LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hundreds of firefighters are battling a large blaze that broke out on Sunday on a back lot at Universal Studios, site of movie and television production, a spokesman for a neighboring fire department said.
Because of the legendary horror films made by Universal, I’ve got a soft spot for the studio.
I’m making an assumption they’re mad scientists although I’m sure it’s a fairly safe one. From The New York Times:
He rolled the dice again. This time, he was mimicking what he and his colleagues have been doing quietly around the globe for more than a half-century — using radiation to scramble the genetic material in crops, a process that has produced valuable mutants like red grapefruit, disease-resistant cocoa and premium barley for Scotch whiskey.
“I’m doing the same thing,” he said, still toying with the dice. “I’m not doing anything different from what nature does. I’m not using anything that was not in the genetic material itself.”
Dr. Lagoda, the head of plant breeding and genetics at the International Atomic Energy Agency, prides himself on being a good salesman. It can be a tough act, however, given wide public fears about the dangers of radiation and the risks of genetically manipulated food. His work combines both fields but has nonetheless managed to thrive.
Sure, they claim they are creating useful plants. But what about the triffids?
When the carrots rampage through the streets, we know to storm Dr. Lagoda’s castle with our pitchforks and torches.
It’s funny to go back to a time when horror meant escapism. These days, as any trip to the multiplex will show you, it’s quite the opposite. The current vogue in scary cinema is for unwatchably realistic scenes of lingering torture. You do not leave Hostel or Saw III with a spring in your step, but with acute feelings of nihilistic dismay. Don’t even get me started on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Nostalgia for a genre that once was – an antique world of fangs, empty graves and constantly imperilled lingerie – is the order of the day in Sinclair McKay’s brisk and companionable account of Hammer Horror. Somewhere between infamous and fondly remembered, the British production outfit was responsible for many a cheesy excuse for a movie, and quite a number of surprisingly good ones.
Though hardly any of Hammer’s bargain-basement offerings would generate so much as a frisson of genuine fear these days, it’s impossible not to think back on them with a smile. It’s the hokey familiarity of the studio settings, dressed up as a “sinister” Mitteleuropean village with a castle in the vicinity. Add to this the game acting of Hammer’s regular players, above all their preternaturally straight-faced leading men Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and you have an aura of workmanlike sincerity that gives the films an enduring, slightly campy appeal.
Entire review well worth a read. Also, if any family members of mine are still looking for a birthday gift….
THE conventional account of how Mary Shelley, a teenager, came to invent Dr Frankenstein and his monster is of a “waking dream” brought on by a drinking session with some of Britain’s most notorious Romantic poets.
But a new book, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein, claims Shelley, an icon of modern feminism, was a fraud who did not dream up the gothic monster in response to a challenge by Lord Byron on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The author, John Lauritsen, claims the true credit for the world’s first science fiction novel should go to Percy Bysshe Shelley, her future husband, who was present that night.
Lauritsen’s book, due out in May, builds on debates that have surrounded Frankenstein since it was published anonymously in London in 1818.
Even Mary seemed slightly amazed by the genesis of the monster when she was older.
Nearly a decade after her husband died in a boating accident, she wondered: “How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea.”
I have my strong suspicions that Lauritsen is a fraud. I am at work on my book to be titled: The Man Who Did Not Write The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein.