Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monsters and More Post-MoCCA Mortem --

MoCCA Post-Mortem continues at
  • the most excellent blog of the most excellent Joe Lambert, and Joe has posted variations on the same at
  • the Sundays Anthology blog/site and
  • I Know Joe Kimpel --
  • -- and Bryan Stone posted very different pix on his blog, check 'em out, too!

  • Check 'em all out, I'll post more here later as time permits.

    Now that I'm no longer plugged into the First Run Video circle (though I'm still a shareholder in that business), I have to track down my DVDs same as everyone else -- no more preorders, 5% above cost, special order insider cherry-picking. So it was yesterday morning that I was calling every DVD venue in driving distance to track down the new Warner Bros. Cult Camp Classic quartet of boxed sets; by 9:10 AM, I had scored paydirt, and by 11:45 I was driving home with all four sets.

    I've only had time to screen one so far: The Giant Behemoth (1958, original UK title Behemoth: The Sea Monster -- less redundant, that), with the commentary track by stop-motion/CGI and all-around special effects gurus Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett.

    Per usual, WB lists generic running times -- the box says '90 minutes,' but it clocks in a few seconds over 79 minutes. It's an excellent transfer of the best print of this film I've ever seen -- and it's complete, which was my reason for popping this undernourished radioactive saurian opus into the player first (instead of the film I most eagerly anticipate watching, Sergio Leone's The Colossus of Rhodes -- but more on that later!).

    Unlike WB's vhs release of this title over a decade ago, this print is complete: the WB video was a sharp print but inexplicably missing the notorious ferry boat attack scene -- notorious among stop-motion fans for the embarrassing crudity of the live-action puppet effects in this (and other) sequences. The ferry boat attack supplanted the Pete Peterson and Willis O'Brien stop-motion animation with what is literally a dino head on a stick knocking at a miniature ferry, spilling Matchbox-sized tin cars into the drink; the water splashes are identical to those you'd create in your bathtub, the beading on the prop dino head further betraying the six-inch-plus scale of the foolish thing.

    Ut! My contractor just arrived. More work on the basement library/office ahead.
    OK, More later today --

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    Blogger Mark Martin said...

    "I'm still a shareholder..."
    "My contractor just arrived..."

    CAPITALIST! Tool of Big Video!

    Blogger SRBissette said...

    I may be a tool, Mark, but not of Big Video!

    Anonymous Dave McKenna said...

    Giant Behemoth is one my all-time faves, but don't blame O'bie & Pete for the ferryboat scene! According to the excellent issue of Cinefex devoted to Willis O'brien's life and career, the live-action "head on a stick" was actually a meticulously crafted, fully articulated puppet, similar to the Brontosaurus head 'n' shoulders from King Kong & the sea-serpent from Son of Kong...that is until some anonymous stagehand got his mitts on it and broke all the actuating cables. The schockingly short shooting schedule didn't allow any time for O'bie to make repairs...thus, the result that wound up in the film. Yet another disappointment for the long-suffering master of stop-motion animation.


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