Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mill Creek Review #5- Gammera the Invincible

After a long absence I am back with more public domain movie reviews. When I first bought the 50 movie packs I was expecting something wonderfully awful on every disc. For the most part I was right, there are some pretty cheesy, laughably bad movies. However, what I wasn’t expecting, at least for the most part was actually really fun movies.

Sure I knew Night of the Living Dead was going to be good. I knew Nosforatu and Phantom of the Opera were going to be good, but who knew how much fun Gamera the Invincible would be.

As I mentioned in my previous review, Gamera was Daiei Motion Pictures answer to Godzilla. And much like Godzilla, as the movies moved on they got much cheesier.


Yes, that much cheesier.

However, like Godzilla, Gamera started out as a genuinely compelling story.

The Giant Turtle was created when a nuclear bomb is accidently set off by American’s trying to attack Soviets who are invading American airspace. (I think Americans in foreign action movies are about as clumsily evil as all of mankind is in a Disney nature movie.)

Gamera immediately starts attacking a Japanese research ship and the fun is on. He of course attacks Tokyo and the Japanese fight back, they freeze the Giant Ninja Turtle and try to blow him up. They are able to knock him onto his back which should be the end but then…

Oh shit he can fly!

While all this is going on Gamera is befriended by a young boy named Yoshiro, who of course LOVES turtles. This is how Gamera developed his “friend of children” moniker.

Now this is the synopsis of the Japanese version. When World Entertainment Corp released the movie to America, they added American actors who add to the movie with their own scenes.

The ironic part of this is, while in this movie the Americans are tacked on, they do have a purpose, and make sense to the overall plot, unlike Tom from Attack of the Monsters, who, even though he was in the original Japanese movie, seemed REALLY out of place.

If you like monster movies, if you like crazy kids movies and if you like just pure disaster and destruction movies, Gamera is definitely a movie you should check out.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mill Creek Review #4- Laser Mission

Legacy is a funny thing. Many of us long to be like our fathers, our brothers, the people we look up to. Sometimes we fail…and therefore, I give you Laser Mission.

Laser Mission was a 1990 direct to video movie staring Brandon Lee, who is most famous for…being Bruce Lee’s kid. Now don’t get me wrong. I like Brandon Lee. The Crow is still one of my favorite dark movies. Laser Mission...is not the Crow. 

Laser Mission is entertaining for what it is. A bad, late 80’s/early 90’s action film.

You get your obligatory bad lines like “I don’t like to put a price tag on women…its much more fun to take them off.”

As well as Lee falling onto a family dinner table and saying “I just dropped in to say…Bon Apetit.”

However this movie has something that most action movies don’t have….


Because when I think action…I think….Ernest Borgnine.

Lee plays Michael Gold, a mercenary for hire. After a precious diamond is stolen, Gold is called upon by the CIA to help seize laser expert and physicist Professor Braun (Borgnine.) before the KGB does.

Because when I think brilliant physicist I think…Ernest Borgnine.

Gold comes in contact with Braun’s daughter Alissa, who I think might be played by someone who once was one of Zack Morris’s girlfriends on one episode of Saved by the Bell.

Just a guess, but there were probably two reasons why they cast this girl…and one of them was not her acting talent.

There are many clumsy action sequences where Lee fights the Russians…who are sometimes Germans…living in Cuba….in the Dominican Republic….in Aftrica. I really don’t understand where this movie is supposed to be taking place or what exactly is going on. But Borgnine does punch a guy at some point, and the girl attempts to look sexy throughout the movie (but usually ends up looking tired or nauseous .

There are two villains of note (both of whom you will see in the preview below). One guy is easily the WORST marksmen in movie history, and the second is literally the indestructible man. This guy gets shot, blown up, and hit by the car before being pushed through a brick wall…and still may not be dead.

 “I tell you Vigo the Carpathian was less durable than this guy.”

Thank you Dennis.

Then there is the music…oh the music. The main theme song is called Mercenary Man, written and sung by David Knopfler of the Dire Straits.

Oh! The guy who wrote the Princess Bride theme. I love that song.

No, actually that is Mark Knopfler, David’s brother.

Mark, who wrote one of the greatest movie songs of my generation, is far more talented than David who wrote…well crap.

Little refresher.





Got it? And I hope you like that song by David because you will hear it…a lot…at the most random times.

Laser Mission is cheesy, stupid, ridiculous and annoying…everything I look for in a movie, plus it has a HI-Larious twist ending. Check it out.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mill Creek Review #3: Bride of the Gorilla.

I am back with another public domain movie, and like yesterday it is another ape themed movie. So I guess I should stop monkeying around…get it? Monkeying around and the movie is….sorry.

Bride of the Gorilla is an interesting film. The plot is kind of dumb.

On a remote rubber plantation  in South America, Barney Chavez (Raymond Burr) spends much time dodging work and visiting with the boss’s wife Dina (Barbara Payton) whom he tells he would like to take away from her husband. When her husband dies from mysterious causes Barney makes a play for Dina.

The house maid uses ancient magic to cast a spell on Barney.
I think I used to work with this guy.

Barney begins to change before his own eyes into a Gorilla and family physician Dr. Viet (Tom Conway) sees that the man is laboring under something he believes is poison. When investigating the rampage of a sukara (giant ape monster), local constable Taro (Lon Chaney, Jr.) realizes that Barney is disappearing at night coinciding with ravaging animal killings.

Barney suffers long lapses of memory loss, and continues to see himself as a Gorilla, which shakes his psychological foundation.

However, Burr and Chaney absolutely make this film.

Its an interesting cross roads for these two actors as Burr was about 5 years from starring and Perry Mason and Chaney was 12 years removed from being in Of Mice and Men.

So you get the Roberto Benigni in Pinnochio effect. A great actor who maybe is trying to follow up a great role, or in Burr’s case a great actor trying to gain that career defining role.

The movie is not great, but its not horrible either. would equate it to a very average episode of the Twilight Zone. Should you go out of your way to buy it? No, not at all. However if you are interested, and find it on youtube, go ahead and watch it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mill Creek Review #2: Kong Island

There are some tropes, or clichés that you can tell are going to happen before a movie ever really begins. Thus is the case with the 1968 Italian movie Kong Island.

I am going to say this right off the bat. This is one boring movie. Not so much that nothing happens in it, because stuff does happen. However it is so passé, that when its done you feel like you have seen anything really.

Let’s think of the checklist of 1960’s/1950’s jungle films:

 Scanitly clad women?

Man in Gorilla Costume? 


 Shirtless Dude?

Mad Scientest/Arrogant Poacher?

Check and Check

Plus since this is a late 60’s Italian film we have the obligatory “club” scene.

The plot concerns a group of scientists who have traveled to an island to put receptors into the brains of gorillas to use to create destructive war beasts to help them to…dare I say it, rule the world. Some scientists daughter gets captured, they encounter a savage woman on the island who also gets captured and after the brain receptors stop working the gorillas kill the most evil of the scientists.

That’s about it.
 Actually, here is the truncated version of the movie:
There, you wasted 115 seconds, I wasted 84 minutes.

The movie stars Brad Harris who pretty much made his career out of being a shirtless man. Think of him as Gerard Butler but when steroids were not quite as frowned upon.

Seriously though, you can look through Harris’s filmography and know that he is going to be shirtless in the film just by the title:

Goliath Against the Giants
The Fury of Hercules
79 AD
It Happened in Athens
Mystery of the Red Jungle
King of Kong
Island of Lost Girls
Three Supermen in the Jungle
Zambo, King of the Jungle
Lady Dracula- Playing Der Kommissar (uh oh)

Probably best to skip this movie, its not even good for a cheesy laugh.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mill Creek Movie Review #1

I own a lot of movies. I think the last count I found I had around 400 DVDs. Now granted some of these are wrestling DVDs, there are some that are TV series (Yes, I do own the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer Collection.) and then there are the movies.

Sure, I own the ones everyone owns: Anchorman, Wizard of Oz (2 copies actually), and A Christmas Story.

But I also own movies like Barefoot Gen: A Japanese Anime about post World War 2 Hiroshima and the fall out of the atomic bomb.

Then there are these two sets.

Yes, I own 2 sets of those 50 movies for $20 sets (Which I actually paid $10 and $15 for respectively.) Now I’m sure many of you have just past by these things and not even paid much attention to them. However, I knew there was something special about those sets.

The company that releases them is called Mill Creek Entertainment, and really they specialize on taking public domain movies and releasing them for cheap into one of these sets.

They also have bought the rights to all the Ernest movies and released them on Blu-Ray…yes, that is the quality we are looking at.

Now those who really know I love truly awful movies. I am talking the ones that appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000. As a matter of fact, many of the movies on this set actually have appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I don’t think I know too many people who can say they own two copies of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Phantom Planet and Teenagers from Outer Space. But combined with these sets and the MST3K sets that I own, you can say you that you know one person.

However not all the movies on these sets are horrible. Night of the Living Dead, one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and the grandfather of all zombie movies is on this set…and I got it for $0.30.

Lon Cheney Sr.’s classic Phantom of the Opera…. $0.30, 2 Gamera movies…$0.20 each. Metropolis, the original Little Shop of Horrors, both $0.30.

So why am I telling you this?  Because during these next…I don’t know how long, I am going to pick out a random movie from one of the sets, and write about it. What are you in for? Well, today’s pick was Attack of the Monsters (aka Gamera vs. Guiron.)

Now what can I say about a movie where THIS is your main villain

And contains this scene:

Nice dismount by the way, unfortunately the judges are going to take away some points for the air guitar celebration, solid 5.4 though.

Let me tell you a little bit about Gamera.

Gamera is a giant turtle that flies because of rockets in his shell.

I should just end the review right there. There is nothing else I can say that can make it any better than that.

Okay, I’ll go futher. Daiei Motion Pictures created Gamera during the big Kaiju (giant monster) craze of the 1960’s, as a direct competition to TOHO’s Godzilla.

At first Gamera was like all destructive monsters but soon adopted the moniker of “friend of children.” Why? Why not!

So fast-forward to 1969 for the fifth entry in the Gamera series (I told you I was going random order.)

We start our adventure with two young boys Akio and Tom…. yes Tom. Looking through a telescope noticing a spaceship descending to earth. Now, why a gajin (Japanese for foreigner) like Tom is here is never explained. He’s just…there in Japan.

The next day Akio and Tom, along with Akio’s sister Tomoko go to the crash site to investigate.

Now, not only do the boys board the ship, but they also pilot it into space.

Of course, there is a spaceship crash landed in the middle of a city in Japan, and there is no one guarding it, and of course 2 ten year olds, know how to operate the ship, sending them into space.

I tell you, these kids and their technology, and Xbox’s and their Frogger.

The boys get caught in an asteroid field, but luckily Gamera is there to clear a path for them…all so they can crash on another planet.

While on this planet they find Guiron, who appears to be the San Jose Sharks mascot

Mystery Science Theater 3000 describes him as “Eeyore on Acid”…. both are acceptable.

It seems that Guiron is the property of Barbella and Floban, the last two inhabitants of the planet Terra, which is the planet the boys have crashed on. Incidentally, I also think Barbella and Floban may be the hot daughters of Krankor from Prince of Space.

Aparntly, Terra, is in our solar system, but scientists have not discovered it because it is on the opposite side of the sun as earth…. yes, that is the explanation.

However, all is not pleasant with the Terran women, as they do not want to protect the boys, but rather eat their brains to gain knowledge on how to invade earth.

Well I guess if a 10 year old can fly an alien space ship, then sure, eating their brains will help you gain the knowledge of how to invade earth.

Reason #27 why I will never eat Sweet Breads.

Sensing the boys are in danger yet again Gamera comes to the planet to save the children.

Gamera fights Guiron in an epic battle which once again contains…. this.

Guiron throws Gamera into the ocean and in theory kills him.

The End….

Okay, no it’s not.

During the melee, Tom grabs Akio, who was just about to get his head eaten by two hot Asian women…and not in a good way. (Sorry, I just had to.)

However, as he does this he releases Guiron from the Terran’s control, causing Jabberjaw here to go apeshit crazy in the remains of the Terran city, and slices Barbella and Floban’s ship in half, injuring Barbella. However, not wanting to be accompanied by someone weak, Floban proceeds to kill Barbella.

I don’t know how Terran reproduction works, and they probably were screwed already but I think Floban didn’t think that one through. Oh well, she’s dead 5 minutes later.

While all this is happening Gamera escapes his watery grave and fights finally defeats the walking Ginsu knife by piledriving Guiron nose first into the ground.

…. Well that’s just not fair.

Gamera pulls the ship together with his claws and sends the boys home to their mothers and Gedde Watanabe here.

Overall Attack of the Monsters is a fun, silly Japanese monster movie, which is fun for the whole family…if your family likes really goofy movies.

This movie is in the public domain so really it means you can find it, download it, or just watch it online anywhere. It is on youtube and archive.org as well as on the Sci Fi Classics set.

Like so many of the movies on these sets it is also available in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 set on DVD. (This version is also on youtube but I didn’t tell you about it.)

I’ll be back sometime later to review some movie and until then....

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm a Christ Follower...Deal with it.

So I am once again doing my semi monthly, mostly when I have something important that I want to say blog, and next time I write I promise to be lighter.

Now my Disney blogs have been fun to write, but sometimes you have to write something a bit more meaningful. Which is why today I have decided to just write about my Christian faith.

Okay, so I just heard the sound of about half the people reading this clicking away, so let it be.

Recently, I saw this picture on facebook.

Now I don't condemn the person who posted this, and to be honest, I just think the person who wrote it really only understood the extreme basics of what Christianity is.

Yes, as a Christ follower I do believe all of this. Is it ridiculous? Maybe to the non-believer but is it really any less believable than the big bang theory?

Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of physics or economics for that matter realizes that something cannot come from nothing. Einstein had said that there must have been something to create the universe.

Christianity is not the religion of the unintelligent. Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Blaise Pascal (among others) were all scientists who followed Christ.

So why has Christianity gotten a bad rap in the past several years?


Yes, it is not Christ or God who is to blame, it is the fact that both Atheists, and many Christians do not understand what the message of the Bible actually is.

Too many people believe that Christianity is the religious of rules. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Yes, there are “rules” and a “moral compass” in the Bible but the main message of the Bible is human fallacy.

I have heard far too many people say “well I’m going to heaven because I’m a good person.” Okay, that’s good but by who’s definition are you a “good person?” I’ll be honest and say that even if sometimes I can be “nice” I would be a fool to say I am “good”. I have flaws. I have lied, I have looked at women other than my wife, and in one way or another I have stolen.

The fact is, we are human, and we are flawed.

The message of the Bible is forgiveness. The message of Jesus is forgiveness.

The fact is that Jesus, did exist. The fact is that whether you believe that he was foretold or not, that here are similarities between him and the one that was prophesized.

The fact is that Jesus, the man, said that he would be persecuted and he was.

In ancient times, animals, and sometimes humans were slaughtered and sacrificed to appease God. Whether you believe in God or not, this happened.

Jesus came and spoke about the fallacy of humans. He said that we are all sinners, and there was no way that we could, by ourselves be completely absolved of our sins.

He made the ultimate sacrifice. He was whipped, with what would today be equivalent to barbed wire.

He had to drag his own execution device, which would be the equivalent today of 2 railroad ties several miles while people mocked him, and once again whipped him.

He had what would be equivalent to railroad spikes driven into his wrists, feet and stomach.

Pilate, the judge who convicted him of claiming to be the son of God did not want to serve this kind of punishment, even if he believed what he had done was a crime.

People, the same people he swore to save, demanded that this be done to him.

I don’t know many people who would do this for family members, much less for people from generations ahead of him.

If you are a non-believer I don’t know what I can do to convince you of my faith. I can try but its something that you have to come to yourself.

Do I believe everything that “crazy” Christian conservatives believe? If you mean forgiveness and the belief that everyone should get their shot at life, whether it they be gay, straight, handicapped or whatever. If you mean that I think that a man, who I believe was 100% Human and 100% God suffered for 2 days and died in the most inhuman possible so I could at least attempt to not beat myself up over everything I did wrong.  You’re damned right I do. I am a Christian. Judge me if you want. But that’s just the way it is.