Sunday, 26 December 2010

EX-FOLIATE!

Sexy enough to arouse a Dalek’s plunger, in at No.7 is Katy Manning.

She didn’t have the brains of Zoe or Liz, the olde worlde charm of Victoria or even the kilt wearing penchant of Jamie. She was a simple, clumsy girl next door sorta companion… who wore leather knee length boots. Grrrr…
(Thinking about it now, maybe I should make a top 10 list of the Doctors Companions)
Unfortunately the naked Dalek posing she did for soft porn Girl Illustrated Magazine is reputed to have spelled disaster for her career.

Whether that’s true or not, Katy, I will always fondly remember you as the lovely Jo Jo Grant (in-joke for other Whovians).
Here is a convicts great-grand-daughter, trying to be as sexy as Katy. Nah love! Id rather see a naked Cyberman accost Toyah Wilcox.

Unfortunately Katy now greets fat, sweaty Dr. Who fans at sci-fi conventions.
After escaping Ice Warriors, Autons, Ogrons, Drashigs, Draconians, Axons and Daemons, who’d have thought she would have fallen foul of Botox!
Please tune in to my next blog... OR I WILL EX-FOLIATE YOU!
Big D out.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Wham-Bam! Thank you Suzanne!

Suzanne Danielle I consider the English Raquel Welch, errrr… of the 80s.

No Hollywood glam, BBC make up would do just fine, and she could still sparkle as brightly as any star in Hollywood. Carry on Emmanuelle cast this long legged, athletic beauty, amongst Carry On stalwarts and although not the best Carry On by a long shot, Suzanne still leaves me breathless.

She appeared again and again in my young life. The Professionals, Morcambe and Wise, Arabian Adventure with Christopher Lee as the villainous Caliph, a regular on Give Us a Clue and the Mike Yarwood show, Tales of the Unexpected, she played a Movellan in Destiny of the Daleks,

a slave girl in the Flash Gordon film,

aaaaand... she was the killer in the Hammer House of Horror TV show episode The Carpathian Eagle.
Now this was a really weird one for me. I remember feeling that strange, infant feeling of guilty arousal emanating from somewhere in the vicinity of my pyjama bottoms while watching her in this episode, but also being terrified of her because after each seduction scene she would cut out her victims heart. No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t reconcile myself with being afraid that she might kill me, to her causing my baby-making-stick to go all hard. God knows how that formative experience has marred me for the rest of my life. Even so she makes a very respectable No.8 in my Nerd Babe countdown.
Watch the trailer of Carry On Emmanuelle for a dollop of nostalgia and a whole heap of double entendres!



Tune in to my next blog for No.7 in my Hot, Retro, Nerd Babe Countdown.
Big D out!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

WIIILLMAAAAA!

Here we are at No.9 in the Top 10 Retro Nerd Babes.
Erin Grey was of course the wholesome piece of loveliness that was Wilma Deering… Pardon me, Colonel Wilma Deering, in the 80s Buck Rogers TV show.
A vision of immaculate hair and dentistry, she was enough to lighten up any young boys Saturday evening.

Perfectly American, I would have loved to have tried a warm piece of her apple pie… Hmmm cinnamon!
Buck Rogers was of course played by Gil Gerard…. Gil Gerard… Hmmm… Rolls off the tongue rather well that. Gil Gerard… You try it… Gil Gerard… Fucking magic!
Other regulars included Twiki the robot, Flava Flav accessory Dr. Theopolis and the wizened, raisin skinned Dr. Elias Huer.
Those of you looking for a good Wilma Deering episode check out the Space Vampire one, where she gets all sexy.

The most terrifying thing about the Space Vampire is the budget for his costume. Incidentally, his name is Vorvon. Hmm. Sounds like a cross between a Swedish make of car and a French dynasty.




So GIL GERARD! is No.9 in my Hot, Retro, Nerd Babe Countdown...errr... I mean Erin Grey.... (Damn what have I said)
Please check out how cool Erin still is in this interview at ComicCon:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sex sells and excels

Oookay, the graph on the statistics panel of my blog is starting to look like the ECG of an Emergency Room patient whose fading fast.
What better way to administer cardio-pulmonary ressusitation than to simply show you pictures of Sexy Women.
10ccs of HOT TOTTY stat!
So in order to revitalise the blog, here starts my Top 10 Hot, Retro, Nerd Babes countdown.
Yes! Tune in this week and next as we countdown to who was our first, four-tissue fantasy, which beautiful woman was the first to accompany us into a locked toilet (albeit in the form of a two dimensional image) and which nerdy babe-licious icon could stir us into hermetic bouts of self-abuse.
So prepare yourself for some cracking in-jokes and a delicious serving of sumptuous woman-flesh as we begin: Big D's Top 10 Hot, Retro, Nerd Babes.
The original, pre-historic, pin-up girl is of course none other than Raquel Welch and she is a well, worthy bit of fluff to start our cavalcade.
Running, hiding and panting heavily as huge lizards thrashed about, she is Loana ‘The fair one’ in the film 1 million years BC. (1966)
The film is largely ahistorical, but who cares when it has a young Raquel Welch doing athletic things in a skimpy animal skin bikini. There is no other way to describe her, than as being utterly breath-taking.
She is a member of the ‘shell’ tribe, a slightly more civilised tribe than their neighbours, the 'rock' tribe. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. She’s not the only bird running around showing how fun it was to titillate cave men.
She shows the outcast Tumak the joys of painting, music, rudimentary language and the missionary position, as his backwards tribe have never evolved past doggy style.


She is also Cora, in a delightful, white cat-suit, in nerd classic The Fantastic Voyage. (1966)
A team of scientists and square jawed closet homos are miniaturised and injected into a human, in order to cure his… gall stones? Or something…
Although enjoying her immensely as a child, Ill tell you the trouble I have with Raquel now. She is almost like a divine icon. An untouchable being who has transcended the sexual to become a numinous entity of lust and ladyshaved smoothness.
As a result, I fear I would be struck down if I ever had rude thoughts about her.
So she effortlessly slides in at No.10 in my countdown.
Please watch the clip... but try not to have naughty thoughts...

Tune in to my next blog for No.9 in the Hot, Retro, Nerd, Babes Countdown.
Big D out.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A long time ago, in a cinema far, far away...

Before the shrug of shoulders... Before the collective sigh of unsuprised acceptance... Before reaching for the mouse to click on another link because you're sure you've read all you could possibly read about Star Wars...
Please give me a moment of your time. Lets just take time to sit in an imaginary room... Yes, thats it... All of us. Cast your minds back... back... back...
Look at us. Little Billy, Darren, ooh and Martin in the corner there. Garys here as well. Mark, David, Peter, James & Joe, that tom-boy Lorraine, and even that smelly kid with the sticky toys, Steven. Aahh, who could forget him farting loudly in assembly and then shitting himself later in PE?
The one thing that united us in our days of formative infancy? Was it our favourite hymn in assembly? Was it whether Scrappy Doo had ruined Scooby Doo? Was it those watery, oh-so-not-heinz spaghetti hoops served with that lumpy mash at school dinners? No...
STAR WARES! Star Wars reigned supreme 1977 thru... FOREVER. Between 1977-1984 alone, Kenner had sold 300 million Star Wars figures to the likes of our smiling, fat little faces and pudgey grasping mittens.
Whether you had bought them from James Selbys in Holloway, Harvey Johns in Parkway or even the 80s shopping mecca, Brent Crosss, we all brought our Star Wars figures in to school. We threw them at each other, rough-housed with them, stuck them into each others orifices, little knowing that they would be worth a small fortune if we had been the wierd, twisted, outcasts of humanity who'd actually kept them in their unopened packets.


We pulled the light-sabres out (come on, you know you used to call them light-savers, or some other misheard derivative), lost all those fiddly, little guns they came with, only to borrow mis-sized ones from other toys as a substitute, I even remember biting the antennae off of Greedo in a fit of rage! The 3.75" action figure had been born, and Kenner's stroke of genius would be copied ad infinitum. (Yes, yes, Im aware of Matel's 6.1" Masters of the Universe range.)
School playtimes were filled with an unholy chorus of 'eeuuuuoogh..... eeuuuuoogh.... eeuuuoogh' as we ran rabidly around the playground shooting imaginary lasers at each other. Sure, there might have been an occaisonal game of Battlestar Galactica, or if we were feeling cheeky, even a game of Battle Beyond the Stars, but the staple chant of the Playground was 'Whooo wants to play Staaaar Waaars!'
'eeuuuuoogh..... eeuuuuoogh.... eeuuuoogh' to playground stabbings... Where did it all go so wrong?
The Star Wars experience defined an entire generation. Those strange, strange people, our age, you sometimes meet, who plead ignorance and say they have never seen the films, are either those sad knobbers who have tried to add a bit of alternate mystique into their identities by lieing, and by pretending they dont have TVs, or are the ones who had really, wierd parents who refused to let their kids do anything fun or imaginative in the hope they would grow into sociopaths, serial killers or accountants.
I was one of the lucky ones who saw the original Star Wars (A New Hope) at the Dominion Theatre (yes the one at Tottenham Court Rd.) with both, thats right BOTH of my parents. Forget one liking horror and the other liking sci-fi, this felt like a history shaking event that the whole family had to be party to. And we were.
We were there. BANG! 1977, Dominion Theatre, watching Star Wars for the very first time. FUCK YEAH! My No.1 seminal sci-fi moment.
Yes, I am a Star Wars child. I lived it. I loved it. You would have to categorically prove the entire cast of the original trilogy were all paedophiles in order to even dent my sacred memories.
I still recall being on a bus with my mum and suddenly having an anxiety attack about growing up.
'What if I stopped liking Star Wars?' I thought. I think that dreaded song Puff the Magic Dragon was responsible. Jacky Papers growing up and forgetting about his old friend Puff? That song used to really upset me. I remember on that bus promising myself that growing up would not change me. That fickle little Jacky Papers fucker! WHERE ARE YOU PUFF?
We have all seen the original film (except for aforementioned wierdos) so rather than a replay of our favourite scenes, heres some rarer trailers and commercials from the 70s & 80s. Some of them are... strange... but interesting.


How could Star Wars not be at No.1 of any Sci fi list?
Big D out.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Gorilla Warfare!

Early, early, early, memories of Planet of the Apes. Vague and gossamer. Images of the TV show blurred unrecognisably with the movies. A photo of a 4 year old at Selfridges with Urko and Cornelius standing either side. A photo I sadly no longer have.

Planet of the Apes must have had quite an effect on me. In the photo I look absolutely petrified as these two heavily made-up, ape-men tower menacingly over me, but I remember being resolute enough to go and stand next to them and have my photo taken, just for the kudos. Magical memories.
I have of course seen the quintology of the Planet of the Apes countless times from boy to man and know and love them like old friends. The 1974 TV show Im not as familiar with but seem to remember the protagonists being a sort of Starsky and Hutch - blonde, brunette - arrangement. Apparently the show was unpopular and cancelled in the States, but ran for its full series here in the UK and was shown again in 1994 by Channel 4.
So ingrained was Planet of the Apes in my head as a kid, that I distincly remember watching TV and hearing a report of guerilla warfare in Africa. Not being old enough to discern the word 'guerilla' from 'gorilla', I immedeately thought the Planet of the Apes scenario was now an inevitability. After much screaming and shouting and no small amount of fuss, my mum finally assured me that guerilla warfare was a very different thing from what I imagined.
The films make for good watching (some better than others), and even with todays special effects and make up there is still something magical about the original costumes that doesnt make them feel dated. Sure nit-pick if you must, but the handful of chimp faeces that Tim Burton threw in our faces in 2001 wont even be remembered in another 10 years time, when people will still be watching and enjoying the original films, not just for nostaglia reasons, but because they are good entertainment. Moments of special effects sewn loosely together with bad dialogue and wrapped in a horrendous plot are no substitute.
Here is one of my favourite lines from the original film:


Unfortunately, the final scene has become such a cliche it has lost all its power and gravitas. But try, if you can, to watch it as a member of an unsuspecting audience in a movie theatre, who is about to witness it for the very first time.
This is my seminal sci-fi moment No.2



Tune in to my next blog when we'll see what we all expected anyway.
Big D out.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Silence is Golden.

Bruce Dern's tree-hugging, robot loving, neurotic in space, is the next subject for my Seminal Sci-fi Moment.
Silent Running is perhaps the most emotional I have ever become whilst watching sci-fi.

Most of you probably know the story. On the Earth all natural plant life has become extinct and what remains is kept in enormous domes, attached to freighters which orbit Saturn. The film's subject is topical even today.
Bruce Dern's performance is truly endearing and even though his character kills the rest of his crew in order to save the animals and plants which he cultivates in the domes, no sympathy is lost for his cause. His crew members and indeed Earth Government, seem flippant and quite at ease in ordering the destruction of his lifes work and indeed the only remaining examples of specific Earth flora and fauna in (one must assume) the universe.
He then becomes a fugitive, with three robots (service drones) and a single intact dome.
The finale sees him destroying himself and one of the robots (one has also been lost earlier in the film after becoming detactched from the side of the ship whilst doing repairs) as he jettisons the last remaining dome into deep space.
Regardless of the plight of Earth's forests and wildlife, the small, mute, bipedal, ambling robots, which Bruce Dern's character (Freeman Lowell) names Huey, Duey and Louis, were the subject of my emotional focus when I first saw the film as a kid. The robot that stays behind with Lowell has been crippled by an accident, and the emotional attachment Lowell builds with these companions seemed as important to me as the fate of the forests in the dome.
The last robot is put aboard the dome so he can maitain the eco system and tend the forest.
At the end of the film, there is hope that the dome will travel, and the forest survive, being tended by the little robot, and perhaps germinate on an alien planet somewhere. But for me, as a kid, watching the final scene of a little robot, all alone, with a colourful little tin watering can wandering through the dome's forests, while the hauntingly beautiful music of Peter Schickele, sang by Joan Baez, plays in the background, something burst inside of me. I bit back tears as my father led me from the cinema. And when I just could not hold them in any longer I pretended to fall and hurt myself and burst into a flood of tears. I always enjoyed our sci-fi cinema trips so I wanted to keep my pretense of being daddy's stoic little boy and never told him the truth about why I cried for an hour after watching Silent Running. Of course mum could tell something was up when we got home, and I told her very secretly about the poor little robot before I went to bed... before bursting into tears again.
This has to be a very tearful Seminal Sci-fi Moment No.3

From Zero to Hero.

As a quick aside, from my Seminal Sci-fi moments, after letting my comic reading slip slightly, I thought I'd give a quick review of a comic I was given.
Enjoy!
Soldier Zero. Not just any old Soldier Zero, but no less than Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero.
So what are all these titles with Stan Lee’s brand signature emblazoned over them like Kellog’s over a cornflake packet?
Well apparently the wily octogenarian has written a new universe and a host of characters for BOOM! Studios.
Now I use the term ‘written’ loosely, as Paul Cornell seems to be the one writing Soldier Zero, and Stan Lee is listed as being... the Grand Poobah... ?
Hmmm. Shows how out of touch I am. I thought Grand Poobah was a rank in the Ku Klux Klan. Whooops!
One cant help but think that this is perhaps a great marketing ploy to get people to buy the title. Is it why I bought the title? Yes, it probably is, so the marketing ploy worked.
I suppose the real question is then, did I enjoy it?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and I do think first issues need to make some sort of impact on their reader. Now, this can be a tricky task, because for a fresh title that has little to link it to any other of the comic universes, characters and storyline have to established from scratch.
Bringing it bang up to date, Afghanistan veteran in a wheelchair returns to civilian life to find a new type of battlefield. And yes, it’s handled with a sensitivity and reverence I found refreshing. But from the opening splash of a manga-esque protagonist battling a space-ship, to the following page of a young man in a wheelchair. I felt I knew what was going to happen and the middle of the comic was just filler. No it doesn’t stink, and it’s not altogether boring, just perhaps forgivably predictable for an origin issue.
Saying that, I’m a man that could read a thousand comics of Hulk punching someone, and be quite content. So my comic needs are simple. Perhaps for the more intellectually demanding comic reader they might not forgive so easily.
The art by Javier Pina (Batman and Superman) renders the universe with his usual smooth, crisp defined lines, and no ambiguity. Just the way I like it. And no I don’t like pickle on my cheese sandwiches either.

Incidentally, Marvel’s new title Superior just went for the same angle, although granted it was MS that had confined their character to a wheelchair, so just as an exercise I cast my addled mind back through comic history to find what other examples I could come up with off the top of my head.
Oracle from the pages of DC, Box from the early Alpha flight comics, The Black Racer… Oh! And I almost forgot Professor X. (Never would have heard the last of that, hey X-fans?)

Any-hoo, aforementioned wheelchair bound protagonist and awkward date, are (quite literally) struck by a dying, extra-terrestrial entity and a sort of Captain Mar-vel cosmic symbiosis ensues which enables him to a) save his date from being crushed, b)Walk again, albeit in the style of an upright quadruped. c) Scare people from behind shrubs and bushes.

I did find myself wanting to find out if he’s going to be able to control this symbiotic blessing/curse, whether this cataclysmic, cosmic event has re-attached his spine when he reverts to his human form, and find out what’s the deal with one hand having three fingers and the other having five? So perhaps next month, my comic sack will have issue 2
So… It’s a very readable first issue that’s easy on the eye too. But is that truly a recommendation or am I just trying not to offend Stan Lee? Well, I’m not saying that the House of Ideas has run out of ideas, but they are perhaps pouring old wine into a new bottle.  

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Quater-massive Attack!

Greetings Earthlings,
So, a thoroughly home-grown sci-fi icon, Bernard Quatermass is up for the seminal sci-fi moment No.4 accolade.
A very British creation having his roots in BBC serials and radio dramas, he was a rocket scientist who had conducted top secret work for the British War effort, apparently 'mapped the tropics' in his early life, and became head of the British Space Programme to launch a manned rocket into space. What a thoroughly spiffing chap eh? There was even a 'Quatermass in the Third Reich' prequel adventure which never came to fruition, were he was to travel to Nazi Germany during the 1936 Berlin Olympics to become involved with Wernher Von Braun, but end up helping Jewish refugees escape the Nazi regime.
It wasnt until Hammer Studios committed his deeds to the big screen that he received worldwide recognition. Unfortunately they picked an American actor to play the lead, so as not to alienate the American audiences and help distribution.
Quatermass and the Pit was another of Hammer's successes. With the Devil himself turning out to be a huge Martian Entity that came to Earth millions of years ago.
Perhaps not as pro-active as Dr. Who, or as wacky as Doc Brown but definately not a mere sidekick like Doctor Zarkhov, he had become almost ineffectual by the time John Mills played him in the 1979 TV serial The Quatermass Conclusion. Here we see him as a vulnerable and confused old man who just wants to find his missing grandaughter, and for the most part seems little interested with the apparent alien intelligence that harvests young humans from beyond space (Come on! Make the connection Quatermass!).
The show was, perhaps for nostalgia reasons, my favourite of the wily old scientist's adventures.
He would receive a 21st century make-over in the 2005 remake of the Quatermass Experiment, to mixed reviews.
So my seminal moment lies within The Quatermass Conclusion. It has quite a moving ending, and even on re-visiting it several years ago it still brought a lump to my throat.
Its a compelling and intelligent sci-fi drama that was perhaps too British for its own good. As a result there was little interest from film distributors and it acheived very little international presence.
The nursery ryhme chanting which seems an archaic attempt to memorialise the evil of the alien intelligence is an unsettling background accompanyment to almost every episode and its gritty, all too British dystopia really hits home for us indigenous stock. London is inhabited by desperate, bloodthirsty gangs, the police are brutish, thugs and black cab drivers are rude and awkward... Hmmm. When was this set again?
The episode in which the alien intelligence strikes Wembley stadium, and like a diner who has ordered too much, cannot finish his meal, is a perfect example. The vaporised human proteins that the alien cannot assimilate turning the sky green as the sun rises. Quatermass escapes by inadvertently hiding in the underground car park.




The next scene I want to show you is truly chilling.
One of the survivors from the alien intelligence's attacks is at hospital and decides to pay a slight homage to The Exorcist.








And lastly, my favourite quote from the series:





Aaah the voice of a generation: Stop trying to know things...
Tune in to my next blog to see me cry like a little boy...
Big D out.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sci-Fi-Fo-Fum, I smell the blood of Logan's Run!

Greetings Earthlings,
With Halloween and the horrific fading, fast from view, like a distant star, twinkling its last twinkle above morning's horizon, perhaps it is fitting that we turn our gaze skyward.
The cosmos. To infinity and beyond... The night sky with its immense, inky, blackness, punctuated by the light of celestial bodies is of course a prime inspiration for sci-fi.
And sci-fi is where Id like to take you with the next 5 blogs dedicated to my most seminal sci fi moments.
As I have said in previous blogs, the line between sci-fi and horror is a thin, blurred one, forever changing its position. And although many of my sci-fi memories did in fact shock and scare me, there wasnt that lasting terror; that lingering, creeping dread that I found horror movies gave me.
For my love of sci-fi I have my dad to thank. Writers like Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Heinlen, and Vonnegut inspired and moved him, and filled his sober moments with the fantastic. In his not so sober moments he would listen to the Beatles and dance around the front room in his underpants.
At a very young age he took me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Now I already had a footing in sci-fi, as I watched the early saturday morning, black & white, episodes of Buster Crabbe's Flash Gordon, and 2001's opening scene of ape men braining each other had me sold for the next 20 minutes. But after that... I fell asleep. This is not to say 2001 isnt a great movie, but my neonate mind just couldnt reach far enough to grasp its lofty concepts, or indeed scenes with 15 minutes of dialogue. Where are those crazy ape men? I kept thinking.
Fear ye not. My father did not give up on me. 20,000 leagues under the sea followed. Soylent Green. Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, Silent Running, The Omega Man.
There were not many 70's sci fi flicks that we missed. Just like mum would waive my usual bed time so I could stay up late and watch horror with her, dad was a very charming man, and got me past many a cinema attendant to see films whose ratings I was far to young for, feeling my minds expansion would be safe under his supervision. After all, who knows their son better than their dad.
And sure enough my palatte began appreciate the vintage of sci-fi.
Whereas horror delivers sudden scares and an instant gratification from its gore, a taste in sci fi usually has to be acquired, developed; their concepts are meant to plant seeds for further thought. Most sci-fi films are asking that you start to view things in a different way. They are designed to move you very differently from a horror film.
That really is not to say that there are no horror films that do this. Just that the premise of each genre has its archetypes... and ironically enough, one of these archetypes is the very film I fell asleep to.

And so my narrative brings us to my seminal sci-fi moment number 5.
Logan's Run was my first vision of a future dystopia... disguised as a future utopia... You see? Quite complicated for a young kid. But, I got it. Even my young mind could discern that the virtues of this 'utopia' were far outweighed by its inherent flaws. Dead by 30? Even at my age, 30 seemed uncomfortably close. My dad for instance was 30 when he had me, and so would have been Carousel fodder long before he would have had a chance to take me to see the film.
Michael York's character is again a complicated prospect for a 5 year old. A sort of anti-hero who has been picked for an undercover mission, fucked over by the central computer, and alienated from his friends. Its only halfway through the film that he realises, and decides that growing old might be a viable possibilty and alternative to getting blown up on your 30th birthday.
The book is markedly different, and although the film was my first exposure to the Logan's Run universe and a precious memory, I do actually prefer the book, where lastday age is a measely 21!
Saying that, the imagery in the film is great. The lastday Carousel scene is... unfortgettable. The costumes are futuristic but still retain a funeral dread and spooky look to them.
The scene is terribly unsettling. Its not just the fact that consenting 30 year olds are being vaporised to the climactic chants of the looneys in the crowd, there just seems something fatalistically orgiastic about the writhing participants, and something grotesquely voyeuristic about the slavering, spectators. Although I couldnt have said those words at 5 years old, Im sure I kinda felt  that same vibe.
The scene I think labels my point about sci-fi and horror being close bed-fellows.
This has to be my seminal, sci-fi moment No.5




Tune into my next blog for a piece of very English sci-fi.
Big D out.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Halloween Nerdgasm Quiz Report.

Greetings Earthlings,
Yes, it has come and it has gone, and a tremendous amount of fun was had inbetween its coming and going.
I speak of none other than the Halloween Nerdgasm Quiz which was a packed, shoulder-to-shoulder, fancy dressed, phantasmaglorious exxxplosion of fun!

The Fabulous Scarey Clarey
Sorry this report comes so late in the week, but I lay comatose for several days following the Halloween festivities.
My Halloween sweety bags were a great success, with teams shouting loud enough to break wine glasses and set car alarms off for miles around. Unfortunately at the end, the winning teams rushed all the prizes and raped any and all treats I had left in reserve. I have a strange feeling my brother was behind it.

My bro as Lex Luthor and me as some sort of nice bloke...
The scores were the closest they have ever been in any Nerdgasm quiz yet! First place and second place were battled out over a tie-breaker at 53points, and third and fourth place had 52points which again went to a tie-breaking decider. Even fifth place had 49points (Well done Joe's team) which shows that teams were only a question or two away from the first place crown.
As far as the ABC warriors go, Dom has made it very clear (via links, posts and references) that Ro-Jaws can indeed be considered an ABC warrior (a question on which 1st place was decided).
All in all though, everyone seemed to enjoy the questions, lovingly researched and written by my good self, and the audio round got the best reception yet, with a soulful muscial interlude by yours truly... errr... thats me in case anyone wondered. Nearly everyone there knew the song, which was Audrey IIs 'Mean Green Mother...' from The Little Shop of Horrors. Please listen to the original and tell me who you think was best. :)




Levi Stubbs is of course the man behind Audrey IIs voice and is a fucking genius. His voice is like honey being drizzled over a Ferrero Roche and then inserted into my ear!
I do have to admit at this point, that I was heavily stressed out at the Quiz. The stubborn, steak-eating septegenarians in the spot where I needed to set up my equipment were my first hurdle (swallow damn you, swallow!), and then to be honest I didnt expect as many people to turn up to the quiz, as did. My sweetie bags and quiz sheets were thankfully in abundance, which is more than could be said for the tables and chairs, with teams crammed into corners and standing on each others toes. But I think on the whole it was a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, including myself after a couple of beers had calmed my nerves. Everyone went home with their quiz, blood lust sated until the next Nerdgasm. Indeed an after party was had at a local bar led by none other than newcomers Cuz-Carly and Dean, and the group of groovy ghoulies that made up their team.

Here is the lovely Laura as DC's Black Canary and Cuz Carly as... Gonzo from the Muppets.


So, there you have it. Please follow my blog for more updates on upcoming quizzes.
Big D's NerDgasm Quiz. Bringing you the best in Sci fi, fantasy, horror, cartoons, comedy, comics and retro TV.
As all attendees can proudly attest with puffed chests and a gleam of lunacy in their eyes: I HAVE HAD A NERDGASM!

Friday, 29 October 2010

A quiet night in with the wife...

Greetings Earthlings,
Where do I find the time?
I remember when time was a bountiful thing. Summers lasted forever. Entire weekends could be spent round a friends house. And a whole day could be wasted as one saw fit.
Alas, like sand through a tightly clenched fist does time now run through my fingers. As you get older time seems to get less and less, the days less satisfying, maybe thats what Einsteins theory of relativity is all about. The friends I dont see anymore. The hobbies I no longer pursue. The projects I no longer have time for.
A classic line I remember from Homer Simpson: If God wants me to be in church an hour a week, He should have made the week an hour longer...
Such is the precious commodity that is TIME.
Aah, but are we not told to gracefully surrender the notions of youth as we climb the temporal ladder of entropy? And what is spare time if not to be filled with mans folly?
And fill it with folly I do. Computer games have always been my guilty pleasure. Countless hours of....fun. There, I said it. FUN. Sure, a certain amount of frustration as well, but the satisfaction of leading an army to victory, of governing a civilisation to the pinnacle of its existence, of commanding a fleet of Battlcruisers to interstellar war, or even on a more personal level, stabbing someone in the neck or blowing someones head off with a shotgun. Theres is nothing like it. And together with todays level of immersion its never felt so real.
Okay, well both fuss and derision swirled around Medal of Honour, Tier 1 released earlier this month. Why? Well the Medal of Honour franchise is a big, healthy, strapping brute with a solid heritage, made slightly lame by a number of successful attempts to steal its crown. The first Medal of Honour title was co-produced by none other than Steven Spielberg and was at the time one of the best Nazi trouncing FPS' out there. Having milked WWII's teats dry however, games such as Call of Duty now take us onto the modern, super-tech battlefield of today against insurgents and terrorists. A lot was expected of Medal of Honour Tier 1, thanks in no small part to clever PR and hyping it up the arse. The thing I liked the most about it was that it didnt feel as if it was trying to be Call of Duty. Which is difficult when Call of Duty has set the bench mark for modern first-person-shooters. One things for sure it doesnt surpass Call of Duty. But is fresh enough to be enjoyed. Clunky and clumsy in places and a Multiplayer that just lacks the volume of customisation that most of its rivals have, I can see why it has not ranked as highly as it should. With a big, hyped title from a strong stable like it has, I think a lot of people were expecting it to blow the bollocks off of Call of Duty. Nah! Not a chance and with Call of Duty's new title looming for a release next month this Medal of Honour title has a danger of being lost in the mix. Saying that I dont feel disappointed when I play it, and the Multiplayer will probably keep me coming back for quite some time... because it is markedly different from Call of Duty. I enjoy the gritty, atmosphere it has. You can smell the desert musk, and feel the sand on the back of your throat as you play through the campaign. Good, but not as good as perhaps it should have been.




Big D's tips on a successful marriage: Always keep a door to your world (however small) open to your partner. My wife hates horror, superheroes and computer games. Hmmm... Why havent I killed her yet?
Non, non, non. Vive Le Difference! It is our differences that keep us united. A raging ying to a sobering yang. I have always left a door to my world open to my wife, and sometimes... just sometimes, you get it just right. Seek and find or Hidden object games are a little sedate for me, but my wife and I have enjoyed them in tandem. Games like Dire Grove, Mystery at Hillcrest High, Tunguska, are just a few... Their skewed logic is sometimes infuriating but on the whole they are fun, and even more so with your loved one.
My latest triumph in marital relations was Cities XL 2011. Again a fairly recent game, and not one to get your pulse racing. But the content, the playability and the attention to detail is fabulous. Forget staring into your Aquariums, never mind tending your ant-farms, flea circuses? Thing of the past mate.
Me and my wife have built a small city and civilisation in great depth and detail, arguing... sorry deliberating over whether to put a council estate next to the executive housing complex, whether we should spend money on a pier and marina, where we should build our city dump site, and how to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the middle of town. I have just got my way and built and observatory, and she got hers by building a scenic castle on the outskirts of town, overlooking the coast. So... Cities XL 2011, nice, scenic, unrushed, stress relieving, marriage saving fun.




In closing I'd like to give a nod to Amensia: The Dark Descent. A bugdet title that delivers frights, jumps and things that go bump, wuuooooah! and aaaaaaeeerrggh! in equal measure. A stylish, atmospheric game thats not outstanding, but adequately does what you expect it to do. So, a horrible thumbs up for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, if anyone wants a frightful experience on their computer this Halloween.
(All game reviews are PC format)
Big D out.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Dopplegang-tastic!

Now, way back in the mists of time, I remember having an Enid Blyton audio cassette. I seem to recall it was a Famous Five story involving smugglers, but werent they all? I would listen to aforementioned tape before bed, and Blyton's wholeseome yarn would lower me gently into the Land of Nod.
As I grew, however, Enid Blyton was found wanting, as my swelling lust for terror and all things horrific craved blood & monsters!
I borrowed a vinyl record from my local library, a Dracula-hybrid story of some description, and on a shopping trip to John Lewis with my mum, I asked her to buy me a new audio cassette; Tales of Terror: Edgar Allen Poe I had chosen.
Unfortunately the library record was scratched to buggery and barely audible and Poe's prose went straight over my 7 year old head. I could tell by the way the narrator was reading, that it was meant to be scary, but 'Vainly I had sought to borrow, from my books surcease of sorrow...' did little for me. What a savage, little philistinic child I was. But worry ye not, I would revisit Poe some time later and fall in love with him.
Mum was always sympathetic to my horror needs, and we would sit up late at weekends and watch horror double bills. This is converse to my dad who would take me to the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead where we would watch Sci Fi double bills. My parents were a sort of Horror-Sci Fi Jack Spratt and his wife. It has always suprised me that neither of them could make the jump either way, as there is such a blurry line between where sci fi stops and horror begins, and indeed vice versa. But all said, they could find common ground in a film like Alien.
Ill cover sci-fi in later blogs, but as we all know this is my last entry in the Halloween countdown of my personal and unforgetable moments of horror. Lists and top 10's are of course very personal and highly subjective things, and this last one brings me back again to the good old English style of horror to which I was exposed to so much of as a kid. This is horror moment No.5.





A happy 70s family in a happy car on a happy road going on a happy holiday.
That first shot of the hitch-hiker, stiff legged and motionless on the bank above the road still gives me the heebies. I remember being on holiday with my family in Spain and seeing hitch-hikers along the road as we drove around the country in our hire car. Jeezus! I begged, teary eyed and breathless not to stop and pick them up. I peered at each hitch-hiker we passed through my fingers wondering if they were the embodiment of pure evil.
The story of the Doppleganger is an ancient one, but I dont think I have ever seen it done so terrifyingly as in this episode of Hammer House of Horror's TV series: The Two faces of Evil. Yes, I even rate it above the masterful Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The directing is superb, the angles, the close-ups and the cleverly understated acting of everyone else but the wife, amplifying her helplessness, frustration and involvement in this terrifying predicament.






Of course that big haired, fat faced kid sorta reminded me of me at the time, so I stayed well away from farms and hay lofts. But you have to agree its a truly chilling moment when she looks up and sees her real child, dead and purple on the other side of the barn...
Its been fantastic sharing my horror moments with you and I hope youve enjoyed it too. Im not quite Mark Gatiss but, I could beat him up in a fight, and thats what counts.
Tune in to my next blog to discover the games me and my wife play... errr... computer games that is.
Big D out.

Friday, 22 October 2010

All aboard for the Horror Express!

This, again, is an early and disturbing memory for me. I watched tonnes of horror as a kid and even bought those horror cards with that dangerously hard bubblegum in the packet… Shit, what an Earth happened to those?
I had Horror Film compendiums, lexicons, encylopedias, both sets of the Horror Top Trumps, various grisly masks and costumes. Damn! I even went to the Queens Jubilee street party dressed as a ghost. I loved to scare and I loved to be scared. But all the horror I had soaked up as a kid started to desensitise me. The next horror film scared me just a little less than the last. But some, like the one I am about to show you, terrified me like no other before and for months gave me recurring nightmares, which I suppose is the highest accolade one could ever give a horror movie.
Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were the stars, and I remember feeling safe knowing this. They were my friends, from previous adventures in horror. They wouldn’t terrify me. Would they? Cushing had a safe, avuncular air about him and Lee was just the epitome of suave sophistication and cucumber coolness.
The story had everything: Afore mentioned Cushing and Lee, a two million year old monster in a crate, a mad Rasputinesque monk, a trans-siberian train journey, zombie cossaks and Telly Savalas.
One thing I had overlooked, indeed one thing that would have meant little to me at the time. It had a Spanish director. Get ready for bloody gore and eye fixations. Its true! Those bloody Latin horror directors. What is it with them and eyes? Splinters through eyes, shards of glass through eyes, fingers poking out eyes, red eyes, white eyes, bleeding eyes…
Despite the gore, despite Telly Savalas, it was a fantastic film. Ill even go as far as to say it still is a fantastic horror film. It’s full of silly propositions and premises and even a bit of rubber physics, but it is a horror film after all. But time has not dulled its impact. And yes, I should never have watched it at just 9 years old.





Every night at bedtime, after being tucked in, my mum would turn out the light and leave the room... Normal kids would perhaps smile a dreamy smile and close their eyes.
I would gasp in mute terror and slowly and silently scan the room for a pair of red eyes in the darkness. Oh how I miss my childhood. To believe in monsters!

Just a brief nod to nostalgia sage Hurk. Here are the opening credits to Armchair Thriller. No one to step in front of the shadow now is there? Mwuhahahahaha!



Please tune in to my next blog for the last shocking moment in my Halloween countdown.
Big D out.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Rivers of blood.

Greetings Earthlings,
BLOOD! Yup its come down to one of horrors lowest denominators.
Gore and viscera although not essential to good horror are jolly good fun if done right. It is indeed a trademark of most of the Italian horror maestros, and the so called video nasties of the 80s achieved cult status simply because they were so gorey.
This is contrary to some of horror’s absolute classics having a conspicuous absence of blood. I remember being shocked when I revisited Carpenter’s Halloween as to how little blood is actually in the film.
Halloween nostalgia moment number 3 is really a double bill. This is only because I couldn’t decide what one to show you, and then simply thought: Bollocks! Ill show em both. But they are, in my opinion, both examples of blood being used to terrifying effect.
The first clip takes me back to a time when doing PE in my underwear and singing hymns in assembly was commonplace. Take yourself back to 1980, plonk yourself on the sofa next to mum on a Saturday evening, and marvel at the 80s high fashion and kitch d├ęcor.









The second one is a great clip from a not so great film. But watch this scene and tell me you didn’t wince once… go on, I dare you…




I was quite a nosebleedy kid and had a lot of operations on my sinuses and adenoids at a young age. I remember an alarmingly protracted nose bleed at my nan's one sunday afternoon in front of the fire. I think this scene really brings back that awful sense of panic I felt when my nose bleed just wouldnt stop and all the grown ups were running around making a fuss.What adds to that unsettling panic is the woefully inadequate wisps of crumpled tissue his wife keeps giving him to stem the cascade of blood gushing out of his nose. The little fetish doll is also a nice little touch of extra horror into the bargain. The film, alas is Children of the Corn 2 and is a load of old pants of the highest order.
The first clip was of course The House that Bled to Death from Hammer Horror’s TV series. Even the revelation by the parents at the end, that the whole thing was a hoax did not make that scene any less terrifying in that half an hour of hindsight. The scene is simply unforgettable at any age, let alone when you are an 8 year old kid as I was.
Sorry the Carrie scene didn’t make it, but a bucket of pigs blood on a telekinetic psycho just doesn’t compare to a pipe that spews blood over infants at a birthday party or a nose bleed in a church that kills you as the concerned parishioners look on.
Tune in to my next blog when its all aboard for horror in my fourth moment of Halloween nostalgia.
Big D out.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Return of the dry heavies.

Greetings Earthlings,
My second installment, although not chronological to my horror experiences, caught me at a rather delicate moment during my youthful days of drug indulgence and hence the memory is still difficult to shake.
Funnily enough it still remains one of the only Horror films I have never revisited. The memory has never been exorcised.... oh and it is one of the shittest films ever commited to celluloid. (Yeah, yeah they stopped using celluloid... blah blah)
The year is 1985 and anything goes... or rather went. Return of the Living Dead was of course a work of genius... No, no, thats not those crazy drugs talking, it can be enjoyed even now. Its no less than the horror film that spawned the now ubiquitous zombie catchphrase 'BRAINS...'  A tongue-in-cheek romp, with almost indestructible, highly mobile, talking... yes, talking, zombies. I know, I know, it sounds absolutely shit. But if you havent seen it please give yourself a treat.





1988 saw a shakey sequel, Return of the Living Dead II which was... fun, having seen the first one.
Then of course we hit the 90's... The decade that taste forgot. Ill set the scene:
Our small, merry band excitedly rented the video, we got totally stoned, we ate a bargain bucket of KFC and settled down in a dark room to watch Return of the Living Dead III...




Throughout the film she adds to her 'look', screwing rusty springs into her skin and pushing septic thumb tacks through her face. I have spared you what I consider the most pointlessly graphic and nipple piercing scenes. Needless to say it wasnt what we expected. Now please, before I continue give me credit. I can handle gore. I can watch emergency room documentaries while eating spaghetti bolognaise with meatballs, but it was the sheer pointlessness of it. A young, beautiful girl slowly and sensually mutilating herself, graphically as the camera fades gently in and out of scene like some soft porn movie. Now I think self harm was invented in the 90s as well, and I was an angst teenager up to the age of about 25, so coupled with the weed and the KFC this scene caught me just right. Luckily I wasnt the first to fold. Darren, who, credit to him is among the most stoic of Horror viewers a friend could ever wish for, pardoned himself for a series of violent wretches in the garden. Of course vomitting can be a lot like laughing. When one starts...
Thankfully I escaped with but a few bouts of the dry heavies, but you'll be glad to know that come the conclusion of our communal garden foray we reconvened back in the darkly lit room to bravely finish the pile of crap that is Return of the Living Dead III never to speak of the moment ever again.
Please tune in to my next blog for nostalgic Halloween moment 3 when things start to get a little bit bloody...
Big D out.

Nun shall pass!

Greetings Earthlings,
As the advent of Halloween rushes towards us like an over enthusiastic trick-or-treater, what better place to start my blog than with one of Big D's heaped dollops of retro horror. I say retro, as in common parlance it seems to mean something from quite a long time ago... but not that long ago... so, quite...but not.
Good. Im glad you're following me.
Five moments out of time Id like to share with you on the run up to Halloween. Five moments that shocked me at the time and left an indelible blot on my psyche. I can look back and laugh at them now, but the laugh stills sounds a little shaky and has a tinge of the uneasy.
Let me first take you back to 1978. A time, for me at least, of lost innocence never to be regained. My brother had not even began to twinkle in my dads eye, and beige Ford Cortinas were all the rage. I still like watching shows from that period for the nostalgia of the era and the seemingly empty London streets that now throng with every manner of life 7 days a week. Aah! My dear London lost...
It was 6 days before my sixth birthday and a series called Armchair Thriller aired an episode called 'Quiet as a nun'. It was before the traditional 'watershed', the 9pm demarkation point of family veiwing and adult themed TV, so I happily sat in front of the TV blissfully unaware of the horror which was about to assail me.





Okay. The spooky church. The trap door. The rocking chair... AND A FACELESS FUCKING NUN!
It was the fact that the show ended so suddenly after showing this stark and terrifying image, that amplified my own terror. I never saw the next episode, and so my boyhood years were haunted with fantasies of what a faceless nun would do to someone if ever it caught them.
I never watched the Sound of Music in quite the same way, and could never be alone in the same room with my nan's rocking chair again. At the age of 5 it could quite possibly be the moment that broke my horror hymen. But you've gotta love it. It is the very essence of horror and truly the stuff of nightmares.
Please tune in to my next blog for nostaligc Halloween moment 2 when my delicate sensibilties are churned and offended by a truly terrible film.

Big D out.