Week 4: Steve Smith is Gone and Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

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Published on : October 6, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum, I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the wolves have ceased howling, and the mummies have been wrapped.

 

Week 4: Steve Smith Sr. Knocks Over David Amerson For Lightning Quick TD

 

This was one of the week’s big ones, but I had to chime in too since Sr has always been one of my favorite receivers and I’m gonna miss him when his inevitable retirement comes. Small, but sturdy and with alacrity to spare, Smith, shows that he’s 37-years-ageless with this 50-plus yard catch for TD off the play action pass.

 

Flacco throws a bullet here that Smith has to extend on, but the coverage ain’t there so once old 89 gets possession, he wastes no time giving Oakland CB David Amerson the unkindest cut by shoving him down to the turf with his shoulder as the poor guy struggles to make a tackle. You can almost hear that authoritative “sit down” that we all imagine in our heads.

 

Hard to blame Safety Reggie Nelson for the total half-hearted whiff on the tackle attempt because Dad’s off to races on a play that cut more than half the field, lasted mere seconds, and resulted in a score.

 

That is the quickness right there.

 

Week 4: Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

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Director: Ishiro Honda
Released: 1963

 

Earlier this season we talked about the great George A. Romero and how his legacy will always revolve around the flesh-eating undead zombie trope he pioneered. Ishiro Honda’s career is marked in much the same way with being the grandfather of Japan’s most important (my opinion) export: Godzilla. While the original Gojira (1954) is a lot darker and more violent than many of us remember, Honda basically spent the rest of his prolific career at the Toho studios churning out a long line of less serious, but no less destructive or fun Kaiju movies, including some of the genre’s greatest classics like Mothra (1961), Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), and Destroy All Monsters (1968).

 

But amongst all the slumbering reptilians asleep under the ocean, aliens, and his very own bizarre rendition of Frankenstein’s monster, one of Honda’s strangest cinematic fever dreams would sometimes be retitled as Attack of the Mushroom People.

 

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When a gang of pampered city-slickers become stuck on an eerie rock that even birds seem to avoid, this “Gilligan’s Island” from hell is a very slow build where the danger of sexual assault against the women castaways mounts uncomfortably and the diminishing food supply is a cold hard truth. Thankfully (for the viewer!) this island is covered in all manner of wildly proliferating fungi, and when one member of the party succumbs to the hunger in his belly it’s inevitable that things start to take a turn for the monstrous.

 

This is going to be one of the best looking pictures we screen in the dungeon this season, with lots of great production design that includes an entire derelict wrecked ship and of course the many vividly colored examples of the island’s eerie fungal flora. And while as previously mentioned, this is a very slow build, there is indeed an actual payoff of “Mushroom People” in a way that is satisfying to horror fans that want a little bit more than pure psychology to dictate their frights. The strong sense of craftsmanship, partially thanks to this actually having been made at a major studio also carries over to the photography and most importantly to the genuinely creepy sound design with unnatural and jarring sonic stunts that complement the nightmare island presented onscreen.

 

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Take a nibble on these toadstools with the trailer here:
 

 

 

Or get fully weird with the entire picture for free!
 

 

 

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