Tuesday, 28 January 2014


There is a scene in ‘Prophecy’ where a man and his two children are sleeping outside in the natural splendour of the country surrounding the Androscoggin River in Maine, New England. The man is fast asleep, as is his daughter. His son is restless, and zips himself up into his sleeping bag until only his face is showing. Suddenly, there is a fearsome roar and the camp site is invaded by a hideous looking creature, part bear, part raw meat, all death. The twenty foot tall beast quickly and bloodily dispatches father and daughter but the son has time to jump up and try to escape, except, restricted by his zipped up sleeping bag, he is only able to hop like a terrified kangaroo. His somewhat amusing progress is almost immediately thwarted by the intervention of a massive paw, which flicks him through the air and smashes his body into a large rock, issuing force a spray of blood and feathers from the sleeping bag. The concept is comical, but the execution is shocking, brutal. Whatever this thing is, it is clearly not to be fucked with. 

There is a massive amount of interest in ‘Prophecy’ for even the most casual of viewers: giant tadpoles, for instance, monster babies, disaffected Native Americans, an axe fight. Then there is Robert Foxworth, perhaps the hairiest leading man of his generation. And let’s not forget the vampiric mutant monster baby, and its vengeful mother, the enormous, deadly semi-aquatic meat and bear beast who looks like it lives its life in agony, and very much wants to take it out on somebody, preferably a tourist. 

It’s the fault of big business, of course, and all comes down to a supposedly ethical paper company who are secretly and illegally using mercury as part of their something or other process, and therefore making everything and everyone in the area big and freakish and pissed off psycho nut job mental. Even the raccoons are kill crazy.

The shock ending is inconclusive and somewhat predictable, and is actually the trashiest thing about the whole surprisingly dignified undertaking. You should definitely watch this: it’s great and funny and scary and GREAT and the scenery is stunning. That’s pretty much everything we want from a film, right there - the giant rage filled mince monsters are a bonus.

Saturday, 25 January 2014


Like most people living in the western world in the nineteen eighties, Guy N. Smith spent much of the decade with his eye on the apocalypse, mentally and physically preparing himself for a nuclear weapon assisted end of the world. Whereas others went on marches, bought Frankie Goes To Hollywood tee shirts or turned the cupboard under the stairs into a makeshift bunker, Guy did what Guy does best: he sat down at his typewriter and wrote books about the whole bloody mess. I also expect he stockpiled weapons and tinned peaches, but that’s a different issue. 

‘Warhead’ and ‘Throwback’ are from 1981 and 1985, respectively. They both deal with the total destruction of our way of life, but each have a slightly demented twist. In some of these reviews, we occasionally point out Smith’s foibles – his obsession with vomit, for instance, or the way he sometimes clumsily juxtaposes the supernatural and the mundane – but we never call him on his imagination, which is limitless and boundless and utterly bonkers. 

In ‘Warhead’, for instance, a war wipes mankind from the earth, but it is a war facilitated not by men but by ancient Gods, a pantheon of voodoo deities, vengeful Native American spirits and a red hot African lady who appears in men’s dreams and shags them senseless. 

The action centres on a US missile base in Wales, and takes in several gruesome deaths, ritual murder, supernatural sex and liberal use of the ‘n’ word (in context, of course, nasty Americans are using it). 

It’s a confusing, slightly muddled ride with simply far too many characters for the scant characterisation Smith provides (it is mainly populated with interchangeable male characters who are issued with a surname and little else. They all sound the same and, when they die, as die they must, you’re never quite sure which one has just copped it). 

Without a focal point, the narrative wanders all over the place, only really communicating a sense of deadly urgency in the last few pages; even then, Smith follows a gruesome execution and crucifixion with an incongruous potted history of a new character, a Country and Western enthusiast who has given up on his own music but has decided to see in Armageddon with a fin de everything mobile disco at the local church hall. He plays an Engelbert Humperdinck record and the villagers cling together and get off with each other as the mushroom clouds gather. 

It’s an odd coda that, nevertheless, sits well with the book’s weird ending, where Smith conjures up a post blast nightmare vision of, well, what? Hell? Purgatory? Shrewsbury? … 

‘Throwback’ takes a very different approach. Here, the UK is hit not by several megatons of nuclear hardware, but by a nerve gas which, astoundingly and very scientifically, takes everything which sniffs it back a few stages of evolution. Chickens can fly, dogs become ravening wolves and humans become savage, squat, hairy Neanderthals with a penchant for violence and rough sex (only the first half of that description sounds like a massive change). 

There are at least a few people who, having hidden in bunkers, have escaped the effects of the gas, and the story tells of their struggle to survive in a world full of angry, randy ape men. Needless to say, there is murder and sexual burglary, and quite a lot of throwing up, some of it tinged with blood. 

The author takes his time with this one, introducing the characters one at a time and providing a taut story with proper people in it, many of whom are now covered in coarse, matted hair. Smith gets inside the ridged skull of a throwback most effectively, and positively revels in the morality free anarchy that these basic bastards bring to the backwards new world unknown foreign aggressors have created (we never quite get to the bottom of who did it, and why). 

Smith dutifully ticks off the tropes of the post-apocalyptic world, including a ruthless approach from those in power, who conduct Nazi like experiments on captured throwbacks and herd the remainder northwards and hope they die out over the Winter. In the end, however, the best laid genocidal plans are blown apart by a very nasty plague which kills more or less everyone. Hurrah! 

Did we mention that you can become a throwback by having sex with a throwback? Well, you can. Did we mention that a throwback, if frightened, will emit a 'rush of liquid anal wind'? Well, it will. Did we mention that it’s set in Shrewsbury? Well, it is. 

We’ve never been, but we now associate the place with rape, murder, vomit and hirsute inhabitants who haven’t evolved since before the Stone Age. Are we far off, do you think?

Thursday, 23 January 2014


No, of course not, you just sit your chubby arse down and let us get on with it, Captain. I'll see if I can spare one of our useful crew members for a second to make you a nice milky drink. Perhaps you can continue with your memoirs, I believe you were just about to start the chapter about how you single handedly overcame all the difficulties in crossing through space that has not changed since the dawn of time.  

Monday, 20 January 2014


We believe that long suppressed apocalyptic neurosis is the reason the US government are still so aggressively paranoid about everything, i.e. having unleashed the atomic genie seventy years ago, they are still psychologically scarred by the idea that someone might turn it on them. We understand entirely, but they need to get over it - talk it over with a good psychiatrist, perhaps - maybe take up golf.

There's that obsession with strength again. These comics are over fifty years old, but the message is like a sound bite from today's news. No country wants to be weak, of course, but, just like a Friday night, if you go out expecting trouble, you usually get into a fight - and the consequences can be unpleasant.

They call this era of US comics THE GOLDEN AGE, by the way, but pretty much everything is overshadowed by war (the last one; the current one; the next one) and the horrors of science. Bit like TOMTIT loving the seventies and forgetting about immersion heaters, strikes and the IRA, of course.

In 1967, country music renegade Johnny Paycheck recorded ‘The Cave’, a strange, time shifting paean to the end of the world. It’s one of a number of unsettling songs that Paycheck released on the Little Darlin’ label, including ‘(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone To Kill’, ‘(Like Me) You’ll Recover In Time’ (sung from the perspective of a jilted husband - in an asylum), ‘Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey’ and ‘If I’m Gonna Sink (I Might As Well As Go To The Bottom)’. 

For us, the best Country music is a perfect blend of the searingly honest and the completely contrived. Paycheck walked that line, his mannered delivery and sensational subject matter counter-balanced by his apparent sincerity and real life behaviour (drugs, drink, forgery, rape, shooting people), which established his credentials as a man permanently on the edge of a brawl or a breakdown. There was nothing fake about Johnny, except his name (his real name was Donald Lytle). He died in 2003, much older than his 64 years.

Friday, 17 January 2014


It's sensuous stuff, lava. Well, unless you're fleeing from it, that is. The idea of heating wax until it becomes all slinky and sexy was a good one, a great example of an inventor making unusual connections. Unbelievably, until Edward Craven Walker had his lamp related brain wave no-one had ever considered that love making and a red hot solution of molten wax and oil could work together, but work they most certainly do*.

The lava lamp is also of service if you are on the drugs, as you can peer meaningfully into the lamp and conjure drifting, globby pictures out of the wax and your own highness: look, there's a snake, and, ooh, there's a twisted branch and, oh, there's a big, fat orange bell end.   

Brilliantly, these images were specifically filmed for 'The Prisoner' - the footage appears as background projections in the main control room.  

* Craven Walker was a keen naturist and maker of smut films in his spare time. I have no doubt that he fully understood the erotic potential of his device. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Prolific pulp writer Edgar Rice Burroughs died in 1950, but left behind so many unfinished manuscripts and fragments of writing that 'new' novels of his were published up until 1976, long after changing attitudes and new liberties had rendered many of his viewpoints offensive. See also 'Tarzan & The Hottentot Slut'. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014


In 1987, some idiot thought it would be a good idea to make a film of the first ‘Gor’ novel, not least because it would give them the opportunity go to Mauritius and film lots of attractive girls in very small bikinis fighting each other. 

The finished product bears very little relation to the source material, which we would have had no problem with if the film makers had something better in mind but, clearly, they didn’t. At least if it had been a straight adaptation it would have appealed to the sort of people who take their girlfriends into butcher shops on a dog leash, but, as it is, it appeals to no-one, except maybe people who are so ironic they don’t know up from down anymore. We need not linger on the film, as us watching it in the first place was more than it deserved. Let’s get to the interesting part… 

In a move that could have been described as a coup if he hadn’t already prostituted his art a thousand times by this stage, the producers signed up the magnificent Oliver Reed to star as an evil tyrant King. Reed, looking weary and still sporting the ginger hair and beard he wore in ‘Castaway’, gives a broad but still interesting performance. 

He plays the King as a spoiled brat in a brutish body, a nasty bully who, like a Caligula or Heliogabalus, giggles like a naughty little boy as people are put to death in horrible ways. The rest of his day is spent glowering and bristling at the sheer injustice of the world not being exactly as he wants it at all times and you can see in his eyes that he is going to have to be very spiteful to somebody in order to make up for it. 

We know that at acting school they teach deportment and diction and fencing, but we’re not sure if they cover ‘getting an arrow through your neck’. No matter, Ollie is on hand to provide a master class on the subject. 

Oliver Reed is the sole reason that this rubbish is remotely watchable, as he so often was. We miss him a lot. There was a sequel made, but Reed wasn’t in it (arrow in neck related), so FUCK IT.

Friday, 10 January 2014


Since 1966, American academic Dr John Lange (writing under the name of John Norman) has published thirty fucking three novels set in a parallel universe on a 'counter-Earth' called Gor

Gor has been seeded with people, most of them abductees, by a technologically superior insectoid master race who allow their pets / prisoners advancements in some areas (medicine, farming, architecture) but keep strict controls over the elements that could lead to their overthrow as rulers (transport, weapons, communications). The resulting world is a strange hybrid of science fiction and ancient history, a place of sandals, slaves and space ships, a mythical dystopia permanently under the scrutiny of detached but jealous alien grasshopper Gods.

As you might expect from thousands upon thousands of accumulated pages, the fictional world of Gor is extremely involved, with every aspect of their geography, plant and animal life, society, law and infrastructure documented in often mind-numbing detail. The stories themselves tend to be a mixture of cosmic space opera, war, romance, philosophy, local politics, racism and phallocentric wish fulfilment, endlessly narrated by a number of different voices across many, many, many years.

Most controversially, the novels espouse a master/servant dynamic between the sexes, with women subservient to men in all regards, particularly sexually. The books themselves are often erotic in nature, assuming, of course. that you find slavery, misogynistic violence and rape erotic. 

A lot of people do, it seems, as a Gorean subculture has developed around Norman’s teachings, with several thousand followers in the so-called real world, including a small group operating out of a semi in Darlington. ‘The Master’ of this particular household is banned from the local Butchers for leading a young lady around on a dog leash. 

Norman further cashed in on his reputation as a bit of a shagger by publishing an ‘Imaginative Sex’ guide, naturally with an emphasis on the female slaves doing exactly want their male masters want. 53 detailed scenarios for sensual fantasies? On a once a month basis, that’s going to take ages! The scan isn’t ours, by the way: TOMTIT have dangerously low standards, but even we draw the line at second hand sex manuals. 

Since 2001, the changing attitudes of publishers and the public towards the glorification of sexual assault have meant that Norman’s Gor books have effectively been self-published, most recently as e-books. On paper or i-pad, however, they still manage to do the difficult job of being both offensive and boring, and for that, and his relentless devotion to this pointless cause, and his chauvinistic fuck book, we half-heartedly salute him. 

Oh, they also made a couple of 'Gor' films. Oliver Reed is in one of them. You can guess what's coming next, no doubt.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


"Dumarest needed the girl Kalin. Kalin who could visualise the terrors that were to come. A mysterious talent that he utilised to try to ward off the disasters of the future. Thus, together they had managed to survive Bloodtime on Logis, space disaster, the threat of enslavement on desolate Chron.

Now Kalin's images of the future were drawing closer in time; the visions chillingly sharper. Dumarest, ever alert, ever on watch, knew that danger threatened, but alone, could not even guess at its form.

More than ever he needed Kalin. And that massive fucking eye of hers."

Sunday, 5 January 2014



This cover features a rendition of the terrifying sonic apparition from the future that spontaneously appeared out of the musical equipment at the first ever Depeche Mode rehearsal in January,1980.

The Basildon boys immediately made a deal with the ghostly sound reptile and, within a few months, were on Top Of The Pops. The Electric Crocodile's side of the bargain is still yet to be fulfilled thirty four years on, but it is believed to entail the total destruction of the world and everyone on it. Except Depeche Mode*.

* Vince Clarke excluded. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014


Weird War formed in 2001 from the remains of two cult groups, The Make-Up and Royal Trux. Front man Ian Svenonius is a serial band starter, as well as being a man who knows how to write a classic pop song – and then how to subvert it so that it sounds lo-fi and disjointed and as if it was cobbled together in a burning shed at 3am. 

In this clip you can get a feel for their signature style, as well as their dry sense of humour and obsession with The Occult. 

After three albums, the group currently appear to have been superceded by a new Svenonius project called Chain and The Gang, but things in his world are fairly fluid so they may well be back. 

Weird War are named after a long running DC Comic which combined war, horror and sci fi to provide a series of unsettling (and occasionally ridiculous) ‘Twilight Zone’ type tales. We’ll come back to it, because there’s much to say, but, in the meantime, here’s a cover which recasts The Wermacht as a bunch of gorillas.