Sunday, March 31, 2019

Space Vampire Comedy Double Feature

Cosmic coitus is just cheeky.


The Turner Classic Movies cable TV channel sometimes shows classick movies.

The other night TCM presented Lifeforce and Queen of Blood.  Oh boy, space vampires handled in a hamfisted way.


Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce is just as amusing the second time around.  It's based upon Colin Wilson's book The Space Vampires. 


Astronauts encounter a strange mothership heading towards the earth and after making contact a beautiful female space vampire ends up on the loose on Earth.


Actress Mathilda May [1] portrays the lovely almost-always-nude vampire in question.  How nude is she?  Well it's obvious that Space Girl (as she's called in the credits) doesn't shave, a trend that came later after this 1985 disasterpiece.


Space Girl ends up unleashing a plague upon London, turning humans into zombie energy vampires.  The movie ties in these energy vampires with the legendary bloodsuckers: the aliens have visited before to harvest lifeforce.


At the end of the movie Lifeforce is being sucked up at a central location, a display of incredible energy.  Using iron as a weapon stops the menace.   Hey, this plot sounds familiar.  It should be since it rips off the general storyline of Five Million Years to Earth/Quatermass and the Pit.  But despite Lifeforce's bigger budget the story isn't as polished as Nigel Neale's script.


There's the feeling they were constantly rewriting the script as filming proceeded, ending up with a wacko mess that I couldn't follow.  In fact I won't bother to try to concisely summarize the plot because my life is too short.


I will say if you like to see Patrick Stewart (or a cheap dummy) have his blood drained out of his eyes, nose and mouth to form a floating gory image of Space Girl then this is your movie.


Many critics panned Lifeforce.  And the biggest critic was Colin Wilson who witnessed his SF novel being trashed on the big screen.  There's the story that author John Fowles stated the movie based on his novel The Magus was the worst film ever created.  Wilson told him via postcard that Lifeforce was one up over The Magus, thus being the worst movie. [2]


On the bottom of the double bill was Queen of Blood (1966), a movie with a cheaper budget but easier to follow and just as entertaining.  To save money footage from a Soviet film Mechte Navstrechu (A Dream Come True) was used, new scenes created around the imported excerpts.  In stark contrast to the cheap American segments the Soviet film has superior special effects with eerie color tones.

In the future -- the year 1990 to be exact -- Earth receives an interstellar radio message saying that visitors are on the way.  Later another message is received that the alien's ship has crashed and they need to be rescued.


So astronauts blast off and rescue a female lone survivor on the Martian moon Phobos.  Besides her green skin the survivor has silver plastic hair pushed back to a point, her hairdo evocative of an acorn or a condom tip. 



A scene with the almost snickering Dennis Hopper.

The astronauts head back to Earth, not suspecting their passenger has a particular taste.  After she kills one astronaut they try to keep her under control by feeding her plasma.  Guess how well that works out.

Dennis Hopper portrays one of the endangered astronauts.  At one point he's  suppressing a snicker while uttering his dialogue.  No surprise to learn he thought the script was stupid and he had to force himself to keep a straight face [3].  As a viewer I wasn't under such a restriction:  I could let out a good laugh. 


Queen of Blood wraps up with a classick ending by laying an egg -- actually, many eggs. 


I recommend this movie as a goodbad film.  And if you don't find a goodbad film to be worth a few laughs there are still the haunting scenes lifted from A Dream Come True.



[1]  Mathilda May also stars in the disturbing Spanish film The Tit and the Moon (La Teta y la luna) 1994 [ https://www.amazon.com/Tit-Moon-DVD/dp/B000BH2U64. ]  The plot involves a preteen boy who wants to get suckled like his baby sibling.  Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to be unbothered by a couple of scenes.  At one point the boy stands in front of bare chested May and she squirts her breast milk into his gaping mouth.  (May must be the titular character.)  Later there's a scene where he suckles May and then another woman on a outdoor balcony    Doesn't Spain have child protection laws?


[2]  https://reprobatepress.com/2018/12/03/attack-of-the-space-vampires-the-story-of-lifeforce/


[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Blood 



Friday, March 29, 2019

The Wormhole Loophole


Lake Monster or floating log?


After a twenty minute walk from where I live I can stand on the shore of Lake Champlain and view the Vermont Green Mountains in the distance.  Despite the reports of Champy/Champ since Samuel de Champlain explored the lake back in 1609 I've never witnessed a large serpent rising to the surface.*

My argument against Champy has been the lack of any carcass or skeleton.  If plesiosaur fossils can be found then why not the legendary Lake Champlain critter?

So I'm surfing the cable TV channels, looking for something good to watch (my remote's channel button is wearing out) when I stumble upon an episode of Ancient Aliens Declassified on the alleged "History" Channel.

There's discussion of Champy and other such creatures from around the world.  So how can they be so elusive, leaving not a trace behind?  Simple.  Underwater  wormholes.  The serpents are extraterrestrial, popping in from temporary interdimensional portals.

Wouldn't such portals be detected on the surface by the water below being suddenly displaced, fountaining up?  Wouldn't their presence be detected by sonar devices, i.e. fish finders and depth finders?

Of course Ancient Aliens always includes such qualifiers such as "Could it be...?"  and "According to ancient alien theorists..." with no definite conclusions.

Could it be the "History" Channel has sold out to boost ratings?  Yes.

Could these interdimensional portals allow other beings to pass through such as the Easter Bunny and Lovecraftian terrors as ancient astronaut theorists proclaim?

Well, why not?  Maybe I'll spot Cthulhu exploding to the surface, towering above all.


 * Champlain saw a strange creature near the Saint Lawrence river, not Lake Champlain as been erroneously stated.


Saturday, February 09, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Bill Mahar: Anus Or Asshole?



Stan Lee on the left, sphincter opening on the right.

By Ray X


When Stan Lee died last year TV "personality" Bill Mahar looked down his nose and passed judgement on adult comic book and superhero movie patrons with a overly critically blog post.  He was unimpressed with Lee's accomplishments including co-creating many of Marvel Comics superheroes.

Recently Mahar was at it again on his program Real Time with a segment cleverly titled "Goodbye, Mr. Strips."  He claimed he never said anything bad about Stan Lee.  His sneering snobbery was directed at the followers of Lee's works.  He barnbrushed all such individuals as immature, that they should grow up and read real literature like Toni Morrison.

It's ironical that liberal Mahar speaks out against prejudice and discrimination but stereotypes all individuals who enjoy supehero fiction as immature losers.  Bill, do you mean not one comic book reader has read Toni Morrison?

Mahar sums up his disdain towards fans with this comment: "I’m not glad Stan Lee is dead, I’m sad you’re alive.”

Narrow-minded Mahar thinks the comic book medium is nothing but "silly" superheroes.  Is Art Spiegelman's "Maus" nothing but a childish diversion?  Is the TV medium nothing but sitcoms, reality shows etc.?  Does TV only provide an outlet for cranky old men like Mahar who should shut up and go to bed?

Check out the title of this essay.  Unfair?  Yes, just as unfair as what Mahar spews about all comic book readers.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Sci Fi Elements of Gunsmoke


Matt Dillon: man or mutant?


By Ray X


"What's wrong with these kids nowadays?  All they want to watch on TV are crazy superheroes and monsters.  When I was growing up we had good quality TV shows, westerns, that were based on reality."

Indeed, disgruntled baby boomer.  TV westerns were realistic.

Take the most popular western series, Gunsmoke.  Unrealistic?  Never.

On second thought...

Gunsmoke followed the adventures of our hero US Marshall Matt Dillon and his friends in Dodge City, Kansas.  Ever hear the phrase ""Get out of Dodge?"  Look no further than this show.

Standard scene: a bad guy has the drop on a good guy, his finger firmly placed on the trigger.  But a quick move by the good guy, striking the bad guy's wrist, and the gun flew away, no shot fired.

One would expect striking a gun holder's hand would result in a pulled trigger.  Ergo good guy drilled.  But in Gunsmoke World a shootist just automatically releases his gun, tossing it aside.   Maybe good guys have some sort of power like the Force, knowing where to hit that special nerve.

Speaking of guns they possess a special feature in Gunsmoke World.  Shoot someone, just one bullet, and he falls asleep, instant dirt nap zap.  No crying out in pain, no writhing in agony.  Compare that to the unrealistic Star Trek phaser set to stun.

Occasionally someone lives long enough to utter some last words before he's embraced by eternal oblivion.  But usually the bad guys just flop down, not even a groan.  And let's not forget getting stabbed, a knife in the back. Yup, a sharp blade provides swift lifelessness.

Matt Dillon was the exception to the instant death by bullet rule.  He was always getting winged in the arm or worse took one to the belly.  But no matter how bad the wound he survived the day.  Over the run of the series Matt endured multiple gunshots.  Swiss cheese Dillon would fully recover without previous wounds slowing him down.  Was he really a mutant with regenerative self-healing power like the Marvel superhero Wolverine?

A bad guy would hit Matt in the head, knocking him unconscious, and our hero would never suffer permanent damage.  Matt would shrug it off like a mild cold.  No subdural hematoma for him.

In one episode a head blow really rung his bell.  The ringing lasted for most of the episode, Matt seeing double vision, barely able to walk around without help.  At the episode's conclusion a bad guy shoved him to the ground, inducing another bean banger.  But this second blow restored Matt's vision back to normal so he could take out the bad guys.  Another mutant power?

Yes, TV westerns like Gunsmoke taught valuable lessons to young viewers like shooting someone results in a painless permanent sleep.  So keep the kids away from those crazy superhero and monster shows.  A twisted sense of reality will warp their young impressible minds. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dialing For Destruction



Just set that dial, load, drop and -- boom or BOOOM!


I was joking around with someone about a bad 1960s sci-fi novel called “The Day They H-Bombed  Los Angeles” by Robert Moore Williams.  Who was bombing LA?  While our government, of course, trying to contain a plague caused by a rogue protein molecule turning humans into howling zombies.  But our hero and his friends live to tell the tale after the City of Angels is H-Bombed three – count 'em – three times.

I joked the government must have been using low-yield H-Bombs.

And while I was Googling to see what was out there for low-yield A-Bombs I came across a reference to variable yield or dial-a-yield nukes.  Some nukes can be adjusted before they're loaded on bombers.  There was the Mod-10 B61 bomb that had four dial settings: 0.3, 5, 10 or 80 kilotons.

So what would happen if the technician setting the dial was upset, the-wife-had-a-headache-last-night scenario?  The dial is supposed to be at its lowest yield but the technician says screw it, ramps it up to 80 kilotons.

Dialing for destruction.  The greatest idea since the neutron bomb that would slaughter people but leave buildings standing.

A Quiet Place: Aw, C'mon!



Pile it on!


Sometimes I skip to the end of a book or movie to see if it's going to be worth my time to eXperience the whole thing.

But some people say, “How can you enjoy a fictional work if you know the ending?”  Simple.  I've always been interested in writing fiction – never been published – and along the way I've learned how a work is constructed.  I can enjoy fiction on another level, seeing how well it was put together.

The film A Quiet Place had a great premise: blind aliens have invaded our planet and they can only detect human victims through sound.  Make a noise and you're dead.

I did notice that these carnivorous critters with their blindness can run around all over, at one point panically racing away in a beeline, without slamming into trees or and other objects.   They even don't even slip on something like Little Johnny's damn skateboard left in the driveway or one of Curt Collins' banana peels.  But let's leave that aside.

I watched about the first third of the movie then skipped to the ending.  OK, the ending works.  So then I watch the middle part.  Uh-oh.

I hate crisis clustering, everything happening at once to all the characters.  It's just unbelievable that most characters survive three or four threats at the same time.  The kids are missing.  Their father is searches for them, monsters prowling the cornfields.  Unfortunately Lassie isn't around to tell him the poor kids fell into a grain silo, trapped.  (With all that annoying barking Lassie produced she was probably one of the first ones to become a monster meal.)  Meanwhile back at the ranch mother and baby are being stalked by a hungry space critter.  And wombats are rampaging across Wisconsin!

This is compound melodrama, putting the characters in such impossible situations, threats in all directions.   Save the kids, save the mom, and get those freakin' wombats out of Wisconsin!

Sorry but I don't buy it.  A good story doesn't need a danger pileup to build suspense.

My place wasn't quiet as I watch the disappointing middle part.  Guffaws and scorn permeated the air.  Technically a well made movie, good acting and direction, but the distended middle didn't work.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Opposing Viewpoints



Besides this blog I also have an ezine that includes posts from here with the addition of a letters column.  In the last issue -- Ray X X-Rayer #141 -- Bob Jennings (Fadeaway zine) wrote in his LOC some negative comments regarding Dr. Robin Wright.  Robin is known for submitting dense philosophical essays addressing science fiction symbolism.  Below is Robin's email to me which includes Bob Jennings' criticism.

* * *

Subject: Sick and not a doctor   
robin usher<robika2001@yahoo.co.uk>
Attachment - Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 9:43 PM
To: raypalmx@gmail.com


Hi, I wrote to Robert asking him to retract these remarks that somehow found their way into what at first sight seemed a fairly innocuous letter to X - Ray # 141.
However, he wrote that it was his opinion, although I've never written anything remotely approaching this as a summarization of my writing, '... evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization.' I'm appending a letter so that the readers of X - Ray can make up their own minds, if that's acceptable to you?

Dr Robin Bright PhD

(NOTE FROM RAY: What follows is Bob Jennings' LOC comment Bright reprinted in his email.  He didn't indicate the source.)

'“Dr”. Robin Bright sent a lot of articles to me years ago, hoping to get something in my fanzine Fadeaway. Needless to say I accepted nothing he wrote. I think the guy is a genuine nut case. Everything he ever writes, no matter how well it starts out, quickly turns into a tirade about “women’s seed”, and how evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization. The stuff is not unintentionally humorous; it’s just sick and sad, and not even logically written either. I admit I was shocked when one of his articles appeared in one of John Purcell’s fanzines. I’m glad John has since repented that rash decision and has disassociated himself from “Dr.” Bright.'


* * *

(And this is what Bright wrote in his attached doc file:)

Robert Jennings of Fadeaway suggested I was sick, and not a doctor, in a letter to X –Ray, # 141, September, 2018. I don’t want to be sick, and I take exception to being told that this summarizes what I write, '... evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization.' (p. 4) Moreover, I think that English is a beautiful language, and I don’t want it to be plain. However, this is as plain as I can make it, without being a muzzle ‘em:


Flesh Fiction 

Bartholomew made a stab at what appeared to be a large fat sausage on his plate. Moving aside what looked like a couple of large potatoes, he made another stab at the apparent sausage, `Phew! It`d be difficult for the woman to sexually reproduce human brains without her penis.` Bartholomew chewed on fully thoughtful.

Robin Bright


*  *  *
In a follow-up email Robin Bright wrote:

Subject: "Dr"
robin usher

Hi Ray, although I studied Human Biology (O) at school, it wasn't to the level of a Professorial chair. I quite understand your decision not to publish an article. Please, go ahead and publish my letter.

Robin Bright

* * *
Information about Robin Bright can be found here.