Thursday, 30 August 2012

Space 1999: Space Warp

'Space Warp' is an episode of 'Space 1999' from 1977. It's an interesting one because shape shifting, sideburn lady alien Maya takes centre stage, albeit in a variety of shoddy alter ego transformations.

The action kicks off when Moonbase Alpha, i.e. the Moon with a holiday complex and offices on it that travels from place to place like an interplanetary Littlest Hobo, is sucked into a space warp. This fascinating and completely made up cosmological phenomena is accurately represented by some camera wobble, a ripple effect, and spinning the picture 360 degrees while everyone grabs hold of something and goes 'wooh'. Commander Koeing and Tony Verdeschi are out on an Eagle and become separated from the base, which hurled five light years away by the awesome power of the wobbly, warpy 'wooh' thing.

Maya, for reasons that are never adequately explained but are probably down to her being alien and that, flips out and starts cycling through the various creatures she is able to turn into. For another unexplained reason these creatures are all extremely hostile and desperate to escape Moonbase, and are fully prepared to trash everything and everybody on their way out. 

After a comical forty minutes where stuntmen in adapted gorilla suits and plastic monster heads chuck people about in slow motion, all is resolved happily as Maya calms the fuck down and Koening and Tony make their way home using some robbed alien technology.

Here's a short clip that perhaps sums up how ridiculous this episode is, and what a lot of fun.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Milton Jones sings for his no doubt quite considerable supper as 'the strong man' in 'Beserk!'. Please don't look for this record in the shops, you'll only embarrass yourself.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Nerves Of Steel

We like circus films on ‘The Island’, all the fun and drama of the greatest show on earth but without the uncomfortable seats and the smell of shit.
‘Beserk’ is a classic of the genre, starring an out there Joan Crawford as a circus owner troubled by a series of gory and inventive murders (Michael Gough has a tent peg hammered into the back of his head; Diana Dors gets cut in half with a circular saw; Ty Hardin is stabbed and then falls on even more knives). Naturally, with shouty Robert Hardy investigating the crimes it remains a mystery until the very end, when a fortuitous flash of lightning provides instant justice to the crazed killer.
Like most Herman Cohen produced  films, ‘Beserk!’ is stupidly good fun and gleefully over the top. Yes, it’s slightly bizarre that tired looking 63 year old Joan is presented as an irresistible sex symbol, but it has a lot going for it, not least some documentary footage of some actual circus acts, including a quite extraordinary and slightly unnerving turn with trained poodles (see below). As well as Crawford, we also get Diana Dors at her fulsome, feisty best and Milton Jones gets a plum part and, I kid you not, a song! Although I'm pretty sure he's dubbed.

POSTSCRIPT: In the early years of ‘Eastenders’, it was a running motif that the Fowler family always seemed to be watching the knife throwing sequence from ‘Beserk’. I don’t know why, some sort of twisted BBC joke, no doubt, but I noticed as, I’m sure, did at least five or six other viewers.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Trapped In Wax

Posh & Becks, as seen through the damaged eyes and critical faculties of Louis Tussaud's.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Valerie Leon, Smuggler

Valerie Leon strips off to reveal her smalls in a 1969 episode of 'Hark At Barker'.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Wind Your Neck In

'Neck' is an episode from the first series of 'Tales Of The Unexpected'. When posh slut Joan Collins gets her unfaithful head stuck in one of her wealthy husband's prized sculptures, he decides to remove her from her predicament - and his life - at a stroke.

Funny / Tragic

'If a bucket of paint falls on a man's head, that's funny. If the bucket fractures his skull at the same time and kills him, that's not funny, it's tragic, and yet, if a man falls into a sausage machine, and is sold in the shops at so much a pound then that's funny. It is also tragic. So why is it funny? I don't know.'

Monday, 20 August 2012

Slam In The Lamb

'Lamb To The Slaughter' is probably one of the best known episodes of 'Tales of the Unexpected'. When pregnant housewife Susan George finds out that her policeman husband is leaving her for another woman, she flips out and caves his skull in with a frozen leg of lamb. When his colleagues arrive, she feigns complete innocence, but asks them if they wouldn't mind eating the roast she's prepared...'Find the weapon; find the killer' pontificates Brian Blessed, as he gleefully shoves the evidence down his throat. Still, it least it stops him shouting for a bit.  

Interesting Punishment

'My friend, the late Ian Fleming, the James Bond man, was really responsible for the story you're going to see now. We were staying the weekend at a house in Vermont and at dinner the roast leg of lamb was so dry and tough that Ian looked across to me and whispered 'This ruddy thing must have been in the deep freeze for ten years. She ought to be shot'. 'No' I said 'not shot. I think there must be a more interesting punishment than that', and that's how the idea for this story began...'

Sunday, 19 August 2012

F*** Me, It's Freddie!

FMIF, as Dr. Harris, the twitchy psychiatrist in 'The Man Who Haunted Himself'. Funnily enough, his appearance in this film featured as the first ever 'Fuck Me, it's Freddie' back on ye olde Unmann-Wittering Blog. In some ways, it could be said we've come full circle, but  then, as I intend to keep on posting pictures of Freddie Jones up until I run out of screenshots or I run out of breath, the whole circle thing seems fairly irrelevant.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

More Moore Than Before

I know what you're thinking: two Roger Moore's? Oh, fuck off - but 'The Man Who Haunted Himself' is a very effective thriller indeed. Perhaps more metaphysical than supernatural, Moore plays Harold Pelham, a Marine Engineering executive of extremely regular habits: he wears the same tie every day, works exactly the same hours, always buys the same make, model and colour of car. He even refuses to sleep with his wife because it would crease his pyjamas too much. After a near fatal car smash, however, he is dismayed to find that there seems to be another Harold Pelham out there - a smirkier, sexier one who is enjoying himself a lot and, it seems, planning to replace the original entirely.

The film never bothers to explain how there came to be two Moore's running about London and, in the end analysis, it doesn't matter. A fantastic situation is created, continuity is maintained, and the conclusion is satisfactorily arrived at without reference to boring old reality. Well done, Rogers!

In  a bold casting move, King of The Island Freddie Jones is on hand to provide Roger with psychiatric assistance. That's right, Freddie Jones is the sane one! But more of that tomorrow...