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!


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.


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.

The last Pegg in the coffin…

I kind of agree with Simon Pegg about the seemingly increasing immaturity of adults: Adults’ obsession with science fiction causing society to become infantilised.

It’s pretty obvious that too many bearded boys are walking around in Batman onesies, going to work with Avengers rucksacks and taking Game of Thrones far too seriously. Hell, you can even point a finger at yours truly, at age 44 with a huge comic book collection and far too many sci-fi DVDs. Then again, I’ve been reading comics seriously since my teens and the best titles have grown up with me, many even have explicit ‘Suggested for mature readers’ warnings on their covers.

But enough of defending myself.

What struck me as hypocritical was that Pegg has made his entire career playing that same man-child character, and Spaced, brilliant as it was, was probably more responsible for instilling the idea that you could be an adult and still enjoy yourself with sci-fi than any other show. And, as the article goes on to point out, he’s not going to step off that gravy train any time soon:

“[Pegg] first achieved cult fame in 1999 after co-writing the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, in which he played a science fiction-consuming slacker and aspiring comic book artist. Then came Shaun of the Dead, the hit 2004 “rom-zom-com” in which he played a hapless, slightly immature 30-something fighting off zombies.

Other career highlights have included the films How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, in which he plays a hapless, slightly immature 30-something journalist, and Run, Fatboy, Run, in which he played a hapless, slightly immature 30-something boyfriend who runs away from his pregnant fiancée on his wedding day.

For fans worried that Pegg might grow up onscreen, however, there appears to be no immediate need to panic. In August he will star in Absolutely Anything, about a hapless, slightly immature 40-something given the power to do absolutely anything by ‘some very mad aliens’.”

Coming from anyone else, this my have been a valid piece of social observation, but as it is, it sounds a bit like Pegg is shitting where he eats. And don’t get me started about that awful Scotty accent…

Io9 has some proper rebuttals to his argument.