MONSTERS HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD

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[Like I mentioned in my previous post, here’s my incomplete Godzilla vs Kong review! The further along it gets, the more unfinished it is, but I wanted to share what I had before signing off.  After the review I’ll cap it off with a  mess of closing thoughts. Enjoy!]

Godzilla vs. Kong is the movie I have been waiting for since I was a little boy.  Not necessarily this version of the movie, but a big budget, high-profile rematch between my two favorite monsters of all time.  I love these two big mean fuckers on their own, but together?  That’s pure movie magic. Totally audacious, unhinged imagination let loose and exploding on screens all over the planet.  

The more I learned about filmmaking and the more I paid attention to the film industry growing up, the more I came to believe that Godzilla and King Kong would never meet again on the big screen. Even when Legendary announced their plans to build towards this movie, I had my doubts.  A single MonsterVerse flop could easily kill the plan, a global plague could even more easily kill the plan.  And yet!!  And yet here I am, reviewing the movie I’ve hoped for and daydreamed for my whole life and spent over half my life convinced I would never get to see. Not only that, but the rest of the world at large (not just the kaiju fan community!) seems genuinely stoked! True randos were cooking up funny tweets and fan art and speculating about plot details in the lead-up to its release! I told a friend that the release of Godzilla vs. Kong felt like Monster Christmas, he agreed!

w9mn06r6gan61Godzilla vs. Kong, currently the capstone on Legendary Pictures’ ambitious MonsterVerse cinematic universe, has its problems, large and small… but it also delivers all the big, crazy, colorful, joyful, thrilling, scary, gross, and awe-inspiring fun you could ask for in the greatest monster prize fight rematch in history. Just the fact that there’s now a mega-budget, (relative) smash-hit Hollywood blockbuster that has a title starting with “Godzilla vs.” is incredibly exciting. The fact that said title ends with “Kong”?! I’m freaking the fuck out over here, gang. I will be for a long time ūü§£

This won’t be one of my usual reviews. Partly because I’m probably incapable of being objective about this movie (I have pretty bad recency bias on a good day, let alone for a movie I’ve daydreamed about since I was 6), but also because I want to talk about where I’ve been lately, the new kaiju boom we’re living in, and how I’m thinking about some major changes when it comes to my writing and this website. I’ve also been jonesing for an excuse to look back on what this site, the kaiju fandom, and the monsters themselves have really meant to me all this time–MONSTERS CONQUER THE WORLD was always a deeply personal project, and these last couple years especially have taught me a lot about myself and why these big stompy bastards matter so much to me.  

So this might be a sort-of kind-of a farewell post? Or at least saying farewell to the super in-depth kaiju reviews?  Who knows, I might feel completely differently in the near future and find myself re-inspired to get back to the big meaty reviews!  I’m not in a position to guarantee anything right now–so instead I want to just go with the flow and see where it takes me. Deep down I’ve been itching to pivot away from writing about other peoples’ creations and start writing my own stuff (I’ve threatened friends and family with fan-fic for years), and that’s at least some part of why I’ve had such a hard time getting out reviews the last couple years. Of course I can’t just WALK AWAY when there’s so much kaiju kontent to review, so for this big funky mega-post I will also do micro-reviews of every “Main Monster’s” filmography. For me that means Godzilla, Kong, Gamera, and Ultraman, and probably a few other odds and ends in there too [Had to ditch this, sorry. Maybe someday!]. This is a weird one and a big one and a personal one, so hoist up your glowing nuke-ax, buckle into your H.E.A.V. and grab a barf bag because we’re atomic breath-ing all the way down to the Hollow fuckin’ Earth!

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Villain Monster Flies Away, Human Heroes Reflect on What They’ve Learned, Good Monster Wades off into the Sunset… Until Next Time

“I AM OFFICIALLY STOPPING MY BLOG”, he said, stupidly.¬†¬†

“For sure nobody cares and it’s way weirder that you’re talking about it,” everyone said, correctly but also kind of meanly.¬†¬†

I don’t know, how else do I open this? I’m stepping away from the blog, but I don’t want to leave it on a cliffhanger. I am okay. I’m not trying to be dramatic or anything weird.¬† I’m just ready to move on.¬†

Not from kaiju, of course.¬† I’m still fucking obsessed.¬† I’m currently watching Zyuranger, Mirrorman and Ultraman Trigger. Zyuranger is my favorite of the three, and I like it a fartload more than I ever liked Power Rangers.¬† I know that’s spicy, but I could never get into PR’s Saved by the Bell-ish stories.¬† And their re-contextualizations of the monsters were lame.¬† There’s a micro review for ya! Zyuranger FUCKIN’ SHREDDDDS, MAN.

Hahaha okay, so yeah, I’m not moving on from kaiju, but I am moving on from writing reviews of kaiju media (beyond the occasional tweet).¬† I don’t feel that burning drive to do it anymore, and there are a ton of folks out there covering it faster and more in-depth than I ever could (looking atchoo, Gormaru Island). It’s time to close up shop.¬† I fell hilariously short of my preposterous goals, but I feel good about it anyway.¬† It was fun, I made some friends, and I found even more big beautiful beasts to go batty for.¬† OH HEY A NEW GODZILLA SHORT FILM CAME OUT TODAY

As an out-and-proud Final Wars Fanatic and a Hedorah-ing Hedonist, I am of course overwhelmed with joy. It’s a fun, silly little blast.¬† I made sure to calmly and maturely let Toho know how I felt about the short:

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So I’m stopping the blog, but I’ve got some unfinished writing I want to share. Just for fun, I guess.¬† My notes for the Ultraman episode “My Home is Earth” are a scant few interesting nuggets I mined from IMDB and Wikipedia (and other ‘pedias), but they capture the harrowing, somber spirit of the episode.¬† After that is my partial intro for a Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla¬†(1974) review.¬† I’ve got one more post in me that will be coming soon–the first 75% of a¬†Godzilla vs Kong review plus some closing thoughts.¬† This stuff’s all incomplete–broken links, missing images, unfinished thoughts, placeholder text, all the blood n’ guts–but I’m a bit of a gorehound, so maybe you are too.¬† No matter what, thanks for reading.¬†¬†

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More Like Afterbirth of Mothra ;( (Part 2 of 2)

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2020 still sucks boiling hot dogshit through a straw made out of electrified razor blades and barbed wire, so let’s ignore it for a little while longer and finish off our deep dive into 1996’s delightfully doofy Rebirth of Mothra!¬† If you missed part 1 of the review you can rub your eyeballs all over it here.

There is SO MUCH more monster moth mayhem to unpack and I can’t wait.¬† I will say this before we pick up the recap where we left off (Desghidorah’s grand entrance): I think this is one of my favorite Heisei-era Toho monster flicks.¬† This movie is way the fuck more solid than it gets credit for.¬† It doesn’t have the earnest sci-fi seriousness of Return of Godzilla, it doesn’t have the astonishingly good practical effects of Godzilla vs. Biollante, and it’s not hilariously, mind-bendingly weird like Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, but it’s got it’s own, different set of goals and nails ’em! More on that and a whole bunch more after the jump!

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Clear out your Bowels From Beyond the Clog(ged toilet), it’s time for Howl From Beyond the Fog!

330px-Howl_from_Beyond_the_Fog_posterLook, I realize that’s probably the worst review title I’ve ever cooked up, but when your review style is “R-rated, kaiju-obsessed Gene Shalit” things like this happen.

Also, I came up with the review title before actually watching Howl From Beyond the Fog! Now that I’ve seen it, I can say with certainty that the review title is an amazingly bad fit.¬† Now that it’s there though, I can’t think of a better one.¬† ANYWAYS

I helped Kickstart this bad boy! Keizo Murase, the designer of the original Varan suit (and special effects whiz for¬†The H-Man,¬†Mighty Peking Man, and more) was tapped to create Howl’s GORGEOUS monster suit. Frankly that was enough to get some buck-a-roos from me, but Howl’s also an ambitious short film that takes place in rural Japan in 1909–a refreshing change of scenery from the usual modern day city smash-em-ups.

ALSO IT’S A PUPPET MOVIE?!

How does that work?  Does it work? Read on my babies!

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King Kong vs. The Dude Part Two’d

b1356f20e3bbfb3996633be04296a825All right mother humpers, time to make like machine gunfire from a helicopter and finish off King Kong (1976)!¬† That joke made me sad as I was typing it!¬† But this is a classic, tragic beauty and the beast tale, just like its 1933 grandpappy and its 2005… un-pappy? Anti-pappy?¬† Reverse pappy?…

ANYWAY you can click here to read part 1 of the review if you missed it or if you just can’t get enough of that totally gnar-gnar, flavor-blasted MCTW content.

In part 1 we set the stage, took a peek at the creative team behind the movie, and stopped¬†just as King Kong met Jessica Lange Dwan! Can King Kong and Dwan save the midtown youth center by putting on a funky-fresh talent show with all their hip inner-city friends, or will the evil real estate tycoon bulldoze it to make way for a subdivision of ugly McMansions?? Don’t believe me that that’s totally the actual, real plot of the movie?¬† Better read on to make sure!

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King Kong vs. The Dude (Part 1 of 2)

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Pretty fuckin’ ballsy to call your obvious¬† remake an “original motion picture event” ūü§£

As a monster movie fan I’ve seen all the Godzillas, all the Gameras… but only¬†most of the Kings Kong.¬† This month I am one step closer to Kongpletion, because I finally saw the 1976 remake,¬†King Kong!¬† We got Jessica Lange, we got Jeff Bridges, we got Charles Grodin, we got the guy who played Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we got some tasty American suitmation, and it’s all in a lavish, mid-70s Dino De Laurentiis super-production!

So what the fuck took me so long? For one thing, Kong ’76 has always had sort of a mixed reception…¬†for another thing, they took out the dinosaurs.¬† And the expedition to Skull Island (only they make sure to NOT call it Skull Island) switched from an ambitious-but-doomed movie shoot to an ill-advised oil survey (because it’s the 70s, so you gotsta get those gas crisis references in!) These are all really minor, nitpicky things, but in my brain they all pointed to the distinct possibility that this was a King Kong movie that was embarrassed to be a King Kong movie, and I wasn’t exactly champing at the bit for another one of those.

I’m psyched to be wrong though! Kong ’76¬†is a mixed bag, but it’s a¬†beautiful mixed bag! Most importantly, it IS 110% an honest-to-Godzilla King Kong movie! There’s also a shitload of BUCK NUTTY behind-the-scenes stories about Kong ’76’s conception and creation. Plus it’s fascinating seeing how this movie clearly laid some (unintentional?) groundwork for 2017’s terrific¬†Kong: Skull Island.¬†¬†So hit pause on¬†Deep Throat, grab your pet rocks Petrox, and get ready to feel feelings about the Twin Towers all over again, because we’re setting sail for (definitely not) Skull Island!

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MCTW Podcast: La Llorona!

thumbnailMonsters Conquer the World Podcast¬†is here with a spooktacular new episode! Just in time for Halloween, we’re taking on the classic Mexican ghost story La Llorona and its¬† 2019 film adaptation, The Curse of La Llorona!¬†We’ve got a super special guest to guide us through the wild and woolly world of the weeping woman, our good friend Richard (inventor of the Monsters Conquer the World signature cocktail!)! Richard grew up hearing tales of La Llorona, so we were super excited to get his perspective on the movie and of course dive into the deep folkloric roots of this iconic ghoul!

We weigh in on jump scares and¬†anti jump scares, Mexico’s horrifying(?) Hairy Hand, the real-life historical figure that (may have) inspired La Llorona, Steve Urkel, and so much more!

We also get some bonus ghost stories–enough to fill up the adjoining Shadow Episode, which I super duper recommend checking out!¬† Come for La Lechuza, Mexico’s terrifying owl witch, and stay for Richard’s run in with a Curandero!¬†Plus Ralph and Richard discuss the nature of ghost stories and superstitions and what they mean not only in Mexican folklore, but the human experience at large. Shit is¬†dope, friendos.

Monsters Conquer the World Podcast is available everywhere you pick up your favorite casted pods, but you can also just clack on this lonk if you wunt: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/monsters-conquer-the-world

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I hope you enjoy the episode (and Shadow Episode)–due to life stuff I had to be more hands-off this time, but Ralph and Richard totally crushed it–this is absolutely one of my favorite episodes we’ve done.¬† That said, between my work schedule (which will continue to be crazy through the end of the year), the hectic insanity of the holiday season, and just needing to make sure our personal lives don’t fall apart, Ralph and I have decided that Monsters Conquer the World Podcast will be on hiatus at least through November and December.¬† We don’t have an exact return time locked in yet, but we’re aiming for January or February.¬† We’ve still got a bunch of episode ideas that we’re psyched about, so hopefully life will have chilled out enough by then so we can actually make those episodes.¬† Of course Patreon will be on hold while we’re gone, but monthly(-ish) blog posts won’t be effected–my review of¬†the 1976¬†King Kong should be ready to drop (at least in part) before All Hallow’s Eve.¬† Our Discord channel, Facebook, and Twitter will keep functioning as normal too!

MCTW Podcast: Colossal!

b5-colossalThanks to Ariccio, one of our dashing and charming Patrons, Ralph and Matt bite into 2016’s¬†Colossal for this rip-roaring episode of Monsters Conquer the World Podcast!¬†Colossal has¬†got the goods gang, and Ralph and Matt unpack it all: alcoholism, the nature of empathy, toxic relationships, emotional manipulation, Doritos flavor scientists… Colossal doesn’t fuck around and dives straight into some pretty heavy shit! Oh¬†and there’s rad monster crap too!

Spoilers ahoy, so make sure you watch the flick over on Hulu first if you’ve never seen it! It’s pretty damn cool!

You can grab the episode wherever you get your finely podded casts, or mush this big ol’ link: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/monsters-conquer-the-world

As with all Patrons who attain Godzilla status and pick an episode topic, Ariccio has a dedication he’d like to share. I swear¬†he wrote this, not me:

I can safely say that Monsters Conquer the World has reached a golden standard when it comes to its outlet and community. If it wasn’t for Matt and Ralph, a lot of difficult weeks would go by without an apt wall to bounce off of. Thank you for putting our nerdy passions on a pedestal unlike any other site and for introducing me to a wide variety of movies, including classic kaiju films, which are now some of my favorite pieces of cinema of all time. My admiration for Ultraman and Minya would probably flounder in comparison to what it’s evolved to today (for better or worse). For nearly 3 years this has been the case, and the charm hasn’t diminished even a tad. This all feels very authentic and passionate and I’m so glad to be a part of this Super Apartment Friendship… Now get to reviewing the movie you fuccin jabronies ūüôā
WOW!¬† Thanks bud!¬† Knowing all this actually has a positive impact on folks is just about this best feeling in the world.¬† Also, I think we reviewed this movie’s nuts off! Let us know what you think either in the comments here or over on our Discord channel.¬† Enjoy!

MCTW Podcast: Shin Godzilla (feat. Zachary Bergman)!

516vgGSwt-LMonsters Conquer the World Podcast¬†crashes its bullet trains into¬†Shin Godzilla! We’re joined by special guest Zach Bergman (aka Sour Gout)! Zach’s got a¬†deep understanding of Shin director and Neon Genesis Evangelion mastermind Hideaki Anno; his career, his history in anime, and Japanese culture at large.¬† All pertinent stuff when you’re discussing a movie that’s got Anno’s ripe, powerful MUSK all over it like Shin G!

Matt and Ralph weigh in on the movie too of course, and we all pretty much have a grand old time yakking about this one-of-a-kind monster movie milestone. Plus we shine a searing purple laser on the (faux) Prince connection, Shin Godzilla’s roots in the 3/11 disaster(s), post-war Japan, otaku culture, hopes and dreams for the upcoming Shin Ultraman, Corporate Ralph, and of course, everyone’s favorite floppy bug-eyed baby boy, 2016’s brightest star, the precious and inimitable, Kamata Kun:

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Hello my darling son. My perfect, wiggly boy. How is your neck-blood today?

It’s out on your favorite podcast catcher! Or you can hit up this lil’ link-a-rino too: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/monsters-conquer-the-world. Hope you dig it and have a fun-tastic Labor Day weekend!