And now, the B-Masters pay tribute to that special effects with is almost a sine qua non of sci-fi and horror: The man in the creature suit. Be it alien, mutant, or monster undefined, the arm-waving raaaahring of such under-appreciated thespians was for decades — and to some degree, still is today — the only way that outlandish beings beyond or normal experience could be realized on film. We salute the creature suits and the men (and women) who worked inside them.

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Teleport City Hanuman and the 7 Ultramen When I’m writing about a movie, I’m much less interested in telling you how good or bad it is than I am in justifying the time I spent watching it. As such, I’m looking for those points of interest — either contained in the film itself or in the circumstances of its production — that will make the whole endeavor seem worthwhile. Providing a break from the rigors of that approach are those occasions on which I encounter films whose WTF quotient is so high that they exist on a plane beyond simple judgments of good or bad — the mystery of whose very existence overshadows any questions of quality. Hanuman and the 7 Ultramen is such a film.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Robot Monster (1953) What lifts Robot Monster up from a position in the Bad Movie Hall Of Fame into the more rarefied atmosphere of the Truly Great Bad Movie is not merely that it gives us a space robot in the form of an obese gorilla with a diving helmet on its head, but rather that it gives us a space robot in the form of an obese gorilla in a diving helmet who (i) gets the hots for a human female and (ii) spouts existentialist philosophy at the drop of a hat.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Gojira (1954) Gojira really is unique. No other anti-nuclear film is so accessible, so easy to love; no other “monster movie” is so profound. None of Godzilla’s progeny, and they are legion, can touch their old man.
Teleport City The Maze There are a lot of times when I don’t remember a movie (sometimes mere hours after watching it), but I remember a particular scene or vague theme from the movie. All I could remember about Treasure of the Four Crowns was the scene where fireballs on ridiculously visible wires were flying around. With Sword and the Sorcerer, it was “guy falls into room of naked women” and “guy makes witch’s chest explode, then catches her heart.” Although there are many times when I remembered both the scene and the title of the movie, there are many other times when I have no recollection at all of the film’s title. It is in these instances that the Internet has proven to finally be worth all the trouble. Thousands and thousands of years of social and technological evolution finally lead to the moment when I can look up “screaming banshee on moors” and find out in which movie it appears. And the internet was there for me again, very recently, when I was trying to remember the title of a movie about which all I could recall was, “frog man in center of hedge maze.”
Teleport City The Seventh Curse If you’ll pardon my very clumsy analogy, The Seventh Curse is a bit like the blood curse in the movie. Once you have seen this film, it slowly infects your whole body, and while your veins don’t explode, there is a certain amount of ‘verbal’ eruption. I have told so many people about this film since I have seen it. I just want to infect everyone with it’s dynamic exuberance. And I hope by reading this review, that some of that ‘infection’ has rubbed off on you. If you haven’t seen The Seventh Curse, track down a copy, switch on your lava lamp, pull up your candy coloured beanbag, pour yourself a decent measure of Scotch (you’re gonna need it) and prepare to be thoroughly entertained!
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Bog There’s no getting around the fact that Bog is a silly, ineptly made film, and at times it’s an awfully tedious one, too. But because it’s also one of those movies in which virtually everything seems subtly out of whack in ways that ordinary forms of badness can’t explain, I find myself positively disposed toward it nonetheless
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Gamera vs. Gaos Again relying upon Eiichi’s teratobiological insights— in this case, that Gyaos drinks blood and flies in such rigid patterns as to suggest that he’s terribly susceptible to dizziness— Murakami devises the following astounding plan: the revolving restaurant atop the hotel where the army’s anti-Gyaos task force is headquartered will be modified to spin at about 30 revolutions per minute, and have its roof converted into a fountain for synthetic blood. Gyaos will smell the blood-substitute, perch on the roof of the hotel to drink, and become so woozy that he’ll be unable to fly home to his cave before the sun comes up.
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Rawhead Rex I can certainly understand Clive Barker’s objections to Rawhead Rex. If I had written the screenplay (or even just the source story), I’d probably be pretty pissed, too. There was some serious, thoughtful stuff in there, wedged in between the mutilations and beheadings and interspecies golden showers, and much as he had done the year before with Barker’s script for Transmutations, director George Pavlou failed to understand the meaning of any of it. But despite that writerly empathy, I am unable to join Barker in condemning the film.
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Warning from Space Warning from Space begins with an obviously alien spacecraft in orbit around an obviously alien world. The ship resembles nothing so much as an orgy among bugles; the creatures aboard it are like Patrick the starfish if “Spongebob Squarepants” had been produced in the 70’s by Sid and Marty Kroft, except that they each have a single luminous eye instead of a complete face. (They’re also not wearing swimming trunks, but you probably guessed that all by yourselves, right?)
Cold Fusion Video Guyver 2: Dark Hero Although it lacks the, ahem, “star power” of the first movie (and boy, you really know your audience when you cast Mark Hamill, Michael Berryman and David Gale in the same movie), this live-action sequel may be better. Or at least more entertaining, which technically isn’t the same thing, but who cares? We’re talking about movies which proffer as their main attraction stuntmen in rubber suits beating on each other.
Gangrene Widescreen Shriek of the Mutilated Stupid yeti.
Braineater Octaman As he comes wading out of the river, we get our first good look at the monster suit… and we see that calling him “Octaman” is an act of charity. Two of his, ahem, “eight” tentacles now function as bipedal legs, with the ends of the tentacles bent forward like feet. Very much like feet. Two more of these tentacles are vestigial, extending from just behind and below the knee — or what would be the knee on a human being, if you get my hint. Of the remaining tentacles, the two in front seem fully functional, almost (ahem) like human arms; while the two growing out of his back merely hang like lifeless pieces of rubber
Braineater The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues We’re about a minute and a half into the movie, and we’re already getting a clear glimpse of the monster; that’s never a good sign. It’s still less encouraging to see a monster suit as awful as this one. It looks as if someone’s totally misunderstood the concept of “sea lion” and merged Bert Lahr’s costume from Wizard of Oz with the Creature from the Black Lagoon. As usual for monsters of this sort, it is a biped — surely the worst kind of adaptation for a sea creature — and as a result, its mobility is so poor that almost everyone who comes into contact with it is able to swim away to safety. The only way it manages to overcome its victims is by sneaking up on them, after which they are probably so overcome with laughter that they’re easily subdued.
Teleport City War Gods of the Deep If the world was just and kind, then the sentence, “It’s a movie where Vincent Price stars as a madman who rules over an underwater society of fishmen prone to kidnapping scantily clad beautiful women,” would indicate the existence of probably one of the greatest films ever made. But the world is often cold and heartless and it often enjoys toying with us mere mortals as did the petty and jealous Greek gods of old. Therefore, the sentence, “It’s a movie where Vincent Price stars as a madman who rules over an underwater society of fishmen prone to kidnapping scantily clad beautiful women,” does not indicate the existence of one of the greatest movies of all time, but instead, indicates the existence of a shocking dull film in which Vincent Price sits in a cave while a couple stiffs run around in tunnels, and then some stuff blows up at the end. This, sadly, is the fantasy world conjured up by the lackluster War Gods of the Deep.


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