Friday, 29 November 2013


This dog is from outer space. He can do all sorts of stuff that makes The Cat From Outer Space and Digby, The Biggest Dog In The World look like right mugs. We won't give any more away just in case this is on your 'to read' pile, or is the next masterwork under discussion at your Book Club.

The frontispiece carries the dedication -

'In memory of Ching, 
whose spirit now roams the stars' 

Don't mourn for Ching, he or she is with Laika, Pchyolka and Mushka now, probably rooting through an alien's bin.  

The cover reminded us of the terrifying climax of the superb 1984 Italian art film 'Rats: Night Of Terror'. 

We accept no responsibility for soiled undergarments. We won't even acknowledge that we have a washing machine, even though it's right there in the corner, and we can all see it. 

Monday, 25 November 2013


In ‘The Slime Beast’ (1974), archaeologists visit The Wash looking for King John’s lost treasure but instead find a mucus covered outer space creature with few social skills and an insatiable appetite for human guts, brains and breasts. The monster is impervious to bullets, but hates being set on fire (who doesn’t?). A flame thrower based solution has to wait as it is half-day closing, so all of the shops are closed. Seriously. 

There are gruesome killings, gruesome sex scenes (“Don’t draw out. I want all of you, even if it means I have a baby”) and all of this takes a mere 110 pages to relate, hence the 110 word review.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Sitcoms are one of the most difficult television formats to maintain, which is why, if they are popular, they often go on for slightly too long, beyond when they may have exhausted the original idea or ‘jumped the shark’*. 

Case in point: the Ronnie Corbett vehicle ‘Sorry!’, which ran from 1981 to 1988 and documented the pathetic life of Timothy Lumsden (Corbett), a middle aged librarian whose every move was governed by his overbearing mother. Clearly a metaphor for the Thatcher years, ‘Sorry!’ ran out of steam in its sixth series but, due to popular demand and the BBC’s ongoing difficulties in developing time travel sit-com ‘Goodnight, Sweetheart’**, a seventh series was commissioned, which is where things got weird. 

The problem is, of course, that sit coms necessarily revolve around a situation - and situations, by their very nature, are usually in a state of flux. With ‘Sorry!’ it was clear that Timothy Lumsden would need to move forward, to find a girlfriend, to get a life - or to simply surrender to being alone and miserable and probably end up killing himself, which, any way you look at it, is not particularly funny. 

Having used up a myriad of storylines in the preceding 36 episodes, series seven is notable for some bizarre diversions, not least the third episode (‘Who’s That Lady?’) in which Tim, wishing to get a woman’s perspective, goes out in drag and gets touched up in a club car park by Nicky Henson, and the disturbing fifth episode, ‘Better Out Than In’, in which Timothy becomes possessed by ancient evil. 

After unpacking a delivery of supposedly new library books, Timothy becomes drawn to an aged tome bound in human flesh. Reading it aloud opens one of the portals of Hell, and poor Timmy is taken over by Assyrian winged demon, Pazuzu - with predictably hilarious results! 

As a young man, I can remember laughing like a drain at the bit where Mother goes out to the shops and, as she steps out of the front door, is hit on the shoulder by what she assumes is a spot of rain, only to look up and see a laughing Timmy urinating out of an upstairs window, his eyes rolling back in his head. That’s a lot funnier that Del Boy falling through that bar, yet, for some reason, it is ranked only second on the Channel 5 ‘Great Comedy Moments’ list.

"Sorry, Timothy isn't in right now"

'Let the power of Christ compel you!'

Mother gets in on it.

The climax to the episode, in which Tim’s Father conducts a DIY exorcism, is notable for its pre-watershed use of 98 strong swear words, including 60 instances of ‘f___’, twelve ‘motherf_____’s, three ‘c___sucker’s and twenty three uses of the word ‘cunt’. Numerous complaints were made to the Broadcasting Standards Commission but, ultimately, the BBC were exonerated as every single instance of rude dialogue was countered by the phrase ‘Language, Timothy’, making it clear that the use of the words was socially unacceptable. 

One of the more outlandish twenty seven minutes in British broadcasting history, ‘Better Out Than In’ was watched by almost 30 million people, a statistic only beaten by the series finale***, in which Tim’s father dies and, after the funeral, Tim strangles his mother and interferes with the corpse, a downbeat but sadly inevitable ending to a much loved show. 

*    The phrase ‘jump the shark’ was originally coined after a 1975 episode of ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ in which Compo went surfing on Ramsden Reservoir on Nora Batty’s ironing board and, inexplicably, was menaced by a rubber Great White. This moment is usually cited as the end of the show as a credible entity. Unabashed, the programme continued for another 35 years.

**   ‘Goodnight, Sweetheart’ eventually debuted in 1993 after almost ten years of intensive development. It is generally considered the greatest sitcom of all time. 

*** The final episode was watched by 80 million people, i.e. everyone in Britain and half of France.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Seems like the perfect time for recriminations if you ask us. 

In the next few frames, the plane crashes, and the baby is lost. He is saved by pseudo Greek Gods with elemental responsibilities* and then returned to his grieving parents fully charged with mastery of the elements as the amazing all new NATURE BOY! 

Oh, and he bloody hates crime!

* King Neptune (sea), King Gusto (wind), King Fura (fire), Queen Eartha (earth), Queen Allura (love), Queen Azura (sky), King Electra (electricity), King Friga (cold). Quite a complicated set up. It's like 'Game Of Thrones' on some sort of stimulant.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Oliver Reed was a man who wore himself on his sleeve, a powerful actor who found his acting roles limited by his own enormous personality. After 'Oliver' (1968), Reed became an international star, but he had been working in films for ten years, playing a variety of characters, most of whom were either brutes or basket cases, often both.

In 'The Shuttered Room' (1967) he plays Ethan, a thuggish Brando-esque yokel with a variable American accent, a penchant for harrassment and a neurotic dread of sex. 

The film is based on H.P Lovecraft, has parts of Norfolk standing in for Massachusetts, and can boast a jittery, creaky squeaky score by the stupendous Basil Kirchin. Beyond that, it's all about Reed and his eyes and his head, particularly the bit at the front. The face.
Let's take a look at Ethan's emotions/reactions one by one.

Ethan has rage fermenting inside of him, and this manifests itself in physical aggression and intimidating posturing.

Ethan is listening, but he is a bit thick, so he doesn't really get it, like a child listening to his parents bickering about National Insurance contributions.

Ethan is being told off. Reed always had a great facility to look like a small boy, no matter how old and how big he got.

Ethan is facing an unpalatable truth, in this case, an opportunity for sexual intercourse he knows he is too mixed up to take. The slight incline of his head shows both his reluctance and revulsion at the offer.

Ethan stares, but his dangling belt gives away what's really happening in this encounter, a big, floppy nothing.

It's enough to make him turn to an old friend for help... actually, that's an empty jug, but no Ollie Reed piece is complete without mentioning how very thirsty he always was.

You can reed more about Read soon.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


If, like us, you like the idea of a super intelligent top secret agent / super hero called Colin, then this is the book for you. 

Colin looks a little like a young Oliver Reed on the cover, which is good, but his famous brain appears to be turning green, which is very bad. Seriously, if any part of your body is turning green, get it looked at. 

Perhaps Colin is turning into one of the 'mental vegetables' referenced on the back cover. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


You're not really alive unless you spend a small amount of time thinking about when you're going to die, and how. 

Whereas you'd like to think you might get taken out by a sniper, or sacrifice yourself saving others, it's more likely that you'll die in a hospital bed - or in the street, like a dog. A small crowd will gather, then disperse because they need to go on shopping and your lifeless body is depressing them. 

If you need cheering up about it, though, watch the above clip from 'Chosen Survivors' and be assured: whatever else happens - you won't be going out like that.

If you're intrigued by the clip, we can reveal that the film it comes from is about a group of people who are sitting out a thermo-nuclear war in a bunker two thousand feet under the ground. Unfortunately, they are sharing the subterranean space with a million pissed off vampire bats. Guy N. Smith would have been proud.

Here's a trailer.

In many ways, it's a pretty stupid film, but TOMTIT think stupid is clever. It's a coping mechanism.  

Thursday, 7 November 2013


In the mid-seventies, an ill-defined patch of nothing roughly located between Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda became an unexpected geographic celebrity, a notorious place where no man, boat or aeroplane was safe, where things just disappeared, never to return. Was the cause natural, unnatural or supernatural? Was it perhaps extra-terrestrial? And what was a bare faced Galen from ‘Planet Of The Apes’ doing there? 

In the ‘The Fantastic Journey’ pilot, a group of eggheads (and the lead boffin’s son) are out innocently doing science in this so-called Bermuda Triangle when an ominous green cloud engulfs their boat. After some swirly effects, the party find themselves shipwrecked, trapped on a bizarre and mysterious island where all sorts of wildlife and all sorts of people from all sorts of times and places and planets co-exist. Within about twenty minutes, for instance, our shipwrecked protagonists have met a chilled out new age Doctor from the 23rd century, as well as tangled with a group of angry 18th century pirates, led by a man who looks like Ian McShane, only younger and smaller. 


The series that followed built on this premise, but only ran for nine episodes, so left a number of unanswered questions and under-developed concepts in the wake of its premature cancellation. What is clear is that the bizarre and mysterious island had an endless supply of lurex, as almost everyone seems to be wearing it (especially the men, resulting in some distracting and unpleasant lumps and bumps in the crotchal region). 

Most of the original characters were supposedly ‘returned to their own time’ (i.e. fired) after the pilot, leaving a core crew of the hippy future guy, the scientist’s son, the black Doctor (mainly there for fighting and shouting ‘right on’) and, as they went along, a foxy half alien, half Atlantean telepath miniskirt lady and her psychic cat and, best of all, shifty, waspish Roddy McDowall as a shifty, waspish scientist who, in the end, despite wearing all black, turns out to be a bit of a sweetheart. 

This motley crew traipse around day after day in the same clothes looking for a way home. The separate parts of the island are reached via flashing laser portals which instantly transport the traveller to their next stop, although it isn’t clear if they are travelling through time as well as space. Either way, on this ‘fantastic journey’, they encounter lots of people from the future, several robots and some green faced Hispanic looking people in a series of silly scenarios that tick the boxes in terms of sci fi television cliché (hey, there’s a society ruled by sinister kids; a society ruled by an evil tyrant; a society ruled by sexy women and evil tyrant Joan Collins, etc.) as well as traditional drama staples like haunted houses and doomed romances. 


The following scene is from an episode in which our travellers happen across an enormous but totally deserted fairground. Unabashed by just how incredibly creepy that is, and undeterred by the fact that, wherever they go, people want to kill them, they amble happily over to the site in search of fun. As they approach, all the lights go on and the music starts and the Merry-Go-round goes merrily round and all that and STILL they don't run away. To be honest, they deserve the quasi-mythological, hairy, cosmic horror that comes next...

If anyone can explain where the thunder and lightning at the end comes from, we'd be very grateful.

The whole programme is as daft as daft can be, and extremely enjoyable, especially when those wonderful analogue synths kick in. Cheap and shoddy, occasionally laughable, the show nevertheless has a sense of (mostly unfulfilled) mystery, a feeling that anything could happen because all the clocks are broken and the maps are wrong. Thirty years later, someone will throw loads of money at this concept and call it ‘Lost’

Interestingly, after a blaze of publicity and some best selling books, it was very quickly proved that stories about the Devil's Triangle were just that, stories, and the supporting evidence mere invention, urban legend, i.e. statistically, that area of sea is no more dangerous than any other area of sea, and most incidents occurring there had quite prosaic explanations. Human nature is such, however, that people still believe in the various fraudulent claims made about The Triangle, and there are many who remain wary and frightened of it, although much of this may be down to Barry Manilow’s terrifying 1981 hit single of the same name*. 

*The Wikipedia entry for this song is worth quoting in full:"Bermuda Triangle" is a song by Barry Manilow, from his album Barry. Released as a single in 1981, it reached number 15 in the UK charts, and number 16 in Germany.The song features tonicizations, the cycle of fifths and a brief modulation to the tonic minor, which represents Manilow 'losing his woman'.

Monday, 4 November 2013


We know what you're thinking...'A black and white postcard? Blimey, I didn't know Stonehenge was THAT old!'.

Well, it is, maybe even a little bit older. Yes, this is an informative site. No, thank you.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed an interesting addition to the familiar megalithic panorama - that's right, a rare 1911 Bristol Pier Monoplane.

We don't fancy it's chances.