Christmas Tat 2019

And now for a visual feast of festive tat.  A collection of the odd and the bizarre, rendered in cheap plastic (or glass if you’re lucky).

You may have noticed that certain stores sell “wacky” Christmas baubles, gloriously garish and ridiculously random.  Not the traditional seasonal balls here – we’ve wandered into distinctly abstract territory.

Whilst the groovy shops sell the strange tree trinkets for a tenner, other, less glamorous emporiums are knocking them out for a couple of quid.  And bless ’em, these cheapo ones are usually even more ugly and weird.

Which is where I come in.  As a genuine aficionado of the kitsch Christmas, I have collected some of these decorations from various sources.  They are proudly displayed on our Christmas tree, and here I present them to you for your entertainment.

Enjoy these bad taste baubles, dear reader, and be inspired by the wondrous world of tat.

In the photos below you will see:

  • A taco
  • A guitar
  • A cupcake
  • Santa with a surfboard
  • A pizza slice
  • Some beer
  • Peppers and an ice cream
  • Another taco
  • A VW Beetle
  • A crown and a strawberry
  • A VW camper van with a Christmas tree
  • A crocodile in a UFO (my personal favourite)

 

I want a tattoo of the crocodile in a UFO – spectacular.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed that trip into the low quality and down right strange.

I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!  Thank you for reading Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, your support is always appreciated.

Little Shop of Halloween Horror Fests

Halloween may be over, but as usual, I’ve still got a few left over Halloween Horror Fest reviews to write.  So don’t get too comfortable, you’re not safe just yet…

The Wolf Man (1941)

Yes!  This is what it’s all about – classic Universal Monsters!  The Wolf Man is one of my favourite movies of this type.  It’s massively influential – most of the folklore we know about werewolves was actually created for this film – and it’s great fun for Halloween.

Larry Talbot (the legendary Lon Chaney Jr) returns to his ancestral home (actually set in Wales, fact fiends!).  He reconciles with his father (an excellent Claude Rains), and tries to find his place in the community.

When defending a friend from a wolf attack, Larry is bitten by the creature.  Of course, there’s no prizes for guessing that the beast was a werewolf (human alter ego played by another horror legend, Bela Lugosi).  Larry is condemned to become a werewolf too, as his life takes a tragic turn.

The Wolf Man boasts great performances, a fantastic score and a story that is pretty much definitive in the realm of cinematic lycanthropes.  Larry Talbot’s story is both thrilling yet sadly ill-fated.  Iconic make-up effects from Jack Pierce also help to create an unforgettable monster movie that’s amongst the best from Universal.  And it’s set in Wales.

9/10

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Geeky plant shop worker Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) is downtrodden, unsuccessful – and has a crush on his colleague Audrey (Ellen Greene).  Seymour discovers a strange plant which he names Audrey II.  The mysterious plant has an appetite for blood, and flourishes when it feeds on Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend.  Soon the amazing Audrey II becomes a sensation, bringing fame and fortune to Seymour – but at what cost?

Now I’m no fan of musicals, but I’ll make an exception for Little Shop of Horrors.  It has a fun story, some great songs and a quality cast  – including cameos from some comedy greats.  Frank Oz directs, and the whole movie is a gruesome treat from start to finish.  A different, but wholly appropriate, Halloween movie.

8/10

Lust for a Vampire (1971)

The final film for this year’s Halloween Horror Fest is another from my beloved Hammer Films.  Lust for a Vampire forms part of an unofficial trilogy, sandwiched between The Vampire Lovers and Twins of Evil, being loosely based on J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”.

Beautiful Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard) arrives at a girl’s finishing school, situated somewhere vaguely Eastern European.  However, Mircalla is actually a reincarnation of  Carmilla – one of the evil, vampiric Karnstein clan.

The school headmaster (Ralph Bates) pledges his unholy allegiance to Mircalla and visiting author turned school teacher Richard LeStrange (Michael Johnson) falls in love with her.  But pupils and local villagers start to die off – and soon suspicion falls on the Karnstein’s and their demonic resurrection.

In Lust for a Vampire, Hammer plunge into more sexually explicit themes, resulting in cheap titillation and camp silliness.  This approach has caused the film it’s fair share of harsh criticism over the years.  Indeed, the story is a little cheesy and predictable, but the boobs’n’blood approach has never been an issue for me, unsurprisingly.

In fact, I found that there’s plenty to enjoy in this movie: terrific gothic sets and atmosphere – always the hallmark of Hammer – are really effective here.  It lacks a Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee, yet the cast have a decent stab at creating a novel tale.

Any cringe worthiness generated by Lust for a Vampire can just as easily be enjoyed as “they don’t make ’em like that anymore” 70’s kitsch.  An entertaining film that whilst not a major shining jewel in Hammer’s crown, is still pretty much unmissable.

8/10

Tat Trek Update #6: Spice Girls Mug

Wow, what’s that saying about waiting for buses?  Yes, it’s another Tat Trek post, not too long after the last one – ‘cos you love ’em so much.  Here we go with another look at an item from my collection of kitsch.

img_20170222_184031807

Item: Spice Girls Mug

Description: your common or garden drinking mug, featuring pictures of girl power legends, the Spice Girls.

Cost: 2 for £1!

Bought: from Shotton (new tat capital?)

Reason for buying: I indulged in the two for a quid offer so I could give one to my daughter and keep one for myself.  Plus I actually think that the Spice Girls were a great pop band.

I couldn’t resist picking up these mugs, especially at the price.  The Spice Girls might seem a bit naff, hence the immediate induction into the Collection de Tat, but to be fair I thought they were pretty good.  They had some genuinely good pop songs and were a lot of fun.  On the whole much better than all that Britpop crap from the time. img_20170222_184056046

Plus the best example to illustrate how fantastic the Spice Girls were is this video.  Now tell me that’s not awesome.

And my daughter likes them, so it was smiles all round.

Despite my justifying my Spice Girls love here, the novelty value of these cheap mugs makes them another fabulous find for Tat Trek.  Hope you enjoy!

Tat Trek Update #5: Meerkat Meal Tray

Let me start this post with an apology.  The “Tat” section of the blog, where I feature items of questionable taste that I have collected, has been severely neglected of late.  The last Tat article was in May 2015, and that was the only one that year.  It’s about time I made amends for this terrible oversight.

It’s not like I’m lacking in kitsch crap to showcase, there’s plenty.  So let’s start 2017 with a fresh effort to celebrate garbage – after all, it seems that the useless and ridiculous are all the rage right now.

Item: Meerkat Meal Tray

Description: a tray which supports a plate of food, with cushioned area underneath to rest on the users lap whilst eating a TV dinner.  Featuring a delightful picture of a group of meerkats. img_20170129_181552466

Cost: approx £7

Reason for buying: this item was actually bought by Mrs Platinum Al.  But as it’s in the house, I’m claiming it as an entry for Tat Trek.

Yes, not actually an item that I bought, but never the less, part of the scenery chez Platinum Al.  Seven quid is a bit steep for tat, even for me.  And it was from Charlie’s in Shotton, rather than Rhyl.

Even so, this fantastic item features one of the great tat icons of our age: the always popular meerkat.  For that reason, if not the fact that TV dinner trays are a bit naff, this item is proudly part of our Collection de Tat.