Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi
Starring Tamio Kawaji, Yoko Yamamoto, Yuji Okada
Under its American TV title, Monster From A Prehistoric Planet, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster (1967) is already available from just about every public domain video company there is. Sounds like we’ll be able to throw all that pan-and-scan junk away — Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters is bringing it to Blu-Ray!
The deal with Gappa is this. It’s a Japanese Kaiju film, from Mikkatsu Studios instead of the usual Toho, that never saw theatrical release in the States. American International sent it straight to TV in 1968 as Monster From A Prehistoric Planet. It’s more or less a remake/ripoff of the British (fake Kaiju) monster movie, Gorgo (1961). In it, a sea monster is discovered and brought to London, only to have its angry mother trash the city to get her kid back. In Gappa, the monster is a “bird-lizard” — a giant reptilian chicken with green scales, and both cheesed-off parents come to Japan in search of their offspring.
As a kid, I had the 200′ Super 8mm version from Ken Films — which took the AIP TV material and printed a few minutes of it in B&W. A long way from the widescreen, color original, but since it focused on the monster stuff, I was happy with it. Really looking forward to this Blu-Ray, and a chance to see the way we were supposed to. Coming in February.
Michael J. Pollard
(May 30, 1939 – November 20, 2019)
Michael J. Pollard, who’d receive an Oscar nomination for his role in one of my favorite movies, Bonnie And Clyde (1967), has passed away at 80.
He was terrific at creating endearing, oddball characters in pictures like Little Fauss And Big Halsy (1970) and Melvin And Howard (1980). And it was great to see him back with Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990).
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Written by Leo V. Gordon
Starring Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Guy Stockwell, Nigel Green, Leo Gordon
I worked in video stores all through college. One of the most-requested movies was Tobruk (1967), a tough World War II picture written by the great character actor Leo V. Gordon. It was in Technicolor and Techniscope (though the latter is never plugged in posters).
It stars Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green, Leo Gordon and plenty of flamethrowers. It’s terrific, and I’m sure its January Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber will make lots of people very happy. Count me as one of them.
Thanks to Mr. Richard Vincent for the news.
Directed by John Gilling
Starring André Morell, David Buck, John Phillips, Maggie Kimberly, Elizabeth Sellars, Michael Ripper, Eddie Powell
What is it about The Mummy? Both Universal and Hammer created masterpieces with their first Mummy movies, but had trouble keeping things going with the sequels.
The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) was the third of Hammer’s four Mummy films, though it’s the last one to actually feature a resuscitated mummy walking around. Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971) wisely did not wrap Valerie Leon in bandages.
Director John Gilling had just done The Plague Of The Zombies and The Reptile (both 1966) for Hammer and stepped right into this one. He also wrote the script. Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant came up with a great-looking movie, which makes the upcoming Blu-Ray (early 2020) from Scream Factory so exciting. That and the sarcophagus full of extras we’ve come to expect from Scream Factory’s Hammer series. Looking forward to this one!
Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Jack McGowran, Sharon Tate, Alfie Bass, Ferdy Mayne, Roman Polanski
I first caught Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) on the CBS late show. Even though it was the butchered version (further butchered for TV), it made me laugh out loud while really creeping me out. I loved it.
This is a movie that’s been well served on video over the years. There was the letterboxed laserdisc of the original cut, then a similar presentation on DVD. I can’t wait to see the Blu-Ray, and get the chance to really study the sets, Douglas Slocombe’s camerawork, that terrific score by Krzysztof Komeda and all that fake snow. Coming in October.
Click on the Frank Frazetta poster art up top. It gets bigger.
If I had a nickel for every minute I stared at this FM cover as kid…
For their 1000th release (or spine number), The Criterion Collection has gone very big with a great big giant box of Godzilla movies. Not those new things — no thank you — but the real ones.
Of course, this being a Criterion release, you can count on each of these the films — all 15 Godzilla movies released from 1954 to 1975 — shining like a jewel. And naturally, there will be tons of extras, from alternate versions to commentaries to documentaries and trailers and so on. Does my heart good to know the work of Mr. Honda and Mr. Tsuburaya will get the level of respect these folks will give it.
The films are:
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1963, 2.35 AR)
Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964, 2.35 AR)
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964 2.35 AR)
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965, 2.35 AR)
Son Of Godzilla (1967, 2.35 AR)
Destroy All Monsters (1968, 2.35 AR)
All Monsters Attack (1969, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Ss. Hedorah (1971, AKA Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974, 2.35 AR)
Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975, 2.35 AR)
I absolutely love some of these movies. One of them I hate with a passion. Son Of Godzilla is criminally lame, and at 10, I considered it the worst movie I’d ever seen (that was before The Witches Of Eastwick). The very thought of making my way through this thing (yes, even Son Of Godzilla) makes me happy.
Stomping its way to TVs everywhere in October. Make sure yours is one of them.
Filed under 1954, 1955, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, AIP, Criterion Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eiji Tsuburaya, Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju Movies, Toho
Mill Creek Entertainment will release on Blu-ray Ultra Q: The Complete Series and Ultraman: The Complete Series (both 1966-67). These are the first two entries in Japan’s Ultra Series, and they’ll be out in October in regular packaging and some of those steelbook things (like their Mothra comes in).
Eiji Tsuburaya, the genius behind all the Toho monster effects, developed Ultra Q as an Outer Limits/X Files sort of thing — each week, a team of investigators would tackle a different mysterious phenomenon. Well, when the realized how nuts kids were about giant monsters like Godzilla and Gamera, the weekly stories were jam-packed with monsters, sometimes using suits from the Toho movies (even Godzilla did double duty in an episode).
Ultra Q paved the way for the next series, Ultraman. You see, the Science Patrol keeps the world safe from giant monsters and aliens. When they’re out of their league, which seems to happen quite often, one of their members, Hayata, secretly transforms into the 150-foot-tall Ultraman to duke it out with whatever it is that’s threatening the earth that week. This time, they went with color (Ultra Q is in glorious black and white.)
The Ultra series ran through the 80s and remains incredibly popular to this day, raking in millions in toy sales. To see these things on Blu-Ray, in their original Japanese versions, will be quite a treat. I’m ultra-stoked about these things.