Archive for the ‘animals’ category

Of Giant Monsters…

May 20, 2020


There’s a special place in my heart for 1950’s horror movies, especially those featuring giant monsters…and it’s hard to think of a better tag line for one than, “This was the day that engulfed the world in terror!”  More than 60 years after its 1957 debut, The Deadly Mantis continues to be entertaining as a high camp classic, more amusing now than horrifying.  The clumsy and dated not-so-special effects of the giant mantis flying are alone worth watching the film for.

In these times of invisible horrors like the coronavirus, it’s so nice to see our fears embodied as something gigantic and readily identifiable that we can shoot artillery at, and direct flame throwers towards; we know that we’re going to win against it at the end.  I doubt, however, that bleach and bright lights would be effective against this thing.  Perhaps we can get a large number of regular praying mantids together, and make one really big one like this that we could threaten murder hornets with.  A Universal Picture creation, one yearns to see the Deadly Mantis locked in mortal combat with some creature from the Toho Studios world…Mothra vs. Mantis has a nice ring to it.  Now that’s entertainment…I’d go bugs over that one!

 

https://youtu.be/G8R9OoQh4q0

 

 

Creepshow’s “Bad Wolf Down”

May 15, 2020

I freely admit that I’m more of a werewolf than a vampire fan, but what would you expect? I’m a furry, and werewolves are kind of an amplified furry. I was therefore in seventh heaven to see that werewolves were featured prominently in the Bad Wolf Down segment of the new Creepshow series by Shudder, now available for viewing on the AMC network. This series draws heavily from the earlier Stephen King and George Romero movie by the same name which aired in 1982.

Meshing horror comics with live action, this S1/Ep2 installment plunges us into a furious firefight of WWII American troops overwhelmed by Nazis. Seeking sanctuary from annihilation, the few remaining Americans flee to an abandoned building where they encounter a woman locked in a cell who turns out to be a female werewolf! Seeking the release of death, the woman wants only to swallow the silver cross of one of the Americans. They accommodate her, but not before requesting that she bite each of them, transforming them in turn into werewolf soldiers that are more than a match for the pursuing Nazi elite troops.

Now the werewolf transformations are budget-restricted yet still effective, and the gore-fest which follows is not for the squeamish. It did, however, provide me with a satisfying spectacle as well as a reminder of the power of shape-shifting. I found it an uplifting experience…You might, too, if you are into horror, werewolf sub-classification. Other episodes look equally promising, so gratify your dark side by checking out the new Creepshow series; it’s a worthwhile indulgence…

 

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊

 

“The General Skunk” Commercial

April 3, 2020

                  

      When a woman in a commercial for The General insurance appears about ready to drive a newly-purchased vehicle off a car lot, she is met by the unlikely duo of Shaquille O’Neal and The General, the latter a cartoon pipsqueak in military attire sporting an enormous white moustache.  

        You’re not ready to drive without insurance,” cautions Shaquille.  “That’s as crazy as starting a skunk farm in your backyard!”  The admonition seems to trigger a traumatic memory in the woman. We flash back to an image of her apparently in her yard being advanced upon by over half a dozen skunks.  The woman extends her palms at the advancing skunks in an effort to keep them at bay.  “Easy, Petunia!,” she cries to one, “Back up!,” she beseeches…but her efforts are in vain, as we are shown a fleeting image of the skunks raising their tails, about to spray the woman.

        Flashing back to the present, the woman is now happily engaged in procuring insurance from The General.  “Smell you later,” she says to those bad memories as she departs…

          



        “Cheetah” in “Wonder Woman 1984”

        February 14, 2020



        I’m really not a big Wonder Woman fan, but have been known to dip into it for the occasional but thrilling glimpses of Cheetah, who together with Catwoman can really pique my interest.  This is not to deny or dismiss the many dazzling vixens that are out there, although cat-women are far more common in film.

        It would appear that Cheetah is going to be done right in the Wonder Woman 1984 film, unlike the much-touted felines of Cats, which disappointed and creeped-out many briefly before disappearing into commercial oblivion.  Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva) will be played by Kristen Wiig, and the image of her above to the left is fan art rather than an actual image of the CGI creation in the upcoming film.  It’s unclear at this point as to how fully transformed we’ll get to see the formidable Wonder Woman villainess, but hopes are high that the rather sedate, plain-dressing Barbara Minerva will during the course of the film become a were-cheetah, complete with fur and predatory skills.  I’ll certainly be pulling for her in what could be legendary battles with the Amazon…

        Wonder Woman 1984 reportedly has an ’80’s vibe, and also pays tribute to the comic book traditions of the series.  While the exact physical depiction and portrayal of the character is being kept under wraps, the film won’t hit theaters until June, at which point the cat will be out of the bag…

         

         

        “The Masked Singer,” Season 3 Premier

        February 5, 2020



        Without a lot of advance advertising, The Masked Singer returned for a third season on the Fox network…and get this, a fourth season is coming this summer!  The series continues to be outrageous and very furry friendly, with a majority of the contestants on the first episode identifiable species.  There was also a Miss Monster and a Robot performing.

        Series host Nick Cannon entered wearing a mirrored rabbit mask that he had worn before on a previous season, and guest celebrity contestant Jamie Foxx  joined the usual panel of judges, wearing initially a mirrored fox mask.  He had in season two been suspected of being the performer named Fox, who was actually Wayne Brady, the winner of last season’s competition.

        The show got off to a roaring start with contestant White Tiger (pictured above, center) who was a large, physically impressive presence that performed Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.”   Following was Turtle (far right), who looked like a punk reptile the Ninja Turtles might fight and performed “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal.  Next was Llama (second in from right), looking like a tourist on recreational drugs who performed Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”  Remarkably, this costume had hind legs on wheels.  I thought that Llama’s back-up female llama dancers were also effective, and they played bongo drums strung around themselves occasionally. You just don’t see hot female bongo-playing llama-headed female dancers everyday..

        Then there came Miss Monster (far left), a tribute to T-Pains character in the first season.   She performed “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt, and was joined on stage by the T-Pain character, who did not sing along.  The back-up dancers for Miss Monster mirrored her cyclops look by having heads that were nothing but enormous eyes, a nice surreal touch.  Following was Robot, a clunky retro-looking model complete with a large winding key on their back who performed a Lenny Kravitz number in the company of two lab-coated mad scientist types with white hair and guitars who reminded me of Thing One and Thing Two of Dr. Sseus fame.  Last to perform was Kangaroo, attired in boxing togs like cartoon ‘roos in days of yore, who performed Dancing On My Own.

        When the elimination vote was performed, Robot was eliminated, although I thought he didn’t give the weakest performance of the night, and should have abided far longer.  When unmasked, Robot turned out to be Lil Wayne, a very commercially successful performer.  The Masked Singer airs on Fox Wednesday night in my area…

         

         

        Geico “Man Cave” Commercial

        January 9, 2020


        Forget your articulate and genial “window bear” commercial.  In this Geico offering, the bear is much less anthropomorphic, and is physically in a house, trashing it…

        A well-to-do middle-aged couple sits on recliners in their beautiful home, each watching separate tv screens.  “He wanted a man-cave in our  new home,” begins the woman, “But she wanted to be close to nature, so we met in the middle,” adds the man.  The scene then widens to reveal a true cave entrance in the dwelling wall, out of which emerges…a bear, who making growling bear-noises slowly advances on all fours into the room.

        “Look who just woke up!,” comments the woman brightly.  “You are so cute!,” she says to the bear, who advances to the refrigerator and noses it open, the door eventually winding up detached several feet off to the side as the bear stands upright and begins to messily forage within the fridge, physically shaking it and retrieving a bottle.  Foodstuff is strewn on the beautiful hardwood flooring…

        “You got it!  You are so smart!,” the adoring woman commends the bear, who sloppily consumes the drink.  Apparently this bear, like some people’s dogs, can do nothing wrong.  It seems that one thing the couple could agree upon is getting help from Geico homeowners insurance.  From the mess that the bear is leaving, they’re gonna need it!  Their cost of regular major appliance replacement alone has got to be astronomical…