“Prepare your minds for a new scale of scientific values!” Or not, if you’ve seen Forbidden Planet already…
Sole Of Sci-Fi has visited Altair IV before this year, but this time I thought I’d show you round the Krell machine buried beneath the planet. These scenes in Forbidden Planet remain my favourite special FX sequences in film history. I was totally bowled over by them when I first saw them as a kid, and unlike many other special FX from the ’50s, their power to impress me hasn’t lessened in the slightest in the ensuing years. I still get a thrill every time I watch them, and I still totally buy into the idea that Morbius and co are wandering around in a machine 20 miles deep and wide. The word vertiginous was created for the Krell machine.
It’s not just the scale. Aesthetically the machine is a masterpiece too, the pinnacle of what I’ve been trying to coin “valve-punk” for the last 25 years. It’s like somebody took the electricity sub-station that hummed ominously at the end of the road where I grew up, and expanded it to vast proportions. The gagrgntuan crackles of electricity that occasionally leap from one piece of the machine to another feel like intelligent, malevolent lightning. I have no idea what intelligent lightning means, but that’s what it is.
Quick bit of boasting now. The book, The Sci-Fi Chronicles, to which I made a whole bunch of contributions, is now for sale here. It’s been getting fantastic reviews (see here and here) and nobody yet has said, “But the Red Dwarf section is rubbish”, so I’m happy. I think me entry on Irwin Allen is one of my favourite things I’ve ever written; a great example of covering a lot of subject matter in a very concise word count. Shame the publisher doesn’t seem to be providing contributors with free copies though.
And finally, a rant. My vote for Villain Of The Year goes to the evil genius who put up the diversion signs on the Bath to Bristol cycle path. It’s a masterpiece in stupid positioning: signs placed where traffic queues at lights, so cars constantly hide them; signs placed at junctions where it’s not clear which road the arrow is pointing down; signs that send you up a massive hill.
I just about managed to get to Bristol in the daylight without getting lost. Sadly I became hideously lost on the way back in the dark. A journey that normally takes me 35 minutes took over an hour!
No cycling today. Just more reviewing.
See you tomorrow.
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