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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:07 am 
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Yojimbo wrote:
Just watched 'The Living Skeleton', and what a surprise after the cheesiness of 'X': this is a highly effective, and efficient piece of film-making, which even if it uses a whole clutch of familiar horror-film tropes, uses them in a well-balanced way.
Nicely paced, well-acted, and with a suitably spare, - even haunting, - soundtrack, with particularly effective harmonica and flute solos, this one certainly belongs, at the very least, among the top rank of second division horror films, and indeed is not flattered by comparisons with the Val Lewton RKO horror films
('Skeleton' is certainly superior to 'Ghost Ship', the Lewton which it perhaps bears most comparison with)

I'm with Yojimbo on the music in The X and The Living Skeleton, and in the first, the inventive, modern arrangements combined nicely with the spaceship sets to keep the interest going before the real action kicked in. It made me wish I could hear many albums' worth of this kind of studio music. In The Living Skeleton, the harmonica reminded me of Morricone's amazingly original use of it in Once Upon a Time in the West, but that couldn't have been an in influence on the music in Living Skeleton because the latter predated the release of the Leone film.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:12 am 
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knives wrote:
The Living Skeleton is indeed the superior film of this set, though I personally prefer the Lewton you referenced. Goke is very good and seems to have been an inspiration for Miike while, as I already mentioned, Genocide is awful is a really fascinating way like some of the more offensive '80s Italian horrors.

The case notes for Goke suggested comparisons with Peter Jackson's 'Braindead' might be appropriate, knives.
Not in plot, or theme, so much, as in sustained gross-out
Anyway, this one's next in my viewing line


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:50 am 

Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 5:54 pm
I wrote some words about each of these films on my horror blog earlier this month after watching the set. You can check that post out here, if you desire. In short, this is a fascinating, bizarre, and diverse collection of films (one of my favorites in the Eclipse line so far). It's kind of staggering that they were all produced over only two years, and it's a shame Shochiku's horror aesthetic wasn't allowed to develop after that (though they did nearly summarize much of genre horror in the '60s with these four).


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:32 pm 
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I think it is nothing even in gross-out terms to the Jackson as it never really does anything gross. It's more of a sustained weirdness where logic doesn't exist in normal terms.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:00 pm 
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knives wrote:
I think it is nothing even in gross-out terms to the Jackson as it never really does anything gross. It's more of a sustained weirdness where logic doesn't exist in normal terms.

I'll probably watch it this evening, anyhow.
Already it looks like Eclipse have scored another winner


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:54 pm 
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knives wrote:
I think it is nothing even in gross-out terms to the Jackson as it never really does anything gross. It's more of a sustained weirdness where logic doesn't exist in normal terms.

Just watched it: those final five minutes were glorious, and there was some intermittent fun in the airplane conflict scenes, but I just thought those airplane scenes were stretched too thin, often creating tedium, rather than building tension.

The extended spat between the politician and the contractor was fun, though.
The blonde looked like she was modelled on the contemporary Jane Fonda look, - even 'Barbarella', without the outfits
(and it was funny reading the co-pilot provide more detail in the translation, than she was saying)

As the disk notes mentioned similarities to Romero and Fulci; but I'd also say the original 'Invasion of the Body-Snatchers'


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
In The Living Skeleton, the harmonica reminded me of Morricone's amazingly original use of it in Once Upon a Time in the West, but that couldn't have been an in influence on the music in Living Skeleton because the latter predated the release of the Leone film.

My thoughts, exactly; Greg. I wonder did Leone, or anybody connected with him, see this film.
The similarities were uncanny


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
It made me wish I could hear many albums' worth of this kind of studio music.

You might find what you're looking for in these Ultra-Lounge series, Greg. I've got a whole bunch of this series. They're great fun. This one might be a good place to start, given the theme.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:36 am 
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Thanks, I long ago added much of the North American space-age/Stereo Action-type stuff to the vinyl vault after buying up a lot of it in Iowa (and please let no one assume that appreciation of this music is "ironic," as I often read in ignorant/presumptuous accounts referencing the "space age bachelor pad" rediscovery; I love that stuff in the most basic form of appreciation, and the best of this stuff showed a superb grasp of creative arrangement). I just wish more of the international soundtrack/incidental/studio music sounds of that era, such as those from Japan, were available (most of it has been tossed out, and there's little interest in what survives). Even the music from the later Ozu films has not been widely available.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Cinemassacre's Mike Matei's review of The X from Outer Space (though he misses/underscores most of the hilarity)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:20 am 
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
I don't know who telecined "The X From Outer Space" at Shochiku, but hopefully the guy was fired. It looked atrocious. Severely windowboxed inconsistently, with the right side having more black sometimes, then the left side at times, fuzziness on the side of the picture, again sometimes right and sometimes left, interlaced combing, soft focus, and very dirty special effects matte shots.

I know Eclipse titles are not remastered like the main titles, but Criterion really should've looked at this and said to Shochiku, "Hmm, no, let's not use this particular master"...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am
It's very squished too.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:40 am 
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Besides the bad master for "The X From Outer Space", these movies are a lot of fun, although the biggest drawback is the very low budget for the special effects and probably low experience of the special effects craftsmen. Nowhere near what Toho was doing at the time. It's also fun to see familiar faces all over, from the most well known half-Japanese actor of the era Masumi Okada, to the most prolific black minor character actor Chico Roland.

Remember to leave logic behind while watching these movies. (Like in "Goke": Oh, guess absolutely nobody in economy class survived, so no reason to look there for survivors!)

And as this comparison by DVDFreak shows, the US and Japanese DVDs of "X" look exactly the same


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:08 am 
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This was one of my Christmas gifts this year, available from Alternate Histories - who are great, they have all sorts of similarly hilarious prints.

Image

And yes, thats Mt Hood, not Fuji.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 9:51 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am
Look what came to Japanese blu-ray - http://exploderbutton.com/exploder/disc ... u-blu-ray/


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