A warning from space details the coming of King Ghidorah, a giant three-headed monster and destroyer of planets! The spokespeople of Earth summon the winged guardian, Mothra, to save humanity, but Mothra must call upon the combined strength of Godzilla and Rodan in order to defeat the intergalactic terror. GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER gives birth to Godzilla's most iconic foe, the great King Ghidorah! Ghidorah is a masterwork of design and special effects, brought to life by a team of puppeteers controlling the dragon's vast wings and many heads. Ghidorah's signature roar and lightning breath only add to the monster's incredible appeal, making him a favorite amongst fans. GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER introduces many important trends that would come to define the Showa era, mainly the inclusion of alien beings and the all-out brawls that would feature a pantheon of Toho's greatest creations. We also see a change in Godzilla's role from destructor to indifferent observer as part of his gradual shift into humanity's savior continues. GHIDORAH contains a fantastic display of aerial combat, grappling, and laser battles that reaches the height of Eiji Tsuburaya's incredible achievement in special effects. King Ghidorah would make his return the following year in Godzilla's next exciting space outing, INVASION OF THE ASTRO-MONSTER.
A lone vigilante sets off across the empty highways of post-apocalyptic Brazil in search of The Dark Rider, the demon responsible for opening the seven gateways of hell and bringing about the end of the world! BEYOND THE GRAVE announces the arrival of Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro into world cinema, and this will be a name to follow in the years to come. The grand scale and surreal mysticism of Pinheiro's modern epic can best be compared to Jodorowsky's EL TOPO or Richard Stanley's DUST DEVIL, topped off with a touch of nihilistic humor. BEYOND THE GRAVE offers a striking visual palette that lends itself perfectly to the fast-paced action and comic book styling. Each shot has been meticulously planned for maximum impact. Pinheiro has also shrouded the film in magic, mystery, and suspense, creating his own unique rule set for the characters that is never fully revealed until the end. The brilliant performances by Rafael Tombini and Álvaro Rosa Costa give the film the final strength it needs to succeed, making BEYOND THE GRAVE an instant cult sensation!
Upon being imprisoned for bodysnatching and sorcery, a young surgeon learns that his esteemed mentor, the great Victor Frankenstein, is alive and well, and has been practicing his dark arts from within the prison walls as Dr. Carl Victor. Together, the pair manage to successfully transplant the brilliant mind of a scholar into the body of a murderous brute, but the body of the beast begins to take over its mind as it strikes off on a bloody rampage! Peter Cushing returns to the role of Baron Frankenstein in Hammer's sixth and final entry into the famed Horror series. Here, the character has taken a surprisingly modest turn that lacks the snide sense of superiority that defined Cushing's earlier performances. Cushing is in fine form, as always, and makes a grand entrance as he comes to the aid of young Simon. The plot, at this point, is quite derivative of the earlier films, but that makes it no less entertaining. Despite the shabbiness of the costume and an immovable facial apparatus, David Prowse manages to act through the make-up with his emotive gesturing and body language. FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL does bear the mark of Hammer's later films unfortunately, which attempted to exploit sex and gore in order to appeal to the changing tastes of the time. This film features the most graphic scenes in the series as a result, including a particularly nasty brain transplant and several bloody murders. As his last Horror film, however, Terence Fisher still retains many of the traditional Gothic trappings that gave him such success throughout the years. A lesser accomplishment in the series, to be sure, FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL is still a worthwhile entry for any fan of Gothic Horror.
In 2007, Katie and Kristi were haunted by a terrifying spirit from their past. Now, tapes of their childhood have been discovered that reveal their first encounter with the evil entity. Like the first two films, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 is a long and drawn out waiting game that has very little story to tell in between its shocks and surprises. The characters are none more convincing or likable, and even the little girls are painted as minor annoyances. With enough patience, however, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 provides some of the most frightening moments the series has to offer. It is always more unnerving when children become involved in the supernatural, and CATFISH directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman play this up for all it is worth. Writer Christopher Landon also adds an interesting new element to the background of the haunting that ensures the series' perpetuity. Other than that, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 varies little from the proven path, so fans of the series will find plenty to love. Others will just be outright bored.
Full Moon's Gothic vampire saga continues with BLOODSTONE: SUBSPECIES 2! Michele awakens to find herself a slave to the vampire blood that is now coursing through her veins. She quickly grabs the Bloodstone before escaping from Castle Vladislas and trying to find her way home. Meanwhile, the dark prince Radu has been restored to life by his evil minions, and he sets out to reclaim his birthright from his fleeing fledgling. SUBSPECIES 2 is an excellent follow-up that often succeeds over the original. Director Ted Nicolaou includes more of the light and shadow play that add an eerie sense of dread to the misty streets of Bucarest. The results are even more effective than before, but still use the simplest means necessary to accomplish the each of the frightening scenes. Anders Hove returns with another venomous performance as Radu, but he is unexpectedly upstaged by newcomer Denise Duff standing in for Laura Tate as Michele. Duff is a classic beauty, with an overwhelming sadness and strength that have been brought on by her new powers. It is her performance that counterbalances Radu's evil and carries their epic struggle through the second and third films. With a stronger story, superior special effects, and better overall acting, SUBSPECIES 2 is easily the highlight of the series.
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