Tag Archive | 1960s

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)

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aka: Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra: Big Duel in the South Seas
Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no Daiketto
ゴジラ・エビラ・モスラ 南海の大決闘
Director: Jun Fukuda
My Rating: 7.0/10

A teenager is looking to enter a dance contest in order to win a yacht (his motive is hidden at this point in time). Well.. he doesn’t get to the dancing part.. but luckily for him two lazy contestants, also with a facination for boats!, happens to chicken out of the contest and as it just happens they are able to take him to a place with boats aplenty. The crew ends up sleeping in a boat and find themselves, after spending the night, sailing with a thief-on-the-run. As night is coming, strange clouds and storm is coming – also a giant lobster (Ebirah!) wrecks the ship. They end up stranded on an island (if it rings a bell, it should if you’ve been following the series..) where it just so happens that some primitive locals live, however these cavepeople are slaves to some evil militants. Hero of the past: Mothra! is sleeping.. can the locals chant Mothra to life(?), and what does godzilla have to do with this(?).. hell, even Rodan is a guest at this party.. I guess you have to watch it to find out what is gonna happen.

Just like in Bruno Mattei’s masterful Born to Fight (1989) new events is the major vehicle for the storyline. You could argue this is poor writing but I would disagree, to me it feels, strange as it sounds, refreshing – as it keeps things exciting when the movie itself is playful. As for Ebirah it’s a kind of a why-not-monster (just like those spiders in Son of Godzilla (1967)), everything next to Godzilla, Mothra or Gamera (and King Kong if going there) is sideshow material.

Action is plentyful, things are colorful, and if you’re init for the monstershow then this one delivers that promise. It’s recommended to follow the series from the start though, this being the #7th entry in the original Toho series.

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Invitation to Ruin (1968)

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aka: The Invitation
Director: Kurt Richter
My Rating: 8.0/10

A man named Jerry gets hired by a sleazy gangster to pick up women for his underground prostitution racket. The racket promises hot, willing and ready for anything women(!). Jerry eventually starts meeting the gangsters daughter – the forceful gangster doesn’t like this situation and threatens Jerry’s life if it happens again. Will Jerry obey the orders of will he be a prisoner of lust?

For the short runtime, the story-line still manages to unfold slowly – eventually getting you clued into what’s going on with the women in the basement of the building – a rather sadistic hag going all-in with her whip. In conjunction to the main story-line there’s two detectives investigating the operations of the gangster. The initial phase of the movie is told through flashbacks with some voiceovers – the two storylines will eventually meet in current time to deliver the movies rather savage conclusion…

Indeed things, as in imagery and story, seems familiar and to me it’s pretty obvious that this is a deconstructed, amped up, gothic hunchback tale. The hunchback being split into two where Jerry carries the good-willed traits while at the same time being blinded by love and the hag is the obedient one carrying out the sadism on the masters command (in this case the master being the gangster).

Sure this is indeed acquired taste.. but if you like it a little bit scuzzy and depraved, just like me, by all means do check this one out.. It’s something of a hidden gem

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The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)

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Director: Maury Dexter
My Rating: 5.5/10

A couple is enjoying some piece and quiet in their caravan when an outrageous gang of bikers turns up and initially shakes the caravan for a bit, to soon thereafter greet the the couple, and self-invited as they are they eventually start a wild party outside! The leader of the biker-gang is a chick who previously had a fling with the caravan-owner. The party rocks on, daytime turns to nighttime and the situation starts turning more hostile. On the following day the couple takes off with their caravan, but not far behind them is some of the bikers…

At this point, you pretty much know what you’re in for – the situation will escalate and things will turn violent. Will the jealous biker-leader get her man back?, will there be any casualties? Who will survive and what will be left of them? (Hopefully their morality, as that’s kinda the main characteristic of the good guys in this movie)

It’s not to bad, but definitely not great either. Lame/Catchy (your choice!) soundtracks seems to be a thing with Biker-chick-flicks, this one being no exception. It’s fun for a while, I didn’t mind the camp (some of it, a brawl in particular, even brought my mind to Russ Meyer), but I couldn’t help feeling like I waited for it to end sooner.

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Portrait of Hell (1969)

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aka: Jigokuhen, 地獄変
Director: Shiro Toyoda
My Rating: 9.5/10

A tyrannical lord wants the walls of his temple to be painted with images of buddha and heaven. He is unable to assign the task to a korean painter who only “paints-what-he-sees” – seeing how the common man (or slave) is treated under the lords outspoken desire for glory – the painter  is only able to draw his nightmarish visions. The painter denies his daughter from seeing a japanese man, whom she truly loves, inevitably leading to the lord taking a liking to his daughter at first sight. Eventually the lord will assign the painter the task of painting a ‘portrait of hell’…

There is a progressive feel to how to the film is shot which reflects the story, starting of with beautiful rural landscape scenery, cherry blossoms and bright costumes.. eventually shifting to darkness, rivers of blood, sometimes pitch black scenery with an overhanging feeling of dread and doom. The  fantastical elements to the story allows for a “dimension” of fantasy/horror further enhancing the story!…

To me the partly theatrical acting works great (mainly the daughter, but also present in some longer dialogue scenes) as some scenes are more dialogue heavy but also working well with the period-setting. I can’t fault a thing about this movie, finding movies like this one is my reason for dedication – familiar, yet unique. I’m a sucker for “downbeat” ‘slowly unfolding’ progressive stories that is set to “explode” and this one goes highly recommended.

(As a headsup – there is a cut in the UK Artsmagic DVD. I grabbed this version regardless. INFO: http://bbfc.co.uk/releases/portrait-hellCompulsory cut required under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act of 1937 to sight of cock fighting.“)

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