Archive for the ‘fantasy’ category

The Guilty Pleasures of “Puppet Master…”

July 21, 2021

Horror as a genre is not for everyone, and even those of us who enjoy it have our favorite sub-domains. One of my favorite niche franchises is that of Puppet Master, now having produced over a dozen films since the first one issued in 1989.

Now calling these inspired creations “puppets” is technically incorrect as they are actually marionettes, although of the autonomous Pinocchio type that function without strings, or even direct human guidance. Crafted by old world-type puppet master Andre Toulon, these puppets are infused with the souls of people who died fighting the Nazis, and have an axe to grind against them and other rotten individuals. Toulon had picked up the trick of animating the figures with transmigrated souls through Egyptian magic, and as we know the ancients were quite concerned with resurrecting things. A glowing green brew with which he infuses his creations keeps them perking. Each of the anthropomorphic Puppets has a distinct appearance, personality and skill set.

Consider Blade here. Skull-like but not quite a skull, he’s inhabited by the soul of a German scientist and doctor who wanted to work with Toulon, but was shot by the Nazis. Now he operates with a hook as one hand, and a blade for the other, and is arguably the leader of the Puppets. He has kind of a Goth appearance.

Then we have Six-Shooter, undeniably well-armed with three sets of them each brandishing a pistol. Cast in the mold of a dastardly western outlaw, he can use his arms to climb walls, like Dr. Octopus of Spiderman infamy, and has a memorable hee-hee-hee laugh. Other Puppets include Jester, Torch, Pinhead, Tunneler, and Leech Woman (don’t ask). These are just a few of the regulars, who at times serve for either good or evil as protagonists or antagonists. It can all get rather confusing, and their universe is far from seamless.

The series has prequels, sequels, and cross-overs which add to the general mayhem and confusion. While a horror series with considerable gore, there’s a bit of leavening humor throughout. One leaves each viewing wondering what exactly they have seen, but this strange brew of Egyptian magic I find oddly invigorating and certainly offbeat…

“Sexy Beasts” Is Coming to Netflix…

June 24, 2021

If you melded The Masked Singer with The Dating Game and sprinkled in some psychedelic drugs, you might come up with something similar to Sexy Beasts, a bizarre dating series premiering on Netflix July 21st. The show is based on an earlier British series that also had versions run in Germany, Korea, and the United States.

The show’s prior core concept involved taking an eligible male or female and matching them on successive dates with three other singles, with all four individuals transformed by heavy prosthetic facial makeovers to resemble animal or mythological figures. Only the contestant’s face would be altered, the rest of their body being as it would normally appear. In the course of the episodes two of the three suitors would be eliminated, allowing the remaining person to go on a second date with the bachelor or bachelorette, both parties then unmasked.

The idea is supposedly to see if romance can be generated solely on the basis of personality if not allowed to see the true face of a prospective suitor. A scenario can then be generated where a woman wearing a panda head inquires of a man resembling a bull whether he has health insurance. We all know that this happens all the time…

Not all of the contestants will be furry, with some facially made up to resemble insects, aliens, monsters, or assorted supernaturals. We all know that the course of true love seldom runs smooth, after all. One’s “date” might turn out to be a real dog, but then presumably you’d at least have a new best friend…

Ah well! In the search for a sexy beast, if nothing’s ventured, nothing’s gained. You might, after all, find one of your own kind.- – Do you know any sexy beasts?  Might a few of you out there be one? Time to ‘fess up…or maybe not. Feral is as feral does, after all.  And what might be a suitable soundtrack for this series?  Perhaps You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate!   🦊

“Grilling Out” with the LiMu Emu…

June 11, 2021

I’m not sure that one would want to date or marry an insurance company spokesman or rep as depicted on TV, where they never seem to be able to talk about anything but insurance, which can get old really fast! So it is at an outdoor cookout for Liberty Mutual’s “Doug” (David Hoffman), the Emu, and their presumed wives. The partners are dressed alike in matching loud yellow floral Hawaiian print shirts, and even their wives are in matching tones. It’s a surreal occasion, their outfits matching the yellow finish of the Liberty Mutual-mobile visible in the background. They’re nothing but thematic here…

When Doug blathers only about insurance, his wife politely asks him to change the topic, it being the weekend and all.- -Give it a rest, dude! In the awkward silence that follows, Doug asks the Emus wife if she would prefer to eat either a hot dog or chicken right off the grill, the latter offering seeming to be at least quasi-cannibalistic for the bird. The Emu vocalizes a brief response which Doug interprets to indicate a choice for a hot dog. It is not clear whether this is possibly because chickens may resemble baby emus in their sight…

For inquiring minds, the Emu memorably depicted in these commercials is a mix of real bird and CGI effects. At any rate, he certainly can rock a pair of aviator shades! Perhaps a future commercial could touch on a sensitive issue, such as The Great Australian Emu War of 1932, where 20,000 emus prevailed against World War I veterans armed with machine guns. They are a resourceful and resilient species… 🦊

Progressive Motaur’s “New Shoes” Commercial…

March 30, 2021

In his previous outing, we saw Progressive’s “Motaur” suffer a blowout, and I’m sure that we all wonder how such a biomechanical being responds to such an incident; why, he goes to a tire shop, of course!  Where the rubber meets the road also incorporates elements of the old full-service shoe store, with Motaur trying on a new set of tires, and the older store employee, completely nonplussed by his appearance, offering helpful comments from his perspective to close the sale.  Those full-service shoe stores are hard to find these days; if you were a kid, they would actually measure your feet!  Earlier still, some shoe stores would have an X-ray machine on site so you could see how the shoes fit on your underlying anatomy.  It was kind of, “Hey kid, want a dose of radiation with those penny loafers?”  But I digress… 

When Motaur voices concerns that his new kicks might be too tight, the employee opines that he just might want to break them in a bit, because he sure doesn’t want tires to be too loose!  A disturbing thought here; can Motaur actually feel his inorganic parts, and if so, how?  Anyways, the employee is a helpful and good salesman, and we wind up with Motaur back on the road again, another satisfied customer.  Sure is good that he had Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan!  Long may he ride to his Culture Club tunes!  Are we in for a Boy George revival?

In future installments, perhaps we’ll learn if Motaur sees a doctor or a mechanic if he gets sick.  Does he change his own oil?  Inquiring minds want to know…

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Interruptions” Commercial…

March 28, 2021

  

Biomechanical organisms can be both freaky and funny at the same time, and Terrence Terrell as Progressive’s Insurance “Motaur” is at it again, this time showing off his light side as he motors down a deserted country road, singing and bopping to Culture Club’s 1980’s hit, Karma Chameleon.  It was a catchy tune, and our Motaur seems to be enjoying himself thoroughly, even getting an arm dance thing going on.  One doubts that a Skynet creation would do this…

…but as fate would have it, Motaur’s free-spirited fun is over when his rear tire unexpectedly goes flat.  Fortunately, our boy has Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan, and will soon be on the road again.  This commercial is actually part one of a two part series, the second part called New Shoes, and set in a tire shop.

I just never expected the Motaur to be a Boy George fan, did you? And despite my fascination with cyborgs, I’m keeping all of my organic parts, thank you…

   

Nature’s Own “Goldilocks” Commercial…

March 16, 2021

 

When you come right down to it, Goldilocks was at best an unwanted guest or moocher, and at worst a parasite or even home invader.  I mean, going uninvited into the house of inoffensive bears, and eating their food, even sleeping in their beds?!  Humans carry diseases and stuff…who could blame the three bears if they were to invoke the Castle Doctrine, and clean Goldie’s clock but good?

In a spin on the Goldilocks and the Three Bears tale, our Nature’s Own commercial shows us a pristine forest through which strolls to fairy-tale themed music an angelic-looking, golden-haired girl. She approaches and then enters a charming cabin in which there’s a rustic table holding three sandwiches.  Goldie samples them in turn, pronouncing each one “just right!”  But wait…Momma Bear enters the house, sees Goldilocks, and is not pleased!  We are then shown Papa and Baby Bear, who are fixing sandwiches for Goldie, and are shocked at being discovered by Momma.  

“You know, if you keep feeding her, she’s NEVER going to leave!,” intones Momma with displeasure.  You see, Papa and Baby Bear have apparently been keeping and feeding Goldilocks as kind of a pet, like a stray cat, perhaps. Soon they’ll be saddled with her care and feeding permanently, until she turns 18 or perhaps 21. Goldilocks appears satisfied with this arrangement, and there’s none of the “too hot/too cold” fussiness by this Goldie over her food; just keep the grub on good bread coming, bears…

So enjoy some Nature’s Own bread, but don’t feed it to stray humans.  Once you feed them, they’re yours, and you’ll never get rid of ’em!  Let us learn from the Bear’s mistake, or we’ll suffer a long-term liability and burden.  It’s hard enough feeding our own, right, and if you kick the young humans out, they’ll learn to fend for themselves. Feeding a human is fostering dependency, and that’s really not kindness to them…or so, conservatives would have us think…  🐺

“The Masked Singer” Season 5 Premier…

March 15, 2021

The Masked Singer has to date been a series friendly to furries, and the new season’s premier did not disappoint in this respect, featuring a raccoon, a cybernetic porcupine, and a couple of mollusks.  Snail (above) was like something one might experience during a bad trip with a recreational drug, featuring a shell adorned with a top hat, eye stalks, and a mouth with teeth.  Something to creep out almost everyone, together with a degree of strange cuteness!  Things got weirder when the Snail was voted off at the end of the episode, revealing the hidden celebrity within to be…Kermit the frog!  I guess that this counts as a double disguise of sorts as a puppeteer was operating Kermit who in turn was supposed to be operating the snail…quite surreal, and exceedingly strange.

More to my liking was Raccoon, who had western stylings and performed a version of Wild Thing by The Troggs.  This was a crowd-pleaser, and Raccoon when leaving the stage foraged through garbage cans that were part of the performance stage setting. It was completely in character, and I give Raccoon added points for that.

Robopine was kind of a cybernetic porcupine with implants on the right side of his body. In addition, he had prominent quills which together with the artificial parts made Robopine a rather formidable figure. He’d fit well into either the Steampunk Universe or the Borg Collective.

In addition to the performers mentioned, there was as a Russian Doll of the nested type most of us are familiar with, and Seashell, festooned with shells and probably a mollusk herself. The costumes alone are worth checking out this series for…

Geico’s “Captain Ahab” Commercial…

January 22, 2021

I’m glad that Captain Ahab has found work finding parking spaces for people now that the whaling age is over.  I’ve always felt that ole Ahab just needed a good spin doctor; I’ve worked for bosses far worse than he was, seriously!  And there are cities where enterprising dudes grubbing for a buck will scout out and try to hold parking spaces for you.  It’s just a new Ahab for a new era; adapt and prevail, as the Borg might say…

So in our new Geico commercial, driver Sarah is asked by the announcer if she knows that Geico can save her hundreds on car insurance.  When she nods agreement, the announcer then asks if she’s waiting for Captain Ahab to find her a parking space in the crowded lot.  On cue, Ahab’s boots then thunk into her vehicle, and the old salt, protruding through the roof and complete with spyglass, is barking coordinates for open parking spaces to the young woman.  “Hard to starboard!,” he commands.  When the driver protests that the space is too small, Ahab counters that she should steer “to the northern lot, where there be parking spaces as big as whales!”  This Ahab (Played by Steve Coulter) is helpful if domineering, devoid of the obsessive psychosis that characterized him in Moby Dick.

Wouldn’t you like to have an auto GPS that spoke like an early 19th century Nantucket whaling captain?  And I hear that Ahab isn’t the only member of the Pequod crew to have found post-whaling employment.  I understand that ship’s mate Starbuck has done well with the line of coffee shops that bear his name, plus no whales are now harmed, which is a good thing (like the coffee)… ☕️ 🐋

( A whale-of-a-tale Foxsylvania production. Just don’t call me Ishmael.  Herman Melville rocks, woo!) 🦊

 

Tums Naturals Commercial, Camping Trip Chili…

January 20, 2021

 
It was the chili that drew it…the creature, the horrible thing out of the woods that reared up and tried to drag the woman from her campsite back to its unspeakable lair!

Add a new nightmare to your closet of anxieties.  Submitted for your approval in a brief new Tums commercial are two women enjoying a bowl of chili at a campsite in a peaceful, fern-covered forest.  Nice, huh?  But wait, eerie, forboding music is played, the woman is shown to have peppers in her chili bowl, and soon the stomach pains begin.  A huge pepper rears itself up behind the woman, the chili bowl is upturned, and soon the colossal pepper is dragging her helplessly backwards behind itself along the forest floor!  It moves with a powerful and remarkable locomotion, undulating like a gigantic worm from hell.  Is it taking her to feed its young?   Forget Bigfoot…fear the Pepper!

But wait…all is not lost!  The plucky woman extracts a bottle of Tums from her person, and brandishes it at the scarlet horror! Just the talisman needed at this crucial moment!  The pepper again rears up, but this time it is in fear, knowing that it’s outmatched, faintly making a high-pitched shrieking sound.  It retreats back into the depths of the woods, and once again the world is made safe from heartburn and the abominations that it spawns…

Tums has memorably shown us a number of culinary monsters run amok, including a parachuting meatball and a huge plucked headless chicken.  Can the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes be far behind?!  (*shudders*). 🙀 🌶🍅

Perhaps we will someday have inspired by this a feature-length Syfy Channel movie titled, Return of the Pepper, with an accompanying soundtrack by The Rolling Stones, containing their new hit song, Sympathy for the Pepper….

(exerp:  “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the broccoli?’  When after all, after all, it was you and me!”)

 

“The Masked Dancer” Arrives…

December 27, 2020

Whoever would have thought that an oddball show like The Masked Singer would prove so popular as to inspire a spin-off show, namely The Masked Dancer?  The new series, beginning December 27th on Fox after NFL football, will be much like Singer but without the song, and of course far more kinetic…gotta dance, gotta dance, woo! 

Now the costumes on Masked Singer often tended to be both massive and relatively inflexible, in some cases so much so that the contestants sometimes could do little more than stand there or move slightly.  Were they to really dance, participants might have fallen over or literally lost their heads, which would have been humorous and entertaining but undignified for the celebrities involved.  There were exceptions…among others, Wayne Brady, the winner of one season’s competition as The Fox, managed to demonstrate some pretty impressive dance moves, even orchestrating dance breaks with his back-up dancers.  He made me feel proud to be vulpine…


But The Masked Dancer is all about dance, and will feature extravagant but flexible costumes and oddball characters including for Season 1 Disco Ball, Ice Cube, and a number of furry characters, including the dazzling Zebra… 

Now it probably will be easier to identify the costumed celebrities based on their normal voices, and Paula Abdul is on the panel as the resident dance specialist familiar with many favored styles.  Dr. Ken Jeong will be there as a cross-over panelist from The Masked Singer.  Gotta love the guy, even if he’s occasionally annoying with his “I know who this is!” routines.  The series will also incorporate Ellen DeGeneres, who inspired the new series with popular masked dancer segments on her show. 

So you may want to give The Masked Dancer a look, although the character of Hammerhead may haunt your nightmares.  Then again, we’ve almost made it through 2020 at this point, so we don’t scare easily anymore…

 


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