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|14 reviews in total|
This exellent film is certainly the best of the Godzilla sequels. It surpasses the original Mothra and is almost as good as the original Godzilla. The plot is about what happens when a huge egg appears on the shores of Japan. A group of poor fishermen retrieve it and a greedy buisness man cons them into selling it for a price much cheaper than what it is really worth. The buisness man is doing everything for his boss, who's an even more greedy buisness man who only cares about how much money he gets and will cheat and con everyone. He plans to build an amusement park featuring the egg and soak up the money. But, the egg turns out to be a Mothra egg and the two tiny fairies come to Jaspan to try to retrieve it. Three kind people: a reporter, a scientist, and a photographer, try to help the fairies and get the buisness men to give it back but naturally, they refuse. Suddenly, right when you don't need him, Godzilla appears. He begins to rampage through Japan once again and now it seems only Mothra can stop him. But, the natives of infant island refuse to lernd Mothra's strenths. This film is another top notch monster movie. Eiji Tsuburaya and Ishiro Honda really are great directors. The musical score by Ifukube is exellent, the film is ingeniously filmed, the story is exellent and the Godzilla suit used in this film is one of the best ever.Godzilla is once again portrayed as a dark force that is unstoppable and Mothra is a beautiful yet destructive beast. Infant Island (the island that Mothra lives on) is horrendously barren because of nuclear tests. This film is certainly up there with monster classics like King Kong, and should be regarded as so but once again is merely regarded as a cheeseball fest. It very cleverly combines the anti-commerism message of the first Mothra and the anti-nuclear message of the first Godzilla into an exellent film that is certainly one of Japan's best monster movies. Find an English subtitled version of this because the acting is exellent and the dubbing is rather cartoonish. However, the dubbing isn't all that bad believe it or not and actually synches fairly well. But the dialogue is silly and the Japanese dialogue explans things best. My rating: ***** out of *****.
This is another vastly underrated film that is dismissed by everyone but is actually an excellent movie. It is a very powerful nuclear horror film, a sort of Japanese Dr. Strangelove. Ships are being mysteriously destroyed at sea for no apparent reason. A group of Japanese researchers travel to an island which is located near where all these strange things are happening. The natives believe that it was a demon who has been doing all these things but the real creature who did these things is soon found out. A dinosaur that mutated into a 50 meter monster by US H-bomb tests appears on the island. The creature is dubbed "Godzilla" after the demon that the natives said was responsible for this. The military wants to destroy him because of his destructive abilities while Dr. Yamane, a palientoligist wants to study Godzilla. Godzilla makes his way to Tokyo where he causes ghastly destruction quite like that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tokyo lays in burning hellish ruins, millions are dead. Poor Godzilla, who only destroyed Tokyo because of his curiosity, is put to death by a horrible weapon of destruction called the Oxygen Destroyer, a device created by the tragic Dr. Serizawa, who wanted to keep the weapon a secret. This film is dismissed as a cheesy sci-fi movie by virtually everyone because of the quality of some of the sequels but that is WRONG. This film is actually quite good. Godzilla is a very tragic character, a misunderstood monster who can't help but be destructive because he was born that way. Dr. Serizawa is also quite tragic, a scientist who was pressured into using a weapon which he knew couldn't be used and is forced to destroy himself. . This film was very powerful when it was released ten years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and right at the start of the Cold War and the film is still powerful today. Especially haunting is the song "O Peace, O Light Return." sung by a choir of girls and shown over footage of Tokyo in ruins and bandaged, bleeding, radiation poisioned people suffering in a hospital so crowded it's patients are all on the floor. Clearly, this masterpiece shows that weapons of destruction are a very bad thing and could easily destroy mankind if we don't put an end to them. The US version wasn't all that bad and the scenes with Raymond Burr actually mix in well and those who didn't know that there was a Japanese version without him couldn't tell the difference. Still, the Japanese version is the best and helps show the message against weapons in a way the US version just couldn't. My rating: ***** out of *****.
Akira Kurosawa is one wonderful filmmaker. He scored a worldwide knockout with Seven Samurai, spoofed westerns with Yojimbo, questioned the human condition with Rashomon, inspired Star Wars with Hidden Fortress, and so on. This is probably my second favorite Kurosawa film after Rashomon. It takes the famous Shakespeare play Macbeth and changes the location into Midevil Japan. For those who haven't read any of Shakespeare's wonderful plays here's the plot. A victorious warrior named Washizu and his friend Miki meet a spector in the forest who tells them that Washizu and Miki will be promoted to higher posts, but Washizu will take over rulership of the "Cobweb Castle" and then Miki's son will get the throne. Washizu and Miki are promoted, but Washizu's evil, conniving wife eggs him on to secretly kill his lord and take the castle for his own which slowly but surely leads to his downfall and descent into horror. This magnificent film is full of bizarre, haunting images that are not forgotten easily. The set direction and film noir photography are excellent, giving the film the look of a Noh drama. The film also is a sort of horror film because of the witch who appears in a truly bone chilling scene where Washizu goes to see the witch and enters a demonic world in the middle of the forest. But the most powerful scene of all is the finally scene, which has a bewildered and horrified Washizu dying full of arrows which make him seem like a human pin cusion. Reccommended to film fans, but especially Spakespeare and Kurosawa fans. My rating: ***** out of *****.
This is a very, very exellent film. When a spaceship spreads radiation in the air, it causes the dead to rize as zombies..Flesh eating zombies who prey on the flesh of the living. Seven characters are brought together in a farm house, but they refuse to put aside their differences and help each other and a brutal contest of wills results which ultimatly ends in everyone's downfall. It's incredible how good this very low budget film is. It was certainly the Blair Witch Project of it's day. The monocromatic B&W photography is used very well, and the performances are very good for ameteurs. This film lurched George Romero to fame. This film is a great test of man's fears. The fear that we will be overpowered by something that can't even move, like a corpse, but will some how mysterously become able to destroy us. This film is certanly the best movie ever to depict zombies and maybe even one of the best horror movies. Zombies in this film are brainless creatures who have no souls and act on pure instinct. Another frightening aspect of this movie is how everyone panics and becomes very selfish and vicous. This film is in public domain, and it's downright amazing the videos you'll find of this. Some of them are marginal while others are downright ghastly! The best of any of the videos is the two tape set from Anchor Bay, which presents a transfer of the film that is ultra clean and looks great! Recently, also from Anchor Bay came The 30th Aniversary edition. It should not have been released. The new footage isn't bad but it's easy to tell what's new and what's old and anyway it just doesn't go well with the film. The film has also been recut and rescored which just doesn't work. Get Anchor Bay's two tape copy of this wonderful classic and you'll be just fine. My rating: ***** out of *****.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This very scary film is about two peasant women, one old and one young, who live in a field overtaken by weeds in war ravaged mediaeval Japan. They literally kill to survive. Any soldiers who pass through the field they kill and strip them of their armor before tossing the bodies into a nightmarish pit. A friend of the women's son/husband who is off at war comes back home claiming that the son was killed. The man then starts to seduce the young woman and the two of them go each night and make love. The old woman meets a samurai general who wears a hideous devil mask. The old woman kills him after he insults her and takes his mask, which she uses to continuosly scare the young woman into not seeing the man. But then one night the mask won't come off, which turns the old woman's life into a web of horror. The film is an exellent and tremendously creepy little horror film. The B&W cinematography is used incredibly and it manages to turn something as seemingly innocent as a field into a nightmare of monstrous, continously swaying reeds that terrify. Seeing the hideous grinning demon face leering from behind the reeds is a downright bone chilling image and the demon visage inspired flicks like The Exorcist.Another terrifying scene is when the old woman descends into the body pit to see what the demon mask-wearing samurai's face looks like. It literally looks like she's descending into the pit of Hell. Kaneto Shindo is another excellent film maker who specializes at making ironic Kabuki theater-like tragedies. His The Island and Kuroneko are other films you should check out by him. My rating: ***** out of *****.
The original and the best, the greatest monster movie ever conceived. The classic beauty and the best tale of the filmmaker who went to an uncharted island with a girl to film a new movie but brings back something alot bigger. Kong, the eighth wonder of the world, a 40 foot gorilla untouched by mankind. He vicously slaughters people but seems to have a kind, gentle side towards the girl, play by Fay Wray, who let out some of the first audible blood curdling screams in the history of film. Kong is brought to civilization and shown at NYC. Kong escapes from his chains and goes on a rampage. He kidnaps Wray and climbs the empire state building, where he swats at airplanes until, tragically, he loses his balance and falls to his death. An incredible film. The seqences are very interesting shot and framed. The stop motion animation by Willis O'Brien is very fluent and downright outstandiung for it's time, this would be what would convince Ray Harryhausen to become a special effects man. King Kong is an odd character, he is much like Frankenstien, he only did bad things because he was misunderstood and wanted love and his normal lifestyle was interrupted. King Kong would go on to be in hundreds more films but they all can't compare with this one. I would reccommend this to anyone even remotely interested in film making. This is especially a must see for horror and sci-fi fans. My rating: ***** out of *****.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another excellent classic from Kaneto Shindo who made The Island and Onibaba. Similar to Onibaba, this film is about two women who one day are ambushed by samurai who rape them and burn their house down. Then the women return to life as Bakeneko, cat vampires who lure samurai into a creepy bamboo forest and then drink their blood. This keeps going on until a young man who was victorious in war is hired to hunt down the vampires but he realizes to his horror that these creatures are the vengeful souls of his mother and wife who died while he was off at the war. He is then torn between the his lord, who orders him to kill the ghosts or else he will be killed, and his mother and wife whom he loves and couldn't possibly kill. This film is very creepy and full of grotesque images that stay with you forever. The most horrifying are the charred bodies of the two women being licked by two stray cats and the final image of the poor young man who finally is driven to madness. The film is acted much like a Kabuki play and the story is a very powerful one. The film is both a ghost story and a vampire film and very imaginatively blends the two genres. My rating: ***** out of *****.
This is a vastly underrated horror film which should be regarded as a true masterpiece, but instead is looked at as a piece of garbage. It is a beyond exellent masterpiece about starvation, betrayal, insanity, and the human condition. The film should not be looked at as a cheesy midnight movie with rubber mushroom people but as a horror classic. Ishiro Honda is an excellent director, his work should be acknowledged as true genius. The plot is about a yacht-load of happy go lucky vacationers who are escaping their stressfull lives. But one night a storm strikes and they loose their mast and are left helplessly drifting at sea. Then they reach an island. It is a foggy, desolate place with a huge jungle. There is nothing edible growing on this island except for a mysterous mushroom. The castaways find a fungus encrusted ship which they clean up and call home. They find a log book which claims the mushrooms can have strange effects on the human brain. The castaways try as hard as they can to get food but are still hungry and start to turn on each other. The castaways then see hideous monsters who live in the jungle. The mushroom turns humans into fungus. The castaways who ran the ship die and the rest start eating the mushrooms. Only one man, Murai, a psychologist, manages not to succumb. He escapes back to Tokyo whereapon he is thought to be mentally unstable and is confined in an asylum. He tells the story, but after he's done they find something different about him.... As I said, this film has gotten a very bad rap over the years. It aired on nightime TV and Creature Double Feature where it was regarded as a sleazy cult movie or a hilariously bad Japanese monster movie. IT'S NOT!! It's very disturbing and unsettling. The mushroom people look very ugly but the castaways transform from good natured working people to vicious, loathesome beasts even more scary than the mushroom people. Avoid the US version because of it's silly title, bad dubbing, and grainy, ugly, color distorted print. Get the original Japanese version for the biggest effect. The performances are so good they brought tears to my eyes, you can see the good camera work which looks like the cover of a pulp magazine. This is such a powerful film it was banned in Japan for some years but they have taken off their ban and it's now on video. My rating: ***** out of *****.
This film is very eerie, disturbing, scary, and gripping. It is made in a style very similar to that of a old Twilight Zone episode. The film is about an entemoligist who takes a vacation to catch bugs in a desert area near the sea. He misses the last bus out so he spends the night in a woman's hut at the bottom of a deep pit. She is part of a slave labor group who must dig to keep the town from being burried by the sand. The next morning, he relizes that he's been trapped there for the rest of life. At first he loathes the woman. He ties her up and refuses to shovel so they will let him go. They then give him some sake, which makes him thristy. The water is all gone and the man almost dies of thirst. The man agrees to start working again. He finds that he loves the woman and actually begins to enjoy being confined. This is haunting, erotic Japanese cinema at is absolute best. Hiroshi Teshigahara is an exellent filmaker, it's almost incredible that filmaking was only a small fad of his and he was mostly interested in flower arranging. This is very much a horror film. The monster is the sand. The sand is portrayed here as an unstoppable force, a sort of Godzilla. The sand also causes strange supernatural occurances. My rating: ***** out of *****.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a masterpiece by Kenji Mizoguchi (who would later make Princess Yang Kwei Fei). It paints a strange, erotic, and disturbing portrait of betrayal, cruelty, and corruption in Midevil Japan. The plot conserns a poor potter named Gunjuro and a man named Tobei who wants to be a samurai who go to the town to find their dreams. Gunjuro is about to bring his wife and child but they encounter, in a trully terrifying scene, a ghostly sailor who warns them about pirates. He drops his son and wife off on the shore and promises them he'll come back. When they are in the town, Tobei uses Gunjuro's hard earned money to buy himself a suit of armor. He abandons his wife and goes off to become a samurai. His wife is raped by samurai and then becomes a prostitute. Tobei then becomes a great samurai through cheating by stealing another man's victory. Gunjuro meets and falls in love with a princess named Wakasa. He forgets about his wife and him and Wakasa wed. But then he finds that Wakasa is a ghost... I love this film very much. Mizoguchi is certainly one of Japan's best filmakers. He films things in a strange, erotic way not like any other film makers. This is still today, a very powerful film about one man's horrible folly and encounter with the supernatural. My rating: ***** out of *****.
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