Friday, 17 August 2018

Your Move, Darwin #8: That Tim Burton Movie (2001)

I don't even know where to start with this. So, I'll just say it. Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes reboot has the reputation of being a bad movie. It's considered to be a terrible movie, in fact. It's the one undeniable Bridge of Crapness I have to cross with this project, the thing I've been dreading.

I'd never seen it before. Now, over and over, my expectations have been confounded. Things I've not expected to be good have turned out to be at least fun.The epic Planet of the Apes watch has been, generally, a delight.

Well, that streak is comprehensively broken. Tim Burton's 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot is worse than I could have imagined. It's a bad remake, a bad sequel, and a bad movie on its own terms.

Look. I don't have any patience with the idea that the original movie is some sacrosanct artefact to be respected and put in a glass case. Remake movies if you want, reboot them, tear it all up. Occasionally remakes and reboots are even worth your while, as we shall see. But not this time. Not this time.

God help me, to write this, I watched it twice. Don't pity me. This is my own stupid fault.

But you'd better read this.

I did this for you, you ungrateful bastards.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Your Move, Darwin #7: Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975)


I suppose that having given Planet of the Apes a relationship with Scooby-Doo already, it only perhaps followed that the final go at bringing the Planet of the Apes to the screen, at least for its original run, might be the full cheap'n'cheerful Saturday morning cartoon treatment. Ruby and Spears had their go with the TV series, but if they were the kings of Saturday morning cartoons, surely the crown princes were Isadore “Friz” Freleng and David H Depatie. While Ruby and Spears had got their start on Tom and Jerry, Freleng was one of the main people behind characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam (who apparently was based on Freleng himself). Warners shut down their cartoon division in the 60s and Freleng set up with producer DePatie, to set up DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and they're best known now for producing the Pink Panther cartoons, originally a spin-off from the animated title sequences of the Peter Sellers-starring movies of the same name, which I remember from my childhood clearly, and which looking back is probably one of the weirdest concepts for a popular kids’ cartoon series – or a movie spin-off – ever made. And so, in 1975, Fox TV, fresh from the cancellation of the TV show, hired Depatie-Freleng Enterprises to create Return to the Planet of the Apes.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Your Move, Darwin #6: Planet of the Apes: the TV Series (1974)

It's been a while since I've returned to the Planet of the Apes, but then in order to do this justice, I really had to do a rewatch of ten and a half hours of TV, and that's more than the five movies put together. Here we are, though, the ruin of the Statue of Liberty behind us, and new media ahead.

Thanks again to the assistance of Mark Talbot-Butler, who supplied the stills for this post.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Monday, 30 July 2018

When I am gone, I want you to do this:

When I am gone, I want you to do this:
Hold a memorial where all the words are mine
The epitaph a thing I wrote myself
And demand that all the guests wear black
And weep, and bow their heads,
And miss me, and miss me, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this:
Tape an inexpensive white bouquet
To a lamp post by a dual carriageway
And leave it until the flowers have wilted
And replace it only then, and when you pass
Think of me, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this :
Erect a statue of me in a public place
And write upon the pedestal the ways I changed the world
So that in a thousand years they'll find it in the ruins
And add me as a footnote in their history,
Make me part of history, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this :
Carry a cold, hard weight beneath your chest
And feel a terrible affront, a deep offence
When the people that you meet might not
Be grieving for me also, and regret
You never got to say the things you meant to say
And you will never get to say you're sorry.
For I am gone forever. I am gone.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

On a Thousand Walls – Guest Post: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

OK, this is epic, this. It's the single most extended piece of criticism yet to appear on this blog, and it's not by me, it comes from my friend and frequent co-conspirator Jon Dear. You may know Jon from the credits of Perplexed Music, the wall of the BFI and the fine cultural criticism he writes at Views From a Hill. Jon also very kindly contributed four entries to my book We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror, which you can totally buy now for Kindle and which, if the Universal Forces (and also Amazon) are kind, should be available in inch-thick print by the end of August. 

Jon's piece on Quatermass and the Pit fortuitously comes at a time when for reasons I don't fully understand, the BBC have seen fit to put the whole thing up on iPlayer so if you're in this United Kingdom that we still (Brexit willing) have here, you can watch along. Jon worked like a demon on this piece, and it shows. Jon's done me proud here. Over to Jon.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror – out this weekend

So I finally managed to get the digital files for We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror to the Kickstarter backers, which is only the first stage of fulfilment, because there's the print files to sort out, and the sequel books, On a Thousand Walls and Cult Cinema, in both digital and print, so this is only stage one of six. But it means that We Don't Go Back will go to Amazon Kindle this weekend. But for the time being, here are some pages from this 440 page, 150,000 word, inch thick monster to whet your appetite. Click to zoom in.

Edit: it's live. Buy it here.