The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: The Verdict

The Edgar Wallace MysteriesWe’ve been here before with the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series of B movies: a story of the battle between two groups of criminals. Previously this has tended to be big, organised crime vs small time crooks, but this time we have two big crime bosses in opposition to each other.                  Continue reading

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lie to Me

In Lie to Me, Buffy finds out that life is tough. She is betrayed by an old friend, who she discovers is dying, and that has driven him to horrific extremes. He is a member of yet another teenage cult, this one revering vampires and wanting to be made like them. The other members are “lonely, miserable or bored”.

The saddest example of the “sheep” who follow Ford is Chanterelle, who is a very naïve girl and comes across as somebody who is desperately searching for something. If she is a sheep, then she is a lost one. She’s an example of a vulnerable person turning to some kind of organised spiritualism for help, and being betrayed and exploited. The real world might not have vampires, but there’s still a lot of truth in this representation of a cult, with its perversion of religious language. Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: A Passage for Trumpet

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959Growing up in the 70s and 80s meant you couldn’t see Jack Klugman without seeing Oscar Madison.  I wasn’t even a big fan of The Odd Couple, but seeing Klugman conjured only that one character: a grouchy, slovenly sports reporter who made life miserable for his roommate, Felix Unger.  To see him as Joey Crown is hard to wrap your head around.  He’s a sad, fragile man who feels like a failure.  This is a drastic change from Oscar Madison and really shows that an actor is far more than the characters they play.  Unfortunately, it made me hesitant to like Joey, because I can’t help but see Oscar and I never liked him.  But when he begs for a job, swearing he hasn’t been drinking, only for a bottle to fall and shatter on the ground, I realized I felt for Joey; I wanted Joey to get a break.   Joey is an alcoholic with very few prospects, and not even “a girl” of his own, so he steps in front of a truck… and finds himself in the Twilight Zone. Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles

Hound of the baskervilles gameLast week we covered one of the best of the Sherlock Holmes stories.  I mentioned we’d have to take another look at it this week, but in a different format.  That brings me to a game by developer Waterlily Games and publisher, Frogwares.  Frogwares has been responsible for an array of great games featuring the Great Detective, and they’ve each gotten better over time. However, there is one that, while on the older side, remains wonderful since my first playthrough: Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of The Baskervilles. Continue reading

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III The Search for Spock TitleStar Trek III is, in many ways, the flip side of the coin that was Star Trek II.  In the former, we get a good old spaceship battle akin to the classic episode Balance of Terror (which itself was basically a submarine battle).  The Search of Spock gives us planet-side fisticuffs with Kirk beating up Doc from Back to the Future!  In Khan, we learn that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.  In Spock, we discover that it’s not always the case; sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.  What’s the take away?  You have to wait until Star Trek IV to learn that.  These 3 movies are so interconnected, you need to accept that it’s one long story.  (The Motion Picture kicks off the idea of friendship, but it’s these three movies that really send the points on their voyage home!  Sorry… I couldn’t resist!) Continue reading

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Space: 1999 – The Exiles

breakawayI was annoyed last week, but now I’m just utterly disgusted.  I did a bit of homework this time.  Seems the production crew behind Space: 1999 wanted to Americanize it a bit for season 2.  So, like many sci-fi products that originate in Britain, this show took a serious hit with that decision.  While season one wasn’t exactly scintillating, it frequently had a good deal of mind candy.  Alas, even the opening credits take a beating, although thankfully, we got rid of those preview clips. Continue reading

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Tsukimonogatari

Tsukimonogatari YotsugiThe title of this miniseries in the Monogatari franchise is a tricky one to translate, with an ambiguity of meaning that is probably beyond the understanding of somebody trying to dip a toe into the Japanese language like me, but our most useful translation is probably “possession story”. This refers to Yotsugi, who is both a possessed doll and a reanimated corpse. She is a fascinating mix of cuteness and slightly disturbing, expressionless inhumanity, and the nature of her existence is important here in comparison to Koyomi, because he is on the verge of becoming an inhuman monster as well. Continue reading

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The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Downfall

The Edgar Wallace MysteriesNadja Regin is back for her third appearance in an Edgar Wallace Mysteries B-movie. It had been a good couple of years since Number Six and Solo for Sparrow, because she had become a Bond girl, appearing in both From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. Her performance in Downfall unsurprisingly exudes confidence, and she commands the attention of the viewer in every scene, which isn’t easy when acting against legends like Maurice Denham and T.P. McKenna, both of whom are superb here. Continue reading

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Halloween

Once the premise of Halloween is established we basically get a lot of running around until Ethan’s spell is reversed, and that follows a slow build-up to the moment people get turned into their costumes. Despite this, it’s a strong episode and a pivotal one, and that is because of the significance of what happens here for each of the main characters. Their costumes are not random choices; they say something about their personalities.           Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: The Chaser

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959I’ve always thought I’d seen the bulk of the Twilight Zone episodes, barring a handful from season 5, but I have been truly surprised by the sheer number of episodes that I’d never seen before.  Take The Chaser, for example; it didn’t ring any bells!  Well, that’s not strictly true.  The episode may not have been one I’d seen before but the story was one I knew all too well.  It’s one of the oldest stories in the book; something most of our parents tell us as we’re growing up.  Be careful what you wish for.  If you needed to sum up the story in a few words, there it is.  It would be remade as a far more exciting episode a few years later when Star Trek gave us Amok Time.  If only Spock could go back in time and find Roger Shackelforth, he could tell him that “…you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”  Sorry Roger, Spock does learn to travel back in time, but not until it’s too late to do you any good. Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles

It is undoubtedly the most popular of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and by far, the best of the 4 novels.  It has been dramatized countless times starring many of the great actors of history including Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Ian Richardson, Peter O’Toole, Max Headroom himself Matt Frewer, Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller and best of all, the Doctor, Tom Baker.  There may not be a definitive version of the story, but there is only one true Sherlock Holmes as Conan Doyle intended: Jeremy Brett.  Continue reading

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II is usually considered the best of the classic movie series. (I think that distinction goes to The Undiscovered Country, however this is a close contender and both were directed by Nicholas Meyer.)  Like most Trek, there are some truly great moments while the not-so-great ones are pretty few-and-far between.   Along the lines of “silly” I draw your attention to the Kobayashi Maru test which has become legendary in Trek lore, but talk about immersive role playing!  I can’t imagine military men playing it out and acting like they are being blasted to death.  McCoy even makes a comment about his “performance”.  Somehow that seems so unlikely.  Noticeably absent is any women appearing in bathrobes or revealing outfits.  The closest we get to that is Saavik’s off-duty clothing but there’s nothing untoward about it (barring Kirk’s appraising look).  In fact, the dialogue generated about her hair during that scene is used solely for comic effect.   Possibly the weirdest moment for me is watching Kirk shoot a slug that has just come out of Chekov’s ear.  Talk about a dangerously close shot near the man’s head!  If Chekov twitched… Continue reading

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Space: 1999 – The Metamorph

breakawayMan am I angry.  I was so looking forward to the start of season 2 because I knew that was when Maya arrived.  I fast-tracked watching Season 1 just to get here.  And immediately I was disgusted.  Helena Pinocchio Russell opens with a captains log and we get a deluge of nonsense.  It’s 342 days since the moon left earth orbit for one, they’ve gone through another “space warp”, and there are 297 crew on Alpha.  On top of that, Victor, Kano and Paul are all gone and the crew have new outfits.  Forget Maya for a minute, what show am I watching? Continue reading

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Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (Season One)

Love Live Nijigasaki Yu and Ayumi in swim suitsBoth Love Live! and its sequel Love Live! Sunshine!! followed basically the same storyline, with an idol group with nine members being assembled, with the goal to make their school famous and save it from impending closure. There were different outcomes, but basically the same plot beats each time. It was with some trepidation, therefore, that I embarked on the third iteration of Love Live!, wondering if I were about to watch basically the same story all over again, but with different but similar characters. Luckily, Nijigasaki is such a departure from the previous two shows that it doesn’t even feature an idol group. Well, not quite… Continue reading

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Columbo: Last Salute to the Commodore (Review)

Columbo Peter FalkMy Columbo articles normally follow a set format, where I begin by discussing the murderer, his or her motive and the details of the murder and mistakes made. After all, this simply echoes the order in which the information is usually imparted to the viewers in a Columbo episode. That isn’t going to work for Last Salute to the Commodore, because the episode functions instead as a traditional whodunit. This is not Columbo as we know it. Continue reading

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Reptile Boy

Time and time again, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is going to keep coming back to its favourite theme, and that has already happened several times: desire is dangerous, especially when it breaks the rules. In Reptile Boy, Buffy goes to a college party she is too young to attend, gets drugged and very nearly gets raped (and the only reason that doesn’t happen is she is being saved for somebody else… well, something else). She and Cordelia are then tied up, along with a random damsel in distress of the week, and they are menaced by a monster that could hardly be more Freudian. The thing is literally a snake, and my, what a big one. It’s obviously trying to be an allegory for the danger of sexual assault at college parties, and it’s not really veiled at all, but it does fit very well into the wider theme of the series. Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959This isn’t the first time that a dream world ends up being better than reality for a character in The Twilight Zone, but there’s something very appealing about Willoughby.  Once again, I’m struck by the chicken vs the egg idea when watching this series.  Did I see this before and remember the episode, or am I so into SF stories that I saw only one way this story could go?  A Stop At Willoughby feels like it should be a pleasant episode about an idyllic place where people ride penny farthing bikes, but it ends up being a very sad story indeed. Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes: The Bruce Partington Plans

It just won’t do!  We’ve had this story already, haven’t we?  It was called The Naval Treaty in season one, wherein top secret documents have gone missing.  I suppose there’s something for it considering that had to do with Naval matters and this has to do with the plans for a submarine, but one wonders about the British Royal Navy at this point.  Were they just terribly prone to losing critically important documents?? Continue reading

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The year is 1979.  I am 7 years old and sitting in my living room in the far corner by the large brown chair when my grandfather comes over.  He has a newspaper with him and offers to take me to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  He was a fan; not of Star Trek, but of his grandson.  He knew I was a fan and loved anything with monsters – “mamones”, as he called them.  Off we went to explore the final frontier.  About half-way through it, I was done!  It was a slow affair for a 7 year old.  We got up, made it to the back of the theater and… something in my 7 year old brain realized: good or bad, my grandfather and I were spending time together and that made it worth staying.  Just to be there with him, we sat back down for the second half. Continue reading

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Space: 1999 – The Last Enemy

breakawaySeason one ends with The Last Enemy and I have to say, I was really psyched.  I was looking forward to a really great season finale.  But I’d forgotten an important fact: this was made in the 70’s, long before a season finale was a big deal.  To compound matters, I did a little research on this one and found it was an idea of Barbara Bain’s.  That’s Pinocchio’s daughter, Helena Russell, which may have explained why it was so boring and wooden. Continue reading

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