Day of the dead…

So, George A. Romero and Martin Landau both gone within a day or so of each other: the former played a big part in my teenage years as a horror movie fan, with Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Creepshow among others. All were VHS staples in my house, and all were probably well worn out by the time I got to replace them on DVD.

The latter was a hero earlier in my childhood as Commander Koenig in my favourite childhood sci-fi TV show (apart from Doctor Who), Space 1999.

Landau of course, won an Oscar for his betrayal of another of my heroes, Bela Lugosi, in Ed Wood.

Zombies and sci-fi – there goes my youth!
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Enough already!

I saw the new Star Wars movie last week; it was a good fun waste of a couple of hours. But now I think it’s time for the whole media circus to move on (at least until the next movie!)

We’ve had the hype machine running full tilt for the last couple of months,¬†we’ve been bombarded with¬†the ads and some of the worst product tie-ins ever. And, now the film is in cinemas, we’re seeing the internet undertaking a collective postmortem: discussing the perceived plot holes, spotting the Easter eggs and the cameo appearances, and hand-wringing over the sexual politics and gender representation. It just seems endless – to the point where we’re not enjoying the franchise as a piece of science fiction escapism any more.

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Now, I’m a big time sci-fi fan, but the image above is from my Flipboard ‘Science Fiction’ feed, which has now turned almost exclusively into a ‘Star Wars’ feed.

And I’m sick of it.

Can we please all just take a deep breath and remember that it’s just a movie. And, despite the spectacle, it’s made lots of people undeservedly rich at a time when lots of ‘real’ people struggle to get by.

And yes, I do see the irony in writing about it…

Star Bores…

Not the phenomenon in the UK that it is in the US, we still get to watch SNL online over here. And, though it’s not the show it once was, it still occasionally hits the mark. Their recent Star Wars toy commercial had me wincing in recognition at myself a few years ago.¬†I’d been collecting Star Wars action figures and had loads still in their packaging that no one was allowed to touch.

One day I woke up to myself when my young son asked to play with some of them and I realised that I was being completely unreasonable. I put the whole collection into a bag and gave them to him – told him to open them all up and play with them. The excitement in his face was far more of a reward than sitting on a collection that could never be touched.

I still have a few miniatures and figurines around the house, but that’s as far as it goes. Toys should be for kids, not for middle-aged men (and it is mostly men!) to hoard away in the hope of a good investment.

Night Will Fall…

As a horror fan, proud of a strong stomach and slightly worried that nothing is ever going to really gross me out ever again, I was taught a sobering lesson on Saturday night with the Channel 4 showing of Holocaust: Night Will Fall. 

This was the story of the allied camera men who filmed and worked to produce a documentary of the scenes in the Nazi concentration camps. And, though I’d seen other programmes on the subject before, I still sat aghast at what I was witnessing. Though we are all desensitised to a large degree by explicit TV, film and internet content, there is still a sense of shock and outrage to be felt at seeing the torture and murder of people on such an unimaginable scale. Seeing humans reduced to rag doll corpses, being shunted about in tumbling heaps by bulldozers, legs and arms seeming to reach for escape, or being dragged from the backs of lorries and into mass graves is unsettling and far more horrific than anything in the mind of the most salacious movie director. Simply because it actually¬†happened, and happened so comparatively recently.

I find the blackest humour in most things. I’m known for it and am almost unable to help myself in summoning up something inappropriate to say to lighten the mood. But in this case I couldn’t find anything remotely amusing to say.

This was true horror…