Monday, 16 July 2018

The Woman Eater (1958)



An entertaining film containing quite a good yarn sandwiched between a silly beginning and an awful ending. 

Directed by Charles Saunders
Produced by Guido Coen
Screenplay by Brandon Fleming
Music by Edwin Astley
Cinematography: Ernest Palmer
Edited by Seymour Logie
Production company: Fortress Film Productions
Distributed by Eros Films
Running time: 70 minutes


Cast


George Coulouris: Doctor Moran
Robert MacKenzie: Lewis Carling
Norman Claridge: Doctor Patterson
Marpessa Dawn: Native Girl
Jimmy Vaughn: Tanga
Sara Leighton: Susan Curtis
Edward Higgins: Sergeant Bolton
Joyce Gregg: Mrs. Santor
Harry Ross: Bristow
Vera Day: Sally
Peter Forbes-Robertson: Jack Venner
Alexander Field: Fair Attendant
Joy Webster Joy Webster : Judy
David Lawton: Man In Club
John A. Tinn: Lascar
Maxwell Foster: Inspector Brownlow
Peter Lewiston: Det. Sergeant Freeman
Roger Avon Roger Avon: Constable



Trailer


A crazed scientist feeding women to a flesh-eating tree!
A serum that can bring the dead back to life!

See the…

REIGN OF TERROR FROM EARTH!


In my previous post on the film, The Trollenberg Terror (1958), I concluded with a brief observation about the role of women in both vintage and modern era sci-fi and other genre films.

The Woman Eater presents us with an interesting insight into the exploitative nature of many films at the time in relation to the portrayal of female characters. It does this in an odd way by seeming to make use of and be almost enumerating every exploitative technique under the sun in its depiction of the female gender. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, The Woman Eater highlights the various ways in which a male-dominated society sets about using and as the title suggests, consuming women for its own benefit.

Such a situation in both the entertainment media of film and TV and in the wider society it reflects would inevitably produce a reaction that would take decades in the making. Consequently, we now have in film and in areas such as politics and the corporate world, more women being represented and brought to the fore either through personal merit, quota systems or positive discrimination.

Unfortunately, in many instances the reaction produced has turned out to be just as problematic as the original set of social circumstances that led to it. As women fill more prominent roles in film and the real world, they are often simply being asked to speak and behave in ways that are sadly indistinguishable from their male counterparts. Little that is unique or distinctive about women is allowed to be explored within an already established system whether it be the depiction of female roles in sci-fi and other films or female conduct in the world of politics and the opportunistic and self-serving corporate sphere.

Could an unintended consequence be the eventual creation of an expanded power elite consisting of an equal proportion of male and female members leaving the rest outside (as Orwell might have put it) looking from woman to man, and from man to woman, and from woman to man again; and being impossible to say which was which……

We seem to have moved away from a world that normalized the idiotic notion of females being seen as fragile and subservient beings in constant need of rescuing and have instead slipped down a rabbit hole into a bizarre world of elitist jack-booted feminism populated by angry and intense females with men being allocated the roles of irrelevant limp under-performing appendages! Such warped notions and outcomes surrounding gender roles and equality are being frequently depicted in modern films, particularly in sci-fi and action-type films.

So, what about this 60-year-old film, The Woman Eater? What makes it stand out from other similar films of its era?

Read on for more......

Monday, 25 June 2018

Facial Surveillance Technology


The Future We Imagined And Feared Is Now Here...



How do you feel after watching this video? Any little red flashing lights or nagging voices at the back of your mind warning you that something is not quite right?

Unknown probably to most people, Amazon has recently been heavily marketing its “Rekognition” software to police departments and government agencies. The technology can recognize and track faces in real time, and the fear is that this powerful surveillance tool could easily be misused by law enforcement and other agencies.

The technology works through pattern recognition whereby customers (ICE, Homeland Security or other government agencies) place known images into a database. The software then uses artificial intelligence to scan new images for a match with those already stored. The more images that are fed into the system, the more accurate the software becomes. Amazon’s "Rekognition" can identify up to 100 people in a crowd!

Most of us have via the entertainment media been familiarized (indoctrinated?) with facial surveillance technology. We have become used to seeing it being deployed seamlessly in science-fiction, police drama and so-called reality programs. What is often not adequately considered in any depth are the potential threats to civil rights surrounding the use of such technologies.

Can we be confident that the take-up and use of such technologies will not result in the targeting of certain marginalized groups along with an increasing incidence of human rights abuses such as the current disgusting deportation and mass detention programs we have seen in the US?

Are we as a society treading a dangerous path when we allow powerful corporations to become involved in the surveillance business and the consequent violation of human rights at home? 

Should we also be in the business of offering technical support to regimes and entities else-where in the world that monitor and oppress their own populations and where the separation of data-collection and the State simply does not exist?

What was once a technology that belonged to the realm of science fiction and fantasy as now become a practical reality allowed to proliferate often without public vetting or debate.

Image recognition software is like most forms of technology, a double-edged sword. For instance, it could be argued that it would allow owners of dating apps to identify unwanted inappropriate or explicit content. On the other hand, it could also allow strangers to identify people who might not wish to be identified, such as shoppers in stores, individuals in a crowd, or people in photos posted on social media. Yes – even YOU!

Image recognition software certainly has the potential to contribute to public safety in terms of law enforcement and combating acts of terrorism. However, the danger lies in its potential to be misused when its stated intentions are used to justify the increased use of mass and untargeted surveillance for political or other purposes.

Our right to anonymity is fast disappearing in a world that is being constantly monitored by phone cameras, CCTV surveillance cameras, body cameras and so on. There are now so many opportunities for each of us to have our images captured, identified, analysed and stored in perpetuity.

The next worrying step with the increasing use of facial recognition and image-scanning technology is the ability to scan the emotions on people’s faces. This together with other forms of “predictive” artificial intelligence technologies opens up a brave new world in which individuals are constantly being assessed and placed under suspicion on their potential or propensity to transgress or commit a crime without having actually done anything wrong.


ReCognize 
and 
RESIST!


©Chris Christopoulos 2018

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Trollenberg Terror [aka The Crawling Eye] (1958)

An underrated atmospheric sci-fi film that combines competent acting with tight direction but with mediocre special effects.

Directed by Quentin Lawrence
Produced by Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman
Written by Jimmy Sangster
Story by Peter Key
Based on 1956 TV series
Music by Stanley Black
Cinematography: Monty Berman
Edited by Henry Richardson
Production company: Tempean Films
Distributed by Eros Films Ltd. (UK)
Distributors Corporation of America (US)
Running time: 84 minutes






Cast


Forrest Tucker as Alan Brooks
Laurence Payne as Philip Truscott
Jennifer Jayne as Sarah Pilgrim
Janet Munro as Anne Pilgrim
Warren Mitchell as Professor Crevett
Frederick Schiller as Klein
Andrew Faulds as Brett
Stuart Saunders as Dewhurst
Colin Douglas as Hans
Derek Sydney as Wilde
Richard Golding as first villager
George Herbert as second villager
Anne Sharp as German woman
Leslie Heritage as Carl
Jeremy Longhurst as first student climber
Anthony Parker as second student climber
Theodore Wilhelm as Fritz
Garard Green as Pilot
Caroline Claser as Little girl





Trailer


******************






The Independent Star
Your Weekly View into The Unknown….

In this week’s issue…..


  • The disappearance of Professor Quatermass – Dead or In Custody? 
  • What happened to the United States Air Force’s 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb? Was it simply “lost” in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia in the United States? 
  • What is Project A119 and has the US Air Force detonated a nuclear bomb on the moon? If so, then why?


Feature Article


A remote Swiss mountain resort under threat! 
Alien invaders! 
Telepathic communication! 
Mysterious extra-terrestrial inhabitants of a radioactive cloud!


Be amazed by Philip Truscott’s strange account of the events in which he personally took part, in his article, “The Trollenberg Terror.

Read on to find out more about the horror of the Trollenberg Terror.......


Friday, 25 May 2018

"Comet" Monster Summer 2018




It’s MONSTER SUMMER! 
The biggest, baddest and most fire-breathing summer ever! 



Starting on Memorial Day weekend and… All Summer Long… COMET TV is bringing the heat with Godzilla, Reptilicus, Mechagodzilla and even a few Astro-Monsters for good measure!

Every Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day weekend, Monster Summer has it going on!





Typical summer activities generally include outdoor BBQs, trips to the beach, and taking dips in swimming pools, but Godzilla fans may choose to stay indoors this summer thanks to COMET’s “Monster Summer” event!

Beginning May 27, COMET will be airing a double-header of classic monster movies every Sunday throughout the summer, with the first film each night featuring your favourite giant lizard and the second starring some lesser-known beasts.





The Godzilla films featured run the gamut from his 1954 debut Gojira (see my post) to the silly Son of Godzilla, to the kaiju overload of Destroy All Monsters. As for the other monsters featured, you can look forward to campy classics like the King Kong/Frankenstein hybrid Konga, the Korean Godzilla equivalent Yongary, Monster from the Deep, and the legendary — thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000 — Reptilicus.





MONSTER SUMMER

Sundays 8/7C

5/27
Gojira
Reptilicus

6/3
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Phantom from 10,000 Leagues

6/10
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
Creature of Destruction

6/17
Terror of Mechagodzilla
The Beast from Haunted Cave

6/24
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Yongary, Monster From The Deep

7/1
Destroy All Monsters
Destroy All Planets

7/8
Son of Godzilla
Konga

7/15
Godzilla vs. Megalon
War of the Gargantuas

7/22
Gojira
Attack of the Monsters

7/29
Destroy all Monsters
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet

8/5
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Monster from the Surf

8/12
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
It's Alive!

8/19
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Voyage into Space

8/26
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
The Giant Gila Monster

9/2
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
The Giant Claw

Tweet @WatchComet and let us know about your latest sighting, abduction or let us know what you'd like to see on COMET.


Check out my past blog posts on some classic sci-fi big beasties:

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Strange World of Planet X / Cosmic Monsters (1958)



Overall, an interesting but somewhat pedestrian and routine 
sci-fi film with special effects failings 


Directed by Gilbert Gunn
Produced by George Maynard, John Bash
Written by Paul Ryder, Joe Ambor
Music by Robert Sharples
Cinematography: Josef Ambor
Edited by Francis Bieber
Distributed by Eros Films (UK)
Distributors Corporation of America (US)
Running time: 75 minutes


Cast


Forrest Tucker as Gil Graham
Gaby André as Michele Dupont
Martin Benson as Smith
Alec Mango as Dr. Laird
Wyndham Goldie as Brigadier Cartwright
Hugh Latimer as Jimmy Murray
Dandy Nichols as Mrs. Tucker
Richard Warner as Inspector Burns
Patricia Sinclair as Helen Forsyth
Geoffrey Chater as Gerard Wilson
Hilda Fenemore as Mrs. Hale 



Cosmic Monsters Trailer

Strange happenings in rural Britain! 
Disruptive magnetic fields affecting distant objects! 
A freak storm and blasts of cosmic radiation! 
Giant mutant insects and spiders! 
Unidentified flying objects from outer space! 
A strange visitor from “a long way off!” 
Impending disaster descending from on high! 

What can all this mean???? 


Read on for more and find out…….

Sunday, 13 May 2018

To Be Known, Or Not To be Known? – THAT Is The Question!



The 1954 Sci-Fi film, GOG is set in a top-secret underground government facility under the New Mexico desert where a space station is being constructed. Office of Scientific Investigation agents from Washington, DC, are called in to investigate mysterious and deadly malfunctions at the facility.

In the interests of security, the personnel in the underground facility are subject to constant monitoring from various devices such as microphones and this has become a normal state of affairs for them.

In our own modern era, we are surrounded by devices such as cctv surveillance cameras that can monitor our actions and movements. It is astonishing how we have accepted this as being a normal part of our lives. We have in effect willingly submitted to an intrusion into our personal privacy and are complying to have our right to anonymity removed. We then somehow rationalize and justify this in terms of it being necessary to guarantee our overall safety and security!


Read on for more.....

Saturday, 5 May 2018

YOU WILL COMPLY – RESISTANCE IS FUTILE! (Or is it?)






“Dorothy, in the land of OZ, a land of freedom and democracy, a dangerous path leads away from the yellow brick road. Under no circumstances should you tread this path as it will lead you into the clutches of a wicked witch who lies in wait for those too blind or stupid enough to lose their way. If she gets hold of you, you will face a life of always being told what you can and cannot do and what you should and should not think. If you don’t be good and obey her she will punish you!”




So far in this blog we have come across a number of classic vintage science fiction movies that have raised the issue of threats to personal privacy, liberty and democracy. Science fiction films have often since explored what happens when too much power is handed over to the State, its institutions and big corporate entities. It is a scenario that is all too real for those who live under the rule of totalitarian, repressive and one-party regimes whereby compliance and compulsion is a central feature of governance.

In a western democratic country like my own country, Australia, people are indeed fortunate to be able to express their views in many formats and can at least exercise their right to select who governs them. Sure, there are many shortcomings in our system, but many people world wide would give their right arm to be able to think what they wish, say what they want to say (short of inciting hatred and violence), see what they want to see and organise their lives in their own way.

The danger for democratic nations, however, is the slow and inexorable eroding of our liberties, freedoms and personal privacy by governments, bureaucracies, institutions and powerful corporations. I’m not saying that there is some evil secret cabal plotting and conspiring to enslave the populace as some conspiracy nutters would have us believe.

Rather, the diminution of our freedoms and personal privacy is part of a process that almost takes on a life of its own – as if it were somehow organic and one in which all of us individually and collectively play a part.

At the heart of this process is POWER – the acquisition of power, the holding and exercise of power and the acquisition of even more power. It is this power that is concentrated in the hands of a power elite via the use of force, corruption, manipulation or even the eager compliance of those being governed.



In my own country, certain recent developments have been taking place which if permitted to be implemented without stringent oversight and adequate checks and balances could have serious implications for our citizens’ personal privacy and freedoms. Will we be too apathetic to care? Will we know if and when the wool is being pulled over our eyes?

Read on for more.....