Not one, but TWO Godzillas Stomp “Days of the Dead” Indianapolis!

How do I love thee, Godzilla? Let me count the ways…

For a monster-loving kid like me growing up in the ‘70s, giant Japanese monsters represented the pinnacle of entertainment. Those glorious films were just about the only thing worth staying inside for back at a time when kids actually wanted to be outdoors. Of all the notable behemoths to have ever graced the silver screen, there were none I revered more than the “King of Monsters” himself, Godzilla. The moment his iconic roar filled my living room I’d be transfixed, especially if he was up against my second favorite kaiju, King Ghidorah (sorry, Gamera, but you were a distant third). Back then it never occurred to me that I was cheering on a guy in a costume as I’d fully embraced the idea of giant monsters roaming the earth and Japan just happening to be the only ones “lucky” enough to see them. Adolescence ushered in the grim reality about “men in rubber suits” and it wouldn’t be until years later that I’d gain a true appreciation for them. The reality is, these folks gave rubber-suited monsters an edge in the personality department that many of the stop-motion ones lacked. This was especially true for those played by the quintessential suit actor himself, Harou Nakajima. Nakajima has the distinction of playing the original Rodan, one of the Gargantuas (which I did a retro piece on last year), and Godzilla from 1954-1972 among others. Needless to say, when I learned that the eighty-eight-year-old legend would be attending Days of the Dead’s 2017 Indianapolis show, I knew I had to be there!

Continue reading

Advertisements

“War of the Gargantuas” turns Fifty!

war of the gargantuas

Quentin Tarantino called it the “perfect giant monster movie,” Tim Burton sites it as one of his all-time favorite films, and Brad Pitt recalled at an Academy Awards Ceremony it being the first movie he ever remembers seeing. Sometimes referred to as TOHO Studio’s “Kane and Abel” story, the beast vs beast opus I’m referring to is none other than War of the Gargantuas or, as it was referred to in its native Japan, Furankenshutain no kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira. If that title conjures up images of a certain classic Universal monster, that’s no accident. This movie began as a direct sequel to TOHO’s Frankenstein Conquers the World before taking on a persona of its own. In July of 2016, exactly fifty years from its release, fans at G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) in Chicago paid homage to this often overlooked giant monster masterpiece and I wanted to share some of those highlights.

Continue reading

G-FEST XXIII and the Many Faces of Godzilla!

gfest-xxiii

Last month I attended Chicago’s G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) for the thirteenth year in a row – a lucky number for me as it marked the return of my eldest son, Alex, to the Godzilla fold. Back in 2004, when we first started attending, he was a six year old Godzilla-obsessed kid who’d later anticipate this event more than Christmas itself. That is, of course, until puberty reared its ugly head and whisked away all love of dinosaurs, spaceships, and the “King of Monsters” in favor of hanging with peers and militaristic video games like Call of Duty. Needless to say, I was taken aback when he requested to join my youngest son, Luke, and I for this year’s event. I’m thinking it might be his way of seeking past childhood comforts before he leaves for the Air Force Academy next month. Whatever the reason, it was great having him back as the Fuentes headed to Rosemont.

Continue reading

Sonorama Art featuring Giant Japanese Monsters!

a

I remember growing up in ‘70s and having my own small turntable complete with a collection of “Disneyland Records.” These were usually the smaller 45 varieties that would recount the studio’s animated features and accompanied with a storybook that helped you follow along. You’d be signaled to turn the page whenever you heard Tinkerbell’s chime (or something like that). They helped see me through many a rainy day but, had I grown up on the other side of the Pacific, I’d of been far more enthusiastic for shut-ins! This realization hit me during one of the last forums I attended during G-FEST XXII when I learned that children growing up in Japan also had records and stories; only theirs featured Godzilla, Gamera, Ultra-Man, and just about every other kaiju imaginable!

Continue reading

G-FEST Celebrates 50 Years of Gamera!

gamera

On Saturday July 11th a gathering of Gamera (Japan’s 2nd most famous monster) fans celebrated the giant turtle’s 50th birthday! It was one of the highlights of this year’s G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) as the kaiju reptile was a favorite of mine growing up back in the ‘70s. Though I prefer reliving those films via Mystery Science Theater 3000 these days, I believe his 1995 return, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, is one of the best in the genre. The “50 Years of Gamera” panel was moderated by August Ragone and Kyle Yount. This was another big draw for me as I’ve wanted to meet Mr. Ragone for some time now. His contributions to both the horror host realm as well as Japanese monster fandom is far too numerous for me to list here. Suffice it to say, we encourage everyone to check out and follow this Rondo Award winning writer/commentator on his own blog, The Good, the Bad, and the Godzilla. Yount moderates his own Kaiju themed podcast, appropriately named KaijuCast which you can check out HERE.

Continue reading