Last week, I sat a spell in the After Movie Diner and discussed the always-hilarious topic of film Censorship with musician and podcast host Jon Cross.
Along the way we touched upon This Film is Not Yet Rated, The Last Days of the Boar, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Sam Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, That Damned Remake of Straw Dogs (recently released at the time), The Last Temptation of Christ, The Evil Dead, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and everything else in between.
“Marco Polo” is the first of the many “Doctor Who” serials (and the only one of the first season) to be hobbled by missing episodes, lost when the BBC purged their archives to make room. In fact, not a single frame of any of the seven episodes of “Marco Polo” survive, although fans have reconstructed the episodes using telesnaps (off-screen photographs of broadcasts), the scripts, and most importantly the soundtracks. Even with clever editing and a complete recording of the actors’ dialogue, it’s still miles away from having the original episodes, but I’ve decided that, for the lost serials, if I can get a good fan reconstruction, I’ll do a write-up. If not, in the future I may just link to a summary somewhere and move on to the next complete serial.
Susan, Ian, and Barbara examine a giant footprint in the snow. The Doctor knows he’s on Earth and on a mountain high above sea level, but nothing else. An agitated Doctor tells his companions that a circuit in the TARDIS has burnt out, making them unable to travel and depriving them of heat and water. Ian and Barbara volunteer to look for fuel for heating while the Doctor raves about how they’ll all die from the cold. On their way down Barbara sees something, but isn’t sure what it was, and Ian discovers footprints caused by a boot. The party is found by a man named Tegana and a group of Mongolian soldiers, who are convinced that the Doctor and his companions are evil spirits disguised as humans. A man of European ancestry appears and orders the soldiers to stop menacing the Doctor and the others “in the name of Kublai Khan.” The man notices that the Doctor is becoming sick and volunteers to take them to the nearest town for food and shelter.
It’s an old story but I’ll tell it again: George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead premiered in April, 1978. By September, it reached Italy under the title Zombi, because alteration doesn’t translate well and, hey, at least the title’s illustrative. I might’ve gone with Zombis myself, but nobody asked. Instead, hoping to cash in on Dawn of the Dead/Zombi‘s international success, Italian action/Western/thriller/giallo director Lucio Fulci gave us Zombi 2 the very next year.
Released in America in the summer of 1980 under the title Zombie, Fulci’s film (which I’ll refer to as “Zombi 2” from now on just for the sake of clarity) became a matinee and drive-in sensation. It’s another case of the right film in the right place at the right time, finding its natural audience in the English-speaking world’s teenagers. Between Night and Dawn, Romero managed to raise a whole generation of horror fans who didn’t want to wait ten years for the next zombie movies, damnit. We wanted them now. So what if half the cast have their lines dubbed? Some of us put up with way worse just to get our giant monster movie fix. Continue reading Zombi 2 (1979)→
Ah, Chaos! Comics (the exclamation point is mandatory), you couldn’t go through the racks of a comic shop in the ’90s without running into them, even though their comics were the most blatant celebration of ultraviolence and big boobs imaginable. Of course, if you’ve been following this blog, you should know that I have a nostalgia for them that, like with many things, pushes the boundaries of ironic. Basically Chaos! is exactly what would happen if your high school Magic the Gathering partners who were death metal fans got their own comics company, and you can’t tell me there isn’t something downright magical about that. And you don’t get more magical than a character like Lady Death.
The embodiment of writer Brian Pulido’s fetishes and less than orthodox ideas about female empowerment, Lady Death epitomized, if not largely kicked off, the “Bad Girl” craze of the ’90s. A generously endowed woman who slaughtered her enemies and even those who just mildly irritated her, Lady Death was almost designed to be the patron saint of “sex n’ violence.” Her origin story, which had her burned alive by medieval villagers who held her responsible for the crimes of her Satanist father and which saw her eventually lead a coup against Satan himself, didn’t end with her becoming a hero pledged to defend the helpless. Instead, cursed to remain in Hell as long as one person remains alive, she expedited the process herself by setting out to wipe out the human race. When we’re first introduced to her, she’s doing so by seducing a telepathic child abuse victim in his dreams, goading him into becoming a serial killer, and manipulating a high-tech attempt to mentally cure him in order to turn him undead and thus initiate a zombie apocalypse. Really, in her first appearances Lady Death made Doctor Doom look bush league.