|2007 News Archive|
News & Updates
Thursday, December 27: Year-end Wrap-up. Mike D. sends his thoughts on several of the year's kaiju discs: "I just received a copy of MGM's Yongary / Konga double feature. Although I have not finished watching these movies yet, fans will be happy to note that unlike Alpha Video's crap, Yongary on this disc is a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer and is way superior in clarity to the previously released version. If you must have Yongary, then buy this version. It also has an english stereo soundtrack so that fans will find this version more watchable. The only way to improve on it would be to have added the Korean soundtrack with English subs. Konga (the B side) is 1.85:1 with a stereo soundtrack.
Other minor DVD notes: Planet of Dinosaurs (30th Anniversary Edition), though not the highest quality transfer, is widescreen. The Giant Claw in the Katzman set is 1.85:1 widescreen. More surprisingly, Gamera: Super Monster on the Elvira disc, although it is a slightly hazy transfer (I think that movie always will be; Gamera tends to get abused), is also a widecreen version. Irwin Allen's The Lost World is a 2.35:1 widescreen version with a 4.0 dolby digital surround track. The original 1925 version on the disc claims to have been restored by the George Eastman House."
Monday, December 17: All Hail Harryhausen! Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment is following up their 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition (which was recently re-released in HD on Blu-ray Disc) with two more classic Ray Harryhausen hits - in color! Coming on January 15 are new 2-disc Color Special Editions of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and It Came from Beneath the Sea. Both will include new colorized versions (supervised by Harryhausen), restored black & white versions, and plenty of extras. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers includes: Audio commentary by Harryhausen, producer Arnold Kunert (Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection), and FX veterans Jeff Okun and Ken Ralston; "Remembering Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" and "The Hollywood Blacklist and Bernard Gordon" featurettes, Original Screenplay Credits, an interview with leading lady Joan Taylor, and a preview of the digital comic book Flying Saucers vs. the Earth. It Came from Beneath the Sea includes: Audio commentary by Harryhausen, Kunert, and FX veterans Randy Cook and John Bruno; "Remembering It Came from Beneath the Sea" featurette, and a preview of the digital comic book It Came from Beneath the Sea … Again! Both releases include the featurettes "A Present Day Look at Stop-Motion," "The Colorization Process," "Tim Burton Sits Down with Ray Harryhausen," and "David Schecter on Film Music’s Unsung Hero" (composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff); film-specific featurettes on advertising and promotion, and video photo galleries. The sharing of featurettes (which are also carried over from 20 Million Miles to Earth) is similar to the way extras were common to several older Harryhausen DVDs from Sony. Both have English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese subtitles; English closed captions, and a MSRP of $24.96 each. (Source: Fangoria.)
Wednesday, December 5: Holiday Crappy Copy Alert. Just in case you thought the practice of U.S. distributors butchering Asian films was passé, Paramount / DreamWorks have gone old school on their release of Casshern (and not in a good way). The film has been cut by over 20 minutes, and the subtitles are reported to be inaccurate and incomplete. The term "Director's Cut" is most likely just a marketing ploy. If you want to see the film the way it was meant to be seen, head on over to HK Flix to pick up an import version.
Wednesday, December 5: Spread the Kaiju Gospel this Holiday Season! Here's my own way of "spreading the faith" around the Holidays. Whenever Godzilla toys are available in the States (on and off since the late '90s), I buy a load of them and donate them to Toys for Tots. The benefits of this are twofold: The extra sales will help keep more new releases coming, and more importantly, I hope to spark or encourage interest in Godzilla in the kids who ultimately receive the toys.
This is how Toys for Tots works: Donors buy new toys and drop them off, unwrapped, at collection sites. (Various places, including Toys "R" Us stores, have drop-off boxes.) The deadline is December 22. The Marine Corps Reserve picks up the toys and distributes them to needy kids for X-mas. (To learn more, go to the official site.)
I encourage all G-Fans to spread a little kaiju-themed cheer this Holiday season by donating Godzilla toys to underprivileged kids in their communities. (G-toys available in the U.S. include 6.5" vinyl action figures, and the "Pack of Destruction" set of small figures, from Bandai. They can be found at Toys "R" Us, K-B Toys / Toyworks, K-mart, and CVS Pharmacy.)
Wednesday, November 28: Mystery Science Redux. A little over a year ago, The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 10 was pulled from store shelves because of rights issues with one of the included films, Godzilla vs. Megalon. Early next year, Rhino Home Video will re-release the set as The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 10.2, with The Giant Gila Monster (episode 402) replacing Godzilla. Also included in this 4-disc set will be: Swamp Diamonds (episode 503, w/ short What to do on a Date), Teenage Strangler (episode 514, w/ short Is this Love?), and The Giant Spider Invasion (episode 810), all carried over from Vol. 10. New extras on Vol. 10.2 include: A new short sketch featuring early series regulars Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, and J. Elvis Weinstein concerning this whole mess, and comments from Gila Monster star (and singer of the infamous "Mushroom Song") Don Sullivan. Assuming the original three discs remain unchanged, other extras will include the MST3K Video Jukebox, and outtakes. The tenative release date for Vol. 10.2 is February 5, 2008. There is no word yet on whether or not the Gila Monster disc will be available separately for those lucky enough to already have Vol. 10. (Source: Satellite News.) UPDATE 12/5: Rhino will be making The Giant Gila Monster single disc available for fans who already have Volume 10. More details will be posted here when available.
Tuesday, November 27: Miike's Hero. On February 19, 2008, Media Blasters / Tokyo Shock will release Zebraman on DVD. From cult director Takashi Miike (The Great Yokai War), Zebraman is the story of a loser who assumes the role of his favorite TV superhero to battle alien invaders. More info on the DVD will be posted here when available. (Source: Gorezone.)
Tuesday, November 6: Enter the Dragons. Following its successful run in U.S. theaters, the fun South Korean "epic" Dragon Wars will be released on DVD, UMD for PSP, and in HD on Blu-ray Disc, on January 8, 2008, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. More info will be posted here when available. (Source: The Digital Bits.) UPDATE 11/28: The DVD will include both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 fullscreen versions, with English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French Dolby Surround audio; English, Spanish, French, Korean, and Chinese subtitles; and English closed captions. Extras include "5,000 Years in the Making" featurette, "Dragon Wars Animatics: From Storyboard to Screen," and a conceptual art gallery. (Sony's product page also lists two additional features, "True Events: A Historical Perspective," and "Bringing Fear to Life: Make-up Effects from Storyboard to Screen," that aren't listed on the box art and sound like they belong with another movie, so we'll have to wait and see on those.) The Blu-ray edition includes all of that, except no fullscreen version. The UMD will be in 1.78:1 widescreen, with English and French stereo; English, Spanish, French, and Korean subtitles; and probably no extras. MSRP is $28.95 for DVD, $38.95 for Blu-ray, and $24.94 for UMD. Thankfully, they cost a lot less at Amazon.com and elsewhere; just click a format above to preorder!
Saturday, September 1: Casshern is Coming! Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks are planning to release Casshern: Director's Cut on DVD on October 16. Casshern is a 2004 live-action film based on an anime (the anime was released by ADV Films under the title Casshan: Robot Hunter). Casshern is a lone warrior who fights for humanity in a dark future ravaged by war and ruled by genetically-engineered superhumans. Like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and 300, the film uses live actors in stylized CG backgrounds. More info will be posted here when available. (Source: The Digital Bits.) UPDATE 10/10: Casshern will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, and Japanese 5.1 and 2.0, with English subtitles. MSRP is $26.99. The runtime for this "Director's Cut" (notice the quotes) is listed as 117 minutes; the original Japanese version is 140 minutes, so approach with caution. Here is the official U.S. site.
Monday, August 13: Western Kaiju Update. More info is available on Sony's Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman, which includes The Giant Claw. This 2-disc set will include trailers for all four featured films (see the 7/3 update), additional trailers, the second chapter of the 1951 serial Mysterious Island, and two shorts (a 1959 Mr. Magoo cartoon, and Midnight Blunders from 1936). For more info on the films and Katzman himself, check out this page at DVD Drive-In, which also includes comments from Sony's Michael Schlesinger. More info has also come to light regarding Fox's release of The Lost World. According to the Fox Store, this will be a 2-disc special edition. Disc 1 will include the 1960 version of The Lost World (directed by Irwin Allen), an "interactive pressbook gallery," and a still gallery. Disc 2 will include the original 1925 silent version, in black & white, with special effects by Willis O'Brien. Whether this will be a restored version (like the Image DVD) is not yet known.
Tuesday, July 31: Sony Lays an Egg (in a Good Way). As reported earlier (see the 6/12 update), the ridiculous 1957 bird-from-space saga The Giant Claw will be landing on DVD. On October 16, it arrives as part of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman. The other titles produced by Katzman and included in this 2-disc set are: The Werewolf (1956), Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), and Creature with the Atom Brain (1955). The set will also include a chapter of Katzman's 1951 serial Mysterious Island. MSRP is $24.96. (Source: DVD Drive-In.)
Thursday, July 19: Gamera: Guardian of the Boobiverse. Gamera: Super Monster, the "missing" Showa Gamera film, is coming out on September 25 from Shout Factory. It's one of several new additions to the Elvira's Movie Macabre line of double features. Gamera is being paired with They Came from Beyond Space (1967), a sleep-inducing British alien invasion flick with Michael Gough. If this year's batch of Elvira tit-les is consistent with last year's, each film will be on its own disc, with the option to watch it with or without the humongous, I mean humorous, vignettes from Elvira's 1980s TV show. MSRP is $14.99; it's available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Just for the record, Elvira's other two double D's, I mean double features, for this Halloween season are Blue Sunshine (1976) / Monstroid (1979) and Maneater of Hydra (1967) / The House that Screamed (1969).
Thursday, July 19: More Toku from BCI! BCI Eclipse (under their Ronin Entertainment label) will follow up their release of the original Ultraman with three more tokusatsu series. First up on November 6 is Iron King (1972, 26 episodes). This will be followed by The Super Robot Red Baron (1973, 39 episodes), tentatively scheduled for January 8, 2008. Both will be released in complete series box sets, uncut, in the original Japanese with English subtitles. August Ragone, author of the upcoming book Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, will be providing written supplementary materials and editing the subtitles. The third series has yet to be announced. (Source: Toho Kingdom.) UPDATE 12/17: The third series is Silver Mask (1971, 26 episodes). According to Amazon.com, the release date for The Super Robot Red Baron: The Complete Series is now April 8.
Thursday, July 19: Western Kaiju News Bites. In addition to the Midnite Movies reported on earlier, Fox Home Entertainment will also release a special edition of Irwin Allen's The Lost World on September 11. This 1960 version is infamous for its use of real lizards, with fins and horns attached, to portray dinosaurs. Also on 9/11, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will include The Deadly Mantis (1957) and The Land Unknown (1957) in The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Volume 2. The other titles in the set are Dr. Cyclops (1940), The Leech Woman (1960), and Cult of the Cobra (1955). Like the first volume from last year, this set will initially be a Best Buy exclusive. (Source: DVD Drive-In.)
Thursday, July 19: Jim Morgan Speaks! A representative of Retromedia Entertainment was in attendance at G-Fest 14, held earlier this month. On July 7, a commentary track was recorded for use on an upcoming reissue of Destroy All Planets (aka Gamera vs. Viras). The participants were: Carl Craig (who played Boy Scout Jim Morgan in the film), Brett Homenick (writer for G-Fan magazine), and Damon Foster (editor of Oriental Cinema magazine). Info on disc specs and release date will be posted here when available. Retromedia previously released DAP on a double feature disc with Attack of the Monsters (aka Gamera vs. Guillon).
Thursday, July 19: Leave the Poor Turtle Alone! Blade Galentine reports on the proliferation of Gamera and Gappa double feature DVDs selling for $1.00 apiece at Wal-Mart, Target, and dollar stores: "Family Value Collection is selling War of the Monsters / Gamera vs. Monster X, PC Treasures is selling Destroy All Planets / Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, Pop Flix is selling Attack of the Monsters / Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, and EastWest DVD is selling Gamera Strikes Back / Destroy All Planets. Yes, they're copies of the Alpha / Diamond versions!
"Most look like they're recorded from VHS in EP mode. And man, the pixels! Lots and lots of pixels! Sound is super flat, and picture quality is very dark. One slight exception is Gamera Strikes Back. It's the Sandy Frank version of Gamera vs. Barugon with the title changed! The color on this copy is a bit better than the WOTM copies from Alpha and Diamond, but that's it! Most of them aren't worth the thin DVD cases or cardboard boxes they're in. If you're ever in a dollar store, buy the DVDs only if you need coasters for your beer cans. End of report!"
Wednesday, June 20: Return of Crappy Copy Alert. Another low budget / PD video company, Mac Filmworks, is getting into the kaiju game by releasing The Ultimate Godzilla Collection. Promising "over 400 minutes of campy, horrific terror!," this "ultimate" collection includes five movies, on three discs: Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla's Revenge, Terror of Mechagodzilla, and Rodan. Hmm, those are the same five movies as Classic Media's old Ultimate Godzilla DVD Collection Box Set. Anyone else smell bootleg? According to Mac's site, the release date is June 2007; Amazon.com lists it as July 31. Either way, approach with caution. MSRP is $14.99; save it and buy one of CM's excellent newer releases like Ghidorah or Astro-Monster instead.
Monday, June 18: Toho in a Box. There are two new box sets of Toho films on the horizon. Media Blasters' Toho Pack Box Set includes the previously-released Tokyo Shock discs The Mysterians, Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, and Varan the Unbelievable. MSRP is $29.95. Then, from Geneon Entertainment comes the Toho Live Action Films Box Set. It includes four non-kaiju films: Rainbow Kids (1991, directed by Kihachi Okamoto), The Family Game (1983, directed by Yoshimitsu Morita), My Secret Cache (1997, directed by Shinobu Yaguchi), and All About Our House (2001, directed by Koki Mitani). MSRP is $39.98. The street date for both sets is August 21. (Source: Toho Kingdom.)
Monday, June 18: More Midnite. In addition to The Food of the Gods (see the 6/12 update), MGM's upcoming batch of Midnite Movies will also include a double feature of Yongary: Monster from the Deep and Konga. These and other new Midnite Movies are due on 9/11. More info will be posted as it becomes available. (Source: Fangoria; thanks to Bill P. for the tip!)
Friday, June 15: Ymir at 50. On July 31, Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment will unleash 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition. This 2-disc set will contain three versions of the film: Digitally-restored fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) versions, as well as a new colorized edition supervised by FX master Ray Harryhausen himself. There will also be plenty of extras, including: Audio commentary by Harryhausen, producer Arnold Kunert (Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection), and FX artists Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park); "Remembering 20 Million Miles to Earth" (a discussion of the film’s production and influence), an interview with Ray conducted by filmmaker Tim Burton, an interview with lead actress Joan Taylor; featurettes on the 1957 marketing campaign, composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff, and the colorization process; and still / production art galleries. MSRP is $24.96. (Sources: The Digital Bits and DVD Drive-In.)
Thursday, June 14: SPECIAL UPDATE FOR MONSTER MOVIE FANS IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA!!! This summer, the Detroit Film Theater is hosting a series of Family Monster Movie Matinees. Each matinee is a double feature of classic sci-fi / fantasy films, featuring the works of legendary FX artist Ray Harryhausen, and Japan's Toho Studios! Here is the schedule:
June 16: 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) and Son of Godzilla (1967, subtitled)
June 23: Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Battle in Outer Space (1959, dubbed)
June 30: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and Mothra (1961, subtitled)
July 7: Mysterious Island (1961) and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000, subtitled)
July 14: It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) and Gojira (1954, subtitled)
July 21: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966, subtitled)
July 28: First Men in the Moon (1964) and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991, subtitled)
All showings start at 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $5.00 each, or you can buy a pass for the entire series for only $25.00. Tickets can be ordered in advance and picked up at the box office. Go to the Detroit Film Theater website for more information on tickets, location, and parking. Jen and I hope to see you there!
Click here for a look back at the DFT's 2004 run of Gojira.
Tuesday, June 12: More Camp Kaiju Carnage! If Warner's upcoming releases of Attack of the 50-Ft. Woman and The Giant Behemoth (see the 3/28 update) whet your appetite for retro giant monster action, then MGM, Fox and Sony are providing the dessert. MGM Home Video (distributed by Fox Home Entertainment) will release Bert I. Gordon's The Food of the Gods (based on the story by H.G. Wells) on September 11 as part of the resurrected Midnite Movies line. MSRP is $14.98; more details TBA. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release a box set of low-budget sci-fi and horror flicks from producer Sam Katzman, which includes the 1957 alien bird "epic" The Giant Claw. Whether or not The Giant Claw will also be available individually is not known, but keep watching the skies (and this site) for that and other details such as street date and price. (Sources: DVD Drive-In and Fangoria.)
Tuesday, June 4: Toonzilla Update. Classic Media's upcoming Godzilla: The Original Animated Series Volume 3 is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. According to the Amazon listing, the release date is August 7. Amazon also lists a running time of 113 minutes. If this is accurate, it would indicate that Vol. 3 includes five episodes (9 - 13), instead of the four episodes on each of the previous two volumes. As reported earlier, CM's final two Godzilla movies, All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla's Revenge) and Terror of Mechagodzilla, are tentatively scheduled for September. Rodan and War of the Gargantuas should follow next year.
Monday, May 21: The Host Updated Info. Magnolia Home Entertainment has issued a press release and a sales sheet with final, detailed specs on their upcoming release of The Host. Coming on July 24 will be both a single disc Standard Edition ($26.98 MSRP), and a Collector's Edition 2-disc set ($29.98 MSRP). Both present the movie in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with Korean and English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks, and optional English subtitles. Special features on the Standard Edition are deleted scenes and commentary with director Bong Joon-Ho. The Collector's Edition will also feature over four hours of extras, including: A making-of documentary; featurettes on the creature, the characters, and the crew; filming in the sewer, special effects, sound effects, story boards, a gag reel, and more. HD-DVD and Blu-ray editions will also be available ($34.98 MSRP each, with the same or similar extras as the 2-disc DVD).
Friday, May 4: Kikaida 01 is Coming! JN Productions in Hawaii has announced a May 18 release date for Kikaida 01. This is the sequel series to Toei's Kikaida, which is also available on DVD from JN Pro. It follows the adventures of Jiro / Kikiaida's brother Ichiro, who transforms into the android Kikaida 01 to battle mechanical villains. The series' 46 episodes will be included in the 6-disc box set, uncut and presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Info on extras and pricing isn't available yet. Click here for a look at the set. Here is the official Generation Kikaida site. For lots of info on the series, check out this page at Henshin Hall of Fame. UPDATE 5/11: JN Pro has issued a press release with more info, including what special features will be included. MSRP is $165.
Wednesday, May 2: Final CM Specs. Classic Media's Godzilla on DVD site has been updated with extensive, in-depth specs for their upcoming DVDs of Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster. Check out their Godzilla Blog section for the full lowdown on these two titles, coming on June 5.
Wednesday, April 25: First News on The Host R1 DVD! Fangoria has posted the first news on Magnolia Pictures' plans for The Host on DVD in the U.S.: Coming on 7/24 will be both a single disc edition, and a 2-disc set. Extras on the 2-disc set will include a making-of documentary; featurettes on the creature, the characters, and the crew; and deleted scenes. MSRP for the single disc will be $26.98, and $29.98 for the 2-disc set. HD-DVD and Blu-ray editions will also be available. In the meantime, be sure to check out Magnolia Pictures' Play Dates to find out when you can catch this superb Korean monster movie on the big screen, where it deserves to be seen first! Then take a look at my review of the Korean 4-disc Limited Edition, which will likely be the source for the R1 DVD supplements.
Tuesday, April 24: Classic Spring Savings. To celebrate the recent release of Godzilla Raids Again and Mothra vs. Godzilla, Classic Media is offering G-fans a coupon for $3.00 off of either DVD. Click here to download and print the coupon, which expires June 30, 2007. (It's a PDF document, so you'll need Adobe Reader. Download it here for free.) Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster are coming from CM on June 5.
Wednesday, April 18: Final Franky. Media Blasters has announced the complete final specs for their upcoming 2-disc special edition of Frankenstein Conquers the World. It will include three complete versions of the movie, plus extras. Disc 1: 1966 U.S. theatrical version (85 min.), presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with the original AIP English dubbing in mono and 5.1 (remixed) audio. Extras: Special announcement (40 sec. Japanese promo spot), Japanese theatrical trailer (2 min.), alternate (giant octopus) ending, deleted scenes (approx. 5 min.), and photo gallery (approx. 150 images). Disc 2: Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965 Japanese Theatrical Version) (90 min.), presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with the original Japanese language track in mono and 5.1 (remixed) audio, with optional English subtitles. International version (“Frankenstein vs. the Giant Devilfish”), (93 min.), with identical audio / video specs, and the alternate ending integrated into the feature. Extras: audio commentary by Special Effects Cameraman Sadamasa Arikawa (on the international version, in Japanese w/ optional English subs), and trailers for Atragon, Dogora, Matango, and The Mysterians. Street date is June 26, and MSRP is only $19.95.
Wednesday, April 18: Retromedia Reassigned. Retromedia Entertainment recently signed an exclusive distribution deal with Infinity Entertainment (owners of DVD Planet). (Retro DVDs were previously distributed by Image Entertainment.) It is unknown what changes, if any, this will have on Retromedia products and availability. One of the first titles to be distributed under the new deal is the upcoming Planet of Dinosaurs 30th Anniversary Edition. No info on specs or street date for that disc yet, but the cover art says it's in widescreen, so it should be an improvement over the old GoodTimes version.
Friday, April 6: Classic News. Classic Media recently issued a press release regarding their upcoming release of Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster. In addition to confirming the specs and features previously reported (see the 2/12 update), it appears that CM has a new distributor. Previous Classic Media DVDs were distributed by Sony; their new distributor is Genius Products, which is affiliated with The Weinstein Company. It is unknown what changes, if any, this will have on CM's products. In other CM news, they are planning to release Volume 3 of Godzilla: The Original Animated Series this summer. It will include episodes 9-12 of the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon show from 1978. Their final two Godzilla films, All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla's Revenge) and Terror of Mechagodzilla, are tentatively scheduled for September. Rodan and War of the Gargantuas should follow next year.
Wednesday, March 28: Western Kaiju on the Way from Warner. On June 26, Warner Home Video will release a line of "Cult Camp Classics" on DVD. The 12 titles will be available individually, or in four 3-disc box sets. Of particular interest to kaiju fans are The Giant Behemoth (from Eugene Lourie, director of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Gorgo, with special effects by King Kong's Willis O'Brien), and Attack of the 50-Ft. Woman (the 1958 original from Nathan Juran, director of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, with Allison Hayes and Attack of the Giant Leeches star Yvette Vickers). Both include audio commentaries; Behemoth with FX artists Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park), and Woman with Vickers and film historian Tom Weaver. These two flicks will be joined by Queen of Outer Space (with Zsa Zsa Gabor) in the Cult Camp Classics Volume 1: Sci-Fi Thrillers Box Set. Volume 2: Women in Peril includes: The Big Cube (with Lana Turner), Caged, and Trog (Joan Crawford's final film). Volume 3: Terrorized Travelers includes: Skyjacked (with Charlton Heston), Hot Rods to Hell, and Zero Hour (both with Dana Andrews). Volume 4: Historical Epics includes: The Colossus of Rhodes (directed by Sergio Leone), Land of the Pharaohs (directed by Howard Hawks), and The Prodigal (with Lana Turner). They all come in anamorphic widescreen (except Caged) and include English and French subtitles. Some also include trailers, commentaries, and / or Spanish subs. MSRP is $29.98 per box, or $14.97 per disc. (Source: The Digital Bits.)
Wednesday, March 28: Monster Docs Coming. Elite Entertainment is preparing to unleash the 3-part documentary Creature Features Collection on DVD. The doc's 3 episodes, "The Beasts," "The Machines," and "The Dead," each focus on a different class of movie monsters. I don't know if any kaiju are included, but I figured I'd pass the info on anyway. Creature Features originally aired on Bravo TV, but I couldn't find any upcoming showings or info about it on their site. Maybe there aren't enough gay fashion-designing monsters for Bravo anymore. Anyways, it's coming on June 12 and MSRP is $14.98. (Source: Yahoo! News.)
Friday, March 9: Korean Kaiju Alert! Just a reminder, the excellent Korean monster movie The Host opens at U.S. theaters today. It's a regional release, so check Magnolia Pictures Play Dates to find out when and where it will play in your area. (I live in metro Detroit, and it opens here on March 23.) You might even want to make the experience authentic by eating at a Korean restaurant, or substituting dried squid for popcorn, Korean-style. I plan on posting a full review of the Korean 4-disc limited edition DVD set soon, so check back! UPDATE 3/24: A review of the Korean LE DVD set has been posted. It's by far the longest, most detailed review of a single film on the site, because there is a LOT of extra material in the set. Also, if you're still waiting for The Host to play at a theater near you, be sure to check Magnolia's Play Dates again, as some of them have changed.
Tuesday, March 6: The Plants are Getting Hungry Again! In a recent online chat with The Home Theater Forum, representatives of Warner Home Video stated that they are looking into re-releasing the 1986 musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors, with the original ending included again. Warner's original DVD release included the alternate ending among its extra features, but this edition was discontinued and it now sells for a pretty penny on eBay and other after-market outlets. Reportedly, the film's producers didn't want the alternate ending included, and so it is missing from the current DVD edition. The film's original ending (which was changed to a "happier" ending due to the reaction at test screenings) is of interest to kaiju fans because it showed giant plants destroying cities and taking over the world. It was an homage to old Godzilla movies, and the special effects were excellent! The version included in the older DVD is in black & white and fullscreen, with no sound FX; hopefully it will be presented fully restored for any subsequent release. In other Warner news, the cult classic Trog (with Joan Crawford) is also on the way.
Tuesday, March 6: Franky Update. The DVD release date for the long-awaited Toho classic Frankenstein Conquers the World is now June 26. It will be a two-disc special edition, with the original Japanese version, in 2.35:1 widescreen, with English subtitles on one disc. The other disc will have the U.S. version, in 1.78:1 widescreen (downconverted from HD), with the original English dubbing, on the other. Extras (specifics TBA) will be spread across both discs. (Source: DVD Drive-in.) UPDATE 3/27: Both the Japanese and U.S. versions will be in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with both original mono and 5.1 remixed soundtracks. Extras will include the alternate "devilfish" (giant octopus) ending, trailers, promo spot, extended and deleted scenes, photo gallery, and audio commentary by Special Effects Cameraman Sadamasa Arikawa. MSRP is only $19.95. (Source: SciFi Japan.)
Wednesday, February 14: Have a Happy Honey Flash Valentine's Day! This spring, Bandai Entertainment will release the 2004 live-action movie Cutie Honey on DVD. This lighthearted adaptation of the manga and anime by Go Nagai is coming April 17. The film will be presented in the original Japanese, with English subtitles, and an English dub. Extras include trailers, a promo video, and a making-of featurette. MSRP is $29.98. That's not all: A Limited Edition will also be available. The LE includes the DVD, and a keychain, in a Cutie Honey lunchbox. Two different lunchbox designs will be available. MSRP is $49.98, and the LE will be limited to 5,000 sets of each lunchbox.
Monday, February 12: A Double Dose of Ghidorah. Classic Media has set a June 5 street date for their next two Showa Godzilla classics. Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster makes its official region 1 DVD debut. The disc includes both the uncut Japanese version (w/ English subtitles), and the original U.S. release Ghidrah: TTHM (dubbed in English). Extras include: Audio commentary by David Kalat (author of A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series), image and poster galleries, trailers, and a biography of FX director Eiji Tsuburaya. Joining it will be the long-awaited re-release of Invasion of Astro-Monster. It will also include the uncut Japanese version, and the original U.S. release, Monster Zero. Extras include: Audio commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV (author of Monsters are Attacking Tokyo!), image and poster galleries, trailers, and a biography of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. (Source: Japanese Giants blog, relayed by Brian Thomas, author of VideoHound's Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks, on a private newsgroup.) Also, CM's two previous releases (Godzilla Raids Again and Mothra vs. Godzilla) will be widely available in stores and online beginning on April 3. (They were previously only available through CM's official Godzilla on DVD site.)
Tuesday, February 6: DMI 4 Life! (Insert old NWO hand sign here.) So, what's the occasion? Today is the fourth anniversary of Digital Monster Island! There's plenty to celebrate this year. I'm slowly but surely getting the site back up to speed. News updates are coming more regularly, and new reviews are on the way. I've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes, tightening up the page design, updating links, and things like that. My immediate goals are more timely news updates (weekly, when warranted), and more reviews (with larger, higher-quality images). There's still plenty of work to be done to re-earn the title "The BEST Online Source For Kaiju DVD News & Reviews." The DMI comeback is still in progress, so keep checking back!
In keeping with DMI tradition, Jen has once again made a tasty confection to celebrate the occasion. This year, it's not a cake, but fruity dessert SUSHI! Check it out! (Photo 1, photo 2.) That's not salmon, scallop, and tuna nigiri; it's mango, lychee, and watermelon on sweet sticky rice (made with coconut milk). The "ginger" is thin-sliced apple with red food coloring, the "wasabi" is Cool Whip colored with green Jello, and it's served with Hershey's syrup in place of soy sauce. How cool is that? Thanks Jen!
To make the celebration complete, here's a review of the region 3 version of Gamera the Brave. As always, I offer many thanks to all the kaiju and tokusatsu fans who visit the site, offer their feedback, and spread the word. Arigato!
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