Well, it’s live. Saturday May 14 was a big day in history. Not because of the F.A. Cup final, or the Eurovision Song Contest - neither hold any interest for me and I couldn’t tell you who won either competition. No, history was made, from my point of view for a different reason.
After two years of wandering around a cultural wilderness, I’m pleased to announce that the resurrection of Starburst was successfully executed on May 14 (or, as I type this, yesterday) as the magazine came bouncing back in an online edition, picking up the issue numbering exactly where it was left a couple of summers ago, hence my debut as a regular writer is in issue 366.
After an announcement that it was going to be "live" at 3:00 I was checking regularly, watching out for it. Then we were told around 6:00 as anticipation was rising. When the edition finally hit the cyber realms at around six thirty, I could hardly believe my eyes as the first thing I saw of the first Starburst for a couple of years was my name in large letters on the home page, with a link to my article. It was a moment that I’ll long remember.
Everything over the past couple of months coalesced into that one moment. I had written the article several weeks ago, and seeing there, live, under the Future Imperfect banner was pretty overwhelming.
Check it out at www.starburstmagazine.com. You’ll need to create an account (it’s free) to read the whole magazine - but believe me, it’s well worth it.
Demand was such that the server was struggling under the strain and actually went offline a couple of times. We even had the likes of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes talking about the magazine’s comeback on their radio show.
The object is to recreate the magazine as it was back in its heyday of the eighties and nineties and looking back at the issues from that time, I’m confident that the team are achieving this with a mix of articles and writing styles that is just awesome to read. No other word for it. I’ve never been prouder to be part of a creative team.
My own area is called Future Imperfect and I’ll be covering the nostalgia aspect by looking at past TV series and films. My initial feature looks at Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, an idea I pitched due to the series finally becoming available on DVD.
My second article is already completed and submitted, so June is sorted - I’m now researching the July article, which is a nice tie-in with a certain big movie release.
So, with all the stuff I’ve been watching on DVD for the column, time has been a little bit short to watch much of anything else, but here’s some of what I’ve seen on DVD.
Let Me In - So Hammer’s back with a production slate? And they’re making vampire movies? And this is what they come up with? It’s a remake of a Swedish vampire movie called Let the Right One In, which although here on disc - I have yet to watch.
Ultimately, I found Let Me In to be sadly underwhelming, a tortuously slow, rambling yawnfest with little, other than artistic cinematography, to its merit. High school vampires, twist = she’s a vampire, he isn’t. He’s a loner, they meet at a playground because they’re early teens and that’s about it. Personally, I’m getting a bit jaded with all the tortured romantic vampire teens we see nowadays. It was fresh and new when done on Buffy the Vampire Slayer but the Twilight series and the Vampire Diaries have a hell of a lot to answer for.
I prefer my vampires to be ferocious predators who tear throats out rather than simpering schoolboys with crushes. More Dracula less Twilight. In fact, drop Edward Cullen in Transylvania or ‘Salem’s Lot and see how long he’d last before the REAL badasses like Dracula or Barlow would eat him as an appetiser.
Vampire Circus - Now THIS is more like it. The long awaited release on disc of Hammer’s usually overlooked but nonetheless entertaining vampire movie from 1972. It’s a graphic, nasty, colourful, predictable and traditional vampire movie made at the time just before Hammer would sadly be bankrupt. The village of Stetl is suffering a series of child disappearances. They are being lured to the castle of Count Mitterhaus, aided by the local schoolmistress. As the villagers catch up to him, slaying the Count and whipping the teacher (Hammer were pretty kinky at this time) the Count curses those responsible. Fifteen years later, the the villagers must contend not only with the plague, but also the arrival of the travelling Circus of Nights.
My only complaint about this disc is that it’s a vanilla release. I would’ve loved to have seen a retrospective documentary about its making. Especially as the film took this long to be released on disc.
The Green Hornet - I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one whose heart sank just a little when Seth Rogen was announced as star of the Green Hornet movie. Seth Rogen is fine at what he does, but he seems to do the same schtick in each and every movie, with little variation. He seems to be playing the same damn role. Only the titles change. Adam Sandler does the same and so does Will Ferrell. So I had low hopes and expectations for Green Hornet - until I saw the trailer. The look of the film sold me to begin with, but the car sealed the deal. The Black Beauty is the same model Chrysler that was used in the 1966 series which introduced Bruce Lee as Kato to Western audiences.
Speaking of Kato - Jay Chou is the real star of the show in his role of the Hornet’s sidekick who is the real brains and backbone of the crime fighting team, playing against the comedic incompetence and naiveté of Rogen’s Hornet.
That being said, The Green Hornet is Rogen’s best headlining role to date. Admirably he reins in his trademark routine to a great degree and plays his usual likeable buffoon role down. It’s there - but works at the muted level he performs. It’s an action adventure comedy that’s not too much comedy. In fact, the balance is done so well, I’d like to see a sequel, if not a franchise. (I never thought I’d want to see a sequel to ANY Seth Rogen film.)
My Soul To Take - I don’t know what happened here. Literally, I was reading about this in the pages of Fangoria figuring that it was a cinema release, then the following week, it caught me unaware on the shelves of Asda. A Wes Craven film straight to DVD?
For those with might suggest that Craven has softened up following films like Red Eye and Cursed - a message. Give this a try, Craven is back as spine chillingly nasty as ever. If Scream 4 doesn’t convince you, then this movie, about the spirit of the Riverton Ripper returning to kill the seven children born on the night he died should convince you that Craven still has what it takes.
Finally - I’ve seen Rubber.
Okay, all jokes aside - Rubber is a film that has to be seen to be believed. It’s a film that fits in perfectly in an offbeat movie night, such as I had this past week.
The brainchild of writer/director Quentin Dupieux, it’s a film about a killer tyre. Yes, you read that correctly. In the Californian desert, a killer has taken to the roads, amassing an incredible body count with his prolific murdering ways. His destructive behaviour is exacerbated by a terrifying psychic ability to make a victim spontaneously explode. And "he" is a tyre. Just a tyre, rolling around randomly killing anything that crosses its path.
Truly eccentric film making at its very best, but hard as hell to explain to anybody who hasn’t seen it, Rubber is a sure fire cult classic. Mark my words, people are going to be having Rubber watching parties in years to come...and somehow that sounded a lot saner and safer in my head than it looks written down.
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