Friday, April 19, 2013
Allen’s Brain Movie Night Suggestions
The weekend's coming. Will you be standing in line to pay exorbitant prices to watch Hollywood's latest proof of mediocrity? Perhaps you'll opt to stay home and rent something.
May I make some suggestions for weekend double features? Fire up your Netflix or locate your nearest B-Movie geek...
As you might expect, these feature a lesser-known feature that inspired their more-famous counterparts -- the second feature.
- “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” -and- “Gojira” (a.k.a. Godzilla, King of Monsters, but if you can manage the subtitles, the original Japanese version is a superior film. Really.)
Nuclear tests awake extinct monsters who then ravage major metropolises. "Beast" is beautifully stop-motion animated by Ray Harryhausen; Gojira is a guy in a rubber suit. Both are worth watching.
- “It! The Terror From Beyond Space” -and- “Alien”
Long before Sigourney Weaver evaded and outsmarted the Alien species that smuggled itself onto her ship, another outer space creep got aboard a spacecraft and had to be creatively eliminated. This time, in 1958.
Both are kinda scary and virtually impossible to kill. However, there is a disappointing dearth of women in scanty undies in "It!"
- “Earth vs The Flying Saucers” -and- “Independence Day”
The first film is another featuring Harryhausen effects. The spinning saucer-crafts (and the method of defeat) were imitated in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks." Both films have just enough admixtures of real and bogus science to make them fun, but the invaders in EvTFS aren't likely to scare your youngest kids -- though I found the stop-motion creatures' lack of facial features to be slightly unsettling.
Maybe you want to watch "Mars Attacks" for a third feature. Warning: Extreme Tom Jones!
- “Bride of the Gorilla” and “The Wolf Man.”
These two don’t seem that close, but “Bride” is what Curt Siodmak originally wanted to do with “Wolf Man.” I hate say anything more, lest I give the plot of Bride away. It features Raymond Burr, if that helps steer you.
- “The Clonus Horror” and “The Island” (2005)
See the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Clonus, if you like. Both are scifi stories about people being cloned for parts.
- “Son of Frankenstein” -and- “Young Frankenstein”
This last pair isn’t really fair, since YF is more of a parody, but they really should be seen together to see just how funny Kenneth Mars doing Lionel Atwill’s Inspector Krogh is! Plus, check out “The Bride of Frankenstein” for the brilliant hermit scene!
So, there you are: a few "inspired by" suggestions. I suppose I could have added Kurosawa's "Hidden Fortress" and George Lucas' "Star Wars" -- both good flicks -- but they're not that similar. Or any of the Western remakes of Kurosawa's samurai films: Seven Samurai & Magnificent Seven; Yojimbo & Fistful of Dollars, etc., but those are remakes.
What would your suggested "Inspired By" features be?