Wednesday, August 29, 2007

pissed with paulin, lashed with lawson.

Just been sent the Late Review drinking game by certified Unwell reader Ali and thought I'd share, it's quite funny especially if you're one of the six people that actually tunes into Late Review.

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Lawson: Smooth criminal.

For those of you who don't know/care, Late Review is a Thursday night Arts programme on BBC2. A panel of Arts 'critics' discuss plays, films, books, galleries etc, and hate everything (except Tony Parsons who just keeps shouting 'Viddy Well'), while presenter Mark Lawson slouches in his chair, looking like a slightly bemused (albeit sweater) version of Mother from The Avengers.

Obviously you'll need some booze.


Germaine Greer, one of the best-known Feminists around, tells you she's a Feminist. "Well, as a Feminist I have to look at this a certain way" - One finger.

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Greer: Sex criminal.

Tom Paulin doesn't like what he's reviewing. His expression goes from mortally offended, to deeply upset and about to cry, to viciously aggressive. He ends up shrieking in fury
like Bagpuss on PCP at the artist in question. Who isn't even there - Two fingers at every stage of his decline.

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Paulin: Suspicious minds.

Eko Eshun uses an incredibly long and convoluted sentence full of ridiculously pretentious words. He clearly has no idea what he's just said, nor do the other panelists -
Try to repeat what he just said. Not easy even if you're sober.

Germaine Greer gives away the end of the film. "And the bit where it turns out the woman in The Crying Game is a man, oh please...." - A double measure of spirits, and tell the person next to you how you really feel about them.

Tony Parsons exaggerates his Cockney accent to come across as the Man of the People - Everyone say "'Allo Maaaary Poppins" and open a can of London Pride. Alternatively don a bowler hat and drink a White Russian whilst Humming Beethoven's ninth.

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Parsons: Wicked game.

After the panel have spent ten minutes slagging something off, presenter Mark Lawson has to move them on. Looking slightly embarassed, he says "Well, I really liked it actually". -
Finish your pint and scoff a packet of Rich Tea biscuits.

beyond our ken.

The Beyond (AKA L'AldilĂ , And You Will Live in Terror: The Beyond, Seven Doors of Death 1981)
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: David Warbeck, Catriona MacColl, Cinzia Monreale, Al Cliver, Antoine Saint-John, Giovanni De Nava

Woe be unto him who opens one of the seven gateways to Hell, because through that gateway, evil will invade the world.

Louisiana 1927, Tuesday week, 19:38 hrs.

As the sun begins to set and the mists linger in the cool air, an angry group of torch-bearing, Italian looking villagers are sailing towards the Seven Doors Hotel where well-known 'ungodly warlock' (and painter) Mr. Schweik has been found to be residing.

When the villagers arrive they quickly make their way through the lobby (not even stopping to wipe their feet) and stride up the stairs to Room 36, busting down the door and dragging it's occupant (Saint-John) to the cellar (which is pretty clever seeing as Louisianan houses don't have cellars seeing as they're built below sea level).

"Aya! mah BCG!"

Punched and kicked to the floor, beaten with chains and crucified to the wall, the merry band decide to melt off his face as a final punishment for his badness (or his crap portrait skills). But unknown to them they've just happened to kill a warlock over one of the seven gates of Hell mentioned in the (New York Times bestseller. Probably) Book of Eibon.

Which is a bad thing.

Zoom forward to 1981, Liza Merril (MacColl) has recently inherited the old hotel from a deceased uncle and decides to move in, hoping for a change from her world of low grade Italian horror opposite Ian McCulloch and maybe a wee bit of financial security.

MacColl: Pensive but still sexy.

Hiring local hot shot Joe 'the plumber' (De Nava) and co. to begin renovations, it's only a matter of time before strange things start happening...A painter falls from the scaffolding after seeing a set of spooky eyes peering out at him and Joe is murdered when he 'accidentally' opens the doorway to Hell (as one would) only to return as a pasty faced zombie.

His resurrection in the local hospital is just the beginning of a series of bizarre (and annoyingly unexplained) events; a really ugly (by ugly I mean bad enough to make a horse sick) ginger school girl accidentally spills acid on her mothers face and (most upsetting) a librarian falls off his ladder and is attacked by toilet roll spiders in a scene so long winded you actually forget what film you're watching.

"Aye son...ave got sum shite in mah mooth".

If all this spookyness wasn't enough to make Liza think of selling up, the body of the melted faced painter is found upstairs, crucified to the bathroom wall in room 36 (how he managed to drag himself from the cellar and re-crucify himself in his room is never explained-pity really as there's a whole film in that puzzle alone). More and more visions (including those of a mysterious blind girl with a dog) and deaths occur before Liza turns to hunky Dr. John McCabe (Warbeck) for help.

Relax girls, he's a homosexual (and dead).

McCabe, obviously gagging for a bit of top British totty like Macoll after being stuck in Italy for so many years jumps at the chance to be of assistance and, if that wasn't enough, the scarily sexy blind girl, Emily (Monreale) with the bizarre past (and a dress like your Grannies) actually appears to warn of the dangers of Eibon.

Aye hen!

Just as Warbeck starts rubbing his (sweaty) hands together with glee at the thought of all these hot babes chucking himself at him Emily reveals that she is in league with the denizens of Hell....

"I won't go back" She pleads to an unseen presence "I've done as I was asked...."

Just before her throat is ripped out by her drooling mutt.

Trapped in a world being slowly enveloped by Hell itself our heroes head to the (relative) safety of the hospital (if full of zombies counts as safe I guess) armed only with a cap gun and a copy of Eibon John and Liza are the only ones left who can save the whole of creation being dragged to THE BEYOND......

But is it too little too late?

Joe the plumber: leatherier than
Sean Connery's balls. Yesch.

A semi-remake/reworking of his earlier City of The Living Dead, continuing that movies use of surreal themes and bizarre imagery but with vastly superior direction, acting, effects and a fantastic score from Fabio Frizzi, The Beyond is by far the definitive Fulci movie.

Sure Dardano Sacchetti's script is a wee bit clunky, there are obvious gaffes with regards to where the film was shot (Italy) and where it's set (the good ol' USA) most notably being the hospitals 'Do Not Enrty' warning sign plus the spiders look like they'd be rejected by a joke shop for being rubbish but Fulci oversees the proceedings with so much conviction that it's impossible not to get completely drawn into this tale of a world gone mad.

"I'm having a making moment!"

The movie is well served by it's lead actors, horror veterans Catriona MacColl and especially the late, great David (I was almost Bond) Warbeck, who gives a particularly performance as the city doctor trapped in a living nightmare he can barely understand. Watching the movie again you can see the hardly contain glee in his eyes and scenes that Fulci obviously missed in editing (Warbeck loading his gun thru' the barrel whilst MacColl looks on, stifling a laugh) show how much fun the actor must have had on set.

Dempsey and Makepeace: Euro-style.

Catriona MacColl is as dependable as ever, effortlessly going from cool and aloof to shot to fuck without so much as a bat of her eyelids, coming across as a posh country librarian stuck in an Am Dram production that she has no intention of understanding but freely admits to enjoying the free drink afterwards. It's a pity that she never got to team up with Tisa Farrow at some point, I can just imagine the pair mud wrestling in skimpy bikini's for Ian McCulloch's attention whilst baying zombies looked on from behind razor wire as Al Cliver, clad only in a toga danced a merry jig.....or maybe that's just me.

Can you see the dog? She can't.

Kudos also to the enigmatic Cinzia (I was a corpse in Buio Omega) Monreale as the milky eyed dog fancier (and sensible shoed agent of Hell) Emily. As a kid I found her the most terrifying thing in the movie and would gaze at the colour pic of her in Starburst for hours trying to exorcise my demons....luckily as an adult you begin to appreciate the need for tall, plainly dressed, flat heeled and blind spooky ladies from beyond in horror films and it's a travesty that there aren't more of them.

Italian effects maestro Germano (Profondo Rosso) Natali provides the expected scenes of blood and mayhem, complementing Fulci's then obsession with the eye as a window to the soul with popping, squeezing and poking as many on screen as possible. Pity his (aforementioned) spiders were shite tho.

It has to be said that the true make-up genius on the movie was whoever decided to get local homeless drunks to play the naked, undead inhabitants of 'the beyond' for the films frankly bonkers finale. Knowing that these derelict damned for all eternity shadows of men are being portrayed by old, piss stained jakeys, fortified by cheap wine and the promise of a pizza brings a smile to my face every time.

"Can you smell cabbage?"

What more can I say?, go out and buy it now (or buy two, one for you and one for a friend). 

suits you sir.

Today's comic book based scientists talking utter bollocks story comes courtesy of the BBC science pages with the report that a "Spider-man" suit that enables its wearer to scale vertical walls like the comic and movie superhero could one day be a reality.

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Spider-Man yesterday.

Natural technology used by spiders and Gordon Gecko could help a human climb the side of a building, hang upside down from a roof, hold down a job at a local paper and fire webs from his wrists the analysis 'suggests'.

The findings/ramblings/lies are published in the Journal of Physics (incorporating Bullshite Monthly) this month.

Spiders possess tiny "hairs" (not in an exorcist way) that allow them to stick to surfaces and some studies suggest that Gecko can hold hundreds of times his own body weight (in hair gel).

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Gecko: Greed is good (as are
weak intermolecular forces).

In 2002, US research suggested this adhesion in Gecko was due to very weak intermolecular forces
produced by billions of hair-like structures of different sizes that are arranged in a hierarchical structure on each of Gecko's feet, or magic pixies.

The intermolecular "van der Waals" forces arise when unbalanced electrical charges around molecules attract one another or when the magic incantation is sung.

The cumulative attractive force of billions of gecko hairs allows the Wall Street character to scurry up walls, hang upside down on polished glass, shout 'Greed is good' a lot and use a brick sized 'mobile' phone.

Bespectacled yet attractive Professor Nicola Pugno, from STAR Labs, has calculated how sufficient salty stickiness (ooeerr) could be generated in the same way to support an adult human's body weight.

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Prof. Pugno: Collars.

But the bigger the surface that needs to stick, the lower its adhesion strength. So a glove able to fit a man's hand, and covered with artificial gecko hairs, should not be as sticky as a gecko's foot (unless the man had giant hands obviously).

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Big hands.

Luckily, Gecko only uses a fraction of the theoretical stickiness available through van der Waals forces.

"Some researchers were able to measure a [theoretical] adhesion strength 200 times higher than the adhesion strength in the gecko. But between theory and practical applications there is a large gap," said Professor Pugno breathlessly as she took off her glasses and let down her luxuriant raven hair.

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A spider last week.

"If we are able to make a surface a little bit stronger, so that the size effect vanishes, we might be able to make a suit with the same adhesion as Gecko's but without the braces, alternatively we could make a suit like the one Peter Parker wears. The problem with that is either Stan Lee will sue the arse of us and spend our research cash on wigs or it may end up looking like the one worn by Nicholas Hammond in the shite 70's TeeVee show."

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Hammond: Shit suit.

The fictional science lab-based researcher proposes that carbon 'nanotubes' could be used as an artificial alternative to Gecko's hair (Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon that measure just a few billionths of a metre across. They are ultra-strong and can be organised into larger fibres for those thick shits reading).

Professor Pugno also outlined four properties which a real Spider-man suit must demonstrate.

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A scientist tests the prototype.

Firstly, and most obviously, it must be red and blue with a web pattern and a spider emblem on the chest. Secondly, it must be able to demonstrate strong adhesive properties, the suit must be able to detach easily from a surface after it has stuck. Fourthly, the suit must, to some degree, be able to clean itself.

The latter requirement is considered important because dirt particles could get in the way, interfering with the adhesive properties of the suit or the dirt may manifest itself as an evil bio-entity, literally 'taking over the mind of the wearer making him become evil.

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Dirt: Evil incarnate.

One way to do it is to make the suit "superhydrophobic", so that it strongly repels water. As water droplets are forced away from the contact areas of the outfit, they should wash away particles of dirt, easily achieved simply by altering the geometrical properties, or topology, of the surface.

"To have all these mechanisms working together is difficult, because they are in competition with one another," Professor Pugno us. Pobably.

"But geckos and spiders provide a natural demonstration that this can be done."

She added that there were many interesting applications for adhesive suits, in areas ranging from space exploration, window cleaning, fighting crime in New York to defence.

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How the suit may look
if modeled by a lady.

But when we pointed out that human muscles are very different to those of spiders, so people would probably suffer from muscle fatigue if they tried to stick to a wall for many hours the Professor stormed off in a huff.


Friday, August 17, 2007

madeline smith: just because.

She was the first girl to snog Roger Moore's Bond, she's romped semi-naked with horror goddess Ingrid Pitt and appeared alongside Peter Wyngarde and the Carry On team, but she's best known as the cult British starlet with the large brown eyes and even larger breasts.
Her name is Madeline Smith and we love her so.

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Elfin face, bright eyes,
scary breasts.
Born in Sussex in 1949 and taught by nuns at a Convent school she escaped to London in 1967 to work in Biba's boutique in Kensington where two Italian men offered her (and her breasts) a role in the movie Escalation. Unfortunately years in the television wilderness followed before Madeline was cast as a bosom heaving virgin in the Hammer Lesbo Vamp classic The Vampire Lovers alongside a naked and writhing Ingrid Pitt. Most critics agree that her performance as a good girl tainted by Sapphic evil (whilst wearing a really low cut top) is the high point of the movie.
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Inside the mind of every 14 year
old horror fan in the 80's.

This film also brought Maddie to the attention of cult pop artist J. Edward Oliver who obsessively drew hundreds of comic strips featuring her 'adventures' over many years till she complained to her lawyers. This just gave him more to draw and write about and he continued till his death in early 2007.
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What Madeline really needed at this point was a substantial role in a major movie, unfortunately (for her) the only film work she was offered were roles that required her to slowly undress.
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Madeline decided to compromise, she refused to get totally nude but did offer to wear plunging necklines so her frighteningly large bosoms would always be on show whilst pulling a 'lights are on but no ones home' expression.
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The lights are on...

Her stage work was much more prestigious tho' and relied less on her chest and more on her actual acting talent, and included Habeas Corpus with Sir Alec (Obi-Wan) Guinness and Shut Your Eyes And Think Of England with Dame Donald Sinden (OK, this last one did involve her chest but to be fair she did flash her arse too).

In 1975 Madeline was hand picked by Lord Roger Moore to be his first Bond girl in the fantastic Live and Let Die in the scene where Bond undoes her dress with his magnet watch whilst quipping 'Sheer magnetism darling' whilst sucking her face.
Madeline's also appeared fully clothed (and in a blonde wig) in The Amazing Mr. Blunden playing Diana Dors' daughter, on stage in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap where she was throttled eight times a week for two years, and although she appeared in a few of the later Hammer efforts (in low cut tops) and in one off roles in major teevee shows, Madeline's career never really blossomed and she retired from acting in 1984 to raise a family.
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A (big) girls blouse yesterday.

Luckily for the serious film fan she has started to appear at memorabilia events and most of her early work is now available on DVD with fantastic pause and picture quality.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

top ten killer kiddies.

“She can fool some people with that innocent look she can put on and put off — but not me!”

10. Hayley Stark (Hard Candy).

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9. Michael Myers (Halloween).

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8. Damien Thorn (Omen II)

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7. Alice (Alice Sweet Alice)

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6. Baby Milt (it's Alive).

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5. The Midwich Cuckoos (Village of The Damned).

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4. Nola's kids (The Brood).

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3. The Grady Twins (The Shining).

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2. Rhoda Penmark (The Bad Seed).

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1. Karen (Night of The Living Dead).

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

the best toy i never owned.

Alongside the best haircut I never had.

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