The Uncanny and the Return of the Repressed


Today’s lovely media links



Found these via BoingBoing (of course):

1. Further to our discussion of copyright, there’s more great news about online photo archives. We already know about the LIFE magazine collection being hosted by Google. Well, now the New York Public Library has a Flickr photostream. Not brilliant resolution from the ones I’ve looked at, but no copyright restrictions either. This is all part of the ever-growing Flickr Commons, which is dedicated to sharing some of the world’s great photo archives. Of course, this makes it even more preposterous that Flickr is blocked by many county education authorities.

2. Here’s an article about what it means to share everything about you life on-line, whether you’re taking hundreds of photos of yourself by holding a digital camera at arm’s length, or posting the minutiae of your daily life on Twitter. Snip:

Could the negative side effects of lifecasting, microblogging, and oversharing online be worse than just an increase in narcissistic behavior?

After all, Warhol might have been prescient about the democratization of celebrity but shortsighted on the media that would allow it to happen. In 1996, transmedia artist Nick Philip of Imaginary Foundation created a t-shirt design with a more accurate variation on Warhol: “In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 megabytes.”

3. Finally, as if you hadn’t guessed from the photo at the head of this entry, you can now buy (for $40), a Tippi Hedren Barbie as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. An ideal Festivus gift for the film fanatic in your life.

Vintage Radio Drama


Anyone interested in the history of radio broadcasting could do worse than pop over to the

Internet Archive, where there is a selection of old Columbia Workshop radio dramas. This is US radio from the same era that brought us Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre broadcasts, including the notorious 1938 version of War of the Worlds.

Read more about the Columbia Workshop on Wikipedia.

You can also download the Mercury Theatre Archives, the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre and even Dad’s Army from the UK, and many other items, all on the Internet Archives Old Time Radio section.

Horror genre students might want to listen to the Mercury Theatre’s version of Dracula a well as the legendary War of the Worlds.
Mercury Theatre Presents: Dracula


And on that bombshell…


Bonekickers, crap drama starring that Julie Graham, has been axed. Actually, for a summer show, its ratings weren’t that bad – 4.something million for something so badly scripted is quite repectable, I think.

I think the real reason it has been cancelled is to do with the critical reception and the fact that personnel changes at the BBC meant that nobody was left behind to defend it.

It was one of those things, with a decent script and less cheesy dialogue, it might have worked, but like most British TV attempts at genre, it was thwarted by deeply dumb writing, which spoke of the general attitude that the people who watch this kind of thing obviously don’t care.

Via BBC axes archaeology drama Bonekickers |
Media |

Where does the perception that people who watch genre shows don’t care about quality scripting and dialogue come from? Probably from the evidence! It’s bewildering, for example, why anyone watches Heroes, but they do, and the show’s producers pay way too much attention to the opinions of the fans on the internet forums. The original Star Trek flopped after three of its planned five seasons, and the scripts in the third season were unbelievably bad. Still, the show refused to die.

Trailer 2 of the new J J Abrams Trek film is out. It’s got that Sylar from Heroes in it as Spock, which is an example of an actor lurching from one bad script to another.

What do you think? Do genre fans not care about scripts?



So who watched Apparitions, the BBC’s attempt to bring exorcism-based drama to the small screen?

I have to admit, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be, though it was quite bad. This review in The Observer is typical. Snip:

[L]ong before the gorgeous gay priest had been eviscerated by Satan in the sauna and little Donna saved from a predictably nasty post-watershed fate at the hands of her demonic daddy, I was praying to God that the plot – simultaneously bonkers and boring – might suddenly be possessed by the spirit of Lynda La Plante.

You can catch it on iPlayer if you missed it.

It may be bad, but it fits with the horror genre, can be usefully compared to The Exorcist and Supernatural etc., and it has fallen into our laps.

What I thought was actually interesting about it was that, setting aside the (rather strident) religionism in the programme, all the symptoms and events were straight out of the daily news. It’s where our “production and manufacture of news” topic overlaps with our horror genre topic. The Venn diagram of the two topics would overlap at the point of child abuse/kidnap, drink/football-related violence, and even the subject of religion and its place in our weakly secular society – including the issue of homosexuality in the clergy. In fact, looking at it written down, it seems even more preposterously funny than its original entry in the Radio Times led me to believe it would be.

So while Kathryn Flett in The Observer is free to dismiss it, media students would be foolish to do the same.

The Exorcist in Context


This slideshow is meant to compliment the student presentations, which I will also upload to Slideshare (once I have corrected spelling, grammar etc.!). I may also do one on the critical reception of The Exorcist, because films like this – and the earlier Rosemary’s Baby – started to change perceptions of the genre.

The presentation above is about how the film relates to what was happening culturally at the time – especially the sense that some people were dabbling with ideas/forces they didn’t fully understand.

It’s important to remember, though, that playing with the occult and occult references – like The Rolling Stones did – is different to an outright rejection of the Judaeo-Christian tradition – which is more like what John Lennon was referring to when he said the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”.

It includes a link to this site, which is the one with all the played-backwards satanic messages!

You can’t believe in the power of Hell’s Angel – Lucifer, Satan – without also believing the other side of the coin. Those who refuse to be scared by The Exorcist are usually those who reject the whole religion “thing”. The Hell’s Angels at Altamont were scary not because they identified with the devil, but because they drank a lot of beer and carried knives!