Cultural Gutter: Children of the Stones

Over on The Cultural Gutter, In This Green and Pleasant Land examines Children of the Stones, regarded to this day as one of the smartest, weirdest, scariest slices of children’s television programming ever produced.

League of Gentlemen

“Demobilized officer, finding peace unbearably tedious, would welcome any excitement. Legitimate, if possible, but crime of humorous description, no objection.” — Bulldog Drummond, 1929 Basil Dearden’s 1960 caper film League of Gentlemen is a little bit like if, instead of ending up solving crimes for a living, Bulldog Drummond ended up committing them; as if…

Alcohol Professor: United Kingdom of Whisky

The vote may be over, and while Scotland isn’t a newly independent nation (which, if nothing else, saves them having to select a new passport cover color), my latest Frolic Afield at Alcohol Professor pays tribute to the United Kingdom of Whisky. Four countries, four whiskies, one queendom.

Cultural Gutter: The Gentleman Adventurer

I have a new Frolic Afield up on The Cultural Gutter: The Gentleman Adventurer takes a look at the BBC series Adam Adamant Lives! A swashbuckling Edwardian gentleman, quick with his cane-sword or a witty retort, is frozen in time and revived in swingin’ sixties London, where accompanied by his go-go girl sidekick, he immediately…

Oh, What a Lovely War

Richard Attenborough directs this farcical yet horrifying send-up of the grueling First World War, based on an absurdist stage musical written by Joan Littlewood. On August 4, 1914, Germany declared war on and subsequently invaded Belgium, a declared neutral in the escalating conflict between France, Russia, and the allied countries of German and Austria-Hungary. Europe…

Deadlier than the Male

The phrase “in the wake of James Bond’s success” is probably the single most over-used phrase in any examination of the flood of spy films that flowed freely onto screens worldwide in the wake of James Bond’s success. Unfortunately, facts are facts and while the Bond films certainly were not the first espionage thrillers to…

Cultural Gutter: The Dandy Doctor

As is my way, I have returned to The Cultural Gutter for my monthly Frolic Afield science fiction article. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, The Dandy Doctor celebrates the sartorial choices of the Doctor’s many incarnations, concentrating on the dandiest and coincidentally my favorite version: Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. Fluff your…

In the SHADO of the Moon

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson were best known for “supermarionation” shows like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons when they decided they wanted to move into live-action scifi programming. So was born U.F.O., and from that, Space: 1999. As a kid in the 1970s, I watched Space: 1999 fairly religiously. And perhaps not entirely unpredictably,…

Evil of Frankenstein

The story to this point: the good doctor of questionable moral standards, one Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) escaped the guillotine he was facing at the end of the first film, Curse of Frankenstein, only to find himself beaten to death by angry amputees at the end of the second film, Revenge of Frankenstein….

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb

Someone must have gotten the memo and said, “Jesus, another mummy movie?” After three Hammer mummy movies, which in turn had followed some nine thousand or so Universal mummy movies featuring the vengeful bag o’ rags known as Kharsis, the general consensus was that the world pretty much had all the movies it needed in…

Plague of the Zombies

Hammer beats George Romero to the zombie punch by a year, but needless to say their effort, though perfectly respectable, was overshadowed by Romero’s groundbreaking classic. I went into this film with mixed feelings. On the one hand, all the stills I’d seen from it looked incredible. Very spooky and atmospheric. On the other hand,…

Revenge of Frankenstein

When last we saw Baron Victor Frankenstein, he was being marched to the guillotine to face a beheading for the murders committed by his man-made man, not to mention the murders in which he himself dabbled. Well, you can’t keep a good mad scientist down, and there are none better or madder than Cushing’s Frankenstein….