Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Hibernation

Without fail, the month of December is never kind to this blog with respect to posts and this year has been no exception. Work and holiday preparation is just too much of a demanding mistress, unfortunately. At any rate, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year- try to keep the spiked egg nog consumption within reasonable limits! Or don't. It's all good.

See you all in 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two Trailers with Giants

While browsing the Dread Central website over the weekend I came across a couple of relevant trailers and figured that I’d post some links to them (I couldn’t seem to embed them directly on the blog, unfortunately). First up is the trailer for Bunyan, a horror spin on the folk character of the same name who prefers chopping up impudent teenagers instead of trees (click on each picture to go to the site):

The second is Jack the Giant Killer, which seems to be a re-imagining of the original Jack and the Beanstalk story verses a remake of the 1961 movie of the same name:

Admittedly, Bunyan looks like typical horror fare with a huge, axe-wielding mutant dude standing in for a machete-carrying maniac wearing a hockey mask. Hard to tell what to make of Jack, as the trailer’s kind of all over the place.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Funnies: A Somewhat Familiar Story

From the 2nd issue of Sergio Aragonés Funnies:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Separated at Ultra-Birth?

This March, a new Ultraman film will be released to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the franchise. The movie will also serve as an introduction to the newest Ultraman character- “Ultraman Saga” who... reminds me of someone... hmmm. Perhaps watching the trailer again will jog my memory:

Is it just me or is this new Ultraman taking fashion tips from a certain dark lord who hails from a certain Middle Earth?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rampage: The Movie

It seems that the 80’s coin-op arcade game Rampage is being developed into a live-action film, according to the Hollywood Reporter site:

New Line Cinema has put into development an adaptation of the classic 1980s video game featuring apes and monsters destroying cities.

John Rickard, who has acted as a co-producer on a wide range of New Line movies from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Final Destination to Horrible Bosses and next year’s tentpole Jack the Giant Killer, will produce and is meeting with writers to develop a story for the project.

The game comes from Midway Games, which was acquired by New Line's sister company Warner Bros. in 2009 for $33 million.

The concept of the game revolves around a trio of mild-mannered humans who are mutated into a giant Godzilla-like lizard, a werewolf and a gorilla, respectively, and fight the military while destroying buildings. Players controlled the monsters and moved up levels when a city was destroyed. The project aims to take advantage of the title and the visuals of the game.New Line isn’t usually in the tentpole business (the Lord of the Rings trilogy being the big exception) but the studio believes that technology has advanced enough that the possibility exists to make a smartly-budgeted monster movie in the vein and tone of Ghostbusters and Independence Day.

Well, it may not be a shining example of unbridled originality but if Hollywood is keen on making a movie out of an old video game, at the very least they’ve got their sights set on the one about giant, mutant beasts wrecking cities. The last line of the article struck me a little odd, however; the development team is aiming create something in the vein of Ghostbusters AND Independence Day- which are pretty distinct from each other, tonally-speaking. So... it’s a comedy... but not really?

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Sand Sharks" Movie Trailer

So, how long before someone makes a flying shark movie? (note to self: write script for flying shark movie)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Uchusen Daikaiju Art (Part 15)

It’s officially autumn: leaves are changing color, horror movies abound on television in anticipation of Halloween and a new issue of Space Magazine Uchusen has hit Japanese bookshelves. The art spotlight this time around has focused on Toho’s 1958 prehistoric flying squirrel-dinosaur film Varan The Unbelievable.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monsters Ate My Condo

Here’s a quick commercial for Monsters Ate My Condo! from Cartoon Network games, which is now available from the iTunes App store. It’s hard to tell from the footage but the gameplay seems be a sort of Tertis-style deal of linking up similarly-colored blocks.

Additional information is available at the game developers’ site, PikPok.

Thanks to blog reader Benjamin for the head’s up!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Misleading Giant Monster Movie Posters (Part 2)

Sorry about the wait between posts- busy personal schedule and all that. Let’s continue onward, shall we?

Godzilla vs. Megalon

The Poster:

Godzilla and his new rival, Megalon, have both climbed to the top of the World Trade Center towers and are about to commence in a battle that will probably flatten New York city!

The Movie:

Godzilla nor Megalon get anywhere near New York. At the time of its production, the Godzilla franchise was at a low point, budget-wise, so a fight in the middle of a city with plenty of collateral damage was definitely out of the question. So where do the monsters have their skirmish in the film? Why, in a big, nondescript patch of countryside with nary a skyscraper to be seen.

It’s commonly believed that the choice to depict the two monsters atop the World Trade Center towers was most likely a shallow attempt to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the Dino De Laurentiis’ remake of King Kong, which was to be released that same year.

The Wasp Woman

The Poster:

A hapless (and shirtless) man has fallen into the clutches of an abomination with the body of a humungous wasp and the head of a human woman! Judging by the pile of skeletal remains underneath her, she has an voracious appetite for humans and will undoubtedly move on to that city in the distance for the main course!

The Movie:

This particular poster achieves a two-punch deception in that the monster in the movie:

1) Isn’t giant-sized.

2) Sports an opposite arrangement of animal/human body parts.

In the film, Wasp Woman is the owner of a cosmetic corporation who, through overdosing on a serum derived from the royal jelly of a queen wasp, periodically undergoes a crazy transformation. The change doesn’t make her any bigger or mutates her from the neck down, but it does give her the head of a wasp...

... that kinda looks like a Pokémon.

Godzilla vs. the Thing

The Poster:

A rather elongated Godzilla is facing off against some spiky, tentacled horror that cannot be fully seen! What could it be? There’s nothing in Toho’s pantheon of daikaiju from that period in time (1964) that even looks remotely close to this unknown creature! I’m perplexed but intrigued! Mostly perplexed, though.

The Movie:

The Thing? It’s Mothra.

Apparently the American distributor, AIP, had concerns that Western audiences might be less than enthusiastic about a movie about a mutant dinosaur fighting an enormous moth and decided to play up Godzilla’s opponent as part-mystery, part-thorny octopus. Even the title alone is confusing; when I first saw this on TV as a wee, impressionable youngster, I kept waiting for the mysterious “thing” to show up, even long after Mothra made her appearance in the film.

Arguably, this particular poster- out of all the ones mentioned on this list- is the worst offender of the lot. Although the previously mentioned entries play fast and loose with exaggeration, they still all stem from some kernel of truth at their respective cores. Godzilla vs. The Thing is only one that flat out lies by prominently advertising something that simply isn’t in the movie.

You win, Godzilla vs. the Thing- your poster is the most misleading of all! Here’s a cake to celebrate your victory:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Brief Musical Interlude

As I'm still working on the second half of my misleading posters article, I thought that I’d keep things active in the meantime by sharing this odd little music video sent along to me by blog reader Benjamin. The song is from the band “Kidda” with the visual end of things handled by a London-based illustration/animation collective called Colour Club. It may not look like it from a cursory glance, but the video does star giant monsters, albeit by way of a graphic design style reminiscent of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time series.

KIDDA TOUR VISUALS from Colour Club on Vimeo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Misleading Giant Monster Movie Posters (Part 1)

I absolutely adore old sci-fi and horror film posters. In this age of internet tubes and knowing everything about a film before it even hits the theaters, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time, posters were used as a legitimate device to entice unsuspecting patrons into buying an admission ticket. And, as is the case with advertising, there was always a certain amount of... embellishment present. After all, the only way you were going to get an audience to pay money to see something like this:

...was to market it like this:

That being said, there are cases where the level of exaggeration went a little TOO far and what the poster artwork promised veered straight into the territory of outright dishonesty. The following are some of my favorite examples.

Yog, Monster from Space (a.k.a. Space Amoeba)

The Poster:

A trio of humongous, mutant sea creatures are squaring off in a three-way rumble! Awesome! And look- the original Japanese version of the poster features a similar image, thus confirming that said brawl will happen!

The Movie:

The brawl doesn't happen. In fact, the cuttlefish monster is killed off before the other two even make an appearance. Granted, the turtle and crab get into a brief altercation at the very end of the movie but it just doesn't make up for the anticipated triple beat down. However, the deception didn’t end with the poster. Check this out:

Seemingly, in an attempt to perpetuate the poster’s deception, the promotional photographs for the movie also featured the three monsters fighting each other!

Oh, Toho... when will the lies stop?


The Poster:

An enormous dragon is destroying the Golden Gate Bridge! San Francisco is screwed!

The Film:

While the movie is about a dragon-like creature and does feature a scene with a bridge, that's pretty much where the similarities end. Much like the poster for The Giant Claw, using an image of Reptilicus as it appears in the film wouldn’t be a very good idea. Unfortunately, the artist’s attempts to punch up the monster’s appearance was, perhaps, a little too effective as the end result is something legitimately cool-looking when compared to the actual thing:

And the Golden Gate Bridge? It’s a nice example of “localization” so as to make the movie (or the poster, anyway) more relatable to an American audience. Reptilicus takes place in Denmark and while there is a scene involving a bridge, it’s actually the Langebro bridge in Copenhagen:

For the record, it doesn’t get destroyed either.

The Crater Lake Monster

The Poster:

A Tyrannosaurus Rex has somehow survived to modern day and is about to make a meal of two hapless boating enthusiasts! I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it wanders into a nearby town or resort and goes all Valley of the Gwangi on the locals!

The Movie:

Here's a riddle: when is a T-Rex not a T-Rex? When it's a plesiosaur.

That's right- not only is the actual monster of the movie is an entirely different creature than what’s advertised but it also operates in a completely contrasting environment. It's like making a film about a murderous killer whale but then adorning the film’s poster with an image of a grizzly.

The poster was eventually corrected, but you have wonder what the movie’s producers were thinking the first time around. Perhaps they REEEALLY liked Tyrannosauruses or something.

More to come in part two!

Monday, August 8, 2011

How To Train Your Dragon... For Broadway

It seems that Dreamworks is taking another stab at the theatre circuit (I say “another” because there was apparently a Shrek musical a couple years back) with a stage production of How To Train your Dragon, which will supposedly open next March in Australia. As part of some (super) early promotion, the local press got a sneak preview of one of the huge puppet dragons that will be used in the play:

That scary muppet is pretty neat. It’s realized by way of a technique used in the Walking With Dinosaurs- The Live Experience stage show (plug that title into the YouTube search engine and you’ll see what I’m talking about) which, with proper lighting and smoke effects to hide the support stand, can make the creature look eerily real at times.

I’m curious though, if the story will be a direct adaptation of the animated film- given that the movie version was about flying dragons and flying on dragons, would the stage version even attempt such a thing? Let’s not forget that the Spider Man musical repeatedly demonstrated what can happen when you mix theatre and complex wire-work stunts...

Source: io9

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Am The Brute That Walks!

Here’s one of the stories from the first issue of Marvel Comics’ Where Creatures Roam (the comic itself is actually a reprint of Journey Into Mystery #63). Written by Stan Lee with artwork by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, the story kinda starts out like the old Charles Atlas print ad about the skinny weakling being harassed by a muscular bully on the beach. However, instead of sending away for Charles’ bodybuilding book, the protagonist turns to... mad science!

What I learned from this comic:

1. When fleeing from an enormous beast that’s chasing you, try to escape to an amusement park and get on one of the rides.

2. If you’ve transformed into a towering monstrosity, your clothes will magically reappear once you revert back to normal.

3. When a violent creature bursts out of an apartment building, goes on a rampage and then suspiciously vanishes into thin air, a subsequent police investigation isn’t necessary.

4. Becoming a monster and terrorizing your girlfriend is a great way to win her love.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Links of Note and a Two-Eyed, One-Horned, Six-Armed Purple People Eater

A Turok: Son of Stone cover from Dell comic artist, George Wilson. Native Americans sure had it rough back in the day...

David Goyer will be providing the script for Legendary Pictures’ upcoming Godzilla reboot. Perhaps you know his work from such films as Dollman vs. Demonic Toys and Jumper. Also, The Dark Knight. (Fused Film)

Prehistoric wombats were bloody enormous and dangerous... so how long before the SyFy Channel makes a made-for-cable movie starring one? (io9)

Host “Shadow Raptor” dishes out some giant monster video reviews. (Kaiju Krossing)

Some Monsters vs Aliens development sculptures by Damon Bard- I actually prefer his earlier designs of Insectosaurus to the one that appears in the finished film. (Bard Sculpture Studio)