Writing In An Angry World


I was planning on writing a lot of film reviews today.  After all, I am definitely running behind.  I’ve recently seen everything from Lavalantula to Trainwreck to The Stanford Prison Experiment and I promise that, within the next few days, I will get around to reviewing all of them.

But right now, I am having a hard time getting my mind to focus.  Indulge me, if you will, in a few off-topic thoughts:

We live in an angry world.  Fortunately, there is often enough good out there to allow us to maintain some sort of hope in the face of the bad.  But this week…oh my God, this week.  I find myself dreading going on twitter because my timeline is full of hatred.  It’s being spewed by people on both sides of the political and cultural divide and none of it is really designed to debate an issue or change anyone’s mind.  Instead, it’s simply a celebration of just how capable and imaginative we, as a species, are when it comes to finding excuses to hate one another.

Sometimes, it becomes too much to handle.  It’s infuriating.  It’s depressing.  It’s exhausting.  I can understand why my fellow TSL writer, Viktor VonGlum, takes occasional breaks from all forms of social media.

I think, ultimately, the main reason all of the twitter fights and the angry Facebook memes and the internet trolling gets to me is because it all feels so pointless.  It’s depressing that there are apparently thousands of people out there who believe that tweeting out a picture of  some smirking comedian talking about what he thinks Jesus would do is somehow the equivalent of true political activism.  The whole idea that any of this is being done to make the world a better place is a fantasy.  Instead, it’s simply a reflection of the fact that we live in an angry and hateful world.  Nobody’s mind is going to be expanded.  Nothing is going to be accomplished.  Nothing is going to be changed.  And nothing is ever going to get better.  And let’s be honest, here — the majority of twitter activists don’t want to change the world.  If the world ever became more like the one they claim to want, they would lose their excuse for being angry and hence, their reason for existing.

That’s why I usually refuse to comment on politics on twitter.  That’s why, whenever any of my friends on Facebook send out a political meme, I usually choose to hide the post.  Me, sign a petition?  Unless it’s related to film preservation, don’t count on it…

Or, at least, that’s what I would have said until earlier today.  That was when I read about the death of Cecil the Lion.  Cecil was a 13 year-old lion who lived in Zimbawe’s Hwange National Park.  Since 1999, Cecil had been a part of a study conducted by scientists from Oxford University.  Known for being a particularly friendly lion, Cecil was something of a national icon in his home country.

Earlier this month, an American tourist killed Cecil the Lion.  Working with two accomplices, this hunter used meat to lure Cecil away from the safety of the park.  He then shot Cecil with a bow and arrow.  When that failed to kill Cecil, this hunter spent 40 hours tracking Cecil.  When he found the wounded Cecil, he shot and killed him with a rifle.  Cecil was then skinned and beheaded.  To the hunter, Cecil was just another trophy.  Cecil’s cubs have now been left without a father and will probably be killed as other male lions seek to take over Cecil’s pride.

Well, when I read that story, I finally had enough.  I was finally as pissed off as everyone else on twitter.  And I did something that I have never done before.  I signed a petition over at Whitehouse.gov, demanding that the American tourist be extradited to face poaching charges in Zimbawe.  And if the story of Cecil’s death pissed you off as much as it did me, I would ask you to consider signing as well.  Here’s the link.

(As someone who believes in as little government as possible, I am as shocked as anyone by the fact that I’m petitioning the government to actually do something.)

Thank you for your consideration and for indulging me in this little off-topic rant.

Cecil The Lion, R.I.P.

963

 

 

Gods of the Hammer Films: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)


cracked rear viewer

curse4

When Britain’s Hammer Films began in the early 1930’s they were just another movie production company. After finding some success with the 1955 sci-fi adaptation THE QUARTERMASS EXPERIMENT, they chose to make a Gothic horror based on Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel about a man obsessed with creating artificial life. FRANKENSTEIN had been filmed many times before, most notably Universal’s 1931 version that brought eternal fame to Boris Karloff. This time however, the producers shot in vibrant color, with blood and body parts on gory display. Tame stuff compared to today’s anything goes horrors, but in the fifties it was considered quite shocking.

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee had appeared in two films before, Lawrence Olivier’s 1948 HAMLET and John Huston’s 1952 MOULIN ROUGE, though not as a team. Once CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN was unleashed upon the public, they were paired another nineteen times, making Cushing and Lee terror’s all-time tandem. HORROR OF DRACULA came next, with…

View original post 613 more words

Film Review: Atomic Cyborg/Hands of Steel (1986, dir. Sergio Martino)


Paco Queruak (Daniel Greene)

Paco Queruak (Daniel Greene)

I already looked at The Terminator (1984) knockoff film Lady Terminator, but there are many Terminator inspired movies. What makes Atomic Cyborg stand out is that it takes The Terminator and adds that much loved past time of arm wrestling. If you hadn’t seen this in 1986, then you would have had to wait till the arm wrestling greeting in Predator (1987) and Stallone in Over The Top (1987). Actually, the arm wrestling is pretty ridiculous.

The movie begins with Paco (Daniel Greene) going to kill a guy. At this point, we really don’t know anything. Paco tries to kill this guy, but fails. It soon emerges that a bad guy played by John Saxon sent Paco, who is a cyborg. Paco flees to Arizona and takes up residence at a bar with a woman named Linda (Janet Agren). Apparently, arm wrestling is big in these parts. Paco doesn’t engage in it at first, but after receiving a message on a roll of toilet paper, this happens, and it’s go time!

You're On

Arm Wrestling

Meanwhile, the cops are trying to figure out what weapon was used to attack the good guy. They don’t know it was Paco. In fact, them trying to figure it out provides the film with one of it’s funniest scenes. The computer displays an image of the weapon and possible objects it could be. I totally look at that and see an ashtray, don’t you?

Clearly that shape is anything but a hand

Clearly that shape is anything but a hand

Meanwhile, the bad guys are also searching for Paco. You see, Paco isn’t a cyborg in the same way as The Terminator. The Terminator is a machine with biological parts added to create a cyborg. Paco is like RoboCop in that he is a human that, according to him, is made up of 70% machine. That’s why he wasn’t able to carry out his mission. It’s also why he is able to be provoked, form a bond with Linda, and be tricked into a trap under the pretense that some kids need to be saved. They are pissed that he has failed them.

There really isn’t anything else to the movie. I know I say that a lot, but that’s the case with many of the films I watch. They’re pretty simple. While Paco arm wrestles, the good guys try to figure out what happened while the bad guys search for Paco. Here’s a few highlights though. I always feel it’s important to show you, rather than just try and use words. Otherwise, it’s like trying to describe to something living in 2D what it’s like in three dimensions.

The movie is made by Italians, so of course the beat the hero up scene that came into Spaghetti Westerns via Yojimbo is here.

The movie is made by Italians, so of course the beat the hero up scene that came into Spaghetti Westerns via Yojimbo is here.

The rattlesnake arm wrestling scene.

The rattlesnake arm wrestling scene.

Repairs

Repairs

Clearly, this Atari 2600 game will help them find Paco.

Clearly, this Atari 2600 game will help them find Paco.

Lady Atomic Cyborg

Lady Atomic Cyborg

All I can say is, it’s fun. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it, but it’s enjoyable. I do love the ending screen.

A Baad Asssss Cyborg Is Coming To Collect Some Dues?

A Baad Asssss Cyborg Is Coming To Collect Some Dues?

There are two behind the scenes things worth mentioning. First, if you look up Daniel Greene who played Paco, you will find that he seems to be a favorite of the Farrelly brothers. He’s in many of their films from Kingpin on. Second, John Saxon’s co-star Claudio Cassinelli was killed in a helicopter crash while filming in Arizona. Since this movie wasn’t a union picture, John Saxon followed SAG guidelines and shot all his scenes in Italy. He credits SAG with saving his life because he figures he would have been on the helicopter in Arizona if he hadn’t followed the rules. At least this is according to IMDb.