You've heard of The Good, the Bad & The Ugly? Here's The Great, The Bad & The Sad.
I thought I’d take a break from writing my Future Imperfect column to catch up with things here on the site. Thanks to lead-in times, what I’m writing for Starburst at the moment won’t see the light of day on your computer screens until mid July. If you want a hint of what I’m covering for my third column - here’s a clue; it ties in with a huge release of that month and I’m looking at the previous screen incarnations of a particular character. (Pssst...he carries a shield with a star on it) That’s all you get for now. Keep your eye on www.starburstmagazine.com for the rest.
Speaking of Starburst, one of the big things on my radar (as well as being best man at a close friend’s wedding) is the Starburst launch party this coming Thursday (June 2) at Manchester’s Fab Cafe. I’m one of the guests, and I can’t wait to mingle and chat with the some of the writers and readers who have made the venture the success it is. Not only is it an opportunity to hang out in style with like minded souls at a cult move and TV themed place in Manchester, but I’ll fit in a visit to Forbidden Planet as well. A Full-On Geek day. There will be a full report of this momentous event posted here soon after the event.
Hey - what’d you think to the new-look home page? Is that a stunning graphic or what?
I’m deeply indebted to my good friend Craig Harmaty, a talented graphics artist from the Sunshine state for his tireless work on creating that piece of art. I think it was the day after I launched that Craig approached me with the idea of having something distinctive on the splash page. As you’ll remember, I had a photo of myself, among some of the memorabilia I’ve collected over the years up there. To be honest - I didn’t like the picture much, I always look like a goof in photos. My problem was that I couldn’t think of anything else. A movie poster would’ve appeared to tie the site up with one film rather than the wide ranging endeavour I had intended. A superhero image from a graphic novel? Same problem....plus there was always copyright to consider. So when Craig stepped up to the plate and very kindly offered his graphics services, the quickness of my agreement may well have been faster than sound itself.
I’ve known Craig since he created some superb artwork for a script I wrote many years ago, titled Snyder’s Law. We put that image on the cover of the script and sent it out to among others, Friday the 13th actor Kane Hodder, who championed it at New Line. Here, for the first time online is the Snyder's Law cover artwork.
The script, to date hasn't been picked up, but it was a hell of an adventure to get it as far as it went. But that's another story for another time.
Craig's idea this time, was to create something that told the casual visitor stumbling onto the site for the first time everything they needed to know about what goes on in here by evoking the imagery of the old EC comics of the fifties, like Tales From the Crypt. the message is clear that we’re here to have some good, old fashioned, lurid at times, but always colourful.
Look closely, and you’ll see that Craig has also managed to put yours truly in the picture. As a lifelong comics fan, it’s been a fun experience to see myself in comic strip style - albeit dead. These past weeks have seen Craig send me updated images from early concepts of the character (with several options to choose from and man - THAT was a tough choice) to pencilled sketches, and several stages of colouring up to the finished article. I had intended to upload it at the weekend, but when I saw it - I couldn’t wait. It needed to be seen.
So all that above is the good and the great news - now we turn to the bad.
You hear good things about certain films. You see trailers that pique your interest... you take the plunge and purchase the disc and thank whatever deity you follow that you didn’t pay full price for THAT sucker.
Monsters is such a film. The title there links to Amazon where you can buy the disc if you feel so inclined.
Okay, the set up is that a large area straddling the Mexican/American border is an infected area because there are large tentacled aliens there. A couple have to pass through this area as they’ve missed all other forms of transport.
So we have a good basis for solid storytelling and some cheaply made but inventive special effects - no?
No. What we actually have is a rambling narrative with no real focus nor purpose. We have ninety minutes of two people literally mumbling their way incoherently through a script. You have an hour and a half of completely drama free dialogue. By the time the film hits the thirty minute mark, I realised there were problems. I hadn’t become engaged with the characters nor their situation. By the time another half hour had elapsed - there really was no salvaging the film and I found myself impatient for it to end. As my friend Greg Solis wisely noted - if a film is called "Monsters" - you expect it to have.... monsters. Sadly the monsters in this case are what Alfred Hitchcock termed "the McGuffin". It’s a device that drives the narrative it’s something that sends someone on a quest, but isn’t the actual plot.
It is, at times a nicely shot failure, but a failure nonetheless. If you encounter this movie, I’d advise moving on... nothing to see here.
It was with a great deal of sadness that I learned of the death of my all-time favourite wrestler. "Macho Man Randy Savage.
I started watching WWE (or WWF as it was back then), just before Steve was born in ‘91. Sky satellite TV seemed to be an affordable way to sustain my movie addiction with our first child imminent. One of the first things to really catch ,y imagination was the American wrestling. I had never seen anything like it. We’d watch Superstars of Wrestling on a Friday night at 10:00. At that point, there were three commentators calling the action. Joining Vince McMahon (before it was widely known he ran the company, was Rowdy Roddy Piper (who I’d only seen previously in John Carpenter’s They Live and had no idea he was a ‘rassler) and the raspy voiced, flamboyantly dayglo clad Randy Savage who was playing a retirement angle at the time. He would re-enter the ring to face Jake "The Snake" Roberts having been bitten on the arm by a King Cobra on TV in a storyline that was the single most insane thing I had ever seen in the name of entertainment. It still stands out today, 20 years later, as the most outrageous angle I’ve ever seen in wrestling.
Yes, there was Hogan, the Warrior (in between firings) there’s been Shaun Michaels, The Undertaker...but somehow, Savage was the first wrestling "hero" that I followed week after week, through epic feuds with Jake Roberts,Ric Flair, Crush and anybody else who’d cross him. Whether he was winning the championship at Wrestlemania 8, tearing the house down live on Raw looking for Crush who’d betrayed him... or repeatedly slamming a locker door shut on Ric Flair’s head because he didn’t like him, Savage was always entertaining.
He left wrestling a few years ago and I’d always hoped that we’d see him back, if not in in the ring then in an on-screen role as a manager on Raw. The last time I saw him in a wrestling role was as Bonesaw McGraw in the Spider-Man film about 9 years ago. I kept waiting for his induction into the Hall of Fame and it’s tragic that this wasn’t to be while he was still alive. He died of a heart attack at the wheel of his Jeep on Friday May 20.
R.I.P. Macho Man. You were the greatest.
Copyright © 2010 - 2011 Robin Pierce. All Rights reserved.