Tuesday 28 August 2018

The Question in Bodies #17: The Elephant Man (1980)

I don't cry.

I haven't since I was fifteen. I remember the last moment I cried, the blood I spat into a boy's face; I remember the first moment, some time later, that I decided I never would again. My body has kept that promise. I never cried at my father's death, or at the birth of my children, or when a friend died, or one Sunday afternoon when I stood outside a flat holding a bloody knife in my fingertips, wondering if I would have the strength to deal with what was inside. It's no longer a thing I do. Or can do.

There's a point, I suppose, when you've had enough. When all the things heaped upon you change you forever, and your body and identity, entirely outside of your conscious control, say, no more. No more. When you have no safe space to which you can retreat, and that continues for as long as five, six, seven years, something happens to you.

You change. You change inside. It changes who you are.

Monday 20 August 2018

We Don't Go Back #88: Arcadia (2018)

One of the best things about this job has been that with increasing frequency I get to see things and talk about things I might not otherwise see, or see them in a way I might not otherwise do. Thanks to Marc Roberts, Wyrd Wonder of Cardiff, I had the opportunity to see Paul Wright’s awkward and mildly controversial visual collage Arcadia, and then to talk about what I got out of it with the audience at Chapter Arts Centre, on 9th August this year.

My notes on my first viewing of the film were lengthy and not especially coherent. The film is associative; its message is hidden in its structure, the way in which clips of film segue into others.

Even if you’ve seen parts of it – I recognised maybe half a dozen of the hundred or so snatches of film Arcadia uses – that’s beside the point. The visual essay itself depends on how these things fit together, on its order and structure.

The film fired associations, intuitive links. I can’t be linear here. I have to be associative. I have to digress. Not all of the images here appear in Arcadia, by the way. It's probably fair to tell you that.

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

We Don't Go Back #87: Pyewacket (2017)

From classic slashers to classic kids' TV. Where do you go from there? Contemporary indie horror I suppose. So! Let's look at Pyewacket.