After a long and unplanned hiatus, I’m back! And yes, I’m back specifically to finish my long-delayed review of Gamera: Super Monster.
Yes, that Super Monster. Yes, I’m serious. Its purported badness draws me in like a Mothra to a flame, but I also really like how fucking weird and doofy (but still sweet!) this flick is. There’s enough unique, charming strangeness here to merit a deep dive.
If you haven’t already, be sure to give part 1 a read here. Or don’t? That might be an intriguing/hilarious social experiment! If you haven’t seen this movie and haven’t read part 1 of my review, go ahead and read this and see if anything that follows makes any fucking sense at all. If it does, congratulations, you’re either having a nervous breakdown or you’ve achieved total consciousness.
Even if you have seen the movie and/or read the first part of my review, it can still seem like a delightful fever dream: size-shifting Space Women sleep in an invulnerable lunchbox, they operate flying vans and dimensional portals with Casios and look upon Gamera as he relives his greatest Showa-era battles… who in turn sometimes looks upon random clips of anime… all while a Star Destroyer bombards them with threats and orbital laser strikes! Ready for more?! TOO BAD!
Ahhhh, Gamera: Super Monster, we meet at last! I had never seen the 1980 entry in the Gamera series until this last month. Its reputation might lead you to believe I was avoiding it, but come on, you know me better than that! I was saving this heaping helping of stock-footage fueled weirdness for a rainy (or Michigan-humid) day!
This is a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that I had a lot of fun finally cracking this nut–I basically gifted myself a ridiculous cinematic dessert. The bad thing is that by the time I snuggled in to watch Super Monster, I had already found out most of its best/strangest details. In case you’ve never seen this thing and want to ensure you have the maximum WTF experience, I won’t spoil it by listing out all the madness here. All you really need to know going in is that Super Monster was a blatantly desperate attempt to pump funds into the dying (now long-dead) Daiei studio and it was made on the shoestringiest of budgets (even by Gamera standards).
So fire up your electric organ, fly your magic van someplace safe, and start talkin’ to your watch, because we’re diving in to Gamera: Super Monster!
Reviewing more Ultraman episodes after a couple months of movie reviews (especially new zillion-dollar Hollywood movies) has weirdly started to feel like coming home. One of the benefits of Ultraman being a steadily episodic TV series instead of a more disjointed film series like Godzilla or Gamera is its charming and consistent human cast. I wasn’t so sure about these orange-clad action-scientists early on, but now I tune in for them almost (almost) as much as I do for the giant monster smackdowns!
This month’s duo of episodes load us up with demons, ghosts, and blood feuds that span time and the very barrier between life and death! If you haven’t read any of my Ultraman episode reviews, you’ll probably want to start from the beginning, or maybe just refresh yourself on the most recent round of reviews. Grab your time capsule and look both ways before crossing Route 87, because it’s time to get ULTRA!
Another month, another Hollywood blockbuster about giant monsters going apeshit on urban population centers! If you told me 5+ years ago that Hollywood tentpole movies were going to veer off into kaiju country this consistently I would’ve told you “I wish!” But yet here we are!
Rampage the movie deviates from its inspiration (the 1986 arcade classic of the same name) in big, obvious ways. Gone are the cartoony monsters, replaced with more down-to-earth looking giant animals. The carnage and chaos are still there, but you won’t see Rampage’s big screen monsters eating people off of toilets or flapping their arms to stay airborne like their pixelated predecessors.
Even with these large-scale changes, Rampage the movie still takes the time to pay tribute to the beloved old kaiju-themed quarter muncher while delivering a satisfying and, no shit, surprisingly heartfelt monster mash. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it stars Dwayne The Rock Johnson, one of the most insanely watchable human beings to ever live and a big budget special effect in his own right. HOW does Rampage come out of nowhere and pull all this off? Stack up some quarters and keep reading!
It’s crazy to think that it’s been nearly five years since Pacific Rim debuted in theaters. While it got a middling-to-positive-ish reaction from mainstream audiences and critics, it spawned a small diehard cult following and made a big ol’ splash overseas (mainly China).
As for me, I loved it (with the exception of Charlie Hunnam’s inexplicably lame performance) and eagerly kept up with news of a sequel (or really any kind of follow-up–I take it the proposed animated series was shit-canned?). As the years wore on, the sequel (temporarily named “Maelstrom”) looked less and less likely to happen, and with the excitement for Godzilla2014 (and its associated MonsterVerse) building, I wrote a second Pacific Rim off as a potentially cool movie that we just weren’t likely to get. Fucking Grown Ups 2 beat the original at the box office, after all.
But Wanda Group and John Boyega have cancelled the apocalpyse, snatched Pacific Rim Uprising from the gates of Development Hell, and launched it into theaters last week! But is a Pacific Rim without Guillermo del Toro in the director’s chair really a Pacific Rim at all? Find somebody that’s drift compatible, initiate your neural handshake, and make sure you’re war ready, we’re re-opening the breach!
Whoa I haven’t reviewed any Ultraman episodes all year! Time to fix that with a trio of titanic tales! If you’re new here or just need a refresher, be sure to hit up the six previous installments in my review series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Real talk: it’s a little disquieting to see that it’s been over a year since I started reviewing the original Ultraman series and I’m barely halfway done. A lot of that is because I take plenty of breaks–I don’t want MONSTERS CONQUER THE WORLD to become an all-Ultraman all the time blog–but still, damn. Does it bug anybody, or are we all cool with my meandering pace? (For real, let me know in the comments) I was cool with it until I started crunching the numbers… maybe I’m just impatient? There’s a lot of giant monster/kaiju content out there, and I wanna review as much of it as I can!
I might change how often I review Ultraman episodes, but I do NOT plan on lessening the depth I go into for each episode: this show is too influential and too iconic for a quick skim.
Speaking of episodes, we got three winners on the docket for this month! They’re all kinda spooky-creepy too! It’s an exciting change of pace considering the last two I reviewed skewed a little lighter and goofier. The show in general feels like it’s getting more confident, telling bolder and stranger stories as it goes on. This month we get a gaslighting asshole from outer space, mind-melting fourth dimensional fuckery, and the return of Ultraman’s most sinister villains! Strap in Science Patrollers, shit’s gettin’ EERIE!
Since I’ve started MONSTERS CONQUER THE WORLD in 2014, something wonderful has happened: a new kaiju/giant monster boom in mainstream moviedom on both sides of the Pacific. Maybe “boom” is too strong a word considering that superheroes still maintain their box office dominance, but since I’ve started the blog, mon-stars have come back in a (heh) big way. There have now been three new Godzilla movies (the reviews for the other two are here and here), a new Kong flick, Ultraman is slamming out top-notch series, Pacific Rim did well enough to spawn an upcoming sequel, and we’re even getting “me-too” movies like Power Rangers, Colossal and Rampage. Maybe it’s not a full-on monster boom, but it’s certainly a hearty, bassy rumble. (One that will include Gamera sometime soonish? Please!?!)
MERRY (belated) MINYAMAS EVERYONE! Minya, the Son of Godzilla, the Prince of the Monsters turned 50 last month! I kicked off the celebration of this auspicious occasion here, but of course I knew that wouldn’t be enough!
Since I’ve already reviewed Minya’s debut film there was really only one choice for my MINYAMAS movie review: 1969’s Godzilla’s Revenge (or All Monsters Attack in Japan)! Revenge is debatably an even Minya-er movie than Son of Godzilla and it has quite a reputation within the hardcore Godzilla fan community.
Which is to say, a lot of people hate it. I’ve always disagreed with Revenge’s naysayers, but this most recent viewing has absolutely solidified it as one of my favorite entries in the entire series. That’s not me being a contrarian wiener or pimping some clickbait bullshit, I just really love the sweet goofball soul of this incredibly unique little movie.
Round up all your vacuum tubes, get ready to fight your own battles, and force yourself to fall asleep, because we’re taking a psychedelic imagination-jet to Monster Island!
Against all odds (and my best intentions), Galgameth is getting a two-part review. Like my previous two-part review for Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, it’s not that I have millions and millions of brilliant thoughts to share with you about the film, I just kinda… ran out of time last month. It’s a little embarrassing, but my doctor says it’s perfectly normal and it happens to plenty of virile, healthy bloggers all the time and it doesn’t make me any less of a man!
If you missed part 1 or just need to relive my brain breaking over the seemingly endless connections Galgameth has to the 3 Ninjas cinematic universe, click here!
I’m excited to knock out the rest of this review because 1. the movie gets significantly better (but still not like, awesome) from where we left off and 2. so I can hurry up and dig into more MINYA content for MINYAMAS (get your first taste here if you haven’t already!). If anything, Galgameth is a potent reminder that it’s very easy to accidentally make your “cute” mini-monster an irritating butthole. If Minya is the endearingly derpy Santa (or, uh… Jesus?) at the heart of Minyamas, little Galgameth is the horrible Krampus terrorizing us before we get there! Crack open a wine barrel and grab some iron to munch on, we’re finishing off Galgameth!
For the majority of the year, I cover movies and shows from Japan and Hollywood. That’s just where most kaiju and giant monster films and TV comes from. But every once in a great while a different country steps up and says “Hey man, we got a monster too!” and I love that shit. It’s exciting to get entries in the genre from somewhere besides Hollywood and Japan, and the results vary from complete schlock to low-key modern classic.
This month I’m reviewing 1996’s Galgameth (aka The Legend of Galgameth or The Adventures of Galgameth), a Romanian/US co-production that lands right about in the middle of the schlock/classic spectrum. It’s a loose remake of North Korea’s Pulgasari, giving it yet another layer of… internationality (holy shit that’s actually a word?!) So what happens when the story of Pulgasari gets remade in the mid-90s, filtered through a couple more cultures and directed by the renowned auteur that mounted 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain? Read on to find out!