July 17th, 2009

Scary Books

The Day of the Triffids (1981) Review, Part 2

Ep 5
Coker and his pristine Aran sweater return. Bill is very forgiving of Coker. For the lack of anything better to do, Coker and Bill drive aimlessly around England. Triffids aren’t rampaging, more lurking. Bill blows away an attacking Triffid with a shotgun. Coker heads off to do whatever it is he does. Bill keeps looking for Jo and meets Susan. Bill uses a Triffid gun for the only time in the show.

With plague and Triffids everywhere, Bill and Susan continue to look for Jo. Finally Bill and Jo are reunited. This was a good ep, very atmospheric. Bill and Jo’s reunion was very touching.

Best Line: “They’re plants, they can’t see.”

~
Ep 6
A caption informs us that it is six years later. Bill, Jo, their son David, Susan, a blind couple and their daughter Alice live in an isolated farmhouse surrounded by an electric fence to keep the Triffids out.

It’s a struggle to survive; Bill and Susan regularly have to go after Triffids with flamethrowers. Bill is wondering if the plague and the shooting stars were natural occurrences. But his mind is taken off that when Coker returns in a helicopter. He has set up a colony on the Triffid free Isle of Wight and invites Bill and co to join them.

As Bill and co ponder the invitation, the decision is made for them when the representatives of a despotic new government show up to ruin their hideaway. Bill and co have to flee their farmhouse and abandon their sheep and goats. They plan to make it to the Isle of Wight. And the despotic representatives? They’ve left to the Triffids.

This was good and very faithful to the book. The remake cannot be better than this.

Best Lines:
“They’ve broken through the fence!”

“The mysterious disease where did that come from?”

“You try learning to fly from a book.”

“We or our children will come back and drive every Triffid from this land.”
Scary Books

Harper’s Island Ep 6 Review

Sploosh

Chaos erupts after Thomas’ death. JD is a suspect and is acting creepily. Trish exposes the adultery bombshell to her sister. Cal and Chloe have a boring subplot. JD and Abby find Uncle Marty’s body in a tree. Abby wonders if Wakefield is alive. JD, Henry and Abby run around investigating. Richard is a suspect until he is killed off. Abby and Henry dig up Wakefield’s grave. JD visits the woods dwelling scarred lunatic.  This was surprisingly dull, very dull.

Scary Books

Book Review: Serenity Found

Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe edited by Jane Espenson

This is an extremely enjoyable collection of essays on various topics raised in the tv show ‘Firefly’ and its big screen spin off ‘Serenity’. This is a follow up to an earlier tome ‘Finding Serenity’ which I haven’t read, but it can’t be as good as ‘Serenity Found’.

The topics of the essays range from how the characters are real and how ‘Firefly’ didn’t show a militarised future like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Stargate: SG1’, comparisons of River and Buffy, an opinion of the political agenda of the show, a comparison of Mal and Simon, a discussion of the show’ SFX, a defence of the film’s Mr Universe character and essays on the show’s debt to Westerns and the US civil war.

You may not agree with all of the essays conclusions and the constant Buffy chatter does grow tiresome, but this is a very good read.
Scary Books

Psychoville Ep 5 Review

Christopher Biggins is a panto diva. Joy is left alone with Freddy and weird stuff happens. Mr Lomax wants Snappy. Robert stalks the former Snow White, Debbie. Joy’s husband has finally snapped over her Freddy obsession and turned murderous. David has visions at the waxworks. Somehow it all ties back to the Ravenhill loony bin and a nasty nurse.

Events are stepping up a gear now; Mr Lomax is betrayed by his home help. The blackmailer has Snappy and there is a terrific joke about British luvvies. This was an okay ep, which returned to all of the promise displayed by ep 1.
Scary Books

Review: Dark Season (1991)

Dark Season (1991)

Classic BBC children’s show created by Russell T. Davies (‘Doctor Who’, ‘Torchwood’) and featuring a young Kate Winslet.

Ep 1
A scary blonde guy who never ever takes off his cheap sunglasses donates a load of dated laptops to a school. Three students: Marcie, Reet and Thom are suspicious. Marcie is the leader and is a vile brat who needs slapping; also she wears hideous early 90’s attire. Reet (Winslet) wears even more hideous early 90’s attire and has a bad henna dye job. Is her character supposed to be colour blind? Finally there’s Thom, who is normal.

The three suspect that scary blonde guy aka Mr Eldritch, who drives a car whose licence plate reads ‘Neme515,’ is up to something. They get even more suspicious when school lickarse Olivia is taken away by Mr Eldritch. This was good with scary opening credits.

Best Lines:
“Nothing in the world can stop me now!”

“Normal is for the comatose!”

“This is mysterious.”


~
Ep 2
After playing around with one of Eldritch’s free laptops Reet and Thom do a mutual swoon. While Olivia acts like a zombie and glows causing lights to explode. Marcie annoys and investigates ‘Ray Ban Man’ and learns of weird goings on with the computers and a professor who defected. This was okay.

~
Ep 3
Eldritch carries Reet off. An annoying doubting Thomas teacher is the Scully. Thom and Marcie go to Eldritch’s HQ. There is a twist in the tale and Eldritch is defeated by made up computer technology. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“Eldritch has turned their homes into a trap.”

“Send me to borstal.”

“And so it ends.”


~
Ep 4
It’s a new day and a new danger at school. A group of people are digging up the sports field. Marcie, Reet and Thom face off with a new villain. Nobody points out that Marcie, Reet and Thom never change their hideous pastel clothes.

Marcie thinks the weird things afoot at the sports field are to do with the end of the century. Meanwhile new villain Miss Pendragon wears a really camp turban, while her followers wear grotty wigs. This show may be 18 years old but it is good, the 2nd story is superior to the 1st.

Best Lines:
“The behemoth awakes!”

“It’s not the Temple of Doom.”

“You see danger in a breadbin.”

“Why can’t you be like the other kids and get into fights?”

“It will reach out from the darkness of its tomb, it wants life.”

“I don’t like signs that say out of bounds, keep off the grass, no entry. They never tell you why.”

~
Ep 5
Thom and Marcie are struck in a tunnel under the school which is part of a long hidden office complex. The annoying teacher continues to be the Scully. This is a dangerous school to go to as it turns out it was built right on top of a war machine. An old enemy returns.

Best Line: “They buried it. But they didn’t bury it deep enough.”

~
Ep 6
The war machine looks like a lost prop from ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. Eldritch and Marcie have a face off during a laser light show. Reet faces vacuum packed death. Marcie talks the war machine to death. Eldritch is defeated again, or is he? Pendragon goes campily to her death, her followers vanish. Marcie and co head off for more adventures. This was good. ‘Dark Season’ is a treat and is very fondly remembered.

Best Lines:
“This is the final battle.”

“The behemoth filled my mind.”
“There was a lot of space for it to fill!”

“World War Three is on its way!”
Traveler

Retro Review: Veronica Mars Season 1 Eps 1&2

Pilot
In under a year Veronica Mars lost all her friends, her best friend was murdered, her boyfriend dumped her, someone assaulted her at a party, her mother ran away and her father lost his job, the bank repossessed their home and now she’s angry and wants to get even.

The theme song for this show is very appropriate. It goes: ‘We Used to be friends a long time ago, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all.” Veronica sleeps in class, pines over her lost love, the absent Duncan Kane and is tormented by Logan. As Veronica says about Logan: “Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass, he’s ours.”

Still at least new student Wallace and bike gang leader Weevil want to hang out with her. Veronica’s disgraced father Keith works as a private investigator and she helps out. When does she find time to do her homework? Keith Mars was disgraced after Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried of ‘Mean Girls’) was murdered and he accused Lilly’s father Jake of being involved. Jake Kane is a software billionaire and so Keith and his family became town pariahs for his bungling of the case. The Mars name was such mud that when Veronica tried to report what happened to her at the party, Sheriff Don Lamb laughed in her face.

Keith is still obsessed with the Lilly Kane case. And now so is Veronica. After Lilly died, everything changed. Veronica cut off her long angel curls, Duncan went catatonic and Lianne Mars ran away and is seemingly having secret trysts with Jake Kane. Veronica wants her family back together. Why did Lianne Mars disappear leaving only a unicorn music box and a note for her daughter? Veronica’s going to find out the truth about Lilly’s death and bring her mother home.

This was an okay 1st ep. However viewing it in retrospect after watching all three seasons, it’s a shame how much didn’t live up to the camp noir hype. Logan was tamed, the Lilly mystery came to an unsatisfactory ending, the Lianne Mars plotline was shamefully mishandled and it was never once acknowledged in the three seasons of the show’s run just how truly wrong Keith Mars was.

Best Line: “I like this case, its tawdry."

~
Credit Where Credit is Due
The in crowd at Neptune High are known as 09ers due to their 90909 zipcode. Keith continues to rant about Lilly’s murder. Like how no-one claimed the $100,000 reward to catch her killer. Veronica gets involved with bike gang member Weevil and some stolen credit cards. She takes advantage of Wallace to solve the crime. Meanwhile Logan’s girlfriend (Paris Hilton) cheats on him which ends badly for her. Meanwhile Veronica learns an important clue about Lilly’s death; she was alive two hours after her supposed time of death.

This was another okay ep. But how for three seasons was Keith left unaware of Veronica’s reputation and what happened at the party?

Best Lines:
“The fine people of Neptune grabbed their pitchforks and torches.”

“She doesn’t like her ice cubes made with tap water.”
Scary Books

Wild Palms (1993) Review, Part 1

This mini-series was seriously weird. They just don’t make mini-series’ like this anymore, the miniseries ‘The Triangle’ from a few years back was nothing compared to this Oliver Stone insanity.

Ep 1: Everything Must Go

Harry (James Belushi of ‘Traces of Red’) lives in LA in 2007, where everyone wears faux-Edwardian garb. Apart from the recurring dreams of a rhino in his swimming pool, Harry’s life is pretty good. He has a wife Grace (Dana Delany of ‘China Beach’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’) and two kids: Coty and Deidre. But all is not well, his mother in law Josie (Angie Dickinson) is unnerving, his best friend Tommy (Ernie Hudson of ‘Ghostbusters’) seems to know something and Harry’s ex Paige (Kim Cattrall of ‘Sex and the City’) has shown up in his life again.

Harry soon becomes aware that LA is not a nice place to be. There are stories of missing children, random background violence and an ongoing war between two political groups known as the Fathers and the Friends. When Coty gets an acting job on the dreadful sitcom ‘Church Windows’ and Harry gets a new job offer from Paige’s boss, life gets seriously out of control.

It’s all something to do with 3D holograms and interactive television, the internet does not seem to exist in this 2007. Grace’s father (David Warner) is full of foreboding mutterings. Josie is full of random violence. And everyone is full of secrets.

What is the link between Josie and Harry’s new boss Tony? What is the meaning of the synthiotics religion? What is New Realism?

This is some insane melding of ‘Less Than Zero’ and ‘Twin Peaks’. It is deeply insane television; it has a random William Gibson cameo and is continually weird. It’s good though.

Best Lines:
“So this is how it begins.”

“I have seen the future and it is channel 3!”

“Someone should set him on fire.”

“His wife just left him, for his father.”

“You make me vomit.”

“I will send you to a hell you’re not familiar with.”

“You dried up monster.”

“I looked in the toilet and screamed.”

“What a wonderful likeness of your sister. You know if you went to the desert and dug Maisy up. You’d find the resemblance remarkable. You captured that, that tortured look she had the last eight or nine hours of the interrogation
.”

~
Ep 2: The Floating World

The theme music for this miniseries is nice. Harry is manipulated by Paige and her out of control eyebrows. Grace who has become convinced that Coty isn’t her son tries to kill herself. Harry learns that the Friends have a secret hideaway under his swimming pool. Harry is told that his marriage was arranged and Coty isn’t his. Coty proves to be even more of a demented sociopath than Josie.

A mysterious kid named Peter runs around after Harry and Grace. Harry learns his father invented an important drug and goes to Japan with Paige where he hears mysterious talk about a go chip before he is attacked by an angry tattooist. Grace can’t cope with Josie and Coty. And she really can’t cope when she sees what was tattooed on her husband’s hand.

This was a weak ep, I couldn’t take much more of Grace either looking wan or screaming hysterically.

Best Lines:
“There is a new reality.”

“Not everyone sees the rhino.”

“You’re having a very important nightmare.”

“We’re the shock troops of reality.”

“A subway for paranoids.”

“What the hell is going on?”

“We will dream him into infinity.”


~
Ep 3: Rising Sons

Harry learns some more about his father, Dex. Tony leads a cabal of evil that includes Coty, Paige, Josie and Coty’s sitcom co-star Tabba (Bebe Neuwirth) Grace tries to tell Harry that he’s been bought by a cult. He doesn’t listen until it’s too late. Tony is the founder of the Fathers and Harry’s tattoo brands him as a member.

Harry hangs out with synthiotics types; Paige tells Harry she lied to him to pull him in and reveals that Josie is Tony’s sister and that Coty is Paige and Tony’s son. As Harry staggers from revelation to revelation (his fake son is a nutcase, his marriage was arranged), Paige gets involved in Uzi battles and Grace and Deidre are whisked away by Harry’s evil shrink.

There’s primitive CGI, 3D holograms operated by a huge floppy disc, bad child acting and TPTB show off their love of empty swimming pools. This was good with a nice use of the House of the Rising Sun song.

Best Lines:
“The critics dismissed him as an acid casualty, which he was.”

“It will catch her and eat her.”

“My wife thinks I’ve become this off the wall cultist seduced by money and power.”

“One day in the middle of ‘Church Windows’ we’re gonna find out that our country no longer belongs to us and nobody will even care!”
“Conspiracy from hell!”

“Nothing matters, you’re with us now.”

“We will gut you in the street.”

“The women in your life are really going to hell.”
“And you’re driving the bus!”
Scary Books

What a happy day


Well I had my holiday and enjoyed it. There was opera, oyster shots, nearly getting blown off a pier, shops, crowds, traffic and out of control aircon. Thankfully I missed the implosion of 'Torchwood' fandom while I was away. I'm staying well away from that feeding frenzy. I have no idea how the show can come back after 'Children of Earth'. To take my mind off that, I've got a stack of books to read, I am currently on 'Flood'.