It! The Terror from beyond Space

itDarkness.  Flare of acetylene torch—revealing a man sitting on the floor, wedged in between two pieces of bulky equipment.  The headgear he is wearing has been ripped open, revealing his face, a single stream of blood trickling down his forehead.  He waits in the darkness, the only light the glare from the torch.

By the age of nine, I’d seen more than my share of movie heroics, usually featuring A-list actors portraying courageous characters risking all, being selfless, and “doing what a man’s gotta do.”  Many of these actors were undeniably talented, but it’s also true they starred in studio films with big budgets, had top screenwriters providing the dialogue, and often featured some of Hollywood’s best directors overseeing the action.

From a speaker inside Lt. Calder’s damaged headgear, a voice is heard:

Voice: Can you hear me?

Calder: Loud and clear.  Nice to have company.

Voice: Are you all right?

Calder: I’m alive, if that’s what you mean.                                                                                                   It 2

Paul Langston—playing a supporting character in a B science fiction film, outfitted in what looks like a satin space suit with a squared-off helmet—helped define for a nine-year-old boy the idea of courage and how it is expressed.  The character Langston plays has a broken leg, is unable to move, and has an acetylene torch as his only weapon.  There’s one more thing—an indestructible Martian creature is trying to kill him.

Calder: I picked a good spot right between the induction pumps.

Voice: You mean it can’t get at you?

Calder: It could if I didn’t have this torch.  To reach me, it has to stretch down in.  Every time it does, I give it the torch right in the eyes.  (pause)  Here he comes again!

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Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

Mecha 1In 1966, the Anti-Megalosaurus Force (AMF) was established to defend Japan from monsters. Not just a bunch of flummoxed army guys wearing white gloves but an élite force—4,072 members strong. But talk about a thankless job. When Godzilla makes landfall, the only profession taking a bigger beating than the AMF is the home insurance industry, which has been busy pushing policies in between monster rampages.

Although the AMF is up to the challenge of a Mothra (yup, they can take on a giant . . . well, moth) or a Gargantuan (sure, it’s big, but it’s difficult to take seriously a monster that eats people–and then spits out their clothes), the AMF, even with it’s flatbed-transported maser guns, is still not up to the challenge of a Godzilla. During their first battle with the Big G, events take a turn for the worse, and the order “Pull back!” is given. I’m guessing this is the first maneuver learned by any new AMF recruit.

Mecha 2Godzilla against Mechagodzilla presents a home front take on giant monster movies. As people run for their lives, a man screams, “My house! My house!” Soon after Godzilla’s first rampage, the prime minister meets with her science advisor and admits that “after 40 years, the people are weary of always rebuilding.” If there’s a growth industry in Tokyo, it’s definitely in construction, and as far as job security goes, Godzilla’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Japanese carpenters.

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Bazooka Joe: The Movie? (Plus audio rant)

BazookaListen, the problem isn’t that Hollywood has run out of ideas. It ran out of ideas a long time ago. The problem is Hollywood doesn’t even know what an idea is anymore.

Michael Eisner’s office. He is speaking to his personal assistant.

Eisner: Last night. I was taking off my shirt — and I noticed in my belly button — this fuzzy stuff.

Assistant: Really?

Eisner: Yeah. Spontaneous fuzz. I think there might be a story in it.

Assistant: What direction were you thinking of going in with the… fuzz. Horror? Sci-fi?

Eisner: More along the lines of an environmental cautionary tale. Every man, woman, and child in America wakes up one morning to discover that their belly button has become a toxic dump site for…

Assistant: Lint?

Eisner: Sends a shudder down your spine, doesn’t it.

The assistant looks confused.

Eisner: Maybe Julia Roberts could star in it.

Assistant: Erin Brockovich 2?

Eisner: Why not?

Long silence from Eisner.

Eisner: Christ. I hope she doesn’t have an outtie.

Another morning.

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