Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vampire Week: Vampires: Los Muertos

Hola to all and welcome to Day 2 of the vampire week.  I thought I would see if we have any films out there of interest so I dipped into a few online via Netflix.   What would you say if I had a film involving vampires rampaging across Mexico, a priest and vampire hunter at odds with one another and a town in desperate need for hope?   Well I would point out that James Woods is not in this, so no wood jokes for you.  No, no don’t cry.  I promise there will be some gore gags, a few one liners and a decent cast.  So take a deep breath, sharpen your stakes and hope for the best.  This is Vampires: Los Muertos.

Oil of Olay or Undead refinishing?...she'll never tell.

Ok we got a spoiler.

Recapping after the last Vampires movie via director John Carpenter (The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China and Prince of Darkness) gave over the reins to writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Fright Night 2, It, The Spree and Final Justice) and I have to admit I was not expecting gold with this and more of the plutonium variety.    Solo vampire hunter Derek Bliss (Jon Bon Jovi of Moonlight and Valentino, Homegrown, Row Your Boat, Ally McBeal and Cry_Wolf) is tending to a stray vamp that fed on a college kid of a wealthy financier when he gets a call from his handler telling him of a big job in the same area.  He is one of the best hunters but he needs to put together a crew according to the client’s wishes and attack in force. 

Lousy table manners. No dessert for you.

Try as he might to acquire help the vampires seem to be one step ahead of him and removes any back up Bliss could have.  He drives through a town that apparently is being fed on and encounters a young boy Sancho (Diego Luna of Fidel, Dark Cities, Carambola, Open Range, Nicotina and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) who is willing to back Bliss up if he gets paid for the work.  After wiping out these young feeders Bliss moves on to a diner and finds one of the hunters on his list.  He idly chats with a girl Zoey (Natasha Gregson Wagner of Two Girls and a Guy, Glam, Modern Vampires, Urban Legend and High Fidelity) who seems off yet not a creature of the night given she is out in the daylight.  The diner is all wiped out but Zoey and himself who were in the bathroom and he moves on to yet another town. 

Getting one additional hunter Ray Collins (Darius McCrary of Family Matters, 15 Minutes, Freedom, Hostage and Kingpin)the crew make their way to the local Abby, the monks and priests are strewn about but one survived hidden in an alcove.  Father Rodrigo (Cristian de la Fuente of Driven, Family Law, Basic, CSI: Miami and In Plain Sight) takes Bliss and his slowly growing band as a sign from God as they will be able to defend against the vampires.

They don't like being called pretty boys.

I have just a quick few tidbits about this movie.  KNB EFX brings us the monster gore effects and prosthetics.  The cast was surprisingly a unique but decent combo.  I did have a hard time buying into Bon Jovi as a loner and disgruntled but gotta say the pretty boy did bring his “a” game badass to the flick.   The better chunk of Mexico City and its residing town were the main filming locations and overall an impressive movie.  Nothing original but I feel a bit better than John Carpenter’s Vampires.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vampire Week: Bloodrayne: The Third Reich

What could have blades, fangs, Nazi oppression and utter lack of proper camera technique?  Am I referring to some sort of Fellini film?  No it must be the German disaster Uwe Boll. Gather up the villagers and prepare to kill the monsters.  This is BloodRayne: The Third Reich.

Guttin' goose steppers!

Spoilers are Eternal!!

Yes just went you thought it was safe to go to video game movie adaptations, director Uwe Boll (BloodRayne, BloodRayne 2: Deliverance, House of the Dead, In the Name of the King, Far Cry and Alone in the Dark) rears his head like the mythological Hydra and gives us more narrative, fast paced zooming in shots and more shaky cam than The Evil Dead Trilogy.  I have stressed this in all his films and I shall say it again.  If you have photophobia or are prone to seizures PLEASE AVOID THIS MOVIE!   That being said, the rest of us will suffer through.

So you think I need bridgework?

We recap this film with of course flashbacks to previous footage from the first two and followed with the usual unnecessary voice over.  With all the reel footage of World War II, I almost expected to hear Ron Perlman’s Fallout narrative instead.  Rayne (Natassia Malthe of Lake Placid, D.O.A.: Dead or Alive, Elektra, Bloodsuckers, and BloodRayne 2: Deliverance) returns to battle the blight known as the Nazi Party.  Boll believes in adhering to Hitchcock’s notion of reaprising familiar actors into all of his work so if you are confused why you see Brendan Fletcher and Michael Pare`of BloodRayne 2: Deliverance well these are different characters and their previous characters are in fact not immortal. 

After a lengthy battle on at an undisclosed train station and Nazis are being shot by resistance fighters or gutted by Rayne, she encounters the Commandant Brand (Michael Pare` of Komodo Vs Cobra, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives, Moon 44, Sunset Heat, BloodRayne and BloodRayne 2: Deliverance) and as she preps to spear him with a chunk of rebar she is shot by a soldier splattering Brand’s face and mouth with her blood.   Rayne impales Brand to the floor board and drains him.
Banter with the Resistance not withstanding she senses one of her own creation and rather that find it and eradicate it she goes to a bordello for a massage.  One of the soldiers gets rough with a girl and Rayne beats him well.  Again sensing her creation she nobly seeks…the company of a girl.  Yup, no needs for carrying out that pesky exterminate all vampires mission; bring on with the prostitutes.  Yes guys reading this you get some more BloodRayne soft core skin flick action in true tradition of the original. Brand with the aid of Josef Mangler hatches a scheme to use Rayne’s blood to strengthen the Fruhrer.  

Don't laugh...it bought me a condo.

Will Rayne get off her butt and stop Brand?  Will there be more unnecessary modern swearing mixed in the dialogue?  What of little Timmy trapped down the well?    Like BloodRayne 2, her paranormal abilities of the game and the first film are stunted and apparently too expensive for FX.  Nazis, vampires and eroticism really are a crappy blend.

Vampire Week

They aren't moody, obtuse nor do they twinkle.  Yes I speak of the daughters of darkness, the sons of the undead, the step-uncles twice removed of the damned.  I speak of the nosferatu a.k.a. vampire.  Yes I have covered more than a few flicks of this nature but by God we can run this concept YET again.  Enjoy and/or suffer.  :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Douglas Sirk Week: The Tarnished Angels

Howdy doo boys and girls and welcome to Day 4 of Douglas Sirk Week and this movie is derived from the master novelist himself William Faulkner (The Story of Temple Drake, Slave Ship, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and As I Lay Dying) a story of a fallen World War I flying ace that has been so diminished to appearances at this run down stunt aerobatics carnival.   So let’s all go to the lobby, grab ourselves a treat and plunk in your chair.  This is The Tarnished Angels.

Go around!!!

You better change spoilers…

Screenwriter George Zuckerman (Border Incident, Under the Gun, Written on the Wind and The Brass Legend) takes on Faulkner’s novel with ace reporter Burke Devlin (Rock Hudson of Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers, Seconds, Blindfold and A Fine Pair) steps in for a boy being teased and returns him to his parents.  On the way to the boy’s house Devlin finds out that young Jack is the of World War I flying ace Roger Shumann (Robert Stack of Written on the Wind, House of Bamboo, Sail to Glory, Story of a Woman and Airplane!) is hosting an aerial show of sorts with a series of battered plane and little to no money from it.  His grease monkey Jiggs (Jack Carson of Mildred Pierce, Arsenic and Old Lace, A Star Is Born and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and just about every male with a heart beat looks in LaVerne (Dorothy Malone of The Big Sleep, Written on the Wind, Tip on a Dead Jockey, Warlock and The Last Sunset) Roger’s wife direction Burke tells Roger that he wants to write a story on the Flying Shumanns and as they are near destitute they all bunk it down at Devlin’s apartment for the time.

Better believe it, baby!

Devlin drinks and smokes like a man of the era with a hybrid of cynicism and optimism that manages to be give his all to push for a human interest story when he is reassigned to a senator’s re-election campaign.    Devlin tells his editor to go pound sand and pursues the human interest story that has meaning.
I have just a few observations of the movie if you don’t mind.  Stack’s character is a cold fish with gambling tendencies and doesn’t mind tormenting people mentally.  Dorothy Malone is a curvy blonde bombshell that could wrap men around her finger until doomsday.  

At least 4 members of Written on the Wind are starring in this film giving Sirk some familiar dedicated actors to draw on.  This film captures the despair of humanity from the adrenaline junkies to pursuit of a dream with the near prostitution of LaVerne for a plane.   The misery of dreams failing and the inability to reach them dragging further into the dirt creates such turmoil. 

Yer mom's red hot sonny boy.

Sirk captures the scope of desperation without giving into crude needs or crass comments.   The cinematography captured again by 35mm Spherical from aerial shots, rear projection, tight zooms and dolly tracked, this film has it all and keeps a nice steady pace of interest on the human element, the sorted parties and how each life conflicts with the other.  It is torrid tale of lost souls reaching out for just one chance to make things better.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Douglas Sirk Week: Imitation of Life

Welcome back boys and girls to Day 3 of Douglas Sirk week as we continue sensitive matters of life, the struggles that can occur during and how to better one’s life the pursuit of dreams.  So grab for the stars, stop at nothing and push for the gold.   This is Imitation of Life.

Oh and raise my child whilst I chase my dreams, deary.

I’m somebody else. I’m spoiler…spoiler…SPOILER!  

Lora Meredith (Lana Turner of The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Bad and the Beautiful, Latin Lover, Betrayed and Madame X) a struggling widow with the want and desire of becoming a Broadway actress manages to lose track of her daughter Susie at the beach.  Needing help to finding her daughter she asks a fellow Steve Archer (John Gavin of Raw Edge, Four Girls in Town, A Breath of Scandal, Spartacus and Midnight Lace) to go looking for her.  Susie is found by a lady name of Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore of Skirts Ahoy!, The Royal African Rifles, Women’s Prison,  Queen Bee, Ransom!, The Opposite Sex and The Girl Can’t Help It) an African American divorcee with her own little girl Sarah Jane and unlike her mother, her skin is so light she could pass for white of which she does appreciate the option.  Lora takes Annie in as a nanny to allow her to pursue an acting career and have care for Susie. 

Sorry sweetie but it is a rectal thermometer. 

In spite of the struggles along the way Lora becomes a fairly successful star in comedy with Alan Loomis (Robert Alda of Rhapsody in Blue, The Beast with Five Fingers, Cloak and Dagger, The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Serpent) as her agent and David Edwards (Dan O’ Herlihy of The Long, Hot Summer, Man From UNCLE, Death Ray 2000, Robocop, Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Robocop 2) as her playwright.  As she attempts a romantic relationship with Steve Archer, their relationship begins to fall apart as Steve feels Lora is too ambitious to be a star and how her focus seems to be heavily on her career instead of spending time with her daughter.  Susie and Sarah Jane seem to be establishing a rapport to the levels like sisters and Annie almost like a mother to them.

 11 Years Later… Lora is considered the cream of the crop Broadway star living in this gorgeous brownstone in Upstate New York and Annie remains with her as nanny, housekeeper and best friend.  After shooting down both David’s screenplay and marriage proposal, Lora meets Steve a decade later and the duo rekindle their relationship.  Teenagers Susie (Sandra Dee of Gidget, If a Man Answers, I’d Rather Be Rich, That Funny Feeling and Rosie!) and Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner of To Hell and Back, The Gene Krupa Story, The Big Fisherman, Going My Way and Route 66) are re-introduced to Steve.  Susie feels all tingly around Steve and Sarah Jane is still passing for white. 

White people do be different.

A few notes about this film.  This shows a level of racism and skin color is a crutch or a benefit.  The issues of mixed relationships are in many perspectives a thing of the past but set the tone for back in the day.   Sarah Jane could not be honest enough with her boy Frankie because she is afraid of his narrowed mindedness and frankly I found it to be sad and no foundation for a relationship.   All emotions are taxed throughout this movie and you will feel the twists and turns but this is also a good thing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Douglas Sirk Week: Written on the Wind

Greeting readers and welcome to Day 2 of Douglas Sirk Week.  I would like to point out that I am not doing these ground breaking films in order so don’t go being confused.  Today I thought we would touch base on a disturbing look into alcoholism, jealousy, nymphomania and the overwhelming corruption of material gain.  No, we are not reviewing Dallas or Falcon Crest but good guesses all the way around. Instead we shall see the Technicolor creation of novelist Robert Wilder (Flamingo Road, The Big Country, A Stranger in My Arms and Sol Madrid) come to life before the big and little screen.  So grab your bourbon, sharpen your nails for a cat fight and prep a good right hook.  This is Written in the Wind.

William Kennedy's breakfast to work.

Are you looking for spoilers? Or are you soul-searching?

To begin at the beginning (also the best place to start) Jasper Hadley (Robert Keith of My Foolish Heart, The Wild One, Guys and Dolls, Just Across the Street and Love Me or Leave Me) has built his empire and town under the bubbling crude of Texas which just happens to look a bit like California but suspend disbelief and you will be fine.  His son Kyle (Robert Stack of The Tarnished Angels, The Gift of Love, The Scarface Mob, The Untouchables and Is Paris Burning) comes roaring back to the colonial mansion after an all-night drinking binge.  Damn near wrecking his roadster on the way in he spots in the upstairs window his best friend Mitch (Rock Hudson of Iron Man, Scarlet Angel, Sea Devils, Gun Fury, This Earth is Mine and Pillow Talk) with his arms draped over his wife Lucy (Lauren Bacall of To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Shootist).  Kyle staggers up the stairs making such a racket to wake enough dead for a Romero movie.  Startled awake Kyle’s sister Mareylee (Dorothy Malone of The Big Sleep, Two Guys from Texas, The Nevadan, Convicted and The Bushwackers) wakes to the sound of furniture being tossed about, a heated agreement followed by a gunshot. 

Anybody got a match?

From the exterior we see a figure shrouded in show stagger out of the mansion a collapses on the driveway.  Lucy faints as the camera then zooms up on a desk calendar telling us the day of Tuesday, November 6, 1966.   A slight fade into a flashback to the events that led us to this tragic end introduces us to legal secretary Lucy working for the Hadely company.   Kyle and Mitch work hand in hand and have been friends since their school days.  Kyle is jokingly claims to be envious of Mitch for his hard work and ability to get things done.  Jasper had all but adopted Mitch into the family and Kyle does not blame Mitch for his father’s shining approval of Mitch rather than the black sheep that Kyle is. Kyle seems completely open to Lucy as she is literally the only woman he could ever be moved by; given her lack of interest in his family’s wealth. 

Another character of interest is Marylee Hadley.  This little coy vixen purrs like a cat after a saucer of milk and she thinks Mitch is the end all saucer.  Like Kyle, Marylee is an excellent example of the bored ne’er-do-wells, the games they are willing to play and not be held accountable for the lives they can potentially ruin. 

Either these drapes go or I do!

I have just a few things to say on the technical aspect of this film.  The cinematography is brilliant with dolly track, steady hand held work and an occasional crane shot, it is a feast for the eyes.  The standard 35mm Spherical camera is the order of the day.  The context in which this film covers so many taboos under one roof really gives the characters scope.  Dorothy Malone has the best line when informed she is a filthy liar.  Her response is,”I’m filthy, period.”  A bit over top dramatized but a very gripping story.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Douglas Sirk Week: Magnificent Obsession

Welcome one and all to the beginning of Douglas Sirk Week.  Now I understand if some of you are thrown off as this week will not revolve around Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Book based films or TV but you must learn to adapt.   Douglas Sirk was known for films to exude a certain sense of irony, drama and matters of the heart. His films were battered and deep fried with symbolism with a dash of idealism for the human spirit. 
 Picture if you will a spoiled rich boy that looks out for nothing but him and his sense of fun.  With the morals of a 5 year old having a temper tantrum he has ruined lives, property and businesses with nothing more than signing a check for damages but let’s say he latest shenanigans cause a error too awesome to correct by simply buying someone off and he must be held accountable not by law but by mere conscience.   So grab your stethoscope, poke that cadaver with a stick and try to keep it professional.   This is Magnificent Obsession.

Really 007, must we go so fast?

All spoiler to me is a name…

From the pages from novelist Lloyd C. Douglas (Green Light, The Robe and The Big Fisherman) comes the story of two people intertwined in life possibly by fate.  Rich man Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson of Written on the Wind, Giant, The Tarnished Angels, A Farewell to Arms, Pillow Talk and The Last Sunset) is being reckless on a speed boat with a young gal when he wrecks it.  Rescue teams are sent to revive him and at the same time the local doctor and esteemed hero, Dr. Wayne Phillips dies without aid due to Merrick’s shenanigans no matter how indirectly.   

 The good doctor’s widow Helen (Jane Wyman of The Lost Weekend, Johnny Belinda, Stage Fright, Bon Voyage! and How to Commit Marriage) receives phone calls, telegrams and letters exclaiming offers of condolences and offers to pay back loans that the doctor had refused to accept as payment in life.  Phllips’ oldest friend, successful artist and amateur philosopher Edward Randolph (Otto Kruger of Dracula’s Daughter, Murder, My Sweet, Saboteur, High Noon, Hit Parade and The Last Command) tries to put things in perspective for Helen.  No sooner does our rich heel awake in the hospital he realizes he is getting the stink eye, quite possibly the evil eye as well. 

Your rent's due and no excuses!

Baffled at this, he runs out of the hospital finding out that he inadvertently caused the death of a hero.  Grief struck he offers the widow some compensation only to find out that he is a schmuck that constantly deals with issues by throwing money at it and is very much lacking in conscience and a soul.   Helen runs away from Merrick out her home to be stricken by a car causing her to be blinded.  Feeling even worse now Merrick stops being a screw up and dedicates all his studies to the medical practice so that he may one day restore the sight that was so cruelly taken from Helen.

Now I have just a few points on this film if you don’t mind.  Hudson’s performance from heel to hero is a long path and in general, excellent work but the story feels a bit too compassionate and burdensome.  Having this film being remade Merrick would toss money again but to finding a fully qualified surgeon rather than becoming one himself.  


The dynamic between Helen and Merrick is believable but it seems a bit rushed.  There is a flurry of emotions and settings that are compelling and the quality of the movie overall in superb.  35 mm Spherical is capturing every frame and alas I cannot seem to find a copy beyond Technicolor.  All in all it is a little sappy and tugs on the heart strings but at the end, even the biggest jerk would get a smile from it.

Douglas Sirk Week

Howdy all.  I thought we would step away from misogynistic staples of the girl being saved by the hero and the relentless slasher chasing after the jiggly girls and take a peek at some heart felt movies for a change.

LooOoOok into my eyes!!!!

Enter Douglas Sirk. This director was known for a more than a handful of melodramas that captured the imagination but in my opinion elevated the human spirit and the ideal that men should strive for to not simply wooing the lady but to better themselves.   That being said some of the film ideas are a bit far fetched and contextually silly in some parts but heck you can say the very same thing about Frank Capra's work.  So sit back and relax and maybe we will learn something about cinematography that does not involve gore gags.

Wow, what a novel concept.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Doctor Who Week: Peter Davison

Hello all and welcome to Day 5 of Doctor Who Week and we shall end this endeavor on the final entry of the week playing catch up with the Doctor and his on growing collection of companions from here and there.  When we last left the Doctor he had taken on 3 new companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse of To Serve Them All My Days and The Killing Edge), a brilliant mathematician from an dimension outside of normal space and time known as E-Space, Nyssa (Sarah Sutton of Menace, Play for Today, Oil Strike North and The Moon Stallion) daughter of an aristocrat consul Tremas (later to become the Master’s new life vessel) and lastly Teegan (Janet Fielding of Hammer House of Horror, Shelley, Minder and Jim’ll Fix It), an aspiring flight attendant from 1981…she got roped in by faith playing silly buggers with everyone.   The Doctor (Tom Baker of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Nicholas and Alexandra, Max Bear, And Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising) and the Master were required to join forces in order to stop total universal entropy from occurring.  In doing so, the Doctor pummeled to his death…or did he?  So grab your cricketer outfit, dust off the TARDIS and ordain your lapel with a decorative vegetable.  This is Dr. Who: The Visitation.
The Doctor has joint custody of the universe.

Try to understand, Spoiler: because you can get away with something, it doesn’t justify it.

After escaping the insane paradise planet Deva Loka and the indigenous tribes and colonists squabbling, it is time to get Teegan back for her career as an air hostess.  Yeah she is a striver that one. The Doctor (Peter Davison of A Very Peculiar Practice, Mystery!: Campion, All Creatures Great and Small and The Complete Guide to Parenting) calculates his trusty TARDIS and heads back to Heathrow Airport only to be a bit off in his time coordinates…by three hundred years.  Probably due to nothing more than a temperamental cellanoid on the lateral balance cones.  Nothing one should get their feathers ruffled about.
The four gather outside to scoop things out and then are almost overwhelmed by the smell of sulphur and proceed to investigate like some space and time traveling Scooby gang.  

Oh your singing wasn't that bad Teegan.

Adric of sound mind brings a homing device to find the TARDIS.  No sooner as they mill about in the lust forest they are attacked by villagers but manage to escape only to break up the group.  A highwayman name of Richard Mace encounters the Doctor and companions, leading them to safety inside a disused barn.   It is there that the Doctor proceeds to question a few things for example: Richard tells the Doctor of a comet that landed nearby and the rest of the team notices power packs for laser weapons and a scorch mark embedded in stone.  All accounts most peculiar for medieval England.

And now comes the part where I amaze and annoy you with fun filled facts.  Writer Eric Saward’s first writing for Television experience is this episode and went on to write 83 more episodes afterwards.  The initial story arc feels similar to some of the Tom Bakers at the time but over the course of the four episodes serial mark you get the feeling that Adric and Nyssa actually get more depth in their collective characters and they both become closer. 


In fact the only creature of this party that needs to be taken out in the street and drawn and quartered is Teegan.  She is virtually useless apart if you need a scream queen, gets captured more often than Daphne of Scooby Doo and frankly has a voice that feels like nails on a chalkboard.  The Doctor’s adventures shall continue on but not this week…perhaps in the future or maybe the past.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Doctor Who Week: Tom Baker

Howdy Whovians and welcome to Day 4 of Doctor Who Week.  When we last left the Doctor he was in this third incarnation.  As the years passed and companions left his company, the Doctor (Jon Pertwee of the House That Dripped Blood, Adventures of a Private Eye, SuperTed, and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Attack of the Hawkmen) had remained with UNIT and had teamed up with a charming lady reporter by the name of Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen of Take My Wife, Dempsey and Makepeace, K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend and The Sarah Jane Adventures) and at the advice of a fellow Timelord K’anpo that the Doctor must face his fear and defeat this Planet of Spiders by returning a crystal to the Great One.  Through thick and thin the Doctor manages this very task but at the cost of his own life…of course that is not really the end is it?  So grab your 9 foot scarf, break out the sonic screwdriver and get your tin dog on the case.  This is Dr. Who:  Robot.
Stop looking up my nostrils. It is disconcerting.

You may be *a* Spoiler but I’m *the* Spoiler. The definite article, you might say.

The Doctor’s regeneration has left him yet again a bit barmy (another technical term, often medical) and seems a bit out of sync.  Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart (Nicholas Courtney of Then Churchill Said to Me, Downtime, TravelWise, Doctors and The Sarah Jane Adventures) finds his friend altering his appearance yet again and this time into a tall curly haired hawkish nosed man bounding around and complaining about his clothes.   Brigadier begins to calm Sarah down and explain that the Doctor has done this sort of thing before and best to take it in stride.  

Must saving the world interrupt my LARP time?

Meanwhile in the National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research or “Think Tank” as it is more colloquially known, the top secret plans for a disintegrator gun have gone missing.  The Doctor (Tom Baker of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Black-Adder II, The Silver Chair, Selling Hitler, Medics and Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior) and the Brigadier with a cadre of men from UNIT have gone to investigate when the Doctor notices large rectangular footprints and crushed flowers.

  Sarah Jane goes off to interview one of the former members of Think Tank a Professor Kettlewell and he proceeds to tell her of a immense robot called the K-1 he developed years ago but its learning processes were too advanced and he felt it was a power that could easily go out of control.  He further explains that no one at Think Tank have the responsibility or morals to use the K-1 properly.
Two for tea?

I have just a few thoughts or interjections at this time.  While the massive robot is clearly superimposed (placing an image or video on top of an already existing image or video), the bulky costume that it was clearly has hinge joints and seams where a man would enter it and it did seem a bit farfetched to have that effective an AI I felt this story gave a great example of brilliant minds feeling they could not only do better at managing the world without the aid or need of politicians or governments I can say I see their point of view.

Twiki's big brother, Crusher.

That being said this lot was completely crackers and was perverting the concept of science which is to better humanity and bring a sense of accomplishment to benefit all.  OH and a FYI, Tom Baker was the first Doctor to have his own action figure made by Mego along with Leela, a Dalek and the robot of this episode. That is all for this day and join me for the final day of Doctor Who Week tomorrow.  Don’t skip away too soon Tom Baker fans.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Doctor Who Week: Jon Pertwee

Welcome boys and girls to Day 3 of Doctor Who Week as we leave Patrick Troughton as the Doctor was last seen in War Games alongside his companions Zoe (Wendy Padbury of Charlie Bubbles, The Blood on Satan’s Claw, Freewheelers and Emmerdale) and Jamie (Frazer Hines of Peril for the Guy, Go Kart Go, Emmerdale and Out of Sight) as the Doctor and rogue Timelord know as Warlord were being held for trial by the Timelords, they felt Troughton had misbehaved, blatantly ignoring the rule of non-interference and stealing the TARDIS the Timelords forced a regeneration on the Doctor, wiping all memory of the TARDIS operation and sent him into exile to Earth.  Enough of that twaddle.  Let’s get to the heart of the matter and introduce you to the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee.   So grab your best running shoes, learn to hide behind a boulder and avoid extermination.  This is Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons

I'm hardly a dandy.

Spoiler is a complete jackanapes! All he ever does is cause trouble.

Starting with episode 1 of Season 8 and this particular show has a myriad of firsts. the Doctor (Jon Pertwee of Carry on Cowboy, Carry on Screaming!, The Avengers and Jackanory) is aware of who he is and what has occurred and promises to behave himself in exile.  Rejoining UNIT (UNinfied Intelligence Taskforce) and baffling the hell out of his superior Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney of Endless Night, Watch This Space, Sink or Swim and To Catch a King) he proceeds to conduct his various experiments as his former companion Liz Shaw has left the Brigadier has hired a new assistant for the Doctor, Jo Grant (Katy Manning of Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something!, Eskimo Nell, Whodunnit? And Target). Prior to this bit of chitter chat, a rogue Timelord called the Master (Roger Delgado of Pursuit of the Graf Spee, First Man Into Space, The Road to Hong Kong and Aquarius) visits Earth in a TARDIS of his own, hypnotizes one of the locals to do his bidding and proceeds to steal a vital component called the Nestene Energy.

You are getting very sleepy.

His plan is simple enough; to create living plastic entities that follow his bidding and start taking over the universe.  You have to give it to the man, he never thinks small.  So with this in mind the Doctor, Brigadier and Jo are off to the carnival where all this started.

And now I have a bit of background on the origin of the Master and some observations thereafter.
The creative team that conceived the Master felt the Doctor would benefit from a reoccurring villain.  He was deemed the Professor Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes if you will. Like the Doctor, his title is purely an academic degree and the Timelords would refer him as Lord Master. 


The irony is his disdain for Pertwee could not be further from the truth as they were dear friends prior to working on Doctor Who.   The creation of the Nestene appeared in 1970 Spearhead from Space a hive mind sentient living plastic was deemed a bit daffy and was not among the Doctor Who Rogues gallery until 2005 when it was reintroduced in the Ninth Doctor’s intro story titled “Rose”.    Tomorrow we regenerate to Tom Baker.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Doctor Who: Patrick Troughton

Hiya kids we are back with Day 2 of Doctor Who Week and in spite of some requests for me to skip on ahead to Tom Baker I am sticking with the chronological order.  To recap, the Doctor had a lengthy battle with the Cybermen and seemed run down.  His stalwart companions Ben and Polly are worried and follow him into the TARDIS where the Doctor appears to be rapidly aging only to transform into a shorter and younger man.  Have they flipped?  Were they on a planet that makes you drop acid?  Have the writers pulled the wool over your eyes?  Let’s find out kids.  This is Doctor Who: The Power of The Daleks.

TV Viewers? Bah!  Go read a book.

Spoilers advance and attack! Attack and destroy!

The Doctor has gotten up from the floor of the TARDIS where it would appear he had simply dropped dead but instead of that matriarch scholar stands a man shorter and younger than he. The Doctor (Patrick Troughton of Hamlet, Macbeth, Treasure Island, The Phantom of the Opera, Jason and the Argonauts and The Omen) seems a bit perplexed, baffled as starts referring to himself, his past self in the third person.  Suffice to say things can go a bit wonky (that’s a technical term) with the regenerations.  Ben (Michael Craze of The Exorcism of Hugh, Terror, Evil Heritage and The Healer) and Polly (Anneke Wills of Some People, The Avengers, The Pleasure Girls and Strange Report) are bit of amiss to what is happened to the Doctor but  clearly it is still him as they head out of the TARDIS from its landing.  Ben and Polly protest as that they are not even certain they have landed, wither or not there is radiation or oxygen rich atmosphere.  The Doctor cracks up the 500 year old diary and without even looking up from it announces the temperature, oxygen content, negative on radiation and a curiously high concentration of mercury then proceed to stroll on out.

Why yes the pants are a breathable cotton/wool blend.

The misbegotten three find themselves on Earth colony Vulcan where the local scientist has made a 200 year old discovery and in spite of the Doctor warning this government and scientists and being slightly odd they unearth a vessel containing three Daleks.   The Daleks immediately recognize the Doctor based on his intelligence and Timelord DNA. Ben and Polly are somewhat at ease then.   Now it is up to the Doctor to thwart his old enemies, save the day and keep his young companions from harm.

I have just a few comments about this particular episode.  All six episodes were wiped by the BBC and there is no visual record of it, however through still and production shows and a wire recording the production company managed to piece together an almost radio drama of those original episodes and this is literally the only way to view it.  


This story points out political and social upheaval between the working class, activists and a police state.  The Daleks take advantage of this chaos by behaving almost benevolently then the double cross ensues, followed by the triple cross for pudding.  A powerful and well thought out piece of science fiction but alas we do not have it in the medium we are accustomed to.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Take care Boston

I am deeply moved and hope nothing but safe passage for those in the explosion in Boston.  Let us hope and pray our fellow humanity are safe. Once again senseless waste of human life and folks are pointing fingers left and right.  Let's try to love one another people!

Doctor Who Week: William Hartnell

Welcome and hello to Day 1 of Doctor Who Week and I thought I would start us off with the very first actor to portray this monumental character of science fiction and start ushering a golden age for the genre.  So batten down the hatches, flip that defensive screen and take off the hand brake.  This is Doctor Who: The Dead Planet.

Gee, I wonder what this episode is about?

The only interest we have in the spoilers is their total extermination!!

The Doctor (William Hartnell of Sabotage at Sea, The Peterville Diamond, The Dark Tower, The Ringer, Hell Drivers and The Army Game) has shanghaied his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford of Horrors of the Black Museum, The Ghost Train Murder, The Day of the Triffids and Mix Me a Person) and her teachers Ian Chesterton (William Russell of The Great Escape, Breaking Point, This Man Craig, Harriet’s Back in Town and Superman) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill of Joyous Errand, Out of This World, No Hiding Place and Romeo & Juliet) off  to an alien world with the TARDIS (Time and relative dimension in space) and the teachers demand to leave but our fuss budget  Doctor purposely sabotages the TARDIS so they need to look for mercury to repair it.   

Donner! Party of four.

Wandering out into this alien world it is noted that there are high concentrations of radiation and the party makes their way to a huge metal city.  As our brave four explore the city, Barbara gets separated from the rest of the part and is threatened by a creature with a metal arm.  Before too long the entire crew is captured by the Daleks.  Ian and Barbara feel horrible from the radiation in the area and Susan is sent back to the TARDIS to retrieve some anti-radiation pills when she comes across a second alien species known as the Thals.  These people have been engaging in war with the Daleks for some time.  Susan attempt to broker a peace treaty between the two warring factions and for a time it appears to be working but the Daleks open fire upon the Thals during a friendly exchange of food and supplies.  Yeah didn't see that one coming.

And now I have just a few remarks and observations about this particular episode.  This episode is the first appearance of the Daleks as a long running animosity towards the Doctor and his fellow Timelords.  This episode was watched by a little over 6 million viewer when it was originally aired. Their re-occurrence has of course continued into the current series as the 9th, 10th and 11th Doctor has had to face his most hated enemy time and time again.

Vacuum cleaner salesmen will be exterminated!

This story follows almost a hostage escape scenario and the genocidal Daleks are completely devoid of emotion and mercy and have been a staple of this particular series.   This was filmed in 35mm anamorphic lens which does take the focus off your main foreground but can capture the whole surroundings of the film project.  As William Hartnell developed arteriosclerosis and made it near impossible to say his lines let alone run about, it was the producer Mervyn Pinfield came up with the concept that the Doctor could regenerate himself by altering his physiology into a completely different man but in essence the same fellow.  All memory and personality is still his and changes into Patrick Trouton and we shall go over the second doctor tomorrow.

Doctor Who Week!

Go around me then!

Bilbo Baggins! I have need of thee!!

My God, what a horrendous haircut she chose.

Good day ladies and gents.  Thought we could use a break from film genre and go right into some good old fashioned Science Fiction.  Oh don't worry we will not be seeing the likes of Lloyd Bridges nor Burt I Gordon or heaven forfend Roger Corman.  No I thought we would look at the humble beginnings of the UK's greatest sci-fi triumph, The Doctor.  So this week I will be filling some of the younger readers in on this phenomenal character and his many lives and our mature readers can reminisce over days of yesteryear.  So grab some decent running shoes, beware of rock quarries and for God's sake get the time spacial coordinates set.  It is time for Doctor Who!

Oh dear, I seem to forgotten my next line.

Yes Brigadier that is very common for a man your age.