecard. Also, realize I was younger (much younger in some cases) when I first watched these movies, so though one or two might seem tame to you now, I am going by my initial reactions.

I have a pretty strong tolerance for the make believe yuck, but here are five gross monstrosities that tested my limits:

The Incredible Melting Man5. The Incredible Melting Man: An astronaut returns from space with an affliction that is slowly melting him. I was very young when I saw this flick and it is not a very good one. But those Rick Baker effects- disgusting. The oozing visage was a sight that, much like swimming, one should avoid for at least a half hour after eating.

 

The Funhouse4. The Funhouse: This freak in a Frankenstein mask made my stomach lurch. I think the icing on the cake was the thick cascading drool that came from his mouth. One of the most disturbing things I have ever seen in a horror movie was the old gypsy giving this monster a handie. BLECH! You know, with some slight tweaking on the mouth and a little tan, this carnie could pass for Arseface from the Preacher comic.

 

Dead Alive mama3. Mother from Dead Alive: Okay, there are multiple puke-inducing sights in Dead Alive. Peter Jackson’s zombie flick has to be one of the goriest I have ever seen. The zombie baby emerging from a skull, the grue dripping into custard, the death of the carrier Sumatran rat monkey at the zoo-GROSS! But what really skeeved me out was the progression of Lionel’s mum. Her transformation from domineering mother to gigantic zombie ogre with a hungry womb was a gloriously giddy gore moment that sticks to me still.

 

snapshot20090425163256.jpg2. The Thing: I love John Carpenter’s The Thing. But it is a movie that I watch absent a snack nearby. The abstract, slimy coupling of the wet alien clay with copied human bits- it was a gore-laden stew. Rob Bottin’s practical make-up effects for The Thing grew with every set-up. I found the scenes of the in transformation or busting out of human hiding Thing extremely disturbing and, yes, upon my first viewing, a gag or two was had.

 

the Fly1. The Fly: I love this film and have seen it only once. Cronenberg’s remake was a perfect vehicle for the director’s artistic sensibilities (he has been dubbed the King of Venereal Horror for good reason). Seth Brundle (played by a pumped up Jeff Goldblum) develops teleportation technology. He tries it on himself, but a fly lands in the teleportation pod and a confused computer merges the DNA of Seth and the fly together. A slow and terrifying transformation occurs and it is one of the most vile processes I have ever seen. The Fly was released in 1986. I was 21 years old. I saw this in the theater, and I have not seen it since. It made me queasy for days. The Fly is a brilliant film, it deserves all of the accolades it has received over the years. But I have no desire to see this film again.

 

So there are my picks for grossest movie monsters. Share yours in the comments but don’t get too descriptive or I might totally hurl!

Article: My Favorite Foes of Godzilla

Godzilla foesBeing a rabid Godzilla fan, even the embarrassingly bad G movies do not have an effect on my love for the King of Monsters. Having a seven-year-old son who is now discovering Japan’s biggest (heh-heh) export rekindles many fond memories of quivering suitmation and bad dubbing.

Explaining the appeal of a Godzilla film (especially the crude films of the 60s/70s) is similar to explaining the virtues of professional wrestling or Mob Wives to the uninitiated; there is a vicarious rush to be found that some will most certainly not appreciate.

But if you are a fan, there is no need for me to sit here and convince you that Godzilla films were an absolute blast for kids young and old. You get it. You will also realize that Godzilla was the biggest badass of all and few monsters got the upper hand on him. The fun part of the movies, for me at least, are the colorful enemies that Godzilla is often pitted against. And, since this article is titled My Favorite Foes of Godzilla, here they are (my top five):

King Kong5. King Kong: When you get past the utter implausibility of King Kong vs Godzilla,  it is actually a pretty fun film. The producers fixed the deficiency in size between the two beasts by explaining that Kong grows because of a berry diet on his island. He also likes to drink wine made from these berries and pass out.  After having his drunk ass hauled on a giant raft from his island to Tokyo, Kong pusses out in his first confrontation with big G. He does sober up long enough to use his inexplicable ability to harness electricity (WTF?) and his superior intellect to win their next encounter and grand finale. It should be noted that Kong spends most of the film either drunk or knocked out. It’ll make you want to scream at the TV, “Get up you lazy drunk sumbitch!”

Gigan and Megalon4. Megalon and Gigan: I am listing these two knuckleheads together. If there were ever a Beavis & Butthead of the Godzilla universe, it was these two. They are a couple of B+ monsters who teamed up in Godzilla vs Megalon (which is most definitely the Plan 9 from Outer Space of Godzilla films). Both creatures look as if their design was inspired by a blast of LSD: Megalon is an insect/moth/ladybug with waffle irons for hands who can tunnel like a damn gopher and spit explosive mud at his enemies. Gigan looks like he was slapped together with what could be found in someone’s long abandoned wood shop; scythes for arms, a buzz saw in the center of his chest and a laser eye. Even as a kid, I was pretty sure that these losers had no clue or chance against Godzilla and his robot pal, Jet Jaguar. But still, they were fun to watch.

Destroyah3. Destroyah: I love Destroyah. And he would place even higher on this list if he didn’t get his red scaly butt rapidly handed to him by a Godzilla in meltdown mode. Destroyah wasn’t really even beaten by Godzilla, but rather by the radioactive waves of energy that were pulsing from big G before he disintegrated and passed his awesome power to Godzilla Jr. (who really took a beating from Destroyah prior to that. Pick on someone your own size, ya bastard!). Destroyah was actually a colony of Precambrian crustaceans that were mutated when Dr. Daisuke Serizawa’s Oxygen Destroyer was used to defeat the original Godzilla in the first ever G film (1954). Destroyah has one of the coolest suitmation designs and he goes through several growth stages that begin at the microscopic level. Here comes Destroyah; he’s a berserker…

Mothra2. Mothra: Mothra is the exact opposite of Godzilla. While both had similar roles as an agent of the earth (Godzilla represented nature’s vengeance against man’s nuclear science while Mothra was a magical symbol of hope and peace), these two seldom got along, even when they occasionally teamed together against bigger threats (Mothra begs Godzilla to help save mankind against King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters. Godzilla’s initial reaction: “Humans?! Eff ’em!”). Mothra was a rainbow-colored champion; a giant tree-hugging silk moth and he had very mystical powers. He flew, as most of Godzilla’s enemies do, and we all know Godzilla hates that shit. As much as I love Mothra, I was always aware that he was no match for Godzilla (think Spider-Man vs Hulk once Hulk got his hands on Spidey). However, it has to be mentioned that one of Godzilla’s few losses in a film (Godzilla vs Mothra) came at the hands (or rather the web-spinning beaks) of two baby Mothra in their larva stage and I am sure it is a defeat that Godzilla has never been able to live down. Sing it with me: Mosura No Uta…

Ghidorah1. King Ghidorah: He is known by many aliases, but this Monster Zero has become Godzilla’s Moriarty. A three-headed powerful dragon and pawn of alien civilizations looking to overthrow earth, King Ghidorah has been Godzilla’s greatest threat many times over. When this guy pops in via a teleportation beam you know shit is about to get real. Whenever Godzilla is pitted against King Ghidorah, he must groan inside and think to himself, “Crap. This guy again?” You try fighting three heads that are biting you and spitting lightning bolts at the same time. The only thing worse than King Ghidorah is Mecha King Ghidorah. This dude’s upgrades include metal armor and wings and a robotic middle head that fires radiation blasts. At times, it has taken the combined might of Godzilla and many of his friends to defeat King Ghidorah. And when Godzilla has managed to best KG in a one on one confrontation, it has never been an easy task for the King of Monsters!

There are many great foes of Godzilla that I haven’t listed- Biolante, Mecha Godzilla, Varan, Manda, Gabara, Hedorah, Ebirah, Baragon, Space Godzilla, Megaguirus, Anguirus, Bambi- and more still. List yours in the comments section!

 

 

Top 5 Scariest Stephen King Monsters

Mr. KingYou would be hard pressed to find an author who has created such terrifying monsters as the most prolific modern horror author himself, Stephen King. Of all the monstrous creations he has concocted to keep us up all night, there are five monsters in particular from his fiction that have frightened me more deeply than the others. But, before we continue, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. There are many villains in the Kingaverse, and we could get in a hot debate over the most powerful or memorable or charismatic , but Randall Flagg is the biggest baddie of them all. He is the fallen angel of King’s literary universe but he isn’t appropriate for this countdown. For this top 5 list, I will name monsters in their truest forms. I am listing five creatures that inspire terror the moment you see them:

 

Barlow5. Barlow: The main baddie of Salem’s Lot presents the true visage of the vampire as remorseless predator that will feed on love and human weaknesses to sate its bloodlust. As the wicked force that is naturally attracted to the evil place (the Marsten house), Barlow turns the town of Salem’s Lot into a nightmarish husk. Owing more to Nosferatu than Dracula, Barlow is one of the most frightening vampires committed to fiction.

 

creepshow-the-crate4. The Monster from the Crate (aka Fluffy): You have to love Creepshow. And when this Tasmanian devil lumbers out of his crate, it is one of the most frightening creatures ever seen on film (thanks to Tom Savini’s excellent effects). I saw this in the theater when it was first released theatrically and this segment scared the hell out of me!

 

themist_13. The Beasties from The Mist: The Mist is King’s most Lovecraftian work. But where Lovecraft was sometimes disconnected with his audience, King makes HPL’s universal horror of the unknown more intimate as a group of people in a grocery store try to survive a mist that has rolled in and houses slithering tentacles of terror and unimaginable creatures. After reading this classic novella or watching the rather bleak movie adaptation (I recommend the black and white cut, BTW), you will never see a rolling bank of fog and not shudder at the horrific possibilities residing inside.

 

Cujo2. Cujo: A rabid Saint Bernard. Shit. That is absolutely terrifying. A menacing dog is scary enough, but when the gentle Cujo turns into a ferocious, raging monster after contracting rabies from a bat bite, it is deeply frightening because, under the right set of circumstances, this could happen to you; on the quiet street where you live.

 

Pennywise1. Pennywise: King was making clowns scary a long time before so many of these posers out there today, and there is no scary clown that tops Pennywise! He is the Godfather of scary clowns. A soul-consuming, alien creature that can take on the guise of your worst fear, Pennywise fuels unease at first glance. But when those fangs of his jut from his mouth, there is nothing but all-consuming fear that seasons his feast. Pennywise is the scariest King monster on my list!

 

So there you have it! Please mention any King monsters you think I overlooked in the comments!