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Showing posts from November, 2009

Book Review: Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda

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Book Review: Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda Reviewed by Armand Vaquer Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda Author: Peter H. Brothers Publisher: AuthorHouse ISBN 978-1-4490-2771-1 Since I’ve had four days off from work for the Thanksgiving holiday, when I wasn’t working on The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide To Japan , I read Peter H. Brothers’s new biography/filmography on Japanese director Ishiro Honda. It is titled, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda . Ishiro Honda was the director of the 1954 movie that ushered in the golden age of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films: Godzilla . He went on to direct other science-fiction classics such as Rodan: The Flying Monster , The Mysterians , Battle In Outer Space , King Kong vs. Godzilla , Mothra and many others. As in the case of the book Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters by August Ragone, this book was written by a fa

Happy Birthday Jonathan Frid!

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Above, Jonathan Frid in 1984. Photo by Armand Vaquer. Happy Birthday Jonathan Frid! by Armand Vaquer A pop-culture icon will be celebrating his birthday this coming week. Next Wednesday, December 2, actor Jonathan Frid will become 85-years-young. Frid is best remembered as the 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins in the 1966 - 1971 gothic soap opera Dark Shadows . Baby-boomers around at that time would race home from school in the afternoon to catch the latest installment of the show. Dark Shadows originally was conceived to be a gothic soap opera embodied by paperback book illustrations of a damsel looking fearful with a looming spooky mansion in the background. At first, the show garnered enemic ratings. So producer Dan Curtis added some supernatural elements (ghosts, a woman phoenix, etc.). It helped the ratings a little but the show was still in danger of being cancelled. Figuring that he had nothing to lose, Curtis decided to introduce the Barnabas Collins charac

Hot On The Heals Of 'Astroboy' Comes 'Americanised Gigantor'

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Undead Backbrain / Avery Guerra It seems that a less than stellar box office for the modern computer animated version of "Astroby" hasn't deterred Hakari Productions and Imagi Studios from going after another of Japan's classic characters, "Tetsujin 28″ (Gigantor) Indeed the Tokyo and Hong Kong based companies have been working overtime producing a teaser trailer and promotional artwork for the project despite financial problems. It is obvious that a large publicity campaign will be in order to help get this baby off the ground and it seems that the film makers are gearing up for just that. Over at the the film's official website fans are being encouraged to 'vote' on whether they would be interested in seeing the film or not. The results of this online poll will undoubtedly be used to gauge the interest in a new "Tetsujin-28" film and help secure more funding for the project, if they turn out highly pos

Zack Whedon Breathes New Life Into Terminator

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Source: Dark Horse (Press Release) In 2029, Kyle Reese will be sent to 1984 to stop a T-800 from killing the mother of the resistance, Sarah Connor. But before his future son will send him back in time, Kyle Reese is simply another survivor in a desolate future. In a brand-new series, Zack Whedon (Dr. Horrible, Deadwood, Fringe, Rubicon) brings his sharp writing skills to one of the most celebrated sci-fi properties in history to tell the story of a man struggling to live in a world with little food, water, or hope. Never before has the iconic character from James Cameron’s first Terminator film been explored with such depth and humanity. Readers will have the opportunity to follow Kyle Reese and his closest allies as they face insurmountable odds in a world run by cold, calculating machines bent on destroying the last memory of what it means to be a human being. In a world wrought with Hunter Killer Drones, T-600s, T-800s, H-Ks, and a host of other terrifying technology, a small

Avoid Black Friday Shopping! - Buy Your Electric Train Set From "The Railroad Modeler"!

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Let's face it, shopping on 'Black Friday' is just going to be nuts, so unless you like rubbing bodies with your fellow man at Walmart, you should do all your purchases online. One of the big ticket items this Christmas is electric train sets, yes they are back in a big way, and all of the kids (big and small) are asking for them. Luckily for you, the online model train retailer, "The Railroad Modeler" has ya covered. In anticipation of this high demand for electric train sets, several have just been added to their catalogue. Check these out! * Bachmann On30 Scale Electric Train Set - Rio Grande - $240.68 * Bachmann G Scale Electric Train Set - North Pole Special - $293.51 * Athearn HO Scale Iron Horse Express Electric Train Set - BNSF - $105.77 * Lionel O Scale Electric Train Set - B&O - Just In Time For Christmas! - $199.99 * Lionel O Scale Electric Train Set - Rio Grande Flyer- Just In Time For Christmas! - $300.00 * Lionel O Scale Electric Train S

Controversy in Oklahoma: The Making of Bad Girls Burn In Hell

Last month, I was down in Oklahoma with Death Factory, Inc. making a horror movie called BAD GIRLS BURN IN HELL! I play Susan Shepard, and the amazing Chris Burchette plays my husband David. We both went nuts when our daughter was killed by a group of girls driving drunk. Ever since then, we've been kidnapping "bad girls," as we perceive them to be, and we punish them. Our film shoot took place in Picher, Oklahoma, a small town in the upper right hand corner of the state that barely exists anymore, but has a rich history. During both World Wars, Picher was a location for mines that supplied bullets to the soldiers. During mining operations, the workers removed subsurface material from the town, which left the city's structures unstable. Picher had already been declared closed when a tornado hit the town last year. The government gave its residents checks to assist with relocation. Since Picher wasn't really functional anymore, we were all staying at a h

Hopping The Train From Monster Island

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Written By: Ken Hulsey I'm certain by this point that many of you begun to wonder what has happened to me? Monster Island News has been devoid of updates for about a week now and people have been starting to become concerned. First off, let me assure you that nothing has happened to me, I wasn't in any sort of accident, or I haven't suffered any sort of health problem. I'm fine.....well physically anyway. I have, however taken a week off from writing here on MIN to do some soul searching and begin work on a new project. More on that in a minute. Over the past few months I have begun to notice that my writing has become more a more labored. I just kept finding it harder and harder to come up with interesting things to write about. I honestly hit a wall. I think that the whole thing came to a climax last Friday when I tried to write a review of the 1977 William Shatner movie, "Kingdom of the Spiders", I tried to write it a couple of times, and ultimately

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Layouts Received!

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"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Layouts Received!" by Armand Vaquer The final layouts arrived in the mail yesterday from J. D. Lees. Now all I have to do is review them and plan out the advertising inserts. Unfortunately, they were sent as a .pdm file, which is a file program my Windows XP can't open. I am checking with Comixpress to see if they can and send me a review version that my infernal machine can open. Sometimes things just don't happen all that easy! Also, I received an email from the Japan Times : Your "Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" sounds like an interesting story. We would like to know if you will be in Japan over the Christmas/New Year period and willing to make yourself available for one day to talk to one of our writers and show him around the sites. We are interested in running a half page (broadsheet) story with photos on some of the locations mentioned in your guide. I wish I could do this, but righ

"Ataque de Pánico!" (Panic Attack) A New Killer Giant Robot Clip From Uruguay

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Quiet Earth / Sneakhype / Avery Guerra Okay, here's the question, "What do you do if you are one of the best special effects guys in Uruguay, you have six months to kill, and ya got about $300 (US) in your pocket?" The answer, you make one of the coolest giant robot short films of all time. That is exactly what Aparato Post, and fellow effects man, Fede Alvarez, did. The short film that I am referring to here is called "Ataque de Pánico!", or in English, "Panic Attack!" and it is almost five minutes of pure, unadulterated, giant robot mayhem. The film starts with a young boy playing with his robot toys down by the riverside. Suddenly 'real' giant robots start marching on the nearby city. The boy is shocked at what he is seeing.....wouldn't you? To be honest, I have had fantasies like this while playing with my "Shogun Warrior" toys....as a youth.........okay.....last Thursday. Anyway, the gi

What Does Youtube Have Against The "Creature From The Black Lagoon"?

Written By: Ken Hulsey Or should I say, "what does Youtube have against ME posting the 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' trailer?" This past weekend, I came into possession of a bunch of great old movie trailers, so I decided to add them to my channel on Youtube . Everything was going fine, I was able to upload the trailers for " Godzilla: King of the Monsters ", " Gigantis The Fire Monster ", " 20 Million Miles To Earth " and " Attack of the 50ft Woman " with absolutely no problem. Then I tried to upload the trailer, actually two, from "Creature from the Black Lagoon." After the video had been uploaded and processed, I went to watch it to see if everything had went okay. It was at that time that I noticed that the trailer wasn't qued on my main page. I went into my list of videos and noticed that the clip had been tagged with a message stating that it was violation of copyright. Okay, I get it. I'm not Unive

Tales From Scarlet's Sanctuary - THE HALF-LIFE HORROR FROM HELL

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Written By: Scarlet Salem Intro By: Ken Hulsey I would like to take a couple of seconds to welcome Monster Island News latest, 'unofficial' contributor, Scarlet Salem. Over the past few months I have been able to talk fellow scream queens Rachel Grubb and Elske McCain to join our writing staff. Hopefully others will follow. I have honestly been 'courting' Scarlet for some time, due to the fact that I feature her quite a bit here on the site, I thought it would be cool if she were able to post her own thoughts and updates. Well, to tell the truth, she has so much stuff going on, I thought it would take some of the burden off my back trying to keep up with it all. Recently Scarlet started her own blog entitled " Scarlet's Sanctuary ", so I hit her up about posting the same info here. She tentatively agreed, though she thought it best if I were to just mirror her postings from one blog to the other. For obvious reasons, she didn't want to have to d

Ray Bradbury’s "Chrysalis" Makes A On Demand Cable TV Premiere

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Source: Katherine Herrera / Urban Archipelago Films, Inc Lightning Entertainment has picked up Urban Archipelago Films' production of Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis for domestic distribution. The feature film based on a short story by the internationally acclaimed author will premiere on November 17, 2009, via On Demand through Time Warner, Charter, and Bright House digital cable providers. The film will be available in more than 50 million homes in the U.S. Additional dates for multiple other providers including Comcast and digital satellite services will be announced shortly. The beloved author of such classics as The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, who has been consulted in every aspect of the film’s production, says: "Chrysalis started to develop in my life more than forty years ago. I wrote ten different versions of the story and tried, unsuccessfully, to sell it to various magazines. I finally wrote one more version and sold it to "Amazing Stories." To

The Wacky UK Horror Comedy "The Vampires Of Bloody Island" Gets A Holiday DVD Release

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Source: The Weird World of Wibbell (Press Release) New DVD label 'The Weird World of Wibbell' (the cult movie arm of UK indie distributer Wibbell Productions) today announced that the long awaited DVD release of it's British comedy-horror film 'The Vampires of Bloody Island' is expected before Christmas in the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland. The exact dates for each territory will be declared within the coming weeks. 'The Vampires of Bloody Island' starring Pamela Kempthorne as Vampire Noblewoman Morticia de'Ath, Leon Hamilton as her zombie servant Grunt and Oliver Gray as eccentric English demon hunter Professor Hans Van Rental, is set on a fictional island off a remote part of the English coast called Bloody Island, where the locals fear for their lives as every night they lock their doors and hang-up fresh garlic to protect themselves from "Vampires and werewolves... and virgins!" Filled to it's rotting rafters with creepy comical cha

A Get-Together Celebrating Peter H. Brothers' Book

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A Get-Together Celebrating Peter H. Brothers' Book by Armand Vaquer Above, author Peter H. Brothers with his new "baby" in his back yard. Getting together with friends is a good thing. Celebrating a friend's new book made it even better. Peter H. Brothers has a new book out. It's called Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda . It is a biography/filmography of the most celebrated director of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films, Ishiro Honda. Today, several of us gathered at Peter's home in Agoura Hills, California for a little celebration of his book's "going live" (i.e., offered on the market) through his publisher, AuthorHouse and through Amazon.com (see photos). We discussed the trials and tribulations (and joys) of getting a book out into print. Originally, Peter's book was accepted by a publisher, but their schedule was too lackadaisical for Peter's taste (he discusses all this at-lengt

Fifth Anniversary: Godzilla's Walk of Fame Induction!

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Above, Johnny Grant is Master of Ceremonies at Godzilla's induction. Fifth Anniversary: Godzilla's Walk of Fame Induction! Text and Photos by Armand Vaquer It is a little mind-boggling that it was five years ago this month that we congregated to Hollywood, California for Godzilla's induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and attended the ceremony for the unveiling of his star. Above, Godzilla blasts the assembled press covering the ceremony. The late Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, led the festivities which included an address to the throngs by Toho Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama. There was a lot of levity in the proceedings as Grant botched the names of different Toho kaiju while reading the history of Godzilla speech (that I prepared for him). It was a busy weekend. Besides the Walk of Fame ceremony, the premiere of Godzilla Final Wars took place at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Godzilla's star is located in front of the theater. And, t

Evangelion 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone - English Dubbed - The First Eight Minutes - HD

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Funimation There is a popular adage that states, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." Most people in entertainment industry generally live by these words, normally leaving their pet projects alone once they are completed. Of course, there are always exceptions. As we know, George Lucas believes that his films are 'never' finished and in the case of Japanese director Hideaki Anno, he believes that his popular animated series, "Neon Genesis Evangelion" should get a complete face-lift every decade or so. In 2007 Anno set out to remake the first six episodes of "Evangelion" a re release them as four separate theatrical features. It was not the film makers intention to 'change' the series in any serious way, just to update the animation with modern techniques and add some computer graphics. Some may consider such a time consuming venture 'fool-hardy', due to the fact that the original series was

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan": Anime World Is Spreading The Word

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"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan": Anime World Is Spreading The Word by Armand Vaquer The Anime News Network has posted my news release on the Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan . This is good news as other anime-related websites do rely upon the Anime News Network for news in anime entertainment. Their reach in the anime world is impressive. Other anime websites have picked up the feed from Anime News Network and have posted the story on their sites. Here is just one example. To read ANN's post, go here .

Princess Robot Bubblegum - Great Social Commentary Via 'Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City'?

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Topless Robot / TV Kon Please forgive me, I know this one has been out for a while, but not being a gamer, I just stumbled upon this. Featured in the latest game in the "Grand Theft Auto" series, "Episodes from Liberty City", is great little trailer for a fictional anime called "Princess Robot Bubblegum." The clip is featured in the games TV channels that can be viewed during game play. Originally designed to be a parody of popular Japanese animation that features nearly naked girls with super-powers. As a satirical social commentary on the state of Japanese animation that is being produced solely to cater to the male dominated fan base the clip really hits the mark. Though I think there is more here than meets the eye. The clip was obviously designed to lampoon the Anime genre, but one can't help noticing that these adult oriented themes have migrated into other forms of Asian Entertainment. Case in point, the l

Asian Cinema - 'Assault Girls' - New Poster And Synopsis - 'The Cup Of Tears' - Trailer

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Twitch / Tv Kon / Avery Guerra For quite some time now you have read on and on about how geeked up I am about Mamoru Oshii's upcoming sci fi action film "Assault Girls". With the release date quickly approaching, December 19th in Japan, information about the film is now starting to be more forthcoming. Today we have the first look at the films poster and a more detailed synopsis: The story takes place in an in-game virtual space called "Avalon (f)", a barren desert-like battlefield, resembling a devastated world after a nuclear war. "Avalon (f)" is a world full of gigantic monsters. It is a fictional world where an endless "hunt", known as "play", repeatedly takes place. The drama centers around a sniper who pilots a camouflage fighter plane; a sorcerer who can freely transform herself; a woman fighter equipped with an assault rifle on a horseback; and a large-framed man equipped with an anti-tank

A Special Effects Video Bonanza - Galactic Raiders - Dinocroc vs Supergator

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Larry Arpin / Jim Wynorski / Avery Guerra Everyone knows that the backbone of any fantasy or science fiction film is it's special effects. Now, George Lucas can go on and on about how any movie effect is boring without a good story to set it up, but as we know from his "Star Wars" prequel series, good effects can make up for a week story, or even fill in where there is no story at all. When it comes to movie effects, and in particular monster movie effects, there are three ways to go. The very time consuming art of of stop-motion animation, the sometimes effective and some times not, art of putting a man in a monster suite, like the Japanese "Godzilla" and "Gamera" films use, or the quicker and cheaper computer generated type of effects that are permeating the movie industry. Well I have good examples of two of those types of effects for you here today. First, I want to show you a great video by film maker Larry Arp