A Moving Experience

You may have noticed this issue of TC is late. The main reason behind this is that it’s difficult to produce a ‘zine when all your stuff is in a garage near Crystal Palace about three miles from where you yourself are. Yes, an impressive series of cock-ups meant that for about three weeks I was yet again, if not exactly homeless, sleeping on a couch and living out of carrier bags.

We’d been given notice to quit Underhill Road and had managed to find a new place (despite the tendency of agents to define a “luxury kitchen” as anything that hadn’t actually been condemned by the local Environmental Health Officer – a lot of these places were immediately followed by a swift withdrawal into the nearest pub for a stiff drink). It hadn’t really been that tough compared to last time, when there’d been a nasty three week gap when I was of no fixed abode while we waited for the references to go through. This time, it was going to be smooth.

We should have realised that the only reason the Fates were rolling out the red carpet, was in order to let them pull it out from under our feet.

Moving Day arrived. The omens weren’t good. My employers have been shedding workers with deceptive ease, very slowly to avoid undue Press interest – every Friday, a few more people are called in to see Alison Fenn, the personnel department’s hit-woman, and are never seen again. This Friday, it was our department’s turn. At 5.25 pm, my phone rang.

I came down off the ceiling and answered it. It was Vic, our new landlord with a slight problem – the old residents, from whom he was buying the property, had left without giving him the keys. He was trying to contact them. Ok, no hassle, I thought – the keys will turn up before long. I went home, ignoring the twitches from my intuition.

We’d arranged for a van, and a friend to drive it since none of us had car licences. At 7 pm Bill, the driver, phoned. He hadn’t got the van, he’d been snared at work and was unable to reach the hire place before it shut. We began to frantically phone other companies, most of whom were shut, but finally found one willing to open their depot and rent us a van for a sum just this side of extortionate. While they were sorting things out, Bill phoned back – he’d got hold of a Renault 5, if we wanted to try moving our stuff in that. We looked at the enormous pile of cases, bags and boxes in the front room. We laughed hysterically. The van hire company phoned back to say they couldn’t get the depot open. We decided to go with the Renault 5. My intuition was doing things to the hairs on my neck.

Waiting for Bill and Renault to arrive, we indulged in a little more packing. There were still bottles lying around with alcoholic liquid in them so we decided to reduce the load a bit by putting the contents into larger containers – to be specific, our stomachs. Gradually, things took on a pleasantly rose-tinted aspect. My intuition washed it’s hands, went to bed and pulled the psychological blankets over it’s head.

The car arrived, and we began shifting the goods. Still no sign of the keys at the other end so we stacked things in the landlord’s garage instead – fortunately, he stayed next door to the place we were supposed to be moving into. Ten Renault runs and about four hours later, it was done, and 247 Underhill Road was totally empty of anything that might have connected it to us. This included bed-linen, so I spent an uncomfortable night sleeping on a bare mattress without any sheets.

It got even worse at about 2 a.m, when the peach schnapps and other drinks consumed earlier that evening, decided to make a return visit – they didn’t taste nearly as nice on the way up as they did when they were going down. It’s not pleasant to have your head stuck down the toilet while Reality taps you on the shoulder and says things like “Are you remembering you’ve got nowhere to sleep tonight?”. In the distance I could hear my intuition laughing.

Saturday dawned (hideously) bright and (far too) early. I peeled my eyelids off the floor and got up, ready to face the dreaded Inventory Check. This, the bane of all tenants, involves someone comparing what is in the house now with what was in it when you moved in – any difference comes off your deposit. Done on a room-by-room basis, it’s the residential equivalent of the three-shell game, as you try to shuffle furniture around at such a rate that it gives the impression of a full house. This doesn’t always work, leading to anguished screams of “Turkish coffee-pot? What Turkish coffee-pot?”

We signed away our deposit, handed over the keys, left and hung around outside. I should mention that the house came complete with a cleaner, who came in on Mondays and Fridays to make sure the place was habitable (Sunday and Thursday evenings, we went round the house putting beer cans in bins, restoring videos to boxes and trying to make sure the place was semi-habitable). She’d been very helpful, so we swung into Plan A: “begging for mercy”. “Please can we stay here for the weekend because we haven’t got anywhere else to go and we’ll be as good as gold and won’t make a mess at all and we’ll be out of the house on Monday morning and we’d be ever so grateful”. In the face of such concentrated pleading, there was only one possible result and we gained two days respite. I switched to the couch in an attempt to have a mildly less uncomfortable weekend, not too successfully because all my clean socks and pants were sitting in a garage some five miles away.

On Monday, we found out why the old owners hadn’t handed back the keys: they were still waiting to get the final installment of their money because of a cock-up between the two solicitors somewhere. In effect, Vic had rented us a place that he didn’t actually own, which would have been bad enough even without the fact that one solicitor was now in the middle of a three-week holiday. However, all was not lost. Vic was suffering from serious pangs of guilt at being responsible for all this (feelings we tried to encourage by whistling ‘Underneath the Arches’ and repeatedly asking each other for spare change) and arranged for us to have the use of a friend’s flat until things got straightened out.

The friend turned out to be Michael Thomas, a name that might be familiar to Arsenal fans – visions of tables piled high with South American nose candy, endless parties and appearances in court on drink-driving charges swam briefly before my eyes, until I was brought down to earth by the fact that Mr. Thomas didn’t actually stay there any more. He had been renting the place out but it was now free. And ‘free’ is the word – not only was it costing us nothing, the rent for the remainder of March was waived by Vic, leaving us each about 200 quid better off.

Which is probably about fair compensation for two weeks in Streatham. Not exactly the centre of the universe, it’s most renowned for having the biggest red-light district in South London. Could have fooled me – though not exactly short of underdressed bimbos, most of them seemed to be aged about 12 and were at the ice-rink or the bowling alley. Whether this constitutes a red-light district depends, I suppose, on whether or not you like the taste of puppy fat between your teeth.

Add to this that we were living in a flat where the most interesting thing was a television set with no aerial, and you’ll not be surprised to find we drank a lot of beer. The lack of plates too, meant a lot of junk food was consumed and overall it was a near thing whether we’d escape before cholesterol poisoning or cirrhosis of the liver took their toll.

Streatham on a Saturday night gives the impression of a place very much on the edge. Precisely what it’s on the edge of, I’m not sure. Tooting, or Balham perhaps. There’s a night-club called the Ritzy, but despite this it seemed to be popular judging by the long queue of blow-dried secretaries, no doubt called Sharon and Tracy, and their boyfriends, named Stig and Urk if their foreheads were anything to go by. As for the doormen, the famous joke :
“Got any concealed weapons?”
“No.”
“Want to buy some?”
takes on alarming plausibilty in Streatham. I didn’t venture in.

A week passed, and the solicitor came back off holiday. Then the problems really started. The final payment was made. The sellers wanted interest on it, for the three weeks they didn’t have the money. They eventually got it. Then they waited for the cheque to clear. The result as far as we were concerned was that every day in the second week we packed, got ready to leave, and were told that it’d happen tomorrow instead. To quote J. Cleese in ‘Clockwise’, “I can stand the despair, it’s the hope”. And there was nothing we, or our landlord, could do but watch as the solicitors’ wrangled and raked in the fees. I took to making up solicitor jokes:

  • Q. How many solicitors does it take to wall-paper a bedroom?
  • A. Two – if you slice them thinly enough.
  • Q. Why do solicitors only make love with their wives on top?
  • A. Because all they can do is fuck up.

My response to the news we had finally prised the keys out of the solicitor’s grip and had a home to go to was unsurprisingly mute cynicism. I’d sunk into a numb single-mindedness, unable to think about anything else, yet going round in mental circles. “That’s nice” was about as far as I could get.

Early Greek philosophers adopted a spartan lifestyle to concentrate their minds – for instance Diogenes lived in a barrel. Having spent 18 days with no possessions, wearing the same tie to work thirteen days on the trot and living out of plastic bags, I can thus disclose the great truth revealed to me in a vision: INXS and Transvision Vamp are actually the same band. No, really – apart from Wendy James, how many members of TV can most people name? And apart from Michael Hutchence, does anyone know who INXS are? I rest my case. But do they just swap singers, or is Wendy really Michael in drag? And where did Eighth Wonder/Patsy Kensit fit in? Or was this all a hallucination brought on by too much Kentucky Fried Chicken?

In any case, I’ve learned at least one thing. My parents have stayed in the same house ever since they got married, thirty years ago. I am now entirely convinced they’ve got the right idea.

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…

Do You Feel Lucky?

I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking, did he fire five shots or six? Well, to tell the truth, in all this confusion I forgot myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, and the most powerful handgun in the world – it can blow your head clean off – you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?

Since the late ’60s, audiences worldwide have been fascinated by Eastwood’s style. His no-nonsense approach to the most demanding of situations has fired the imaginations of millions. It has also been widely copied and caused much controversy.

So when you think of Eastwood, the first image conjured up is probably that of a superhuman cop or western outlaw with a thin snarl on his lips, a squint and a poor “punk” at the wrong end of some serious weaponry. Oh, and you want him to pull the trigger! Just what is it about Eastwood that makes his popularity so universal? In a strictly sociological sense, much of his success can be attributed to the era from which his type of “hero” arose. Stateside, the sixties were violent, reactionary and anti-establishment. The classic film formula of sex, destruction of property and abuse of authority was the inevitable result. At the time heroes like Paul Newman and Marlon Brando may have defined the “antihero”, but the backgrounds of the characters they played always excused them as either victims of their environments or lovable rogues.

Eastwood strode onto the screen in A Fistful of Dollars as a man seemingly devoid of the simplest emotions or sympathetic actions. He exuded the absolute certainty of one who stood above the rest of mankind, and that there was no-one he couldn’t or wouldn’t kill. Above all he was in complete control of his environment and completely certain of his actions. Here was a new kind of hero.

And therein lies his appeal to audiences. He was – and still is – the fantasy answer to our real life problems. People’s desires are reflected in the heroes they choose, and who wouldn’t want to possess the fast thinking and accurate decision making needed to take on the all pervasive society which renders us impotent. And to take it on and win! Go on, admit it – you’ve fantasized about delivering the line “make my day” with a Colt Magnum to underline it. Who hasn’t!

Sergio Leone’s remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, made with a working title of The Magnificent Stranger and financed by a German-Italian-Spanish production company, ran into problems when both Henry Fonda and Lee Van Cleef rejected the part of “The man with no name”. The story goes that when the production team met, the only suggestion raised was that they try out a tall soft-spoken American actor who had a supporting role in the long running black-and-white serial Rawhide.

Eastwood, a relative unknown, saw it as a holiday for himself and his wife Maggie, a break from the serial, a fifteen thousand dollar fee and a chance to demonstrate his independence from CBS, who would neither release him from his contract or allow him to direct an episode. Most tellingly, he was confident that the film would never be shown in the US, and as the only one on the set of The Magnificent Stranger with any experience of the Western (and the only one who could speak English), he decided to take his character to the limit. Marlon Brando wouldn’t even get out of bed for fifteen thousand dollars!

It was not until ’67, after The Good, the Bad and the Ugly had been completed, that A Fistful of Dollars was bought by U.A. and shown in the States to huge audiences and awful reviews:

  • A Fistful of Dollars: “Mr. Eastwood shows a talent for squinting and mouthing a cigarillo.” — Judith Crist, New York Tribune
  • For a Few Dollars More: “A treat for necrophiliacs. The rest of us can get our kicks for free at the butcher store.” — Judith Crist, NBC Today show
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: “… must be the most expensive, pious, and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre.” — Reanata Adler, New York Times

Eastwood’s friendship with Don Seigel (who directed Coogan’s Bluff and nominated Eastwood for membership of the Director’s Guild so he could make Play Misty For Me) resulted in one of the most controversial films of his career to date, Dirty Harry. The film quickly became a cause celebre with the media who felt that the film condoned fascist police actions, and the police who saw it as a sympathetic treatment of an honest man’s frustrations at police work.

Dirty Harry is pretty representative of Eastwood’s style, and the direction of his films subsequently. Filmed on location, on a low budget (well, low by Warner Bros. standards), under schedule and with Eastwood’s famous insistence on doing his own stunts, most notably the leap from a trestle bridge onto a moving school-bus. Its also a film in which the “hero” gets beaten physically. The first shootout (from which the above dialogue is taken) takes place outside the “Kwik Lunch” sandwich bar, which is next to a movie theatre. Have you noticed which film is playing? Incidentally, the poster copy for the film ran “You don’t assign him to murder cases, you just turn him loose”!

The critics were a little less hostile to the Dirty Harry series:

  • Dirty Harry: A fast-paced detective story. Eastwood is excellent.” — New York Daily News
  • Magnum Force: “All that Eastwood can manage is a frown that suggests tension. The excitement is mainly in the camera work, which is stunning.” — Nora Sayre, New York Times
  • The Enforcer: “The Enforcer is the third or fourth Dirty Harry movie with Clint Eastwood blowing people’s heads off and creating the kind of havoc Batman would find juvenile…It all went out of style years ago with Clint Eastwood’s mumbling.” — Rex Reed, New York Daily News
  • Sudden Impact: “Sudden Impact has all the action anyone could want..This movie’s a whirligig, an explosion, and absolutely senseless.” — Archer Winsten, New York Post

Eastwood’s Malpaso (false step) production company was founded as a vehicle to make Eastwood’s fast and cheap brand of escapism. In the mid seventies, among much talk of the death of the Western, Eastwood worked through High Plains Drifter and The Outlaw Josey Wales, films notable for their decidedly offbeat/supernatural character and the lack of a single likeable character! These are films where the quality of the direction stands out in generating atmosphere and terror in low key, disconcertingly normal situations.

Over the years, Eastwood has turned down starring roles in Apocalypse Now and The Killing Fields, preferring to experiment with scripts like Tightrope and Bird. He has been displaced at the box office by ’80s heroes (Murphy, Stallone, Cruise), but in the author’s opinion he’d blow them away in a straight fight!

Filmography

  • 1955  – Revenge of the Creature (b/w)
            Francis in the Navy (b/w)
            Lady Godiva (GB: Lady Godiva of Coventry)
            Tarantula (b/w, uncredited – above)
  • 1956  – Away All Boats
            Never Say Goodbye
            The First Travelling Saleslady
            Star in the Dark
  • 1957  – Escapade in Japan
  • 1958  – Lafayette Escadrille (GB: Hell Bent for Glory)
  •         Ambush at Cimarron Pass
  • 1964  – A Fistful of Dollars (orig: Per un Pugno di Dollari)
  • 1965  – For a Few Dollars More (orig: Per qualche Dollaro in piu)
  • 1966  – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (orig: Il buono, Il bruto, Il cattivo)
  • 1967  – The Witches
  • 1968  – Hang ‘Em High
            Coogan’s Bluff
  • 1969  – Where Eagles Dare
            Paint Your Wagon
  • 1970  – Kelly’s Heroes
            Two Mules for Sister Sara
  • 1971  – The Beguiled
            Play Misty for Me (+ dir.)
            Dirty Harry
  • 1972  – Joe Kidd
  • 1973  – High Plains Drifter (+ dir.)
            Breezy (+ dir.)
            Magnum Force
  • 1974  – Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  • 1975  – The Eiger Sanction (+ dir.)
  • 1976  – The Outlaw Josey Wales (+ dir.)
            The Enforcer
  • 1977  – The Gauntlet (+ dir.)
  • 1978  – Every Which Way But Loose
  • 1979  – Escape from Alcatraz
  • 1980  – Bronco Billy
            Any Which Way You Can
  • 1982  – Firefox (+ prod/dir.)
            Honky Tonk Man (+ prod/dir.)
  • 1983  – Sudden Impact (+ prod/dir.)
  • 1984  – Tightrope (+ co-prod.)
            City Heat
  • 1985  – Pale Rider (+ prod/dir.)
            Vanessa in the Garden (TVM)
  • 1986  – Heartbreak Ridge (+ prod/dir.)
  • 1988  – The Dead Pool
            Bird (prod/dir)
  • 1990  – White Hunter, Black Heart (dir)
            The Rookie

Welcome to the Videodrome

Does Wendy James wear knickers or not? Those of you who saw BBC1’s “Going Live!” on April 13th will have seen Bendy Wendy perform Transvision Vamp’s latest single (since she’s always careful not to exploit her body, I must have been hallucinating when I saw her clad in a skirt so short it barely covered her panties, grinding her crotch at the camera, stroking her inner thighs and squeezing her small-but-perfectly-formed breasts – ditto, the cover of The Face magazine, which had Wendy just-about wearing bits of a coat-hanger). There followed this interesting exchange with presenter Sarah Greene:

SG: Do all your knickers match your frocks?

WJ: No, I don’t usually wear them.

SG: <Long pause> You’re not scared about catching cold then?

[2020 update: God bless YouTube for preserving the above conversation]

YouTube video

In the investigative spirit for which TC is famed, I’ll be going to see Transvision Vamp in concert before next issue and will be down at the front checking to see just how natural a blonde Wendy really is…

One final tweak to the top 10 films of 1990, following Xmas viewing. ‘Meet the Feebles’ doesn’t stand up to repeated viewing so is replaced by ‘In the Line of Duty 4’, which gets better on reviewing. And a comic book to recommend: ‘Squeak the Mouse’, Tom & Jerry crossed with every splatter movie you’ve seen. It was recommended to me some time ago by a reader (can’t remember who!) but it’s taken a while to get hold of a copy, since Customs seem to have been great fans of it… ‘Meet the Applegates’ did indeed improve on a second viewing – while it’s still no ‘Heathers’, it’s a neat little movie. I saw a trailer for Michael Lehmann’s next film, ‘Hudson Hawke’ recently: I’m not overly optimistic…

Next issue: I feel something Oriental creeping on. It’ll have been four issues (= a year [near enough!]) since the last one, so it seems a good time to loose my predilection for lingerie-clad Japanese gothettes. Precisely what this means for TC remains to be seen. It’ll probably involve a cold shower or two.

Thanks are due to Steve Rag, Dan Pydynkowski, Graf Hauser and Claire Blamey (all of whom have been feeding my NK obsession), Andy Waller, Paul Higson, Helen McCarthy, Stefan Kwiatkowski, Anthony Cawood, George Houston, John from Barlaston, Jay Felton, Tim Paxton, Damien Drake and Steve Moss. Congratulations to Fantasynopsis and Imaginator for taking the top places in Samhain’s ‘zine poll – definitely worthy winners. TC8 was available from Forbidden Planet, Fantasy Inn and Psychotronic Videos, London, plus Videodrom, Berlin and Forbidden Planet, Cardiff – maybe the last named will get round to paying me for the issues I sent them at some point?


Film Blitz: Stop Press

Silence of the Lambs – Jonathan (Married to the Mob) Demme directs the adaptation of Thomas Harris’ excellent novel of the same name. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster star as psychopath and trainee FBI agent respectively. Sounds like a strange combination? Well, it works brilliantly: Hopkins will win next year’s Best Actor and the film will be nominated for Best Film. The story concerns Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), a psychiatrist turned psychopath incarcerated in a top security mental institution – Clarice Sterling (Foster) is used to try and gain Lester’s help on the case of ‘Buffalo Bill’, a serial killer who skins his female victims. The most terrifying thing in the film (and the book) is the interplay between Sterling and Lecter – Hopkins is just totally charismatic as the too-intelligent-to-be-sane psychopath and plays Lecter to perfection. Honestly, the film haunts me even while I’m writing this… 10/10. (AC)

Contents

Trash City – Issue 9

Spring 1991.

TC-shirts!

After consultation and market research, the final design is front: Kinski pic + “Trash City – the T-shirt they tried to ban!”. back: most will have the text, “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw…” (a ‘Heathers’ quote, so it’s not totally gratuitous) but some won’t, and may be worn in polite company. A printer has now been found with sufficiently few scruples to do them (though he doesn’t know about the quote yet!) – the bad news is that the back-printed ones will cost more – not sure of exact cost at the moment, but you will be told in due course. New readers wondering what we’re discussing are invited to send for further details, if they are interested in clothing with a full-colour picture of a blood-spattered German actress…

Congrats to my two favoured ice-hockey teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota North Stars, for both getting to the Stanley Cup final when neither has ever won it before. You are urged to watch Liquid TV (BBC2: Monday 1915), the most innovative and interesting program on TV at the moment. This issue was brought to you by the letter Ö, the number e3, 2 quarter tabs of beta-blockers, more Winona Ryder pics than the human mind can comprehend and a driving licence. Yep, passed this time!

CREDITS
  • Produced by: Jim McLennan.
  • Directed by: Per Porter.
  • From an original script by: Anthony Cawood, Des Lewis, Jim McLennan, Paul Mallinson, Martin Murray, Per Porter, Dan Pydynkowski and Steve Welburn.
  • Key grip: Copyprint, London

Sub. rates (min. 2 issues) are 75p/issue UK, $1.50 Europe, $3 elsewhere. A label on the envelope tells you the last one you’ll get + how much is left over after it. Note the price increase for UK issues – this is still brilliant value (I reckon), you pay for the ‘zine, I pay for the postage. Single issues are œ1 ($2,$4), including postage – this just about breaks even. I sell copies to shops for 75p, so a œ1.25 shop price seems fair. Cheques/PO’s to Jim McLennan. Contributions are welcome, and I reserve the right to publish correspondence unless specifically asked not to. Send everything to :
Jim McLennan, 7 Tummons Gardens, S.Norwood Hill, LONDON, SE25 6BD
which has changed as well. Eagle-eyed readers may notice the post-code is not the same as on the change of address slips I sent out – that was wrong, the one above is official and Post Office approved. And since we’d no room on the cover, this is a more sensible than usual list of:

CONTENTS
1-3The Usual stuff27Song lyrics from Hell!
4-7Clint Eastwood: the Magnum man28-29The Chicago Bares…
8-9They came from inside the envelope…30-35Film Blitz
10-13The search for intelligent life in Streatham36-38Read by Dawn: ‘zines ‘n’ stuff
14-17Incredibly Bad Film Show: Iron Angels39-41Music for Eurocrats
18-21Conspiracy Corner: War, huh!42-43Martin & Me
22How to make a martial arts movie44-47Recommended For Mature Readers
23-26Golden Showers48…and you thought we’d forgotten her!

San Future Chronicles 3½

Well, here we are again, & I don’t know if this is San Futuro Volume three or four, as Jim won’t let on if the TC6 Manga piece was really a volume of SFC or not.. For this venture into the world of comics. the Ed (capital “E’ insisted upon !!) desires a theme. Apart from the obvious reply of “well, don’t comics count as a theme” the most obvious options were… Sex; Horror, Kinski and Films. Sex comics aren’t really a great forte of mine – the nearest I get are Faust (Sex’n’Violence), Heavy Metal (Arty European Sex); and Omaha The Cat Dancer (Cute animal sex – Jim won’t let me write about it as he considers it a slur on Bambi’s good name).

Well, if not sex, waddabout horror ??? It’s close to all the team’s hearts (not as close as sex, but still pretty close!!), we’ve got a good few examples of various types… the gory ones such as Faust, Blade, Chaingang etc; the psychological ones – Hellblazer, Sandman, Cry For Dawn (okay, so that one also has a load of gore – so what ??); and various others – Vampire Lestat is obvious horror, but are things like Give Me Liberty horror ?? I reckon so, meaning that I either look at all the things I consider horror or wimp out & only do the blatantly genre comics.

This entails a decision, and, as it’s now one week to deadline, I guess I don’t really have time to figure out what to do for the horror article (mebbe it’ll still appear in the future at some stage!) Next up, Kinski. The perfect topic for a TC article. She who embodies 90% of emotions generated by a certain TC editor (the other 10% being based around the phrase “Waddaya mean the comics article/layout [Delete as appropriate] isn’t ready yet 9????”). She who has yet to be celebrated (as far as I know) in any sort of comic at all. Sony Jim, looks like a Kinski-comics article is no go, for the mo’.

That only seems to leave us with film tie-ins. So, the theme is set, the bottle of tequila awaits, and it’s time to start on some filmy-comicy sort of waffle… Filmwise, there’ve been a load of tie-ins (both to & from films/comics). Firstly, there’s film to comics… this has given us: Terminator: Predator: Alien(s); Hellraiser; Darkman; and loadsa manga (the Japanese stuff from TC6). Then there’s comics to film… no shortage here eitherwith: Batman; Superman; Dick Tracy; Predator (again); loadsa manga (again); T*nge Mmtnt Nnja T*rds etc.. etc.. etc.. Like I said, there’ve been plenty of tie-ins, the Tequila is now gone, the editor is panting for an article, so on with the reviews…

Aliens

There have been three volumes of Aliens produced by Dark Horse. The first volume featured some stunning black & white artwork; the second had stunning painted artwork; and the third had fairly standard colour art. The three volumes follow on from the end of the film (Aliens that is, rather than Alien) and feature Newt, Ripley, Hicks and a selection of minor characters. The first volume has been reprinted in a single paperback, and I suspect that the subsequent series will follow hot on it’s heels. Anyway, here come some plot details, so skip them if you think it’ll spoil it for you.

Volume 1: Newt has been dreaming about the aliens and is talking it through with her psychiatrist… Cut to Hicks, Hicks is dreaming about the mission to Acheron, the aliens and the rescue of Newt. Cut to space, Coast Guards are blasting a derelict ship out of orbit. Problems. Meet the aliens. Cut to office, voice-over tells us how TV has evolved… see video being recorded. Subject matter ? Religous. Denomination ? The Church of the Immaculate Incubation. Content of video ? The True Messiah. Identity of Messiah ? Yup, it’s an alien.

So it begins – Hicks, Newt and the aliens are together again. By the end of issue one, we’ve found out what’s going on… the U.S. government have spotted the alien homeworld and would like a few specimens to train as the ultimate weapon (train aliens – would you like to try). Well, there’re six parts to this and it was so good that the costs have gone through the roof – get the trade paperback if you can. As a hint, by the end of the sixth issue, we’ve met up with the other type of alien (you know, like the dead one in the mystery ship in the movie), aliens are on Earth, and lots of marines have been killed!!

Volume 2: Newt & Hicks are back in space… eventually they reach an outer colony . One problem here – the military are running the place and still want to try & train aliens (some people never learn). The major difference is that these aliens are to be trained to kill their own kind. Cue crackpot colonel, lots of confusion, near death-by-aliens for our heroes and yet more massacred marines. Eventually (i.e. in issue four – of four!!) Hicks & Newt are safely back on Gateway station (where Aliens the movie began) and our old pal Ripley comes out of the woodwork ready to kick alien ass.

Volume 3: This volume has a sub-title… Earth War. In this volume we find out the truth about the aliens, the other alien, what happened to Ripley between the film & her reappearance in Volume Two, what happened between Ripley and the other in the movie… etc. etc. Ripley’s plan is the same one she had all along – get the aliens in one place & nuke them. How she intends to do this ??? I’ll leave it for you to find out, but I promise you this – there’s plenty of action.

Aliens vs Predator

Clash of the titans ???? Well maybe, but the title skips one vital fact – there’re still puny ol’ humans involved as well. A four issue limited series, it’s now on issue three. We have… Predators & Aliens fighting… Humans caught in the middle… Cute art… Okay story-line… Plenty of action… Nice covers as well!!

Terminator

Whoops… The one that got away. Yes, there are plenty of Terminator comics out there. Yes, they should have been reviewed. No there isn’t room here for a full review (personally I prefer Aliens!!). The first Terminator volume wasn’t appealing to me, those since have been mini-series and I’ve gone out, bought them and enjoyed them. The latest series is from Dark Horse, the previous ones were from Now Comics (Who also did Rust (Buy! Buy!!)).

Nightbreed

More violent fun!!! The first four issues comprise a “mini-series” adaptation of the movie… and then things start to twist. The movie adaptations good (similar standard to the film I suppose), and the series is sort of like just keeping the film going. It follows Boone (Cabal if you prefer) and the Nightbreed as they try to find a new homeland/sanctuary. Some of the Nightbreed forget the ways of Midian and return to eating human flesh, and Boone has the doubts due of all reluctant heroes. Basically: if you liked the film (even just as entertainment) you’ll like the comic; if you didn’t like the film, but liked the book… give the comic a try – you may be pleasantly surprised; if you liked neither, don’t bother unless you hope you were wrong with the movie & the book.

Robocop

Well, both movies have been adapted to comic-book form, but Robocop also has his own series these days. Outside of the content of the films, but with OCP up to there old tricks. Sort of fun, but nowhere near as dark as the original movie…

Predator

The film that spawned a comic that spawned a film… Yup, Predator 2 (the movie) is supposed to be the film of the comic-book sequel to Predator (the movie). It’s set after Predator (not surprisingly), and features Schaefer (Dutch’s big brother (Arnie was “Dutch” in case you’ve forgotten)), a New York cop with a less than delicate (and less than orthodox) manner when dealing with the bad guys. Anyway, it’s heatwave time in New York, and the city’s going crazy. Enter a Predator. Havoc hits NYC. So, Schaefer vs the predators… Schaefer finding out what happened to Dutch… The army getting involved… Loads of predators in NYC (bit like Xmas shopping on Oxford St. (Yeuch)). It looks like this should be one helluva movie if it lives up to the comic… then again, it could turn out to be another Batman!

Hellraiser

The Hellraiser comics are not adaptations of the films. They are something much better. Set in the same mythos (for want of a better word) as the films, they tell of Lament configurations, LeMarchand (who invented the Lament configuration(s)), other ways to call the Cenobites, the creation of Cenobites and a whole host of other goodies that will appeal to horror fans, comics fans, and anyone else out there with a taste for the macabre. Each issue features five tales using different authors and artists, a few of the tales use the same characters, but the majority are unique creations not to be found anywhere in the films. A mixed bag in general, but even so, generally a good mix.

Darkman

I know this is going to appear unfair… I haven’t read the comic adaptation of the film, but I’m going to say that the only reason I haven’t is that the movie was great, but the comic looks like a heap of shit. As such, I didn’t buy it on principle. Other people who did mistakenly buy it hoping for something as good as the film agree. Waste your money if you like.

The Winding Up Part

Well, that’s it on the review front. Yes, there’s a lot of ground I haven’t covered, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing (give or take the odd immoral exception!!). Brief mentions here of two comics related items:

Comics Scene – a bi-monthly American magazine. It is a sister-magazine to Starlog, and devotes itself to comicsd & films. The films involved are either comics-based or animation, and it includes listings of all comics for which film rights are known to have been purchased, along with the current state of such projects. Often an interesting read, with plenty of inside info type interviews & reviews. Available from comic shops etc. etc.

Comics the Ninth Art – a Spanish TV series all about the history of comics. It’s been showing late Sunday evening (earliest showing 23:30, latest 00:10) on London Weekend Television for the past three months, but whether other ITV regions have had it, I don’t know. It’s given a good history of comics with nicely “animated” sections from some of the classics (including Watchmen, Dark Knight, Incal, Area 88 & various manga). Episode one was basically a summary of what the series contains; two to eleven covered a Western history of comics (European & American); twelve was manga; and thirteen covered the future (showing snippets from various “up & coming” artists). The series has just finished, but if you get a chance to see it, it’s definitely worth a look.

A few lists here… Firstly, of films that are (apparently) in the process of being made; secondly of comics for which film rights are out there and are still supposed to be produced some day; and finally a list I snuck in that contains a few title’s I’d like you to peek at that I had no better excuse available for…

Coming Soon…

  • The Airtight Garage – Animated movie based around Moebius’s tales
  • Captain America – Very soon – like it’s made
  • Judge Dredd – Script by Howard Chaykin
  • Sgt. Rock – Bruce Willis… John McTiernan… Joel Silver

Maybe Some Day…

American Flagg; Blackhawk; Deathlok; Dr. Strange; Evangeline; The Far Side (!!); Green Hornet; Green Lantern; Grimjack; Iron Man; Lone Wolf & Cub; Mai The Psychic Girl; Mandrake; Mr. X; Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD; Phantom; Prowler; Reid Fleming; Rocketteer (Disney!); Shadow; Spiderman; Tom & Jerry (Film now on hold…); Vampirella; V For Vendetta; Watchmen (Sam Hamm… Joel Silver… Terry Gilliam… needs a studio); Wolverine.

No Excuse…

Give Me Liberty; The Nazz Chronicles; Hard Boiled; Shade – The Changing Man; The Last American; Marshall Law – Kingdom Of The Blind; Sandman (okay, so it’s not new, but I don’t think I’ve said “Buy It” yet, and I should have!!)

That’s all for now – ’til next time… Happy reading.