Friday, 31 May 2013

THE MESSENGER by HP Lovecraft


Mr Jim Moon reads a short weird poem by the legendary HP Lovecraft





Wednesday, 29 May 2013

STRIPPERS VS. WEREWOLVES (2012)



The latest addition to the burgeoning 'X versus Y' subgenre! Can you go wrong with hairy beasts, scantily clad ladies, and a cast of familiar face who should know better? Hop over to The Day Hollywood Stood Still and discover Mr Jim Moon's findings!




SFFaudio - The Shadow Over Innsmouth by HP Lovecraft

The Shadow Over Innsmouth art by Allen Koszowski

Mr Jim Moon once again guests on the SFFaudio Podcast, joining host Jessie Willis and Julie Hoverson of 19 Nocturne Boulevard to discuss HP Lovecraft's classic weird tale The Shadow Over Innsmouth



Sunday, 26 May 2013

HYPNOBOBS 117 - A Tribute To Peter Cushing


To mark the centennial of his birth, Mr Jim Moon pays tribute to a true legend of a cinema, a man who played Baron Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, who starring in countless Hammer and Amicus horror movies and even Star Wars too - the late, the great Peter Cushing!

Direct download - A Tribute To Peter Cushing

HYPNOBOBS HOME DOMAIN - Full archive, RSS feed and other useful links

HYPNOBOBS on iTunes

HYPNOBOBS on STITCHER



   HYPNOBOBS is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

THE WILLOWS by Algernon Blackwood



Mr Jim Moon joins the SFFaudio Podcast to discuss Algernon Blackwood's seminal weird tale The Willows

SFFaudio 212 - The Willows



Monday, 20 May 2013

COME OUT AND PLAY (2013)


The enigmatic one-named director Makinov remakes 1976's Spanish cult shocker Who Can Kill A Child? Pointless English language version or a new spin on an infamous movie? Head over to Geekplanet Online and find out!

Friday, 17 May 2013

RUMPELSTILTSKIN by Hiccup Theatre



As I'm sure many of you with children or younger relatives have noticed, children's entertainment these days is awash with seemingly very substandard fare. With the rise of dedicated round the clock kids TV channels, there has been a corresponding rise of quickly produced shows, with cheap animation and a lot noise standing in for charm, craft and old fashioned story telling.

Now I'm not saying that's it's all bad, but does seem to be a lot of entertainment aimed at kids - and not just on TV - that's even when it's not being cynically produced with an eye to shifting merchandising, it's too worried about being either inoffensive or too busy trying to be educational to actually get on with the traditional job of children's media - and making magic. However never fear, for there still are those who understand the value of firing the imagination with good story-telling, and a highly recommend example of this is the current production on tour from Hiccup Theatre, a retelling of the old tale of Rumpelstiltskin, first recounted by the Brothers Grimm back in 1812.


Now the combination of 'children's theatre' and 'traditional fairy tale' will have many assuming that this is some species of out season panto, but while there is music, song and comedy, this stage version is very far from the usual cocktail of washed-up celebs, old jokes and repurposed recent pop hits that take to the stage every December.

Instead here we have the timeless old tale faithfully retold on in a way that is both modern and accessible but also very traditional  Written especially for Hiccup by the Olivier winning playwright Mike Kenny, we have a cast - Ivan Stott, Valentina Ceschi, Charlotte Mafham and Sam Redway - as four fairies who retell the Rumpelstiltkin story, taking on various different roles as the story progresses.




 It's a lovely conceit that serves well to both draw the audience into the story and also acclimatize the children to the concept of actors taking on different roles. Furthermore even before the show begins, as you take your seats, the cast will be mingling with the audience in character as their fairy selves, again drawing everyone into the fairy tale that will be unfolded.  

The rustic props and set design are used to great effect to build the world of the story; being utilised in different ways at different points during the production in a manner that is ingenious, and also will appear completely natural to the children, mimicking exactly the way they themselves improvise with their objects and surroundings in play.


Old Rumpel himself is brought to life with a combination of performance and puppetry,  making for a character that is both appealing and otherworldly. And our villain is by turns funny, charming and sinister - for while this is a production designed for children, it's not a sanitised retelling of the tale, retaining the touches of dark, wild, woodsy magic that all good versions of a classic fairy stories should have. However I would stress that there's nothing here that will upset younger viewers - Rumpel's just threatening enough to be the kind of villain kids love - rotten to the core but funny too.

The tone and atmosphere of the original tale is also captured in other aspects of the production too. The music and songs have the flavours of folk music, evoking older times of fields and forests, fairies and kings, but yet are fresh and catchy enough that you be leaving the theatre humming them. And as well meshing music and story telling, we also have a delightful piece of shadow puppetry built into the tale too, again bringing the old into the new in an exciting and memorable way. 

The show clocks in at an hour, yet feels much longer - but in the best possible way. Our highly talented quartet of players will have so entranced that very soon you'll be freed from the tyranny of clocks and immersed into a fun, storybook landscape, swept away by the energy of the performance, and wrapped up in the magic of the tale. 

Hiccup's Rumpelstiltskin is charming and enchanting - exactly as a good fairy tale should be - and it's not just a show for your little ones, but perfect for children of all ages, from two to two hundred. 



Visit their site here - HICCUP THEATRE - for full details of a show near you!


Monday, 13 May 2013

HYPNOBOBS 116 - A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen


To mark the passing of a true legend, Mr Jim Moon pays tribute to the late great Ray Harryhausen, taking you on an epic journey through his life and works.

Direct download - A Tribute To Ray Harryhausen

HYPNOBOBS FEED (RSS) & ARCHIVE

HYPNOBOBS on iTunes

HYPNOBOBS on STITCHER



   HYPNOBOBS is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS



Saturday, 11 May 2013

DOCTOR WHO 7.12 - Nightmare in Silver



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Aside from the big finale obviously, Nightmare in Silver was for most fans the most anticipated episode of this series, for it was to be the return of legendary author Neil Gaiman to scripting duties. And if that wasn't exciting enough, it was also promised to be the big return of the Cybermen, making them menacing again after some less than stellar appearances.

Furthermore this episode also featured something of a cult favourite Warwick Davis - and if you don't know why this fellow is a legend, go check out out his CV. Furthermore I think it's fair to say that his legend will be considerable extended post-Nightmare In Silver as I, and no doubt many others, will feel he pretty much stole the show from under the notional noses of the newly slickly redesigned conkless hordes from Telos.

And yes, the redesigned Cybermen are rather snazzy - more streamlined, more menacing, and much more speedy. However for my tastes, in one scene - the introduction to the new model - they were just too bloody speedy. What was that zipping in a lightning blur business about? Sorry to be a grumpy old git, but that was too fast for  a Cyberman in my book.

And I'm afraid - keeping the grumpy git hat firmly on - I've got to say I was very underwhelmed by the rest of the episode too. At the end of the last review, I did voice my doubts about having kids onboard and I'm afraid in the end I felt they were pretty much just in the way of the plot, and Angie was flat-out irritating most of the time. Now partly that was due to a rather dull performance, but in fairness Eve de Leon Allen really wasn't given much to work with other than some bog-standard sullen teenager lines.

However it wasn't just the dialogue that was flat, the plot felt choppy and managed to come across as both rushed and padded. Aside from the extraneous children, we also had some underdeveloped soldiers cluttering the place up and another completely irrelevant character in the form of Jason Watkin's Webley.  More crucially Gaiman had talked about delivering the ultimate Cyberman story, but instead we seemed to get a rather flimsy and vague Cyber-scheme stuck in the background of the story and centre-stage the Doctor playing chess with himself. Now as regular readers know, I'm a huge admirer of the boy Smith and his Doctor, but here I felt he was struggling a bit, partly from carrying the weight of the episode and partly due to some less than stellar lines slotted to his Cyber-planner other half.

Nope, sorry to say this one just didn't add up for me. There was some good ideas and performances in there but overall it just seemed like a bit of a mess. Now judging from what I'm seeing on assorted social media scanners, it would appear that I'm in the minority on this one, so I won't carry on carping. But I would stress that I'm not having a Worst. Episode. Evah! moment, more just a rather deflated 'Eh? What went awry there?' instance.

I don't know, perhaps it caught me in the wrong mood. Or perhaps either Gaiman or the director dropped the ball. No matter -  as I always say part of the magic of Doctor Who is that it can tell all different sorts of stories, and if you don't like this one, maybe the next one will be more to your taste...

...And certainly the final episode doe look very interesting indeed! And I'm going to stick my neck out now and guess that I very much doubt everything is going to wrap up neatly - I'm predicting a cliff-hanger that leads into the big anniversary special coming later in the year...



Monday, 6 May 2013

RED MOON by Benjamin Percy


And so a new epic length horror novel hits the shelves, a tale of werewolves and a star-crossed boy and girl... A furry Twilight perhaps? The overlords at Geekplanet Online asked Mr Jim Moon to load up on silver and investigate...



Sunday, 5 May 2013

DOCTOR WHO 7.11 - The Crimson Horror


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So then Episode 7.11 brings us the second offering from Mark Gatiss in this half of the series. Now given the Victorian setting and knowing Mr Gatiss's love of all things horrific, I'm sure that more than a few of you were expecting something along the lines of his first Who episode The Unquiet Dead. However after a run of monster-heavy episodes and knowing that in next week's story Neil Gaiman is promising to make the Cybermen scary again, I guess that The Crimson Horror would be more of a romp than a chiller.

And indeed, my exercise in Holmesian deduction proved to be quite, quite correct!

Oh alright, the presence of the Paternoster Gang - that's Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax to you chief - did rather give it away! I mean, honestly how could any story featuring a Silurian lady, a Cockney minx and a comedy Sontaran investigating a sweet factory not be a romp?

Now I could quite easily write several paragraphs at this juncture pointing out that actually a lizard lady and a proto-Mr Potato Head living in London in the 1800s would not actually be as implausible as some of you may think; pointing out that Victorian society wasn't a said and stolid affair but an exciting go-ahead culture where everything was changing rapidly, sensation was the key word in culture and royalty was dropping by to take tea with the Elephant Man. But as the show itself takes a light-hearted tack with this trio of adventurers, so nor should we. So then realistically, going lighter is the correct way to go when your supporting cast is the Pasternoster Gang.

And personally, I don't mind the show sometimes going lighter and funnier - admittedly it doesn't always work, but in fairness that's true of all the different modes the show operates in. However that undoubtedly is the main problem of The Crimson Horror - the Elephant Man in the room as it were - for some just don't like it when Doctor Who breaks out the comedy. And if you're one of that merry band, I'd strongly advise skipping this episode, as you'll hate it.

However for me the injection of comedy in this episode worked a treat. The Crimson Horror was a glorious fusion of Victorian adventure, horror and humour. Yes, it was rather silly in places, but the comedy never detracted from the plot, which itself was a glorious confection of pop culture. We had steampunkery, Dickensian melodrama, and touches of Hammer horror and Carry On comedy in equal measure. The actual story itself managed to nod at both Moonraker and Frank Henlotter's Brain Damage - quite something itself - but also featured the kind of psychedelic mad science scheming from a thoroughly British eccentric that would not be out of place in a vintage Avengers episode.

No, not the Marvel comics superhero menagerie, but the British Avengers - the long running 1960's pop art espionage TV series featuring the adventures of John Steed (Patrick McNee) and a succession of beautiful ladies, most famously Mrs. Peel, who often wore a leather catsuit like the one Jenny sported in this episode. Of course Mrs Peel was played by Diana Rigg who played the villainous harridan Mrs Gillyflower in this story. And there were further meta shenanigans ahoy too - for Ada, Mrs Gillyflower's long suffering daughter was played by Rachael Stirling, who is Rigg's real life daughter. Apparently the ladies had never acted together before and Mr Gatiss obliging wrote this episode with them in mind, hence we have Dame Diana using her native Doncaster accent and both mother and daughter clearly having a ball in their roles.

The Paternoster Gang too were well served in this episode. Dan Starkey's Strax was a delight as always and while Neve McIntosh's Madame Vastra took more of a backseat role, it was nice to see Caitrin Stewart's Jenny take more of the limelight. Now I know that many - well among those that love them at any rate - have been calling for a spin-off series along the lines of Madame Vastra Investigates but I must confess while it sounds like an excellent idea, I wasn't entirely convinced it could work in the long term. However on the strength of this episode, if it was more a Victorian/steampunk Avengers than a period-bound Who, it could work...

Now obviously if you don't like the humour or get the homages The Crimson Horror will go down like a lead balloon, however for me it was great fun on many levels, and my only real misgivings were with the epilogue. I must hold my hand and say that the prospect of the Doctor being saddled with two ankle-biters next episode doesn't exactly fill me with joy. And having two child sidekicks in tow doesn't seem to meld comfortably with Nightmare in Silver being mooted as a return of the Cybermen to their classic roots. But then again, Neil Gaiman is writing that one, and I didn't think The Doctor's Wife sounded like a good idea beforehand either...


Thursday, 2 May 2013

HYPNOBOBS 115 - Thurnley Abbey


This week we are back to the fireside in the Great Library of Dreams, where Mr Jim Moon reads Perceval Landon's classic chiller Thurnley Abbey...

Direct download - Thurnley Abbey

HYPNOBOBS HOME DOMAIN - Full archive, RSS feed and other useful links

HYPNOBOBS on iTunes

HYPNOBOBS on STITCHER



   HYPNOBOBS is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS


DEATH by Clarence E. Flynn