Classic Horrors Club – Dracula and Dr. Jekyll Meet the Gorgon

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In episode 32 of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, Jeff and I start down the road to Monster Bash as we discuss three films with a connection to the annual conference in Mars, PA. First up is The Gorgon (1964), the inspiration for Joshua Kennedy’s new film, House of the Gorgon (2018), which has its U.S. premiere at the Bash. Next, it’s Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), starring the lovely Martine Beswick, who will be a special guest at the Bash. Finally, it’s Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), featuring Christopher Neame, who will also be a special guest at the Bash.

It’s another Hammer trilogy from The Classic Horrors Club Podcast, one that takes you from the end of the studio’s classic era into the heart of its sexy 70’s era. Which era is your favorite?

We want feedback! Call us at:

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That’s (616) 649-CLUB

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Find Jeff at Classic Horrors Club: http://classichorrors.club

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Mihmiverse – Arnold (1973)

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This month on episode 56 of the Mihmiverse Monthly Audiocast, the Kansas City Crypt opens up for a forgotten horror comedy called Arnold (1973)! I stumbled upon this fun little flick after a Saturday morning conversation with my wife Karla, who had actually seen this movie many years ago.

Be sure to check out the online home of the films of Christopher R. Mihm for all of the great merchandise and information on how you can help make future films happen! Chris is hard at work on not one but two new chapters in the Mihmiverse story as That Which Lurks in the Dark and The Phantom Lake Kids in The Beast Walks Among Us are on the horizon. Check out the website to learn how you can contribute today! As always, tell ’em Monster Movie Kid sent you!

Dread Media – Blood Feast (1963)

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It’s time for episode 614 of the Dread Media Podcast and Monster Movie Kid is finally diving into the world of the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis. I’ve never really felt inclined to watch any of his films but, thanks to Joe Bob Briggs and Last Drive-In over at Shudder, the time is now! I was actually surprised that the gore, while excessive, really didn’t have quite the impact on me that I thought it would. As always, tell ’em Monster Movie Kid sent ya!

Godzilla Regains His Throne as King of the Monsters

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When Godzilla was released in 2014, anticipation was high for Warner Brothers and Legendary to do right by Toho franchise. While it certainly surpassed the ill-conceived American film from 1998, audience reaction was mixed. Most fans felt it needed more monster action and less plot. They also wanted to see more of Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe. I enjoyed it when I first saw it but definitely felt like it could have been better. I wanted more monsters! Upon revisiting the film the other night, I have to say that the film doesn’t quite hold up as well as I remembered it. It’s not the worst of the franchise but it did leave me going into the sequel with lower expectations. I can now say that I was pleasantly surprised with Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2019) and I believe fans most definitely got their wish. There are more monsters and a lot more kaiju action on the screen than we’ve seen in a long time.

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Godzilla, King of the Monsters starts off by introducing us to our two lead characters, Mark and Dr. Emma Russell, as they are searching for their lost son in the rubble during the climatic events of the last film. Flash forward five years, their son is gone and the Russells have split up. Mark is shooting wildlife pictures while Emma is working for Monarch, which has come under fire for failing to publicly reveal their efforts to conceal just how many monsters, or titans as they’re called here, are roaming the planet. Their daughter Madison is greatly concerned about her mother, foreshadowing some plot twists that set everything in motion for the monster rumble of all rumbles to take place with Earth as the battleground.

Godzilla gets significantly more screen time here as he is now clearly the protector of Earth against the evil Monster Zero aka King Ghidorah. Our old friend Mothra is introduced as is Rodan, along with several other new kaiju. Godzilla looks better here with minor revisions but mostly because he is much more mobile in this film. Ghidorah has never looked better and Rodan has received some significant upgrades from his early days at Toho. Mothra remains mostly unchanged except for enhancements courtesy of CGI technology. The battle sequences are awesome but here lies my biggest problem with the film. I think the final battle is simply too bombastic. I had the same concerns with Aquaman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. They could have toned it down a notch and held back a little to get better results. Sometimes, less is more and that philosophy would have worked here. However, I think director Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus) was trying to give fans more after the complaints of the first film. Someone in the editing room should have reined him in a little as the end result seems a little long and excessive. It was certainly a lot of fun but also somewhat exhausting after a while.

The cast includes Kyle Chandler (First Man) and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuringfranchise), both turning in good performances. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) was great as Madison and plays a key role in the finale but hopefully she’s given a little more to do in next year’s Godzilla vs. Kong. It was fun to see Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) back and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones) clearly had fun chewing up the scenery as the evil Jonah. He was a perfect bad guy and I think we’ll be seeing him again.

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I also have to mention how fun it was to hear Akira Ifukube’s Godzilla theme and Yuji Koseki’s Mothra music. This homage to the past was amazing. It was also great to hear the classic rock tune “Godzilla” over the end credits but I wish Blue Oyster Cult’s version would have been chosen.

Godzilla fans will definitely be pleased with the 32nd film in the franchise. It’s not perfect but much improved over Godzilla (2014) and it sets the stage for next year’s Godzilla vs. Kong. Kong is casually referenced in this film but absent from the big showdown. Make sure to read the numerous headlines at the end of the film as it establishes that Godzilla clearly has a new rival in the making for the title of King of the Monsters!

All pictures copyrighted by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures.

Martian Mondays – War of the Worlds (1953)

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Martian Mondays: War of the Worlds (1953)
Cast:        Gene Barry as Dr. Clayton Forrester
Ann Robinson as Sylvia Van Buren
Les Tremayne as Major General Mann
Lewis Martin as Pastor Dr. Matthew Collins

Based on the novel by H.G. Wells
Written by Barre Lyndon
Directed by Byron Haskin

Plot: When Earth is invaded by Martians, a full scale war ensues while Dr. Clayton Forrester desperately searches for any weakness the Martians may have. Will he be able to find a weapon to use against the Martians before it’s too late?

Richard’s Review: I have fond memories of watching this on a Sunday afternoon back in the 1970s before we got cable TV. The iconic sound of the weapons has always stuck with me. I loved the flying ships but would have liked to have seen the Martians a little more than we did. Another stronger lead could have made the character of Dr. Forrester pop a little more on screen and Ann Robinson definitely overacted at times. But these flaws are easily forgiven as this is truly a classic from start to finish. I especially find the scenes on the farmhouse very chilling and I think they hold up quite well. I’ve also always thought the final scene in the church with the sounds of destruction juxtaposed with the singing very moving. This is sci-fi classic that everyone needs to see.

Karla’s Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I think the ships looked great but I would have liked to have seen more creativity on the Martians. I don’t recall they ever mentioned the meaning behind three ships (and three hands and three fingers). I don’t think Gene Barry had much charisma. In fact, he came across very slug like throughout the film. I think another actor could have done much more with the role. Ann Robinson was good, even if she did overact throughout the film. Despite those few flaws, I would definitely watch this one again.

Trivia:

  • Gene Barry (Burke’s Law, The 27th Day) made his final screen appearance in the 2005 remake as the grandfather prior to his death in 2009 at the age of 90.
  • Ann Robinson appeared in three episodes of the 1988 television series as well as a grandmother in the 2005 film. She’s just turned 90 on May 25 and is still acting, most recently appearing in Tales of Frankenstein (2018).
  • Les Tremayne was a well-accomplished radio actor and was elected into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. However, genre fans may best remember his face as he starred in all 28 episodes of Shazam! (1974-1976) as Mentor.
  • Barre Lyndon wrote the screenplays for The Lodger (1944), Hangover Square (1945) and Man in the Attic (1953), as well as three episodes of Thriller.
  • Byron Haskin also directed Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and six episodes of The Outer Limits.
  • The film was produced by George Pal, who upon impressing the H.G. Wells estate was given the rights to produce any other Wells story. He chose The Time Machine, which he made in 1960.
  • The classic H.G. Wells story was first adapted by Orson Welles in the infamous 1938 radio broadcast. Jeff Wayne produced a musical version in 1978 and Tom Cruise starred in a 2005 remake, among other loose adaptations.
  • Voice actor Paul Frees appears as the opening announcer and second radio reporter (in an Orson Welles impersonation).
  • Sir Cedric Hardwicke provides the voice of the commentator.
  • Carolyn Jones (Morticia Addams, The Addams Family) appears as a blonde party guest.
  • The Martians were originally going to be tripods, as in the novel, but George Pal didn’t know how to make that possible in 1953. So, they went with flying machines and briefly mentioned visible electronic beams, seen only briefly at the beginning of the movie.
  • Two of the sound effects used eventually were heard again in the Star Trek television series. The sound of the hovering ships became the hand phaser sound while the skeleton ray morphed into a photon torpedo.
  • Sadly, none of the original Martian war machines exist today. They were made of copper and supposedly turned over to a Boy Scout copper drive.
  • War of the Worlds was added to the national Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2011.

Availability: War of the Worlds is sadly out-of-print on DVD and has still not been released on Blu-ray in the United States.