Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!

Series: Godzilla

Review: Gojira (1954)

Gojira 1954 poster

For his size, Godzilla certainly gets around, having attained a certain pop cultural ubiquity in the fifty-five years since his creation. He's been the star of several dozen Japanese films, an American remake, video games, comic books, cartoons, shoe commercials and even a series of novels for young adults. Godzilla references also pop up in sources ranging from the Friday the 13th series to The Simpsons. However, in his debut in Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954), Godzilla is not a lovable icon, but a solemn and powerful force of devastation - a far cry from the image we have of him today. Ironically, it is in this film that Godzilla is at his most effective.(read more...)

Review: Godzilla (1998)

Godzilla 1998 poster

Roland Emmerich specializes in movies that are practically critic proof. He populates his films with amazing spectacle, blockbusters packed with explosions, disasters, and well known landmarks destroyed in various ridiculous ways -- exactly what people want to see when they desire entertainment that won't spoil the taste of their movie theater popcorn with intellectually challenging issues or drama. Emmerich therefore makes sure to keep things simple with his films, which means a sacrifice of character development and depth, logic, and general believability. Emmerich's 1998 remake of Godzilla is no exception to the rule. While there's a definite sense of grandeur and epic destruction, it is like a paper-mache pinata. When you hit it hard enough with a bat, there is certainly some disposable candy to be found. But what's truly there is now a broken, empty hull that never really had any substance.
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Review: Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Ghidorah (Ghidrah) poster

When I was in the third grade, all I wanted for my ninth birthday was a copy of Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster. Why this film in particular held such fascination for me, I couldn't say for certain. I suspect that two factors spurred my desire: the majestic still of a rampaging Ghidorah (or Ghidrah as it's sometimes spelled) in William K. Everson's Classics of the Horror Film and an entry in Leonard Maltin's 1988 Movie Guide that informed interested readers that the flick featured four monsters, including the legendary Godzilla, for the price of one. What boy could pass that up? When I finally received my cherished VHS tape, I was not disappointed. It had monsters and they fought each other (and the human stuff was okay to pass the time between monster appearances). Watching Ghidorah today, I feel like I'm sitting with that kid right next to me, the seventeen years of distance reduced to the length of my couch.(read more...)

Review: Godzilla 1985 (1985)

Godzilla 1985 Japanese poster

There is a word that is being bandied about more in the film community these days: re-imagining. Re-imagine a film and you hold on to the original idea but deck it out with just enough new elements to reel in new fans. Or more simply, a producer, out of fresh ideas, dusts off an old tried-and-true formula, tweaking things just enough to fool viewers into thinking they’re seeing something different. This is like a used car dealer who pours all the money they have into fixing the exterior an old classic while leaving the cracking vinyl seats alone and still trying to sell it as “like new”. Godzilla 1985 is a rebuilt version of that classic car, replete with cool, dark green paint and new spinning wheel rims. There’s an improved look to this film. Too bad the interior is still the same old and worn material.
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Review: Godzilla 2000 (1999)

Godzilla 2000 poster

Previous Godzilla lore is cast aside in Takao Okawara’s Godzilla 2000, a sustainable attempt to resurrect Japan’s greatest movie monster in the new millennium. After over twenty films, Godzilla has been woven through plots that are beginning to tangle on themselves. It is refreshing not to have to think about how Godzilla could both have sired a son in Son of Godzilla and been a mother in the American-made Godzilla (1998). Okawara’s efforts to restore Godzilla back to his original conception are well-intended, though the execution is heavily flawed. Instead of a Godzilla that puts fear back into the audience’s hearts, we’re given a Godzilla that we cannot help but laugh at. Godzilla 2000 is no better than the previous incarnations that it is trying to so hard to forget, purposely-bad English dubbing, silly battle sequences, and a lame-duck plot that only serves to fuel the fire.(read more...)

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