14 December, 2007


Does he remind you of a certain established Japanese giant monster? Well, this is a South Korean kaiju and our horned creature drinks petroleum during the evening cocktail hour. A dyanically composed image from the 2007 MGM MIDNITE MOVIES 2.35:1 transfer of Daeguesu Yonggary.

What's your vote for the best DVD of 2007? It doesn't have to be a Jess Franco film presentation. As you can see we cover all kinds of related and unrelated Eurohorror, world genre films, Hollywood mainstream fare and even Asian cinema. In fact, one of my favorite 2007 disc's is MGM's MIDNITE MOVIES amazing 2.35:1 transfer of Kim Ki-Duk's 1967 ROK giant monster feature YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP as a double feature with AIP's 1961 giant ape epic, KONGA.

YONGARY (Daeguesu Yonggary), has always seemed sillier than the average post GOJIRA TOHO kaiju, mainly due to the tacky special effects (it was a big enterprise for South Korea at the time, but certainly has a downmarket look and tone) and presence of a really annoying child character who has invented a ray which makes people suffer itching spasms! Well, the kid is still irritating but the film looks spectacular in term of HD video quality with a surrealistic color juxtapositions and odd details decorating every over packed scope frame. Did Andy Warhol secretly direct? It looks simply stunning.

And one can lose the excruciating vintage English dub track by listening to it in Spanish or French with English subs. I recommend trying the Spanish first. Who knows what happened to the original ROK track.

It's particularly amusing to watch the creature plow through the plastic models representing Seoul. They look more unreal than ever, but that somehow adds to the fun of it for me.

Given current events, turmoil about the best way to fight global terror and the debate about North Korea, it's interesting to note that a nuclear test in the Middle East unleashes the creature and the first reaction of the ROK government is to declare martial law! Wait a minute! What about civil liberties? It's only a monster attack. Let the toy tanks defend the homeland. These guys are sure in a hurry to declare martial law. Of course, YONGARY expresses ROK paranoia about the North. The final act is taken up with the bombing of the creature with ammonia which causes it to expire in twitching in a pool of blood as the hero and heroine crack up at the thing's death spasms. The annoying youngster protests the chemical poisoning and brings the adults to their senses. Was Kim Ki-Duk an auteur? Your guess is as good as mine.

AIP picked up this film in 1969 and released it directly to US television, where it played in a hideous pan and scan incarnation throughout the 1970's. Always laughable, but now much more entertaining and a revelation to watch in its OAR.

This is also part of MONSTERS & CREATURES: VOLUME ONE, a five disc set including four double feature discs along with a single of Bert I. Gordon's 1976, THE FOOD OF THE GODS, which has been a sought after title for years but even in superior quality demonstrates what worked in the 1950's as high camp doesn't necessarily translate into the mid 1970s. The other disc in this set I would recommend are the double feature of THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES (1955) and the truly outre Z monstrosity THE BEAST WITH 1.000.000 EYES, a rarely seen 1958 Roger Corman production. The lurid original artwork on the cover actually caused problems with authorities in some venues during the initial run of PHANTOM... and may be worth the price of admission. No budget b&w science fiction constructions for sure, but they look great on these discs, probably better than they did on the big screen at the time of original release.

I'll also try to find time to discuss the important DVD debut of Terence Fisher's fascinating 1964 sci-fi obscurity, THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING, which has only been available for decades in very inferior video quality. It looks absolutely terrific here. If you're a giant monster fan, a B movie collector or just want to see these titles in superior video and audio quality consider buying them either as singles or as a set. They are very reasonably priced. We'll return with more of the best DVD's of 2007 later in the month.

(C) Robert Monell, 2007


Douglas A. Waltz said...

Favorite disc of 2007? I would probably have to go with a Franco flick. MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD. It's so damned pretty to look at and it gives us quality Franco in a really good print of the film. A commentary would have made it perfect. I wish they would let Franco do commentaries with all of his films

Robert Monell said...

Doug: It's difficult not to think Severin when the Best DVDs of 2007 comes up. They always seem to go the extra mile to get the best elements of rare films and do great transfers. How about the accumulated Severin DVDs of 2007 for best list? The Black Emanuelle Box sets alone were a major event.

Mirek said...

I'm going to be somewhat self-serving here and state that my favorite DVD of 2007 is BCI/Deimos' HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB. This selection is not as mercenary as it sounds, as 1) the presentation is exceptional and contains the first Naschy audio commentary for a NTSC DVD release, and 2) due to my financial situation, I can't afford that many DVDs, so I haven't seen that many new releases.

BTW, the blog has a great new look. Simply wonderful and appropriate.


Robert Monell said...

Thanks, Mirek. All praise for the new look must go to Kimberly/Cinebeats, our talented new Blog Designer/Art Director.

All the BCI Naschy's Spanish Horrors looked great. Whoever thought we'd see them in HD quality. It's hard for me to choose the best. I would say the entire collection is one of the year's best DVD events. Kudos to you and BCI. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, great new blog look, Robert. Are those shots of the dancing babe in the eyes above from SADISTEROTICA?

The BCI Naschy titles, the Severin releases, Koch media's spaghetti western remasters, there's so much good stuff to choose from. I need to ponder my best discs of 2007 a bit. I have two big new orders from Xploited arriving this week, and there's probably some choice stuff in there I'll feel like nominating. This has been a great year for Eurotrash cinema on DVD. Mirek should be proud too in helping Spanish horror cinema take its place on the shelf next to all the more well-known Italian titles. I like the Naschy discs a lot.

Robert Monell said...

Anthony, our new look is the excellent work of web designer Kimberly/Cinebeats and she chose the image, which, btw, does not appear in the Spanish language version due to Spanish censorship of that era. It's considerably longer and with an alternate musical score.