PODCAST:

S3E6M – Stalker (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wow this was a doozy folks. I’ll have to be frank, there was much ramp-up to covering the book from all three hosts. Each of us had a bit of a taste reading “Roadside Picnic” wrapping up the previous episode and had expressed a degree of excitement for our “picnic.” It was definitely a unique piece of work as far as science fiction goes. The characters and mode of storytelling were atypical to say the least. None of us, however, anticipated the esoteric nature of the movie. The movie was so infused with philosophical poetics; I don’t believe one of us was prepared enough to cover it (as the usual last minute protocols appeared to be in effect). All three of us were blindsided by this movie, our reactions to it were quite different. While Ryan and I were compelled to simply tip our caps to it and submit to its expansive and artful script and cinematography, Wilk blasted it back to the USSR and prematurely ended his time on the show after not only ridiculing the movie but Ryan and I for talking about it. Not a pleasant dude sometimes, but not the kind of guy who would stay in his militia bunker somewhere in Michigan while diplomatic efforts are being negotiated between the US and Red Cuba as it would seem to be.

-Rick

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Film: “Stalker (1979)” by Andrei Tarkovsky (Alexander Kaidanovsky)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…it did feel a little bit slow at times, but it is really beautifully done…”

Wilk: 1 Stars “…nobody should watch this film…”

Rick: 4 1/2 Stars “…there’s a lot there, [it’s] a treasure, and if you got the time–check it out…”

*** * ***

FUN FACTOIDS:

On the show Ryan mentioned that this movie contains “long shots,” which we discussed in previous film adaptions of other works. That said, Rick, pointed out that unlike the other films we watched, these “long shots” like the dramatic choreographed action sequences that made those other long shots particularly impressive. We discussed this in the episodes on  “Children of Men” by Alfonso Cuaron (Clive Owen) (movie) and “True Detective” by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Matthew McConaughey) (miniseries).

S.T.A.L.K.E.R_series_logo

Shadow_of_Chernobyl_cover Stalker_Call_of_Pripyat_cover STALKER_Clear_Sky

The book “Roadside Picnic” and the movie adaptation “Stalker” also spawned a series of successful first-person-shooter video games made by a Ukrainian developer. More info at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.T.A.L.K.E.R or official website: http://www.stalker-game.com/en/. Also, here is an article by HalidYusein on GiantBomb.com from February 2016 about the series entitled “The Ashes of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – A Thorough Look at S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and the Legacy of the Franchise” (http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/halidyusein/blog/the-ashes-of-stalker-a-thorough-look-at-stalker-2-/112663/).

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E6B – Roadside Picnic (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

“Roadside Picnic” took a surreal concept, wrote about it in Russian, translated it into English, and eventually into its highest form, became the subject of this month’s podcast.

As I write this I feel that the book is calling to me, daring me to reread it. I gave it a paltry three stars, but that was only because it was overly complex. Sort of like a Radiohead album. It’s the sort of thing you need to read a couple times to appreciate because it is so dense and rich.

We all enjoyed it. And we did not interpret the book in the same way, yet we all agreed that it was a masterful work. It was dark, enchanting, foreboding, horrible, and mysterious.  It evoked different emotions in all of us and led to a decent debate about the actions and intentions of the characters. Ultimately the overall theme of the book struck me as a statement about the profound meaningless of our lives, whereas Ryan gleaned something completely different. Ryan also rated the book as a five star read, his second time doing so in three years.

Of all the books discussed on our podcast to date, none have sparked such a pleasant disagreement. We had a general accord that this book was somewhere beyond the brink of acceptable genius. It was an unexpected gift that we devoured hungrily. And we still want more. Worth tuning in for and worth reading. So until next time, spit out your gum and rub it on your bum, cause there is no deodorant in outer space!

-Wilk

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

Ryan: 5 Stars “…A moody morass rallying against the gray walls of reality, in perfect tone…

Wilk: 4 Stars “…Excellent surreal journey into the heart of Russia’s most celebrated science fiction writers minds…

Rick: 4 1/2 Stars “…Very streetwise which is uncommon in this genre…

 

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

FUN FACTOIDS:

This book was originally written in Russian, and took about eight years to publish under the communist system in place at the time due in part to censorship issues.  An English language version came out in the United States in 1977.  However, it wasn’t until 1991 that the author-endorsed original version came out in the Russian language.

In 2012, another version was released with a new translation by Olena Bormashenko (in part, correcting some issues in the previous translation). This newer version also contains a forward by author Ursula K. LeGuin (but watch out for some spoileresque language) and an afterward by Boris Strugatsky about the censorship issues the book suffered. Here’s an article by Annalee Newitz at iO9 praising the newer version: “A New Translation of The One Russian Science Fiction Novel You Absolutely Must Read.”

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E6P – Preview Episode (Roadside Picnic)*

SUBJECT MATTER:

Book: “Roadside Picnic (1972)” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

“Amazing. . . . The Strugatskys’ deft and supple handling of loyalty and greed, of friendship and love, of despair and frustration and loneliness [produces] a truly superb tale. . . . You won’t forget it -Theodore Sturgeon Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of the extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty” something goes terribly wrong. . . . First published in 1972 and immediately acclaimed as a science-fiction classic, Roadside Picnic is included on almost every list of the hundred greatest science-fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. It was the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky’s filmic masterpiece Stalker and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games that have proven immensely popular. This brand new translation corrects many of the errors and omissions of the previous one. Finally, one of the greatest science fiction novels-and one of the most popular pieces of Russian fiction-is back in print in an authoritative version. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are the most famous and popular Russian writers of science fiction. Their books have been widely translated and have been made into a number of films. Arkady died in 1991; Boris lives in St. Petersburg.” (from Amazon.com)

*** * ***

Film: “Stalker (1979)” by Andrei Tarkovsky (Alexander Kaidanovsky)

“One of Andrei Tarkovsky(Solaris, The Sacrifice) most acclaimed films, Stalker is an unforgettable film experience that evokes the spiritual lucidity of Carl Dreyer and the unbridled imagination of Philip K. Dick. Since its release in 1979, Stalker has inspired filmmakers as diverse as David Lynch and Steven Spielberg and ensnared audiences in a labyrinth of striking imagery revealing the familiar in the strange, the poetic in the disturbing and the mythic in the mordant. In the near future, an unseen alien force has taken possession of an area of Russian wilderness that authorities, have dubbed The Zone. The only thing known for sure about the region is that few who enter it ever return. Led by a Stalker one of a small group of outlaws able to safely navigate the Zone, a renegade scientist and a cynical, burnt out writer penetrate the dangers outside in search of the power and transcendence rumored to exist inside. The Stalker longs to un-do a mysterious physical transformation the Zone has performed on his young daughter. The scientist will risk anything to see that reason triumphs over faith. The writer seeks a germ of inspiration that the crumbling and corrupt world beyond the Zone no longer provides. Together, these three men become desperate pilgrims walking a desolate trail leading to one of the most enigmatic and tantalizing endings in the history of cinema. A haunting and honest meditation on the intersections of science, feeling, and faith.Stalker is both profoundly unsettling and deeply moving.” (from Amazon.com)

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E5M – The Lair of the White Worm (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

The Lair of the White Worm film far exceeded the book. It was also a farcical incoherent mess of a film that was fantastic. Of course two out of the three co-hosts did not understand this and ruined not only their own experience, but those of anyone listening to the podcast (and possible people in the near vicinity that could absorb their negative energy).

Like all great films from the 20th century this starts with a man named Angus finding a skull. This of course leads to human sacrifice, an artificial phallus, an orgy, nudity, murder, the opening of hell, and a giant white worm who may or may not have a lair.

The movie is provocative and high camp at the same time. It is best enjoyed while on a sinking boat or LSD, but not at the same time. The Director was renowned for pushing the envelope in documentary and feature film genres, with most of his notable work taking place in the 1970s. He is known as Ken Russell to some, Uncle Kenny to others.

 

While this film itself is not an arthouse darling it is unapologetically bold and entertaining. Also, lots of nudity. If anything, this is an excuse to watch other Ken Russell movies, including one of this writer’s favorites, “Tommy.”

 

Until next time, cover yourself in Vaseline, because there is no deodorant (and scant lubricant) in outer space!

 

-Wilk

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Film: “The Lair of the White Worm (1988)” by Ken Russell (Amanda Donohoe)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…I sort of expected more, given the things I learned about Ken Russell…”

Wilk: 4 Stars “…it’s not art, it’s just a fun, exploitative, over-the-top movie…”

Rick: 1 1/2 Stars “…I just wish [Ken Russell] would make [sic] more of a satirical view on the upper classes as Stoker did…”

 

*** * ***

FUN FACTOIDS:

 

On the show we mentioned that director Ken Russell is also well known for being the director of the film version of The Who’s famous rock opera “Tommy.” This led to a follow up film collaboration with Roger Daltrey (the singer from The Who) about the classical composer Franz Liszt in a documentary titled “Lisztomania.”

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E5B – Lair of the White Worm (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Well, this show was fantastic. The book was weird but we managed to dig it up pretty well.

-Rick

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

Ryan: 2 1/2 Stars “…A meandering gothic tale of wormish fiends, overshadowed by a giant kite and frequent supper respites…

Wilk: 0 Stars “…This is a very bad book and was not meant to be published. It has a worm. The worm is white….Read Dracula instead….

Rick: 3 Stars “…This book lies in the historical cesspool of courtship to inherited entitlement and propagates paranoid racist incitement that has continued to flush over humankind through the centuries…

 

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

FUN FACTOIDS:

Henry_Irving_portraitMuch of Bram Stoker’s life was dedicated to the support of famed Shakespearean, Henry Irving. Stoker was absolutely devoted to the actor and his exciting and vibrant career kept him extremely busy and even allowed him to travel the world, mix it up with present day celebrities and even meet political dignitaries. After Irving’s death, the author even wrote a two-volume biography on him.

The “Lair of the White Worm” was originally released in 1911 (one year before the author’s death and probably written while suffering an illness). In 1925 an abridged version came out that eliminated nearly a 100 pages. The unabridged version is available for free on Google Books as scanned in by the University of Chicago with original color illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith. You can find this version here: https://books.google.com/books?id=oX1KAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR8&lpg=PR8&dq=lair+of+white+worm+28+chapters+vs+40&source=bl&ots=5TAJSN1tCD&sig=Lr-e1gBCbwEP_vTI0H7wQUMYkIM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWvLj2jLXMAhUEsIMKHZB0A0wQ6AEIJDAD#v=onepage&q=lair%20of%20white%20worm%2028%20chapters%20vs%2040&f=false.
On the show, Ryan, mentioned that the continuous creepy flying of the enormous kite in the book by one of the antagonist. He may have been reminded of a certain Simpson’s episode:

At some point messages are sent up to this kite via kite runners. Here’s a link to an article with an illustration about “kite messengers” by Dan Beard: http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/spring/kites/messengers.htm.

Lastly, we mentioned Led Zepplin’s song “Hot Dog” off the album “In through the Out Door.”

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E5P – Preview Episode (The Lair of the White Worm)*

SUBJECT MATTER:

Book: “The Lair of the White Worm (1911)” by Bram Stoker

An ancient evil walks among them.

When Adam Salton arrives at his grand-uncle’s Derbyshire estate he quickly senses that a macabre and malevolent force is at work. In his attempts to uncover the grisly mystery he encounters the chilling Lady Arabella and the obsessive Edgar Caswall, each harbouring their own dark and dreadful desires.

To his horror, Adam discovers that something hideous is living in the grounds of nearby Castra Regis, something that feeds on the flesh of humans. And so begins a terrifying quest to destroy the evil lurking in their midst …” (from Amazon.com)

*** * ***

Film: “The Lair of the White Worm (1988)” by Ken Russell (Amanda Donohoe)

“In a remote corner of England’s Peak District, a mysterious skull is unearthed. But even weirder is that Lady Sylvia steals the skull for use in worshipping — very erotically — her pagan god, The White Worm, who hungers for the taste of virginal flesh.” (from Amazon.com)

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S3E4M – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

I go out on a limb to express a genuine and legitimate worldview, hold out a loving hand to my cohorts and get sawed off the tree. This time there was a shiny thing of fancy out on that branch placed by a rather large weasel. Instead of venturing out there to take a sniff, I stayed close to the trunk – the permanent home of the ever cautious one among us. Was I proud of using caution in a ridiculous environment characterized and ruled by the peevish obsessiveness of the Comic Book Guy? No. Until next show, hyper-nerds.

-Rick

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Film: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)” by Don Siegel (Kevin McCarthy)

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…I enjoyed it…definitely worth checking out…”

Wilk: 4 Stars “…kind of like watching the twilight zone…”

Rick: 2 Stars “…it applies to whatever the current flavor of politics is…”

 

*** * ***

Film: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)” by Philip Kaufman (Donald Sutherland)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…I like the movie better than the book…”

Wilk: 5 Stars “…probably the best version out there and I think it really stands on its own …”

Rick: 5 Stars “…the horror element is there, there’s more graphic detail…”

*** * ***

FUN FACTOIDS:

During this episode Ryan mentioned that he thought Clint Eastwood had seen Don Segal’s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and was so impressed that he asked him to work on this next film. While this is incorrect, the real story is more interesting. In the book “The Cinema of Clint Eastwood: Chronicles of America” author David Sterritt noted that the two met due to a computer glitch (according to the director’s autobiography). Two director’s were pitched to Eastwood to direct his next film (Coogan’s Bluff), one of which was director Alex Segal. Apparently, the computer generated Don Segal’s name by mistake. An executive producer had to inform Eastwood who Don Segal was and so the actor checked out three of Segal’s films (none of which was “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”), and in turn Segal checked out Eastwood’s work. With mutual admiration the two met and formed an alliance that would later span five films. It’s worth noting that after Segal’s death, Eastwood did select the director’s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” to screen as part of a 2005 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tribute to the deceased director as discussed in this article “Clint Eastwood praises pod film” by Steve Biodrowski for cinefantastiqueonline.com.

On the show we mentioned an article on Litreactor.com by Christopher Shultz called “Book vs. Film(s): ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers‘” which breaks down some of the differences between the book and various movie iterations: https://litreactor.com/columns/book-vs-films-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers.

We also briefly mentioned that there are other movie versions of this persistent story. Here are a few below:

Body Snatchers 0 movie poster

Film: “Body Snatchers (1993)” by Abel Ferrara (Babrielle Anwar)
“This new version follows the fates of a group of people on an Army base who discover that something is taking possession of the minds, bodies of the people they once knew and loved.” (from Amazon.com)
Stuart Gordon was involved with the screenplay of this movie. You may remember him from our episode on H.P. Lovecraft when we discussed his movie “Re-Animator” and briefly mentioned “Dagon.”

 *** * ***

Film: “The Invasion (2007)” by Oliver Hirschbiegel/James McTeigue (Nicole Kidman)
“As a Washington psychiatrist (Kidman) unearths the origin of an alien epidemic, she also discovers her son might be the only way it can be stopped.” (from Amazon.com)

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.