Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A couple more for my How To Survive a B Movie guide - rules to be followed if you ever find yourself suspecting you are a character in a low budget SF movie: Suggested by the good people over at the Flickr Name that Film Group
  • Don't Go Looking For The Cat - It will live, you won't.
  • Always Bear in Mind That No Matter How Slowly the Shambling Thing Following You is Moving - it Will Outrun You - The actual time it will take to catch you is a complicated calculation of an inverse square law in which you have to take into account the available number of small twigs the female members of your party will trip over in inappropriately high-heeled shoes.
And how could I have forgotten this one:
  • Don't Let Caucasians Near Volcanoes - White people have an inexplicable but definite catalytic effect on long dormant volcanoes. Enter white people - exit ancient civilisation and/or dinosaurs happily living on its slopes.

It's Merriol's Birthday today. Happy Birthday Merriol. We went to the TIC for lunch.

Merriol's Birthday Burger

Monday, January 26, 2009

Part two of my How To Survive a B Movie guide - rules to be followed if you ever find yourself suspecting you are a character in a low budget SF movie:
  • Make Sure People are What They Say They Are - If your husband has stopped blinking, forgets your middle name, and has to turn his whole upper body to look at you, get used to the idea that he is no longer your husband but merely an empty husk, animated by some gelatinous blob with three eyes - and get used to it fast because you're next (after he kills the dog).
  • Throw Things At Monsters - Throw anything. When you are faced with a giant rampaging radioactive monster tearing up the commercial district, throw everything you've got at it. Not just the usual massive amounts of high explosives and air strikes by stock footage, or even the hastily rigged devices that deliver the entire output of the Hoover Dam through a convenient railway track; you'll only annoy it and probably make it bigger. No, the thing to do is rush into the nearest grocery store and start throwing things at the beasty. Anything that comes to hand. Bread, salt, Cheesy Wotsits, anything. I guarantee you that within minutes you and your surviving scientist chums will be looking down at its smouldering remains saying things like: "With all the knowledge of science we were powerless. Who would have guessed that the answer lay in a simple salami sandwich...?"
  • It's in the Old Mine Just Outside of Town! - Whatever it is, it's in the old mine just outside of town. No need to look in the mine to check, it's in there, just blow the bugger up.
  • Never Trust a Scientist - even if you fancy the tits off his daughter. Scientists are either mad, frustrated, would-be despots driven insane by years of scornful dismissal of their 'life's work', or blinkered idealists, unable to see the inevitable consequences of their actions. Either way they end up fiddling with things 'man is not meant to know'* and are best avoided. Especially if the conversation ever gets round to keeping brains alive in jars (qv).
  • Never Have Anything to Do With a Scientist's Beautiful Daughter - I know this is a total no brainer but it does need saying. It's just asking for trouble. If, on the other hand, you find you are the beautiful daughter of an ageing scientist, move to Australia (or Wales if he's Australian). Do not, under any circumstances, accompany him on expeditions up obscure Central African or South American rivers, or anywhere else where there is even the remotest chance of encountering a gorilla.

Enough! I will add more later but please keep in mind there will be a test. All students will be abandoned in a small town in the middle of Utah or Nevada or somewhere else with Joshua trees just as something falls from the sky / starts eating the locals / becomes radioactively gigantic / or any combination of the above.

* A full and comprehensively detailed list of all the things 'man is not meant to know' is available on request.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We Are Buddist Monks - Biscuits! Biscuits! Biscuits!

Long time since I posted. Most of the time since I did has been spent doing 'all the dumb things I gotta do' and writing and performing a half hour play for the High School about the life and poetry of Robert Burns (250 years old today). Three performances after a very short period of rehearsal/devising. But we got paid, so we must have done something right. There's a possibility of getting paid for it again as we may be doing another performance at another school next week.
The time not spent doing all the dumb stuff and being a luvvie was spent glued to the almost complete works of Ed Wood which arrived in a box last week.

Six pounds, and five minutes hacking the DVD to a multi-region player - these are region 1 discs - well spent in my view. Though whether the ten or so hours I spent glued to the crap contained in it was worth it is open to discussion.

Part one of my How To Survive a B Movie guide, rules to be followed if you ever suspect you are a character in a low budget SF movie:
  1. Never Trust A Disembodied Brain. Honest, they are not to be trusted. All Brains in Jars are evil - or about to become so very very soon. And don't think because they are in a glass jar in a laboratory they can't come after you. It's a well known fact that, freed from the rigours of having to do all the dumb stuff we all have to do every day, even the most kindly and beneficent of human beings will become an raving egomaniacal monster with superhuman mental powers within minutes of having their brain plonked in a jar of vaguely murky nutrient solution.
  2. If You Hear A Theremin - Run! That's all, just run. The first bit of electronicy ooooeeeeeoooooooooo! you hear, you GTF out of there. Don't stop and look over your shoulder, don't explore any further into the strange, still warm to to the touch, thing that landed with a pulsing light in the next door field, just run. But above all do not keep on petting in an open topped car. For some reason Theremin playing bug-eyed monsters just love hetrosexuals making out in open topped cars.
To be continued...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh No! I am Alergic To Music. Help! Help!

Aha! Half way through January and I still haven't posted my Every Crappy Movie I Have Watched This Month list for last month yet. A situation I shall immediately remedy by pressing the Ctrl and V keys on the keyboard in front of me and pasting it (unless of course I have - as is very possible - managed to bung something else into the clipboard in the 35 seconds since I copied it.)

  1. The Horror of Party Beach
    - (MST3K) A legendary bad movie this one (mostly because it was featured in the Medveds' Golden Turkey Awards) which deserves the ridicule heaped upon it by them, the MST3K crew, me, and everyone else who wants to have a shot. One of those films in which you end up asking yourself, "What were they thinking?" far to often. Grade-A poop.
  2. Alien From L.A.
    - (MST3K) Ho booyyyy! I really don't what to say about this one. Nerdy American teenage girl falls down a hole in Africa while in half hearted search of her missing scientist dad and finds herself in a post-punk New Romantic totalitarian Atlantis populated by Australian acting students. Made with a (for the time) flashy rock video style which did a lot to disguise the cheapness of the sets but little to disguise the lack of a coherent script. Very very poor. I'm now looking forward, with eager anticipation, to the sequel, which is, by all accounts, even worse.
  3. Mystery Train
    - Sometimes Merriol and I manage to agree on a film we want to watch together. She shoves aside her pile of Doris Day and Chicky-Flicky Rom-Coms and I eschew the delights of scantily clad space bimbos and cardboard spaceships long enough to enjoy a real movie. The only director we both agree is a genius is Jim Jarmush.

  4. vlcsnap-459857
    Mystery Men is pretty good too
    and on the same shelf.

  5. 12:08 East of Bucharest
    - on a roll, escaping the treadmill of Z-Grade B-features with rubber monsters and scripts assembled from a kit of parts, I launched myself with glee into my second 'Art House' movie of the week, a Cannes Award Winner no less! 'A droll delight' - The Times ' Funny, eccentric... wonderful' - Evening Standard, 'Bored the fucking tits off me' - Junk Monkey.

    The only decent shot in the whole thing.

  6. Night of the Ghouls
    - It is a truth universally acknowledged that sequels are never as good as the movies they are sequelling. But what happens when the original movie is a grade A turd like Ed Wood's delirious Bride Of The Monster? Can anything be worse than the movie most famous for Bela Lugosi fighting a giant rubber octopus in three inches of water? (See January's list). Night of the Ghouls is the sequel - and it is even worse. And it's worse right from the very beginning. It goes downhill from there very fast. There is a bewildering dreamlike quality to Wood's films in which logic and all known storytelling techniques evaporate before your very eyes in an orgy of wrongness... Love it.

    The only decent shot in the whole thing.

    I suppose the most notable thing about this movie is the fact that it remained unreleased for some 25 years; it was locked in a vault because Wood couldn't afford to pay the lab bills.
  7. Elf
    - It was Christmas (nearly). My heart fell when Holly picked this as The Film We Were All Going To Watch tonight as part of the regular Friday Night Pizza and Movie night. By the end of it I had that It's A Wonderful Life / Miracle on 34th Street* feeling. I was actually snivelling. I'm such a girl sometimes.

    *The 1947 original with Edmund Gwen - not the crappy remake.
  8. Millenium
    - almost interesting SF movie (by a real SF writer!) which starts with an interesting premise - for not quite clearly explained reasons, time travellers from the future are rescuing the victims of plane crashes just before they die - which just falls to pieces under the weight of the crappy design, rubbish casting, and gigantic plot holes.
  9. Manhunt in Space
    - (MST3K) More Rocky Jones TV episodes nailed together into the rough simulacrum of a movie. The prestigious JunkMonkey SuperScience Gizmo of the Month Award goes to Professor Newton's Cold Light Device, explained, almost thusly, by heroic Rocky Jones to his comedy side-kick 'Winky'.
    "The filament in the vacuum tube is quickly bought to a temperature of about minus 342 degrees centigrade. Heat can affect us so that images that can't normally be seen, can be seen by the human eye - like the mirages that appear in a hot desert. Intense cold can have the opposite effect and blot out images that are actually there. When this is switched on, the rays sent out by the terribly cold light will surround the spaceship and make it invisible."
    Why this incredibly cold ray doesn't freeze the tits off anyone within a couple of miles, or coat the ship in a frosting of ice when it lands on a planet with atmosphere is never explained - though it may be the reason I can never find anything in my freezer when I'm looking for it.
  10. Being From Another Planet
    - (MST3K) But being from this one I... I have no idea how to end that joke.
  11. Invasion of the Neptune Men
    - (MST3K) Japanese superhero SF movie that looks like episodes of a crappy kids TV series nailed together into the rough simulacrum of a movie - but wasn't. It was a real movie. Most plot points were delivered via an endless number of press conference, or public announcements, with hordes of people gathered round a single transistor radio, or by six small boys in short trousers who ran everywhere in a group and pointed at everything, shouting things like: "Hurray for the Electro Barrier!"
  12. Intervista
    - I think I just fell in love with Fellini.
  13. Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me
    - Not Lynch's best movie - a pretty needless addition to the TV series. I guess the money was too good to turn down.

I had copied something else in there and had to go find it again.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

One of the useful things I do (useful for me - in global terms it's about as useful as a chocolate teapot) is keep a notebook by the side of my bed. It's a six year old office diary - not that that has anything to do with anything. Sometimes I will wake up in the morning with the vague remembrance of having had an interesting idea during the night but no memory of what that idea actually was.

Occasionally I will wake up and find I've already written it down.

Last night, after a particularly harrowing nightmare which I spent perched on top of a shop door, having being chased there by a particularly huge Alsation dog, while explaining to its shaven headed, no-necked monster of an owner that I hadn't said I hated musical theatre, just that I didn't understand it, and, if he sang me a couple of songs and called off the dog, I might change my mind.
Somehow, during this insanely gay anxiety dream (somewhere between this no-neck monster - and possibly the dog - singing me highlights from Kismet and West Side Story while I clung to the Exit light) I wrote down this:
Dream 3/1/08
Public school. High Victorian Gothic hall assembly. Hymns have been sung, lessons read. The headmaster (Think John Cleese) starts to make announcements.
"After Prep on Tuesday several buns were taken from Matron's tea trolley. I'm not going to name any names - but those responsible know who they are!"
At the back of the hall a pubescent boy in short trousers is having an identity crisis.
"I don't know who I am! Who am I? What is the meaning of my existence if I have no identity?"
"Shut up Blenkinsop Minor, you frightful little tick," hisses the boy's taller neighbour. "You're still in shorts. Leave the existentialism till you're in the Remove like me and have a few pimples before you start on the philosophy."
"No, but you don't understand. I really don't know who I am. Last thing I remember is snaffling a few magic buns from matron's trolley and the next thing..."
"Aha!" Screams the headmaster, leaping from the stage his cane waving wildly above his head. "Got you, you little bastard!"
For some reason this seemed incredibly hilarious at whatever ungodly hour of the morning I wrote it down. Does everyone do this? or is it just me?

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from http://jonnybillericay.blogspot.com/)

eXTReMe Tracker