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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:48 pm:   

On current TV only one show has me excited and counting the days till it's next on and that's the unfeasibly excellent, nay perfect (so far), 'Inside No. 9' by Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton. Three down and three to go. Roll on 10.00 tomorrow night!

So far I'd rank them all 10/10 in this order; Ep3 "Tom And Gerri", Ep1 "Sardines" & Ep2 "A Quiet Night In". Three very different in style but always flawlessly written and performed half hour macabre playlets the like of which haven't been as well done on British television since 'Tales Of The Unexpected' (1979-88) - must start collecting the box sets of that.

Classic shows I'm immersing myself in on DVD, while crocked and unable to get to the cinema, include:

'Colditz' (1972-74) - well, actually, I've just watched the last of all 28 hour long episodes, "Liberation", and I'm feeling a little bit choked up. The emotional power and nerve-wracking suspense of the show culminated in some of the most powerfully moving pieces of TV drama I've ever watched over recent episodes. This is hands down the best World War II drama series and the best prison escape drama it has ever been my experience to enjoy. I'm really going to miss these guys... I think the Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) most of all. But I've decided to follow Proto's advice and plunge straight into Series 1 of 'Secret Army' (1977-79) as the only possible replacement. Three series, plus the follow-up, 'Kessler' (1981), by the same makers, to come. I doubt I'll be watching anything better over the next few years.

Also approaching the end of 'The Water Margin' (1976-78) with five of the 26 hour long episodes left. This show has everything... a myriad of unforgettable characters any of whom can be killed off at any moment, a completely gripping epic storyline of good versus evil that isn't a million miles away from 'Star Wars' (1977), fantastic big budget production values and period detail, brilliantly choreographed and shockingly visceral (for the time) action, sword fight and battle sequences, completely unpredictable political and personal intrigue based on turbulent historical fact and perhaps the best theme music of the 70s. It's one of those timelessly entertaining epic TV sagas you don't just watch but you live as it unfolds.

'Danger Man' (1960-67) - about two thirds through Series 2 of this best of all 60s spy shows, when it had moved from briskly exciting half hour to more meaty and satisfying hour long episodes. John Drake, played with an oddly beguiling icy charisma by Patrick McGoohan, is the quintessential cold blooded and believably faceless British spy being sent undercover (unlike James Bond) to danger spots around the globe on Her Majesty's Secret Service and, as the stories progress, growing ever more mistrustful of his frighteningly pragmatic and ruthless paymasters... until, well, we all know what happens when he finally tries to throw in his cards. I have 'The Prisoner' (1967-68) lined up for right after the final DM epsiode. The show gets the mix of action, thrills and convincing Cold War intrigue just right and is much closer to the grim paranoid tones of 'Callan' (1967-72) or 'The Sandbaggers' (1978-80) than the high-jinks of the Bond franchise, which it predates by two years.

They're the major series I'm hooked on at the minute while my umpteenth comfy rewatch of 'Star Trek' (1966-69) is nearing the end of Season 1 and I'm looking out for Season 5 of 'The Twilight Zone' (1959-64) and the final climactic Season 5 of 'Fringe' (2008-13) to continue watching them. I consider 'Fringe', btw, to be the finest genre TV show of the new millennium so far... pure unadulterated genius! I'm also determined to finally find out what all the fuss was about with 'The Sopranos' (1999-2007) and 'Breaking Bad' (2008-13) on DVD. Meanwhile only Season 4 of 'The Walking Dead' (best horror TV show since BKT) and good old 'Doctor Who' (varying all the way from genius to irritating nonsense, as it is) have me looking forward to them starting on normal TV.

On the light nostalgic entertainment front I've also been juggling these timeless classics on DVD as the mood takes me; 'Top Cat', 'The Flintstones', 'Fireball XL5', 'The Addams Family', 'The Munsters', 'Bewitched', 'Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons', 'Dad's Army', 'The Wacky Races', 'Stop The Pigeon', 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You?', 'The Herbs', 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', 'Rising Damp', 'Ivor The Engine', 'Fawlty Towers', 'The Professionals', 'Danger Mouse', 'The Young Ones', 'Blackadder', 'Red Dwarf', 'Lavender Castle', 'Hippies', 'Spaced', 'Jam' and 'The Worst Week Of My Life' of late.

Oh, and I'm soon to start Takashi Miike's notorious horror series 'MPD Psycho' (2000) and a first rewatch of the great anthology series 'Masters Of Horror' (2005-07) and its follow ups; 'Masters Of Science Fiction' (2007) and 'Fear Itself' (2008).

'Boris Karloff's Thriller' (1960-62) is the jewel in the crown of my DVD collection and needs no introduction. You can follow my adventures watching it one-a-week elsewhere. It is the single greatest horror TV show ever made.

All those, the horror triple bills and the short horror stories I'm reading like nobody's business are keeping me sane and entertained in these days of enforced immobility.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:23 pm:   

I also finally got to watch Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones' before Christmas and can't wait to get my hands on the Season 2 box set. Believe all the hype, people. It took a couple of episodes for the show to get its hooks into me but after that it was impossibly compulsive viewing and ousted everything else from my DVD player for weeks on end!! It is to modern TV fantasy, of the most epic and bloody kind, what 'The Walking Dead' is to horror and 'Fringe' is to science fiction. The final impossibly exciting episode haunts me yet... fecking fantastic television!!!!

Incidentally, I was dating an extra from the show at the time who played a fearsome axe-wielding female warrior, which is what convinced me to try it. Seriously!

Pay day tomorrow and Season 2 shall be mine.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.157
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 02:05 am:   

Since January I've watched all six seasons of Breaking Bad - stunning series, probably the best tv I've ever seen. Some unforgettable scenes, and characters. It never 'cops out' and there are some jaw dropping developments.
The early episodes were hard going for me, as it reminded me of my dad, who also fought cancer. Funnily enough, he was a huge fan of the show, before he passed.
Highly recommended.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 02:10 am:   

I couldn't do that, Lincoln. Although I did fly through Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones' in three or four weeks. I like to string epic TV series out over as long a time as possible. I'll be doing the same with 'The Sopranos' and 'Breaking Bad' over the coming years... the lengths of time it took for them to be made and broadcast.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.157
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 02:12 am:   

It was definitely a 'binge watch'!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:32 am:   

Sorry about your dad, Lincoln.

I haven't been watching much TV at all in recent years - just went off it as there didn't seem to be much worth watching any more. That's changed with 'Inside No 9' though .. and I must say I'm looking forward to a new series of 'Jonathan Creek' starting on Friday (not horror, I know, but it has a nice black comedy, surreal feel to it).

Why are you immobile, Stevie, if you don't mind me asking? I think I must have missed that piece of news, but I did think you'd been watching/reading a lot lately!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 02:32 pm:   

Damaged the cartilage in my knee and on crutches at the minute, Caroline. MRI scan next week then waiting on an operation. It's my first experience of not getting about as I'm used to. Normally I walk everywhere.

Commiserations, Lincoln.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 04:54 pm:   

Ouch. I feel for you, Stevie. Hope it's mending nicely and you'll soon be up on your feet again.

Anyway, talking of the upcoming new series of 'Jonathan Creek' any other fans of this series here or am I the only one?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 05:38 pm:   

I like your man. He's very funny on QI but 'Jonathan Creek' never really grabbed me, Caroline.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 07:01 pm:   

Even though it was written by David Renwick? You must like 'One Foot in the Grave' surely?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 09:26 pm:   

'One Foot In The Grave' is a comedy classic, Caroline. Thanks for making me aware of the connection. I just always got the impression that 'Jonathan Creek' was cosy entertainment rather than groundbreaking TV. Maybe in decades to come it will be recognised for what it was.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 09:31 pm:   

Look, love, and I do love you, I would like this thread to be an honest communal place for good people to tell others about the televisual or cinematic pleasures they have been enjoying and all disagreement will be accepted as an expression of individual taste and not the grounds for a ridiculous argument the likes of which lost us the insufferable Weber and the decent Mark. Ok!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:02 pm:   

Stevie, my love, I wasn't looking for a ridiculous argument. I was just shocked that you didn't like it, that's all.

I should have a televisual feast coming up shortly. I've just bought the Doctor Who 'Web of Fear' DVD. Imagine, if you will (sorry, I sound like Rod Serling now), a 10 year old child with a love of scary monsters and a fear of the London Underground. Now, sit her in front of the TV on a Saturday tea-time and watch what happens. A life-long love of Doctor Who and scary monsters, that's what happened.

To be honest, I'm a bit nervous about watching it again after all these years. I fear that the adult me won't be able to see through the special effects and dodgy sets, and the magic of remembering what a wonderful thrill it was watching it all those years ago will be gone. But, we'll find out ... I'll report back here when I've watched it.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.37
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:33 pm:   

Thanks for the commiserations, but no need, it was a few years ago.
But, as they say - not a day goes by
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.37
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:36 pm:   

Has anyone seen a UK film called 'The Casebook of Eddie Brewer'?
I hear that it's very good.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.40
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:48 pm:   

My parents are both still alive, man, and, believe me, not a day goes by, at that end of that equation, when they're both in their late 70s, that the fear of death doesn't intrude. But the joy of life, and what must come after, makes up for it all.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 - 10:50 am:   

Yesterday, I travelled back in time. 45 years back, to be precise. For the first time since its initial screening I watched Doctor Who's 'Web of Fear'. OK, so I couldn't *totally* suspend disbelief and see past the dodgy sets, acting and special effects (I even noticed the zip up the back of a yeti!), but it was an enjoyable jaunt down memory lane nevertheless. Claustrophobic and scary - I loved it.

The "monster" Doctor Who stories like this from that time actually gave me my love of horror. That delicious thrill of "pretend" fear - which I guess, to me, was an antidote to the real fears and anxieties which life had thrown at me at far too young an age.

Great to watch it again and, particularly, to see the introduction of my favourite Doctor Who character, the soon-to-be brigadier, played by the magnificent Nicholas Courtney.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.29.37
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 - 11:17 am:   

Nice to hear, Caroline. Far too often a re-visit of an old favourite is a let down.
Recently I hunted down a film that I'd seen when I was only 11 or 12, the first, and only, that ever gave me a nightmare and stopped me sleeping the night I watched it. Could only remember a couple of scenes, and I was helped by members of the Cult-Labs film forum. Tracked it down, and watched it last week - the UK proto-slasher 'Haunted House of Horror'. Was expecting to be dissapointed, but no, it was fantastic!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.109
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2014 - 07:14 pm:   

Yeehaa!! Just picked up Season 5 of 'Fringe' cheap at last! Been looking forward to this final climactic season for a year now and will strictly string it out one episode a week cos after this there's no more. Fantastic high concept science fiction at its most ingenious and emotionally affecting. The best genre TV series since 'The X Files', IMHO, and possibly even better - it's certainly more cohesive and better written.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.234.244
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2014 - 03:03 am:   

Just watched the first episode of the last season of 'Fringe' and the chemistry is still very much there and I still have only the vaguest of notions about what the bloody hell is going on ffs! But that's the beauty of this show. It's so brilliantly acted and written that you always trust them to tie everything up in the end. And they always do! It is the most ridiculously entertaining genre show of the last 20 years, imho!
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.206
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2014 - 05:13 pm:   

"House of Cards", the US version with Kevin Spacey. Sublime!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.79
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2014 - 08:51 pm:   

Recording two series at the moment - 'Orphan Black' and 'True Detective'. Looking forward to starting them.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.233.0
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2014 - 09:15 pm:   

The monster 'Doctor Who' stories from the Jon Pertwee era, along with 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You?', are what gave me my love of horror, Caroline. And the ghost story for Christmas called 'Lost Hearts' is what first truly terrified me! Happy days.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.237.187.186
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2014 - 09:45 pm:   

"And the ghost story for Christmas called 'Lost Hearts' is what first truly terrified me!"

Oh yes, that too, Stevie. I loved all the Ghost Stories for Christmas - but that one was by far my favourite.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.235.158
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2014 - 07:34 pm:   

Just watching Ep5 of 'Inside No. 9' and needed to pause it I was pissing myself that much halfway through Act II. Sheer genius.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.233.0
Posted on Friday, March 07, 2014 - 12:40 am:   

I wasn't wrong. Best thing these two have ever, ever done. I'm still trying to come to terms with it. Congratulations, guys!! 'Macbeth' has always been my favourite Shakespeare play too. Gothic horror truly started there.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.24.62.55
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 03:53 pm:   

4 episodes into the final season of 'Fringe' and loving every bloody minute of it. Only nine eps left and I will string them out... I will!

Major characters have started dropping like flies and all the old chemistry (truly great characters, shockingly unexpected plot developments, horror, suspense, humour, awe, excitement, tragedy, etc.) is being heightened by new levels of seriously affecting pathos and nerve wracking tension as time runs out. The way the scriptwriters are tying up all the loose ends and tantalising mysteries from previous seasons is nothing short of genius! How I would love to see Chris Carter and J.J. Abrams combine their talents as I can't see any other way of bettering this show. It is sublimely intelligent entertainment for adults and the most inspired use of time travel, alternate universes and the alien invasion scenario that has ever been produced for television. It all makes such perfectly cohesive sense!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.24.62.55
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 04:03 pm:   

'Fringe' really does show up 'Doctor Who' for the ramshackle mess it is. If only someone like Alan Moore would go in and clean things up. That's what's needed, folks. Cohesion!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.29.207
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 11:10 pm:   

'The Thing' (82)
Can't see this ever dropping out of my top 5, and this viewing only confirmed that.
So much to love about it - the unanswered questions, ie. who has been 'assimilated' and when and how? The lack of a climatic 'showdown' is a real plus, and the downbeat ending is just great.
Of course, all these thing were missing in the awful remake/prequel. Mind you, my biggest beef with it is how the nature of the 'thing' changed. In the '82 version it hides in people/animals, trying to spread by stealth, if possible - even the tagline on the Aussie VHS was 'Man is the warmest place to hide'. In the prequel it's like some sort of serial killer, stalking through the Norwegian base. The cgi effects look shit, as well.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.24.62.55
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 01:44 pm:   

I couldn't agree more, Lincoln. It's Carpenter's masterpiece and the best thing Kurt Russell ever appeared in, imo. I rank it so highly that it even just shades the timeless original version by Nyby & Hawks! There can be no higher praise.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.28.207
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 08:57 pm:   

Stevie, apparently there is a 'TV edit' that was done for US network TV. Not only did they remove all the gore/effects work, a voice over was added to introduce the characters and explain plot points! The end was also re-edited. Carpenter & co were devastated. Sounds absolutely fucking horrible, but I'd love to see it.
Reminds me of Leone's 'Fistful of Dollars' - the network was concerned that Eastwood's character didn't have a 'moral' reason for bounty hunting, so they filmed a scene where he meets a judge (I think) who sets him up as a sheriff, to bring in the 'bad guys'. Obviously Eastwood, Leone etc had nothing to do with it, so they used a stand in for Eastwood.
It is truly awful!
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.149.118.195
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 - 08:46 pm:   

My Wife and I are currently watching 'The Walking Dead' Season 4. Episode 15 of 16 tonight and things should be getting set up for the grand Season finale next week. Last week episode 14 had us gaping in disbelief at just how suddenly dark and disturbing the last 10 minutes were. The writers were fearless and ep14 rams home that they can and will take risks with this great show.
We are also completely hooked on 'American Horror Story'. We had watched Season 3, 'Coven', first when it was broadcast a few months ago. The seasons are unconnected so it didn't matter that we had not seen S1 or S2 at the time. We really lapped it up and Jessica Lange was a revelation as the scheming Coven Matriarch. So when Season 1 'Murder House' and Season 2 'Asylum' suddenly appeared on our Netflix account we dove straight in and have binged on this great show for the past week. Only a few episodes to go on S2 and it's just so crammed full of genre plot and incident that you are just carried along breathless and giddy from one horror set piece to the totally unpredictable next. It has horrible monstrous experiments, a cruel Nazi surgeon, Alien abduction, Exorcism, the Devil, the Angel of Death, 'Bloody Face' the serial killer, a psychotic Santa, a murderous little girl, sexy Nuns, a creature hidden in the cellar, Cannibals in the woods and that's just Season 2 ! It's a wonderful horror mash up and the self contained seasons tie everything up into one coherent mini series by the final episode. It'll be a long long summer until Season 4, 'Freak Show', airs next Autumn. Just watch the creepy opening credits for each season so far on youtube to get a brief taste of the style and content. My wife, Sinead, insists on fast forwarding the credits. That music creeps her out too much.
Then there's 'Hemlock Grove' another 'Town with weird inhabitants' horror series which I've just started watching on Netflix.
Also started season 1 of 'Haven' which is up to season 4 so far. Again, a weird fishing town on the Maine coast which is routinely afflicted by supernatural happenings. Loosely based on a Stephen King story and sporting a plethora of King fiction references this has been described as 'X Files meets Fringe'. So I have high hopes for this one.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.24.62.55
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 - 10:26 pm:   

All sounds good, Sean! I had no idea 'The Walking Dead' was out yet. I can't bloody wait to see Season 4. I've been tempted to delve into 'American Horror Story' but wonder how on earth it could possibly work. Is it a serious horror show or a knowing black comedy that plays with the genre?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 - 11:48 pm:   

"American Horror Story" is a very knowing black comedy, Stevie—well, "comedy" is far from the right term. It's well aware of the genre and styles it homages, not parodies; so it naturally has tongue-in-cheek betimes. I thought Season 3 had its tongue most firmly against cheek, but it all works; and as you know, I'm very sensitive and unforgiving to crap. There's homages to styles (I noticed lots of giallo/Argento in S3) and conventions. But beyond that—the acting is off the charts! Best (imho) was S2, though it's really hard to pick. You should check it out, fo sho, Stevie—and like Sean said, the opening credits are pretty damn creepy, too (here's a slightly extended version of S3's: http://youtu.be/mmRXT7w2C1s )

Oh... right, almost forgot, Stevie: if you're at all a fan of Stevie Nicks, you gotta start with S3.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.233.40
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 04:47 pm:   

I'll keep an eye out for a Season 1 going cheap, Craig. I couldn't start such a series a couple of seasons in as I'd just be wondering about what I'd missed and like to make my own mind up from the beginning. It certainly sounds intriguing and if Sean likes it then it's bound to get my thumbs up as well.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.233.40
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 04:52 pm:   

Meanwhile 'Fringe' continues to pile on the shocks and unexpected plot developments. I'm sticking to my one-episode-a-week plan and loving the suspense and emotional investment this show generates. I can't see it possibly ending well for any of the characters and the thought of finally saying goodbye to them is painful but also unbearably exciting. This is what long running TV series should be all about. Bloody excellent entertainment!!
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.149.118.195
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 11:06 pm:   

Stevie, rename 'Psychoville' as 'British Horror Story' and there you have it. Except 'Psychoville' is funnier.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.235.208
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 12:42 am:   

Praise indeed, Sean. Pay day tomorrow and I'll be in town for a celebratory splurge so will price Season 1.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.89
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 12:52 am:   

There is a God!!! The news I've been waiting to hear has been announced!!

The complete 'Sgt Bilko' is to be released on DVD in Juky!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every single fecking episode!!!! All 4,290 minutes of the greatest television comedy ever made!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone who can get in touch with Mick please tell him this news urgently! He'll be as overjoyed as I am!!

Neither of us ever thought it would happen...
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.14.82
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 02:13 am:   

'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (78), via the excellent Arrow Video bluray. Great film, great performances - especially from Sutherland.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 02:17 am:   

It's so weird that here in the States, Stevie, "Sgt. Bilko" is barely in anyone's memory anymore—I know I never watched it myself, sadly. The only real sitcoms that survived from that era (in the consciousness) are "I Love Lucy," of course; and "Leave it to Beaver." Some remember "Ozzie & Harriet," maybe; "Make Room for Daddy" (with Danny Thomas) and "Father Knows Best" (with Robert Young) could still be seen in reruns when I was young (and even, amazingly, "The Life of Riley"! [with William Bendix]). But as time goes on, these shows fade more and more away... I guess I should do my part, and catch up with this one, at least....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.89
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 02:43 am:   

It was shown over here late at night in the early 80s, Craig, and became a cult among all the comedy loving fans of a certain age that I know. The show has never been equalled for sheer hilarity, imho. There's an indefinable chemistry, an energy, a spark, a flawlessly written and performed irresistible zaniness about it that hasn't dated a single day. That show is second only to the films of Laurel & Hardy in timeless comedy heaven!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.89
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 02:49 am:   

Kaufman's take on 'Invasion Of The Body Snatchers' is the greatest remake/sequel that has ever been made, Lincoln. I've long proclaimed that. A fecking masterpiece!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.173.127.248
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 08:23 am:   

I'd put it just behind Carpenter's take on 'The Thing', Stevie.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.89
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 10:08 am:   

It's a close second for me. Then the 1988 version of 'The Blob' (great show!) and then Cronenberg's 'The Fly'. They're the exceptions that prove the rule of remakes generally being a waste of time.

Worst remake ever... the shite 90s version of 'The Haunting'.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.14.82
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 11:36 am:   

Yep, utter rubbish. The remake of 'Black Christmas' is also terrible, especially when compared with the original.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.235.131
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 12:29 pm:   

I've heard good things about Tobe Hooper's remake of 'The Toolbox Murders' that have me intrigued enough to want to see it. But as a general rule I avoid them like the plague.

To think anyone anywhere would have had the gall to even attempt a remake of such unbetterable classics as; 'The Omen', 'The Wicker Man', 'Straw Dogs' or 'Psycho'!!!! Whatever next? 'The Exorcist', 'The Shining', Don't Look Now'?!?! Truly, nothing is sacred anymore.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.235.131
Posted on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 10:01 pm:   

Craig, were you aware that Larry David is a huge fan of 'Sgt Bilko'? Nuff said.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, April 28, 2014 - 03:20 am:   

No, I didn't know that, Stevie....

Just to be perfectly anal: "The Shining" was remade as a TV miniseries some years back, though I never saw it. Regardless, Shining, Exorcist and even Don't Look Now were based on previously-written works; so a "remake" could really just be another interpretation of those. But do we need them? Nope.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.233.152
Posted on Monday, April 28, 2014 - 01:42 pm:   

I wonder was Stephen King any happier with that version of 'The Shining', Craig? Films of written works are original works in their own right that owe no allegiance to the vision of the author. They take his or her idea and turn it into a visual work that stands or falls entirely on its own merit.

Yeah, I saw Larry David interviewed once and his enthusiasm for Bilko as "still the funniest sitcom ever made" was a joy to behold. That man knows what bends, Craig.
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 176.253.75.25
Posted on Monday, April 28, 2014 - 08:56 pm:   

I think Stephen King wrote the screenplay for that version, and was possibly a producer or pushed to have it made as a more faithful adaptation of the novel. I saw it when it came out but I don't remember much about it. I think I quite enjoyed it but it got terrible reviews as, inevitably, everyone just compared it to the movie.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.5.35.196
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 01:18 pm:   

Other fine remakes: The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Fail Safe, The Beat My Heart Skipped...
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 2.26.240.244
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 04:50 pm:   

I agree with the above. I've always felt strongly that any film based on a novel cannot be "remade" but only "reinterpreted". Unless it is literally a "remake" such as Gus Van Sant's Psycho, for instance. Nic Roeg's Don't Look Now was a unique artistic vision and an incredible one at that. In fact, it's probably one of only two or three films which I think better than its source material. But still, why should another Don't Look Now not be made? I'd even welcome a remake of The Exorcist and Legion, within reason.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.234.108
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 07:24 pm:   

I suppose 'Dracula' (the best horror novel ever written) proves your point, Patrick.

But some films of great written works were just so perfect and "of their time" that any director would have to be brave or arrogant indeed to attempt a remake.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 86.170.25.218
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 10:34 pm:   

Absolutely agreed. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, for instance, or Kes or The Godfather...
But I'd still be wary of using that word "remake".
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.118.9.205
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 06:25 pm:   

About to watch the penultimate episode of 'Fringe'. Fabulous show!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 09:00 pm:   

Just settling down with a Chinese to watch the very last episode of 'Fringe'. I won't half miss this show and these characters. They've been one of the highlights of my DVD watching life. Wonderful writing and chemistry between the cast. I'm going to need something bloody good to follow this...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 10:48 pm:   

Finished it.

They played with us right up until the final scene. One of the most ingenious, entertaining and powerfully affecting science fiction TV series ever made. They tied everything up to perfection over this emotional rollercoaster ride of a final seaon.

What to possibly follow it with?!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 11:02 pm:   

As a brief interlude over the next four weeks I've decided to rewatch 'The Nightmare Man' for the first time since it was originally broadcast on BBC1 back in 1981. I remember it really scaring me at the time and would rank it as one of the finest one-off horror dramas ever produced on British TV.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 03:38 pm:   

Watched the first of the four half hour episodes and got some nostalgia rush. The show plays like a classic British horror film of the 70s with its location camerawork on a remote Scottish island and cast of familiar character actor faces all playing it dead straight. There was even a bit of surprisingly effective gore, with the discovery of the first body, and a finely controlled escalation of dread in the final fifteen minutes that culminated in a great scary cliffhanger and our first tantalising glimpse of whatever it is out there in the fog. Brilliant stuff done with real gravitas and commitment. If anything it's even better than I remembered.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 04:49 pm:   

As for 'Fringe'... I've been analysing in my head what was so wonderful about the show and I guess it all comes down to the chemistry between cast and creators. Everyone involved was clearly having a ball making this and that shows in the attention to detail and continuity, the sheer cohesiveness of all five seasons, from first episode to last. It really was a wild, ridiculously entertaining ride. Walter Bishop, played by the great John Noble, has to be the most memorable genre character of the modern era. A figure to rank alongside Doctor Who, John Steed or Bernard Quatermass, etc. The rest of them play off the loveable eccentricity, heartbreaking vulnerability and subtly sinister qualities of his central character, with Anna Torv (Olivia), Joshua Jackson (Peter), Jasika Nicole (Astrid), Lance Reddick (Broyles), Blair Brown (Nina), Kirk Acevedo (Charlie), Seth Gable (Lincoln) & Michael Cerveris (the mysterious bald man) all giving multiple (it's complicated) performances they will forever be defined by.

After setting the scene in the excellent but somewhat murky first season the writers really got into their stride in Seasons 2 & 3, delivering some of the most unexpected plot twists and character turnarounds I've ever encountered in a long running TV series. Make it this far and the more baffling elements of Season 1 all fall into place like a magical jigsaw that had me forever shaking my head in astonishment and grinning from ear to ear at the sheer precision of the plot mechanics. They took these already head swivelling revelations into dizzying flights of the imagination in the final two seasons that I couldn't even attempt to put into words but that never failed to keep us engaged with the drastically evolving characters and the truly fascinating, I would even say awe inspiring, mythology, that, just when we think we've reached the final reveal, opens up ever more layers of onion-like complexity. The way all this is tied up in the final episodes was a model of how to deliver everything the fans needed and left me emotionally sated and not a little misty-eyed after the final marvellously underplayed scene of shattering poignancy.

This show has it all. Iconic characters, great acting, writing of real genius, that indefinable chemistry that marks out all the greatest TV shows (think 'Star Trek'), brilliant stand alone episodes that all work within a fascinating and genuinely gripping evolving mythology (unlike 'The X Files'), genuinely funny and loveable character comedy, seriously moving and unexpected character developments, fantastic special effects, dazzling production values, nauseating gore, a host of great monsters and recurring villains, gob-smacking guest appearances by big name actors, time travel paradoxes and alternate universes that actually make sense and aren't just used to cover up lazy writing (ala new 'Doctor Who') and most of all real heart and integrity. This is easily the finest genre TV show of the new millennium so far and well up in the Top 10 ever made, imho.

Goodbye, Fringe Division, and thank you.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 05:19 pm:   

I think I'll follow 'The Nightmare Man' (1981) with another one-off horror mini-series, Takashi Miike's 'MPD Psycho' (2000). Six hour long episodes of the most extreme horror ever put on television, apparently.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 04:40 pm:   

Here's the newest video from Die Antwoord, "Pitbull Terrier." I love it—it's shocking, it's funny, it tells a complete story (taking place in some wholly insane world, clearly)... and yes, too, I'd say it definitely qualifies as horror.

http://youtu.be/JvMXVHVr72A
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 176.27.85.101
Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 05:10 pm:   

I saw that yesterday, definitely a bit disturbing though the "I Fink U Freeky" video is still my favourite.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 05:30 am:   

Just watched the first episode of Dario Argento's 'Door Into Darkness' (1973):

"The Neighbour", written and directed by Luigi Cozzi, a long time collaborator with Argento as writer and assistant director, was an excellent hour long Hitchcockian suspense thriller made with real cinematic flair. Produced and introduced by Dario himself it follows the disastrous first night in their new beach house apartment of a fresh faced young couple (Aldo Reggiani & Laura Belli) who have just moved in with their newborn baby. Eager to introduce themselves they unwittingly stumble upon the fact that their upstairs neighbour (Mimmo Palmara) has just murdered his wife and there follows a tense game of cat and mouse as he stalks the pair, realising he has no option but to get rid of them as well. "Why did you have to come upstairs?" he asks the woman with genuine regret but a chilling matter of factness in his rueful expression. From there the action unfolds with a relentlessly grim unsentimental logic that pulls no punches and had me on the edge of my seat right up till the inspired twist ending. The hulking Palmara is a disturbing presence with his calm deliberate implacability and we really feel for the poor young family as he remorselessly goes about the business of hunting, silencing and disposing of all three of them one-by-one. Great no nonsense entertainment and a really fine directorial debut for Cozzi.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 03:51 pm:   

Craig, that video is fantastic! And, shockingly, what a bloody great song too!! I've never heard of the guy and it takes a lot to impress me on the music scene these days. Must check more of his stuff out. Thanks.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 04:41 pm:   

It's actually a team, Stevie—Die Antwoord are "Ninja," the guy, and the girl with the alien-esquely high voice, Yolandi. They're married, I think. They're vehemently anti-pop; witness their song/video raking Lady Gaga over the coals, from last year. Their vids are like mini films, and they did even recently do a short, purely narrative film that was, again, a surreal piece of urban, avante-garde horror. Start exploring, you'll be blown away....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 07:50 pm:   

It's the song that hooked me, Craig. It's always the song. Had it not matched the video in quality then all the imagination in the film would have been for naught. I'm reminded of what I like about Aphex Twin or even, don't laugh, LMFAO.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Friday, May 23, 2014 - 04:56 pm:   

Watched episode 2 of 'The Nightmare Man' and there have now been two killings and the mutilation of some sheep. The tiny island police force are hopelessly out of their depth and struggling to quell a public panic while the dense fog keeps them all hopelessly trapped ashore and the discovery of a strange craft on the beach has frightened mutterings of "alien monsters" being heard. Bloody marvellous old-fashioned pure horror entertainment done dead straight and with total commitment to the material. Fantastic!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 02:45 am:   

Just watched episode 2 of 'Door Into Darkness':

"The Tram", written and directed by Dario Argento, is an ingenious little murder mystery in which a pretty blonde is found knifed to death in a crowded tram and no one saw anything suspicious. As all the passengers, the driver and conductor were identified by the police at the scene the detective in charge, played by Enzo Cerusico, in a likeably charismatic performance that reminded me of George Segal in 'No Way To Treat A Lady' (1968), decides to organise an elaborate reconstruction with the tram going over the same route and everyone who was present on board and in their same positions, getting on and off as they did on the fateful night, hoping that this will provide a clue to the killer's identity, who must be one of them. The tension mounts masterfully during this sequence with the viewer having been told by Dario in the intro to watch every face and move very carefully. A solution to the mystery appears to be reached and the murderer is sent to prison for life, screaming innocence all the way. But something still nags at Cerusico's mind and he decides to arrange another off the record reconstruction using his girlfriend (Paolo Tedesco) as bait and the final half of the film plunges us straight into giallo thriller territory as the real killer emerges from the shadows in a brilliantly suspenseful final showdown. This is effortlessly great storytelling in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock at his most tricksy and another fine directorial achievement for Argento. Great stuff!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - 01:07 pm:   

Watched episode 3 of 'The Nightmare Man' and this is one full of investigation and intrigue. The mystery deepens as to who or what is responsible for the killings on the island and we get tantalising hints of a greater mystery behind what appears to be the homicidal rampage of some deranged lunatic. This one includes possibly the best use of the "flashing camera at the moment of attack" suspense ploy - as used in 'Jaws II' (1978) - to provide a memorably chilling sequence in which we "witness" the last murder as it happened. And the cliffhanger, in which, for the first time, the thing attacks a group of people, as opposed to a helpless individual, is an absolute belter!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.173.127.232
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2014 - 10:14 am:   

About to start watching the tv series 'Millennium', for the first time since broadcast in the mid-late 90's. Was one of my all time favourite series, hope it holds up! Will post my thoughts as I progress.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2014 - 12:15 pm:   

I love 'Millennium'! The most criminally underrated genre TV show of the last 20 years - and it's pure horror all the way. The role of Frank Black was the greatest performance Lance Henricksen ever gave.

My own plan, Lincoln, is to watch it and 'The X Files' (as they are interlinked by the demonic storyline, which I always found more interesting than the alien mythology plot) at some time in the future in chrono order. I'll even shoehorn in 'Harsh Realm' & 'The Lone Gunmen' as well for the craic.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2014 - 03:06 pm:   

'Door Into Darkness' time again:

"The Doll", directed by Mario Foglietti and written by Mario Foglietti & Marcella Elsberger, tells the story of a homicidal maniac who escapes from an asylum and goes on a bit of a murderous rampage in which we only ever see the killing in typical giallo point of view style. The rest of the time we follow the wanderings of a mysterious stranger in the area, played by Robinson Crusoe himself, Robert Hoffmann - who may be the maniac or may not - and the desperate manhunt led by a bullish police commissioner (Gianfranco D'Angelo). Foglietti was another long time associate of Argento given his first directorial break here but his work can only be called pedestrian, at best, and shows little of the flair or knack for generating suspense that was evident in the first two episodes. The supposedly "ingenious" twist is signposted from the beginning, for anyone with half a brain, and as the build up to it is so uninspired the final impression one is left with is of distinct underwhelment.

Only one episode left to go and it's another Argento written and directed corker, by all accounts.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.27.199
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2014 - 11:33 pm:   

Stevie, I also liked the X Files, but did tire of it after a while. The early 'monster of the week' episodes were my favourite.
'Millennium' was a different beast, and after watching the pilot and ep 1 last night, it has certainly stood the test of time. The boxset I have also includes the X Files/Millennium crossover episode.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 08:33 am:   

A great series could be made splicing together 'Millennium' with only the satanic supernatural episodes of 'The X Files', which tie in directly with Frank Black's experiences, e.g. "Irresistible", "The Calusari", "Grotesque", etc. The theme of demons among us in human form ran through both series and was separate from and stronger than the alien plot, imo. 'The X Files' was a work of flawed genius that ultimately collapsed under the weight of its own ambitions but that still stands up as one of the very finest horror/sci-fi TV shows ever made. Incidentally, the evil AI technology episodes also tie in with the short lived and also excellent 'Harsh Realm' series. If you want to see the format Chris Carter attempted done to perfection (monster of the week eps coupled with a successful and fascinating continuing mythology) then I can't recommend all 5 seasons of 'Fringe' too highly, Lincoln.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.119.26.199
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 12:52 pm:   

Have been meaning to check out 'Fringe', Stevie, but as my wife says - I can't commit to another series at the moment:-)
It shows on the SciFi channel down here, so I'll check out an episode or two next time it's on.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 02:13 pm:   

I wouldn't advise that, Lincoln! Any episode watched out of context, as they all continue the mythology and character development (even the monster of the week ones), is bound to confuse you as to who are the good guys and who the bad as well as provide monstrously inappropriate spoilers that could potentially ruin the whole show for you. Watch it from the start knowing as little as possible about what is to come. I'd pity anyone jumping into the middle of one of the later seasons with no idea what had went before or who was who!!

It really is that unpredictably complex and well developed.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2014 - 01:18 pm:   

That's me finished 'Door Into Darkness' (1973) and 'The Nightmare Man' (1981):

Episode 4 of 'The Nightmare Man' is when everything is revealed and concentrates on action, with the arrival of the military and the climactic hunting down of the "thing". I really enjoyed the big twist and thought it was very well handled by veteran 'Doctor Who' scriptwriter, Robert Holmes. All round committed performances by James Warwick, Celia Imrie, Maurice Roëves & Jonathan Newth, solid no nonsense direction by Douglas Camfield and the grittily convincing location camerawork mark the mini-series out as a memorable last hurrah for this kind of genre TV production for the BBC. Excellent stuff!

As for 'Door Into Darkness' - they kept the best till last. "Eyewitness", directed by Dario Argento and written by Dario Argento & Luigi Cozzi, is another rather ingenious and finely crafted Hitchcockian giallo thriller well up to the director's standards of the time. Marilù Tolo plays Roberta, a highly strung young woman who, while driving home alone one night through a remote stretch of forest, is the sole witness to the murder of an attractive blonde, chased into the road in front of her by a shadowy gun toting figure half glimpsed among the trees. Pursued by the killer she narrowly escapes with her life and immediately reports the murder to the police. However, on returning to the scene, they discover no trace of a body or any signs of violence and there follows the usual "damsel in distress" scenario as we, the detective in charge (Glauco Onorato) and her valiantly patient husband (Riccardo Salvino) begin to wonder about the girl's reliability as a "witness" and, ultimately, her sanity. Then the threatening phone calls and attempts on her life begin... or do they? Argento ratchets the suspense up with his usual flair and delivers several memorable sequences while forever keeping the viewer guessing as to what is real and what may be imagined. And I loved the final twist, with its hauntingly ambiguous hint at the intrusion of the supernatural. We've seen this kind of tale done countless times before and since but it is the sheer style and enthusiasm with which Argento treats the material that lifts his films head and shoulders above the rest, imho. Great adult entertainment!

Here's how I'd rank all four films:

1. 'Eyewitness' by Dario Argento.
2. 'The Tram' by Dario Argento.
3. 'The Neighbour' by Luigi Cozzi.
4. 'The Doll' by Mario Foglietti.

Those first three were all excellent cinematic quality horror thrillers while the fourth was the one relative dud in the series, but still well worth watching.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2014 - 01:29 pm:   

And tonight I intend to start Takashi Miike's notorious horror mini-series 'MPD Psycho' (2000). Six hour long episodes.

Incidentally, MPD stands for "multiple personality disorder".
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 12:52 pm:   

The first episode of 'MPD Psycho' - "Memories Of Sin, Drifting Petals" - has me thoroughly intrigued and not a little stumped as to what to compare it with. My first thought was "here we have the show that surely inspired 'Utopia' (the fantastic British TV series from last year)". Both feature apparently random slaughter and horrific torture by seemingly brainwashed psychopathic emissaries of a shadowy hi-tech conspiracy and both have the beautifully story boarded cinematic look of an adult graphic novel come to life. Then the similarities to 'Batman', The Exorcist'/'Legion', 'Twin Peaks', 'The X Files', 'Seven', 'Millennium' and 'Insomnia' started to hit me and I got lost in admiration for a grippingly complex and original story well told. Miike, as usual with him, fully respects the viewer's intelligence by plunging us straight into the action with the very minimum of exposition and allows the power of the imagery and intensity of the acting to draw us in and try to unravel the bizarre events unfolding.

The investigation of a series of murders in a small Japanese town is intercut with the hunt for a notorious serial killer many years before in Tokyo. Both appear to be the work of the same man, Shinji Nishizono, which simply cannot be, as the original killer was executed in cold blood by the detective hunting him, Yosuke Koboyashi, in revenge for the murder of his pregnant wife. This crime was covered up by his colleagues following Koboyashi's complete mental breakdown and assuming the identity of a "single-minded" vigilante hunter of serial killers, Kazuhiko Amamiya. [Was this story at all based on a manga comicbook? Of course it was! And we even get to see one character casually flicking through the first issue of the real thing, by Eiji Ohtsuka, before tossing it in the trash.]

Cured of his split personality and happily remarried Koboyashi had retired to the country. When the killings follow him, and his new wife is mysteriously abducted, his vigilante alter ego resurfaces and he decides to cooperate, up to a point, with the police manhunt for his apparently resurrected old nemesis. Got all that? Then throw in a mysterious youth cult in which the members, known as "bar coders", all worship the crimes of Nishizono and can be identified by a barcode tattooed on the eyeball below the lower lid. It appears, I think, that these brainwashed young things are the agency by which the spirit of the dead serial killer is carrying out his new crimes - hopping from one to the other down telephone lines like some kind of faxed demonic entity! Before he targeted only heavily pregnant women, stealing their fully developed babies from the womb, and, I reckon, these new murders, in which pretty young women are transformed into human flower pots, with sprays of orchids blooming from their exposed brains, are being carried out by the grown babies, controlled by the possessing intellect of the very man who butchered their mothers. Maybe I'm wrong... as there are still five hour long episodes to go but that seems to be how it is panning out so far.

The whole production looks fantastic and is indescribably gruesome, as well as surprisingly funny, in the sickest of ways imaginable. Of Miike's films, the one it reminds me most of, stylistically as well as plot wise, is 'Ichi The Killer' (2001) - also based on a manga comic - and I'm already seeing this series as an obvious test run for that bonkers masterpiece of ultra-violence!

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this show and the resolution of all those tantalising mysteries. Genre bending has rarely been this much fun.
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 176.248.60.181
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 03:10 pm:   

Speaking of Utopia, series 2 starts next month if anyone hasn't seen the adverts yet. Here's the trailer: http://youtu.be/qlUifSmm2vc
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.1.56.95
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 04:33 am:   

I didn't know that! Thanks, David. I loved 'Utopia' and would rank it as one of the finest things I've seen on British TV in recent years.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.140.10
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014 - 01:14 am:   

Yesterday I picked up a DVD of an obscure sci-fi mini-series from 1970 called 'Spearhead From Space'. Four half hour episodes written by Robert Holmes, who scripted the excellent similar series 'The Nightmare Man' (1981) that I recently finished watching one episode a week. I think I'll do the same with this one and, for some reason, tea time on Saturdays seems like as good a regular slot as any.

Anyway, I watched the first episode last night and it has me thoroughly intrigued. Filmed in the same gritty location style as TNM it involved the crashing to Earth of a group of meteorites in the English countryside, one of which is stumbled upon by a grizzled old poacher (shades of 'The Blob'). Rather than it killing him he stuffs the odd, glowing and obviously manufactured object in his sack and makes off with it - deftly avoiding the mysterious arrival of the military on the scene ('The X Files' immediately sprang to mind). This leads me to believe he may turn out to be the principal character.

At the same time a dishevelled figure stumbles from an old police call box that materialises from nowhere (what the fuck?!) in the same area and collapses, to be discovered by the soldiers who take him to the nearest hospital. Blood tests and x-rays appear to reveal the man to be "not human" (two hearts and weird blood!) and an armed guard is posted. Could this be the mastermind behind the titular spearhead I couldn't help wondering. But, on coming around, the stranger revealed himself to be a poor raving lunatic, unable even to recognise himself in a mirror and with an obsessive compulsion to find his shoes. I felt sorry for the deluded imbecile and this was compounded by his mysterious kidnapping from the ward by a sinister group of men, dressed as doctors and apparently not with the military! All kinds of weird conspiracy theories were going through my mind by this stage and seemed to be justified when the poor demented unfortunate, attempting to escape from his persecutors, was shot and killed by a trigger happy soldier.

One can imagine them performing an autopsy on the body in the next episode which will reveal further mysteries. Maybe he was some kind of alien pod person who didn't turn out right and was being reclaimed for disposal by his fully developed alien cohorts. One speech by the leader of the army team (a rather stuffy Brigadier something-or-other, whom I didn't particularly warm to) to a female scientist, Liz Shaw, called in due to her expert knowledge of meteorites, mentioned two previous attempts at alien invasion (Holmes is clearly a Nigel Kneale fan) to which she responded with understandable and logical derision. My money is on old Jessop the poacher teaming up with this female Quatermass to save the day.

Really looking forward to next week's episode and the answering of some of these mysteries. It's unassuming low budget but brilliantly written and acted wee shows like this one that are the reason I love the 1970s so much. Pure story with no poncing about!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014 - 03:09 am:   

So it absolutely is the Golden Age—or another one—of TV. There's too many good shows out there to watch for any one person, surely. But I've been watching three that deserve some attention:

1) Remember I didn't like "Penny Dreadful" at first? Well, I kept at it, and it kept me going, and I'm now totally taken in by it. It's developing its storyline/s extremely slowly, I see now; almost ponderously so. Which is giving time for the characters to be richly developed. I'm just over halfway through, having just finished watching maybe one of the best episodes I've seen on TV of any series, the one titled "Closer Than Sisters." Had I to do it all over again, I'd start from this one, then go back to episode 1; because this is an all flashback set-up of Eva Green's and Timothy Dalton's characters and storyline, that would have made all crystal clear (though, the in medias res approach is less heavy-handed, I suppose). It's a completely contained horror story, and it's superbly subtly done—about as quiet a horror as you can get. This first season's almost over, tonight's the last, a mere eight episodes; but that will make it easier for others to catch up, for Season 2 (already in production).

2) "Fargo," which is a long and twisting portmanteau of a neo-noir, characterized by chilling portrayals (Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman might never have been better), gripping plot threads, and some of the most visually beautiful film-making around. This is bigger than mere television; rather, a 10+ hour outrageous novel of murder and mayhem, with some delicious references to the original film. Must see!

3) And my gosh, Louis C.K. has surpassed comics of his stature, to become a filmmaker worthy of the Woody Allen mantle. I don't know if anyone's wanting to give it to him, so I'll just present it myself. This guy's exploding whatever preconceptions anyone has about what makes a "sitcom"—it's indescribable, it's beautiful filmed (as much or more as "Fargo"), and oh yes, hilarious to boot (though as often, sad, even depressing). Stevie, you gotta get into this one—it's in Season 4, but like another great FX series (FX is the network to beat!) "American Horror Story," you need not watch from the beginning. Here's a flavor of it (though I wish the previous cameo with Charles Grodin was available, it's priceless): http://youtu.be/ijQI2AJvNjI

TV's just the best now! Who'd a thought?!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014 - 12:25 pm:   

Yes, television nowadays has never been healthier or had more money and talent poured into it but that only means we need to be all that more discerning in our choice of shows to watch. The "less is more" approach of the 50s-70s, when numbers of channels were severely limited, led to a more focussed approach and concentration on story and characters over special effects and shock value. One thing that will always limit the effectiveness of modern American TV series is the disease of "never knowing when to stop", once a show has captured the public imagination and had even more money thrown at it. A story needs a proper beginning, middle and end rather than being allowed to go on and on until it fizzles out. All those type of shows are anathema to me. 'The X Files' survived as long as it did on the strength of the stand alone episodes while the continuing mythology became ever more convoluted and unconvincing, eventually disappearing up its own fundament. Look to shows like 'The Prisoner', 'Colditz', 'Survivors', 'I, Claudius', 'The Sweeney', etc, for examples of how to make great, brilliantly written and acted television that doesn't outstay its welcome into our hearts. In recent years only 'Fringe', 'The Walking Dead' (so far), 'Psychoville', 'Utopia', 'Game Of Thrones', 'MPD Psycho' (so far), that I have seen, have passed that test, for me. Though I have high hopes of loving 'The Sopranos' and 'Breaking Bad' when I get around to seeing them. The cream will always rise to the surface no matter how much milk is poured in.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2014 - 11:58 am:   

In case anyone hasn't already worked out I finally took the plunge at the weekend and started collected the classic era stories of 'Doctor Who' that I grew up watching and will always love above all other genre television. For me, that includes all the Jon Pertwee years and the early Tom Baker years, up until 'The Hand Of Fear' (1976) - after which, imo, the show became increasingly ropey, descending into outright embarrassment in the Peter Davison to Sylvester McCoy years. One has to be selective and that period, from 1970-76, represents the highest pinnacle of intelligence, thrills, gravitas and pure entertainment value that the immortal franchise ever rose to. I'm going to collect watch them all in strict chrono order with my mind switched to "never seen it before" mode. So watch this space after every Saturday evening on for the next few years! After one episode I'm already in TV heaven!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2014 - 12:06 pm:   

And I also picked up the complete collections of two other all-time favourite British TV shows that I'll be watching one-a-week at the same time: Brian Clemens' fantastic 'The New Avengers' (1976-77), one of the very favourite shows from my childhood, and, in tribute to the recently departed Rik Mayall, the complete 'The Young Ones' (1982-84) [yet again], 'Filthy, Rich And Catflap' (1987) and 'Bottom' (1991-95), culminating with the never seen before film, 'Guest House Paradiso' (1999).
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 07:49 am:   

Your assessment of TV is correct, Stevie. But sometimes one must give a series a bit of a chance—case in point, for me, this "Penny Dreadful," which I just felt immensely disappointed by at the beginning; but I've come to think is on par with what I'd hoped it would be, and so much more. "Fargo," too, I was groaning at, at first; same goes for Season 1 of "American Horror Story," which was so out there to what I'd been used to, I thought it bonkers. It is bonkers, but in a good way. But I think I'm discerning, like you—I enjoyed Season 1 of "Boardwalk Empire," but I wouldn't put it in the class of a great series. "Perception" is a thoroughly guilty pleasure, but it's certainly low-rent. And so on. But our time on Earth is limited: there's only so many books we will be allowed to read, movies to watch, television to absorb, music to listen to, games to play... oh yes, and life to live....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 11:46 am:   

Exactly, Craig. I only want to read, watch and listen to the very best as life is way too short. By "best" I mean entertaining and in the film world that often involves brainless but charming schlock! No one could accuse me of snobbery lol.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 11:50 am:   

I think every era throws up its great works and, also, works that appear great at the time, due to fashion or zeitgeist, but that end up failing the test of time. That's why I refuse to allow myself to fall into the trap of only experiencing what is new. I'll test the waters but if I'm not gripped pretty quickly then I move on.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.234.179
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2014 - 10:39 pm:   

Just watched the first episode of 'The New Avengers', from 1976, called "The Eagle's Nest", written by Brian Clemens, and it had me in stitches. I never appreciated just how funny this show was back when I was a child and I haven't seen it since. Full of memorable one liners and groan inducing puns with a crazy plot involving a cell of Nazis on a remote Scottish island attempting to bring Hitler back from the dead - it wasn't his corpse found cremated outside the bunker, apparently. It guest stars Peter Cushing in great form as the scientist whose genius is behind the hare-brained plan. Wonderful tongue-in-cheek entertainment with a fast paced energy and exuberance that is a joy to behold. I'm going to enjoy this weekly trip down memory lane!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, July 04, 2014 - 11:58 am:   

What I love about 'The Avengers'/'The New Avengers' is the way they take all the most ridiculous elements of the James Bond franchise and run with them. The insane but brilliantly written plots at world domination, the outrageously OTT villains, the suave imperturbable wisecracking heroics of Steed & Co and the almost straight faced way in which the cast bring all this to life. It's like watching a 'Danger Mouse' cartoon come to life and every bit as hilariously funny, yet gripping with it. Brilliant TV!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.0
Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2014 - 12:49 pm:   

Episode 2 of 'Spearhead From Space' tonight. Can't wait!

This was the first story of Series 7 of 'Doctor Who' that I saw once before when it was repeated. I also caught the second story, 'The Silurians', but, and this is where I get really excited, I haven't seen a single second nor do I know anything about the plots of the two stories that rounded off Pertwee's first series. Yes, 'The Ambassadors Of Death' and 'Inferno' will be completely new to me!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2014 - 01:13 pm:   

In the second part it became evident that the alien eccentric, who was apparently shot dead in the cliffhanger ending last week, was, in fact, only wounded (bringing back memories of those loveable old b&w Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, etc serials of yesteryear). We then went through the process of him trying to convince the military, in the form of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, that they had met before and that he was on their side in the face of an insidious alien invasion, of which the landing "meteorites" formed the spearhead. He goes by the name of "The Doctor" and, apparently, has changed his appearance from the last time he appeared on Earth! Do we believe him? I, and the Brigadier, remain to be convinced, hence his remaining under armed guard. Liz, the scientist, seems to have warmed to the character's disarming charm but remains convinced he is stark raving mad. I believe she may be right but that, nevertheless, the enigmatic Doctor somehow holds the key to the whole mad conspiracy unfolding. When he stages an elaborate escape from the hospital, after stealing clothes and hotwiring an antique jallopy in the car park, one is left wondering about his motives but also rather impressed by his indomitable determination to be about whatever his business is...

Meanwhile, the wily old poacher who absconded with one of the mysteriously glowing and clearly artificial artefacts from space has it hidden in a trunk in his outhouse from which the thing begins to emit a steady pulsed signal. Before long a rather disturbing looking figure wearing some kind of plastic mask and dressed in blue overalls - reminding me of Michael Myers in the 'Halloween' franchise - is seen combing the local woods and seeming to be attracted to the area of the signal, while another of these mysterious figures is seen intercepting a soldier's discovery of an identical object and making off with it - after forcing his jeep off the road and killing the poor sod! The first death in the story - seeming to indicate that these disturbing automaton like killers are the villains of the piece.

After these intriguingly weird and unpredictable developments the action then shifts to a young executive employee at a local plastics factory who returns from leave to find the place taken over by "new management" and his services no longer needed. He then becomes the focus of the action - I like the way they keep us guessing about who, if anyone, is to become the principal hero - as he breaks into the factory after hours to do a bit of amateur sleuthing. The cliffhanger ending of this episode was particularly chilling as he discovers a room fitted out with all manner of elaborate computer equipment, he is clearly unfamiliar with, and lined with identical plastic faced figures in blue overalls! As he examines the machinery one of the seemingly lifeless figures behind him begins to move in a stiff robotic motion and creeps up behind him. Startled by the sound of stealthy movement our possible hero turns and we close on his look of outright terror as he comes face to face with the horror approaching him. All this had me on the edge of my seat and having to fight the overwhelming temptation to see what happens next. But I won't do it! Roll on next Saturday... this is fantastic old school entertainment of a type I've been starved of on television for too many years!! Wonderful writing, a tremendously breathless pace (all the above took place in a brisk half hour running time) and already rather endearing performances of complete Hammer-like committment. I love it!!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 12:10 pm:   

Great stuff! Finally picked up the final Season 5 of 'The Twilight Zone' (1963-64), none of which I've ever seen before - including that Richard Matheson episode. After I've watched all these I plan to move straight on to Rod Serling's 'Night Gallery' (1969-73), all of which will be new to me.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 12:24 pm:   

I've some line-up of TV classics in store for tonight: Episode 3 of 'Spearhead From Space' (1970), followed by Episode 2 of 'The New Avengers' - "House Of Cards" (1976), the 'Twilight Zone' story "In Praise Of Pip" (1963), the 'Boris Karloff's Thriller' story "A Wig For Miss Devore" (1962) and the next enthralling episode of 'MPD Psycho' (2000). That's how I'll be "celebrating" the 12th!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 11:53 am:   

Things began to fall into place and became a lot more frightening in the third part of 'Spearhead From Space'. The chap we saw last week, about to be despatched by the plastic man, or whatever it is, turned just in the nick of time and was able to evade the thing's attempts to kill him with a curious and highly destructive gun-type weapon that extended from its outstretched hand! This leads me to believe that the figures are robotic in nature. Fleeing from the factory our plucky amateur sleuth is intercepted by an army patrol, in a brilliantly acted state of abject terror, and is taken to see Liz and the Brigadier at their makeshift HQ. Meanwhile the errant Doctor, having discovered that the police box in which he arrived has been impounded by the military, gives himself up and is present for the interrogation of the traumatised factory worker. The Brigadier decides to trust him and asks for his help and expertise in the face of this bizarre alien threat... if he really is another incarnation of the mysterious Doctor he had encountered in the past. Just to make sure, however, he confiscates the key to the call box - apparently a disguised spaceship!! - so that the Doctor has no choice but to stay.

So it appears we now have a team of heroic characters gradually coming to cooperate with each other against a common foe - Liz the scientist, the stuffy by-the-book Brigadier, their enigmatic alien helper and the likeable young man who discovered what was going on at the factory. The next clue arrives in the form of the old poacher, who attempts to bargain with the army for the sale of the object he had hidden, thus sending the team off in a rush to his farmhouse. Unfortunately the man's poor wife is at home alone when one of the plastic robots comes crashing through the door attracted by the pulsing signal from the artefact. She bravely stands up to the creature, giving it both barrels of a shotgun at point blank range, but the thing is completely unphased and after felling her, in a truly scary sequence, uncovers the precious alien object and makes off with it just before the cavalry arrives to find a scene of horror and destruction. One couldn't help but feel sorry for the unwitting poacher and the horrible fate his greed had brought down upon his home...

Next stop, of course, the factory! On arriving, however, they are greeted civilly and given a guided tour that appears to reveal nothing untoward and casts suspicion on the young man's wild tale. They specialise in the manufacture of perfectly harmless children's dolls and shop window mannequins and claim their erstwhile former employee was obviously motivated to discredit them out of revenge for being fired. When the Brigadier's superior officer, General Scobie, arrives on the scene he overrules their wish to delve deeper and gives the place a clean bill of health while putting their protesting witness under armed guard.

The episode ended with a double shock cliffhanger as we see one of the principal characters in our team specifically targeted and horribly killed in front of our eyes by a plastic robot sent out by the factory manager, a right sinister looking bloke if ever I saw one. Then, while we've barely recovered from that shocking death, we see General Scobie, while home alone, being called to the front door and confronted with an animated plastic replica of himself that barges its way into the house while he retreats in dumbstruck terror!! I was left with a sick feeling of evil victorious by these unexpectedly brutal developments.

All that in half an hour!! Roll on next Saturday and the exciting conclusion to this brilliant and intensely gripping story. Really wonderful stuff.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 09:35 am:   

I'm hitched again and the girlfriend requested we watch 'I, Claudius' (1976) together on DVD as she'd heard how good it was and always wanted to see it. After the first feature length episode last night, "A Touch Of Murder", we're both completely hooked - me all over again after about 7 years since the last time I watched it. This show is still the single greatest TV drama series I have ever watched. It's impossible not to get sucked into the labyrinthine convolutions of the plot after this fabulous opener, that begins with Claudius Caesar as an ancient old man beginning to write the extraordinary story of his life and the history of Rome that he lived through, from Augustus to Nero, before taking us on the ultimate series of flashbacks to the turbulent events that led up to his deceptively inauspicious birth. Jesus, what I know is coming and this girl has to experience is sending shivers down my spine just thinking about it. Derek Jacobi's twitching, stammering performance and incredibly poignant voiceover narration are sublime. And, by god, can Brian Blessed bloody well act!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 10:05 am:   

Episode 2 of 'The New Avengers', "House Of Cards", again written by Brian Clemens (what a genius that man was), was a classic Cold War spy thriller with a series of deep cover sleepers being activated by the Russians after each receiving a playing card from the suit of Hearts with a name written on the back that they are to assassinate! These agents were planted in Britain over 20 years before and each of them leads a normal domestic lifestyle, with unsuspecting spouses, children and respectable jobs, leaving them above and beyond any hint of suspicion. Yet each of them is a highly trained cold blooded professional killer. Guess whose names are on the back of the Jack, Queen and King of Hearts? Thoroughly gripping suspense entertainment, again with just the right level of tongue-in-cheek humour and some fantastically well choreographed action and fight sequences. Great timelessly entertaining stuff!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.104
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 10:17 am:   

There was a very funny sequence in that episode in which Steed and an associate are discussing three "prize fillies" from Steed's past. While Steed is talking about three of his favourite racehorses the other person thinks he's referring to Honor Blackman (a really beauty with wonderful teeth), Diana Rigg (I had to use the whip on that one) and Linda Thorson (fiery temperament, we had to shoot her in the end). Ridiculous and yet they get away with it lol!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 12:10 pm:   

The final episode of 'Spearhead From Space' brought everything to a satisfyingly action packed and dramatic conclusion.

The Doctor and Liz do a bit of snooping around the plastics factory and uncover a plot to replace prominent politicians and military men with identical plastic effigies that have been perfected to look human - including General Scobie. It is revealed that the plastic people are not actually robots but rather a form of living plastic controlled by a central alien brain hidden in one of the factory labs! This hive-mind intelligence, known as the Nestene, has been moving through the galaxy assimilating whatever species it encounters and taking over their planets and civilisations. Now it is the Earth's turn!!

There was a fabulous sequence, iconic even, when the aliens have decided they are now strong enough in number, having been reproducing themselves using the factory technology, to launch an all-out invasion, with their prominent replacements sabotaging the human response from within. Across the country we see shop window mannequins suddenly come to frightening life and smash out into the streets where they set about indiscriminately vaporising all humans they encounter with their powerful hand weapons. Crowds of innocent shoppers are seen being slaughtered where they stand by these horribly stiff blank-faced automatons. Then when the military are called onto the streets pitch battles ensue with bullets proving useless against the things. Really exciting stuff with a no-nonsense grimness of tone that I found highly refreshing!

The climax comes as the Brigadier and his men launch a frontal assault on the factory with the Doctor tagging along, believing that if they can neutralise the central brain then all the murderous effigies will return to lifelessness. Amid much bloodshed and derring-do he finally makes it to the central laboratory and sets about sabotaging the creature's life support mechanism. Then, the ultimate horror, as the Lovecraftian tentacled brain-thing oozes out of its tank and almost consumes the Doctor before being despatched in the knick of time by the cavalry arriving. And across the country, as predicted, the army of mannequins instantaneously freeze, becoming just harmless dummies again, and the Earth is saved. Phew!

We end with a nice little coda in which the Doctor agrees to stay and become a scientific advisor, with Liz as his assistant, to a new military group known as UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) who are dedicated to protecting Earth from any future alien threats, including a possible return of the Nestene. THE END

The above story lasted 2 hours, over 4 half hour episodes, and packed more intrigue, character development, twists, shocks and action into its length than any one-off, self-contained sci-fi/horror TV show I can recall watching in recent years. It was even better and more gripping than scriptwriter Robert Holmes' identically structured 'The Nightmare Man' (1981) and had me on the edge of my seat every week, hugging myself with delight and dying to see the next exciting episode - those cliffhangers were a marvellous idea! The profound influence of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass serials was obvious throughout ('Quatermass II' in particular) and in The Doctor (played with charismatic aplomb by Jon Pertwee) we have a character who already feels iconic.

It's not just nostalgia, folks, Old Who pisses all over New Who. The format, running time, pacing, gravitas, acting, intelligence and sheer entertainment value are in a different league altogether. Last Saturday I watched the first episode of Pertwee's next adventure, 'The Silurians', and it were bloody brilliant!
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 2.216.164.11
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 01:40 pm:   

I have to agree, I've been watching a ton of Old Who on the Horror Channel recently (mostly Pertwee and Baker, the others were lucky to get a couple of storylines shown sadly) and it really was great. City of Death was a particular favourite, the dialogue was just superb.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 03:34 pm:   

They had proper scriptwriters who wrote strong self contained stories that respected the viewers' intelligence in those days. Yes, the special effects were ropey but, also, perfectly adequate for the non-universe threatening storylines they told in those days. Also the casts of reliable character actors (Geoffrey Palmer & Fulton MacKay, to name but two, so far, treating the material with deadly seriousness) make a mockery of the big name guest stars nowadays, who act like they're in a comedy sketch rather than a serious drama ffs.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Thursday, August 07, 2014 - 05:21 pm:   

Two episodes into Jon Pertwee's second adventure as Doctor Who, 'The Silurians' (1970), written by Malcolm Hulke. It consists of 7 episodes making the story a 3½ hour epic!

The atmosphere and carefully paced slow build-up of dread so far has been exemplary. In the first episode the Doctor, Liz & UNIT are called in to investigate strange energy drains at a remote experimental nuclear power station - reminding me of the classic sci-fi chiller 'Fiend Without A Face' (1958). There have also been a number of gruesome killings of pot-holers in a near-by cave system, mauled as if by some wild beast, that leads the Doctor to suspect the two mysteries are linked. On descending alone into the caves he is attacked by what appears to be some kind of giant reptilian throwback to the dinosaurs - cliffhanger to Ep1.

Narrowly escaping with his life the Doctor returns to the power station where his story is ridiculed by those in charge but cautiously accepted by the Brigadier who sends a squad of soldiers into the caves to investigate. One of them encounters a shadowy man-sized figure, clearly not the creature that attacked the Doctor, and he takes a pot shot at it! The wounded whatever it is flees onto the surface and takes shelter in a barn. We don't get to see what the thing looks like, apart from a horribly clawed "hand", as its movements are shown through an oddly three lensed point-of-view camera. When discovered by the farmer the thing attacks and kills him. Meanwhile one of the scientists at the power station, played by Fulton Mackay, is shown descending into the caves and entering a secret chamber where he converses with an unseen presence and is given a homing device that will lead him to the wounded creature. He agrees to help the thing evade the patrols that are hunting it and bring it safely back to the caves. Outside our heroes have been called to the barn where Liz is left to examine the farmer's body while the rest of them search the surrounding countryside. But the creature never left the barn and emerges to creep up behind Liz in pov camera. She turns, screams, and is clawed to the ground - cliffhanger to Ep2.

Poor Liz. Roll on this Saturday!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.12
Posted on Thursday, August 07, 2014 - 11:24 pm:   

Just watched Episode 3 of 'The New Avengers', "The Last Of The Cybernauts", written by Brian Clemens. It was one of the best stories of the entire series and actually quite frightening for a change! Steed had faced the deadly cybernauts twice before, in the Emma Peel years of 'The Avengers', and had always considered them his deadliest foe. Incredibly strong, unstoppable robot assassins in human form, created by a cybernetics genius, they first appeared in 1965, a good year before the cybermen were introduced in 'Doctor Who'! Interestingly, this time around they are led by a deformed half-man cyborg, with one arm, who gets about in a powered wheelchair - sound familiar? Davros had first appeared the year before in 'Genesis Of The Daleks' and Clemens was obviously parodying the character here. Driven by a maniacal hatred of Steed, who had been responsible for his condition in a horrific car accident, this mad genius unearths the last remaining cybernauts from cold storage and sends them after him and his two associates in a series of terrifically choreographed, tense and exciting attack sequences, reminiscent of Arnie's implacable pursuit in 'The Terminator' (1984). First Gambit is bested, then Purdey, until it is Steed's turn to face his old nemesis and try to find some way of stopping them. The humour is still there but used sparingly this time in favour of scares and suspense. The result is enthralling entertainment. A real classic!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 - 12:19 pm:   

Episode 3 of 'The Silurians' was all about the hunt for the wounded creature over the surrounding moorland. Fortunately Liz was only knocked unconscious by the thing but her rattled description of what had attacked her makes it sound like some kind of bipedal reptile monster with three eyes! As the Doctor and UNIT plan to capture it alive, if possible, the mysterious Dr Quinn (Fulton Mackay) uses his homing device to track it down and bring it to his country house for protection. Again we only ever see what it sees in three lensed pov camera. The Doctor, growing suspicious of Quinn's increasingly erratic behaviour, visits him at home and finds the man dead with the device clutched in his hand. He activates it and something emerges from the shadows behind him. Thus we get our first frightening glimpse of one of the Silurians in the most memorable cliffhanger of the story so far! Exciting stuff!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 - 12:41 pm:   

And Episode 4 of 'The New Avengers' was another thoroughly gripping corker! "The Midas Touch", written by Brian Clemens, is one I vividly remember really disturbing me as a child. It's the one with the gold obsessed scientist creating an assassin who has been infected with, and made immune to, every disease on earth (plague, ebola, typhus, you name it...) so that his merest touch means a ghastly suppurating death. One scene of callous mass murder, in which, as a test of his deadliness, he gatecrashes a fancy dress party, as the Grim Reaper, and dips his hands in the punch bowl is genuinely hard-hitting and has always stayed with me. After this test run the plan is to assassinate Royalty with a handshake! The story gains extra resonance from a poignant sub-plot, involving an alcoholic bum (played brilliantly by John Carson) who was once a great agent - "until his nerve broke" - who stumbles upon the scheme by chance and tries to unravel it himself as proof to his former friend, Steed, and the Ministry men that he's still got it. Bad mistake... Another of the finest of the series this is still absolutely cracking entertainment! Remember, one touch means death. So no hand-to-hand combat is possible this time.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 11:39 am:   

I'm also 4 episodes into Takashi Miike's 'MPD Psycho' (2000). It's a real head-melter of a convoluted sci-fi/horror thriller that I've found increasingly difficult to make much sense of, for all its beautifully cinematic qualities. If you thought 'Ichi The Killer' (2001) was hard to get your head around - at least on a first viewing - then it is as nothing compared to this enigmatic epic. Each episode deals with a different repressed serial killer, possessed by the body hopping spirit of Nishizono, who grants them the freedom to live out their innnermost homicidal desires, while also continuing the story of the bar coders, a death and horror obsessed youth cult spreading through Japan like an infectious disease, each of them marked with a bar code tattoo beneath the lower lid of their left eyeball. This is one to watch in dumbfounded befuddlement the first time around, while being wowed by the artistry of Miike's ferocious directorial technique. Throughout the series images seer their way into the consciousness, demanding attention from the viewer and answers - please some answers! - from the narrative. The tone too is wilfully hard to pin down as it veers unpredictably from tense police procedural to gut-wrenching supernatural horror and zany slapstick comedy to way-out psychedelic inscrutability and levels of surrealism that even David Lynch might balk at. Make of it what you will this is still astonishingly assured filmmaking of truly unique vision. I imagine, as with 'Ichi The Killer', that a second viewing may make the whole story more cohesive and "now I get it!" impressive in the viewer's mind.

Here are the episodes so far:

1. "Memories Of Sin, Drifting Petals" - tells, in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards, the twin stories of the original hunt for Nishizono and the current hunt for a maniac turning women into human flowerpots.

2. "How To Create A World" - another killer is cutting babies from their mother's wombs and disappearing with them, while we are introduced to a new phenomenon as a youth cult of "bar coders" begin to make a nuisance of themselves across Japan.

3. "Life Is A Constant Double Helix" - the detectives investigate a series of horrific school shootings perpetrated by disenfranchised bar coders who appear to be under the control of Nishizono, but deeper mysteries point to some sinister genetic tampering experiment by the State.

4. "The Crushed Ant" - severed body parts are discovered scattered across the countryside, each tattooed with a number, and investigations point to the work of warring gangs of delinquents who again appear to be controlled by the evil spirit of Nishizono. Meanwhile a shadowy government agency begins to obstruct the investigation and clues lead the team into the world of snuff movie making.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 12:12 pm:   

And Season 5 of 'The Twilight Zone' (1963-64) has been uniformly excellent so far. Seven half hour episodes in and here's how I'd rank them:

"In Praise Of Pip" - touching sentimental fantasy based around the early days of the Vietnam war that stars Jack Klugman & Billy Mumy in great form.

"Steel" - great adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story that was recently filmed as 'Real Steel' (2011). Lee Marvin gives it his all as the washed up boxer in a future America where the sport has been banned and boxers have been replaced by fighting robots. He disguises himself as one and takes on a real killing machine as his last shot at ever winning the title - that kind of thing.

"Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" - Matheson's most famous episode and it still packs a helluva punch. William Shatner is rivetingly intense as the recovering aviophobe who is the only one aware of the malicious gremlin out on the wing tampering with one of the engines. The perfectly paced escalation of tension was directed by Richard Donner. Classic stuff!

"A Kind Of A Stopwatch" - entertaining black comedy episode about an insufferable bore who comes into possession of a magical stopwatch that when pressed stops time for everyone except him. Imagine the mischief one could have! He gets a wonderfully poetic comeuppance.

"The Last Night Of A Jockey" - one of those "one man show" episodes in which Mickey Rooney gives a bravura performance as a washed up alcoholic jockey, banned for race fixing, who goes insane in his seedy apartment room while being tortured by the voice of his conscience. The acting makes it.

"Living Doll" - written by Charles Beaumont this has been the best episode so far and one of the most truly frightening evil doll horror stories I have seen. Telly Savalas is the brutish, bullying husband and stepfather who finds himself engaged in a deadly battle of wits with his "daughter's" new best friend - a walking, talking doll called Talking Tina. "My name is Talking Tina, and I'm going to kill you." Masterpiece!!

"The Old Man In The Cave" - post-nuclear apocalypse sci-fi story starring James Coburn as the leader of a group of paramilitaries who try to impose their own brand of order on the shell-shocked survivors. An entertaining moral fable.

Next up is "Uncle Simon", directed by the great Don Siegel!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014 - 11:51 am:   

"Uncle Simon" - this was one of the sillier episodes written by Serling and is really only notable for a shock guest appearance by Robby the Robot! The story of a misanthropic old scientist tinkering in his basement laboratory has a cobbled together throwaway feel to it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014 - 05:21 pm:   

Epsidode 4 of 'The Silurians' is when the whole plot opened up. Surprised by the wounded creature, that had killed Dr Quinn in self defence after he tried to hold it prisoner for his own gain, the Doctor reacts as one alien to another, by offering his hand in friendship and attempting to communicate with the thing but the arrival of UNIT soldiers sends it crashing out of the house in a panic, from whence it returns to the caves with tales of bloodthirsty "apes" ruling the surface. The head of security at the power plant, Baker, then descends into the caves by himself, to check out the Doctor's mad story, and is taken prisoner by the reptilian monsters who reveal they have awakened from subterranean hibernation after countless millennia, that they were the first technological civilisation on Earth (they are literally dinosaur men or homo reptilia) and that they are determined to reassert their mastery over the planet by eradicating all "apes"!!!! It is revealed that Silurian computers were responsible for the mysterious power drains from the nuclear reactor that were used to reawaken the race from their hibernation pods. When the Doctor descends he also is taken prisoner and placed in a cage with Baker where they are interrogated about the global population and level of technology attained by humankind. The Brigadier launches a UNIT invasion of the caves in search of the missing men but they fall into a Silurian trap and are entombed behind descending walls of rock. The Silurian commander then returns to the prisoners and announces that their invading comrades have been eliminated... and now it is your turn to die!! Cliffhanger to Ep4.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 85.255.232.134
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014 - 11:38 pm:   

I see the new series of 'Doctor Who' with Peter Capaldi starts this Saturday! It'll be interesting to be watching Old Who and New Who back-to-back on Saturday evenings for the next few months. What I'm particularly excited about is my first ever viewing of the third Jon Pertwee adventure, 'The Ambassadors Of Death' (1970), starting on 13th September. It's another 7 part epic!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 01:00 pm:   

Episode 5 of 'The New Avengers', "Cat Amongst The Pigeons", written by Dennis Spooner, was the first rather ropey episode of the series. It suffered from obvious budgetary limitations in the face of an over-ambitious fantasy/sci-fi plot that they really weren't able to do justice. The ever sinister Vladek Sheybal, of countless villainous performances over the years, played a messianic ecologist with the power to control birds by the playing of strange melodies on an old flute! The murder of top industrialists, responsible for polluting the planet, follows - each of them torn to pieces by flocks of killer birds. Steed & Co are called in to investigate and soon find themselves targets anytime they dare set foot outdoors. Unfortunately, the bird attacks are never shown. We hear them, we see the terrified victim's reaction and then we cut to the bloody, feather strewn aftermath. The humour and character chemistry still makes it an enjoyable watch but those missing birds just can't be ignored. Very daft and not in a good way, this time.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 11:29 am:   

"Probe 7, Over And Out" - a deep space sci-fi episode of TZ starring Richard Basehart & the luscious Antoinette Bower as the last two human beings in the universe, following the nuclear destruction of Earth, crash landed on an uninhabited paradise planet. It has one of the all time classic twist endings, that has been copied many times since, but Rod Serling got there first. I bet you can work it out already.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2014 - 02:56 pm:   

Episode 6 of 'The New Avengers', "Target!", written by Dennis Spooner, got things back on track with another one of the best stories of the series, that I vividly recall watching and loving as a child. This is the one in which Russian agents have infiltrated a British Secret Service training camp, complete with village sized target range populated by remote controlled robot marksmen armed with airguns that shoot pellets of red dye! "What was that?!" I hear you say. Each agent has to run the gauntlet of the village as part of their regular fitness routine with a score awarded for the number of enemy dummies shot minus the number of red dye hits the agent has taken and the number of civilian dummies, also automated, shot by mistake. Got that? Unbeknownst to the poor saps running the range the red dye pellets have been laced with a sliver of frozen curare poison so that each hit taken delivers a deadly yet undetectable dose. The better the agent the less hits they take and the longer it takes them to die, by which time they will be far away from the range and their death will be put down to heart attack due to natural causes. They've been at this for years, spacing out their nefarious assassinations of top agents to avoid arousing suspicion. An ingenious foolproof plan... and now it's Purdey's turn to report for target practice! In the history of the training camp only one man ever attained a 100% score - and that was Steed in his youth. The suspense and intrigue is brilliantly handled and genuinely gripping in this one and builds to a real edge of the seat long drawn out action climax as Gambit runs the range searching for the only bottle of anti-toxin, followed by Steed, who is already dying from curare poisoning, while Purdey lies in a near death coma. Keith Barron and Deep Roy (as the evil dwarf henchman, Klokoe, with his deadly blowpipe) make a memorably villainous duo and the action never lets up for a second. Fantastic entertainment!! I remember us playing this in the street as kids after watching it and we used elastic bands dipped in ketchup launched from lolly pop sticks as our guns. I haven't thought about that in years. Happy days... sigh.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2014 - 03:43 pm:   

Deep Roy is one of those familiar face character actors who has been in everything over the decades from classic 'Doctor Who' and 'Star Trek' to 'The New Avengers', 'Blake's 7', 'Flash Gordon', 'The Return Of The Jedi', 'The X Files' and numerous Tim Burton movies. Some career!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014 - 03:32 pm:   

Episode 7 of 'The New Avengers', "To Catch A Rat" (no, not that rat!), written by Terence Feely, saw a return to a relatively straight Cold War spy thriller format. Ian Hendry made a memorable return to the show playing the part of an old agent who was involved in an "accident" 17 years earlier that sent him into an amnesiac coma. He reawakens believing he is still involved in the same mission and immediately goes back into action, believing the stories of amnesia are a cover by the enemy. His mission was to unmask the Russian deep cover mole at the top of the British Secret Service who is known as "White Rat". He is the only person who knows the Rat's true identity and, believing he cannot trust a soul, he goes underground as a lone wolf operative with but one goal. Steed & Co are called in to bring the man in - the stories of a "White Rat" having long been consigned to the dustbin of unproven rumour. Got all that? It's a cracking suspense tale with a great "whoisit" element straight out of John le Carré and also features a memorable guest appearance by another old trouper, Edward Judd. Who is the White Rat? Does he/she even exist? Watch it and find out...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 12:21 pm:   

Episode 8 of 'The New Avengers', "The Tale Of The Big Why", written by Brian Clemens, was another non-science fictiony spy/crime thriller, this time played mainly for laughs, and reminded me, in that respect, of one of Donald E. Westlake's comic crime novels. A notorious criminal is released from prison (after sharing his cell with an undercover Gambit) boasting that he will soon be rich due to hard evidence he had stashed away of the identity of a deep cover Russian mole at the heart of the British government. Various factions - including an opportunistic pair of incompetent low-life hoods who stumble upon the plan - then get involved in a highly entertaining game of cat and mouse, cross and double cross, as they pursue each other and the evidence, contained in a buried metal box, across the English countryside. It's played light, though with a hard edge as several of the characters are killed during the escapade, and has several neat Westlakian twists and character about faces before the rather ingenious pay-off. This is the work of a master storyteller in cruise control with the cast bringing his script to life with sparkling wit and energy. Television of a higher order of pure tongue-in-cheek entertainment, imo.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 02:35 pm:   

Just recently recommended to a mate of mine, who is in his 20s, that he watch 'Twin Peaks' if he wanted to see what great television really is all about. He's already almost finished Season 1 - oh, the impatience of youth - and is raving ecstatically about it.

This has inspired me to finally purchase the 'Twin Peaks' box set and I intend to start watching it all again (for the first time since it was originally broadcast) after watching David Lynch's 'Fire Walk With Me' (1992) first! Several friends have questioned the wisdom of this move but I insist that the TV show will be made a whole different and deeper experience, for one who has already watched it before and knows what will happen, by watching the prequel first and following the clues/red herrings after. Just call me Columbo. Poor Dale doesn't stand a chance in the solving of this mystery!
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 2.121.220.176
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 05:40 pm:   

I gave Whitechapel a try over the weekend. I'd never paid any attention to it before but I discovered it had horror/supernatural elements to it so I got curious. Also having Steve Pemberton from the League of Gentlemen in it boded well.

Sadly, it was pretty awful. Everything felt rushed: there was no real attempt at atmosphere building beyond some moody lighting, character development was shoehorned into a few spare seconds here and there and worst of all every single scene ended with a sharp musical cue and a quick montage of skulls/screaming faces/animal claws. It was like gothic horror done by MTV. I barely made it through one two-episode story.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2014 - 03:25 pm:   

Thanks, David. You've hit the nail exactly on the head with what is wrong with so much modern TV despite claims of a golden era. Lack of patience and respect for the viewer's intelligence as well as an over-reliance on flashy editing and special effects.

Yes, there are great TV shows being made nowadays - though I think the golden era people are so enamored of has already come to an end after a decade of individual excellence - but now we are into an era of complacency that threatens to ondo all the good work that has been done by the likes of; 'The Sopranos', 'Breaking Bad', 'Fringe', 'The Walking Dead', etc...

Have to say, though, that I have heard very good, intriguing reports about Guillermo Del Toro's new series 'The Strain' and hope it's even half as good as it sounds.
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 2.121.220.176
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2014 - 01:13 pm:   

I've started recording The Strain but haven't watched it yet. There are so many shows starting right now I can't keep up with them, so I'm going to let a few build up in my Sky box for a while. The second seasons of The Blacklist and Peaky Blinders both start this week and I'm probably going to get stuck into them before anything else.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2014 - 05:15 pm:   

Speaking of "Columbo," Stevie, they've been rerunning episodes of this lately here in the States, on Sundays... episodes? More like mini-movies. Never watched it back in the day (just before my time, really), but always was aware of it. Maybe I just got some good ones lately by accident, but wow, that show was brilliant and ahead of its time! Subtle to perfection, forcing the viewer to piece in so much on his own - especially the psychological cat-and-mouse between Columbo and his target, the show's hallmark (along with Columbo doubling back, raising a hand: "Oh, just one more question...") I was amazed that nothing is ever spelt out for the viewer: you're always forced to piece in what's not said - like reading Hemingway. I also like how the show took actors from the time that were typecast usually as good guys - Robert Conrad, Patrick McGoohan, Dick Van Dyke - and made them into loathsome villains. What a gem from the 70's!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.29.1
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2014 - 10:22 am:   

I am stunned that you've never seen 'Columbo' before, Craig! Of course you must know of the controversy linking it with Blatty's 'The Exorcist'?
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David Lees (David_lees)
Username: David_lees

Registered: 12-2011
Posted From: 2.121.220.176
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2014 - 03:20 pm:   

I started on The Strain yesterday, and got through three weeks worth of episodes in one day so it's safe to say I'm liking it so far. It seems to be a good balance of human drama and horror so far and it definitely has del Toro's stamp all over it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2014 - 12:43 am:   

Stevie, I know nothing about a "Columbo"/The Exorcist nexus! What is it?

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