Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet Oct. 2, 2015 - Spectreman (Overlord Revealed!)

Episode Selections:
55 - Order: Assassinate Spectreman
56 - Cosmic Hitman Comet Mask

     There are only four more weeks to go before #GHWP and Spectreman have their final face-off with the mad Dr. Gori and his henchman Karas, and the last nine episodes promise a lot of action and surprises. If the last two weeks weren't any indication that martial arts action is the new status quo of the series, this week's story brings the point home, kicking into high gear immediately as Spectreman is locked in combat with a group of alien assassins known as the Mantra Brothers.

I said no autographs, please!

     Spectreman makes quick work of them, but he is soon taken down... only to reveal that he wasn't Spectreman at all but the Mantra Brothers' father dressed as the hero for a training exercise. A young boy named Jimmy is discovered watching from the bushes, and the Mantras give chase. As George and the Pollution Research Bureau and Monster Squad of Alien Fighting G-Men (not their official name... but they sure do wear a lot of hats depending on the week) detect a space craft landing in the vicinity, Jimmy encounters another strange figure... with a cowboy hat, a mask, and a Texan accent. The masked man tells Jimmy he has nothing to fear, and he tells the boy quickly to hide under his cape from the pursuing aliens

Perhaps we should take a moment to remind the audience that you should talk to your children about hiding under strange men's capes.
     That's right, folks. It's Spectreman with a Western flair this week with the Lone Comet. The alien assassins encounter the Lone Comet. After a snarky and provocative exchange between Comet and the Mantras in which it is revealed that Lone Comet is a hired killer with a price on his head, Comet tells them that he knows Dr. Gori hired them to kill Spectreman and that Comet has come to Earth to "watch the shootout."
     Comet helps Jimmy return safely to his village, but he doesn't have much time to tell them of the Mantra Brothers' plans before the Mantras attack and slaughter the villagers to make sure none of their assassination plans are revealed. Jimmy escapes and is picked up by a passing truck driver, blowing the Mantra Brothers' secrecy completely when George and the G-Men quickly find out about the village massacre. The Mantras' cowardly attack on defenseless innocents also puts them in Lone Comet's sights, and Comet warns the Mantra Brothers that they'll have to deal with him if Jimmy comes to harm. The G-Men run afoul of the Mantras disguised as humans, and the real Spectreman finally engages in battle with them. The Mantras have a secret weapon up their sleeve, and they assault Spectreman's circuits with a concoction of corrosive chemicals that turns the tide in their favor. Before Spectreman can be defeated, the honorable Lone Comet comes to his rescue, separating him from the mercenaries and forcing them to retreat. Unfortunately, Lone Comet didn't save Spectreman just for the sake of honor. Comet confesses that he's gotten tired of hunting scum across the galaxy, and he wants a worthy challenge. The Lone Comet wants to face Spectreman in a contest of strength... but Comet follows the rules of the Old West. At high noon, only one of them will walk away.

     Seriously wounded, Spectreman must return to Nebula Star to heal in preparation for his battle against both the Mantra Brothers and Lone Comet, prompting the shockling(ly nonchalant and mellowed-out) revelation of the face of Overlord, so you won't want to miss this yeehaw and giddyup Spectreman story Friday night at 1AM EST. Stay tuned to the #GHWP hashtag on Twitter for reminders and details.

The face of Overlord finally will be revealed.

Friday, September 25, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet September 25, 2015 - Spectreman

Important Note: There will be no #GHWP live tweet for this coming Tuesday, September 29, 2015. The usual Spectreman will, however, be live tweeting next Friday, October 2, 2015, as we move into the final ten episodes of the series.

Mark your calendars! The final three episodes of Spectreman will be live tweeting on Friday, October 23, 2015. It's been a long journey, but we made it.

Episode Selections:
52 - Operation: Capture Monster Mound Dragon
53 - The Iron Claws of Horror
54 - Pulverize The Computer Monster

     George and the G-Men have their own neat little flag this week and some new weaponry for their fight against pollution, er, giant monsters, er, whatever.

Goooooooooo G-Men! Yaaaaaaay!

      First, another rare single-episode story when a dinosaur erupts from beneath the earth, and the G-Men are on the scene with a new set of anesthetic pellet guns in hopes of, for once, catching a monster alive. The Mound Dragon, a long-necked nondescript dinosaur, is interesting in how much it resembles the Plesiosaur in Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds in both its appearance and the obvious wire control of its long neck. Companies like Spectreman's P Productions and Legend's Toei didn't have a Toho budget for additional time and wire support of monsters like King Ghidorah or Kumonga, so there is a lot of floppy flailing going on.

     The G-Men succeed, and George leads a great big giant monster convoy back to the city. George's cybernetic nerves are on edge when he notices a strange object in the sky following the vehicles with his enhanced vision, but he can't tell the others about the presence without threatening his secret identity. The strange object is, in fact, Dr. Gori's latest creation, the Vulture Bird Man. Last week's episodes put forth the notion that the Igorians could have been inspired by the Kamen Rider Shocker troops, and the mutant Vulture Bird Man this week certainly adds a bit more credence to that idea.

     The Vulture Bird Man is waiting upon Gori's orders for the perfect moment to wake up the Mound Dragon to cause destruction, and Spectreman faces a dilemma when one of George's close friends and fellow G-Men Otto is swallowed alive by the Mound Dragon.

      After Spectreman's battle with the Vulture and the Mound Dragon, it's another standard two-episode story with another group of aliens called the Grass Men invading a small village. It seems cliche, but, when you think about it, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers formula always does seem to come closest to success every time. Invaders can go unnoticed for a long period of time, and the unmolested land often holds a large cache of natural resources. From inside the brain of a giant computerized monster, it is those natural resources that the Grass Men seek, namely uranium.

Among our weaponry are a giant mechanical claw, a giant suction device... and a nifty typewriter.
     Remaining underground, the Grass Men evade detection until the Pollution G-Men manage to get photographic evidence of a massive iron claw and vacuum machine that nearly destroy the village. When the G-Men investigate the source of the disturbance, however, they find that the villagers themselves don't believe a monster is responsible. Instead, they attribute the earthquakes threatening their village to the anger of the gods, and they blame two orphan children-- a boy named Ken (Another kid named Ken! Drink!) and his blind younger sister-- for being "godless" and "lying" about the existence of the Grass Men.

If not for George and the G-Men, we'd probably have another Grave of the Fireflies on our hands this week.

     The G-Men witness the villager's cruelty toward the children, but there is little they can do to persuade the villagers otherwise. The G-Men follow the exiled children into the fields, and-- SPONTANEOUS ACTION! The Grass Men attack out of nowhere, and the G-Men soon discover that the villagers don't know the Grass Men exist because the alien invaders can turn themselves into tumbleweeds. When the alien computer is revealed, the stupid villagers still want to blame Ken for the loss of their loved ones despite George's insistence that the monster wants the uranium hidden beneath their village's soil. The Grass Men soon combine to form a gigantic Grass Monster, and it's up to Spectreman to destroy it.

I wish my brother Swamp Thing could see me.

     But the destruction of the Grass Monster doesn't bring things to a close yet, folks. Once Spectreman discovers their true weakness, the massive computer monster's iron claw springs from the ground to attack Spectreman... and when the G-Men finally find George unconscious, he wakes up with amnesia.

Best claw prize game ever.

    Can Ken find a way to convince the villagers that he is telling the truth and not just some godless little heathen? How will George regain his lost memory so that Spectreman can defeat the computer monster and the Grass Men once and for all? Find out on #GHWP at 12:30PM EST tonight after #Bmoviemaniacs' presentation Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet Friday Sep 18, 2015 - Spectreman

Episode Selections:
50 - Smash Alien Igorl
51 - Riddle of the Cobalt Monster

     Dr. Gori outsources again this week for some help with his latest plan to create a radioactive cobalt bomb. It's a definite step up from his last alien temp worker hire when he took over a small village with alien frog men, and George and the Pollution G-Men have their hands full when brain-controlling aliens called the Igorians take over a mining town. George and friends investigate a strange energy source in the mining town, and they find all of the townspeople in a trance. Apparently having no physical form of their own, the Igorians use the energy source to invade and possess the minds of human hosts, transforming them into agile and faceless killing machines.

With inexplicably adorable kitten ears.

     I have to wonder if the introduction and success of Toei's Kamen Rider had any influence on this story because it is perhaps the most choreography-heavy action story in the series involving the human cast.

Eeeeeee! (I fully expect maybe three people will get that joke.)

      The G-Men struggle to fend off the Igorian assault, and the human cavalry is vastly outnumbered. Things get even worse when Gori unleashes the mighty Cobalt Dragon from the depths of the Earth to carry out the rest of his plan. Absorbing the radiation from the Cobalt-40 in the Earth, the Cobalt Dragon is a walking time bomb building to critical mass. If Gori's plan succeeds, the Cobalt Dragon's meltdown will blanket the planet with radiation and destroy all life on its surface. 

How many monsters has Gori already turned into walking bombs? I think they need to unionize.

      Luckily, Spectreman shows up to save the day.. but wait. George is Spectreman, and he's been injured and is unable to transform. Only George knows that this battle between an impostor Spectreman and the Cobalt Dragon must be a hoax to throw the humans off Gori's trail, but he can't convince them of the truth without revealing his identity. The G-Men believe the Cobalt Dragon threat to be extinguished, but the mysteries of the impostor Spectreman and the source of the Igorians' power still remain. Gori's plan is far from finished, and the people of the mining town only think they are free from Igorian control.

The Black Kitten Squadron takes no prisoners.
     Find out what happens next this Friday night, September 18, at 12:45AM EST (subject to a possible delay of 15-30 minutes). Watch the #GHWP hashtag after #Bmoviemaniacs for the playlist link and official concrete start time. As always, I advertise heavy on Twitter, so follow @QuandaryMan to keep up with all of the #GHWP details for current and future live tweet events.

Monday, September 14, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - Ulysses 31 Test Run & More The Hypnotic Eye

     I've been thinking ahead about what I intend to do when Spectreman eventually runs its course. There are 16 episodes until the finale as of this writing, and padding them out with reruns doesn't prevent the fact that the series will be done in November. My rerun Tuesdays don't get a lot of traffic, and although I imagine I will run the entire series through a second time, there is a lot more out there. It's hard to top Spectreman with the weird and obscure, and there is almost no other tokusatsu material available on YouTube in a complete form to suggest it being worth making a new live tweet subject.

     I would very much like to do the series Kamen Rider Black, but doing so would require going outside the boundaries of YouTube and downloading fan-subtitled versions ahead of time. This might be a problem for some of the audience, especially when some tweeters show up late or right on time expecting a simple link. This was my first pure Japanese introduction to the Kamen Rider franchise (I say "pure Japanese" because I saw it just a few short years after the American Masked Rider had run its rocky and overly childish course), and I grew to love it rather quickly. I only had a bootleg fansub VHS of the first four episodes for many years before created fansubs for the entire series, and it still remains close to my heart. It would be a nice follow-up in the Japanese superhero genre to Spectreman, but, again, I don't know how everyone would accept something that doesn't use YouTube as a viewing source. I might give it a test run in the near future and see how well it works.

Nevertheless, the entire series with fan subtitles is available for download at

     In the meantime, I am going to pull something else out of my weird childhood from around the same time as Spectreman. The television channel Nickelodeon and I are almost exactly the same age. My peculiar childhood had me watching the early years of cable fairly frequently, waking up in the morning to the preschool teachings of Pinwheel and moving on to premium channels like HBO and The Movie Channel to see Filipino-made Vietnam War movies and even some Italian zombie gore. I was terribly under-supervised as a child, but I do remember beginning to watch the movie My Tutor and my stepfather putting his foot down and changing the channel. He was a little late with that sort of parenting because I'd seen movies like that already, not to mention that he never really was much of a parent in general. I'd piss on him if he were on fire, but I'd probably toast a marshmallow first. The topic of sex in television went over my head completely at that age anyway (and stayed there until I was about nineteen). But I digress.
     I covered the spectrum of television early, and what didn't make sense just went in one eye and out the other. I was an active outdoor child, believe it or not, but I probably took in about 25 hours of television or more a week. Sunday mornings, I typically was not up very early, but I still remember one Sunday morning that I tuned in to Nickelodeon (?) to see what was on. I wasn't much a fan of Nick programming on weekends, but I woke up to a gem. I never woke up early enough again to see more than that one episode, but Ulysses 31 stuck with me for years.

     In my online research, I have not found anything about Ulysses 31 airing on Nickelodeon at all, so my memory just might be skewed at to which channel I watched it on in the first place. I only remember for certain that it was a Sunday. Kideo TV sure doesn't ring any bells, but I might have run across it on a local station some Sunday morning. Ulysses 31 was one of several co-French/Japanese anime series that--I thought--aired on Nickelodeon with its brethren such as Belle and Sebastien, The Little Prince, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold, but I suppose that I might be less positive of the broadcast details than I realized. In any case, Ulysses 31 was the first series to come out of DiC Entertainment in 1981, and it aired in several countries and languages. It didn't however, make it to the United States until 1986, and even that was a short-lived run. However and whenever I saw it, the theme song and the futuristic space action jumped out at me immediately. I was attending Sunday School a lot in those early years, and it always struck me odd that Ulysses looked a lot like Jesus Christ in a space suit.

Though I always would question which disciple the robot was supposed to represent.
     The premise was simple: take the Greek mythology of The Odyssey and throw it into the 31st Century. In this story, the gods of Olympus rule the far reaches of space, and they are the same old gods out of the old storybooks: vengeful, selfish, and arrogant. Ulysses, in his spaceship The Odyssey (of course) has lost his son Telemachus, and he discovers that the cult of the giant robotic Cyclops has abducted Telemachus and several other children with intent to sacrifice them to the mechanical beast in exchange for prolonged life. Ulysses and his crew manage to save the children and destroy the Cyclops, but they don't realize until it is too late that they have defied the will of the gods. You know how the old Greek gods were with their love of sacrifices. Zeus himself appears before Ulysses, telling him of his folly, and he turns the crew of the Odyssey to stone. Ulysses is cursed with the quest to roam the galaxy without the help of his crew until he finds the kingdom of Hades. Only then will Ulysses' people be restored and allowed to return home. Thus begins this strange space journey that follows a number of updated mythological stories across twenty-six episodes.

     Like Spectreman, I think Ulysses 31 wanders away from being a children's show just enough to make it a good riffing subject, but it will be up to you, the viewers, to decide whether or not you think this could be a worthy successor to the exploits of the cyborg hero and his space ape nemesis. Tune in to the #GHWP hashtag at 11PM EST on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, for the single-episode Spectreman story "Titanic Battle Seven Giant Monsters," and then stick around for the first episode of Ulysses 31.

Addendum: If, for some reason, Ulysses 31 doesn't go over well, I'm going to toss another episode of The Hypnotic Eye on the playlist, so we've got a full two hours if you feel like staying up late.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet Sept.11, 2015 - Spectreman

Episode Selections:
48 - Bobby, Don't Become a Monster
49 - Tragic Genius Monster Noman

     That first one almost sounds like a song by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Anyway, this week, a medical scientist named Dr. Diamond is experimenting with a new brain stimulant drug. The experiment appears to be a success when first tested on a Scottish terrier named Bobby, and the newspaper reports make their rounds. Very early in the story, things start to get a little bit touchy and difficult as we are introduced to a lovable dimwit named Sandy who works as a delivery boy at a local restaurant. This is a tough one because Sandy is portrayed more like Mongo from Blazing Saddles than a realistic person with a low IQ or a mental disorder. Sandy is cartoonish and stereotypical, but it's hard for me to make fun of him simply for what he is supposed to represent: a downtrodden and goodhearted soul who was dealt a different card in life than most of us.

     The restaurant owner's wife argues that the experiment is a waste of time and that we should "let morons be morons" because intelligent people need dumb labor to clean up their messes for them. Of course, we expect that sort of behavior from people with privilege because of the golden rule in television shows like this: people suck. Sandy overhears the discussion and is immediately excited, as anyone with his childlike mind would be. He thinks there is a miracle cure out there for his lack of mental acuity, and he skips out on work, joyously running down the street as the local children chant "Sandy Sandy No Brains" at him. People really suck.

     And this time, we get to see just how everyone sucks, even our staple cast of heroes at the Pollution G-Man Bureau. It turns out that the restaurant where Sandy works is a favorite lunch spot for the Bureau, and Sandy delivers their take-out orders. The Bureau men laugh and chastise Sandy for getting their noodle orders wrong and for trying to count how much they owe him on his hands. George, of course, is the only one that doesn't take part in the ridicule, but he doesn't do anything to stop the bullying either. Damn it, George, you know people suck, but you just go on keeping that low profile of yours so you don't threaten the theme song lyrics.

     When the Bureau finds out that Sandy is unusually happy because he has heard about the brain stimulant experiments, they decide that the procedure is worth investigating, and they meet Bobby the Scottish terrier, the test subject dog that is now capable of doing Algebra.

A squared plus B squared equals Snausages?
     It turns out that Dr. Diamond truly had discovered a breakthrough in medical science, but the vain and jealous Dr. Gori can't stand the fact that a human came up with such an idea instead of him and is determined to make sure the world never knows it. Assaulting Dr. Diamond in the middle of the night, Gori implants a mind control device on the doctor's neck, altering his mind without his knowledge and forcing him to make devastating alterations to the brain stimulant formula. Sandy goes through surgery as the first human test subject for the brain stimulant, and the results are miraculous. Sandy's IQ gets such a boost that he immediately becomes a doctor, putting forth papers and theories that promise to help medical science jump ahead years, but he takes the time to deliver food the the G-Men one last time to show his bullies he has no hard feelings. Sandy and Bobby also become fast friends as Sandy becomes one of Dr. Diamond's colleagues overnight, but something is wrong. Bobby begins to grow aggressive and develop an insatiable appetite for raw meat. I'm pretty sure he eats a nurse, and he soon mutates into a giant monster.

When this guy needs to go walkies, you'd better not make him wait.
     Sandy tries to reason with Bobby and calm him down, but George is afraid that Sandy is going to get himself killed. George slips away from his G-Men comrades and transforms into Spectreman, and Sandy pleads with the hero not to hurt the monster. The battle, however, is a short one. Through either bad editing for the English dubbed version or the implication that Bobby's mutant form was highly unstable, Spectreman doesn't even have to deliver a killing blow. Bobby simply collapses on the medical facility and dies. The threat, however, is far from over because now Sandy believes that the formula could eventually cause him to turn into a monster as well.

     The G-Men have a difficult investigation ahead of them as they try to find out just how the brain stimulant formula went wrong, and Sandy is racing against an invisible clock to do as much as he can for the good of mankind with his intelligence. Will they find out about Dr. Gori's interference? Will Sandy be able to avoid Bobby's terrible fate? Will the human race learn to stop sucking and start being kind and caring toward one another? I wouldn't look forward to a good answer on that last question, but you'll find out how everything else goes when you tune in to #GHWP Friday night at 12:45PM EST. (Note: start time subject to be pushed ahead to 1AM EST or later depending on the run time of #BMovieManiacs so stay tuned.)

Friday, September 4, 2015

GHWP Live Tweet September 4, 2015 - Spectreman


Episode 46 - Invitation from the Dead
Episode 47 - Alien Gama Commence Attack

     Poor Arthur just can't catch a break. When we last had a peek into the like of Arthur and his family, they were looking for a new house... only to find it infested with cyclops vampire ant monsters. This week, George, Arthur and Kim are taking a vacation to Arthur's village to visit his grandparents after receiving a letter from the next door neighbor girl with whom he grew up. Unbeknownst to them, a topographical aerial photography plane has crashed and exploded near the village, and Arthur's grandparents were the only witnesses.

They must be part of the Farm Film Report's Japanese branch.
     Upon arrival, Arthur receives the sad news that the neighbor girl died six months ago, but the time line does not match up with the date of her letter. On their first night, George happens to wake up and see Arthur's grandparents eating insects out of a barrel with long tongues like frogs, but he knows no one will believe him. Arthur and friends go to visit the girl's grave. The growth of weeds seems to prove that she must have died months before her letter was dated, and Kim has an uncomfortable feeling about the frogs in the village...

Then again, not trusting frogs isn't such a bad idea.
     It isn't long before George and his companions discover that another alien invasion has occurred, and this time the invaders have replaced everyone in Arthur's village with frog men.

But there is no sign of Roddy Piper or Sydney Greenfeet (rimshot).
     The frog men surround and capture George and friends, and their lord and ruler, the giant frog monster Gama, erupts from the earth. George gets away just long enough to transform into Spectreman, but Gama proves too powerful. Drained of his energy, Spectreman reverts back to George and is recaptured with his friends. But what about Arthur's grandparents and the rest of the villagers? Could the frog men have a taste for human flesh, or could the humans still be alive somewhere? And where is Dr. Gori? He was nowhere to be found when the alien vampire Kyudora attacked last week, so will a group of alien frogs be worthy of his attention? Tune in to the #GHWP hashtag on Twitter this Friday night after #Bmoviemaniacs to see what happens next.