Greetings, ‘The Prisoner’ is a British television programme from 1967 that was written, directed and stared Patrick McGoohan. It has since developed a cult following. There was only one series ever made, which consists of 17 episodes, but there has also been one remake in the decades that followed the initial release. The mainstay of the cast is Patrick McGoohan as the mysterious spy given the moniker of Number Six while the most other notable role, that of Number Two, is rotated between different actors for most episodes. There are no shortage of cast members involved but due to its age, I’d argue that most of the actor’s involved simply wouldn’t have much name recognition for the modern audience but would have held more relevance to their contemporary viewers. The music was composed by Ron Grainer who had also worked on ‘Doctor Who’ and Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, a series not dissimilar to ‘The Twilight Zone’.
The plot begins, interestingly, in the intro sequence that plays at the beginning of most episodes. A man, later revealed to be an agent for a British intelligence service, gets in a heated confrontation with one of his handlers and angrily hands in his resignation in protest due to an unknown reason. After resigning, the man makes his way to his home in London but doesn’t realise that he has been followed by a shadowy figure. While in the midst of packing his things to leave, the secret agent realises too late that gas was seeping into the room. The spy collapses after inhaling the knockout gas and wakes up in a strange location known only as the Village. One of the first things noticed by the man, now assigned the title of ‘Number Six’ as a means of taking away his identity, is that the fellow residents of the Village have all had their names wiped as well. In the Village, everyone is a number.
Number Six comes to learn that the residents are free to roam around the Village as they please but that any attempts to escape will be stopped by various methods including capture by a sentient white sphere known as Rover. It quickly comes to Number Six’s attention that no one in the Village can be trusted for the jailors are intermingled in with the prisoners and some of the residents have come to accept or even love their captivity. Shortly after arriving, Number Six is greeted by Number Two who is an important figure that is deeply entrenched in the Village’s authoritarian structure. Number Six has been brought to the Village for one reason. The forces behind the Village, presumed to be either the Western or Eastern hegemonic powers, want to know the reason for Number Six’s resignation. While they try to coax it out of him or break him with forceful measures, Number Six remains stubbornly resolute to keeping that secret with him and is always planning to escape the clutches of the Village.
Despite the premise of each episode being essentially the same, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Prisoner’ and its colourful sixties feel as well as its utterly surreal moments that permeate throughout the show. The series is propelled by the inherent mystery of its premise and it is clear that even when the strange finale has concluded, it has no interest in providing answers to any of the questions it raised. I believe this quality would irk a lot of potential viewers but I found it to be intriguing nonetheless and simply appreciated the quirky story it was telling. I was particularly struck by Number Six’s constant struggle to remain an independent thinking individual, frequently challenging overbearing authorities that wanted to keep everyone imprisoned and in line. The attitude of those nameless residents who had acquiesced and conformed to the demands of the Village was a stark contrast to the freedom loving and charmingly rebellious Number Six. You might very well think that some of that description could resemble the political scene of the last few years but I, of course, couldn’t possibly comment.
Quote of the Day
I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I... am... a man!
The Elephant Man
Happy New Year: 2021 Review!
Greetings, New Year’s Eve is finally here and, to mark the occasion, so is my last blog update for 2021. As per usual, I will be discussing my picks for the best titles in the entertainment categories that I experienced or wrote about during these past several months. Feel free to comment below on what media you enjoyed in 2021 or if there are any particular upcoming projects that you are looking forward to in the next year.
Unfortunately, 2021 felt like a bit of a washout due to the lack of cultural events or memorable moments and a more cynical or perhaps, by this point, a more realistic person would argue that 2022 will be more of the same. Despite this, one thing to note about this year was the great effort made to celebrate 10 years of Write Wise. It is a great credit to this small community that the site is still growing strong after a decade in existence, that the stories are getting bigger and better and that there is no indication that it is slowing down. I am looking forward to what will happen next year on the site but for now I’ll be discussing my winning choices.
Television Show of the Year: GLOW
Staring Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron to name a few from a large and memorable cast, ‘GLOW’ lasted for 3 fantastic seasons before being cancelled by Netflix due to Covid-19 restrictions. As a result, the last planned season will likely never be seen which is a shame as it had ended on something of a cliff hanger and there were still many plotlines left to explore. The series is a dramatization of the real 1980s show, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and follows the increasingly complicated relations between the numerous women who participate in the theatrical wrestling matches. The tenuous friendship and personal rivalry between the leads of Ruth Wilder and Debbie Eagan is one of my favourite aspects about this programme and I’d recommend that you watch it if you haven’t done so already.
Book of the Year: The Hellbound Heart
Known for being the source material of the famed horror movie ‘Hellraiser’, the Hellbound Heart was written by Clive Barker in 1986. The book, published one year before the film was released, introduced readers to the horrifying and sadomasochistic world of the Cenobites and the iconic Pinhead as Kirsty attempts to escape their pleasurable torture. It is similar to the aforementioned movie for the most part but one key difference is Kirsty’s relationship to Rory for in the film adaptation she is his daughter but in the novel Kirsty is merely a friend. If you enjoyed the story on the big screen then I imagine you would appreciate the one on paper as well.
Game of the Year: Half-Life
There is not much that needs to be said about this classic first person shooter game. Released back in 1998, Half-Life lets the player control the silent protagonist of Gordon Freeman as he battles his way out of the Black Mesa Research Facility after an experiment goes horribly wrong. There is no shortage of enemy AIs in this beloved game, either extra-terrestrial or human, and the game play has a developed a nostalgic feel to it over time. Despite being a few decades old by this point, Half-Life and its sequels still stand out as a creative high point for gaming industry.
Film of the Year: The Elephant Man
A much more down to earth film one would expect from the surreal director David Lynch who introduced the world to the bizarre series of ‘Twin Peaks’ and the cult hit of ‘Eraserhead’, the Elephant Man is based on the life of Joseph Merrick and the deformities that made him a celebrity in Victorian England. John Hurt gives an impressive performance as Merrick, while under heavy prosthetics, and his touching friendship with Anthony Hopkin’s Frederick Treves is most certainly a highlight of the movie that is worth emphasising. I also appreciated the decision taken to have it in black and white as this give the picture an almost timeless quality to it.
That about wraps it up for 2021. I hope we will be able to look upon 2022 with fondness 12 months down the line. My blog will return in January, with its usual style, to review a famous pop culture television show from the 1960s that I enjoyed watching recently for the first time. Have a great New Year!
Quote of the Day
Can the Spider-Man come out to play?
The Green Goblin / Norman Osborn
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Merry Christmas 2021!
Greetings, it is that time of year again and that means it is time for me to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope that you have a good day tomorrow and are taking it easy for the next few days. As per usual, there is only one blog update left for the year in which I will be doing my annual review of the media I enjoyed. I had a lot of fun entering Write Wise’s challenge this year with my novelette, ‘The Night of the Gremlins!’, and found the entries submitted in the entirety of 2021 to be among some of the best work that we have produce as a blogging community so far. I’m already drawing up plans for my writing projects for the next year and I can’t wait to see what you are going to do next. Have a merry Christmas!
Quote of the Day
Merry Christmas, Alfred. Good will toward men... and women.
Last Night in Soho
Greetings, ‘Last Night in Soho’ is a 2021 horror film directed and co-written by Edgar Wright. The director is perhaps best known for his contributions on the Cornetto Trilogy but he was also involved in various works such as ‘Spaced’, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ ‘Ant-Man’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Baby Driver’. The film stars upcoming actress Thomasin McKenzie, known for being in Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’, as the main protagonist named Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner. Other notable cast members include Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, the late Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp and Pauline McLynn. The music was composed by Steven Price and, similar to ‘Baby Driver’, this movie contains a lot of retro hits from artists such as Peter and Gordon, Sandie Shaw, the Kinks, Cilla Black and Barry Ryan.
The plot begins when aspiring fashion designer, Ellie, is accepted into the London College of Fashion as a first year student. After spending most of her life in rural Cornwall, Ellie is excited by the prospects of moving to metropolitan London and the sense of freedom that comes with it. She quickly comes to realize that her optimistic dreams and the harsh reality are too very different scenarios as her love of Swinging Sixties culture, her rural background as well as her dress style makes her stand out from the rest of the students. It is also subtly hinted that Ellie has a connection to the supernatural when she sees her deceased mother’s reflection in mirrors which further adds to her alienation. After deciding that she wasn’t going to get on with her snobbish roommate called Jocasta, Ellie decided to take up accommodation in a rundown bedsit run by the elderly Miss Collins.
Ellie is more at home in the older flat as she is able to play her old hits in peace and is encouraged to do so by the nostalgic Collins. During her first night there, Ellie falls asleep and wakes up in another time. She has been transported back to the glitz and glamour of London during the 1960s in a dreamy vision. At the Café de Paris she watches as a confident blonde makes her way around the club and introduces herself as Sandie to a teddy boy named Jack. Sandie explains that she wants to be a singer at the Café. Being a manager, Jack agrees to launch her career in showbiz and the two begin a relationship in which he gives Sandie a love bite on her neck. Ellie wakes from the blissful dream and discovers the hickey is on her own neck. Suspecting the dream may have been real in some sense, Ellie looks forward to visiting the London of the past once more but is oblivious to how her paranormal perception will come to haunt her.
I really enjoyed this film and appreciated the visual style Wright brought to the screen as well as the accompanying soundtrack that really added to the experience. I was never entirely sure where the plot was headed but I certainly had fun watching it unfold towards its climactic ending and trying to unravel the mystery. Most characters were well developed, with Ellie and Sandie being particularly well done, but some of the more secondary characters never got much chance to grow in my opinion although this is a minor point. After thoroughly enjoying this and his previous work ‘Baby Driver’, I am keen to see what else Edgar Wright has in store for his next venture in storytelling.
Quote of the Day
Song is over, Baby. But I'm afraid you still have to face the music.
The Quiz Part 13
Greetings, November has come once again and that can only mean one thing. My quiz, that now long standing annual tradition, has returned to put you through the paces and see who can come out on top. The answers are, as always, at the bottom of the page and please remember to put your score in the comments. Joh earned first place last year with 9 correct answers out of 10 while Aaron and Mark tied in second place with 7 points each. I’m intrigued to see who will come where in the ranking this year. Good luck!
1. David Burke and Edward Hardwicke both played Dr. John Watson in Granada Television’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ but who portrayed the titular character in what is regarded as one of the finest performances depicting the famed detective?
2. Who said this? – "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, then who the Hell else are you talking- You talking to me? Well, I'm the only one here."
3. Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, the King of the Lombards and the Emperor of the Romans, formed which European empire in the Middle Ages?
4. Which of these villains is primarily from Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery? – A. Red Skull B. Doctor Doom. C. Magneto. D. The Shocker E. Thanos
5. How many Wallace and Gromit movies are there in the main series when the feature film ‘Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ is included but spin-offs such as ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ are not counted?
6. What is the name of the haunted American town in which the Headless Horseman pursues Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving’s famous story that was published in 1820?
7. Name the character.
8. Unscramble the letters to reveal an actor- MHERUYPH ATOGBR
9. Was ‘Truth’ published before or after ‘The Feud’ on Write Wise?
10. Which Nintendo video game console was the successor to the Wii and was released in 2012?
1. Jeremy Brett
2. Travis Bickle
3. The Carolingian Empire
4. D. The Shocker
5. 5 Films
6. Sleepy Hollow
7. The G-Man
8. Humphrey Bogart
10. Nintendo Wii U
Quote of the Day
Ah, Gunther, I can't pay for this right now because I'm not working, so I've had to cut down on some luxuries like uh, paying for stuff.
Greetings, ‘Silver Bullet’ is a movie from 1985 that was directed by Dan Attias, which is currently the only feature film that he has directed in his career, and it is based on the Stephen King novella, ‘Cycle of the Werewolf’. The book had only been published two years earlier in 1983 and skews early on in King’s bibliography. The movie has a considerable cast, staring the likes of Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Megan Follows, Terry O’Quinn and Everett McGill who may be best known for his reoccurring role on Twin Peaks. The music was composed by Jay Chattaway who is mostly known for his work on several Star Trek series including Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise.
The plot is set in the quiet town of Tarker’s Mills, Maine, and begins when a lone railroad worker by the name of Arnie Westrum is working late into the night. The isolated Arnie is slaughtered by an unseen attacker, the result of which severs the head from his body. His mangled remains are found the next morning to the shock of the residents in the sleepy little town. That would prove to be only the first murder and the killer would keep returning to pick off unsuspecting locals. Among the victim’s is Brady Kincaid, a close friend of the wheelchair bound child Marty Coslaw. The latest murder is the last straw for the people of Tarker’s Mills and, having grown dissatisfied with the unsuccessful efforts of the local sheriff Joe Hales, they form a vigilante group. Joe, fearing what an unruly mob could do in the name of justice, tries to stop them but is ultimately powerless to reel them in. The hunt goes disastrously for the vigilantes in which some are killed by the attacker they sought.
With the murderer still on the loose, Hale orders a curfew to be put in place and cancels any official 4th July celebrations in the interests of public safety. The Coslaw family decide to hold their own celebration and Marty’s eccentric uncle, Red, is invited to join in on the festivities. Red gifts Marty with a custom built wheelchair, complete with motor engine, and named it the ‘Silver Bullet’ upon delivering it to his nephew. He also gives Marty some fireworks, hoping that it would help cheer him up after the death of his friend and being confined to his own home. Marty is thankful for the presents and sneaks out of his room that night to let off some fireworks at a bridge some miles away from his home. He isn’t alone. The fireworks draw the attention of the werewolf. A terrified Marty, thinking quickly, fires a rocket at the creature once he sees it. The firework lodges in the werewolf’s eye and explodes but, as Marty flees, it is revealed that the monster is still alive.
‘Silver Bullet’ is a solid werewolf movie overall and worth a watch for fans of lycanthropes but it wouldn’t be on par with the often touted pinnacle of werewolf movies, ‘An American Werewolf in London’. The book, which is King’s shortest novel as it is comprised of only 127 pages, and the film are fairly similar in terms of plot. While they both attempt to give a voice to several characters in the larger setting of the town, it mostly focuses on Marty and his unusual uncle as he accidently uncovers the identity of the werewolf. If you’re looking for a werewolf movie to watch and have already seen some of the more famous names in the genre, I’d certainly recommended giving ‘Silver Bullet’ a go.
Quote of the Day
It was the boogeyman.