After the travesty that was the 1998 Roland Emmerich reboot of “Godzilla,” the king of the monsters went in to hiding from the states for a long time. It was until Legendary came along to hop on the expanded universe band wagon to finally give Gojira and his merry band of monsters and allies a chance to win a new generation of fans. Despite some bumps and tumbles, Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” is a giant step up from the 1998 embarrassment and still manages to travel well, with or without the impending “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Thirty years later and “Tremors” has become one of the longest lasting horror comedy franchises out there. From its cult classic original to endless sequels, short lived series, and notable attempt to reboot it with original star Kevin Bacon, “Tremors” promises to keep powering through for a long time. This year Arrow Video unleashed a special edition of the 1990 monster movie classic on Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD, and it compelled me to list five of my favorite monster movies of the 1990’s.
Feel free to let us know what some of your favorites are below!
Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” has been one of those eighties horror gems that has been for the most part a difficult title to obtain. Even through the DVD age it was out of print, hard to find, ported on to cheap movie collections and given limited printing on boutique labels. Now Shout! Factory has made the fantastic remake of the 1958 drive in monster movie available for everyone, and it’s been worth the wait. It’s a movie that’s barely shown its age, embracing what made it such a great drive in monster movie, while also injecting it with eighties style.
At the very least, video games seem to be evolving to where they’re no longer abysmal and are gradually edging toward entertaining. “Tomb Raider” was a blast, and “Rampage” is a fun ninety minute diversion. Based on the pretty plotless classic video game of the same name, Brad Peyton’s movie injects science fiction, action, giant monster movie madness, and yes, even features the game’s iconic monsters rampaging through civilization, bringing down buildings left and right. It’s bits and pieces of “Mighty Joe Young,” “King Kong,” and “Jurassic Park” that tries to deliver on many levels.
Yesterday marked the decade anniversary of the release of “Cloverfield.” It was in 2007 that Bad Robot unleashed an amazing and painfully addictive viral campaign for what was essentially a modern giant monster movie. Taking to the internet as the primary tool, fans speculated for over a year what “Cloverfield” was from theories about a Cthulhu apocalypse film to “Voltron,” and fans even created their own monster designs for what the monster would and should logically look like.
There was even a mysterious online game that had zero to do with the movie but capitalized on the mystery, nonetheless. “Cloverfield” ended up being a wonderful film, and the start of an anthology movie series that involved human struggle, a mysterious marketing campaign and a giant behemoth of some kind. With “Cloverfield” now a decade old and two more mysterious movies from the series coming very soon, I look at five reasons why the movie is still so fantastic.
What I love about “Kong: Skull Island” is that while it’s essentially a good old fashioned matinee monster movie at heart, it’s also a pretty clever take on the Vietnam war. “Kong: Skull Island” implements the classic trope from the classic giant monster movies taking a group of armed men and women in to the wilderness, and uses that as an allegory for the Vietnam war. Like the aforementioned war, US soldiers storm in to a wilderness they were unprepared to do battle with, except they face an unparalleled force of nature. Also very effectively setting up a cinematic universe, Jordan Vogt-Roberts aspires for a lot, and succeeds as a simple and harrowing adventure with big monsters, and menacing creatures far and wide.
Would you rather have two bad monster movies or nothing at all? I agree: two bad monster movies. Shout! Factory offers up two bad monster movies for the price of one for movie buffs that appreciate the schlock and awe of giant badly designed monsters wreaking havoc within budget limitations. First up there’s 1977’s “Tentacles” directed by Ovidio G. Assoninitis and is one of the many Jaws-sploitation movies to come out of the decade. This time around there’s an all star cast of John Huston, Bo Hopkins and Henry Fonda, all of whom reside in a seaside resort town.
Poor Kong. He’s only a pawn in the game of life. “King Kong Escapes” is another in the efforts by Toho to create a more expanded mythology for King Kong, which is a shame since I think he could have been a nice part of the Godzilla movie series here and there. He could have balanced out all the reptiles and lizards and bugs. “King Kong Escapes” is a direct sequel to “King Kong vs. Godzilla” except this is a movie much more about Kong. This is also one of the few King Kong movies with an actual conniving villain, who walks around committing to an evil scheme.