Thursday, April 8, 2021

Episode 72: It's on like Donkey Kong! Godzilla vs. Kong!

 


It's here, the first really BIG movie of 2021: Godzilla vs. Kong! Whether you saw it at home on HBO Max or caught it in an actual theater, this definitely felt like the first real event film of the year. Your intrepid Planet 8 crew all saw the film as soon as it was out (some of us staying up into the wee hours of the night) and are here to share our thoughts and impressions on this latest entry in Legendary's monsterverse.

Be prepared for SPOILERS AHEAD!!!


The question everyone is asking is, whose side are you on? And our team was divided. Commander Larry and Chief Engineer Bob are long-time Godzilla devotees, while Recon Officer Karen is a fan of the big ape. But despite our differences, we were able to come together and talk about how we enjoyed this film. And we did enjoy the movie! It's a huge popcorn movie, full of a lot of crazy pseudoscience, a lot of callbacks to older films, and some really exciting monster battles. Although we might at times be nostalgic for the men-in-suits eras, there's no denying how fantastic the CGI looks in this film (and its predecessors).  And we get to the action pretty quickly.


This movie is sort of like a supreme pizza: it's just got everything sprinkled all over it. There's a trip to the Hollow Earth, swimming Godzilla, evil businessmen, a giant ape wielding an axe,  crazy conspiracy theorists, ape sign language, and ...Mechagodzilla! It's best if you just sort of turn off the critical thinking part of your brain and relax when you watch. But there's still a lot to wonder about. Who built the amphitheater in the Hollow Earth? Will we eventually see aliens in a Legendary film? What monster will we see next?


Maybe the best thing about Godzilla Vs. Kong was how excited we all felt about watching a movie again. In some ways, it felt like a bit of a return to normalcy. We hope the movie does well and that we get more entries in the series.


In other news,  on our YouTube channel, we reached 100+ subscribers -thank you very much! - so you can now access our videos by going to YouTube.com/Planet8podcast. If you haven't caught our latest video episode on American International Pictures with Lord Blood-Rah, please head on over and check it out. And let us know what you think!


This week, our Sensor Sweep starts with a memorial to Cleve Hall, "The Monster Man." As we recorded this episode, we had just heard of his passing. Cleve had made monster suits and make-ups for innumerable films and projects. Cleve was known for being very approachable at shows and was a true fan himself. The community is poorer for his loss.


In brighter news, Chief Engineer Bob's Bay Area Film Events will host Godzilla's Monster Bash at the Balboa Theater in San Francisco on May 14-16. There will be 10 Godzilla films, celebrating the 60th  anniversary of Mothra, and the 50th anniversary of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. If you're in the area - or even if you're not - order your tickets and come have a great time!

All right folks, that's it for now. Let us know what you thought of Godzilla vs. Kong by leaving a comment here, or contacting us at one of our other sites: 

So long from Monster Island!



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Video episode 7: All about AIP, American International Pictures

 



Join us for an all new video episode, where the crew and special guest Lord Blood-Rah discuss the amazing films of AIP, American International Pictures!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Episode 71: Bewitched by Wandavision

 


The first Marvel TV show on Disney + has completed its run -Wandavision! Like everyone else, your Planet 8 crew was glued to their screens, watching the show and trying to figure out what was going on! There were so many rumors and theories put forth by fans that it was hard to watch without any preconceived notions. And the sitcom veneer was unusual, and at first was a bit off-putting, but as we made our way into the show, we all came to really enjoy it!

Just a warning: as usual this post and episode is SPOILER-FILLED, so proceed at your own risk!

Once again, Marvel has taken some deep comic book history and woven it into a TV show, which is impressive enough. Hey, we never imagined we would see these characters in live action! But then, the show took on a bigger topic of grief and depression, which was totally unexpected. The way the show managed to portray Wanda's suffering over the loss of her brother and the Vision was truly moving. 

It was also just great to see more of Wanda and the Vision, two characters we liked but didn't get to see a lot of in the films. Here, the events revolve around them, although at first we're not really clear about what's going on. The mystery is part of the fun of watching the show. We also were pleased to see a number of other characters show up, like Darcy and Jimmy Woo.


Of course new characters were introduced too, most notably Monica Rambeau and Agatha Harkness. Monica seems destined to go on to super-herodom, whether as Photon or Spectrum, remains to be seen. Agatha is still around and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her show up again. Besides, she had the best theme song!

We also have a new version of the Vision, the white Vision, running around. Where will he show up next? And what will he be like? Will he and Wanda get together again?


So many questions! It's the mark of a good show that we are left wanting more. Wandavision has just left us more excited for Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as well as Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and all the other Marvel projects to come.


Before we get to the Sensor Sweep, we'd like to once again thank you listeners, for nominating Planet 8 for the Rondo Awards for Best Multimedia Site. It's an honor to be nominated for a second time for this award, which is voted on by the fans. We would be so grateful if you would consider going the final distance and voting for us in Best Multimedia Site. There are also many other categories you can vote in, such as Best Horror Host, where our friends Lord Blood-Rah and Mr. Lobo are both nominated. Check out the Rondo Award site here for details on how to vote. Note: unlike what we said in the podcast, you can only vote ONCE! 

For this episode's Sensor Sweep, Commander Larry shares a truly mammoth tome, The Stan Lee Story published by Taschen. At a huge 11.5" by 17" and 17 pounds, this book is not only a testament to Stan the Man, it's a commitment! Written by rascally Roy Thomas, it covers Stan's life and is stuffed full of art and photos. If you have the dough -and it's a wallet-busting $200 -then it can be yours. You can buy at the Taschen site, Amazon, or check your local bookseller.

All right folks, we hope you enjoyed our discussion of Wandavision and the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Please let us know your thoughts on the show and beyond. Once again, thank you for listening and supporting Planet 8!

Remember-it was Agatha all along!



Monday, March 8, 2021

Episode 70: Feeling the Burn: A look at Star Trek Discovery

 


On this episode we will go where no one on Planet 8 has gone before: we will review Star Trek Discovery! Once again, we are joined by our good friend, horror host extraordinaire and Star Trek aficionado, Lord Blood-Rah, as we look at all three seasons of Discovery and discuss our overall impressions of the show. A lot of times we are mostly in agreement about shows; in this case, we range widely in our perceptions of Discovery! Who likes Discovery? Who doesn't? Listen and find out!


We'll look at how Discovery fits -or doesn't fit -into Star Trek canon, and what the move 1,000 years to the future means. There are many unique elements to Discovery -things like the spore drive, Michael Burnham being Spock's sister, new alien races and new characters. Fans seem to either love them or hate them. Does Discovery work being set in the past, or would it have been better to set it in Trek's future?

Lord Blood-Rah brings up the fact that it was originally conceived as an anthology show, similar to how American Horror Story has worked. Would that have made for a more interesting show? Focusing on a new story, with a new crew, every season, would have made for a very different type of Star Trek show. Would that have been a better direction to go?


Each season of Discovery has certainly been different, since the show is serialized and follows one storyline per season. The first season we got the Klingon war and the Mirror universe, the second season was about the Red Angel, and the third season was the jump to the future and 'The Burn.' Does Star Trek work well as serialized TV, or is it better as episodic TV, maybe with just some short story arcs?

Like most Star Trek fans, once you get us going, the discussion goes all over, as we talk about lumpy headed Klingons vs. flat-headed Klingons, the Enterprise series, Orion slave girls, and more. If you're a Trekker, Trekkie, or however you identify in your Trek fandom, you'll be right at home.


Following our Discovery discussion, we share our thoughts on the recent news that Fry's Electronics was going the way of the dodo. Fry's were always fun and amazing to venture into, with their various themes -especially the Burbank, California one, with its sci fi B-movie theme. Be sure to share with us your memories of going to Fry's.


For the Sensor Sweep, Lord Blood-Rah can reveal what he only hinted at last time around: he has started a Patreon! For the $5 level, you can get a newsletter with upcoming events, and a signed photograph. But for $10, you get that, a geek certificate, AND  access to a new weekly show, Lord Blood-Rah's Cathode Zone! The show will feature sci fi and horror TV shows from the golden days of TV. Check out Lord Blood-Rah on Patreon !


Late-breaking news: Planet 8 has once again been nominated for the Rondo Awards! Thank you, listeners, for getting us our second nomination. We are thrilled! To take it all the way, we kindly ask that you vote for us for Best Multimedia Site (category 19) here.  Instructions are on the webpage. Thanks again for listening and for sending your comments to our website, or our other locations:

Live Long and Prosper. And stay safe.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Episode 69: Travelling through Lovecraft Country


In this SPOILER-FILLED episode, your Planet 8 crew, plus our special guest, Lord Blood-Rah, explore the HBO mini-series, Lovecraft Country! We  will discuss the show from top to bottom, so if you haven't seen it yet, you may want to check it out and then come back! But if you have already watched the show, grab a beverage, get in a comfy chair, and join us for a wide-ranging convo!

The show is based off a book by Matt Ruff, but as we note, it is based loosely on that novel. Both the book and show take inspiration from the strange works of author H.P Lovecraft, probably best known today for creating the bizarre elder being Cthulhu and its ilk. It's come to light that Lovecraft was a racist, and by using his works as a background for telling a tale about the racist, segregated America of the 1950s, and making the protagonists African American, it really turns the Lovecraft milieu on its ear. It's a fascinating combination of fantastical horror and real-life horror - as Commander Larry points out, do you run from the monsters or the people?

The show is beautifully made - the production values are amazing. It's also more than a little gory, which was too much for Recon Officer Karen! But much of the gore is in service of allegory. We'll discuss how Lovecraft Country uses allegory in ways similar to Twilight Zone. Social injustice has always been a concern of fantasy and science fiction and this show continues that tradition powerfully, by looking at not only racism, but also sexism and sexuality.

It manages to incorporate many real world elements, such as the Tulsa Massacre, the Emmett Till trial, and more, which makes it feel so very relatable. The characters too, are well-drawn, with good qualities and flaws, achingly human. The leads, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, bring Leti and Atticus to life. As the series goes on, we really get to know them and understand why they are who they are. Considering they only have 10 episodes, it's tremendous work.

We'll talk about the most shocking moments in the show -and there were many! This is a show heavy in imagery. It sticks with you long after the episodes are over. We all got freaked out by those spooky little girls from the episode "Jig A Bobo"! We'll also go over some of our favorite moments in the show. There are a lot of magical, even beautiful moments and we really enjoyed that aspect of the show as well. 

Apparently HBO plans to make a second season, so we look forward to that, although we're a little perplexed about what direction it might go! Perhaps a time jump to the 1960s?

For our Sensor Sweep, we turn to our guest, Lord Blood-Rah, to discuss his many projects! Unfortunately there are still no live shows right now, but fingers crossed,  Creatures Con is planned for August 8th at the Crowne Plaza in Concord, California. This year's show will be celebrating 90 years of the Universal Monsters! David J. Skal, author and audio commentator, will be the con's special guest. Season 11 of Lord Blood-Rah's Nerve Wrackin' Theatre will be going into production. You can go to the site to find out where you can watch or stream the show.  Soon our good Lord will have a new weekly show coming exclusively to Patreon, so keep your ears open for that.  And hey, Lord Blood-Rah will be joining us for our next episode, to talk about Star Trek Discovery!

That brings us to a close this time. Let us know what you thought of Lovecraft Country. Did you enjoy it? Did it make you think? What do you think season two will be about? As always, you can leave comments here on our site, or reach out to us at our other locations:

Stay safe! Whether you travel through Lovecraft Country, or more earthly realms.


Monday, February 8, 2021

Episode 68: HAL, open the podcast ap. It's 2001: A Space Odyssey!



 

Your Planet 8 crew has explored many realms of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but this time we are taking on one of the all-time greats: Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Still considered by many to be the finest science fiction film ever made, Kubrick, along with science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, developed a sweeping epic about mankind's place in the universe. It took almost three years from conception to the film's premiere in April 1968. Audiences had never seen anything like it, and many were simply dumbfounded by the ambiguity of the film. With 2001, Kubrick wanted to go outside conventional storytelling techniques and give the audience  "basically a visual, nonverbal experience" that "hits the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does." The film seems to be rather polarizing, with people either enjoying the mystery of it or finding the whole thing annoying.


Your crew has various levels of enthusiasm for 2001! Some of us -OK, one of us (Karen) loves the film! Other crew members are perhaps not quite as enthusiastic. But we all can agree on its importance to science fiction, and film in general. Without 2001, and the vast technological advancements it made, we certainly wouldn't have had Star Wars, or Battlestar Galactica, Space:1999, and pretty much everything that has been made after it. The pioneering techniques of Douglas Trumbull, Stuart Freeborn, and so many others paved the way for the science fiction films we all know and love. The effects still look surprisingly good today. 


Of course, the movie was made during the height of the space race, and that enters our conversation too. Kubrick and Clarke wanted to create something that showed the beauty and wonder of space exploration, and how it was mankind's destiny to leave Earth -the cradle -and go beyond. Certainly, the film must have had a different impact on audiences viewing it in 1968 than in 2021. 


2001 is nothing if not thought-provoking, and we get into some pondering of our own, as we wonder about the meaning and function of the mysterious monoliths, if progress is always fueled by aggression, what happened to HAL, and man's place in the cosmos. But hey, it's not all deep thoughts! You can be sure we'll talk about things like wobbly space stewardesses, cockney HAL, and Arthur C. Clarke in a towel!


Fittingly, our Sensor Sweep this time around centers on a massive tome, Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson. If you're a fan of 2001 or Stanley Kubrick, this is a fascinating look at how the film came together, from the initial meetings of Kubrick and Clarke, to preproduction and all the way to the film's reception by critics and audiences. It's amazing in its depth and detail. You can find it on Amazon, and be sure to check your local bookseller too.

That's all for us this time - we're shutting the pod bay doors now! Send final transmissions to:

This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Episode 67: Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!


 

After nearly three years of podcasting on all things fantastic, we are finally getting around to one of the most fantastic, entertaining shows ever made: the 1960s classic, Lost in Space! We'll dive into the origins of the show, how it got made, what was in the pilot (which was never shown on TV), and some of the other actors considered for the roles of the Jupiter 2 crew. Can you say Carroll O'Connor??


Of course, you can't talk about Lost in Space without talking about the triumvirate of the Robot, Dr. Smith, and Will Robinson. Over the course of the first season and definitely by the second, these three characters became the focus of the show. We'll share thoughts and stories about them, as well as the rest of the Jupiter 2 crew. Maybe even Debbie the Bloop!


Your Planet 8 crew also talks about the special effects of Lost in Space. While people tend to focus on some of the cornier aspects of the show, it actually had some very cool effects - the scenes of the Jupiter 2 flying over planets look spectacular, for example. And of course, the Robot was great, and you had the chariot as well.


We'll reminisce about favorite episodes, what we liked about the show, and what hits us differently as adults as opposed to when we were kids. Oh, and how can we forget the music by John Williams? Yes, that John Williams! Years before Jaws or Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, Williams scored a 60s TV show.  Lost in Space had some pretty terrific themes and incidental music which really set the show apart. 


For our Sensor Sweep...well, we actually forgot to prepare a Sensor Sweep! Just for fun, we left in our mad scramble to come up with something on the fly. Luckily Bob checked his recent Amazon purchases and found The Lost Adventures of James Bond by Mark Edlitz! This book covers all the films and shows that could have been made -but weren't -for James Bond. It's a must for any Bond fan.

With that, we bid you all adieu - let us know your thoughts on Lost in Space. Did you watch it as a kid? What do you remember? Have you watched it lately? Let us know what you think:

Oh, you blithering booby!