Halloween Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street – “The Undiscovered Country…”

Freddy Krueger and A Nightmare on Elm Street

Last Halloween I achieved a phenomenally important life aim: watching the complete A Nightmare on Elm Street series in a row. Who doesn’t want to do that? Even Freddy versus Jason? Yes! Again! So, what was the result? Well, this blog for the 30th anniversary to begin with… From humble beginnings to the legendary third part…

IT WAS A FORTUITOUS DELIVERY TO MY YOUNGER SELF THAT KICK-STARTED THIS, WINGING ITS WAY ACROSS THE ATLANTIC IN THE LATE 1980s.  A stash of bubblegum cards (Bubble gum not included, Customs) sent by a cousin, mainly horror – with comedy taglines attached to images from Fright Night, Chucky, various Stephen King adaptations…  It was the era of Garbage Pail Kids but this was much more real: Hollywood real.  And standing out from the stash, more than any other gruesome, was Freddy Krueger.  He was credited with lines far funnier than in any of the films I’d soon learn, the battered stills capturing comedy moments less scary than that Nightmare influenced episode of Byker Grove.  In many subsequent years I’d see the first instalment a number of times, but last year was a chance to see it all in its franchise spanning glory, thanks to the advent of DVDs, DVD players, box sets and a far exceeded 18th birthday.

“One”… A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

“The scarred face, the striped jumper, the fedora almost as famous as Indy’s…”

Wes Craven’s definitive film kicks off with a heavy fairy tale vibe, one that’s faded into increasing familiarity over the past 30 years. “One, Two, Freddy’s Coming for you” runs the nursery rhyme at the film’s heart, the only concession to that horrific secret hidden at the heart of the Elm Street community. That community’s part of the film’s necessary reality. Yes, the fact that the fairytale exists is a little strange, as do the various choices by law enforcement throughout the film, but not staggeringly so.  Mainly, there needs to be that semblance of reality to establish boundaries for dreams to blur.
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Batman at 75: Gotham City on Film II – Cracked Actor in the 21st Century

Gotham II Bane

The tale of a paved and cracked actor. As Gotham turns one of the most the famous fictional cities into a television character, a look at how the city that has Batman as its guardian has fared on screen since the tun of the century…

THE FIRST PART OF THIS RETROSPECTIVE TOOK A LOOK AT THE FICTIONAL CITY AS IT WAS PORTRAYED ON THE BIG SCREEN THROUGHOUT THE 20TH CENTURY. With a new century the hero was fast entering his seventh decade, so what could that mean for one of America’s oldest cities? Well, the cinematic adventures of the previous decade had forced the bat glove, with a need to reboot and retune. It was time for something darker, edgier and less comic book. So, Warner Brothers turned to Christopher Nolan.

Batman Begins (2005)

Bruce Wayne couldn’t simply be a creation of his home town

It would be wrong to simply describe Batman Begins as more realistic, but its palette was instantly expanded to include it. No film had really touched the origins of Batman; the nearest stabs being 1989’s freshly minted suit and Forever’s trawling through childhood trauma. Starting with the discovery of the Bat Cave in the grounds of Wayne Manor, on the outskirts of Gotham’s Palisades, Begins then takes us out of Gotham for long swathes. Bruce Wayne couldn’t simply be a creation of his home town.
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Batman at 75: Gotham City on Film I – Ill Met By Moonlight in the 20th Century

Batman's Gotham City on film

The tale of a paved and cracked actor. As Gotham turns one of the most the famous fictional cities into a television character, the first part of a look at how Batman’s city that has fared on screen, From the Manhattan of the 1940s to the nadir of 1990s excess…

“GOTHAM CITY… CITY OF JUSTICE, A CITY OF LOVE, A CITY OF PEACE, FOR EVERYONE OF US…” IS HOW R KELLY SERENEDED GOTHAM CITY ON THE TIE-IN ALBUM FOR 1997’S BATMAN AND ROBIN. One of the greatest mis-readings in popular music for one of the stupendously misguided films in cash cow history.

A jump to the comics may help. “I’ve forgotten what Gotham feels like… Night after night, hopelessness just tries to beat down anything good”.

That’s more like it. An optimistic analysis from the primary coloured, long-livid and original Green Lantern Alan Scott on a rare occasion he worked with the Dark Knight (Ed Brubaker’s Made of Wood).

From Green Lantern, through Catwoman, Gotham Central, all the spin-offs, contagions, earthquakes, Scott Snyder’s skilful rebooting as a City of Owls in the New 52 through to Lego:Batman, Arkham Origins and the expansive animated portrayals… Gotham has probably been detailed more than any other fictional city. Since it replaced New York as the Caped Crusader’s hometown in the 1940s it’s become a character in its own right, a definitive part of the myth of the Batman.

But on the big and small screens it’s a different story. Read more…

Doctor Who and the halfway point of Series 8

Doctor Who Half Face Man and Series 8

A quick stop and listen now Dr Who series 8 has reached the fixed point of half-season. Spoilers for the six broadcast episodes are guaranteed, but no conspiracy and little speculation – just as look at how The Twelfth’s bedding in… 


Moffat has clearly settled on the direction for his period of showrunning

The overall impression is that it’s an outstanding series so far, but for all the great direction, cinematography and music and fine acting there are non-sequiturs and narrative glitches abounding.  The Dalek that wants to fix itself, who rates the destruction of Daleks as exclusive to killing humans, the chalk that disappears, the writing that appears, Cousin It in the bed, why Orson walked into a restaurant in full garb to beckon a girl he didn’t know and didn’t pick something up from the kitchen…


There’s no point picking on these.  Steven Moffat has clearly settled on the direction for his period of showrunning, and this series is its golden age – Like early Hinchcliffe and Key to Time Williams… It simply doesn’t matter if it makes sense.  I can see why. An irascible and hard-working writer-producer, he’s endured criticism. So you may as well pile up the plot-holes as it’s impossible to torpedo an absence of logic..  In any event, picking plot holes in a work of fiction, especially one with such a broad format, built on impossibility… Is a  thankless task isn’t it?

Strands of Time and Space

Searching for logic here is pointless

Away from that, there have been three strands to what’s certainly been an involving series.
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