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Happy Dirty 30! The 10 Best Horror Films From 1990

The year was 1990. The Hubble Space Telescope sent down its first images from space to NASA. The number one TV show was Cheers, and girl you know it’s true how embarrassed Pop duo Milli Vanilli must have felt that year.

But, arguably one of the most important events to streamline and set the tone for horror in the ’90s, was quite possibly the legendary Tim Curry slapping on a red nose; inducing a mighty fear of clowns into TV audiences everywhere for the unforeseeable future. Thanks Tim!

Beyond the television terrors of Derry, 1990 was a pretty fantastic year for horror. Tasking myself with dwindling down the list down to, what I think, are the ten best, was slightly anxiety inducing. However, I’m pretty satisfied with the results and the lineage of order. Also, if we’re gonna celebrate anything in 2020, it might as well be things from the past that live on to keep us from losing our minds!

Can we at least agree on that?

So let’s get to it! I’ve also included handy Amazon links with the best deals I could find for said features if you feel inspired by this list to add to your horror collection! Also, I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of each film. I feel like most of you have seen or at least know the plots of these gems- and if you haven’t FOR SHAME and click the title links to remedy that immediately.

10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

What do you get when you cross Hulk Hogan, a Grandpa Munster impersonator, and genetic splicer lab run by Christopher Lee? Why, Gremlins 2 of course! I fondly remember seeing this in theaters when I was about eight and I got to tell you, watching the Hulkster threaten the Gremsters with a 24 inch python beating was probably the highlight of my year and deserving of a top-ten slot.

Available for $7.69 at Amazon

9. Puppet Master II

Being as how this Puppet Master installment in particular is my favorite of the franchise, I couldn’t leave it off the list! The puppets return with a very aggressive physical form of Toulon in hopes to resurrect their old puppet party days; along with a few new tricks. A new group is at castle at the puppets’ disposal to slice and dice, but it was those damn “human” puppets that gave me nightmares for weeks on end!

Fun fact: Puppet Master II is playing in the Toyland Warehouse security office in Demonic Toys.

Available for $11.46 at Amazon

8. Arachnophobia

If you weren’t afraid of spiders before the “Roseanne” era John Goodman thriller, I’ll take a million dollar bet that Arachnophobia induced that anxiety in you. Pretty impressive as this IS the first film distributed by the Walt Disney Hollywood Studios label. Way to set the bar there Mickey.

Available for $4.99 at Amazon

7. Tales From the Darkside: The Movie

Quite possibly the greatest horror anthology since Creepshow, the Tales From the Darkside feature presentation-as well as the series– is the perfect love-child for fans of the Romero-King collaboration and the unforgettable Tales From the Crypt with a star-studded cast to boot. Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, Debbie Harry, and a young Matthew Lawrence who serves as the stories’ introduction opposite Blondie’s Harry. We got a homicidal mummy, an even more homicidal (adorable) cat, and one fucked up gargoyle tale of love and betrayal. Need I say any more?

Available for $5.00 at Amazon

6. Nightbreed

As wild and bewildering as it is, there’s a lot to love about a pen-written Clive Barker film about a mental patient who believes he is a serial killer by none other than, David Cronenberg. The group in the film dubbed the Nightbreed, may look wonky and in movie-terms, scary. But are actually the misfits. The outcasts. And the dreamers. A lot of things I whole-heartedly believe many horror fans can relate to. Love it or hate it- it has a place in my heart.

Available for $11.99 at Amazon- Director’s Cut!

5. Ghost

Ok first off: YES. I know Ghost isn’t a traditional horror film like the others listed here. However, my motto has and alsways been- “If it scares you, it’s a damn horror movie.” And I’m sticking to that. Those demon ink-blobs scared the literal piss out of me when I was a kid therefore this masterpiece gets a slot here.

Ghost has just about everything the average cinema-goer could want in a film. Also could be why it was undoubtedly one of the most popular films of that year. Love, betrayal, drama, thrills, a little comedy, and a cool cat that sees ghosts. Ok, he has a small part but it’s still one of my favorite little quirks about the movie.

Available for $8.99 at Amazon

4. Child’s Play 2

The sequel to the Mancini/Holland endeavor is every bit as great as the original with Chucky really coming into his own in 1990. Sure, the Chuck had some memorable one-liners from the first film. But in the sequel, the pavement has been laid for Chucky’s homicidal yet humorous personality with a dozen or so “you can’t help but laugh” lines and actions that just makes this one so great. Worth mentioning is the opening title sequence of the burnt remains of his body being pieced back together like a fucked up Frankenstein.

Available for $3.99 at Amazon

3. Stephen King’s IT (1990)

BEEP BEEP! I can fondly remember watching the 2 part-miniseries that premiered on the ABC network in November of 1990. I was eight-years-old and by God, as a young brooding horror nerd, this was absolutely thrilling for me to see something so terrifying being aired on a family-friendly network! As with above’s Arachnophobia, the rise of coulrophobia went full steam ahead with audiences everywhere and I hold the magnificent Tim Curry fully responsible for his genius performance as Pennywise for inducing clown-related panic attacks for years down the line.

Available for $7.40 at Amazon

2. Misery

Humorously enough, it was during the mini-series premiere of IT where I caught my first glimpse of that cockadoody nurse Annie Wilkes and the theatrical trailer for Misery during a commercial break. The strong, and ankle-anxiety inducing story from Stephen King for me, is perfectly represented on screen with Kathy Bates. Bates IS Annie and delivers a performance that can be compared to Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector one year later. You love to hate her. That’s not an easy feat for any character.

Available for $6.95 at Amazon

1. The Exorcist III

And now that you’ve exorcised my invitation to the top ten dance, here we are at the very greatest film of 1990- THE EXORCIST III. The film, adapted from William Peter Blatty’s “Legion”, is about as aesthetically pleasing being the first person to walk on fresh snow in the morning hours. Incidentally, it’s also intellectually the one true, and finest sequel to The Exorcist. Brad Dourif (his second appearance on this list-BRAVO), clocks into his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest days to remind us that he’s a lot more than just the voice of a killer doll for horror fans. The man is an ACTOR. And one of the damn finest alongside George C. Scott who serves as his opposite making way for a beautiful on-screen performance that compliment each other wonderfullly.

Not to mention it has THEE greatest jump scares to this day of any horror film. EVER. And since it hold’s the number one spot, let me endulge you with you possibly shitting your pants one more time with the headless nun!

Available for $19.99 at Amazon

What’s your favorite horror gem from 1990? Sound off below and I’ll be back with a a top ten of 1980 list in the near future! Stay tuned!

Nightmare Nostalgia Ranks The “Halloween” Franchise Opening Credits!

One of the greatest memories of my childhood, were the multitude of horror movies that were introduced to me through my Dad and Grandfather (Pop- we called him). Pop was a passionate fan of ALL Universal Horror Monsters films, and on top of watching them endlessly by his side on the nights the grandparents would babysit, I would often admire his very complete Universal Monsters VHS Collection and the artwork embodied within it. However, my Dad, albeit a super Frankenstein himself, was more on the Slasher spectrum. And by the way, is the biggest John Carpenter’s Halloween fan I know. It sounds biased but being inside the horror community for fifteen years, I stand by that statement- and you could read more about that here.

That being said, the Halloween films were a pretty standard rotation in the ole’ VCR growing up- and hell still are. And while I’ve found this to be a pretty common list among the horror website interwebs, they sure as shit aren’t my opinion and that of the greatest Halloween fan I know! So, here we go: Nightmare Nostalgia’s official ranking of all the Halloween opening credits!

I truly feel like I’m really going to make some of you mad. BUT, just remember my opinion is not yours and we can all agree to disagree!

And no: I’m not including the Rob Zombie versions because NO.

9. Halloween: Resurrection

With many fans, Resurrection ranks dead last in pretty much all aspects; and here on this list is no exception. Following a very generic version of John Carpenter’s classic tune paired with pitch-black backgrounds and orange credit lettering, we stroll down the halls of the Grace Sanitarium Instution where we meet a seemingly docile Laurie and a pair of nurses who narrate to the audience the very bullshit story of why she’s there. It just sucks when in comparison to ALL the others . Sorry not sorry.

8. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

In my opinion, and well that’s what this all is, Curse‘s opening doesn’t fair much better than Resurrection. The only reason it’s a slot higher is because it’s a lot shorter. The messy intro here that clumsily inserts parts of the film in the damn thing, merely sets the tone for the rest of it. One big mess. However, as big as a mess as it is, it still isn’t the worst in the franchise by far. Resurrection still holds that title belt.

7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Ahhh, here we are. The last of the original pumpkin intros in the franchise- up until 2018 of course when they resurrected it. Personally, I rather enjoy the lowkey angry tone behind this one in combination with the process of what I would call, The Wild Maniac World of Pumpkin Carving Sports here. However, compared to others’ before it, it falls short.

5. Halloween (2018)

One can certainly appreciate the return of the pumpkin intro via the 2018 franchise’s homecoming. And in such a unique form as the jack-o-lantern has fallen flat and laid dormant for many years, only to be blown up into it’s original form. Like it never missed a beat. Truly an honorable way to start the Myers madness again!

4. Halloween (1978)

Alright. This is the one that MIGHT trigger some pissed off feelings from fellow fans in regards to ranking. BUT, I feel like some of the follow-ups were just a smidge more intriguing to my senses. It’s classic, simple, and a prefect start into the Haddonfield journey whereas the original film was simplistic-yet effectively terrifying.

3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Love the movie or hate it (and yes its still an argument), you are very wrong if you deny the magnificence of thy Magic Pumpkin paired with a sinister synthesizer. The onset of the 80s’ included the launch of new wave and MTV and this was a perfect representation of what early 80s’ horror films looked and sounded like. It’s just a staple of an era that many have since used as inspiration- including Stranger Things.

2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

The return of Myers meant a ditch of the recurring pumpkin intro this time around with a spine-chilling sequence of a sunset on a farm instead. The ambience of a sinister Autumn setting with the low-tone score, the winds blowing, and Halloween decorations swaying in the breeze always struck the skeevies chord with me. That Michael is still out there. Waiting- and coming soon.

1. Halloween II (1981)

There is just no way in Haddonfield Hell that anyone can convince me otherwise that the sequel to the original isn’t the greatest goddamn gift we’ve ever been given in this franchise. Well, as far as appeasing intros are concerned anyway. Opening with the events of the last film spilling over to start the continuing journey of cat and mouse between Myers and Laurie, we roll into a perplexed Loomis staggering outside of the Doyle home to the spot where Michael had dropped, and only a pool of blood remains. Garnering attention from (finally) a nosy neighbor who has ignored all the blood-curdling screams, and apparently is just NOW paying attention to what’s been going on right next door, annoyingly asks if this is a joke and that “He’s been trick or treated to death tonight.” Which leads into one of the greatest lines of this fuckin’ franchise from Loomis himself- “You don’t know what death is!” Who then scurries off around the corner in a wild state.

And then- the glorious, more angry pumpkin intro this time around. The score is more aggressive, much like in the rest of the film coinciding with an angrier Myers. The pumpkin cracks down the middle to reveal a skull. The symbol that death is coming and isn’t stopping for anyone.

So good.

What’s YOUR favorite Halloween opening sequence? Discuss below in the comments!

[Watch] “GARFIELD’S Halloween Adventure” As Originally Aired Complete With Commercials!

Back in 2017 when I began working on this website, one of the very first things I had thought to put on Nightmare Nostalgia was THIS. Grant it, its only taken me three years to actually do it but here we finally fucking are! And in my family tradition of being as absolutely technically impaired as those before me (more on this later), I present to you a mediocre upload of my 30 year long Halloween tradition of “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure” as it originally aired back on October 23, 1986!

In the mid 80s’ my parents, and many other middle class households recorded movies, television shows, and whatever the hell else they desired straight off the boob tube as opposed to buying insanely priced VHS videocassettes, (look it up if you don’t believe me). A standard new VHS ran about $49.95 and thus boils and ghouls, one of the first forms of home video pirating was born. It could actually be the first- I just don’t want to make that acute assumption.

Now, my dear ole’ pops was AND STILL IS as technically challenged as Fred Flintstone warped into an episode of The Jetsons. His younger brother, my Uncle Pat was tasked with the sorcery of renting VHS tapes, and ripping the films to record onto another VHS player with a Polaroid or Scotch tape to receive the stolen goods for forever thieving pleasures. I never truly understood just HOW he did it- again, my dad passed this flaw right on down to me- but I did and still do appreciate it! The uncle still swings by now to clean up my Firestick so bless that man and he deserves a shout out in this.

Anyway, this version of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure was recorded right behind one of these mentioned VHS tapes that includes a trio of of films. Gremlins, Return to Oz, and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. A little horror, a little more horror, and a pinch of an angsty witch- a Disney great right there. And then, on Halloween week of October 1986, my dear father used what minutes were left on the cassette to record the CBS block of kids’ Halloween specials that included of course, the candy, candy, candy loving cat, and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” Complete with commercials because he had no clue had to stop and hit record once the commercial break ended.

True story. And you know what? I’m so glad he couldn’t figure it out.

Unlike today’s standards where a commercial block takes up about twenty minutes of an hour programming, with this special Halloween episode, there’s only one break in at about fourteen minutes in with 5 advertising spots. And good God they are gold.

The first being the Halloween Boo Buckets for the McDonald’s Happy Meal season with a very strange jungle intro. Has nothing to do with the lead into the Boo Bucket promos but eh, I was 4-years-old at the time so what the fuck did I care.

Next we got the creepy Snuggle bear popping up in laundry baskets thinking he’s cute but really he’s the sock gnome we’ve been hunting all these years.

Then we have a promo for The Wizard, the CBS fantasy that starred David Rappaport as an eccentric inventor that battles evil all over the world. Sadly, the show only lasted one season which is a shame because I thought it was pretty great!

Following a little Simon McKay, we have the 80s’ treasure trove Pee Wee’s Playhouse promo for CBS Saturday mornings highlighting all the wackiness the glorious program embodied.

And lastly, no commercial block is complete without a celebrity endorsed drug PSA. Falcon Crest star Jane Wyman promoting Stop The Madness, a Reagan drug awareness campaign, right before we head right back to Garfield and Odie lost at (lake)? I mean, it’s definitely not a sea body of water so that’s my best guess.

Did you actually READ all of that? If you did, you’re a goddamn trooper to my insufferable ramblings and now you shall be rewarded with what you came here for. NOW, as stated earlier if you read through everything, I’m a terrible youtuber and uploader. Which might be why, myself and the retro way is pure and real. However, the cam is steady except for one part where my cat jumps on the bed. In short, I’m no YouTube wizard or hell, even a good novice with this. BUT, in any regard it’s totally clear, watchable and might even bring a little nostalgic tear to your eye!

And for those wondering, due to copyright crap, no the Charlie Brown segment is not included.

Enjoy me hearties, Arrrrrrrrrrrr!

“Gimmie Dem Mr. Bones!” 10 Nostalgic Pieces of Halloween Candy

Candy has always been KING at Halloween, and one can’t deny remembering Halloweens’ past in our adolescent years with a great fondness. As we opened our eyes in the comfort of our cartoon character bedsheets on October 31st, we immediately thought of the glorious haul of Halloween treats we would possess that night. Pillowcases full of homemade popcorn balls, candy apples, and even the dreaded nickels and pennies were not only expected, but a Halloween staple in what seems like not so long ago.

Looking inside my child’s trick-or-treat bags these days is a far cry from what they looked like when I was a kid. Homemade treats from neighbors are strictly taboo as urban myths have pretty much put an end to that era. Long gone are the days of accidentally ingesting wax and smoking pseudo candy cigarettes. And I kind of miss it! Kids these days will never know about us giving absolute zero fucks and taking full trust in our neighbors were’t trying to poison or hide razor blades in our Snickers Bars.

However, 2020 ain’t got nothing on the very low possible risk of this EVER happening.

Still one of the most terrifying scenes in “Halloween 2” from a child’s view.

What’s even worse this year, and a big reason why I’m writing this is that we don’t know what Halloween in 2020 will look like for many. Of course, I think most people will make up their own minds on whether to embrace their yearly trick or treating traditions or opt for something different to cater to their own comforts and safety. Either way I feel is OK. And in regards to the current shit show, I dug up this old article I wrote for Dread Central a few years back, revised it, and brought it home to Nightmare Nostalgia for some fuzzy-good childhood-Halloween memories because we could all use some of the good stuff right now!

*Although these candies are still very much available at old-time candy shops and online, I sure do miss seeing that super cool Mr. Bones in my kid’s pumpkin pails. So let’s take a stroll down Halloween memory lane and fondly remember the Halloween candy that has become an obscure item to see in present times. So let’s do our due diligence everyone and seek out some of these fun retro candies to put a smile on everyone’s face behind that mask this October 31st!

10. Candy Cigarettes

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Even with an unsavory past in regards to marketing, these were still pretty cool to get in your Halloween haul. Sitting around with friends negotiating candy trades with one of these suckers in your mouth made you feel like an adult, especially if you suckered someone out of their peanut butter cups. That one small “poof” of glory sugar smoke just made it that much more satisfying, and hey if you’re a rebel you can still pick up a few packs and hand them out to trick or treaters!

9. Whack-O-Wax Lips, Fangs, and Mustaches

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These over-sized red lips and ‘stashes were such a fun addition to our candy stash, even if you ended up shitting out waxy poops the next day. As a matter of fact, I think I still have that waxy taste in my mouth from 1992. In any case, they still ruled. And you can still buy them!

8. Wonka’s Dino Sour Eggs

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This sweet and sour variation of the Gobstopper was way more interesting than its plain counterpart. Depending on how long you sucked on these bad boys, they would change colors and flavors, eventually shriveling up into what looked like dino doo-doo if you got that far without spitting it out.

7. Monster Candy

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Another variation of candy cigarettes was the Monster Candy that came in various tiny boxes that usually contained 2 sticks (if I can remember correctly).  They weren’t the tastiest, much like the latter, but goddamnit if they weren’t one of the coolest things to find in your pile of candy. Just look at that gorgeous packaging with Karloff and Lugosi. Are you really going to disagree?

6. Drac-Snax

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Oh man, Drac-Snax were THE TITS. Just like the Monster Candy mentioned above, this had some of the coolest packaging ever for Halloween treats. The hard fruit-flavored candies were not only good, but they completely captured the essence of what Halloween is all about. Bats, tombstones, and some poor headless sonofabitch.

5. Orange Juice Bubble Gum

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I may be alone on this one; however, I really, really, miss this stuff.  It was hard not to just slide all those tiny nuggets into your mouth all at once.  The Topps gum had different flavors available like grape and lemon, but orange was by far the best. It was pure candy crack, I tell you.

4. Nik-L-Lip

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Yes, the official name for these things was Nik-L-Lip, but we all just called them “wax juice.” You approached this in one of two ways: Either you bit the top off and sucked out all that sugary flavored syrup inside, or you just popped the fucker in your mouth, releasing an explosion of super sweet sugar-water onto your taste buds. Also, if you were like me, you chewed on the wax bottle until all the flavor was gone while, again, trying to avoid the waxy Halloween poops. Worth noting my significant other thinks I’m absolutely crazy for even including this. I say, give me my strange addiction!

3. Garbage Can-dy

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Who remembers sugary fish bones?! Or perhaps the old shoes along with some old soda bottles that definitely tasted a lot better than they looked. These Pez-like candies came in a super cool toy trashcan that you could use for storage. I personally used mine for Garbage Pail Kids stickers. It just seemed fitting.

2. PB Maxx

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Oh, PB Maxx, how I miss thee. The ULTIMATE chocolate-coated peanut butter bar was fuckin’ heaven. If history has taught us anything about nostalgia foods (such as the return of Ecto-Cooler, then we just might get to see it again IF our voices are strong enough. And I would be all kinds of okay with this.

1. Mr. Bones

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Was there really anything more radical than Mr. Bones? I mean, you not only got some delicious tart candy, but you got to build a skeleton out of your food! Oh yes, those sneaky bastards tricked us to use our minds to put together this jigsaw puzzle of a treat, and then devour it like an animal. Brilliance. Plus it came in a cool coffin box! The ultimate Halloween treasure treat was absolutely getting multiples of these spectacular candies. I miss you, Mr. Bones. You delicious little fellow.

While it isn’t TOTALLY the same, Amazon does have a pretty close in taste Skeleton Bones candy packs on their site. No fun toy coffin but if you want to get pretty close to the nostalgia factor, it’s an option!


What is a Halloween candy you would like to see make a comeback? Gimmie your retro rant below and let’s talk about it!

Tale of three Godzillas Part II: “Godzilla ’98,” The IMPOSTOR

“Godzilla is the son of the atomic bomb. He is a nightmare created out of the darkness of the human soul. He is the sacred beast of the apocalypse.” Tomoyuki Tanaka, Gojira

art by Bob Eggleton

Flawlessly capturing the core essence of who Godzilla is and his irradiated roots, the above quote should be the criteria for any film maker given the task of bringing the world’s biggest monster to life cinematically.

Godzilla’s come a long way since first appearing in Tokyo to leave a radiant wave of horror and destruction in his ineradicable path. The film was handled with effulgent respect and care for it’s subject material. That’s what sets it apart from other monster movies of its time and has given a timeless quality that new generations of fans come to discover and embrace.

Gojira is a masterpiece and cinematic legend.

I covered Gojira, in Part I which you can catch up on by clicking here.

Now the movie we’re talking about today lacks both respect and talent. And even though I’m sure most of us would much rather prefer drinking a big steaming cup of nuclear waste than revisit this film ever again, we’re still going to take a look back at the Godzilla movie that enraged fans, disgusted Toho, and keeps popping up like a turd that just won’t flush.

(Sigh) let’s buckle in and just brace ourselves. Because if I have to do this I’m not doing it alone. You all are coming with me!

But wait. I’m sounding harsh. Let’s get this out of the way. “Do I hate this movie?” I know a lot of my readers are assuming I do and those of you who go way back with me and my early days of writing, you’re probably expecting this to be the newest article of me Manicing Out.

Surprisingly I don’t hate it. It genuinely feels like a ’90s blockbuster. It has that ’90s look and feel. But I’ll save my final thoughts, well, until the end. Let’s Time Warp in the meantime.

Coming of Age

It was the 1990s and us ‘80s brats were nearing adolescence which meant our world was changing. We were growing up and so were our toys as well as entertainment. We were big kids now and it felt like everything we loved was maturing right alongside us. 

image via Super Nintendo, ‘Super Godzilla’

Thanks to McFarlane Toys our figures were going from badass and fun to badass and wicked! Our comics became darker with introductions of new anti-heroes spawned from Hell, The Killing Joke made Joker scary again, and Spidey had to deal with some Maximum Carnage due to an asylum out break in New York. Things were bloodier and more violent and we were not complaining!

Cartoons got edgier too thanks to Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead. Video games exposed us to Mortal Kombat and Doom where we bathed ourselves in blood.

image via Midway, ‘MKII’

So I still say the ’90s was a great time for coming to age and we were lucky enough to be part of it. 

Everything we loved was getting bigger, better, and way badass(ier). But what about Godzilla? After all, you’d think this decade would have been the radioactive-rich culture for a proper Godzilla resurgence.  

From 1985 to 1998

For us US fans the last time we ever saw any sign of Godzilla was back in ‘85. The movie was released theatrically in US theaters, something that seldom ever happened, and I remember getting a copy of it on VHS and wearing that poor thing out.

image via Toho, ‘Godzilla 1985’

Godzilla 1985 was an updated take on the classic monster and the beginning of the Heisei era. It was darker, bigger, and a brilliant return to formula. Godzilla felt intimidating and, well, scary! I LOVED IT!

Humanity could do nothing against this newly risen (or resurrected) beast of the apocalypse. Godzilla was back and I couldn’t be happier. The effects were updated and the story was dead serious, perhaps to a flaw. But Hell I didn’t care. My Godzilla had returned!

And then … there was nothing!

Without a single rumor of any follow-up films it seemed as if Godzilla would just stay buried at the bottom of the volcano that swallowed him up. Godzilla might as well have been dead.

image via Toho, ‘Godzilla 1985’

Little did I know – during this dry spell – Toho was still actively making Godzilla movies. But with no internet back then fans like me had no idea the King of the Monsters was still around.

In that time my family moved us to Russia and I was completely out of the loop. I still had a copy of Godzilla 1985 though and watched regularly, and introduced my fans to my love for kaiju.

And then dinosaurs walked the Earth!

Dino DNA and Godzilla Comes to America!

We got one helluva great movie that revived dinosaurs for all of us little brats and made kids want to go dig up dinosaur bones. And that movie was Jurassic Park

Kids were excited about dinosaurs again and studios took note. It wasn’t long after we explored that dino-raging park that it was announced a new (NEW!!!!) Godzilla movie was being made with the same special effects that brought those dinosaurs to life! 

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

Please keep in mind I had not seen a new Godzilla movie since the mid ’80s. So I was besides myself when I learned that not only was a new movie in the works but it would have state-of-the art special effects backing it up!

This was the first time an American studio would have the honor to interpret Japan’s greatest monster for, what would doubtlessly be, a fresh new beginning for Godzilla. 

This would be the Godzilla movie to define all Godzilla movies to come. We just knew it… what little we knew though.

The Showa era had ended before many of us were even born but we grew up in the radiant shadow of those films and their greatness. The battles Godzilla had with King Kong, Monster Zero, Gigan, Megalon, and MechaGodzilla were forever branded in our minds.

We were way-passed starved to see the new era of the King of the Monsters…and now looking back it makes perfect more sense why the ’98 disasterpiece left so many of us feeling kicked right between the legs. 

It was a betrayal of our innocent trust. 

This was one of the most anticipated movies of the decade. Toho was thrilled by the deal and couldn’t wait to see their prized monster introduced to a larger audience. For many American viewers, Godzilla was just a rubber suit and bad dubbing so this would be the first time to prove the might and majesty of the Child of the Apocalypse.

This project was a big deal to all of us… and it tripped on its own two feet and fell face-first into a pile of rat dicks. 

Actually, it didn’t trip because that would imply it was an accident. No, this thing purposefully jumped headfirst into that dick pile and then dared to try and convince us it was some misunderstood masterpiece. And we weren’t buying what it was selling. 

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

If you really wanna get mad you should just look and see what the movie almost was. But would I put you through that? I’m Manic Exorcism, of-fuking-course I am!  So come on.

The Movie That Almost Was

Tristar purchased the film rights from Toho in 1992 with an elaborate plan to make a three-part Godzilla saga. Ambitious but not unobtainable. Today we’re seeing Legendary building a successful Godzilla trilogy of their own and fans praise their efforts.

GODZILLA! HOW WE NEEDED (A) KING OF THE MONSTERS!
GODZILLA! HOW WE NEEDED (A) KING OF THE MONSTERS, image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The difference is Legendary, unlike Tristar, has respect and appreciation for the colossal task of bringing Godzilla to life. Their movies feel like fan-made monsterpieces and Tristar’s movie was nothing but a cash grab. One that never saw any future after its first film. 

Originally the picture was set to release in 1994 with a lore steeped in Atlantian mystery. Godzilla would have been a magical product of Atlantis, a creature created to be the protector of the Earth.

concept art of Godzilla, image via Tristar

Godzilla would have battled a brand new terror to the planet, a shape-shifting beast from the depths of outer space called the Gryphon. 

One can imagine the Gryphon undergoing different evolutionary stages that would challenge Godzilla’s wits and might to find a way to ultimately defeat his newest foe. It sounds like a classic Showa Era showdown. 

concept art for The Gryphon, image via Tristar

I especially like that Godzilla would have dealt with aliens again. Some of his greatest enemies come from other planets. So far so good.

It would seem the project was in safe hands with Jan de Bont set to direct. Godzilla may have gotten away from his atomic roots but overall the movie sounded like a hit waiting to happen. 

The man in charge of bringing Godzilla to life was none other than Stan Winston!

Stan Winston and his beasties. We see his vision for ‘Godzilla’ behind him

That’s right. That guy! The man who brought the Alien Queen to life in Aliens. The artist behind the menacing presence of the T-800 from Terminator. And the very guy who made dinosaurs walk in Jurassic Park.

Stan Winston was going to design Godzilla and bring him to life for Western audiences. This was a big fucking deal!

Luckily concept art and designs still exist for this lost project.  

image via SciFiJapan.com

And looking at the Godzilla designs Winston had in mind, well he looks damn good. You look at this and know you’re looking at Godzilla.

image via Stan Winston’s School of CharacterArts, ‘Godzilla’

This movie would have worked and most likely would have inspired a franchise. This could have been just what we all needed. 

(I wish it could at least have a comicbook adaptation. I would still like to see this project come to life somehow. It just sounds cool.)

So what went wrong? It really boiled down to budgetary issues. The project cost more than the studio was willing to pay and a new director and a new story were demanded.

Stan Winston’s ‘Godzilla’ and a very lost opportunity

And that’s where it all goes to shit. 

Roland Emmerich was called in as director and since he had no more ideas as to how he could rip Star Wars off anymore (at least at that particular moment) he took over the most ambitious monster movie of the decade….yaaaay…. 

It was later announced that Emmerich had not grown up with Godzilla and admitted he had no passion for the project.

image via GojiPedia, Roland Emmerich

No passion and no respect. That’s a real nice attitude to have while directing a franchise that’s adored by millions across the globe.

A studio wanted money and the director wanted the same thing.  What could possibly go wrong? 

The New York Lizard 

Whereas the Gojira serves as a catastrophic warning of impending doom at the hands of mankind’s carelessness, the 1998 film serves more like some big-budget sitcom episode. It has no political statements to make, there’s no philosophy behind it, and the human characters aren’t facing any kind of  judgement-day peril at the hands of a beast born of atomic energy.

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

It’s only recurring message is French people can’t find good coffee in America. That and we see a lot of tuna as if any one of us gave a shit. 

Ok, so I get it. It’s not always easy (I suppose) to have a powerful message driving your movie project. It could be argued that all the best ideas have already been used up. Gojira’s message was powerful and frightening.

So if it doesn’t have a message it had better have some badass destruction, right? And…no it doesn’t. Whenever the monster is on the screen it’s not ripping a path through New York’s plenteous skyscrapers. It’s not crumbling businesses, endangering lives, or burning the city to the ground. You know, like we’ve come to expect out of Godzilla movies! 

image via Tristar

In fact, the damage that is done is caused mainly by the military as they chase the big lizard through New York. That’s right, the monster doesn’t even fight the military but runs away like a wimp! 

Such wasted opportunities! Could you imagine seeing the monster wreak havoc across New York? It was a chance to bring Godzilla to the States to do what Godzilla is known for. But instead, we got a scared lizard who was too busy laying eggs than actually living up to its titanic name.

Now let’s talk about the look. Yeah, there actually was some thought put into this thing’s appearance. Like they tried extra hard to fuck this up.

image via Tristar

So ya know how Stan Winston was originally behind the project? Yeah, they let him go and Patrick Tatopoulos was brought in. Tatopoulos says Emmerich gave him specific direction for the monster’s look too.

Firstly, the monster was to run really, really fast. You know, like Godzilla always does. I mean you look at Godzilla and just think fuck! He must run so fast! Like I always think of Godzilla as a big-time runner. Like I mean Godzilla must jog, right?

Emmerich was also adamant that this wasn’t a monster but an animal. I mean it’s not like the guy was directing a monster movie or anything. And not just a monster movie but the most famous monster of all time! But Emmerich in his brilliance decided we deserved a movie about a very big animal lost in a bigger city.  OooooOOOOoooooOOOOoooh!!!!

image via American Godzilla wiki, Taco Bell Godzilla cups. Perfect to fill with delicious booze and re-watch ‘Independence Day,’ or ‘Star Gate,’ or ‘2012’

Not only that, but the monster’s stupid looking jawline was based on the tiger’s face from Disney’s The Jungle Book

(Moment of silence) *pouring drink*

So never mind the fact there was a rich library of films to base your Godzilla movie on. Not to mention all the creative hands behind the Toho legacy who gladly would’ve aided their advise and input to help further this big-budget project.

Oh no, Emmerich thought it much too bothersome to look into the lore, look, and temperament of Godzilla. His team chose Disney as inspiration instead.

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’ …duuuh me ist tiger! Grrrrrr!

And those assholes knew the look sucked. They kept that shit hidden as best they could before the movie was released. Even though the advertisement for this film was ridiculous they only dared to show us the monster’s eye, or foot, or hands and claws. They knew they made a big mistake and it was way too late to take it back. 

A week before the movie released I remember opening a magazine and seeing the first full glimpse of ‘Godzilla’ and thinking to myself, ‘are you fucking kidding me?!’ I thought maybe I was seeing a monster the real Godzilla would fight in the movie. But oh no, I was seeing a thing Emmerich thought was Godzilla.

If you’re disappointed in the monster’s stupid look you’re not alone. Every veteran Godzilla suit actor hated the Emmerich look. Haruo Nakajima, the original suit actor, said “Its face looks like an iguana and its body and limbs look like a frog.” 

Shusuke Kaneko, the Heisei Gamera director had to say about it: “it’s not Godzilla, it doesn’t have his spirit.”

Bottom line: none of the kaiju masters of the past approved of ’98. 

This monster can’t even breathe fire. It doesn’t rampage across New York City. It runs away from the military. It’s just a useless kind of beast. It is not Godzilla and Japan took care of that for us.

The Final Nail in Zilla’s Coffin.

Toho, the studio who owned the rights to the Godzilla franchise, was appalled by the movie Hollywood puked out. Toho was so pissed off by this American embarrassment that they set the record straight and removed the God from Zilla.

They even went out of their way to address this.

In the movie Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), it’s mentioned that a monster attacked New York and Americans confused it for Godzilla. But the monster who hit New York was a different monster called Zilla, not Godzilla. I’m hammering this in I know, but you get the picture.

Toho further erased Zilla’s dignity by forcing it to fight the real Godzilla in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). In that film, Zilla is straight away hit by a radiant blast of Godzilla’s atomic breath and explodes into little fried atoms. The end. 

I know you want to see that. Here you go.

The worst part about this imposter film is for many this is the one and only Godzilla movie they will ever watch. This was a monumental opportunity to introduce new viewers to the world of giant monsters and it failed so fantastically.

Gone are the scenes that echo the results of atomic weapons melting a city as the Beast walks slowly along the glowing skyline. Gone is the desperation of man battling a nightmare of his own making.

art courtesy of Bob Eggleton

Perhaps as a direct result of Emmerich’s stupid movie Toho began making all-new Godzilla films which are now known as the Millennium Era. And one of my all-time favorites is part of this section, Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla!

And thanks to Legendary we’re getting quality American-made Godzilla films in the MonsterVerse.

The ’98 film was a missed opportunity but great things have come out of it.

It makes me wonder what kind of American Gojira remake we could have had if the team behind it had taken the project seriously. You can tell they were mimicking the original movie straight away. It’s opening credits show us atomic bombs blowing the Hell out of an island and an iguana basking in the neon light. We all knew where that was going.

Then a fishing ship, reminiscent of the Lucky Dragon and the opening of Gojia, suffers a fatal collision with the monster made of radiation. The monster later arrives on land and accidentally breaks up the harbor and fishing district, kinda like when Godzilla brought a typhoon to the village when he first set foot on land.

Was this an attempt to remake Gojira? Yes, even if it was nothing more than a subconscious one. It could have been great but the damage it caused is thankfully contained. And Japan would later give us the true successor to the movie that started it all.

Final thoughts

I don’t hate the movie. Oh it’s a helluva lot of fun to hate on it, sure. But It has a stupid kind of charm about it. I can look back on it now (and with so many newer Godzilla entries since then) and nod with nostalgia at it.

As a Godzilla movie it’s just awful. It doesn’t work at all. It sucks, it sucks, it blows donkey balls. But as a monster movie it’s not all that bad. If you can view it as only a monster movie then you’ll have fun with it.

It’s good to watch for some ’90s feels I guess. But I strongly recommend any and all of the Hesisei era Godzilla movies to this one if you want GODZILLA from that decade!

So stick with us and stay tuned for Part III as we take a look at the award-winning Shin Godzilla.

In the meantime I know what you all want.

Long Live The King!!!

Shears of Glory! 10 Magnificent Mullets From The Pinnacle Days of the WWE

Ahh, 80s’ wrestling. Growing up in the decade of Saturday Morning cartoons, and feel good family-friendly sitcoms nestled in-between Roddy Piper cracking a coconut over Superfly’s dome was something truly special indeed. 80s’ kids, and in all honesty, many adults looked to these Superstars as McMahon called them as real-life superheroes and villains. Ambitious wrestling fans around the world mimicked these guys/gals from the way they spoke, carried themselves, and albeit dangerous, wrestling moves as they rightfully saw these athletes something inspirational. I clearly remember my early youth family pool parties where my older cousins would suplex each other into the swimming pool and myself being a much younger small girl, would do my best Jesse Ventura announcer impressions along the way.

Among the many ways to doppelganger your favorite WWF wrestler, one of the easiest, and popular ways, was to don the almighty mullet that just about EVERY DAMN Superstar had in the 80s’ and early 90s’. It was like, almost a right of passage to go through some sort of glorious mullet stage for many of these guys and we’re going to go through the 10 (of what I personally think), are the greatest ape drapes of the golden influenced era !

10. Marty Jannetty

Real talk: This guy has had a sketchy past and more recently, confirms that the once half-force of The Rockers has a few issues here. However, I can’t punish the once classic mullet he rocked for that. Exactly stated- classic business in the front, party in the back; Jannetty starts the list off with the perfect basic Kentucky Waterfall.

9. Ric Flair

WOOOOOOOOOO boy no one had a classier mullet than The Nature Boy himself! And that is precisely why I had to include him. Sleek, clean, and dapper looking, Flair made the Tennessee Tophat look elegant as fuck.

8. Jimmy Hart

Listen here baby! “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart is STILL living his best mullet life and for that reason along with his perfecting his skills with Aqua Net, he gets a spot on the King of the Chops list.

7. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

There’s no way in hell I could make a best of wrestling hairdo list and not include the master barber of the ring, Beefcake! Throughout the years, Brutus’ Mississippi Mud Flap varied in length starting off with a baby mullet, blossoming into a World Champion of its won right. Here’s to you Beefcake!

6. Razor Ramon

That slick back Latino essence oozing of machismo mullet was an aspiration to how just how cool you could make that look. Scott Hall took that white boy from the trailer park look and made it his very own. At one point, I didn’t even realize it was a mullet, cleverly disguising it under all the hair oil available at your local Sav-On Pharmacy. That definitely earns a spot here with me.

5. Brian Knobbs

Another Superstar that is still to this day, embracing his signature locks is Brian Knobbs from The Nasty Boys. And there ain’t nothing nasty about this magnificent mullet. The ultimate Mohawk Camero Crash Helmet will never in this lifetime be replicated as glorious as this former Tag Team Champion has done it.

4. The Undertaker

The Taker’s Alabama Waterfall didn’t last long into his career, however it’s fiery red goth waves made an impression will we never forget from his first appearance in the WWF at the Survivor Series 1990. Obviously he later opted to grow that mullet out into a beautiful manly mane of the underworld. But I’m here to remind you to never forget once was.

3. Tatanka

Hear me out now. I had to put Tatanka pretty high on this list for not just his ever-changing colors of the marvelous mullet he rocked, but for ALSO portraying an Indian Chief pulling off a hairstyle of the trashy white man. It somehow fucking worked and I gotta give the guy credit. Tatanka- breaking down all those mullet profiling stereotypes.

2. Shawn Michaels

I feel like it was pretty obvious to everyone that The Heartbreak Kid was not only going to be on this list but rank fairly high. And I just can’t defy logic or science. That is one of the goddamn prettiest mullets I’ve seen.

1. Crush

Oh. You think all these other guys had the greatest mullets in the squared circle? I’m sorry about how very wrong you were as I present the most gorgeous, long-flowing ape drape of all wrestling history. Crush nailed the shit out of making that thing look both manly and as cool as the breeze. From his days with Demolition to his solo career, his persona may have changed but the national treasure that donned his scalp never strayed.

Now because Crush has been declared King of the Mullet Ring, here’s one of his matches featuring one of the all-time greatest wacky heels, Doink the Clown from Superstars of Wrestling 1993!

Tale of Three Godzillas PArt i – Gojira (1954), A Legend Begins

Godzilla’s foundations are fortified beneath layers of deepest sorrow and tragedy.

March 1, 1954 A Date With Destiny

The neon haze of a new era was begun under the heated shadow of mushroom clouds. This marked a new achievement for man’s capacity to destroy his own kind and the atomic age was secured whether we wanted it to be or not. This date marked the first hydrogen bomb testing and – it would seem – Armageddon was right at Japan’s back door.

But this wasn’t the first time nukes touched down on their soil.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Previously, during WWII, a couple of bombs were dropped on two populated cities in Japan. The effects were catastrophic, although that is a puny word and pales in comparison to the trauma those unsuspecting citizens felt that day. It made history and shook the entire planet.

The homes of approximately 450, 550 people would be left in ruins due to the catastrophic effects of the bombs dropped on the unsuspecting population. When the clouds cleared, in the place where homes once stood, a wasteland had emerged where Hiroshima and Nagasaki once flourished.

Boy being tested after suffering burns from Hiroshima

The bomb had no pity. Women and children weren’t spared any more than the elderly. People melted into the sidewalk making it tough to differentiate where the people began and the cement ended.

Others who were far enough away to escape the initial blast would all-too-soon learn how cruel nature can be as they began feeling the sickly effects of radiation poisoning. Hell had been opened and there was no escape.

image courtesy of History.com

Now, just a few years after the a-bomb dropped on them, the same culture had hydrogen bombs being tested just a little ways off the mainland. It would seem nuclear horror inundated Japanese culture.

Some may say it was in poor taste for the US to go ahead with using Japanese land for a top secret testing ground (for nukes nonetheless). After all this was a nation already suffering the hazardous effects of radiation poisoning to last three lifetimes.

victim of radiation poisoning, image via newsweek

Some would also argue that this was American occupied territory and they had a right (maybe by some higher power) to do it. But the powers that be approved of the plan and the US started dropping nukes and playing like some Old Testament act of God.

The surrounding waters of the Marshal Islands were strictly off limits.

A new stroke of misfortune was on the rise though, as the crew aboard the Lucky Dragon set sail, dangerously close to the apocalyptic islands. The fishing crew hoped to make good on all the tuna just begging to be caught, and with no competition this seemed like a win win all around.

Were they simply ignoring the warnings surrounding the Marshal Islands and tempting fate or were there no real warnings laid down to begin with? It’s said that the project was so top secret that not even the Japanese government knew what the US military was doing out there.

Whatever the reason, the fishermen aboard the Lucky Dragon weren’t so lucky.

To their horror a second sun appeared before their eyes and set the sky aflame with unnatural light. A deafening boom clamored overhead like a storm and with it the crew were knocked off their feet.

The bomb had gone off and their fates were sealed under the swift lambent vapors of a very cruel destiny. Already the H-bomb was claiming its first prey and the Reaper emerged out of the smoldering air as the crew quickly felt the sickening effects of radiation poisoning.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

This tragedy – along with the traumas of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – deeply affected the nation.

Art For Exorcism

The opening sequence of Gojira strongly echoes the terrible misfortune that befell the Lucky Dragon. Incorporating a national tragedy into the film’s prologue set audiences up for the right tone of the film and prepared them for a new kind of horror movie.

This wasn’t going to be just a giant monster film. This movie dared to tackle recent – terrifying – topics that scarred an entire nation; brazenly the film makers chose to exorcise their demons through means of art rather than hide from them.

Bold, daring, and distinctly Japanese, this was going to be one helluva’n experience.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

For a lot of people when they think of Godzilla they think of the silly moments given throughout the franchise. Be it Godzilla dashing across the sky being carried by his atomic breath alone, or the tail-glide kick, or characters like little Minilla or Jet Jaguar.

Ok, there have been some fun shenanigans along the way, and that’s ok. That’s part of what’s embedded Godzilla into pop culture and made him accessible to younger audiences.

But Godzilla’s introductory film is far from campy. It is dark and very bleak, and not what many viewers expect it to be. It serves as both a metaphor for nuclear weapons and a warning against them.

Origins For Destruction

Sure there can be no denying that King Kong was also influential over the film project, as it was to all giant-monster cinema that followed it. And yet Godzilla was his own monster and became a hallmark for Japanese cinema. He rose from a fresh new Hell of mankind’s own making and stood as the devastating embodiment of humanity’s unbridled ambitions.

There’s no doubt about it. Godzilla is the monster of the atomic age.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

The film opens with the iconic roar we’ve all come to love. It’s a bold statement letting us know this is a film that stands apart from any that’s come before it. In other words, it’s not ‘just another big monster movie.’

For one thing, Gojia‘s been called a Japanese ghost story and for good reason. His rampage across Tokyo does feel like a supernatural force risen up against humanity. He’s a phantasm of the deathly affects left behind from nuclear weapons and rapidly begins to repay death with more death and none are spared before him.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

Others have called this a force of nature. For example: a tsunami ushers in Godzilla’s approach to land and a nearby village is completely flooded in the catastrophe, leaving survivors in a sodden ruin that was once their home.

Perhaps the planet has sent him with a mission to show mankind the dire follies of their careless handling of science and the destruction wrought thereof. The disaster Godzilla causes is no less effective than that of a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or fire. In fact, Godzilla manages to embody each of those disastrous traits as he slowly looms over the city and crushes buildings and bones with equal ease. Steal, iron, and stone are impervious against his path and prevent nothing.

image via Criterion Collection courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

Not even the army has a chance at slowing him down.

So a living force of nature, a vengeful ghost, and the atomic monster. And this is still the opening of the movie!

Once we do finally get the first glimpse of the titular kaiju we see Godzilla’s head slowly crowning over a hilltop. It’s undeniable the haunting imagery bears an uncomfortable resemblance to a mushroom cloud ascending.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

Even the design of Godzilla’s skin was based on the radiation burns victims of the bomb came back with. So rather than being a green lizard covered in scales, Godzilla is a coal-black body of radiation scarring.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

This is some pretty heavy stuff for a kaiju film and is nothing short of a true horror story.

After giving the film yet another re-watch I was struck by how easily this movie can stand alongside the classic horror heavyweights like Dracula and Frankenstein. But there’s something more to Godzilla that those other guys didn’t have – originality. More akin to his predecessor Kong, Godzilla didn’t have a graphic novel to inspire his lore. Gojira, like King Kong, is a work of imagination on the film makers behalf.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

Audiences will sit through some uncomfortable moments. Like a recently orphaned little girl looking down upon her dead mother’s body. It leaves you with a cold sense of silent revelation. A revelation that even if humanity stumbles upon a means to rid Tokyo of Godzilla the lingering after affects of his titanic carnage will never be remedied for so many, many lives.

Everyone seems to pick up on another emotion-fueled scene as well. I’m speaking of the mother sitting in the shadow of all the destruction while encouraging her little ones that soon they’ll be with daddy again. It’s a fierce moment featuring a doomed mother who’s come to realize there’s no chance for her or her children. The only thing she has left to offer is the meager comfort that at least their family will be reunited again after death.

There’s a reason why we all focus on that scene. It pulls at the heart and brings to light just how dire everyone’s situation really is. And the film masters these sobering moments and tricks us into thinking we’re not watching a monster movie. It elevates what should be a B movie to A-list quality.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

The tone and story lines of the ensuing films would lighten up significantly and Godzilla would evolve from his initial role of being mankind’s ultimate destruction to humanity’s conquering protector.

And that’s how I like my Godzilla most, as the protector. Nevertheless I admit there’s something imperially satisfying about seeing Godzilla wreck havoc across unsuspecting cities. At the end of the day, fans have a multilayered monster to adore which isn’t bad for a man in a rubber suit.

actor Haruo Nakajima, image via Toho

Speaking of which, actor Haruo Nakajima, the man who brought Godzilla to life (from inside the suit), said he based his movements on what he saw from bear behavior. It does give Godzilla a more natural feel, something organic and feral.

That beautiful man’s performance is what has kept Godzilla the ultimate King of the Monsters all these many decades later. Nakajima played the roll from 1954 all the way into 1972 and laid the unshakable foundations that none have strayed from as they fill his giant-monster shoes in later roles. His spirit lingers on and is felt even in 2016’s Shin Godzilla.

This master of monster art is responsible for bringing fans some of the most iconic battles seen throughout the entire franchise. His Godzilla was first to stand against the likes of King Kong, Rodan, Gigan, and his archenemy King Ghidorah! He introduced us to the gigantic world of larger-than-life fantasy! He suffered inside that hot, sweaty, bulky suit to bring us a beautiful film series to believe in and be enchanted by.

Lost in Translation

Unfortunately, many Western audiences associate the first Godzilla movie with Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) which was – to be fair – technically the first Godzilla movie released in the US. However it suffers from a ton of re-editing.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

The two films may share the initial concept story but they honestly couldn’t be further apart from each other. In terms of tone, atmosphere, and pacing Gojira wins hands down.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

I’m not saying GKOTM (1956) is a bad movie but it does lack the very things that made Gojira a masterpiece. By purposely cutting out the political message and removing significant scenes of tragedy the American re-edit lacks the heart and soul of Gojira.

Because of this, the Americanized version feels more like a typical ‘50s nuclear monster movie akin to Them. And that’s not a bad thing…I love those kinds of movies. But compared to Gojira you see how malnourished the Western edit is.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

So even if you’ve seen Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), and not Gojira you’re missing out. Gojira is a cinematic achievement just as much as the original King Kong was.

Thanks to the Criterion Collection a very nice edition of Gojira has been made available to fans. Be sure to check it out here. There’s never been a better time to catch up on our favorite kaiju’s apocalyptic roots.

Sixty-six years later and still going strong, Godzilla’s adamant sovereignty is proven just as indestructible as himself! And given the success of his reintroduction to newer audiences – largely thanks to Legendary – his fame has hit an all-time high thus assuring his place in history… as if there was any doubt.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

This has been Part 1 of a 3-part look into the three Godzillas. Next time we’re going to dare take a look at that, yes that, Godzilla movie that came out in 1998.

I’m Manic Exorcism and if you need to satisfy any further Godzilla goodness be sure to check out my previous articles both here and here. Don’t forget to give us a like and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

You can follow my shenanigans over on either Instagram or Facebook @thetruemanicexorcism

Why Anjelica Huston is the Most Horrifying Movie Witch… Ever

WHY ANJELICA HUSTON IS THE MOST HORRIFYING MOVIE WITCH… EVER

There’s just something wickedly amazing about Anjelica Huston peeling off her humanoid face in The Witches that makes you want to squirm and throw holy water all over the place. If you were a horror kid in the 90s’, chances are you’ve seen Anjelica Huston in all her genre glory as she so brilliantly took on the coveted role of a lifetime, Morticia Addams in the Addams Family movies; and nailed the shit out of it staking her claim as the modern babe in black we both wanted as a wife and mother. She was a goth goddess and we loved her for it.

However, before she was clipping off heads of rosebuds in her gothic garden, she solidified her spot in history in 1990 with her terrifying portrayal of Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch.

Adapted from the 1983 Dahl book and sadly, the last movie the great Jim Henson produced, The Witches brought just the right amount of intensity to the screen for young viewers without going over the PG rating. That’s quite an impressive feat considering the main antagonist of the film was in so many words, the Charles Manson of the witch world ordering her disciples to get rid of every last child on Earth through what else?

Chocolate, of course.

Chocolate that turns the repulsive, dogs’ dropping smelling, little brats into mice. While the premise alone is something that could give any small kid a few nightmares at bedtime, it was Huston’s performance in The Witches that scared the literal crap out of kids back at the beginning of the ’90s decade.

So on this day, which also happens to bethe films’ 30th anniversary, we celebrate why the almighty Grand High Witch was and still is, the most horrifying witch on screen. 

The Grand High Witch Revealed 

As stated at the top of this jam, not sure there’s anything more horrifying to a child than watching someone as beautiful as Huston peel the skin of her mug like a Mary Kay face mask to reveal her true hideous self.

It always bugged me how she was able to mask that enormously elongated nose underneath her disguise, but I suppose The Grand High Witch has her ways and I probably shouldn’t question it otherwise I may end up a pile of ashes. Which leads us into the next example.

The Grand High Witch doesn’t like smack talk

See here’s the thing: if you’re a low-ranking witch in the same room as your superior, you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. And for fuck’s sake don’t mutter crap under your breath within ears reach of the most powerful woman in the world. Even though the comment was a mere observation and harmless, the Grand High Witch made it painfully clear even the slightest apprehension from her subordinates will cost them dearly.

Bye, Bye Bruno!

Holy hell, does the Witch Queen hate children or what?! During the little witch convention, your scabby Highness shows off her latest, and very gweatest invention- Formula 86. The very potion to be diluted into candy bars that are to be dispersed to children worldwide. So she brings in a visual demonstration of what to expect to see once the formula goes into action. Looks like Conal Cochran has some serious competition here.

She outright tries to kill a baby!

The Grand High Witch shows no mercy even towards infants. That’s some pure evil shit right there ladies and gentlemen. Luckily our flick’s protagonist little Luke intervenes and saves the day because I’m not so sure I could deal with that kind of baby killing fuckery in a supposed family friendly film.

She’s even terrifying as a damn mouse!

The Skeksis have nothing on the Grand High Witch in pure rodent form.  When plans backfire, the Witch of all witches finds herself in quite the predicament. If you didn’t have a phobia of mice and rats before, you might have one now because the Grand Highness’ rodent transformation is the ultimate in sewer rodent nightmares. And then what happens? She gets squashed by Mr. Bean.

Mr. Fucking. Bean.

This guy right here killed the Grand High Witch. I guess not even the head of the witches can compete with this kind of mojo. Hmm. Maybe Bean ole’ boy should have taken her place.

Dream Master Promo: The MTV Freddy Krueger Special Presented In Its ENTIRETY!

In the year of our Lord, 1988, Freddy Mania was at its peak; running wild among the youth of a generation bringing the horror genre into homes mainstreaming and normalizing it. Between several hit films, an upcoming TV series (Freddy’s Nightmares), and bootleg toys, Robert Englund had to have been on cloud fucking nine with his megastar horror icon status. While one could argue that you know you’ve really made it when someone makes a flimsy bootleg action figure out of you (Thanks Nightmare Feddy), the 80s’ holy grail of true fame came when MTV beckoned.

So let it be written. SO LET IT BE DONE.

MTV went balls to the wall promoting the hell out of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER with an all out hour long special featuring Freddy himself with music video clips, scenes from the film, and of course Freddy playing cat and mouse with a bumbling MTV VJ (Kevin Seale).

While I can appreciate this for what it is, and honestly who the fuck doesn’t? The music video blocks in the special were just weird and random as hell. We go from Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to my Nightmare’ and Dokken’s ‘Dream Warriors’ to ummm… OWNER OF A LONELY HEART?! Then saving face with Ozzy’s ‘Bark at the Moon’ and the infamous Fat Boys’ ‘Are You Ready For Freddy?’ to wrap it up with PETER GABRIEL’S ‘SHOCK THE MONKEY’.

What. THE. Fuck.

It’s honestly hilarious to me how random, or maybe not so random they mashed these videos together for a Freddy Krueger epic. It could very well be some of the PR of these artists wanted to reach a younger generation so lets shove some Gabriel and YES down their chops in between Kruger slashing up some MTV VJs.

In any case, these types of specials are a thing of the past and I have no gripes. It is of course, funny enough to mention about the music vids and the over-the-top acting. However, it is goddamn magic and a staple of a time where this was our normal. I only wish this sort of glorious cheese would make a comeback. We need Freddy more than ever in 2020. Uh, well, cinematiclly speaking.

Speaking of which, the entirety of this special was a HUGE pain in the ass to dig up on the wide world of the internets. I would imagine the company WMG, who owns the rights are being salty about the content being uploaded. However, I managed to find the WHOLE DAMN THING thanks to a fellow website who gets full credit for this beauty- Timid Futures– who gathered its source from TheNextKrueger. And the cycle lives on here at Nightmare Nostalgia.

Enjoy it now as we can only hope this video doesn’t get flagged!

Godzilla! How We Needed (a) King of the Monsters!

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The ground beneath you cracks at the approach of an immortal titan returned from a bygone era of raw strength and savage power. The monster’s colossal might is felt in the air like electricity passing between each mote of dust falling on your face. The heavens clamor at the sound of his battle cry and nature itself is swept up in awe at his magnificence. Godzilla has returned and there is nothing that can stop the age of the King!

We have entered a brand new era, fellow believers. An era only thought possible in dreams of childhood imaginations.

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

As children, we didn’t see rubber suits or miniature sets. Back in those happier times of delicate innocence and sitting in front of the glow of our TV’s Godzilla was simply larger than life. We didn’t pay attention to bad dubbing or notice wires holding Monster Zero’s heads up. We believed in what we saw and to us, it was entirely realistic. 

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs the Astral Monster’

Those monsters came to life before our eyes and no matter how silly it could get at times (Yeah, I’m looking right at you Godzilla vs The Smog Monster) we never stopped believing… at least for a time that is. 

And then the inevitable happened. Innocence came to an end and child-like whimsy had to be set on a shelf with the coming of age.

courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs Megalon’

In other words, we had to grow up. 

Do you remember how it happened? I don’t actually. I mean there was a time when I believed in fantasy: like I made my figures come to life every time I played with them. I saw a dinosaur on TV and felt how real it looked. I watched Godzilla knowing he truly existed, if nowhere else than in my heart. He was real. 

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla’

And then as if overnight all of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures were little plastic pieces sitting around gathering dust. I stopped playing. I quit running around outside pretending to be a giant monster destroying cities and battling other kaiju.

image courtesy of Manic Exorcism, little me in my Godzilla costume.

I no longer ran around in the weeds imagining myself to be the Predator hunting down prey. 

I stepped out of the hazy fog of childhood and had grown up before I knew it. And that’s just nature. It’s life and how it should be. But, no matter how old I got, I never stopped believing in certain things. In fact, as I matured it dawned on me that these guys could be larger than life itself! 

courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs King Kong’

Just because I could suddenly see the strings and knew about an actor being in a suit didn’t make the magic any less enjoyable to me. I just started dreaming bigger.

Like what if they made a Godzilla movie that could prove the enormity of these monsters we loved so much? 

 Godzilla approaches his ancient enemy, a lofty golden dragon with three vicious heads. About the heads of this rival king is a crown of blistering storms shattering the blackened skies above. If Godzilla is god then this is the devil, menacing and wrathful. He has come to our world like a fallen star and will stop at nothing until all life on the planet is under his hellish command. Or eradicated. An ancient battle between old enemies is about to take place over the fate of the world.  

This is what Godzilla fans expect to see. This is what we were given.

courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

This is a love letter to the classic Showa Era we all grew up on and dreamt of seeing someday. Thanks to Legendary we are being given the films fans deserve. 

And that’s how it truly feels: Legendary, through the three fantastic monster movies they’ve given us via the MonsterVerse, has written a love letter to fans of the classic movies.

The scope of imagination and attention to detail given to each project has not let us down. The people behind these movies have proven to be true fans of the genre and treat the kaiju with the titanic respect they each deserve. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

It doesn’t matter if these are modern-day movies, these films embody exactly what we expect from kaiju cinema. One tiny example among hundreds: Kong. In Kong: Skull Island, fans are not given another remake of the classic King Kong story. We’re given a Kong who is truly a kaiju. 

This Kong has more in common with Toho’s concept than it does the Empire State Building climber from the ‘30s. Even looking at the color of Kong’s fur, a reddish-brown hue, matches closely to the one seen in both King Kong vs Godzilla and King Kong Escapes. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Kong: Skull Island’

Yeah, they know what they’re doing. 

There’s been criticism towards GKOTM, but as an OG Godzilla fan, after seeing the movie I walked away with my expectations exceeded.

I expected a really good time but had no idea it would hit me in the feels as it did. It transported me back to my childhood, back to before I noticed the strings and rubber suits. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The film embodies both the magic and awe that the classic Showa films inspired in me. It felt like a reward for being patient and loyal to the franchise. 

I think that’s something we all could use.

Sure we grow up and have responsibilities, but it’s important to not let all that adulting stuff erase the simple joy of being a kid at heart. It’s important for parents to get down on the floor and play with their kids. It’s important to just have fun sometimes. 

And these movies I’m talking about are pure fun. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

It’s important to let yourself be enchanted by things from childhood. For me that’s Godzilla. 

Godzilla For A New Generation

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The Legendary MonsterVerse is one helluva great way to introduce our loved ones to these monsters. 

Just a few weeks ago I showed Godzilla: King of the Monsters to a girlfriend (who had never seen a single Godzilla film before in her life) and she loved it! That weekend we wound up watching Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla (2014), and in that order too. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

A new fan was born.

Now she comes over and asks if we can watch not only KOTM again, but she wants to see all the Godzilla movies I grew up with. 

Our world is changing. We’ve entered the proper age of the kaiju.

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

One that has its foundations laid down by pioneers like RKO and Toho. Jurassic Park furthered it and, in its own idiot way, so did Godzilla (1998). Pacific Rim introduced Western audiences to the word kaijuGodzilla (2014) gave us our first glimpse into a big-budget Godzilla film done right with the real Godzilla and not some radioactive iguana. 

The rest is history you could say. 

The age of monsters is in full force and there’s no sign of slowing down in sight. They come to us from the heavens above and the depths below. All we can do is stand in awe-struck wonder and enjoy the rapturous spectacle. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

For more love for Godzilla be sure to check out my previous article here. If you want those nostalgic feels be sure to check in with us and add us on all your social media fixes.

And be sure to keep checking in for even more GIANT MONSTER MANIA! We’re nowhere near being done. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

So if there are any Godzilla/kaiju topics you want to see us explore be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments below. Give us a like and a share and we’ll see you in the shadow of the titans next time, 

Manic Exorcism out!

LONG LIVE THE KING!