A*P*E (1976) – Episode 48 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“See A*P*E … defy the jaws of a giant shark … destroy a teeming city … demolish an ocean liner … vanquish a monster reptile” – the tag line for A*P*E (1976) promises as much as the incredible poster for this race- to-the-theater King Kong rip-off from director Paul Leder. Yes, Yes! This is the film where the giant gorilla flips off the army … in 3D, no less.  Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and NC effects artist and film maker Bill Mulligan.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 48 – A*P*E (1976)

With a massive budget of $24,000, the team behind A*P*E created a King Kong rip-off film that has to be seen to be believed. Insanely goofy, horribly made, dreadfully written, hilariously inept, the film originally known as Super Kong is a disaster … and bloody brilliant because of it. It is a true so-bad-it-is-good treasure … and in 3-D to boot. It is getting a terrific 3D Bluray release from Kino Lorber Video and for those who love schlocky, horrible films that desperately want to be called guilty pleasure, then A*P*E is the film for you. Oh, the joy, the pure stupid joy! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten are joined by Jeff Mohr and Bill Mulligan to recap and review this bizarre entry into 1970s solid gold. Enjoy!

A*P*E features one of the worst gorilla costumes committed to film, ever. The seems are evident and the stitches come loose in the opening scene when APE fights a giant shark, revealing the undershirt underneath. Amazing! The film feels padded at 80 minutes long and features scene after scene of random locals running from the 36 foot gorilla, many of which can be seen smiling and laughing as they run. Rich! The army shows up late in the film so they can point their guns into the camera in “stunning” 3D effects. Marvelous! The gorilla shimmies, shakes, and dances his way across the South Korean landscape scaring villages, stepping over fake cows, wrestling live snakes, and tearing down buildings with glorious glee. Ah! There’s nothing else left to say… watch the film if you dare. Regardless, listen to the Grue-Crew discuss A*P*E.

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Dead Alive (1992) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I kick ass for the Lord!” Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) kicks some zombie ass in the defining example of ‘divine intervention.’ Peter Jackson’s cult classic Dead Alive (or Braindead for international audiences) has been a mainstay of the zombie genre for 25 years. The zany horror/comedy takes the example of Sam Raimi and builds layer upon layer of creative creature effects & gallons upon gallons of gore. His early splatstick style might not have gotten him Academy level prestige, but it made Jackson a key figure in the evolution of zombie cinema. Now, armed with a lawnmower and a tarp, Thomas and his co-hosts are out to get to the meat of what makes Dead Alive endure for as long as it has.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 10 – Dead Alive (1992)

Set in 1957 New Zealand, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is a momma’s boy, under the strict thumb of his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). He looks after her enormous house and does her every whim, without a single bit of time for himself. Even when Lionel tries to take the lovely local market girl Pequita (Diana Peñalver) out on a date to the local zoo, she has to tag along. Unfortunately, this zoo trip turns dire as a rabid Sumatran Rat Monkey from the monkey exhibit bites Vera and catch a zombie virus that slowly degenerates her condition. Lionel tries to keep her upright, only for her to crave human flesh. Even after her funeral, Vera’s lust for carnage ravages this small New Zealand town, which Lionel tries to keep contained in his house as he keeps a nurse, a greaser punk and a preacher who have been bitten and transformed by his mother in the basement. This comedy of errors escalates further as Lionel’s misogynistic idiot Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) blackmails him into his mother’s inheritance and celebrates with a party at the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas is joined by returning guests Sam Brutuxan and Christopher G. Moore to discuss this early example of Peter Jackson’s extensive ambition. The variety of zombie creatures, endlessly creative camera tricks and stunning displays of gore mastery still impress to this day, showing off the extensive world building and incredibly detailed madness that would be needed to bring Middle Earth to the big screen less than a decade later. The trio praise Dead Alive for its ability to be an homage to everything from King Kong to Evil Dead, while at the same time carving a new path towards cult fame. They revel in all their favorite zombie character, from the zombie baby Lionel throttles with to Void the greaser’s personified gastrointestinal tract. It’s a love fest all around, with Christopher clamoring it as his favorite zombie film of all time.

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King Kong (1976) – Episode 47 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“There’s a girl out there who might be running for her life from some gigantic turned-on ape.” – the line for King Kong (1976) illustrates the odd tone to the  high-profile, big-budget creature feature remake. Dino De Laurentiis’ monstrous epic provides fans with a U.S. man-in-suit Kaiju turn at the furry beast with a  young Rick Baker in the ape suit.  Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 47 – King Kong (1976)

Joining Santos, Doc, and Jeff is the host of Decades of Horror 1980s and co-host of Horror News Radio Thomas Mariani who immediate jumps into how Dino De Laurentiis presents Kong himself. The giant gorilla is seen ogling Dwan played by Jessica Lange in a questionable manner that deserves the description in the show’s opener “some gigantic turned-on ape.” While there’s always been a connection between Kong and Anne Darrow (from the ’33 picture), the way they treat his attraction to Dwan is far less appealing than intended, for certain. Kong’s motivation is all over the place as the Grue-Crew struggle to find good things to say about the 1976 rendition of this classic monster from the movies. The film was highly promoted upon its release in December of 1976 as Doc, Jeff, and Santos all remember, but the film failed to live up to the hype. While Doc and Jeff admit liking the film now more than prior, the film still disappoints in a huge Hollywood blockbuster-gone-wrong way.

John Guillermin (from The Towering Inferno) directs the film which stars Charles Grodin, Jeff Bridges, and Jessica Lange in lead roles. Rick Baker’s Kong is superimposed into many shots with noticeable matte outlines giving the high production and low-grade sheen. While the ape costume itself is noteworthy, the integration of the effects into the film often fail their efforts. The huge mechanical King, which was all the rage in the promos and press at the time, is barely seen in the film, perhaps for the better. The film’s tone dances between serious and satire – or, at least, feels like satire, regardless of original intention. According to Thomas, Grodin acts with his teeth in an amazing fashion while Bridges likely filled the large pit to capture Kong with smoke all on his own. Yeah, man. Prepare for Kong: Skull Island with this look back to a classic – or not so classic – King Kong adventure from 1976.

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Monster Movie Podcast Episode 66 – The History of Godzilla

As Gareth Evan’s Godzilla (2014) prepares to bear down on U.S. theaters on May 16, 2014, The Black Saint (Santo Ellin Jr. from Horror News Radio and HorrorNews.Net) joins Doc Rotten to discuss the films of Toho’s globally famous Kaiju, the one and only, Godzilla. The pair run through the giant lizard’s entire film library from Gojira (or Godzilla, King of the Monsters – 1954) to  Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).

Monster Movie Podcast
Episode 66 – The History and Films of Godzilla (Toho)
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As children of the Seventies, The Black Saint and Doc Rotten grew up watching Godzilla films in the theaters and on TV, watching the King of the Monsters destroys Tokyo, fights King Ghidorah & King King and save the planet from invading aliens. The kaiju is mythical, monstrous and magical to the heart of these two young horror fans. Doc and Saint spend the next 90 minutes revisiting and reliving the entire Godzilla library picking their favorites, remembering when the first saw the classics and what they thought of the classic Man-in-Suit masterpieces as they grew older and rediscovered them. Here are nearly 30 Godzilla films:

  • Gojira – 1954
    Godzilla, King of the Monsters! – 1956 (original Gojira released in America and spliced with footage of Raymon Burr
  • Godzilla Raides Again – 1955
    Gigantis, the Fire Monster
  • King Kong vs Godzilla – 1963
  • Mothra vs Godzilla – 1964
    Godzilla vs the Thing
  • Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster – 1964
    Ghidora, The Three-Headed Monster
  • Invasion of the Astro-Monster – 1965
    Monster Zero
  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep – 1966
    Godzilla vs The Sea Monster
  • Monster Island’s Decisive Battle: Godzilla’s Son – 1967
    Son of Godzilla
  • Destroy All Monsters – 1968
  • Godzilla, Minilla, Gabara: All Monsters Attack (Godzilla’s Revenge) – 1969
    Godzilla’s Revenge
  • Godzilla vs Hedorah – 1971
    Godzilla vs The Smog Monster
  • Godzilla vs Gigan – 1972
    Godzilla on Monster Island
  • Godzilla vs Megalon – 1973
  • Godzilla vs Mecha-Godzilla – 1974
    Godzilla vs the Bionic Monster
  • Terror of Mecha-Godzilla – 1975
    Terror of Godzilla
  • Godzilla – 1984
    The Return of Godzilla
  • Godzilla vs Biollante – 1989
  • Godzilla vs King Ghidorah – 1991
  • Godzilla vs Mothra – 1992
  • Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle for Earth
  • Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla – 1993
    Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla II
  • Godzilla vs Space Godzilla – 1994
  • Godzilla vs Destroyah – 1995
  • Godzilla (American version) – 1998
  • Godzilla 2000- 1999
  • Godzilla vs Megaguirus – 2000
  • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack – 2001
  • Godzilla Against Mecha-Godzilla – 2002
  • Godzilla: Tokyo SOS – 2003
  • Godzilla: Final Wars 2004
  • Godzilla: 2014

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