Monday, 30 March 2015

Godzilla aka Gojira (1954) ( Review) (March 2015)


The year, 1954 saw the rise of Toho Studio films such as Seven Samurai (1954) and Gojira (1954). The latter came out as metaphoric message for a nuclear attack on Japan less than a decade before. 

A new star was about to rise in the east with a western name known as: Godzilla! Director, Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954) is a serious look at a nuclear beast that destroys Tokyo when it rises from the ocean floor. A fishing vessel carrying a crew is destroyed in the middle of the ocean in a bright, white flash at the film's start! Evidence starts to build up that a creature or Kaiju (monster) is out there and heading towards Tokyo, Japan. Odo Island is investigated by officials where villages tell of the titular monster and prehistoric trilobites are found in giant foot-prints to where we first get a glimpse of the world famous monster peering over a hill top - sending villages and on-lookers fleeing for their lives! Godzilla does come to Tokyo - he wrecks havoc and chaos as the bad guy! His destruction is the stuff nightmares are made off... burning buildings, fleeing crowds and helpless, yet doomed citizens. A scientist, who has invented a device (The Oxygen Destroyer) to try and combat the monster, leads to a very bleak, fitting conclusion!

The film is shot in grainy black and white, giving it a documentary-style look. In 1956, the 1954 film came to America cinemas as Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) featuring inserted footage of Canadian actor, Raymond Burr - interacting with the Japanese cast.


Conclusion, a very emotional, downbeat film with a basic, but powerful sub-plot and story. The sounds and high-ear-piercing soundtrack really hits home with the score of the late Akira Ifukube. Great sound-effects and editing - the Japanese version is superior for those that can put up with subtitles! Honda would go on to film more G movies in the 60's and 70's before working with the Legendary Akira Kurosawa until his death. A really good, classic monster movie with a raw-story-telling style and morals to be learnt. 

Followed by: Godzilla Raids Again (1955) - HERE!




Sunday, 29 March 2015

Owen Tooth (Interview) ( March 2015)


Owen Tooth is an east Midlands film-maker. He has been making shirts for ten years and made the horror feature Devil's Tower (2014) - starring Jason Mewes, Roxanne Pallet and Jessica-Jane StaffordTooth was even a camera assistant on the British horror Mum & Dad (2008).

Can you tell me a bit about Devil's Tower?
Devil's Tower is my debut feature film. It's a horror with a healthy dose of comedy, and it's a crazy ride. We made it on next to no budget, spending most of what money we raised on getting stars like Jason Mewes and Roxanne Pallett to act in it. It's set in a tower block where a malevolent spirit is haunting the flats and controlling the residents through their TV sets. It's out now on DVD & Blu Ray from most high street stores like HMV, plus online at Amazon etc. You can also stream it via iTunes, BlinkBox and 4oD (or Hulu if you're American).

What was Jason Mewes like to work with?
Jason Mewes.... With Jay, what you see of him as Jay (as in Jay & Silent bob) in Kevin Smith's films isn't him acting, it's him being himself. In Devil's Tower, Jay plays Sid, a squatter, who's a different character to Jay. When we were filming, as soon as I called 'CUT!' on each take, he'd suddenly turn back into Jay - fellating everything within reach, dry humping the cast and crew, cracking jokes non stop. He was just fantastic fun to be around from start to finish and had this unstoppable energy that was infectious. The shoot was grueling so having someone bringing 100% non-stop like that really kept us motivated. 

What films influenced you growing up?
As a kid I had Back to the Future pretty much on a loop. It's probably got the tightest script in existence. 

My parents were always renting foreign films and I remember they kind of thought that America was evil so any violent kids films were frowned upon apart from Star Wars and Indiana Jones (they were borderline according to my parents); but if a film had subtitles, that somehow made it okay for me to watch so there's always be 18 certificate films playing around my house, just in different languages. I remember seeing Tampopo when I was about seven and it making me want to learn all about cookery. I still love film from all over the world, and it's a treat to see into different cultures by watching how they define their fears or desires through film. As I grew up, I remember The Crow having a huge effect on me when I was 14 - that film acted as a gateway to get me into darker movies, horror films and graphic novels. From there, I started watching as many horror films as I could. 

What are your favorite horror films?
That's a tough question because there are so many different genres within horror and I just can't compare them. I could pick my favourite early horror film (Todd Browning's Freaks is just phenomenal) or later on, The Haunting still blows me away. My favourite Giallo is Tenebrae (and the 2014 movie The Editor is a brilliant comedy love letter to the genre). My favourite 80s American teen horror is still Nightmare on Elm Street with Brainscan in second place. My 90's teen horror would be Scream. The best horror comedy would be Sean of the Dead or Severance, but with a special place for Behind the mask: The rise of Leslie Vernon. Slasher would be Halloween, but maybe that's too easy an answer. The horror that scared me the most is Ringu, that properly terrified me. Folk horror would be Wicker Man, but it's a genre I adore generally, even the bad entries. In recent years, I thought The Conjuring was brilliant. But now I'm going mad thinking of all the genres - body horror, Hammer horror, existential horror (if you haven't seen Dellamorte Dellamore AKA Cemetery Man, drop what you're doing and watch it now!), Zombie films, monster movies, New French Extremity (Martyrs - holy shit!!!) the list goes on and there's no way I could choose between something like Cronos and Evil Dead II. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to choose between Re-Animator and Kwaidan, I'd tell you to pull the fucking trigger.

Who would you like to work with next?
First of all, I'd like to work with all the people who helped me get where I am today! Making a film is pure teamwork and if it's not broke, don't fix it! Having said that, I'm excited to work with new cast and crew all the time. I've got a director-crush on Domnhall Gleeson, I think he's incredible. I think Ethan Hawke's an amazing talent. Maika Monroe is a real rising star I'd love to cast in an upcoming script I'm launching.

What is next for you Mr Tooth - film/media-wise?
I've got two amazing feature scripts I'm in talks about at the moment. It's early days but hopefully I'll be behind the camera again soon! Besides that, we're still working hard at getting Devil's Tower out there and trying to get it picked up in more territories worldwide.

Thank you, Owen - Devil's Tower is out now Blu-Ray/Dvd on Amazon. DT also stars Jessica Ann Bonner and Jessica Messenger as party-goers/zombies!


Friday, 20 March 2015

Review: The Haunting of Baylock Residence (2014) (March 2015)


In the style of The Haunting (1963) by Robert Wise, comes The Haunting of Baylock Residence (2014). The film is shot in old-style black and white, which kept companies from picking it up for an official release I was told by director Anothny M Winson - from Nottingham. I enjoyed this film: the old haunted house-style and it's great locations and settings! It wasn't blood and gore, just old fashioned story-telling for a late night viewing!

The story takes place when Patricia Woodhouse (played by Stacey Devonport) obtains a letter informing her that her sister has passed away! Upon request, Woodhouse must visit her sister's home where ghostly going-ons are lurking inside of the old house.

The film was nominated for best horror film at the Macabre Faire Film Festival. If you like the old-school horror of the 60's, then this might be the type of film for you! Great camera angles showing dark-shadowed corridors, classic-looking actors and a build-up to some classic ghostly going ons!

The black & white feel actually covers up a lot of low budget costs giving it a classic feel. It's also a drama so performances can be appreciated. I also believe that any film-maker, starting out or even along the line could appreciate what Winson of Mr Stitch Films is doing in this old, forgotten, haunted style! This is a 70-minute ambitious feature - a step-up from Winson's horror shorts on Youtube.

For more information, see www.mrstitchfilms.co.uk.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

RIP: Leonard Nimoy (Mr Spock, Galvatron, etc.) (March 2015)


It's really sad that Leonard Nimoy died last month in February. His last film role was in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and he was an icon and known for Mr Spock in the original Star Trek series and in the films. Sci-fi fans mourned his passing and Nimoy only celebrated his life and achievements - rather than a life without meaning! For me, he was Galvatron in Transformers: The mOvie (1986) - please, see here! His voice was well suited to the evil Decepticon in the animated feature from 1986. He also played himself in The Simpsons and played in a number of sci-fi films and television shows.

God bless, Mr Spock aka Galvatron - "The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have.", "Live Long and Prosper".

Rip: Leonard Nimoy as featured on "The Simpsons".

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bad Moon Production... On the Rise!! (March 2015)


On Sunday, 8th of March, 2015, myself and Guntis Brazma (for whom I met on Wasteland [2015]) were invited to London to film a bar scene in upcoming campy, horror, Indie Film: Bad Moon aka Bad Moon Rising. We were an hour late due to the underground being slightly delayed, but we got there to the set to help film a bar scene. In the bar the Scream Team (played by Dani Thompson, Angela Holmes and Loren Peta) as they were stalked and chatted up werewolf cult members out for a howling good time! The guys had to grow their stubble and beards especially for the scene!

It was a great experience to see and walk in on certain risky scenes whilst people tried to keep straight faces through all the tongue-in-cheek, campy horror/comedy action. I got a hug and a wave from Thompson, which was mega awesome and spent a few minutes talking to Holmes and her telling me that her next hair style would have streaks of red - she has a very cool, yet trendy style in her roles - hence wearing a blonde wig for her scenes in the film.

Afterwards, Brazma and myself went for a walk through London, across busy roads to see the sights and London Bridge... as well as a few pubs and wait around for bus couches. 

I am also an associate producer on Bad Moon. The film is directed by Alasdair MacKay. Thompson is also the Producer and she knew what she wanted behind-the-scenes.