The King of Kaiju, 1960s-era GHOSTBUSTER Prequel, and More!
In this issue:
- Horror History: King of the Kaiju
- Image of the Week: Poker-faced Leatherface
- Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines
- Things We Love: Reviving Stephen King
- Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News
HORROR HISTORY: KING OF THE KAIJU
By Lisa Morton
We only got a few more days until Godzilla: King of the Monsters unleashes King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, and Godzilla in theaters around the world. For 65 years, that raging reptile has arguably been the most famous of kaiju. But he’s not the only giant monster to rampage through our hearts.
Many forget that there wasn’t a straight (crushed and burned) pathway leading from 1933’s King Kong to the original 1954 Godzilla, because the film that really started the giant-creature-unleashed-by-atomic-power craze was the classic The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which beat Godzilla by sixteen months.Beast featured a story by Ray Bradbury and stunning stop-motion animation by the maestro himself, Ray Harryhausen. It was directed by French filmmaker Eugène Lourié, who would go on to make two more giant monster flicks: The Giant Behemoth (1959) and 1961’s Gorgo, about a rampaging nightmare who (spoiler alert!) turns out to be a kid dinosaur with a really pissed-off mom.
There’s no question, though, that the first Godzillawas a landmark. Directed by Ishirō Honda, with effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and released by Toho Studios, Godzilla transcended its “man-in-a-suit” approach to its titular monster to convey a terrifying and trenchant commentary on a post-atomic-bomb Japan.
The 1950s saw a lot of kaiju movies from both sides of the Pacific. Them! (1954) — with its traumatized little girl uttering the movie’s title after glimpsing the giant ants — is one of the best. Look for Leonard Nimoy in an early, uncredited role.
Harryhausen animated two more memorable monsters from the decade: the huge octopus of It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) — impressive even though the film’s limited budget forced Harryhausen to animate his creature with only six tentacles instead of eight — and the Venusian Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) — with a monster which doubled in size every 24 hours. Jack Arnold’s 1955 Tarantula! is notable for resorting to footage of an actual spider intercut with shots of a manufactured face (because apparently real tarantulas aren’t scary enough).
In Japan, the kaiju craze was in full swing, as the 1950s also introduced us to Rodan (1956), changed from Radon so as not to confuse English-speaking audiences — The Mysterians (1957), perhaps the most science fictional of the giant monster movies — plus Varan the Unbelievable (1958), with drastically different Japanese and U.S. cuts. Godzilla made a second appearance in 1955’s Godzilla Raids Again (released in a recut U.S. version under the titleGigantis the Fire Monster).
Whether classic or cheesy, we love ’em all, which is why we can’t wait to see what the new Godzilla adds to the kaiju canon.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Bill Johnson, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley — better known as Leatherface, Drayton “The Cook” Sawyer, and Chop Top — play poker behind the scenes on the set of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. But what we want to know is — how can you tell when a guy wearing a mask made of human skin is bluffing?
BLACK MIRROR‘S MUSICAL EPISODE, FRIDAY THE 13TH FAN FILM & MORE
The Upside Down’s not the only disaster to hit theStranger Things town of Hawkins, Indiana. Now they— and we — are getting New Coke back.
Dan Aykroyd says he’s already handed in the script for a 1960s-era Ghostbusters prequel which will reveal how the famous parapsychologists met during high school.
Giancarlo Esposito would “fight to the death” to play Hannibal Lecter. (Yes, yes, yes.)
A Friday the 13th fan film about bounty hunters who stumble into the Camp Crystal Lake campgrounds while chasing escaped cons is more than halfway funded on Indiegogo.
If you want to feel like you’re living in a horror movie, the estate where a serial killer buried his victims’ bodies is up for grabs. But if you’d rather justwatch serial killers, here are 10 horror movies based on true events.
Check out the bloody and surprisingly relevant trailer for The Nightingale, the new movie from the director of The Babadook. We suspect things won’t end well.
The New York Times remembers Debra Hill —producer, screenwriter, and frequent John Carpenter collaborator — without whom there’d have been no Halloween, The Fog, or Escape from New York.
A list of 13 horror movies that did “insanely well” at the box office also explains one reason why — their often smaller-than-blockbuster budgets help make their profits even more profitable.
Horror superhero Spawn celebrates his 300th issue with a giant-sized 72-page comic plus 12 covers — including one an homage to his classicAmazing Spider-Man #300 cover.
Artist Noger Chen’s kaiju-sized painting depicts every live-action Godzilla from 1954 through 2019 so you can see how they compare.
Weird Tales, the legendary pulp magazine known for being the first to publish H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos stories, is relaunching in July with original fiction from Victor LaValle, Lisa Morton, Josh Malerman, and others. Sign us up!
James DeMonaco — screenwriter for all four Purgemovies and director of the first three — says the next film in the franchise will be the last, but he promises it will have “a really cool ending.”
THINGS WE LOVE: REVIVING STEPHEN KING
Even if you’ve already read Stephen King’s 2014 novel Revival — which the New York Times called “a master storyteller having the time of his life” — a new deluxe limited edition takes the experience to the next level. The slipcased volume features 16 full-color illustrations by François Vaillancourt, an intro by Josh Boone — who’s writing and directing the upcoming feature film adaptation — artwork created by Vincent Chong for the film, and much more. Revival‘s not scheduled for release until December, but you can pre-order today.
HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS
19 Best Horror TV Shows To Watch On Streaming, Including Netflix, Amazon, And Shudder (Black Lake, Wolf Creek, Beyond the Walls)
Summer Horror Preview: Midsommar, Child’s Play, and Scary Stories We Can’t Wait to Watch (Boar, Tigers Are Not Afraid)