Saturday, May 17, 2014

Top 5 Godzilla Villains - Number 1

Written by Stu Cooper

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the release of "GODZILLA" this past week. I have already seen the film and I will be posting my full review later this weekend. To celebrate the release I've been ranking the Top 5 Godzilla villains of all-time. It's been a fun week and I've enjoyed researching these insane creatures. I knew from the start who my number one spot would go to. It won't be a shocker to most Godzilla fans. This monster is considered by most to be Godzilla's true rival. The monster I consider the number one Godzilla villain of all-time is...GHIDORAH!

Ghidorah, sometimes referred to as Ghidrah, is a very iconic monster in the world of TOHO and Kaijus. The creature itself is based on the famous mythological figure, the three headed hydra. The creature has three heads, two tails, and no arms. What it lacks in arm strength it makes up for in fire power. Each head can fire an intense lightning like blast. Ghidorah made it's debut in the 1964 film "Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster" which also served as the fifth Godzilla film. This film actually marked the first occasion in the Godzilla series in which Godzilla was the hero and not the villain. Ghidorah comes to earth and causes destruction, only to be defeated by Godzilla,Rodan AND Mothra. One funny thing about Ghidorah is that he rarely gets a fair fight. It's often three on one or two on one. In the "Destroy All Monsters" film Ghidorah gets beaten to death by nearly every TOHO creation at once. The thing is, he always comes back. Nothing can keep this monster down.

As far as Ghidorah's story, there isn't much history. All we really know is that the creature is from space and is often under the influence or control of some alien race. My personal favorite appearance of Ghidorah is in "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero" otherwise known as "Invasion of the Astro Monster". In that film Ghidorah is quite powerful and is controlled by a pretty entertaining group of aliens. The aliens actually trick the humans quite easily and are free to use Godzilla as they please. It's a very goofy plot but makes for a fun film. That film was always featured on TNT's "Monstervision" with Joe Bob Briggs. But that show is another article for another day.

In the later incarnations of the Godzilla franchise we again see Ghidorah become a main nemesis. In the film "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" we actually see Ghidorah get a "Mecha" upgrade and become even more badass and dangerous. That film is considered a favorite among many hardcore Godzilla fans because of it's crazy story, intense action, and cool monsters. I highly recommend checking that film out if you're looking to experience Godzilla at it's best. Ghidorah appeared in another film called "All Out Monsters Attack" and that one is also quite intense and cinematic. Ghidorah is portrayed as some type of God and is actually a protagonist! It's an odd departure. Ghidorah's final Godzilla film appearance would be in the appropriately titled "Final Wars". Planet X once again attempts to takeover the earth, except this time they use every Godzilla villain at once. The final monster is Ghidorah, who transforms into a creature called "Monster X". They sure do love their X's. I wish they'd take some of mine into outer space!

You really can't go wrong with any of the Ghidorah appearances. Ghidorah is also a friend of the number 5 entry in the countdown, Gigan. The two of them teamed up in "Godzilla vs. Gigan". Ghidorah also appeared in the "Zone Fighter" tv show. The Rebirth of Mothra films also feature many references to Ghidorah, and even two incarnations of the creature. Ghidorah is also often a main villain in several Godzilla video games, namely the NES and SNES games. Maintaining the idea that Ghidorah is Godzilla's main rival. It's safe to say he is one of the more popular TOHO villains.

The decision to rank Ghidorah at number one was due to his power, relentless pursuit of Godzilla, and overall intimidation factor. This creature is considered a frightening figure in mythology for a reason! The three headed hydra has been scaring human beings for generations, so it's naturally going to be a competitor in the monster arena. If we are lucky we might see a creature of this magnitude in future Godzilla films.

It's been a fun countdown and I think we've only really touched the tip of the Godzilla universe. I encourage you all to explore these films and the mythos behind them. Some of them are campy, some of them are symbolic, and some of them are the 1998 garbage pile starring Matthew Broderick. I will return with my full review of the 2014 Godzilla!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Top 5 Godzilla Villains - Number 2

Written By Stu Cooper

We are getting down to the nitty gritty! With only two entries left, I have a lot to consider. Thanks to TOHO, fans have a vast array of monsters to choose from. Godzilla has produced so many sequels and spin-off's that I could do a top 10 countdown and still not scratch the surface. Like I mentioned earlier in the countdown, my choices are being made based on the overall strength, creative look, and overall impact the creature had on the franchise. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old I went to a friend's house and he had several old Godzilla films I had not seen. When I came over one day he was actually watching one that featured TWO Godzilla monsters. I thought immediately how is this possible?! I saw them fighting and everything. I didn't get an explanation at that moment and was actually left wondering what the hell I saw for several years. It was not until I was around 10 that I had access to the internet and found out about Mechagodzilla. I tracked down a copy of the film and there it was. What I had witnessed was Godzilla fighting his robotic equal! So without spending too much time on my childhood, let's dive into the number two entry in the Godzilla Villain Countdown...MECHAGODZILLA!

MechaGodzilla made his film debut in "Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla" in 1974. At this point the Godzilla franchise was a well oiled machine and had produced films almost on a yearly basis. The films unfortunately had diminished in quality progressively throughout the years, and had turned Godzilla into a cartoon of sorts. But thanks to this film, Godzilla would be taken seriously once again when he would meet a foe that truly was his equal...MechaGodzilla. MechaGodzilla is actually introduced as a clone Godzilla of sorts.

In "Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla" we see Godzilla destroying the city, going on a rampage, despite the fact that he is not a villain at this point. I imagine this puzzled first time viewers of the film as it did the 8 year old me. After Bizarro Godzilla destroys a city he has a fight with his then partner Anguirus, and actually brutally beats him. No comedy to it. I'm sure that was a shocker to the fans considering the light hearted nature of the last couple entries. During this fight a piece of Godzilla's skin is chipped off and it's revealed that there is metal underneath. Well later we soon find out that this Godzilla is a fake, and the real Godzilla shows up. The two beasts battle until the Bizarro Godzilla sheds it's green skin and reveals itself to be MECHA-GODZILLA! The big reveal is a very cool moment. You really get that big fight feel and you know Godzilla will have his hands full. A huge fight ensues and we get to see MechaGodzilla show off all sorts of weaponry. Lasers out of the chest, lasers out of the eyes, rockets out of the fingers, rockets out of the toes, rockets out of the knees, a forcefield, spinning head, and the list goes on. This guy is just loaded to the brim with artillery. Of course eventually Godzilla conquers him and he meets his demise, but it is short lived. MechaGodzilla would return in 1978's "Terror of MechaGodzilla". In both films MechaGodzilla is controlled by ape like aliens bent on world domination, otherwise known as a Tuesday in TOHO Tokyo. In the later films throughout the 80's,90's, and 2000's MechaGodzilla is controlled by the military.

So let's lay out all the different versions of this mechanical beast. There was the original MechaGodzilla 1 which was featured in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and Terror of MechaGodzilla. This one was controlled by aliens and used for evil. Soon after that Godzilla took a long absence. MechaGodzilla would be back in "Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2". In that one MechaGodzilla is actually reverse engineered from parts left over from Mecha King Ghidorah. Then in the 2000's there is a MechaGodzilla referred to as "Kiryu". This one was created using the bones of the original Godzilla. The government had some pretty bizarre ideas at this point. This version was featured in another "Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla" film and a film called "Tokyo SOS".

At this point we are looking at 5 appearances and 3 different forms! That's some star power! After the countless battles with Godzilla, the consistent upgrades, and never say die nature of this monster, I have no doubts that MechaGodzilla deserves the number two spot in this countdown. MechaGodzilla is everything a nemesis should be. Just like Godzilla, he never stays down.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top 5 Godzilla Villains - Number 3

Written by Stu Cooper

We are in the midst of the most villainous countdown in monster history. Today we discuss the number 3 entry in the Top 5 Godzilla Villains countdown. Today's entry is actually the least villainous monster in the countdown, but I still consider this monster a villain. This creature originally started as a nemesis and eventually became an ally, much like Rodan or Anguirus. So clean out your linens and turn off your porch lights, for the number 3 entry I chose...MOTHRA!

Starring in a whopping 13 monster movies, Mothra is staple in the sci-fi monster community. Mothra made her debut in 1961 in the film "Mothra" (modeled after a serialized story written in Japan) in which she was a giant moth like monster that was worshipped on an island as a deity. After making her debut in a solo film, Mothra became quite recognizable and people we're interested. This led to the Godzilla vs. Mothra film which is considered by many to be one of the best Godzilla films. The story in that film revolves around Mothra laying an egg which humans try to take, then Godzilla shows up and battles Mothra. Mothra fails to defeat Godzilla but her two children are born and they battle Godzilla in larva form. It's an incredibly entertaining film and shows off what an interesting monster Mothra is. It also introduces you to the now famous Mothra twins. The Mothra twins are two tiny women who have some kind of psychic link with Mothra. They often sing to Mothra in order to wake her up or give her a command. It's very odd.

After the original Godzilla vs. Mothra, Mothra would go on to be in almost every other Godzilla film. Usually Mothra would show up to help Godzilla but there are a few occasions where Mothra remains neutral. She would go on to appear in several awesome Godzilla flicks including another film devoted to just Her vs. Godzilla, which is also another excellent film. If you're a fan of Mothra then there are plenty of opportunities to see her in battle. She was so popular in Japan that TOHO actually gave her a series of her own called "Rebirth of Mothra". Unfortunately I have not seen that trilogy because they always looked a bit too weird to me, but I'm sure I will give them a chance eventually. I know part 3 in the series features Ghidorah, so it can't be that bad.

Mothra would also appear in several video games including the original NES game, Gameboy game, both SNES and Famicom games, all of the monster battle games, and the list goes on. It's pretty safe to say Mothra ranks among the most successful and popular Godzilla creations. I know technically Mothra is not a villain, but she provided some of the best fights against Godzilla and is one of the few monsters to put Godzilla in his place. Technically BATTRA would be the evil Mothra but with such a small role in only one film, I couldn't really consider Battra to be one of the best. Even tho she is essentially just a giant butterfly/moth, Mothra sports some pretty dangerous moves including the ability to cocoon Godzilla, use some type of pixie dust, wing attacks, and she has no issues picking up Godzilla by the tail and dragging him around. We may not have seen the last of Mothra. It's rumored that the new film features some kind of Mothra related Easter Egg, tho I'm told the flying monster in the trailer has nothing to do with it sadly. I guess time will tell. We may hear those goofy little women sing again someday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top 5 Godzilla Villains - Number 4

Written by Stu Cooper

We are back for Day 2 of my Top 5 Godzilla villains countdown. There are so many amazing villains to choose from. I tried to consider the monster's impact on the series, strength, look, powers, and battles. This led me to include what I would say is the most bizarre entry in my countdown...BIOLLANTE! Biollante may have had only one film appearance but I consider it to be one of the better Godzilla villains. Let's dive into why that is. Number 2...BIOLLANTE!

Biollante made it's Godzilla monster debut in 1989's "Godzilla vs. Biollante". The film was the second in the rebooted Godzilla series. A sequel of sorts to Godzilla 1985 which rebooted the Godzilla look and story. In either an act of laziness or a stroke of genius, the producer of the film Tomoyuki Tanaka asked fans to send in their ideas and designs for a Godzilla villain. Over 5,000 submissions were sent in and Tanaka chose the Biollante design which was created by a dentist who wrote science fiction in his free time. I wonder if the dentist still gets checks from all the times TOHO has used the image and idea? If so, he has a nice little nest egg. The design of the creature is absolutely menacing and bizarre. It's like Audrey II from "Little Shop of Horrors" on steroids. The creature is based off of a flower, so the look is very plant heavy. The creature also has Godzilla's DNA in it, so you get a mutant plant-godzilla hybrid. The end result has to be seen to be believed.

In the film, Biollante is created when a rogue scientist mixes Godzilla's cells with a rose, AND his own daughter's cells. Sounds like a great idea right? Well the creature immediately starts killing people and proves to be a big mistake. It is pretty interesting to see how romanticized the film is. We see lots of beautiful shots of the rose, and there is a strong emotional story featuring the girl whose cells are used. It almost makes you pity Biollante...until it opens it's giant crocodile mouth to reveal thousands of teeth, venom, and a personality that can only be described as demonic. There is also a supernatural element to Biollante since it apparently has psychic powers, which were developed by the scientist. There is some kind of theme in the story about roses having psychic mystic powers. It's a very odd backstory but that's what makes this villain stand out. It's not just another creature that swam off the shores of Monster Island. This creature has a bit of humanity and a bit of the environment tied into it. The death of Biollante is also incredibly ambiguous, so there is always the possibility that Biollante is still alive somewhere out in space.

Biollante has been featured in several Godzilla video games most notably Super Godzilla for the SNES and the Super Famicom fighting game. It's pretty neat to see Biollante in the games because she is so massive. It's a real boss fight feeling just seeing the creature on screen.

I will always consider Biollante one of my favorite Godzilla villains. The creature itself is the largest Godzilla villain to ever grace the screen and that alone says a lot. It was a fair match for Godzilla and was one of the few villains to feature a psychic ability (aside from one other villain we may get to). Biollante is Film Enigma's Number 4 Greatest Godzilla villain of all-time. Check back tomorrow for Number 3!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Top 5 Godzilla Villains: Number 5

Written by Stu Cooper

With the upcoming release of Godzilla I figured I would countdown my top 5 favorite Godzilla villains. As a life long Godzilla fan, I love thinking about this kind of stuff. The villains in the Godzilla franchise are often what makes the films so memorable. It was always amazing seeing Godzilla mow down a city, but introduce some weird alien monster and you have an extra added bit of entertainment. Over the course of 5 days, leading up to the release of the new Godzilla film, I will be counting down. Today I start with number 5...GIGAN!

GIGAN first appeared in "Godzilla vs. Gigan" in 1972. "Godzilla vs. Gigan" is considered one of the worst entries in the Godzilla series, mostly due to it's slow pacing and bad effects. I on the other hand, love this film. I am slightly biased because as a child my local Blockbuster only had two godzilla films, "Godzilla 1985" and "Godzilla vs. Gigan". I grew to love Gigan and Ghidorah because of this. In the film, Gigan is sent to earth, along with King Ghidorah. The monsters are used as tools of destruction for yet another alien takeover on earth. This time the attackers are weird cockroaches that live inside human skin, and did I mention they live in a giant statue of Godzilla?!

Gigan then later appeared in "Godzilla vs. Megalon" in 1973. Gigan appeared to help Megalon try and defeat Godzilla. This film is also considered one of the weaker entries and I don't really remember much about Gigan's role in the film other than the fact that it was small. Gigan would not appear in another Godzilla film until 2004's epic monster rumble "Godzilla: Final Wars". In that film he actually sported a brand new look and ended up being the most intimidating monster in the movie. Fans reacted positively to the makeover and many consider Final Wars to be the perfect final entry to the TOHO Godzilla series. It's unclear if we will ever see Gigan again, but if the new Godzilla film is successful then anything is possible. Gigan did appear one other time, on a show called "Zone Fighter" in which he fought the star monster of the show. I just recently discovered that series so that is something I may have to revisit on here. Gigan has also appeared in a number of Godzilla video games. I remember him most in the NES lost gem "Godzilla". He was one of the bosses, which was great for me as a kid since he was one of the few monsters I was familiar with at a young age.

Gigan comes in at number 5 and it's because of his unique look, deadly weaponry, and frequent appearances in the Godzilla universe. The guy has a chainsaw in his chest and hooks for arms. Do you really need to think about how badass that is? Gigan is a deadly combination of awesomeness. Check back tomorrow to see what monster comes in at number four! At the end of the countdown I will be posting a review of the NEW Godzilla film!

Youtube Gem: Nintendo Training Videos

Written by Stu Cooper

As the youtube generation continues to grow, the library of obscure videos is also growing. I've recently discovered several company training videos that have been uploaded to Youtube, probably by a former employee. I ended up finding some Nintendo oriented ones and since I'm a huge fan of retro gaming, I loved every bit of these. One is about customer scenarios you would encounter in a retail store and the other is about those old nintendo display cases they had in stores. It really does give me a flashback to an early 90's Toys R' Us. Also look closely in the first video and you'll see a cameo by Dr.Phlox from Star Trek Enterprise!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Texas Doomsday Wrestling: The Bunny Boyz

Written by Stu Cooper

The world of wrestling is full of crazy personalities. Whether you're a modern fan, or a fan of the older days, you have probably seen some oddball gimmicks. What you may not have seen is an entire organization of oddball personalities! "Doomsday Wrestling" based out of Houston,Texas is a unique wrestling organization that is all about the comedic value of pro wrestling. They don't take themselves too serious, and neither should you. It's all about having fun and at it's core, that's what pro wrestling should be. If you are a fan of wrestling groups like Chikara, Hoodslam, and 5 dollar Wrestling, then this is the stuff for you.

Over the next couple weeks I'll be profiling the company and some of it's most...interesting characters. The organization has a show coming up on June 7th and it is entitled "Rise Of The Bunny Boyz"! The show will be focused around the tag team "The Bunny Boyz". I like to think of them as Easter bunnies that are sick of Easter. Let's dive a little deeper into the world of the Bunny Boyz shall we?


Hoppity and Hippity

Combined Weight: 634 lbs

Hometown: The Bunny Ranch

Trademark Wrestling Maneuvers: The Lucky Rabbit’s Foot, The Bunny Stomp, Rabbit Stew, The Don’t Worry be Hoppy Legdrop

Career Highlight: The Fabulous BunnyBoyz recently won their first ever match! That makes their win/loss record 1-362! Amazing!

 Fun Fact: Mr. Hoppity and Mr. Hippity credit their success in the world of professional wrestling to training, mental conditioning and a strict diet of nothing but Peeps marshmallow candy.

 Don’t let the fluffy bunny tails and rabbit ears fool you, The Fabulous BunnyBoyz have been wreaking havoc on the tag team division of Doomsday Wrestling for quite some time. Hoppity and Hippity mean business and demand to be taken seriously. “When we hop into the squared circle, our opponents tremble at the sight of us!” says Hoppity. “We’ve seen wrestlers actually burst into tears when they get a glimpse of 634lbs of untamed rabbit fury hippin’ and hoppin’ right at them!” Hoppity often mistakes laughter for crying.

 “And the girls in the crowd! When they see us, they’re like “Oh baby! Oh baby yeah! Give me more of that fluffy stuff!” And then we’re like “Oh yeah! Easter has come early!” comments Hippity as he high fives Hoppity. Hippity often mistakes a slap to the face as a sign of attraction.

 Trained by their father, wrestling legend Peter Rot-N-Hell, The Fabulous BunnyBoyz are second generation wrestling stars. They have faced other elite tag teams such as Milk and Cookies and The Society of Distinguished Gentlemen. On one occasion, they even faced themselves! They both lost.

 Doomsday Wrestling ring announcer Tex Lonestar weighs in on The Fabulous BunnyBoyz. “These guys have it all. Good looks. Great attitudes. And top notch wrestling skill. They’re gonna go all the way to the top! And you can take that to the bank!” Tex Lonestar often mistakes Taco Bell restaurants for banks.

If these guys sound like the kind of characters you'd be interested in seeing then DO NOT MISS the chance to see them LIVE in Houston,Texas on June 7th,2014. More details can be found on the facebook event page HERE