The movies’ first alien invader!

In 1945, Republic gave us the movies’ first alien invader, as far as I know, in the serial THE PURPLE MONSTER STRIKES. It stars Dennis Moore as the two-fisted hero, Linda Stirling as his girlfriend (regrettably not getting the kind of heroic role she did in Manhunt of Mystery Island or The Tiger Woman), Roy Barcroft as the purple-clad Martian invader and James Craven as a human scientist he murders and replaces. The scientist has invented a jet plane that should be capable of travel to Mars (it shows the era that it’s always called a plane, not a rocket); that’s a vast improvement over the Martians’ own technology (Barcroft traveles inside a meteor, possibly a hat-tip to War of the Worlds. Stealing the plans, the Martian recruits a criminal mob and sets out to build the plane, then return with the plans to Mars.

The results are competent, as Republic always was, but they don’t rise above the usual formula (villain tries to eliminate heroes; heroes try to stop villain acquiring McGuffins). Part of the problem is that given the set-up it’s not SF enough, though a female Martian (Marcia the Martian — yes, they went there) does counter that for a couple of chapters. I know it’s fantastic — but that’s just the word to describe the Purple Monster.”

INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN (1957) is very far from art, or even quality, but it’s still more interesting than some of the films I viewed this week (most will be held over to a later post). A couple of fast-buck operators, two necking teens and a grumpy farmer become caught up in the eponymous attack of Little Green Men (I believe it may be the first time that particular cliché appeared on screen) — though we never learn for sure if they’re actually attacking or just stranded and trying to survive on a hostile world. Then again, their ability to frame someone for a hit-and-run accident implies they’ve been watching us for a while … What really makes this interesting is that it foreshadows the full-on paranoia of The X-Files. An Air Force team coves up all evidence of the UFO, then the leader comments that they’re the only ones who know what’s really going on. Do they, his aide asks? Are they sure other teams aren’t covering up other stuff and leaving them in the dark? “You know how savages blame the rain god for every storm?”

NOT OF THIS EARTH (1957) was Roger Corman’s surprisingly effective SF vampire story. A mysterious man wearing dark glasses arrives in a small town to see if Earth’s “subhumans” will make good livestock for his blood-drinking race. He hypnotizes the town doctor into doing some hematology research, hires nurse Beverly Garland to provide him with transfusions and then begins sending human specimens home. I don’t find the character as sympathetic or tragic as some do, but the film does show how good a low budget movie maker Roger Corman was. This was remade three times. “Independent action is on the increase on a 73 degree tangent.”

INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959) is to zombies what the preceding film was to vampires. Invisible aliens animate the corpse of John Carradine to deliver a surrender or be destroyed message to the world. It turns out that their advanced technology doesn’t work on Earth, so they resurrect an army of corpses — all white, all male, mostly wearing suit and tie and none of them too decayed — to commit acts of sabotage until the world kneels. Can a handful of people in an underground bunker find their weakness? I remembered this as So Bad Its Good but that’s probably because I’m mixing memories of Plan Nine From Outer Space in with it; in reality it’s so bad it’s blandly dull. John Agar, a talentless actor with an uncanny eye for a mediocre film to be mediocre in, doesn’t help (he plays the military ramrod hero). “All I know is, we’re just 24 hours away from destruction.”

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

1 Comment

Filed under Movies

Strangely enough, the guest puppies made me more productive, sort of

With Lily and Tito visiting, and TYG having her own stuff to deal with, I really couldn’t go anywhere last weekend other than the grocery store and the library. So I watched lots of movies for Alien Visitors. I did more of that the first couple of days this week, then settled in to writing on the book. The result was that I ended up with like nine hours of overtime. Which I still track even though I almost never run under-time. Still, knowing I’m not sitting on my butt gives me a certain peace of mind.

After the dogs left I set to work on writing the book. I did some great work on the introduction but as usual didn’t get as far as I liked. Dog care, lack of sleep, occasional errands, in short the usual distractions.

I squeezed in a bunch of Leafs the end of the week and I started the rewrite of Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches. This chapter deals with the concept of the sexual marketplace — specifically the idea women are selling sex (whether for cash, love, gifts or marriage), men are buying and that women “giving it away” undercuts the rightful order of things.

And that’s pretty much it. As I’m working on so few projects these days, these posts just get shorter and shorter. But that’s better than having some long catastrophe I have to explain, right?

For visuals, here’s a shot I took from inside the Plush One’s cage, up next to the built-in cupboard. We finally took the cage down today.

#SFWApro.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Guest dogs!

So last week’s doggy guests, Tito and Lily, stuck with us until early Tuesday afternoon. Five days was definitely a little too long a visit, even though they’re adorable dogs. By the end, even Plushie and Trixie were getting a little frustrated. And our guests lunge for Wisp when they see her outside, which upsets her.

But they needed us, so that’s cool. To show how adorable they are, here’s a couple of photos of Tito. He’s a bundle of energy, even more food-obsessed than Plushie. Lily is older and quieter, which may explain why I didn’t snap more shots of her. Both like sitting on the back of the couch, which ours don’t. Ah, here’s one of Lily!And Plushie accusing me of giving them more treats#SFWApro.

1 Comment

Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

Weaselly liars and Republicans, but I repeat myself

Sean Turnbull is a conspiracy theorist who makes a good living out of it (see this post for more examples): he warns his fans to BUY GOLD, and takes ads from companies that let people invest in gold. And he has no qualms about using anti-Semitic bullshit about a “Zionist banker international cabal” run by the Rockefellers and Rothschilds. Turnbull says he’s “hopeful” QAnon is true, which is kind of hair-raising — as Fred Clark of Slacktivist puts it, nobody should be hopeful there’s a network of Satanic pedophiles running part of the government.

Here we have a Fox News weasel argument, regarding right-wing lies that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team turned their backs on a man playing the Star Spangled Banner. It isn’t true but Fox talking heads claim people’s willingness to believe it is “a sign of where we are.” This is bullshit a former friend of mine played during Obama’s presidence: confronted with evidence of right-wing paranoia, he argued, quite smugly, that the real issue is what Obama did to make people distrust him so much.

Texas Republicans can’t stand the idea that the Texan war of independence was about slavery (see here). Heck Kayleigh McEnany, who recently explains she’s too good a Christian to lie, lies and claims the Founding Fathers all opposed slavery.

Most Ivy League college women say they wouldn’t date a Trump supporter. According to National Review, that’s yet more proof how conservatives are oppressed.

Someone once said the one good thing about Trump is that he’ll always backstab his inner circle. Case in point, he’s now refusing to pay Giuliani’s legal bills.

Speaking of legal, Trump’s filed a class-action suit against social media for censoring him (a topic I’ve covered here). In the same spirit as Steve Turnbull, the ex-president is raising funds for the lawsuit that will be channeled to other projects. Trump and Republicans have a history of scamming voters into recurring donations and Republican fund-raisers are shocked and appalled Democratic attorney generals are now investigating.

More legal: A judge rips into The Kraken and Trump’s other lawyers for filing bullshit lawsuits (”

The judge noted that one observer stated in an affidavit that she believed she saw election workers switching votes from Trump to Biden. Parker asked whether any of the lawyers had spoken to the witness and inquired what exactly she saw that led her to believe that votes had been switched. She was greeted with silence.”).

Taylor Swift called out Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn on her politics back in 2018 and said she was voting for the Democratic candidate. Blackburn’s response: Marxists won’t allow women to sing in public so Swift better vote Republican! In the same spirit Colorado Republican Ken Buck claims Google stole 15 million Trump votes by “flipping the algorithm … it absolutely happened!”

The Former Guy hid in his bunker and threatened death for any protesters who got past the White House security. But he’s shocked that Ashli Babbitt, Jan. 6 insurrectionist, died attacking this country. Right-wingers, some of whom celebrated when unidentified cops kidnapped people on Portland (“Don’t let the left dox them!”) are outraged the cop who shot her hasn’t been identified. Of course Trump continues lying that the Sedition Day crowd was peaceful and loving.

Having deleted his old anti-Trump tweets, J.D. “Hillbilly Elegy” Vance is running for office in Ohio. Some reporters are thrilled, possibly because they want a classier Trump.

Marko Kepi, a Trump-supporting NYC city council member, has been accused of forging ballots to win his seat (though he’s only under investigation at this point — it’s fully possible he’s innocent).

It’s a law in Texas that schools teach “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.” Republicans object. As Rick Perlstein says, the spirit of the far right is never far from mainstream Republican thought.

And remember despite all the arguments of “well Dems do it too,” Democrats are not as enthused about inflicting pain on their enemies as Republicans.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

“There is nothing wrong with your television …” Outer Limits, Season One

After finishing my rewatch of the original Twilight Zone, I figured I’d rewatch the 1960s Outer Limits eventually. As it has several episodes involving alien visitors on Earth, I thought rewatching while I was working on Alien Visitors would be the perfect time. The show comes off better than the last time I caught any of it, but definitely no match for the Twilight Zone.

The brainchild of Joseph Stefano, Outer Limits was conceived as SF where TZ skewed more to fantasy. Like so much that shows up on TV, it was compromised child: ABC was dubious a serious SF anthology would fly so Stefano committed to providing a monster in every show. That worked fine when there was an alien but in The Human Factor it’s one character’s hallucination about a frozen corpse (he’s cracking in the belief he was responsible for the man’s death). Well, it worked sort of fine when there was an alien: in giving them nonhuman faces the show routinely wound up with what looked like grotesque masks, with no ability to move or show expressions other than eyes and lips. Vulcans looked a lot more convincing.

What does leap out at me rewatching is that they managed a wide variety of stories within the given range. We have political thriller (The Hundred Days of the Dragon), a grim story of POW torture (Nightmare, the source of the above photo — if anything it feels more believable these days), the paranoid of O.B.I.T. (even more relevant as surveillance has almost caught up with the show), comedy (Controlled Experiment), human drama (The Bellero Shield and the excellent Feasibility Study), and the weirdly poetical, arty tales of Don’t Open Till Doomsday, The Guests and The Form of Things Unknown (an unsuccessful backdoor pilot).

Outer Limits also suffers from a sense of how serious they are — not kid stuff like Tom Corbett Space Cadet, they’re doing high drama in an SF format! Despite which the best episodes are really good. Fun and Games has a bored alien race kidnap two humans — a runaway wife and a weaselly gambler — to compete against a couple from a barbarian planet (this looks like an unacknowledged swipe of Fredric Brown’s Arena). The reason? The aliens will have fun. The incentive: if the humans lose, or refuse to play, Earth dies within five years. It works as both an adventure and a character story. A Feasibility Study has aliens abduct a small town as a test case to see how easily we can be enslaved; if the humans resist, they’ll be infected by a monstrous, deforming disease. In the end, the town chooses infection to show the aliens we can’t be broken. It’s intensely moving.

Some episodes that aren’t great still have great performances. In The Mice, convict Henry Silva is part of an experimental exchange with an alien planet, via teleporter. Silva’s turn as a guy constantly figuring the angles makes the whole episode worthwhile.

The season has a number of clunkers though. The pop-eyed evil mutant of The Mutant, the easily defeated flowers of Specimen: Unknown, the hamfisted throw-lots-of-stuff-in-the-blender plot of Tourist Attraction. Some episodes have an interesting concept that isn’t developed enough: In Zanti Misfits, the Zanti ship their convicts to Earth, confident we’ll be intolerant enough to do their dirty work and kill the prisoners; too much gets handwaved to really work.

That’s one of several episodes I may reference in Alien Visitors. As I mentioned in my post on ET Pied Pipers, The Special One has an alien scheming to use human children against humanity, but it’s uninspired. Fun and Games is an example of an abduction by aliens that doesn’t fit what we now think of as a “UFO abduction.”

I’ll tackle the second season, which is conveniently only half the length of S1, soon enough.

#SFWApro. Rights to all images remain with current holder.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

The Fourth Kind (or) why I watch more Alien Visitor movies than planned

Back last year, I decided that I was only reviewing one or two movies per chapter for Alien Visitors — one alien invasion movie, one aliens-and-kids film, one alien-pregnancy film — I wouldn’t have to watch as many as I have for my past books. As you’ve noticed if you read this blog, I’ve been watching quite a few.

The trouble is, I can’t place a movie in its subgenre without some sense of the genre, and simply going by memory isn’t enough. For example, watching Independence Day shows me alien invader movies still use the “look, they’re coming in peace … oops” trope as War of the Worlds  (Mars Attacks! did the same). And it showed me how modern F/X makes it possible to create nonhuman aliens — but also to add tentacles and protuberances for no other reason than “we can do it!” (the sequel, Resurgence, was really bad about this.

So to do a good job, I have to watch a lot more movies; as I don’t know which ones will give me insight (not all do), I watch more on top of that. As I can’t watch every single ET on Earth film, I have to set limits but it’s hard to know where to draw the line. In the end, I’ll have to go by instinct and hope I’m right.

THE FOURTH KIND (2009) is a good example of why it’s tricky. It’s a mediocre movie that I only watched on impulse but it turns out to embody many elements I think are key to the alien abduction film.

We open with Mila Jovovich, who plays Nome Alaska psychologist Abigail Tyler, assuring us the story we’re about to see is true — only the names have been changed. And we’ll even see real footage of Dr. Tyler (interviewed by the filmmaker) and some of her patients. It’s a combination of based-on-truth and found footage films!

We learn Tyler is grieving the death of her husband several years earlier, at the hands of an intruder who might have been an alien. Sheriff August (Will Patton) thinks not, but can’t convince her. Then some of Tyler’s patients start reporting how something creepy but unexplained has happened to them after seeing an owl at the window. Turns out that as Twin Peaks said, the owls are not what they seem. Hypnosis reveals Nome is dealing with a close encounter of the fourth kind — abduction (astronomer Allen Hynek’s 1972 encounter scale did not go above three, in case you were wondering).

Where Dark Skies is UFO Abduction as Poltergeist, Fourth Kind knocks off The Exorcist. The aliens implant something inside victims that in the found footage is able to levitate them above their beds, or twist their necks around (unlike Blair, this snaps their necks lethally). The alien entity claims to be God, but there are indication its a Sumerian demon — and did you know the Sumerians drew carvings exactly like the Apollo space capsules? What about the fact (as Jovovich reminds us at the end) that Nome receives more FBI visits than any other town in Alaska? OMG, what does it all mean?

Well, don’t look for the film to answer. Like many other alien abduction films, we never learn what’s really going on. That’s part of the illusion of based-on-truth paranormal films — it’s real life, not something we can tie up and resolve neatly. August eventually forces Tyler to admit that her husband wasn’t killed by an intruder or an ET, he took his own life. She’s just blocked it out. In some movies, that might prove everything’s her imagination; here, it excuses August disbelieving her but should we?

If this makes the film sound interesting, it’s not. It’s a muddled, murky mess. But from the POV of someone writing a book on this topic, it helps me understand the genre a lot better. “When something boasts 11 million witnesses, that could win any court case in the world.”

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, Writing

Undead Sexist Cliche: Let’s kill women to compensate for the male war dead!

As I said last week, I really hated buying Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power because it put money in his pocket, but it has proven a wise decision. While he’s got one or two good things to say — unlike a lot of people I cover in Undead Sexist Cliches, he doesn’t believe men are innately violent or that we can’t be nurturing — his efforts to both-sides feminism (men and women are both oppressed! Women hurt men as badly as men hurt women!) are a mess of bullshit.

I’ll get into that when I’ve finished the whole book, but today I want to focus on one particular point. In discussing how men and only men have to register for the draft, Farrell asks how we’d feel if the president suddenly announced “Since 1.2 million American men have been killed in war, as part of my new program for equality, we will draft only women until 1.2 million American women have been killed in war.”

No, he’s not making a serious proposal, he’s just using this to dramatize how men, in his view, are oppressed and feminists don’t care. He complains, for example, that feminists offered women greater freedom without calling for greater responsibilities — notice how NOW didn’t call for 18-year-old girls to be drafted like men? Feminists think women are oppressed but it’s only men who die in wars or fighting to create empires.

Even given that Farrell’s not serious, his proposal creeps me out. It’s the equivalent of BLM saying they’ll stop protesting when they see one white cop shot for every innocent black person killed by a cop. Even if BLM were just doing it to dramatize injustice, it would feel very wrong. So does Farrell.

That aside, his fixation on the draft is a good example of how tottyheaded his thinking is. I’m in complete agreement that both men and women (and the nonbinary) should register as long as selective service exists. However registration hasn’t turned into a draft in the past forty years, not even when our military was straining to cope with the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. Farrellis correct that the government could order all registered men report for induction, but it doesn’t seem likely. Nor does his link between a men-only draft and prison rape make a lick of sense.

He complains that Margaret Thatcher was exempt from the UK draft but didn’t get judged for it the way Bill Clinton and Dan Quayle did. It’s hard to see Thatcher not being eligible is equivalent to consciously avoiding the draft; if Clinton had been pilloried just for not enlisting, the argument would make more sense (Obama didn’t serve and didn’t get much crap about it). Then again, W avoided the draft and was largely held up as a fighter pilot war hero manly man while decorated veteran John Kerry was branded a weasel who faked his own injuries. Farrell couldn’t have known that in 1993 when his book came out, but he could have acknowledged it in the updated introduction.

Farrell’s point isn’t just the draft/registration, it’s the general principle that fighting and dying in a war shouldn’t be a measure of manhood. No argument here (though from reading a lot of military history, I think there’s a lot more to war and being a soldier). But Farrell twists the argument to the breaking point to fit his theme, that society oppresses men to protect women. Men die in wars so that women can be safe. Men die in colonial wars so that their country’s economy will grow and families can afford to raise children. Men — not women!

Farrell had no way of knowing that women in 2021 would be able to join the military and serve in combat roles (something some women have done throughout history). Even in 1993, though, his argument is bullshit (as We Hunted the Mammoth has pointed out discussing male body counts). Our military casualties in Vietnam were overwhelmingly (not entirely) male but thousands of Vietnamese women died along with their men. Women died in the Rape of Nanking. They died in the London Blitz. They died in empire building: the warriors in America’s Indian Wars may have been male but Native American women died in the millions along with their men.

And how is this feminism’s fault? The American males-only draft was the work of a government dominated by men (and no, the primary motive was not to protect America’s women). The same government excluded women from serving in combat — it wasn’t until the Spanish-American War that women had any role in the U.S. military. Feminists didn’t push for women to be drafted; they did, however support the Equal Rights Amendment which would have mandated a gender-neutral draft (antifeminist women hated the idea). Feminists  have a long history of opposing the draft for men and supporting the rights of women to serve in combat roles (though some feminists saw this as caving into the military-industrial complex or worried about military service putting women under the control of men).

Betty Friedan saw the potential for what Farrell claims feminists neglected, the chance to redefine masculinity: if both genders are fighters, violence no longer defines manhood. TYG’s comment when I mentioned Farrell’s idea was that she’d be delighted with a women-only draft. A generation or two where women got heavily trained in how to fight and use weapons and men didn’t? Works for her.

I suspect both these thoughts are among the reasons right-wingers hate women in the military, like Ted Cruz freaking out that women soldiers can’t win against Russia’s manly essence. The last thing he wants in the world is women who are tougher and stronger than he’ll ever be.

Like I said, I’ll be back with more on the book in a later post.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book

Post-apocalyptic adventures and a retconned Hulk

THE ATOMIC KNIGHTS by John Broome and Murphy Anderson was an early 1960s series in DC’s Strange Adventures, set after the devastating WW III of 1986. Anti-radiation treatments have protected humans from fallout, but all plant and animal life is gone. Canned food is the only source; give someone a stockpile of cans and the energy-weapons to protect it and people will crawl at his feet to feed their families.

Enter Gardner Grayle, literally the average man (the exact average of the atomic-age American soldier). When he discovers some ancient armor in a museum is proof against rayguns (a freak bit of metallurgy) he organizes the Atomic Knights, a Round Table type fellowship devoted to rebuilding civilization. Fighting against ignorance, battling petty tyrants and occasional oddness (alien invaders, time-tossed Atlanteans) they set out to remind a world of might-makes-right that might should serve right.

This series was a lot of fun, though a later retcon story in the 1980s felt that was unacceptable: nuclear war will be bad, it shouldn’t be written as a fun adventure. While it is certainly true that post-WW III won’t be gloriously exciting, I still love the series. Though they could have done better by the one female knight, Marene, who serves primarily as Gardner’s love-interest.

THE RAMPAGING HULK by Doug Moench and various artists blew me away when I first read it back in the late 1970s (it was a black and white magazine released to cash in on the Hulk TV show). The story, involving the Hulk and sidekick Rick Jones battling some rather stupid alien invaders, didn’t grab me. What did was that it was a retcon set in the early Silver Age, with the Hulk running into the X-Men, Namor and the Avengers members in the period between his original book getting canceled (something Tom Brevoort discusses here) and his return in the first issue of Avengers.

That kind of retcon has become common since, but at the time I’d never seen anything like it. Sure, Roy Thomas set his Invaders back in WW II, but that continuity meant little to me back then; early Silver Age was my childhood, even if I was more DC than Marvel. Having Hulk interact with the original X-Men or Namor grieving after his people abandoned him was just soooo cool.

However as several older fans pointed out it was also quite discontinuous. When Hulk’s first series wrapped up Hulk was still speaking English (though rougher, more blue-collar English than Bruce Banner). Changing back and forth had nothing to do with his anger; he did it with a ray machine. Moench, however, wrote the Bronze Age Hulk who spoke pidgin and changed when he got angry. Whether it was low sales or the complaints, Moench wrapped up the storyline in #9 and switched to contemporary stories closer to the tone of the TV show. As I didn’t care for that era of the original series, I left it unfinished.

#SFWApro. Covers by Murphy Anderson and Ken J. Barr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Reading

Not a great week for ET movies

Area 51 is part of modern UFO mythology but AREA 51 (2015) doesn’t do it justice (it doesn’t do anything justice). A clunker of a found-footage film in which a quartet of young adults decide to sneak into the legendary government base. First, however, they spend a half-hour or more partying and joshing around, then they have to prep for the caper, then finally we get into Area 51, wandering around and gasping at the Amazing Alien Artifact before Bad Things Happen (as with a lot of found-footage films, it’s unclear what. Even as a talking lamp, this was a waste of time.  “It’s in the Bible, it’s Ezekiel — the chariots in the sky.”

THE GIANT CLAW (1957) isn’t a good movie but it’s a lot memorable, if only because the monster — an extraterrestrial giant bird protected from attack by an anti-matter force-field — is one of the worst ever, resembling the kaiju Rodan as re-imagined by Jim Henson. And the best name they can offer for it is the uninspiring “the bird.”Otherwise the movie is a standard 1950s monster yarn — bird attacks, proves invulnerable, but eventually Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday figure it out. It would be merely mediocre, but that bird makes it something more. “What you’re saying in essence is black is white and two plus two makes six.”

X-MEN: Dark Phoenix (2019) follows up on X-Men: Apocalypse by showing that in the current timeline (resulting from the time shifts in Days of Future Past) the X-Men are admired heroes and Charles is a celebrity. Mystique suggests that’s biasing his judgment in sending the team out on increasingly risky missions. Sure enough, a dangerous space mission results in Jean coming home with a cosmic hitchhiker and becoming much, much more powerful; this in turn attracts the alien D’Bari, who want to convince her to destroy humanity so they can colonize the Earth. This is more fun than the preceding film and overall it’s at least as good as Last Stand (the previous attempt to adapt the Dark Phoenix story), but at the same time it’s nowhere near A-list; the D’Bari are generic and Jessica Chastain is colorless as their leader. “It’s so much easier to under stand your language when you’re not screaming.”

Knowing Ray Harryhausen was a huge King Kong fan (as am I) I can’t help seeing his 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) as a riff on the classic. Once again, humans (Paul Hopper) voyage into the unknown (Venus) to bring back an amazing beast (known as the Ymir backstage, just “the creature” in the film). It ends up shackled for human’s benefit (studying may show how to survive in the caustic Venusian atmosphere), breaks out and winds up in a showdown on top of a famous landmark (the Coliseum) before being brought down. It does not, however, carry female lead Joan Taylor with it.

As Bill Warren says in Keep Watching the Skies, this shows where Harryhausen falls short of Kong creators Meriam C. Cooper and Willis O’Brien: where they created something epic and classic, Harryhausen just made a monster movie. However Warren’s unfair to argue Ymir is just mindlessly destructive: like Kong he’s more sinned against than sinning (when confronted with a flock of sheep he doesn’t attack them because they’re not attacking him). And it’s quite a monster movie — a great creature, a rampage through Rome, Ymir battling an elephant — as Warren admits, whatever Harryhausen’s limits, there’s a reason his work is loved by millions. Definitely this week’s best. “That candle has burned down until it’s almost out.”

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holder.

1 Comment

Filed under Movies

My week, demolished by dogs (Wisp helped too)

Having Tuesday sucked up by doctor visits was only part of the distractions from writing this week.

It started Saturday night, July 3. Some clodpates decided to launch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day Eve and Plushie freaked out. He crawled across the bed and began licking at my face for comfort, which is not so comfortable for me — I kept having to shift to avoid getting my mouth or my ears licked (ick!). And he wanted to jump off the bed, which would be bad for his ongoing recovery (more on which soon).

Sunday night, July 4, there were, of course, more fireworks and more of a freakout. My writing day Monday was ultra-groggy; I’d scheduled eight Leaf articles for myself and only finished six. Catching up took more time out of the rest of my week (I try for 10 a week. It covers my share of the bills handily).

Monday night, as I mentioned in this morning’s post, Wisp kept waking me up. Tuesday and Wednesday I just didn’t sleep well. Part of that is that the endodontist gave me antibiotics (there’s a slight infection around the site of my future root canal) and my mind keeps prodding me to get up at 3 AM so I take them on a regular schedule (it’s a four times a day thing), then I can’t get back to sleep.

Then Thursday, a friend called with a problem. They’d previously asked about us dog-sitting Lily and Tito as we’d done before, but for a longer stretch, Thursday to Tuesday (the dogs have never been boarded so the owners don’t want to do that if they can avoid it). Then they’d found someone who could house-sit with the dogs, so we didn’t have to get involved. Thursday their house-sitter got slapped with an emergency and it was too late to either take the dogs or board them, so could we … And of course we said yes. Needless to say, having two more dogs slows my work down to a crawl. Plus our weekly session with our dogs at the dog rehab place took much longer than anticipated. So Thursday was a wash as far as anything involving thinking. Today was too.

At least they’re awfully cute, sweet dogs though.

I did manage to read over Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches preparatory to rewriting it. I posted on Atomic Junkshop about the obscure Superman villain Zha-Vam (“Say his name and even Superman shakes!”) I got my ten Leafs done for the week, and watched a lot of movies for Alien Visitors. Didn’t get much writing done, though and I really need to. But there’s only so much that can be done when multiple dogs clamor for attention.

#SFWApro.

1 Comment

Filed under Nonfiction, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing