Sci-Fi Weekender: Back to the Future

March is usually the time for Sci-Fi Weekender: a weekend long, stay-over-and-party Comic Con that’s full of entertainment. From special guests, interviews, signings, screenings, games and all manner of live entertainment, this event has always been a fantastic, full-on experience for all your geeky desires.

Sadly, the Covid pandemic exterminated the event this year. It should have been taking place this last weekend. It’s a real blow, as Sci-Fi Weekender offers just the kind of escapism that we need right now.

Have no fear, however: I’ve used my Indiana Jones-like archaeological skills to rediscover some long lost photos from the past.

Cosplay is always a big deal at SFW. All manner of glorious, gruesome, magnificent and marvellous costumes can be seen on display, worn by some of the coolest and most down-to-earth people you’ll be likely to meet this side of Tosche Station.

Thanks to my old pal Darf Dork (that’s Adam G, to you), I’m able to present some photos from the past that will bring back some fond memories. These pics are all Adam’s work – he’s been kind enough to thaw them out of carbonite for your enjoyment.

Hope in my Virtual Hot Tub Time Machine and let’s go back to SFW past. Hope you enjoy the photos. And keep dreaming: one day Sci-Fi Weekender will return…

MCM Comic Con Birmingham 2019 – Part 2

NEC Birmingham

16/17 November 2019

Right back atcha with some more fabulous photos from the recent MCM Comic Con at the NEC in Birmingahm.  Here’s Part 2, ‘cos one blog post just wasn’t enough.  So many photos, you see.

There’s not much else to report that I haven’t covered in previous editions of my MCM Comic Con blogs.  You know the drill, right?

So let’s just crack on and you can witness the awesome Cosplay photos of these amazing, talented people.

Here’s a bit of fun for you, though – can you spot my pal Darf Dork hanging around in one of these pics?  There might be a prize for someone who can…

Finally, another big THANK YOU to everyone who posed for a photo – the true stars of the day.  See you at the next Comic Con!

 

The Nightmare Before Halloween Horror Fest

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This year, we’ve tried to include our 7 year old daughter in Halloween Horror Fest as much as we can.  Obviously, we’re not going to show her The Exorcist, but The Nightmare Before Christmas was a perfect choice.

It’s a fantastic animated movie, full of creepy and imaginative characters, from the mind of that good old Halloween advocate, Tim Burton. 

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, where he presides over the preparations for celebrating the spooky holiday.  Although this year, he’s bored of Halloween – and a chance trip to Christmas Town gives him a spark of inspiration.  Enthused by the joy of Christmas, Jack decides to take over that holiday, and deliver Christmas cheer to the world.

It doesn’t take much to guess that this will all go a teeny bit wrong…

We all loved The Nightmare Before Christmas, with it’s enjoyable mix of classic stop motion animation and quirky songs.  The film is amazing to watch, the detail is spellbinding and the story easy to follow for everyone.  In particular, I was very impressed with the diversity of background characters – nerd heaven.

Excellent family entertainment, especially if your family is Halloween crazy like ours!

9/10

Dreamcatcher (2003)

A group of four friends are off to spend their annual weekend away in a cabin in the woods.  This year, however, events take a horrific turn.  At first caught in a blizzard, they find that there is a disease outbreak of some kind, with the military involved and everyone being evacuated.

Except we learn that the outbreak is actually caused by extra terrestrials, with a diabolical plan to take over the world.  Can these evil aliens be stopped before it’s too late? 

This is really well made film, with good performances and a meandering plot that keeps the viewer guessing.  However in the end, I found it a bit too much of a Frankenstein patchwork of an idea.

Based on a Stephen King book, I can’t judge how accurate a version this is as I’ve not read the source material.  But the movie comes across as a somewhat garbled mix of King’s own It, plus The Thing, Alien, X-files and a ton of other stuff.  Factor in the most gross-out, toilet based gore I’ve ever seen and we’re left with a strange film that never adds up to the sum of it’s parts.

Too many ideas (and influences) bolted together to be truly satisfying, Dreamcatcher is entertaining but not essential.

7/10

Halloween Horror Fest 2017

Here we go with another month of as many horror films as I can fit in, on the run up to Halloween.  Both myself and Mrs Platinum Al take turns top pick a spooky movie to entertain us; I then write these here mini movie reviews.

Sound OK to you?  Let’s crack on, then.

It (1990)

Recently Mrs Platinum Al and I went to see the new version of It in the cinema.  I was familiar with the story but wasn’t really expecting anything really exciting.  How wrong I was: the remake of It is superb fun from start to finish.

So it’s a bit of a no-brainer that the first film of this years Halloween Horror Fest would be the original 1990 version.  But how would it stack up compared to the revised film?

It is based on a Stephen king novel, in which a nondescript North American town is plagued by a series of child murders.  A gang of misfit kids, labelling themselves the Loser’s Club, find themselves terrorised by the evil entity that is responsible.  Preying on their deepest fears, It threatens to kill them all, until the Losers can unite and defeat the creature. 

Years later, the grown up gang are brought back together when it becomes obvious that It has returned.  This time they must destroy it once and for all…

The old film (actually a TV mini series, if you want to be picky) stands up surprisingly well against the new.  The new film is superb, and resplendent with the latest in special effects technology.  However the more primitive effects don’t harm the original at all, it still works thanks to great performances from all.  The 1990 movie succeeds because, like the later film, it brings the characters to the fore.  The Losers Club – whether kids or adults – are all interesting people that the audience can root for.

Of course the star of the show is the phenomenal Tim Curry, as Pennywise the clown.  Creepy and sinister one minute, Curry transforms into unhinged malevolence with startling ease.  Pennywise is evil incarnate and brilliantly portrayed here.

But who is the best?  Tim Curry or the new film’s Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgard?  I’ll leave that for you to decide…

8/10