TVB // Blue Veins

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Objectively, all TVB dramas are terrible, the Cantonese equivalent of Monster Dog or Space Truckers, but at the same time weirdly addictive. If you switch on during an episode, there’s a good chance you’ll see it through to the end [of the episode] cos the plot and time within the drama move at lightspeed.

Example:

If a character decides to do something, even something that takes a really long journey like go to Holland to find an ancient artefact, the very next scene will be that character walking around Amsterdam with a map.

This is common in a lot of movies, but TVB stands out more cos a] it happens frequently, and b] it’s juxtaposed with endless scenes of characters exchanging bland dialogue + life philosophies.

E.g. Relationships are just like the waves of the sea, sometimes they’re choppy, sometimes they’re calm. But if you are good at surfing, you can ride them for 10-15 seconds before falling off and potentially hitting your head on a submerged rock.

That’s not a hundred per cent accurate, but I remember hearing the first part of it in one of the dramas and it gives you the basic idea of what I’m talking about.

Rumour has it TVB has an archive of these philosophies that they recycle every 2-3 years, in new dramas. No one really notices, due to the abundance of them, so they keep doing it. New ideas are frowned upon.

It’s not just the dialogue that’s bad. The writing in general is awful, no subtlety at all, which I guess is understandable when you consider they often write the script as the drama is being filmed. This obviously leads to ridiculous plot twists, uneven performances and copycatting.

E.g. in the new vampire drama, the main female character [Kay Tse, channelling a P4 student playing a tree in the school nativity play] can touch dead bodies and bring them back to life for 1 minute. Obviously, the writers have never seen or heard of the US show ‘Pushing Daisies’. Continue reading

Hojo family gathering + Yuki Onna [Snow woman]

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‘Realising he was fighting a losing battle, Hojo burnt the monasteries and returned to his castle where, along with 34 family members, and two hundred and twenty retainers, he committed mass suicide.’

I’m used to medieval nobles like Vlad Dracula and Dan the 2nd dying in battle, being unafraid of death as long as their adrenaline was up, but to casually go back to your castle and gut yourself, and force the rest of your family and your servants to do the same, is pure Japan. Maybe pure Ancient Egypt too, I’m not sure.

Actually, it may have been common in many cultures for the servants to die too, but…where’s the sense in killing off your next of kin?

Even in the context of medieval Japan, it doesn’t make sense.

The reputation and continuation of your Clan was considered paramount, but it was also a matter of honour to kill yourself after losing a battle.

Contradiction: killing yourself and your family does not help you to continue your Clan. Unless you’re killing off your cousins?

But then, other warriors would surrender and join the other side in order to preserve their Clan.

I think that happened a lot in the warring period, which I’ve just found out about from a book I picked up in the library.

Most history of most countries is pretty brutal, but 1430’s – 1620’s was the time you couldn’t go anywhere in Japan without being mugged, raped or slaughtered.

Same goes for Romania.

That was all a long time ago now.

I lived in Japan and they’ve definitely mellowed since the 1400’s. And become more creative too. Look at how many weird folktales they’ve got. Look at all that manga.

Have you ever read or seen Yuki Onna [Snow woman]? Continue reading

Hungarian Dracula

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Impaling a village of saxons, including priests, kids and mums, and then sik gan fan at a table nearby [alone] is something only the 15th century could find time for, but it’s been done now, everyone knows Vlad, yan yan, everyone, even the guy from the Buffy episode of Dracula played Vlad in a TV movie and if you are gonna write Dracula 2 then it’s better to go Hungarian, oh goh dut.

And 10th century Hungary beats 15th mostly cos it wasn’t really Hungary yet and

the future Hungarians were still doing raids

mostly on Northern Italy as that’s where all the painters

were and the idea of a Hungarian sweeping in from Russia

speaking a language similar to other cold people

e.g. Finland, Estonia, Lithuania

but being secretly otherworldly

is a good one.

So far I’ve found three guys who could play the role of my Drac, they are:

Alpan

Alzar

Kruszan

I think I’m leaning towards the last one as he’s the only one who wasn’t a king, he was more like the Hand, yet he was also a brilliant military commander so he would have seen blood and guts and Bulgar swords stabbing at his horse, so he’s the guy and the

thing I need to figure out now is what would someone like this be like after 1120 years of being a vamp, or not a vamp, something similar to a vamp [he won’t drink blood, he’ll dig his nails under the skin and rub firmly, his idea of sex]

would he still carry the brutality of the 10th-15th century timeframe

would it be worse now that he’s not human

would he be lonelier and lonelier in sync with the growing morality of humans in general

as his total lack of morals slipped away from his country’s traditions? Continue reading

The Haunted Palace // The Pit and the Pendulum [thoughts + spoilers]

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Like all Poe/Corman films, the plots of Haunted Palace and Pit and Pendulum are quite similar. We’ll try the lighter of the two first…

Film: The Haunted Palace

Starring: Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr, a painting of Vincent Price, interchangeable villagers

Setting: An old American palace

Plot: Several women are zombified and impregnated at Vincent Price’s luxurious American palace, but some of the villagers find out and burn him to death. Before he dies, Price borrows the Bush family strategy and vows revenge via a future relative who will look exactly the same as him.

A hundred and something years later, a relative who looks exactly the same as Vincent Price arrives to claim the palace he just inherited. The villagers tell him not to stay there, it’s haunted, it’s remote, it’s draughty etc., but Price defies them and stays there until his evil ancestor starts to possess him [with the help of the butler].

Subplot: The wife of Vincent Price takes one look at the creepy painting above the fireplace and immediately enquires about the nearest Holiday Inn. On hearing that the village has a pub, a graveyard, a smoke machine and that’s it, she tells Vince they should leave anyway, but he says nonsense, the palace is great and will make an excellent sex den.

Sub-sub plot: Interchangeable villagers ignore the lack of jobs/daylight in the village and focus on something more achievable i.e. the persecution and possible burning of Vincent Price.

Subterranean plot: An unknown monster waits in a hole in the basement of the castle. It waits there, in that exact spot because Vincent Price keeps bringing naked women for it to stare up at, just like those old men who stand under the transparent stairs in the Causeway Bay Apple Store. Yup, the old Gods may be ancient and glorious with powers beyond human comprehension, but they’re still base enough to sit and gawp at some extra’s muff.

Notes:

I watched this film the day after I saw The Pit and the Pendulum. And the week after I’d watched the House of Usher.

A lot of these films blur into one, and it’s especially true of The Haunted Palace + The Pit and the Pendulum. Continue reading

Psycho Holosuite #Issue 1 [Out Now]

psycho holosuite7-2

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Zine: Psycho Holosuite [Issue 1]

Pages: 80 [print version], 90 [e-version]

Contributors: Berit Ellingsen, Frankie Sachs, Soren Melville, Thomas Stolperer, Marc Horne, Tyson Bley and me [Oli].

Release date: Now

Notes:

Well, after printing this thing 5 months ago and watching it sit in a box in the corner of my living room doing nothing ever since, I can finally say, man, it’s out.

By ‘out’ I mean available for order in stripped down e-form on amazon, and on its way in glorious zine form to the following places:

Atomic Books [Baltimore]

The Coming Society [Hong Kong]

Sticky Institute [Melbourne]

Housmans [London]

Book Thug Nation [NYC]

Molasses [NYC]

Quimby’s [Chicago]

There are still 4-5 places we’re gonna add to this list, but you can find out more about these confirmed stockists here.

All of them are decent and well stocked with zines from all kinds of people, so even if you don’t like our one, you probably will like at least one zine there.

Also, if you want to order a copy, just e-mail us and we’ll see if there’s any left.

What’s in Issue 1 of this zine?

Well, there’s: Continue reading

Uchujin Time Strip

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In many ways Susan Sarandon was more than just the lub interest from Bull Durham and the ex-wife of Tim Robbins, she was also the mind interest of sub space aliens who conducted experiments with/in/outside of time.

 

It had started, the Sarandon interest, when a stray signal from Earth swerved and poked itself into sub space by mistake…and ended up on one of the screens inside an alien base only eight sub-parsecs from the Sol System [not that distance really mattered].

 

Alien: What’s this?

Alien 2: White Palace.

Alien: Well…I don’t like white, and I don’t really like palaces…wait, who’s that?

Alien 2: The one with the stick?

Alien: No.

Alien 2: The one with the hills?

Alien: Yes, who is she?

Alien 2: Susan Sarandon.

Alien: Wow.

Alien 2: I know.

 

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RULE 17 of Chrono-strip-experimentation:

Always seek permission from a representative of the subject’s world, even if that representative seems to be out of their depth.

If refused, ask another.

 

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The sub space aliens ordered the face cream, pulled out the temporal hacksaws and grew four tongues [two as back-up].

The face cream would take a few weeks to arrive, so they passed the time by watching the 14th century.

Their notes:

 

Black Death = efficient culling of general population, mostly peasants

Red Death = efficient culling of Italian nobles who worshipped something called Satan. Continue reading

Nihongo Mata

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It’s been a while, ten years or so, but there’s a honeymoon in Kyushu coming up so it’s back to the Japanese textbooks cos if I don’t know how to say, “which way to the island volcano?” then we’re fucked.

If we were heading to Tokyo or Osaka it wouldn’t be a problem, but we’re going to isolated places and I’ve been to Sado Island before so I know what’s coming. I know they only speak Japanese, formal Japanese too, the words with no end.

Last time on Sado, Aya was there so I didn’t have to say much. In fact, she specifically told me not to speak as my Japanese was bad.

It’s true, I had problems putting equal stress on the whole word.

E.g. I would say To-MO-mi, instead of To-mo-mi.

It’s quite hard to get the hang of cos English speakers are used to putting stress somewhere.

This time I will be better. I’m sure of it.

Oh Aya, whatever happened to her?

She was a bit pretentious, but so was I so we got on okay.

I remember we shared a futon in the Sado Island ryokan and I woke up in the night and she was staring at me.

‘Oli, what does Fibreglassy mean?’ Continue reading