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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Alien Prey- 1978 film

An unusual turn of events converged to my watching this motion picture. I remember how I was supposed to sit still while the wife was swabbing the floor so it wouldn't be smeared by my footprints. I had intended to go and read about TCP/IP packets and the transmission means tehreof. But eventually I settled on remaining at this notebook computer and decided, on a whim, to watch Alien Prey. The movie had been sitting there for an indefinite amount of time. But then the moment to watch that had at length arrived. Why did the undertaking call for such a measure of mettle? Simply enough over the years I have heard that Alien Prey was an appalling movie, one of teh worst mistakes that Britain ever made, and it should not be watched at all costs. I hadn't watched the movie so I couldn't understand why the movie was such a trainwreck. But the sources from which the slight came were reliable enough, so it hadn't occurred to me to doubt the authenticity of the rating.

However, time came when I had to actually watch the whole thing, all the way through. Know what? The movie got me thinking a lot. Thoughts of some philosophical fancy dominated my mind for quite some time, and the way it lingered yielded some agreeable insights, not unlike the feeling linked to nostalgia. Although this could easily be ascribed to a lot of factors inherent to my own experiences, there are a few that warrant special attention:

  • The setting is in a backwoods town in England. I was used to movies based around country life to be set in some backwater town in Florida, Delaware, Georgia or even Australia (as of the time of this writing I used these examples with the following movies in mind: The Alien Dead Redneck Zombies, Squirm and Canetoads.)
  • The lesbian couple seems genuine and the established relationship proves to have a life of its own: Jessica (the most attractive of the duo) is very dependent on her partner and seems at times even unable to care for herself should she be left alone. The other is the dominant partner in the relationship and her dominance might have been forged by her more masculine deportment. She takes a more active part in running the house and attending to most of the chores. She might even have been in charge of teh shopping but I guess that was hardly the case because as stated before, that is a town concealed deep in the woods. 
  • The antagonist is an alien vampire man who happens to impinge upon the lesbian couple's peaceful world. He's a murderous being out to slay all who stay in his way to world conquering. Most of the film he's displayed under teh guise of a simple man who is good at sporting a blank expression while he's not excited. But when his biological needs dictate, he can turn feral and slaughter even the most powerless creatures that happen to be within his angle of vision. He feeds on those he kills, humans and beasts alike. None are spared. Yet, despite being an alien and therefore having scarce knowledge about humans, it's clear that he can sense that he's the odd one out and due to this a bother to the two homosexual females. He acts meekly and pretends to be lost in order to receive some relief from them. But what makes the bulk of the movie is that it remains unclear whether the alien has feelings for the more attractive partner of the couple or he's just biding his time. But the latter seems unlikely as he doesn't look like he's plotting something serious after all. He does relay information to the command ship now and then. But it's impossible to draw this conclusion from reading his face and then we realise there's nothing to see there. It's dead. 
  • Joe ,the other partner, is constantly jealous of anyone who can take her woman. This is shown from some tidbits throughout the movie, including the way she looks askew at the alien male and how Jessica's previous boyfriend was disposed of. Actually this happens before the movie starts. We gather that it was Joe who carried out the hit based on Jessica's conclusion.

Okay, onward to the plot. It all starts with Jessica waking up from a bright light that floods her room. She runs over to her partner (they sleep in separate quarters) to procure some comfort. The next day we are introduced to movie's antagonist, an alien form outer space who quickly picks off an unsuspecting young couple nearby. He assumes the identity of the male moiety of the unit and makes his way further into the thicket. He happens upon two cops who wander through and kill them as well. Soon, the lesbians find him at their property. He seems to be disoriented and pretends to be limping so they can help. Weird that, despite his limping they offer him water. A crutch might have been more appropriate, but still.... They take him inside despite Joe's protests. Even this early in the film she already shows a jealous streak in her. Jessica seems more comfortable with  teh alien's company. Maybe their life hadn't been so peaceful after all.

The alien displays some kinky behaviour during the movie's course. He's rather obsessed with Jessica's parrot: Wally. Whenever he's given teh chance of being left alone he makes a go at it. The plot comes to a staggering halt at this point. A lot of things happen and none of them contribute to the movie. Of notice is Joe's chagrin at the chickens' sudden demise and how she wrongly blames a furtive fox for the killing. The three of them set out on a hunt, she aims for the fox, takes a 10-yard shot and misses it. She protests loudly, even cussing the foreign allien that he's of no help. She just wants to get her revenge at all costs. The alien (let's just call him Anders from now on) decides to redeem himself for having behaved like a vague lump of flesh and kills the fox and takes it home, much to Joe's delight.

Another quirk of this movie is that they are so happy for the successful hunt they decide to stage a party. Now I believe that having a party should have a good reason behind it. Killing a simple fox because some silly moo thought it was accountable for killing teh chickens is not among them. What if was another fox? The party is complete with cake, dancing and champagne. They didn't invite anybody it's only the three of them to partake of the soiree.

Which causes one to wonder what if there was no intruding alien thrusted upon the perfect world comprised of Jessica and Joe? It hints at them either being outright recluses or living secluded from everywhere else. It's unclear what their status quo is as the movie evolves only around these 3 characters confined to that one house which is the dwelling of the humans. Nowhere else they go for the remainder of the film.

 Anyway the party mood is ideal for the lesbians to enjoy each other's company. The alien remains indifferent, in the background. They try to get the bashful entity to groove to it, but the dullness of teh air about him won't just clear up. They then decide to have fun in a way that could get everyone involved. Rather than what dark desires might compel at times like this, they don't engage inany kind of randy stuff.Quite the contrary. They elect to play hide n seek. So there you have it: 3 grown-ups playing hid and seek. Weird as it might seem, the female duo actually find it pretty funny, despite making the side already used to it. The game is a novelty to Anders, but still his excitment muscle is not stirred. He finds them quite easily by sniffing them out.

At this point I thought he was going to kill somebody. I'm not sure why, but the build-up to the mood and the sombre music just kinda gave that away. But something doesn't feel feel right and Joe goes over to investigate things. What she finds out is quite disturbing. She finds the remains of the dead fox and finds out that all that's left of it is its hide and the flesh, tendons, tissues were gone altogether. She starts piecing things together right away and comes to the unavoidable conclusion that their alien suitor is behind the recent doings. It's not long before she grabs a huge drop point knife to fend off Anders. Jessica finds her first, but she's undaunted by her flustered partner holding that huge knife.

She claims to know that Anders is twisted and held accountable for the latest casualties. Jessica just shrugs that off and goes to look for him.

When they do find him, Joe lashes out at him and tells him to go away as soon as morning breaks. He concedes and really leaves. All is back to normal, or so it seems. Anders eyes up some swans and tries to lunge at them. Since he's only a feral alien with no idea what water is, he starts drowning in two feet of water. He screams for help. The very lesbians who sent him packing moments earlier answer his plea and rescue. Joe tells him to dry off and leave again right after. Jessica dissents and has an emotional breakdown at Joe, including telling her she had ferreted out how it was Joe who had killed Simons, her deceased suitor and that she can no longer stand her jealously towards anybody who feels the slightest attraction to her. The two wrangle, and Jessica winds up unconscious after Joe bashes her head a few times against a marble plynth.

The whole point of the party segment was for Joe to find out that Anders wasn't to be trusted, at all. Moments later, she saves him from "drowning" in a nearby mudhole marsh. Everything that transpired was supposed to make her wary of Anders, but she seems to have let that slip for some mysterious reason. Odd...

Anders takes her to bed as though she was Charlotte The Harlot. As she wakes up, she tells him that she wants to leave with him and that her partner had been abusing to her all along. They partake in a sex scene that ends with Anders getting a bit to excited to the point that he rips her neck off. The last gesture of the codependent lass who had aspirations to leave a trouble-free life with someone who really cared for her. Even in death she is beautiful,olne has to admit, although Joe is distressed by the sight of both a startled Anders and her dead lover. She makes a run to the woods, but she trips over a shovel that was used to dig a grave outside. She falls in and Anders closes in. It's not clear what happened thereafter, although it's implied that she is munched as well. The movie ends with Anders sending information to the command ship about humans being an easy prey to the aliens' ambitions.

However much people want to lambaste this movie for all of its unconventional elements and how it departs from standard Hollywood pictures, this actually worked very well to me. The movie is 1hour 17 minutes long, a welcome length for a movie this simple. The few characters are complex and it's not your average love story because since the beginning it's hinted that the relationship is pelted by strains stemmed from the characters' inner fears, whether they be Joe's intolerance to romantic rivalries and Jessica's resenting her for this. The setting was also agreeable to my personal standards as it was unpretencious, but befitting the purported atmosphere of horror and perosnal bewilderment nevertheless. This is what keeps me entertained the whole time and that's the main reason people watch films anyway.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Akumajou Special -Boku Dracula Kun

Or simply put, Kid Dracula. I remember the local rent store had a cartridge box for this game that read Castlevania Junior and it had a rendition of the title character point his indicator finger at an assailing bat, shooting a small fire ball at the flying mammal, in a setting that didn't befit the true cheerful tone of the game. Actually, it was much darker, much like a real Castlevania game,one of those with which everyone is well acquainted with Simon Belmont battling his way through Dracula's Castle to put an end to the dark lord's plans of putting to action some scheme that would allow all evil to sweep over the Earth and plunge it into ages of darkness and despair. But the main setting of this particular game is something else entirely. The game's old age might put some of the younger folk off, but those who appreciate neat games centered around a young vampire child dealing with the trouble of taming a horde of envious creatures might find happiness in the undertaking.

I played this when I was about 8. This means it was sometime back in 1992/1993. And a bonzer lot the I found the game, it wasn't exactly what cracked out to be, but in the long run I was nonetheless pleased with the experience and proceeded to play the game many times over. All around the central room of my callow mind were alleys,all carpeted with the guise of a wide, yet agreeable to charter world, all leading to my always playing the game with the sort of delight as the first time I had the chance. The novelty value thsi game holds to me hasn't ever faded, even to this day.

Kid Dracula on top of his castle, eyes turned to the mysteries concealed by the guile of night.
Kid Dracula remains watches intently the dormant moon, suspecting it might wake soon and start acting up.
From that day over the next months I played that game with a peerless allure that was only matched 2 or 3 times later on. Whenever I played Akumajou Special- Boku Dracula Kun (or Castlevania Junior as I knew it back then) I was treating myself to moments that were endlessly enthralling. Many other memories came and went, but the thrill provided by this particular game lingered on in my mind with such a puissance that it was sad when I stop playing that. Years went by, 1995,1996,1997. A wealthy assortment of new games caught us by storm and it was unavoidable giving in to the fun they packed. But none of them triggered the same feel as Kid Dracula had. It wasn't until 2008, through nestopia, that I managed to at last play it again. My adult then vying for other objects also worthy my time and attention, I still found time to play that game again and again rejoiced it all the same, as when I was 8. It was as though I was that age agian. Inded, the emotion remains and its same effect arises whenever I play it. Reaching out between the slats of the snare that a current grown-up life puts you through, I make to play this again whenever the opportunity makes itself present.

But what's the deal with Kid Dracula? ALthough this game means a lot to my history as a Nintendo PLayer, it's only just a game with amazing graphics and, cool sprites, fine songs and thoroughly entertaining. It's colourful as hell and the song fits nicely with everything else. The enemies are all cute versions from Castlevania games so expect to find the age-old evil armours (only this time they look less evil), Frankenstein monsters, mummies, wraiths, zombies, young witches with that guileless look on their face when they fly over, dropping some sort of projectile that deals damage 1. The game in total has 9 stages and it can completed well under 1 hour, although I hardly beat the game this quickly as appreciating it is also part of the reason why I come back to it. 


Boku Dracula Kun sets forth, joyful and free, on a million-mile journey to reclaim his throne as rightful heir to the kingdom of mosnters, by the fiercest, least trodden way he can find, never mind some engineered spikes designed to descend on anyone unfortunate enough to not cross fast enough the path beaneath them.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Eddi's service

What would I make of this poem? It's easy to follow and neatly written. It's taken from Rudyard Kipling's Rewards and Fairies. In the poem, a priest named Eddi holds a late service at midinight. As human church goers would rather observe Christmas than venturing out into the wicked weather, a bullock and a donkeyy found their way to the church and Eddi took upon himself to preach too them.

EDDI, priest of St. Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

'Wicked weather for walking,'
Said Eddi of Manhood End.
'But I must go on with the service
For such as care to attend.

The altar-lamps were lighted, –
An old marsh-donkey came,
Bold as a guest invited,
And stared at the guttering flame.

The storm beat on at the windows,
The water splashed on the floor,
And a wet, yoke-weary bullock
Pushed in through the open door.

'How do I know what is greatest,
How do I know what is least?
That is My Father's business,'
Said Eddi, Wilfrid's priest.

'But – three are gathered together –
Listen to me and attend.
I bring good news, my brethren!'
Said Eddi of Manhood End.

And he told the Ox of a Manger
And a Stall in Bethlehem,
And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
That rode to Jerusalem.

They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
They listened and never stirred,
While, just as though they were Bishops,
Eddi preached them The Word,

Till the gale blew off on the marshes
And the windows showed the day,
And the Ox and the Ass together
Wheeled and clattered away.

And when the Saxons mocked him,
Said Eddi of Manhood End,
'I dare not shut His chapel
On such as care to attend.'

So Eddi the Wilfred's priest has carry on his service to the two pious attendants. The mass turned out to be so enthralling that they kept going til dawn broke!