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Machine Shrink

Entry 1622

so that's how the inside of a computer looks like... History repeats itself just like the chicken at the zoo that perpetually wanted to pick some breadcrumbs lying inside the monkey cage but got hit each time on the head by a vigilant monkey carrying a stick.

Examining the Wintermute Engine for one of my soon-not-to-be Unfinished Projects I fell upon the games section and instead of downloading the editor itself I ended with Mental Repairs Inc. on my harddisk.

Mental Repairs, Inc. is a small 2.5D point'n'click adventure following Henrik Liaw, machine psychiatrist. His job is to repair electronic devices that are depressed or have gone bananas by giving them therapy, counselling, guidance or – in the true tradition of point’n click – by solving some riddles and handing over some goods one has picked up from another place.

Point’n click games go a long way but have been forgotten a bit by all these 3D, real-time, first person shooting extravaganzas that are, in my personal opinion of course, plain boring. My first shooter was the original Wolfenstein 3D (1992) that I played several times from A to Z (I even found the secret Pacman level). The game was obviously forbidden in Germany where the ‘don’t mention the war’-credo has been put into federal law. Wolfenstein is set in a Nazi-castle, the guards are SS-officers, the walls are adorned with swastikas and one of the final bosses is mister Adolf H. himself. (A de-nazified version was made for the American and German markets where they had shaved Hitler’s moustache and the attack dogs had been replaced by mutant rats. It made the programmers quip that apparently, for American censors, it was morally acceptable to shoot people, but not dogs.)

About a year later came of course Doom (1993) but I put it fast aside as it made me feel seasick. At the same time I was also an admirer of William Shatner’s TekWar novels and when a computer game came out I jumped on it as the proverbial chicken in the zoo (see above) but that game was ‘one of the worst licensed games ever seen’. Of course the TekWar novels are also pretty bad, so bad actually, that they have become quite cult.

But back to the Mental Repairs Inc point’n click game. Although made by an ‘amateur’ named Renzo Thönen it is actually better than some commercial games of its kind. Of course it is rather short (only half a dozen of rooms and situations) and you can play all levels in less than 30 minutes. The puzzles are pretty straightforward, quite logical and not too complex, other than in Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic where some actions to be followed were so weird and arbitrary (and on top of that, incoherently programmed) that you simply had to buy the hint book in order to get any further. Hidden inside Douglas Adams was, next to a gifted writer who seldom came out, also a shrewd entrepreneur almost like an Italian second-hand car dealer, although his Digital Village company didn’t survive the dotcom crash despite the fact that it had devised a rather witty Wikipedia avant-la-lettre (read the funny H2G2 entry for Belgium). But even Wikipedia has got into serious financial troubles nowadays, so we can’t really blame DNA for that.

I haven’t been mentioning Douglas Adams’s name for the sake of mentioning his name alone. The Mental Repairs world is basically a Hitchhiker’s world where machines have their own disturbed mind. The copy machine has lost its coloured view on the world, the coffee dispenser is depressed because everyone kicks it and the elevator has got a split personality, one up, the other down. The idea of elevators only wanting to go up has been explored before in the Hitchhiker’s novels by the way, so we’ll call that a friendly nod from one universe to another.

I quite liked the warped humour in the game and the hero’s somewhat cynical comments, but that is because I am that kind of guy. The adventure takes a twist, like good adventures do, at the end but in order to make it comprehensible there is a rather lengthy explanation needed that takes, with my limited amount of patience, somewhat too long as it just adds extra ballast. Also Starship Titanic lacked in that department, where the main computer kept on babbling for about five minutes once you had activated it, so Mental Repairs is in good company.

All in all a very nice and enjoyable game (with excellent 3 D graphics, objects and persons, BTW) and, like I said, well worth the 30 minutes it takes to play. I saw that Thönen’s Hulub website also offers a second, slightly older, point’n click game, Murder In A Wheel. It mimics deliberately the Day Of The Tentacle style and has won an AGS award in 2007. I think I’ll download and play that as well because I simply can’t resist a game where the main plot is about who murdered the house hamster.

My next Unfinished Project will have to wait a little bit longer, I guess.

Other point'n click games reviewed on this site:
Nomen Est Omen (Starship Titanic)
Tentacle Day (Day of the Tentacle)
East Side Story 
Walking Through The Valley Of Eden Sandbox of God walkthrough, compatible with version 1.52


Flesh & Drones

Entry 1606

Movie Poster Does anyone remember Signs, the 2002 movie by M. Night Shyamalan? Hundreds of aliens play peek-a-boo with the world population, tension rises to Fahrenheit 451 and in the end it all comes down to the fact that these aliens urgently needed lunch and mistook ZZ9 plural Z Alpha for the restaurant at the end of the universe. What a stupid lot of alien buggers they were weren’t they? Lucky for me there still is badmovies.org that is a constant source of inspiration. Their review of Sins Of The Fleshapoids made me watch the movie and it must have been the most miserable 47 minutes of my life. But that, of course, is what Bad Movies is all about.

A review that won’t be found on Bad Movies is the 1977 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Love Drones. Aliens want to conquer Earth and their attempt is far more intelligent than the green lizards strategy in Signs.

The Plot (contains spoilers)

It is 8:02 AM. George Reevis (Eric Edwards) gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom to have a morning pee. His girlfriend Joann (Joann Dudd), wearing a cute nightgown, listens to the news on the radio clock and hears how an unidentified space ship has been signalled outside the Earth’s atmosphere. She quips about the little green men who want to conquer our planet but George can’t reply as on that particular moment he is beamed over to the alien ship. Just before he is transported we get a view of his frankfurter, giving the scene that extra realistic feel that he is being abducted at his most vulnerable.

The alien ship is manned (?) by a talking computer, nothing spectacular so far as this is standard alien spaceship equipment, and two scarcely clad woman who seem to have stepped out an audition for the musical Hair. The two woman are not real, but holographic (actually holomatter) simulations. They move and dance a bit, not always in unison, and invite the puzzled man to join their fertility dance. At the six minutes mark any reviewer can witness that the seduction scene is getting serious and that the females know a mouthful of human lovemaking. It doesn’t take too long before George is turned into a love drone whose task it will be to conquer Earth. Probably this involves some nano-robot technology, as his voice suddenly turns metallic, but the exact conversion process isn’t clearly shown. Although the aliens have an advanced technology that includes a holodeck and a teleportation device they have never mastered the technology to make a computer, nor a love drone, speak with a normal voice., what is quite weird.

After his initiation George returns to Earth, walks out of the bathroom as if nothing had happened and makes morning love to his girlfriend, who also turns into a drone. Although it seems improbable at first that a single man can conquer an entire planet, the plan is mathematically simple and brilliant.

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Exponential Growth

There is an old fable about the invention of the game of chess. It tells how the creator of the game refuses a treasure for his invention but asks the king to put one grain of wheat on the first chessboard square, two on the second, four on the third, doubling the amount of grains on each of the 64 squares. The process is called exponential growth and finally amounts to 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains (or 461,168,602,000 tons, if one may trust Wikipedia).

When the two love drones meet up with other humans they will double the alien population to 4. Four will become 8. Eight will become 16, and so on. With each round of lovemaking the alien infiltration doubles and a simple calculation proves that the human race, 4.230 billion people in 1977, can theoretically be eradicated in only 33 rounds.

But as always these aliens make a crucial mistake and when George volunteers to join a sex clinic experiment the professor, who listens to the cute name of Dr. Deborah Femme (Viveca Ash), finds out about the invasion, mainly because these love drones talk way too loud (and too metallic) about their plans when reaching a climax.

Area 69

Dr. Femme does the American patriotic act of informing the FBI and is immediately believed when she tells FBI director Willard that human beings turn into space creatures while procreating. Unfortunately the first secret agent falls into the hands, and other body parts, of a recent convert. The same fate awaits a second secret agent, female this time, at a club where aliens practice the ancient game of chess. Deborah Femme realises she is the only one who can stop the aliens and this culminates in a scene of truly Shakespearian drama.

But already the aliens are spreading all over the world and newsreaders warn us that England, France, Germany and India have succumbed to the pandemic. An attempt to destroy the alien ship with a nuclear missile fails and when Dr. Deborah meets a horny sun glassed weirdo with the wrong shirt the future of the Earth seems doomed. Nothing and no one seems able to stop the planned planetary orgasm resulting in the same effect as when all Chinese would jump up and down at the same time. But while bare breasted women are dancing on incredibly weird seventies disco music Dr. Femme’s assistant Andrea (Babe Blonde) devises a cunning plan. She injects herself with a killer virus while citing Hamlet’s soliloquy:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

And its about time, because agent provocateur George Reevis has been beamed back to the mother ship, not only to report to the Hair rejects but to fecundate the frightening Alien Queen (Yolanda Savalas), who looks a bit like offspring between Grace Jones and Fritz Lang’s Maschinenmensch.

It seems that all drones feel and act like bees in a beehive and when the parasite inside Dr. Femme attacks Andrea (who is now carrying the lethal virus) all drones on Earth abandon their human hosts who, with the exception of some sore limbs, appear not to have been damaged too much. The alien space ship retreats, Earth is saved and if the aliens have learned one thing it is never too underestimate a blonde babe (although she will probably die a horrible death once the disease kicks in).

The movie

Maybe you didn’t realize this until now but Invasion of the Love Drones is an adult movie with quite some explicit scenes (although most of these are inserts). It tried to cash in on the porn chic trend of that era when ‘normal’ movie theatres in the USA started to show X-rated films to the ‘normal’ public. Some followers of the genre believed that the boundaries between X and R would disappear and that mainstream pictures would include hardcore scenes, but despite some notable exceptions this never happened. While adult movies in the Seventies had a budget, a story and some (not always successful) acting this seems to have disappeared altogether in the 21st century.

The end credits of adult movies are always a good laugh. The Hair rebuffs are played by actors Jenny Erotica and Sara Goodbody and another actress listens to the name Greater Garbo. The Queen of the Love Drones is listed under the pseudonym Eve Felatio but the original movie poster changed that into Eve Latio for obvious reasons. One of the production assistants is the mysterious Marga Rita.

The (spoken) sound of the movie is not good; probably there was no time or money for overdubs in a studio, so it is no wonder that most steamy scenes only contain a musical background (another theory goes that there was a 3 years gap between filming and editing). The music credits however are interesting…

Music Effects The soundtrack

The musical score can be divided in two parts: some modernistic pieces that have been heavily influenced by the 2001 soundtrack from György Ligeti and cheesy love scene, rock and disco tunes that are typical for all B-movies of that era.

Mike Michaels & Richard Lavsky

Richard Lavsky can look at a career of creating and producing original music, sound design, dialogue, underscores and voice-overs for TV commercials, programs, promos, theatrical films, and industrials. As a winner of 15 Clios, 3 Cannes Film Festival Lions, Hollywood International Broadcasting, and many other awards, he has worked for every major advertising agency, creating music and sound design for clients such as: IBM, Nissan, Pepsi, Purina Cat Chow, Nabisco’s Oreo Cookies, MasterCard, NY Lotto, Reebok, and many others…

But back in the Seventies he was director of Music House and Mike Michaels was his music and sound effect editor (he composed some tunes for Dennison’s chili and Pearl’s beer commercials as well).

Music House was a company that produced (and Lavskymusic still produces) tunes for anyone who waives with a fistful of dollars, but Doris ‘Sorrel’ Hays comes from an entirely different musical spectrum.

Doris Hays

Hays studied piano in Chattanooga and Munich and won first prize at the Gaudeamus Competition for Interpreters of New Music in Rotterdam in 1971 that lifted off her international career as a performer of contemporary classical music. In 1972 she premiered a composition called Hands and Lights that included a piano, photocell activated switches and flashlights.

Sorrel Hays, she removed the Doris from her name in 1985, has written music for films and is herself a filmmaker, but her website fails to mention the soundtrack for Love Drones for one reason or another. However her discography and videography mention several works where electronic and classical instruments do interact.

On the liner notes for her album Dreaming The World Hays wrote:

My first tape combination was in 1971, of chopped-up words. Those were years of traveling around the U.S. and Europe with a Buchla keyboard synthesizer, patch cords and tone and envelope generators in a Samsonite case. I performed concerts with sound from transducer mikes on audience throats and Barcus-Berry transducers on the piano soundboard processed through the Buchla synth and mixed with tape. (…)
I like machines. The temptation to (try to) control the world of perception is beguiling. In the end it is also isolating, when aural language becomes too distant from the cultural context. Designing aural structures within a computer is similar to plotting your house plan in three dimensions on the computer screen. Computer music software is a wonderful tool. I use it to track down the mind's misty imaginings and to give substance to the details of my dreams.

In 2007 Hays worked on an opera titled Our Giraffe. The libretto was written by Charles Flowers, author and coauthor of 75 books, two operas and a cantata, as well as numerous songs, articles, reviews, columns and broadcast pieces. He revealed in a rather hard to find interview:

Composer Sorrel Hays and I have known each other almost since sandbox days in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has created a full and various career as performer and composer in Europe and here in the States. For more than four decades we have occasionally and idly chatted about doing an opera together some day.
(We did work together on a film called Invasion of the Love Drones, but never mind.)

The (additional) Dialogue

I wrote Charles Flowers and asked if he could remember something about the movie in question. To my bewilderment he answered almost instantly:

As they say, I'm gobsmacked! As you might imagine, I have often dined out on tales of that film, but I thought it was lost to history. And very quickly thereafter, of course, that particular genre of soft porn distributed by a well-known Italian organization was swept away by the home video revolution.
An assistant Professor of English at the University of Rochester [NY] back then, I was down in Manhattan in an expensive East Side sublet for the summer months, sinking into penury. Jerry, the director/producer, was a close friend of Sandy [Anthony E.] Weymouth, one of my Harvard roommates back in the early 60s and then a budding primal scream therapist in the city.
And so, whatever the credits say, Jerry, a wealthy South American heir, hired me to create "additional dialogue" for the film (not one word of which I recall) and asked if I knew a composer.
Indeed. I had known Doris Hays since high school days in Chattanooga, TN. She was Miss Central at our most detested rival but married the band captain at City HS. As it happened that marriage was relatively brief and she was living on the upper West Side composing and performing. My recollection is that she composed overnight 10 or 12 straightforward melodies on her Moog. In other words, what seem to be disco/rock pieces are her work, I believe.

The Soundtrack (update)

In an article from August 2010 Psychotic Cinema revealed that:

...the mellow music played during the alien couple sex scenes on the spaceship is taken from a 1972 library music album by Stringtronics called Mindbender and the track is called Dawn Mists. It also appears on the compilation Barry 7's Connectors (a 2001 compilation, note by FA).

Actually the Mind Bender - Stringtronics album was a 1972 French compilation with tracks from Barry Forgie, Anthony Mawer, Nino Nardini and Roger Roger. Original copies of the album reach prices up till 900$, but thanks to the lounge-revival of the past decade the album has been re-issued in 2004 by Vadim Music.

The Dawn Mists track was originally composed by Barry Forgie, who now directs the BBC Big Band. The Love Drones version however is an electronically enhanced version of this track and mixes Barrie Forge's version with additional electronic effects, sounds and drones from Doris Hays or the Music House.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: European Frontal 


Spirits in the Sky

Entry 1575

$pace Every kid has this period in his life when he’s genuinely interested in UFO’s and all that conspiracy theories mumbo jumbo. I wasn’t an exception either and in my bold and beautiful days I devoured, next to the obligatory Clarke and Asimov SF stuff, the serious scientific works of Erich Von Däniken.

Erich Von Däniken was the man, or better said the early seventies phenomenon, and promoter of the theory that aliens had visited Earth in the past and had left proof of that, dispersed all over the world. Kids who go to the beach for a midnight swim will leave empty Cola cans, Nacho cheese wrappings, not to mention the odd contraceptive, to be found the next day by amateur beachcombers and these extraterrestrials had just been the same, leaving some valuable artefacts behind when they hurried out of the grotto when Mr. Neanderthal came home after his mammoth hunt and wasn’t too pleased finding out that Mrs. Caveman had been frolicking with Artoo-Detoo, Artoo-Dethree and Artoo-Defour.

God is an astronaut

Chariots of the Gods (1968) was a bestseller and it made Erich Von Däniken an instant superstar. Of course these were the Sixties and crazy ideas were more or less the rule, rather than the exception. Even Carl Sagan (with Iosif Shklovsky in 1966) had been uttering the idea that it was not entirely impossible for aliens to have visited earth but, so they added, that it was very improbable to have ever happened. Von Däniken promptly ignored the final part of that particular quote and Carl Sagan later regretted that he may have been an indirect inspiration for the tsunami of pseudo-scientific paleocontact articles, books and movies... Although Von Däniken’s theories weren’t that stupid to begin with (and weren’t original either, Wikipedia lists 13 other authors promoting the same theory before him) he couldn’t resist misinterpreting and even falsifying proof in his many books that sold over 60 million copies.

Cultra Rare

In the early seventies I watched the immense popular Chariots of the Gods documentary at a local movie theatre (thus were the times that it even got nominated for an Oscar) and when, a couple of months ago, I wanted to trace it back I stumbled upon the Cultra Rare Videos website that contained not only one, but 3 different alien astronauts documentaries, downloadable for free, and one narrated by the übermeister of extraterrestrial encounters himself: Mr. William Shatner.

Cultra Rare Videos (CRV) was a website that had specialised in so-called public domain movies, but not those public domain movies that can be found on other places on the web…

A wonderful site specializing in offering free (and legal) downloads of B-movies, low-budget splatter films, public domain horror movies, and movies that the motion picture industry simply forgot and doesn't care about. (Taken from High Weirdness Project)

Let's get geeky first. A public domain movie is a film…
a: released to the public domain by its author;
b: whose copyright has expired; or
c: that is hibernating in the grey area of copyright land because the owners or their companies can’t be traced anymore (a bit like abandonware games)…

The 3 different space god documentaries fell in that last category as they were distributed by a company called (Schick) Sunn Classic that closed down three decades ago. Although a movie company with the same name still exists today it appears to have lost the copyrights for the pseudo-science and paranormal documentaries its predecessor was famous for in the Seventies.

I made a mental note to return to CRV later on, but in April of this year it became a pay-site that had become, in its own words, a victim of its success.

As of Tuesday April 14th, this website regrets to inform those who have made it a success that it will no longer offer free downloads of rare motion pictures not found in the United States, and for most of the world for that matter.

But now I write this the site (and its spin-off) seems to have disappeared altogether. One can only hope that its huge movie database has been saved somewhere because it contained a huge collection of bad to very bad flicks.

Public Domain

I had to look for an alternative place to download these documentaries. There are plenty of websites that offer public domain movies, but CRV had a collection that was quite unique (and I fear that some of them weren’t really public domain).

Wikipedia contains an alphabetical list of free movies and the most impressive public domain collection is without doubt the Internet Archive although its search system is a bit of a hassle.

Other sites, that are more manageable, are The Entertainment Magazine Online and Public Domain Flicks. If one browses these websites by the year one will notice that most movies date from before the Sixties, starting (obviously) with the classic Nosferatu from 1922; Movies Found Online even has A Trip To The Moon from 1902.

But alas, I did not find what I was really looking for.

Several blogs exist that offer free movies as well: Free Public Domain Movies or Filmschatten; as a torrent aficionado I also tried Public Domain Torrents and Legit Torrents.

La Vallee Subterranean Space

So did I finally find these Von Däniken documentaries, I hear you ask, and as a matter of fact I did.

The très très bizarre Subterranean Cinema happens to stream several Sunn documentaries including:
¤ Chariots of the Gods (1970, 92 minutes, imdb),
¤ In Search of Ancient Astronauts (1973, 55 minutes, imdb) and hip-hip-hurray...
¤ William Shatner’s Mysteries of the Gods (1976, 87 minutes, imdb).

The site is a mess (really!) and StumbleUpon gives the following review:

A smorgasboard of all films subversive, campfare, cult, and kitsch. All free, submitted for your perusal and fangush. This site is chock-full of critical texts, unearthed images found and scanned, lost footages on streaming video, and various indelible links.
Buried treasures that await you include:
1. A lost Rospo Pallenberg screenplay adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, which George Romero was supposed to direct.
2. Recovered and compiled footages on MPEG and the screenplay (final draft and rough draft) of Jerry Lewis' lost film The Day the Clown Cried, a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hammelin set in a Nazi concentration camp. It was never released to the public.
3. The entire text and imagery from "El Topo: A Book of the Film" which features a commentary and play-by-play scenario of the cult classic El Topo by director Alejandro Jodorowsky himself.
4. The tie-in novelization of Bernardo Bertolucci's hard-to-find film La Luna.
6. The Titicut Follies, circa 1969 --- the documentary that shocked the whole world on streaming video.
7. Syberberg's Hitler on streaming video.
8. Images and critical texts on The Rolling Stones' Cocksucker Blues.
9. A feature on the arthouse collective carnage of The Vienna Aktionists.

and last but not least Pink Floyd lovers might find some interesting stuff as well...

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Popular science books are fun 


European Frontal

Entry 859

Zombie Lake On Sunday mornings all is dull and quiet. Some people go to church; I take a cup of Italian coffee, start the computer and surf a bit. Sunday is the day I visit those sites I usually don’t visit very often, except on Sundays that is.

One site I visit from time to time is Snopes that is dedicated to urban legends. Is or isn’t there a penis on the cover of The Little Mermaid home video? Is it true that Jessica Rabbit doesn’t wear underwear on four frames of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie (who are the people who have the time to go hunting after these things?). And can one really read the letters S-E-X in a dust-cloud during The Lion King?

(I really should quit writing these posts; I have just lost half an hour browsing the Snopes site again. And speaking about penises, is this warning label true? It comes from another minute muncher of a site that I just discovered a couple of days ago.)

Another of my favourites is Badmovies that lists a series of reviews of so-called B-movies. This is another one of those click-and-read & click-and-read-a-bit-further sites. Once you start you can’t stop and to add another cliché to the hopeless bunch of clichés I have already used… Badmovies.org is like a box of chocolates. Barf.

One of the movies that has recently been reviewed is Zombie Lake, aka Zombies’ Lake, originally Le Lac Des Morts Vivants (literally: the lake of the living deaths). The plot of the movie is simple enough. Somewhere near a small village in France lies is a lake and although it is forbidden to have a swim it takes victim #1 about 30 seconds to completely undress only to get devoured by an undead Nazi soldier who happens to be living, although living is not exactly the right word, under the water surface.

Normally an incident like that should discourage other skinny-dipping enthusiasts but alas, the French have their own way of reasoning and that is why a complete volleyball team, do I have to stress the fact that it is an all-female volleyball team?, jumps in the water a while later. The movie is set about a decade after the end of the Second World War, anyway in a period when textile was very scarce or during those odd years when all swimming suits were prohibited in France. So were razor blades. For the younger readers of this blog, who shouldn’t be reading this at all by the way, the black triangles you can see on certain regions of the female body are not the artistic product of an overzealous censor but the main reason why these body parts used to be addressed as beaver, muff or pussy.

But I just don’t want to publish another review, as there are already a few circulating on the web, and I’ve just spent most of the last Sunday morning (and afternoon) reading those. To get rid of the uncanny feeling that I ruined an entire day I present you hereafter…

Felix Atagong’s entirely useless review of 9 Zombie Lake reviews.

(Skip immediately to The Zombie Lake Movie First Five Minutes Faq if you are not interested.)

Bad movies (9/10). I like the reviews at this site. They are funny, witty with a touch of irony. The reviews are so well written that you actually want to have a look at the movie in question, even when it reads that this is the worst movie ever. The Things I Learned From This Movie rubric makes one chuckle, as it tends to demystify the ever-growing list of movie clichés.

Pro: every review contains a character overview, the plot, stuff to watch for, some sounds, images and a (short) video clip of the movie in question.

Cons: Almost every B-movie, even this one, carries a danger sign scene that is instantly disregarded by the person who is going to expire a few seconds later. Although this site has a warning that reads: “There are currently ZERO bare breasts on this website.”, this is actually the truth. Pictures that do contain a certain amount of pixels that could arouse the odd couch potato have been censored with a banner.

Antagony & Ecstasy (7/10). The thing I like about the review on this blog is its title: Zombies & Tits. As an appetizer this can count. Also the fact that reviewer uses a Belgian movie poster speaks in favour for him. Thanks to him I now know the Dutch title of this tiny masterpiece that is nothing more than a word for word translation of its French title.

The article contains some interesting titbits (I know I just can’t resist that word) about the creator of the movie (who was apparently so ashamed that he changed his name on the credits). The pictures have been chosen to illustrate the film’s cheapness and not its scarcity of textile. I would like to point you to the fact that the author uses a neologism I happen to like a lot: vaginidyll. If more blogs would use this word it could grow into 2008’s new big googly thing!

All Things Zombie (5/10). What is wrong with these people? Don’t they have a sense of humour? First their website takes as long to load as an average zombie needs to cross the road and then they simply trash the movie? Probably the reviewer didn’t have his brains for breakfast.

Realm Of Horror (6/10). A short review that is indecisive whether it should stay serious or not.

Bad Movie Planet (7/10). This review tries to describe the complicated (complicated as in incomprehensible) plot in much detail with an eye for the many flaws in the script. There are a few pictures, including one with the famous volleyball-team-skinny-dipping scene. The author is a weird person though, because he uses red rectangles on the pictures to hide the black triangles. What’s wrong with triangles?

B-Movie Graveyard (8/10). Man, this is a big review, and with big I mean BIG. Reading it takes about the same time as watching the entire movie, but reading about it is of course more pleasant than viewing the whole thing.

Pro: Many, many subdivisions and extras: the credits, the plot, a more elaborated plot, a character map, several downloadable video scenes, the many mistakes (wrong type of Volkswagen used, for instance), some pictures, an extensive review, a content breakdown, movie statistics (containing a dead bodies, boobs and bush count!), downloadable dialog excerpts, theme music, more photographs, more video clips, extra comments, unanswered questions and WTF moments containing a real pair of uncensored yummy boobs! B-Movie awards, trivia listing, the Final Word.

Cons: You need a lot of time to read this.

Bad Movie Dimension (6/10). Well, one of the serious reviews about this very unserious movie. Well worth the read and the fact that I only give it a 6 out of 10 could come from the fact that I have just been reading half a dozen of reviews before…

Movie Mistakes (4/10). A list of 27 mistakes in the movie, but most of those have been spotted in the other reviews as well. Pity for the annnoying ad in between pages.

But if you are more or less in a hurry you can watch the online video review of...

The Cinema Snob (8/10). The cinema snob doesn’t mind telling us what this movie really is about, so if you are not offended by quotes as ‘this movie has officially urinated on my face and told me it is raining’(3’33”) this is the review for you.

The Zombie Lake Movie First Five Minutes Faq  

1. In the beginning of the movie you see a swan on the lake. Why don't the zombies attack it?
Have you ever seen a restaurant with swan on the menu? Duck yes. Goose yes. Swan no.

2. Why does the brown haired beauty remove her clothes?
Topless sunbathing is a national sport in France. As a matter of fact it is considered anti-French NOT to sunbath topless. Just like it is considered anti-American in some circles to eat French fries, although that is rather stupid as a: the French in French fries has got nothing to do with France; and b: French fries originate from Belgium anyway…

3. Yeah but the brunette removes more than her blouse.
Technically she is still sunbathing topless. Ask Bill Clinton.

4. Come on, she is stark naked!
Sunbathing naked is perhaps not a national sport in France but if you wander around at the French Riviera you will count a respectable minority of nude sunbathers, even on public beaches. God, I love that country!

5. Why do the zombies suddenly decide to attack the girl after they have quietly lived at the bottom of the lake for a dozen of years?
Probably nobody ever had a swim before in the lake, as the whole village is apparently dimly aware of the curse.

6. Here is a small village in France. There is a lake nearby; did the children never go for a swim then? It must be very tempting, especially when parents forbid!
Perhaps only sexually mature maidens will arouse the zombies. If one single drop of blood can turn a handful of dust into a full-grown vampire, then the pheromones of a woman, swimming in a lake, might wake the zombies as well. Call it a zombie puberty catalyst.

7. Not all zombies are green, some have normal skin color, especially in the neck and behind the ears. Surely this is a case of (very) bad make up.
What if these undead only change skin color when they turn into – what I call – zombie puberty, triggered by the female pheromones (see faq question 6). A bit like black babies that are (often) born quite pale and only turn dark after a while (and some body regions of black people, like their hand palms, will always be lighter in color).
On the other hand they could suffer from a mild case of cupper oxidation as well.

8. That still doesn’t explain why the brunette jumps into the water.
Probably because the girl is not only pretty, but stupid as well.

And if you have enough of reading all this, you can have a little fun with the Zombie Tower Defense game. Its simple, its dumb, its addictive.

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The Restaurant At The End Of The Typewriter

Entry 778

But keptin, I can't fire up her engine as well! Douglas Adams (DNA) obviously was one of those persons who graduated summa cum laude at the William Shatner Star Trek Unfinished Projects University. An explanation may be needed here.

In the seventies several attempts were made to resuscitate Star Trek at the movie theatres. Three scripts were made for what laughingly was called Star Trek II: The God Thing, by Gene ‘thank god for miniskirts’ Rodenberry; The Planet of the Titans, Kirk going mad and thinking he’s a Greek god – I kid you not!; and an unnamed blood sucking reptiles take over planet Earth story by Harlan Ellison that would have saved Brazil’s rubber production for the production of lizard suits alone. Every time someone uttered Star Trek and movie in one sentence hordes of lawyers, agents and cocaine delivery boys were summoned and gigantesque sums of money were handed over to the actors of the original series, who were begged not to take any other movie role for the time being. (This is valid proof of the fact that movie people are a bunch of ass-eating monkeys; you must be one sick person to even think that anyone wanted to cast the Star Trek actors for another project.)

After these three aborted attempts there were talks for a new TV series called Phase II. Business as usual: the actors got paid - nothing got produced. But the good thing (probably good is not the right adjective here) was that the pilot from the Phase II series grew into that horrific monster called Star Trek: The Motion Picture (ST:TMP). (Also here the choice of the adjective wasn’t really appropriate: the picture did a lot of things but moving wasn’t actually one of those.) Although ST:TMP contained a lot of miniskirts it was rather disappointing and the tagline that this was the most expensive SF movie ever was only true because the production company had added all previous cost of all aborted projects inside ST:TMP’s budget.

Douglas Adams also was one of those people who were extremely busy producing nothing and getting huge amounts of money for it. To quote Steve Meretzky, co-author of the Hitchhiker Infocom game: “Douglas certainly raised procrastination to an art form.” In 1983 DNA signed a contract with Infocom for 6 (six) text-adventure computer games based on his Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (H2G2) books. The first in the series came out in 1984 and sold a staggering 400 000 copies. But problems arose when Infocom politely reminded Adams that is was about time to think of parts 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 of the series. DNA who, according to his own terms, suffered from sequelitis, came with another idea. Infocom didn’t want to kill the goose with the golden eggs and reluctantly agreed to produce Bureaucracy. When that game came out in 1987, already a couple of years overdue, it sold a mere 40 000 copies. Days of text-adventure games were over. (I stole most of the above from M.J Simpson’s biography: Hitchhiker.)

Although attempts were made to create a second Hitchhiker Infocom game Restaurant At The End Of The Universe it was generally believed that the game never left the development stage. But a few weeks ago, so after more than 20 years, it was announced that a playable prototype does exist.

The full story (it is very long, you are warned!) can be read at the Waxy blog. It is also interesting to browse through the comments as well. These contain contributions, explanations and alternative timelines from Infocom people such as Steve Meretzky (H2G2), Tim Anderson (Bureaucracy), Marc Blank (Infocom VP and creator of Zork) and Michael Bywater (Bureaucracy).

The playable prototype has been published on the web and can be tested at the following URL (Java5 needed): Milliways.

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Don't kill Bill!

Entry 352

Mr. William Shatner is angry, so tells me my local newspaper. The reason is fairly simple. A new Star Trek movie is in the make and the actor who is going to play James Tiberius Kirk is not his royal wigginess but a guy called Chris Pine, a young actor who looks like an underwear commercial model.

You can't deny that William Shatner is an old man, he must be around one hundred and three right now, and so we can't expect him to play the role of young Kirk, can we? And that is what this new movie, aptly called Star Trek, is apparently about: the adventures of young Kirk in Trekkieland.

If I may believe the reliable source also known as the Internet this prequel drags around a few characters such as Christopher Pike (tetraplegic after a delta radiation incident), Captain Garrovick (killed by an attack of the dikironium cloud creature) and George Samuel Kirk, James's brother (killed by an attack of the Beta Portolan neural parasite). (Deduct the before mentioned captain Garrovick will'ya, nobody found a way to write him into the script.)

Rumours go that in the movie old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and young Spock (Zachary Quinto, a young actor who looks like an underwear commercial model) team up. They have to prevent that young Kirk from the past will be killed by some evil Romulans from the future. Thus keeping the timeline intact were geriatric Kirk (William Shatner), now 138 years old, dies on the planet Veridian III in order to save the entire universe, an event that all Trekkies remember as being thoroughly sad and slightly overacted.

So basically this is just an average time travel story, one of those science fiction plots invented by authors who have got no inspiration left. We've already had our share of time travelling movies in the past. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk and company travel to 1986 to save some whales. If you are not interested in Trek history: don't bother to ask. Star Trek Generations puts Kirk away in a timeless zone, a bit like an airport terminal, so that he can meet his prolific successor, Jean Luc Picard, in the future. And in movie number 8, First Contact, the next generation crew takes the time travel express to 2063 in order to save young Zefrane Cochram from the evil Borg queen.

Recycling is such a beautiful thing. For the past and for the future. But please let us not forget the elderly. Give them a home, a place to stay, an enterprise to believe in...


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Star Trek vs. Jefferson Airplane

Entry 317

Grace Slick has always been one of the more flamboyant inhabitants of my wet dreams. Probably that is because of her mythical reputation.
It's a bit what happened to the British psychedelic underground movement in the mid-sixties. Because the blokes who ruled it didn't have a clue what the alternative scene was in the States (no Internet, no intercontinental television, remember) they invented a British version that was apparently much more progressive than the American one. (English underground was mainly a boys club, Miles's girlfriend remembers how Barry and his alternative gang were discussing sexual liberation while she was in the kitchen and could only come out for serving tea and biscuits).

This was also reflected in the music. As Pink Floyd and the other acid bands only knew from hearsay what their American examples were doing they constructed the Brit-variant of the sunshine underground. When Pink Floyd toured America a few months later they were rather disappointed. Manager Peter Jenner was shocked how lame the Fillmore West was compared with UFO and how 'ordinary the bands were compared with the English psychedelic bands'. Roger Waters called the Haight-Ashbury bands less 'extraordinary and mindblowing and trippy' than he had anticipated. (Groupie attention was another thing of course and when the boys got back home from their first American tour they rushed off to a London hospital to get some injections against gonorrhoea.)

I had more or less the same experience (no, not the clap one). When I first listened to The Grateful Dead my immediate reaction was 'this is fucking country music', not understanding what was so special about these guys. As a matter of fact The Grateful Dead never made it big in Europe and have only been world famous in the USA.

A few years ago I read Grace Slick's autobiography 'Somebody to Love'. The reason why I bought it was because I was genuinely interested in a fair amount of sex, drugs and, why not, some rock'n roll. But alas, the book was as interesting and inventive as most of her solo albums. Slick's most famous quote is that 'if you remember the Sixties, you really weren't there' (others attribute this quote to Paul Kantner or even to Timothy Leary) and apart from the fact that she once had a nookie with Jim Morrisson she doesn't remember a lot. I now have this vision of Grace Slick as a rock'n roll granny who calls herself a painter and who listens to the insubordinate tunes of the Gypsy Kings.

But there has always been that voice that can turn even the tackiest song into a classic. And the video is brilliant too...

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Star Trek vs. Monty Python

Entry 316

Ah. The mist of time. Star Trek TOS was the greatest science fiction series of all times (remember Arena?) and Monty Python were always brilliant. Here is a combination of both. Extremely silly.

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Star Trek - TOS 'Enhanced' Promo Trailer

Entry 284

The ship will hit the fans, well that is what CBS Paramount Domestic Television says on its promo trailer that has been released a few days ago. We will have to wait for the real episodes to see what all the fuss is all about, because all I can tell you know is that the title music has been re-recorded and that some digital effects have been added.

Star Trek Remastered

Or with a little luck you can even watch it here. Internet Explorer users may have to click twice: once to activate the movie, once again to start it. Now that I think of it: Opera users as well.

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Star Trek Rebooted

Entry 271

After the as good as certain debacle of Star Trek XI, aka The Franchise Is Dead, that is loathed by the fans before the movie is even made, Paramount has now announced an upgrade of all episodes of the original series.

This will mean: (computer generated) enhanced battle sequences, ship exteriors, galaxy shots and landscapes. The original music will get a stereo re-recording and even Captain Kirk’s Space, the final frontier monologue will get a digital treatment.

Read more at: Startrek.com

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