|2008 News Archive|
News & Updates
Saturday, December 20: Bye Bye BCI. Due to lagging business in the current recession, Navarre Corp. is shutting down its BCI Eclipse label. BCI has released several tokusatsu titles, including the yokai movie Kitaro and the Japanese TV series Ultraman, Iron King, and The Super Robot Red Baron, with at least one more (Silver Mask) in the works. They specialized in horror, cult, foreign, and exploitation / grindhouse cinema, and also released '80s animated shows like He-Man and She-Ra. This is very sad news for the many fans who enjoyed their fare. It's possible that some BCI titles may be released directly through parent company Navarre. Keep your fingers crossed! (Source: Video Business.)
Saturday, November 30: Post-Turkey Day / Black Friday News Roundup. Here are a few news tidbits to nibble on with your leftovers. First, a "company" called PR Studios has an Amazon.com listing for Dinosaurs vs. the Cavemen. This is actually the rarely seen 1994 Korean movie Tirano's Claw. It's the story of prehistoric humans fighting for survival against dinosaurs, directed by and starring Hyung-rae Shim (Reptilian, Dragon Wars). It's reportedly quite funny and violent. Click here for more info. Be warned, though: The amateurish cover art and English title, as well as the fact the film hasn't been released on DVD in its native country, point to this probably being a DVD-R bootleg. Other titles available from PR Studios are The Beast of Hollow Mountain and Caltiki the Immortal Monster / Attack of the Monsters. Mike D. promises a more detailed report when he gets his copy, so stay tuned!
The Dinosaurs are extinct: Several readers have reported that the warning in the 8/5 update was well founded. The meteorite of prudishness has struck, and Warner's Moon Zero Two / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth has been discontinued. Scalpers are jerking up prices on the secondary market; try checking Best Buy's product listing by your city or ZIP code to find a copy in a store near you. Hopefully, Warner Bros. will re-issue the disc with corrected packaging, and not by substituting a cut version of the movie.
Finally, ADV Films is re-releasing Toho's Gunhed on December 2. This disc will be upgraded over the previous version. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1 audio. (The old disc was non-anamorphic / 2.0 only.) Extras include the original theatrical trailer and ADV previews. MSRP is $14.98. (Source: Deep Discount DVD; thanks to Ryan C. for the tip.)
Friday, November 21: The Great Blu Ape. Early in the new year, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will unleash director Peter (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) Jackson's 2005 version of King Kong on Blu-ray Disc. First, the good news: Both theatrical and extended versions will be included. Now, the bad news: The extras will be limited to audio commentary, PiP video, and interactive art galleries. It's very unfortunate that many of the extensive special features on the Special Edition DVD, the Extended Edition DVD, and the Production Diaries will not be included. Now that would have made one hell of a definitive collector's set, but if they released that now, they couldn't sell it to fans again by double-dipping a couple years down the road. Street date is January 20, 2008, and MSRP is $29.98. (Source: The Digital Bits.)
Friday, November 21: The Last Name. On February 10, Viz Media will release Death Note II: The Last Name on DVD. Shusuke Kaneko returns to direct this sequel / continuation of his popular live-action version of the manga and anime. MSRP is $24.98; more details will be posted when available. (Source: Gorezone.) UPDATE 11/30: According to Amazon.com's product page, extras will include a director interview and making of Death Note featurettes, and director & cast profiles. Like the first film's DVD, this is probably the same material that was shown theatrically after the feature by Fathom Events. If the film specs are consistent, we can expect anamorphic widescreen, Japanese and English audio both in 5.1 and 2.0, and optional English subtitles. Here is Viz's official live-action Death Note site.
Wednesday, November 5: Nippon Obama. To follow up yesterday's historic election, here's a fun story for fans of kaiju and other things Japanese. There's a town in Japan called Obama, and they've been rooting for Barack Obama in his bid for the White House. They would love for him to come visit their town as U.S. President! Here's the story from Yahoo! News.
Wednesday, November 5: RIP Michael Crichton. Prolific bestselling author Michael Crichton died yesterday in Los Angeles, after a long battle with cancer. He was 66. Crichton was the author of such sci-fi / technical thrillers as The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere, and Timeline, all of which have been adapted for film. He also created the long-running (15 seasons!) TV series ER. Monster and dinosaur fans will remember him for his novels Jurassic Park and The Lost World, which were the basis for the popular film series from Steven Spielberg. Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb.
Friday, October 17: RIP Levi. Legendary Motown performer Levi Stubbs died today at his Detroit home after a period of long illness, including cancer and a stroke. He was 72. Stubbs was best known as the lead vocalist for The Four Tops. He will be remembered by creature feature fans as the voice of Audrey II, the man-eating plant in the monster movie musical Little Shop of Horrors. Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb.
Tuesday, October 7: Big Screen Kaneko Alert, Part 2. Next week, Fathom Events is bringing more live-action Death Note to the big screen. Death Note II: The Last Name is being beamed into select theaters nationwide on two nights only, October 15 and 16, at 7:30 PM (local time). The film is not just a sequel, but a direct continuation of the first Death Note. Like last time, the film will be followed by some bonus programming: A behind-the-scenes look at the film, the cast, and director Shusuke Kaneko (the Heisei Gamera trilogy, GMK). The film is dubbed in English, by many of the same voice actors as the popular anime. Here is Fathom's event page, which also leads to a list of participating theaters (there are a lot more venues this time, at least in my area). Tickets can be pre-ordered online. This show is highly recommended for all Kaneko and Death Note fans. The previous event was a lot of fun, due in large part to audience enthusiasm. Stay tuned for news on a DVD release, and see you at the show!
Tuesday, October 7: The Original Monster King in HD! A promotional insert included with recent hi-def titles from Warner Home Entertainment indicates that the original 1933 King Kong is coming to Blu-ray, possibly sometime in 2009. Stay tuned for more info! (Source: The Digital Bits.)
Friday, October 3: Ultraman and Yokai from BCI! On October 14, BCI Eclipse will release Ultraman: The Complete Series. (BCI previously issued Ultraman in two 3-disc sets.) This new 6-disc box set will include all 39 episodes of the 1966 series. The show will be uncut, in the original Japanese language with optional English subtitles. The classic English dubbing by Titra Studios will also be included. Extras include kaiju profiles, interviews with the English voice actors, and the English-language opening titles. MSRP is $49.98. Fans who don't have the previous sets should definitely get this one. Ultraman is one of the most popular and influential works in the kaiju genre. At G-fest XV, August Ragone (who worked with BCI on their Iron King and Red Baron sets) stated that BCI would like to license more Ultra-shows for U.S. release. (Unfortunately, there is still no news on BCI's release of Silver Mask. See the 7/19 update in the 2007 News Archive.)
Then, on October 28, BCI will release the 2007 film Kitaro on DVD. Kitaro is a live-action adaptation of the enduringly popular yokai manga Gegege no Kitaro, which has also spawned many anime series and movies. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), with Japanese and English language tracks (Dolby Digital 6.1), with optional English subtitles. Extras include "Yokai in the City" (a TV special), a making-of featurette, and trailers. MSRP is $19.98. BCI will also release the film in HD on Blu-ray Disc on November 18, with Dolby Digital TruHD and DTS HD audio, and the same features. MSRP is $24.98.
Sunday, September 21: First News on Gamera's Return! Both DVD Empire and The Right Stuf have listings for Tokyo Shock / Media Blasters' release of Gamera the Brave. The street date is December 30, and MSRP is $19.99. Right Stuf lists it as hybrid format, meaning dual language English / Japanese. More info will be posted here when available. (Thanks to Ryan C. for the tip.) UPDATE 10/3: It's now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Also, take a look back at the region 3 DVD review for an idea of what to expect from the film (it's not just for kids).
Friday, September 5: An Animated Autumn. Fans of legendary FX wizard Ray Harryhausen have a lot to look forward to come October 7. First of all, there's a new The 7th Voyage of Sinbad: 50th Anniversary Edition. This 1958 classic is the first of Harryhausen's trio of tales about the legendary sailor. New special features include: Audio commentary by Harryhausen, visual effects experts Phil Tippett (Starship Troopers) and Randall William Cook (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), author Steven Smith, and producer Arnold Kunert (Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection); "Remembering The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" documentary, and six featurettes (some of which are probably carried over from Sony's other recent Harryhausen re-releases). The 50th Anniversary Edition of 7th Voyage will be released on both standard DVD (MSRP $19.94) and on Blu-ray HD (MSRP $28.95).
Speaking of Blu-ray, Sony will also release The Ray Harryhausen Collection. This 4-disc Blu-ray box set will include the previously-released 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition, the new The 7th Voyage of Sinbad: 50th Anniversary Edition, and also making their HD debut, the Color Special Editions of It Came from Beneath the Sea and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. There's no word yet on the latter two titles being available individually, but one imagines they will be. Expect them to include both the new colorized and restored b&w versions, as well as all the extras from the previous DVD editions (see the 12/17 update in the 2007 News Archive). MSRP is $107.95.
Don't worry, SD DVD fans, we're not being left out. Sony is also releasing a Ray Harryhausen Collectible DVD Gift Set. It includes the previously-released 2-disc sets 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition, It Came from Beneath the Sea (Color Special Edition), and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Color Special Edition). This set also comes with a 6" figure of Ymir, the mon-star of 20 Million Miles. Cool! (Source: Ray Harryhausen Official Site.)
Friday, September 5: Zeiram Times Two. On November 25, Tokyo Shock / Media Blasters will release The Zeiram Duology, a double feature of Zeiram: Special Edition and Zeiram 2. It is unknown at this time if the discs are any different from the individual releases (though probably not). MSRP is $29.99. (Thanks to Ryan C. for the tip.)
Saturday, August 30: Two Release Updates. Classic Media's upcoming Rodan / War of the Gargantuas, which streets on September 9, is available now from their Godzilla on DVD Shop. The sale price is $17.93. (See the 6/5 and 7/29 updates for more info on this 2-disc set.) Warner's Moon Zero Two / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (as well as their other recent Best Buy-exclusive sci-fi double features) will be available everywhere on October 7. (See the 7/18 and 8/5 updates for more info on this disc.)
Sunday, August 10: The Kaiju King in HD! All 28 of Toho’s Godzilla films have been restored and remastered in high definition for broadcast on the Japanese Movie Speciality Channel. All of the films, along with trailer compilations and other original G-programming, will air in HD through the remainder of the year. For those outside of Japan, this can be seen as the first step towards releasing the films in HD on Blu-ray Disc. (Source: SciFi Japan.)
Tuesday, August 5: The Naked Dinosaurs. Here's an update on Warner Bros.'s recent Best Buy-exclusive release of Moon Zero Two / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: Despite being listed as 96 minutes and rated G on the packaging, Dinosaurs is in fact the full 100-minute UNCUT original British version, including nudity that was edited out of the U.S. release! Interested parties may want to pick this up sooner rather than later, just in case the disc gets pulled. (A similar fate befell MGM's Swamp Thing several years ago. The original DVD release was 93 minutes and listed as rated PG. It actually included an international version with topless scenes. The disc was recalled and replaced with the 91-minute domestic version.)
Tuesday, August 5: Taking Names. Following its brief but popular run in U.S. theaters (see the 5/13 update), Death Note is coming to DVD on September 16 from Viz Media. This live-action adaptation of the popular manga and anime is directed by Shusuke Kaneko, director of GMK and the Heisei Gamera Trilogy. It tells the story of Light Yagami, a frustrated law student who posesses the mystical title object, a notebook that can bring death to anyone whose name is written in its pages. This engaging thriller will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with the original Japanese and English dub audio tracks, and optional English subtitles. Extras include a making-of featurette, an interview with the director, live action and anime trailers, and a sneak peek at volume one of the manga. MSRP is $24.98. Check out Viz's official live action Death Note movie site.
Friday, August 1: SPECIAL UPDATE FOR GRINDHOUSE MOVIE FANS IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA!!! This is not kaiju-related, but may be of interest to genre fans in my hometown area. Every Thursday in August, Synapse Films is bringing the 42nd Street Drive-in back to the Emagine Theater in Novi, Michigan. Here is the schedule:
August 7: Blue Sunshine (1976, d. Jeff Lieberman) and Brain Damage (1988, d. Frank Henenlotter).
August 14: Castle of Blood Uncensored International Version (1964, d. Antonio Margheriti) and Beast from Haunted Cave (1959, d. Monte Hellman). Special appearance by local late-night horror host Wolfman Mac!
August 21: Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973, d. Richard Blackburn) and Long Weekend (1978, d. Colin Eggleston).
August 28: Female Demon Ohyaku (1968, d. Yoshihiro Ishikawa) and Quick-Draw Okatsu (1969, d. Nobuo Nakagawa).
All showings start at 8:00 pm on Thursday nights. If this is like the last program (in April), then these are not film prints, but projected DVDs, and each show will also include vintage exploitation trailers. Tickets are only $7.00 each. Click here for more info. Jen and I will see you there!
Tuesday, July 29: Bringing Godzilla Down to Size. As reported earlier (6/5 update), Classic Media's upcoming 2-disc set of Rodan and War of the Gargantuas will include an all-new 68-minute documentary. Entitled Bringing Godzilla Down to Size: The Art of Japanese Special Effects, it could very well be the single best extra feature ever presented on a region 1 kaiju DVD. The SciFi Japan website is priming fandom for its release with a pair of behind-the-scenes articles. Part 1: Synopsis includes a rundown of what the film covers. Part 2: Production Notes and Personnel File covers the making of the film and the people who contributed. Check it out, and remember that the Rodan / WOTG DVD set comes out September 9!
Friday, July 18: Pandora's Box, Japanese-style. On July 22, ADV Films will release Yokai Monsters: Complete Collection. Little information is available (despite the impending street date, ADV has no listing on their site). This is presumably a box set of the three Yokai Monsters films previously released (and reviewed here at DMI): 100 Monsters, Along with Ghosts, and Spook Warfare.
Friday, July 18: When Dinosaurs Ruled Best Buy. Warner Home Entertainment is releasing a series of sci-fi double features (cue the Rocky Horror song) exclusively to Best Buy stores on July 29. One of the titles is When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Hammer Films' 1970 follow-up to One Million Years B.C. The original starred Raquel Welch as a sexy cavewoman, and featured stop-motion dinosaurs animated by Ray Harryhausen. Dinosaurs stars Victoria Vetri (Invasion of the Bee Girls) as another sexy cavewoman, and the dinos are animated by Jim Danforth. For this DVD, it's being paired with Moon Zero Two (a 1969 "space western," also from Hammer, that was riffed on MST3K). The other titles in the series are World Without End and Satellite in the Sky (both 1956); and Battle Beneath the Earth (1967, starring Kerwin "Sinbad" Mathews) and The Ultimate Warrior (1975, with Yul Brynner and Max von Sydow). All are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and MSRP is $19.97 (on sale for $16.99). (Source: The Classic Horror Film Board.)
Friday, July 11: FINALLY... Four More from Sony! Here's some great news I first heard at G-Fest last week: Sony is preparing the DVD release of four Toho films! The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959), Mothra (1961), and Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) are coming in a set sometime in 2009. More info can be found in this interview with Sony's Mike Schlesinger (who G-fans know as producer of the American theatrical version of Godzilla 2000) at HK and Cult Film DVD News, and this post on August Ragone's The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla blog. Stay tuned for more info on these highly-anticipated titles as it becomes available!
Monday, June 16: Some Very Sad News. Special effects master Stan Winston passed away Sunday evening, June 15, at the age of 62 due to cancer. Mr. Winston created some of the greatest FX in film history in The Terminator, Aliens, Predator, Jurassic Park, and dozens of other popular films, most recently the blockbuster Iron Man. He was also slated to work on Sony's American Godzilla film for director Jan DeBont, before that project was taken over by Centropolis. Needless to say, when it comes to modern special effects wizardry, Stan will always be The Man and he will most certainly be missed. Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb. (This news first appeared on Ain't it Cool News.) UPDATE 6/23: Here is a Yahoo! News story on his memorial service, with comments from directors Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
Monday, June 9: SPECIAL UPDATE FOR MONSTER MOVIE FANS IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA!!! Monster matinees are returning to Motown this summer, as the Detroit Film Theater will once again host a series of creature double features. Here is the schedule:
June 28: The Giant Claw (1957) and Creature with the Atom Brain (1955). Two from producer Sam Katzman.
July 5: The Deadly Mantis (1957) and The Monolith Monsters (1957). Special appearance by local late-night horror host Wolfman Mac!
July 12: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). Both shown in 3-D (glasses provided)!
July 19: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Great stop-motion FX from Ray Harryhausen!
All showings start at 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. 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. See you there!
Thursday, June 5: A Gargantuan Double Feature. On September 9, Classic Media will finally unleash two more Toho monster classics...together in one set! Rodan and War of the Gargantuas are coming out in a 2-disc set as part of CM's excellent Toho Master Collection. Not all of the details are known yet (and the misspelled cover art will surely change), but it will include a 60-minute documentary, Bringing Godzilla Down to Size. Hopefully, it will follow in Godzilla's Master Collection footsteps and include both the Japanese subtitled and U.S. versions of the films, and some additional extra goodies. MSRP is $19.99. (Source: HK Flix pre-order product page.) UPDATE 6/10: Both the Japanese and U.S. versions of each film will be included. The 68-minute documentary is written by Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle, directed by Norman England, and narrated by Alex Cox, with music by Ko Otani. It will feature appearances by Akira Takarada, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Shogo Tomiyama, Haruo Nakajima, Ken Satsuma, Tsutomu Kitagawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Teruyoshi Nakano, Akira Tsuburaya, Shinichi Wakasa, Shiro Sano, and more. WOW! (Source: August Ragone, as posted on several online forums.) UPDATE 7/15: On his Japanese Giants blog, Ed G. answers the question of why documentaries and other R2 DVD extras are rarely carried over to R1 releases. Definitely worth a look! UPDATE 7/29: Detailed specs and updated cover art have been posted by SciFi Japan.
Saturday, May 24: Son Bitch Saw a Shell. On June 3, ADV Films will release a two-pack of Destroy All Monsters and Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. These are the same versions of DAM and GOTU previously released by the company, so just click a title to go to the old DMI reviews. There's nothing new here for those who already have these, but at an MSRP of $19.98, fans who need to fill some holes in their kaiju DVD collections can shop around online for a good deal. (In case you're wondering, the headline is an old MaserCity reference that no one else will probably get, but it gave me a chuckle, so sue me.) UPDATE 5/26: Ryan C. reporting from the field: "I saw them at Best Buy today (5/25), apparently put out early. ...These appear to be newly made, not stock to be liquidated as some have guessed. They look about identical to the originals, but have small differences on the back (such as the newer style of TV ratings ADV uses, both lack barcodes, Gamera has a Kadokawa logo on it). Judging from the specs Gamera seems to be the same as the box set release (it mentioned English 5.1). Both movies have the same type of icon identifying them as being widescreen, but no mention of being anamorphic."
Tuesday, May 20: JPL RIP. Actor John Phillip Law died on Tuesday, May 13 at the age of 70. Monster movie fans will remember him as Sinbad in 1974's The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, second in a trilogy of Sinbad adventures brought to life with the FX magic of Ray Harryhausen. Law's other genre credits include Barbarella (with Jane Fonda) and Diabolik (riffed on the final episode of MST3K). Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb.
Tuesday, May 13: Big Screen Kaneko Alert! The live-action film Death Note, from Gamera Trilogy / GMK director Shusuke Kaneko, is coming to U.S. theaters in limited fashion. It's being beamed into select theaters by Fathom Events for two nights only, May 20 and 21 at 7:30 PM. The film will be dubbed in English, and the showing will include a 20-minute featurette. Death Note, which is based on a popular manga and anime series (that airs on Adult Swim), was a big hit in Japan, and Kaneko also directed the sequel. Click here for more info on the film at SciFi Japan, and here is Fathom's event page, which also leads to a list of participating theaters. The DVD is scheduled for release on September 16.
Tuesday, May 13: U.K. Godzilla Guardian. The Saturday, April 19 edition of The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. included a free Godzilla promo DVD. It's apparently the 1954 Godzilla, in Japanese with English subtitles, and no extras, in a simple cardboard sleeve. Check out the official web page. Copies of the DVD can be found on eBay. (Thanks to Ryan C. for the tip.)
Saturday, May 10: Blu Sky Captain. Hot on the heels of Cloverfield, Paramount has announced another title of interest to genre fans for release on May 20: The wonderful retro sci-fi pulp piece Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Here are the specs: 1.85:1 1080p transfer, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, two commentaries (one with producer Jon Avnet, the other with writer / director Kerry Conran and the FX crew), three featurettes, the original short film, deleted scenes, a gag reel, Anatomy of a Virtual Scene, and HD trailers. (Source: DVD File.) UPDATE 5/16: According to Amazon.com, the street date is June 3 and MSRP is $29.99.
Friday, May 2: Clover Goes Blu. Exactly one week after its debut on standard DVD, Paramount announced that Cloverfield will be stomping in HD onto Blu-ray Disc on June 3. (There are certainly many HD customers who would have appreciated a slightly earlier announcement in order to avoid the double-dip, but that's big business for you.) The film will be presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (French and Spanish); with English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles. All of the special features from the DVD will be included (director commentary, 3 featurettes, blooper reel, deleted scenes, alternate endings, multiple Easter eggs), as well as a feature-length interactive "Special Investigation Mode." (Source: The Digital Bits.)
Monday, April 21: Clover Swag. For those of you planning to pick up Cloverfield when it debuts on DVD tomorrow, several retailers are offering incentives to get your business. In addition to the steelbook packaging previously reported on (3/18 update), the following specials were advertised in the weekend papers: Best Buy has T.J. Miller's Video Diary, a 30-minute bonus DVD. Target has a "Deluxe Edition" with Rob's Party Mix CD. It includes music by OK Go, Goldfrapp, Scissors for Lefty, and more; unfortunately the end title theme is not included. K-Mart has a monster ringtone. Borders has a production photo booklet. These are all store exclusives with limited availability, so get up early and choose wisely. On a related note, here are two Yahoo! News stories on the film: The inspiration producer J.J. Abrams took from Godzilla, and why he thinks the film works better on DVD than in theaters. (UPDATED 4/23).
Wednesday, April 16: Cloverfield Gets Riffed! Rifftrax are comedic, feature-length audio commentaries by Mike Nelson and other Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni. (Think MST3K without the puppet shadows.) They can be bought and downloaded from the Rifftrax site, and then synched up with the DVD of the movie. Their next scheduled target is this year's monster hit Cloverfield. The Rifftrax will be available April 22, the street date of the Cloverfield DVD, for $3.99. There are Rifftrax for over 50 different movies; monster movie fans may also want to check out Jurassic Park and Reign of Fire. (Source: Satellite News.)
Thursday, April 3: SPECIAL UPDATE FOR GRINDHOUSE AND CLASSIC SCI-FI FANS IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA!!! This is not kaiju-related, but it deserves a shout-out to other genre movie fans in my hometown area. Every Thursday night in April, the Emagine Theater in Novi, Michigan (NW of Detroit; click here for map) is featuring 42nd Street Drive-in Double Features from Synapse Films. There will be contests and giveaways at each show, and vintage trailers will be shown during intermission. Here is the schedule:
- April 3: Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare (1987) and Black Roses (1988). Prizes given for best heavy metal rocker outfit!
- April 10: The Deadly Spawn (1983) and Street Trash (1987). Win the Ultimate Street Trash Kit. Special appearance by local late-night horror host Wolfman Mac!
- April 17: Wild Zero (2000) and Stacy (2001). Prizes given for best zombie costume!
- April 24: Singapore Sling (1990) and Thriller: They Call Her One Eye (1974); this is the "Vengeance Edition" without the infamous (and unnecessary) hardcore inserts. Win the Ultimate Thriller Revenge Kit!
All showings start at 8:00 pm on Thursday evening. Tickets for each double feature are only $7.00 each. Click here for more info. If classic sci-fi is more your thing, April is also Sci-Fi Month at the Penn Theater in Plymouth, Michigan (WNW of Detroit, between Detroit and Ann Arbor; click here for map). Here is their lineup:
April 3: Forbidden Planet (1956)
April 10: It Came from Outer Space (1953, in 3-D)
April 17: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
April 24: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
All showings start at 7:00 pm on Thursday evening. Tickets are only $3.00 each. Click here for more info. As always, I encourage all genre fans to get out there and support these local events. See you there!
Tuesday, March 18: Cloverfield is Coming! The incredibly effective and engaging American kaiju film Cloverfield is coming to DVD on April 22 from Paramount Home Entertainment. It will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include: Audio commentary by director Matt Reeves, 4 featurettes ("The Making of Cloverfield," "Cloverfield Visual Effects," "I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge!," and "Clover Fun"), 6 deleted scenes (including 2 alternate endings), and 11 (!) hidden Easter eggs. (Source: The Digital Bits.) On a side note, according to this interview with the film's creature designer, scenes of the monster sucking people up through feeding tubes on its underbelly were cut from the film. Will they be on the DVD? Time will tell! UPDATE 3/26: Cloverfield will also be available in "crushed" steelbook packaging. This limited edition will be exclusive to FYE and Suncoast. It is unknown if this version will include any additional extras. (Source: Dread Central.) UPDATE 4/23: All of the deleted scenes are "people scenes;" there is no additional monster footage. There are no additional extras in the steelbook edition.
Friday, February 15: The Asylum Strikes Again. On March 11, the inmates at The Asylum will break out another kaiju-themed mockbuster, this time to cash in on the upcoming release of Roland (Godzilla 1998) Emmerich's 10,000 BC. They're turning the clock back even further to 100 Million BC for the story of a giant dinosaur brought forward through time to a modern city. It stars Michael Gross, who is well-known to monster fans from the Tremors series. Here is The Asylum's product page. UPDATE 3/5: 100 Million BC is going to premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel sometime this summer. Therefore, the DVD release has been rescheduled for July 29. UPDATE 6/16: The Sci-Fi Channel premiere is this Sunday, June 22, at 9:00 pm EST. Click here for the schedule. (Thanks to Mike D. for the tip.)
Thursday, February 14: Kon Ichikawa RIP. Acclaimed Japanese film director Kon Ichikawa passed away yesterday, February 13, at the age of 92. He was best known to tokusatsu fans for Princess from the Moon (1987). Based on a popular Japanese tale, the film stars the legendary Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai), and features Heisei Godzilla series regular Megumi Odaka in one of her earliest roles. The special effects, by Teruyoshi Nakano, include a giant plesiosaur and Close Encounters-inspired spacecraft. The film is available on region 2 DVD in the U.K. Last year, The Criterion Collection released his The Burmese Harp (1956) and Fires on the Plain (1959) on DVD in the U.S. Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb.
Tuesday, February 12: Classic Sci-Fi Returns. For the last two Halloween seasons, Best Buy has been the exclusive retailer for two volumes of The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection. Each volume included five classic movies, on three discs. They are both now out of print, and the prices on the secondary market have been rising (especially on 2006's Volume 1). For those who missed out, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will rectify the situation on May 13 by re-releasing them all in one fell swoop. Their new The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection: Volumes 1 & 2 will include the following ten movies on six discs: Tarantula, The Mole People, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Monolith Monsters, Monster on the Campus, Dr. Cyclops, Cult of the Cobra, The Land Unknown, The Deadly Mantis, and The Leech Woman. All will be in their original aspect ratios (the widescreen movies will be anamorphic), with English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, optional English captions and French subtitles, and include the original theatrical trailers. This new set should be available everywhere, and MSRP is $59.98. (Source: The Digital Bits.)
Tuesday, February 12: RIP Roy. This past Sunday, February 10, actor Roy Scheider died at the age of 75. He will always be remembered by monster movie fans for his role as Amity Island Police Chief Martin Brody in director Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975), a role he reprised for the 1978 sequel Jaws 2. Here is a story on his passing from Yahoo! News, and here is his filmography from the IMDb.
Friday, February 8: Titans HD. The Digital Bits is reporting that Warner Home Entertainment, in celebration of the studio's 85th anniversary, has big plans for fully restoring many of their catalog titles this year for HD release on the Blu-ray Disc format. One of the titles mentioned is Ray Harryhausen's final fantasy, Clash of the Titans. More info will be posted here when available.
Wednesday, February 6: HIGH FIVE!!! Today is a big milestone for DMI: It's our fifth-year anniversary! Thank you to everyone who has visited the site over the years! I'd like to give special props to my wonderful girlfriend Jen, my friends at G-Fan and G-Fest, the old MC crew, and the long-time readers like Mike D. and Blade Galantine who send in news and product reports.
Unfortunately, I've been feeling "under the weather" all week, and considering what the weather's been like lately, that's saying something. I'm trying to get some new reviews (and maybe a few other surprises) done this weekend, so check back next week, and thanks again!
Tuesday, February 5: Rhino's Last Shout. Today is the release date for Rhino Home Video's retooled The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 10.2. If you already have Volume 10, you can get the one new disc, The Giant Gila Monster, exclusively through Rhino's website for a limited time. They're taking preorders now, for only $7.95 plus shipping, for the February 11 release date. Don't dilly-dally, as this is a limited-time offer. Here is Rhino's product page. UPDATE 2/20: The Gila Monster single is reportedly delayed, to Feb. 25.
According to Satellite News, these will be the last MST3K offerings from Rhino. The home video and digital download rights to the show have been acquired by Shout! Factory. (Shout! is known to genre fans for their releases of Elvira's Movie Macabre and The Film Crew.) They are reportedly looking to begin their MST3K releases mid-year, but no other info is available yet. For all the latest MST3K news, keep checking out Satellite News, and DMI will also report on any kaiju-themed releases.
Tuesday, January 15: American Kaiju Alert! This Friday, 1-18-08, is the release date for Cloverfield. In case you don't know (but of course you do!), Cloverfield is the story of a giant monster attacking Manhattan, as documented by found camcorder footage filmed by civilians at street level. Produced by J.J. Abrams (of Alias and Lost fame), this "Blairzilla Project" has long been shrouded in secrecy, except for a few exciting and intriguing trailers. The hype is about to end, and we'll finally get to see this new kind of kaiju movie for ourselves. As always, I encourage all kaiju fans to take advantage of every opportunity to see (and support) giant monsters on the big screen. Check out the official site: Cloverfield.com. UPDATE: I saw the movie opening night, and ... Cloverfield is awesome! It brings an all-new kind of excitement and immediacy to the old monster-on-the-loose formula. Highly recommended! Also, SciFi Japan has extensive production notes on the film, and here are two stories from Yahoo! News: Monster in Manhattan feeds on fears, anxiety; and Monster thriller "Cloverfield" crushes box office.
On a related note, I usually don't cover "Sci-Fi Channel originals" or direct-to-video / cable monster movies here, because they suck so bad (and the cheaply-animated CGI monsters rarely reach kaiju proportions anyways). However, several readers have emailed to either ask me or tell me about Monster, due on DVD today from Asylum Home Entertainment. The Asylum is known for its prolific output of "mockbusters," low-budget knockoffs of Hollywood movies. (I Am Omega and AVH: Alien vs. Hunter are two recent examples.) Monster is about a giant tentacled creature attacking Tokyo, and guess what? It's filmed on handheld cameras by tourists at street level. Here is The Asylum's product page. UPDATE: Monster is incredibly lame. Unlike Cloverfield, Monster shows very little of the monster and the destruction it supposedly causes. Avoid.
Tuesday, January 15: Monsters Rehashed. Amazon.com has a listing for Monsters Unleashed, a set of 9 movies ("Over 13 Hours!") on 3 discs, plus bonus features. It's from St. Clair Vision, so the smart money is on this being nothing more than a re-release of their Giant Monsters set from a few years ago, timed to ride the coattails of Cloverfield. Top it off with cover art that apes Gamera the Brave and Gamera 3 with ADV's Gamera font, and you've got a mockbuster of a different sort. It's being "unleashed" on February 19 for under 10 bucks. (See the 2/19 update in the 2005 News Archive for more info on St. Clair's first unleashing of Giant Monsters.)
Tuesday, January 15: The Dragons Come Home to Roost. Following its recent release on DVD in the U.S., Dragon Wars is heading back home to its native South Korea. KD Media will follow up last year’s classy release of The Host by giving D-War deluxe treatment. Both Limited and Standard Editions will be available. Both versions are 2-disc sets. The film will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with the original English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, and a Korean dub in 5.1, with English and Korean subtitles. The supplements on disc 2 include: A 12-part making-of documentary, featurettes on production design, visual effects, and sound recording; multiple interviews, premiere footage, trailers, and photo and poster galleries. The LE will include two storyboard booklets and five postcards, and be limited to 5,000 copies. The SE will include one booklet. Additionally, random copies will be signed by director Hyung-rae Shim. The release date is February 1, and the DVDs are region 3. They will be available from YesAsia, Sensasian, and other Asian DVD retailers. (Sources: YesAsia, SciFi Japan.)
Thursday, January 10: Zilla HD. At the 2008 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), one of the titles promoted by Sony as an upcoming HD release on the Blu-ray Disc format was their 1998 version of Godzilla. More info will be posted here when available. (Source: The Digital Bits.) UPDATE 2/15: Blu-ray and DVD Special Editions of Godzilla '98 were apparently scheduled to hit store shelves on March 28, but have now been "indefinitely postponed" by Sony. Stay tuned! (Source: DVD File.)
Wednesday, January 2: Blasting into 2008. Media Blasters has announced some of their plans for the early part of the new year. Two releases of interest to toku fans are Zebraman (see the 11/27/07 update) and Devilman. First, some more info is available on Zebraman: The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with Japanese and English 5.1 and 2.0 audio, and optional English subtitles. Extras include a feature on the singer of the theme song, a faux Zebraman TV series promo, teaser and theatrical trailers, TV spots, and a photo gallery. Street date is February 19, and MSRP is $19.99. Then, on March 11, they will release Devilman, a live-action version of the manga and anime by Go Nagai (creator of Cutey Honey and Kekko Kamen). The specs for Devilman haven't been finalized, but expect an anamorphic widescreen transfer, Japanese and English audio, and optional English subtitles. Extras include a making-of featurette, interviews with the cast, and trailers and TV spots.
- Eastern Kaiju:
Godzilla & Other
Gamera & Other
- Western Kaiju:
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