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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The best Hammer horror films are those produced prior to 1968, after that the movies got nastier and nastier - see Jeff's comments above regarding Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed - and they lost me with their nihilistic attitude.

Part of the reason Dracula has little to no dialogue in many of the later films is due to Christopher Lee's disdain for the scripts he was given.

On YouTube? It certainly is a new day.

Here’s what’s coming…

Keeping up with the “Frankenstein” theme, next up is Toho’s Frankenstein Conquers the World and its sequel War of the Gargantuas. I have both Japanese with English subtitles (Frankenstein vs. Baragon) as well as English dubbed versions, but I haven’t yet decided which version to watch (or to watch both versions of each).

In anticipation of the upcoming new King Kong movie, I think I’ll re-watch all the others. At first I had planned to watch only the 2006 version (which I have seen only once, at the theater), but last night I started reading the 1933 novelization and that put me in the mood to watch them all.

The first movie took place in 1933 and the remake in 1977.

The new version of the original took place in 1933 and the upcoming remake is set in 1973.

That makes two “sets” of films. The new one is set in the Viet Nam era. I’m looking forward to the soundtrack album, which features CCR among others.

I may also throw throw in some of the sequels such as Son of Kong and Kong Lives!, but I haven’t decided yet.

How about the quasi-sequel, Mighty Joe Young?

I have that. That's a possibility.

I got a sort of Apocalypse Now vibe from the Skull Island trailers. They've even got the Dennis Hopper character in the form of John C. Reilly, or at least that's how it looks. Even the poster seems vaguely familiar, with the silhouetted Hueys.

Or maybe not. Anyway, I saw the 1976 remake in the theaters, and it was, of course, terrible. They cast such a ditz in the Faye Wray role. Why couldn't they have had a serious actress? It was some blonde bimbo's first movie. What was her name? Oh, yeah -- Jessica Lange. Wonder what happened to her?

The movie also had Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Rene Auberjonois (loooong before DS9). Nothing could save it from the bad special effects, though. Plus, you know, they didn't deviate from the plot we already knew, so everybody knew the ending. That was true of Titanic to a degree, but they gave us a real story with suspense in the persons of Jack and Rose. Lange did such a good job playing dumb that I really thought she was*, and couldn't care less if she and Bridges (who had distractingly large amounts of hair) hit it off or not.

(*I completely ignored Lange based on my first impression until, for some reason, I saw Frances. "My God," I thought to myself. "The girl can act!")

As to the 2006 remake, I can't remember much about it, except that I didn't care for Jack Black in the Dunham role.

There was a remake of Mighty Joe Young, too, with Charlize Theron and Bill Paxton.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The new version of the original took place in 1933 and the upcoming remake is set in 1973.
That makes two “sets” of films. The new one is set in the Viet Nam era. I’m looking forward to the soundtrack album, which features CCR among others.
I may also throw throw in some of the sequels such as Son of Kong and Kong Lives!, but I haven’t decided yet.

I noticed in the trailer that the soldier were wearing helmets and uniforms from "my" era, so I figured it was a period piece. I guess if it was set today it would be too easy to find Kong with real-time satellite infrared and blow him away with a drone. Even in the trailer, I wondered how it was so hard to kill him with rocket-firing helicopters.

Captain Comics said:

(*I completely ignored Lange based on my first impression until, for some reason, I saw Frances. "My God," I thought to myself. "The girl can act!")

I had the same reaction to her in the 1976 movie, but it turns out she was acting the part of a dummy. The first time I was blown away by her performance was in the excellent All That Jazz. She played a gorgeous woman who it is gradually implied is the Angel of Death. She managed to be sexy and very scary at the same time.

Jeff, have you considered The Lost World (1925), on which Willis O'Brien also worked? I think its final act was the inspiration for King Kong's final act. King Kong was also preceded by production work for a dropped Lost World film called Creation. Elements intended for Creation were used in it: the log scene, the destruction of an away party.

Is part of that movie still missing? Saw it years ago and the apeman just suddenly was there without warning because the scene that introduced him was long gone. I believe in the book it was a different species of dinosaur they brought back with them. In the remake Claude Rains tells us a just hatched tyrannosaurus (actually a lizard with horns on its head since they blew the budget hiring famous stars to sell the film and had no money left for special effects) will grow to terrorize civilization, meaning they were hoping for a sequel that didn't happen.

What I found interesting about the 1976 remake was it's become more obviously dated than the 1933 original. Like most 70s films it just screams "this was made in the 1970s."

Ronald Morgan said:

Is part of that movie [The Lost World] still missing?

There's a page on the available versions here. It indicates reconstructions have been made using surviving prints. Link via Wikipedia, which says the film is in the public domain.

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