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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Yeah,  Megalon is probably the "kiddiest" of the "Godzilla as kiddy movie" movies.  I've read that in Japan, cinemas used to do sort of "children's film festivals", so Mom could drop off little Ichiro and Emiko and have a few hours to herself to get things done or to just relax.  Pictures like this were probably perfect fare for something like that.

I saw Carnival of Souls a couple years ago for the first time, after a one-two punch of mentions on podcasts I listen to. The Next Picture Show compared it to A Ghost Story, and Dana Gould looked behind the scenes during his Dana Gould Hour podcast. I liked it a lot!

I didn't know that, Richard. Thanks! 

Richard Willis said:

I remember enjoying the Raymond Chandler book Lady in the Lake and being disappointed by this 1946 movie. Something I didn't know: Most of Chandler's novels were reworked from his earlier short stories.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Chandler_bibliography#Novels

It was pointed out somewhere that this movie was inspired by the classic Twilight Zone episode The Hitch-Hiker (season 1 episode 16).

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I saw Carnival of Souls a couple years ago for the first time, after a one-two punch of mentions on podcasts I listen to. The Next Picture Show compared it to A Ghost Story, and Dana Gould looked behind the scenes during his Dana Gould Hour podcast. I liked it a lot!

CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA: This is a 1961 horror/comedy directed by Roger Corman. It is a b&w Cold War mash-up parody of spy and monster movies. It takes place after the Cuban Revolution and deals with and American secret agent who has infiltrated a criminal gang trying to transport an exiled Cuban General, his entorage, and a large amount of gold out of Cuba. The Cubans outnumber the criminals. who want the gold for themselves. The criminals plan to do away with the Cubans one by one during the night and blame their disappearances on a mythical sea creature they made up. Little do they know, the sea creature is real.

It took me 15 or 20 minutes to determine this was a comedy, rather than simply a hopelessly inept movie. It tries so hard to be funny, that sometimes it actually is. I blame the muffled sound on my version as to why it took me so long to figure out it was tongue-in-cheek, but these 25- and 50- and 100-movie packs aren't generally known for being digitally remastered. Apart from the bad sound quality, this is actually an amusing little film (in the MST3K vein). 



Jeff of Earth-J said:

It took me 15 or 20 minutes to determine this was a comedy, rather than simply a hopelessly inept movie. It tries so hard to be funny, that sometimes it actually is. I blame the muffled sound on my version as to why it took me so long to figure out it was tongue-in-cheek, b

In all fairness (and a certain epic at a skid row florist's aside), it can be very difficult to know with any given movie if Corman was being serious or tongue-in-cheek. Few filmmakers have occupied the space of "yeah, whatever. It'll sell" like Roger.

According to Wikipedia: "The film was shot in Puerto Rico back-to-back with Last Woman on Earth and Battle of Blood Island, two other Corman productions, from a script that previously had been filmed as Naked Paradise and Beast from Haunted Cave. Charles Griffith rewrote the script to accompany both the locations where Corman was shooting and a comedic storytelling approach as opposed to the previous versions of the script, which had been straightforward.

"In 1959, following the completion of the Little Shop of Horrors, Roger Corman assembled a small cast and crew and arrived in Puerto Rico to direct Last Woman on Earth and produce a World War II film titled Battle of Bllood Island. According to Corman, "I had discovered that tax incentives were available if you 'manufactured' in Puerto Rico. That included making movies." When Corman still had unused footage left over from The Last Woman on Earth, he decided to make another film."

The Last Woman on Earth will be coming up in queue one of these days.

An excerpt from the Wiki page for the original (1960) Little Shop of Horrors.

Produced under the title The Passionate People Eater, the film employs an original style of humor, combining black comedy with farce and incorporating Jewish humor and elements of spoof. The Little Shop of Horrors was shot on a budget of $28,000 (about $240,000 in 2019), with interiors being shot in two days utilizing sets that had been left standing from A Bucket of Blood.

Little Shop of Horrors is in queue, too.

Just watched Purple Noon, a French film from 1960, directed by René Clément. It's a terrific movie -- a compelling adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, and a fascinating debut for the ever-charismatic Alain Delon. The movie is beautiful from top to bottom -- Italy is sun-drenched and gorgeous, the fashions are flattering, Marie Laforet is lovely, and Delon himself is a dreamboat (but don't get on a boat with him).

I'd seen the 1999 version of this movie when it first came out, and it's funny -- while Matt Damon is a left turn from Delon, there are times in this film where Maurice Ronet looks just like I remember Jude Law in the Greanleaf role (in the book and the 1999 movie, he's Dickie Greenleaf; here, his name's Philippe).

Good. I have only seen the play. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Little Shop of Horrors is in queue, too.

Watching Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula again was an experience. When I saw it in the theaters -- probably on the night of its release -- I was kind of cool to it. It didn't meet my expectations, whatever they were at the time. And Keanu was wooden. (He still is, in this; that hasn't changed.) Parts of it have been a running joke between my friend and me for almost -- holy cow! -- 30 years. And yet watching it now?

I kinda love it. Like, unironically, hold-it-close-and-drink-its-blood, LOVE it. 

It's so stylish and florid and over-the-top in every way. But why did we need a top, anyway? This is Dracula, for pete's sake! Pull out all the stops, drive in all the stakes, and throw the heads of the brides in the river. Go mad. It's worth it.

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