Saturday 27 January 2018

Your Move, Darwin #0: The Planet of the Apes (La Planète des Singes, 1963)

So. Welcome to Your Move, Darwin.

I've been meaning to do this for a while, a survey of the Planet of the Apes series, ever since I wrote about the first one and realised just how much I love all of the Planet of the Apes films. And it's kind of a departure for me because it's not open ended, it's nine films and a TV series with only a handful of episodes (and maybe the Saturday morning cartoon, although I might skip that, except, who am I kidding, of course I'm not going to skip it, because it's genuinely interesting) and then I'm done. And it's all the one franchise, the one unfolded text.

Friday 19 January 2018

We Don't Go Back #76: The League of Gentlemen (1999-2017)

When The League of Gentlemen was first broadcast, I didn't own a TV, and by the time I owned one, I was living with my Beloved, who didn't have any interest in seeing it. Nonetheless, I could tell you a not insignificant amount about the major characters, and reel off catchphrases. I could tell you what it was like. People cared about it. Partly this was because several of my friends adored it, and it entered the referential lexicon of our conversation. But partly it seemed to be present, part of the furniture of our pop culture.

For example, I remember that at the time the university LGB society (the T or the Q were not yet added, which is related to a point I'll pick up later) used pictures of prominent gay and lesbian people on posters for an anti-homophobia campaign and one of them was Mark Gatiss, and I recognised him as the chap from The League of Gentlemen. It's fair to say that The League of Gentlemen fell firmly into the category of things I'd never seen but which I could take part in a conversation about without getting completely lost.

I never got round to watching The League of Gentlemen.

But now this project is Serious Business, there are some things I can't really get away with leaving out. So I committed myself to watching it. A good friend expressed concern that it might be too late for me to do that. I sort of half understood what he was getting at, but only really got what he was about having worked through it.

The usual caveats about how writing about comedy are the antithesis of funny apply here, by the way (I still think my funniest article was the one about Planet of the Apes, but I digress).

Friday 12 January 2018

We Don't Go Back – Guest Post: The Wailing (2016)

This is another guest post from my friend and frequent collaborator Jon Dear, of Views from a Hill.

My first encounter with Asian horror was Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-on (The Grudge) (2002) and it upset me more than I was expecting. At the time my ignorance and lack of experience put this down to the supernatural threat not playing by (what I then saw as) the rules. The malevolent force could pursue victims who ran from the haunting (there was no escape, that’s not fair!).
Oh now, this really is too far. Most unsporting.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

We Don't Go Back #75: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

There have been a couple of occasions where the act of fitting a film into my series has been in itself a betrayal of a plot twist, a handing over of secrets. Where the tropes of folk horror are part of a reveal. And in order even to talk about them, I am explaining the ending. So tread carefully. I think The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a strong enough film to be worth a look with its twists revealed, but nonetheless I'll be giving things away.

You can find The Autopsy of Jane Doe on UK (and I think US) Netflix right now. It is well worth looking up. You need a strong stomach though.

Friday 5 January 2018

Written in Water #23: Following Yonder Star

January 6th is the Feast of Epiphany, the official end of Christmas. It's when, traditionally, the tale of the Magi is told in churches. It bears telling again, for it is one of the strangest stories in a book full of stories whose strangeness we take for granted.