Friday, November 23, 2018

skaro a go-go!

It's Doctor Who's birthday today and what better way to celebrate than with this?*

Dr. Who And The Daleks (1965)
Dir: Gordon Flemyng.
Cast: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden, Roberta Tovey, Barrie Ingham and The Daleks.


"In electro-connective theory, space expands to accommodate the time necessary to incorporate its dimensions." - Brexit in a nutshell.


Dotty old eccentric inventor Dr. Terry Who (Genre God Cushing) along with his granddaughters - the precocious Susan (Tovey, daughter of Russell) and the fright-haired Barbara (the totally terrifying yet equally tempting Linden) are enjoying a quiet evening in whilst awaiting the arrival of Barbara's new boyfriend Ian (Castle - who needs no introduction) who has tickets for the theatre, a box of chocolates and the keys to his dads shed in the hope he may see some action this evening.

Tho' judging by the tightness of Barbara's Capri-pants there's enough action on show already.

Happy that Barbara is actually interested in men and not one of those Lesbosians he's read about in his medical journals Dr. Who, upon Ian's arrival  excitedly invites him into the garden to see his latest invention - a time and space machine called Tardis that he's build inside a police telephone box that he stole from the set of the 1962 Richard Lester directed Helen Shapiro starrer It's Trad, Dad!

Unable to resist a poke in a mysterious box Ian gingerly follows Dr. Who and his family into the garden and into (the) Tardis.

"And this Susan is all the fucks I give!"



With this being the pre-sexy, fairly staid bit of the 60s, Ian gets a wee bit overexcited with the amount of shiny knobs on show inside the machine and accidently tries to insert one of them up his arse causing Tardis to fly off to fuck knows where as the intrepid travelers are overcome by the smell of stale onions.

Slowly coming to Dr. Who is intrigued to see where they are, unlike Ian and Barbara who are nervously looking at their watches wondering if they'll have time for a quick drink before the show starts, so it's left to Susan to decide what to do.

Being one of those swatty types she elects to have a wee scout around before they head home.

Well you can't really blame her seeing as her sister has paired off and the smell of humbugs has probably put her off kissing her granddad.

Again.

So they all decide to leave the relative safety of the ship and furtively open the doors to see where they are.

Which - if I'm honest - is in a really quite impressive and moodily lit petrified alien jungle set complete with wacky TV-21 style mummified monsters and a mysterious (model) city way off in the distance.

Seriously the design puts Alien to shame.

Or at least Shocking Dark.

Plus it has something that neither of those classics have, namely Roy Castle at the height of his comedic powers falling over plastic dinosaurs whilst whistling.

Genius.

"We've come on holiday by mistake!"



And if that wasn't enough - and it is - someone - or something - has left a handy container of drugs outside Tardis door so they can chill out (or go 'mad for it' I'm never too sure what the kids say) and relax under the psychedelic sky whilst listening to Bob Marley like my neighbours are want to do during the summer.

Or something.

Unfortunately Dr. Who is a bit of a square and locks the drugs in the Tardis bathroom cabinet before anyone can try them.

Realising that his chances of getting a shag from Barbara (or even Susan) is diminishing by the minute Ian suggests that they all go home, much to Dr. Who's chagrin, so being a sneaky old bugger, old man Who pretends that the ship has a leaky fluid link that can only be fixed by injecting heroin into his eyeball.

Or is that with mercury?

You can see why I got kicked out of medical school can't you?

Anyway to this end Dr. Who suggests that they travel to the city to see if they can find any.

But as they begin the journey Susan has a feeling that they're being watched.

Well I should hope so or the box office will be awful.



Peter Cushing attempts to put 45 candles up Roy Castle's arse....is this a record?


Quickly arriving at the city (well it is a small set) and after a few more moments of comedy gold from Castle - this time involving an automatic door - the group are captured by the evil Daleks, strange outer space robot people from BBC TVs Doctor Who and the vastly superior TV 21 comic series who've been hiding behind the (glittery) curtains giggling to themselves as the y watch Who and co. stumble about.

Seizing - well suckering - the fluid link from Dr. Who's (big swapping) pocket the Daleks pop everyone in a prison cell and feed the Play-Doh thru' a gap under the door.

Evil bastards.

As they sit contemplating a way to escape our intrepid heroes (and Ian) begin to feel a wee bit unwell, soon realising that the entire planet is soaked in deadly radiation (and bean juice) and that the drugs they found outside Tardis must have been left by a nice person in order to stop them dying.

Maybe leaving a note alongside the box would have been a good idea then?

Just saying.


"Laugh now!"



It's not all fun and games for the poor Daleks tho' as it seems that the reason that they all trundle around in their groovy metal casings is due to the radiation outside too and that they're so scared of it causing their skirt-balls to fall off that they dare not go outside.

A bit like you Dad after your Mum left him.

Only replace fear of radiation with because he fucked the babysitter.

Twice.

And in your bed too.

Anyway whilst overhearing Dr Who and his chums (and Ian) discussing the drugs, the Daleks formulate a cunning plan to persuade folk to leave the European Union by blaming 'the foreigners' for everything, promising 60 sqillion pounds to the NHS and a free Union Jack for every pensioner but quickly realising that absolutely no-one with half a braincell would fall for this the formulate a second less whacked-out plan that involves sending Susan back thru' the pertrified jungle to fetch the drugs so they wont die.

Oh and the Daleks promise not to steal them for themselves.

Seeing no reason not to trust their captives Susan heads back out into the unknown.

Which if I'm honest is slightly less unknown than it was the first time around.


"I never done it!" - And neither did your dad.


Reaching Tardis without anything bad actually happening, Susan quickly collects the drugs but just as she's about to begin the journey back - which if I'm honest seems quicker than popping to the local shops so I've no idea what the problem was, girls eh? - out from behind a convenient tree (which actually sounds like a really shit sequel to that 2006 American documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim) pops Jeff Alydon - a scary alien resplendent in a blonde Beatles wig, Chelsea boots, a nipple revealing suede vest and blue eye shadow.

Which I have to say looks in no way at all camp.

Kudos to Barrie Ingham for actually pulling it off, I mean it's as if Ziggy Stardust and Quentin Crisp had been melded in a hideous genetic experiment run by the kids from Village of the Damned.

Think Ru-Paul cosplaying Mr Spock and you're about a third of the way there.

"Do you require any scissors sharpening?


Anyway it turns out that Alydon is the leader of the Thals, who are the other folk that live on the planet and it seems that they once engaged in a massive atomic war with the Daleks that resulted in the whole place becoming radioactive.

Which is nice.

Explaining the situation with her friends Alydon helpfully gives her a second box of drugs and sends her on her way.

Which is a wee bit far-fetched seeing as the last time I popped out from behind a tree dressed as a woman and gave a pre-teen girl drugs I got arrested.

Ah it was a much more innocent time back then.

Ask Mary Bell.

Susan returns to the Dalek city where the cunning creatures snatch the drugs to keep for themselves but decide to let Susan keep the second lot for her friends, partly because they appreciated a bit of cunning but mainly so they can watch how they affect the humans.

I reckon they just want to see if Barbara gets naked and dances.

Tho' they could save themselves the trouble and just watch Ken Russell's Women in Love if they want to see that.

But thinking about it that may be a bit difficult seeing as it hadn't been made yet.

As Dr. Who and his friends busy themselves getting shit-faced on alien amphetamines Susan helpfully fills in some much needed backstory by explaining that, according to Alydon, the Thal's crops have failed and they have journeyed to the Dalek city in the hope of trading the anti-radiation drug formula - or their pert arses - for food.

Still listening in on the conversation and realising that there probably isn't going to be any hot sex action from the cell, the Daleks decide that it'd be funny if they invited the Thals to dinner, killed them then just took the drugs from the Thals still warm corpses and to this end they get Susan to write a letter -  saying that they will leave a massive bag of egg and cress sandwiches and fizzy pop just by the garden shed - which they will Blu-Tak to the front door in the hope that the Thals will see it.

But when Susan finishes the letter, the Daleks reveal that tit's all a joke and that they're going to kill everyone.

To death.

Yazoo have let themselves go.


Being upstanding nice folk our heroes decide to escape and warn the Thals so after violently beating the Dalek that delivers their food before smothering him in a bin bag and leaving him lying bleeding in the corner (and these are meant to be the good guys) the group head towards the city entrance just in time to give the Thals the heads up and escape with them into the jungle.

 Meanwhile the Daleks are busy snorting away on the anti-radiation drug but are fairly upset to find that rather than help them chillax it actually causes their arses to implode so in an act of retaliation they decide to detonate yet another neutron bomb to increase the planet’s radiation and kill all the Thals.

Because reasons.

Back at the Thal camp, Dr. Who is all set to just fuck off and leave everyone to die but soon realises that he's left the fluid link in the Dalek city and will need the Thals help to recover it, but the Thals being boring pacifists refuse to fight.

To show them that violence is always better than peace Dr. Who tells Ian to touch Alydon's girlfriend's bottom, enraging the Thal who jumps on Ian and tries to punch him.

Realising that they can fight for things they care about, Alydon and Dr. Who  lead the Thals in an attack on the city, but unfortunately the Daleks repel the assault with almost no effort and Dr. Who and Susan are recaptured.

"Are you the farmer?"


Meanwhile Ian, Barbara and a small group of Thals manage to sneak into the Dalek city by smashing in their back door and, once inside they join the rest of the Thals, to mount a frontal assault (but not alas a small boy) on the Daleks and rescue Dr. Who and Susan but as the Thals and humans enter the control room, they discover that the Daleks have already begun the countdown to the bomb detonation....






For many of us of a certain - old - age, the 60s Dalek movies were our first encounter with Doctor Who's past outside our dog-eared Target novelisations and well thumbed Monster Book, hence this was how we imagined all sixties Doctor Who looked and sounded.

So you understand, then, why we were a wee bit disappointed when we finally got to see 'The Dead Planet' on it's original video release but why we all adore 'The Krotons'.

And re-watching them today it's hard not to be won over by their charm cos frankly they're brilliant.

Peter Cushing, as the eccentric old - human - Dr. Who plays the part as a mischievous schoolboy trapped in an old mans body (stop sniggering at the back) and from the opening shot of him enjoying Dan Dare's adventures in The Eagle to his genuine excitement at the thought of exploring the mysterious city, Cushing's Doctor Who is a joy to behold.

As for the rest of the human cast…Jennie Linden's Barbara is all scary hair, tight tops and pointed bra's, a kind of low rent Lulu either frowning sweatily at Peter Cushing or fawning sweatily over the bumbling comedy genius that is Roy Castle's Ian Chesterton but Roberta Tovey's Susie is just bloody scary, less an unearthly child more of an ungodly one.

Imagine Adric in a tartan pinny and ankle socks and you're half way there.

Tho' probably not half as aroused as I am by that thought.

"Put it in me!"


None of that is really important, tho', as we're really here to see the Daleks….bigger, better and considerably brighter than ever before (or since).

From their first appearance skulking in the corridors of their city, to their exciting demise, the metal meanies have never looked better, as if they'd stepped directly from the pages of the aforementioned TV21 comic.

The whole production screams 'BIG!, even the police box shell looks bigger than normal - it's a pity, tho' that they decided to film the TARDIS interiors inside Albert Steptoe's shed.

The Skaro sets have a genuine other-worldly feel and as for the city interiors, Jennie Linden recalls that this was 'the first and largest set completely built from plastic'… think about this, a giant primary coloured, transparent plastic Dalek city, complete with lava lamps and big black and white TV screens populated by giant primary coloured, shiny Daleks…genius does not begin to describe this artistic triumph.

The one big mistake by the Academy Award panel was that this film wasn't even nominated in 1965, if it had been it would have swept the board.

Damn you The Sound of Music, obviously the wrong Nazi-inspired movie won.


Jeremy Beadle: The Return.


But what of the plot?

Adapted from the Terry Nation original, but with all the boring bits cut out, by David Whitaker and the legendary Milton Subotsky, it hurtles along at a cracking pace, pausing only to showcase a few quality comedy turns from Mr. Castle. These include such delights as 'Ian sits on a box of chocolates', 'Ian can't get in a door' and mine (and many other fan's) favourite, 'Ian is attacked by giant projected Roman soldiers whilst whistling'.

Fans of Roy Castle's portrayal of Ian may also want to check out the Amicus classic 'Dr. Terror's House of Horrors', as well as also being produced by Subotsky, it re-teams him with Peter Cushing and also features star turns from Christopher Lee, Kenny Lynch, once mooted big screen Doctor Donald Sutherland and Alan 'Fluff' Freeman.

Looking back I'm surprised I've never reviewed it as it's fucking brilliant.

Cinematic gold.












































*Tho' let's be honest if you're reading this blog then maybe this would be better suited to your taste.

2 comments:

Traveller28 said...

God, I loved both movies (still do, the blu rays are amazing). Also, I completely forgot about the scissor sharpening thing (having grew up in the 70's when a pair of scissors would last about 200 years).

Ashton Lamont said...

Indeed! Both movies are pretty much perfect!