Patiño’s Lores and Myths: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

Folks. When I said, “let’s get nuts,” I didn’t think it would get this nuts.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, directed by Jun Fukuda, is the fourteenth film in the franchise and is far removed from its cautionary tale origins. And I do mean far.

Prepare yourself for the ultimate showdown as Godzilla comes face-to-face against Godzilla?! Gasp! Hearsay! It cannot be! Oh, but it is, dear reader. But this isn’t your garden variety double-trouble. No, no, no. This scrupulous imposter is so large and in charge that it’s out of this world. No. Literally. It’s an alien. Mechagodzilla is an alien cyborg created by space aliens from Black Hole Planet 3 whose alien scientists developed cyborg technology to make a robo-weapon Godzilla to take over the Earth. Yup. That’s the story. There are also various B-plots involving a future-seeing priestess, scientists ogling space metals, a pair of archeologists trying to decipher a cave wall prophecy, an Interpol secret agent, and an additional two other kaiju! Oh, and Godzilla. Figure he deserves mention.

Yeah. It’s a lot. And the movie is only 84 minutes long! The crazy thing, though, that despite reading like a cocaine-fueled mad lib, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is precisely the type of over-the-top, fever dream romp that other kaiju flicks wish they could be. You can say it’s dumb, but this movie knows what it is and does not spend a single minute of its runtime apologizing for it. It’s so earnestly silly that I couldn’t help but laugh with and cheer it on. At one point, I scribbled in my notes, “Just go with it.” I ask the same of you, dear reader. Just go with it!

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths: King Kong (1933)

 “And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you anymore, I’m going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive – a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World!”

Welcome back, dear reader, to another trek down Monster Lane. Today’s journey takes us to the mythic Skull Island, home of the mighty Kong, a Hollywood icon unlike any other. Eighty-eight years later and counting, Kong continues to thrill audiences and push the boundaries of VFX filmmaking. It’s fair to say the 1933 King Kong is dated because it is in many ways. But make no mistake. Even after nearly a century’s worth of technological growth and evolution, King Kong’s visual wonders still stand as a benchmark of grade-A movie magic. Hail to the king, baby.

The film kicks off with an overture; a classic movie tradition lost in our current age. Much like the original Godzilla’s opening credits, this starts the movie off on an ominous note, setting the rhythm for a tension-filled adventure. Then, the opening credits; big, bold, powerful—a showy tune of the magnificence the filmmakers hope to impart onto us. It’s old school and wonderful. I couldn’t help but think of Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake while watching this flick. That was the first Kong movie I had ever seen, and it remains a personal favorite. It’s the reason I love Kong! So with this being my first viewing of the original King Kong, I couldn’t help comparing the two during my watch. It was a fascinating exercise because, for all the ways they’re the same, there are some vast divides between them.

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths: Godzilla (1954)

Hello, dear reader! Welcome back for another round of movie talk with this here film geek. If you’re a returning reader, thanks! If you’re new, well, I hope you survive the experience, mwahaha! One thing, though. A slight change in the rhythm. I wasn’t expecting to come back to this blog, but life happens, so here I am. And I wanted to try something different! I delved deep into the recesses of my mind, climbed to the highest mountaintop of thought and shouted to the heavens for an answer. And in the blink of an instant, it came to me! The image of a God. And a King.

If you haven’t heard the news, there’s a brand new Godzilla vs. Kong movie coming out soon. Here’s the trailer:

Before you ask, yes. I have indeed watched the trailer. Twice. Three times. Fine, five ti—alright, ten! Ten times! It’s been a long year without movie theatres, man. This trailer gave me the blockbuster goosebumps. I apologize for nothing. (Pssst. It’s definitely more than ten.)

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: Krampus (2015)

Hello there, dear reader!

It’s that time of the year. The time for community and closeness, love and gratitude, to shower those whom you care for most with affection and merriment when jolly ol’ St. Nicholas sweeps down the chimney to reward all the wonderfully behaved boys and girls. Or, if you’re in this movie, you watch in dismay as a caravan of nightmares parades themselves on your nuclear family as a horned, hooved monster of the ancient dark looms on high, ready to carry all your souls to the bowels of the underworld. Because this ain’t Santa Claus, folks—it’s Krampus.

Krampus, released in 2015, comes from the twisted mind of Michael Dougherty, the man behind my beloved Trick r Treat. This time around, he plays the story straight while still keeping his finger on the pulse of holiday essence. While the film isn’t quite the instant classic that Trick r Treat is, Krampus still manages to be a damn entertaining Christmas horror movie in the vein of Gremlins. Dougherty has a penchant for folklore and legends, dialing in here on an ancient figure with roots in Norse mythology and pagan rites (I swear to God, these damn pagans! If you’ve been with me all semester, you know.).  It can be quite fascinating to see how these bygone characters through a contemporary prism. Although this flick isn’t a through-and-through hit, I appreciate the filmmakers digging deep into our world’s horror culture and shining a spotlight on this darker Christmas spirit.

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Hello, dear reader! Apologies for being away for so long! As I forewarned off the bat, a college student’s prayer. And given time and scheduling, I’ve elected to skip over my post-Halloween blog idea, so my hint at the end of “Trick ‘r Treat” is null and void. Apologies if you’ve been laboriously slaving over the answer for the last month. Perhaps this unimpeachable masterstroke of blog prose will offset any ill will. And also, hopefully, entertain and delight you, dear reader. 

The Mothman Prophecies is a drama/horror/mystery film from director Mark Pellington with a screenplay written by Richard Hatem. The script is based on the book of the same name by John A. Keel. The story follows Washington Post reporter John Klein (Richard Gere), who investigates a series of strange happenings in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, after his wife Mary’s (Debra Messing) unexplained death. The people of Point Pleasant are experiencing bizarre visions and premonitions, claiming sightings of an 8-foot winged entity around town. Initially drawn into the drama under his own set of freaky circumstances, Klein begins to believe that whatever is happening in this small Mountain State town is connected somehow to his wife’s death.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this film’s story is its claim of being based on real events. The book that the script adapts, The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story, is categorized as nonfiction. The novel’s author, John Keel, who passed in 2009, was a journalist and Fortean author. 

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Image by Ria from FLICKR

‘Tis the season, dear reader! Welcome to Trick ‘r Treat, the Mike Dougherty feature that’s all about the best day of the year. Go stuff yourself, Christmas. Halloween is where it’s at! One of my favorite things I’ve done these last few years is sit down with my older brother and have ourselves a little spooky movie marathon on the 31st. We order some junk food, get cozy and punch up our holiday favs: Halloween, The Thing, Evil Dead 2, The Cabin in the Woods and, of course, Trick ‘r Treat. I’d argue no film since John Carpenter’s 1978 classic has captured the Halloween spirit as wholly as Dougherty’s contemporary classic. Clocking in at a lean 82 minutes, Trick ‘r Treat is all killer, no filler; an anthology feature of five stories all coinciding throughout Halloween night. The vignettes each play out their own story and character arcs while maintaining an overall macabre sense of devilish fun.

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: The Wicker Man (1973)

Can we all agree that religion is weird?

Welcome, dear reader! It’s time again to look into the dark and see what stares back. For this go-round, we’ll be exploring the world of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, a one-time underground cult movie that has since broken out to become one of the most revered horror films of all time.

In 1973 Scotland, Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) travels to the remote island of Summerisle to investigate a young girl’s disappearance. There, he encounters unhelpful townsfolk who deny any such girl exists. Unconvinced, Howie begins searching the island, meeting a bizarre pagan culture that directly clashes against his puritan/Christian beliefs. As the mystery unfolds, Howie falls deeper into a realm of rituals and practices that are not entirely holistic.

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Patino’s Lores And Myths In Film: Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse

WARNING: Slight spoilers ahead.

Seagulls. Mermaids. Farts. Oh, my.

Welcome, dear reader. 

The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers, is a black and white nautical thriller starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as a pair of lighthouse keepers sequestered to an island off the coast of New England in the 1890s. As their time wears on, strange happenings begin to root, and the lines between sanity and madness blur into a murky mess.

So, two people, stuck in a cramped space together, with no way out, forced to keep close together for fear of harm or death by the natural elements right outside their front door. That doesn’t sound too familiar, huh? Honestly, who’d have thought this strange tale of seafaring superstition and folklore/mythology remixing would ring so true to now. Sadly, I’m not sure where I’d rather be: here or there.

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Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: The Introduction

Do you like scary stories? The tales that send a wriggling, crawling feeling beneath your skin. The kind that has you skirt the edge of a forest, look under your bed, check the closet and cower beneath the sheets. As strange as it may seem for a species that comes into this world afraid, human beings love to scare each other. And campfire stories tend to be a particular time-honored tradition. What more could you ask for? A dark, chilly night, friends huddled together, the sound of rustling tree branches, chirping crickets and a crackling fire to set the mood. It’s perfect! Those are the types of stories I want to explore.

Image by Pexels by Pixbay

With this blog, I want to look at a specific horror subgenre: folklore. Now, I won’t pretend to be any kind of folklore expert; however, it struck me as the most fascinating in deciding on this blog’s focus. I want to use this space as an opportunity to learn along with you, dear reader. We’ll take this stroll into the shadowy never-ever together! 

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Film Feature: Analysis of The Exorcist by Chris J.Patiño–Lighting the Darkness

The Exorcist: Lighting the Darkness” a film analysis by Chris J.Patiño

There are many ways to paint a picture of fear. For some filmmakers, it’s all in the monster, in showcasing the boogeyman at the center of the story. Others rely on suggestion and mind games to get inside peoples’ heads. Whichever way you cut, it’s all theatricality, and presentation goes a long way into how an audience will react. The Exorcist stands as one of the greatest horror films because of the filmmakers’ mastery over the language of film. Perhaps the film’s strongest element is its depiction of demonic possession. Director William Friedkin’s grounded documentary approach lends the film a sense of realism that is uncommon within the genre. He pays careful attention to making sure the world and the people in it feel authentic and believable. But that does not mean the film lacks artistry. As it happens, it’s the combination of the real with the imaginary that sells the film’s realistic vibe and accentuates the horror of it all. Of the filmmakers’ many technical wizardries, the cinematography, specifically the lighting, captures the character’s internal landscapes of fear as they contend with great evil. It lends to the film’s overall themes of faith and uncertainty. In The Exorcist, expressionistic lighting is tied directly to the human psyche, portraying the inner turmoil of doubt in the face of evil.

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