Proof Positve

August 16, 2008

I don’t understand the Bigfoot corpse hoax that seems to have taken hold of some recently.  For those of us who grew up in the 70s, there has always been incontrovertible video proof of the existence of Bigfoot.

When asked to comment on recent events Wildboy stated that his “father” had died 9 years prior these recent events and was buried in a private ceremony at an unspecified location in Northern Idaho.  As far as Mr. Boy knew, Bigfoot was survived by no other family members.

 

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OK, I’ll admit it. I’m hooked. But before we get to that, let me tell you why I like British comedies. The one thing I enjoy most about shows like Red Dwarf, Black Adder (yes, it is fantasy, just ask Nursey cow), and the Narnia episode of the Young Ones, is when the main characters freely spew metaphors like a bag of kittens in a lidless blender. I thought such was purely the modus operandi of our friends across the pond…but…enter the Middleman. Who knew Americans could spew too.

What is the Middleman? Think pulp, comics, b-movies, camp, scifi, spies, and superheroes all smashed into one like a McFlurry of Adam West Batman, The Ghost Busters (the 1970s version!), Get Smart, Bruce Campbell, Men in Black, and a lot of pop-culture Easter eggs, and you’ll get close. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s ask our old friend YouTube:

OK, I could do without the 20-something relationship angst, but if I let that keep me from watching, I’d miss the fairly entertaining dialog. I submit for your review:

“It may all seem like light and magic at first, but the next thing you know the walls are bleeding and you’ve got 25 pregnant women running around screaming ‘Mary! Mary! Mary!’ and clawing their eyes out with knitting needles while your own hair grows to three times its length and tries to strangle you.”

The names of the episodes alone should be enough to make you tune in:

The Pilot Episode Sanction
The Accidental Occidental Conception
The Sino-Mexican Revelation
The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum
The Flying Fish Zombification
The Boyband Superfan Interrogation
The Cursed Tuba Contingency
The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation
The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown

Sadly, there will be only 12 episodes because this is mid-season filler, so if you haven’t seen it, watch the last few episodes before ABC Family kills it forever.

I recently noticed a channel on my TV called “Chiller”. Seems its been around for a year and I haven’t paid that much attention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiller_(TV_channel)). As usual I am off thinking about mundane things having to do with making a living, feeding my fat face, and getting enough sleep.

I found it by accident. I was setting up a DVR search to catch any episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Much to my surprise a bunch of hits showed up. I am in Stalker heaven.

It is rumored that X-Files creator Chris Carter said one of his major influences was watching Kolchak: The Night Stalker as a child. There are similar threads from the Night Stalker in the X-Files. Still, X-Files has taken the ideas much further, and added many new ones as well but in my mind, the Night Stalker still reins supreme.

For those of you that haven’t seen the Night Stalker, the series was based on a TV movie The Night Stalker, and its sequel, The Night Strangler. There was a total of 20 episodes, running from September 1974, until April 1975 and still has a substantial cult following.

The concept of The Night Stalker series was of reporter, Carl Kolchak, working for the Independent News Service in Chicago, encounters the unnatural. Each week he dealt with a supernatural (mystical, scientific, alien or whatever) threat. Each week brought us a series of grisly related murders, involving blood draining, marrow loss, old age, spine snapping, or use of medieval weaponry. Inevitably, the lame local authorities are intent on ignoring or covering up the true nature of the murders, while Kolchak’s boss refuses to believe his employee. In the end, Karl seems to figure it out but never gets the full story printed.

The Night Stalker as a series was probably doomed to a single season. There aren’t enough unique ideas to do varied stories within the shows chosen format. Towards the end, episodes of The Night Stalker (like The Sentry and The Youth Killer) were dredging the bottom of the barrel. But I still find myself watching with a stupid grin on my face. It is just so mind numbingly entertaining and just enough campy that I can’t help myself. Even the “over-the-top” melodramatic style of Darren McGavin hasn’t caused me to quit watching. I would love to see a mash-up of Night Stalker and Christmas Story. Ralphy could be hacked to death by those fantasy outlaws and his foul-mouthed father/reporter could solve it. I would watch!!

And if you are wondering about the title of this post, it is my favorite quote from the series.

Crazy Gor-Al is at it again – Trying to save the planet from the masses for the elite.
(Click on the image below for the full story.)
Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

Apes Rule Then and Now

July 31, 2008

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that there are a couple of postings that  make reference to perhaps the first American science fiction franchise of the modern film era…  Planet of the Apes.

Several days ago AMC aired the entire film series (of which I admit to watching sections throughout the day) and I happened to watch a recorded episode of the “Big Bang Theory” in which they went to an Apes film festival.  Of course this reminded me of (hold on to something solid, it’s coming…) my childhood memories of the Apes.  I remember one summer being dropped off at the local theatre with a ticket from the PTA in-hand and 50 cents for a Dr. Pepper.  We all sat in the dark, pelted each other with crazy caffeine energy using whatever wasn’t stuck to the floor and whooped and hollered at the Apes.  To this day I still have flashbacks of the dream/nightmare that followed where the Apes invaded my childhood neighborhood.

For all of its B-movie knocks, in many ways, the Planet of the Apes series developed the blueprint used by many science fiction endeavors (such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and, to a lesser extent, Superman, Batman, and Spiderman) that followed. Not only did Planet of the Apes spawn four sequels, but also a television series (short-lived but entertaining), a Saturday morning cartoon, countless books, comic books, and the other spin-off material – the “action figures”, costumes, lunch boxes, and various other crap that are now mandatory to the success of any summer blockbuster (and trade fodder for “collectors”).

When originally released, Planet of the Apes was strongly received by critics and the public alike and became a victim of its own success. The Planet of the Apes original team had gone into the film without thoughts of a sequel, so, when the desire arose, no one knew exactly where to take the story. Predictably, the resulting motion picture, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, turned out to be a muddled, poorly conceived, B-movie adventure turd that did to the series what entries like Alien 3, Return of the Jedi (sorry Ryan :-)), Superman 3, and Star Trek V did to their franchises. Fortunately, things got better with the third (and my favorite) installment, Escape From the Planet of the Apes.

Like most good science fiction, Apes combines action, adventure, futuristic settings, and allegory into entertainment. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a masterpiece, but, even after almost 30 years, it holds up reasonably well (especially if you look past the logic flaws and just watch). The special effects are hokey, but set design, costumes, and makeup are great. The apes look like advanced simians (and indistinguishable from several extended family members), not just men in monkey suits. This, I think, is (and was for me as a kid) a key to the film’s success. The creatures are believable enough that we accept them, rather than laugh at them. Once you buy into the concept of a planet ruled by apes, everything else slides easily into place.

What is funnier than a Japanese game show? Darth Vader on a Japanese game show!

BSG: Emmy Snub

July 17, 2008

No way!!!!  Can’t believe it!!!  no Emmy nominations for BSG.  I guess SciFi of this caliber still isn’t “mainstream” enough to get a nod.

Others also seem to be of a similar mind:

http://tv.yahoo.com/the-60th-annual-primetime-emmy-awards/show/43034/photos/emmy_nominees/nom-reality-competition/291

Or maybe there is another reason….  Like they have changed the Emmy rules to say that you can only be nominated if the TV show was FILMED in late 2007 or early 2008.

The bitterness continues……

Wow! I was just joking, but someone actually created a fanfilm on YouTube that brings together Glen A. Larson’s iconic SciFi greats.  

Nice, but I call for a reimaging! Buckaroohawk if you should choose to accept this mission you will be rewarded by having a whole new generation of Battlestar geeks hitting your site. Of course, you’re going to need to reimage Buck before Frank Miller mucks with it. One suggestion, though, would be to go back to the orignal source. Yes, reverse reimage it! Bring back inertron, anti-gravity belts, rayguns, and air ships.

OK, I know it has been weeks since the final mid-season episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I should have written about this then, but I can no longer just stew about it. Let me share. Although I do enjoy the reimaged BSG, I am very much a child of the classic generation. I was there when George Lucas tried to sue Glen A. Larson because Vipers were too close to X-Wings, Cylons were too close to Stormtroopers, and Apollo and Starbuck’s feathered doos infringed on Han and Luke’s blow-dried confections. I spent many long hours on the playground reimaging BSG myself. I was Apollo, but it never crossed my mind to find myself a macho 9 year old girl to play Starbuck. I was crushed when they canceled my favorite TV show. It meant I had nothing to occupy me until another Star Wars movie came out. Sure there was Star Trek, but I was past phasers and on to blasters! Then came along the unholiest of mistakes (not so unholy as the Star Wars Holiday Special, but close) called Galactica 1980. To this day, I am still blocking out each and every episode from my memory to avoid any emotional damage. There was hope, however. Enter Buck Rogers in the 25th Century! What is now high-caliber, cheesy, scifi nostalgia was once a weekly fix of futuristic wonder and enjoyment (yes, I admit it, I have it on DVD). There were blasters and Buck even had down some of Kirk’s moves. He took the shirt rip to all new heights. With Battlestar, we were watching a lost tribe search for Earth, with Buck Rogers we saw earthlings searching for the lost tribes of humanity in space. Mmm. The conclusion? What I’d always believed in my heart was going to happen but never got to see it? The Galactica finds earth, but instead of school kids and flying motorcycles, and instead of destroyed cities, they find Buck, Wilma, and Twiki! BdBdBdBd! This could have been Scifi channel’s big chance to not only reimage BSG, but Buck Rogers as well! Spin-off suavemente. I guess, I’ll have to just make my own fan film and post it on YouTube.

After negotiating a small bank loan, buying a lot of overpriced and under flavored popcorn and being forced to watch a dozen previews for animated movies containing lost, talking animals trying to find their way home I was finally treated to “Wall-E”.

One of the things I noticed about Wall-E was the level and sophistication of the animation.  Particularly the background details and simulated camera angles, zooms and pans.  Computer animation has come a LONG way in the last decade.  While the story was very shallow, I was impressed anyway.

While watching the movie I couldn’t help but draw parallels between Wall-E and the 70s classic film “Silent Running”.  There are robots, space travel, environmental themes, and crazed people (or computers).  Wall-E even kinda looks like the Hooey, Dewey, and Louie trio from “Silent Running”.

Don’t get me wrong, Wall-E is no remake.  There are differences and I think these differences mirror some of the sentiments of the respective eras the films were made.  The 70s were a time of environmental uncertainty and activism. I think this is when we as a society first came to grips with man’s potential to drastically change the environment and it wasn’t always a pretty picture being painted.

It seems sentiment has shifted a bit and even though rampant consumerism (I loved the BNL logos and messaging everywhere!!) may be destroying our environment, Wall-E has at its heart a message of hope.  Hope for rebuilding the environment and the hope of love (always great fodder for movies) and coming together instead of going it alone.

To me the last scenes of each typify the differences….  One sends the environmental hope into space and blows up his ship and we see the lone robot going it alone.  The other returns to Earth to begin again and of course robot love instead of loneliness.

Both movies are worth a viewing.