Archive for the ‘fantasy’ category

“Masked Singer” Mix and Masks, S1 Ep5…

February 1, 2019


Episode 5 of The Masked Singer opened with a group performance by (from left) Alien, Rabbit, Lion, and Unicorn.  The group rendition of “I’m On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons went well, and was followed by individual performances by each of the contestants.  The use of “background dancers” by each performer is notable, with Alien’s dancers in UFO-inspired costumes, Rabbit dancing with a bevy of bunnies, and Unicorn performing with a red-clad pair eerily reminiscent of Thing One and Thing Two from Dr. Seuss.  

Rabbit’s dancing was again a crowd-pleaser, and he demonstrated an impressive set of pipes on the R&B inspired selection of Poison. Rabbit’s strategy has been to show his range with a different genre of music each performance, but I could have done without the country selection performed in his last outing.  In this episode he was again where he worked well, and against someone like Rabbit, the other contestants appeared flat-footed. With fewest votes, Unicorn was voted off, and revealed to be…Tori Spelling, an identity correctly guessed by judge Dr. Ken Jeong.

Finalists in this competition may well be Rabbit, Peacock, Lion, and Bee, all of whom can definitely sing!  Rabbit and Peacock seem to have the greatest sense of how to work the stage and rouse an audience as well with dancing and movement…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Masked Singer, Episode 3…

January 20, 2019


In the bizarre singing competition of The Masked Singer, the contestant known as The Deer looked like a stag wearing a gas mask with steampunk accessories such as metallic gauntlets and a long overcoat. Dance moves were hardly the Deer’s forte, with his movements stiff and minimal, possibly due to the headgear.  With his vocals equally forgettable, The Deer was voted off during Episode 3, and was unmasked to reveal football great Terry Bradshaw.  Perhaps his outfit could be used in a remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau…

Lion gave another good performance, and Monster I thought surpassed their previous effort.  Unicorn’s was adequate but not terribly memorable.  I thought that Peacock did well again, projecting a Las Vegas presence by beginning their performance on top of a 30-foot lift before descending to the stage.  It was kind of like watching Elvis with feathers…this bird can dazzle!

 

“The Masked Singer,” American Edition…

January 3, 2019

Aha, I just knew that we were going to be able to sneak some compelling furry images and characters onto mainstream television soon, and with The Masked Singer on Fox (- -how appropriate!), our time may have finally come in 2019!

 

Now for those of you not in the know, The Masked Singer is a new reality show (for the U.S., anyways) in which celebrity contestants perform and compete entirely clad in costume head-to-toe, concealing their identity. Most often those costumes are of animals, monsters, or other fantastic life forms with the contestant’s group of twelve including among others a unicorn, a deer, a hippo, a French poodle, a pineapple-man, a lion, and my personal fave, a rabbit! For the first night, six contestants competed on a paired basis, with the lesser voted contestant of each match-up relegated to the bottom three, and the weakest of that group unmasked and sent home. Victors in the matches included a Peacock winning over a Hippo, a Unicorn beating a “Monster,” and a Lion defeating a Deer. The Hippo, a real-life football athlete, ranked lowest and was sent home.

 

The show kind of blends American Idol with The Gong Show by way of a furry convention. Some of the costumes are elaborate and impressive, and dependent on their individual gifts and the bulk of their outfit some of the contestants incorporate a little choreography into their stage presentations. All of the contestants are supposedly well-known figures in music, comedy, or athletics, and the identity of each will ultimately be revealed as the weaning-out process continues. Popular in Asia and originating in South Korea, the American version of The Masked Singer is certainly different, even if it’s not for everyone…

Yuletide Horrors…

December 19, 2018

Since Christmas has been pushed on us since October, it’s only fair to bring a bit of Halloween to the merriment with tales of The Wild Hunt. Traditionally associated with Germanic folklore, notions of The Hunt have since spread and been adapted across Europe, and may even have resonated in North America…

The Wild Hunt stretches attempts to explain it a bit, but basically involves a group of spectral or supernatural huntsmen who ride in frenzied pursuit of unknown or unspeakable prey, or portending a catastrophe such as war, plague, famine, or a second Trump administration. The Huntsmen are traditionally led by a god such as Odin, a historical figure such as Theodoric the Great, a figure drawn from religion such as Satan, or at least a really bad dude. The cohorts of the Leader of the Hunt have been seen as elves, faeries, demons, or spirits of the dead. Their bestiary consists of horses (often spectral) and large fierce canines of the hellhound-variety.

Now riders of The Wild Hunt might be glimpsed as a vision or passing mist in the midwinter sky, and such was seldom regarded as a fortuitous thing, portending calamity to the observer at the very least. Unfortunate observers might have their souls sucked from their bodies by the Riders especially if they obstructed or attempted to interfere with the procession, while by some accounts they might also be rewarded if they helped in some way.

Celtic conceptions of Cernunnos, the bestial Lord of the Hunt, may have been influenced by Wild Hunt mythology. He’d give Santa a ride, but he ain’t no reindeer…

And in North America, the mythic concept appears as Ghost Riders (In the Sky), also a haunting song that may help in visualizing the spectacle. — So have yourself a scary little Christmas!

Tales of the Cat Sith…

October 31, 2018


Let us talk about the Cat Sith this Halloween, who has nothing to do with the Star Wars universe, although he may be feline the Force, ahahahaha!  The Cat Sith (or Cat Sidhe) is a creature from Celtic mythology described as resembling a large black cat with a white spot on his chest.  By some accounts, he is a fairy, while by others the Cat Sith is a witch capable of transforming into a cat and back eight times; should the witch transform a ninth time, they would remain a cat for life.  This gives origin to the notion of a cat having nine lives…

Now the Cat Sith is said to be capable of stealing the soul of the deceased should it pass over it before burial, which led ancient Celtic people to create diversions for the cat like wrestling, jumping games, and riddle-telling in rooms adjacent to where a body was laid out so as to entertain the cat and divert him from soul-stealing. Party animal that he was, the Cat Sith would partake of the fun and forget about stealing any souls…

It was considered prudent to leave out a saucer of milk for the Cat Sith on Samhain as a treat, lest he trick you with a curse, such as causing your cows to dry up and yield no milk; remember, a dry cow is a Milk Dud!  The spectral cat figures primarily in Scottish mythology, where he is said to haunt the Scottish Highlands; references are also made in Irish mythology.  There may also be a link with the King of the Cats tale in British folklore.  In this story, a farmer saw eight black cats (some accounts say nine) carrying a coffin with a royal crown seal on it.  The cats are lamenting the death of their king, and the farmer goes home to tell of his encounter to his wife and cat, Old Tom.  Upon hearing the account, the farmer’s cat cries, “Old Tim is dead?  Then I’m King of the Cats!”  Up the chimney he goes, never to be seen again…a calling was received from on high…  

 
 So this All Hallow’s Eve, you may want to put out a saucer of milk on your doorstep, lest you hear a whisper in your ear to look behind you…AHAHAHAHA!

 
 

 

 

Rampage:  Megafauna Rampant…

April 11, 2018

I’m glad that my cousin, Ralph, finally made it to the big screen!  He always had dreams of going to Hollywood, and deserved it after all those years of parking cars, pumping gas, and hanging out at furry and video game conventions.  It was annoying to him that people would pull at his costume only to discover that it wasn’t one. – – Ahh, his mother would have been so proud of him!  On the other hand, I wasn’t granted Ralph’s athleticism, being only a bookish writer…fortune, thou art a cruel mistress!

I suppose it was inevitable that they’d make a movie loosely based on the vintage video game, Rampage, and starring Dwayne Johnson.  After all, Doom turned out so well!  In the long-ago, I can remember playing the video game, and never doing terribly well…such is the the story of my life!  Anyways, in his latest action film outing, the Rock plays primatologist Davis Okoye who is attempting to intervene on behalf of his albino silverback gorilla, George, the object of a rogue genetic experiment gone awry. – –Tell me about it!  George, Ralph, and other mutant animals grown to enormous size are, well, rampaging through North America, and causing big trouble and general mayhem.  It’s up to Dwayne Johnson and others to find an antidote…

This sci fi/fantasy offering sounds like good brainless fun, and is opening April 13th at a theater near you!  A CGI-heavy movie, it also features Jeffrey Dean Morgan of The Walking Dead, minus his Negan bat, Lucille.  I expect that Ralphie will give a memorable performance, and even if he doesn’t, I’m still proud of the big lug… 😉

“Punished, As A Boy” on “The Terror”

April 10, 2018

To dispense with what the episode title refers to, it appears that when you’re “punished as a boy” on a 19th century British ship, you’re flogged on your bottom rather than on your back, complete with all of your shipmates watching for both pain and humiliation.  We do get to see this, unfortunately, complete with blood spattering, agonized grunts from the punished, and the man’s behind resembling raw hamburger following his ordeal.- – Hey, horror isn’t pretty!  

This is grim stuff, but things are getting pretty grim indeed, with the Tuunbaq creature shredding members of the expedition brutally and pretty much at will, leaving some as only bloody smears on the ice, removing part of another’s skull to expose his brain (“It looks like pudding!,” remarks the ship’s surgeon), and tearing two others in half to crudely reassemble their bodies together.  The Tuunbaq has also demonstrated that it can move onto the English ships pretty much at will, and escape unscathed.  We’re kind of at the stage now that we were in The Thing where the men realize that the alien is inside the camp, and they’re relatively ineffective at countering it.  Composure and discipline are beginning to fall apart, just as some of the men’s gums are starting to turn black from lead poisoning brought by their spoiling and badly- packaged tinned food.

I’m not going to go on about the many complexities and layers of character and plot going on in the story, which can be appreciated on a variety of levels; we limit ourselves to just a few paragraphs here.  But central to the story and ever growing in importance is the enigmatic and appropriately-named Lady Silence, the Inuit woman whose father was accidently shot by the English in an earlier episode.  She was seen engaging in some kind of interaction with the Tuunbaq, perhaps a ritual.  Is she controlling the creature, or what is the nature of her relationship with it?  Hmmm…we’ll just have to wait and see!