Archive for August, 2018

Cameron talks about “The Dark Crystal,” which I would be lying if I said it hadn’t left an indelible mark on my psyche.

Broadswords and Blasters

3730957_sa.jpg This is the DVD cover for the version I own.

A race of godlike beings is shattered into two separate, disparate species when a crystal is broken. As each of the creatures ages and dies, its counterpart in the other species also ages and dies, leaving a power vacuum. The gentler Mystics pass over power by singing their lamentations. The more malevolent Skeskis engage in ritual combat to establish control. In an effort to keep themselves from aging, the Skeksis also capture creatures and drain their life essences, including the clan of the main character, a male Gelfling named Jen. Jen is an orphan being raised by the Mystics, and as his Master dies, he is told he must find the broken piece of the crystal and reunite it before a cosmic congregation or else the two races will continue to degrade, leaving the Skeksis in control of the world.

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Broadswords and Blasters

What happens when a loud-mouthed trucker decides to help his friend rescue his friend’s fiancée, recently arrived from China? Well, you get Big Trouble in Little China, the 1986 John Carpenter film that follows Jack Burton as a definite fish-out-of-water as he navigates Chinese mysticism in an attempt to rescue Miao Yin from the clutches of David Lo Pan, an mysterious figure in Chinatown’s underworld but whose true nature and powers Jack can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s one thing to go up against a street gang, but something else entirely when you are up against an immortal sorcerer and a trio of storm-related demi-gods.

Image result for jack burton wang chin Wang Chin (the hero) with Jack Burton (the comic relief)

Along the way, Jack gets his truck stolen, they run into local lawyer Gracie Law and tour bus driver Egg Chen (who happens to be a fairly powerful sorcerer in his own right, but…

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Cameron talks about one my favorite films… THEY LIVE!

Broadswords and Blasters

They LiveA pair of mysterious sunglasses, secret messages hiding in advertising, a weird religious cult preaching about the overthrow of a government, and aliens? That’s John Carpenter’s They Live at its core.

The film, starring former WWE superstar “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and character actor par excellence Keith David, is apparently loosely based on a 1960s short story called “Eight O’Clock in the Morning,” though I confess I wasn’t aware of this until doing research for this article. If you read the story, you can see where Carpenter cribbed the basic concept of aliens masquerading as humans in power, but the details in the film veer quite far from the source material.

Subliminal advertising had been discussed for decades by the time They Live came to theaters in 1988, but the idea of widespread messages hiding in mass media touched upon significant fears of 1980s America. Carpenter is no fan…

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