Transport: Death Mission by Phillip P. Peterson #BookReview

Title: Transport: Death Mission | Series: Transport #1 | Author: Phillip P. Peterson | Pub. Date: 2016-9-28 | Pages: 268 | ASIN: B01M0Y9LRU | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English (Originally published in German) | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

Transport: Death Mission

“Transport? Transport to where, Sir?” “Possibly straight to hell.”

An extraterrestrial object is discovered off the coast of California; a sphere that transports people to other solar systems. Death-row inmate Russell Harris and nine other convicts are given the chance to save their own lives by agreeing to travel as test subjects on the transporter. But when the first volunteer dies a gruesome death, it becomes clear to Russell and his comrades that the venture is little more than a merciless death mission on which they will all perish. Their only chance of survival is to uncover the secret of the mysterious object, but that too seems hopeless – because no trace of the transporter’s constructors can be found

Book cover for Transport

Transport: Death Mission Review

My understanding of Transport: Death Mission is that it was originally published in German, and then translated into English. I feel like maybe there was something lost in translation because Transport: Death Mission was almost really good. It was definitely entertaining, and managed to successfully hook my attention enough that I sat down and read it in one sitting. But part of that, I think, is because I’m a Stargate: SG 1 fan. And while this doesn’t exactly have an alien joining the team from the get-go, you are going to feel the Stargate vibes. It’s not a bad thing. The nostalgia is most likely what kept me reading.

The set up for Transport: Death Mission is fairly simple. It’s a new America, with a President that has somehow managed to push the death penalty to the point where almost everything will get you shot in the head. A few men (and one woman) are given the choice to avoid the death penalty by going on missions that will probably kill them anyways. Some are good, some are bad, and it’s obvious which is which from the beginning. There’s not a lot of subtlety in Transport. It’s not really a story with subplots and multiple layers.Sometimes that’s not a bad thing, though.

I liked the author’s imagination. Some of the situations that he puts the ‘volunteers’ in  during the course of Transport: Death Mission are pretty gruesome. And some of them are just as awesome. There were worlds that I wanted to know more about,and more than once where things did not go as I expected. Things got rolling extremely quickly, and that pace held up pretty well for most of the book. There is a bit of language, but nothing terribly offensive. There is one scene that might be triggering for people who have experienced sexual harassment where the woman wakes up to discover one of the bad guys in her bedroom, jerking off while watching her sleep.

The only thing in Transport that I didn’t particularly care for was the ending. It felt like a cop-out. On one hand, it wrapped things up nicely enough that you don’t have any real need to keep with the series. On the other, though, it was such a H.E.A., good guys save the day, type ending that it could easily evoke eye-rolls.

All in all, really not a bad book, and well-written enough that even though I could identify it didn’t read quite right, I still wanted to keep reading. Transport: Death Mission is imaginative sci-fi fluff. Definitely good for passing a few hours at night when you don’t want to work your brain too hard.

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Sci-Fi Biweekly Bulletin: Black Panther, The Gone World, and More

The Sci-Fi Biweekly Bulletin Banner

From spaceships to alternate history, and other worlds to nanites, science fiction is a fascinating genre of rather amazing depth that many talented writers happily delve into on a daily basis. And we, the curators here at Sci-Fi & Scary, aren’t even going to talk about a tenth of it right now. However, what you will get is a selection of movies, books, and interesting articles from across the net. Also, there’s a strong potential for puns, gifs, and a moderate amount of fangirling.

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Science Fiction Movies

Movie cover for Black Panther

I don’t think I need to talk about this again, do I? What I want to know at this point is when are you going to see Black Panther?

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Science Fiction Books

Pictures link to Goodreads

First off, in case you missed it, if you’re balls-to-the-wall about Black Panther, Titan Comics is releasing a Official Guide to the movie,complete with behind the scenes pictures and everything, on February 20th. Find out more here on our original post.

Book cover for The Gone World

The Gone World – Tom Sweterlitsch – February 6th, 2018

Inception meets True Detective in this science-fiction thriller of spellbinding tension and staggering scope. The Gone World follows a special agent into a savage murder case with grave implications for the fate of mankind. 

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL’s family–and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can’t share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship U.S.S. Libra–a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time. Moss knows first-hand the mental trauma of time-travel and believes the SEAL’s experience with the future has triggered this violence.

Determined to find the missing girl and driven by a troubling connection from her own past, Moss travels ahead in time to explore possible versions of the future, seeking evidence or insight that will crack the present-day case. To her horror, the future reveals that it’s not only the fate of a family that hinges on her work, for what she witnesses rising over time’s horizon and hurtling toward the present is the Terminus: the terrifying and cataclysmic end of humanity itself.

Luminous and unsettling, The Gone World bristles with world-shattering ideas yet remains at its heart an intensely human story.

Note: I’m almost done with this, and it is a good read. Not an “Oh my god, this is so awesome I must forgo sleep to finish it” read, but a good read nonethless. Sweterlitsch has a fantastic imagination.

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Also released on Feb 13th: Gunpowder Moon and The Megarothke

Book cover for Gunpowder Moon

Book cover for the Megarothke

Goodreads Giveaways

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

Awakened: A Novel by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth

Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

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Science Fiction Trivia

Thinking about carrots the other day I eventually started thinking about Signs (do you really want to know the thought processes behind that?) and it really annoys me when people gripe about two parts. Whether or not the rest of the movie is good is up for debate. Personally I like it. Except the ridiculous “Swing away, Merrill”. I would think it would make more sense to just throw the water at them.

Ok, one of the two things that it seems most people find ridiculous in the movie is the aliens coming to a planet that is primarily water. The movie leaves the aliens’ motives unexplained because, in a way, they’re really secondary in the plot to the human element. But humans are boring so let’s check out the aliens. Most of what they do in the movie seem to line up with what the kid (going by a book) describes as a raiding party. If they needed a resource, presumably humans since they are said to have taken some, wouldn’t they grab that resource from wherever it’s available? Whether or not that environment is hazardous? And it does seem as though they tried to take precautions against being near water. So, to me, it still makes sense that they would come here even if certain elements on the planet were hazardous to them.

The other is that damn doorknob. And the argument I always hear for that is “if they’re so advanced why can’t they open a door?”. Well, the only thing that I can say to that is that maybe their civilization has advanced past the use of knobs or maybe even doors. The alien takes a bit to figure it out but it obviously eventually does. So, when confronted with an object it may have never seen of course its going to take a bit to figure it out!

Well, what do you guys think? does it make sense? If you don’t think it does let me know (politely please!).

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Sci-Fi Guest Post Call

Anyone fancy doing a guest post about ‘relationship’ bots in Sci-Fi?

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Sci-Fi on the Web

Debate Club talks their Top 5 Sci-Fi Romances (Only one might surprise you.)

Haven’t had your fill of people griping about The Cloverfield Paradox? Check out The Ithican’s take on it.

Semiosis is a novel that’s on my radar (and I’m on it’s waiting list at the library), here’s a somewhat spoilery review from The Verge.

Like staying on top of what people call the ‘best recent science fiction’? Here’s The Guardian’s take on it.

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Absolute Zero by Phillip Tomasso III #BookReview

Title: Absolute Zero | Author: Phillip Tomasso III | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2017-11-5 | Pages 221 | ASIN: B077755QPX | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

Absolute Zero

When a recon becomes a rescue . . . nothing is absolute!

Earth, a desolate wasteland is now run by the Corporations from space stations off planet . . . A colony of thirty-three people are part of compound set up on Neptune. Their objective is mining the planet surface for natural resources. When a distress signal reaches Euphoric Enterprises on the Nebula Way Station, the Eclipse is immediately dispatched to investigate.

The crew of the Eclipse had no idea what they were getting themselves into. When they reach Neptune, and send out a shuttle party, they hope they can find the root cause behind the alarm. Nothing is ever simple. Something sinister lies in wait for them on Neptune. The mission quickly goes from an investigation into a rescue operation.

The young crew from the Eclipse now finds themselves in the fight of their lives!

Book cover for Absolute Zero

Absolute Zero Review

Absolute Zero just could not hold my attention. I struggled to get through it, and only pressed on because it was only 220 pages. Most of that is because it feels like it did not get the attention of an editor. I can show you what I mean with this one line from the book.

“At the corner, Lieutenant Murray Bell peaked around the edge and screamed!”

Of course, there are the times sentences just outright don’t make sense. Also, the author has an odd sense of timing for using italics. So when he chooses to use them on a wrong word to boot, it’s a bit awkward. (I’ve placed the word Tomasso italicized in bold because of how WordPress does things with quotes.)

“The damage is, around here, unpreparable.

There’s a great story buried within the uneven writing of Absolute Zero. Sometimes the author is able to clearly communicate what he is seeing in his head, and when that happens, the story shines. Other times, though, the writing slips drastically in quality, as the though author forced the words out to be able to move on to the next scene. And, often, it felt like he was trying to meet a certain word count and that meant repeating himself in different ways to up his numbers.

This occurs not only with rephrased individual sentences but with basic ideas as well.

I did like Tomasso’s characters, though. He writes men that aren’t afraid to admit when they’re scared, and strong women. They’re not always likable, and their dialogue (internal and external) isn’t always fantastic, but they are easy to empathize with. I was rooting for the team from the moment they hit the compound.

Neptune is a fascinating planet – I mean, it rains diamonds – and this is the first book I’ve read set on it. I liked the aliens what the crew encounter on the surface. I don’t want to think too hard about them, but I liked them. Tomasso has a solid imagination and you can tell he likes to give the reader a generous portion of action scenes. This is what kept me going even when I repeatedly felt like walking away from the book because of the issues with it.

Overall, regarding the story itself, Absolute Zero is a fun read. However, it was also a mostly painful read filled with repetition, errors, and issues that just generally made me want to smack my head against a wall. It is a big enough problem that I just cannot recommend this book.

Mission to Methone by Les Johnson #BookReview

Title: Mission to Methone | Author: Les Johnson | Publisher: Baen | Pub Date: 2018-2-6 | ISBN13: 9781481483056 | Pages: 416 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from Edelweiss and the publisher for review consideration.

Mission to Methone

ORIGINAL SF TRADE PAPERBACK. Humanity is not alone in the universe. Across the galaxy, a war rages between advanced alien races. And its about to be brought to our doorstep.

The year is 2065 and an accidental encounter in space leads to the discovery that we are not alone in the universe—and that our continued existence as a species may be in jeopardy.

Chris Holt, working in his office at the Space Resources Corporation, discovers that one of the asteroids he is surveying for mining is actually not an asteroid at all but a derelict spaceship. The word gets out and soon the world’s powers are competing to explore and claim for themselves the secrets that it holds.

What they don’t know is that across the galaxy, a war has been underway for millennia.  A war between alien civilizations that have very different ideas about what should be done about emerging spacefaring civilizations like our own. The artificial intelligence resident in the derelict Holt discovered has been in our solar system since before the dawn of human civilization, watching, waiting and keeping quiet lest the interstellar war return and wipe out the sentient race that now resides there—humanity.

And that war might soon be again coming to our front door. The truth can only be discovered on Methone, a tiny, egg-shaped moon of the planet Saturn. Who will get there first?  And will it be in time?

Book cover for Mission to Methone

Mission to Methone Review

I had previously read a book that Les Johnson co-authored called On to the Asteroid. It completely did not prepare me for Mission to Methone, which is one of the few science fiction works that Les Johnson has authored alone. It is obvious from the author’s CV of published works on Goodreads that he has a strong interest in space, and from his author’s note at the end of Mission to Methone, he seems like a genuinely nice guy that is super excited by all the possibilities afforded to us in science and in science fiction. I just wish I had read both of these things before I started the book. I would have had a much more clear idea of what to expect.

One of my favorite things about Mission to Methone was the main character. Chris Holt is a man that just doesn’t understand human behavior, and is much more comfortable dealing with facts, puzzles, and the like. Basically he’s me without the female bits, and that’s probably why I liked him so much. There was internal dialogue from him that had me nodding my head and going “Yes! Yes! Exactly this!” Like:

“The concept of God bothered Chris. It was another one of those common abstractions that he just didn’t really grasp. God wasn’t there making his existence known. Yet there were people who would kill you if you didn’t believe in what they said you were supposed to believe in — Something you could not see. How could a rational person do such a thing? Yet billions of people did just that.”

And some of his external dialogue evoked the same reaction, because I’ve said similar things before. However, Chris was not the only likable character in the book, though he is the one that we get to know best. I also liked Yuan and Jing, albeit for vastly different reasons. I

Also, Mission to Methone included one of the most understandable relative-size scales for explaining the solar system that I’ve ever heard or read.

“If you take the Sun-to-Earth distance of ninety-three million miles and shrink that to one foot, then the Earth would be one foot from the Sun and Pluto would be about thirty-eight feet away.”

However, all things considered, Mission to Methone was unfortunately a bit of a bland read, and it took me a while and some dedication to finish it because I kept wanting to read other books instead. I was never able to really get involved in the book for more than a handful of pages at a time.  The climax of the book actually managed to slip by without me realizing that it had happened until probably a solid two chapters later.  The last 10 percent or so was a struggle to finish, and then I felt a bit slighted when one particular emotion-invoking event was really not explored at all.

I think Les Johnson has a talent for science fiction, but he needs to work on strengthening certain areas. Name the action, adventure, and intrigue portions of his work.


The Happy Chip by Dennis Meredith #BookReview

Title: The Happy Chip | Author: Dennis Meredith | Publisher: Glyphus | Pub. Date: 2017-3-10 | Pages: 283 | Genre: Science Fiction Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team

The Happy Chip

You feel ecstatic! Until you kill yourself.

The Happy Chip is the latest nanoengineering wonder from the high-flying tech company, NeoHappy, Inc.

Hundreds of millions of people have had the revolutionary chip injected into their bodies to monitor their hormonal happiness and guide them to life choices, from foods to sex partners.

Given the nanochip’s stunning success, struggling science writer Brad Davis is thrilled when he is hired to co-author the biography of its inventor, billionaire tech genius Marty Fallon.

That is, until Davis learns that rogue company scientists are secretly testing horrifying new control chips with “side effects”—suicidal depression, uncontrollable lust, murderous rage, remote-controlled death, and ultimately, global subjugation.

His discovery threatens not only his life, but that of his wife Annie and their children. Only with the help of Russian master hacker Gregor Kalinsky and his gang can they hope to survive the perilous adventure that takes them from Boston to Beijing.

The Happy Chip, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, spins a cautionary tale of unchecked nanotechnology spawning insidious devices that could enslave us. It dramatically portrays how we must control our “nanofuture” before it’s too late.


Book cover for The Happy Chip

The Happy Chip Review

Dennis Meredith is a solid writer who has turned his talent to near-future, on-Earth science fiction instead of reaching for the stars as so many writers do. I have previously read his book Wormholes and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was quite happy to pick up The Happy Chip.

The Happy Chip is an interesting, thought-provoking book simply because you could see something like the Happy Chip getting very popular, very fast. The benefits of it sound fantastic, but when you stop to think about it at all, you see how easily it could go sideways. The love of money and control will always encourage people to do horrible things. Some more so than others.

Luckily, the main character and his wife are willing to do whatever is necessary to put a stop to things in The Happy Chip . Speaking of the pair, I loved Brad and Annie. While the implications of the Happy Chip technology is enough to pique your interest and get you to pay attention, it’s the relationship between the husband and wife that really cemented my interest in the book. I loved how they worked together as a team and trusted each other implicitly. I want more characters like these in books, please!

The pacing of The Happy Chip was perfect. The action was constantly going. The science is not unbelievable at all (which makes it scary). There’s a lot of good things to say about this novel, and I recommend it for fans of near-future science fiction scenarios. However, there are some minor problems. I noticed it in Wormholes, I believe, and I saw it in this book as well. While his beginnings and middles are excellent, the end of the stories are a bit weak, and the dialogue during action-packed times can be a little too dramatic. Not enough to turn me off, by any means, but it is an area that feels like it needs some improvement in.

Overall, this was a good, entertaining read from an author who knows how to spin stories that feel like they could happen just a few months from now. If you like Earth-based and/or near future science fiction at all, you should definitely check out The Happy Chip from Dennis Meredith.

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Twilight Zone Tuesday – Mr. Dingle the Strong

Mr. Dingle the Strong

Luther Dingle – Burgess Meredith
Anthony O’Toole – James Westerfield
Joseph J. Callahan – Edward Ryder
1st Martian – Douglas Spencer
2nd Martian – Michael Fox
1st Venusian – Donald Losby
2nd Venusian – Greg Irwin
Jason Abernathy – James Millhollin
Bettor – Don Rickles

I was going to skip this one but it has Burgess Meredith in it and it would be out of order. It’s one of the few that is just…blah. Anyways, here we go.

Uniquely American institution, the neighborhood bar. Reading left to right are Anthony O’Toole – Proprietor, who waters his drinks like geraniums but who stands foursquare for peace and quiet and for booths for ladies. This is Mr. Joseph J. Callahan an unregistered bookie whose entire life is any sporting event with two sides and a set of odds. His idea of a meeting at the summit is any dialogue between a catcher and a pitcher with more than one man on base. And this animated citizen is every anonymous bettor who ever dropped the rent money on a horse race, a prize fight or a floating crap game and who took out his frustrations and his insolvency on any vulnerable fellow barstool companion within arm’s and fist’s reach. And this is Mr. Luther Dingle, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose volume of business is roughly that of a valet at a hobo convention. He’s a consummate failure in almost everything but is a good listener and has a prominent jaw.

The aforementioned bookie and bettor seem to be in the midst of an argument. The bettor doesn’t want to pay off for what he considers a bum call. The bookie says the call was good and to pay up. This whole argument is over $5.00. If you don’t have the five bucks here’s a word of advice: Don’t bet. The bettor calls the bookie a cheat and this ticks off Callahan, the bookie. Callahan throws down his coat and gives Don Rickles about five seconds to take it back before creaming him. Mr. O’Toole, the proprietor, interrupts and tells Callahan that if he starts a fight then he’s out of there. Callahan takes offense to this as well and asks why the owner doesn’t threaten Don Rickles. He’s a no good welsher and Rickles’ father still owes Callahan’s father from the Tunney prizefight. Again Rickles says it was a bum call. Then he drags Mr. Dingle into the argument, asking him if he’d seen the fight in question. Then he goes on from that to the call in question from the ballgame the night before.

He asks Mr. Dingle if he saw the game. Mr. Dingle says that indeed, he did see the game and it was an excellent defensive play. Dickles grabs Mr. Dingle by the lapels and asks him if it was a foul or fair ball. Mr. Dingle says that the ball did indeed fall into fair territory. This pleases Callahan but Dickles says that Dingle is calling him a liar. Dickles gives him the ‘opportunity’ to fix his story but in the middle of talking, before he even says anything, Dickles punches Mr. Dingle in the jaw. O’Toole asks why Dickles is always hitting Mr. Dingle, that he hit him the week before and the week before that. So why not throw the Dickles out of the bar? He seems more trouble than he’s worth. Dickles says that Mr. Dingle is always disagreeing with him and calling him a liar. He’s got his honour to think of.

Callahan says that Dickles doesn’t have any honour and he’s so crooked that when he dies they’ll have to screw him into the ground. Dickles grabs Mr. Dingle and asks him if he thinks Dickles is crooked. I’ll say it. You’re crooked and you’re a dick. Instead of being a stand-up guy the bartender asks why Mr. Dingle can’t be neutral. Yeah. Because it’s his fault. Callahan and Dickles are bumping Mr. Dingle back and forth, still arguing about who’s the cheat. As they’re arguing a couple of Martians come in to observe.

And these two unseen gentlemen are visitors from outer space. They’re about to alter the destiny of Luther Dingle by leaving him a legacy, the kind you can’t hardly find no more. In just a moment a sad-faced, perennial punching bag who missed even the caboose of life’s gravy train, will take a short constitutional into that most unpredictable region that we refer to as the Twilight Zone.

The guys are still arguing over Mr. Dingle. The Martians are watching the exchange. Mr. Dingle looks a bit dizzy by now. The Martians say that the human are jerky looking creatures. We also only have one head. Can you imagine how much reviewing we’d get done if we had two heads? Lilyn would be an unstoppable force! The Left Head gets Mr. Dingle’s waves through his antenna and satellite dish on his head. Left Head reads Mr. Dingle as an abject coward who does not even possess minimum Earthling muscles. I’d have to disagree on the coward part. He comes to the same bar, knowing Dickles will be there and knowing he’ll get dragged into an argument. and he always tells the truth even though he knows he’ll get hit for it. I wouldn’t call that cowardly. Obtuse, maybe. Find a different bar, dude! Right Head asks Left Head if he plans on giving Mr. Dingle super-strength and Left Head says yes, they haven’t found anyone weaker. Wow. That’s pretty weak. They decide to give him 11 secograms of atomic weight. Whatever that is. Science! I guess. Whatever it is should make him 300 times stronger than the average human. They send a call to their contact through Right Head’s radio-head-thingy.

Meanwhile the insanely boring argument goes on. And all it earns Mr. Dingle is is another punch to the jaw. Bartender O’Toole has finally had enough, darn it! He pulls Dickles away and says if he ‘roughhouses’ one more time in there he’s not letting Dickles back in. Wow. Way to tell him. The Martians watch this exchange and decide to give it to Mr. Dingle, now. Right Head pushes a button on the front of…them and set off swirly light bulbs. Presumably giving Mr. Dingle the super-strength. O’Toole helps Mr. Dingle up. Mr. Dingle looks a bit dazed but whether it’s from the punch or the Martians I’m not sure. O’Toole tells Mr. Dingle that there will always be guys who get assaulted for having the audacity to prefer a certain team or player so all Mr. Dingle should do is smile or nod when anyone asks him who he likes. Mr. Dingle makes a weird face and O’Toole asks him what’s wrong. Mr. Dingle says he doesn’t know but he feels funny.

Mr. Dingle picks up his vacuum and almost throws it into the air. Because he’s strong now, get it?? Then he launches into a sales pitch saying a vacuum as light as that will lengthen the life of that wonderful partner of the American home…the housewife. Ugh. He’s surprised by its lightness. It does not look like a vacuum cleaner, it looks like an oil lamp. Mr. Dingle goes to leave and accidentally tears the door from the hinges. O’Toole comes over and says he thought Mr. Dingle was a nice guy! Why’s he tearing his door up? Ok, Mr. Dingle accidentally pops a door off its hinges and he’s a jerk but the guy who keeps decking his customers gets a mild threat. Mr. Dingle says that he’s mystified and heads out of the door. Dickles and Callahan watch, stunned. Callahan picks up a shot, takes a sip and throws the shotglass over his shoulder. Funny.

Mr. Dingle is walking down the street. To sell his one vacuum cleaner. As he heads up the walk a kid stops him and says “Are you back again? My old man said he’d punch you in the nose if you came around again”. God these people are assholes. Oh, wait. It’s supposed to be funny. Ha. Ha. Mr. Dingle says he has the wrong house and heads acros the street. As he does the brat throws his football at Mr. Dingle’s head, knocking his hat off. Mr. Dingle is mildly annoyed and says “that’s not the best of all possible manners, is it?” The kid tells him to “go away, you creep and give me my ball back”. Screw you, you brat! Ahem, anyways, Mr. Dingle throws it and it flies really, really far. A house painter is so stunned he falls off his ladder and the ball crashes through someone’s window and door and wall. Now the brat’s all nice to him, wanting to know where he learned to throw a ball like that. Mr. Dingle is flabberghasted.

He hails a taxi (that just happens to be cruising suburban small town street at that moment). He goes to get in and tears the handle off the door. When he leans in to hand the handle back he tips the car on its side. The house painter falls down his ladder again. Ugh. Is it over yet? Even Burgess Meredith can barely save this episode. He runs off to sit by himself on a bench in the park. A young woman with a pram sits down next to him. He turns to talk to her saying “Excuse me, miss?” When she turns to him he says he’s “not a masher, he doesn’t want her to think he’s a masher”. I have no idea what a “masher” is. I’m assuming it has something to do with dating but I don’t know what. I also came across it in the story ‘The Yellow Sign’ by Robert W. Chambers. A young lady in it says she made a ‘mash’.

Anyways, he asks her if she’d mind answering a question and she says it depends. He asks her if “looking at him in a perfunctory, cursory first surveil” does he look abnormal. She says not at all, unless he intends on using his vacuum in the park. He says up until a few hours ago he sold those. So, did he quit when we weren’t watching? He also says he was a miserable salesman. She listens politely as he goes on about his vacuum salesmanship. He says he fully expects to be fired but right now that’s the least of his troubles. Then he politely asks if she wouldn’t mind hearing the worst of his troubles. At least e asks and doesn’t just assume she’d be thrilled to hear. She tells him to go ahead and he says “Watch”. Then he runs around behind the bench and picks it up. Naturally she freaks out. He puts her down and then picks up a rock and breaks it in two. A reporter (who just happens to be in the area, naturally) runs over and asks Mr. Dingle to break the rock again. He also wants to know what the gag is. Mr. Dingle says there’s no gag and breaks the rock again. The reporter says he’s got to get this in the paper. Mr. Dingle picks up a statue with one hand and asks how that is?

He’s made the front page with a picture of the statue lifting and an accompanying picture of two lovelies feeling his biceps. It slides under his door as Mr. Dingle is fast asleep. His alarm clock goes off and he squishes it trying to turn it off. He does a weird little walk over to his dresser and checks out his muscles in the mirror. He picks up a very thick phone book and tears it in half, looking very pleased with himself.

Back at the neighborhood bar Mr. Dingle is sitting at his usual table with a crowd around him. One guy is trying to pitch him for the circus and another guy is trying to pitch television. Apparently he’s the embodiment of every American male’s dream. Uh-huh. Another guy pops in, trying to get Mr. Dingle to sign with him to be a boxer. That seems a little dangerous. Someone in the back asks everyone to clear out from around Mr. Dingle (who, through all of this looks slightly bemused) and they trundle in a huge camera and lights. Speaking into the camera he introduces himself as Jonathan Abernathy with the show TV Probes the Unusual. Catchy. He says they’re there to see Mr. Dingle, the world’s strongest man. Mr. Abernathy seems a little doubtful as he looks at Mr. Dingle. Abernathy asks for a demonstration and Mr. Dingle asks Mr. O’Toole if he minds. O’Toole is very happy with all of the business this is bringing in so he tells Mr. Dingle to go ahead.

He bows to the camera and then shows off his arm. Then punches a hole in the wall. Then he draws an X on the table with his finger and then hits the table, breaking it. Then it’s tearing a barstool out of the floor with one finger. walking by he eyeballs Dickles who gets a bit nervous. Mr. Dingle shoves Dickles’ cigar in his mouth and then picks him up and twirls him over his head.

The Martians are watching again. Right Head asks if that’s enough. Left Head agrees, saying it was a waste because he’s only using his strength for petty exhibition. They agree to give him thirty seconds more and then take it away. Right Head says yes, then they should be off. They have three planets on tomorrow’s itinerary and one should be particularly interesting. It’s a planet of women only. Mr. Dingle is saying that he’s going to raise the building. So he goes under a truss and starts to lift. Of course it’s at this moment that they take away his strength. Mr. Dingle gets a weird look and goes over to take a drink out of a random shotglass sitting on the counter. He tries to lift a barstool but cannot. Everyone starts to laugh and call him a fake. He tries to do a few more things and fails. Dickles comes over and twists Mr. Dingle’s nose and starts to pull back to punch him. Wow, aren’t we a big man? O’Toole stops him (about time) and tells everyone to lay off of poor Dingle. Then he kicks everyone out.

As the Martians go to leave some other aliens come in. They introduce themselves as Venusians and say they’re there doing experiments as well. They chat a bit and the Venusians say that they’re there to introduce extreme intelligence. The Venusians ask the Martians if they’ve found any interesting subjects. The Martians nod to Dingle. They say he’s sub-physical so they wouldn’t be surprised if he were sub-mental, too. Because those two things are connected…somehow? The Venusians do their weird sideways scuttle over to Dingle. They chat about Dingle for a bit and decide to give him 500 times the general mental intelligence. They ‘ray’ him and Mr. Dingle makes doofy faces.

The other three are over watching television, sounds like a baseball game. Callahan and Dickles are betting and Dickles asks Mr. Dingle what he thinks they’ll do. Mr. Dingle starts spouting math type stuff with probabilities and whatnot. He’s smart! now. Blah blah blah, he calls that the guy will hit a home run. And, what do ya know, he does!

Exit Mr. Luther Dingle, formerly vacuum cleaner salesman, strongest man on Earth and now, mental giant. These latter powers will very likely be eliminated before too long. But Mr. Dingle has an appeal to extra-terrestrial note-takers as well as to frustrated and insolvent bet-losers. Offhand, I’d say that he was in for a great deal of extremely odd periods, simply because there are so many inhabited planets who send down observers and also because, of course, Mr. Dingle lives his life with one foot in his mouth and the other in the Twilight Zone.

Yeah, not a favorite of mine. I always wondered about the ‘booths for ladies’ thing. I came across it in an older movie, too. A character says “They’ve got booths and they stomp for ladies”. And I have no clue what that means.

Join us for next week’s Twilight Zone Tuesday – Static

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Odyssey of Flight 33

The Odyssey of Flight 33

Capt. ‘Skipper’ Farver – John Anderson
1st Officer John Craig – Paul Comi
2nd Officer Wyatt – Wayne Heffley
Navigator Hatch – Sandy Kenyon
Flight Engineer Purcell – Harp McGuire
Janie – Beverly Brown
Paula – Nancy Rennick

We’re on a jumbo jet that appears to be making an average flight. The pilot’s chill and smoking. Everyone looks pretty relaxed. Captain Skipper says that thank to the aircraft, the fine weather and his awesome piloting they’ll hit Idlewild on schedule. The radio guy calls ahead to say they’ll be arriving on schedule at 18:30. That’s actually pretty funny. Let’s hope mine is. They also report their fuel and other plane stuff.

Janie the Stewardess pops in for a minute. the passengers are doing well but the stewardesses have a request: That they get to New York as fast as possible. One’s going to the opera, two have hot and heavy dates and the fourth is available to any good-looking, honorable, single male crew member. Not sure if that’s her or not. Skipper asks his co-pilot if he felt anything. His co says no, why? Skipper says he’s not sure but he felt something. Like they suddenly sped up. He dismisses it as getting old. His co checks the speed and it seems normal. He suggests that maybe they picked up a tailwind. Everything looks normal but Skipper can’t shake the feeling. He asks the navigator to check the ground-speed. The ground-speed says they’re going at 900 which is impossible. He’s checking with Loran. Whoever that is. He says that Loran reads the ground speed as 830.

The navigator keeps reading it as it keeps climbing, so fast that he can’t even keep up with it but the last readable number was 1,500 knots. Skipper wants to know what Charlie says. Radio Guy says that he can’t raise Charlie on the radio. Their ground speed is up to 2,100 now. Which doesn’t seem possible. I would think that if the plane wasn’t built to go that speed it would break. Skipper, trying to calm his co down, says that ground speed doesn’t really matter, it’s air speed and that they must have hit one heck of a jet stream. The Skipper keeps calling the Navigator Magellan. I don’t know if that’s a nickname or what because the credits say his name is Hatch. So, I’ll call him Magellan.

Skipper says that his needle just “reversed past Gander V.O.R.”. Whatever the hell that means. I’m guessing it’s impossible because the Skipper is asking how is that possible. He asks Magellan to give him a fast position check but Magellan says that they’re past Gander. Ok, what is Gander? Magellan is freaking out, saying that they must be going at least 3,000 knots. Skipper tells the Radio Guy to try raising different airports. He tries all three but receives no response from any of them. They all look very worried.

You’re riding on a jet airliner from London to New York. You’re at 35,000 feet atop an overcast and roughly 55 minutes from Idlewild Airport. But what you’ve seen occur inside the cockpit of this plane is no reflection on the aircraft or the crew. It’s a safe, well-engineered, perfectly-designed machine. And the men you’ve just met are a trained, cool, highly efficient team. The problem is that, simply, the plane is going too fast. and there is nothing within the realm of knowledge or at least logic to explain it. Unbeknownst to passenger and crew this airplane is heading to an uncharted region, well off the beaten track of commercial travelers, it’s moving into the Twilight Zone. What we’re about to see we call “The Odyssey of Flight 33”.

An exterior shot of the plane moves inside and we see Janie looking worried and befudddled. A stewardess is in the galley. She jokes with Janie that she hopes Janie’s proud of the flyboys, she’s going to see The Valkyrie tonight. So this must be the opera stewardess. Opera stewardess says she’s always had a thing for Valhalla, she hopes Janie will say that they’ll make the airport in time. Janie doesn’t know what to say except that she hopes that the Valhalla she’s talking about is at The Met. The other stewardess asks, “Instead of?” to which Janie replies “Instead of a conducted tour through the real thing.” Opera Stewardess is understandably confused. Janie says that they’re in trouble. Opera Stewardess wants to know how bad and Janie tells her that they don’t know yet. Then she tells Opera Stewardess to go ahead and serve the coffee. Janie reminds her that it’s “Coffee, tea or milk, with a smile” and nothing else. Paula (Opera Stewardess) says she’s got a deal. Paula heads out of the galley with a very troubled face.

Janie walks through the airplane, getting the eyeball from a passenger who’s chatting with an old lady. Well, she’s chatting. He looks like he wants to escape her aunt’s health problems. The soldier is just nodding and smiling. Ah, he’s not a soldier, he’s a Group Captain and military attache. Bet you were wondering about that, weren’t you? The lady goes on to tell him about her nephew in World War II. I might be wrong but she looks like Flora from ‘The fever’. He feels something and asks his seatmate if she felt it, too. She says no and goes on chatting. Down the aisle Paula almost drops a cup on a passenger. He asks if she’s ok and she says that she’s got a hot date and is a little shook up. Paula is not holding up her end of the bargain vry ell. She might as well have “Something’s Wrong” tattooed on her forehead.

Back in the cockpit Radio Guy is still trying to get into contact with anyone on the ground. There’s still no answer. Everyone shakes as a loud noise happens and something shakes the cabin. They all do some admirable Shatner shaking. Weirdly, the first thing the co-pilot (I think his name is Craig) asks is if they hit something. Skipper says he doesn’t know but check for damage just in case. Everyone checks the engines and they all seem to be ok. He tells Purcell to go aft and check for damage and calm down anyone who’s freaking out. Skipper says that they’re in trouble but he doesn’t know what kind. Magellan asks what the crazy light was. Skipper says it’ll be something they’d better find out about and quick. Craig the co-pilot wants to know if the shaking was turbulence. Skipper says no, it felt like a sonic boom. As though they went past the speed of sound. Craig says that they didn’t get a mach warning. Skipper replies that since their true air speed is only 470 they probably wouldn’t get a warning. Ok, I know jack about planes. Is it possible to have a ground speed that is different from air speed? Obviously not that drastic of a difference but is it normal for them to be different?

Skipper says that with their last ground speed check put them at over 3,000 knots then they could have gone through some kind of sound barrier, just not one that he’d ever heard of. Skipper asks for another ground speed check. Magellan fiddles with his equipment a bit while they all look concerned. He says that the bump must have knocked the equipment out of whack. Radio Guy tries the radio again but still no go. Co-Pilot Craig says that everything looks in working order, the altimeter and climb rate. Shouldn’t they be cruising, not climbing?Skipper says if they can’t figure their location or raise anybody then he’s going to go below the cloud cover to make visual contact. Craig freaks out, saying they’ll run smack into a dozen other flights. Skipper says they’ll have to take that chance.

Purcell returns to say that there’s no damage aft but the passengers are scared and shook up. Skipper says he is too. Then he (reluctantly) picks up the cockpit phone to talk to the passengers. He lays out what’s going out nd stresses that they’re in no danger. He also says that they should be landing at Idlewild if all goes according to plan. The passengers look more annoyed than scared. He asks where their fuel is. Skipper comments that he doesn’t feel that weird sensation of speed anymore. Skipper asks what their heading is but without anything to go by Magellan is just guessing at 262. Skipper lays it out that they’re going to have to chance going under the cloud cover. Craig turns on the ‘No Smoking and Fasten Your Seat belts” sign. Skipper eases the plane down into the clouds.

Magellan says that if his calculations are correct they should be by Manhattan Island. Purcell says that there’s no skyline, no city. Skipper says that he recognizes the area but it seems to be minus the city and people. Craig, looking out of the window, looks shocked and asks Skipper to verify something for him. They all look out of the window and Purcell wants to know what in holy hell is going on…because there’s dinosaurs. A brontosaurus to be exact, munching on a tree. He’s cute! And now they know something’s screwed up. Royally.

Janie goes through the cabin, smiling at people. Paula wants to know what’s up, they’ve been circling for half an hour. Paula doesn’t get to see the dinos? That”s mean. And wouldn’t the passengers be able to see things are a bit…off? There’s some looking out of the window. Janie says that they don’t know but they’ll keep in touch. Back in the cockpit the guys are flying quietly. Craig wants Skipper to tell him what’s going on. Skipper says he’ll give them a guess but they might think he’s crazy. Um, dude? Dinosaurs! I think that I would be pretty open to just about any suggestions after seeing a brontosaurus munching shrubbery.

Basically his theory is that the thing they went through sent them back in time. They all want to know what they do about it. Doom & Gloom reminds Skipper that their fuel is dropping. Skipper’s plan is to climb back up into the clouds, go as fast as they can and try to hit that jet stream again. The rest of the crew doesn’t look too thrilled about it but they realize that they don’t have much of a choice. They do the things and everyone looks tense while Magellan counts off the knots. They hit the thing again and the cabin shakes. Right after, Janie pops into the cabin and tells them that she knows they’re busy but please get on the phone and calm the passengers down.

They now realize that they’ve landed in 1939. They decide to try to climb and give it another go. Skipper speaks to the passengers, telling them what they’re going to try to do. He says he doesn’t know but it’s the only thing they can try. He starts off by saying that what’s going on, evn he can’t explain. That the crew is as much in the dark as they are. Very comforting, dude. It ends on their hope that this time it will work.

A global jet airliner en route from London to New York on an uneventful afternoon in the year 1961. But now reported overdue and missing. And by now searched for on land, sea and air by anguished human beings fearful of what they’ll find. But you and I know where she is. You and I know what’s happened. So if some moment, any moment you hear the sound of jet engines flying atop the overcast, engines that sound searching and lost, engines that sound desperate…shoot up a flare or do something. That would be Global 33 trying to get home from the Twilight Zone.

This is a weird one, even for the Twilight Zone. It has a touch of whimsy with the dinosaurs and all but such a depressing ending. They’re basically flying off into the unknown, trying the jet stream again and again until they run out of fuel and crash. Quite the depressing and nihilistic ending for Twilight Zone.

The ‘Skipper’ is on quite a few other episodes of Twilight Zone.Two I haven’t gotten to yet but one that he’s in that I have done is ‘Passage for Trumpet‘ as Gabe.

Co-Pilot Craig is also on other episodes as well. One that I have done is ‘People are Alike All Over‘ as the optimistic Marcusson.

I was wrong about the chatty passenger. She is not Flora from ‘The Fever‘ but she is on an (awesome) later episode of Twilight Zone that I can’t wait to cover.

Paula (Opera Stewardess) is also on ‘The After Hours‘ as Mrs. Keever

So far the Military Attache passenger has been in the most. ‘Twenty Two‘ (PA Announcer, uncredited), ‘A Thing About Machines‘ (Intern), ‘One for the Angels‘ (Doctor), and ‘Where is Everybody‘ (Reporter #2) plus a few that I haven’t gotten to. One of which is my all-time favorites.

Join us again for next week’s episode of Twilight Zone Tuesday – I was considering skipping the next episode: Mr. Dingle the Strong and moving ahead to the episode after: Static. I will leave it up to you, dear readers. Would you prefer I skip Mr. Dingle the Strong and move onto Static? Or should I keep going in episode order. Let me know down below which you would rather have next week: Mr. Dingle the Strong or Static?

Our Watch Just Once Sci-Fi and Horror Films

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.

There are lots of great science fiction and horror movies out there that you enjoy and end up purchasing so you can have them around to watch whenever the mood strikes you. But then when you re-watched it the first time you realized that it just doesn’t hold up as well to a second watch. Either that, or you enjoyed it the first time you watched it, but at the same time just knew it was one you weren’t ever going to watch again. This is a list of those films for us.

Our Watch Just Once Sci-Fi and Horror Films

The Conjuring – Director: James Wan – Starring: Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson

My first watch of The Conjuring – in theatres – was amazing. Oh my god! This was an awesome movie. I could not WAIT to see it again!! So I bought it without even thinking twice about it. And then…and then I watched it again, and I discovered the magic just wasn’t there. To be honest, I still put it on sometimes, mostly for background noise, though.

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InceptionDirector: Christopher Nolan – Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I was reluctant to watch Inception, but fairly quickly sucked into it. It was thought provoking, well-acted, and as soon as it was over I knew that I had no desire to ever see it again.

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Jurassic World Director: Colin Trevorrow – Starring: Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Harrow

Jurassic World definitely didn’t win me over until near the end of the movie. And then there were those awesome dinosaur battles that you couldn’t help but fall in love with. However, I’m sad to report that multiple viewings of this film only help you to see the issues in it. Even though I was so eager to buy the movie in the beginning, at this point I can’t even say I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Star Wars: Episode IVDirector: George Lucas – Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Okay, so to be truthful I can’t even say I was gaga over this movie the first time I watched it. (It actually took me a couple of tries to watch it.) However, I eventually got far enough in to get hooked, I had to admit that it was a good movie. However, Star Wars: Episode IV, like the couple of other Star Wars films I’ve watched, never sparked even the tiniest urge to watch the film again. I guess that while I can appreciate that it is a cool universe, I just don’t see the appeal of the films.

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The ShiningDirector: Stanley Kubrick – Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers

This, like Star Wars: Episode IV, falls in the realm of movies was a movie I didn’t mind watching once but had absolutely no urge to ever watch again. A well-acted movie with some iconic scenes and some characters that you will always recognize, it definitely had its good points. But, to be honest, I was happier watching that ridiculous documentary, Room 237, they did about all the symbolism and whatnot in the movie.

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HushDirector: Mike Flanagan – Starring: John Gallgher Jr. and Kate Siegal

I probably never would have watched this if it hadn’t been for @OddnMacabre’s movie days. Watching it with Twitter made it a lot more fun. I don’t really get into ‘Intruder Horror’ that much so, if left to my own devices, I probably never would have watched it in the first place. Even though the last ten minutes are really, really great I just don’t have any big urge to watch it again.

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The Woman in BlackDirector: James Watkins – Starring: Daniel Radcliffe and Janet McTeer

I saw it. Liked it well enough but I really haven’t had the urge to buy it or watch it again.

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Identity – Director: James Mangold – Starring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta and Amanda Peet

This is more in the ‘Thriller’ category but sometimes there’s a lot of crossover between thrillers and the horror genre. There are some movies with twists that you want to watch again but this was not one of them for me. I did like it. It has a lot of great actors but it’s just not one that caught me enough to want to watch it again.

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The Diary of Ellen RimbauerDirector: Craig R. Baxley – Starring: Lisa Brenner, Steven Brand, and Kate Burton

I liked Rose Red well enough (even if it was a bit derivative of The Haunting of Hill House and the Winchester House). The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer adds a bit of backstory and it’s worth watching once but repeated viewings really aren’t necessary.

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The AvengersDirector: Joss Whedon – Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson

This actually goes for most superhero movies. I might watch them once and enjoy them but I rarely watch them a second time.

I’m sure some of you were very offended with our choice of one-watch movies, but that’s okay! As long as you tell us why you thought the movie was so great! (Politely, that is!)

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Invaders

The Invaders

Woman – Agnes Moorehead

This is one of the out-of-the-way places. The unvisited places. Bleak, wasted, dying. This is a farmhouse. Handmade, crude. A house without electricity or gas. A house untouched by progress. This is the woman who lives in the house. A woman who’s been alone for many years. A strong, simple woman who’s only problem up until this moment has been that of acquiring enough food to eat. A woman about to face terror which is, even now, coming at her from the Twilight Zone.

The Woman inside the house is cutting up something and I have no freaking clue what it is. It looks like a vegetable but it’s really, really smooth inside. She tries to cut something else up but her blade is dull. As she’s stirring her…soup? she munches on whatever it is. Overhead she hears a strange trilling noise. The sound gets so loud that it hurts her head and then there’s a crash that shakes her cabin. She gets under the table to protect her head. After that, there’s silence.

The Woman looks round in puzzlement. After looking around in befuddlement for a while she grabs her lantern and decides to check out the roof. Once up there she hears a beeping and looks frightened. She checks out the source of the beeping and sees a flying saucer. Fairly small but I think anyone would be a bit…alarmed to find a beeping disc on their roof.

She goes to touch it a few times but each time she does it makes a noise. When she checks out the bottom a gangplank comes down and a little robit exits the saucer. She chucks her lantern at it and knock it down. Somehow I don’t think throwing a gas and flame lantern on a wooden house is a good idea. After conquering the robit, she heads back down the ladder.

Once she’s back inside she finds a domajiggy on the floor. Presumably dropped by the robit. She picks it up and sniffs it. Ummkay? And then squeezes it. When a little Christmas light comes on she freaks out and drops it. She hides in a corner. Looking at her hand she sees bumps, like burns or hives on her hand. so, I’m guessing radiation burns. She hears the weird noise again and grabs a candle to investigate. She takes a big ass spoon and starts poking around with it.

She opens her door only to be confronted with a tiny robit. She slams the door on it, even though it’s like an inch high and she could easily kick the damn thing for a field goal. She thrashes around under her bed with the big spoon and knocks over her candle, dousing the light. She looks at her knife rack but the only one hanging up is the dull one. She hears the noise again and the little robit is trying to come through the window. She slams the window and shoves one of her many, many big pots in front of it.

The evil little robit pops up, holding her sharp knife and stabs her in the toes. Now that’s just rude. I think she overacts it just a bit, though.

After he falls on the bed the robit launches itself on her but she bats it away. After a bit more thrashing around she grabs a hatchet and starts looking for the robit. She grabs her door handle (which is a stick through a hole, it’s kind of weird looking). The little bastard robit sticks the knife through the hole and stabs her hand.

She grabs a candle and goes on the warpath for it. She finally finds it in her bedclothes so she grabs it and chucks it out of the window. Ok, there’s two of them. One with a laser thing and the other with the knife. The one with the knife is caught up in her bedclothes. It tries to cut its way through and she grabs the knife away from it. She carries it in the blanket and dumps it into the box She then chucks the box into the fireplace. Uh-oh. I see bad things happening here. After she chucks the box in the fire the other robit blows a hole in the wall. She is not happy and grabs hr hatchet to wait by the hole. And I will say that she’s putting a lot into her part. She’s all sweaty and drooling a bit.

She hears a pitter patter of little robit feet behind her and goes to check the bed. She soon realizes that it’s on the roof. She climbs up on the roof in time to see the gangplank being raised. She climbs out and starts going all Jack Torrance on it with her hatchet.

From inside the saucer you hear a voice over a speakerphone, calling Central Control. It goes on to say that Gresham is dead and there’s an incredible race of giants there. He nixes the suggestion of a counter-attack. Counter-attack?! You attacked her first! As she continues to hack away the voice continues saying that she’s too powerful for them and to stay away. He and Gresham are finished. She gives it a few more whacks and then leans back on the house, exhausted.

As we look at the totaled saucer the camera zooms in on the insignia. It reads: U.S. Air Force – Space Probe No. 1. Which actually is a cool and fairly surprising twist.

These are the Invaders. The tiny beings from the tiny place called Earth. Who would take the giant step cross the sky to the question marks that sparkle and beckon from the vastness of a universe only to be imagined. The Invaders, who found out that a one-way ticket to the stars beyond has the ultimate price tag. And we have just seen it entered in a ledger that covers all of the transactions of the universe. A bill stamped “Paid in Full” and to be fund, unfiled, in the Twilight Zone.

This is a pretty good one. The twist at the end was well-done and Agnes Moorehead (Endora from Bewitched) does a pretty decent job of doing the whole thing without speaking once. I do think that a couple of times she goes a bit over the top but not too badly.

Join us again next week for the episode: A Penny for Your Thoughts

The Rizen #MovieReview


 The Rizen Synopsis: The year is 1955. NATO and the Allied Forces have been conducting secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. Now, they have finally succeeded but what the Army has unleashed threatens to tear our world apart. One woman must lead the only survivors past horrors that the military has no way to control – and fight to close what should never have been opened.

Tagline: Quarantine Breached

Starring: Laura Swift, Christopher Tajah, Patrick Knowles

Writer/Director: Matt Mitchell

Release Date: 06/27/17 (U.K.) – 01/02/2018 (VOD), Runtime: 1hr 34min, Rating: 4 out of 5

Source: Received from October Coast for review consideration

The Rizen Review

I have to confess that I’m a little surprised at the low IMDB rating. It’s not a perfect movie but I really liked it. A lot. For what seems like a lower budgeted movie they definitely made good use of the budget where needed. The practical effects were excellent. The creatures reminded me a bit of the nurses from the Silent Hill series (minus the cleavage). It was not in a rip-off way but just in the general aesthetic. They saved their CGI budget for the end and it shows. It was great. Nothing looked cheesy or off at all. It felt very natural and organic with the events.

The tunnels are not exactly the most thrilling of backdrops but they were used and dressed to great effect. The cinematographer made full use of the claustrophobia of the tunnels and the use of darkness. Set against certain shots of the characters it worked very well and did not seem forced or overly staged.

The characters were mainly likable and there were some genuinely funny little moments between them that didn’t seem forced at all. Frances (Laura Swift) takes a bit to warm up to. She seems a little disaffected and a bit bland at first but it is explained over the course of the movie. Baughman the Scientist (Christopher Tajah) I immediately liked. He also had a miraculous scientific feat all of his own. He had the most invincibly spotless lab coat and shirt that I have ever seen. It survives a bloody handed manhandling, a dragging, a few fights and an injury and yet the coat remains impeccable. I have to admire that kind of dedication to coat cleanliness. Briggs (Patrick Knowles) is just an all-around great character. He’s the Soldier and he does his soldiering very well. He has the most humorous lines but they’re all so quietly delivered that they seem very natural and not obnoxious or that old enemy of jokes everywhere: “Trying Too Hard”.

I’m not going to say much about the finale but I really could not look away. It took some turns that I did not see coming and that really surprised me. Maybe I’m easily pleased but…wow. I loved the ending. Particularly the use of the subtitles. I thought it was a nice touch.

However, since very few movies are perfect, there were a few issues. I don’t think they’re deal-breakers though. The main one was all of the fight scenes. Which wouldn’t have been too bad except that they were a bit poorly done. For instance, a ‘slam’ against the wall produces a light bump. I noticed a few times that the hits did not connect (and a few were quite a ways off).They tried to cover it by angling the camera but you can still tell they’re not very…energetic. The dialogue is a tad awkward and clunky in spots but I give the awkwardness a pass because unless it’s atrocious (and this certainly wasn’t) it’s more realistic. Three people thrown together are going to be awkward.

I especially enjoyed Mysterious Creepy Guy and Mysterious Creepy Woman. They did a very subtle thing with Mysterious Creepy Guy that actually was creepy. And, again, restraint went a long way here. They gave you just enough to make it noticeable but did not draw a big neon sign above his head saying, “Hey! I’m creepy and evil!”

The revelation of the mystery is given to you in bits and pieces and at even intervals, keeping the pace flowing well. It could have flowed a bit better without a few of the repetitious scenes. Also, I don’t know if the hairstyle that Frances had was correct for the time but it seemed…odd. I don’t generally comment on an actor’s appearance but this really stood out to me, especially in light of later events. It’s really the only part of The Rizen that I can say that they were trying a wee bit too hard to throw a slight red herring at you. 

The Rizen is a good mix of action, mystery and horror that soon sucked me in. For anyone looking for non-stop action filled with one-liners then The Rizen probably isn’t going to be for you. However, if you’re looking for a bit of mystery, a bit of gore and one heck of an ending then I strongly recommend The Rizen. I see there’s a sequel in the works and I’m a little torn on that. In a way I am curious about a few things but I also think that The Rizen ended well so I don’t really know how it could support a sequel. I guess we will see…