October 2014

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

F.Y.I.

On Sunday October 5th my dad died.  I apologize for the lack of articles but I seem to be having problems getting over it.  The funny thing about depression isn’t that you’re sad or having dark thoughts, it’s the lack of motivation to do anything and the self-doubt.  I promise I will return soon, I’m hoping for the first week of November.

M. Nelson – Lead Scientist MMTV

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DNDF: Better Thinking Through Technology

-   S P I N   T H E   W H E E L  -


Fiend with the Electronic Brain (1967)

  • Original Title: Blood of Ghastly Horror
  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Al Adamson
  • Produced:
    • Al Adamson 
    • Charles McMullen 
    • Zoe Phillips 
    • Samuel M. Sherman 
    • J.P. Spohn 
    • Don Geuss
  • Written:
    • Al Adamson 
    • Samuel M. Sherman 
    • Dick Poston 
    • Chris Martino 
    • Mark Eden
  • Starring: John Carradine, Kent Taylor, Tommy Kirk, Regina Carrol, Roy Morton, Tacey Robbins, Arne Warde, Richard Smedley, Kirk Duncan, Tanya Maree, Barney Gelfan, John Armond, Lyle Felice, Joey Benson, John Talbert, K.K. Riddle
  • Music:
    • Don McGinnis 
    • Jimmie Roosa
  • Cinematography:
    • Louis Horvath 
    • Vilmos Zsigmond
  • Editing: O'Dale Ireland
  • Studio:
    • Independent International Pictures  
    • Tal Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Independent-International Pictures  
    • Allied Artists Television  
    • Troma Team Video  
    • Koch Vision  
    • Super Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: January 1972 (USA)
  • Running Time: 85 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Al Adamson, shameless purveyor of countless horror anti-classics, juggles around most of the footage from his 1965 clunker Psycho-A-Go-Go after dressing up and re-releasing it on no less than three prior occasions (under a wide assortment of titles -- see below) with a few incomprehensible subplots added to further confuse audiences into thinking they were watching something else.

The initial premise involves an insane Vietnam veteran being fitted with a brain implant by mad medic John Carradine (a regular Adamson player by this point) and used as a remote-control zombie by a cabal of jewel thieves.  Their pet maniac subsequently blows a gasket, breaks his programming and turns on his controllers, strangles some dancing girls, then gets his revenge on Carradine. 

Enter gratuitous subplot #1 as the electro-fiend heads straight for Lake Tahoe (can you blame him?), where his rampage continues until he is eventually killed by the cops.

Splice in gratuitous subplot #2: The late psycho's embittered pop is also a monster-making mad scientist, who avenges his son's death by mutilating Carradine's buxom daughter.  None of the aforementioned plot combinations can disguise Adamson's trademark style -- i.e. cheap gore, cardboard sets, hideous acting, and so on.  Viewers who manage to make sense of this piecework monstrosity should switch off their VCRs and seek immediate professional help.

Sundry title variations include The Man with the Synthetic Brain, The Fiend with the Atomic Brain, The Fiend with the Electronic Brain, The Fiend with the Synthetic Brain... you should begin to notice a vague pattern here.


The Terminal Man (1974)

  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Thriller
  • Directed: Mike Hodges
  • Produced:
    • Michael Dryhurst 
    • Mike Hodges
  • Written:
    • Michael Crichton (Novel “The Terminal Man”)  
    • Mike Hodges
  • Starring: George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Michael C. Gwynne, William Hansen, Jill Clayburgh, Norman Burton, James Sikking, Matt Clark, Jim Antonio
  • Music: Unknown
  • Cinematography: Richard H. Kline
  • Editing: Robert L. Wolfe
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Distributed:
    • Warner Bros.  
    • Columbia Broadcasting System  
    • Palisades Tartan  
    • Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 19 June 1974 (USA)
  • Running Time: 107 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

The Terminal Man is a 1974 film directed by Mike Hodges, based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton.  It stars George Segal.  The story centers around the immediate dangers of mind control and the power of computers.

Harry Benson, an extremely intelligent computer programmer in his 30s, suffers from epilepsy.  He often has seizures which induce a blackout, after which he awakens to unfamiliar surroundings with no knowledge of what he has done.  He also suffers from delusions that computers will rise up against humans.

Benson suffers from Acute Disinhibitory Lesion (ADL) syndrome, and is a prime candidate for an operation known as "Stage Three".  Stage Three requires surgeons to implant electrodes in his brain and connect them to a miniature computer in his chest which is meant to control the seizures.  The operation is presented with no musical score; the only sounds are from the surgeons, from the medical procedure itself, and from medical students viewing from above.  The surgery is a success.

Benson's psychiatrist, Janet Ross, is concerned that once the operation is complete,  Benson will suffer further psychosis as a result of his person merging with that of a computer, something he has come to distrust and disdain.  Shortly before he can fully recover, Harry suffers a relapse and his electrode malfunctions while his brain has more severe seizures, making him more violent and dangerous.

Crichton was originally hired to adapt the novel himself, but Warner Bros. felt he had departed from the source material too much and had another writer adapt it.  "I don't think they [Warner Bros] gave it a chance," said Crichton later.  The director's cut omits the scene in which the doctors explain the cause of Harry's seizures.  Hodges did not like the scene, believing it spoon-fed the audience.  Warner Brothers felt that the story needed it, and that the audience would not understand or like Harry Benson without the scene.  The director's cut was shown at the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival and at the ICA cinema in London in 2008.  It was also screened in 2011 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne at the Mike Hodges retrospective to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Get Carter.

 

Sources:

All Images Found Via Google Image Search

Friday, October 10, 2014

CC: Dark Water (1996)(2002)(2005)

Koji Suzuki (Born May 13, 1957) is a Japanese writer, who was born in Hamamatsu and currently lives in Tokyo.  Suzuki is the author of the Ring cycle of novels, which has been adapted into a manga series.  He has written several books on the subject of fatherhood.  His hobbies include traveling and motorcycling (hobbies found on the back of The Ring, 2002, Koji Suzuki).  He is currently on the selection committee for the Japan Fantasy Novel Award.

Dark Water is the English title of a collection of short stories by Koji Suzuki, originally published in Japan as Honogurai mizu no soko kara (Literally, From the Depths of Dark Waters).  The book was first published in 1996, and released in 2004 in English translation.  There is a manga adaptation of Dark Water from 2002, illustrated by Meimu.  Just like the book, it's a collection of short horror stories linked to water.

The collection contains seven stories, and an extra plotline forming the prologue and epilogue.

Floating Water - the inspiration for the film Dark Water.  It is the story of a young mother and her daughter who take refuge from a messy divorce in a run-down apartment building.  The mother discovers that a small girl vanished from the building a year previously, and begins to investigate the connection between her disappearance and a series of terrifying events taking place around the flat.  Both the Japanese film and the American remake are quite similar.

Solitary Isle - a young man sets out to discover the truth behind his dead friend's boast that he dumped his girlfriend naked on an island in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

The Hold - a fisherman who beats his wife and son tries to uncover the reason for his wife's disappearance, and why he has a throbbing headache.

Dream Cruise - a young man is invited out on a mini-cruise by a couple who wish to entice him into a pyramid sales scheme.  Fairly soon, bizarre things start happening to the boat.  Dream Cruise was adapted for the Masters of Horror Showtime cable network series in 2007 and it was directed by Tsuruta Norio.

Adrift - the crew of a fishing trawler happen across an abandoned yacht, similar in situation to the Mary Celeste.  The film rights for this story have been optioned.

Watercolors - an amateur dramatic troupe stages a play in a converted disco, but strange things start happening on the floor above.

Forest Under The Sea - the only story in the collection to have no real supernatural element whatsoever.  Two spelunkers discover an unexplored cave, but become trapped.  Suzuki here explores the emotions of regret and longing.  It ties in with the epilogue story.

Suzuki is concerned with the atrocities committed by humans themselves rather than by otherworldly forces.  There are themes of urban decay, family troubles and domestic abuse running throughout the stories.  The characters themselves are often selfish, cruel and self-absorbed.  Suzuki uses these characters to explore emotions such as rage, fear and longing.  His stories often take as their theme life after the Japanese asset price bubble burst, as they were written shortly afterwards.

The one thing that all the stories have in common is the repeated use of water imagery.  Many of the events take place at sea, but even the land-based plotlines have a connection to water.  In Watercolors, for instance, the characters are plagued by water dripping through their ceiling.  While its generally believed that water drips through the ceiling in Floating water, this is not true; this was just an element put into the films.


Dark Water (2002)

  • Original Title: Honogurai mizu no soko kara
  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Mystery
  • Directed: Hideo Nakata
  • Produced:
    • Takashige Ichise 
    • Kyle Jones 
    • John Ledford 
    • Mark Williams
  • Written:
    • Kôji Suzuki (Short Story)
    • Takashige Ichise (Screenplay)
    • Hideo Nakata (Screenplay)
    • Ken'ichi Suzuki (Screenplay) 
    • Yoshihiro Nakamura (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yu Tokui, Isao Yatsu, Shigemitsu Ogi, Maiko Asano, Yukiko Ikari, Shinji Nomura, Kiriko Shimizu
  • Music:
    • Kenji Kawai 
    • Shikao Suga
  • Cinematography: Jun'ichirô Hayashi
  • Editing: Nobuyuki Takahashi
  • Studio:
    • Honogurai mizu no Soko kara Seisaku Iinkai
    • Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. 
    • Nippon Television Network  
    • Office Augusta Co. Ltd. 
    • Oz Company 
    • Toho Company 
    • Video Audio Project
  • Distributed:
    • Toho Company  
    • Arti Film  
    • Tartan  
    • ADV Films  
    • Alpha Filmes  
    • DeA Planeta Home Entertainment  
    • Diaphana Films  
    • Highlight Film  
    • Madman Entertainment  
    • Palisades Tartan  
    • SBP  
    • Scanbox Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 19 January 2002 (Japan) 
    • 9 November 2002 (USA)
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

Dark Water (Lit. From the bottom of Dark Water) is a 2002 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring and Ring 2.  Dark Water is based on Floating Water, a short story by Koji Suzuki.  The plot follows a divorced mother who moves into a rundown apartment with her daughter, only to experience supernatural occurrences and a mysterious water leak from the floor above which is eventually traced back to the former tenants.  Released in Japan in January 2002, the film went on to premiere at festivals in Europe and the United States.

Yoshimi Matsubara, in the midst of a divorce, moves to a run-down apartment with her daughter, Ikuko.  She enrolls her daughter in a nearby kindergarten and in order to win custody of her daughter, starts working as a proofreader, a job she held years ago before she was married.  The ceiling of the apartment has a leak, which worsens on a daily basis.  Matsubara complains to the janitor of the apartment, an old man, but the janitor does nothing to fix the leak.  She then tries to go to the floor just above her apartment to find out the root of the leak, and discovers that the apartment is locked.

Strange events then happen repeatedly: a red bag with a bunny on the front reappears no matter how often Yoshimi tries to dispose of it.  Hair is found in tap water.  Yoshimi gets glimpses of a mysterious long-haired girl who is of similar age to her daughter.  Yoshimi discovers that the upstairs apartment, the source of the leak, was formerly the home of a girl named Mitsuko Kawai, who was of similar age to her daughter.  She had attended the same kindergarten Ikuko now attends.  Mitsuko was abandoned by her mother and vanished more than a year ago.

Yoshimi finds her missing daughter one day in the apartment upstairs, which has walls pouring with water with the entire apartment flooded ankle-deep.  Convinced something eerie is happening, she decides to move, but her lawyer convinces her that her eyes may be playing tricks on her and that moving now would weaken her position greatly in her divorce.

One evening, after yet another strange occurrence involving the red bag, Yoshimi is drawn to the roof of the building, and while examining the huge water tank she notices that it was last inspected – and thus opened – over a year ago, on the day Mitsuko was last reported seen.  She comes to the horrific realization via a vision that Mitsuko had fallen into the tank while trying to retrieve her red bag, and was thus drowned.

Meanwhile, Ikuko, left alone in the apartment, attempts to turn off the bath tap, which has started to spurt filthy water.  Mitsuko's spirit emerges from the flooded bathtub and attempts to drown her.

Yoshimi finds Ikuko unconscious on the bathroom floor.  Intending to escape, she rushes into the elevator, fleeing apparently from the apparition of Mitsuko.  But as the elevator door closes she sees that the figure pursuing her is in fact her own daughter – with short hair – and realizes she is carrying Mitsuko, who, gripping her neck, claims Yoshimi as mother in a torrent of water.  Yoshimi realizes that Mitsuko won't let her go and with Ikuko looking on in tears, Yoshimi sacrifices herself by staying on in the elevator to appease Mitsuko's spirit and pretending to be Mitsuko's mother.  The elevator ascends and Ikuko follows, but when the doors open, a flood of murky brown water rushes out and nobody emerges.

The end of the film shows Ikuko, now sixteen, re-visiting the abandoned block.  She notices that her old apartment looks oddly clean and seems occupied.  She then sees her mother, and they have a conversation.  Her mother affirms that as long as Ikuko is all right, she is happy.  Ikuko then pleads to stay with her mother, whom she thinks is alive, and though Yoshimi smiles, she tells Ikuko that that would be impossible.  Sensing someone behind her, Ikuko warily turns, but sees no one (the audience though sees Mitsuko for a split second).  When she turns back, Yoshimi has also disappeared.  As she leaves, Ikuko realizes that her mother's spirit has been watching over her.

And people wonder why I think little kids are creepy.

Dark Water (2005)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Walter Salles
  • Produced:
    • Doug Davison 
    • Kerry Foster 
    • Ashley Kramer 
    • Roy Lee 
    • Bill Mechanic 
    • Todd Y. Murata 
    • Diana Pokorny
  • Written:
    • Kôji Suzuki (Short Story) 
    • Hideo Nakata (Japanese Screenplay) 
    • Takashige Ichise (Japanese Screenplay) 
    • Rafael Yglesias (English Screenplay)
  • Starring: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Pete Postlethwaite, Camryn Manheim, Ariel Gade, Perla Haney-Jardine, Debra Monk, Linda Emond, Bill Buell
  • Music: Angelo Badalamenti
  • Cinematography: Affonso Beato
  • Editing: Daniel Rezende
  • Studio:
    • Touchstone Pictures  
    • Pandemonium Productions  
    • Vertigo Entertainment 
    • Post No Bills Films
  • Distributed:
    • Buena Vista Pictures  
    • Falcon  
    • Toho-Towa  
    • British Broadcasting Corporation  
    • Buena Vista Home Entertainment  
    • Eén  
    • Net5  
    • Touchstone Home Video  
    • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 8 July 2005 (USA)
  • Running Time: 105 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

<Soapbox_Mode>

  1. They used the original script and hired someone to translate it into English.  There was already an English dubbed version of the original film, for what reason was there a need to remake this?  In most cases like this, The Ring, One Missed Call, the nuances of what is scary to Asian audiences is lost on us Westerners and a horror film needs to be punched up, i.e. Grandpa not resting in peace and haunting the apartment doesn’t hold the same weight for us as it does for the Japanese.
  2. Anyone else find it odd that Walt Disney is involved in a horror movie?  Especially one with mature themes?
  3. Please stop casting Jennifer Connelly, she used up all her acting juice in 1986 in Labyrinth.

</Soapbox_Mode>

The film opens in 1974, as a young girl, Dahlia, stands outside after school in the rain, waiting for her mother.  Why is this scene included?  No idea since we never reference it ever again.

Flash forward to 2005, the audience sees a grown-up Dahlia in the midst of a bitter mediation with ex-husband, Kyle, over custody of their daughter, Cecilia.  Kyle wants Cecilia to live closer to his apartment in Jersey City, but Dahlia wants to move to Roosevelt Island, where she has found a good school.  Kyle threatens to sue for full custody because he feels the distance is too great.  He also claims that Dahlia is "mentally unstable."

Dahlia and Cecilia see an apartment in a complex on Roosevelt Island, which is just a few blocks from Cecilia's new school.  The superintendent of the dilapidated building is Mr. Veeck.  The manager is Mr. Murray.  During the tour, Cecilia sneaks to the roof where she finds a Hello Kitty backpack near a large water tank.  They leave the bag with Veeck, and Murray promises Cecilia that she can have it if no one claims it.  Cecilia, who had disliked the apartment, now wants desperately to live there.  Dahlia agrees to move in.

Shortly after, the bedroom ceiling begins to leak dark water.  The source is the apartment above, 10F, where the Rimsky family lived up until a month ago.  Dahlia enters 10F and finds it flooded, with dark water flowing from every faucet, the walls and toilet.  She finds a family portrait of the former tenants—a mother, father, and a girl Cecilia's age.  Dahlia complains to both Veeck and Murray about the water, but the former does little about it despite the insistence of the latter.  Meanwhile, Cecilia develops a strong bond of friendship with an imaginary friend called Natasha.

The ceiling, shoddily patched by Veeck, leaks again.  At school, Cecilia appears to get into a fight with Natasha, who appears to control her hand while painting.  She's taken to the girls' bathroom where she passes out after dark water gushes from the toilets and sinks.  Dahlia, who is meeting with her lawyer, can't be reached, so Kyle picks her up and takes her to his apartment.  Later on that night, Dahlia has a moment to herself.  She is feeling a little bit better now that Jeff will have her apartment fixed and that Cecilia is safe with Kyle.  Dahlia starts to hear footsteps from outside.  She gets up and checks the hallway outside of her apartment room door.  She hears footsteps going up to the roof.  Dahlia opens the door on the rooftop and looks around.  She sees that water is spilling out of the huge water tank.  She climbs up the ladder and opens the hatch to the water tank.  We see Natasha's body floating in the water.  Dahlia is stunned and Natasha's eyes snap open.  Dahlia screams and closes the hatch.  She opens the hatch up again and Natasha's body is still there.

When police arrive, Veeck is arrested for his negligence.  He was aware of her body, which was why he refused to fix the water problem plaguing the complex.  While Murray is questioned, Dahlia and her lawyer discovers with cold irony that Natasha's parents had left her behind.  While her parents assumed they were with another parent, Natasha was left to fend for herself and it led to her eventual death.

Dahlia agrees to move closer to Kyle so shared custody will go easier.  As Dahlia packs, Cecilia is taking a bath.  A girl in a hooded bathrobe comes out of the bathroom, wanting Dahlia to read to her.  When she hears voices in the bathroom, she realizes that the girl is Natasha.  Natasha begs Dahlia not to leave her, but Dahlia rushes into the bathroom to save Cecilia.  Natasha then locks Cecilia in the shower compartment and holds her underwater.  Dahlia pleads with Natasha to let her daughter go, promising to be her mother forever.  Natasha lets Cecilia go and floods the apartment, causing Dahlia to die from drowning.  Her and Natasha's spirits are shown walking down the hallway.

Kyle picks up Cecilia from the police station.  Weeks later, the two go back to pick up the rest of her belongings.  Cecilia has a flashback of her and her mother looking at pictures together, and in the elevator, her mother's ghost braids her hair and comforts her—telling her she will always be there.  Kyle, momentarily horrified with a malfunction in the elevator, the weird behavior of his daughter, and perhaps noticing her hair had been braided, finally takes her to his apartment in Jersey City.

One VOD charge and you too can hate this film as much as I.

 

Sources:

All Images Found Via Google Image Search

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WTFW: The Duel Project

What is The Duel Project?  The Duel Project was a challenge issued to Ryuhei Kitamura and Yukihiko Tsutsumi by producer Shin’ya Kawai (Ringu, Rasen, Sky High, Samurai Zombie) during a night of drinking.  The mutual admirers talked late into the night until Yukihiko Tsutsumi threw down the gauntlet and challenged Ryuhei Kitamura to a duel.  Not a traditional 10 paces turn-and-fire duel – but a cinematic battle with rigid rules of conduct.  Each director would make a film in a single confined setting about a duel to the death between two principal actors/actresses in the time span of one week.  Many consider The Duel Project to be a personal best for each director.


2LDK (2003)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
  • Produced:
    • Yûji Ishida 
    • Mitsuru Itô 
    • Shin'ya Kawai 
    • Kazuki Manabe 
    • Susumu Nakazawa 
    • Munehiro Umemura
  • Written:
    • Yuiko Miura  
    • Yukihiko Tsutsumi
  • Starring: Eiko Koike, Maho Nonami, Daisuke Kizaki
  • Music: Nobuhiko Morino
  • Cinematography: Satoru Karasawa
  • Editing: Nobuyuki Ito
  • Studio:
    • DUEL Film Partners 
    • Micott 
    • Times In
  • Distributed:
    • Rapid Eye Movies  
    • TLA Releasing  
    • WE Productions
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 4 October 2003 (Japan) 
    • 13 July 2004 (USA)
  • Running Time: 70 minutes
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

Two ambitious actresses, who share an apartment, learn they have been short-listed for the same part and that they have to wait for one more night to see who wins the part.  As they bicker throughout the night, their competitiveness and hidden grudges turn their apartment into a battlefield.

Although aspiring actresses Nozomi and Rana share a Tokyo apartment that's owned by their talent management agency, they're a world apart.  Nozomi is a soft-spoken country girl from Sado Island who prides herself on being demure.  City girl Rana, who grew up in a rough area of Tokyo, is more worldly, experienced and jaded.

Whilst in apartment, they learn they have auditioned for the same part in a highly anticipated film called Yakuza Wives and that there will be a phone call in the morning that will reveal who wins the role.  They decide to stay in for the phone call.

A conversation between two actresses turns sour, bringing their hidden resentment to the surface, which pushes them into committing a series of violent acts against each other while arguing over their backgrounds, lifestyles, choices, and love lives.

As they lay dying from severe injuries they inflicted on each other, their apartment phone finally rings at dawn. When it goes unanswered, it's switched to their answering machine.  A male voice on the machine announces they both won the part.

The title is a Japanese real estate acronym for an 2-bedroom apartment with a Living-room, Dining-room, and Kitchen.


Aragami (2003)

  • Genre: Action – Fantasy – Horror
  • Directed: Ryûhei Kitamura
  • Produced:
    • Yûji Ishida 
    • Shin'ya Kawai 
    • Haruo Umekawa 
    • Munehiro Umemura
  • Written:
    • Shôichirô Masumoto 
    • Ryûhei Kitamura 
    • Ryuichi Takatsu
  • Starring: Takao Ohsawa, Masaya Katô, Kanae Uotani, Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki
  • Music: Nobuhiko Morino
  • Cinematography: Takumi Furuya
  • Editing: Shûichi Kakesu
  • Studio:
    • Amuse 
    • DUEL Film Partners 
    • Micott 
    • Napalm Film 
    • napalm FiLMS
  • Distributed:
    • Rapid Eye Movies  
    • Micott  
    • Palisades-Tartan Acquisitions  
    • SBP  
    • WE Productions
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 27 March 2003 (Japan)
  • Running Time: 78 minutes
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

Ancient Japan.  Fleeing from enemies, two wounded samurai arrive at a strange old temple in a remote location in the mountains.  The doors to the place are opened by a beautiful and exotic woman, who beckons them inside.  Unable to walk any further, they collapse from exhaustion.  One samurai awakes to find that not only has his comrade died, but that his wounds have miraculously healed.  He discovers that he has been given the power of immortality by the swordsman, a man once known as the legendary Miyamoto Musashi.  The samurai is persuaded to stay the night.  His host tells him the legend of the "Tengu", a goblin which is said to reside in the mountains dining on the flesh of men.  He goes on to reveal the true name of the Tengu : Aragami.  When the samurai asks if Aragami poses a threat to the temple, his host answers : "I am Aragami".  The only way for the Samurai to leave the temple is to destroy Aragami.

 

Sources:

All Images Found Via Google Image Search

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The ABC’s of Mythological Creatures–‘D’

Week four of my half-assed attempt to find something to write about on Tuesdays.  I hope we are all learning something about other cultures and their weird crypto creatures, not to mention the depths of my laziness when writing.  There are far more mythological creatures, these are the ones I found interesting and that you probably have never heard of.


dahu


The dahu is a legendary creature well known in France, Switzerland and the north of Italy.  Regional variations on its name include dahut or dairi in Jura, darou in Vosges or darhut in Burgundy; also called atamarou in Aubrac and Aveyron, and tamarro in Catalonia and Andorra. The dahu cub is called a dahuot.  In French lore, the dahu has the appearance of a deer or ibex, but with the principal characteristic that its legs on one side of its body are shorter than on the other side.  This enables it to walk upright on the steep slopes of its mountain environment.  It can only walk around the mountain in one direction.  Legend attributes various differing descriptions to the animal, including the laevogyrous dahu (which has shorter legs on the left side, and thus goes around the mountain counter-clockwise) and the dextrogyre dahu (which has shorter legs on the right side, and thus goes around the mountain clockwise).  These seldom interbreed according to French lore.  However, when interbred, it is believed that there are two more types of dahu.  These two variations have never been seen, but are believed to exist.  These variations have the leg pairs across the diagonals. This means that the dahu can have a long front right and back left leg, or a long front left leg and back right leg.  It is also said that male Dahus have legs shorter on the right side and that females have shorter legs on the left side, thus making them walk in opposite directions around the mountains enabling to find each other and mate.  Also, the male dahu has testicles that drag down onto the ground leaving a scent trail for members of the opposite sex to trace.  Males also use the scent trails to find their next molestation victim, for dahus are known for harassing each other to assert dominance.


De Loys' Ape

François de Loys, a Swiss oil geologist, led an expedition from 1917 to 1920 to search for petroleum in an area along the border between Colombia and Venezuela, primarily near Lake Maracaibo.  The expedition was unsuccessful, and furthermore suffered greatly due to disease and skirmishes with natives; of the 20 members of de Loys' group, only four survived.

According to de Loys' later report, in 1920, while camped near the Tarra River, two large creatures approached the group.  Initially, de Loys thought they were bears, but then noted that they were monkey-like, holding onto shrubs and branches.  The creatures – one male, one female – seemed angry, said de Loys, howling and gesturing, then defecating into their hands and flinging feces at the expedition.  Fearing for their safety, the expedition shot and killed the female; the male then fled.  De Loys and his companions recognized that they had encountered something unusual.  The animal resembled a spider monkey, but was much larger: 1.57 m tall (compared to the largest spider monkeys, which are just over a meter tall).  De Loys counted 32 teeth (most New World monkeys have 36 teeth), and noted that the creature had no tail.

They posed the creature by seating it on a crate and propping a stick under its chin.  After taking a single photograph, de Loys reported, they skinned the creature, intending to keep its hide and skull.  Both items were later abandoned by the troubled expedition.  According to other reports, more photographs were taken but were lost either in a flood or during the capsizing of the scientists' boat.  The only evidence for the animal besides de Loys' testimony is that one photograph.  It was promoted by George Montandon as a previously unknown species, but is now usually considered a misidentification of a spider monkey species or a hoax.


Deer Woman

Deer Woman, sometimes known as Deer Lady, is a shape-shifting woman in Native American mythology, in and around Oklahoma, The Western United States and The Pacific Northwest.  She allegedly appears at various times as an old woman, or a young beautiful maiden, or a deer.  Some descriptions assign her a human female upper body and the lower body of a white-tailed deer.

The Deer Woman is said to sometimes be seen as a beautiful woman just off the trail or behind a bush, calling to men to come over.  Deer Woman is often said to have all the features of a normal young woman, except her feet which are shaped like deer hooves and her brown deer's eyes.  Men who are lured into her presence often notice too late that she is not a natural woman and are then stomped to death.  Other stories and traditions describe the sighting of Deer Woman to be a sign of personal transformation or a warning.  Deer Woman is also said to be fond of dancing and will sometimes join a communal dance unnoticed leaving only when the drum beating ceases.

According to Ojibwe tradition, she can be banished through the use of tobacco and chant others say that you can break her spell by looking at her feet, which are in fact hooves.  Once she is recognized for what she is, she runs away.  The Deer Woman is similar in nature to several other female figures of folklore from other regions such as La Llorona from Mexico and the Southwestern United States, the Fiura of Chile, the Colombian creatures the Patasola and "the Tunda and the Iara of Brazil, the Xana from Asturias (Spain), and Naag Kanyas (serpent women) from India.  All are females who at times, function as sirens leading men to their death.  In Scottish folklore the Baobhan sith is a female vampire said to have goats legs who seduces travelers and feasts on their blood.


Devil Monkey


The Devil Monkey is a cryptozoological giant monkey reported on June 26, 1997 in Dunkinsville, Ohio.  It was reportedly around 5 ft (~1.5 m) tall and had long, pointed ears.  It appeared to be grey, had large, dark eyes, long arms, a short tail, and had hair all over its body about 1.5 in (~4 cm) long, and is reportedly very aggressive.  On January 12, 2006, a similar creature was reported in Chicago, Illinois, about the size and shape of a dog; another such creature was reported in Roanoke, Virginia in the 1990s.  It apparently walked on its legs while using its knuckles one at a time; they have also been reported to sometimes walk using saltation (to hop or leap), have flat, rounded feet, and are sometimes reportedly mistaken for kangaroos or wallabies, and often reported to resemble werewolves or baboons.  They have been reported from as far as Louisiana, New Brunswick, and Alaska, and have been included in Choctaw folklore.  They have also been reported in the American Midwest.


dingonek


The dingonek is a scaly, scorpion-tailed, saber-toothed cryptid allegedly seen in the African Congolese jungles (primarily those of the Democratic Republic), and yet another in a long line of West African cryptids—such as the Chipekwe, the Jago-nini and the Emela-ntouka.  At the Brakfontein ridge, Western Cape in South Africa is a cave painting of an unknown creature that fits the description of the dingonek, right down to its walrus-like tusks.

Said to dwell in the rivers and lakes of western Africa, the Dingonek has been described as being grey or red, 3 to 6 meters (9-18 feet) in length, with a squarish head, sometimes a long horn, saber-like canines—which has resulted in its nickname the "Jungle Walrus"—and a tail complete with a bony, dart-like appendage, which is reputed to be able to secrete a deadly poison.  This creature is also said to be covered head-to-toe in a scaly, mottled epidermis, which has been likened to the prehistoric-looking Asian anteater known as the pangolin.  The description by John Alfred Jordan, an explorer who said that he actually shot at this unidentified monster in the River Maggori in Kenya in 1907, claimed this scale-covered creature was as big as 18 feet long and had reptilian claws, a spotted back, long tail, and a big head out of which grew large, curved, walrus-like tusks.  A shot with a .303 only served to anger it.


diwata


In Philippine mythology, a diwata, based on Sanskrit devata and also known as encantada from Spanish, is a dryad and are benevolent or neutral and invoked ritually for positive crop growth, health, and fortune; they may also incur illness or misfortune if not given proper respect.  They are said to reside in large trees, such as acacia and balete and are the guardian spirits of nature, casting blessings or curses upon those who bring benefits or harm to the forests and mountains.  They have their origin in the Devata beings included in Hinduism and Buddhism.  The Laguna Copperplate dated 900 AD also makes mention of a Chief of Medang in Java, Indonesia referred as representative of the Chief of Diwata in Butuan, Mindanao island.

The term "diwata" has taken on various levels of meaning since its concept's assimilation into the mythology of the pre-colonial Filipinos.  It is sometimes loosely used to refer to a generic type of beings much like "elf" or "fairy," or very specific ones as mentioned above.  It has been noted that the term "diwata" is synonymous to "anito," and that the usage of the word "diwata" is more prevalent in the Southern Philippines, while "anito" takes its place in the Northern areas.


djinn


Jinn or djinn are supernatural creatures in Islamic mythology as well as pre-Islamic Arabian mythology.  They are mentioned frequently in the Quran (the 72nd sura is titled Sūrat al-Jinn) and other Islamic texts and inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans.  The Quran says that the jinn are made of a smokeless and "scorching fire", but are also physical in nature, being able to interfere physically with people and objects and likewise be acted upon.  The jinn, humans and angels make up the three sapient creations of God.  Like human beings, the jinn can be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent and hence have free will like humans and unlike angels.  The shaytan jinn are the analogue of demons in Christian tradition, but the jinn are not angels and the Quran draws a clear distinction between the two creations.  The Quran states in surat Al-Kahf (The Cave), Ayah 50, that Iblis (Azazel) is one of the jinn.

The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, meaning a sort of tutelary or guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth.  English borrowed the French descendant of this word, génie; its earliest written attestation in English, in 1655, is a plural spelled "genyes".  The French translators of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights used génie as a translation of jinnī because it was similar to the Arabic word in sound and in meaning.  This use was also adopted in English and has since become dominant.  In Arabic, the word jinn is in the collective number, translated in English as plural (e.g., "several genies"); jinnī is in the singulative number, used to refer to one individual, which is translated by the singular in English (e.g., "one genie").  Therefore, the word jinn in English writing is treated as a plural.


Dobhar-chú

The Dobhar-chú is a creature of Irish folklore and a cryptid.  Dobhar-chú is roughly translated into "water hound."  It resembles both a dog and an otter though sometimes is described as a half dog, half fish.  It lives in water and has fur with protective properties.

Many sightings have been documented down through the years.  Most recently in 2003 Irish Artist Sean Corcoran and his wife claim to have witnessed a Dobhar-Chú on Omey Island in Connemara, County Galway.  In his description the large dark creature made a haunting screech, could swim fast and had orange flipper like feet.

A headstone, found in Conwall cemetery in Glenade, Co. Leitrim depicts the Dobhar-chú and is related to a tale of an attack on a local woman by the creature.  The stone is claimed to be the headstone of a grave of a woman killed by the Dobhar-chú in the 17th century.  Her name was supposedly Gráinne.  Her husband supposedly heard her scream as she was washing clothes down at Glenade lough, Co. Leitrim and came to her aid.  When he got there she was already dead, with the Dobhar-chú upon her bloody and mutilated body.  The man killed the Dobhar-chú, stabbing it in the heart.  As it died, it made a whistling noise, and its mate arose from the lough.  Its mate chased the man but, after a long and bloody battle, he killed it as well.


Dokkaebi


Dokkaebi, sometimes known as Duduri is a common word for a type of spirit in Korean folklore or fairy tales.  They are old things transformed at night. 

The Dokkaebi is a mythical being that appears in many old Korean folktales.  Although usually frightening, it could also represent a humorous, grotesque-looking sprite or goblin.  These creatures loved mischief and playing mean tricks on bad people and they rewarded good people with wealth and blessings.  They are different from Gwisin in that they are not formed by the death of a human being, but rather by the transformation of an inanimate object.

Different versions of the Korean Dokkaebi mythology assign different attributes to them.  In some cases they are considered harmless but nevertheless mischievous, usually playing pranks on people or challenging wayward travellers to a ssireum (Korean wrestling) match for the right to pass.  Most Dokkaebi carry a kind of club or mallet called a dokkaebi bangmang'i.  They are like magic wands, from which it can summon anything it wants.  Unfortunately, when it gets something by using it, it gets things by "stealing" from someone else, because this bangmang'i can only summon existing things, and it does not create objects out of thin air.

Dokkaebi love to play games, especially ssireum as mentioned above.  They are extremely good at it and one will never be able to beat them by trying to push them from the left side.  However, they are very weak on the right side.  In other stories one should hook their leg and push them to win, as they have only one leg.  Dokkaebi can also have a cap which is called dokkaebi gamtu.  Its most well-known ability is that it gives the wearer invisibility.


domovoi


A domovoi or domovoy (Russian: literally, "[he] from the house") is a house spirit in Slavic folklore.  The plural form in Russian can be transliterated domoviye or domovye (with accent on the vowel after the v).

Domovye are masculine, typically small, bearded, and sometimes covered in hair all over.  According to some traditions, domovye take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house and have a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns.  There are tales of neighbors seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master is asleep in bed.  It has also been said that domovye can take on the appearance of cats or dogs, but reports of this are fewer than of that mentioned before.  Other stories either give them completely monstrous appearance, or none at all.  The actions performed by a domovoi vaguely resemble (but are not limited to) those of poltergeists and are not necessarily harmful.

In the course of the 20th century, there have been notable reported sightings of domovye in Russia, many of which were purportedly "caught on tape".  It is believed that saying the word "master" in front of a domovoy who shows itself to the person is a sign of praise to the creature and a proper way to address it, even for the family head.  The Russian word barabashka (Russian: "knocker, pounder") is a pejorative term sometimes used to describe domovye, although in this case its connotation purely corresponds to poltergeist activity.


Dover Demon

The Dover Demon is a small humanoid reported from Dover, Massachusetts.  It was the subject of an intensive scare during the 1970s, when multiple witnesses came forward with their sightings.  The Dover demon is described as looking sort of like the "gray" variety of alien, except that it has skin of a rosy orange instead of sickly gray.  The Dover demon has a large head on a small, stick-like body.  It can be bipedal, but it often travels on all fours or switches back and forth between the two modes of locomotion.  It has eyes that glow, sometimes orange, sometimes green.

Seventeen year old William Bartlett claimed that while driving on April 21, 1977 he saw a large-eyed creature "with tendril-like fingers" and glowing eyes on top of a broken stone wall on Farm Street in Dover, Massachusetts.  Fifteen year old John Baxter reported seeing a similar creature in heavily wooded area on Miller Hill Road the same evening.  Another 15 year old, Abby Brabham, claimed to have seen the creature the following night sitting upright on Springdale Avenue.  The teenagers all drew sketches of the alleged creature.  Bartlett wrote on his sketch, "I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bibles that I saw this creature."  When plotted on a map, the locations of the sightings formed a line two miles in length.

Some suggested that the creature may have been a foal or a moose calf.  Police told the Associated Press that creatures reported by the teenagers "were probably nothing more than a school vacation hoax."  The Dover Demon went on to gain worldwide attention, and drew comparison to stories such as that of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.  It has been written about by Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.


dragon turtle

A dragon turtle is a legendary Chinese creature that combines two of the four celestial animals of Chinese mythology: the body of a turtle with a dragonlike head.  It is promoted as a positive ornament in Feng Shui, symbolizing courage, determination, fertility, longevity, power, success, and support.  Decorative carvings or statuettes of the creature are traditionally placed facing the window.

Mapmakers sometimes drew dragon turtles along with other fantastical creatures in unexplored areas.


Drekavac


Drekavac (literally "the screamer"), also called drek and drekalo is a mythical creature in south Slavic mythology.  Drekavac comes from the souls of children who have died unbaptized.

The creature is not consistently described.  One description is that its body is dappled, elongated and thin as a spindle, with disproportionately large head; yet another is that it is some kind of bird; a modern find of supposed drekavac body looked like a dog or a fox, but with hind legs similar to those of kangaroo.  It may also appear in the form of a child and call for people passing near the cemetery to baptize it.  The one feature everyone agrees about is its horrifying yell.

Drekavac could be seen at night, especially during the twelve days of Christmas (called unbaptized days in Serbo-Croatian) and in early spring, in time where other demons appear most often.  In the form of the child it predicts someone's death, but in the form of the animal, it predicts cattle disease.  Drekavac rarely bothers its parents, as it is afraid of dogs.

Drekavac is often used as a child scare, in a similar way a banshee is in the West.  It is probably more useful than banshees in rural areas, as children surely sometimes hear a sound of some animal and attribute it to drekavac, thus convinced it really exists; which would then probably prevent them from wandering far from home.  In the cities, however, belief in it has faded, and Baba Roga, which more closely resembles western bogeyman, is much more used.


drop bear

A dropbear or drop bear is a fictitious Australian marsupial.  Drop bears are commonly said to be unusually large, vicious, carnivorous marsupials related to koalas (although the koala is not actually a bear) that inhabit treetops and attack their prey by dropping onto their heads from above.  They are an example of local lore intended to frighten and confuse outsiders and amuse locals, similar to the jackalope, hoop snake, wild haggis or snipe hunt.

Various methods suggested to deter drop bear attacks include placing forks in the hair, having Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears or in the armpits, urinating on oneself, and only speaking English in an Australian accent.

The Australian Museum has a purportedly serious entry on drop bears in its catalogue of Australian fauna, classifying them as Thylarctos plummetus.  The description says they are about the size of a very large dog, have coarse orange fur with dark mottling, have powerful forearms for climbing and attacking prey, and bite using broad powerful premolars rather than canines.  Specifically it states that they weigh 120 kilograms (260 lb) and have a length of 130 centimeters (51 in).  However, elsewhere, the museum acknowledges that this was not a serious entry, and was inspired by the "silly season".  The Australian Museum also established a small display in the museum itself, exhibiting what it said may have been drop bear related artifacts.


dullahan


The Irish dullahan (also Gan Ceann, meaning "without a head" in Irish) is a type of unseelie (the darkly-inclined) fairy.

The dullahan is a headless rider, usually on a black horse who carries his or her own head under one arm.  The head's eyes are small, black, and constantly dart about like flies, while the mouth is constantly in a hideous grin that touches both sides of the head.  The flesh of the head is said to have the color and consistency of moldy cheese.  The dullahan uses the spine of a human corpse for a whip, and their wagon is adorned with funereal objects (e.g. candles in skulls to light the way, the spokes of the wheels are made from thigh bones, the wagon's covering made from a worm-chewed pall) or dried human skin.  When the dullahan stops riding, that is where a person is due to die.  The dullahan calls out their name, at which point they immediately perish.

There is no way to bar the road against a dullahan – all locks and gates open to them when they approach.  They do not appreciate being watched while on their errands, throwing a basin of blood on those who dare to do so (often a mark that they are among the next to die), or even lashing out the watchers' eyes with their whips.  They are frightened of gold, and even a single gold pin can drive a dullahan away.


Dzunuḵ̓wa


Dzunuḵ̓wa, also Tsonoqua, Tsonokwa, is a figure in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology.  She is an ancestor of the Namgis clan through her son, Tsilwalagame.  She is venerated as a bringer of wealth, but is also greatly feared by children, because she is also known as an ogress who steals children and carries them home in her basket to eat.

Her appearance is that of a naked, black in color, old monster with long pendulous breasts.  She is also described as having bedraggled hair.  In masks and totem pole images she is shown with bright red pursed lips because she is said to give off the call "Hu!"  It is often told to children that the sound of the wind blowing through the cedar trees is actually the call of Dzunuḵ̓wa.  Some myths say that she is able to bring herself back from the dead (an ability which she uses in some myths to revive her children) and regenerate any wound.  She has limited eyesight, and can be easily avoided because she can barely see.  She is also said to be rather drowsy and dim-witted.  She possesses great wealth and will bestow it upon those who are able to get control of her child.

In one myth a tribe tricks her into falling into a pit of fire.  The tribe burned her for many days until nothing was left, which prevented her from reviving herself.  It is said that the ashes that came off this fire turned into mosquitoes.  At the end of a Kwakiutl potlatch ceremony, the host chief comes out bearing a mask of Dzunuḵ̓wa which is called thegeekumhl.  This is the sign that the ceremony is over.

 

Sources:

All Images Found Via Google Image Search

Monday, October 6, 2014

ICFIFC: Two Films, One Script

Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)

  • Genre: Adventure – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Arthur Hilton
  • Produced:
    • Jack Rabin  
    • Al Zimbalist
  • Written:
    • Al Zimbalist  
    • Jack Rabin  
    • Roy Hamilton
  • Starring: Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, Marie Windsor, William Phipps, Douglas Fowley, Carol Brewster, Susan Morrow, Suzanne Alexander, Bette Arlen, Roxann Delman, Ellye Marshall, Judy Walsh
  • Music: Elmer Bernstein
  • Cinematography: William P. Whitley
  • Editing: John A. Bushelman
  • Studio: Z-M Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Astor Pictures Corporation  
    • Rhino Home Video  
    • Englewood Entertainment  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • Gaiam Americas  
    • The Nostalgia Merchant  
    • Something Weird Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 3 September 1953 (USA)
  • Running Time: 64 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

An expedition to the moon encounters a race of "Cat-Women," the last eight survivors of a 2-million-year-old civilization, deep within a cave where they have managed to maintain the remnants of a breathable atmosphere that once covered the moon.  The remaining air will soon be gone and they must escape if they are to survive.  They plan to steal the expedition's spaceship and return to Earth.

Through the use of their telepathic ability the Cat-Women have been subliminally controlling Helen Salinger so she can win the navigator slot on the expedition and lead the crew to their location.  Once Helen and the male members of the crew arrive on the moon the Cat-Women take complete control of her mind.  They are unable to control the men's minds, but they work around this obstacle with Helen's help and the use of their superior abilities and feminine wiles.  "Show us their weak points," one says to Helen.  "We'll take care of the rest."

Along with telepathy, the Cat-Women have the ability to transport themselves unseen from place to place within the cave.  They use this ability to steal the crew's spacesuits from the mouth of the cave, where they were left unguarded.

Using Helen to smooth things over after an earlier failed attack on the crew, the Cat-Women approach the men openly.  Food and drink are brought out and a party ensues. Kip is suspicious after discovering the spacesuits are missing and confronts the Cat-Women's leader Alpha, who promises to return the suits in the morning.  Kip sits alone, unable to intervene while the Cat-Women exploit the "weak points" of expedition commander Laird and the other men.

Soon the Cat-Women have learned how to operate the spaceship and are well on their way to success.  But Lambda falls in love with crew member Doug and tells him of the plot.  Carrying three spacesuits, Alpha, Beta and Helen make a break for the ship.  Lambda teleports ahead to delay them and is killed by Beta.  Kip catches up and fires several shots; Alpha and Beta are killed and Helen is uninjured.  The expedition escapes and begins their return trip to Earth.

Upon the film's release, Variety magazine wrote: "This imaginatively conceived and produced science-fiction yarn [an original story by producers Zimbalist and Rabin] takes the earth-to-moon premise and embellishes it with a civilization of cat-women on the moon...Cast ably portray their respective roles…Arthur Hilton makes his direction count in catching the spirit of the theme, and art direction is far above average for a film of this caliber.  William Whitley's 3-D photography provides the proper eerie quality."

According to a December 9, 1953 Daily Variety news item, Z-M Productions filed a lawsuit against the My Little Margie radio show.  The claim stated that a writer from the radio show, who was on the set during the Cat-Women of the Moon production, stole the plot of the film and satirized it in a broadcast in which characters viewed a film called Cat Women from Outer Space.  The final outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.  The New York Times wrote: "They (The Cat-women) try to get their hands on the visitors' rocket ship, hoping to come down here and hypnotize us all.  Considering the delegation that went up, it's hard to imagine why."  Cat-Women was remade five years later (1958) as Missile to the Moon.



Missile to the Moon (1958)

  • Genre: Drama – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Richard E. Cunha
  • Produced: Marc Frederic
  • Written:
    • H.E. Barrie  
    • Vincent Fotre
  • Starring: Richard Travis, Cathy Downs, K.T. Stevens, Tommy Cook, Nina Bara, Gary Clarke, Michael Whalen, Laurie Mitchell, Leslie Parrish, Henry Hunter, Lee Roberts, Pat Mowry, Tania Velia, Sanita Pelkey, Lisa Simone, Marianne Gaba, Renate Hoy, Mary Ford
  • Music: Nicholas Carras
  • Cinematography: Meredith M. Nicholson
  • Editing: Everett Dodd
  • Studio: Layton Film Productions Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Astor Pictures Corporation  
    • Astral Films  
    • Rhino Home Video  
    • Englewood Entertainment  
    • Legend Films  
    • Desert Island Films  
    • Media Home Entertainment  
    • Something Weird Video  
    • Thriller Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 15 November 1958 (USA)
  • Running Time: 78 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Missile to the Moon is an independently produced 1958 black-and-white (and colorized at some point) science fiction film directed by Richard E. Cunha that was distributed by Astor Pictures; it is an even lower budget remake of 1953's low budget Cat-Women of the Moon, following very closely the plot details of that earlier film.

Two escaped convicts, Gary and Lon, are discovered hiding aboard a rocket by scientist Dirk Green, who then forces them to pilot the spaceship to the Moon (because part of rehabilitation is rocket pilot training?).  Dirk, who is secretly a Moon man, wants to return home.  Dick's partner, Steve Dayton, accompanied by his fiancé June, accidentally stowaway on board just before the rocket's launch (So much for that fuel amount for weight ratio crap!).  Moon man Dirk is later killed in a meteor storm during the lunar trip.  Once they land on the Moon, the spaceship's reluctant crew encounter an underground kingdom of beautiful women and their sinister female ruler The Lido, giant lunar spiders, and mysterious surface dwelling, slow-moving, bi-pedal rock creatures.

The multiple Moon spiders seen during the film are the same large prop spider being wire-controlled from overhead; this is exactly the same prop spider used five years earlier in the original Cat-Women of the Moon.  The lunar landscape used in the film is Vasquez Rocks located near Los Angeles, a popular television and feature film shooting location, you might know it from that Star Trek Gorn episode “Arena”.

The lunar surface exteriors were shot in regular Earth daylight and gravity; no attempt is made to convince the viewer the Moon is an airless void where humans would weigh one-sixth their normal Earth weight.  When one of the Earth convicts is forced by a large Moon rock creature to step into direct sunlight, his spacesuit literally bursts into flames in the airless void from the supposedly very high lunar temperatures, reducing the felon inside to a burning skeleton.

The large, slow-moving Moon rock creatures have a passing resemblance to the character design and shape used for Gumby, the popular 1956 to 1962 syndicated stop motion clay animation kid's show character of the same name, which ran on television for 233 episodes for nearly five decades.  Somehow I just connected schlock science fiction, Star Trek and Gumby all in the same article, I am awesome!

Not getting any less offensive by the way.

Sources:

All Images Found Via Google Image Search

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