special effects

Skeery Stuff: Tales from the Darkside: Inside the Closet

Tales from the Darkside was an anthology TV series from the 1980s produced by George A. Romero. Each episode was an individual short story that ended with a plot twist, and Tales from the Darkside centered mostly around horror stories. However, the series contained some episodes which would more likely be considered science fiction or fantasy-based, as well as some episodes which were more comical and lighthearted in tone.

Clip from “Inside the Closet”, one of my favorites, and one which utilizes puppetry.

Ms. Ainsley, a young graduate student, shows up to rent the last room available in the town. This room is in the house of the reserved, stoic Dr. Fentry, Dean of Veterinary Science. The room used to belong to Dr. Fentry’s daughter, Margret, but now retains a door to a very short closet as the only reminder of her. Despite the doctor’s assures that the door doesn’t open, it is quite active.
Directed by Tom Savini,award-winning special effects and makeup artist.

The effects are, of course, cheesy by today’s standards, but that’s probably why these type shows are so dear to my heart. I’m sure back then they caused quite the distress in the under-10 category, however.

TFTDS Episode Synopses here.

All the full versions of this episode have been removed from YouTube, so there’s no way to show the terrific payoff at the end, which I’ll put under a cut:


Kaiju: Japanese Movie Monsters!

I learned a new word yesterday:Kaiju, which is a Japanese word that means “strange beast,” but often translated in English as “monster.” Essentially, they are the giant, city-stomping, roughly-humanoid monsters in Japanese special effects movie franchises such as Godzilla,Gamera,Mothra, Rodan, The Space Giants, Ultraman,etc.Since these are monsters, and are always brought to life with the help of costumes and some puppetry, I feel that they definitely belong in my blog.

I was inspired two times yesterday on kaiju.
First, an entry by my friend voodoochild9, in which she’s making some great little Beatles cartoon strips and one plot involves the boys turning into movie monsters Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and Gamera.I definitely want to stick around for that.

The second instance of kaiju yesterday features in the blog of Jorge Garcia(“Hurley” in the show Lost), as he explains a film term he’s never heard before.

I’ve always liked Godzilla, but I think I liked the array of monsters in the Gamera series the most. However, the show “The Space Giants” probably had more monsters whose names I can actually remember, and I watched it after school every day as a kid.

My favorite kaiju of all, however, comes from the Gamera series.He is from the fifth Gamera movie, and he’s called Guiron:

Guiron has all the basic traits of being a costumed-human-as-monster: legs and arms, human proportions, etc. Except for two things: he often travels on all fours, and above all, his most obvious feature—THAT HEAD. He has a gigantic blade that he sports on his head, which is nearly as long as his body.A really nifty fact is that due to the lack of distinction in Japanese between the “l” and “r” sounds, Guiron is actually named after the guillotine.
Hence, my lead into this great spoof artwork I found: