Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Highlights of "Monsterland Ohio Radio's" First Year

With Robert Scott Field, Android M-11 from "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" & guest on Ep. 23

With Victoria Price, guest on Ep. 21

With Bill, Jason, and Joe: The Ultimate Abbott and Costello Tribute Show, guests on Ep. 22

With Ryan Lengyel, Slop Motion Artist and guest on Ep. 21

With Minerva Monster soundtrack composer Brandon Dalo on Minerva Monster Day, guest on Ep. 20

With researcher Stan Gordon, guest on Ep. 21

With Shannon LeGro, guest on Ep. 18

Matt Harris at Minerva Monster Day, guest on Eps. 18 & 20

Yup, it's the Turtleman. Ep. 8

With Seth Breedlove at Salt Fork

Episode 24: First Anniversary Special

Friday, July 17, 2015


Godzilla, the star of the show

This "shadowbox" style model by our buddy Mick won the People's Choice Award

Stephen Schilling and I with the sheet music for Akira Ifukube's "SY-3 March"

Check out this awesome Kanegon costume!

Three generations of monster movie fans--and your co-hosts for Episode 23

Episode 23: Remembering G-FEST XXII

Friday, July 10, 2015

G-FEST XXII: The Double-Double

The marquee at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge says it all; G-FEST has arrived! 

G-FEST XXII marks our seventh consecutive Godzilla con, and so there are things that have become somewhat traditional for us. One is arriving early for the sidewalk sale in Park Ridge; once again we scored two theatrical posters (this year's acquisitions: Big Hero Six and Age of Ultron) outside the Pickwick box office. I also have to check in the Park Ridge Public Library that they still have the hard bound edition of Bill Warren's "Keep Watching the Skies" (they do). But the biggest and boldest Thursday tradition is the double-double feature at the Pickwick; four rip-roaring monster movies in a grand old movie palace. Here are my impressions of this year's mini-movie-fest.

THEM! Generally regarded as an American Classic, "Them!" hits all the right notes. I was struck by the quality of the cast, and the appearance of the giant ants, while eliciting laughter from some in attendance, is very effective. The ending, like many 50's sci-fi films, seems a bit perfunctory, but it is better to leave the viewer wanting more, instead of checking his or her watch. In my opinion, the highlight of "Them!" is the performance of the little girl who is found wandering in the New Mexico desert. When she is aroused from her shell-shocked state, the viewer is treated to an iconic moment in 50's cinema. 

THE DEADLY MANTIS: Unfortunately, they can't all be classics, and "The Deadly Mantis" suffers in comparison to movies like "Them!" Jam-packed with stock footage, populated with odd characters and weird relationships, this movie just feels like it's trying too hard or something. What's truly deadly about "The Deadly Mantis" is that the titular monster is ponderously slow and stiff, once again suffering in comparison to other movie mantises (such as Toho's). As the second half of an old school double feature it is acceptable fare, but it really cries out to be riffed in MST3K fashion.

Following the dinner break it was time for GAMERA VS. JIGER. It seems to me that this is a somewhat underrated entry in the Gamera canon. In many ways it is the epitome of all Gamera films: It features the Gamera fight song ("You're wonderful, Gamera"), kids (with unfettered access to government officials) save the day, there's lots of monster action, and so forth. It is gleefully un-serious and unrepentantly aimed at kids. Yet in that context there are a number of elaborately staged scenes that are downright impressive when viewed on the silver screen, as intended. "Gamera vs. Jiger" is a straight shot of pure old-school kaiju fun.

GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE: In the mid-90s, Shusuke Kaneko and Shinji Higuchi proved that  giant flying turtle movies were still viable, giving the character of Gamera new life, not to mention a relatively serious backstory. Modern viewers may find the Gyaos 'birds' a bit clunky for their taste, but Gamera looks fantastic in this movie and the miniature work is nothing short of staggering. There is an audacity to this picture that seems to say, "look how fun kaiju movies can still be!" A winsome cast and a subtly thought-provoking script make this one of the most enjoyable Japanese monster movies ever made.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Here Comes G-FEST XXII

Up from the depths...thirty stories high...if you know the next line, chances are you are going to be in Illinois very soon for G-FEST XXII. We haven't previewed this year's Fest on the blog, but you can expect full coverage of the event including an eventual Monsterland Ohio Radio episode complete with interviews for your listening enjoyment.

As it stands, the things that I am looking forward to the most are seeing "Gamera vs. Jiger" and "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe" on the big screen at the Pickwick Theater and then returning the next night for the Symphonic Fury concert. The chance to hear composer Kow Otani's music played live is so extremely rare, it can't be overstated. It has never happened in his home country of Japan, so to be in the right place at the right time in Park Ridge is going to be very special.

If you're coming to G-FEST XXII with kids, look us up Saturday morning in the Kid's Thread--we'll have game demonstrations, story time and prize giveaways! Plus we may be recording a little bit for M.O. Radio. You could end up on a podcast!

We're very excited for our annual trek to the Windy City and look forward to sharing it with you.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Episode 22 Gallery

Bill Riley/Bud Abbott; Mark; Jason Crutchley/Scoop Fields; Andy; Joe Ziegler/Lou Costello

The big interview in progress

The house was packed on Friday night

These guys are the real deal--see them if you can!

On the run from the Mummy!

Episode 22: The Ultimate Abbott and Costello Tribute Show

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Monster Bash Gallery

A still from the traditional Monster Bash intro, a clever homage to the beginning of "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

The Creepy Classics room was filled with monster merch

Cortland Hull gave a great presentation about his relative Henry Hull, the cinematic "Werewolf of London"

Christopher Lee's Dracula was remembered throughout the weekend

The Ultimate Abbott and Costello Tribute Show delighted the Friday night crowd

We got to see the 1910 "Thomas Edison" silent movie--a weird adaptation of the Frankenstein story, but the spfx were incredible!

The Minerva Monster was in the house!

More to come...