Silly Season 2022 – The Search for Intelligent Life on Capitol Hill

As I reported yesterday summer has come to Dunwich and right on cue the media “silly season” erupts into life.  That’s right UFOs are back in the headlines.

“The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years.”

With apologies to the author of this article and in sympathy with all of my fellow science fiction devotees having the US Congress investigate UFOs is fraught with existential peril.  Imagining Nancy Pelosi presiding over a debate as to whether evidence of hypersonic maneuverability is terrestrial or extra-terrestrial without her invoking either Steven Spielberg or George Lucas seems impossible.  Maybe there are a half dozen congress critters with enough intelligence to weigh the kind of evidence that the Defense Department, the Intelligence Agencies and the Space Force will bring to the table but they will be drowned out by barnyard noises emanating from the majority of the denizens of the House of Representatives.  Imagine AOC and the rest of the “Squad” jumping to the defense of the little green men based on their evidence from the movie, “E.T., The Extraterrestrial” that government intent toward aliens is racist (or at least species-ist if I may coin the term).

The author finishes off this article with a demand for Washington to come clean on all their secret knowledge about UFOs.

“Top line: We don’t know what the most extraordinary “other” bin UFOs are, who or what is operating them, what their intentions might be, or how they operate. Maybe they are many different things with many different origins and intentions. Regardless, science demands we find out. This is no longer the early Cold War. The public can handle this subject with the seriousness it deserves. So also does our national security demand as much. Again, if another nation figures out how to replicate the way these most extraordinary UFOs operate before the U.S. does, we’ll have a problem.”

Well, we can’t even get the FBI and the courts to stop arresting Americans for trumped up charges of insurrection.  If the government actually had proof of extra-terrestrial life and technologies what are the chances that the CIA and the Defense Department would tell us the truth?  Slim and none would be the optimistic answer.

Luckily we can fall back on a very important source of information on UFO research.  I leave it for your consideration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xngFNtzMf3s

 

Galaxy’s Edge – Dark Victory – A Science Fiction Book Review

I’ve got to hand it to Anspach and Cole.  The world building they are doing in the Galaxy’s Edge franchise doesn’t seem like it will ever slow down.  They’re at least fifteen books into this universe and I keep running into newer and weirder twists and turns in the history of their galaxy.  And they’re always throwing in new characters and cross-connecting old characters and advancing new plot lines.  These boys are on their game.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

In this latest installment Aeson Ford (/Captain Keel/Wraith/Tyrus Rechs (imposter)) is working undercover for his old Legionnaire friend Chhun.  He gets mixed up with an investigation into Nether Ops interference into the chaotic political situation that has existed since the Legion put an end to the House of Reason.  Working with the Nether Ops agent “Honey” he infiltrates several bases of the nefarious spy agency leading up to the capture of vital intel.  Meanwhile Ford is also in search of information on his own forgotten origins in the Kill Team Ice that stretches back to the Savage Wars by means of cryosleep.

Meanwhile we discover that his crewmate Leenah was not killed when the Indelible VI was attacked by bounty hunters in the last book.  We learn how her ship was all but destroyed just as she made the jump to light speed.  The jump saved her life but left her stranded in the middle of nowhere with almost no air and no way to get help.  Through her mechanical ingenuity she rigs a signal and waits with time running out.  Meanwhile Ford’s other crewmate Garret is Lenah working with Nilo’s Black Leaf mercenaries and because he hasn’t given up on Leenah’s life, he locates her signal and convinces Nilo to go on a rescue mission.

When they get to the beacon Leenah and the ship is gone and Nilo figures out that Leenah has been captured by Gomarii slavers and they go on a mission to save her and take down the Gomarii.  During the rescue Nilo and Garret discover that the Gomarii vessel is actually a Savage hulk that contains information in its memory banks crucial to the upcoming resumption of the Savage threat to the galaxy.

Aeson Ford fabricates a plot to capture a rogue Naval Commander who has been doing the Nether Ops dirty work.  During the action Honey betrays him with her former colleagues in Nether Ops and she is killed along with the rest of the agents that Ford defeats.  When he returns to the Legion base, he learns that his old comrade Masters is in dire straits.  Instead of returning to Garret and Nilo he heads off with the legionnaires to save Masters.  But at the end of the book, we find that Nilo also has business on that same dangerous planet.

Dark Victory winds two plots together and both are done well.  The rescue of Leenah from the salvers is the more dynamic and satisfying of the subplots but taking Ford out of the action allows the secondary characters like Leenah and Garret to get their moments in the sun.  Plus, it allows Nilo and Garret to advance the information on the Savage Wars back story which will tie in with other characters that don’t figure in this book but will return soon.  Let’s face it, once you’re into the series this deep all you want to know is whether it’s still a good read.  It is.

Here’s a Sample From My Unfinished Sci-Fi Book

Here’s a sample of a book I’m currently about a quarter of the way through.  If you look at the Header of the website there’s a new link to “Stuff to Buy.”  That where I’ll embed links to books and photogrpaphy I’ll have to sell soon.

 

 

The American Archipelago

Book 1 – The Sniper

Chapter 1 – An Object Lesson

Joseph Boghadair was set up at a loophole in a small prefabricated metal building at the top of a mountain that contained the Icarus Mine.  His .50 caliber sniper rifle was trained on the narrow road that led up to the mine.  He could see a line of black SUVs about a mile and a half down the road and he was getting ready to start firing on the convoy.  His first shots took out the engine of the lead vehicle thereby halting the convoy.  His second volley took out the engine of the last car in line thus trapping the rest of the vehicles between.  Then at a more leisurely pace he took care of the other eight vehicles.  By this point the passengers were crouching behind their disabled cars and randomly firing handguns and assault weapons in Joseph’s general direction with almost no discernible results.

After about half an hour a few of the men in black body armor attempted to reach a stand of trees about 300 yards away to their left.  Joseph put a few well aimed rounds in front of their path and they quickly retreated back to the supposed safety of their not so mobile autos.  Joseph snorted wryly at their shyness.

An hour after that a helicopter approached the mountain from the opposite direction to Joseph’s loophole.  Walking over to a window on the other wall he could see a distant Blackhawk approaching at relatively high altitude.  Joseph then began his preparations for their reception.

Between crew and troops, the Blackhawk had a dozen men on board.  And more importantly it had a couple of hellfire missiles.  From a very safe distance away it targeted Joseph’s position and fired.  The missile struck precisely on target and obliterated the steel structure almost completely.  All that remained was the foundation of the structure around the mine shaft, now clogged with debris.

The Blackhawk landed about three quarters of a mile from the mine entrance.  At this point the agents hunkered down behind their vehicles began to stream toward the helicopter.  By the time they reached the aircraft the troops had exited and were waiting for their rescued brethren to arrive.

FBI Special Agent in Charge, George Chastain assembled both teams and briefed them on the updated mission plan.  “We will proceed to the mine head and look for any human remains.  We will collect whatever we can retrieve for lab analysis and attempt to seal the mine head until qualified personnel can be assembled for recovery operations.  It is presumed that the target, Joseph Boghadair was killed by the missile strike but we will take no chances.  He was an extremely dangerous individual and should not be approached by anyone without backup and prior approval from leadership.  In addition to his war record it is believed that Boghadair is responsible for the shooting deaths of forty-six people in the last six months with thirteen of those people being FBI personnel.  No one enters the mine until remote sensing equipment is brought in.  Alright, proceed.”

The agents formed two groups.  Apparently, SUV agents and helicopter agents must not bond very well.  But before they were more than a hundred feet from the helicopter a series of incredibly powerful explosions shook the ground and knocked them off their feet.  And while they were holding onto the ground for dear life, they could see that the high ground where the mine head was located collapsed into the earth.  The roar of that collapse was more frightening than the initial earthquake and some of the agents hid their heads under their arms in abject terror.  When the mountain stopped shaking the men started to collect themselves and stand up.  When they looked around them, they were astonished.  A circular pit had opened up centered on the mine head.  It was a thousand yards in diameter and so deep that only blackness could be seen at its center.  Several cracks had formed outside the circular pit.  One of these had nearly swallowed the Blackhawk.  It was on its side and half buried in the crevice.  Its rotors were fractured and it wouldn’t be flying away from this landing.

Chastain went over to the edge of the crater and just stared down into the blackness below.  Then he went back to his team and started giving orders to begin a retreat from the stricken mountain.  He was trying to think of what he was going to tell his boss.  Nothing reasonable came to mind.

The Batman (2022) – A Science Fiction – Fantasy Movie Review

Last night I went to go see the “The Batman” with my two older grandsons.  We hadn’t gone to the movies since before the whole COVID mess and I figured with them on Easter vacation from school it was now or never.  They’d heard good things about the movie.  I was skeptical about it because Batman was being played by Robert Pattinson.  And I remember he’d been the actor in those lame Twilight vampire movies that teenage girls were so excited about a while ago.  But I figured it would still be fun hanging out with these descendants of mine.

So, we met up after their work hours.  These two guys are working on their holiday and doing nine hours a day of manual labor.  I told them I was embarrassed that I never had the work ethic they have at that age.  I drove to the nearest cineplex for the last night of the movie’s run.  But I wasn’t familiar with the town or mall it was in, so I was amazed to see that the mall was almost completely empty.  All the biggest chain stores like Macy’s and Target were vacated and even most of the smaller stores were boarded up.  It felt like we were walking onto the set of a zombie movie.  There were barely a dozen people walking around in the mall at 6:45 at night.  The theater was empty except for the ticket seller, popcorn girl and the ticket taker.  It was pretty creepy.  But they still got their popcorn and drinks.

The plot of the movie revolves around the familiar scenario of Bruce Wayne acting as an avenging angel stalking the streets of Gotham City fighting against organized (and disorganized) crime as the caped crusader.  In this iteration James Gordon is a police lieutenant who has teamed up with Batman to allow the city to benefit from Batman’s vigilante activities.  The current crime spree is a series of high-level city government officials being murdered by the Riddler.  The mayor, police commissioner and district attorney are murdered gruesomely and their killings are videotaped by the Riddler and shared with the public on-line.  The Riddler highlights the corrupt activities of the men he’s murdered and announces that he will be “unmasking” the full depths of the partnership between organized crime and the present city administration.

Batman starts following clues that the Riddler provides specifically for him.  And in the investigation, he meets up with Selena who has her own secret identity as the Catwoman.  They become romantically involved, sort of, and together they discover the link between Batman’s father and the crime boss Carmine Falcone (played ably by John Turturro).  We find out that Falcone is also Selena’s father.   Mixed up in Falcone’s vice trades like drugs and prostitution is Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot also known as the Penguin.  The Penguin ends up shedding light on the origins of Falcone’s control of City Hall.  The details of this old history illuminate the basis for the Riddler’s campaign of vengeance against the city’s power brokers including Bruce Wayne.  By the end of the movie, it’s clear what the Riddler was up to but it isn’t in time to prevent a plot to blow up the sea wall that keeps the river out of Gotham’s downtown.  And it also barely allows the foiling of a massacre at a political rally being held for the reform candidate running for mayor.

Of course, Batman must almost single-handedly prevent thirty, gun wielding acolytes of the Riddler from shooting Gotham’s citizens like they were literally fish in a barrel.  But in doing so he learns that his negative role as a vigilante seeking vengeance is too limited to help save Gotham City.  And that he must become also a positive force to help people survive the mayhem all around them.

So, what did I think?  Well first of all, this movie is almost three hours long.  That’s really long.  And the movie is unrelentingly bleak.  Bruce Wayne in the few scenes when he is not Batman looks almost suicidal.  There are no lighter moments in this movie at all.  There is a grittier and uglier feel to this movie than, for instance, in Nolan’s Dark Knight movies.   On the other hand, the action scenes are very well done.  This Batman apparently has a much more capable armor than the Dark Knight had.  He is blasted by machine guns and even a shot gun and not only survives but doesn’t even show any damage to his suit.  And a chase scene on a crowded expressway is pretty spectacular, even if absurdly unrealistic.  On the negative side, Selena does utter the phrase “white privilege” at one point which annoyed me mightily.  But on the whole the movie is an effective and enjoyable Batman movie.  I recommend it to fans of the genre.

Leaving the theater, we were the only people in the huge mall except for a guard who escorted us to the only door still open in the building.  Our car was the only vehicle in this enormous parking lot and as we walked through the eerily empty space, we reflected on its resemblance to some of the darker corners of Gotham City that we had recently visited.  We spent the long ride home discussing the pros and cons of the film and all decided that it had been a worthwhile expedition.  I got them home an hour later than I had estimated and their parents told me of the unbelievably early hour they had to get up for work the next morning.  I felt awful getting them home so late but the boys still claimed it was worth it.  Score one for nonconsecutive generational male bonding.  Now, bring on the great grandsons.

Dune, Part 1; A Very Short Discussion of the Movie – A Science Fiction Movie Review

 

In November of 2021 Neil Dunn wrote an excellent review of Dune part 1.  Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I can definitively say that his review was wholly accurate.  Let me qualify my comments by stating up front that I have inexplicably avoided reading the Dune books most of my life.  And now I am ready to amend that situation.

As I said this will be short.  The movie is a stylish and well-made science fiction film that uses the current state of the art in computer-generated imagery to great effect.  The battle scenes, the space ships and the creatures such as the sand worms are all impressively realistic.

The actors are very good.  With only a couple of familiar faces I was still highly impressed by the cast.  The plot was kept moving and the tension between the family dynamics and the political struggle was well done.

Read Neil’s review for a more in-depth and authoritative look at the story.   But as a new comer to the Dune universe I will gladly recommend this film to all fans of science fiction and more generally, to anyone who likes a good adventure film.

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) – An OCF Classic Movie Review

Okay this one is an oddball.  What we have here is a sort of morality play mixed into a fantasy.  In the first half of the nineteenth century in the southwest corner of New Hampshire there lived a farmer named Jabez Stone.  He has a wife and a widowed mother and not much else.  Bad luck follows him and prevents him from ever catching up on his debts.  One day when disaster strikes, again, he cries out that he’d sell his soul for some good luck.  And the Devil (played amusingly by Walter Huston) shows up and talks him into the deal.  He provides him with a pot of “Hessian” gold and seven years of guaranteed good luck for the price of his soul.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

And indeed, Jabez gets all the good luck for which he could ask.  When his neighbors’ crops are destroyed by hail, his are spared.  He loans money to his neighbors and when they can’t pay him back, he makes them sharecroppers working his fields.  He builds a huge mansion on the hill and alienates his wife and mother and all his old friends.

Jabez’s wife Mary is a good friend of the famous American statesman, Daniel Webster (played by Edward Arnold) and she finally calls Webster in when she decides that something terrible has happened to her husband.  Jabez has changed from an honest friendly religious man into a greedy, hateful sinner.  He’s driven away all of their friends and taken up with a Jezebel named “Belle” whom the Devil has sent to keep Jabez from repenting.

On the seventh anniversary of his contract Old Scratch (as the Devil is called in that neighborhood of New England) comes to claim Jabez Stone’s soul.  By this point Jabez realizes the wrong he’s committed and is repentant but he knows his contract is binding.  But at this point Daniel Webster confronts the Devil and demands a jury trial.  Webster will represent the defense and the Devil gets to pick the judge, and jury.  The jury is made up of notorious criminals of the early American era including Gen. Benedict Arnold the infamous traitor of the Revolutionary War.  But the Devil stipulates that if Jabez is found guilty Daniel Webster’s soul will also be collected.

Webster uses all his gifts as an orator and appeals to the jury’s remorse for not fulfilling their birthrights as free Americans and lovers of life.  He reminds them of the simple joys of living a virtuous life and how each of them regrets the road he has taken.

Finally, the jury asks the Devil to see the contract and when he hands it over Benedict Arnold tears it up and throws it away.  The judge and jury disappear into smoke and Daniel Webster gives the Devil the bum’s rush out of Jabez’s barn.  The two victors return to the farmhouse in time to enjoy a homecooked breakfast with Jabez’s wife and mother and young son.

His neighbors arrive to alert Jabez to the fact that his mansion on the hill is in flames.  He smiles at them and tells them he’s glad and that all their debts to him are cancelled and to prove it he tears up his promissory notes and invites them to breakfast.  The movie ends on a comical note with Old Scratch sitting on a country fence, finishing up a pie he stole from Ma Stone and looking into his little book of prospects and then peering out into the audience and smiling and pointing at you!

As I said this is an oddball film.  The bulk of the film is a melodrama about a good man going bad through greed and pride.  I suppose the supernatural story is meant to be a metaphor for how circumstances can make even good people lose perspective on the what’s really valuable in life and let the pursuit of money destroy the good things they have.  I don’t know if I can recommend this movie unless I compare it to something like the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  That movie also shares a supernatural framing of the dangers of losing perspective on what makes life worth living.  If you didn’t like that better movie then you probably won’t like this lesser tale.  That won’t guarantee you’ll like this one but it gives you an idea of what kind of movie this is.

Galaxy’s Edge – Legacies – A Science Fiction Book Review

Before I proceed to the review a quick note.  It’s been over a year since the last review in this series.  The explanation is a puzzling fact.  I buy the paperback version of books and for some reason Legacies never came out in paperback.  I’ve checked and the subsequent books in the series are now available in paperback but Legacies never was.  So recently I gave up and bought the hardcover version.  What can I say, I’m a creature of habit.  Anyway, welcome back.

Legacies rejoins the story with Aeson Ford, aka Aeson Keel, aka Wraith and now aka Tyrus Rechs in search of Prisma, the young woman who has found herself embedded in the conflict between a confusing array of sides.  From the previous volumes in the series, she has seen Goth Sullus destroy her family in his quest to convert the Galactic Republic into a personal weapon against lurking threats and she has been swept along by Tyrus Rechs and Aeson Keel and discovered that she has mysterious powers that somehow make her important in the conflicts still to come.

In this book we will follow separate stories involving Prisma and Keel as they struggle to survive in a galaxy filled with confusing threats.  Prisma is aboard a war machine left over from the Savage Wars, a device that replays historic battles to evaluate alternate strategies to some mysterious end.  Keel goes under cover as Tyrus Rechs to find out who has put a price on his head and why.  And these two seemingly unrelated threads are slowly woven into one fabric.  Truths are revealed about Aeson Ford’s father and Tyrus Rechs and Goth Sullus that go back to the beginning of the Savage Wars and maybe beyond.

The book shifts back and forth between the two main narratives and then adds another plot line from the past.  This leads to some whiplash for the reader from time to time but the writing is quite well done and it kept my interest throughout.  Anspach and Cole have a very complex world-building project going on in this series.  In this volume, they provide origin information on the Cybar, Aeson Ford and links with the Savage Wars plot lines that expand a great deal on what I knew about the story previously.  And any hope of finishing this series in less than a million volumes has flown out the window.  But I’m happily resigned to my fate.

Highly recommended for all fans of the series.  Year two of the series is barreling along on hyperdrive.

17FEB2022 – Dunwich Complainer

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Dunwich Republican Committee or as we call it “The Pentaveret.”  The meeting was sparsely attended as many are recovering from a winter bout of Dunwich demonic possession.  First Selectman Cthulhu was under the weather after having eaten some bad “seafood,” which is what he calls people living on the coastline.  So he wasn’t in attendance, which was kind of a relief.  He is a big personality and what with stepping on people and drooling all over the place and dribbling bits of man-flesh when he speaks it is a distraction.

The agenda included a report from the Treasurer that showed a net liability of about ten thousand dollars in the account.  The explanation for this was the cost of repairs to the “old Bishop place” after an interdimensional portal opened up in the kitchen and swallowed up the newly renovated appliances.  And the cook.  Apparently the First Selectman’s cousin Dagon got the address mixed up in his GPS and instead of arriving at the all you can eat buffet at the Dunwich Red Lobster, he materialized in the Bishop place and ate the cook and the contents of the refrigerator.  Luckily the cook was a Democrat and an illegal alien to boot, so after a little hand waving by the First Selectman with the State Police and a fifty-dollar “gratuity,” things were smoothed over.  It really helps to have a way with the common people.

During the Q&A I stood up and asked whether the COVID restrictions mandated by the state legislature and other unpopular decisions by the Democrats would provide a chance for the Republicans to make gains in the legislature this year.  Our State Representative happened to be at the meeting.  He was there to beg us to set up a fundraiser and meet and greet with his constituents.  He fielded this question saying that earlier in February most politicians had agreed that the Republicans would make significant gains this year.  There was even talk of the Governor’s mansion being in reach.

But last week Yog Sothoth was quoted in the larger circulation papers in Arkham stating that if the Republicans retook the legislature and the Governor’s mansion that he would be appointed attorney general and he intended to dispense with all criminal justice functions and immediately round up the democratic voters and have a luau.  He figured the Great Old Ones, once assembled for the feast could eat their way through the Evil Party in about forty-eight hours.

For whatever reason this seemed to spook the voting populace.  The consensus opinion was described as, “Yes the Democrats are inhumanly cruel and a terrible governing elite, but they’ve never clearly stated that they intend to eat their opponents alive.”  When Yog heard about this reaction, he complained that he had been taken out of context.  The Committee agreed that it was most regrettable that Yog had couched his answer quite so specifically.  Leaving a little wiggle room when talking about eating people alive is probably a good idea when dealing with those unfamiliar with the Cthulhu clan.  Well Yog is known for his honesty and candid speaking style.  I’m sure he can win over the crowd in time.

The final order of business was the Green Energy Initiative.  The town had been provided with $600,000 by the state and federal governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Dunwich.  The Republican Committee had been approached by the First Selectman to create a team to draft a proposal for the town.  He told us to make sure we stayed within the budget but he encouraged “creative solutions.”  As an example, he mentioned that his cousin Azathoth owed him a favor and for almost no cost he could rearrange the very fabric of space-time so that only elements below carbon in the periodic table could still exist in our space-time continuum.  When the Republican Chair mentioned that all life as we know it not to mention all solid planets would cease to exist the First Selectman was heard to say, “That kind of nit-picking isn’t going to get you anywhere in this town.”  So, we’re still fielding ideas.  The committee is thinking maybe some solar panels on the abandoned church.

The Fly (1958) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Andre and François Delambre are two brothers who own a technology company.  Andre is a genius and he is working on a teleportation machine.  He shows it to his wife Helene but she notes that the machine still has some problems.  When Andre thinks the machine is perfected, he tries to teleport his cat but it disappears.  Finally, after much work, he shows his wife that it can teleport a guinea pig successfully.  Next, he plans to teleport himself.

The next day Andre’s little son catches a fly with a white head in the garden with his butterfly net.  Helene makes him release it.  When Andre does not appear for dinner Helene goes down to his laboratory.  But the door is locked and Helene finds a typewritten letter from Andre saying his experiment has gone awry.  A fly entered into the chamber and during the teleportation the fly got a human arm and head and Andre got the head and leg of a fly.  He could still think like a human but he was finding his mind slipping away.  He tells Helene to catch the fly so that he can go through the teleporter with it and hopefully return to normal.  They catch the fly but it escapes again.  Andre despairs and tells Helene (through writing on a blackboard) that he will destroy his dangerous machine and his notes.  And he wants to die so he tells Helene to assist him by crushing his head and arm in the hydraulic press in his lab to destroy the evidence of his horrible accident.  She agrees.  After helping her husband to suicide she calls her brother-in-law François (played by Vincent Price) who calls police inspector Charas.  When they arrive, Helene tells them how she killed her husband.  Later on, after much coaxing she tells them the story of the fly.  But they assume she has gone mad.  Inspector Charas gets a warrant for her arrest for murder.  But just before she is taken away Andre’s son tells François that he has found the fly in a spider’s web.  François calls Charas to the web and they see the fly with its human head and hand and hear it cry for help as the spider comes to devour it.  Charas crushes the spider and its victim with a rock and is horrified by the reality of Helene’s story.  Charas and François figure a story involving Andre’s suicide to protect Helene.  The movie ends with François assuming the guardianship over Andre’s wife and son.

I saw this movie as a child on tv.  And then, as now, the big scene in this movie is the spider web scene.  The pathetic little voice coming out of the haggard face of the fly is horrifying as we see the enormously magnified head of the spider come closer and closer to the poor trapped fly.  The other notable scene is where Helene pulls off the hood hiding Andre’s head and we see his repulsive fly face.  It’s kind of hard to see it.  It seemed out of focus but it was reasonably hideous and Helene screams to very good effect.  The only decent acting was done by the police inspector.  The rest of the cast acted their lines but no Academy Awards were earned.  Vincent Price gave his usual over the top delivery.  One surprise for me was that the actor who played Andre was David Hedison and I recognized him as the captain on the 1960’s television series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” about a US Navy submarine that was always bumping into giant squid and other under sea monsters.  This movie is for connoisseurs of campy giant insect sci-fi films.  It’s not as good as “Them!” but it’s still fun for fans of this type of movie.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 24 – Turnabout Intruder

Great Caesar’s ghost!

If there had been no other reason to cancel the Star Trek series, this episode, in and of itself, would provide that rationale.  But it is the last episode so here we go.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy, the holy trinity of landing parties, arrive at planet blah, blah, blah where Dr. Janice Lester, an old flame of Kirk’s from his Starfleet Academy days, is sick with radiation poisoning.  Dr. Coleman, her private physician,  informs McCoy that she needs space medicine or something.  But when they leave Kirk alone with Janice to tend to a patient who’s already dead, Janice shoots Kirk with a petite phaser that she had hidden in her purse.  Then she drags him to a wall full of lights and standing next to him pushes a button that exchanges their personalities.  Now Janice in Kirk’s body (JIKB) carries Kirk in Janice’s body (KIJB) over to the bed and starts strangling KIJB with a stylish pastel scarf.  But the others return before JIKB can get the job done.  Coleman is in cahoots with JIKB and is given medical authority over KIJB by JIKB, much to the chagrin of McCoy who feels his authority has been trampled on as ship’s physician.

Coleman keeps KIJB sedated to keep up the charade but KIJB fools dim-witted Nurse Chapel into leaving the room and smashes a drinking glass that the sedative was in, to provide a tool to cut through her restraints.  But JIKB happens to see KIJB running by and punches her out, which raises eyebrows on both McCoy and Spock.  And as you know both characters love raising their eyebrows.  At this point everyone in the crew has noted the highly emotional, annoying and sometimes hysterical actions of JIKB.  Spock is so suspicious that he interviews KIJB in the holding cell.  And he uses the Vulcan mind meld and learns the truth of the personality transfer.  When Spock acts on this knowledge he is accused by JIKB of mutiny and is court-martialed.  JIKB’s bearing and words during the trail soon raise doubts in the minds of all the officers.  When Scotty and McCoy discuss in the corridor outside the trial the outcome if Spock is acquitted Scotty states clearly that they will have to commit mutiny.  But they were recorded secretly by JIKB.  Now Spock, McCoy and Scotty are declared mutineers by JIKB and he declares that they will be executed.  Sulu shouts out that the death penalty is forbidden and JIKB flips out and has a hissy fit.  Now Sulu and Chekov as the most senior remaining officers decide to defy JIKB and when this occurs on the Bridge JIKB spazzes out and we see the personalities reverse for a brief moment before reversing again.

Now JIKB freaks out and runs down to Coleman and says he’s afraid he’ll lose the Kirk body.  Coleman tells JIKB that he must kill KIJB right away to prevent permanent reversion.  But when they go down to do this KIJB attacks Coleman and suddenly the reversion happens spontaneously.  Now we have Kirk and Janice back in their own bodies and she wails and moans about losing the Enterprise and being just a poor weak woman being discriminated against by strong cruel men.  Kirk says some incoherent things about coulda, woulda, shoulda and the thing mercifully ends.

Just to put it right out there this episode broke the Shatner Mockery Index Meter so it gets an 11 for that.  JIKB snapping at everyone in the crew and behaving like a refugee from the tenth-grade mean-girl’s lunch-table is something to behold.  It makes me wonder if Shatner was given a course of estrogen injections before the filming began.  But my favorite scene is where Spock informs JIKB on the bridge that the same star course he had ordered could be made in less time by going faster.  She flounces off the bridge with her nose in the air.  In other words, he was attacking her driving skills.  Well, what can I say?  It’s finally over.  Free at last.  Free at last.

Score:  4   //   11

Note:  this is the last episode.  When I have recovered sufficiently from the strain, I intend to do some follow-up posts on the whole series, but not right now.  Oh, the pain, the pain.