There was a sink overflowing.

This wasn’t supposed to be Wellsey’s problem. The Handy Pavilion was like any other shop, in that if there was a problem with a sink or toilet then a plumber should be called. But Marlon -- cheap bastard that he was -- would generally call on Wellsey to fix leaks in the grimy Pavilion bathroom. Wellsey could and did  argue this was not his problem. He was senior staffmember in the plumbing section, sure, but that didn’t make him a licensed plumber or even, you know, a competent plumber. Marlon usually responded by glancing around and seeing no customers talking to Wellsey.

“Well, it’s not like you’re busy,” he’d say.

It was true, usually. A lot of customers didn’t like talking to Wellsey. Not so much the tradies, they didn’t mind him, but the middle class mums and dads who came into his section always gave him funny looks. Fair enough, he looked like he was bad news. He was a big man, and even though he was pushing fifty, he looked like he could dish out some damage if he wanted to. A shaven head, a facial scar, a missing front tooth and an armful of tattoos all seemed to confirm the inevitable first impression that Wellsey was a dangerous customer. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself – Chapter 3: The Mystic Spring"

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"You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede," -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

"But science, like love, has her little surprises, as you shall see," -- Dr Pretorius, The Bride of Frankenstein

Ok, stop me if you've heard this one before...
Ok, stop me if you've heard this one before...

Bride of Frankenstein. It’s just the best, isn’t it? I mean James Whale’s Frankenstein is awesome, but his Bride is just miles ahead of it. In the four years between Frankenstein and Bride, talkies had come a long way, technically. Structurally, Bride is also better, leaving out the long dull interludes between the interesting bits. The actors are in great form. Karloff is at his peak, and the addition of dialogue for his Monster gives him much more to work with. Colin Clive’s Frankenstein is wonderful, alternating between pathetic self-pity and steely determination. Ernest Thesinger steals the show as the camp, malevolent Dr Pretorius. Valerie Hobson does her best with scant material as Elizabeth and Una O’Conner and E. E. Clive do memorable comic turns. But best of all is Elsa Lanchester, who does extraordinary things in a tiny amount of screen time. ...continue reading "Bride of Frankenstein – 1935"

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The wood sang its sweet song to Gwendolyn Harper, but for once she could not listen. Most days, she could hear little else. Her ears filled with a thousand tunes and she was happy. Now there was no room in her broken heart for the joy of wood.

Sunday morning and the crowds were yet to arrive. Gwen worked in the timber section of Handy Pavilion, amongst the vast shelves of potential. Rough long baulks of framing pine, neat thin strips of hardwood decking, huge pallets overloaded with sheets of plywood and MDF. This was her kingdom and these were her people, and yet she would give it all away from one sweet kiss from the man she loved from afar.

Norman, his name was. Norman. Nor-man. New hire. Worked in power tools. He was a young man of perhaps twenty, perhaps less. He had a tufty little beard which didn’t suit him, and yet which could not obscure his beauty. There were tattoos up and down his arms. She wondered how far they extended beneath his shirt, beneath his apron. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 2: A Wooden Chorus"

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It was a Saturday morning, and the hot sun beat down on the hardware centre. The centre’s air conditioning struggled to put up a fight, but it was still anyone’s battle.

Axel Plazoff was restocking a shelf of caulking guns, when out of the corner of his eye he spotted a familiar face. It was a handsome face, screwed up in an expression of concentration, and it belonged to a big man who examined the label on a can of exterior varnish with the intensity of a bomb-disposal expert wondering which wire to snip.

Oh God. It was Captain Stellar-- not in his uniform, just a t-shirt, shorts and sandshoes. Please, Axel thought. Please don’t let him recognise me. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 1: The Reunion"

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'The picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty.' - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

'Speak! You’ve got a civil tongue in your head. I know you have, because I sewed it back myself!' – Prof Frankenstein, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.

'Are we there yet?' 'No' 'Are we there yet? 'No' 'How about now?' 'So help me, I'll turn this car around right now...'
'Are we there yet?' 'No' 'Are we there yet?
'No' 'How about now?' 'So help me, I'll turn this car around right now...'

I Was a Teenage Frankenstein is not a great movie. It was released in the same year as Hammer's Curse of Frankenstein, and it does not hold up well in comparison. It is shot on minimal sets with a tiny cast. The monster makeup is awful and the acting is second rate at best.

It does however have its moments. I’ve said before, one of the things I like most about Frankenstein as a story is that even a lot of the bad versions have something interesting to say. I Was a Teenage Frankenstein is a good example of this. Under the campy fifties B-movieness of it all is a dark little story of an abusive father and his dysfunctional family. ...continue reading "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein – 1957"

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'Remember, I am not recording the vision of a madman. The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens than that which I now affirm is true.' - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

'Mutilating? I removed his brain. Mutilating has nothing to do with it.' - Victor Frankenstein, The Curse of Frankenstein

'Science on, Paul!' 'Science on, Victor!'
'Science on, Paul!'
'Science on, Victor!'

There have been dozen of Frankenstein movies over the years, but so far as I know only two real movie series. The Universal series began with Frankenstein in 1931 and ending with either House of Dracula in 1945 or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948, depending on how much of a purist you are. (My money is on Abbott and Costello, but anyway). The other series is the Hammer series, beginning with Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 and ending with Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell in 1974. ...continue reading "Curse of Frankenstein – 1957"

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'It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.' - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

'They must all know. Know that I, Baron von Frankenstein, master of the secret of creation, have now mastered the secret of destruction!' - Baron Boris Frankenstein, Mad Monster Party.

Mu hu hu ha ha ha!
Mu hu hu ha ha ha!

Perhaps the strangest thing about Frankenstein is that it isn’t always a horror story. Certainly my own first encounter with the Monster was as a character in children’s TV. I’d seen the Groovy Ghoulies, The Drac Pack and The Munsters long before I saw a version of Frankenstein that was actually meant to scare. How exactly did this legendary fiend become family entertainment? I’m not entirely certain, but it somehow it seems to work. ...continue reading "Mad Monster Party? – 1967"

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'To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. I became acquainted with the science of anatomy, but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body.' - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

'Dr Stein just won the Nobel Peace Prize for solving the DNA genetic code.' - Dr Winnifred Walker, Blackenstein.

Blackenstein1
Some of the best 'standing around awkwardly' acting to come out of the 1970s.

Okay, this is going to be a bad one. You've probably already guessed why it's going to be bad. Spoiler: you're probably right. ...continue reading "Blackenstein – 1973"

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Teen Idol Magazine interviews Hollywood's newest sensation, the Giant Cyclops!

cyclops1

Move over James Dean! Step aside, Marlon Brando! The Giant Cyclops is the cool cat who has stolen the hearts of a generation of teenagers!

Now, sometimes actors have to work for years to become stars, and sometimes they make it big overnight. But Giant Cyclops has shot to superstardom after appearing in just one picture: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad! When producers cast Giant Cyclops, they had no idea that, within months, his picture would be posted in every teen's bedroom from Malibu to Maine!

But what is he really like? Teen Idol Magazine catches up with the legend himself... ...continue reading "One on One-Eye!"

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Pea soup! Bland, greasy comfort food. Burritos! Spicy, bold Mexican treats.

Two good, fine meals. But what if… what if someone were to bolt them together? To take these two greasy comfort dishes and create a monstrous creature of deliciousness!

But what’s that you say? It would be playing God?

burito5
Where is your God now?

Bah! You lack the will of the true scientist! It is only through such dangerous, unethical experiments that mankind has been able to develop the wheel and the orthopaedic sandal! Do you think Sir Arthur Churro or Dr Lionel Sushi had to kowtow to the ethics committee when they invented culinary marvels?

But I seem to have drifted from the subject. Pea soup burritos! ...continue reading "Pea Soup Burritos"

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