War of the Colossal Beast Review

It’s impressive that the first Colossal Man movie got a sequel but unfortunately this one isn’t quite as good. The decision to turn Glenn into a mindless monster was definitely an odd one and doesn’t work as effectively. Part of the fun in having a giant man is seeing him interact and how he adjusts to this. The first film may have been leading up into having him turn mindless but going all the way with it was definitely a big mistake.

The movie follows Glenn’s sister Joyce who has been trying to locate him for a while now. It’s actually a bit of an odd choice right off the bat. Why aren’t we still following his fiancé Carol? I suppose the real life reason would be that they couldn’t get the same actress but I feel like that wouldn’t have been a big deal. Either way Joyce functions in pretty much the same way as it’s her turn to play detective this time. She does well in tracking Glenn’s possible whereabouts until she actually gets to the right place.

Ultimately there isn’t a whole lot she can do to stop him but she gets the government on the trail so that they can capture him. Unfortunately a cure will be difficult as always so they are basically delaying the inevitable as he is still a big threat that could hurt just about anyone. The government’s main liaison this time is Mark and he makes it clear that the army will take care of Glenn if he poses a threat. So getting them involved was a bit of a risk but it was still Joyce’s only realistic option. Otherwise Glenn was already being a threat anyway.

Again this is weakened by the fact that he is so mindless now though. He can only just roar endlessly the whole time so there is no chance for dialogue or anything like that. He’s just completely lost his mind and that doesn’t make for an interesting villain. You could only pull that off if this was a creature with a really cool design, but a giant human? No shot at making that work out, it’s just not in the cards. Also I thought the design wasn’t as good. In this film they try to show that he’s deteriorated a bit due to the accident from last time but also the radiation. So now part of his skull is showing at all times and so he looks rather beat up. It’s more on the gruesome angle than actually looking really cool though.

The other characters are decent enough. Mark does well in his role and he seems like a good guy. There is a limit to how much he can actually do here but at least he is trying the whole time. It would have been easy to have just ditched Glenn to his fate but he is actually trying to make things work out for everyone. Then you have Dr. Carmichael who is like pretty much every other doctor in these old films. He seems reasonable enough but can’t really work miracles.

I actually liked this old guy who appeared at the start of the film as his driver got scared by Glenn so he had to find the kid. This was really just a way to kick the film off so he doesn’t have a big role or anything but I liked his energy. The guy was determined to get his money back and sue if needed. The kid who got scared was more on the annoying side. I thought all the scenes of him being too afraid to talk at all were really overblown. The movie just had a super slow start as a result and once we got to move past that it was for the best.

The movie still has good writing like the first film but around the board it’s just a bit weaker. The pacing only gets good after the opening scenes and of course Glenn is a big step down with how mindless he is. I definitely would have liked for him to have still had his character. Then the cast as a whole would be a bit weaker although it’s close. So with all of that going against it, there was never any chance that the movie could have beat the original. That wasn’t going to happen but I would still call it a good movie. If you ignore that the first one exists, then it is a perfectly serviceable title.

It doesn’t do anything special but it makes no big mistakes. There’s no moment where you’re really shaking your head here and that’s the positive point of making what I would call a very safe film. You’re not taking any risks or putting yourself out there so the floor is stable but the ceiling may just not be as high. You’re not going to score an 8 with this approach but you won’t likely score a 4 either. It just puts you in an area with smaller variety.

As a final note, it’s a little hard to believe that the Colossal Man was able to hide for so long though. Again, remember that he is basically mindless and he is absolutely huge. Where was he hiding for so long? It was clearly long enough where the government thought he was dead and nobody believed the giant guy could be around. It just strikes me as unlikely that this guy could be slipping around, even if there weren’t security cameras and such back then. They probably should have just said he could shrink or something but of course then it would be a whole new movie. Only other option would be to have this film take place a little sooner, like the next day or something. Even then I question how he made the trip over to Mexico undetected unless he can breathe underwater.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this film if you’re up for a fairly generic creature feature film. This one does have more action than the first so you will actually get to see the Colossal Man in action. It helps to counter the fact that it loses in virtually all other areas. It has less replay value than the first one without a doubt but it still gets enough right to be worth a watch. It has actual flashbacks to the first movie which is nice for continuity. So because of that I would recommend watching the first title before this one. They may be good as stand alone adventures but it still feels like you would get the added boost by watching the first one before this. It may make you end up comparing them a lot but that will just have to be unavoidable here.

Overall 6/10

The Amazing Colossal Man Review

It’s time for a creature feature film of sorts even though there isn’t actually a Kaiju here. The movie just falls into that kind of style and it works well. The movie’s very low key and slowly builds towards the end but so long as you’re fine with not really seeing the Colossal Man get any action for a while then you’re going to be in for a good time here.

The movie starts with Glenn and the rest of the army awaiting a big army test. They’re testing a powerful bomb/weapon so nobody is to get close. Unfortunately, Glenn notices that there are some civilians in the line of fire after a plane goes down so he dashes over but gets hit by the radiation. This causes Glenn to start growing to an incredible size. The plus is that this heals all of his burns like a sort of regeneration but the downside is that his heart isn’t growing fast enough and he’s also turning insane. Is there any way to save Glenn or is this game over for him?

His fiancé Carol tries her best to help Glenn out but the main issue in the film is that there isn’t really a way out. There is seemingly no cure that will work in time and in the meanwhile Glenn is in constant pain. I think that’s part of what makes this one of the roughest trials for a lead here. It’s a pretty hopeless situation even if he wasn’t going crazy. Of course if he could have helped them that would be great but he lasted a while before cracking and it wasn’t really doing much.

I can’t say that I liked Glenn much by the end though. Even if turning giant was part of the issue, it would have been good if he could have stayed strong. Maybe have the government start acting shady which is what gets him to start being a little paranoid and you go from there. It would definitely help him out as a main character and make him more sympathetic towards the end.

There are two main adults on the government side in Paul and Eric. They try to help manage the Glenn situation but I wouldn’t say they do a terrific job. Part of why Glenn cracks is because nobody is really telling him much. Sure, they do tell him stuff like they’re looking into the issue and all that but nothing concrete. After a while it’s clear to him that they’re leading him on and I don’t think he’s totally wrong about that. Any cure would be a longshot and might not even make it in time.

I also think using a circus tent as a base probably wasn’t the best idea to his already damaged psyche. Surely there could have been other large areas to use that wouldn’t have been quite as insulting to the guy. If the film could have used any extra boost though, it’s that I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Colossal Man destroy more buildings and such. The actual destruction is kept fairly minimal probably so the film wouldn’t make Glenn seem too irredeemable.

This is also probably the kind of film that would be more difficult to execute in a modern setting. As the film is low key it can only really work with the dialogue being up to par. Of course a modern film would likely add a lot of action which would make the point moot as that’s another way to succeed but if you’re going to do this through pure dialogue then you need the old way of speaking like in this film. Then with that you’re all set for action.

Of course a modern element that could work would be for Carol to have a more active role in the story. Something beyond just walking around and asking for questions about Glenn. Not that she didn’t do a good job with this but it’s still a more passive role as opposed to her knocking out some guards to find him or something like that. I suppose it’s nice that the government wasn’t evil in the end this time though.

I absolutely would not want the job of feeding the Colossal Man though. I was even a bit surprised that the guy escaped with his life since it really seemed like he could be squashed at any second. Glenn was definitely not playing around by this point and was pretty much all gone. The ending underscores why he was ultimately not a huge thread though. At the end of the day unless you’re bullet proof then there is only so much damage that you can pull off. In a way the government could have stopped him at any time and you the viewer knows it.

Overall, The Amazing Colossal Man is a pretty good film. I wouldn’t call it amazing or anything but it gets the job done and follows the classic formula of a creature feature. In fact it’s so direct that there isn’t a whole lot to discuss compared to other films. You could probably guess most of the story beats just from the title without even watching the film. The writing is solid and the character cast is good which makes for a solid combo. The movie goes by quickly and has a good amount of replay value. You’ll definitely want to go into this expecting more of a drama film than an action one but as long as you go in with that mindset then you’ll be all set.

Overall 7/10

The Monster That Challenged the World Review

It’s time for a very classic creature feature kind of movie. You can bet that you won’t be seeing anything that really changes the world here but it’s a simple film that does tackle its themes well. It executes without making any real mistakes and at the end of the day that’s exactly what you want to see from a movie like this. The human characters are all solid but very forgettable as they don’t have much of a personality. How are they solid then? Well, the writing in the film is really good so each character talks very professionally and to the point, they just feel more like the film itself than individuals.

The movie starts with the creature taking down a bunch of civilians but is ultimately low diffed by a guy with a harpoon. They take the body back to the lab where it is studied by the government and the concerning thing isn’t the creature itself, but the fact that it can rapidly multiply. One scientist even says that at this speed it could even end up threatening the entire planet! This is clearly not a threat to sneeze at but what can the humans possibly do about it?

When you have a monster film about quantity over quality it is always a pretty interesting change in dynamic from the one giant monster approach. After all if you have one big monster then it stands to reason that the humans are absolutely doomed and will need big bombs. When it’s a lot of smaller ones, the fear is that they will ultimately overpower you. I tend to prefer the one big monster approach but both can work. I do think the monster should have looked a little stronger though. Losing to a single guy with a stick? That’s just not very impressive even if the eye is a weak point. It just doesn’t feel like enough to make you feel scared as the audience even with a swarm of them.

The design is good though. I do like how the creature looked so I’ll give the film props there. The movie still does have a good amount of tension too. I wouldn’t call it scary in the slightest or anything like that but it does get the danger element across. You fully understand that at this point the humans have to band together to stop it or they will absolutely be conquered. There’s no other way around it.

Now as for the humans, well like I said they’re not super memorable. You’ve got Gail who helps a lot with the research and keeping things on track. She’s good and stays on task at all times. Without her the characters would not have been updated enough to stop the monster. Then you have her daughter Sandy who unfortunately ends up messing things up on multiple occasions. At least it was to help the Rabbits but it just reminds you why the kids tend to get in the way for things like this. They don’t understand the stakes and as a result they end up getting in the way.

Then there’s general Twill who is the main army guy here. He always acts rather serious but deep down he’s a nice guy and all of that jazz. The film tries to throw in a bit of a romance here which doesn’t work at all. It’s all a little too fast and doesn’t really add onto the film at all. It’s another instance of just being there to check off the box of having romance but doesn’t really fall into place.

I don’t believe the movie is very long and I can certainly confirm that it doesn’t feel long. It’s over very quickly and so I guess what you can say as a negative is that it won’t feel very memorable. It’s really like many other creature feature films that you would have seen before. It’s not really trying to do anything different at all. It just follows the motions from start to finish but because it was executed well, I didn’t really have a problem with it. It’s still an enjoyable picture.

It plays everything very safe and so it doesn’t make any mistakes even if there are no big highs to be found here either. Whether someone is a fan of monster movies or just a good story, you could recommend this one. At the end of the day it’s about humanity uniting to stop a common threat. You get to see everyone really try to work together on this in time to stop the threat.

Now what I would have done to make this a little more memorable would have been to add some scenes to make the characters a little more dynamic. Usually this is where I recommend adding more action but instead maybe make Twill a little more headstrong. That’s a character trait that always makes a character more memorable. For Gail, I’d throw in some motivation like she wants to help out to really prove herself now that her husband is gone. If anything maybe have him stick around to get bumped off by the monster for that revenge arc. These traits may seem a little cliche, but hey it would be more than as it is currently.

Overall, Don’t let the title fool you, the monster isn’t actually challenging the world verbally or literally by being a force of nature. It’s the potential of the monster in the future which is a threat. That may not sound as exciting as he alternative but that’s just how it is here. It’s still living up to the title slightly I suppose but just not in a big way. If we ever get a remake or sequel, then they need to buff the monster quite a bit but hopefully keep the writing just as solid. Either way, there’s nothing to really dislike here so you’ll have a fun time all the way through.

Overall 7/10

Graveyard Shift Review

This is a review of the unedited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

So whenever you’ve got humans fighting against monsters movies seem to try and make the humans are unlikable as possible. Perhaps it’s so that you won’t feel so bad when the humans die but I find that it can also be a double edged sword in that the film itself can be made worse because there’s nobody to root for and you end up rooting for the monsters. Well, that’s pretty much what happens here. There’s one or two decent people here but for the most part you can see why the rats are staging a rebellion.

The movie starts off with one guy murdering a bunch of rats just because he can. It’s clear that this guy is the real villain of the film so the rats gang up on him and their leader throws that guy in the shredder. They now realize that they can fight for what’s right and seem to unionize. Well, the mill needs a new person to load up the cotton and that’s where John comes in. He’s desperate for a job and this is really the only game in town so he’s forced to jump into the mix even though his boss Warwick is suspect at best. The guy threatens his colleagues into having affairs with him and doesn’t have any morals.

When people die he just shrugs and moves on. The guy has no ethics at all but unfortunately he’s the boss. John will have to try and survive out here but it won’t be easy. The only food place for miles is not hygienic and he falls for the girl that has caught Warwick’s eye, Jane. Not it’s extra personal and the rest of the staff were already bullying John so it’s only going to get worse from here on out.

I guess the mean people just flock to this town. You’ve got bullies, a corrupt boss, and just about everyone is only looking for their own self interests. There is nobody to confide in or to trust. It’s a rather lonely experience for John which may be why he was desperate for romance but the whole romance plot doesn’t work. It’s another rebound scenario and John only just got here. The whole thing is fairly rushed. The only acceptable explanation is that he’s just desperate for any friend but even then that’s not good enough for me to give this a passing grade.

The film has a lot of issues but lets knock out the biggest one right out of the jump. There’s a lot of animal violence here as the characters are bumping off the rats. It was rather sadistic how the first guy would toss them into the shredder. From there on you can see why they’d need revenge but of course in the meantime the humans are fighting back. They throw bottles at them and lay all kinds of traps. That’s why a film where a big amount of emphasis is put on the animal is always going to end up failing. It’s unlikely to avoid animal violence in such a scenario and that’s what happened here.

While the score wouldn’t be as abysmal without the rats, I can’t say that the film would be good either way though. It’s just a very mean spirited title all the way through. John doesn’t really fall for all of their instigative actions as he just minds his business but the bullying is quite excessive. As I already mentioned, Warwick is just a bad guy all the way through. He’s not as omnipresent as most villains so the heroes can at least escape him for a while here and there but then they tend to trip and it’s game over as the rat pack shows up.

The only props I’ll give the film is that the creature was decent. They keep him in the shadows for nearly the entire film but at least he makes for a solid threat. Rats are intense in great numbers and all but it’s always nice to actually have a big villain to really unite against. It gives them all a common foe as opposed to just beating up on a bunch of minions. Also the latter would be even worse for the movie since that would mean a lot of rats would be injured.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin in trying to save this film. It just didn’t have potential right from the jump. It could have used some more action and maybe a subplot about John trying to make the town a little better. That could have been interesting and at least give the audience a little more reason to care about their ultimate survival. Otherwise for the most part you’re just waiting for them to get taken out. The characters are just so mean. Also what’s with the one guy and yelling whenever he launches his water cannon? He’s very overdramatic the whole time when he’s just shooting water.

One guy had the right idea in just walking out over the poor working conditions. Ultimately that’s a much safer option than just sticking around. Of course whether you make it out or not is always a different story since it can go either way but the rule of thumb is to never stay in a bad situation. It’s just very rarely going to work out and more times than not you’ll regret staying.

Overall, The Graveyard Shift would have been much better if it had been about ghosts or something like that. Make it a spooky kind of horror film instead of focusing on rats the whole time. The rats really didn’t help the movie’s case and it was really sub par at best. You’re definitely going to want to avoid this one. You can do better with almost any of the other creature feature films. They end up doing a lot more in terms of scares and likable characters than this one which fumbled the ball the whole time.

Overall 1/10

Leviathan Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time for a monster movie but unfortunately not one that comes close to topping a bunch of the classic ones. This plays out more like Alien than Godzilla after all. Some interesting ideas here for sure and I liked every moment with corporate but in the end this could not become a winner. Instead it is doomed to be forgotten as one of the titles that just couldn’t keep up in the end.

The movie Steven and his team of underwater miners getting ready to finally leave the submarine. They’ve been down here for months and are eager to get back to dry land. They just have to grab some more materials and then they are set. Their group is slowly starting to crack up too so this was really good timing but one of the guys gets greedy and brings up a treasure chest. It’s not just any old chest either and contains a drink that implants a monster. This creature will not stop at anything in its quest to destroy them all. Can Steven and his group stop this thing or are they about to be completely eliminated?

Now with a movie like this it’s not a huge surprise that the cast is unlikable but it’s still disappointing. There is only so much that you can do when the cast is unlikable after all. I’ll get into each crew member in a second here but Steven did not have a lot to work with. Steven could be a little naïve as well with how he thinks corporate is looking after them so he’s not perfect but I suppose he probably wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t thought that to some extent. Who would really think that corporate is absolutely leaving you to dry right?

The film is not subtle about how corporate is corrupt here. Every time Martin appears on the phone it’s to tell the heroes that there are some delays or not to worry about things. She says it all in a very fake voice the whole time though so you know that she never means it. It makes for a very satisfying scene at the end of the movie while also making her not look very smart though. Lets just say that by the end of the film she shouldn’t be expecting a warm reception and should have some kind of backup plan at the ready. Otherwise she’s just not putting herself in a good spot here.

Okay so lets talk about the rest of the characters. Sixpack is the worst member by far. He just wants to mess around with one of the ladies on the ship and doesn’t think about anything else. He defies orders all of the time and puts the whole crew’s safety in jeopardy. He’s absolutely not the guy that you want to have your back because odds are that he won’t have it. Doc is one of the main characters and while he’s not as bad as Sixpack, he’s certainly not very responsible himself.

Picture this, you’re underwater and end up damaging your suit. This is serious but you know that you have a doctor watching you so it’ll be okay. That’s when you get the call that the doctor stepped out. Really? Doc does this kind of thing a lot based on how the characters discuss this and it’s basically because he wants to drink. A character very nearly dies in the opening minutes because he wasn’t there and Doc does not care.

Doc then makes some horrible moves at the end like trusting corporate one last time and backstabbing his allies. From there I knew that he had absolutely no chance of making a comeback for me. There’s just no excuse for any of this when you’re the ship’s doctor and the one that everyone is depending on. That’s just an awful look all the way around.

Bowman was rather reasonable so she’s one of the few crewmembers that wasn’t annoying. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a place to escape to on this ship and her role ends up being rather small. Ultimately the experience was too much for her and she probably didn’t suffer as much as most of the others ultimately would. Justin was probably the most helpful member of the crew and did a lot to support Steven here. That’s why the ending feels like a bit much because of how things play out. This guy really put in a lot of work.

The movie doesn’t seem to be too sure of what it even wants to do in the end though. There is happy music playing throughout the climax even when it should be a very somber tone at the time because of how things went down and you know….almost everyone is dead. Still the happy music goes on and then we get the big punch at the end. The punch was hype at least, that’s definitely the way to end things even if I think corporate could have played that a little smarter. You don’t want corporate to win per say but just make it an interesting fight and I think that makes for a more interesting climax.

Sadly the monster doesn’t have a great design for most of this. It’s more of a Blob than anything as it controls the human hosts. Think of it like a symbiote that’s running around but instead of a cool Venom design, it’s just undead. It makes the human hosts rather warped and isn’t super fast but makes up for that with power. If it catches you then it’s game over. The shark that appears for a second for no reason had more intensity to it than the monster.

Monsters reanimating a person’s body will never be as threatening or scary because that means it’s bound by how a person can move. Switch that out for a creature that can zip around at super speeds and now you’ve got something more dangerous. It also makes for more gross scenes like when we come close to the Alien chestburst scene and just in general the humans begging to die as the alien walks around a bunch. (It’s basically an alien after all) This film very much wanted to redo the Alien story while underwater and I gotta say that it did not work. Going for an actual underwater creature would have been a whole lot better.

Overall, Leviathan is not a winner here. It starts off on the wrong foot by having a really rough main cast of characters and doesn’t get any better with that underwhelming monster. When you mix it all together, you’ve got a thriller that isn’t ready for prime time. I would say the movie for once would be better without a monster. Have them stuck down there and they have to figure out how to get up without corporate stopping them. Then you could have a good thriller story with a lot of mind games. Not sure the writing would be up to it but the premise would work a whole lot better if you ask me.

Overall 3/10

The Giant Gila Monster Review

This film came out just a few years after Godzilla which is pretty cool. It definitely didn’t wait long to try and capture that giant lizard kind of feeling. It’s a pretty good film even if the budget is noticeably low for the monster so half the time he looks like a normal sized animal. The camera angles weren’t quite clever enough to try and hide this either. The writing is strong though and the film is always keeping things interesting with a human antagonist in the mix for when the creature isn’t around.

The movie starts off with a bang as the Gila monster takes out two teens who were on a pleasant drive. This is within 5 minutes of the film starting so that’s definitely one way to make your Kaiju have a lot of presence right out of the gate. From there we cut to the actual main character Chase. Chase is someone who really likes his cast cars and learning how to hot-wire them so they can go at crazy fast speeds. He is more responsible than the rest of the teens though and keeps them in check which is why he has the respect of the Sheriff. Initially they don’t think much about the kids vanishing and figure they may have just gone off to elope.

Mr. Wheeler insists that the sheriff does a more thorough job on all of this though so he enlists Chase’s help to figure out what happened. Part of the issue here is that the area is incredibly large and the Sheriff force is quite small. It’s really just the Sheriff most of the time which is why he needs to ask the teens for help. Another issue is that this area is really dense and hard to get through because of all the branches and shrubbery. It’s possible that the monster could have been here for years and nobody noticed.

While Gila does appear early on, it’s a long time until we see him show up again after that. The human story is good enough so you’ll stay engaged but I would have liked a little more creature action. It may have been hard on the special effects team but that would have been a really good way to make him appear more as a true threat. Then the characters would definitely not want to mess with this guy. It would probably change the film’s plot a bit since more disappearances would mean that the town would have to take things serious a little sooner but I think it would have been a good move.

Instead the film is more about showing what a responsible guy Chase is. He does make his mistakes like towing one of the vehicles before the Sheriff can see it, but he does help a lot more than he doesn’t. Chase also still manages to balance out time to hang with the other teenagers, do the detective work, while also working on his car business. He’s quite busy and we quickly find out why. His little sister Missy needed some work done on her legs so that she could walk again and so Chase has done his best to put up the money. He’s used all of his savings on this and works really hard so that he can get more money.

In short, Chase is really shown to be a great guy who does his best at all times to make ends meet and to help out. Without him the Sheriff would have really been in trouble here. At the same time I did like how Chase’s mistakes come back to haunt him later on when Mr. Wheeler gets involved. Little scenes like Chase stealing the broken car’s tires and headlights (Since he figures the owner won’t need them anymore) are brought up as evidence for Mr. Wheeler that Chase needs to be detained. It’s hard to argue against some of that evidence as well. We know that Chase was hard up for cash but theft is still theft.

Mr. Wheeler made for a solid antagonist in general. He isn’t a complete villain or anything as he just wants to find his kid but along the way he gets more and more unreasonable. In a way that’s probably how he is coping with his loss here. Wile the death happens immediately in the film so it’s not too sad for the audience, it’s certainly crushing to Wheeler as he has to start contending with the idea that his kid is dead as the movie goes on. I was almost starting to think they would find a way for the kid to have lived in the end as part of some perfect twist ending but the film doesn’t go back on that.

Chase’s girlfriend Lisa also does well here. She definitely doesn’t want to be split up at any point and so she accompanies Chase on his more dangerous mission. She helps out a lot with the nitro and also covers Missy when the bombs go off. Throughout the film she is very supportive and does what she can to help. The movie certainly knew how to develop strong characters. Same with the Sheriff who would stick up for Chase and called Wheeler out on his bluffs. The Sheriff was a very reasonable man and I would say he handled the situation quite well.

This movie has very strong writing which makes up for the monster not appearing all that much. You really get to enjoy the human characters here and their dialogue. The movie can feel a little long at times so for once I won’t say that the pacing was perfect but there’s really nothing to dislike in this film. It’s just a pleasant title from start to finish. I will say that I was skeptical about the nitro containers not bumping into each other with the way the characters had it set up though. Holding them all less than an inch from each other while driving a car? That’s not happening and I wonder how Chase thought he could have done this on his own. Seems to me like he would have been doomed there.

If the film has any negatives it’s that the songs aren’t very catchy. It’s definitely going for a very old beach movie kind of vibe which makes sense since this was the era but the songs haven’t aged really well. The actual soundtrack was really impressive though. There was a Twilight Zone kind of theme that would play every now and again that I thought was really solid. It helped build up the intrigue and suspense for whenever the monster would show up or even when the characters were investigating it. That was surprisingly solid.

Overall, The Giant Gila Monster is a fun film. The effects may not have aged well but the writing certainly did. The characters are all very professional and know how to get things done. It’s hard to picture a character being quite as responsible as Chase nowadays. I could have used more monster action but fortunately the human moments were strong enough where this was able to work out in the end. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a solid creature feature.

Overall 7/10

Creature from the Haunted Sea Review

When you have a film with a title like this you know you’re in for a treat. After all, films with monsters in them tend to be fun and this one is no exception. A whole lot happens throughout the movie so while it is fairly short, it doesn’t really feel that way. Roger Corman’s films tend to be rather sub par but this one surprised me as it was actually fairly good.

The movie starts out with Capetto making a deal with some resistance leaders. He will get their men onto safe land and will transport their treasure using his boat. He’ll get a nice commission of course. The general and his men agree to this deal but what they don’t know is that Capetto plans to backstab them and take the money for himself. His plan is simple, he’ll leave traces of a fake monster aboard the ship and bump the henchmen off one by one. Eventually they will all get scared and run off while Capetto keeps the money.

What Capetto doesn’t know is that an American agent known as Sparks as infiltrated his crew and is trying to find some proof of their wrongdoing. He intends to fight as hard as he can in part because he thinks Capetto’s main girl Mary-Belle needs saving. The guy is so hopelessly obsessed with her that no matter how many times she says she likes the life of crime he doesn’t believe her. What none of these characters know is that there is a true monster running around as well.

From the start you can tell that the film is having a lot of fun with this concept. It’s definitely not a serious creature feature as even for its time you’re not meant to take it seriously. The costume for the monster is really good though. His eyes kind of pop out at you that’s for sure. He also has good gripping strength so if he grabs you then it’s all over. There is just no escape at that point. It doesn’t do a whole lot in the film at first but by the end lets just say that the body count is pretty high here.

Capetto and his crew are to blame for a lot of it as well though since they bump off a lot of the resistance guys themselves. They want the treasure after all and bumping people is really the only way they know how to get it. Capetto is a smooth customer and works well as the main villain. He is able to gain people’s trust rather easily considering that he is openly a criminal. That takes a lot of skill and intelligence.

Then you have Mary-Belle who is a reasonable heroine. She certainly doesn’t mind insulting the rest of the characters quite a lot. In particular she definitely insults Sparks a lot but it’s certainly justified since the guy is way too obsessed. He has a lot of fun dialogue as the narrator but as the character himself he is clearly too distracted to do his job properly. The guy is always messing up and if he is America’s best agent then we are certainly in trouble.

Then you have Jack who falls for one of the island girls in a subplot that seems rather pointless. See, the characters crash land on an island where naturally they meet up with an island girl and her mother. Both of them get their own romantic subplots as Pete, the animal guy also falls for one of them. Pete’s gimmick is that he can mimic any animal cry with ease. He can sound like an elephant to suddenly a giant monster. Naturally you can see how this would help the plans that Capetto had in store for the others. It also leads to a rather odd sequence of Pete and the island girl communicating through the roars. One of them was also throwing a lot of insults constantly but these guys only understand English so they never picked up on it.

A comedy/parody like this really thrives on having a lot of fun moments and poking fun at a variety of story elements without dragging on. I would say this one definitely pulls that off without issue. For starters the film is pretty short as mentioned earlier and it is very entertaining. The writing is pretty solid with some good one liners and characters stating the obvious. It can all get quite dramatic like something out of a Noir title but without earning it the way most films would.

The ending is even a little unexpected I would say. There was one character that I didn’t think was going to die in the end who ultimately wasn’t able to survive. As mentioned, the body count here is high, perhaps a lot higher than the average creature feature. The ending is also pretty cool with the monster actually getting some personality in the final shot. Now that’s how you do it.

The voices for some of the characters was also something else. The voice imitation guy for example would sound really deep at some points and then would go back to normal. I would say this was true for a few characters but mainly his guy. I think the sound mixing guy was having some fun while getting this all ready. Ultimately I wouldn’t say this is a film you’ll never forget or some kind of amazing title but it was pretty good and a lot of fun. Ultimately that’s the proper foundations towards making a good movie.

Overall, Creature from the Haunted Sea was pretty good, definitely better than I had expected. It has a good mix of humor and suspense along with an interesting cast. While they are interesting, saying that they are fully likable may be a different ball game. Most of these guys are all either crooks of desperate flirts who may as well be crooks. None of them are meant to be all that likable but at the same time the film doesn’t go out of its way to paint them as terrible characters or anything. They do murder people but by and large they stick to knocking people off rather quickly. If you want to check out a film that’s rather outside the box then this one will be up your alley. Just watch out for the monster because he means business!

Overall 7/10

Fiend without a Face Review

When you have a title like this you know that you’re going to be in for some pretty solid hype. After all, if the fiend doesn’t have a face then how are you going to attack it? Wits alone will not be enough to stop this foe. The movie has a lot of interesting ideas and while it will ultimately go down as just another creature feature, it was pretty fun.

The movie starts off by introducing us to a small town. Things were going well here until the army decided to set up shop with one of their big bases. The locals were not thrilled about this and now that people are vanishing and getting murdered all over the place, the town blames them. The army has Major Jeff take a look into this since they need to find out why people are dying. He meets up with a lady named Barbara and quickly grows to like her but is still getting verbally attacked by the townsfolk.

Now the stakes are higher, if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this then he will never get to be with her. Fortunately there is a suspicious scientist named Walgate who may know more than he is letting on. Jeff will need to keep his guard up though or else he will be buried along with the rest of the town’s secrets.

Jeff is a perfectly reasonable main character. I would say that his romance plot starts a little too suddenly for me to take it all that seriously though. The guy falls for Barbara within a few seconds which will make you shake your head a bit. Keep in mind that he is investigating a lot of murders so he should have too much on his mind for that. He also gets a little sloppy when he enters an abandoned tomb on his own.

Remember, the whole town can’t stand him and one guy even started a fight. So you really shouldn’t be taking crazy chances on your own. Fortunately Barbara and his army partner find him but the guy nearly died. At least he is a good shot though which comes in handy near the end of the film. Then you have Barbara who is a good heroine. She does have a tendency to panic a lot like some of the more retro heroines. It would be nice if she had fought more against the monsters but she tends to lose the battle the instant it starts.

As for Walgate, he’s easily the worst character in the film. I would call him a full on villain even if he tries to play the whole “I didn’t mean it” card. The guy actively tried to murder Jeff and there’s no way to talk his way out of that one. Walgate panics a lot and you wonder what the point of his experiments was anyway. Either way he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to regret things.

As for the creatures themselves, I have to say that their character designs are spot on. Basically they’re brains that are floating around with a spinal cord as a tail of sorts. It’s a very unique design and one that you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. Now I will say it may not be a very intimidating design but they have a very solid gripping strength. Once they have you around the neck it’s basically game over.

They aren’t quite bullet proof though so once the army is ready for them then things go a bit differently. Their main advantage was being invisible after all. Without that they just didn’t stand a chance. It can be a little violent with how the heroes shoot them though. Between the fact that it already looks like a brain as it is and they are getting shot to death, well it’s a lot for such an old time film. It’s nothing too crazy of course but just enough where you may do a double take for a second there.

The writing is on point as the dialogue between all of the characters is pretty solid. It holds up quite well which is definitely not surprising. The pacing is pretty good and the movie is always moving at a pretty quick pace. I was also glad that Jeff was able to win in the fight against the jealous townsperson as losing that fight would have been iffy. We even get a quick town hall type meeting which was cool.

It’s following a rather classic creature feature format but one that works really well as long as it’s executed the right away. This one did properly follow the steps as the monster is slowly bumping various people off while the heroes get closer and closer to cracking the case. Once they make it, you can’t help but feel a sense of triumph even if that doesn’t mean the film is quite over. Walgate is just annoying enough where you were looking forward to seeing the heroes mess up his plans. His fake politeness fits in with the dialogue but you could tell the characters weren’t buying what he was selling.

Overall, The movie is just short enough where it isn’t able to deal with the alien invasion as thoroughly as you might hope, but it still manages to make for an interesting experience. It’s even part mystery you could say as Jeff tries to figure out why they are here and how the creatures were created. This doesn’t exactly seem like something that happened naturally after all. If you like creature feature films then this is a good one to check out. By the end you will see just how dangerous the brain can be.

Overall 6/10

King Kong Escapes Review

King Kong is back for another adventure. This time we get to see a bit of a different take with him as he fights a mecha opponent without having any guest stars here to help him. It’s a fun title and I would even say that it is the best of the solo King Kong films. There’s good action to be found here and a solid amount of humor which makes for a good combo.

The movie starts with Commander Carl and his team heading to King Kong’s island after the weather and their poor ship force their hand. Kong rules Mondo Island and takes down powerful fighters like Gorosaurus and an aquatic Kaiju. He wants Susan to stay with him but she decides to head back with the rest of the gang. This allows Hu and Piranha to show up and kidnap King Kong.

This is certainly an issue though since they can now access a mysterious element that will allow them to take over the world. Carl and crew are tasked with stopping their ambitions. The easiest way would be to free Kong from their control but can they really stop the villains or will they just end up getting captured as well? After all, if the villains can even capture a Kaiju, what hope do a pair of humans really have?

Now this film does raise some questions about when this takes place. The heroes have a hovercraft at the ready and Hu was able to build a Mecha Kong of his own. So when you think about it, this has to take place in the far future right? The rest of the movie doesn’t support that but I do think it makes the most sense.

King Kong Escapes is a very light hearted film which works pretty well here. There’s a lot of fun dialogue between the characters. The film even seems to poke fun at how the main guy would usually fall for the villainess as here he couldn’t care less. Carl doesn’t even come close to falling for her trap which is pretty fun. While this is a King Kong film, it’s fair to say that the humans have the biggest focus.

The most ambitious character here would be Piranha. She is a villain who works for a government that is never named. Her people look Japanese but are stated to be from somewhere else. There is a lot of mystery around her but the issue is that nothing ever comes of it. I’m fairly confident that she is part of an alien species but at least if you only go from the film then it’s really hard to say one way or the other if that is actually accurate.

Piranha talks a very good game throughout the film but slowly as the adventure goes on she starts to lose her hype. Hu starts to call her bluff until she basically quits so she can have some tea and things really turn out poorly for her after that. Her character was odd but fun. Meanwhile Hu is a little hard to take seriously as the main villain. He wasn’t nearly as interesting and since his mecha version of Kong was getting wrecked by the elements in the opening scenes it is hard to take that thing seriously.

It’s probably good that they didn’t call this a vs film because the two fighters are just not equal. King Kong is shown to be far more powerful than this robot and isn’t afraid to show it. If not for the humans constantly mind controlling him and messing with the poor guy, it would have been a very short film. Of course, fans of king Kong should appreciate how good he looks here. The guy is definitely not taking any prisoners.

Aside from Carl and Susan, the other main character here is Jiro. He’s the first so suspect that Piranha’s group is probably not legitimate. That said, the heroes basically had to go along with the trap to try and get some info while foiling Hu’s plans but it’s good he noticed what was going on. He and Susan did well in withstanding the freeze room as well while Carl was enjoying a nice warm drink.

The writing is solid as expected and the pacing is good as the film really flows by. The action scenes are solid like with Gorosaurus giving King Kong the combos for a while. It has the feeling of an old Godzilla film but with an American touch. That certainly seems like a fitting combo for a King Kong film and it’s just too bad that they couldn’t have made more installments in the series. That may have been their chance to explain what Piranha’s group was really after and if they are aliens or not.

Overall, King Kong Escapes is a good film. I wouldn’t say there are any real issues here. I will admit that the human plots may be more interesting than the Kong stuff though even if the fights were fun. It was just nice to see the heroes talking it out with the villains and a little spying going on. The retro atmosphere of the film just makes it all flow together. It would have been nice to see more of the robot or King Kong resisting the villains more but at the end of the day I suppose mind control is just too powerful. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say it’s time to change that. It’ll be hard for any King Kong film to surpass this one.

Overall 7/10

The Crawling Eye Review

This movie’s definitely a little interesting with the promotion. See, the name of “The Trollenberg Terror” sounds a little more hype to be honest and also doesn’t spoil the final boss too quickly. Although if the poster is the same then it doesn’t matter either way I guess. I decided to do a quick check and the Eye doesn’t appear until the final 17 minutes. Of that time I’d guess its screen time is probably more like 12 minutes or less when you factor in all the planning and the ending after him. To think people said Godzilla didn’t appear much in his films…

The movie starts with showing us a mountain climbing “accident” where one of the climbers quite literally lost his head. A lot of people don’t want to come to Trollenberg anymore and why should they right? Climbers are vanishing left and right and there is rarely even a trace of them. Now, that part was interesting since they explicitly say that people always vanish entirely so I guess the alien monster got sloppy on that one?
We then get our main characters Anne, Sarah, and Alan. Alan is a UN worker who has dealt with the occult before and it didn’t exactly go very well for him the last time. It was a very similar circumstance with clouds showing up and then people going missing. He gradually lets us know more about the last incident but conveniently always waits until events happen. For example, last time he also witnessed zombie survivors who tried to murder everyone but doesn’t tell anyone here until someone is nearly murdered.

Still, while he knows that this is real, he is hesitant to actually make a move due to the fact that last time there was no evidence. Then you have Sarah and her telepathic sister Anne. Anne feels some kind of urge to want to stay in Trollenberg. Unfortunately, she is a telepath who is quite susceptible to the alien’s attacks so she keeps trying to climb the mountain where she will be murdered. Fortunately, each of her attempts are always foiled or things would have gotten pretty dicey for her. I’m glad she is trying hard but you wish she could do better. In general that’s the issue with telepaths at times.

Throughout the movie she keeps on saying things like “Watch out!” “Stop!” and things like that. The problem is that her warnings are never very specific and if you listened to them then the heroes would never make a move against the villains. Additionally, she is trying to fight the enemies on her own so of course when she tries to climb the mountain then it makes the others think it can’t be that dangerous right? Even by the end of the film she just gets choked by one of the villains so her powers never end up helping. Sarah does her best to help Anne but doesn’t end up doing much in the film.

From the main characters I would say Alan is the best one. Put it this way, he didn’t want to try and tell people or the government about what was going on but only because when he did the last time he got burned for it. So at least he tried once and in this film he punches out the villains several times so you have to give him some credit there. He is also the one who comes up with the fire bombs plan which ended up being incredibly effective as well so there’s that.

As for the eye monster…well it doesn’t look great. Like I said, he barely even gets to appear and is defeated almost instantly. I have no doubts that he is actually very tough of course but….you just can’t go down that easily. Aside from the people he took out off screen he basically beat like 2-3 people max. That’s not a very impressive number. The monster’s yell is pretty intense though, it really has quite the voice so you’ll hear it for miles.

Part of the plot here is that the monster can mind control people for a limited time after murdering them. Of course…this only works if it doesn’t rip their heads off like the first guy so again I have to admit that the first scene just seems like it’s just there for shock value. The bodies all vanishing makes a lot more sense for what the villain is going for here. The humans look terrible though as two of them lose to a dead guy with an axe. The first guy you could give the excuse of being caught off guard but the second guy? I don’t think so….

The writing is pretty solid as you would expect for a retro film like this. It builds up the suspense pretty well and this could even feel like a Twilight Zone episode. You see the fog coming over to the mountain although probably due to budget reasons don’t expect to get a clear view of it. You may be reminded of The Fog horror films but just remember that this one came first so it actually had the initial idea. That’s what I like to see, it’s most impressive.

Aside from having low screen time though, the creature should have been buffed a little more though. The main characters should not be able to push it back with a single axe. That just looks pretty bad for it and one stick with some fire at the end of it should not be enough to do much of anything. Nah..I can’t buy that. It’s a giant monster, it should be causing massive damage right? If you ask me that makes the most sense so we should have had it completely crushing the mountain and storming the base. Of course the humans would be a little doomed of course.

Overall, The Crawling Eye is a good creature feature movie. Lets face it though, the movie would be even better if the monster had gotten to appear more of course but as it stands, it still made for a pretty interesting villain. What the film should have done was just reduce the amount of time put into the intro. The dialogue is all pretty compelling but we’re here for the monster. Alternately, extend the run time of the film by around 20 minutes which should cover you pretty well on that avenue and then also get you more time for the hype action.

Overall 7/10