Liquid Sky (1982)

It’s rare that I get to see films like Liquid sky. Movies movies sacrifice plot over absolutely everything in order to deliver a creative, colourful and unique viewing experience. This isnt a film that is trying to balance a good plot with visuals. This film couldn’t care less where its going. It just wants to look good doing it. And in that sense it’s absolutely achieved its goal here.

The films a rare example of a “Nice Video; Shame about the song” movie that’s made it onto my shelf of interesting things. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to be there for a pretty long time. It does have its faults, bit it’s far from a terrible film.

Equally; I’m not sure if I mention this in the review (I wrote this some time around March 2019) but I found out today (19th July 2019) that lead actress Anne Calisle plays both Jimmy and Margret in this film. If I dont mention it in the review then I almost certainly would have as it’s an astounding performance in this case! If I do mention it…then I was a good egg for doing so and its yet further proof of my increasing frailty. Anyway! Enjoy.

(While the original poster is nice…the VS re-release poster is just astounding…if not a tad muted for my taste.)

Ever Decreasing Circles (A New Career in a New Town: Epilogue + What the hell is happening these days!?)

Its been a little while since I wrote a blog like this and quite honestly I do feel the need to apologise for being as quiet as I have been. The honest answer is that life has gotten in the way on almost every level of my day to day happenings. And while I can only apologise for not being around more both in the youtube comments and on here, it’s not been without good reason. Nor has it been through me generally being lazy (I wish I had the time to be lazy these days!) So here’s a quick heads up as to everything that’s been going on in my life and hopefully (Assuming your one of the half a dozen people who will see this) you’ll appreciate why I have been absent recently.

(It’s been one of those years I can assure you…)

First and foremost as a bit of an epilogue to my “New Career in a new town” blogs I’ve now been in my new place of work for 5 months or so! And at this point lifes pretty good! When I first started I underwent 2 weeks of training and then I was let loose to pretty much get started in the field I’d chosen to work in. it was however only when I finished the training that I realised that the field I’d signed up for didn’t exist at the place I work at until I signed up to take it…effectively I was one of 5 people hired to create a new department and they had no training programmes in place for that department because obviously it didn’t exist to have a plan in place to train us in the first place! Because of this I was trained in a very similar though somewhat slightly irrelevant field and while I did take a lot of information that could be reworked and reapplied to my new position…there really wasn’t enough to help us just “Crack on” from the off…not helping matters we were instructed by our manager not to interact with other teams in the building for reasons that were not made entirely clear…the only reason I personally can think of is that they wanted to make our department be it’s own thing and if we’d been to talk to others it may have ended up with us picking up bad habits or falling back on existing plans they wernt entirely happy with the way the other departments were functioning.

(Me pretty much after being dumped in an office space with 5 people to do a job we had no formal training for…)

All in all I spent approximately 10 weeks with that team. They were a really good bunch and I enjoyed working with them. I say this because basically around week 9 we were all pulled into a meeting by our general manager who informed us that our solo team was being mergered with a bigger department and with it all our work was being more evenly shared out amongst the bigger team. We were all set for promotions and pay rises and with it we’d be doing more travelling and a more intense work schedule than before. Great in terms of making lots of dollar. Bad because…y’know…I like downtime.

We were told that this merger would be very slow, thered be a long transition period and that it wouldn’t be till the new year that anything meaningful would actually be happening…then a week later we were merged completely…well I say “We”… I wasn’t. I had been told that during the merger I would, at first at least, mainly be doing much of what I’d always been doing. I’d be supporting the winding down of the new department and as a result they wouldn’t be giving me any additional Job roles because they wanted me to pretty much continue to support the closing down of the department before fully merging with the existing department and finally giving me a more fuller position in the team.

Only that didn’t happen either…

Instead on the day that I was supposed to begin my “Support” period…11 weeks in mind…I was pulled aside by my manager who told me quietly that there had been a mistake…My heart sank…I didn’t know whether this meant I was about to be fired, whether I was going to be transferred somewhere or whether there was just something else that I couldn’t predit was about to occur. Mercifully it was the 2nd of those 3 options.

I was told that basically there had been a mistake made during the planning stages of the merger which had all been done in a rush, and that my managers manager had selected me to help in supporting a completely different team in a completely different venture. This new department was basically the approvals department for the central offices of the company that I worked for…in short. If someone wants to so much as cough in my workplace they have to get it approved by us to do it. With that role comes a frankly eye watering payrise, a hell of a lot more travelling and a crap ton of additional privilages. Im still stunned they even considered me for a position like this. And of course I couldn’t refuse it. the workload isn’t all that much different from what I was doing before…the only significant difference really is the diversity at which im working…but to go from the bottom of the tree to about three quarters of the way up it within 13 weeks was frankly astounding and totally unexpected to me…I genuinely thought I’d go in at the position I was hired for…stay there for a couple of years comfortably and then maybe slowly move up…this was a different pace entirely!.

(Equally relevant…I still have no idea what im doing…but im being paid more to do more stuff that I have no idea about…win?…I think?…)

But enough about that! Heres where things start to get messy. Obviously with the increase in more diverse and complex work at my ectual work it has had a bit of a knock on effect with my down time. Whereas in my previous job I’d have spent the day doing the bare minimum (Not out of choice) and then come home bounding with pent up energy not spent during the day. here im actually taxing my brain! And because of that more often than not I’ve been coming home and pretty much going straight to bed. It’s exhausting, but it’s basically helping me buy my first house about 15 years earlier than I envisioned…so I cant complain really…

(Pretty much…)

The thing is I do have down time where I can talk to you guys in the comments or make new videos or do nice extras for the channel (Or even tidy the place up a bit) but for the last 3-6 weeks in particular theres been something else eating up pretty much any other time I had. My partners been having a bit of trouble recently. We live apart at the moment and we’ve been looking to buy a place together now for a while. We’re still in the process of saving together but in the mean time until about 3 weeks ago she was living in shared accommodation with her roommate. The two didn’t really know each other before she moved in but the rent was good, she was fairly close to me and she was in a quite good location generally so we assumed there wouldn’t be any major issues…it turns out we were wrong.

Her roommate it was revealed a few weeks after she moved in was actually a massive alcoholic, ridiculously promiscuous and into any drugs that happened to be going. My partner being the kind soul that she is initially offered to help her get clean but after a number of incidents in which the police had to be called the atmosphere changed pretty quickly. And after one particular incident, the roommate in question pretty much disappeared completely (Im not kidding here we legitimately believe she ran off with a travelling circus…seriously) though her side of the rent was still being paid and it meant that the apartment was quiet for a while so my partner wasn’t all that bothered.

So one night about a month ago I took my partner out for dinner both to celebrate my recent promotion and as a dinner date (I can be romantic when I want to) it was a lovely evening and all was relaxing and well…we headed back to her apartment and as soon as we opened the front door we realised something wasn’t quite right. There was a moaning sound coming from the living room. At first we assumed that her roommate had finally come home and had maybe bought a bit of extra company with her…we jokingly shouted through to “Put some clothes on!” as we walked into the lounge…but she wasn’t with anyone…instead she had smashed the coffee table to pieces and was rolling around on the floor covered in blood and urine (She’d pissed herself) screaming, moaning and making a screeching noise that in my 25 years on this earth and ith a sizable knowledge of horror films I have never heard pained screams like this. She was completely in her own world. Her eyes were glazed over and in between the screeches she would shout “I CAN HEAR YOU! I CAN HEAR YOU!!!! IS THERE ANYONE WITH YOU!!!” after a few minutes of trying to get her to sit still my partner told me to go upstairs and call an ambulance while she basically sat on her. I went upstairs called the ambulance service and told them the situation…then I heard a thud…in the time that I had gone upstairs this girl had basically started smashing her head into the corner of a hard oak wooden door repeatedly while screaming. The result? Her face was now mashed and she was pouring with blood.

(Like this…but a bit less…and not as clearly fake…and with more screeching)

My partner got up off her to see what she’d done and in that time she stumbled to her feet, took the television cabinet out (Destroying the TV in the process) and crashing into the sofa pretty much flipping it over. In the process she’d also smeared blood all over the walls and floor of the house. Once she’d seen the damage my partner quickly restrained her again and the two of us took turns in basically holding her down and keeping her airways clear of blood till the ambulance service and the police turned up and took her away…it took 3 police officers to restrain and remove her from the apartment in which time she destroyed almost all of the furniture in the hallway and screamed so loud she stripped her throat to the point of blood pouring out of her mouth as well as her head and nose.

(Basically this…but with more blood and some ambulance staff standing in for some of those police officers)

While we will probably never know with 100% accuracy exactly how this situation arose. We have been able to assemble something of a narrative. Apparently she had been travelling with a circus as a cleaner and general helper for a few weeks before this incident happened…she’d also caused a tremendous amount of trouble with said circus due to the aforementioned alcoholism, drug use and general fuckery…So the circus basically ditched her…she spent some time thumbing rides back to my home town, she came into the apartment. Dumped her stuff in her room and went out to her parents house to basically steal the contents of their liquor cabinet…pissed out of her tiny mind she then went over to a dealer that she knows who for some reason decided that the best thing for her was some “Monkey Dust” (For those unfamiliar “Monkey dust” is a synthetic drug that seemingly has absolutely no benefits apart from making you go absolutely out of your tiny mind…go on youtube and look it up If your really interested in seeing a lot of lost souls and the total devastation it can lead in it’s wake…why it’s still legal I have absolutely no idea.) but anyway…

(Yeesh…)

She took this stuff. somehow managed to get herself home. And immediately cracked headfirst into the front door (Causing her to cut her head and start bleeding) which obscured her vision to the point that she then crashed through into the living room screaming and almost immediately smashed through the glass topped coffee table when she walked into the room. Cutting herself more and leaving her pretty much paralyzed on the floor bleeding and completely unaware of her surroundings or even what day it was…we don’t know how long she spent on the floor or when exactly she pissed herself.  But we think it wasn’t very long as we think she’d have probably caused more damage had she been sat there for a while. As of the time of writing she’s been back to the apartment once in the last 3 weeks and apart from the police who came over both to give us an update as to the situation and also to ask for a testimony from us as to what exactly happened we haven’t seen or heard from her since really. The landlord has said that she’s issuing her with an eviction notice shortly not that that’ll effect us particularly…

Why wont that effect us? Well because about 3 months before any of this happened my a partner got in touch with a charity who help people with issues involving mental health find supported lodgings for up to 18 months with the aim of getting them back on there feet and helping to get them into a state of self sufficiency and employment. Well a week after this incident happened they came back to her offering her an apartment all to herself, at a greatly reduced rent with nearly all new furnishings and full support to get her back on her feet. The location of this apartment? By chance about 5 minutes on foot from my apartment. And so for the last 2 and a half weeks I’ve basically spent all the downtime I have either boxing her stuff up…driving the 15 minutes each way between her old place and her new place or unboxing her stuff on the other side. It’s been an honestly exhausting experience (As moving house usually is) but she’s already a hell of a lot better in herself and she’s feeling a lot more comfortable knowing both that im only a stones throw away from her place and also that she isn’t going to come home to find the apartment trashed and a bleeding, urinating and semi conscious woman writhing around on the floor screeching like she’s being murdered.

Between working my ass off at work and working my ass off to try and get my partner set up I’ve literally had almost no time to even stop for breath letalone answer youtube comments, make videos or watch the kind of tat that I love.

(Photo of me literally 6 weeks apart…)

On the plus side things are on the up though. Now that works settling down into a comfortable routine and my partners moved in and set up it means I can kind of try and get back on track with keeping the channel up to date. And even more good news is that I recently found out that my partner in crime on “The Comedy Dining Experience” Ben is relocating to my home town. Whereas previously we were only able to meet up to do commentaries and hang out maybe 2-3 times a year we can now hang out pretty  much whenever! So hopefully that means there’ll be more comedy dining experiences to come in future! While I think it’ll be a good while till I end up in a situation where I had the freedom that I had in the past. Im just grateful that I have enough time to be able to keep the wheels in motion.

As of the time of writing im literally in the process of writing the last 2 scripts of 2018! I know right!? This is pretty much the 2nd part of the B-movie hall of fame review. And the last Christmas review of the year! So do keep an eye out for them in the near future! Equally I hope that you continue to bear with me during this time and if you want to help me or make my life a little bit easier please do share my reviews with anyone you think might be interested (Or better still go and watch some of my older reviews as that will greatly help in terms of maintaining my watch time) I will try and get back to any comments left as soon as I possibly can and while the schedule is set till January if you have any recommendations for movies to talk about please do let me know and I’ll try and fit them in somewhere eventually.

Once again thanks so much for your continued support. Its you guys who really help keep me going with this and I’ll leave you with a track I’ve been listening to to help keep me going over the last month or 2’s turbulence

  • Dan

 

Fourscore and 4 seasons ago…

So this one may be a bit disjointed. Mainly because at the minute I’m leading quite a hectic lifestyle trying to rebalance my home/work life. It’s now July the 9th and today’s been one of the hottest days in my area for a while. At this point I’m on the cusp of finally aclimitising to it…which is a pity because I know in the next fortnight or so we’re going to go right back to the sludge fueld rain filled drudge that is british weather.

(Actual footage of me everyday for the last 2 weeks)

Yesterday was a pretty productive one in all honesty. I finally tackled some of the prep work for the Halloween specials I have planned for this year and I managed to do a bulk recording of packaging shots for upcoming episodes (I’m now pretty much up to date till early December which is nice).

(It was a satisfying if not burny experience)

 

One of the bigger things I did yesterday though involved something I’ve been meaning to do now for a very long time. And it’s one of those things that’s been playing on my mind pretty much since the 2nd season of my show started. We need to talk about “fourscore 2”. Now I dont expect very many of the people reading this to know what “Fourscore 2” is…hell even the people who should know about “Fourscore 2” sometimes dont know about “Fourscore 2”. it has a fairly long lasting history in british broadcasting though it’s often overlooking in favour of it’s Younger, Bulkier much more memorable brother.

So. The year is 1982 and Channel 4 is gearing up for it’s big launch. it had been almost 20 years since the last channel launch happened with the fractured beginnings of what would later amalgam into ITV. As a result 4 wanted to do something drastically different. they didnt want to be seen as just another stuffy, conservative whiffing, stiff upper lip of a channel. They wanted to be seen as cool, modern and hip. the original ideology for channel 4 sounds almost otherworldly by modern standards. indeed if they ran with there original plan in modern times it would probably have crashed out of the listings about a week into broadcasting. This is because Channel 4’s opening gambit was to run on a diet of Art house films, documentaries from around the world, american imports, alternative comedy and music. It was brilliant. Oh it was pretentious, it was hipster well before it’s time. but theres something about a channel where I can watch The Smiths over my morning cereal, “Dream Stuffing” during my supper and “Letters from a dead man” while in a semi drunken stupor at 3 in the morning that just makes me fall in love with the concept of a “High art” terrestrial television channel. I mean…it wasnt faultless…when it worked it worked brilliantly…but art is a fickle thing and sometimes what reads as a good idea on paper can have awful and terrifying ramifications once broadcast…

(Yes this was a show that actually went out on television…Yes. One day I will cover this…And yes im now on a register for having watched it…)

 

But I digress; To coincide with this major event Channel 4 wanted an ident theme that sounded grand, bold, fresh. Something that would drag television kicking and screaming away from the somewhat classically royal theme tunes that had come before it. And in doing so they ended up recruiting one David Dundas (Of Blue Jeans fame) in to help score the music that would define the channel. And he knocked it clean out of the park. Because in 1982 Channel 4 launched with “Fourscore” and if you dont believe me that it was a bloody impressive piece of music here’s how it went out at the time.

(BEHOLD YOUR NEW MASTERS AND QUAKE WITH FEAR!)

its a very impressive track with some serious studio work behind it. if you want some idea of how well received it was, well, it’s still being used to this day (Albeit in a slightly remixed form) but what of “Fourscore 2”?. Well. As far as im aware Dundas isnt capable of just knocking something like “Fourscore” out of the park in one take and there were several variations of Fourscore that were brought into existence before we landed on the iconic theme thats hung around on 4 now for the best part of 36 years.

One of these variations is “Fourscore 2” effectively a somewhat more Jazzy version of “Fourscore” that managed to escape the cutting room floor, it did so by ending up as the “Go to” music for whenever Channel 4 had technical difficulties or, for a brief stint in the mid 80’s, it was used to fill in air time when an industrial dispute meant that Channel 4 couldnt show adverts so instead they ran with a somewhat seething holding card slagging off the unions for daring go on strike at the detriment of the channel.

(Hey…I can live with a lack of capitalism in my adverts…jussayin)

It was also later saved by Dundas himself as “Fourscore” grew in popularity it was eventually issued as a 45 vinyl under a pseudonym “The Airwave Orchestra” and y’know what was the B-side to that 45? Yep. Fourscore 2. Now. I cant lie and say that I’d always been a fan of Fourscore 2…in fact it was only around 10 years ago that I first started actively watching channel idents and listening to test card music (It sounds better than it reads I can assure you…also for anyone who’s curious the answer is “the 90’s Central idents” and “For the good times” by Graham Preakett) but theres something about Channel 4’s idents and music and in particular “Fourscore 2” that just draws me to it. I think it’s probably because it’s so representative of the time it was made really…you’ll struggle to find a more 80’s sounding test card track than “Fourscore 2” it’s upbeat and whimsical and while I can understand why they went with the original “Fourscore” for the channel itself…I equally have to say that to me. Fourscore 2 blows fourscore out of the water.

(Ohhhhhh yesssssssss…*Covers up crotch area*)

So in 2017 when I was first planning my youtube channel and my videos I had no idea how long I’d be going for, nor did I really think about the long term layouts and styles of my videos. So when it came to assembling the first few episodes I just needed some music to open each episode that was inoffensive, upbeat and reasonably easy listening. my answer was to dust of Fourscore 2. Now as a filmmaker myself I realize that in using fourscore 2 im breaching copyright. But at the time I assumed I’d probably do my youtube channel for a couple of months, get bored and drift off…I almost certainly didnt think I’d still be here a year and a bit later with a website and various social media links. I realised pretty much halfway through season 2 of youtube videos that I really should consider moving to something a bit more copyright friendly…Channel 4 have a habit of striking videos with worldwide blocks and the last thing I needed was to have half my videos removed, so I decided to try and find someone to cover Fourscore 2 or do a soundalike (Because I Really do love it’s composition)…2 seasons later and not much has changed. Until this week. This week I finally started writing season 5, and I couldnt let fourscore 2 continue…I really couldnt. If copyright wasnt an issue it’d be seeing me well right up to season 55…but at this point I need to protect my channels content and I needed to be able to go forward with something copyright friendly and similar in tone.

So. Armed with Garage band and a midi keyboard. I set about re-recording Fourscore 2. I’ll be honest. it’s not as good as the original. I tried my very best but im an amateur musician at best and David Dundas is…well…David Dundas. It came out better than I expected but thats not saying much. Im happy with it and for me it does the job. But this season will be the last one to use fourscore 2. I’ll miss it in all honesty. but im sure you all can appreciate my position on this one and that you’ll learn to love the new theme in September in the same way I myself fell in love with Fourscore 2 the first time I heard it. it wont be wrong…just different…at least thats what I keep telling myself…

(Yeh…its far from perfect…but for a 15 second sting it’ll do the job…)

 

EDIT: As an additional; if you are interested in learning more about Channel 4 then you simply must watch Applemasks documentary on the history of the channel, he’s funny, witty and bang on the money in covering every minute detail of this channels long and winding history from Arty/hipster repository to Reality TV bin and beyond in every shade colour and hue, seriously. Check him out. he’s ace.

(One day I’ll cover Channel 4 schools in detail…one day…)

Eegah (1962)

I have to hold my hands up really; both with this one and with a few of my episodes that deal with older bad movies. One of my main sources for discovering older films like this is the TV show “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” (Often affectionately shortned to “MST3K”)

It was arguably one of the first shows to really bring the art and humour of bad films to a mainstream audience and I was VERY late to the party on this one. Y’see; MST wasnt really shown in the UK. it have a very very limited run of episodes on the sci-fi channel in the late 90s (Literally from what I’ve been able to research they showed about 1 season of Mike Era episodes over the course of about 5 months and that was it) I have very fleeting memories of seeing either some promotional material or a single episode of this run. And then the next time i’d encounter MST would be in my time in University where me and my friend Ben would devour 2 or 3 episodes a night for weeks at a time while drinking heavily and eating take away pizza…life was good!

Eegah is one of the few movies from MST that I have watched both riffed and unriffed and its delightfully watchable to me in either format (Though honestly the MST versions vastly superior and my preferred watching experience if I had to choose) It was featured in the last few years as an episode of there seasonal “Turkey Day” marathon on youtube (Which I highly reccommend you check out this thanskgiving!) and thats what put it to the forefront of my mind when it came to picking a movie to review.

It’s a very unusual movie with a fantastically craptacular ending but it has its own charm and I can see why MST3K decided to pick this one up. The jokes almost write themselves…

(recommended viewing: 6 pack of cider (Or a spirit of your choice) dirty/beautiful pizza and a good couple of friends…perfection.)

The Dragon Lives again! (The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu) (1977)

Well it’s usually good with these things to start at the beginning! and starting my youtube channel off all that time ago was this movie: 1977’s “The Dragon Lives again” also known as “The Deadly Hands of Kung fu”. I love this movie. like; I both love it and im In love with it. its my favourite martial arts film of all time just for how surreal and bizarre it is. Though the only downside of this being my first review is that because its the first one I didnt really get my style down properly. I talk too fast and I dont feel I said everything I could say about this awesome movie. consider this a pilot episode. I’ll need to revisit it at some point in the future but for now please enjoy one of the strangest (And most copyright infringiest!) movies I’ve ever seen…

(Seriously…I bloody love this film)