By Roy Mathur, on 2022-10-10, at 23:43:28 to 00:54:35 BST, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen
There was lots of faffing to start the #podcast tonight. Then, while the new mic was warming up, a migraine whacked me in the eyes to the point where I could barely see what I'm typing, hence the slight delay in starting.
My #migraine's scintillating scotoma aura flickered to the beat of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida that suddenly started earworming in my brain. How psychedelic space rock is that?
An even more than my late birthday, a happy belated Pitru Paksha, which is a sort of Halloween for Hindus involving the veneration of dead ancestors. The ritual honors paternal ancestors, and basically meant my Dad had to pour some water in the direction of the sunset.
Halloween/All Hallows' Eve itself already partially originates from the Celtic Samhain, both of which venerate the dead. The similar time of the year and association with the ancestors is probably why they became conflated in my head with Pitru Paksha.
Talking of Halloween, as usual retailers are drained of stock and have already put out Christmas products. Every year I rail against this retail stupidity like a broken record. This is like my rant about lack of summer clothes in actual summer. Stupid shops.
Horror movie season is upon us and that is reflected in the title, content, and many of the images in this week's shownotes.
Let's go off-piste for moment, then back on.
Recently, Western fascism is on the rise and our own Prime Minister was doing an impression of Neville Chamberlain licking fascist boots, our energy bills are still astronomical after the freeze on the average tariff without the additional windfall tax on obscenely profiteering energy companies, the spectre of nuclear armageddon looms, the climate continues imploding, there were recent revelations of British war crimes in Palestine, and the cherry on top? I had to spend half an hour getting absolutely nowhere on Saturday trying to report vandalism of a local Roman excavation site that some stupid brainless bastards were messing up, just for laughs, in broad daylight, in front of a lot of head-in-the-sand witnesses. If the local authorities won' look after there millennia old heritage, they should leave it buried, and now I'm going off track again, so I'll stop.
For all those infuriating reasons, it is a welcome relief to dive into the comparatively benign escapism of horror season. Let the screaming begin.
The long awaited 2022 Hulu TV movie reboot of Clive Barker's horror cult classic, based on Clive Barker's horror novella The Hellbound Heart (1986). It is about sadomasochistic demons from a hell dimension lurking and ready to temp the unwary within the confines of an ancient puzzle box called the Lament Configuration.
Hellraiser (1987) is a film I love and have talked about many times before, but the original was always rather odd. For example, it had a transatlantic setting and cast plonked into a geographical no man's land to make it palatable to both UK and US audiences. The shallow marketing ploy only ever worked in an unintended manner, making it add to the unsettling subject matter.
The new movie starts of with an entirely unnecessary BWAAMM as it opens in Belgrade. What excactly is so sinister about Belgrade? Then we move America, where recovering druggie, Rily, is manipulated by her boyfriend to indirectly procure sacrifices to free his employer, a thrill-seeking billionaire playboy, who ran afoul of the Cenobites after getting his hands on the evil Rubic's Cube some years before.
There are new Cenobites, including a new Pinhead, a budget for better effects, but it simply doesn't have the low budget charm, nor the black humour of the original. For example, 1987 Frank's over-the-top grubby perversity and Julia's black widow-like murderous escapades as she lures and then dispatches a series of poor schmucks with a hammer. The parallels between rich deviant playboy and his Ghislaine Maxwell-like procurer of young flesh is also too obvious.
On a side note, I miss Clive Barker's old mate, Bradley Walsh, who's a bit too old to be play the iconic Pinhead, though it would have been interesting to see aged pervy sex demons, tottering about on slick black vinyl covered walking sticks.
This less than a hour is a very schlocky Marvel TV special on Disney+, looks as if it could have been ripped from the pages of the old EC Comics horror line and a 40s/50s black and white monster B-movie.
In it, a cult of seasoned monster hunters meet to hunt a deadly beast for the prize of inheriting their dead leader's mystical jewel. This message is relayed from beyond death by the dead man who's mutilated and ghastly remains have been badly stuffed and then horribly animated like a puppet on a string.
The hunters are a bunch of murderous psychopaths, including a hulking Scottish lunatic reminiscent of Austin Power's baby-eating Fat Bastard. If the characters from this little movie are sourced from Marvel's back catalogue, I did not recognise them. But I'm guessing they are, because their distinct character designs seem too imaginative to have just been made up on the spot, whole cloth, by the writers.
The hunt takes place, with each hunter trying to simultaneously kill the monster, claim the prize, and dispatch the competition.
Gael Garcia Bernal is delightful as the protagonist, who despite the facial tattoos, looks more like an accountant; albeit possibly one who could work for the Addams Family. The scene when he repeatedly tries to plant a bomb is hilarious; like something from a Laurel and Hardy film.
The werewolf creature design is similar to that which originated with Lon Chaney Jr.'s The Wolf Man (1941); that of the snarling monky-man-type lycanthrope.
The monster murdering cult reminds me of the death squad from Karl Edward Wagner's fantasy short story, Cold Light, with their warped moral justification for murdering monsters.
This is a delightfully nasty, very gory, very funny, lovingly retro, and altogether a heartwarming feature that I heartily recommend.
AMC 2022 show rebooting Anne Rice's, short story and novel.
This time around, it is Lestat coming to the early 20th century New Orleans to turn a different Louis; this one a rich pimp. It is this Louis who re-engages with a journalist he met many years before.
Much as I enjoyed Eric Bogosian's grouchy old hack, this is like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with different characters playing out a story we've already seen.
Other than these minor character changes, one major difference to Rice's's work is that the new Louis and Lestat are definitely gay; there's no reading between the lines, there's zero ambiguity. Christopher Rice's influence perhaps?
This is a new Mike Flannagan Netflix show. It is based on a YA horror series of novels with a mystical bent by cult author Christopher Pike. The novels it is based on are interesting, for a horror/mystery stories, as they get relatively deep into eastern religions, like Hinduism, in a way that isn't shallow. This, unfortunately, isn't carried into the TV adaptation. This a missed opportunity as my culture is usually exploited from a weirdly Orientalist point of view in western media. I have a particular fondness for the literary franchise, as I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel of the series, lent to me by a cousin while in Mauritius by many years ago. I like that they used the iconic logo from the cover of that book to represent the show.
In the first episode, teenage girl with terminal cancer moves to hospice, and joins the Midnight Club. A club in which all gather at midnight to swap ghost stories, and also promise that to try and contact the others post-mortem. The first story is about a boy getting lost and then being subjected to repeated jump scares by a malevolent Sadako type; so many that it becomes a hilarious parody of the trope. The new girl spins them a spookily embellished story loosely based on a previous hospice patient, who later went into full remission; an outcome she hopes to follow and her covert reason for moving to the hospice.
Given that it is about teens living out their last days in a hospice---a grim setup---it is done in a way that is more suspenseful than sad and remains hopeful. Most of the plot centres around the spooky surroundings and follows our main protagonist in her quest to uncover the mystery of the girl from 1968 who went into remission. The rest is the Midnight Club framing device narrative with supernatural stories told by other patients that give off a few Goosebumps vibes, but it's really aimed at a more mature audience; the elevator scene in episode 3 scared me so much I hid under my blanket. The cast also play parts in the stories they tell. Both the main plot and the Midnight Club members' schlocky stories are very engaging and I'm very much enjoying the show.
If you want to hear what I think of Mike Flannagan's past work, I reviewed Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Bly Manor in 413. I'm also looking forward to Flannagan's The Fall of the House of Usher later this year.
Late breaking: I read that the first episode containing twenty-one jump scare has been inducted into the Guinness Book of Records for having the most jump scares in any media ever.
Open source Stable Diffusion, made by StabilityAI, is one of several AI based tools that takes in a text string and from that seed produces art derived from a vast database of images.
Last Friday, I fed an online implementation of Stable Diffusion AI art tool, Hugging Face, the following text string: "mccoy spock kirk as one star trek in space" to generate this image; my ultimate avuncular, though slightly uncanny, male.
My second attempt, before I'd finalised the topics areas of this episode, used this text string: "Ancestors Feed Diffusion of Pervy Demon Vampires After Midnight" to produced the following four images.
When I finalised the key topics I wanted to talk about in this episode, my last attempt used "Midnight Werewolf Sex Demon Vampire", and got the title image that could pass for a black metal album cover.
Note: another online app using the API, Hotpot AI, balked at that last text string, censored it, and refused to produce images.
Tonight, I biting the bullet and giving the Shure SM7B, I bought many months ago, a proper try.
Anyway, there was a lot of faffing about getting rid of some delightful noise Windows decided to add, which happens every time I disconnect and reconnect my cables while the computer is powered up. Looking for hardware problems when it was software was a real head scratcher, let me tell you. I finally got it plugged in and ready to go, and again, through my analogue setup, it required no extra power from a mic booster. My feeling is that newer digital gear just doesn't have the juice that even my cheapo Yamaha MG06 can supply.
I've used this mic before, then put it away. While it sounded better than all my previous mics (AT275R, XM8500, SM58), like many people, especially whose life revolves around audio, I'm a technologically conservative podcaster because if it's not broke, why fix it, and many other cliches. Also, that form factor. Well, it's a bit like staring into the business end of a bazooka.
I removed my passable (for mild gaming), but noisy old card, to make my recordings quieter. The noisy rattly fan was driving me insane, even after multiple cleanings.
Definitely fanless graphics when I upgrade.
Regarding the top of the show, didn't I say I'd limit myself to shorter off topic hot takes? Well, I did, didn't I?
This is somewhat surprising as I have been boiling with the heat of a thousand suns since yet another email from my energy provider, OVO, hiking our direct debit to 70% of our total average monthly spend. There are other bloody bills to pay and food to buy! You know how they offered to help? They pointed me at several charities, instead of doing the right thing by making less profit and charging us less.
Like I said, I'm back, so expect two shows per week. This all things geek one and our continuing the classic Doctor rewatch, Warriors' Gate, which will conclude the E-Space Trilogy and be available from Friday.
It was nice to see that PR photograph, Tweeted by SFX on the 4th October, of Ace in her old gear; flight jacket with patches and a wielding a baseball bat, though she really should stand further from that wall while hauling a backpack full of Nitro-9 grenades. (You can hear me actually interviewing Sophie Aldred in episode 99).
Late breaking: the BBC tweeted on the October 8th that The Power of the Doctor would be released on the 23rd October.
Though this show includes a Doctor Who podcast, don't expect me to talk about it too much pre-release as I don't want the story spoilt.