Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Big Gay Longcat and Scary Cat review Ghostwatch

SPOILER WARNING: This review will give away all of the story behind this film. 

Ghostwatch was shown on BBC TV 20 years ago today. I am not 20 years old (I am four) so I didn't see it when it was first on TV, I saw it on DVD on Monday.

I had heard it was very scary, so I watched it with my friend Scary Cat, who is the bravest cat ever and is not scared of anything (not even Hoover)!

When it was first on TV, some mannys thought it was a real live TV programme, but it wasn't. But it does go out of its way to look like a live TV programme from the early 1990s - it stars Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Craig Charles and Mike Smith, all famous mannys who played characters with the same names as them to blur the lines between what is real and what is made up.

Also it is full of the trappings of live TV of that era, such as the way the mannys in the TV studio have to pick up 'phones to speak to callers and there is no internets at all!

The reason it is scary is because there is a ghost, and the mannys are looking for it (that is why it is called Ghostwatch). The ghost is in a house, where it has a job haunting the mannys that live there. Sarah Greene goes in the house while Craig Charles is outside on the street. Michael Parkinson and Mike Smith are in their TV studio, taking 'phone calls from other mannys and trying to find out about the ghost.

For time to time the ghost appears and he is very scary, because he always appears in dark and sinister places when nobody expects him. A lot of the time he is invisible and that makes him even scarier because you don't know where he is or what he is doing. He also has a scary voice. The littlest manny says the ghost's name is Pipes.

Scary Cat says he's not scared of Pipes, because Pipes was once a manny who was nomed by cats. Yes, the heroes of Ghostwatch are really cats! The clever thing is that, although we hear cats mewing at times, we don't see the cats when they come to help the mannys defeat Pipes. Maybe they are ghost cats?

Cats don't normally nom mannys, but if it is a bad manny who turns into an evil ghost then I think it is OK. It turns out Pipes stays behind the scariest door* ever, which was where he got nomed by the cats. The mannys had it boarded up but Sarah opens it and she gets pulled inside. We can hear cats mewing as they come to the rescue, but it is kind of a cliffhanger ending as we don't see if Sarah escapes.

Instead we see Pipes taking over the TV studio where Michael Parkinson is, because Pipes has become a ghost in a machine. All the mannys watching him on TV gave him the magic power to take over TV. Maybe now you are reading about him on the internets Pipes will take over your internets? If he does then just look at pictures of cats until he goes away.

In conclusion Ghostwatch is a great piece of archive television. It loses a lot of its power as a horror story when removed from the TV landscape in which it was originally made and shown, though that very power got its makers into a lot of trouble at the time. Even so, it is still a remarkable, and possibly unique, example of its genre and consequently I would recommend it to fans of both archive television and ghost stories.

* Scary Cat says he is not scared of the scary door. We have a scary door in our flat; it is the door to the cupboard where Hoover stays!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Little Gay Longcat's Doggie Friends

They are my friends as well now. A two-headed doggie gives twice as many kiffs and licks!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment Part One

The Sontaran Experiment is the next story after The Ark in Space in season 12 of Doctor Who. In fact it is meant to happen right after The Ark in Space because the Doctor, Harry and Sarah ended that story teleporting down to Earth, and they start this story by teleporting down to Earth.

The hills are alive with the sound effects. The Doctor appears on location. Then Harry appears in his duffle coat, and then Sarah appears in yellow and being upside down. The Doctor starts sonicing the  balls they find there and sends Harry and Sarah away so he can be alone with his balls.

Harry, perhaps realising that this story is only half as long as usual so they have to get on with things, wastes no time in falling down a hole. Silly Harry.

Mannys with guns see the Doctor but decide not to shoot him. A robot comes and chases one of the mannys until he falls down and goes
The Doctor finds the body but then other mannys come and this time they do shoot him, with bullets that make him go to sleep.

Sarah shouts for the Doctor but he is not sonicing his balls where she left him any more so she can't find him. When she gets back to the hole she can't find Harry either, because he has found that the hole has a hole in it and has escaped that way.

Sarah is captured by a manny but he is friendly really because he helps her not be pounced on by the robot. This manny is Roth. Roth is very scared of the robot, and with good reason.

When he wakes up, the Doctor talks to the mannys who shot him. They all have great space names like Vural and Erak and Krans. They don't believe he teleported down from Nerva because they think Nerva is only a myth like Atlantis or the 1980s.

Vural - the leader of the mannys because he has the most space name - has a camera on him, through which the Doctor is being watched on TV by an alien. The Doctor is suspicious of Vural. Krans begins to believe the Doctor but Erak doesn't, he wants to kill the Doctor.

Roth distracts them while Sarah frees the Doctor, then Sarah leads them to the hole where Harry fell down. The Doctor goes down after Harry, then the robot comes and captures Sarah and Roth.

It takes them to a big metal ball where Harry is hiding nearby. The alien comes out of the ball and takes its helmet off. It is a Sontaran!

This revelation of the monster that was in the title of the story at the end of part one made me think for a moment that this might have been written by Terry Nation, but alas no. It was quite exciting, with everybody quickly getting captured or in trouble, and then having escapes, and a scary robot, so overall a good episode.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

War on Aquatica

"And so it came about that the Mongs of Matterdom invaded Medusia."

I'm getting ahead of myself. But so does this story, with the Doctor, Sarah Jane and some manny called Professor Vittorio Levi already captured by the "unfeeling Medusians" when the story starts.

We then get a dump of backstory to fill us in, so I don't know why the writer bothered to begin in media res. Maybe he just got the paragraphs in the wrong order? The Doctor, Sarah and Professor Levi* are on the planet Aquatica where there are three "kingdoms" - Medusia, Matterdom and Phyllosia. They have been captured by the Medusians of Medusia who have snakes on their heads.

* Who, we are told, is "a zoologist, botanist, astronomer, anthropologist and amateur space traveller" so naturally he never uses any of these skills in the story and his only contribution (if we don't count speaking in a funny way) is to "bump [a] Medusian smartly on the nose."

Apparently "clever, even inspired, ideas of escaping had fallen flat," so Sarah suggests overpowering the guard that gives them noms and naturally that works so we can maybe get on with some actual plot. This is a bit like joining a Doctor Who TV story (a bad one) at the start of part four.

Someone dressed up like the Doctor, a manny who could be Professor Levi, and another manny who can't possibly be Sarah, run for it through some green.

Despite having only five pages to tell the story, the author takes the time to tell us that the planet Aquatica has a star called Kzul and is near to other planets called Velusia and Qlopth. While Aqauatica has a perfectly reasonable, Nationesque name, I don't know what these other names mean unless Velusia is a planet of velcro.

The Doctor, Sarah and Professor Levi have sleeps in a forest. Later the Doctor is woken up, so he will probably be grumpy like Gamma Longcat if he gets woken up by noises.

"The 'being' standing over him was amazing - like an apparition from a dream. His long silver hair fell like shafts of moonlight to his shoulders, and round the tall body a golden aura shone. His eyes were sapphire-blue, from which rays shone like strobes from a cinema projector. His robe was of rich purple, braided with gold and patterned with stars, circles and triangles.
'Peace! Be calm!' signalled the god-like creature."

This manny is Phyllos, who comes from Phyllosia and is "Master to the Phyllosians." He takes them to a cave where they meet his wife Dyonne.

"She was very beautiful, auraed also, and having silver hair; her eyes were blue and she wore a robe similar to her husband's, which glittered with stars, circles and triangles."

The accompanying picture looks like this:

Well it has been over a page since we last had some exposition, so it's time for Phyllos to explain that the greedy Medusians are stealing "glyt" from "the Mattermonks of Matterdom" and "Lumidolphs" from the Phyllosians. Phyllos and Dyonne, showing the kind of leadership that Captain Kirk would approve of, have themselves come to spy on the Medusians.

I have no idea what is going on in this picture.

They all go to Matterdom to see "King Chympanzo," getting there in less than a page.

"In the palace, King Chympanzo said: 'I am at my wit's end to know what to do!'
'Then why not combat the Medusians by using your pets, the Mongs, Your Cleverness!' Phyllos suggested."

Of course, how obvious. I do like "Your Cleverness" as a title, though, and it is ironic that the King is not clever or he would have already thought about using his Mongs. The King's speech sums up the idiocy of this storyKing Chympanzo:

"It is scarcely moral, Phyllos dear friend, to use them to attack the serpentine Medusians; but then - I suppose war never is. Indeed, even our females are bearing arms, and some of our children! It is a dreadful state of affairs!"

Apparently the Doctor helps Phyllos and Dyonne negotiate the subsequent peace treaty, which seems like a paper-thin attempt at justifying his inclusion in the story at all. This is a terrible Doctor Who story.

I have even less of an idea what is going on in this picture.

War on Aquatica is confusing and random, and not in a good way. The aliens are a mix of terrible cliche and jumbled up letters. The Doctor and Sarah do nothing interesting and who is Professor Levi anyway? It wouldn't make any less sense if it turned out he was really Sergeant Benton in disguise (he isn't, as far as I know).

And as for the pictures: the pictures are disorientating in the way they are suggestive of the story being told without being at all helpful as an aid to picturing all the stupid things happening in the plot. In fact, I haven't been as confused a cat since I saw this:

The most confusing thing I saw before that was a TV series that does "confusing and random" right, and so in that respect is the opposite of War on Aquatica.

Big Gay Longcat reviews Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a TV series that tells the story of Chu Chu, a cheeky monkey who is the familiar and friend of Anthy Himemiya.

Anthy has a handsome brother called Akio, but he is secretly End of the World, the baddy of the series who wants to do... something evil. I'm not sure what, but it doesn't matter as long as it involves him driving very fast in his car with other handsome mannys who sometimes take their shirts off.

Akio also seduces Utena Tenjou, who is the title character and so is, I think, the equivalent of Blake* in Blakes 7. She is a goody who wants to save Anthy from all the duels that other characters have been fighting so that Anthy will be their Rose Bride. Utena does this by fighting duels so that Anthy is her Rose Bride.

* Utena's central moral dilemma is similar to Blake's, in that she must choose between fighting to protect Anthy (being a "Prince") or being passive and letting Akio protect her (being a "Princess"). Blake has to choose between using acts of violence and terrorism to bring down the Federation, or else letting the obvious baddys of the Federation continue to rule. In both cases they choose the first option; the active, aggressive option over the passive, submissive option.

While the ending to Revolutionary Girl Utena is a bit more open to interpretation than that of Blake, I would say the two characters both come to similar ends - Blake is shot by his best friend Avon and dies, Utena is stabbed by her best friend Anthy and... dies?

And both were very close to their best friend before this.

Anthy ends the series by leaving Akio behind and going off with Chu Chu to search for Utena in the outside world, which thwarts Akio's plan because he needs Anthy to be the Rose Bride for his evil plan to work. Somehow. I think.

But what, you may ask, is Chu Chu's actual role in the story? Well, Chu Chu is my friend so here he is to answer this question himself:

Chu. Chu Chu. Chu Chu. Chu.

Thanks for clearing that up, Chu Chu. You are a cheeky monkey.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mission: Impossible

I like Mission: Impossible. It is one of my favourite TV programmes, even if I don't talk about it on here as much as I do Doctor Who or Blakes 7 or Star Trek.

My favourite character is Willy Armitage. I like Willy a lot. Here is a picture of him:

He is played by Peter Lupus and is the strongest character in Mission: Impossible. He is clever too. Here is another picture of him, this time he has a moustache:

Like most of the characters in Mission: Impossible, Willy is a master of disguise. Here his moustache is part of his disguise, along with his glasses and hat.

Gamma Longcat also likes Mission: Impossible (in fact all cats like Mission: Impossible because it is great), but his favourite character is Barney Collier:

He is played by Greg Morris. Here is a picture of Barney with a moustache:

Leonard Nimoy appears in season 4 of Mission: Impossible, but he is not playing Mr Spock. He plays Paris, who is so good at disguise he can pretend to be a city in France. This is because Leonard Nimoy was no longer needed to play Mr Spock because they had stopped making Star Trek. I don't know why but I think it was because they had already made all the episodes.

Other actors from Star Trek were guests in Mission: Impossible, but none of them played the same characters which is a shame because they could easily have time-travelled to the 1960s to be in it. These guest-stars included George Takei, William Shatner and Ricardo Montalkhan. Each of these episodes are brilliant.