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Showing posts from June, 2013

JAEGERS VS. KAIJU - PACIFIC RIM

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“In order to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.” Del Toro was largely responsible for shaping what are, literally speaking, the biggest stars of “Pacific Rim”: the Kaiju. “I love monsters,” states the director who conceived all the various monsters in the film in conjunction with an elite band of concept artists, illustrators, sculptors, and designers. “We had some of the best creature designers in the world involved in the making of the Kaiju.” Del Toro began with a group that included artist and illustrator Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Wayne Barlowe, Stephen Schirle, Doug Williams, Hugo Martin, Tyruben Ellingson, Guy Davis, Oscar Chichoni, David Meng, Simon Lee, Raul Monge, Carlos Salgado, Keith Thompson, Simon Webber, Allen Williams and Rob McCallum. Members of the team brainstormed for weeks, beginning in a windowless room they appropriately dubbed “the submarine.” Together, they examined everything: from sizes, shapes and colors to how the immense beings moved and

Celluloid Philosophers A Collection Of Monstrous Movie Quotes

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"And if they ever ask about me, tell them I was more than just a great set of boobs. I was also an incredible pair of legs. And tell them... tell them that I never turned down a friend. I... never turned down a stranger for that matter. And tell them... tell them that when all is said and done, I only ask that people remember me by two simple words. (Stops to think) Any two, as long as they're simple." (breaks down crying) - Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) - Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988) READ MORE

Betty Brosmer: The Sexy Girl You Probably Have Never Heard Of

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Betty's classic beauty put her on over 300 magazine covers and books. Betty had the greatest hourglass figure of all time: 38-18-36 (inches). She was in thousands of magazine spreads. Her face appeared on full-page ads in Life, Time, Fortune, Look, Saturday Evening Post and other leading magazines of her day. She won over 50 beauty contests before the age of 20. Betty, the ultimate Calendar Girl, appeared on hundreds of calendars. She was on numerous music album covers; On billboards in Times Square and billboards across the country; On life-size cutouts in retail stores selling Kodak film, Thom McAn shoes and other products. MORE PHOTOS

Legendary Signs Godzilla Movie Tie-In Licensees

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by Armand Vaquer It appears the "hottest" news on the 2014 Legendary Pictures Godzilla movie is that licensees have been signed up for movie tie-in products. According to Licensing.biz: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has signed master toy partner Bandai America Incorporated for 2014 movie Godzilla.  Bandai will release action figures and play-sets inspired by the film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, which hits cinemas on May 16th next year.  Additional licensees include NECA with gifts and novelties; Jakks Pacific with large scale figures; Bioworld with on-trend apparel; and Sideshow Collectibles with authentic statues.  Hopefully, this time the U.S.-produced Godzilla will be a critical (especially with the fans) and financial success and the licensees aren't left "holding the bag" of unsold merchandise like the last time (i.e., with the Sony/Tri-Star disaster of 1998).  If they stray too much away from the look and

A New Star Wars Droid Vinyl Bank is Coming to Comic-Con 2013!

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The team at Diamond Select Toys loves Star Wars, and they love droids, which is why they've made a few different droids in their line of vinyl Star Wars banks. R2-D2, R2-R9 and R2-Q5 have all made their way into collectors' hands, and now there's a new droid headed to San Diego! This year's Comic-Con International exclusive Star Wars bank is R2-B1, one of the astromech droids assigned to the Royal Shuttle of Naboo, and tragically lost while making repairs during a battle. The 10-inch vinyl bank has a coin slot on the back for inserting change and an access door on the bottom. Sculpted in 1:4 scale, R2-B1 is in scale to DST's Yoda bank, Jawa bank, and all of their Ultimate Quarter Scale action figures. R2-B1 will be available for $23 at the Diamond Select Toys booth, #2607, as well as at various retailers around the show floor. Limited to only 1500 pieces, this droid will get picked off fast, so keep that targeting computer on! MORE DIAMOND S

Kim Novak Talks About Vertigo

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"That’s right, when I played Judy, I never wore a bra. It killed me having to wear a bra as Madeleine but you had to because they had built the suit so that you had to stand very erect or you suddenly were not ‘in position.’ They made that suit very stiff. You constantly had to hold your shoulders back and stand erect. But, oh that was so perfect. That suit helped me find the tools for playing the role. It was wonderful for Judy because then I got to be without a bra and felt so good again. I just felt natural. I had on my own beige shoes and that felt good. Hitchcock said, ‘Does that feel better?’ I said, ‘Oh, yes, thank you so much.’ But then, I had to play ‘Madeleine’ again when Judy had to be made over again by Scottie into what she didn’t want to be. I could use that, again, totally for me, not just being made over into Madeleine but into Madeleine who wore that ghastly gray suit. The clothes alone were so perfect, they were everything I could want as an actress." RE

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)(Shaw Brothers Studio)

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It is amazing how Asian movie makers have always had a love affair with "King Kong." Just after original film made it's debut in 1933, the Japanese movie studio Shochiku released "Wasei Kingu Kongu", a direct rip-off of the American film, which featured a man in a monster costume (pre-Gojira) running amok. A mere five years later, in 1938, the same Japanese studio would release "Edo Ni Arawarita Kingu Kongu", which featured the giant ape during the samurai era. I have been informed that both of these films are lost and very little is known about them. A couple of decades later, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and director Ishiro Honda would aspire to create their own Japanese version of "Kong." That film would eventually turn into the classic monster epic, "Gojira" (Godzilla), after it was decided to change the title character from a giant 'fire-breathing' ape, to a dinosaur inspired by "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.&quo

Classic Tales Of Cryptozoology: Does The Creature Really Walk Among Us?

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For centuries people from all corners of the globe have claimed to have seen all kinds of creatures ranging from dinosaurs to werewolves and if you are inclined to believe so, a real life "Gill-Man". Way back in the summer of 1972 two young men claimed that they were chased from the beach at Thetis Lake, British Columbia, Canada by the "Creature From The Black Lagoon" or at least something that looked very much like it. Was it a case of mistaken identity or overactive imaginations run wild after an afternoon of watching monster movies? At the time the local police believed the two youths and began a search for the monster. Four days later the story seemed to be validated when two fishermen spotted the monster on the opposite side of the lake. Of course the search didn't turn up any man-fish at the time yet reports of the aptly named "Thetis Lake Monster" continued on for two more decades. READ MORE

Hario Wireless Tower Near Sasebo City Now Open To The Public

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by Armand Vaquer Above, the three Hario Wireless Towers near  Sasebo City in 2007.  Photo by Armand Vaquer. Back in April 2007, I made a tour of kaiju sites in Kyushu that included Mount Aso Volcano National Park, the Saikai Bridge near Sasebo, Fukuoka Tower and Fukuoka Yahoo! Dome. Mount Aso and the Saikai Bridge were featured in the 1956 Toho production, Rodan . While I was at the Saikai Bridge (that crosses the Hario Straits), I also saw the nearby Hario Wireless Towers.  Those were also shown in Rodan . Above, the Hario Towers are shown in "Rodan" with one of the Rodans flying in the background.  Toho Co., Ltd. The Mainichi Daily News reported that one of the three Hario Wireless Towers is now open to the public for tours: SASEBO, Nagasaki -- One of three antique radio towers here that played a small but important role in the beginning of Japan's war against the United States was opened to visitors on June 9.  The radio towers, known as the Hari

THE B MOVIE ROAD TOUR

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The 1950s and 1960s, drive-ins began to spread like wildfire, increasing to more than 4,000 locations. The new sites may have begun as a venue to watch films, but interestingly, the main films that were shown were mostly considered to be B films. Patrons enjoyed them regardless and remained enthralled with what they saw – so much so that the drive-in became a part of American culture where people came together to socialize with each other. It was an experience all of its own making and is today is considered an important part of Americana. Today there are fewer than 400 drive-ins are currently in operation across the United States. A movie watched under the stars and while breathing in the fresh air. Audience members could even get out of the car to stretch their legs and still hear and see the movie. The environment provided much more freedom than an indoor theater, and people appreciated the intermissions. It was a magical experience and the memory of childhood drive-ins still

Dynamite Baby, Grindhouse Dynamite!

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Grindhouse films characteristically contain large amounts of sex, violence or bizarre subject matter. One genre of film featured were "roughies" or sexploitation, a mix of sex, violence and sadism. Quality varied, but low budget production values and poor print quality were common. Critical opinions varied regarding typical grindhouse fare, but many films acquired cult following and critical praise. Double, triple, and "all night" bills on a single admission charge often encouraged patrons to spend a long time in the theater. The environment was faithfully captured at the time by the magazine ‘Sleazoid Express’. READ MORE

Godzilla, Anguirus, And The Case Of The Missing Monster Suits

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Yes, it's true! Somewhere out there, presumably still in Hollywood, are a Godzilla and an Anguirus costume waiting to be found. The story of how these two Toho made monster suits came to reside on American shores is very interesting, and also filled with a bit of mystery. Back in 1957 Toho was almost to the point of desperation, trying everything that they could to get their movie, "Godzilla Raids Again" released in the United States. A year earlier, the Americanized version of "Gojira", called "Godzilla: King of the Monsters", had done very well at the box office, and the studio wanted to act fast to get it's sequel in front of western eyes. READ MORE

"Godzilla To Raid Indianapolis" News Release

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Above, Haruo Nakajima (left) will be joined by Armand Vaquer  at the Days of the Dead convention in Indianapolis July 5-7. Godzilla To Raid Indianapolis Tarzana, CA - June 7, 2012 - Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla suit actor from 1954 to 1972, will appear at the Days of the Dead convention July 5-7 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel. Armand Vaquer, author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan," will be also attending the Days of the Dead convention. He will be assisting Nakajima and will be selling "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" in the vendors room. "Haruo Nakajima has been a great convention guest in past years who enjoys meeting his fans. He began his career as an actor and stuntman in samurai and war movies and the producers of Godzilla movies took note of his stamina when they were looking for someone to don the heavy rubber monster suits," said Vaquer. "He and I will be in the vendors r

Haruo Nakajima At Days of the Dead Convention July 5-7 In Indianapolis

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by Armand Vaquer Above, Haruo Nakajima and yours truly will be in Indianapolis for the Days of the Dead   Convention at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel July 5-7.  Photo by Jeff Blanken. Above, Haruo Nakajima donning the Godzilla suit  in  1954.   Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima. Things are progressing nicely for the upcoming Days of the Dead convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Flight arrangements are currently being made for Haruo & Sonoe Nakajima and myself for the convention. The convention runs from July 5 - 7 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. Along with the original Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima, the convention has a slate of great guests for fans to meet. I'll be assisting the Nakajimas during the weekend along with having The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan available. To say that the Nakajimas are enthusiastic about attending the convention would be an understatement. According to this website , Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster will

Chaney Heirs Sue Universal Over Merchandising and Royalties

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by Armand Vaquer From the grave, dead actors demand their fair share of merchandising and royalty money Universal Studios is making off their likenesses. Well, not exactly.  It is the heirs of the dead actors who are demanding their fair share of merchandising and royalty money made off the deceased's likeness. Above, Lon Chaney, Jr. Before, it was Bela G. Lugosi and Sara Karloff.  Now, it is the family (i.e., heirs) of Lon Chaney, Jr. who are after Universal Studios. According to Deadline Hollywood : The heirs of Old Hollywood continue to want today’s studios to pay up. Legendary horror movie actor Lon Chaney Jr’s family today went after Universal  in the courts for more than $1 million in damages. I guess there's wads of cash to be made. This year alone, I've seen the Chaney family's (company name: Chaney Entertainment) elaborate merchandise set-ups at the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina and at Monsterpalooza in Burbank, California.