Today In Imagi-Movie History: April 7 – A King is Born

imagi-historyGreetings, Guys and Ghouls!

Ye Olde Dragon here, bringing you the way things were on this date in Imagi-History!

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1974: KRONOS a.k.a. CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER

Directed by: Brian Clemens

Starring: Horst Janson, John Carson, Shane Briant, Caroline Munro and John Cater

Running time: 91 min.

This film gave a unique twist on the standard vampire film. Instead of blood, the vampires in this film drained youth. Part of the fun in this story is that the vampire hunters don’t necessarily have all of the answers and actually have to discover possible ways to destroy this new species of the vampire.

What was meant to be the start of a new franchise series for Britain’s Hammer Films ironically became one of that fabled studio’s last great productions due to the studio’s financial ruin and inevitable closure.

It was very well received initially, and years later became something of a cult classic due to the unique blending of supernatural horror and swashbuckling adventure.

By all means, I think you should check it out if you can find it.

Captain_Kronos

1933: KING KONG

Directed by: Ernest B. Shoedsack and Merian C. Cooper

Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher and Sam Hardy

Running time: 110 min.

I have always maintained that this film has far more importance to film history then it is usually given credit for. It’s certainly a cornerstone in the firmament of Imagi-Movies, because of the sheer amount of inspiration it instilled in so many filmmakers from Ray Harryhausen to Eiji Tsuburaya to Sir Peter Jackson. Just think – without Kong, there’d be no JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS or THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS – which in turn would inspire GODZILLA – and we wouldn’t have THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT Trilogies. Look at the vast amount of films we wouldn’t have today if it weren’t for the Eighth Wonder of the World!
If you have never seen the original, you are truly depriving yourself. Go and find it immediately and watch it. Don’t even think of it as “just another giant monster movie”, because it’s not. It is the first of its kind, and though it was somewhat successful in its initial release, it didn’t gain its status or momentum until a re-release in the 1950s, thereby starting the trend itself.

King-Kong-1933

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Russell Crowe (1964) – GLADIATOR (2000), Maximus
Jackie Chan (1954) – KUNG FU PANDA (2008), Master Monkey (voice) (1 among numerous roles)
Stan Winston (1946) – Special-effects wizard and creature creator extraordinaire.
Francis Ford Coppola (1939) – Director of THE TERROR (1963), DEMENTIA 13 (1963), BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) and quite a few more.
James Garner (1928) – SPACE COWBOYS (2000), Tank Sullivan

sirki-summons2John Agar (2002) John Agar was one of those actors that you would recognize immediately from one 1950s Science-Fiction film or another. He would often be the heroic scientist or police officer that would be out to stop the title monster(s) from TARANTULA (1955) to THE MOLE PEOPLE (1956). He died at the age of 81 in 2002, due to complications from emphysema.

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Donald Gray (1978) though best known as a BBC newsreader and the star of the British TV series MARK SABER, Gray will always be remembered by fans of Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation series CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS (1967 – 68) as the voice of Col. White, the Commander of Spectrum and Captain Black, the Mysteron double agent.

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