Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Tuesday of this week, February 27, the news broke that Paul De Meo had passed away. I first saw the news in the form of a Facebook post by John Wesley Shipp. Through his post, I found the tweet by De Meo’s longtime creative partner Danny Bilson. I had at first hoped the news was wrong, but John Wesley Shipp was likely not going to be posting a false death report for De Meo and Bilson damned sure wasn’t. So, sadly, the news that fandom had lost someone who gave it so much over the years was true. 

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Technology was always going to make our lives better and make our sometimes-limited leisure time more enjoyable. At least that was always the point- when dealing with this specific form of technology -of so many of the little throwaway scenes in so much science fiction over the decades. The machines around us were in their way going to grow smarter, and thus they would be able to serve us in ways people could only imagine experiencing until recent years. One of the ways they would do this was by analyzing the things we regularly liked to hear or see or do and find similar things to that to expose us to when we asked for something to hear or see or do. 

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I’m a fan of horror movies. That’s the understated way of saying it. I’m also, of course, a fan of other genres. But, yeah, I tend to really enjoy horror, science fiction, and fantasy. You could also throw superhero into that list, but I’ve always considered that just fantasy with a sometimes small twist of science fiction mixed in and given a new coat of paint. After all, as has been pointed out by others, some modern superhero storytelling is essentially just the modern evolution of the tradition of the telling of ancient myth stories.

I’m also the type of geek who has always loved to learn about the ‘why’ of the things I enjoyed. When it comes to these genres. I would never compare myself to an academic or a historian when it comes to the level of knowledge I have about the ins and outs of the history of the genres across the various mediums or how the genres can be used to tell very meaningful human stories in disguise. However, I do try to learn as much as I can about these things. As such, I think I’m in a good position to be able to say that stories have been told and still can be told in these genres that rise above the level of disposable entertainment. Indeed, all of those genres have been used to tell stories that have touched on important social commentary, made huge political statements, addressed the human condition, and even ventured into the realm of the deeply philosophical. They’ve also all been able to and still can produce absolute classics of storytelling.

Apparently, having the opinion that some of these genres are capable of this kind of thing has me not only on the other side of a debate with many in the mainstream of American pop culture these days, but also with some in fandom who somehow or another claim they love some of these same genres I do. 

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Buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. The Earth Station One crew conclude their look at John Waters this week. For those of you who missed them, here are the prior two installments along with the latest one.

Don’t Be a Donald

Posted: January 19, 2018 in Life, News, Politics

By 1962, Roger Corman was well on his way to creating the film resume that unfortunately earned him such nicknames as “The King of Schlock.” He’d found low budget success with such films as The Wasp Woman, A Bucket of Blood, Little Shop of Horrors, It Conquered the World, Sorority Girl, and Teenage Doll among others.

How much success had he found? It depends on what you consider successful. After being burned by the nature of the studio system, Corman struck out on his own to make the movies he wanted to make. None of them were the comparative financial successes that Star Wars, Jaws, or Avatar would be for others in later years. You certainly won’t find them regularly listed in the top ten or top twenty box office winners for the years in which his films were released. But, one thing Roger Corman could for longest time say about his films is that they earned a profit at the box office. For decades, Roger Corman could make a claim that few others in the business could; even those who had made far less than the 400+ films Roger Corman has directed and/or produced at this point. He could for a very long time say that he had made hundreds of films and never lost a dime on any of them.

Well, except for one film in 1962. It’s something of a shame that The Intruder was for decades the only film Roger Corman lost money on, because, in some ways, it was one of the best films he’d made at that point in his career.