The Four Of Us Are Dying

I haven’t been watching much old TV but one thing I have been going through from its very start is the original Twilight Zone TV series. It’s pretty damn impressive. The first season was _waaaay_ back in 1959 and a lot of the story lines still stack up well. It’s far back enough that almost none of the actors in it cross over into other tv shows from the mid to late ’60s that I’ve seen. The only exception so far was the episode title <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_Are_Alike_All_Over”>People Are Alike All Over</a> that has an actress who later went on to also appear in the pilot for the original series or Star Trek. Funnily enough the pilot leaned heavily on the storyline of the Twilight Zone ep.

There’s been several episodes dealing with the Cold War that I would’ve thought would be too touchy to talk about then plus a bunch of plum science-fiction speculative ideas that were really impressive. The fifties really were a highpoint for SF in book form so it must’ve rolled on into other media too.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/14208550170″ title=”whatyouneed by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/14208550170_a776750d79_o.png” width=”339″ height=”253″ alt=”whatyouneed”></a>

Maybe it’s partly the silver-screen effect but the women seemed really beautiful then too. Interesting hairstyles or whatever. I dunno. The above image was schlepped from the TZ wikia site and is from the episode titled ‘What You Need’. I could’ve hunted it down myself but that would mean turning on the other computer.

The title of this here blog post is actually the name of one of the episodes which was also used by the band Nine Inch Nails as a song title _48 years_ later. To me that’s a great example of how edgy the Twilight Zone was for a TV show. And as such it was stuffed away in the Friday night 10 to 10:30pm timeslot. Wouldn’t want anyone actually seeing it now would we?

That particular episode contained lashings of noir/Hitchcock style lop-sided frame shots and as it happens is available to view on yootoob.

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In some ways a good comparison is the X-Files except the Twilight Zone probably had a lot less budget and crammed all its goodness into half an hour. In fact it seems like Rod Serling did a lot of the sourcing, adapting and writing for the first season himself. So the next time I hear The Simpsons or something parodying his quirky narration style I’ll have a better appreciation for how ahead of its time the Twilight Zone was.

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In hindsight The Black Keys don’t need me promoting their new album. Mainstream media seems to be doing a fine job of that thankyou. After a few listens I’m kind of underwhelmed by it too. I should qualify that by saying that I didn’t really like their album before that either. I mean, it was okay _but not as good as their early stuff._ I know there’s only so many places you can go when you just got a guitar and drums, and that was always the thing about the earlier albums; as good as they were, I could only listen to an album and a half before the structures were all too samey. I was listening to the Turn Blue album while washing the dishes and in that dumb way that iTunes does, it started playing the next thing straight after. The next thing was the El Camino album and I tell ya I didn’t know it. ie there’s no difference in the sound of the two albums.

With Turn Blue, some of the production aspects (that this chap danger mouse contributed) sound tacked on. Also as a wannabee bass player the bass sound they used on several tracks sounds really unenthusiastic. And lyrically it’s heavily influenced by Dan’s relationship break-up with some famous woman. Jilted/love songs will always be popular but a little hard for me to relate to in this part of my life.

But I’ll be constructive. So what could have they done? Five or whatever albums of good, raw guitar & drums -> it’s obvious that they had to broaden their sound somehow. I think I would’ve tried some sort of non crowd-pleasing, long concept album. They’ve earned enough money/fame to do something really nutty so why not go for it? For posterity’s sake I’ll include this pic of Dan _Uber_gene unintentionally (0((()(??????)())))) getting his Hitler on. This could’ve been the look that tipped them in a whole new musical direction.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/14208277010″ title=”Dan UBERbach by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5036/14208277010_184e79052c_o.jpg” width=”608″ height=”465″ alt=”Dan UBERbach”></a>

Shock Corridor (1963)

Third up in the list of Film Noir is _Shock Corridor_. Total spoilage: it’s not a happy ending with this one but otherwise is just as strong a story as _Blast Of Silence_. And what do you know, Larry Tucker aka Big Ralphy is in this one too. He must’ve done the rounds of early 60s noir and then hung up his acting hat.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9366811087/” title=”larrytucker by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3831/9366811087_1f278263fa_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”196″ alt=”larrytucker”></a>

So anyway this film was showing us the whacky and grizzly insides of an insane asylum a good deal before Jack crazied it up on _One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest_. You could probably do a great Intro to Film Studies essay about this movie because there’s three characters that represent different parts of the shadow that the US cast over itself and other parts of the world, including the very fresh over-hang of racial segregation.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9366810847/” title=”shockcorridor by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/9366810847_deaceb9bd1_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”172″ alt=”shockcorridor”></a><br/><em>Trent cracked up after being hounded out of the university he was </em>in theory<em> entitled to attend.</em>

The main character gets shock treatments but they don’t scramble his brains immediately and there’s one scene where for a moment he loses the ability to talk. It uses voice over to tell us what he’s thinking and he’s wanting to open his mouth and wondering why it won’t work. That was a great little bit of visual story-telling.

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I also watched a couple of ’70s science fiction movies: _Logan’s Run_ (1976) : kind of weird but had some great ’70s breasts in it (they just seemed kind of different back then) and _Silent Running_ (1972) which I remeber seeing when I was real little, as in back in the BTV6 cargo cult days. Maybe I was 7 or something. This was the first time I’ve watched a movie and felt ‘this seemed much bigger when I was little’ in the way that a town where you grew up might. My memory of the ship Bruce Dern was floating around on was that it was much bigger and I can remember being quite tramatised when one of the little walking-boxes (robots) got his foot stuck in the railing and got blown away in a space storm. I guess that sense of ‘hey this could be much bigger’ is a good thing because maybe this is one film-story that could be re-done successfully but I guess it’d have to be done outside hollywood, _a la_ <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_%28film%29″>Moon</a>.

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One photography app I’ve been mucking around with recently is <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vsco-cam/id588013838?mt=8″>VSCO cam</a>, which free but that’s just to lure you in to get you to spend some money. I didn’t mind so much since these little, invisible things are all I’m spending money on now (other than food). One thing I do really like is the <a href=”http://vsco.co/grid”>VSCO Grid</a> idea. This is exactly what Hispstamatic should’ve done instead of piss-farting around with Oggl; an instagram clone. A nice minimal, arty-lookin’, centralised webfront for people to show off their hipstamatic shots. Again, free at first and then charge for enhanced services/features later. Like leading lemmings off a cliff. <a href=”http://sunnybreaks.vsco.co/”>Here’s my grid.</a>

Tuesday is Soylent Green day

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6298456541/” title=”soylent-green-ext by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6045/6298456541_18bbceac3f.jpg” width=”500″ height=”217″ alt=”soylent-green-ext”></a>

I was just watching this movie again because as a countryboy australian living in korea, it really speaks to me. If, in some far off future, where lots of bad decisions were made on the way, australia could end up as polluted, noisy and crowded as korea. That sounds pretty over the top, but more subtle, yet real examples are not being able to see the stars at night, the milk just not tasting as good, you can’t drink the water straight out of the tap, and living in one-room apartments with low ceilings.

A quick check of wickerpedia says that the film was based on a 1966 novel titled <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_Room!_Make_Room!”>_Make Room! Make Room!_</a> and that it was set in 1999, with a global population of 7 bil — funny eh? Which goes a way toward reminding us that things never turn out as bad as people and get alarmed about. (or do they?) I’m not very good at maths and such but I was wondering what the global population would be if everywhere was as densely populated as south korea. Not that it’d be sustainable for a week, even if we started eating eachother in neat little dried squares.

Anyway there’s a great story under all that ’70s clunkiness of Soylent Green and it’s definitely ripe to be remade. It got me thinking about why Soylent green is more or less buried and another dystopian future flick from about ten years after (Blade Runner) is considered a classic — what’s the difference? A vangelis score and some long shots of futuristic cityscapes? More than that – but it’s more than I’ve got the brain-power for right now.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6298988828/” title=”soylent-green-int by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6220/6298988828_967edde9bb.jpg” width=”500″ height=”221″ alt=”soylent-green-int”></a>

Zardoz (1974)

I watched this last night. There was loads of toplessness in it. I know that the 70s were a strange time, and that science fiction movies were all the rage, but somehow I think that Charleton Heston got the better roles, when compared with Sean Connery going from the 007 franchise into this, uh, I don’t know what kind of outfit you’d call this.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4382210776/” title=”zardoz by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4382210776_57038a355b.jpg” width=”410″ height=”500″ alt=”zardoz” /></a>

My powers of description fail me when it comes to this film. It was weird.