Monday, August 31, 2009

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (Gojira VS Supesugojira )

Chopping Mall Video: Watch SpaceGodzilla arrive on Earth and bully poor little baby Godzilla. See below or CLICK HERE! [Video deleted by request from Toho (Godzilla copyright owners). You'd have thought a single teaser scene, linking to a positive review would be free marketing for them, right? No, as we move into 2010, it seems big money studios are still too technology-illiterate to imagine the internet might actually help them]


Since I’ve been writing this blog, I tend to watch films with half a mind towards writing them up here. When I’m watching films on my laptop – most of the time – I’m also on the look-out for screenshots, just a handful of images that I can represent the film with. Most of the time this means that, every now and then, I’ll press the screen capture button during a particularly impressive scene, leaving me with a few shots at the end that I can pick and choose between.

When I’m watching a really good film however, I often forget to do this. It’s easy to get so caught up in a good story that suddenly it’s the end of the film and there’re no screenshots. This is a pain of course, as I have to go back and scan through for important scenes or interesting shots.

At the opposite extreme, there are some films where I end up with thousands of screenshots. There are clearly two reasons for this. Either the film has some really impressive visuals (where impressive can mean beautiful, unusual or just downright bizarre) or the film has a ‘plot’ so paper-thin and dull that looking at the pretty pictures and tapping F9 is far more engaging. Sometimes both reasons can be true.

Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla is both interesting in terms of visuals and entirely dull in terms of plot.

Yep, that's more or less the only conclusion possible.

Tokyo-stomping time

Ok, basic plot, such as it is: the army wants to kill Godzilla. They build Moguera, a giant robot (somewhere between MechaGodzilla and Transformers) to do so. Before they do, SpaceGodzilla arrives on Earth. SpaceGodzilla is an alien mutation of Godzilla’s DNA and has arrived on Earth intent on destruction. They all fight a bit.

There are good bits: baby Godzilla is funny as anything and the bonkers lady who hallucinates Mothra comes out with some wonderful lines. She also manages to lift the bed she’s strapped to a couple of feet into the air using her mind, and then explains “it’s telekinesis – I’ve never tried it before”. Must be beginner’s luck, I guess.

Mothra-hallucinating lady tries to see into Godzilla's head...

Moguera, in all his shiny metal transformers-esque beauty.

The film has been savaged in on-line reviews by Godzilla-philes, who pick out series inconsistencies (BabyGodzilla looks different than in previous films, Godzilla’s atomic breath is the wrong colour, etc.). As should be patently obvious by now, I know nothing much about the Godzilla series: my criticism is that the film is dull.

It’s roughly split into thirds. The first third is all about the characters. It’s dull, but forgivably so; we’re being introduced to people who’ll be important to the plot, right? The next third is easily the best. SpaceGodzilla and Moguera fight in space, SpaceGodzilla arrives on Earth and bullies baby Godzilla (see the video!), SpaceGodzilla turns on Tokyo. The final third though, is rubbish. The three-way battle is long, slow and very boring; the destruction is fun, but for a climactic scene it drags on endlessly. I’d stopped caring long before the end.

I suspect, as with so many films of dubious quality, this one would be a whole lot better if watched whilst tackling a quantity of beer (or drink of choice…).

To close, I’ll quote the important moral of the film, one as relevant today as it was in 1994 (if not more so): “If the universe is polluted, another space monster will arrive pretty soon. [SpaceGodzilla] was a warning to mankind”

Chopping Mall Video: Watch SpaceGodzilla arrive on Earth and bully poor little baby Godzilla. See below or CLICK HERE! [Video deleted by request from Toho (Godzilla copyright owners). You'd have thought a single teaser scene, linking to a positive review would be free marketing for them, right? No, as we move into 2010, it seems big money studios are still too technology-illiterateto imagine the internet might actually help them]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Right, let's start with what I knew about this film before I started. It stars (the late, great) David Carradine. It's called Deathsport. If that wasn't enough to make me want to watch, what more could I want? Could I cross my fingers and hope that, on top of those two, pretty convincing selling points, that it was produced by Roger Corman and set in a semi-medieval dystopian future? If I had done, I would've been in luck.

The film is also brilliant. Brilliant in the way that only a really crappy film made in 1978 can be. Brilliant in the way that most people fail to notice how brilliant it is and dismiss it as rubbish (2.7/10 rating on imdb? How are people SO dumb?). Brilliant in the way that only a film featuring David Carradine, wielding a perspex sword and battling motorcycle-mounted baddies can be.

From the off, you know you're in for a treat. A narrated intro kindly informs us that, since the neutron wars (!), people only live in the cities, leaving the wild and barren countryside (think Star Wars' Tatooine with a few more bushes) to the "dreaded mutant cannibals" (more on them later) and the Range-Guides. These folk are basically wandering Jedi-cum-gypsies, ultra-talented warrior nomads. Peaceful when left alone but capable of fighting when necessary.

Mr Carradine in his prison cell.

Sadly, bonkers Lord Zirpola of the city, has decided, in an effort to increase the popularity of his war, to design a new fighting machine and perform a public demonstration of it with a handful of captured Range-Guides as victims. This is where DeathSport comes in: DeathSport has replaced the death penalty for the statesmen of the city, instead of going to prison, criminals fight for their freedom a la Roman gladiators. For a special edition of his DeathSport however, Lord Zirpola has given all of his criminals one of his new DeathMachines with which to attack and kill the captured Range-Guides (Carradine and Claudia Jennings).

The DeathMachines are motorbikes. They're motorbikes. Nothing particularly fancy, just motorbikes.

Carradine and Claudia Jennings plan their next move

AIEEEE! DEATH MACHINES! ... Or motorbikes as they're more commonly known.

Needless to say, Carradine and Jennings, as ultra-warriors with their perspex swords (basically low-rent lightsabres...) are pretty nifty and don't fall victim to the er.... DeathMachine motorbikes, nick a couple and ride away...

And here's where the problem comes. The best action scene, the DeathSport of the title, is all over and done with just 40 minutes through the 82min run time. What feels like something of a climactic battle comes just half-way through. What follows is a long sections of really very dull motorbike journeys through open scrub land, the occasional fight but almost no interesting action, almost no dialogue and almost no fun.

It hots up again towards the end, with some wonderful pyrotechnics, a little action with the dreaded cannibal mutants (Tusken Raiders from Star Wars?) and a fantastic perspex-sword battle, but the middle section is just too boring. It's almost as if they simply couldn't face releasing a 55 minute long film (the good bits) and just whacked in 25 minutes of solid plot-less boredom. Which is a great shame really, as it spoils an otherwise pretty damn good film.

In all, it's good fun. Maybe watch the first 45 minutes, then go get a drink and some snacks and be ready to settle down for the last bit? It plays as a kind of meeting point of Death Racers and Star Wars and finally answers the question that has been on everyone's lips: What would StarWars have been like if David Carradine had got Mark Hamill's role and George Lucas had been born as Roger Corman?

The answer is DeathSport.

Perspex-sword wielding wannabe Jedis.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ebira, Horror of the Deep / Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster

Now with added VIDEO. See below! ChoppingMall brings you handpicked scenes from reviewed films!

Now, I can't pretend to know a lot about Godzilla. Nor, for that matter, Japanese cinema in general. Or even Asian cinema. In fact, as far-east film culture goes, I am mostly ignorant. This has always seemed a shame - I know I should really make more of an effort - but for once I was thankful of the fact; my ignorance of the Gojira/Godzilla series meant that I was entirely unprepared for what this 1966 film threw at me.

Oh sure, I knew what Godzilla was. Big monster, yeah? Scaly equivalent to King Kong, yeah? Breathing fire, making noise and bashing things, yeah? Whilst those might all be true, I wasn't expecting quite the level of bonkers fun that Godzilla offered.

From some of the most sublimely ridiculous dialogue ever encountered to a long battle between Godzilla and crab-lobster-monster Ebira that mostly involved chucking a rock backwards and forwards between each other, the film is 90 minutes of well-paced, self-consciously silly, mega-monster fun.

I don't really need to describe this in any further detail: just go and watch it. It has Godzilla reawakened by lightning a la Frankenstein, a nuclear bomb and a massive lobster. And some wonderful puppetry. What's not to like?


ChoppingMall brings you more! Here is a specially selected scene from this film, available to watch on the Chopping Mall YouTube channel. Expect lots more from other films to come!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boa Vs Python


First off, I should make it very clear that this is a brilliant film. Not just good, but brilliant. It's fast-paced, full of action and exactly the right length. After all, who wouldn't be keen off a ninety minute serving of CIA vs Hunters vs massive Boa Constrictor vs massive Python?

It's dumb, it's brash, it's action packed, it's everything it sets out to be.

Basic plot as follows (not that it really matters...), dumb rich hunter orders a massive snake delivered to America, dumb rich hunter rounds up his mates to go hunt it, massive snake escapes, CIA get involved, CIA er... decide to use another snake to help them get the first snake, people get snaked, smakes fight.

The hunters are the most obvious team you could imagine; we have arrogant rich man, his girlfriend who doesn't wear many clothes, silent broody killer, brash macho man who hits on rich-man's lady, snake-fodder old man and a bumbling father-son duo. Their inclusion is a little odd; rich-man is supposed to have rounded up the cream of the hunting crop, others who really enjoy killing big animals but the father-son pair are simply too stupid to have been included. Sadly, their comic-relief is not particularly comic...

Hunters or the hunted?

On the CIA side we have Agent Sharpe, as well as hired-team Monica, the tech-expert (or pretty lady #2), and Emmett the snake-expert. Monica's inclusion is clearly only really for experience; her stated role as tech-queen is hardly convincing. She fits cameras and GPS tracking devices to the second big snake (yeah...) but these hardly seem to work and she spends more of her time bashing the portable screen she carries and complaining that it doesn't work. This hardly matters really, however, as twenty minutes later she puts it down and forgets all about it. Only to remember a moment later after it's submerged in an underground reservoir. Whoops! How silly.

The CIA operatives themselves are equally useless. The first group of four (presumedly highly-trained) soliders desert Agent Sharpe and go off to play snake capturing heroics on their own. They die. Later on, CIA operatives allow their freshly captured bad-guy to escape their base (in an armoured car, no less) when they are distracted watching footage of the snakes. Are they really this dumb? Yes, it seems, they are. This is confirmed only seconds later when we discover that the CIA have managed to miss a nearby rave whilst securing a five-mile exclusion zone. Again: whoops!

None of these things though is a problem. This film is simply too much fun to hold such trivial complaints against it. I challenge anyone who watches it not to enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Death Line a.k.a. Raw Meat

This poster bears stunningly little resemblence to the film. How puzzling.


For a long while, the disused stations of the London Underground have interested me; despite being closed, many years out of service, they're still.... there. They sit, lurking under city streets, completely forgotten by the people who walk past their once-entrances or sit on trains that rush past their once-platforms. Some of them can still be seen from trains, some of them were converted to war-time bunkers and still have propaganda posters on the walls, some them house plague-ridden cannibals, tucked well away from the city's lights.

Ok, so the very last bit may not be strictly true, but it's the central premise of this film.

Hopping cautiously from the train

You can smoke on the tube! Right from the start you know this film is pretty old!

Death Line is a horror-thriller with some pretty funny bits, some pretty creepy bits and one bit that'll definitely make you jump. It's not an excellent story, admittedly, but suspend your disbelief for a second and follow me down the rabbit hole escalator and into Russell Square station...

JUst along from Russell Square is an abandoned half-finished station, called Museum. Whilst there was really a British Museum station once-upon-a-time (closed 1933), the extra uncompleted line underneath and the cave-in that trapped workers in the tunnel are fictitious. According to the film, the working men and women trapped by this cave-in were simply left to rot after the contracting company went bankrupt. What they hadn't counted on was that the trapped workers didn't die; oh no, they lived on underground, drinking the water that trickled through the rocks and eating human flesh. Fast forward a couple of generations and we have an inbred, grunting cannibal stalking the tubes, picking off lone visitors to Russell Square late at night.

It's an odd film. The Inspector (Donald Pleasence) and his Sergent are comic characters, all stout British swearing and drinking, whilst the underground man is genuinely pretty creepy. Both are pretty good but they just don't feel like the same film. It's noticeable that, by the time they finally actually investigate the tubes, Donald Pleasence seems to be playing a very different character.

Someone's about to die

"Yes, we'd better investigate. But first, some tea!"

The speed with which it cuts from laughs above ground to moody scenes underground doesn't really help the horror factor, it just makes it seem boring. One very long shot that pans over all sorts of rotting and savaged flesh, accompanied by only the sound of dripping water is almost atmospheric and powerful but... in contrast to the scene before it, it just becomes a bit dull. Which is a shame, as overall it's mostly pretty good.

Overall, the funny bits are funny, the creepy bits are creepy and the music is brilliant throughout. Only the odd editing makes it seem a little slow. What is perhaps its best feature though, is that we actually feel sorry for the cannibal. This is no crazed beast, the poor guy was born and raised in the dark and only kills to survive. That the film doesn't take the easy route and just make him as disgusting is possible is pretty impressive.

Oh, and the bar scene is amazing.

There's even time for a Christopher Lee cameo

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Help The Video Dead find it's way onto DVD!

A worthwhile project if ever there was one.

Copied wholesale from the myspace page:
On July 21st, 2009, I was browsing around and decided to check and see if one of my all time favorite cult films was scheduled for a DVD release this year as I had noticed a lot of catalog titles from various studios were being released on DVD for the first time this year. To my surprise, the film was indeed listed and was slated to be released on October 27, 2009!

Unfortunately the release was not a legitimate release by the studio that owned the film and when it was brought to the attention of MGM - the studio that does rightfully own the film - the release was ceased from said company.

Shortly after that released was canceled, I contacted MGM about releasing the title legitimately and they said it could be a possibility providing they find it is a cult film, that will of course sell on store shelves and would be a welcome addition to any cult film collector's shelve.

Thus began the campaign to get THE VIDEO DEAD released on DVD, in it's original widescreen form, and out to the public.

Instead of starting an online petition, which sometimes can go either way, I decided setting up a page dedicated solely to getting the film out on DVD would be an easier and more efficient way for me and others to relay information in one place to show to MGM and say; "Yes, the market for this film is there, yes it will sell, yes it is a cult film...yes we know how bad it is - but we still love it!"

So tell your friends, post your comments, send your messages, post links, pictures, whatever you think will help - let's get this cult classic released on DVD finally the way it deserves to be released!

If you do not have a MySpace and want to help, please email; and request to get THE VIDEO DEAD on DVD! MGM and FOX DO pay attention to these emails and do keep track of them! However, if you DO have a MySpace, all you have to do is add this page as a friend and that's it! MGM and Fox are monitoring the amount of friends this page has and the more people who are here, the more they see the potential to release the film on DVD! Comments and bulletins are appreciated but not necessary!

Trailer below:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Poster Hunt #2 - Frauleins In Uniform

Poster Hunt was going to be an exploration of the most incredible movie-posters. The sublime, the ridiculous and the wonderfully crass.

Following on from the last though, which scored higher in the crass stakes than I could have hoped for before I found it, I am sticking with the (deservedly) much maligned Nazisploitation genre...

Here, without further ado, is the poster for your new favourite film...


Described on IMDb as "In the last days of WW2, women are volunteering from all over Germany to serve in the front lines by having sex with the brave Nazi soldiers..."