Thursday, December 29, 2005

Time flies...

My apologies, again, for so much time between posts. I was sick with a bad head cold over Christmas, and before that much of my attention was on projects going on at work. I will not promise but my goal is to write something here almost every day during the 100 Films experiment, which starts in...four days.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Hammer DVD and Blu-ray List

Last updated 08-16-2014

To go along with the previous post, here is my list of Hammer Studios films and the American studios who own the video rights. This information comes from various online sources, especially the lists at The Cinema Laser here and here (out-of-date). Region 1 DVD releases that I am aware of are in bold:

20th Century Fox --
The Nanny
One Million Years B.C.
The Anniversary (2006, OOP?)

Anchor Bay Entertainment --
(All of these were released as single discs, and most were re-released as limited edition double-feature sets.)
The Abominable Snowman Of The Himalayas
Blood From The Mummy's Tomb
A Challenge for Robin Hood (VHS only)
Demons Of The Mind
The Devil Rides Out [A.K.A. The Devil's Bride]
Dr. Jeykll And Sister Hyde
Dracula-Prince Of Darkness
Enemy From Space [aka Quatermass 2]
Fear In The Night
The Four-Sided Triangle
Frankenstein Created Woman
Hell is a City
Horror Of Frankenstein
The Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires [aka The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula]
Let Me In (February 2011)
Lost Continent
Lust For A Vampire
The Mummy's Shroud
The Plague Of The Zombies
Quatermass And The Pit [A.K.A. Five Million Years To Earth]
Rasputin-The Mad Monk
The Reptile
The Satanic Rites Of Dracula
Scars Of Dracula
Slave Girls [A.K.A. Prehistoric Women]
Straight On Till Morning
To The Devil A Daughter
Vengeance Of She
The Witches [A.K.A. The Devil's Own]
X-The Unknown

Columbia TriStar --
(Most of these were released between 2008 and 2010 on the three "Icons" sets from Sony)
The Revenge Of Frankenstein
The Men Of Sherwood Forest
Sword Of Sherwood Forest (part of Sony Pictures "Robin Hood Collection" DVD series)
The Old Dark House (in The William Castle Film Collection set) *
Fanatic [A.K.A. Die! Die! My Darling]
Die! Die! My Darling! (Sony Pictures Choice Collection MOD)
The Creatures The World Forgot (Sony Screen Classics on Demand)
The Brigand of Kandahar (video-on-demand from
Icons of Adventure collection:
The Pirates Of Blood River *
Devil Ship Pirates
The Stranglers Of Bombay
The Terror Of The Tongs
Icons of Horror collection:
The Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb
Taste Of Fear [A.K.A.: Scream Of Fear]
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
The Gorgon
Icons of Suspense collection:
The Full Treatment [A.K.A. Stop Me Before I Kill]
Cash On Demand
The Snorkel
Never Take Candy From a Stranger
The Damned [A.K.A. These Are The Damned]
*(now available separately as a Sony Pictures Choice Collection MOD)

Mill Creek Entertainment licensed several of the Columbia releases for DVD and Blu-ray:
Hammer Films Collection, volume 1: 
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
Taste Of Fear [A.K.A.: Scream Of Fear]
The Gorgon
The Full Treatment [A.K.A. Stop Me Before I Kill]
The Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb
Hammer Films Collection, volume 2:
The Creatures The World Forgot
The Revenge Of Frankenstein
Never Take Candy From a Stranger
The Snorkel
Die! Die! My Darling!
Classic Horror 4 Movie Collection:
includes  The Terror Of The Tongs
Hammer Films Double Feature, volume 1 Blu-ray:
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
The Gorgon
Hammer Films Double Feature, volume 2 Blu-ray: 
The Revenge Of Frankenstein
The Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb

Dark Sky Films --
Wake Wood (2011)

Image --
The Resident (2011)

Millennium/Exclusive Media --
3 Horror Classics: Dracula-Prince Of Darkness,
The Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires,
Frankenstein Created Woman.
Dracula-Prince of Darkness (Blu-ray)
Frankenstein Created Woman (Blu-ray)

MGM Home Entertainment --
(Titles marked with an * have been licensed to Synapse Films for DVD and Blu-ray)
Hands Of The Ripper* (DVD/Blu-ray combo)
The Creeping Unknown [A.K.A. The Quatermass Experiment] (MGM Limited Edition MOD collection)
The Hound Of The Baskervilles
Ten Seconds To Hell
The Vampire Lovers / Countess Dracula (MGM Midnite Movies double feature DVD)
Countess Dracula* (DVD/Blu-ray combo)
Twins Of Evil* (DVD/Blu-ray combo)
Vampire Circus* (DVD/Blu-ray combo)
The Vampire Lovers (Blu-ray from Shout Factory)

Paramount --
The Man Who Could Cheat Death (Licensed to Legend Films for DVD)
Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (now available from Warner Archive)
Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter

Sony Pictures --
The Woman in Black (2012)

Universal --
(This fall, Universal released all eight in the Hammer Horror Series set.)
Curse Of The Werewolf
Brides Of Dracula
The Phantom Of The Opera
Captain Clegg [A.K.A.: Night Creatures]
Kiss Of The Vampire
Evil Of Frankenstein

Universal released this same set of eight films on Blu-ray on Sept. 13th, 2016.

Warner Home Video --
Crescendo (Warner Archive Collection)
Curse Of Frankenstein
Dracula A.D.1972
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

Horror Of Dracula
Hysteria (Warner Archive Collection)
Moon Zero Two/When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (OOP)
Moon Zero Two (Warner Archive Collection)
The Mummy
She (Warner Archive Collection)
Taste The Blood Of Dracula

Moon Zero Two and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth were released as a Warner Sci-Fi Double Feature Series DVD, first exclusively to Best Buy in the summer of 2008 then into general release. It was pulled from retail sale by the end of the year. Speculation on the 'net suggests that this is because the disc included the original UK version of Dinosaurs rather than the US G-rated cut as listed on the disc sleeve.

VCI Video --
The Lady Vanishes
Hammer Film Noir, Set 1 (Bad Blonde / Blackout / The Gambler and the Lady / Heat Wave / Man Bait / Stolen Face)
Hammer Film Noir, Set 2 (Terror Street / Wings of Danger / The Glass Tomb / Paid to Kill / The Black Glove / The Deadly Game / The Unholy Four / A Race for Life)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It’s a great time to be a cult movie fan

I picked up the brand-new 2-pack of King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes today. I’ve seen KK vs. G several times, but I’ve only seen KKE once, over 20 years ago, probably on WFLD-32 or WGN some Saturday afternoon. When I got home I found my recent order from Deep Discount DVD’s 20%-off sale, Warner’s Horror Classics Collection – six Hammer DVDs, including the first three Hammer horror films.

When I bought my first DVD player six or seven years ago, I made up a list of my “most wanted” films on DVD, and that list was rendered obsolete quicker than I ever expected.

Look at Criterion’s series of Kurosawa films, samurai and yakuza movies. MGM’s Midnite Movies line. Tons of releases from obscure directors like Mario Bava and Jess Franco. Almost all of the best Hammer films have been released on DVD (although quite a few of those are already OOP). In the past year alone, Sony put out many of the Godzilla movies, while Media Blasters has released more Toho filmsMatango, The Mysterians, Dogora – with Godzilla: Final Wars and Atragon out this month and Yog next month (How about Latitude Zero, please?), with more on the way. And all of the complete TV series sets that are available… incredible!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kung Fu Fighting

There was a clip from Five Element Ninja (a.k.a. Super Ninja) on the (unofficial) "Google Video of the Day" blog a few days ago. It's not the best scene from the movie, but more importantly, the site shows off the tech behind Google's experiment with video clips.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Justice Dept. pushes stiffer antipiracy laws

I wonder what Xerox and Memorex think about this.

RPG theory for everybody

It's been a long time since I posted something new here. My apologies, I've been taking care of Mrs. Kaiju post-op. She had sinus surgery, and it went very well. With luck she will be out sick much less often.

There is a link on to some great common-sense RPG theory articles. Take a look.

Monday, October 31, 2005

100 Film List...So Far.

I've been asked a lot of questions about the list. This challenge, or experiment, is a way for me to catch up on movies that I should have already seen, or those that need a refresher viewing, in the least amount of time. It isn't a marathon of watching just any old movies, but classics.

I'll make a list of around 150 titles so I don't run into problems with availability. At the request (nay, demand) of the Halloween Boo Crew, here is the unofficial working list so far:

Bottle Rocket
The Warriors
The Asphalt Jungle
La Dolce Vita
The Searchers
Modern Times
or The Gold Rush
On the Waterfront
The Bicycle Thief
Sunset Boulevard
The Bad and the Beautiful
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Jules and Jim
8 ½
Blue Velvet
Taxi Driver
A Night at the Opera
The Seventh Seal
The Sweet Smell of Success
Double Indemnity
Touch of Evil
The Graduate
The Wild Bunch
The Rules of the Game
The Lady Eve
Mean Streets
The Third Man
The Conformist
To Be or Not to Be
Do the Right Thing
Un Chien Andolu
and L’ Age D’Or
Pickup on South Street
Mildred Pierce
Tokyo Story
The Last of the Mohicans
It Happened One Night
Five Easy Pieces
The Night of the Hunter
Sullivan’s Travels
The Last Picture Show
The Verdict
Written on the Wind
Woman of the Year
or Adam’s Rib
The 400 Blows
Battleship Potemkin
Detour or D.O.A.
Grand Illusion
Le Samouraï
All That Heaven Allows
Cat People
Duel in the Sun
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Gun Crazy
High Sierra
Key Largo
Leave Her to Heaven
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Man with the Golden Arm
Meet Me in St. Louis
The Naked Kiss
or Shock Corridor
The Public Enemy
Scarlet Street
or Spies
The Eiger Sanction
Three Days of the Condor
The Exorcist
The Philadelphia Story
Of Mice and Men
The Scarlet Letter
Interview with a Vampire
La Strada
Eyes without a Face

Billy Jack
Seven Days in May
The Manchurian Candidate
12 Angry Men
Dangerous Liasions
Dog Day Afternoon

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Warriors, come out and play..."

This was a Triple Points weekend at Media Play. The Director's Cut DVD of The Warriors was released last week. I picked up that disc, along with The Bela Lugosi Collection and the seventh Hammer Dracula picture, Dracula A.D. 1972.

I haven't seen The Warriors since it ran constantly on HBO in the mid-eighties, so it will have a spot on the 100 Films list. Thinking about it, I might put Dracula A.D. 1972 on there as well.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

100 Films in 100 Days

I had this idea hit me early this morning. There are still too many movies that I haven't seen, but whenever I think about what I should watch, I freeze. I really should make a list of outstanding films missing from my viewing resume. Not only that, but it's difficult to make time for movies lately.

As a solution, I had this flash of inspiration: 100 Films in 100 Days. This is different than some other movie-viewing plans, like watching all of the AFI Top 100 over time. To get in a large number of movies in a short time, I'll challenge myself to get them in within a time limit. There will be days that I won't have time to watch one -- game nights, for example -- so I'll allow myself to catch up on other days, like weekends. The important part is watching all the films within the time limit.

Right now I think New Year's Day would be a good start date. It would give me some time to compile a list and the holidays will be over. The list will be made up from movies I have never seen or movies that I haven't seen in 15+ years (since high school) and I need to watch again.

I told Mrs. Kaiju about my plan at lunch, and she thinks that the experience would make a good book. Maybe... More about this later.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Signs and!

Mongoose started publising their own monthly magazine, Signs and Portents, about two years ago. It covers their own lines of RPGs and wargames but often there are more generic articles (mostly D20-related, though). Even so, it's a decent quality gaming mag.

Now they are announcing that S&P is splitting into two magazines, one strictly for RPGs and one for wargaming. But even better, going forward S&P is being released for free as PDF files! I think this is a terrific gesture for the fans, and I hope they can continue this way for a long time.

Build your own Weathertop ruin

I've mentioned Hirst Arts before. They produce molds for casting plaster terrain pieces, which is a great idea. A company by the name of Castle Kits is a licensed seller for Hirst Arts. Here's the cool part: Castle Kits sells the pre-cast pieces as kits, so you can skip the tedious casting portion and go right to the fun part -- building and painting!

Castle Kits just announced two new kits, the Tower of Amon Sul and the Ruins of Weathertop. The painted examples are beautiful.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

New Rules

In the past few weeks I've been able to read the Mutants and Masterminds and True20 rulebooks, rather than just flip through them. I'm going over the rules to prepare for the Bloodlines and Planescape campaigns. I'm eager to see how the rules work in an ongoing game and what kinds of reactions the other players have to them.

True20 has a definite "heroic fantasy" feel to it that I really like. In the back of the book there are some notes on converting D20 items, which would make it much easier to import some of the skills and feats from the Conan RPG than to convert them into GURPS.

Try to think happy thoughts...

I don't know why I continue reading articles like these, they only make me more depressed. From the last couple of days:

CNN: Government: Effect of greenhouse gases rising
CNN: Report: Ice-free Arctic summers possible by 2100
Time: The Arctic Meltdown Speeds Up
CNN: Warm climate transforms Alaska terrain

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha

I recently saw a trailer for this movie, and on first glance it could be very good. I’ve got one problem with it that I can’t seem to get around: Why are the two female leads Chinese? I like Michele Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, their movies are great, but when I see the scenes with them, something is wrong. My brain doesn’t buy it. The majority of a Western audience might not have any problem with it, but I can only imagine that to Hong Kong film fans they unintentionally stand out. Couldn’t they find any English-speaking Japanese actresses? It just seems wrong to me.

Then there’s the weird culture shock that’s being reported. What the heck, didn't they just see The Last Samurai?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Comic heroes used to smile."

There's a great series of posts in the Retailer Talkback section of about the content of modern comic books, pricing, the marketplace...quite a few good ideas in there.

UPDATE: A wrapup of the discussion:

Friday, September 16, 2005

Robert Wise, RIP

Director Robert Wise passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He's probably best known as the director of The Sound of Music. I first heard of him when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was being made. When I saw pictures from the set in Starlog Magazine, I remember thinking, "Who's the old guy?" (Hey, I was a kid).

It wasn't until later when I read more film history that I found out that he also directed The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain...and that's just the sci-fi stuff. He was known to another audience for films like The Sound of Music and West Side Story. He worked with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane, but then their relationship soured when RKO had him edit The Magnificent Ambersons while Welles was out of the country.

I've never really put my finger on a particular "Wise style", but I think it's enough to say that if his name was on it, it was a high-quality film with a great story.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I love the smell of resin in the afternoon

I had a surprise waiting for me when I got home on Wednesday. There was a medium-size cardboard box sitting on the porch. When I picked it up, I knew what it was before I read the label – the odor of the polyurethane resin went right through the box and tape.

As you may already know, Armorcast stopped selling its line of Terraform scenery pieces and most of their original vehicles on June 30th of this year so they can concentrate on the Battletech and Warzone items. I’ve really admired their work since they started and I’m sad to see these things go. I wanted some of the more unique pieces that aren’t available elsewhere so I called in an order on the last day. Because there was a backlog of orders (obviously), the order wouldn’t ship out until mid-September. I didn’t think about it at all until the big box of resin arrived this week.

As an alternative source for interesting terrain, I’d suggest Hirst Arts, Ainsty, and Monolith. Another avenue to consider is aquarium scenery. Petsmart and Petco have had great items that are pre-painted and cheap.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shadows Over Baker Street

I've been reading an anthology that was recently published in trade paperback. Shadows Over Baker Street contains short stories in which the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos overlap. I'm about a third of the way into it, and so far Neil Gaiman's 'A Study in Emerald' is probably the best of the lot. I'm afraid I'm not as familar with the Sherlock Holmes stories as I should be, but there is one thing about the character of Holmes in 'A Study in Emerald' that I don't agree with.

If you're a fan of Holmes or Lovecraft, you should give this a try.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Gen Con 2005 Report

After watching the news about recent events, it’s been difficult to write up a coherent post on something as frivolous as a gaming convention. But if you’re like me and you need a break, maybe this piece might provide a bit of entertainment for you.

I can’t give you a better overall summary of the show than what has already been written here, here and here. However, I can tell you what I did while I was there, what I bought, and show you some pictures.

DVO and I arrived on Friday morning. The hotel didn’t have a room available yet, so we put our stuff in storage there and went on to the show. We wandered the dealers’ room for a while until mid-day. He was scheduled to compete in a poker tournament in the afternoon so I caught up with Edige and John B. for lunch (a "Warmachine Burger" as big as my head).

In the afternoon, DVO got into another poker tourney, so I wandered around the dealers’ hall for a while, then we went to dinner at the Alcatraz Brewing Co. We decided that we didn’t want to haul all the 40K terrain and minis to one of the hotel ballrooms for 24-hour gaming, so instead we played the Monsters Menace America boardgame. He went to a late-night poker tournament, while I watched TV back at the room.

After hitting the Red Eye Café the next morning, we went back to the con for a full day of shopping (or browsing at least, we bought a lot of stuff on Friday). We managed to catch up to Kenn Kong and Dawg twice during the day. We decided to take off in the late afternoon before the Colts game traffic got too crazy, so we ended up back in town earlier than we expected.

So, what did I buy? I went looking for con specials, sales, OOP items – things that I couldn’t normally order from the FLGS. Also, since you can physically pick up nearly any RPG book in existence, I like to flip through books I've been thinking about picking up, just to see if they are worth ordering so I don’t get stuck with something awful. Here’s my haul of goodies:

Invasion of Monster Island, normally only available on PDF
Testament (on sale from GR for $10!)
True20 Gen Con print preview
Al-Qadim: Cities of Bone (sealed for $5!)
GURPS Magic, Grimoire, and Warriors (buy 2, get one free from SJG)
GURPS Castle Falkenstein: Ottoman Empire, Arabian Nights, and Cabal (SJG $5 table)
GURPS WWII, Solid! D20, Uresia: Grave of Heaven D20 and BESM (from Titan's "Buy 1 get 3 free" table, though I was kicking myself for not seeing the copies of Nyambe there until Saturday)
The Christopher Lee Filmography (50% off McFarland sale on Saturday)

From the Indie Press Dept.:
The New Argonauts
The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men
Vs. Monsters Deluxe

…and some other odds and ends, like a partial plastic Marine Land Speeder and the pieces to make a weird Tyranid creature for about $6, and a Diamond Throne module for a buck. I would have liked to look at some others from The Forge, like The Mountain Witch, Dogs in the Vineyard, and My Life with Master, but I could hardly get near the booth. And as Derek will tell you, no copies of ESP were available.

As promised, some pics:

One of the Titans from Wargods of Olympus.

The new AT-ATs for WotC's Star Wars Miniatures Game are "impressive... most impressive".

Dwarven Forge layout for Reaper's Warlord.

A gorgeous CAV dropship model constructed from foamcore and printable exterior graphics.

Great demo terrain by Gale Force Nine.

As Edige said, this looks like a gamer fetish site in the making.

There was a weird vibe to the show on Friday. There were a lot of people there, but it felt friendlier and laid back, more like Origins. You could certainly move around easier on the dealers’ room floor. On Saturday, however, the usual crush of goobers was on in full force. I wish I could have sat in on some of the seminars; maybe next year. All things considered, it was a great show!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Another busy week

I’ll have my Gen Con report, such as it is, after this weekend. I have a few good pictures from the trip that I’ll post as well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On hold for a while

Really busy this week. I probably will not have anything new until the weekend and the mandatory post-Gen Con report. I've added a few new links in the sidebar.

I finally saw Kung Fu Hustle this weekend. Briefly, I liked it, and I thought it was great, but it wasn't what I expected. I kept away from reading much about it so most of what I knew was from the TV commercials. I thought it would be more slapstick comedy, and there was a lot of that, but it's also serious. It's good, but I caught it from the wrong angle. It's worth a look.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Bootleg Boom or Bust?

I went to the Chicago Comicon last Saturday (I just can’t call it "Wizard World Chicago"). There aren’t many comic book series that I collect regularly anymore, but I’ve been going to the show for nearly 15 years now. Mostly, I go for the pop culture stuff – movie items, TV, books, etc. There are two great T-shirt dealers that I always visit, and Chicago Comics sets up a great booth filled with interesting books and zines.

The most interesting part of the trip is seeing what the current state of "grey-market" video bootlegs is like. Last year was the last hurrah for VHS boots. This year, all the dealers were selling 95% of their "product" on DVD and had relegated bootleg and even factory pre-record VHS tapes to the $1 bins.

I’ve long thought that the DVD market would be very hurtful to the bootleg market. For such a young format, there have been a surprising number of quality releases of some really obscure material. Companies like Image, Synapse, VCI, Retromedia, Alpha Video and even MGM’s Midnite Movies line have released some long-booted gems in quality editions. It helps to know what has been announced and who has what movie rights. About 4 years ago I almost broke down and picked up a grey-market copy of Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, but I knew that an official DVD was in the works. With so much material coming out each and every week on the format, it’s just a matter of time before a particular title is released. Some things, like ‘60s Saturday Morning cartoons or the Star Wars Holiday Special, two bootlegger staples, might be too obscure to ever be released legally. But I’ve recently seen an announcement for the Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV series on DVD, so the studios are really mining their archives for releases now. I’ve even seen a notice that Disney might release the controversial Song of the South, something I thought I’d never see from them.

The availability of foreign DVDs and region-free players is another factor that I see hurting the bootleggers. They might offer a copy of a foreign release for $15 or $20 but with a little searching you can buy a legal DVD online for just a little more. I find it really surprising that someone would put the effort into copying cheap Hong Kong DVDs for later sale.

On this trip, I discovered many new movies from Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand that I will have to check out soon – Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Garuda, Explosive City, Shaolin Vs. Evil Dead, Kibakichi 1 and 2, Arahan, The Blade and the French action film Banlieue 13 (reviews here and here). I’ll keep an eye open for more movies at Gen Con next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Welcome... Kaijuville. Reading other blogs has been very inspiring for me. Since everyone else is doing it, I thought I better hop on the bandwagon, so here we are. I've started this blog as a way of organizing my ideas and sharing some of my interests (and opinions) with others: gaming, cult movies, books, giant monsters, DVDs, pulp-era fiction... I also think it's a good way to practice writing regularly. I'll try not to bring up politics too often. No promises, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005