Attack of the Crab Monsters Review


Whenever you see a title like this you know you’re going to be in for a good time. They just don’t make creature features like this one anymore. At the same time Roger Corman usually only delivers pretty bad film experiences at least from the titles that I’ve seen so this was really a close one. Would it be amazing, terrible, or somewhere in the middle? I wasn’t sure if I was ready to find out but then it was time to dive in and it actually worked out quite well. This is definitely his definitive title at the moment.

The movie starts by introducing us to the main cast. They’re not exactly the most memorable characters but you’ll quickly get the dynamic. You’ve got the main heroine Martha who is an experienced biologist. She is going to an island along with fellow scientists Dale, Hank, and a few other people. This group is trying to do some research on the radiation that covered this island not too long ago. I feel like they should have protective suits but I suppose at this time it wasn’t really known quite how long radiation would tend to linger in the area. Well, everything appears normal at first until it turns out that the radiation has changed the Crabs in the area. Now there are huge Crabs roaming the area and murdering people left and right. The heroes want to get off the island but it isn’t really an option at the moment because of huge storms. When you try to escape your plane either blows up or you fall into the ocean and get obliterated. Making things worse is the fact that they can hear the voices of their dead friends.

One thing that really differentiated this from your classic monster film is the whole ghosts aspect. Now it seems like there are ghosts around but there’s actually a great deal of intelligence on the crabs part making it seem that way. Here’s where things get pretty interesting. The film has an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers element to it on top of the classic Godzilla action. There’s even a bit of a mental thriller aspect here. So the Crabs have the ability to mimic the people they murder as well as hold onto their memories. They turn these people into their arms of sorts and also get regeneration. It’s sort of like a hivemind of sorts. Once you are absorbed you can say goodbye to being a good guy. It made the enemies so much more interesting than they would usually be. I mean, a giant monster running around blowing people up works well too but I just liked this spin on things.

One of the best scenes in the film is when one character goes outside after hearing his friend call out to him. Now you do have to excuse the fact that this guy isn’t very smart at all since the “friend” is saying a lot of suspicious stuff like coming alone to the abandoned cave in the middle of the night and not to tell anyone. That should throw up a few red flags right? I mean…what friend would tell you that? Well, the guy goes anyway and does the whole “Where are you” yells while looking around. That’s when you hear the guy say “Right here man” in a very calm voice as a giant claw shows up and ends the guy. It’s a pretty intense scene partially because it’s so unexpected. I mean, you know foul play was involved from the start but I just wasn’t expecting these mastermind Crabs. It was really quite genius.

Now, that’s not to say that the movie is perfect of course. The writing is pretty solid but the characters are all very lacking in common sense. You wonder how they became such top notch scientists because they make a lot of mistakes here. Splitting up, entering abandoned caves, etc. Even by the end Hank gets way closer to the giant Crab than he needs to. You could have done the plan from a better distance. Then you’ve got Dale who is always trying to keep Martha out of the action but leaving her by herself isn’t really going to help her out much. I also question the scene with the Giant Crab in the closet and his reaction. He basically panicked and ran out but did the whole “Can’t tell you what’s going on” to Martha and split. You should probably mention the Giant Crab right away.

The movie has some pretty intense scenes like one guy’s head literally getting taken out but the film’s usually not very gruesome. It can be surprisingly intense for its age but it’s nothing too drastic so you should be okay. The Crabs just don’t take any prisoners and I could have told you that. I suppose the worst thing you can say about the film is that it’s fairly forgettable. The characters are all very traditional with personalities that just don’t stick. Martha’s a nice lady who knows a lot about science but does faint if things get too difficult. Dale is the everyday man of the group who does his best to cope with the situation but tends to snap a lot. Then you have Hank who can come up with ideas at times but isn’t even the smart one of the group because everyone here is relatively smart. Then there are two sailors who are around but you know that they’re doomed from the start.

The most annoying character is easily the oldest scientist. So he figures out that something is wrong almost immediately but refuses to say anything about it. He keeps telling the other characters that they’ll know eventually but that’s not very helpful in a life or death situation. He kind of goes out like a chump too. I dunno what the guys deal was. To me it felt like half the time he wanted the humans to lose to the Crabs but when he got bumped off he didn’t seem too keen on the idea anymore. Maybe the whole thing just played out better in his head? That’s the only explanation I can think of but it didn’t do him any wonders. Makes for some fun dynamics though.

Overall, Attack of the Crab Monsters is a pretty surreal film. It works really well though in large part due to how original it is. You just don’t see movies like this with the monsters actually having master plans and overwhelming the heroes like this. The main monster basically acted like a tactical genius and I suppose it makes sense with how many people he’s absorbed. The voices added to the effect and the movie just passes by real quickly. The characters aren’t very smart but I wouldn’t dock points for the film from that. The writing is still a lot of fun and this just feels like a very balanced movie. You really can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

Godzilla Raids Again Review


Godzilla has had a rich history with lots of films and adventures over the years. He has easily become the most well known monster of all time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. He’s just too legendary at this point. Well Raids Again was one of the first films to come out in the series and it’s pretty interesting to see him back in the original days. Godzilla was still a pretty heroic Kaiju at this point in time but this was back when the government really didn’t understand him so they spend the whole film trying to bring him down. It’s a movie that has aged pretty well and gives us a lot of the fun Kaiju scenes you’ve been waiting for. There is a little less stomping on the buildings here but we still get our share of action.

The movie starts with the main characters doing a routine patrol when one of their planes has engine trouble. Tsukioka goes to rescue Kobayashi from his fate but getting out of here will be quite difficult. They have landed on Monster Island where Godzilla and Anguirus are currently duking it out. The two characters figure they should get out of there and escape as Anguirus and Godzilla fall into the ocean. The government quickly decides that they have to find a way to destroy Godzilla and fast but how to do it? Without the Oxygen Destroyer they are at a loss. Meanwhile while they focus on Godzilla what if Anguirus ends up making a comeback?

Anguirus is a pretty solid supporting character but is typically portrayed as one of the weaker Kaiju. He’s usually more of a sidekick to Godzilla compared to Rodan who’s portrayed as an equal. In this film he looks pretty good though and even has Godzilla on the defensive for a good chunk of the film. The king of the monsters just can’t shake the guy and he also appears to be immune to the Atomic Breath which is very handy indeed. Anguirus just shakes it off each time. Ultimately once Godzilla gets his bearings he is still the stronger Kaiju here though. He won twice fair and square.

This movie seems early enough in the mythos where Godzilla was more of a mindless monster and doesn’t seem to think a whole lot though. He’s distracted by bright lights and just seems to go everywhere on instinct. Even at the end of the film while the heroes are burying him alive Godzilla doesn’t really do anything to escape. He roars a bit and looks around but doesn’t do anything more than that. You feel like he should have been able to escape this either way though so I would say this was probably one of Godzilla’s least impressive appearances. He would only get stronger from here though and the movie does portray him well. It’s always fun to see Godzilla show up and I feel like we didn’t have to wait as long as normal to see him this time around.

It’s definitely good to have Godzilla showing up but that’s not to say that the human plot is bad. Of course when you’re watching a film like Godzilla then you’re really in it for the Kaiju. Anything else would be considered a bonus at best. The most important thing is that the human plot should not take away from the Kaiju one. So as long as you don’t have a bad plot in you’re good. There are two main human plots going on. The first is the prison break with the villains escaping from transit to another jail. As you may expect things don’t go great for them but it’s a pretty fun scene. They all band together for the plan and then dash like their lives depend on it. I think it does underscore why travelling in a van like that with only two guards is incredibly dangerous. If you don’t almost immediately fire off your guns then you’re going to be on the defensive.

Then you’ve got the main characters with “Mr. Groom” who are all just trying to have a good time. Things tend to end rather tragically for most of these characters. Kobayashi definitely didn’t play the ending right as he let things get too personal and it clouded his judgment at a critical time. The plan was always going to be very dangerous though so it’s not surprising that Godzilla took most of them down. He doesn’t tend to start the fights but he certainly ends them. Tsukioka and Yamaji meanwhile are pretty good friends to Kobayashi and make sure to keep on working hard. Tsukioka’s on the field so he gets to directly try to avenge him while Yamaji helped him have a lot of fun while he was around with playful banter and teasing about the secret name he had in his book.

Overall, Godzilla Raids Again is a solid film. It’s got your classic monster action at the ready and some decent characters running around. Just having a second monster always makes a huge difference in these films and I’m of the opinion that this was actually better than the original entry in the series. The film’s pacing is on point and the movie has no real weaknesses. It’s just a lot of fun and the pacing is fast so something is always happening. It’s also nostalgic to see one of Godzilla’s first suits. It’s aged pretty well I’d say and same for Anguirus I’d say as the suit looks a lot like the newer ones. He’s definitely not a character you can really afford to underestimate. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely change that and check it out.

Overall 7/10

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet Review


It’s time to look at a pretty retro Kaiju film. I wasn’t familiar with this title before watching it so it was pretty cool to jump into this world. It’s a pretty standard creature feature. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly great but avoids making any key mistakes. The Kaiju have cool designs and do a thorough job of stomping on all of the buildings. One thing’s for sure, these monsters are definitely playing for keeps!

A group scientists head to a nearby island to try and get some research for a magazine. Ultimately their head wants to open a resort and he’s not the kind of guy that you want to let down. That being said, the heroes end up with more than they bargained for when they run into the monster known as Gappa. The islanders warn the heroes not to take him away or he’ll get upset. Hiroshi and the others laugh this off as they bring him back. The President has decided that this monster will put their magazine on the map and could even be a star attraction once he’s tamed. The monster’s parents aren’t particularly thrilled about this though and head off to save him. They don’t intend to let anything get in their way. Will the government be able to stop these monsters or is it all over for them?

This is one of those films where you won’t find yourself rooting for the heroes at all. Put it this way, they’re kidnapping an animal from its natural habitat just to get rich and famous. Sure, only the President is after the money but the rest are going along with it since they want to keep their jobs so it’s not like they’re really standing up for the monster at all. If I was Gappa I would definitely be upset as well and I can see why his parents had to step in. This is one of those cases where the humans just seem really corrupt and could not be trusted. The creatures don’t know any better and were just trying to live in peace. It’s why it’s always hard to root against the monsters in these instances.

The first half of the film can be a bit slow. The Kaiju attacks feel like they don’t really start until well into the second half of the movie. The first bit has the heroes explore the island for a while and messing with each other. We get a lot of banter between Hiroshi and Itoka but you can make the case they would come out of that more as enemies than friends. Hiroshi certainly took a lot of shots at her the whole time that you can’t just wave away. If I were her I would definitely still have some issues about that. The rest of the characters aren’t all that memorable outside of the President. He’s about as antagonistic as you can get without being a downright villain. He only cares about himself and getting rich. At least he’s pretty honest and direct about this.

So what about the monsters? Well, I’d say the best way to think of them is Godzilla if he were part bird. They have the classic Atomic Breath and I would make the case that their design is rather similar as well. They just have more of an aerial base than the King of the Monsters. They also look pretty impressive as none of the government weapons is really able to do much against them. They won’t go as high tier as most of the G monsters simply due to a lack of opposition. It’s not like they had to deal with the same armaments that Godzilla has endured over the years. They’ll definitely be remembered though.

The main Gappa is still pretty young so he doesn’t get to do as much. If this film ever gets a sequel then I’m sure he’ll go around dishing out the pain to the humans. The film’s ending is pretty happy when you think about it so things end off on the right foot. The film’s only real weakness as I mentioned is that it can be a bit slow. The pacing isn’t amazing but you don’t always expect that here anyway. Kaiju films are typically meant to be slow burners. The first half is rather standard but then once the Kaiju shows up things then things get interesting. The film definitely doesn’t try to make any waves here and just goes through the motions. It does everything you would expect it to and that’s why I’d say it’s pretty standard.

Overall, If you like monster films then you should definitely check out this one. You can never have too many creature features right? I wonder if anyone still remembers Gappa at this point. Also, how come every big monster likes to start with a G? Godzilla, Gamera, Ghidorah, Gyaos, Gabera, Gigan, Gappa, etc. I guess that’s just how it goes. It does make for a pretty solid starting letter I would say. You’re going to have a really hard time rooting for the humans at all though. If anything I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re actively rooting against them. This is one of those films where the monsters are portrayed as the absolute heroes through and through. The body count is probably still pretty high when you think about it though so if you see these monsters it’s still good to get out of there as soon as possible.

Overall 7/10

The Green Slime Review


Now this is a pretty amazing film title right off the bat. Who doesn’t want to watch a film that sounds like it’s about a ton of slime? This is a gold mine and the best part is that we all know it. You can’t get around the fact that this just sounds incredibly hype. The Green Slime is not to be trifled with and it’s got a fairly decent monster design. It honestly looks more like a minion then the big bad for most of the film but I can respect it. It’s also got enough special abilities to make it a little more impressive than the average monster. Classic lasers won’t be enough to stop this guy.

So we’ve got another mission into outer space. The team is going to be led by expert astronaut Jack. The difficult part is that Vince wants to come as well because he’s always had an inferiority complex around Jack. This is for many reasons. Jack’s always been known as the best guy in town and he also used to date Lisa who is now with Vince. Vince may have become commander of the space station while Jack has been promoted to other duties but he can’t escape the man’s shadow. Perhaps if they both go on a space mission together Vince can prove that he’s better than Jack. Well, the mission goes decently well but they are forced to head home pretty quickly after some complications. The issue is that they brought the slime back with them and it turned out to be a semi sentient monster bent on eating all the electricity it can find. It absorbs energy like a sponge. Is there any way to take this guy down?

A good portion of the film is the rivalry between Jack and Vince so how much you enjoy the film will depend on how much you like that aspect. It’s pretty fun although I consider it to be incredibly one sided. For starters, Jack is actually a great astronaut. He’s not all talk and consistently makes better decisions than Vince during the film. Jack is all about following orders and doing things by the book while Vince wings it. He also never puts people in danger for no reason. Vince intentionally makes a risky decision just to mess with Jack and it ends up costing some lives. Vince knew it was the wrong decision but did it to spite Jack. That’s when I knew that he had absolutely no chance here.

Jack’s no saint though. While he and Lisa are over and done with he tries to reclaim her after arriving back on the spaceship. He knows that she is with Vince and does this anyway. Not very sporting of him. The guy’s massive confidence works against him in this instance. He’s a solid lead but that’s one part of the plot where you just can’t root for him. He’s made it clear time and time again that the job is most important to him so you can’t really get around that fact. Meanwhile I don’t care for Vince because of his lack of confidence and how he keeps messing everything up. Lisa’s a solid heroine although I think she could take a harder stance against Jack. As long as she maintains control of the conversation she can keep him at bay and that would be the best way to go about things if you ask me.

Still, while they may not be super likable as characters, it makes for a lot of fun scenes. I’ll tell you right now that the characters are a lot more memorable then you may expect for an ole sci-fi film like this. You aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. How about the monster? Well, he’s pretty much mindless if you ask me but he does land some good shots. Usually that’s because the heroes move very slow but he still gets his wins so I have to acknowledge that much. He has a Swamp Thing type design while in human form. Mix in the regeneration and accelerated growth and I maintain the stance that he is a little stronger than your average monster from this era. I’d like to see more of a wide scale invasion but the idea of having to deal with a monster while you’re isolated in space is a strong one. Who knows, maybe Alien got the idea from this film. I wouldn’t be too surprised.

As expected the writing here is definitely on point. The dialogue is pretty sharp and all of the characters try to sound very eloquent even when disagreeing with each other. The pacing is solid and the movie is just very enjoyable. I do question how the slime got past the sensors when Jack even insisted that they all get scanned twice. I think they need to invest in some new ones and quickly or this won’t be the last invasion that they have to fend off. The effects have aged pretty well and so this film has really executed on all points. There are a lot of ways you could do a sequel to this one even if by now the odds of a sequel are fairly slim.

Overall, The Green Slime is definitely a movie that I recommend watching. If you like the Sci-Fi genre or just want a tense film about dealing with a creature then this is the one for you. It’s got action to keep you entertained and a pretty good monster to work as an opponent. What he lacks in character he makes up for with pure ability. When you think of a Sci-Fi film you think of an adventure in outer space with an alien. This one really captures all of that and it’s part of what makes the film so good. It really embraces the Sci-Fi genre and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The body count does get a bit high though so you’ll definitely feel bad for the crew as the movie goes on.

Overall 7/10

Creature with the Atom Brain Review


It’s time to look at a film that gets pretty emotional for a lot of characters because the body count is quite high. Characters are going down left and right before the heroes find a way to stop these guys. The Creature with the Atom Brain is a film that’s written pretty well and makes for a compelling movie. It’s one of those films you just don’t see nowadays. I say that a lot for these older films but that’s because it’s simply the case. You just don’t have writing like this anymore which is always a tragedy. The film is a lot of fun from start to finish.

The film starts with one guy swearing revenge on the gang that didn’t help him out when the going got tough. He gets a scientist over and they quickly use this sci-fi thunder formula to reanimate the dead. These bodies now have super strength and since they feel no pain they are bullet proof as well. They aim to take down all of these guys one by one until none remain. Pretty good plan eh? Things hit a snag when Chet shows up and figures out the plot. It’s hard to get people to believe him at first, but he does a good job of explaining and it’s hard to deny the facts after a while. Well, the cops and the army are ready now but can they really stop the zombies?

I always feel like the fighters are slow on the uptake here though. We’ve established that these guys are dead so why even bother shooting them in the chest? Realistically you should be aiming for the legs so they can’t stand well. Even if they can’t feel pain it’s not like they can block out the injuries entirely so if you ask me that would do a lot of good very quickly. Also, engaging in hand to hand with them seems like a bad idea as well. The climax is fun as we actually get a fairly big action scene but they didn’t play the matchup very well at all.

There’s also a higher body count than expected. The entire gang gets wasted and then you also have a ton of innocents taken out. The villains blow up trains, planes, and whole factories. It’s crazy how far it goes before the heroes are able to track them down. In fairness, there’s not much you can do once they’re right next to you with the bomb. People were always slow to figure out they were fake though. I guess they somehow don’t see that the head has been stitched back together? The only thing I can think of is that it’s for the viewer’s benefit and in the actual movie you can’t see any kind of stitching. Otherwise that would make the characters look really bad. In that case I can blame them a little less although the robotic movements + voice would still be a giveaway if you ask me. Hey, I can only cut them so much slack!

Chet makes for a pretty solid main character. He has a lot of good plans and does think things through more than most of the other characters. The only part of his character that doesn’t age well is how he wants to keep the family in the dark the whole time. Even when his wife tries to get in on the conversation he basically tells her to go away. She’s not handled particularly well in the film as we get a random scene where she chokes on a martini. Not sure how that helps anything. I think the writers were struggling with how to write a home scene at this point but not a whole lot of time is spent there anyway. For the most part Chet is always on the case with his partner.

It’s also nice to see everyone teaming up here. There’s no bickering or characters trying to one up each other. The community is in trouble so they all band together and get ready to face off against the villains. That’s exactly how this should go down so it ends up working quite well if you ask me. Part of the fun of the film is how things are always happening. There is quite a lot of action here as you might have guessed. Nobody is really safe and the film adds some tension when the villain breaks into Chet’s house as well.

While the main villain is pretty solid, the scientist is definitely very wishy washy. The guy’s creations have already murdered countless people and now he’s starting to want to back out of this? It’s far too late for this and he should have known that it wasn’t going to end well. Look, if you are going to betray the evil organization at least do so when you are holding the controls. The guy had the power over the zombies so he literally could have had them grab the other villain first and then surrender to the heroes. The problem is that the scientist still wanted to escape so he was probably hoping the other guy would have some ideas. Well, you can’t have it both ways and ultimately that’s why he was doomed from the start.

Overall, The Creature with the Atom Brain is a pretty interesting movie. Zombies can definitely be tricky to deal with, especially when the town was not ready for them in the slightest. It just goes to show that you’ve always got to expect the unexpected. Only by doing this can you really be prepared for the big villains that are to come. I’d be down with a sequel to this. So, if you are in the mood for a solid thriller with some sci-fi elements then this is definitely a movie that I would recommend checking out. While you may be hard pressed to remember any names by the end, the characters themselves are very solid. There is even a bit of a mystery factor here as the heroes try to figure out who is behind this.

Overall 7/10

Cloverfield Review


It’s time to look at a film I haven’t checked out in a very long time. Cloverfield was definitely not a monster film I enjoyed very much the first time. I thought the party scene took forever to get through and shaky cam has never been my style. It’s definitely a little better the second time around so I’d bump my score up a bit from the first time. Ultimately this film still could have been way better if we had a standard camera and got to see it more from the government’s point of view or one main character. Think Rampage or Godzilla 1998. That said, Clover still has a pretty intimidating design and seeing the Statue of Liberty get taken down is still an iconic scene.

The film starts off with the main characters at a party for Rob. He’s finally got the Vice President job he’s always wanted. So all of his old friends are there including his brother Jason and best friend Hud. Jason is supposed to record everyone giving Rob a quick message but doesn’t want to do it himself so he gets Hud to do it. Hud’s apparently not the most serious person around since Lily has to stress to him that this is serious a few times. Still, Hud gets a few messages on board before the first Earthquake happens. The main characters head outside and get a glimpse of the monster. They all start to head out of the area but then we find out that Beth has been injured and is unable to head out of her apartment. The heroes must head back into the danger zone to rescue her. Will they be able to do this?

So the film’s main gimmick is the classic shaky cam. So Hud’s carrying the camera around the whole film which is how the viewers see what’s happening. Naturally the guy stumbles a lot and while he’s running around the camera also tends to move so it’s not the clearest picture. That makes sense of course in context but as a directing decision I can’t say that it’s a good one. It’s a lot better to have a focused view so you can really get what is happening. Part of the fun in these monster films is seeing the monster break all of the buildings. You can’t help but feel like you are missing most of the action since we’re following these characters. It’s similar to how we missed the first big Godzilla fight in the 2014 film because the guy decided to take the train and we got a big time jump. The gimmick definitely does hold the film back to an extent.

The other main thing holding the film back is the writing which is pretty bad. The characters are all introduced as being very unlikable right from the jump. First you’ve got Hud who gleefully tells everyone who will listen that Rob had an affair with Beth. It’s really none of his business and it’s easy to see why Lily didn’t want him to know initially. He basically proves her right that he’s a pretty bad person. Jason also should have known that telling Bud wasn’t a good idea and it’s not something they needed to know. Jason’s also the one who dumped the responsibility on Hud so that wasn’t good. Marlena is all right, although she’s mostly just along for the ride compared to the others. I’m actually surprised she even went with the group since among them she had the least amount of reason to do so.

Rob and Lily are definitely the best characters here. Lily was at least keeping a level head during this and was one of the first to jump in and fight the mini monsters. She was quick and decisive which is important in a crisis. Rob was also pretty loyal to try and go save Beth amidst all of this. He didn’t handle the party particularly well but at least this was a really good scene for him. If the script were a little better then I think the characters would have benefited from this quite a lot. Instead a ton of language is thrown in throughout which seems to be cliche for disaster films as everyone keeps on panicking throughout.

For the positives, Clover’s design is solid as I mentioned. The destruction effects have also aged pretty well. It’s all very realistic looking and a nice view of how things could be if a giant monster were to attack the city. Certainly it would be pretty devastating and crazy outside. Even if you escaped the borough there’s no way of knowing if you’d really be safe or not. For all we know this is just the first creature of many and you don’t know if the government created it or if it’s an alien. The film doesn’t really answer any of these questions and that’s probably for the best. The mystery and suspense is part of the fun and knowing the answers to these questions would take away from all of that. It was also nice to see the government’s missile strike to try and take him down. It did look like it did some nice damage even if Clover didn’t ultimately go down.

The atmosphere is also pretty good. The film’s pretty bleak and has that end of the world vibe without trying to get too depressing. Hud can over dramatize things at times but that seems to be his core character anyway. The smoke cloud after Clover’s initial attack reminded me of the visuals from Batman V Superman as well. You’ll definitely be interested in seeing what happens next. The ending should have had more if you ask me. There is a brief extra moment if you stick through the credits but I need more intel. They said that the area was formerly known as Central Park so are they saying formally because it no longer exists or because this recording is from way in the future? As I mentioned we do want to keep the mystery so don’t explain it much but give more of a stinger. I want to see a bunch of monsters running around or something like that. Of course, it may have made the wait for the sequel even tougher but it’d be worth it.

Overall, Cloverfield is a pretty engaging film. It does have its weak points which keep it from ranking higher though. The first person camera look just doesn’t work for movies and the writing needed to be better. The film doesn’t drag on though which is good as it’s a pretty quick film that always stays on point. The mini clovers were a little on the weak side since the heroes were able to down them but at least it helped to give them a chance while keeping in the danger factor so that worked pretty well. It’ll be cool if we actually get a sequel to this someday. The various spin-offs don’t really count to me since we haven’t actually seen what happens at the end of the events of this film. Despite the title being thrown around everywhere I feel like the other films don’t have anything to really do with this one beyond some small connections to technically put them in the same universe. If you like a good monster destruction film then this one is worth checking out. It is a unique perspective to see this from the ground level civilians as opposed to a professional.

Overall 5/10

The Killer Shrews Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film from a long while back. They definitely made quite a lot of interesting titles like this in those days that’s for sure. It’s a pretty fun film for the most part although it hits the usual snags like animal violence. I’ll give the film credit for avoiding having any of this on screen for the most part but I still had to deduct quite a few points. Ultimately within the genre I would say that this one is pretty average. It doesn’t do anything particularly inventive or exciting but I do give the film props for using an animal that hasn’t been done before. There are a lot of animals out there so you may as well give each one a movie.

The movie starts off with Thorne and Rook making it to an island on their boat. They’ve been instructed to drop off a bunch of supplies and then pick up a passenger named Ann. Unfortunately the waters have been quite troubled so they aren’t able to leave til the next day. Rook stays behind to guard the ship and Thorne heads to the locals’ home. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for Thorne to leave and he doesn’t appreciate that. After someone gets murdered and everyone starts to be very cryptic Thorne demands answers. Well, it turns out that the shrews on the island have mutated into giant monsters of sorts. They’ve gone from tadpole size to dog size. This is all due to experiments and as an added bonus they also have an incredible amount of poison in their fangs. A single slash or cut from the animal will prove to be instantly fatal. Thorne’s partner is dead and at this rate the rest of the cast will follow their fate. Can he possibly get to the boat with the others before it’s too late?

The film offers the heroes one ray of hope which is that shrews can’t swim. If the heroes get back to the boat then they will be safe. The tough part is getting there since these animals are so fast and if you make contact with them at any point then you will be doomed. It adds a nice level of danger without making the situation impossible for the heroes. You can also think about how you would have handled it. The final plan is pretty inventive. I would have been a little hesitant because I can picture them nipping at your heels but it was better than just trying to run and gun it through the forest. Everyone always seems to trip over themselves in such a scenario.

The cast can be a bit on the week side though. There are quite a few people at the hut but most of them don’t get much of a role. You’ve got the scientist who is really into his work and barely has any time to really talk to anyone else. He barely gets any scenes but at least the guy is dedicated. Even up to the end he is writing down symptoms. You’ve got Mario who seems like a nice enough guy and at least he didn’t fall for the mindgames. That being said, he still didn’t contribute much. Ann’s father is a pretty big character and he seems reasonable if you ignore the fact that his experiments are part of what got us into this mess at the start. Refusing to leave also puts everyone in harm’s way. Rook was a fun character although he just doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. You definitely feel bad for him since his death was the most tragic. If only he had stayed on the boat.

The real big characters here are the main 3. Jerry is the drunk rival who wants to be with Ann but gets dumped early on. You can’t blame Ann int he slightest since apparently Jerry tried to ditch her for the monsters at one point. We actually see him do this a lot later on as well. The guy is actively one of the main antagonists in the film and doesn’t seem to care that their lives are already in danger. He’s super petty throughout and there’s definitely no reason to like this guy. This whiny kind of character makes for a decent villain I suppose. I would have liked to have seen some characters try a little harder to stop him from locking Thorne out though.

Ann is a decent heroine. She does move on to Thorne rather quickly though so as expected the romance in this film is pretty weak. It all moves at typical Hollywood speed which is just a little faster than how you would picture an actual situation taking place. She could be a little too scared throughout the movie as well. So I definitely wouldn’t say that Ann was a bad character in the slightest but she doesn’t particularly standout either. As for Thorne, he’s a good main character. He stands up for himself against the others and is always pretty prepared. He doesn’t panic a whole lot and quickly assumes the leadership role. He wisely doesn’t give Jerry a gun again until the very end. Honestly at that point I probably still wouldn’t have given it to him because Jerry blew too many chances.

The movie’s very short so you’ll definitely be feeling how quick the pacing is. It works well since no part of the film really drags on. It’s really a classic thriller type of template. The shrews themselves make for a solid threat. They’ve got a nice design and those teeth are definitely real sharp. You do not want to mess with these guys in the slightest. Unfortunately as mentioned in the intro they do tend to go for the animals a bit which does hurt. The horse dies and even when the heroes start to destroy the Shrews that takes some points away because they look like nice enough animals. Ultimately a film about evil animals is pretty much always doomed because it’s just hard to end the threat without ending a few of the animals. The film is about as fun as your average creature feature film but this ultimately holds it to a lower score.

Overall, The Killer Shrews is a fun enough film. It follows all of the usual story beats and executes them well enough where you’re on board the whole time. I was kept entertained as the film went on. The writing was solid so the interactions never got boring either. I like the fact that the Shrews are said to not be able to swim early on in the film because it very quickly gives you a tangible goal for how this is all going to play out. The heroes have a goal and they just have to aim for it. This way the movie never feels aimless as every scene is getting you closer to the next part of the goal. If you really like creature feature films then you should check this one out.

Overall 4/10

War of the Gargantuas Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film. This one is about monsters that I’m not all that familiar with. They look a bit like King Kong but even more humanoid. The movie has a bit of a pacing issue near the end as it feels like they could have shaved some time off, but overall it’s a solid film. You’ve got some good action and the government is surprisingly able to defend themselves pretty well against the monsters. These guys definitely couldn’t go toe to toe with Godzilla, but you can definitely respect their power.

The movie starts off with a sailor getting attacked by a Giant Octopus. He is saved when a monster shows up and begins to do battle with it, but this becomes an “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” scenario as the monster begins attacking the ship. Somehow the sailor survives all of this and heads home to warn everyone else. The cops don’t buy this story for a second, but they become true believers once the monster shows up and starts terrorizing towns. Some believe that Frankenstein has returned, but his creators aren’t so sure. One thing that they do know is this monster must be stopped and stopped pretty soon or everyone will be in trouble. It is weak against sunlight so they will have to weaponize that.

Paul and Akemi are the main characters here. They raised the original Frankenstein who ultimately ended up becoming Sanda. It’s rather interesting that they call him Frankenstein because to me at least the monsters look nothing like that icon. I’m glad the Kaiju ultimately got different names later on. The problem here is that another monster known as Gaira has shown up and he is against the humans. He wants to destroy everyone and is definitely a rather vengeful creature. Akemi wants to protect Sanda but it’s a tough challenge right from the start since he is protecting Gaira. Sanda later realizes that Gaira isn’t on the right side, but it takes a while for that to become apparent.

Akemi is a solid heroine and means well. I’m glad that she sticks by Sanda throughout. She has a more active role than you would suspect. Paul is also pretty solid and does his best to help out, but he isn’t quite as personally invested in the situation. He seems to think of everything as a game with how laid back he is. That could just be his way of dealing with the situation though so that’s not to say that he was completely uncaring about how things were going. He was a good character.

As for the monsters, they weren’t my favorite ones. As I mentioned they look a bit like King Kong, but you could cross that with the Yeti. Together that really makes up the Kaiju pair. There aren’t any real differences between them except that Gaira is evil while Sanda is the heroic one. They are pretty evenly matched and get into a lot of battles. They aren’t extremely durable as the government is able to combat them, but this government was surprisingly high tech. They have a bunch of energy lasers at their disposal and endless rockets. If this was the government going up against Godzilla and the other popular Kaiju maybe they would have had a real shot. Electrifying the water was also a solid plan and they really had Gaira pinned down at that point. It is always a little sad to see the Kaiju on the losing end, but it’s handled well. If anything you’ll just feel especially bad for Sanda at the end.

The writing here is pretty fun and the Dub always makes these Kaiju films even more enjoyable than they would be otherwise. The voice acting is just great. There’s a good blend of humor here while still staying serious when the situation calls for it. The police chief breaking into the room and forcing the guy in a coma to talk was just brilliant. Characters just push themselves through situations and that’s the kind of persistence you need in order to stay alive in these films.

The main cast is really small here, but that’s fine. You’re mainly here for the monsters after all and they appear within the opening 5 minutes. They showed up so fast that I was pretty impressed. Naturally there are still a lot of moments without them, but the humans can hold their own scenes pretty well I must say. There’s also one long song that comes out of nowhere. I can’t say that it was my kind of tune, but I’m still glad she managed to get out of there in one piece. For a second I thought she wasn’t going to make it out in time.

Overall, War of the Gargantuas is a solid film. I admit that it will have less replay value than some of the other Kaiju movies due to its sheer length but it is a good film. I think the best special effect in the film was the Octopus’ glowing eyes. It really made him look fierce and that’s why these Kaiju suits have all aged well. You just can’t beat that level of detail. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I would recommend changing that as soon as possible. It’s really got everything you could ask for and while it may not ascend to the same heights as Godzilla or Gamera, it’s a great example of what a Kaiju film is. Show this to someone who is getting ready to jump into the genre and needs reassurance that the whole genre isn’t just Godzilla movies.

Overall 7/10

Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

Gorgo Review


It’s time to take a look at one of those old giant monster films that you may have seen back when you were growing up. This monster also looks a whole lot like Godzilla which was pretty interesting. The red glowing eyes make him appear to b quite sinister and we’ve even got a lot of buildings being squashed. It could be thought of as a Godzilla spinoff of sorts and I’d say that the film holds up pretty well. It doesn’t really make any big mistakes.

The film starts with Joe and Sam crashing on an island where they decide to get some fuel and supplies so they can sail off again. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy as the villagers don’t take kindly to outsiders and won’t talk to them. Joe locates the village leader who also refuses to help, but it turns out that this is because he has a vested interest in keeping people away. Joe and Sam quickly blackmail the guy out of some of his valuables and also decide to take down the famed Gorgo while they’re at it. If they manage to beat him they’ll become rich!

I actually saw this one alongside another Kaiju film which I’ll be reviewing soon. They were both pretty similar although I’d say that this one was a little better as we got more monster action. Sometimes with these films you get worried because the monster doesn’t appear much, but fear not! Gorgo gets a lot of screen time and it felt like he got to show up almost right away. Once he does appear he is here to stay so you can look forward to a whole lot of nice monster carnage.

Now, it’s always a little dicey to see humans preparing to capture a Kaiju. For one thing, it shows that they don’t even remotely fear the monster which is definitely not good for the Kaiju’s confidence. Additionally, it should be pretty hard to take down a monster like this. I’m still a bit worried that in the new Godzilla film we actually might see the government take down Godzilla early on only to release him to fight the others once the danger is near. While Gorgo puts up a good fight, he ultimately isn’t able to stop the humans.

Now, in Gorgo’s defense, he’s a monster so it’s not like he knows strategy or anything like that. There is only so much he can do once the humans have a way past his size. Gorgo has a great design and a cool roar. He’s a fun Kaiju through and through so I wouldn’t call him a pushover despite losing. It would have been nice if he could have outsmarted the humans or something, but this isn’t really that kind of film. Not saying that it can’t happen, but that the scenario was pretty unlikely from the start. There is a cool twist involving Gorgo though as nobody ever said he was the only creature out there.

It’s always nice to see a Kaiju team up and this film actually gives us one. Lets just say that Gorgo knows people in high places. The humans probably should have quit while they were ahead. I feel like the movie never really wants you to root for the humans though because it never even tries to make them all that likable. They just want to get rich, that’s basically all there is to their characters. Take the one scene where the museum guy shows up and asks them to bring Gorgo to him. They pretend to do so in order to keep up appearances, but then they head to the circus instead for the big bucks. You don’t want to trust Joe or Sam, they just want to be rich. Admittedly the museum guy didn’t seem all that smart though. I can’t think of any actual reason why they would want to listen to him. He was going to pay them pocket change, nothing that could really help them and they don’t seem like the scholarly type.

Gorgo is a pretty short film and so even with a basic plot synopsis I’ve already told you a great deal. If you like the classic Kaiju films then I expect you’ll like this one. The writing is on point and Gorgo can hold his own as an antagonist. If there is any weakness here it is in the fact that there aren’t two opposing Kaiju so we don’t get to have a big fight scene between them. That would have been pretty awesome. Still, we did get to see Gorgo lay waste to the city and that’s always a staple of the genre.

Overall, Gorgo is a solid movie. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s a bit straight forward in that you can probably guess most of the film right away. There aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns although there is one which I thought was executed really well. It’s a shame that Gorgo has basically vanished from the public eye. I feel like he had potential to be one of the next big Kaiju out there. He’d probably need some new abilities to hang with the more modern monsters, but that would be easy enough to accomplish. Ah well, odds are you haven’t seen this film yet so I’d recommend changing that ASAP!

Overall 7/10