post

Lake of Dracula (1971) – Episode 86 – Decades of Horror 1970s

Who knew Dracula had a lake? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they go for a swim in Lake of Dracula (1971) volume two in Toho’s legendary vampire trilogy.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 86 – Lake of Dracula (1971)

At one time, because it was so hard to get, Toho’s Legacy of Dracula trilogy was thought of as a holy grail by fans of Toho and vampire movies. Through the wonders of the world in which we live, all three films are available via streaming sources and as Arrow Video Blu-rays, repackaged as The Bloodthirsty Trilogy: Vampire Doll (1970), Lake of Dracula (1971), and Evil of Dracula (1974).

Written by Ei Ogawa and Masaru Takesue, Lake of Dracula (the middle volume in the trilogy directed by Michio Yamamoto), tells the story of a Japanese descendant of Dracula in search of women to serve as his “brides.” Owing to the film’s title, it comes as no surprise that he hunts these women on the shores of a lake. The action soon moves to the vampire’s secluded home, a castle that looks curiously European, and an all-out battle ensues between one of the women’s boyfriends and Dracula’s descendant.

Of course, the Grue Crew was excited to see Lake of Dracula and, it should again be no surprise, Bill is the only one to have previously viewed Lake of Dracula. Even so, he was excited to see a visually improved version. Everyone thought the film looked very much like what you would expect a Japanese version of a Hammer Film to look like. Bill surfaced several logic flaws in the story and the lack-of-depth of the characters but loved the look of the film. The somewhat plodding and visually muted early portions of the film were a distraction to Doc and Chad. However, Doc thought the final fight sequence was one of the better vampire battles he’d seen, and Chad thought the vampire himself (Shin Kishida) was the best part of Lake of Dracula. Jeff probably liked the film the most but couldn’t argue against the existence of the plot flaws and the generally lackluster early portion of the film. His judgment was understandably clouded by his infatuation with the porcelain-faced vampire bride. The entire crew agrees, whatever you do, don’t miss the scene with the crescent wrench-wielding Kyûsaku (Kaku Takashina). It defies … logic? Or physics? Or surely, something?

Even though Lake of Dracula is not the best vampire movie you will ever see, it is definitely worth watching for the place it holds in horror history as Toho’s contribution to vampire film canon and its unique take on vampire lore.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans: leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

 

post

Half Human (Jû jin yuki otoko, 1955) – Episode 16 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“In the midst of a mountain blizzard, I have experienced a terrifying incident unparalleled in human history. At the very moment we were about to die, I clearly saw the monster with my own eyes . . .” These words are read from the journal of a dead man who had come face-to-face with a half-man, half-beast monster living in the mountains of Japan. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era crew – Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as we discuss the hard to find, third film of the Toho Company, Half Human, aka Jû jin yuki otoko.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 16 – Half Human (Jû jin yuki otoko,1955)

Directed by tokusatsu legend Ishirô Honda, Half Human tells the story of a group of student mountaineers (Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi) and their professor (Nobuo Nakamura) searching for two friends lost in a blizzard during the previous winter. Watching the students’ every move is a ruthless animal broker (Yoshio Kosugi) and his band on the hunt for the creature rumored to live in the mountains. The monster’s den is in a mountain cave and where he is worshipped by the local indigenous people, led by a Grand Elder (Kokuten Kôdô). As the students and the animal broker’s gang get closer to their quarries, they begin to clash, having a devastating effect on the monster and the tribal people.

Half Human has been banned by Toho for years and none of your faithful Grue Crew could find a high-quality copy. Possibly aligned with the forced unavailability of the film, we all had mixed feelings about Half Human. We all condemned the way the indigenous tribe is portrayed and the treatment doled out to Chika (Akemi Negishi) as she receives beatings from the Grand Elder and the other men of the tribe. For the most part, we all appreciated the special effects by Eiji Tsubaraya, another tokusatsu legend, especially the adult monster design. While we can’t unreservedly recommend Half Human, it is the third monster film from Toho and many listeners will recognize the actors from other Toho productions. It also has its place as an example of the discrimination of a people and abuse of women in the world over sixty years ago.

On the other hand, there is no reason to seek out the U.S. version unless you love the sound of John Carradine’s legendary voice. The American version, released in 1958, has had roughly half the original footage removed and replaced by a much smaller combination of scenes of Carradine sitting in his stateside office narrating the story to two colleagues. If you’re going to watch it, watch Jû jin yuki otoko instead.

We also have some great listener feedback this episode from Rafael Fernandez and our old friend salty-essentials Listen and you might just find out which of us does the funny voices.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is House on Haunted Hill (1959), hosted by our resident Vincent Price fangirl Erin.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

post

Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994) – Episode 4 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Don’t try to stop me or you’ll taste Yuki’s medicine yourself.” The King of the Monsters fights himself… or at least an intergalactic version of himself. Throw in some telekinetic powers, the Yakuza and a cinnabon version of Godzilla Junior & you’ve got the odd mess that is Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla. Only Thomas Mariani can decipher the method behind the madness, with a little bit of help.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 04 – Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla (1994)

Just before America put their measly mits on Godzilla, Toho wanted to keep the brand alive. How that could be possible with a film as convoluted and oddball as Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla is anyone’s guess. Made by filmmakers more familiar with teen idol films, there’s a weird glossy sheen to this Godzilla film that doesn’t feel traditional. As our favorite giant lizards stomps around trying to help his son, a mutated clone made with crystals and cells of former big bad Biolante causes havoc. Meanwhile, Miki keeps getting visions of the Mothra twins and winds up in the clutches of the Yakuza trying to steal her powers. It’s all pretty confusing.

So who could possibly help Thomas through this puzzling monster mash? His lizard buddy Sam Brutuxan, of course! Sam, a lifelong Godzilla fan, chose this entry in particular to discuss. Mainly to hear Thomas squirm in confusion, but also to defend this oddball mark in the history of the giant lizard. He talks shop about the monster battles, the underrated design of SpaceGodzilla and his preference for insanity over dour with his kaiju films. To hear more about Sam Brutuxan, follow him on Twitter @Brutuxan.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

godzilla_vs_spacegodzilla_2 spacegodzilla2_original spacegodzilla3_original

godzilla_vs_spacegodzilla_1

post

Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971) – Episode 25 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“There’s no place else to go and pretty soon we’ll all be dead, so forget it! Enjoy yourself! Let’s sing and dance while we can! Come on, blow your mind!” – the out-of-this-world 70’s tagline for the cult favorite Godzilla vs Hedorah still does not approach how unbelievably bizarre this entry into the Godzilla lexicon actually is. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 26 – Godzilla vs Hedora (1971)

Horror aficionado and film maker Bill Mulligan return to co-host Decades of Horror to take a long, loving look at the wacky Godzilla vs the Smog Monster film from 1971. Thomas Mariani is on board to share his take of the film as well. Topics discussed tonight include but are not limited to “How does Godzilla manage to fly?”, “What is a Hedorah anyway?”, “Is that animation from Sesame Street?”, “Are those eggs, eyes or testicles?” and “Can you sing the song ‘Save the Earth’ in its entirety?” Not many films earn the “got to be seen to be believed” like Godzilla vs Hedorah does. Join The Black Saint, Doc Rotten, Bill and Thomas in the grooviest Godzilla story committed to film.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

71623_HTRA158_VV234_H_bits Godzilla_Vs_Hedorah_Hands_Up Godzilla-vs.-Hedorah-Hedorah1 godzilla-vs-hedorah-4 godzilla-vs-smog-monster-flying Godzilla-Vs-the-Smog-Monster

post

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)
Subscribe – iTunes – Facebook

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

We want to hear from you, our valued listeners: click on the Send Voicemail link on the DocRotten.com site and leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Monster Movie Podcast at podcast@docrotten.com.

MMP66-Promo

Check out this episode!