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Showing posts from September, 2011

10th Anniversary of First Japan Trip

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by Armand Vaquer Above, Armand with the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri. Ten years ago this coming Halloween (October 31), I arrived at the United Airlines Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) terminal for my first trip to Japan. Up to that point, my only "foreign" travels consisted of automotive crossings of the Canadian and Mexican borders from the United States. October 31 of 2001 was an uneasy time. The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. were still fresh in peoples' minds. The National Guard posted armed (some say the rifles weren't loaded) guardsmen in airport terminals around the country. LAX was no exception. Security was (and still is) extremely tight at airports. Above, Richard and Armand with Haruo Nakajima at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri. But, I wasn't about to let this heightened security sto

Spend Your Halloween With Sasquatch!

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ANIMAL PLANET’S FINDING BIGFOOT RETURNS TO THE WOODS TO INVESTIGATE SASQUATCH’S ORIGIN IN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL Source: Animal Planet This fall, the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) team from Animal Planet's FINDING BIGFOOT trudges deep into California's Redwood forest to investigate one of the most infamous and disputed pieces of Bigfoot evidence ever - the Patterson-Gimlin footage. Premiering Sunday, October 30, at 9 PM (ET/PT), the two-hour special FINDING BIGFOOT: BIRTH OF A LEGEND takes viewers to the site where the notorious footage was captured to investigate the elusive beast's existence and settle the more than 50-year-old debate originated by the tape. Outfitted with the latest technology, including night-vision and infrared cameras, the BFRO team also scours the Redwoods to uncover additional evidence of the presence of Sasquatch. With more Bigfoot signals discovered in the Redwoods than anywhere else in North America, each broken branch or peculiar nois

The History Of Dinosaur Cinema Explored In The BBC's REX APPEAL

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: BBC / Radio Times The BBC has gone absolutely prehistoric with a new documentary about dinosaurs in the movies called "Rex Appeal". The hour-long special covers everything from "Gertie" to "Godzilla" with a collection of clips from the dino films that made all of our Saturday afternoons growing up all that more special. Here is the scoop from the BBC: From the beginnings of film-making to the triumph of Jurassic Park - the dinosaur has always been a movie star. Over 60 minutes, BBC4's Rex Appeal takes a bite out of the Cretaceous cinema and reveals the truth about T-Rex. It's a story that stretches from the charming cartoon apatosaurus Gertie (1914), to the vicious and cunning velociraptors of Spielbrerg's imagination. But it's not all teeth and trashing city centres - as our critics explain, dinosaur movies are always about more than just dinosaurs. The 'nature finds a way' DNA argument in J

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Casino! Universal Monsters Invade MONSTER JACKPOTS

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: WMS I grabbed this little story off a press release about new slot machines that will be featured at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas next week. Slot machine manufacturer WMS has just come out with a new game that will feature the classic Universal monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolfman and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. As many of you out there probably already know, I have spent many an hour in Vegas parked in front of the Creature From The Black Lagoon slot machine (photo left) dropping in my hard-earned money ....and loosing it. Regardless of my unlucky ways I always loved playing the game due to the wonderful graphics and animations. This new game promises more of the same so it would be safe to assume that when it comes out I will be dropping a twenty into it hoping that Lady Luck will finally smile on me. Here is a brief description of Monster Jackpots from the press release: Monster Jackpots: This new theme is the

THE DINOSAUR PROJECT Promises Reptiles On A Rampage

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Robert Hood / Avery Guerra / StudioCanal Ah just what we all needed to break the mundane vibe of a Monday morning a good old-fashioned dinosaur movie! Being hyped as “the most exciting dinosaur action movie since Jurassic Park!” is the latest project by Moonlighting Films and StudioCanal (the same folks who brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). The aptly titled "The Dinosaur Project." is presently in production under the direction of Sid Bennett (Prehistoric Park) and will feature CGI effects from the BAFTA award winning team at Jellyfish Pictures. From the looks of it so far "The Dinosaur Project" looks a lot like a combination between "The Last Dinosaur" and "The Land that Time Forgot" which if you know your dinosaur films is a groovy combination. The script itself is very heavily inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel "The Lost World" in which dinosaurs are found to be alive an

"Dark Shadows" Movie Cast Photo

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by Armand Vaquer Above, is a cast photo of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp "Dark Shadows" movie from Entertainment Weekly . It is based on the 1967-71 soap-opera that was produced by Dan Curtis. Depp steps into the role of vampire Barnabas Collins, originally played by Jonathan Frid. Directed by Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter. Above, the original "Dark Shadows" cast.

Creature From The Black Lagoon And Star Wars Figures On A Shelf ... Is It Art?

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Okay, I am probably the last guy on Earth that should be writing a piece about modern art. Honestly, the whole thing escapes me. All it looks like to me is stuff any five-year-old could make displayed in a way that's supposed to make some kind of statement about something thought provoking. Case in point is a new exhibit at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York by Haim Steinbach entitled "Creature". The main inspiration for the series of works on display was a "Creature From The Black Lagoon" action figure which Steinbach turned into a piece of modern art by placing it on a long white shelf angled across the corner of a room. Does it make sense to me? No. Do I like the subject matter? Absolutely! Who doesn't like the Creature? On top of that I like alot of the stuff Steinbach has arranged on shelves, a giant Stormtrooper and a Darth Vader action figure from Star Wars, nude female sculptures and the k

Dynamite Announces The Return Of VOLTRON To Comics

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Source: Dynamite Entertainment This December, the pop culture phenomenon known as Voltron is returning to a comic book store near you! Under a series of amazing covers by master painter Alex Ross, and written by Dynamite's own up and coming writer Brandon Thomas, the series is destined to be a sure fire hit! Dynamite will present all new adventures of the classic robot super-hero! Originally released in 1984, Voltron: Defender of the Universe quickly skyrocketed to be the number one children's program in the United States. Merchandising rapidly followed and more than 100 different Voltron products were on shelves around the world. "Voltron is one of the most well-known cartoons of all-time," says Dynamite President Nick Barrucci. "Classic Media and World Events Productions are working with a wide-range of licensing partners to ensure Voltron's success. With the upcoming cartoon and a feature film in the works, now is the perfect time to launch a Voltron

Autumn Discount of Monster Japan Travel Guide Begins Today

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by Armand Vaquer Above, Miki Hayashi with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." Photo by Armand Vaquer. The special autumn 20% discount of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan starts today. From today to October 10 (which is Japan's Sports and Fitness Day ), the travel guide tailored to Japanese monster movie fans is available at 20% off the cover price. That's a $3.00 savings per copy! Autumn is a great time of the year to visit Japan. For details on getting The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan , go here .

Giant Robot Fans Unite! MORAV Needs A Kickstart

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources : Fon Davis / Todd D'Amario For the past three years I have been talking off-and-on about an amazing giant robot series called M.O.R.A.V. ((Multi-Operational Robotic Armored Vehicle) which has been a pet project of Hollywood effects master Fon Davis. The series has been a true passion for Davis along with a team of movie and television effects veterans who have devoted hours of spare time and money to create a unique sci fi showcase that is heavily inspired by the Japanese anime classics, "Patlabor" and "Macross". As is the case with any effects heavy project both time and money have been issues that have plagued "M.O.R.A.V." since its conception, yet Davis and company believe in their vision and have kept the giant mechs marching over most obstacles in their path. Now three years down the pike Davis is so close to his goal of getting a pilot episode that he can shop to networks completed he can taste it. All he needs

Actor Adds To PACIFIC RIM Hype With Monster Comments

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Bloody Disgusting The thought of a movie where giant monsters fighting giant robots is a concept that will get even the casual fanboy (or fangirl for that matter) all worked up. Raised on the works of Honda, Tanaka and Tsuburaya the giant monster genre is something that most of us view as something sacred and something to be savored like a fine aged wine. Yes, I just compared Godzilla and Ultraman movies to fine aged wine. Anyway back to my thoughts. As of late giant monster and giant robot flicks have come back into favor with new Godzilla, Robotech and Shogun Warriors films in the works as we speak. Another such film is Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" a film that will feature both big beasts and big bots to combat them. With del Toro's ability to create some really memorable monster genre films the project sounds like a slam-dunk. Add to that the film makers bold statements about the project and you have monster hype

Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film

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Source: EMP Museum EMP Museum announced the opening of its new exhibition Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film which takes an in-depth exploration into horror, its link to humanity, and how that connection is expressed through cinema, biology, history, and contemporary culture. EMP invited some of the world’s most prolific horror film directors – Roger Corman, John Landis, and Eli Roth – to curate a selection of their favorite films that exemplify the genre and illustrate the creative power of horror film. Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film opens October 2, 2011 at EMP. "Audiences have been fascinated with horror stories for centuries, but its presence in popular culture is now more pervasive than ever," says EMP’s Senior Curator, Jacob McMurray. "This exhibition will examine how horror film has evolved over the last century, why we as a culture are drawn to these macabre narratives, and how fear and horror are a vital component to our human identity.&quo

Production Begins On 2011 DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special

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Source: BBC Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children. A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills. Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: "The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it's so his kind of day – everything's bright and shiny, everybody's having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith's is the one that was born for this time of year – so it's the best news possible that he's heading back down the chimney." The special, set during the Second World

Fox's FRANKENSTEIN To Be Told From Ygor's Perspective

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Reelz Channel Back in June I noted that Fox had put a new "Frankenstein" movie into high gear in hopes of beating out about a dozen other studios working on a similar project to the box office. In hopes of getting a leg up on the competition Fox hired screenwriter Max Landis to pen the story. At that time there were no details on just how the writer was going to approach such a project that had been done over and over again by so many different entities. Now it seems that Landis has found his niche, Frankenstein as seen from Ygor's (Dr. Frankenstein's assistant .... as if you didn't know) perspective. Landis explains," I was having an argument with my friend about when Ygor first appeared in the Frankenstein mythology. The argument got more and more intense. He was convinced that Ygor was in the Universal film. I told him that was a hunchback named Fritz. He didn't believe me and so I did some research. I read the o

Horror Channel To Bring Hammer Classics To The UK In Time For Halloween

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: Brutal As Hell / Ben Bussey The Horror Channel in the UK has just acquired five classic horror films from the famed Hammer Film Productions. These new additions to the channel's library of scary features will not be sitting on the shelf, no indeed the network has queued them up in a series of Saturday features leading up to Halloween. Is there a better way to spend your Saturday night than watching Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and a parade of sexy British damsels? I thought not. Here is a list of the movies with air dates courtesy of our friends at Brutal As Hell: Scars of Dracula (1970), 1st October, 11.10pm – One of Christopher Lee’s last Dracula films, in which his reluctance to reprise the role is painfully apparent. It’s an incoherent mess, and a poor representation of the usually reliable Lee and his late director Roy Ward Baker. But it does star a young Dennis Waterman, which immediately gives it novelty value for British viewers at lea

Has Conclusive Proof Of The Existence Of Bigfoot Been Found?

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Sylvanic Bigfoot Group / Calgary Sun So far the evidence for the existence of Bigfoot has been very extensive yet very inconclusive. There are literally hundreds of plaster casts of footprints, blurry photographs, videos taken at extreme range and DNA evidence that either turns out to be a bear or from an unknown source. Though you could pile up all the evidence and it would reach to the moon none of it is proof positive that a giant race or harry primates live in North America. In regards to the photos and videos of Sasquatch (as the creature is known in Canada) the images are just to vague. They could be of a monster or just some nut running around in a costume. You just can't tell for sure. Well that may be about to change according to the Sylvanic Bigfoot Group based out of Alberta (Canada). According to the group's spokesman Todd Standing the researchers have several videos and photographs of a family of Bigfoot and they are in HD .

Korean 3D Monster Epic SECTOR 7 Comes Ashore In The US

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Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: Sector 7 Press Kit / Sector 7 Blog / Gorezone / Avery Guerra Way back in 2009 I wrote a small article about another ambitious monster movie coming out of Korea called "Sector 7". The film which stars the very fetching Ha Ji-Won, was directed by Yoon Je-Gyun and is very heavily inspired by such classic monster movies as "The Thing", "Alien" and "It: The Terror From Beyond Space" kinda disappeared off the radar until it showed up for a special screening in LA earlier this month. The film has gained a lot of positive reviews from that screening and now the LA based branch of the Korean distributor CJ E&M Pictures is set to unleash the film across America in limited release. Here is the info on the film from CJ E&M's press material: The Eclipse is an offshore drilling rig stationed at Sector 7, where the crew spend their days searching for oil, but something else awaits that is deadlier than they can

Come On Down And Discover Austin's MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD

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Written By: Marc Savlov Source: Austin Chronicle I was 10 when I first saw the dead man frozen in permanent repose in the block of hazy blue ice, and it marked me forever. I didn't realize it at the time, of course; I was already, at that tender age, thriving on a steady diet of Mad magazine, Forrest J Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland, and WPIX's Chiller Theatre. The railway cuttings near my upstate New York home were awash in shale-stuck trilobites from the bottom of the ocean at the dawn of time, and I sifted that soft-gray stratum almost daily with my dad, a mini-Darwin with Godzilla on the brain. I was, in short, a weird kid in love with weird things. Not much has changed since then. But in the summer of '76, at the New York State Fair, I came face-to-face (well, actually my dad hoisted me onto his shoulders for a better view) with what has come to be known as "The Minnesota Iceman," an allegedly real caveman (or possibly Sasquatch, or outright fl

Government Files Reveal US Yeti Hunt

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Written By: Paul Bedard, Lauren Fox Source: US News / National Archives Newly unearthed State Department documents confirm for the first time Uncle Sam's belief that the Abominable Snowman roamed the mountains of Nepal in the 1950s, a finding that has shocked federal officials including the archivist who discovered the papers. Long written off as a myth—it was never caught or photographed—the documents provided by the National Archives show that officials in the State Department, Foreign Service, and U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, not only believed in "Yeti," but endorsed rules for American expeditions to follow when hunting the toothy monster down. "There are, at present, three regulations applicable only to expeditions searching for the Yeti in Nepal. These regulations are to be observed," said a memo from the embassy written on State Department letterhead. The first rule required that expeditions buy a permit. The second demanded that the beast be pho

PRESERVING GODZILLA

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Ten years ago, I wrote the following article on Toho's efforts to preserve their film library of kaiju movies for G-FAN magazine (issue no. 48). I thought now would be a good time for a revisit. by Armand Vaquer Do you wonder if Godzilla will be around for future generations to enjoy? This thought occurred to me when I set out to check on the state of Toho’s classic Godzilla films and what efforts are being made to ensure that the “King of the Monsters” will be around for generations to come. I recently checked on the subject of film preservation and restoration with the American Film Institute (AFI) and found that our film heritage is in pretty good shape, at least for now. The thought also occurred to me, “ What is being done in Japan by Toho Co., Ltd. in preventing film deterioration?” I will state my findings herein. Background. As many of you motion picture fans know, film deterioration has been a major concern during the past several years. Many studios and t