After Eddie Munster (Mason Cook) turns into a werewolf and attacks his friends in his boy scout troupe, the Munsters have to move house. They settle on 1313 Mockingbird Lane, a house at the centre of a terrible string of murders. Herman Munster (Jerry O'Connell) has a heart attack, but revived by Grandpa Munster (Eddie Izzard), who warns him that he will soon need a replacement heart.

mockingbird2Grandpa wants Eddie to know that he's changing into a werewolf, while Lily (Portia de Rossi) and Herman want to break it to him gently. Marylyn helps Grandpa to show Eddie something of the monsterous world. Grandpa enslaves one of the neighbours with blood-laced cookies. ...continue reading "Mockingbird Lane – 2012"

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A while back, I had a look at the Munsters in general. This time, I'm going to look at the Munster's only cinematic release, Munsters Go Home.

Death Race 200 it ain't.
Death Race 2000 it ain't.

The Munsters learn that Herman (Fred Gwynne) has inherited a valuable estate and a noble title from his adopted family in England. Lily (Yvonne de Carlo) later explains that Herman was adopted by the noble Munster family after leaving Dr Frankenstein's lab. They take passage on a steamer to England. Herman gets seasick the instant they leave port, Marilyn has a shipboard romance with a rich guy with an indeterminate accent (Robert Pine) and Grandpa accidentally turns himself into a wolf. ...continue reading "Munsters Go Home – 1966"

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A while back, I decided that I was going to review every Frankenstein-based movie and TV show I could find. In today's episode: I regret that decision.

And how.
And how.

So, the Flintsones are Flintstoning it up, when some new neighbours move in next door. They are the Frankenstones – Karloff-like father Frank, absent minded mother Oblivia, children Hidia and Frankenstub and pet 'octopup' Creepy. They're basically a stone-age knock off of the Munsters or Addamses.

Fred is outraged to be living next door to these weirdos, and so goes out of his way to make them unwelcome. He is entirely alone in this. Wilma likes the new neighbours and Barney is more upset with Fred's rudeness than the Frankenstones' eccentricities. ...continue reading "The Flintstones Meet Their New Neighbours the Frankenstones – 1980"

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2

My favourite stories on In Search Of… are undoubtedly the sightings ones. They're fun and spooky and almost completely harmless. I don't think that there's anything unusual to be found in Lake Okanagan, for example, but a) if there is, it's pretty cool and b) if there isn't there's no real harm in thinking that there is.

Take note of this. It will get super funny later.
Take note of this. It will get super funny later.

But while they're the most fun to watch, they aren't always the most interesting to review. Basically, they run the formula of crappy re-enactments and lots and lots of people delivering their 'I saw it' anecdote straight to camera.

Will this episode do better? Let's see. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E08 The Ogopogo Monster"

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Frankenstein Island… Okay… Uh…

Yeah, what's up with that?
Yeah, what's up with that?

Synopsis! Yeah, maybe start with a synopsis. The balloonists from Mysterious Island land on the Island of Dr Moreau where they're met by Tarzan and the Leopard Women. Then they meet Sheila Frankenstein and her husband Dr van Helsing, who was the assistant of Dr Frankenstein, because WHAT?

This plastic Halloween devil pitchfork is actually supposed to be a high tech superweapon. No, really.
This plastic Halloween devil pitchfork is actually supposed to be a high tech superweapon. No, really.

...continue reading "Frankenstein Island – 1981"

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The last US Godzilla remake was severely criticised for its concentration on a human character thereby limiting Godzilla's screen time, which is historically an unfair criticism. Godzilla movies are always a bit of a mixed bag. There's always a mix of city-stomping action and boring people being boring. As such, this criticism of the US Godzilla is unfair – though the criticism that maybe the human it should have been following was Brian Cranston has a little more merit.

The most recent Japanese Godzilla movie is also a mix of dull humans and the city-stomping star of the show and it gets the mix even worse than the American version. It follows the worst of the American remake's example and goes for a somewhat dour movie. Shin Godzilla is clearly an attempt to get back to basics and recapture the spirit of 1954's original Godzilla with its serious tone and clear-cut message, and to leave out the outrageous silliness of the later Godzilla films.

The result is, slow and dull. While the effects on the new Godzilla monster itself are excellent, the film is mostly concerned with Japanese politicians and bureaucrats organising the fight against the monster. You remember how in the old-time Godzilla movies there would always be a scene where our heroes have a conversation in front of a bunch of non-speaking extras in suits and uniforms who are meant to represent the Japanese government? Well, imagine an entire film about those non-speaking extras, and you basically have Shin Godzilla.

There are a couple of interesting points here. A couple. They touch on constitutional issues, like 'does a kaiju count as an aggressor nation for purposes of mobilising the Self Defence Force'? Trouble is, while a question like that might be an interesting exercise for some Japanese legal students down at the pub, it's kind of pointless in a Godzilla movie, because of course they're going to call out the SDF. And there's a serious plot line involving the Japanese defenders trying to find a way to defeat Godzilla before the Americans nuke him. Again, of course the Americans won't actually be allowed to nuke Tokyo, even if the writers have to find the most unlikely way to halt Godzilla's rampage for long enough for a realistic non-nuclear option to be discovered.

Other than that, it hits so many problems with gritty reboots. In attempting to shear Godzilla franchise of its glorious nonsense it ends up dour and colourless but ultimately fails to actually get rid of all the nonsense. In spite of all the obvious thought that has gone into this movie, I think I'd rather have just rewatched 1969's Destroy All Monsters again.

Even if it did have Minilla in it. Ugh, Minilla

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'It may appear strange that such should arise in the eighteenth century; but while I followed the routine of education in the schools of Geneva, I was, to a great degree, self-taught with regard to my favourite studies.' -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

'To the best of my knowledge, doctorates are not awarded for witchcraft. But if ever they are, no doubt I will qualify.' -- Baron Frankenstein, Frankenstein Created Woman.

We open on one of the Hammer Frankenstein series' most enduring symbols – the guillotine. A prisoner is being lead to his death, drunken and defiant. He seems fearless and utterly unashamed of whatever act has lead him here – until he sees that his young son Hans is watching. He dies, quiet and glum.

Years later Hans (Robert Morris), now grown up, passes the guillotine on his way to his work. He is assisting the kindly, Gepeto-like Dr Hertz (Thorley Walters) with an experiment. Hertz' partner Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) has frozen himself to see if he can be revived. He's duly thawed and shocked back into life.

I'm alive. Alive!
I'm alive. Alive!

This is what he's up to, now. Finding ways of improving surgical survival rates. The Baron's work has taken a somewhat mystical tern. He's concerned with keeping the soul – keeping it in the body, it seems. ...continue reading "Frankenstein Created Woman – 1967"

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Okay. Got some booze to dull the pain. My wife's out, so she won't hear me yelling abuse at the screen. Let's do this. I, Frankenstein.

Yeah, it's that sort of a movie.
Yeah, it's that sort of a movie.

Quick retelling of Frankenstein. Creation, abandonment, murder of Elizabeth, death of Frankenstein. The Monster (who, far from looking like a misshapen creature capable of causing terror in anyone who sees him, looks like Aaron Eckhart with a scar) buries Frankenstein. He is confronted by demons and fights them. Then… ...continue reading "I , Frankenstein – 2014"

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And I seem to find the happiness I seek, When we're dancing close together cheek to cheek
And I seem to find the happiness I seek, When we're dancing close together cheek to cheek

The scene: Toho Studios, 1964

Producer: We need a new monster movie. What have you got? Giant bee? Giant crab?

Writer: I think we should look outside the box a little. We're having some success selling our monster movies in America, so I have an idea to adapt a monster from Western lore - Frankenstein's Monster!

Producer: How big is this monster?

Writer: Seven feet.

Producer: Pass.

Writer: I mean seven-ty feet?

Producer: …I'm listening. ...continue reading "Frankenstein Conquers the World – 1965"

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This is going to be a short review of a strange movie. It's the first ever film version of Mary Shelley's novel and it's… special. Historically, it's much less of a big deal than the 1931 version. James Whale's Frankenstein created much of the modern iconography of Frankenstein – the stitched together body, the slab, the lightning.

The Monster discovers that it can't hail a taxi in Frankenstein's living room.
The Monster discovers that it can't hail a taxi in Frankenstein's living room.

The 1910 version has none of this. It's based to some degree on the stage tradition of Frankenstein, which often had Frankenstein create the Monster through alchemical means. This is not completely at odds with the novel, in which Victor is inspired as much by alchemical thinkers as by contemporary science. What it meant in terms of staging is that the actor playing the Monster often made his appearance springing out of a huge cauldron, and something similar happens here. ...continue reading "Frankenstein -1910"

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