Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Dirty Dinosaur

Here is the artwork for DVD release of the 1977 American/Japanese film The Last Dinosaur

Is it just me or is the artwork here more than a little suggestive?

To be fair, there is a giant dinosaur in the movie, and there is a drill-headed subterranean ship kinna thing. It's the juxtaposition of these two elements I'm questioning.

Is that a mole machine in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

If you've never seen the film, it's really, just, well... it's just goddamn awful--but in a good way!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dr Who Reunion Show Including Richard Dawkins

Everybody loves a reunion show, but The Stolen Earth from Season Four of the New Dr Who is perhaps the greatest reunion show ever.

Big parts of Dr Who history converge in this two-part episode.

First, the antagonists are none other than the Daleks. The Daleks were first introduced in 1963 and menaced every incarnation of the Doctor so far.

Five of his Companions, Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, and Sarah Jane Smith are on hand to help. There's a sixth companion who appears in the second part, but I'll keep that identity secret for now.

Although most of the characters are from the new Dr Who, Sarah Jane Smith, The Daleks and Richard Dawkins are all connected to the show's original run.

Wait, Richard Dawkins wasn't in any of the original Dr Who programs. That's true, Dawkins himself never appeared on the show, but his wife, Lalla Ward played Romana, the lady time lord from 1978 until 1981. Before she married Dawkins, she was briefly married to Tom Baker, who played the Doctor opposite her.

Apparently Dawkins married slightly better in real life than he did in the South Park Universe, where he married the transgendered Mr Garrison.

Some saw Dawkins' cameo in The Stolen Earth as a clue in their theory that Donna might, in fact, be a regenerated version of Romana. Since we don't really know what gave Donna such unique qualities related to time, who knows, maybe she is Romana.

The Edison Frankenstein Film

Sometimes wishing for something is better than having it.

For many years, film fans knew of a cinematic version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein predating the Boris Karloff version by more than twenty years.

Produced by the Edison company in 1910, little was known of this Frankenstein film because nobody could find a copy of it. Along with Lon Chaney's London After Midnight, The Doodle Bug Dance from The Wizard of Oz and the Spider-Pit sequence from King Kong, Edison's Frankenstein became one of the most sought-after lost films of all time.

We knew that a man named Charles Ogle played the monster and many people talked about the creation sequence made from burning a wax dummy of the monster and under-cranking the camera, then playing the film backwards so the dummy seems to come together instead of disintegrating in a burst of flames. For many years, all that remained of the film was the image you see here.

In 1910, Edison films were still mainly distributed to Nickelodeon theaters across the country. Far different from today's movie theaters, most Nickelodeons had fifty seats or less and might show a dozen or more different movies in a day. In just five years, The Birth of a Nation would forever change movies and movie theaters.

Because there were so many Nickelodeon theaters, Edison made many, many prints of their films, so there was always a fairly good chance a copy of Frankenstein might eventually show up somewhere.

A private film collector did eventually find a copy of Frankenstein in his inventory. When he learned how rare the film was, and realizing he might have the only copy, he decided to try and make a little money off it, so he sat on the film until its original copyright expired. Then, in the late 1980's word started getting around that film buffs could get a copy of the rare film on VHS, but since the owner was still trying to establish his own copyright of the film over its original, expired copyright, the VHS copy had a ghost image of his copyright claim scrolling over the entire film.

Being a fan of early horror, I was really eager to get a copy for myself. I'd known about the film since I was a kid, and that one surviving still made me eager to see it. Although most of my peers couldn't be bothered to watch a silent film, I knew a lot of these films were still an extraordinary experience and grew a real anticipation for just such an experience when I mail-ordered my copy on VHS. And then it came in the mail...

To say the film sucked is an understatement. I'd wanted to see this film for almost twenty years and when I finally got the chance, it was one of the dullest thirteen minutes of film I ever saw. It turns out there was a very good reason the Edison Frankenstein film was lost. Nobody thought it was good enough to save.

Watch below, this YouTube version of the Edison Frankenstein film in all its glory, and try to imagine my experience of waiting and wanting to see the film for so long, only to have this as my reward.




Link: YouTube

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Truth About Robby the Robot

Remeber the Episode War of the Robots from Lost in Space? Robby and B9 fight again, but this time in the Star Wars Universe

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lost 5:12 Enhanced Hieroglyph of the Monster


Original Image

Enhanced & Filtered Image

I'm not sure how useful this is, but I made a screen grab of the pictograph above the smoke monster vents from episode 5:12 Dead is Dead and cleaned it up a good bit and labeled the hieroglyphic elements. I call it a pictograph rather than a hieroglyph because it doesn't seem to depict a sentence, but rather an artistic representation of an event or an idea.

Here's what I see:

A and E: obviously Eyes, but they're not the eyes of Horus. I wonder if these eyes are related to the whispers Ben wants Rousseau to run away from.

F and K: snakes, but they could also be representations of the smoke monster.

B: could be the sun, but it also kind of looks like the Dharma symbol.

J: could be the sun too, but it could also be the island or a planet or any number of things.

C: looks like stairs to me, but it could be anything.

H: is an ankh, we've seen that before.

I: no clue what this symbol means. Maybe some generous reader could enlighten me.

G: is obviously Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead. What's curious here is that Anubis is kneeling in a submissive pose to D It almost looks like Anubis is praying to the smoke monster. If that's the case, then that's a pretty big deal.

D: Most people are calling this figure the smoke monster. Since it's right above the place where the smoke monster comes from, that makes sense. So far, when we've seen the smoke monster it looked like, well, smoke...but here he looks more like lightning. (sort of like Reddy Kilowatt) is this a manifestation of the monster we haven't seen yet, or is it just how the designer thought Egyptians might draw a picture of the smoke monster?


Reddy Kilowatt

Thursday, April 9, 2009

There's Something Strange in Loch Ness

Filmmakers for the History Channel's MonsterQuest recently discovered something totally unexpected in Scotland's famous Loch Ness.

Using remote operated vehicles to film underwater, Mike O’Brien of Louisiana-based SeaTrepid LLC was hoping to find evidence of the Loch Ness Monster when his cameras showed something else...

Golf balls, thousands and thousands of golf balls.

Besides mysterious lake monsters, Scotland is famous as the birth place of golf. Apparently locals and tourists have been using Loch Ness as a driving range for some time now and evidence of their activity is building up on the lake's bottom.

Although the monster can probably handle it, there is some concern for other life in the lake as golf balls can emit toxins as they deteriorate. Even though the ecology is somewhat fragile, there is no plan to retrieve the golf balls yet because they're in a part of the lake that's too deep to use regular scuba equipment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

MirrorMask: A Jim Henson Fantasy


Most of you are probably aware of the two fantasy films Jim Henson produced in the 1980's, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, but many of you may not know there is a third Henson fantasy film, MirrorMask, released some fifteen years after his death.

MirrorMask is the dream-quest of Helena, a young girl who lives and works with a family circus until her mother falls gravely ill. Originally conceived as a sequel to The Labyrinth, MirrorMask is Helena's coming-of-age story. Although it has many of the same story elements of Labyrinth, MirrorMask uses them in much more subtle, but yet much more powerful ways. It's the story of Helena growing up: what she wants to keep of her life as a girl, what she wants for the future, what she wants from boys, and most importantly, her relationship with her mother. It even explores the relationship between artists and their creations.



Toward the end of his life, Jim Henson realized he had taken physical puppetry about as far as it could go and began experimenting with the then, new field of computer generated imagery. After his death, his children Brian, Lisa, Cheryl, John and Heather continued taking the company in that direction.

Although there are some physical effects in MirrorMask, they realize most of the film using CGI. Unlike most studios who use CGI just as an effect, The Hensons use CGI as an art in itself, just as their father used puppetry, and like their father's work, MirrorMask is a stunning and unforgettable visual experience.

Henson was most proud of how he used the work of a single designer (English artist, Brian Froud) in The Dark Crystal. For MirrorMask, his children chose to go the same route by using English artist Dave McKean. Like Froud's work in The Dark Crystal, McKean's art fills the entire universe of MirrorMask, sets, costumes, backgrounds and character design.

McKean's designs are quite different from Froud's. His work is more psychological and iconic and abstract. McKean's work is strongly reminiscent of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, and like Burton and Gorey, most of his work begins as a pen or pencil sketch.

Since neither The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth did very well during their studio release and made most of their returns in VHS and DVD sales, the studio decided to have a limited theatrical run for MirrorMask and focus their efforts on selling the film in the secondary market. The plan soon fell apart though so the video release of MirrorMask received little, if any, advertising.

Because the marketing plan for MirrorMask collapsed, most of the people who might really enjoy the film never heard of it, which is really a shame since MirrorMask really is every bit as good, if not better than either The Dark Crystal or labyrinth. You can still find the film on DVD though, and if you love fantasy films like I do, then I really, really recommend it.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Candy Frankenstein Parody

Twix candy imitates the famous "flower girl" sequence from Frankenstein



Link: YouTube

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Hate "Shippers"

In the good old days of science fiction, love triangles usually ended with one contender getting eliminated, usually either at the hands of the alien or monster or by becoming the alien or monster. George Lucas introduced a new twist to the formula when he eliminated Luke from the Luke-Lea-Han triangle by making Luke and Lea siblings.

Usually shows only worked out relationship details in the final seconds of the program and many of the best shows had male and female characters who simply never developed any romantic interest in each other.

Things started to change in the 1990's with The X Files. Initially Mulder and Scully were about as sexually interested in each other as Dr. Who and his many female side-sicks, but producers noticed a huge spike in female viewers every time Mulder got close enough to touch Scully, and in the interest of broadening their audience, the phenomenon of "shipper" fans was born.

I've always hated shippers. On a show with aliens, monsters and secret government conspiracies, who's sleeping with who just never seemed all that important. Sure, Scully was hot-looking, but hot babes have been a part of sci-fi from the beginning, nobody really cared about their relationships though, just how hot they looked with a laser gun.

Lost is a show with time machines, smoke monsters, the living dead and possibly alien four toed Egyptian statues, yet there are people watching the show who only really care about who ends up with Kate. I totally dig Evangeline Lilly's character when she's doing stuff that doesn't involve her possible future relationships, and I even think it's kind of cool how she ended up with Charlie the Hobbit in real life, but when the show turns to issues of Jack, Kate and Sawyer, I usually tune it out.

The Lost/Kate Top Ten List
To resolve my disgust over the shipper issues in Lost, I've come up with an alternative list of contenders in the who-ends-up-with-Kate sweepstakes. Some of them will have to return from the dead, but on Lost that's completely possible and I'm totally cool with it.

10: Christian Shepard.
9: Ben
8: Tom/Mr Friendly
7: Ruseau (I'm down with the L-Word)
6: Frank Lapidus
5: Keamy
4: Vincient
3: Mikhail the one-eyed Russian
2: Doc Artz
1: Frogurt "It's Neil Goddamit!!"

With Kate out of the way, Jack and Sawyer can fight it out over Juliette and young Ellie Hawking

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sci Fi Channel is Now SyFy

The SciFi Channel announced monday that they were changing their name to SyFy in an effort to broaden their appeal to non-geeky audiences.

The phrase SciFi to stand for Science Fiction was first coined by Forest J Ackerman who thought it sounded like Hi- Fi radios. Harlan Ellison didn't like the phrase and said it sounded like crickets having sex, which prompted Uncle Forry supporters to have buttons made saying "I love Copulating Crickets."

For most fans the phrases Sci-Fi and Science Fiction are probably permanantly interchangable, but not so for NBC the owners of the SyFy channel. They haven't said yet what programming changes will go with the name change, but you have to think they wouldn't go to the trouble of changing their name without changing the lineup as well. Gone also is the ringed planet logo, replaced by the phrase "imagine greater".

So what do you think? Was this a good idea or a bad idea right up there with the New Coke in the 1980's.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Giant Crabs Invade Detroit and New York



Link: YouTube

Werewolf on LOST

Here's a fun bit of trivia

On LOST, Jon Gries, who plays Ben's dad, Roger was also in one of my favorite movies of the 1980's. He played the human form of the Wolfman in The Monster Squad


Sunday, March 8, 2009

75'th Anniversary King Kong Short Film

This short film produced at the Art Institute of California features interviews with Ray Harryhausen and Bob Burns


75th Anniversary King Kong from Anthony Helmer on Vimeo.

The Last Stop-Motion Dinosaurs

From the earliest days of cinema, dinosaurs have been notable and extremely popular subjects. Willis O'Brien produced the first three-dimensional dinosaur films using the stop-motion technique that, for many years, became the preferred method of presenting dinosaurs on screen.

With films like, The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933), Willis O'Brien invented the stop-motion dinosaur film genre. Ray Harryhausen followed in the tradition with remarkable films like One Million Years BC (1966) and The Valley of Gwangi (1969) and Jim Danforth continued the genre with When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

Phil Tippett was one of the last stop-motion artists working in the O'Brien style. He provided most of the stop-motion work in the Star Wars films and made some really remarkable and beautiful stop-motion work for the film Dragonslayer (1981)

The Last Dinosaur Movie
When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, it amazed audiences with its computer generated special effects, but many long-time dinosaur film fans recognized it as the end of an era. After Jurassic Park, the stop-motion dinosaur movie would be obsolete.

When Stephen Spielberg began producing Jurassic Park, he hired Tippett to render the dinosaurs as stop-motion. One sequence, showing a herd of gallamimus fleeing the T-Rex was considered too complex for stop-motion, so Spielberg hired a crew to experiment with the new technology of computer generated images to render the effect.

Spielberg was so pleased with the gallamimus tests, he allowed the CGI team to experiment rendering the tyrannosaurus rex using their technique: a decision that would spell the end of the stop-motion dinosaur film. The CGI tyrannosaurus tests provided a level of realism no stop-motion dinosaur film ever could and Spielberg decided to use the technique instead of any stop-motion work in Jurassic Park. he retained Tippett to provide motion input for the CGI dinosaurs via electronic models, but there would be no stop-motion dinosaur films after Jurassic Park.

Dinosaurs!
Although it never had a theatrical release, the stop-motion dinosaur film would have one last hurrah before Jurassic Park. Dinosaur! produced in 1985, was a television documentary about dinosaurs. It was hosted by actor Christopher Reeve and featured, what many consider, some of the best stop-motion dinosaur work ever. Animated by Phil Tippet working out of his garage studio, Dinosaur! presented several really remarkable sequences of stop-motion dinosaurs imitating the well-known style of wildlife documentary film.

Tippet went to great lengths to make sure his stop-motion puppets were as scientifically accurate as possible. The animation was remarkable. Fluid and life-like, these sequences are beautiful to watch. Not only were the dinosaurs themselves incredible, but Tippett returned to O'Briens original style of creating elaborate miniature settings for his stop-motion puppets that are as remarkable as the puppets themselves. Tippett's work in Dinosaurs! would garner him an Emmy award for special effects.

Unavailable on DVD you can get an idea of how great Dinosaurs! was with this Clip from You Tube:


Link: You Tube

Dinoasur! (1985) Credits:
Robert Guenette ......Director
Steven Paul Mark.....Writer
Robert Guenette.......Executive producer
Steven Paul Mark.....Executive producer
Philip Hurn................Cinematography
Phil Tippett...............Special photographic effects

How Wings Are Attached to the Backs of Angels

This macabre short film by Craig Welch reminds me of the work of Edward Gorey and H.R. Geiger, with a bit of David Lynch. I won't bother deconstructing this wordless, animated film. You can do that on your own. I found it both fascinating and beautiful.



Link: You Tube

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Special King Kong vs Godzilla Screening

New Hampshire based Horror Host show the SATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL is hosting a screening of the 1962 classic King Kong vs Godzilla.

The show is April 24 at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH at 7:00 pm. Universal Studios produced a brand new 35mm print of the film, shown for the first time at this screening.

Besides the main feature, SATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL will also screen vintage monster movie previews, and costumed characters from SATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL will give away DVDs and T-shirts.

Legendary comic artist Steve Bissette is helping promote The Spooktacular event by donating SIX sets of signed copies of his critically acclaimed, dinosaur-themed title TYRANT, and an original KING KONG vs GODZILLA sketch done just for this program.


Tickets will be $10 and available either at the door or via the Colonial's website:

http://thecolonial.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=179904
www.saturdayfrightspecial.com
saturdayfrightspecial.blogspot.com
www.thecolonial.org

Friday, March 6, 2009

Paintings of Crypto and Mythical Beasts

Christopher Bonnette is a Los Angeles artist who produces some really cool and unique paintings of mythical and cryptozoological creatures shown at his Macula.tv website. Below are some of my favorites.


Bigfoot

Harpy

Basilisk

Visit Macula.tv for lots and lots more!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lost Theory: How Richard Became Ageless

One of the bigger mysteries in Lost is why Richard Alpert never ages.

We know very little about Richard. Where he comes from and how he came to be on the island are completely unknown to us. I can't give any insight to those questions, but I think I may have an idea why he never ages.

One of the oldest western myths is that of the fountain of youth. It's the story of a fountain hidden somewhere and people who drink from it never age.

On the Lost island, we know there's something underground with the ability to manipulate both space and time. We know there's a room near this hidden power source with a single device that, when turned, moves the whole island in time and transports the operator in space. We call it the frozen donkey wheel. The Dharma initiative built the Orchid Station deep underground, near this frozen donkey wheel, to conduct experiments in time travel.

Besides the Orchid Station though, there's also a well, built much earlier, that leads directly to the frozen donkey wheel room. We don't yet know who built it. This is how our man Locke reached the frozen donkey wheel to stop the island skipping in time.

Normally people don't build wells so guys can crawl down a rope to reach subterranean chambers. Usually people build wells to hold and retrieve subterranean water. When Locke went down the well there was no water, but was there at one time?

It looks like an ordinary well with a rope for lowering and pulling up a bucket full of water. If this well once had water, wouldn't that water come in contact with whatever power source makes the frozen donkey wheel work?

If water came in contact with the power source, might it give the water unusual properties? Properties related to time? Could this water with unusual time properties make people who drink it stop aging?

If Richard is indeed indigenous to the island, and never ages, he might at one time lived on the island when there was water in the well and drank that water with unusual properties that made him stop aging.

At some point, the well ran dry and then someone filled it with earth, but before that, when there was water in the well, could it have been the fabled fountain of youth?

Thanks to Melanie from the Dark UFO Chatroom for helping me formulate this theory

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

R2D2 In His Own Words

You weren't the only one who thought Star Wars Episode One sucked. Watch this rare video clip with R2D2's electronic language translated into english subtitles.



Link: You Tube

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Woman Becomes Mermaid

Weta workshop, the company who produced such films as King Kong and The Lord of the Rings, have granted a woman's wish and made her a mermaid.

Nadya Vessey lost her legs below the knee due to a childhood illness. She told a child once she had no legs because she was a mermaid and the idea stuck with her so she asked the New Zeland effects studio if they could make her dream a reality.

Working between films, Weta constructed the mermaid suit from plastic molds and wetsuit fabric, Vessey's mermaid tail looks and works much like the real thing.

Story Link: Stuff.co.nz

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Forry in the Horror Hall of Fame 1990

Really cool video presentation from the Horror Hall of Fame with comments by John Landis, Rick Baker, and Joe Dante.



Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FbJ5LZANjc

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost King Kong Films

While most King Kong fans argue about the existence of the fabled lost spider pit sequence from the 1933 classic, few may know that there are also three entire lost King Kong films.

Produced in Japan, they are Wasei Kingu Kongu (Japanese King Kong) (1933), Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu (King Kong Appears in Edo) 1934, and Kingu Kongu Zenkouhen (1938)

There are no known existing prints of any of these films. They are believed to have been lost due either to neglect or the allied bombing of Japan during WWII.

Of the three, there seems to be more information about King Kong Appears in Edo. Edo is the Japanese term for medieval Tokyo. Fuminori Ohashi, who would later produce the first Godzilla suits claims to have worked on this early film. Those who remember the film say it featured sets reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and King Kong fought giant insects rather than dinosaurs.

I was only able to find these two small images from any of these films. Should I find larger copies, I'll be glad to post them.


Wasei Kingu Kongu(Japanese King Kong) (1933)


Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu (King Kong Appears in Edo) 1934

Friday, February 20, 2009

Psycho Bates House Paper Model Kit

Fans of the Hitchcock classic will love this paper model kit of the Bates House from the 1960 film "Psycho".

If you've never built a paper model before, it's a lot of fun. All you need is a color printer, some card stock paper, scissors, x-acto knife and glue. The finished product is really striking.

This kit was created by CGI artist Ray Keim and is available for free at his Haunted Dimensions website here.

If you enjoy building the Psycho House, be sure and try the Disney Haunted Mansion kit available on the same site.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Living Sea Serpents

Tales of giant sea serpents are as old as the sea itself. Often discounted as mythological, sea serpents are very real. Commonly known as "oarfish", these Lampriform fish are members of the Regalecidae family and inhabit most of the temperate oceans of the world.


Woodcut of a giant oarfish caught off Bermuda in 1860

Preferring deep water, some species of this fish reach lengths of thirty-six feet (with some reports of fish fifty feet in length) and weigh more than five hundred pounds. They have a long, ribbon-like body, covered with scale-less silver flesh and bright red fins. Despite their fearsome appearance, oarfish have almost no teeth and eat mostly plankton and small fishes.


An oarfish caught off Mexico in 2007

A deep-water species, the oarfish rarely comes to the surface. Encounters with humans usually happen after a storm when turbulent waters bring them to the surface and some have been captured in deep fishing nets.

Rare video of a living Oarfish

Read more about the oarfish at Sea and Sky

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lost: Friends and Enemies and Piles of Shit

Red Hair, Red Shirt
Wow, Charlotte died! I guess I should have seen it coming with the nosebleeds and all, but wow! I was kind of hoping she'd live so we could find out more about her life on the island as a little girl.

Was it just me or did her blue eyes look really creepy with her pupils constricted to a tiny little dot. I wonder if they did that intentionally. There's three ways to do it, she could be wearing contacts, they could have erased her pupils digitally, or the combination of Hawaii sun and film lights might have just naturally caused them to constrict.

Before she died of a nosebleed, Charlotte gave Locke and company a very important bit of information. If you can't get to the frozen donkey wheel by the Orchid station elevator, try the well. Sure enough, by the time our intrepid band reaches the orchid (and a couple of time flashes) the only way down to the FDW is via the well.

Locke Goes Down a Well
What is it with the people on Lost sending John Locke into holes? First the smoke monster tried to drag him into one, then he went down the shaft to reach Desmond in the Swan, and now he's lowering himself down a rope into a very creepy well. Is it because Locke is the only one not to find a hook-up on the island besides Walt and Vincent? (And Frogurt too I guess)

Who's at the bottom of the well but, Christian Shephard. I'm starting to not like that guy. Christian has a Jacob friendly non-electric lantern and the first thing he does is chastise Locke for not following instructions. "I told YOU to move the island." Apparently when Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel, he busted it, and now Locke has to give it an extra shove to get the wheel back in place and get him off the island.

Turn about can be a bitch. When Boone died, Locke rationalized it by saying the Island needed a sacrifice. Now Christian tells us it's Locke's time to be the sacrifice and Locke is ready to go.

Has Ben Turned Over A New Leaf?
Does Ben tell the truth now? Back in LA, he promises to show Sun proof that Jin isn't dead so she doesn't shoot him in the neck. Last week, Ben suddenly decided to quit lying and come clean with Kate about the whole lawyer trick. I guess with all the crappy things he's done over the years, it's fitting the straw that broke the camels back was hiring a slimy LA lawyer.

While they're driving to get Sun her proof, Sun and Jack are bickering amongst themselves over who gets to kill Ben first, when Ben slams on the breaks and lays into them for not appreciating all he's done to help them and their friends.

Friends and Enemies and Piles of Shit
I wonder if he means putting Jack in a bear cage, kidnapping Walt and tricking Michael so that he accidentally shoots Libby and Anna Lucia. What if it's all been to help Jack and his friends?

That reminds me of an old story. One very, very cold morning, a baby bird has fallen out of his nest. On the ground, in such cold, the baby bird has no chance of survival. A fox comes by. Normally a fox would eat a baby bird, but this fox feels sorry for the lost fledgling, and to save him from freezing to death he finds a fresh warm cow pie to put him in. The baby bird smells bad, but the warmth from the cow dung keeps him alive.

A little while later, a sweet little old lady walks by. She sees the baby bird in the cow pie and feels bad for him being in such a disgraceful situation. The little old lady takes the baby bird out of the cow pie, cleans him off and sets him back down on the ground and goes on about her day. Without the cow pie to keep him warm, the baby bird soon dies.

The moral of this story is: the person who puts you in a pile of shit isn't necessarily your enemy and the person who takes you out of a pile of shit isn't necessarily your friend.

Maybe that's what's going on with Ben. He's put our heroes in several piles of shit, but maybe he's been trying to help them the whole time. If that's so, Charles Widmore made it possible for the six to get off the island. Maybe he's the one trying to take them out of a pile of shit.

When they get to their destination, it's the church where Hawking is hanging out. (What is it with Hawking and churches?) Who should walk up at that exact moment but Desmond. "Hello Brutha!" Not one to waste any time, Desmond immediately confirms what we've suspected for a while now: Hawking is Dan's mom.

With Jack, Sun and Desmond now with Hawking that's three down and three to go for Ben. (Does Aaron have to go back?)


Smoke From The Temple
I've saved the best for last. Since season one, two of the biggest mysteries on the island have been Danielle Rousseau and the monster. In this episode, we find out a lot more about both.

When we meet Rousseau in season one, she's already pretty crazy. Who came blame her? Within hours of landing on the island, she and her friends are set upon by the this really weird monster, dropping the dead body of one down on them and dragging another into a hole (another hole!) with such force that trying to save him only succeeds in pulling his arm off. (What's with the island and missing arms?)

We see the monster returning to a hole in a creepy island temple with Egyptian hieroglyphs on it. Living in the temple suggests that the smoke monster pre-dates the Dharma Initiative and possibly the others (hostiles). The smoke monster apparently comes from the period of the people who built the four toed statue and the frozen donkey wheel.

As usual for Lost, answering some questions only opens up new ones. Is the temple the "Cerberus Vent" shown in the hatch map? Is this the same temple Ben sent Alex to for safe keeping? If it is, why was Rousseau willing to go there since her previous visit was so unpleasant? Did she suspect that the smoke monster might keep Alex safe from the mercenaries? Did the for toed statue people really build the smoke monster as a "security system"? If so, what the heck were they afraid of? Were there threats so awful that only a monster could protect them?

Lost On DVD at Amazon.com
Lost - Season One DVD
Lost - Season Two DVD
Lost - Season Three DVD
Lost - Season Four DVD

Lost on Blu-Ray DVD at Amazon.com
Lost - Season One [Blu-ray]
Lost - Season Two [Blu-ray]
Lost - Season Three [Blu-ray]
Lost: Season Four [Blu-ray]

LOST - McFarlane Toys 6"
Each 6-inch Lost figure comes with a detailed base and photographic backdrop, capturing an episode-specific moment in the character's story. In addition, each package includes a detailed prop reproduction central to the character's story.
Series 1 Hurley, Locke, Jack, Charlie, Kate, Shannon, The Hatch Diorama With Light

Friday, February 6, 2009

Stop Motion King Kong Fan Film

Eric "King Kong" Kessler has spent the past two years producing his version of a "prequel" to King Kong using stop-motion animation and sound bites from the original 1933 film and other sources.

Kessler lovingly combines some of the best elements from the origian Willis O'Brien/Marcel Delgado effort with more recent films like Jurassic Park.

Teaser showing some of the best bits from the series:


Other installments in the series
Kong in his lair
Kong Vs Giant Vulture
Kong vs Deinosuchus
Spinosaurus Attack
Kong vs. Spinosaurus
Dimetrodon Attack
Kong vs. Pack of Raptors
T. Rex attack

Garage Kit sculptor Chuck Yagher produced the King Kong and T Rex animation models Kessler uses in his film.



American Kaiju Artist Draws Harryhausen

Former Zatso? Magazine contributor Todd Tennant has signed on to illustrate the final two issues of Bluewater Productions Ray Harryhausen Presents: It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again!
In the 1950s, the U.S. Navy encountered and destroyed a gigantic octopus that attacked shipping and wreaked havoc on the west coast of the United States. American forces killed the creature and ended the threat once and for all. Or so they thought. They were wrong. Now, another monster is rising in the warm blue waters surrounding Taru Taru, a speck of land far out in the Pacific. And this time it’s worse than anyone ever imagined.
I'm a big fan of Todd's style, especially when it comes to really big monsters. This should be a lot of fun

Link: Bluewater Comics
Link: Todd Tennant's American Kaiju Website

World's Largest Snake

Scientists have uncovered the fossilized remains of the largest snake that ever lived.

In life Titanoboa cerrejonensis was some forty-three feet long and possibly weighed as much as 2,500 lbs. (that's a big snake)

It lived in South America some sixty million years ago and probably lived mostly in the water.

Artist's Conception of Titanoboa


Read more at Live Science and Popular Science

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Klingon Robs Convenience Store

In Colorado Springs, clerks in two different 7-11 convenience report being robbed by a white man, in his 20's, wielding a 'Bat'leth', which is a type of two-handed bladed weapon used by the fictional alien race of Klingons in the Star Trek franchise.

The first clerk gave the man an undisclosed amount of money, but the second clerk refused: suggesting that the hooded man "transport himself on outta here" instead.

Story with security photos of the "Klingon" at the Denver ABC affiliate website.

I guess the assailant, who remains at large, needed the money to buy more Star Trek memorabilia.

Interestingly, the clerks at both stores not only recognized the imaginary weapon, but knew it's proper name: Bat'leth

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lon Chaney Masks

Bump in the Night Productions releases really cool officially licensed masks of Lon Chaney's 1000 faces.


The First is The Man in the Beaver Hat, from London After Midnight (1927) Taken from one of Chaney's most famous (but apparently lost) films, this mask features attached hair and a latex hat.


The Second is of Paul Beaumont (HE) From He Who Gets Slapped (1924) which also features attached hair and a deluxe frill.

Bump in the Night Productions is an American company that produces collector-quality latex masks and props.

Remembering Karloff

RHSmith at Movie Morlocks Blog writes a touching memoir of Boris Karloff that begins with the announcement of Karloff's death over the radio.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Clockwork Orange


A Clockwork Orange

More than just a movie with Malcolm Mcdowell