Archive for the ‘aliens’ category

Frank’s RedHot TV commercial, “Every Food…”

September 8, 2020


Even in the bizarre and unforgettable year of 2020, this Frank’s RedHot commercial stands out.  The announcer’s voiceover kicks the ad off, proclaiming how he “puts that s#!t on everything.” What follows are some of the qualifying items, like pizza, a co-worker’s lunch, and “whatever this is.”  We are then shown a woman (above) about to put the sauce on some kind of tentacled thing, which commendably is still alive, and fighting back in a spirited fashion with cutlery!  This would appear to be one die-hard dinner, which unfortunately the woman appears ultimately able to jab her fork into.  Poor, valiant octopus-like thing!–Hath not a cephalopod eyes?!

The brief commercial continues to say that Frank’s RedHot may be put on “astronaut food,” and we are shown an astronaut floating in an encapsulated zero-g environment, his leg and body enveloped by the flexible tentacle of his multi-limbed alien captor floating right next to him, who questions whether the sauce may be put on astronauts.  “Everything!,” reassures the announcer, to which the alien succinctly replies, “Yum!”

So there you have it…serving and being served, eating and being eaten, just part of the food chain.  And don’t forget Frank’s RedHot sauce, which is the “perfect blend of flavor and heat.”  You can “put that s#!t on everything.”  Bon appetit, y’all…

 

   

 

Wilford Brimley Passes..

August 3, 2020

He was a fine character actor, and although his commercials for Quaker Oatmeal could be annoying, I liked the old coot, who kind of presented on screen as everyone’s crusty, grumpy, know-it-all grandpa.  I don’t often memorialize actors here, but Wilford Brimley appeared in some memorable science fiction movies, which is one territory we visit here, especially as they involve alien concepts and life.  Brimley appeared in both Cocoon and The Thing, the latter a wonderful if dark and gory 1982 re-make by John Carpenter of the earlier classic.  As Dr. Blair, the chief biologist in The Thing, Brimley’s character was the first to recognize the global danger posed by the shape-shifting alien, and he took a radical approach to attempting to contain the threat.  Carpenter’s The Thing remains one of my personal faves, it’s aged well, and I revisit it often.  He’s pictured above in that role, minus his trademark walrus mustache.

Brimley was an ex-marine, and most don’t know that he had a fine singing voice, and played harmonica well.  Wilford got into acting with non-speaking parts in 1960’s westerns, and might be seen there hammering horseshoes in the background.  In addition to numerous film credits and diverse roles, he also starred in a TV series, Our House.

If Brimley were here, he might talk to us for a few minutes about diabetes, which came across as diabeetus.  He’d encourage us to eat our oatmeal (because if you hate it, it’s gotta be good for you).  Suffering is good for the soul, right?  If so, mine ought to be almost golden by now.  And remember, you’ve gotta contain those insidious aliens!  Maybe feed them some damn oatmeal so they won’t want our world…and “It’s the right thing to do.”             


The Feline Furries of Star Trek…

July 7, 2020

 

There are furries in the Star Trek universe, cat-people who were introduced with the character of  M’Ress in Star Trek:  The Animated Series in the 1970’s.  A lieutenant and operations officer, she was a felinoid-type alien of the Caitian species modeled after African lions, and included originally with the cast to make the series more friendly and attractive to young children.  While the artwork is stylized and somewhat minimal, it established the species well, and M’Ress remains a most attractive and intriguing lady, even if she does have a habit of purring or murring after every few lines of dialogue…

Caitians have also appeared briefly a handful of other times in the Star Trek universe, at times depicted with more feline characteristics than others.  In Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home, two Caitian males, completely fur-covered, were depicted as members of the Federation Council.   This depiction of the species is far more formidable, almost with a Klingon-type vibe.  One imagines that these cats could play rough…

In Star Trek:  Into Darkness, a young James T. Kirk was depicted romping in bed with two females generally regarded to be Caitians who had bare skin(?), but prominent moving tails.  I don’t know if these Caitians practiced full body shaving, represented a hybrid, or if it was just considered too disturbing to represent human-furry sex on the big screen.  Kirk, of course, is legendary for having had intimate relations with any number of female aliens, and a discussion of his libido and sexual conquests would consume far more space than we have here… 

In Star Trek:  Online, Caitians are playable characters, and I personally  like their more serious depiction.  The majesty and power of felines really shines through here, and I’d be proud to serve on board with any of them…

 

In a new upcoming animated series to debut in August 2020 titled Star Trek:  Lower Decks, we will again see a Caitian in the person of Dr. T’Ana, ship’s physician to one of the least important vessels in Starfleet, the USS Cerritos.  I’ve heard her described as Dr. Pulaski in feline form.  Lower Decks is billed as an adult comedy, although it will supposedly still deal with some serious science fiction themes and issues.  Detailing the exploits of junior support officers on the Cerritos, the series will debut in August 2020 on the CBS All-Access network…

 

So there you have it…a species depicted in different ways, from ‘toonish to sex-kitten, to impressive and formidable.  You can choose your preferred incarnation, I suppose, and I eagerly anticipate further expansion of the species in future developments of the Star Trek universe…

 

“A Quiet Place” Has It All…

July 1, 2020

In this time of the pandemic, it’s perhaps understandable that many of us would be drawn to apocalyptic fiction and cinema, and A Quiet Place (2018) is one of the best done and most striking films to emerge in this gendre in recent years.  It’s edge of the seat horror and  science fiction that blends elements reminiscent of the Alien, Cloverfield, and Walking Dead franchises, depicting humanity overwhelmed by vicious and powerful aliens who are blind, but hunt very effectively by sound.  Human survivors of this meteor-borne invasion are therefore forced to live furtive and hidden existences, avoiding the generation of sound, and communicating by sign language.  As a result, there is little spoken dialogue in the film, although captioned subtitles appear to translate the signing to the audience.

As for the aliens depicted in Quiet Place, they are neither warm and friendly nor possessed of high technology; they simply want to eat you, and are well-equipped to do so, possessed of clawed extremities and impressive dentition.  There is no evidence of higher cognition here, but rather animal cunning.  In appearance, they are somewhat insectile or bat-like, possessed of an armored exoskeleton of sorts and ambulating briskly on all fours but capable of rearing up on hind legs at which times they can appear disturbingly humanoid.  They use echolocation, and might not be able to perceive you as prey from several feet away if you are perfectly still and quiet.  Their auditory aurifaces when open dwarf any human ears…

Although a horror movie, A Quiet Place is of the rare type of horror movie with heart, as a family and its relationships is at the center of it.  There are unpleasant things to see such as the death of a child family member, but it’s handled non-graphically; a blur of motion, and he’s carried off.  The tension conveyed in the film, however, is almost palpable.  The survivalist husband and father (John Kasinski) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are rock-solid, and their  eldest child (Millicent Simmonds), a gifted young hearing impaired actress, projects a wonderful adaptive kind of Wednesday Addams darkness; she adapts and prevails.  The surviving female family members left standing at the end of the film are more than the equal of the vicious monsters headed their way, kind of like Ripley and Newt in a farmland showdown.  Catch A Quiet Place if like myself you enjoy intelligent innovative horror with heart… 

 

 

“Better Butterfinger” Commercial…

February 14, 2019


The Butterfinger brand has been bought out from Nestle by Ferrero, who have amped up the brand and its slogan with an alien presence in a new commercial.  The trademark admonition that “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger” has been said by many over the years, including Bart Simpson.  Last uttered in 2012, the slogan has now been updated to “Nobody lays a finger on my better Butterfinger!

In the frenetic ad, a yellow and blue alien (Butterfinger colors) escapes from a lab, helps himself to a dusty Corvette, and goes on a thrill ride with a hitchhiker he picks up who happens to be selling alien T-shirts!  The wild ride ends with the alien using his telekinetic powers to help himself to a Butterfinger bar, after which he proclaims the revised slogan.  

I saw this commercial for the first time after watching a recording of a Project Bluebook episode, and then seeing LaToya Jackson revealed as the Alien character on S1/Ep7 of The Masked Singer.  I think that the powers that be are trying to tell me something…

(Tip o’ the pen to Cary Comic for the idea for this post!)

  

“Project Blue Book” A Winner!

January 17, 2019



Think of a real-life X-Files series set in the 1950’s, and you’ve got the gist of what this ten episode dramatic series on The History Channel is like…and boy, did they get the period atmosphere and flavor right, down to the home decor and guys going everywhere in hats!  In addition to careful and authentic detail, there is superb acting and engaging scripts based on actual Project Blue Book investigations.  Aidan Gillen known for Game of Thrones gives a wonderful characterization of J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant but underappreciated professor called in by the government basically to put cases to rest but finding that science can’t explain everything away. He is pressured by his assigned partner Air Force Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) who in turn is pressured by military higher-ups to produce the desired investigation outcomes.  It’s all there, including shadowy “Men in Black” figures lurking in the background, and glimpses of a UFO hidden in a government hanger.  

Episode 2 concerned an investigation of The Flatwoods Monster, a close encounter of the third kind which occurred in West Virginia in 1952 and about which I blogged here way back in 2010.  The incident was previously highlighted in an episode of the late great series, MonsterQuest.  Anyways, in this Project Blue Book treatment Dr. Hynek explains away the alien sightings as being of an owl up in a tree so as to appear ten feet tall, but is beginning to doubt his own explanations as the episode ends and he is hustled off the case.  Future episodes will probably depict the continuing evolution of the character, and I look forward to seeing it, commending the series for your viewing…

 

“It Happens to All of Us” Laxative Commercial…

October 29, 2018

The world of commercials for toilet paper and, ahem, laxatives is a strange one indeed.  Frankly, it is a place that I prefer not to go for fear of encountering toilet paper-obsessed bears, or perhaps the Phillips woman jumping up on a bus and shouting, “Who suffers from gas?  Bloating?  Constipation?”  In approaching such a personal and delicate topic, however, advertisers have been driven into the realm of the memorably absurd.  Today’s exhibit centers on a Colace commercial entitled, It Happens To All Of Us.

Wisely, the advertisers have chosen the world of animation to deal with this topic.  In bright and cheery pastel tones, we are shown such things as a plump bird straining fruitlessly to poop on a passing car.  A dog being walked by his owner whines in his defecation crouch due to constipation.  And most memorably, an alien waits impatiently outside of the door of some kind of sanitary facility, frowning.  Constipation…It happens to all of us, you see…dum dum DUMM!

Now we are not told why the alien appears to be holding a rolled-up newspaper underneath his arm; I would have thought that an advanced race would have long since transcended such retro technology.  But perhaps this image gives insight into why aliens are reputed to conduct anal probes on abductees…they are researching the constipation problem. Perhaps we will also someday learn the truth behind all of the cattle mutilations, so watch the skies for constipated aliens this Halloween!

(…tip o’ the pen to carycomic!)

 

Vintage Sci-Fi Delights, or Nasty Things from Venus…

May 21, 2018


I recently revisited Ray Harryhausen’s 20 Million Miles to Earth, which I first saw as a kid and which hooked me on science fiction for life.  The 1957 black and white film featured Harryhausen’s stop-action creature features, and was filmed in Italy because that was where Harryhausen wanted to vacation.  He wanted the film to be in color, but they didn’t have the budget to do so at the time although a later colorized version was made. The name of the snake-tailed Ymir creature from Venus was not mentioned in the film because they were afraid people would confuse the name with “Emir.”

The film included many memorable scenes such as a fight to the death between the Ymir and an elephant, which traumatized the young me as the elephant lost.  Then there was the grand finale scene which featured a show-down with the creature in the Roman Coliseum; what could be better staging?!

Equally epic was Harryhausen’s stop-action filmed fight with the skeleton army in Jason and the Argonauts.  That one creeped me out as a kid for some time…

 

 

“Lost in Space” Revamped on Netflix…

April 14, 2018

The original Lost in Space tv series ran from 1965 to 1968, and was set in the then-distant future year of 1997!  In the Netflix reboot, the year is 2048, the Robinson family is still with us, but Dr. Smith is a woman!  “Oh the pain, the pain!,” as the original Smith memorably would whine.

At least they got the robot (whose name was “Robot”) right.  He no longer looks like he was cobbled together from a vacuum cleaner and several kitchen appliances.  In fact, this robot is not even of human construction, but is alien in origin, and has a dark past.  Although the robot doesn’t sing, ” I am a cybernetic hero,” he will say, “Danger, Will Robinson!”  Gone from the series, however, is the cheesy, camp-classic fun that made the original series a hoot.  This version is serious, gritty, filled with Hollywood explosions, and almost no fun at all.  Like many reboots, it has very little reason to exist.

A movie version of Lost in Space from 1998 with Matt LeBlanc was darker and had its moments, but was commercially unsuccessful.  In this reconceptualization, the Robinson family is not on a solo mission but is one of a number of colonist families trying to populate the Alpha Centauri system.  The Jupiter II winds up sinking into a frozen lake, and most of the first episode apparently involves trying to retrieve daughter Judy from said lake before she buys the farm.  Will Robinson thankfully plays less of a central role in this series than he did in the 1960’s original, allowing some updating and expansion of the other characters.  

The ten-episode series is family-friendly and action or crisis oriented, but while drawing from the original series, fails to recreate its spirit or substitute anything in its stead, making it truly lost in space…

  

“X-Files” Season 11 Finale…

March 23, 2018


After leaving explicit instructions that I was not to be interrupted, I sat down to watch the Season 11 finale of the X-Files.  I seldom exclaim “Wow!” at anything that I see on television, but this episode was truly cathartic.  It was one wild ride that took me in unexpected directions, leaving me feeling dazzled, wrung-out, and yes, satisfied if saddened. — Thank you, series creator Chris Carter!

The episode had everything, from Fox Mulder in his Mustang to Mulder impossibly prevailing over three armed men to the freaky powers of Mulder’s “son” repeatedly deployed.  I haven’t seen this much blood on the screen since The Walking Dead, with Mulder himself dispatching several people and son William causing other despicable baddies to literally explode…unexpected gore (a “Wow!” moment), but I don’t begrudge them that, as long as I don’t have to clean it up. We got to see several deaths including those of several core characters, and one startling resurrection that testifies to the regenerative powers of alien DNA.  Death is not necessarily final in the X-Files world, where the impossible happens.  We also saw the deep love and bond between Mulder and Scully, all without a single kiss being exchanged.  More than kisses were exchanged, however, as Mulder is told he’ll really be a father by his partner…

Although Gillian Anderson has said she will not be returning to reprise her Dana Scully character, there are plenty of hooks here upon which a series reboot could be mounted. We true X-Philes will only accept a season finale, and never a series finale.  If Fox Television is sold to Disney as is apparently in the works, we might even learn of a connection between alien-infused William and Disney’s character Stitch…”The impossible is happening, Mulder…”