Partially Reformed Content #4 – (Over) one year on.

Its been a while. Just over a year or so in fact since my last blog (whats a couple of months between friends eh?) The honest answer is I promised I was going to try and do at least quarterly blogs after publishing the last one. I wrote at least a couple around the renovation project I had on at the time involving my work room. But despite writing at least 3 different versions of the same blog none of them really felt suitable for the blog or interesting “Man decorates room” could be fun. but it just didn’t really sit right with me. Then life gets in the way (as it often does) and because I spent so long writing those blogs that never got published I was left with the feeling that I’d only recently updated the blog (even though I hadn’t) so I decided to focus on Channel stuff over updating the website. 

Then I forgot the blog existed entirely at some point around November as home life, work life and personal life took over and it was only really around June this year that I remembered “Oh Shit! I have a blog on my site that I haven’t updated since I did my Room renovation blog!” then I actually checked the blog section of my site and went “OH SHIT!  I NEVER ACTUALLY PUBLISHED MY ROOM RENOVATION BLOG!” and; since June every few days or so I’ll be hit with a mini pang of guilt that I haven’t given you guys that sweet sweet 1-2-1 time that I really should. 

So to newcomers who’re maybe reading these for the first time. the “Partially reformed content” blogs are basically personal blogs, just mainly focussed around stuff that’s going on in my life, or been going on in my life. thoughts. Feelings. Its kind of the “Spam” of blog types. It’s everything from tail to snout with Now’t taken out. 

So; whats happened over the last 15 months or so? well; If we’re filling in gaps I finished the renovations on my property around September time last year, had a catastrophic hard drive failure that almost wiped Season 8 of my reviews clean off the face of the earth. My partner got quite unwell again and ended up in hospital a couple of times. I ended up more or less looking after her property for a good portion of time while she was in the hospital, which led to a massive backlog on the review front. Which all culminated in a mad Christmas dash in which I simultaneously lost my voice JUST before a big recording session where I had to nail 12-15 scripts in 5 days. which was fun…Basically I sounded like Tom Carvel for most of Christmas as a result.

The Family had its first Covid Christmas. Which; surprisingly, was much MUCH more enjoyable than the usual Christmas routine. Both me and my partner have VERY large families and I always try to book 2 weeks off at Christmas. which generally means week 1 is spent visiting all her relatives, half of week 2 is spent visiting all of mine, 2-3 days are spent cleaning and if i’m lucky I get a day to actually relax before im due back at work. It’s pretty intense and honestly, for quite a while it was basically kind of an enforced thing rather than an enjoyable thing. Don’t get me wrong. I like my family and I like my partner’s family. But there’s something about “Annual Get togethers” that just kind of irks me. it feels enforced, with the expectation being that you MUST go and you MUST have a good time and if you don’t pretend that your having the best time of your life you’ve ruined Christmas, and if you say your not going half the family won’t turn up and you’ll be responsible for ruining Christmas. basically; the option is go and fein interest or I’ve ruined Christmas. The only reassuring level of comradeship being that my partner feels exactly the same. Only she has anxiety so the feelings I’ve listed above are 10 times worse for her than me. 

But last Christmas? that all changed; instead of mass cleaning operations in expectation of “The family”, Instead of travelling up and down the country ticking people off our list and trying to be civil when uncivil opinions presented themselves, instead of spending hours adrift in other people’s houses not really having much to say, getting overheated and watching that precious leave time slowly ebb away. Instead. There was nothing. Silence. peace. Oh don’t get me wrong some members of both of our families kicked up in a “Covid or no Covid! It’s Christmas!!!” Kind of way. But I’m not even going out now. I’m double vaccinated. I certainly wasn’t about to go and sit in other people’s houses unvaccinated with 16-20 people who all have varying morals on what is and isn’t okay to do during a pandemic. 

Instead; last Christmas we had a bit of a general clear out which lasted about a day. My partner and I went to my parents house on Christmas Eve and stayed there till the new year. just us, them and my sister for a week of pigging out in front of Christmas films, drinking various flavours of booze and the occasional party game. On Christmas Eve me and my partner agreed to visit her grandparents for a “Garden Visit” (Basically we stood in the garden and they talked to us through the conservatory while my partner collected some home bakes and presents that all her family had dropped off at the house) we stayed for about an hour and caught up before letting them crack on. and on our side we had a rather successful Christmas zoom call with all of our households online for about 2 hours, where we did a secret santa, some party games and just chilled. In total what was previously a two week endurance marathon of cleaning and catching up became collectively about 3 days of light housework and distanced meetings with a handful of relatives with the rest of the time being an absolute breeze. I think it’s probably the best Christmas I’ve had in at least the last decade, and equally one that’s given me some of my most fondest memories. 

At the start of the year we launched season 9  of our reviews! Which was really good fun and around the same time as the launch my workplace got in touch to tell me that I would be working from home now on a full time basis. Essentially; working from home had proven so effective to work/life balance and morale that they decided that about 2/3rds of the workforce could do it permanently. Now I work from home full time and Im required to go into the office twice a year to both make sure my work equipment is as up to date as possible and to speak to my team manager face to face (basically to double check I haven’t outsourced my job) this was probably the best outcome I could have asked for.

 I’m generally quite an introvert around people i’m not too familiar with (im happy to be a weird and crazy dickhead with people I care about and people who’re in my “Scene” but strangers? Normal people? they give me the fear) I was in the rather unfortunate position when I used to work in an office where my entire team barring me got made redundant which meant, in an open plan office space where people hot desked. I’d quite frequently be with people who I didn’t know, who didn’t really care to know me either. I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of office culture, I don’t miss the morning or evening commute where I would spend 50 minutes travelling 2 miles. I certainly don’t miss having to defrost my car all through the winter at 7:30am every day from November through to February. In fact. the only thing I really miss is there was a goats cheese and Beet sandwich they’d sometimes sell in the office canteen that was just…*mwa* perfection. And…being honest. While the office itself was actually a really nice place to be. I’d take working from home and having the freedom and flexibility to work how I want hands down every single time.

And that really was the last big change in my life, and that happened way back in February. Being absolutely honest, during the pandemic has kind of fundamentally changed my relationship with time. This year has frankly evaporated. And I know before the pandemic I was prone to saying that. no. this shits not normal. I literally can’t believe we’re only roughly 3 months away from it being the end of the year. Summer was non-existent (collectively 5 weeks or so of blisteringly unbearable heat in high humidity. 4 of which happened between May and June and 1 of which happened in September) and a spring I literally can’t remember it was that uninteresting. I just…this years vanished. But it kind of goes a bit deeper than that. 

I have no evidence to back this up other than anecdotal ones but it feels like everyone’s aged about 10 years as a result of the lockdowns, the being stuck indoors, the uncertainty. My grandparents were thriving outdoorsy types who used to go on long walks semi regularly and there was barely a weekend that went by where they weren’t in some part of the UK exploring the towns and cities. In 18 months they’ve gone from up and attem sluggers to needing canes to walk any further than the bottom of the garden, unable to hold long conversations and irritable. My own parents have softened a bit themselves. from the “Can do” any job any time type to being trapped at home for the most part with weak joints, and just simply, a lot less able to do stuff. this isn’t just old age. And if it is then it’s positively collapsed on most of my family in the space of 12-18 months. these were fully functioning, sharp members of society and now; well…they look weathered. They look tired. And it’s quite upsetting to see honestly. 

I thought lockdown was going to be harder on me than it has been. I mean; I was an introvert shut in before the lockdowns happened. So when they came into effect I wasn’t exactly affected all the much. Basically the only thing that changed in terms of my lifestyle was that I ended up wearing a mask outside, I already washed my hands TONS before the pandemic (because people are dirty) but now I just wash them a little bit longer and a little bit more, and pre-pandemic I’d rarely (probably every other month) treat myself to either a trip to the cinema, a trip to the theatre, a meal out with the missus or in the summer a weekend getaway. And that’s really the only thing I miss genuinely is that freedom to just go “Right; Im taking my partner out for a nice dinner” or “Ooh! That films playing! I can’t wait to go watch it!” even now im fully vaccinated I STILL don’t feel comfortable going to these places. Because; if it isn’t the risk of catching covid from wherever i’m going that bothers me, it’s the idiots who won’t get vaccinated who continue to put everyone else at risk who do. 

Evil comes in all shapes and beardy sizes…

For me? Being vaccinated means I can go to the supermarket and not feel the need to bring a cattle prod to zap people getting too close away, it means I actually feel comfortable attending doctors, dentists and hairdressers appointments. It means I don’t feel *Quite* as fearful of killing my elderly relatives who’re also fully vaccinated. That doesn’t mean i’m hugging and kissing them you understand, it just means that I feel comfortable enough to be inside their house without it being a massive risk. 

But restaurants? Gigs? The cinema? Actual holidays? As long as the cases and deaths continue to climb steadily and idiots continue to protest their right to not mask up, to not get vaccinated and to not bother being responsible for their kids safety, I can’t engage in that part of society anymore…and that does upset me somewhat. So…for the most part I remain indoors, hoping that either cases start coming down or we finally hit a level of vaccine coverage that makes it less risky to do more public driven events. 

I mean; I say that like I hate being indoors. I do need to clarify. I am VERY happy to be a shut in! All this extra free time has saved me a nice amount of money, introduced me to some wonderful people online and it has allowed me to really focus on the channel and this website in a much more meaningful way than I did before. I now actually have a production schedule. a roadmap and projected plans. None of this would have happened pre-pandemic…hell this new blog wouldn’t exist if the pandemic hadn’t happened. So in that regard I’ve flourished.

And on that front, if we’re looking for positives with my co-host, partner in crime and best buddy  Ben being vaccinated not too long after I was, it meant that in August we were able to meet up and record commentaries for the first time since November 2020. And that was a quite wonderful moment. We’d dabbled with remote recording as early as May 2020 but it was a difficult job due to ropey internet connections and lack of kit. In November, Lockdown lifted briefly so we were able to get together for a one off  session to record 3 commentaries back to back. And in January 2021 we finally sorted out a way for us to remote record in decent quality with *minimal* interruption. We recorded regularly from Jan to Jul and in August we met up to record 2 new commentaries, have a catch up, play some Mario kart and drink a few beers. It really was quite lovely! I don’t know how often we’ll be doing face to face meet ups but I’d like to think irregularly regular would work for me! 

Over the summer I worked hard on our newest season of the show, I set myself a summer checklist and I achieved all but 1 of them which was put on hold. Basically with this being our 5th anniversary year (This is the 5th year of us uploading content and the 6th year of the channel’s existence) I wanted to try and do something a bit commemorative. So I decided I wanted to publish a book in an INCREDIBLY limited number compiling some of my favourite reviews from the last 5 years, with updated thoughts, extra behind the scene info, a few new exclusive reviews and all that good stuff. and that book is pretty much all but finished. Like; literally barring proofreading I reckon there’s probably about another 3-4 weeks work there just in putting the last few touches to it and adding in a new review or two more than the ones that are already there and it’d be good to go. I scoped out the cost of publishing and found a decent enough looking publisher within my price range, but then, just before reaching out to them to inquire about getting a short run on these books, they hiked their prices. And my “Expensive but understandable” initial quote suddenly became JUST out of my price range. So…the projects on hold. I have a few other things on the boil at the minute anyway so I’m not exactly desperate to get this done. it may come out soon, it may be another couple of years. But for now at least. It’s paused while I rethink my options. 

And that pretty much takes you to the present day. the new seasons been running for about 2 weeks at this point and has had quite positive feedback (thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to subscribe to the channel, comment and like my videos. It genuinely is very much appreciated and helps me keep the lights on and the fire burning) and hopefully you’ll enjoy the rest of the run as we go on! Im hoping this half of the year will be relatively quiet, Halloweens just around the corner and I genuinely can’t wait to do what we do every year there (Drink, get diabetes, watch horror films till the sun comes up) and i’m equally hoping for a quite quiet and chilled out Christmas! there’s a few irons in the fire that’ll be announced in good time around other projects I worked on over the summer, but for now lifes pretty reasonable. 

In terms of this site? It’s almost always a source of “Oh God I should update this” type facepalming. So, while I do try my best to keep things up to date. Don’t be surprised if the next blog isn’t a million years from now! I really hope to get the time to pick up my alternate history of cinema articles again at some point and of course I do enjoy a good politics grumble. But for now at least; all I can say is. I hope you all have a very safe rest of the year. I hope you’re all keeping well and I wish you all the very best. 

See you in time x 

Jack Frost (1997)

Rounding off both Season 5 and 2018; here we have Jack Frost. A film thats been on my radar more or less since it came out due largely to it’s prominence in several Nerdy “Forbidden Planet” esq stores that used to populate the market stalls and highstreets where I lived in the early 2000’s. the Holographic Box art that came with the VHS of this movie was very unusual for the time and because of that I’d always wanted to check it out (Even though I knew deep down that if they had to stress a gimmick like this this hard it probably wouldnt be very good.)

The reality is, this films quite enjoyable. its by no means a regualar watch, nor is it anything groundbreaking. But I can easily see myself watching this again this Christmas and it was good enough that I’d certainly be interested in picking up the sequel.

If you are interested in picking this one up Vinegar Syndrome are the current distributors for it and they’ve done a cracking job with the Bluray version, if you like your “Troma” movies or anything by “Full moon” I think you’d probably quite dig this one.

This review was intended to make it up to youtube on the 24th of December however due to ongoing issues in personal life involving my partner I was unfortunately at the hospital all through the day this was set to go live and I was unable to schedule it in advance due to repeated copyright strikes. As a result I had to re-edit this review on the fly between trips to the hospital to try and get it up before the year out. as a result this one came out on the 31st but does wish people a merry christmas and a happy new year (Well…at least I got the last part right).

 

(Personally…while the original poster was striking and got my attention. I think the new artwork for it (Pictured above) looks much more fitting)

Nick and Noel (1993)

I had a spot of unexpected success last year when I uploaded a review for a christmas film I had found on youtube that was produced in the 90’s called “Dot and Spots Magical Christmas Adventure” at the time I didnt think anything of it. It was a fairly bland if somewhat charming little kids christmas movie and that was about it.

That was until it started getting mad clicks. While we’re hardly talking viral numbers here when I woke up to find that one of my videos rather than normally getting the 10 – 20 views they normally acrew instead got closer to 200 views and growing. Well needless to say I thought I might as well hand in my notice at work and take on the full time youtuber lifestyle.

In researching exactly why that video was more popular than others I discovered that apparently that film was:

A – Astoundingly popular in Italy (Almost a christmas classic out there)

And B – Almost completely unrepresented online barring an itallian dubbed upload.

In short I’d inadvertantly landed myself the perfect storm…it didnt lead to anything. for about 6-7 months that video was my most watched one my channel. But out of an obligation to see if lighting could strike twice I decided to look into other films that the “Dot and Spot” animators had involvment in.

Thus we arrive at Nick and Noel. and…well it’s not as popular as Dot and Spot. nor is it as charming, nor is it as well made…and even Paul williams cant save this one. its a bland one in all honesty. and due to some growing pressures that started happening around about the time that I reviewed this one I honestly dont have too many fond memories about it. It’s just completely generic and forgettable. but Im sure my review will say more than I can here.

(So underwhelming…)

 

We Wish you a Turtles Christmas (1994)

Y’know…when I first started reviewing the Ninja Turtles Movies back at the start of last year I was actually quite surprised at just how well made they seemed to be…and while I had reservations about TMNT 2 and I found TMNT 3 to be only marginally better I never quite expected to end the year with what was arguably one of the strangest and most terrifying movies I’ve seen in a while…

To say “We wish you a turtles Christmas” is a fun little video for kids greatly underestimates the power that the information stored upon the magnetised tape wields. this is not a film. this is a life experience. I have to consider my life in two halves…Pre “Turtles Christmas” and Post “Turtles Christmas” and I feel like both lead very distinctly different tones. I can now no longer hear “The Twelve days of Christmas” without wanting to end each verse with “And a Pizza with Pepper- ro – knee!” Nor can I ever think of the song “To grandmothers house we go” without thinking of sewers and pure nightmare fuel.

if your smart you’ll avoid this movie. if like me your a glutton for punishment and you enjoy the masachism that comes wth watching the total and unapologetic capitalist festive nihilism that is this unbridled screech into the darkness…then by all means be my guest…but dont come crying to me when you have to consider your life choices…

 

(…Horrifying…)

The B-Movie Hall of Fame: Part 1 (2018)

 

I’ve always been reluctant to do “Multi film” reviews…I suppose it’s because I like the detail that longer form reviews offer and that it lets me add a bit more of a personal touch to the movie im talking about to go in depth and talk at length about my own personal feelings about the film i’ve selected.

However, when I was contacted by Joel to take part in the B-movie hall of fame over on the movieforums.com (A message board I can highly recommend) I kind of felt compelled to do this. in part because I thought it would be fun to try and write without notes for a change (Every review I do is heavily noted…I currently have 7 books worth!) and also because it meant that editing these could be a bit more creative and fun.

It was nice being able to check out movies I’d not seen before and especially films that i’d have probably have skipped had they not been on this list…hell 2 of my new favourite movies ever I’ve found while doing this challenge alone!

So far Im really enjoying it in all honesty and I cant wait to get round to watching the remaining 6 sooner rather than later (Though I’ll be honest; time is most definitely working against me these days…there’ll be more info in an upcoming Blog I have planned…if I ever find the time)

With October bringing in Halloween it’ll be a little while before Part 2 of this makes it’s appearence though theres some absolute classics on the list yet to watch so do keep an eye out in November when it should go live!

(Seriously go watch “The Child” and “Jack Frost” if you’ve never seen them before…Great stuff!)

Christmas Evil (You better watch out!) (1980)

This episode was uploaded “Christmas week” meaning it landed literally days before Christmas day itself. Its quite normal at this time that youtube enters a period of low traffic. Logically you’d think the opposite would be the case as everyone is cooked up at home for the holidays (Which havent even begun at this point) you’d think everyone would be clambouring for distraction on sites like youtube. But you’d be wrong.

Rather surprisingly (And it was a bit of a shock to me) the week christmas happens on and the subsiquent 2 weeks after it are some of youtubes quietest times of the year. I have to assume this is because people are out at parties, enjoying time with the family or just plain too busy to watch stuff. But it kind of caught me off guard and was a bit of a learning experience.

“Christmas evil” would mark the end of my 2nd season. And I really wanted to send the year off with a bang. I’d ummed and ahhd about what movie would be the best one to act as a send off to 2017 and to round my 2nd season off, and I settled with “Christmas Evil” because quite by chance I stumbled on it at random and it actually seriously impressed me at how deep and unusual it was for what is effectively a christmas themed slasher film at it’s heart.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the film writing the script for it was an absolute joy. and at the time I thought it was one of my best pieces (As I work to a schedule i’d planned and edited this episode in late october/early november time ready for it to go live on the 22nd of December) I scheduled an upload for it as I was going to be away from my house from the 22nd to the 24th and went out to spend the run up to christmas with my partners inlaws.

And then…Nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing. The video went live on the 22nd of December and it wasnt until the 26th that it gained it’s first “view” and that was me just checking the video to make sure there wasnt some glaring issue that was preventing it being played…It currently stands as my least watched video review on my channel as of May 2018  it has a grand total of 9 view (3 of which were me as a result of adding end screens and info cards and again a few months later to add translations)

I genuinely dont know why this video just failed immaculately out of the gate but there could be any number of reasons why it failed to pick up. I’ve read in some places that if your video doesnt make 20% of the number of subscribers you have in views within the first 24 hours that it can be dumped by youtubes SEO Algorithm. I’ve also read that youtubes SEO is less favourable to content with trigger words in the titles and descriptions (Words like “Evil” are trigger words) equally it could have been just left too late. uploading a christmas video on the 22nd of December is leaving things a bit to the last minute and it could legitimately be the case that people were just fed up of anything christmassy by that pont.

In either case i’ve thrown everything I can at this video and nothings seemed to have done the trick. I’ve changed the tags, I’ve edited the description, I’ve shared it and shared it and shared it, I’ve tweaked the titles (And tried them in all caps and without caps) I’ve changed the thumbnail…literally short of re-uploading it I’ve done everything I possibly can with it and nothing has changed its status.

It’s “Delisted” it didnt meet its expected targets and because it’s been shown to be an underperformer youtube have effectively taken it out of there search engine. go and try to find it in a youtube search. you wont be able to. it’s only with overly specific search terms like “Christmas evil TYTD Reviews” or  “Christmas evil Red triangle reviews tytd” that anything will pop up…even “Christmas evil TYTD” brings nothing up.

Im not angry about this mind; im just a bit sad about it more than anything (as I imagine many people would be if they put a week of evenings into assembling an edit only for automation to decide its not relevent within 24 hours) Im more upset that the film itself is as underrated and relatively unknown as it is rather than the fact people cant hear me tell them why they should go and see it.

At some point in the future I’ll probably cut my losses and re-upload this one wholesale just to see if it helps it get re-listed. but in the mean time here it is the last TYTD Reviews/Red Triangle episode of 2017…and things only seemed to pick up from here on in.

(I’ll let the review do the talking about this underrated classic. but I seriously cant wait for a good UK Bluray of this one)

Santa and the Three Bears (1970)

Im finding it increasingly ironic that Im having to post my Christmas videos on what has been the hottest may in the UK since 1935…Seriously. At this point I really dont know how im not just a puddle on the floor really. Though I suppose that posting these christmas videos has helped me to at least visualise the cold in a vein attempt to keep myself cool.

“Santa and the three bears” was picked up along with “Dot and Spots Magical christmas vacation” from a charity shop for about 50p I believe. Before this I’d neither seen nor heard about it ever and based on the DVD cover (See the video thumbnail) I thought I might be inheriting some kind of eastern european “Worker and Parasite”-esq kids animation that was going to be a rickety and hilarious affair. Though in many ways it surpassed my expectations.

This is hardly Hannah Barbara fodder. it’s a little bit wobbly in places, but as far as animation goes this ones really not too bad. Though even I’ll concede that there are a few trippy sequences that kind of left me head scratching.

This isnt really a particularly good christmas film to be honest. The story is quite dull and again I think in hindsight that unless you grew up with this one and have ingrained nostalgia over it, theres not much reason to dig this one out.

Though thats one of the things that I love about these videos. It allows me to go digging for films that dont really get an airing and view them from the perspective of someone who’s never seen these films before. Sometimes I land on solid gold, other times I come away bitterly dissapointed. and with “Santa and the three bears” Im glad that I got to talk about it and review it. I really am. But I dont think I can say that this ones a “Must see”…if your a parent who grew up with this one; Show it to your kids by all means. Thats the magic and joy of tradition…But otherwise All I can say is that my own memories of this one could best be described as “Meh…” with a side order of “Eh…”

 

(There are some fun little music stings though…but your milage may vary)

Dot and Spots Magical Christmas Adventure (1996)

Here we have the most watched video on my channel…At least as of the time of writing it is…it’s currently my most watched video by a country mile. Quite how it’s achieved over 1000 views in less than 6 months I cant say…Before my youtube analytics decided to cark it I was able to find out that the majority of the traffic that was going to it was coming from Brazil. So I have to assume that either this forgotten christmas kids movie has had a second life out in Brazil or theres something in my SEO that is driving traffic to this video in the same way that Im driven to the cake section of an all you can eat buffet.

It’s not even particularly an all that great movie. Out of all the films I’ve spoken about on my youtube channel I could pick half a dozen movies that haven’t broke 50 views on my channel that have little to no recognition and desperately should be seen…and yet the 90’s kids movie thats just trying to cash in on 101 Dalmations is the one thats the most well received…I mean; Im glad that one of my videos has been viewed that much, but at the same time I do have to say “Why!?”

I found this movie in a charity shop along with the next film I reviewed (Santa and the three bears) and I paid 50p for it. I’d never heard of it before then and it took me a ridiculously long period of time to try and find it on amazon because its mislabeled on there…at least it was at the time when I was writing my review.

The company who produced this short went on to produce another animated kids short which Im considering talking about this Christmas just so I can have the set. It was a bit of a weird time during the christmas period last year because the first week of December fell on a friday that meant it was the 1st/2nd of December and because it was so early in the month I didnt want to just jump right in with the christmas cheer right out of the gate. so this came out a bit later in the month than was initially scheduled but It formed the opening part of my Christmas specials which would run right up to the 2nd series finale which I believe was a few days before new years day.

This isnt the best christmas film ever made but I could very easily see how people could be nostalgic for a movie like this…even though I dont get it myself. I can empathize with the people who do have those fond memories of sitting with the family during winter and sinking this with the christmas feeling in full force.

(I still cant quite believe that the people who animated this did the original concept art for Crash Bandicoot and Spyro…its a crazy world my friends…)