Archive for the ‘furry horror’ category

Original “Godzilla” Actor Dies…

August 8, 2017


He waded out of the Pacific Ocean in 1954, and into cinematic history.  He was one of the great ones, in every sense of the word.  And now it is with regret that I report that the original actor to play Godzilla has died of pneumonia at the age of 88…

Haruo Nakajima played Godzilla in twelve films, his last outing in 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan.  To prepare for the original role, Nakajima went to the Tokyo zoo to study the movements of elephants and bears, believing that Godzilla had to move convincingly to avoid being a farce.  The suit that he wore weighed up to 220 lbs. as it was crafted in part of ready-mixed concrete.  Stomping among miniaturized sets, Nakajima suffered for his art as wearing the suit caused him to sweat terribly.

Nakajima began his movie career in samurai and war movies before becoming a monster movie icon.  Not limited to one role, Nakajima also played Rodan, Mothra (my personal favorite), and King Kong! – – Thank you, Haruo, for bringing the King of the Monsters to life!  

“Penny Dreadful” Returns…

May 1, 2016

 

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After a long hiatus, John Logan’s Penny Dreadful is returning for a third season on Showtime May 1st.  The superbly well-written and handsomely mounted dark horror show features a killer cast (heh, in more ways than one!), and is set in a gloriously gritty, richly atmospheric 19th century English setting.  In the series, classic Victorian literary characters (Victor Frankenstein and his creations, for example) meet Gothic horror conventions, and it’s all bloody good fun!

Mention of the series occurs here because there is a compelling werewolf character, Ethan Chandler as played by Josh Hartnett.  Now poor Ethan is an American expatriate in London who is being pursued both by Scotland Yard and American bounty hunters, but when his back is up against the wall or a colleague is in danger pulls off a werewolf transformation, and lays the baddies out right proper.  Ethan in the new season has finally been captured and is being dragged back to the American southwest, but likely will again use his powers to devastating effect. Tortured and conflicted, we learned in the past season that Ethan is actually the disguised Lawrence Talbot, none other than the Wolfman

The powerhouse ensemble cast includes Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm, and Eva Green as powerful medium and witch Vanessa Ives…and this season, Dr. Henry Jekyll will be coming around to help Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) with his drug addiction problem.  This is horror with a pedigree and a college education…

Roadkill Raps in Bosch Commercial!

December 24, 2015

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It’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller meets the British show Mongrels in a dark and bizarre commercial spot for Bosch’s Icon wiper blades sponsored by the Humane Society called, “Don’t Be A Roadkill Car.”  

A quintet of road-slaughtered animals brings home the message that better wiper blades by facilitating your vision might have prevented their gruesome demise.  Meet Frank the Squirrel, who peels his flattened and protesting self off the road surface to demonstrate a still impressive set of vocal chords.  He is joined by Buck the Deer, Francesca Fox, Streetz the Skunk, and a tire-marked rabbit.  I found Francesca especially compelling in how she could extend up her severed head in her own paws.  They’ve all clearly seen much better days, but are doing their best undead service for Bosch blades and animal preservation.  It’s a gutsy commercial, literally and figuratively…

The commercial/public service announcement pushes the envelope, and is likely to shock if not revolt some viewers; their performance and their singing will, however, likely stick in your head!  As a year-round fan of Halloween and horror, these singing furry zombies with a message furnished me with a perfect antidote for the Xmas merchandising we’ve been relentlessly exposed to since October…I’d buy their album!

 

“Penny Dreadful” is Dreadfully Good!

July 1, 2014

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If you have a taste for horror that’s complex, intelligently written, and well-acted you might find Showtime’s series “Penny Dreadful” a real gem! The title of the series hails from sensational serialized British literary entertainment of the 19th century that was pitched to working-class males, each installment of which cost a penny.

Now before your eyes glaze over, this framework unites classic literary horror characters of the 19th century, such as Victor Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Dorian Grey, and others all updated and re-imagined in refreshing ways. Victor Frankenstein, for example (pictured), is portrayed as a young man, vital, intellectual, and with knowledge and capabilities light years ahead of the Victorian times.  His creations (yes, there is more than one “monster”) are not mute, shuffling brutes, but rather agile and articulate if socially impaired creatures who read and learn, grow, and suffer angst; they wander about London.  We are really starting to like the second-generation “Proteus” when the first-born unexpectedly appears to rip him apart.  Characters not presented in classic literature are also introduced, such as the dark and formidable Vanessa Ives, an at times demonically possessed medium and clairvoyant who reminds me of Wednesday Addams as she might have been in adulthood; a seance scene featuring her is absolutely incredible. Timothy Dalton, who has taken a turn as James Bond, portrays Sir Malcom, the leader of a group of Victorian-era “ghostbusters” including Dr. Frankenstein who are trying to retrieve his one daughter from a particularly nasty group of vampires.  Each team member has a unique skill set; these characters could do Mountain Monsters, and actually catch and subdue something!

It’s all wild stuff played seriously, and the series isn’t for the squeamish or the young as there is violence, blood, occasional nudity, and adult themes. The Victorian setting is recreated lavishly and with attention to detail; this is upper-level television, even if death and the supernatural as art. – – What furry elements are there is all of this? Well, in the last episode of the first season that has just concluded, one character when his back is hard pressed to the wall by bounty hunters about to drag him off in chains is revealed to be a werewolf!  I won’t reveal which character so as not to spoil the surprise for those who have yet to view the series or the episode, each of which has a dramatic twist of some kind you probably won’t see coming.  

With a dynamite ensemble cast and an underlying idea that hasn’t been visited since The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, this series is great for those who like psychological thrillers and dark horror.  Catch it on Showtime, or view it on Xfinity On Demand…