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  • Terror Beneath the Sea

    Terror Beneath the Sea

    ★★★

    A nonsense script about conquering the world with fish men for because reasons, with thin characters and lots of stuff just happening. But it's so energetic, with slick cinematography, a moody score, and snappy direction, that it's still a lot of fun. Sonny Chiba doesn't get to do much action, but he leads an entire cast that's cranked up to twelve, pouring every drip of emotion they can muster into their clunky lines. Franz Gruber and Peggy Neal are especially mesmerizing in their elevating hamsplosions.

  • Victory Through Air Power

    Victory Through Air Power

    ★★★

    While touted as pure propaganda, this is more an elaborate presentation pitch as Walt Disney backs and trumpets a strategy he wants to sell to politicians and the military. While it is fascinating seeing the artistry of Disney animation applied to moody scenes of war, relentless industry, and mass explosive destruction, it's also a very disturbing piece as the innovations its celebrates are equally horrific in their escalation of violence. It's an odd piece, and oddly motivated, but still striking and well crafted.

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  • Frankenstein vs. Baragon

    Frankenstein vs. Baragon

    ★★★★

    I expected this to just be silly, but while the premise is a bit of a nonsensical hash of Mighty Joe Young and "Chicken Heart", Honda plays it straight with a great sense of atmosphere and scale, and a lead creature who's both frightening and sympathetic. We can argue the merits of the makeup, but I love the speed of Frankenstein, and both his instinctual impulsiveness and his ingenuity as he makes tools of the environment around him. There's a…

  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

    ★★★★

    There's a lot going on in this one, and I dug all of it. Alien possession, meteorites, political assassins, the twins on a variety show tour, cops and reporters trying to put it all together, and thankfully halted shock therapy! Yeah, it plays the monsters pretty camp, batting rocks back and forth, and Muppet chuckling at each other. But the story has a wonderful build, everything converges beautifully, and as silly as the scene of Mothra convincing the others to…