Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Who would have guessed?

The other day I was watching The Last Legion (2007), a decent if not totally inspiring sword and sandals pic, which used the fall of the Roman Empire as a basis of the beginnings of Arthurian legend, namely the “sword of Caesar” which became Excalibur. (I wouldn’t recommend you put this one on your Netflix queue, but if it comes on TV late one night and you have nothing else to watch, you might enjoy it.)

This movie did something that all period or fantasy (or period fantasy) movies do, and I’m getting really tired of it. It’s the scene where an enigmatic person, covered head to toe so you can’t see their face, single-handedly takes on a group of assassins/soldiers/ninjas/ruffians/what-have-you, beats them all and comes out totally unscathed. Then they take off their head gear only to reveal, as one of the male characters usually exclaims, “A woman?” (In The Last Legion, the super-warrior removes their helmet to reveal the lovely, nay, beautiful Indian actress Aishwarya Rai.)

It's become such a cliche to have the warrior woman in action films. And even more of cliche to have the aforementioned reaction. (The only other cliche as bad is the wino who witnesses something extraordinary, does a double take, then tosses out his booze.) I guess it’s Princess Leia’s fault that women in films with any sort of action not only have to be ballsy, they have to be the equal of men, capable of riding, shooting, fencing and fighting as well as any man. Maid Marian in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves handled a sword as well as any Merry Man. Evie in the Mummy movies started meek, but quickly became the fighting equal of Brendan Fraser’s character. Catherine Zeta Jones in the two Zorro films swashbuckled nearly as well as Antonio Banderas. Keira Knightley in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Arwen and Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings films. It just goes on and on.

I don’t have anything against strong women in action films. Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton and Michelle Yeoh, for instance, have all done top notch work and are above reproach. But there’s a scene in The Last Legion where a burly 220 lb Goth swings an 80 lb hammer at the 110 lb Aishwarya Rai which she blocks several times with her sword. I’m sorry, but when that happens physics demands Rai be pounded into the ground like a tent peg! It’s like dropping a refrigerator on someone and them acting like you merely dropped a book on their foot.

Karen Allen’s Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark was gutsy and full of spunk. She could drink any man under the table and hold her own in a bar fight, but when the crap hit the fan she didn’t grab Indy’s whip and gun and play “Indiana Ravenwood.” Too often the female characters in action films are just thinly disguised male characters (the Ripley character in Alien started out as a male character before Sigourney Weaver was cast in the role). They should be written as women, and not just men in skirts.

Men and women are different. Viva la difference!

Tunnel Vision

It's Wednesday and that means Hump Day. Here at Bad News From Outer Space that means Horta Hump Day. So here's "The Devil in the Dark" for your peepers.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who was that masked man?


Unless you’ve been under a rock (and if you have been, what are you, a reptile or something; are you a Gorn?) you have heard about the swine flu that’s hit near pandemic proportions around the globe.

But while the swine flu is a terrible thing indeed, and everyone seems to be sporting the now-proven-unless Michael Jackson surgical masks to ward it off (he-he-HE), I’m hear to remind you about some other health hazards that don’t get the spotlight nearly as much as others. Of course I’m talking about “Cat Scratch Fever” and the even more dreaded “Boogie Fever.”

If you find yourself bow hunting in your local Albertson’s supermarket parking lot while sitting on the hood of your Hummer, you most likely have tednugentococcus, more commonly known as Cat Scratch Fever. You need to see a doctor, and possibly listen to something other than 70s Classic Rock for a few months.

And if you find yourself eating pizza and dancin’ to the beat, rockin’ and a-reelin’ all night long (doing the bump, bump, bump), well get your bad, and infected, self to a physician, STAT. You have come down with none other than Boogie Fever.

I think they're going around.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I got the tip from Pop Candy that Hollywood Wax Museum is auctioning off a buttload of its wax and fiberglass figures.

I don’t know about you, but wax figures creep me the hell out. And more often than not, they don’t really resemble the person depicted, as outlined below.

Don Johnson’s Sonny Crockett would make a great pastel-wearing Charles Bronson.

Dr. Zaius (Planet of the Apes, and a friend of this blog), with his big saucer eyes, looks rather like Macauly Culkin.

Michael Keaton’s fiberglass Batman looks like one of those 4” action figures after it’s been zapped for a few minutes in your mom’s microwave oven. It looks like shit.

Alec Guinness’ Obi Wan Kenobi looks more like one of the Golden Girls.

Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus head would make a great Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Capote.

The Sylvester Stallone Rambo figure is wearing Liza Minnelli’s wig, and appears somewhat emaciated. Buddy, just kill and eat one of the other wax figures. We won't mind.

Indiana Jones (from Last Crusade) wears an "imitation leather bomber jacket” that looks like it came from Kmart! This figure looks like ASS!

Denzel Washington's Crimson Tide figure looks more like Philip Michael Thomas (Tubbs from Miami Vice).

Mel Gibson as Braveheart appears to be modeled on Frank Stallone. Yes, Frank Fucking Stallone.

Heavens to mergatroid! Patrick Swayze as Dalton from Road House! He's shoeless (why?). And where's his back up, Sam Elliott? "Wax figures ain't got time to melt."

But the Jay Leno figure looks perfect.

Going, Going, Gone

Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.

“Where No Man Has Gone Before”

Well hot damn. Local station KTLA didn’t remove Star Trek from their schedule, they just pushed it back a day to Sunday mornings. At 4 am. (Beggars and choosers.)

With the brand new Star Trek feature film coming out next week, they've rolled out one of the good ones. For the five of you on the planet who don’t know, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” where one of Kirk's best friends becomes a god with psychic superpowers, is actually the second pilot episode shot and presented to the NBC network to try and convince them to turn Star Trek into a weekly series. Forty years and a billion dollar franchise later, I think they made the right choice.

“Where No Man” is much looser and more action-packed than the more cerebral first pilot, “The Cage.” Out went the tightly wound Jeffrey Hunter and into the captain’s chair went an up and coming Canadian actor named Denny Crane, I mean, William Shatner. The only actor and character to carry over from one pilot to the next, and into the series, was Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock. Into the mix were added Mr. Sulu and Scotty, respectively played by George Takei and James Doohan. Two notable guest stars were Gary Lockwood, just a couple years away from playing his most famous role in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Sally Kellerman, who would go on to play Hot Lips in the movie M*A*S*H.

This episode has several great moments: the Enterprise crosses out of our galaxy by passing through a colorful energy barrier; Lockwood’s Gary Mitchell and Kellerman’s Dr. Dehner have their natural ESP abilities exponentially magnified to god-like levels threatening the ship; the faster-than-light Enterprise is crippled and far, far from home; the seeds of the Kirk and Spock friendship are planted; and last but not least, Kirk has to make a painful decision regarding the life of one of his oldest and closet friends. Space travel sure ain’t easy, folks. (All that and a good, old-fashioned fist fight thrown in for good measure.)

CBS Digital gives us new barrier effects and a new planet, which are fine, but I have to admit the CGI Enterprise looks really fake especially when it encounters the extremely bright lights of the galactic barrier (in HD it looks much worse). I’ve read that properly lighting a CGI model is very important to make it appear like a real, physical thing. The company who handled Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s CGI effects in its final seasons managed to match the look of that show’s earlier physical model photography; I don't know why they couldn't do the same here. I know CBS Digital had a limited budget and time, but most Remastered episodes’ visual effects look like CGI effects (there is that clean plastic-y look). Maybe that’s what the “younger viewers” they are hoping to snare enjoy. Give me great physical model effects (or CGI made to look like physical models) any day.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can you make a origami unicorn?

Yesterday, I had the need to ride the Los Angeles subway system (the Metro) to keep from running afoul of the damn dirty apes, assorted mutant-types and radioactive monsters that roam the surface world here. In a first for me, I took the Red Line all the way to Union Station downtown.

Union Station's cavernous interior was used as the police station in the uber-classic Blade Runner. Just imagine this huge space filled with smoke and M. Emmett Walsh. Further pretend those folks in the pic are all replicants!

Some time soon I gotta check out the Bradbury Building downtown, another famous local Blade Runner location.

Photo taken from Wikipedia. Copyright its respective owner.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sit down and shaddup!

There’s a new all-movie network on the airwaves called, THiS TV, which according to Wiki is designed for “digital television subchannels.” (That just means reception comes and goes.)

Wiki also states THiS TV’s content is supplied from the MGM/UA film libraries. That explains the airing of The Magnificent Seven, and ALL of its sequels, Return of the Seven, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, and The Magnificent Seven Ride. What, no Saturday morning cartoon series: The Magnificent Teen Seven? Lassie and the Magnificent Seven (remember the cartoon version of Lassie)? Wee Magnificent Seven (for the under 7 yr old set)? ANYway…

They’ve had some gems on THiS over the last few weeks, including Scream, Blackula, Scream, starring the one and only William Marshall, who played the “King of Cartoons” on Pee Wee’s Playhouse and former computer genius/madman Dr. Richard Daystrom on Star Trek.

They also played The Babysitter, a 1980 TV movie with William Shatner and Stephanie Zimbalist in the title role. It’s your standard “babysitter movie” plot where the hot, young, seemingly innocent spawn-watcher worms her way into a family’s life and the father’s heart/pants. It was a gas watching Shatner as he had so many gestures and mannerisms that matched EXACTLY what he had done in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which he shot the year before this project. If this movie is repeated I’m going to record it then spool up ST:TMP on DVD and have Shatner deliver all his V’Ger-related dialogue to the nubile Stephanie Zimbalist. I’ll also have Quinn Cummings (!), who plays Shatner’s young daughter, voice Commander Decker. Cummings hates her babysitter, so that will match Decker’s hate for Kirk taking over his job. Plus the Quinn Cummings’ lisp will be a hoot coming out of Stephen Collins’ mouth.

One thing I want to know after watching The Babysitter is why no one in these types of movies – and there have been more than a few - notices the girl is crazy-bonkers. It’s easy to see because SHE NEVER BLINKS! And she's always smiling, like she's a fembot, or Haley Joel Osment in A.I. (watch it – he NEVER blinks and it’s SOO creepy!).

Come to think of it, Yul Brynner, who donned his Magnificent Seven costume to play the Gunslinger android in Westworld, never blinked in that movie either. There's a babysitter film for you: Yul Brynner as the unblinking, unsmiling babysitter who worms his way into an unsuspecting family's life. He'd deliver all his lines in that terrific Rameses II/King of Siam stentorian staccato, "Do not WORRY, Dr. and Mrs. Jennings! Go ABOUT your BUSINESS. Your DAUGHTER will be SAFE with ME! NOTHING can go WORNG!"

Only on THiS TV!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let's FRY SOME EGGS on the sidewalk, gang!

The mercury here in Los Angeles is in the UNSEASONABLE range for the next few days, as in over 90 degrees out there. Bad News From Outer Space takes a look at this phenomenon and comes to one startling, inescapable conclusion (unless we're, ya know, wrong).


You set the recorder for Star Trek and you get Cheaters. Hmm…so why not combine the two? It’s Star Trek: Cheaters.

The shuttlecraft Galileo docks in the Enterprise hangar bay. Capt Kirk and his companion, Shahna the drill thrall, begin to exit.

T'aniqua the Orion Slave Girl rolls up out of the airlock, followed closely by Cheaters host Joey Greco and his crew.

Kirk: Oh, shi--

T'aniqua: Who this is?

Kirk: T'aniqua, can we discuss this later?

T'aniqua: Discuss? Discuss what? That you been beamin’ around on me with this bottle blond ho!

Shahna: Jim Kirk, shall I dispatch the shrill green one?

Kirk: No, Shahna, there will be no “dispatching” aboard my ship. T'aniqua, baby, if you have a problem you should have come to me later…you don’t need all these people.

Greco: Joey Greco, with Cheaters. Capt. Kirk can you tell me why you went on a romantic shuttlecraft ride with this blond woman when you knew T'aniqua was onboard the Enterprise waiting for you?

T'aniqua grabs Shahna by her drill thrall collar. Shahna tugs at T'aniqua’s animal-skin garb exposing a green breast (which is pixelated for TV). They start to pull each other's hair.

Kirk jumps in between them. You can tell he'd rather watch them wrestle, but he is the captain.

Kirk: Ladies, please. There is no fighthing in the hangar bay! Mr. Greco, you of all people should know about the Prime Dating Directive.

Greco: Prime Dating Directive?

Kirk: Yes, the Prime Dating Directive: the non-interference dating directive, which prohibits any two women the captain is dating from meeting each other aboard my ship!

Kirk is still struggling with the two hot chicks and is covered in smudged green makeup and little pieces of Shahna's aluminum foil bikini.

Greco: Star Trek: Cheaters will be right back, with Nomad dating one of Harry Mudd's android women while secretly seeing her TWIN behind her back.

Until then, here's "The Apple" fumetti.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.
The song parody is based on "Don't Give Up On Us" lyrics by Tony Macaulay, sung by David Soul. Copyright the respective rights holders. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reloading Vin Diesel

Bad News From Outer Space's movie critic gives Babylon A.D. another shot.

Mad Max Meets Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Babylon A.D. (2008)

Fuck this stupid piece of shit. (I’ve spent over an hour trying to write a witty, insightful review for this dull, fucking turd of a movie. And then I realized I’d spent more time thinking about its story and characters than the filmmakers and star Vin Diesel ever did!)

I love this comment from Ben Mankiewicz of "At the Movies," found on Rotten Tomatoes: "Skip it aggressively."

I wish I could have, Ben, I wish I could have.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Charlie...Brown? No, X. But Still A Blockhead.

Well, looks like KTLA has pulled Star Trek from their schedule. I guess there weren't enough people watching it Mondays at 4 IN THE F---ING MORNING!

Anyhoo, here's some "Charlie X" fumetti for the heck of it. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.
Muppets character Janice is Copyright 2009 and a Trademark of Walt Disney Company. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Forsooth, Tis Hammer Time Indeed!

Thor: Hammer of the Gods (2009)

The cable channel Sci Fi continues to redefine the term “bottom of the barrel.” A few months ago I caught their airing of Bram Stoker’s Way of the Vampire, a low budget horror flick shot primarily in a church auditorium, complete with collapsible Bingo table on which to display their lethal, undead killing wares. Their Van Helsing was some blond Australian bloke who ran around in a t-shirt, leather vest and blue jeans. BLUE JEANS! What’s next, a monster fighter who wears corduroy slacks (tag line: “He leaves his mark on his enemies.”)?

Well, Sci Fi must have bought some new sonar equipment and remapped the bottom of that barrel, because their latest offering, Thor: Hammer of the Gods, is my new lowest of the low. We missed the beginning, but from what I could tell, they were telling the story of a band of Vikings named Thor, Baldur, Freya and company who would go on to inspire the legends of their namesake Norse gods. If that wasn’t the story, and they were supposed to actually BE the Norse gods, well, Ho-lee shit and Odin's beard, are we in trouble.

You would expect someone who inspired Thor the god of thunder to be a big, strapping Conan the Barbarian-era Schwarzenegger type. Think again. Here we get Zachary Ty Bryan, famous as the chubby son on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement TV series. He plays Thor as a chubby blue collar Viking, sort of a Nordic Ice Road Trucker (he sports a thin beard and a faux hawk, so he looks EXACTLY like an Ice Road Trucker). The rest of the cast is a real mishmash of accents, some American, some British, some American trying to do a British accent, a little Bulgarian or Czech. The chick that played the villainess (she’s not even listed on the movie’s imDb page) was hilarious with her very precise pronunciation of things, like “swort” for sword. Mac Brandt who played Baldur looked like a slightly more muscular Ed Grimley, I must say.

They shot this Norse turkey in the cold and snow of Bulgaria, in what looks like just a handful of locations: a small stretch of snowy woods, a lakeside, and the most ridiculously designed and built “fort” ever committed to celluloid. The thing was literally a bunch of sticks, that wouldn’t have protected them from an angry mob of third graders, let alone the "werethings" that were after them. The costumes looked like rentals from some European costume shop; they resembled stuff you’d see at your average Renaissance Fair. The best part was nearly everyone wore helmets that had these WIDE nose guards hanging down the front, making all of them go cross-eyed several times!

Our heroes would walk a few feet in the snow, stop to have long stretches of expository dialogue, then walk a few more feet to stop at the next non-descript location (usually a snowy hillside with black tree limbs scattered about), and stand around in the snow having more long stretches of expository dialogue. I don’t think “The View” has as much lip flapping as this movie. A highlight of the movie was the fighting scenes with swords (or sworts, if you prefer) and shields, featuring some supremely lame combat choreography - I've seen day care slap fights that were more thrilling. They tried to hide the pitiful fighting with quick-cut editing, but they weren't fooling anyone.

The CGI was hands down the worst I have ever seen. The bad guy was some kind of dog or wolf in a cave – it looked like something that would have been at home in the Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" video. The design was crude - its fur even looked painted on and not like real fur. The animation of it was inept; a hand puppet would have been scarier. The compositing (placing it into a scene) was so poor it looked like it was pasted in there. And those werethings I mentioned earlier were such a sad design, it looked like too many animals were blended into it: wolf, bat, hyena, Joaquin Phoenix-with-his-beard on Letterman. I think they had a full-size were-head mounted on a stunt guy, augmented by CGI versions. I can’t say for sure because when they were on screen they’d cut away after just half a second.

How do you end this grand epic quest? Thor jumps on the big bad CGI cave dog and whacks him with his ginormous hammer. You gotta see it to believe it.

My knowledge of Thor and Norse mythology comes from Marvel Comics’ “The Mighty Thor” comic series. As it was co-created by the legendary Jack Kirby, Thor comics had an epic sweep and grandeur like none other. If this movie was inspired in any way by those comics, or even the actual Norse myths, you really, really couldn’t tell.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mr. Ed and Lassie: Private Eyes!

I just watched two great science fiction classics tonight: MR. ED and LASSIE. I don’t wanna hear any gripes about “those aren’t sci-fi!” – a telepathic dog and a talking equine are the DEFINITION of sci-fi, my friends.

This was the never-aired Mr. Ed pilot, with Scott McKay playing Wilbur Pope (not Post as in the series). McKay comes across as a younger, better-looking Emeril LaGasse. The comedy template is the same, with the laff track and the very set-bound barn housing Ed, who was voiced here as in the series, by Allan “Rocky” Lane. McKay does a decent job with the funny looks and expressions, but I prefer Alan Young. Maybe it's Young soothing voice. A different horse played Ed and he wasn’t nearly as pretty – or photogenic - as the one they got for the series.

A bonus feature on the disk was one of those “Buy U.S. Savings Bonds” ads in the form of a special Mr. Ed episode (with Young playing Wilbur). The highlight was when after Ed was told a horse couldn’t buy bonds, he picks up the telephone, drops the receiver where he can get to it, then picks up a pencil, dials the operator and gets down to business. Classic Mr. Ed highjinks.

The Lassie portion consisted of two episodes of the classic series featuring the mind-reading collie. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for how Lassie was so damn smart.

One episode had little Jeff (Tommy Rettig) and his pal Porky (wearing a genuine Jughead hat) building a swell treehouse. They and Lassie and Pokey, Porky’s pet basset hound, attempt to sleep in the treehouse one night when Pokey goes postal and won’t shut the hell up with his howling. Jeff tells Porky that shit won’t fly in his treehouse. Porky says It’s MY treehouse too! Jeff tells Porky to 86 Pokey. Porky says If Pokey goes, then so do I. Jeff says FINE. Porky tells Jeff that one day he’ll find a severed horse’s head in his bed and he will rue the day he tossed Pokey and Porky outta the treehouse. Jeff says Are you still here? Lassie is snoozing through all this and would make a crappy eyewitness to the events.

Long story short, Jeff find the treehouse demolished and blames his rotund former BFF. Porky swears to his even more rotund pops that he di’na do it. Porky and Jeff exchange some more eye daggers.

One night Jeff hears a terrible ruckus (is there any other kind in the sticks?) and Lassie jumps out the window. Jeff, and his Ma and crazy, ricket-infested Gramps find Lassie at the base of the treehouse, from whence the ruckus is STILL ensuing. Jeff climbs up, expecting to see Porky’s fat ass trashing their once beloved tree-dwelling, but finds instead Gentle Ben (or at least a bear) lookin’ for a late night snack.

We of course close out the episode with a moral about not jumping to conclusions, and maybe not making best friend plans with a fat kid who owns an old goddamn dog that won’t STFU.

I must say that Tommy Rettig at this age would have made a kick ass JONNY QUEST. The kid looks just like him, with the same giant landmass of hair (at least when Rettig combed it), and the same knack for getting into some serious shit. Rettig combover was so severe it must have inspired a young Donald Trump. I'm just sayin'.

Lassie didn’t do much in this episode because he/she was resting up for the next episode where he/she did all her own stunts. In the second episode, Lassie is on trial for murder and Jeff fights for her life! Well, actually Lassie was put on trial for attacking a kid. The penalty though was DEATH for Lassie, so Jeff really was fighting for her life.

The kid’s pop was trying to strong arm Gramps into selling the farm. While they were doing that Jeff and the guy’s snot nosed young son were left in the barn. Over Jeff’s objections, Billy or whatever his name was, tried to saddle a yearling who’d never been ridden before over. When the young horse knocks the young jerkwad on his butt, Billy gets a stick and moves to beat the horse (that’s city folk for you). Jeff jumps in and hands Billy his ass. Jeff’s mom comes in at this moment with the requisite country tray of milk and cookies (warm milk…blech!) and sends Jeff out to change. Jeff orders Lassie to keep an eye on Douchebag Jr. and, sure enough, Billy grabs the stick once more and goes to beat the yearling. Since no one understands Lassie’s S.O.S. barks he/she takes matters into his/her own hands/paws and grabs the stick, and Lassie and Billy end up wrasslin’ for a spell (as they say in the country). Douchebag Jr. loses his grip and falls down on some barbed wire or something and starts screaming his little douchebag head off. Gramps and Douchebag Sr. come a runnin’ and find Billy wimpering on the floor and Lassie standing over him, barking. Mr. Cityfolk assumes that Lassie has attacked, I say ATTACKED, his young, defenseless, innocent son. You’ll rue the day, etc, etc.

They go all Inherit the Wind with a trial to determine if Lassie is vicious and if he/she should be destroyed. Turns out Billy LIED on the stand about his injury - the kind old defense attorney proved the bite marks didn’t match (it’s CSI: Hicksville), and Lassie is set free. Hooray!

Then Jeff and his telepathic dog Lassie spend the rest of their lives roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland, looking for food and chicks for Jeff to bang. Or am I confusing this with A Boy and His Dog, again?

Ps: I say he/she when referring to Lassie because while the canine actor was a male, the character of Lassie was a female. And that's one to grow on!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blub, Blub, Blub

Sphere (1998)


Last night I tried to watch Sphere (1998), the movie version of a Michael Crichton novel. I say tried because it made me sleepy, and I gave up after they entered the spaceship, then I scanned through the rest and officially called it quits. I called it quits because I’ve watched this movie before when it was titled Event Horizon (1997). And before that it was called Galaxy of Terror (1981). (You could almost include Solaris on this list, but to nitpick, in that one, the planet did it not the ship.)

Each movie deals with a small crew entering a weird spaceship where strange things begin to happen to them (sort of like going to Disneyland for the first time). Several crewmembers are killed leaving a handful of survivors if not just one (also like going to Disneyland for the first time).

Each version of this story has the memories, dreams/nightmares or fears of the crew made real by the ship. Galaxy of Terror has the notorious giant worm rape scene (it’s the Dune sandworms favorite scene). Event Horizon has buckets of blood floating around as crewmen are ripped apart in hellish manners (Clive Barker must have this on a loop at his house). Sphere has a jellyfish attack. Wow.

Galaxy of Terror and Event Horizon basically imagine that a doorway or dimension into Hell has opened, which is the cause of all the shenanigans. I couldn’t understand what the heck was going on in Sphere even after reading the Wiki entries for the movie and the novel. They found a spacecraft from the future that had gathered the ET sphere in space, and somehow landed back in our time and gave the crew superpowers? I thought IT was making their subconscious fears come alive, but apparently it gave THEM the power to do that?

I love this Wiki entry on the novel, “Norman has a suddenly important role as he realizes he has to use psychology to keep the surviving team alive….” Norman the Psychologist realizes he has to use psychology to save the day - what are the odds (how Scientologists must HATE this book and movie). Reading that made me think of the Seinfeld episode where George must pass himself off as a marine biologist to date a hot girl. Later they’re walking and encounter a beached whale, and someone cries out, “Is there a marine biologist here?”

Monday, April 6, 2009

In this corner...

Until we get a movie where Superman fights the Hulk, this will have to do. Whitney Matheson has this article at her great site, Pop Candy, which highlights a new show, Deadliest Warriors, on Spike TV that pits two warriors from different time periods in history against one another. We get a Gladiator vs. Apache bout, a Knight vs. a Pirate match, and so on. Sounds like fun.

For some SERIOUS beatdowns, how about Jim Kirk vs. Jim West? Tor Johnson vs. Richard Kiel? Marjoe Gortner vs. Richard Simmons? Turkish Rambo vs. Petey Wheatstraw? Blackula vs. Dolemite? The list is endless!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Springtime for John Gill

Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.

“Patterns of Force”

It’s Star Trek meets Hogan’s Heroes, when Kirk and Spock are captured on a planet of Nazis and have to outwit Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz. Not really, but they do encounter a world called Ekos whose warring factions were united under their own Fuhrer, Kirk’s former Starfleet Academy teacher John Gill, and given the purpose of eliminating their hated enemies the Zeons.

I always thought this episode was more than a bit heavy-handed. It’s one thing for John Gill to take certain philosophical points from the Nazis and try to govern a people, but to LITERALLY call them Nazis and DRESS as Nazis, well, wouldn’t that just remind you of EVERYTHING the real Nazis did wrong? (George Lucas even patterned the Imperial officers’ uniforms in Star Wars after Nazi uniforms, because you can’t mistake that cold, cruel, brutal and efficient look for ANYTHING else.) When you wear jackboots, you can only march one way.

The oppressed people here are called Zeon - good grief, that’s just ONE LETTER removed from Zion. Here the Nazis are attempting a Final Solution with their very own Space Jews. (And some people think the actions of the half black/half white aliens in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" were a bit too obvious. Just be glad John Gill wasn't jogging around the Enterprise in a leotard like Frank Gorshin did.)

Like Hogan’s Heroes this episode finds time for some humor, and it’s some pretty good stuff involving Kirk and Spock mostly, and even Dr. McCoy. The scene in the prison with Spock having to climb on Kirk’s back, after both have just received a whipping, in a jail break attempt is priceless. William Shatner knows how to deliver a funny line, it’s a shame he only concentrated on dramas his whole early career and never ventured into comedies – he could have brought the house, or the TV screen, down.

Skip Homeier plays Melakon, the real power behind John Gill’s drugged Fuhrer. Homeier goes from uber-man to uber-hippie in the third season episode “Way to Eden” as the funky-earred, tie-dyed-robe-wearing Dr. Sevrin.

New CGI: “if you look out your port windows you’ll see the ringed planet Zeon.” Plus the Ekosian nuclear missile looks more missiley.

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