Saturday, October 4, 2014
OCTOBER MOVIE CHALLENGE (10/2 - 10/3)
Challenge Totals to Date:
Movies Watched Today: 3
Total Movies Watched: 4
First Time Views: 1
Amount raised: $14.55
Today's showcased SCARE-A-THON Charities:
TRILLIUM PERFORMING ARTS, sponsored by Sheila Jordan
THE TIME COMMUNITY THEATER, sponsored by Gavin Schmitt
To showcase your charity, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your pledge amount and the charity's website!
2. Gamera, the Giant Monster (1965) d. Yuasa, Noriaki (Japan) (2nd viewing) 78 min.
After Toho Studios resurrected Godzilla in the 1960s with a series of highly profitable battle royales, the race was on to cash in on the kaiju eiga (“giant monster movie”) wave. The most successful of these imitators emerged from Daiei Studios in the form of Gamera, an enormous fire-breathing...turtle. After a plane crashes in the Arctic carrying (what else?) nuclear weapons, the oversized amphibian awakens from the ice caps sporting huge lower fangs and a bad attitude. Now to be fair, turtles were never designed to look cool walking around on their hind legs (and giant turtles don’t pull it off any better). But soon the marauding menace (who flies by spinning around like a flying saucer shooting flames out of his legholes) is clumsily stomping miniature cities into oblivion, and only the love of a turtle-obsessed child can stop his hideous rampage. Just when things seem truly desperate, the world’s ultra-top minds come up with the ultra top-secret “Z-Plan,” which basically consists of luring Gamera into the nose cone of a rocket and shooting him into space. A brilliant scheme, especially if one plans to bring their monster back for numerous sequels. Following in the footsteps of Godzilla’s Raymond Burr, the American release of the film, Gamera the Invincible, featured re-edited scenes of American stars Albert Dekker and Brian Donlevy
3. Gamera vs. Barugon (aka War of the Monsters) (1966) d. Tanaka, Shigeo (Japan) (3rd viewing) 100 min.
Probably the darkest of the original Showa series (and the only installment not directed by Noriaki Yuasa), the story picks up six months after the events of the first film with three men traveling to New Guinea to recover a giant opal hidden in a cave during WWII. Unbeknownst to them, the opal is really an egg within lies the monster Barugon, a goofy-looking creature armed with an enormous perma-grin, an iguana-like tongue that shoots out freezing gas, and a rainbow laser beam from its back! Gamera's return is explained via a rogue meteorite crashing into the Z-plan rocket, but he is then relegated to the sidelines throughout much of the film, only thawing out in the last act to save the day. No obnoxious children show up, and there's a surprisingly high level of violence, both human and monster alike.
4. Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967) d. Yuasa, Noriaki (Japan) (3rd viewing) 86 min.
A highway construction project grinds to a halt when the seemingly indestructible monster bird/bat combo Gyaos appears from within the mountain, shooting lethal lasers from its mouth and creating windstorms with its giant wings. Even Gamera can't seem to make a dent in the creature and spends much of the movie convalescing, nursing his wounds at the bottom of the sea. This marks the beginning of the giant turtle's standing as "the friend to all children" as he saves a pudgy boy from Gyaos and allows the brutally obnoxious little bastard to ride on his back. Not as wacky as future chapters, but the writing is on the wall with wackadoo schemes like giant vats of artificial blood placed atop a spinning pedestal in the hopes of dizzying the giant monster senseless until the sun rises. Ummmm, okay! Sounds like a plan to me.