Well, kids, it's The Vault of Horror's third anniversary today--and what better way to celebrate than to regale you with my love for cheesy Japanese monsters and little boys in ridiculous shorts? That's right, it's time for another edition of Thursday Guilty Pleasure, brought to by yours truly and Missy Yearian of Chickapin Parish, the poor misguided soul who seems to derive joy from the nadir of Dario Argento's career. Read on...
Godzilla's Revenge (1968)
Speaking of nadirs, this happens to be, by everyone's estimation, the ultimate lowpoint of the entire classic Showa series of Godzilla films from Toho. To that I say, pshaw. That's right! Pshaw. Because Godzilla's Revenge--as you would know if you listened to my recent Vaultcast with Miguel Rodriguez--brings me, and has always brought me, a disproportionate amount of pleasure.
By the late 1960s, Toho had completely given in to the fact that the main fans of the Godzilla series were little children. And so, instead of trying to make truly excellent films like Ishiro Honda's original Gojira, they started cranking out blatant kiddie fare, created without any intention of being anything but fluff. But once you accept that this isn't Gojira...well, Godzilla's Revenge can be a whole lot of fun.
You've got the little boy Ichiro, who aroused more jealousy in me than any other cinematic boy aside from possibly Elliot in E.T. You see, Ichiro had a magical machine that could transport him to Monster Island to hang out Big G and the rest of the gang. OK, so he was only dreaming, but that didn't make it any less awesome to me. I wanted to be that boy, and I wanted to chill with Anguirus, Gorosaurus and the rest of the kaiju crew.
Then, of course, there's Minya. That's right, I was the world's biggest Minya fan. Godzilla's little son (although paternity was never incontrovertibly established) completely captured my imagination, with his Don Knotts-like voice and classic smoke-ring blowing abilities. Yes, he may be the most maligned member of the Japanese movie monster fraternity, but I'm not too much of a snob to admit I loved the goofy-looking guy--and somewhere, in my grown-up heart, I still do. So take that, purists!
Godzilla's Revenge is a whole lot fun--not to mention the perfect gateway Godzilla film for little kids. So let's all get off the high horse, kick back and enjoy it's silly goodness, shall we? After all, what better way to learn a lesson about how to deal with bullying than by watching Godzilla duke it out with something that looks like a cross between a giraffe and a cat?
And now, I toss it over to Ms. Yearian, and her Guilty Pleasure for this week...
Mother of Tears (2007)
There is something special about Italian horror, no? All of us genre fans have a little place in our heart for those crazy Italians—mostly Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. They make what we like to call “style over substance” movies. Hell, I’ve never seen a Lucio Fulci movie make much sense. Argento, however, is somehow a master at this particular kind of filmmaking. His movies are generally among the most visually beautiful you’ll ever see (see Suspiria or Tenebre).
This is why I was so surprised to discover that he’d botched Mother of Tears so badly. Holy hell, is that movie a mess or what? I mean, the acting is abysmal. The visuals are absurd. The story makes no sense. It should be the greatest cinematic disappointment of the decade.
But for some reason, it just isn’t. Don’t get me wrong. This is one of the worst horror movies I have ever seen. It’s an absolute disaster. But I’ve got such a girl boner for it that I can hardly believe it. That’s right, folks. I love Mother of Tears.
What makes the movie such a treat is the absolute shamelessness with which Argento made it. From the beginning, wherein a woman is strangled with her own intestines, the film is an experiment in absurdity. If I were to give you a highlight reel, it would look like the worst films of the eighties (a decade Argento seems to still be stuck in). A good example of this is the monkey (is it really a monkey? A baboon? Who knows?) that chases Sarah all over Italy. One could also cite the people chasing her on the train, what with their decidedly Duran Duran hairdos and makeup stylings.
But the real treat of Mother of Tears is the titular witch. Sporting a big, bouncy hairdo and the glossiest red lips you’ve ever seen, she’s no more terrifying than your average glance at your family photo albums. Upon first seeing her, I thought, “What? This is the worst of the three mothers? But she’s so eighties!”
All right, all right, truth be told, when I first saw Mother of Tears, I thought it was awful. I thought it was the worst possible ending to a fantastic trilogy. But then I saw it again. And, I don’t know, folks. You’ve got to admire Argento’s moxy. He made one atrociously bad movie (and yes, a bad ending to the trilogy), but it’s sure got style, doesn’t it?
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Yes, you read correctly up there at the top. Today is the third birthday of The Vault of Horror--which began here, if you'd care to check out the very first, completely unimpressive post. So to just keep it brief, I'd like to thank everyone, both colleagues and readers alike, for supporting this blog and helping it grow into what it is today. I can assure you... you ain't seen nothing yet.
"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue
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