In the hit sci-fi thriller “The Philadelphia Experiment” the sole survivor of a wartime experiment is catapulted 41 years into the future and must race to save the world as we know it. It’s now 10 years later, 1993. David Herdeg (Brad Johnson), the surviving hero, has built a life for himself and his young son that’s unravelling fast. The U.S. military is conducting another Experiment, one that not only alters Herdeg’s DNA makeup, but also threatens the fabric of the entire universe. The Experiment’s goal is to transport a Stealth Fighter back to 1943 to use as the ultimate war machine, but its effect hurls Herdeg into another time warp, still 1993, but a 1993 where Germany has won the war. Can Herdeg win the race against time and save his son and the world from a terrible future? Or will the future be a twisted reality distorted by the Philadelphia Experiment?
1993 – Certificate: PG-13 – American Film
Rating Details: Military violence
6.0 out of 10
Who actually shops in Marks and Spencer, unless they want a new bra or a pair of socks? It’s like a John Lewis, except with all the interesting stuff removed. For a start, it only sells a limited range of household things, none of which anyone would need; unless you feel owning a big, weirdly shaped glass jar full of ‘interestingly’ coloured marbles is essential. Or a pastel coloured cushion with tassels on it rates as highly for you as food, shelter and safety. Then there’s the Food Hall. These huge caverns are full of food nobody really buys. True, it’s all very nice and tasty looking, but it’s also all eye-wateringly expensive, pre-pealed, pre-prepared, over-packaged and marketed as over-valued ‘superfood’. I don’t know why M&S doesn’t just take that find step and pre-digest it for you too and sell that instead. In fact, just send it your money and save yourself from even having to bothering to do the shopping in the first place. The branch I went to, near Southampton, has its entrance 5m from a huge Sainsbury; why does an M&S Food Hall even exist there? A small, plastic bowl-like container full of cherry tomatoes on the vine, asparagus tips and rocket, costs about a million pounds. (Whatever happened to lumps of cucumber, lettuce and grated carrot?) At the sort of prices it charges, I’d expect the rocket to be a fully functioning space shuttle, complete with crew. Just before Christmas I won £500 of Marks and Spencer vouchers in a competition. Unable to use them online, (and what’s the point of vouchers these days you can’t use online), I finally plucked up courage last week to go into an M&S store and use them. It was a scary experience. I had no idea how to behave. I was convinced I’d get arrested for breaking some sort of social code of conduct, only known to people who have large jars of marbles in their bathrooms. I was served by four people all at the same time, who insisted on wrapping everything up in millions of layers of paper to ‘protect’ it. Do I look that clumsy? What did they think I was going to do with it all? I’m now the proud owner of the most expense set of pans it sells, two kitchen knives that actually cut, some glasses that match one another and a set of chopping boards that aren’t home to most of the world’s infectious diseases. (And being the system-smashing rebel I am, I’m presently using the blue one that’s got the fish symbol on it, even though I don’t ever eat fish.) I’ve also spent the last week or so living on strawberries, cherries, nectarines and ‘speciality’ apples. My body thinks it’s been irrigated with bleach, such is the purity of my insides now. I did manage to find some packets of pasta hiding away in the corner of the store, but the rice defied my best efforts to locate it anywhere. This film is about someone who finds himself somewhere he’s not used to being.
The Philadelphia Experiment was an interesting, if horrendously dated-looking film that came out in 1984. Nine years later we got the sequel. In many ways this is a better film, although it still manages to look terrible dated. It’s portrayal of an America 50 years after the Nazis won World War Two is really quite nicely presented. Very Orwellian. I was interested to see that the concrete HQ ‘bunker’ that features in the film looks a lot like many of the new stations on the Jubilee Line in London. The sight of a Nighthawk ‘stealth fighter’ decked out in swastikas makes a suitably big impression on the senses. A few elements in the film reminded me of The Terminator too. All the father-son-baseball nonsense at the beginning was a bit nauseating, but once we got past this it was a decent enough movie. Gerrit Graham puts in a good show as the slightly mad Dr. William Mailer. Sadly, the sum of its parts is not up to its individual elements; it feels like a film that ought to be better than it actually is.
The soundtrack is a decent effort, with a mixture of what you’d expect, along with a bit of cowboy music and some suitably overwrought Richard Wagner.
Recommended for Nazis, slightly mad scientists, pilots and baseball fans.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? David kills Mailer’s father, which results in some time-based shenanigans and Mailer disappearing, thus solving a number of tricky challenges. I often do something quite similar myself, which makes it badass. I can never understand why people have to complicate life so much. If you don’t like something, just go back in time and try again. It’s not rocket science.
Neil (Guillermo Diaz) has been a vegetarian for one thousand two hundred and sixty-three days. He and his girlfriend Daisy like to spend their days skateboarding, drinking organic coffee, and driving around talking about the state of the world. Their idyllic existence is shattered when Neil’s father, Vic, reveals his grand plan for Neil to become a third generation butcher and work with him in the Father and Son butcher shop. With no job to support himself and nowhere else to live, Neil is left with little choice but to report to work with his father. Faced with the bloody reality of slabs of dead meat, Neil runs screaming from the shop, and keeps running and running and running, until he ends up in a deserted skateboard park. There he has a visionary encounter with a Chicken Man, who kicks his ass and shows him how hypocritical his pseudo-political lifestyle has been. With the Chicken Man’s inspirational words ringing in his head, “You know what you are supposed to do,” Neil returns to his life with a mission to change the world.
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
6.5 out of 10
As we all know, vegans are inherently more intelligent and all-around better than anyone else. We also know that we’ll eventually inherit the Earth too; (I’m afraid the meek will just have to piss off down the job centre and look for something else to do). True, it will probably resemble the inside of a Chinese takeaway’s wheelie bin by then, but it’s the principle that’s important here. We look upon mere vegetarians as uneducated children, people with the potential to become civilised, but who have many dark sides to overcome and quests they need to undertake, before they attain true enlightenment. Yes, I know there’re a lot more vegetarians about than vegans but really, they’re a bit like the Lib Dems, no one takes them seriously do they? One pizza or the whiff of bacon cooking and they’re slobbering like a St. Bernard, apologising for their dietary ‘aberration’, in an attempt to appease their cannibalistic, meat-eating friends, in case the latter get offended. If a vegan walks into a room, people take notice; think The Terminator. (That’s probably not the best analogy, but it’s all I can come up with right now.) When I walk into a room, people make their excuses and leave. If I spot a non-vegan woman who I feel shows ‘potential’ and I explain to her that as a vegan we can’t actually breed as we’re basically different species so it’s okay for us to ‘do stuff’ together, she will inevitably make her excuses and leave too. I guess the offer is just too awesome and mind-blowing for them to cope with. I can appreciate that viewpoint; I have each and every one of the 453 times it’s happened. This film is about a mere vegetarian. One who realises that trying to negotiate your enemy into surrender isn’t always possible.
A lot of the time there’s not much really going on in this drama/comedy/horror; the characters mostly sit around and talk about uninteresting stuff. In fact it’s so bad, Neil even speaks directly to the viewers, to give us some insight into what he’s thinking. There aren’t a lot of films like that. There aren’t a lot of films without a trailer either, but I think this might be one of them. Actually, I think Neil is probably a sociopath; he really doesn’t seem to care a lot about those around him, even his family, girlfriend and best mate. He looks like he does but really, it’s all for show. A typical, serial killer personality trait. I personally blame it on all the milk and cheese he probably eats. I suspect there’s a tendency for all vegetarians to be that way inclined; can eat this, can’t eat that, I’m a lacto-ovo-talkbollocksaboutfoodo vegetarian so I can basically decide what I eat depending on what mood I’m in, etc. It’s so complicated, no wonder it messes with their heads. All that angst and guilt about everything. Even the word vegetarian is (if you’ll excuse the pun) a mouthful; does it really need five syllables? And vegetarianism? That’s seven. By the time you’ve explained what you are to someone and what you can and can’t eat, you’ll have starved to death. No wonder they’re all so thin. Look what happened to Robocop in “Robocop 2” when he had too many Prime Directives to deal with. They should all just be vegan, it’s a whole lot simpler; if you like it you can’t eat it. Even I can understand that. Oh the film? Actually it’s not bad at all; I’ve probably made it sound worse than it is.
The film sports a great soundtrack made up of songs by numerous and mostly obscure punk rock bands. It’s good.
Recommended for vegetarians, skateboarders, coffee shop workers and punks. Not recommend for butchers or pet shop store owners.
One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. There’s a cute cat on a cushion in a pet shop, which does have to do a bit of acting. Stretching your paws out take real timing and effort to look good.
Top badass moment? In the most poorly hidden plot development of the century (especially as I’m about to blab it now), vegetarian Neil kills his butcher father and feeds him to the customers. Sorry, but that automatically qualifies as badass, regardless of the moral implications.
Eager for one final vacation before their lives change forever, six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area. By nightfall, their lives will change forever… in ways too horrific to imagine. For in the shadows awaits a pack of the most evil, vicious rejects of humanity, addicted to violence and thirsty for blood! This is “Psycho Holocaust”…
2011 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
6 out of 10
I’m not just an uncouth, middle-aged yobbo, who only listens to angry punk music and watches slasher movies. No, I also have a cultured, respectable side, the sort that The Queen would be entirely at home with. In proof, I offer up the fact that I’ve just finished reading “The Hand of Ethelberta” by Thomas Hardy, not for the first time either. In between reading Star Trek novels I read Thomas Hardy ones. The latter is of course, the greatest writer the world has ever seen. In fact I’m a fully paid-up member of the Thomas Hardy Society. That’s how cultured I am. Unlike “The Terminator” Sara Connor’s “No fate but what we make”, Hardy’s novels generally provide more of a ‘fate will do whatever it wants with you, despite your best efforts to do otherwise, and you probably won’t like it either’ point of view. Even though it’s one of Hardy’s more light-weight stories, “The Hand of Ethelberta” once again provides us with a reminder that it’s basically pointless trying to do something about your lot in life, or dream about bettering yourself. When it comes down to it, you might win a few battles, but the war will be lost. I find Hardy an excellent counter-balance to the optimism and can-do attitude prevalent in Star Trek. Together, they help to keep me grounded! This movie is more Thomas Hardy than Star Trek.
“Six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area” eh? I wonder what on Earth this film could be about? Ornithology? Geology? Photography? Actually, it features three veterans of the conflict in Iraq, in a searing and damming documentary about the effects of combat on individuals and the political implications of going to war. Okay, I lied a bit. It does indeed feature three veterans (and one was a documentary film maker), but then it all sort of goes where a million low-budget horrors have gone before. In its favour, our six ‘heroes’ weren’t teenagers and even the three war veterans displayed a clear lack of fantasy indestructibleness. (Cool, a six-syllable word that Word approves of.) The latter also exhibited a genuine concern for their local environment, (an attractive woodland). It was heartening to see a couple of sick and twisted psychos busy taking two of their victims off to a location to kill them in, discussing an impending plan to turn the area into “one big fucking suburb”. A small quirk of fate and they’d have been running about, carrying out direct action in the name of Earth First instead. That’s the ‘Hardy Effect’ for you. The violence is well up to scratch and some (though not all) of the special effects are generally pretty believable. The lead baddie is suitably effective and entertaining, even though he did look a little too like Simon Pegg to be totally convincing. I kept expecting him to pick up a pile of LPs and use them as weapons. Despite the occasionally horrific bit of acting, the film works well as a B-movie and the violence scores highly on the official sick-gross-eew scale. Turning to health and safety now, a number of different tools get used in the film, including two carpenter’s saws, a claw hammer, a few hand axes, a double-headed axe and a sort of flat bladed butcher’s hatchet, as well as a chainsaw. By and large, these were used in a generally appropriate and certainly effective way, although the arm that was cut off wasn’t really secured properly and the no-handed use of one of the saws isn’t a formally recognised technique. (You may wish to give that some further though.) Unfortunately, as is often the case, the chainsaw was used with little or no attention paid to safety. I couldn’t see any PPE in use and even an idiot must surely realise that running about in a woodland carrying a running chainsaw, over uneven terrain full of trip hazards, isn’t a terribly good idea. It never fails to amaze me how few chainsaw wielding psychos use their equipment safely. Particularly in this case, considering the latter were ex-military; this was disappointing and certainly made the whole movie feel a lot less realistic. However, it did seem to start really easily, from both hot and cold, so at least it looks like it was being maintained properly, which is promising.
1 cat, 1 chainsaw and 1 decapitation. Bingo! The first film I’ve watched for ages that gets a full set. (I think the cat was just a bystander that ran onto the set though.) There’re a few other rather painful amputations too.
Recommended for would-be psychos. An excellent training film.
Top badass moment? It’s certainly a gentleman’s leg-crossing moment, but Laura’s treatment of her would-be rapist was pretty awesome; I’m just not sure how feasible it would be in real life (so says Mr. Modest-Bigboy). It wasn’t that she’d had an especially good day up to then either. A whipping, a drowning, another rape, a bashing on the head with a big rock and finding her boyfriend missing a leg, (who then promptly fell on her when she tried to help him, trapping her), do not a good day make for anyone. And let’s not forget her safe and effective use of the double-headed axe too.
Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s. Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc. Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way. These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7. I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again. Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:
1) Serve the membership
2) Protect the planet
3) Follow procedures
4) Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)
Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling. And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director. There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products. He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do. He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”. That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level. With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line. I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool! This movie is awesomely cool too.
1987 – Certificate: 18 – USA
I love this film. I’ve watched it loads of times. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought. I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too. The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated. Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on. (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.) Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits. Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act. I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you. And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek. Imagining having that on your CV! The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.
Recommended for awesome people. I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.
Top badass moment? The advert for Nuke Em. A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”. As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.
“Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” That reminds me, we’ve been going through a bit of a restructure at work. It’s not been a hugely enjoyable experience. I guess in the long-term it’s the ‘right’ thing to do, in the same way that the large-scale, post-war slum clearances in areas well-known for high levels of social need, led to their replacement with modern, high rise flats, which are now well-known for, em, high levels of social need, (okay so it’s probably not the best analogy on a wide range of levels), but it still sucks. By some strange quirk of fate I seem to have survived this process and now find myself in a ‘job-enriched’ environment. Considering my almost total lack of ambition and ability this is indeed a strange turn of events. At the moment I’m finding I’m saying good-bye to a lot of colleagues, some of who I’ve known for years and have so much respect for and many of whom have probably helped me cover up my singular lack of talent in the past. (What can I say? The only thing I’m really good at is bigging myself up on the back of others’ hard work.) It’s all pretty depressing though. I want to be angry about it, but I can’t identify anyone or anything to get angry with, which makes it all even more frustrating. Maybe what’s going on at work now is a bit like this film and it will spawn a hugely popular, multi-million pound franchise that goes on for years and years. I look forward to the time when I walk into a room and people look at me in awe, huddle together in groups and in hushed tones say to one another, “you know who he works for, don’t you?”
1984 – Certificate: R – United States
I love this film! It’s certainly one of my 50, all-time favourite movies and a genuine classic. The theme tune is iconic too. Arnold Schwarzenegger is so perfect for the part of the Terminator and it’s great to see someone in a film who looks after his body as well as I look after mine. Honestly, at times it felt like I was looking into a mirror, which was a bit disconcerting and I have to say did spoil the film slightly for me. I think Arnie’s a bit taller than I am though. I’ve seen this movie loads of times, but this was my first viewing of it on Blu-ray. Reference material it’s not, but it did look great; a lot more colour and detail than I can remember from watching it on DVD. It’s always been a gloomy, muddy looking film, but the format does manage to clean up the details a lot. The effects still look good most of the time too, not bad for a film that’s 28 years old. It doesn’t look especially dated either, well as long as you don’t look at Sarah Connor’s hair.
Recommended for everyone, even those who don’t like this sort of film. Actually, those sort of people should be forced to watch it.
No cats and no decapitations. The Terminator’s head does get a bit stripped and squashed though.
Top badass moment? If any film offers a lot of choice, it’s this one. Anyway, I’m picking the “I’ll be back” scene. Be honest, who hasn’t wanted to do something like that when you haven’t got your way in a shop? Well okay, then going on to slaughter everyone that works there is probably a bit over the top, even for me, but trashing the place with a car certainly makes a point about the customer always being right. Consumer power at its best!