The links in the texts worked at the time I originally posted the photos to Flickr/ipernity, but especially YouTube links tend to stop working within very short time periods, so there are no guarantees that any of the links to outside websites still work.
Schizo: I am excited to announce my new series: The Schizo Show! I'm not quite sure yet how the show will turn out, but the plans include guests, commentary on interesting events, and all sorts of miscellaneous fun. Unfortunately, a regular schedule isn't in the plan, because everything depends on whether our producer "feels like it." We'll see how that goes. Can't even use blackmailing this time... I apologize for the austerity of the studio set, but we need to get started, and unfinished studio set really isn't one of our primary concerns.
Schizo: Our producer has been watching crappy sci-fi movies all week, every chance she's got, and asked me to review some of them. Here goes:
- Dark Star: Apparently a parody. The humans in the story are as uninteresting as it gets. The beachball alien just wants to have fun, but of course it ends up badly. It always does. However, my absolutely favorite character is Bomb 20. You can see the crew's final discussion with it here. I wonder who thought that placing an AI into a bomb would be a smart move.
- Westworld: Getting a bit better. I think I'd like that Roman part of the resort, but of course the guys in the movie choose Westworld, so they get to drink whisky, have bar fights, and shoot people. Bad idea, considering what happens after they've been having some fun first. The robot played by Yul Brunner is my favorite. I wonder if Brunner really was a robot. If not, he was certainly a character actor. Anyway, I guess we better not build holiday resorts populated with roleplaying robots any time soon.
- Journey to the Seventh Planet: Crappy doesn't even begin to describe this. Yet another sci-fi movie from 1960's that makes men look like idiots controlled by their dicks, although not entirely in this case as they show at least some sense. And another thing, it's supposed to be 2001, but no women crew members. Since it's science fiction, maybe we can forgive them. The basic idea is similar to Bradbury's "Mars is Heaven," only Bradbury did it well. What I've always wondered is how come the astronauts don't get creeped out when meeting dead relatives or even living loved ones on another planet. I mean, come on, it doesn't get much creepier than that, and remember that it's me talking here. I know all about creepy.
- The Andromeda Strain: Finally something not crappy. This was actually good and I wonder why they had to remake it. I haven't seen the new one, but it's probably crap. Remakes usually are. You see, there used to be this strange thing in movies called "a plot." Nowadays it's called special effects. Of course the technology in this version is outdated, but that's where the plot comes into play. It'll be interesting to see if current sci-fi movies will be interesting after 30-40 years when their technology is outdated. Probably even calling them "B movies" will be a compliment. But back to this movie. The idea - virus/bacteria/whatever coming to Earth from space - is believable enough and the science stuff seems logical and coherent at least to a non-scientific person. That alone is a lot, considering the gaping holes and leaps of faith so usual in this type of movies. Of course the ending was a bit disappointing, but you can't have everything.
Schizo: I am thrilled to introduce my very first guest: Operetta! She has just released a new album and agreed to come and talk about it with me. Welcome, Operetta! Operetta: Thank you. It's nice to be here. Schizo: I am not going to ask you any of those stupid questions you've been asked in other shows. There's no doubt about your talent and I love your new record. You have said that it is about your father. Could you tell more about that? Operetta: Sure. My father was an actor and he was in a soap opera that ran for 40 years. The title song "The Phantom of the Soap Opera" is about how he was written off the series at least a dozen times, sometimes his character even died, and he always returned. Schizo: How and why did that happen? Operetta: Sometimes he left, sometimes the producers wanted him out, but every time he left, the audience got so upset that they had to get him back. They invented some ingenious resurrection plots for the times his character had died. For example, once there was this character, who had been committed to a mental hospital, and the death of my father's character was all in her imagination.
Schizo: You call this an attack? Those girls are much too nice to attack anybody. I, on the other hand... Now, pay attention very closely, this is an attack: "Those stick figures called La Dee Da dolls shouldn't even reach the shelves of stores, because they are horrible role models for little girls, who will want an oversized head and a stick figure body, if you buy them even one of those dolls. So, any parent buying these dolls for their children should prepare to pay for at least 10 years of extensive psychotherapy to fix the damage done, and also for the anorexia treatment as there is a 100% certainty that it will be required, if the young ones ever set their eyes on these monstrosities the manufacturer calls dolls." Now that's what I call an attack. - I guess this would be a good time to mention that any comments left on our producer's photos may be used as an inspiration when writing this show. It doesn't mean that the comment was wrong, silly, stupid or taken as hostile, just that it gave the writer interesting ideas.
Schizo: There were already competitions in wife-carrying, swamp football and mobile phone throwing, and now... Earl: Woof! Schizo: No, I told you I won't do it. - Sorry about that. So, as I was about to say, the latest so-called "sport": World Championships in baby-talking to your pooch! Earl: Woof! Schizo: Shut up! I know the videos are in wrong language, but I'm NOT dubbing them. - As I was saying, it was an actual competition, arranged for the first time. Should have been the last too, if you ask me, but no, they actually plan on doing it again next year. I wonder what's next. Maybe carrying your wife on a swamp while she's throwing mobile phones and talking to the dog? How does that sound? Earl: Woof, woof! Schizo: And to restore some sanity, I'll leave you with another competition: Art Meets Sand. Enjoy!
Schizo: I have a special treat for you today: Vampire movies! My friend Max is especially fond of them and we've been watching a few of them lately.
- Nosferatu: An oldie and goodie and Max's all time favorite, which is no wonder, considering the astonishing similarity between him and that Nosferatu character. Sometimes I wonder... Never mind, let's continue. I've never been much into all those exaggerated facial expressions in silent movies, but I must admit it is still good. However, I'm bugged by a few questions that need answers. First of all, what's a hyena doing at the Carpathians and where did the film makers get one? Second, why is the bed at the inn so high you need steps to get into it? I mean, except for the obvious reason: To better accommodate bigger monsters. Finally, what's with all this "woman offering her blood freely" nonsense? What happened to the good old "wooden stake through the heart" method? And is this what Max is worried about and the reason he never seems to get anywhere with women?
- The Night Flier: This is what vampires are all about. Big ugly teeth and blood spurting everywhere. Max highly recommends this one. He's so sick of cute, sparkly, 100-year-old teenagers with hangups about sex (as if he didn't have those issues) and wants to set the record straight. He also never forgets to point out that no vampire would be interested in such an obviously anemic girl. Just think about the lack of nutrients! But back to this movie. Miguel Ferrer is actually a good actor, but he never seems to play a good guy. I guess it's got something to do with his weasel face. He just doesn't look like someone you would trust. For some strange reason, Jimmy still trusts him. Some people are just too naive. Fortunately, things turn out just right in the end.
- The Hunger: The most stylish vampire movie you'll ever see and you'll never even hear the word "vampire," plus the opening music ("Bela Lugosi's dead" by Bauhaus) is great. I've always had a thing about Catherine Deneuve. So elegant and beautiful in her prime and still looking great in her sixties. Little starlets come and go, but real ladies retain their attraction. And what an attraction! Just think about that scene with her and Sarandon... Um, am I veering off the subject? Anyway, in an interview of Deneuve, there is a mention that Sarandon was once asked, if she had to get drunk to go to bed with Deneuve. She asked them "why would anybody have to get drunk to sleep with Catherine Deneuve?" Why indeed? I guess I better stop here. Just watch the movie. And by the way, if you watch carefully, you'll spot Willem Dafoe in one of his very first roles.
Schizo: Today I'm presenting you some more of the world's oddities. This time in the world of crime:
First, How to Commit the Perfect Murder. Many people you will see in this program say that you couldn't do a perfect murder in real life, just in fiction. That's ridiculous, just look at the list of unsolved deaths. An unsolved murder is a perfect murder as long as it remains unsolved. And what about all the natural deaths that might not have been so natural after all, but nobody suspected anything? I'm sure there are plenty of those. Or do you think Harold Shipman was the only looney doctor in the world? He's just one that got caught, because of an unhappy relative of one of his victims. If he had been more careful with the will, nobody would be any wiser even today. By the way, the program doesn't really answer the question. They just tell you about murderers, who almost got away. That really brings us back to the point that you can't tell about most perfect murders, because you haven't got a clue they were murders.
Next, a crocheted police car. That's right, a life-size, crocheted 3D model of an actual police car. Inside is made of styrofoam and wood, surface is crocheted using wool yarn (20-25 kg of yarn in total; the whole thing weighs about 500 kg). It took the artist, Katja Papu, and her assistants three years to finish the project as they had other projects going on at the same time. The sculpture is called "PI541" and it is part of an art exhibit called "Camouflage" at the Kiasma museum in Helsinki.
And finally, let me introduce my guest today. Welcome, officer Trinity. I see you got some ideas from our last story.
Trinity: Our funding was cut drastically. Captain said we need to get imaginative. Schizo: So, what do you think about perfect murders? Trinity: Can't say it's impossible. We do our best, but there's no money or time to do autopsies for old people who die a natural death. Besides, their relatives wouldn't be very happy. Schizo: You mean you just trust the word of the doctor who treated the person last? Trinity: What else? Geriatric patients are dropping like flies even in normal circumstances.
Spiders have been used in horror movies often and with varying success. None of the following ones are very successful, but still mostly fun to watch.
- Kingdom of the Spiders: Oh so crappy, but big spiders everywhere can undo even the damage made by putting William Shatner in the lead role. Loved that scene in which the female scientist finds a tarantula in her room. I was getting prepared for the obligatory shrieking scene, but got the most pleasant surprise. Little did she know what was coming. Also, I know about ways of storing food for emergencies, but this movie introduced quite a new one.
- Tarantula: Not hundreds and thousands of regular tarantulas, but one giant-sized that can throw cars around and wreck houses. Woohoo! It takes unbelievably long for anyone to spot the creature in daylight, given its size, but of course it's always scarier when people don't know what's killing everything that moves. At the end, you can spot Clint Eastwood in one of his very early roles (small and uncredited one).
- Horrors of Spider Island: I can just see what the producers of this one thought: "Let's get an excuse to get a bunch of hot babes into a deserted island and then get them into as little clothes as we can get past the censorship. But make sure their hair looks perfect all the time." Unfortunately, even all that can't save this so-called movie where a man is bitten by a spider and turns into a homicidal lunatic.
Schizo: Today my guest is Nefera. We met the other day as I had taken some of my young friends out to see the nature and have a little adventure. Nefera: Too bad the adventure was cut short by mosquitos. Schizo: And it's a pity that cannon you were carrying wasn't very effective against them. Nefera: It was designed for larger targets, not insects looking for involuntary blood donors. Schizo: I'm curious to know how you learned to handle such a big gun. Nefera: My father loved hunting and everything else to do with guns. We used to go shooting together. But I thought you asked me here to talk about my job. Schizo: Yes, quite right. There's just something about women and big guns... um, I'm getting sidetracked again. What was I supposed to ask? Nefera: About my job. The insects, remember? Schizo: Oh yes, the insects. You said you're an entomologist. It's hard to think of someone as stylish as you in connection with bugs and other creepy crawlies. What made you choose such a profession? Nefera: Insects are fascinating. I used to spend hours as a child just watching them come and go, some building, others digging, fighting with others, searching for food and often becoming food. Schizo: I bet that didn't make you popular with other kids. Nefera: Of course it didn't, but they learned to leave me alone soon enough as bullying led to fire ants and spiders in unexpected places, not to speak of the more exotic creatures I managed to find. A literal rendition of "ants in your pants" isn't much fun.
Schizo: You also brought a friend with you today. Nefera: Yes. This is Azura. People often make the mistake of calling him a pet, but it would be totally unethical to have talking animals as pets. You can't own another sentient being. Actually, some guys make the same mistake with their girlfriends, but that's beside the point. Schizo: It is. Azura, would you care to tell the viewers something about yourself? Azura: Certainly. I am a scarab, Scarabaeus sacer. We usually live much more to the south. I just came here after meeting Nefera on one of her journeys. I had always wanted to see the world and it was the perfect opportunity. Schizo: How do you like our part of the world? Azura: Summer is nice, but winter keeps you wondering if the hell froze over and you're in it.
Schizo: This time I have asked for some help from my lady friends. They will surely be able to bring some new insights into today's movie reviews. Welcome, Tori and Laura. Tori: Thank you. It's so exciting to be here. I've never been in a talk show before. Schizo: Did you both watch all three movies? Laura: Of course. It was a bit odd selection, but we watched them all. Schizo: Good. Let's start then. The first movie is The Fourth Protocol. I love a good spy story and this is one. A lot closer to reality than some of Pierce Brosnan's later work on the same field. Tori: He's hot! Even when he's not the good guy. Laura: Especially when he's not the good guy! I could watch him all night. So young and handsome. Tori: And in a uniform. There's just something about uniforms. Too bad he took it off so soon. Laura: I wouldn't mind him taking off everything. Schizo: Ladies! Ladies, what about the plot and acting and all that? Tori: Who cares? Pierce Brosnan is just purrr-fect. Laura: Michael Caine is also kind of cute. A bit old, but still... Schizo: I give up. Let's take the next movie.
Schizo: The next movie is The Cat Creature. Tori, what did you think of this one? Tori: I hate these movies. They're one of the reasons why felines hate half-breeds. Laura: What do you mean? Tori: Superstition. Full felines actually used to think that half-breeds are werecats, who can change shape from human to feline and back. Such nonsense, but old beliefs die hard. Laura: I had no idea... I just thought the plot was weak. At least the cat should have been bigger. It's just not believable that something that small could kill a grown man. Without using venom or something like that, I mean. Tori: And they always have to mix Egypt into it. There's nothing special about Egypt. Sure, they used to mummify cats, but so what? Dead is dead, no matter how revered. Schizo: I think there are a couple of ladies I should introduce to you...
Schizo: The last movie is called The Trip. What did you think about that? Except that young Peter Fonda is hot. Tori: Actually, he's not. Laura: I think he was okay. But the silly warnings at the beginning of the movie were not. I guess they couldn't show the movie without those, even though I doubt if anybody under 30 took them seriously. Schizo: Probably not. What did you think about the plot? Tori: What plot? The guy just took some LSD and saw strange stuff and you couldn't even tell what was real and what wasn't. Laura: The whole movie was just an excuse to mix together pretty colors and odd scenes that had nothing to do with each other. I wonder if the makers had taken some of that stuff...
Schizo: Today we have a special report as Icebat and Azura took advantage of the nice weather and went on a little adventure.
Icebat: What do you think made that? Azura: I'm not sure, but I hope it isn't still around.
Azura: You know, this is ridiculous. We're a ground-dwelling species. Icebat: Come on, it's just for fun. What's the harm in that? Azura: Misinformation. That's the harm. Somebody might actually think this is what we normally do. Icebat: I'm sure you've made your point clear. Azura: All right. It's just that we're not at all into that "crawling around flowers, getting all covered in pollen" thing...
Azura: ...but she is. Just look at her back legs. Icebat: You know, bumblebees are also a ground-dwelling species. Azura: So what? They're still totally different from us.
Schizo: Maybe this show should have been named "Schizo's Movie Reviews" as I seem to be doing very little else. It's just too much fun. Today's topic is the living dead, or zombies as some people call them. For reasons I won't discuss in more detail, the subject is very close to my heart. It is also the subject of many so low budget movies that it would be more realistic to call them "no budget movies." My guests today are Daisy and Flamingo, who share my interest in the subject. Daisy, let's start with you.
Daisy: Thank you. I thought that Psychomania sounded cool, so I had high expectations for this. You won't hear the word "zombie" in this movie and these people do not turn into the living dead in the traditional way. That's the interesting part. Otherwise, the plot is weak, although the motorcycles are nice. However, the guy had no idea what it is to be a living dead. No style whatsoever, nor imagination. What's the point of becoming a living dead, if you just continue the same stupid stuff you did while living? I mean, seriously. There was another interesting part in this movie and that was realizing that the police inspector was played by Siegfried from "All Creatures Great and Small" and the mother was a Cold War spy in the TV version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
Flamingo: At least you got to view a proper movie. I watched Made Out Alive and it is one of those cheap movies and a bit boring. There isn't much action that makes sense, the guy runs around with no clear purpose and even when running away from zombies, he doesn't seem to have an idea of where to go or what to do. So, basically, this could be the most realistic zombie movie around. People would be hysterical, dazed, disoriented, refuse to believe what has happened, wander around aimlessly, and have no idea what to do or where to go. And, most importantly, very few would be armed to the teeth as is so popular in this kind of movies. Unfortunately, reality rarely makes a good movie.
Schizo: Talking about armed to the teeth... Zomblies was interesting in that the guys fighting the zombies are soldiers and the zombies are contained by a wall that has been built to protect the rest of the population. Otherwise, it's the same aimless running around and killing zombies en masse, just with more fire power than usual.
Daisy: There was quite a bit of fire power also in The Horde. Only this time it's cops and robbers teaming together under duress to fight an even worse enemy. More running and shooting with not much of a plot. The old guy was great, though. What bugs me most is that women in these movies are either helpless and hysterical or total bitches like in this. Like you couldn't be both, and everything in between. That would be so much more realistic. People do get hysterical and break down, but then they collect themselves and do what must be done. And another thing, it really spoils the viewing pleasure when you're all the time yelling at the characters: "In the head, you idiot! Shoot them in the head! They're zombies!" I've never seen such a waste of ammo.
Flamingo: Dead Set Serious isn't actually a movie, but a five-part TV series. However, it is so good that I want to include it. Just think about the premise: People are locked inside the Big Brother house while zombies take over outside. Somebody had a brainstorm with this one. And the female lead... Remember what Daisy just said about women in these movies? The one in this is just perfect. An ordinary person confronted with an extraordinary situation and doing what must be done while still remaining a normal person instead of turning into a killing machine or a hysterical wreck
Schizo: I wanted more serious reviews this time, so I asked Nefera and Azura to help me. Nefera: If you wanted serious reviews, you should have picked more serious movies. Azura: I guess he wanted to use our expertise on the subject. -Schizo: That's quite right. Who could be better reviewers for these than an entomologist and a beetle? – Let's take the first movie, Phase IV. Unfortunately, the original version we found is gone, so you'll have to do with a MST3k version. In this movie, desert ants gain intelligence and start implementing their own plans. How believable is that? Nefera: Well, there are science fiction stories dealing with the subject of collective intelligence and it is an interesting concept, but it has never been proven to exist in the animal kingdom. Azura: We're either individuals or operate as a group on the basis of instincts. A "super brain" consisting of myriads of simple living organisms would be intriguing, but it's only fantasy. Nefera: Otherwise, the movie was fairly interesting. Especially when the researchers and their subjects reversed roles. Azura: The older guy was a proper bastard, so I was glad to see what happened to him. I guess you're supposed to root for the humans in stories like this, but I find it very hard.
Schizo: The next movie is about the ever popular subject of giant insects. This time it's The Deadly Mantis. Nefera: This goes beyond absurd. I guess people weren't educated enough at the time to realize that there is a maximum size for insects and none of them could, even theoretically, grow that big. They just wouldn't be able to breathe in Earth's current atmosphere. You need to have at least some degree of believability to make a good movie. Azura: It was still entertaining, although it's totally unfair that they all attacked her just because she was doing what was in her nature. Nefera: That reminds me of something that kept bugging me. They referred to her as "he" all the time, even the ones who should have known better. Azura: Yes, that was very rude. I guess it's all about that "females as the weaker sex" thinking that was prevalent at the time. I can assure you, for the praying mantis, that is definitely not true, and I'm glad I was born as a beetle.