The Tuesday Top 3: BUGS!

Welcome back Insomniacs to the Tuesday Top Three! This week we are looking at our favorite creepy, crawly, large, and small bugs of the screen! And up until just before I was writing this, I thought I had my three picks locked in. I then saw some pictures from a fellow Kaiju friend, Scott Martin and reminded me of something and knocked a movie out of the top three! See, this list thing is only going to get tougher every week! Let’s dig into it! Starting with number 3…

 

  1. KAMACURAS FROM SON OF GODZILLA!

We talked last week a little bit about my love of Godzilla. And we may see a lot of kaiju influence in these lists. Son of Godzilla is a good film. I got to view it a few years ago during It Came From Schenectady’s Godzilla Kaiju Battle, and it had been a good while since I saw it. It seemed to be on a lot when I was a kid and then disappeared. It’s one of the few Showa era films not readily available to the masses. I was lucky enough to find a copy at a show not long ago, completing my Godzilla collection. And watching the above clip, brought back some memeories. What a fun time to be a kid on Saturday afternoons watching that unfold. Let’s take a better look at it!

Kamacuras

Kamacuras is scary! It is a giant praying mantis thing that terrorizes Minilla’s egg, and there is more than one! They always gave me the hibby jibbies! I don’t want to touch them, and I don’t want them to come near me with their spiky claws. And they can fly! So, where are you going to hide from these things! And here’s a fact, their roar is the same as Ebirah, the Sea Monster! Luckily, Godzilla takes care of these big-eyed nasties! And he doesn’t even need any raid!

  1. THEM!

When I first got a DVD player, this was one of the first movies I bought when I discovered so many of the giant monster movies I had grown up with were available. I was overwhelmed by how many were out there to get. And I made it my mission to collect every movie that ever appeared on WLVI’s Creature Double Feature. And I have done pretty well with that list. A few still elude me. But this is one of the most of the most influential movies of my childhood. If anyone ever wanted to check out some giant monster movies of the past, I would put this one near the top of the list.

Them!.jpg

 

The Ants in this movie was scary! Kudos to the sound design led by Francis J. Scheid for the terror he created, signaling the arrival of these giant ants. You heard them before you saw them! And you didn’t want to see them. I can still see the one coming over the hill for the big reveal. So darn cool! J. Leslie Asher, Dick Smith, and Robert Turner are uncredited for all of the props. Their ants were different from the man in the costume monsters of that time. I still love to watch it.

  1. BUG

Here is another movie that I just love to watch. It came out in 1975 and I am pretty sure I saw this in the early 80s as part of Commander USA’s Groovy Movies. But, I could be wrong. This was the last film William Castle was involved in before his death. What a genius this guy was. I am slowly discovering more of his work. And enjoying the hell out of them. Even the trailer for this movie is so much fun!Anyway, these little bugs are icky to look at! And don’t pick them up! And check the phone before you put it to your ear.

bug-1975

The film is based on a novel called The Hephaestus Plague by Thomas Page. I have never tracked down a copy, but love to read it someday. These little buggers literally come from Hell when the earth splits from an earthquake. This hiss, light things on fire, and continually evolve as the film progresses. And I think that was one of the draws for me initially. I had never seen anything like this before. Kaiju and other monsters have transformed before. These things seemed like they could really be out there. Bradford Dillman keeps trying to get them to mate with each other. And I just scream at the screen, “Stop messing with them! It’s just getting worse with each generation”. They become smart, spelling out words with their bodies. Nasty! And I love that the Brady Bunch house set is used in this film. The movie was shot soon after the Bunch had finished their run on television. I always wondered how the Brady family would have dealt with this mess. Alice, we seem to have an infestation problem!

So, there you go! The Tuesday Top Three Bug list. Do you have some favorite bug movies? Drop us a line! Just don’t drop off the bugs! Thanks for taking some time with us today. We will be back next week with another list! We will looking at movies about cults next week!

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The Tuesday Top 3: APES!

Hey Insomniacs! Welcome to a new, hopefully weekly feature here at the drive-in! It’s called The Tuesday Top 3! Each week will be a different topic and my top three for it. Seems easy? Let’s see how it goes. This week’s subject: APES!

3. My 3rd favorite Ape movie is the original Planet of the Apes from 1968. I really wanted to include one of these films from the franchise. I knew it would not be the Wahlberg one. I really like the first two in the recent re-imaging. I love the world that they were creating, it felt real. Like it could happen. I wasn’t super excited by the third one. The second one was tough to top. So, I turned my head to the original films. I will admit, I showed up late to this ape dance. But, I am a true fan of these movies. I even got to go to a 5 film marathon hosted by It Came From Schenectady a few years ago. But, which film to pick? The second one is actually the first one I saw! Beneath the Planet of the Apes with their big nuclear missle and people peeling their faces off! What was I watching? Scared me, and I flipped back over to the safety of Godzilla on Monster Island. Escape From the Planet of the Apes resets everything and sets it up all at the same time. Conquest has the most awesome ape speech towards the end, and Battle is tough. These movies seem to be tough for me to end. Not satisfied with them. So, after going through all that, LOL. I am picking the Original Planet of the Apes as my number 3 choice.

planet-of-the-apes-1968-main-review

It started it all. It was so new. Apes riding horses hunting men! Roddy McDowell and Charton Heston in roles that cemented them to sci-fi history. The beautiful Linda Harrison as Nova and Kim Hunter as the curious Zira. It’s just a great film. Great sets, and so many damn apes!

2. I have to include this next movie on the list. I just couldn’t decide if it was number 2 or number 1. It’s King Kong vs. Godzilla! I am a huge Godzilla fan. He was one of my best friends growing up. And King Kong is…different from his previous appearance. His arms are strangely elongated. He can harness electricity, and he looks somewhat off. But, this movie is so much fun! It’s just a bonkers monster fight, played very much as a comedy.

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It was a cosmic shift in the tone of Godzilla films and would start to set up what would be an epic run of Showa period Godzilla films. I remember being very sick as a kid, and in the hospital. And my parents and the nurses scrambled to find a television to make sure I got to see the film. And they wheeled a red TV in and I got to see it. I remember that it was a kid ward. A big room with maybe six beds? Not sure if any of the other kids watched with me, but it was Godzilla day at the hospital. So, this film with forever hold a special place in my heart.

And that brings us to numero uno! It is the 1933 King Kong! He is the seventh wonder of the world. And it has to be this film. Without this giant monkey, there are no giant monkeys!! I cannot tell you how many Thanksgiving days I spent watching the Kong marathon on WWOR. Even now, I try to watch it as close to Thanksgiving as I can.

king-kong-1933

Fay Wray is absolutely stunning. The rest of the cast, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot give good performances. And the work of Willis O’Brien on the stop motion, incredible! I think it still holds up today against those CGI monkeys. The story has action, romance, and an Ape tearing up the jungle and the city. The sequence on the log is still frightening to me. And Kong tussles with other dinosaurs. And you believed it. The movie is just a great work of art. Kong is King! And the sorrow felt over Kong’s fate still hurts my heart. Love this film, and watch whenever I can.

 So, there we go! We made it through our first top 3 list. What are your 3 favorite ape films? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Also, start thinking for next week when we take a look at – BUGS!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931 Reviewed!

 

We continue our look back at Monsters and Memories!

Hello again, Groovy Ghoulies! 1931 was a great year to be a blooming horror fan as many terrors were unleashed upon the scream…I mean screen. One of them was Paramount Picture’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It was based on the 1886 novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and also incorporated elements of the 1887 stage play. Once again, Hollywood at the time was relying heavily on stage adaptions for this silver screen offerings.

Honestly, I didn’t have much knowledge of Jekyll and Hyde going into this. I knew a Mr. Hyde from Marvel comics, and that was a much different villain. The only screen Hyde I remember comes from “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. But, that’s for a different article. So, I jumped in with both feet.

For those unfamilier with the story, Dr. Heny Jekyll (what is it with doctors names Henry in these movies?) believes you can seperate the good and evil in people. He’s created a serum that will release the evil side of yourself. And like any doctor in this situation, tries the serum on himself. He goes on a rampage through London drinking, fighting, and becomed entranced by the prostitute, Ivy.

This is a problem as Henry is engaged to Muriel. Soon, The Doctor turns into Hyde without the Serum and things get worse as Mr. Hyde murders! It comes down to a confrotation in Henry’s lab and like most of these movies, it doesn’t turn out well.

I liked this movie. I loved Dr. Jekyll’s lab. If I was a mad doctor, which I am not contrary to popular belief, this is the lab I would have. It reminded me of some of Dr. Frankenstein’s labs in the Hammer Horror classics years later.

The cast is great! Frederic March plays Dr. Jekyll very conservative and Mr. Hyde with such gusto that it’s hard to believe the same person is playing both characters. When he becomes Hyde for the first time, and stretches as if he is coming to life after a long sleep, I felt the same amount of energy. The two female characters were also portrayed well. Miriam Hopkins played the Prostitute Ivy Pearson who falls under the madness of Mr. Hyde. I thought she was feisty, and a lot of fun to enjoy on the screen. She later auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara but the role ended up going to Vivian Leigh. Rose Hubart played Dr. Jekyll’s fiancee Murial Carew. She was stunning in this picture, and her eyes seemed to twinkle in every scene. No wonder the good doctor was in love with her.

The special effects for the transformation scenes were really good for their time, and I wondered how they were able to have Jekyll transform without appearing to edit anything. Well, they used a make-up process that was layed on March’s face in layers and then when different filters were removed from the camera lens, he appeared to transform before our eyes!

Frederic March tied to win the best actor role for this film, tying with Wallace Beery for “The Champ”. Great film to check out!

I was wondering what Jekyll and Hyde toys there were out there. The first thing I found I thought would be a good match for this. There was a company in the ’60s named Aurora who did models you could put together and paint yourself. Being a monster kid of the 70s, I didn’t see many growing up but I am envious of those with these models, they are gorgeous! They did a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde one in 1964 and you can find more information and pictures here:

http://members.cox.net/auroramonsters/jekyll.htm

That’s going to do it for now, my Ghoulies! If you’d like to leave me comments, questions, or just to say hi, drop me a line at: Starwarzed@hotmail.com. Looking forward to talking with you! Until next time, remember to watch the skies!

This week’s movies!

Hello fellow insomniacs! I was contacted this weekend by a fellow Insomniac, John J. Bossong III. And he was wondering where he can watch my movies each week?

And I was quite honored by that question. Here at the Insomniac, we try to recreate a fun, drive-in atmosphere. And I would love nothing more to have some kind of actual outlet for these movies some day. To do the actual Insomniac Drive-In, maybe even stream somewhere! But alas, right now we will continue the reviews and great trailers each week.

But, it did get me thinking! I am going to share the week’s movies on Mondays from now on, in hopes that those that would like to watch along are welcome!

So, here we go!

Tonight: A Creature Double Feature of Daimajin AKA Majin, Monster of Terror and Return of Daimajin AKA Return of Giant Majin

Friday: The first of the season! An old school Dusk till Dawn Movie Marathon!
It will feature: Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Return of Mechagodzilla, Dear God No!, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Count Yorga Vampire, Devil’s Hand (1961), Devil Times Five, Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), and City of The Dead AKA Horror Hotel

Then back around to Saturday night for another Creature Double Feature with Reptilicus and Yongary, Monster From The Deep

So, there is the list for this week! We hope to catch up with you on some reviews this week! And hope you find something on this list to enjoy as well!

And if anyone has some streaming knowledge and wants to point in the right direction, welcome aboard!

The Monster at the Insomniac Drive-In!


Greetings fellow Insomniacs! We actually have two monsters at the drive-in this time around. One seen and the other not! Let’s delve into our two films.

First up from 1953, The Magnetic Monster. This independent film was released by United Artists. It was a tough film to watch as a monster kid and again as an adult. The monster in this film is a microscopic radioactive isotope. Yep… No actually monster to watch in this one. It is growing and is magnetized. As it grows, it will weigh down the Earth’s rotation, and that’s a bad thing. There’s some good acting from Richard Carlson, King Donovan, and Jean Byron. This movie just didn’t do much for me. The exciting parts come towards the end as they try to stop it using the Deltatron. And that footage is actually from an early German thriller from the 1930s called, Gold. It was good to watch in the context of Creature Double Feature but, may not be too rewatchable  for me.

The second feature is one of my favorite 50s monster flicks. The Monster That Challenged The World is great drive-in, popcorn fun! It was shot in just 16 days for $200,000 and released in 1957, also by United Artists. Giant mollusks are released from an underground earthquake in the Salton Sea. Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton star. We get missing swimmers, Parachuter’s, and Navy men. These mollusks are hungry! The design for these creatures were so scary! And just so cool. When they raise from the sea and smash through the lab, you would be screaming in terror! I always thought the title was a little misleading, as they really just become a nuisance for the naval base. I guess they would be the first line of defense. This movie has held up well, and in this age of remakes, I wonder where all the 50s sci-fi ones are. The pacing of the film gets into it pretty quickly and the usual cool score is in place.

Two very different movies. One trying to take the genre more serious and the other, having a lot of fun for the popcorn crowd. Definitely track down the second before the first one to watch.

No Roku channel to shared this time around. I plan to catch up with another article tomorrow, and will spotlight one there.

Thanks for taking some time to read and we’ll talk soon! 

Creature Double Feature, Prehistoric Planets, and Roku!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

Greetings fellow insomniacs! Nice to talk with you again. We are into our second year of the drive-in. We’re reaching folks on Facebook and Twitter, and having a ball in the process. It’s been  fun talking to you all about these films.

Growing up, my exposure to horror and sci-fi films owes a lot to Creature Double Feature. It aired for several years on WLVI out of Boston for several years starting in 1976. I’m sure the movie package was much like those seen in your market. Toho, Hammer, and the Universal monsters brightened up Saturday afternoons.

I recently found the list compiled by Timothy Kenyon (look it up online!) and decided for our second and third years, we would revisit the list on a weekly basis. Time to pay homage to the beginnings!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

In 1962, there was a soviet science fiction film called Planeta Blur. B movie legend Roger Corman bought the rights to the film, and in 1965 released the film as Journey. He added some new filmed scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. Incidentally, these scenes were shot at the same time Corman was making Queen of Blood, even using thee same sets! The first film is a lot of fun. Soviet astronauts crash on Venus and another group set down to find them. This truly is a prehistoric planet occupied by all kinds of dino monsters! The effects aren’t bad for the early 60s, and quite tame for the children to watch. Some of the dubbed dialogue is quite flat in it’s delivery. Some of the excitement of a Godzilla dub is missing. But, there are some really good shot scenes. And there is a robot! His name is…John? I was expecting something sci- fi and got John. I guess they were trying to humanize him some. One of the characters named Andre is haunted by a mysterious sounding siren call the whole movie. But we never see these females. This leads into the next film!

 Voyage was released about three years later, and honestly, it was tough watching it so close to the first film. It is basically the same film with a few different scenes. We get a new narrative from Andre telling the whole 90 minute story of the first film in about 70 minutes. The other 20 are filled with some new scenes of the Prehistoric Woman led by Mamie Van Doren. It seems they worship this Pterodactyl monster that is killed by our astronauts. Who or what will they worship now? And that is basically that movie!

Both are easy to track down. I believe both are in the public domain. I would recommend for curiosity viewing but not back to back! Maybe a  monster kid in 1976 would have thought differently.

And if you are reading this because you are a Creature Double Feature fan, they are going to have a convention-like event this September in Attleboro, MA. You can find more info at http://www.cdfroundup.org I know I am looking forward to it!

I recently discovered Roku and it is amazing for horror and sci-fi fans. Thought I would shine the light each week on a channel I have checked out. Roku attaches to your TV as a stick and works off your WiFi giving you so many streaming choices! This time around I want to give a shout to B-Movies TV. This channel is great! It’s a live 24 hour streaming channel featuring martial arts, horror, sci-fi, action and other great exploitation films. Zombie Robb’s Metal Music Show is something to behold, as is The Forbidden Zone with Elizabeth Ashton. It’s great watch anytime of the day for cult films! Great selection.

So, that’s all for now. Next week, we have a pair of early zombie films for review! Can’t wait. So until next time, you keep coming to the drive-in and we’ll keep spooling up the reviews!