Yi zhong: Monsters … the Fear of Rats and Elevators

monster-Yi zhong-poster2

Information regarding a Chinese horror film that had its cinema release in June last year has recently crept onto IMDb. Though details remain scarce and rather opaque, the Backbrain has pieced together what is so far available, thanks to expert Kaiju newshound, Avery Guerra.

The film is titled Monsters, or Yi zhong, and it appears to offer up a new take on an old trope — the rat-infested building. These rats, of course, are mutated monstrosities.

A Brief History of Cinematic Rats

Do rats make effective monsters?

Though small, the Rat has occasionally taken on the role of a monstrous threat in cinema, due to the vermin’s tendency to arrive on the scene en masse — generally emerging from the sewers, which in this instance is a stand-in for the Monster’s chthonian origins, that is, “the underworld” or Hades. The Rat’s role as plague-bringer (most famously during the 12th Century Black Plague epidemics that swept Britain and beyond) has resulted in the much-maligned rodent being well-and-truly seen as a terrible enemy (even if it was the fleas it carried rather than the rat itself that was a problem). F.W. Murnau‘s famous Dracula stand-in, Nosferatu, for example, arrives in England along with a horde of rats — a symbol of the monstrous vampire as plague-carrier [see Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Germany-1922; dir. F.W. Murnau) and Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (West Germany/France-1976; dir. Werner Herzog )].

Top among effective Rat-centric horror films, however, are probably Willard (US-1971; dir. Daniel Mann) and its sequel Ben (US-1972; dir. Phil Karlson). Both films are based on the Stephen Gilbert novel, Ratman’s Diaries, and feature the Rat as loyal friend, accomplice to murder, and deadly ally.

Though the Rat may not get top billing in many films, it does lurk in the background of rather a lot. For example, any scene set in a sewer, in whatever genre of film, will inevitably drop in a rat or five, even if briefly. It makes for a nice jump-shock moment that deflects viewers from the hero’s real danger.

Mutant Rats and Giant Monstrosities

Even more to the point of this article, however, the Rat has been rather surprisingly neglected in the history of over-sized critter cinema, having been generally ignored in favour of reptilian and chimeric monstrosities. The ones that do exist tend to be relatively minor flicks featuring mutant rats — often human/rat hybrids — or rats the size of dogs. Examples include Deadly Eyes (Canada/Hong Kong-1982; dir. Robert Clouse), Of Unknown Origin (Canada/US-1983; dir. George P. Cosmatos), Demon Rat [aka Mutantes del año 2000; La Rata Maldita] (Mexico-1992; dir. Rubén Galindo Jr.) and Mulberry St. (US-2006; dir. Jim Mickle). These are characterised by typically house-bound plots, featuring rats that have been mutated and are large, distorted, or smarter than normal, menacing folk in a confined space — houses, apartment buildings or research establishments that are the site of forbidden experiments in monster-making. There was also some decent giant rat business in one of my favouite Doctor Who episodes: The Talons of Weng-Chiang (in the sewers of London, of course).


Bigger cinematic rats take charge of the mayhem in Food of the Gods (US-1976; dir. Bert I. Gordon) — the result of a dubious experiment to cure world hunger by genetically enlarging food sources (the big rats are an unwanted side-effect). Gordon’s film bears little resemblance to H.G. Wells’ original political/social satire SF novel, of course (though both had giant rats in them so by Hollywood logic that makes them identical).

More recently, Rat Scratch Fever (US-2009; dir. Jeff Leroy) gets much closer to the kaiju tradition of giant beasties, in a tale of alien rats that grow really big once let loose on Earth, and go on a rampage to celebrate. As you can see from the trailer below, Rat Scratch Fever is low-budget exploitation, but it has lots of action and plenty of exuberant giant rat destruction.

Monsters and Elevators

However rare the Rat as Large Monster has been in the past, Chinese director Hua Guo has apparently decided to join the party, with his film Monsters [aka Yi zhong]. Though little information is available, going on available images (see below) the film features some very effective mutant rat monsters along with a second minor source of horror: elevators.

monster-Yi zhong-pic1

As far as I can ascertain (based on an IMDb plot summary), the plot goes something like this: a real estate sales manager, Jia Ying (played by Qing Liu) — who is described as “mean and indifferent” and, not surprisingly (and perhaps irrelevantly), “remains single” — has been showing some clients around the building. She returns to fetch the mobile phone she left behind, and, on entering the elevator again, is trapped when the elevator plunges downward. When she wakes, trapped among the wreckage, all she has is “a cracked work phone, a lighter and a handbag”. She tries to call for help, but reception is erratic and she can’t remember the number for either best friend or relatives. The elevator, apparently balanced part way up, falls further, and in the crash she injures her thigh. Unable to escape and bleeding badly, she keeps dialing, desperately trying to get through to someone for help. What she doesn’t expect [cue ominous music] is that this “accident” was some sort of conspiracy and that a “bloody monster” lurks in the darkness that surrounds her.

Yi zhong-poster landscape1

So, there you have it: rampant paranoia, playing on fear of loneliness, falling elevators and things that go bump in the night. Is the “bloody monster” the escaped result of a mad scientist’s lab located somewhere in the building? Are we told Jia Ying is single because she will be rescued by a handsome lab assistant? Is there more than one monster rat? (It’s plural in the title!) What will she find in her handbag that will be of help? (Based on Anton Chekhov’s maxim regarding story-writing “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Uncertain? Maybe the trailer will help. (Hint: no, it won’t!)

See what I mean? Anyway, other evidence may be found in the myriad of advertising posters available:

Two articles found on the web relate to the monster and the SFX used to create it. Unfortunately the sites are in Chinese, and using translation software makes for a less than satisfactory reading experience. For example, the title of one of the articles translates (via Google Translate) as:

“Dissimilar” [the film’s title I assume… the software’s attempt to render what might more correctly rendered as “mutant monster”] exposed featurette decryption mechanical biological entity effects monster out of the college entrance exam students encounter variants beasts

Anyway, from the main text of both articles I gleaned the following assumptions, which may or may not be accurate:

  • After experimenting with various creatures — from European rats to a particular Mongolian reptile — in the end the creators opted for a domestic animal as a base reference, namely the Wolf Rat that lives in the Gobi desert in Xinjiang. In the backstory of the film, these creatures were subjected to radiation and as a result became extremely cruel and bloodthirsty, and were known to attack rodents, camels and pedestrian traffic. (See conceptual art below.)
  • Practical FX as well as CG effects were used in the film.
  • Three different animatronic monsters were made for the movie.
  • One of the above (at least) was very detailed in its construction, with multiple moving parts.
  • So accurate and detailed are the teeth, for example, actress Qing Liu was left with a bleeding arm after filming a particular scene in which she was attacked by the monster.
  • Each “performance” of the monster involved a “trio responsible for the operation” of the animatronic model: a person responsible for directing and coordinating the action, a person responsible for hand control, and a person in charge of electronic remote control for the eyes and mouth movements.
  • For every shot, the controllers had to stop and rest after 15 minutes.
  • The SFX director was Yuan Jinxin.

And here’s one of the models:

monster-Yi zhong-pic2monster-Yi zhong-pic3

Concept Art

At the moment, I have no idea when, or even if, Monsters is to be released in the West. Even though the critters don’t seem be kaiju size, they look pretty effective and I would definitely like to see them in action.

If anyone knows more about the film, including corrections to my assumptions, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Sources: Special thanks to Avery Guerra; www.taringa.net; practical FX article; concept art; IMDb; wiki page.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Music To Die By: Indie Schlock Soundtracks (Part 1)

Over the years I’ve written about a large number of independent, low-budget exploitation flicks, and have been extremely impressed when, amid the mediocrity and failed ambition, there appears a real gem, a film that stands up well under fire, despite the limitations imposed by lack of funds and access to quality technical expertise. Surprisingly there have been quite a few of them — made almost singlehandedly, with minimal budget, by individuals driven by enthusiasm and sheer talent — that remain in my mind as superlative , even when held against the best the mainstream has to offer. One such is The Horseman (Aust-2008; dir. Steven Kastrissios), a powerful and deeply moving revenge thriller, technically excellent and beautifully acted. You can read my review and an interview with the director here. It’s out on DVD/Blu-ray these days, and if you haven’t done so, you should check it out.

More often, though, successful indie films work by being simply entertaining, making up for what they lack in slick production values or first-rate acting by the sheer enthusiasm and genre engagement of their creators. Sometimes, despite the lack of studio backing, they manage to draw upon talented technical crew — friends, industry acquaintances willing to work for little or no money just for the satisfaction of doing what they love, out-of-work but effective actors, FX artists who value the old, hands-on techniques but rarely get a chance to use them. While watching such films, you can be willingly blinded to flaws and glitches simply by the glare of their energy and commitment.

One aspect I don’t think I’ve ever touched on before is soundtrack music. Over the next few weeks I’ll introduce you to three soundtracks, music gathered or created by the makers of the films themselves. They are all available on CD and are worth your attention.

Part 1: Crustacean: Songs & Music

Crustacean Songs And MusicCrustacean (US-2010; dir. L.J. Dopp — see Backbrain review) is a great example of an indie exploitation film that really hits the mark. It’s got everything — sideshow carnival with freaks, backwater township with an inbred population, nudity, gore, comedy, bad language, slapstick humour, beautiful women (sometimes naked)… you get the idea.

What surprised me was the attendant soundtrack, which is written and performed by the director, L.J. Dopp, and sung by members of the cast as well as Dopp himself. Even though the film isn’t a musical as such, the songs are relevant to its setting and general ambiance, occasionally relating to the characters (for example, the titular song), even though it doesn’t follow the movie’s narrative in a direct way. The music — which largely parodies R&B styles — is complemented by some hilarious lyrics. Warning: often offensively funny. Among my favourites are:

  • “Lemur’s Holler”: sung by Maxine Gillespie, this is an ode to a redneck backwater community and includes all the stereotypes implied by that description:

“There ain’t no law and they eat meat raw,
Down in Lemur’s Holler,
And if you’ve made it through third grade
Then there you’d be a scholar.

If you like your sister and want to be her mister,
When folks find it hard to swaller,
Come on down to Lemur’s Holler.”

  • “Trailer Park Queen”: sung by L.J. Dopp, “Trailer Park Queen” is a bogan love-song to another favourite stereotype:

“She won’t win no blue-ribbon prize,
It’s hard to look in both of her eyes
(at the same time, ’cause one of ’em kinda drifts)
My trailer park queen … she’s so mean to me.”

  • “You Matter To Me”: sung by Angela Berliner (version 1) and Peter Atkins (version 2), this is another love song. No obvious jokes, but I find it oddly funny. It is dedicated to The Beatles:

“You matter to me, like wings matter to doves.
You matter to me, like wings matter to doves… oh, yeah.
‘Cause doves without wings can’t fly very high,
You matter to me, like wings matter to doves.

Doves need wings, and squirrels need trees,
And girls need boys between their knees,
And you, you matter to me, you matter to me ….”

  • “Dungeon of My Heart”: sung by Maxine Gillespie.

“I don’t wanna let you go, but I know I cause you pain.
I don’t wanna let you go, but I’m down to my last ball and chain.

I slip into the night, and my dogs will hunt you down,
I slip into the night one more time…”

There’s more, of course, all with the same ironic, non-PC humour, all played well by Dopp, including the title carnival-freak titular anthem itself:

The full play list is:

  1. Carnival Moon (2:51)
  2. Lemur’s Holler (2:14)
  3. You Matter to Me 2 (2:44)
  4. Trailer Park Queen (4:01)
  5. Even Though (2:32)
  6. Goth Blues (2:05)
  7. Crustacean (3:22)
  8. You Matter to Me (3:03)
  9. Dungeon of My Heart (4:09
  10. Lemur’s Holler Instrumental (2:19)
  11. Dark Side of the Honeymoon (3:46)
  12. Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan (0:29)
  13. Roadkill Blues (4:07)
  14. Trailer Queen Instrumental (4:02)

You can get the album from CrustaceanTheMovie.com or from the usual sources, such as Amazon.

Next up: Part 2: Hot Rod Girls Save the World (coming soon)

Posted in Horror, Music, News, Review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Who Says the Space Monsters Must Die?

So what do you get when you toss a gaggle of giant monsters into the one film? Pacific Rim? Well, yeah, but not this time. Destroy All Monsters? That’s more like it, at least according to the director of a new, mainly “old-school” giant monster pic called

space-monsters-must-die-bannerDirected by John Migliore, Space Monsters Must Die is the third feature from Survival Zombie Films. Rumour has it Space Monsters is a serious (as in “seriously awesome”) science-fiction comedy “in the vein of Destroy All Monsters and Airplane!

I don’t have details about the actual plot, but clearly it involves giant monsters from outer space fighting both humanity and other monsters. Currently in production, it will be a homage to kaiju eiga and other great monster flicks of the ’50s/’60s. Below is one of the key monsters, Golgothra the Conqueror:


“I was influenced by Japanese monster films,” director Migliore told the Backbrain, “but also the big bug movies of the 50’s and 60’s like The Deadly Mantis, Them and Tarantula. I was heavily influenced by comics and Jack Kirby monsters, too. I was a comic writer for a number of years and even wrote the Stargate film comic book sequels for Entity Comics. Humans fight monsters and monsters fight monsters.”

A Diversion into Kirby Land

Personally, I’m a big fan of all of the above-mentioned — as well as Godzilla and his many kaiju mates. But the wonderful absurdity of Kirby’s monsters in comics such as Tales to Astonish, Strange Tales and Where Monsters Dwell, along with those that appeared in Marvel’s superhero comics, is something else again. One of the examples below became rather more famous, and less monstrous, as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Guess which one (it’s not hard)!

Where_Monsters_Dwell_Vol_1_12-Orogo Fin-Fang-Foom-strange-tales-KirbyFin Fang Foom, of course, went on to have quite an illustrious career (see the two-part Backbrain article “He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains”). I keep hoping he will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point.

Goliath-KirbyTales_to_Astonish_Vol_1_13-GROOTGorgolla-where-monsters-dwelltaboo-where-monsters-dwellThen there’s this critter, from the famous first issue of The Fantastic Four:

FF-issue 1_cover

But I digress.

Back to Space Monsters Must Die

“I believe there will be seven monsters in all [in Space Monsters Must Die],” Migliore told the Backbrain. As to the use of “rubber suits” and miniature sets vs. digital work, he added: “Most of the movie will be suitmation. I may employ other methods, but it’s too early to tell for sure.”

Here’s a few of the other monsters, who all have appropriately odd names, of course:

space-monsters-must-die08-Kyrabagu space-monsters-must-die09-Veggalonspace-monsters-must-die05-Mhangorah_risesspace-monsters-must-die10-Cygan_the_Enslaver

There will also be a mermaid called Marinna, played by MarieBeth Young:

space-monsters-must-die04-Behind_the_Scenes_with_MarinnaIs she a giant, too? One can only imagine…

Other Films By Migliore

Migliore’s first feature film was Johnny Ghoulash Escapes From Creightonville, which will be released on DVD soon. Here’s the trailer:

“I have another film on the festival circuit right now,” Migliore added. “It’s called The Friday Night Death Slot.”  And that one’s got a trailer, too. Here it is:

Back to Space Monsters Must Die … Again: The Music

Mike Trebilcock will be providing the score for Space Monsters Must Die. Trebilcock composed the music for the official stage adaptation of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead Live and arranged the music for the hit Toronto production of Cannibal! The Musical. He’s also known as the former frontman of the Juno-winning rock band, The Killjoys.


On the film’s soundtrack will be a hard rock song titled “Die, Monster, Die”, written by Jerry Moore and Sammy Sosa, performed by the Monster Madhouse Band, with TV Horror Host Karlos Borloff on vocals and guitar. I think that’s the one you can hear (or maybe just a version of it) in the trailer for Johnny Ghoulash above.

space-monsters-must-die02-Monster Madhouse Band

A Clone of Cygan the Enslaver? It’s Danger Force

One of the central monsters of Space Monsters Must Die is Cygan the Enslaver (seen in image No. 10 above). It seems that there’s a look-alike out there, as “Cygan” is to appear in another film — this one directed by Brett Kelly. It’s called Danger Force.

dangerForce teamDanger Force is a short film about an 1980s mercenary team that is dispatched to stop a deadly alien invader. In short, says the publicity, “think Megaforce vs Creepozoids. It’s a loving homage to movies of the 80’s”.

In the tradition of using a monster suit from one franchise in another — most famously, a slightly modified Godzilla suit appearing as a different monster in an episode of UltramanSpace Monsters Must Die‘s Cygan is being re-used for Danger Force.

Migliore explained. “Originally, the monster that became Cygan [which Migliore designed and built] for my film was slated for a different Brett Kelly film that unfortunately fell apart. Subsequently, Brett came up with the idea of using it in Danger Force. We decided it would appear in both films.

Danger Force will be a short, but not sure how long at this point. Space Monster Must Die , however, is a feature film.”

Source: Film publicist Avery Guerra and Director John Migliore. Official Facebook page for Space Monsters Must Die; and FB page for Danger Force.

Posted in Daikaiju, Exploitation films, Giant Monsters, Humour, Independent film, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Never Gonna Be Safe To Go Back In The Water…

Sharracuda-warning signJust when you thought the assorted permutations of cinematic Selachimorpha [aka sharks], post-Jaws, must come to an end, some mad filmmaker always seems to release another one into the wild.

Do We Really Think The Possibilities Are Exhausted?

Okay, no one really thinks there’ll come an end to the mutant sharks, B-grade or otherwise — not yet anyway. After all, the cinematic evolution of creature-features is nearly as endless and imaginative as the work of real-life evolution. We’ve had Monster Shark (from Lamberto Bava’s 1984 film Shark: Rosso nell’oceano), Mega-Shark, Mecha-Shark, Dinoshark, Sharktopus, Sharknados, Swamp  Shark, Ghost Shark, Sand Sharks, Two-Headed Shark, Three-Head Shark, Zombie Sharks, Avalanche Sharks (via Sharkalanche), Snow Sharks, Jurassic Shark, Sky Sharks (coming in 2017) — but there’s still plenty of scope, right? The genetic manipulators and gene splicers have lots of tinkering to do. As for me, I’m hanging out for Sharkquito.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest.


Who Is This Then? (After all, every monster has a name…)

Meet Sharracuda, a newly conceptualised creature-feature that brings together shark and barracuda, just to make it even clearer that you’re better off staying out of the water.


Sharracuda is a creature-feature about events that take place in a  small coastal town that is suddenly attacked by a giant mutated shark (as tends to happen). Three young metalheads, an unusual priest and a weird marine biologist decide to throw themselves into the pursuit of the creature, using heavy artillery, blesséd weapons and an aggressive attitude. But what is this thing really? Is the monster an aberration caused by pollution, the result of a government experiment, the manifestation of Satan, or a rather impressive CGI creation? Who cares? The hunt is on!

Sharracuda is to be shot in 2016, with live-action filming taking place in both Italy and the UK. It is the directorial debut of director and producer Alan Mancuso.

So what else is interesting about it?

For One Thing, It’s a Heavy Metal Shark!

According to Mancuso, Sharracuda is “an unusual shark movie”, filled with a heavy-rock soundtrack provided by “some of the best underground death metal, hardcore, punk, doom and stoner bands from around the world”. In fact, a while back Mancuso held a contest online as part of his plan to put together a new, original and high-quality heavy metal soundtrack. More than 450 underground metal bands applied, though only 12–15 will appear on the soundtrack.

“A limited edition vinyl [see cover image below] will be produced soon in order to help fund the first scenes of the movie,” Mancuso explained. “The limited edition will be pressed only once, so die-hard fans should keep their eyes open and like our FB page to keep updated.”

Check out the Facebook page here.


One of the bands who auditioned is Kamensko, and here’s their latest EP, newly released. You can listen to it, buy it and download it here. It’s rather excellent, I thought.


Application videos from Kanensko and other bands can be viewed on the film’s FB Page.

So Who Wants To Be Eaten by a Mutant Shark?

Well, Mancuso and Sharracuda are looking for anyone interested, with a focus on UK residents.

actors-wanted-posterSays Mancuso:

We’re looking for actors and extras. Casting Call is for all ages metalheads, any gender.
If you have acting experience or if you just think you may have the guts you can also apply for one of the three main roles: The main character is skinny, have long hair, typical thrasher. Think of a young Dave Mustaine. The other two supporting characters must have an interesting face, they should be character actors, overweight are ok, beards are welcome, long of short hair is irrilevant. Think a couple formed by a young Phil Anselmo and a nerd, a young Brian Posehn is a good reference. All of the three: 20-28 years old. Send pictures, showreels, resumes or just a couple of lines to casting@cineaura.com

Who Is This Alan Mancuso anyway?

Sharracuda director and producer Alan Mancuso has worked since 2004 as a casting director, creating commercials for Dior, Volvo, Hallmark, and others of a similar ilk. One day he had a moment of epiphony and decided to start his own feature-length movie. Being an avid b-movie fan — from Euro Trash and Italian sleaze films to American exploitation and creature-feature flicks — his immediate impulse was to embrace his inner monster. Among his favorite genre directors, he says, are Enzo Castellari, Joe D’Amato, Sergio Martino, and Antonio Margheriti aka Anthony Dawson (see sample posters below). With Sharracuda, Mancuso is eager to mark the rebirth of the Italian horror and exploitation genre. Other projects are already in the works.

Sounds promising, right?

A Poster Gallery of Italian Exploitation

Posted in Exploitation films, Horror, Independent film, Monster Sharks, Monsters in general, Music, News, Posters | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rise of the Vorehemoth and the Reign of the Vore King


Fancy getting eaten by a giant monster?

A new feature-length micro-budget giant monster movie going by the title Vorehemoth is to be directed by the so-named Godfather of Vore and creator of La Vore Girls, Raymond P. Whalen (R.P. Whalen aka The Legendary Rock & Roll Ray Whalen of Troma’s Go To Hell, Mondo Collecto, This Is Bigfoot, Freaky Deaky, and Atomic Midnight Shows). Whalen is now casting for loads of extras and actors!

The casting call/filming will take place Saturday, 13 June 2015, at noon in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, US. If you’re over 18 years of age, you’re welcome to be one of over 100 extras to be consumed by a 40-foot monster. Sound appetising? We’re assured that “your death will be as horrible (or campy) as possible”. For more information, check out this casting call notice.


The film will feature one of the biggest practical FX creature creations of all-time! The 40-foot giant monster is to be created by FrightProps!  Concept art below.

vorehemoth-concept-drawing-01BW vorehemoth-concept-drawing-02BW

In case you don’t know, the term “Vore” refers to a sexual fetish in which a person gets aroused by watching creatures (presumably lots of women, but men, too) getting eaten by other creatures. Clearly this 40-foot monster will have great appeal to both vore fetishists and giant monster fans, though everyone concerned is keen to point out that the film will definitely not be pornographic — it‘s just an old-fashioned monster movie.

But it’s one really hungry monster.

vorehemoth-appetite chart

At the same time that Vorehemoth is being made, a new feature documentary about  Whalen, his films and his monsters is also in production, directed by award-winning filmmaker Dan S. (Dan Schneidkraut), best known for Seeking Wellness: Suffering Through Four Movements (2007-2008). The doco will be called Vore King and will include segments on the making of Vorehemoth as well.

Be there, or be officially unappetising!

Source: Written by Avery Guerra. Vorehemoth FB page; Vore King website and FB page.

Posted in Giant Monsters, Humour, Independent film, Kaiju Search-Robot Avery, Monsters in general, News, Weird stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Space Monster Numagirasu is Coming

Space Monster Numagirasu is clomping into view, though only the vibrations of his coming are being heard so far. Charming chap, isn’t he?

numa01Space Monster Numagirasu (a title which can also be transposed from the Japanese as “Space Monster Numaguirus”) is the product of a graduation project being undertaken by students from Tokyo Kōgei University (Tokyo Polytechnic University).

kai1With its “old school” suitmation monster and miniature sets, the film is a kaiju eiga (or monster movie) in the full daikaiju (giant monster) tradition. This is a fertile tradition that sprang into existence in the middle of last century thanks to the success of Gojira, the classic film directed by Ishirō Honda in 1954 (and later “translated” for US audiences into Godzilla, King of the Monsters, starring an interpolated Raymond Burr) — and has only recently been (mostly) superseded by CGI technologies. [See my article “Man and Super-Monster: A History of Daikaiju Eiga and its Metaphorical Undercurrents 1954-2006″ for an account of the development of the Japanese tradition in giant monster films.]

With his weirdly distorted form, Space Monster Numagirasu is suggestive of the sort of Japanese giant monster that followed in Godzilla’s wake, especially in the monstrous extravaganzas offered up in the prolific Ultraman TV series (and films) – which were originally created by Eiji Tsuburaya, Godzilla’s SFX master-craftsman. As a form of SFX, the method is very hands-on.


Produced by Hosonuma Takayuki and directed by Takayuki Hosonuma, Space Monster Numagirasu is a short film (13:20 min.) and will be translated into English for its American premiere – at a venue the Backbrain could reveal except we’ve been sworn to secrecy.

So until the details are firmed up, check out the trailer (and production pictures) below:

On-set and Behind the Scenes:

back street11 stree2 setti numa002 numa end2

Written by Robert Hood

Sources: via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery (Guerra); YouTube; www.t-kougei.ac.jp. Translation help by Yuki Morita (Godzilla 2014).

Posted in Daikaiju, Film, Giant Monsters, Godzilla, Independent film, Japanese | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mega Shark’s Attack on Titan

It began when low-budget, exploitation production company, Asylum, released Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (US-2009; dir. Ace Hannah) [Backbrain review]. Back in May 2009, Undead Backbrain was the first to reveal a still of the giant shark eating the Golden Gate Bridge, and then gained an exclusive on the initial release of the trailer – and the result was internet frenzy. UB had never had so many hits before; the video itself on YouTube received over 1.5 million views in a week or so (it’s currently on about 4.2 million). The film also scored record audience figures when aired on the SyFy Channel.

Below is the Japanese DVD release cover:

megashark vs gioant octopus-japan coverThe low-budget and far-from-perfect film was, in exploitation terms, a great success –  having deservingly received both negative and positive reviews – and this inevitably led the Asylum to follow it up by pitting the Mega Shark against another giant monster, this time a reptilian monstrosity: Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus (US-2010; dir. Christopher Ray).


Next came the epic tale of mankind’s use of the inevitable technological solution to the problem of a gargantuan pest: Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark (US-2013; dir. Emile Edwin Smith):

mega-shark vs mecha shark coverNow, just when we thought there was no mega-absurdity left for the Asylum folk to exploit, evidence has arisen of the next chapter in the ongoing adventures of Mega Shark. It is titled Mega Shark vs Kolossus, and introduces a gigantic humanoid robot into the mix.

Mega-Shark vs Kolossos-1_largeOur information on the film comes from a Japanese website, where the title is given as “Mega Shark vs the Great Titan” (bringing to mind the popular anime series Attack on Titan – a connection also suggested by the general appearance of the Kolossus itself, even if it’s metal rather than flesh and bone). That the report of the film is genuine has been confirmed by Kaiju Search-Robot Avery Guerra via contacts within the Asylum.

Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-2_large

As for the plot, a rough translation from the site indicates that though Mega Shark was thought to have perished in the fight against Mecha Shark, a Russian fishing vessel catches a similarly huge shark, which is subsequently revealed to have been newly born from a Mega Shark egg. Simultaneously, terrorists in the Ukraine activate the “Kolossus” – a huge robotic weapon developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. No doubt chaos ensues. (Source: eiga.com) It appears Mega Shark may be the hero of this one!

Mega Shark vs Kolossus will premier at the Tokyo Shinjuku Shinemakarite Film Festival, held from May 16 to June 26, as part if the “Karite Fantastic! Cinema Collection 2015”.

More images:

Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-5_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-6_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-4_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-3_large

Written by Robert Hood.

Update: we have official details, thanks once again to Kaiju Search-Robot Avery.

  • Director: Christopher Olen Ray
  • Producers: David Rimawi, David Michael Latt and Paul Bales
  • Screenplay: Edward DeRuiter
  • Cast: Illeana Douglas, Amy Rider, Ernest L. Thomas.
  • Production Company: The Global Asylum
  • Official release: April 2015.
  • Synopsis: As a mega shark threatens the global economy, Russia accidentally re-awakens a giant robotic doomsday device. The world must fight to stop both deadly creatures.

Source: Avery Guerra; The Asylum; eiga.com. Images are © 2015 RED ROBOT MOVIE, LLC.

Posted in Daikaiju, Film, Giant Monsters, Kaiju Search-Robot Avery, Monster Sharks, News, Robots | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Ghost Story Collection: Peripheral Visions

Robert Hood’s definitive collection, Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories, is released both virtually and physically in April 2015, published by IWFG Australia Publishing.

3D-book-coverIt is available in a signed, limited edition, single volume (824 pages), deluxe hardcover edition, a two-volume trade paperback edition, and an ebook. Included is an Introduction by World-Fantasy Award winning editor, Danel Olson, a Preface and extensive notes by the author, and a full bibliography. The deluxe hardcover also includes 8 original images by prominent Australian artist Nick Stathopoulos (one for each of the six Sections, an example of which you can check out below), a frontispiece and the signature page. Read more about it here.

Section-illo Vengeance


As a bonus, those who pre-order the deluxe edition will receive a free ebook of Robert Hood’s zombie stories, Haunted Flesh: Stories of the Living Dead (30,000 words of them) and, while they last, a copy of his now out-of-print novel, Backstreets (Hodder Headline, 2000).


Yes, there is a book trailer.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direct

Posted in Ghosts, News, Trailers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming of Peter Cottonhell May Spoil Your Easter Break

Back in the dark days of 1972, Night of the Lepus (US; dir. William F. Claxton) tried to envisage a bunny apocalypse in which hordes of large mutated rabbits re-enact Hitchcock’s The Birds,  to lesser effect. It’s a bit of a cult classic these days, though still not overly convincing.

Now we are privileged to have front-row seats for the new bunny apocalypse, where there may be only one bunny but it’s bigger, bloodier and even less convincing.

Beaster-Day-ARTWORKYes, it’s a Easter-Day horror comedy about a giant mutated rabbit who fortuitously decides to schedule his blood-soaked rampage for Easter — which is good, as no one knows how to get through a holiday without having a thematic horror movie to vege out to.

Called Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell (US-2014; dir. Snygg Brothers), the film boasts pretty good poster art, a press release that emphasises gore and the sad plight faced by naked models (see Dread Central for details), and very dubious SFX. If you have any doubts about whether you’d want to see it or not, check out the trailer:


A giant bloodthirsty Easter bunny starts viciously killing the local townsfolk. When the Mayor refuses to act and the attacks grow more gruesome, the town finds its very survival in the hands of a wannabe actress and a crazy dog-catcher. (IMDB)

Posted in Film, Giant Monsters, Horror, Humour, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Ants Are Coming!

It-Came-From_the-Desret_posterDec2014Undead Backbrain first reported it here.

Undead Backbrain alumni, friend and news hound, Avery Guerra (aka Kaiju Search-Robot Avery) has now been officially appointed to the film as Publicist.

And the film is getting bigger! All will be revealed on 16 January 2015.


Posted in Film, Giant Bugs, Giant Monsters, Kaiju Search-Robot Avery, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment