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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Thanks for posting a link to that article, JD. I really enjoyed reading it.

“It's a truly terrible movie, one tier above the Ed Wood oeuvre…

I was going to make the comparison to Ed Wood yesterday but forgot: not even “good” Ed Wood, either (such as Plan 9), but really awful Ed Wood (such as Orgy of the Dead).

“The titular monsters finally have two brief confrontations at the end… [with] a different actor as the Monster.”

That explains why the credits listed actors for both “The Monster” and “The Creature.” I had wondered about that.

JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER: It’s difficult to fit this movie into the Frankenstein family tree. It’s been some time since I’ve seen this movie, but prior to re-watching it last night, I had fancied Maria Frankenstein to have been the previously unknown daughter of Henry Frankenstein, brother to Wolf and Ludwig (of the Universal Studios pictures). But Maria is actually the granddaughter of the monster-maker. Furthermore, she has an older brother, Rudolph.

Complicating the matter is the fact that “Grandfather Frankenstein” experimented with a number of artificial brains, the last of which she is using in her own experiments. Maybe she’s the daughter of Wolf or Ludwig, but Henry (in this scenario) didn’t use artificial brains. Neither did Wolf or Ludwig, for that matter. Furthermore, she says her parents were too timid to experiment, so that means “Grandfather Frankenstein” had to have been Wolf or Ludwig’s son, making Maria and Rudolph Henry Frankenstein’s great-great grandchildren.

On the other hand, Maria and Rudolph mentioned having fled from Vienna, so it’s possible they are simply descended from the “Viennese branch” of the Frankenstein family tree.

Didn't The Bride have an artificial brain made by Dr. Pretorius?

How far does this push the original film back to? Long before Shelley wrote her novel.

Reconciling Frankenfilms is a thankless and impossible task (even Universal's timeline doesn't hold up),but perhaps she has faulty information? Maybe these were Pretorian brains? Perhaps Wolf or Ludwig did some brain-making in their spare time?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER: It’s difficult to fit this movie into the Frankenstein family tree. It’s been some time since I’ve seen this movie, but prior to re-watching it last night, I had fancied Maria Frankenstein to have been the previously unknown daughter of Henry Frankenstein, brother to Wolf and Ludwig (of the Universal Studios pictures). But Maria is actually the granddaughter of the monster-maker. Furthermore, she has an older brother, Rudolph.

Complicating the matter is the fact that “Grandfather Frankenstein” experimented with a number of artificial brains, the last of which she is using in her own experiments. Maybe she’s the daughter of Wolf or Ludwig, but Henry (in this scenario) didn’t use artificial brains. Neither did Wolf or Ludwig, for that matter. Furthermore, she says her parents were too timid to experiment, so that means “Grandfather Frankenstein” had to have been Wolf or Ludwig’s son, making Maria and Rudolph Henry Frankenstein’s great-great grandchildren.

Starting now and continuing for several weeks, my “What Comic Books Have You Read Today?” and my “Movies I Have Seen Lately” and my “So, What Are You Reading These Days (besides comics?” posts will begin to overlap somewhat.

KING KONG (1933): One of my favorites for as long as I can remember. My nephews lived in a different state than I did when they were growing up, and I missed the opportunity of schooling them in the classic movie monsters (Frankenstein, King Kong, Godzilla, etc.) when they were at the proper age to appreciate it best, but I thought I had a second opportunity with my wife’s friend’s son about 10 years ago. I knew her son was not being properly schooled in the classics, either, because his mom had heard of neither Buddy Holly nor Curly Howard (to name two).

I had a restored version, and I offered to show it to them one night. I perhaps oversold Willis O’Brien, because the mom worried that it might be too “intense” for her nine year old. I assured her it would not. Later, when Kong makes his first appearance through the trees, she actually laughed! Philistine.

NEXT WEEK: I will cover Donald Simpson’s comic book adaptation.

Jeff of Earth-J said (p.216):

I am aware of Creation, but I don't currently own a copy of The Lost World.

Since The Lost World is reportedly in the public domain copies of it can be found online. But the versions may be taken from reconstructions, and I don't know whether they are in the public domain.

The climax of King Kong might also show the influence of the climax of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), which was modelled after the climax of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920, and in the public domain). On the other hand, the gorilla abduction trope goes back at least to Tarzan of the Apes (1912, illustrated here by Hal Foster in nos 43-44), and I would guess further. And it was apparently used in Ralph Spence's play The Gorilla and its film versions. (It's there in the publicity!) It also appears in the 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Gorilla Mystery.

According to Wikipedia, King Kong Escapes was based on the TV cartoon The King Kong Show. I just learned a King Kong story based on the cartoon appeared in Marvel's 1967 one-shot America's Best TV Comics, which I should have known, because he's there on the cover!

Anybody remember the show that had three ongoing serials, Dracula, cowboys discovering a lost civilization at the center of the Earth, and a Perils of Pauline like story? What I remember most about it is Dracula falling into a pit and trying repeatedly to jump out of it without success. I kept saying turn into a bat you moron but he never did.

No idea, but I wish I had seen it. Actually, I think I'd like to see a show where Dracula, Pauline, and some cowboys discover a lost civilization at the center of the Earth.

Ronald Morgan said:

Anybody remember the show that had three ongoing serials, Dracula, cowboys discovering a lost civilization at the center of the Earth, and a Perils of Pauline like story? What I remember most about it is Dracula falling into a pit and trying repeatedly to jump out of it without success. I kept saying turn into a bat you moron but he never did.

That was Cliffhangers, but I've never seen it.

Over the past few days, I have watched as many Lon Chaney "Wolf Man" pictures as I could find:

The Wolf Man (1941)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

House of Frankenstein (1944)

House of Dracula (1945)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Interestingly, the last film treats the monsters more respectfully than the two "House" films.  Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster are particularly ill-served in those two pictures.

I remember watching Cliffhangers. It wasn’t very good, but I watched it as long as it lasted (which wasn’t very long). The cowboy in “The Secret Empire” storyline was named Jim Donner, and in the first episode he introduced himself by saying, “My name’s Donner... Jim,” and for the rest of the series everyone called him Donner Jim.

SON OF KONG: Not as well-regarded as the original (rightly so), but entertaining enough in its own right. Denham, the Skipper and Charlie are all back, with a new “Beauty” and a new baddie. I don’t think of this ape as Kong’s son, but rather a smaller, weaker male rival who lived on the far side of the island out of fear. Kong’s capture was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG: Tracy really did not like this film. She doesn’t like seeing any movie in which animals are abused, and this one features horses being ill-treated early on, and a pride of lions being put down later on. Overall she liked it, she admitted, but not enough to overturn the animal abuse. I never saw this movie while growing up, although my best friend did. I guess I just didn’t realize what it was.

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND: A Frankenstein movie involving time travel. I had completey forgotten I’d seen this movie until I saw the DVD packaging. I remember the same person who showed this movie to me also showed me The Bride, but I have no memory of who that person was. Like The Bride, Frankenstein Unbound treats the creation of Frankenstein’s first creature as “read” and picks up with the creation of a mate for the creature.

This time around, the late great John Hurt plays a scientist from the year 2031, thrust back in time due to an unforeseen side-effect of a weapon he created. In the past, Victor Frankenstein and Mary Shelley are contemporaries. John Hurt’s War Doctor would definitely not approve of his character’s action in this film. Definitely a divergent timeline! An interesting and unique twist on the legend.

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