Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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NO TIME TO DIE: We just got back for seeing No Time to Die. I'm glad we got to see it in the theater. It's chock full of callbacks and Easter eggs. The Daniel Craig ones are the five best consecutive James Bond movies (with the possible exception of the first five Sean Connery ones). 

Now that new television is over for the year, it's back to Tracy's B-movies for a while. 

THE APE (1940): Boris Karloff stars as a scientist trying to cure a young woman's polio. the townsfolk don't like him because he "performs too many experiments." When an ape breaks free of a travelling circus, Karloff uses ethically questionable means to obtain spinal fluid from one of the ape's victims, which he will use in a serum to cure the girl. When the serum is accidentally destroyed, he skins the gorilla and dresses in its hide, obtaining spinal fluid from those he himself kills while the gorilla gets the blame. He is fatally shot in the end, but not before curing the girl. It's not a classic, but is entertaining enough.

Tracy mentioend that to me.  She said she kept guessing the plot twists wrong.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Now that new television is over for the year, it's back to Tracy's B-movies for a while. 

THE APE (1940): Boris Karloff stars as a scientist trying to cure a young woman's polio. the townsfolk don't like him because he "performs too many experiments." When an ape breaks free of a travelling circus, Karloff uses ethically questionable means to obtain spinal fluid from one of the ape's victims, which he will use in a serum to cure the girl. When the serum is accidentally destroyed, he skins the gorilla and dresses in its hide, obtaining spinal fluid from those he himself kills while the gorilla gets the blame. He is fatally shot in the end, but not before curing the girl. It's not a classic, but is entertaining enough.

At one point early on, the ape tracks its cruel trainer to Karloff's office by scent, and Karloff stabs it in the back. It falls to the ground apparently dead, but the next thing you know it's running away from the house. I really question that someone could skin and actual gorilla and make a convincing costume out of its flesh, but viewers don't really find that out until the last scene. The print we were watching had some many breaks we thought we may well have missed something, but probably not all that much.

THE MONSTER MAKER (1944): This movie stars J. Carol Naish (the hunchback from Universal Studio's House of Frankenstein) as a pretend mad scientist. In Europe, before the movie begins, he is so jealous of his beautiful wife that he injects her with a serum which causes acromegaly (the same disease which afflicted Rondo Hatton, Universal's "The Creep") so that no other man would want her. After that, she committed suicide. She was under the care of a doctor, but Naish's character murdered him, assumed his identity and moved to America. 

As the movie opens, he and his pretty assistant (who is in love with him, we later learn) are attending a piano recital. In the next box, he sees the daughter of the pianist who happens to be a ringer for his dead wife. He beings stalking her and sending unwanted notes and flowers three times a day. Eventually, the  girl's father pays him a visit to tell him to stop, but Naish ends up injecting him with his formula which causes acromegaly. Because he is, supposedly, the nation's foremost expert on the disfiguring disease, the pianist has no choice but to see him for treatment. Naish's fee for curing him is his daughter's hand in marriage.

Naish has many animals he experiments on, including a gorilla, which hates his assistant. Luckily, she has a dog who is loyal to her. Hijinks ensure. Like The Ape, The Monster Maker isn't quite up to Universal Studio standards, but it is well worth watching, at least once. 

Sometimes, I feel as though you and Tracy are your own "Mads": "We'll send us cheesy movies, the worst we can find. We'll have to sit and watch them all, and we'll monitor our minds."

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: When I first saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, some 20 years ago now, I decided I wanted to read the pentalogy upon which the movie was based. Unfortunately, it was written in Chinese and never translated into English. A couple of years later, however, it was adapted into a series of graphic novels which were. There were many delays in the publishing schedule so I decided to wait until it was completed before reading. Then I had to wait until I was in the mood. Fast forward to today, when I finished reading the last volume and just watched the movie for the second time. There was a LOT I couldn't possible have picked up on the first time I saw it, and it certainly did not disappoint the second. 

For fans of the movie who are curious about the backstory, I just completed my least popular discussion ever (two views per post) of the graphic novel series over in the main comics forum.

Re-watched Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971).over the weekend.  I bet that those of you who are extemely sharp can guess what the next two movies I re-watch will most likely be.

"Sometimes, I feel as though you and Tracy are your own 'Mads'"

Could be, because the next movie that came up in rotation was...

THE KILLER SHREWS: The Killer Shrews was MST3K #407, but I have never seen that version (although I would certainly like to, now). You should have seen us watching it. We kept having to pause the playback as we would each share our own "color commentary," me from the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Tracy from the internet. I will agree (with the episode guide) that this is one of the drinkingest movies I've ever seen.

BTW (in case you were wondering), Griswold's line is: "Automatic pilot cain't play Dixieland jazz on [THEM ENGINES] like I can."  

THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE: Another "trifecta" (meaning it's one of my VHSs, one of Tracy's DVDs, and also one that MST3K has spoofed). (It also happens to be Mike Nelson's first movie as host.) I've this one many times, but Tracy never has. She said she felt mislead by the title. I told her to wait until the end credits which said "The Head That Wouldn't Die," but that wasn't the problem. It's not that the brain (or head) wouldn't die (it wanted to, in the worst way), it was that it wasn't allowed to. Tracy maintains that a more accurate title would have been "The Brain (or Head) That Wasn't Allowed to Die." 

The Baron said:

Re-watched Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971).over the weekend.  I bet that those of you who are extemely sharp can guess what the next two movies I re-watch will most likely be.

Bedtime for Bonzo and Every Which Way But Loose?

Actually, you reminded me that I upgraded my PoTA collection to blu-ray a few years back, but haven't done a re-watch since.

Tracy was hankerin' to watch the MST3K versions of both The Killer Shrews and The Brain That Wouldn't Die, so last night we watched the MST3K version of The Killer Shrews. Like I said, I hadn't previously seen this one but, based on what I read about it in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide I was expecting different jokes. Joel and the 'bots were working from a terrible, almost unintelligible, print of the film (our print is much cleaner), and many of the jokes stemmed from the fact that they couldn't understand the dialogue. 

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