Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Look at The Art of Monsters vs. Aliens




Of the many, many parodies/tributes of horror and sci-fi I've seen over the years, DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) remains one of my all-time favorites. It's got everything for which a fan of Atomic Age creature features could ask: smart humor, a talented cast, great 3D animation, and enough references to horror/sci-fi history (some more overt than others) to put a goofy grin on any geek's face. It may not be as popular as other DreamWorks titles such as Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, but MvA knows its target audience of monster kids well and delivers accordingly.

Being the fan that I am, I picked up a copy of The Art of Monsters vs. Alien by Linda Sunshine a while back to learn more about the creative process behind the film. Like other "Art of" movie books, Art of MvA is filled with glossy, full-color pictures of concept art and it arranges them in an order that readers can follow from the early stages of the film's development up to the finished product. Read on for my complete review.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Look at Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report




With Alien: Covenant inching closer to its May release date, I thought I would take a gander at one of the Alien franchise's more ambitious publications: Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report by S.D. Perry, with illustrations provided by Markus Pansegrau and John R. Mullaney.

The WY Report recounts the events of the Alien movies (including 2012's prequel Prometheus) from the perspective of Weyland-Yutani itself, the seemingly omnipresent megacorporation that has been hell-bent on learning the secrets of the parasitic, biomechanical Alien (which is referred to as "Xenomorph XX121" throughout the book).

A book has already been published that included all four Alien movies in a single volume: Alien: The Archive, which was published in 2014 by Titan Books. However, that book detailed the real-life production of each of the movies; in contrast, The WY Report provides a fictitious, in-universe examination of the many details both within and between the movies, thus creating an overarching meta-narrative that pulls the movies' characters, settings and technology together into a coherent and engrossing whole. Read on for my complete review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

3D Blu-ray Review: It Came from Outer Space




In case you haven't noticed from any of my other blog posts, the life of geekhood involves countless obsessions with various pop culture artifacts. One of my recurring fixations is with 3D entertainment, a fixation that has been greatly satiated by the release of 3D films on high definition digital media. These releases initially consisted of only new movie titles but as time went on, releases of vintage titles from Hollywood's "golden age" of 3D films in the 1950s have been appearing as well. This post is devoted to one of the vintage titles, It Came from Outer Space, a sci-fi thriller from 1953 which Universal released on Blu-ray last October. While this film may look very low-tech in comparison to the sci-fi films of today, its reappearance in 3D marks a special milestone for geeky 3D aficionados like me. Read on ....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shogun Warriors and Robotech Get Downsized by Super7




Given pop culture's never-ending focus on nostalgia, it stands to reason that reissued merchandise from popular TV shows, movies and cartoons keep popping up in stores, catalogs, and other places where such items are sold. However, what is being released now doesn't always match what has come before, which is certainly the case of the toy company Super7 and its recent acquisition of toy licenses of Shogun Warriors and Robotech. Even though both of these titles are known for giant, fearsome robots, the figures that Super7 recently displayed at last weekend's International Toy Fair in New York are anything but intimidating. Read on ....

Monday, February 13, 2017

Giallo Revisited: Luciano Onetti's Sonno Profondo and Francesca




I've been hearing rumors that a few independent filmmakers are trying to revive the Italian horror subgenre of giallo, a type of murder mystery film that was made in Italy during the '60s, '70s and early '80s. With so many gialli finally seeing the light of day again through high-definition blu-ray releases, it stands to reason that giallo fans who are also budding directors will try to emulate that particular style of cinema in their own work.

This particular blog post focuses on Luciano Onetti, a screen writer, director and composer from Argentina who has produced two giallo films: Sonno Profondo (2013) and Francesca (2015). Unlike other neo-gialli that have surfaced in recent years, Onetti has gone to great lengths in both films to emulate the specific look and feel of gialli from the '70s. Read on for my complete review.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Great Moments in Licensed Superhero Toy History: The Lego Batman Movie




This weekend marks the debut of The Lego Batman Movie. Even though it is a semi-sequel to The Lego Movie from 2014, it's also a spin-off from and satire of the live-action Batman movies (and all things Batman in general).

I probably won't see this film at the box office and will wait for home video. Then again, it's not like I owe anything to this particular version of the Batman brand--I already own copies of the three Lego Batman video games and reviewed two of them on this blog. Regardless, the release of The Lego Batman Movie marks a new milestone for licensed superhero merchandise. Before, the superhero movie drove the licensed superhero toy sales; now, the licensed superhero toys ARE the superhero movie. Holy meta-movie licensing, Batman!

Read on for my thoughts about the licensing accomplishments for Lego, something that hasn't been seen since Mego applied its 8-inch action figure design to just about every kid-friendly franchise in the '70s.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Making the Mundane Monstrous: Review of The Neon Demon and Let's Be Evil




Horror is at its most effective when it takes something ordinary and recasts it as something terrifying. However, such a feat is easier said than done, which brings me to two 2016 films that I recently watched: The Neon Demon and Let's Be Evil. Both try to find the sinister in the simple, but one does it with much more skill and creativity than the other. Read on for my complete review.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Avenger Assembly Required: A Look at Lego Marvel's Avengers




Old habits die hard ... especially those concerning Lego video games that are based on my favorite franchises.

I picked up a copy of Lego Marvel's Avengers a few weeks ago for a number of reasons. I really enjoyed the previous entry, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and I've seen how much these games creatively utilize the extensive history and character roster of both DC and Marvel, so I naturally had to add this one to my collection. The good news is that Lego Marvel's Avengers has a wealth of content for Marvel fans to enjoy, but the bad news is that its connection to the current slate of Marvel's live action movies weigh down the game's main campaign. Read on for my full review.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Undead Updates: Zombie Miracle Diets and Zombie Holiday Fun




It's been a few weeks of multiple, consecutive technical difficulties, but I'm finally back to blogging here at Titans, Terrors and Toys. While I've been away, a new TV show that's set to premiere on Netflix on February 3 has caught my depraved attention: Santa Clarita Diet. The series will star Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, who play a married couple that is faced with a significant change to their lifestyle choice when one of them (Barrymore) becomes a zombie. (Fun trivia fact: Barrymore and Olyphant are alumni from the Scream slasher film franchise.)

From all indications that I've seen, Santa Clarita Diet promises to be a dark horror-comedy show, something along the lines of iZombie. The show was created by Victor Fresco, the same guy who created Better Off Ted, so I have very high hopes for this. A teaser website for the show launched a few weeks ago, and it is structured like an ad for a new miracle weight loss plan; thus, I cannot wait for the many morbid satirical jabs at zombies, serial murder, cannibalism and modern suburban life that Santa Clarita Diet looks eager to provide.




Speaking of zombies ... someone got me for Christmas a book titled It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies!: A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols. This book was written by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel, with an introduction penned by Christopher Moore. According to Moore, Spradlin inspired him to write his zombie-themed Christmas novel, The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. That makes sense, since the new lyrics written by Spradlin for familiar holiday tunes show just how much he understands the undead and their dietary preferences. In between the lyric sheets for cannibal carols such as "A Jolly Zombie Christmas", "Deck the Halls with Parts of Wally" and "We Three Spleens" are zombie illustrations provided by Weigel, illustrations that would fit perfectly inside a vintage Christmas issue of Tales from the Crypt.

Spradlin and Weigel later collaborated on Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime: A Book of Zombie Love Songs and Jack and Jill Went Up to Kill: A Book of Zombie Nursery Rhymes, so I'll have to add those to my collection too.