Thursday, 17 July 2008

Cheese Upon Cheese: The Zone Horror Zone!

Well, day two of the strike and while I managed to start and complete a whole page of pencils yesterday (finishing up a 3-page Mary Jane sequence), I've not bee able to get anything done today due to a) wanting to start an action sequence but not being able to settle on what exactly to draw but mainly b) sorting out two huge boxes of books, comics and odds and ends, the last stuff I had left at my mum's. By the time that was all sorted, half the day was gone.

Anyway, as I can't listen to music while I draw---well I can, I just get annoyed having to stop drawing to fiddle with the CD player every time a CD ends (it's a minor quibble I know, but if you get into a groove, you either interrupt it or sit in silence until you finish up what you're working on!)--I have the TV on as background. Most channels are full of crap so what's my default channel? Perhaps one of the shoddiest, Zone Horror, as I've grown to quite like this cheesy channel after the initial disappointment of realising it's quite crap.

The definition of horror is stretched out quite tenuously to enable the channel to fill it's schedule--despite starting each day with the (apparently) world's longest-running call-in spiritual show, Good Morning Psychic---but you knew that, right? Still, there's no rationale for the inclusion of The Visitor, the dull sf starring always-reliable John Corbett. Then there's the godawful crap that should never ever have been made let alone screened, such as Dark Knight (a grumpy version of Ivanhoe fighting what looks like the creatures from Chewbacca's chess game in Star Wars) and the blatant Buffy bandwagon riding Vampire High, a Canadian series with some shockingly ludicrous acting, dialogue, plots and characters. Generally of more interest is The Collector, another Canadian series about somebody--I think he was a monk, I don't really care--who tries to redeem and save people's souls before the devil collects their souls after the end of their ten year contracts. While the central premise of condemning yourself to eternal burning in order to have ten years of whatever it is you bargained for is pretty stupid (if somebody said to you "I'll give you whatever you want for a decade, then you burn in hell forever", I think most folks would tend to say "Actually thanks for the offer but I think I'll pass---oh, and thanks for confirming the existence of Hell and therefore a Heaven and ultimately my path to eternal peace"), it's a decently produced show (especially one set in a concentration camp) but remains fairly uninvolving and dull.

I still watch the frequent Ray Bradbury Theatre double-bills with the hope of eventually catching the adaptation of the classic A Sound Of Thunder but usually catch some really cheaply produced episodes that occasionally feature some well known actors. The series was an internationally produced one and had involvement from Granada TV but the only time I ever saw the show terrestrially was late at night when the local TV station used to show stuff like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery and the 80s Twilight Zone, which I also tend to watch on ZH. These video-filmed episodes are now in a poor condition but they have generally better effects than RBT, although that ain't saying much. Again, it's fun spotting familiar faces, such as Bruce Willis acting against himself in the Harlan Ellison-written "Shatterday" and another story featuring a foxy-looking Helen Mirren.

The face-spotting continues with a godawful Wes Craven show called Nightmare Cafe that features a young Mr Bennett from Heroes (but not as young as he was in Dynasty) but the real thing that made me like ZH was it's cheesy movies: most of their films are dire direct-to-DVD clag but occasionally the odd film comes along that is quite enjoyable. Recently the Hulk and Swamp Thing movies have been screened, along with sequels to the Re-Animator and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and it's the palpable sense of fun in these films make them enjoyable. They're not great--the Re-Animator sequel ended with a rat fighting a reanimated disembodied penis--but they are fun. I was shocked last night to switch over to a film I vaguely remembered when Stephen King turns up! Turns out it was Creepshow 2, which I saw at the cinema and I was the only one in there---quite probably I was the only one at ANY cinematic screening of it and deservedly so if the animated sequence at the end is an indication of the rest of the film.

Today saw Empire of the Ants, a cheap HG Wells "adaptation" pitching Joan Collins and co against giant ants in the swamp (and also completely ripping off the Jaws theme--how they were never sued, I can't imagine) and currently Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (with support from Peter Sallis!) are thesping away in Scream And Scream Again, which seems to be some nonsense about a neo-Nazi type going around chopping off people's limb in 1970 London, so you can imagine the humour value.

I missed Snakes On A Train but do want to catch the shameless Richard Matheson ripoff I Am Omega this weekend: when there's never ending Friends, Big Brother, home renovation, home buying, tat selling or chav-starring episodes on all the main channels, thank god for ZH!


Rol said...

I have Shatterday on video somewhere. It's about that only decent episode from the 80's TZ - at least the only one I remember.

Nige Lowrey said...

I vaguely recall something about a kid with weird mental powers, possibly a remake of the story in the Twilight Zone movie. There was a good one about a Chinese bloke looking for a secret magic shop or something that was quite good, if let down by dodgy video effects. Years ago I recall seeing one called Nightcrawllers IIRC about the ghosts of Vietnam vets that was good at the time..

I've just watched Troll, featuring a young teen hero learning about magic to fight who is called---Harry Potter!

Rol said...

Serious? Lawsuit!