The “Hocus Pocus” (1993) Comedy Dining Experience

Happy Halloween everyone! Yes it’s late, Yes it’s nearly December. but goddamnit I have to catch up on this damn website one way or another…ANYWAY. This was the VERY LAST commentary that Me, Ben and Laura recorded together before Covid hit the UK in such a way that a full scale national lockdown was called. In fact this is a rather special recording in the sense that it was done literally the night before I was told I would be working from home for the foreseeable and only 4 days before the national lockdown was called. We spent the evening together, ate pizza, hung out, drank and laughed our asses through what was probably the last group get together we’re likely to have this year and for the forseeable.

While their are more commentaries on the way its been a bit of a trial and error process to get them done, in the interim we trialled doing these remotely with mixed results due to lack of hardware. one episode worked fine, one episode had problems and one was unusable. Between you and me, when the restrictions were at their lowest and we were allowed to meet indoors in groups of 6 or less Ben was also able to pop round to get 3 more recordings done with me which should take us up to February at least. But as a way of safeproofing the show going forward, just before the 2nd lock down kicked in 3 days ago (Thursday the 5th of November) I managed to secure a 2nd hand laptop that with a bit of TLC and some part replacements is now running better than my own work laptop and Bens now hooked up and *Touch wood* should be able to record remotely MUCH MUCH more smoothly than before.

We’ll know the answer in a couple of days when we do a full audio test. but for now. thats the basket we’re putting all our eggs into as it’s looking unlikely we’re going to be able to meet up again until early next year at the soonest.

Anyway; I’ve gone a bit too much! here’s Hocus Pocus! we had a real blast doing this one, and we spend the majority of it talking about our old halloweens. which was really nice.

The Poster for this movies brilliant. but this promo shots most excellent too!

The Halloween That Almost Wasnt (The Night Dracula Saved the World) (1979)

So; there was a slight delay in getting this article up and written and the main reason for that is because I’ve spent the last two weeks in isolation. now the merciful thing is there was nothing wrong with me, but im currently staying with my mum and sister as my Dad is classed a vulnerable person (he has COPD) meaning if he caught anything during this pandemic he’d probably be dead. so he’s stopping at my place while I stay with my mum and sister, mainly because we’re all outgoing for elderly and vulnerable people and it makes sense for the people who are going out to stay together.

Anyway 2 weeks ago my sister tested positive for covid having had non of the symptoms associated with it (She had a headache, a blocked nose and a tiny sore throat) so me and mum went to get tested as a precaution and we found out we were negative for it. my partner (who’s not doing to great right now) decided to go and stop at her sisters for a few days to destress and get her life back in order and during the isolation period I asked if I could stay at her house knowing I was clean as I figured it was probably safer for me to do that than isolate in a house with someone who definitely DID have the virus. So! for the last 2 weeks apart from a playstation and my phone I’ve had no access to my setup to be able to write these or record/edit anything. it’s been nice to have a bit of a getaway but in honesty I’d rather not repeat it again as I spent most of the week living off tins and freeze dried food…which has probably not been the best for my health.

Anyway; this is my favourite movie I found during the writing of all of these halloween specials. if I had to choose 1 to watch at halloween it would definitley either be this or “Garfields Halloween Adventure” both are oozing with charm and charisma, both are very entertaining and both have tremendous rewatch value. im super glad I tuned into this one and im hoping the next time Halloween comes round, you do to.

This is a bit of a hodge podge poster, and I Think it’d probably look a lot better in colour.
But I’ll tell you this; I’d LOVE that art as a sticker for my laptop. I think it would look ace.

Garfields Halloween Adventure (1985)

Last year was my first time watching “Garfields Halloween Adventure” it was buried in amongst my most treasured copy of “Eddie Spaghetti’s halloween compilation tapes” and I absolutely fell in love with it pretty much there and then. So I knew this year when it came to taking a bit more of a family friendly look at halloween specials. that my spirit animal would very much have to make an appearence, while it wasnt necissarily in the running initially (In fact; it was the last one I chose to run for halloween this year) im very glad I ultimately chose it, as It really is a wonderful little special that still holds up remarkably well even to this day.

Short and sweet, it’s slowly crawling back out of obscurity and entertaining a new generation. and really? I think that can only be a good thing.

There are many fan made posters out there for this TV special. but for my money, this ones the best!

The Worst Witch (1986)

So; Halloween 2020 is upon us and this year being an “Off” year we’re once again going for a grab bag of halloween goodies to help kick your month off with a bang! and while all of the movies chosen this year arnt really connected. I have decided to have a bit of a loose theme.

I wanted to try and do more “Family Friendly” movies this halloween. I know a lot of my viewers are parents and quite frequently they struggle to find good horror to show their kids without having to dip into their “adult” collection. So I thought i’d try to help out this year. All the movies featured will be movies that more or less the entire family can tune in to! I really wanted to make it a bit more all encompassing, after all Halloween is supposed to be a time for spooks and scares for all ages!

So here we have “The Worst Witch” the ORIGINAL Worst Witch. and arguably one of the most enjoyable adaptations. probably suitable for younger children (I’d say 5-9 year olds) but theres a TON of campness to help keep Adults on board. I really dug this one…and if certain events around a certain author who ALSO wrote a very popular series about witches and wizards have left you feeling a bit cold. then This series might just be what you need.

Unfortunately this film has never had a decent cover. The original VHS cover is about as good as it gets.

Robot in the Family (A Robot Called Golddigger) (1993)

Theres not really a lot more that I can say about this movie that I havent already said in either the 100 or so minute commentary myself and my friends did for this series or the below review. This film broke me and then remoulded me into a harder more analytical man. And I dont think I can ever truly go home again.

What I will say is that if you do choose to watch this (And if your into Bad and cult films I definitely recommend you do) dont say I didnt warn you. it’s one of the strangest and most unusual films I have ever sat through.

Poster is Shit. Says nothing about the actual film. Golddigger is love.

EDIT: I also realised that this was one of the “VHS Only” tapes that only had low (ish) res images of the cover online…so here’s a Full HD version:

The “Robot in the Family” (1993) Comedy Dining Experience

One of the things I’ve wanted to try and do with theses commentaries is open them up a bit more to special guests. I think it helps improve the mix somewhat to get some new voices and new ideas flying around while we’re largely talking nonsense. Here; we invited our good friend Raymond Smith from his youtube show of the same name to join us as we watched literally one of the most bizarre and goddamn mental movies I have ever personally sat through.

He took it all in good stride and we had a real ball going through this one! in fact we enjoyed doing this so much we plan to do it again sometime in the near future!

So here’s 1993’s Robot in the family (Also known as a robot called goldigger) and I hope you enjoy watching my 2 co-hosts slowly lose their goddamn minds.

The “You Can Read” Comedy Dining Experience (1988)

So we’re back again with another addition of the…CCCCCCCOMEDYDININGEXPERIENCE. and this month we thought we’d do something a little bit different and instead of doing a commentary for a film. I decided to show Ben “You can Read” a series he’d never seen before and was thoroughly delighted to sit through…at least thats what I inferred the screaming to mean.

Anyway! Here it is! Enjoy! and remember! you CAN read!

 

(I always loved the VHS boxes for these things….they were really quaint.)

Finishing the Complete Sixth Series (2019)

To say that it’s a miracle that this season even got made is an understatement in and of itself. When I first set out to make this I had no idea of the trials and tribulations that would unfold during this seasons run. It’s well documented at this point on this site but Season 6 was predominantly marred by the fact that my partner was taken seriously ill after literally writing the first 2 episodes of this season in September of 2018 (“One Dark Night” and “If Looks could kill“) We’re not talking (Bedridden) ill either; we’re talking full blown hospital level ill. and as a result writing for season 6 ground to a halt after episode 2 and Season 5’s Christmas specials (Which were in the midst of being edited) were put on the backburner to the point that I was literally finalising the edit for “Jack Frost” the day before it was actually set to upload. Which was just insane as I normally edit about 2 months ahead of the actual upload schedule as a rule.

By the end of 2018 all work had stopped on producing new episodes and I was solely caring for my partner and trying to cling onto my Job as a wave of redundencies had recently hit the company. Luckily there seemed to be a period of calm around the beginning of March and by the end of that month I’d actually found a brief window of time to sit down and actually start making notes for a new review (Alongside reworking the two I’d written the previous year to freshen them up a bit) From there my partners health improved, work stabilized and I was finally able to get back on the horse and ride for season 6. and I REALLY didnt want to let the momentum stop once it had gotten underway. pulling a few late nights and making some quite difficult decisions I steamrolled through the first half of season 6 (Up toSilent Running) with little to no trouble. As autumn rolled through things began to get a little more complex, Halloweens kind of a big deal for me and my partner so there was a lot of planning around september time. and then Christmas pretty much starts from November 1st these days so there were a lot of things to circumnavigate at this point.

Still; we battled on and other than 1 or 2 very brief moments of “Squeaky bum time” (Memories of editing “Vamp!” 2 weeks before it was set to go live spring to mind) it was otherwise one of the smoothest runs to the end of the year that i’ve experienced since starting this channel. Christmas was more or less all tied up by the last week of November and i’d started writing season 7 by mid November (which is very shortly due to finish writing and start recording/editing)

I cant honestly say I have fond memories of this period of time. But as I said at the top of the post. im grateful for everything that’s happened while we made this. It’s the longest season we’ve ever done clocking in at 26 episodes + a crossover special and this season introduced me to some ace people like the guys and gals over at the “Inside the Nutshell”. It’s let me watch and talk about some weird and wonerful movies and in hindsight I had fun with this season. even if personally I was suffering a bit.

(Everyone loves the longform stuff. and some of these are absolute classics! I hope you enjoy this marathon of sleaze and weirdness.)

Christophers Christmas Mission (Sagan Om Karl – Bertil Jonssons Julafton) (1975)

This one really was a difficult watch in all honesty. it’s a testamony to how pre-conceived opinions on what a film is about can drastically effect the overall enjoyment of the piece. In the UK this was genuinely marketed as a movie for young kids. the cover for the VHS and DVD releases were both incredibly kid friendly (See the poster at the beginning of my review for a better idea of exactly how kid friendly it looked) and the back of the box was colourful and written in a way to make it easy for kids to get an idea of what this is about. all mentions of Socialism and communism or our lord Jesus christ is omitted in the blurb on the back of the case for this one and Bernard cribbins is mentioned multiple times as a means to try and sell this to them.

Genuinely; I think Abby home video bought this and didnt realise what they’d got their hands on till it was too late to back out of it…either that or they planned to put this out as a kids film knowingly with no regard for what it actually is about…which just plain sucks in all honesty. I think in the hands of a decent distributor (And with a decent remaster and maybe a couple of extras) this could really make a rather lovely set. Im not one for talking about “Dream releases” for content here but I think I can make an exception with this one as it kind of feels right to give it a decent release. Here’s what I’d do with it if I got my hands on it.

*4K Scan of the original film elements followed by a full remaster (clean up, colour grade and levels check)

*Both cuts of this film (Both the english Cribbins version and the original Swedish release with subs) available on the disc (The English version to be recreated using the 4k swedish scan as nothing is significantly altered and only a scene or two have been removed so it would be easy to resynch the english dub track)

*Commentary with Cribbins + A couple of film critics (Im looking at you Kim Newman and Alan Jones!) to talk about the history of this film, the animation style, why the themes of the film probably didnt take to a british audience and any juicy tidbits about Per Ã…hlin and Tage Danielsson

*A documentary following the production of this feature + a brief history of it’s broadcasting history both in Sweden and the UK

* (If possible…hell it’s my fantasy why not) An isolated Score track…for all that lurrrrvely Jazz and Bossa.

*a mini Documentary about politics in christmas movies. dealing specifically aroun the socialist themes raised in this feature and a discussion on whether Christmas is more personified by the Left or the Right.

*old promotional materials (TV spots, radio spots if their are any,) both from the UK and Europe

*A NICE. Bluray cover. using newly drawn artwork thats fitting for the 15 – 30 year old audience that this film is clearly based at.

*Reversable artwork containing the original Abby home video release cover artwork…Okay im joking…but what I would like is:

*Reversable artwork that uses it’s swedish title alongside some of the original promotional artwork (See the image used in my thumbnail of this review)

Obviously this release will never happen in a million years. but this movies got such a decent and wholesome message I really wish it would. it’s charming and to see it have such a shoddy release history really is a proper downer. Still…at least we got the chance to have it localised. had it not been I may never have heard of it.

(The animation still creeps me out a bit…it reminds me a bit of Wondershowzens more abstract animation sections)

Prancer Returns (2001)

This was not a good movie. it wasnt quite the worst I’ve ever seen. but it was pretty bad. We’re talking just south of Clarke Paylow bad. which is pretty bad. this film isnt badly made…I mean it’s badly cut and tinted (In my opinion) but it commits the cardinal sin…it’s really boring and it just retreads existing ground that the first film covered. it’s a needless sequel. it literally serves no purpose other than to exist…and to me thats a real downer….

I think I thrash this one pretty consistently in the video below…but if you want an even shorter review than that. You’re unlikely to fall onto this one in the wild. and if you do. run the fuck away from it. it’s almost Hallmark christmas movie bad.

(The cover is literally the best thing about this…and even thats a bit rubbish…)