High Weirdness by Mail

It’s 12:10 on Sunday, April 14th. Arsenal are 2-0 down after 10 minutes of the FA Cup Semi-Final against Terry Venables’ bunch of bankrupts. I am not a happy man, which may be reflected in the tone of this column. Apologies if it sounds like Stefan Jaworzyn is editing this issue…

Mark Stevens, Rugby – “Blade Runner bit [TC8] ok if you’re into that over-rated borefest. The article shows up what seems to me to be a TC fault – only trying to look for arty subtexts in a film if it’s visually stunning  and entertaining  first  off  (and looks  as if  it’s meant to be deep, a bad sign). Any Dario flick, or even Cannibal Ferox, is worthier than Blade Runner…Your Driller Killer review illustrates my Blade Runner gripe. I find it to be of high artistic content and many respected critics agree (not that I thought of it first!) and just because it isn’t dazzling and doesn’t have N.Kinski in it doesn’t mean it’s no good. There is actually a good reason for it’s being shot in a dull tone (to reflect that way of live) and hence it’s deliberateness makes it not dull, for me at least (could you understand that sentence? Because I’m having trouble on re-reading it).”

Nope, no problems with that one – it was the previous sentence, with the quadruple negatives, that got to me… I feel that deep down, most shallow exploitation films are exactly that – shallow exploitation. However, I may have missed the ‘subtexts’ inherent in the bit where the bloke gets his dick cut off, the artistic content of the animal torture and the whole point of movies that, no matter how well done they are, remain for me just a series of atrocities strung together for a cheap thrill. Anyone can make a sick puppy film, but it takes skill to hold an audience’s attention by appealing to their brains rather than their psychoses – me, although I like both sorts, I never make the mistake of confusing them!

Tony Lee, Isle of Wight – “I can hardly believe you found Wings of Desire boring! Yes, a bit slow, but sometimes quite imaginative and easily the best thing Wenders has done! Transylvania 6-500 was at least mildly amusing, if not actually very funny. And as for saying Jeff Goldblum has “no talent for comedy at all” (!) have you never seen TV’s Tenspeed and Brownshoe? – and what about Buckaroo Banzai? Earthgirls Are Easy, and the latent humour of Into the Night? Or for that matter, The Fly? Goldblum is a master of subtle character based comedy”

Yes, I was rolling in the aisles at The Fly, just like the rest of the audience. From what I can see, where Goldblum’s films are funny, this tends to be despite, rather than because of him. Witness the recent series of adverts for Holsten Pils (there’s a novel idea, advertise a beer by getting a tall foreign actor to be weird!) – I rest my case. And now for a couple of people who seem a little unhappy with the state of fandom, starting with the sort of unsubstantiated insinuations that letter columns were invented for:

William Kilfeather, California – “This is an open letter to all movie zines. Please see the attached review of Michael Flores’s (It’s Only A Movie). If more zines were brave enough to print a review like this, fewer of us would have been ripped off and in some cases for a lot of money.”

The review mentioned is from an un-named publication and the bit highlighted reads as follows:

“We owe it to our readers who may wish to subscribe to It’s Only a Movie to mention that Flores has a reputation for not fulfilling orders on subscriptions and videos. Use caution!”

Douglas Angel, Gt.Yarmouth – “Funny you should be criticising Samhain in your pages, I quite agree that it’s going downhill, has been for a couple of years I’d say. I always laugh at their pretension of the horror zine scene being “healthy”, a lot of them are utter ****! One I paid £1 for had about ten single-sided badly photocopied A4 pages with almost no text and some badly swiped photos, all of which have been seen in lots of publications over the years. Take away **** like that and the foreign zines that appear and you don’t have that many left. I only feel that there are only a handful that are worth buying.”

Now, here are two nuggets of trivia that might be very important (on the other hand, they might be totally irrelevant), some comments on financing T-shirts and an entirely unjustifiable speculation on the reasons behind my change of address:

Alun Fairburn, Ammanford – “Did you know that when Ripley activates the launch sequence in the escape shuttle towards the end of Alien, the message that appears on the monitor (‘ENVIRON CTR PURGE 24556 DR 5’) is the same message (and in the same colours) as a message that appears in the police car as Deckard and Edward James Olmos lift off near the beginning of Blade Runner?…Did I mention the Robocop 2 ‘joke’? In a scene in which Belinda Bauer/Dr.Faxx looks at the broken down Robocop & we get a view from his point of view, a load of rubbish scrolls up the screen, among it a line of hex which when translated says ‘Peter Kuran is a great guy’. Kuran was one of the computer FX people. I must be bored or something.”

Daniel Cox, Greenford – “I have already begun to raise the cost of the T-shirt in three desperate ways:

1) a swear box. With this I have already amassed 6p, which only goes to show what a vulgar person I can be under pressure.

2) sponsored suicide. With this I was able to raise over œ12,000,000 but I chickened out and had to return the money.

3) by looking for money. A simple but ingenious idea. I have already found 42p simply by looking for it on the ground. What are the limits to this method I ask myself.

Anyway, to date I still only have 48p and some way to go for a TC t-shirt, and even though through self-awareness classes I have been able to reach a state of mind which allows me to view the piggy bank as being half full rather than half empty, financially that doesn’t seem to make any bloody difference…”

Glyn Williams, Derby – “Is this constant changing of addresses entirely innocent? It’s tempting to think that an incident involving a combination of your passion for French teenage girls and melted Belgian chocolate may have meant an enforced move.”

I deny everything. We simply ran out of room in the old house – there’s a limit to the number of chocolate-coated Euro-bimbettes one can keep in the fridge at the same time… Till TC10…