Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fan-made monsters

Check out the trailer for "Raki vs. Gramuda." This is the latest in a long-running series of films made by a group (TG2WAC) of giant monster fans in Ohio. The group is well known for holding "how to build a monster" events at GFest. For more information on TG2WAC or Raki, check out the TG2WAC Yahoo group.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pulgasari director dies

Director Shin Sang-ok has died. He was a ground breaking director in South Korea before he was abducted by Kim Jong-il and made to direct films in North Korea. During his stay, he filmed the giant monster movie Pulgasari. He later escaped and lived in the U.S. for years, filming 3 Ninjas movies. Salon ran a fascinating article on his abuction you can read here. Allegedly, his last interview can be read here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Roger Corman's birthday

Happy 80th birthday to the master of independent cinema, Roger Corman. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many of his giant monster movies, but others have, so here's a few reviews for your reading pleasure:
Attack of the Crab Monsters
It Conquered the World
DinoCroc (includes reviews of a few more classic Corman films as well.)
Attack of the Giant Leeches
Little Shop of Horrors

And my favorite non-giant monster movie:
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Also, be sure to read Corman's biography How I Made Millions in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime.

And finally, check out VideoWatchBlog for an updated list of bloggings about Corman today.

Carnosaur 2

The first "Carnosaur" was muddled but ambitious. It featured dinosaurs hatched from chicken eggs -- and occasionally people. The dinosaurs grew from small bitey critters to T. Rex like monsters. It featured Diane Ladd as a mad scientist who tricked the government and a corporation into backing her crazy scheme. There was lots of goo and a military takeover scene at the end.

"Carnosaur 2" loses all of that. In fact, the only references to the first film is a huge triangle cage that once held the T. Rex sized monster and a reference to the military keeping some dinosaurs "on ice" after the cleanup at the end of Carnosaur.

The movie is set at a government facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this facility are: atomic waste, nuclear weapons and dinosaurs. But the dinosaurs are on a top secret level, so very few know about them. In the intro to the movie, the dinosaurs escape and kill everyone in the place, except for Jesse -- a precocious kid who knows all about the facility -- who is traumatized by seeing his father killed by a dinosaur.

Our "heroes" are a systems repair group. Apparently, when things break down, these guys are called in. They have the demeanor of a grizzled Army troop. It makes me wonder what kind of systems they are normally repairing. The main character is Jack Reed. Actor John Savage does his best Harvey Keitel in the role as Jack takes a father-like role over Jesse. The whole movie is set in the rooms and hallways and outside heliport of the Yucca facility.

I almost can't call it a giant monster movie as most of the dinosaurs are raptor size. But in the last few minutes of the movie, we get the big T. Rex dinosaur to chase the heroes around, and Jesse has his revenge thanks to an "Aliens" ripoff and the line "Eat This Barney!"

The movie is an entertaining slasher flick with dinosaurs (which, if you think about it, so was the first "Jurassic Park"). There's more focus on character than the first movie in the series, but less ambition in what it tries to pull off.

There's few other reviews out there for me to link to. Also, there's little to say about the crew. It is, of course, produced by Roger Corman (happy birthday!) to tap into the dinosaur craze created by "Jurassic Park." This movie came out after the first movie, but a year before "The Lost World," which despite better production values isn't much better than these movies. The writer is Michael Palmer whose only other credit appears to be "Watchers III," also produced by Corman. (The Web offers a unreliable credits because searches seem to bring up medical thriller novelist Michael Palmer quite often.) Louis Morneau has a few more credits (also mostly Corman-produced efforts), the most famous of which is Bats.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Corman carnival

Tim Lucas suggests bloggers write about Roger Corman for his 80th birthday Wednesday. A whole blog tribute. I plan to do something, though I haven't seen a single one of his most famous giant monster movies. Maybe I'll finally post my review of "Carnosaur II." We'll see. But I'd to encourage every blogger to join in on the Corman celebration Wednesday!