Friday, 28 February 2014


Peter Haining must have written or edited about two billion books in his lifetime and yet, when he died in 2007, he was still only 67 years old. He remains a hero to anyone who grew up in the last forty years in the grip of a worryingly intense obsession with mystery, monsters and the macabre - and, of course, for lovers of massive, angry dogs with comedy teeth. 

Amazing, indeed. Not sure if a car can legally 'murder' but, yeah, everything else seems plausible. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


‘Wild Beasts’ is a Italian film from 1984 which is cagily set in ‘a Northern European city’, even though the next shot immediately establishes the location as Frankfurt, here shown as a sleazy place of pollution and drug abuse, a shithole littered with dirty foam, plastic bags and discarded syringes. We’ve been to Frankfurt, by the way, and it is an exceptionally clean, almost sterile place, although our main memory of it is apple based food stuffs and strong beer. In reality, of course, the film was shot mainly in Italy and, apparently, South Africa.  

A somewhat late entry into the ‘nature runs amuck’ sub-genre of seventies films that combined ecological concerns with exploitation tropes,  i.e. nature takes revenge against the human s who are fucking up the planet, the film soon moves on to a question that has plagued mankind for many years: what would happen if zoo animals were given PCP? Funnily enough, it turns out to not be a particularly good idea although, in the interests of balance, it should be pointed out that the dose had been administered by accident, through the city’s drug tainted water.

When there is a power cut, the creature’s electronic cages spring open, and the hopped up lions and tigers and bears get out and start tearing apart the zoo keepers, and angry elephants smash through the outer wall and start rampaging down the streets and stomping on people’s heads. There’s all sorts of genuinely surreal juxtapositions and assorted fun to be had at first: a cheetah chases a Volkswagen Beetle, a tiger gets onto the tube, a herd of oxen smash up a pinball arcade. In an unforgivable move, however, the film makers make the apes and monkeys sit it out, thereby missing a stupendous opportunity to create the greatest film ever made. But that’s not the only negative.  

The film is often quite astonishing in how closely it places actors and animals together, especially the stunt men, who allow themselves to be wrestled to the ground by hyenas and swatted around by lions on a very regular basis. The suspicion that health and safety rules were not strictly adhered to is confirmed almost immediately when lead perm John Aldrich (playing a character called Rupert) puts a huge tiger in a playful headlock and, later, there is a quite terrifying scene in which an angry polar bear closely pursues some children down a corridor, presumably while an ‘animal expert’ had him in the sights of a high calibre rifle. 

Unforgivably, there are also a number of sequences in which the animals are clearly in distress and, worst of all, scenes of actual, quantifiable cruelty, including live rats being torched with a flame thrower and big cats being let into a pen with cows and pigs and horses and filmed as they attack and kill their terrified prey.  That’s some unnecessary shit any way you slice it, and clearly indicates that there are beasts behind the camera as well as in front of it.

In the end, as it always bloody does, the PCP wears off, and the animals go back to their usual cuddly, compliant selves (Aldrich tickles the blood stained belly of the previously murderous polar bear, and the happy creature rolls around making contented noises). In a stupid twist ending, it is revealed that children have been drinking the Angel Dust laced water, and have gone kill crazy, too. It all gets sorted out, of course, although, this time, a flamethrower is not employed. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014


In a few months, this will make sense. Not much sense, but at least some, probably.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


It’s no coincidence that an anagram of comics is ‘cosmic’. Actually, it is a coincidence, but factual accuracy isn’t important here. Marvel comics always wrung every possible nuance they could out of astral planes, other dimensions, bizarre dream worlds and parallel universes, especially when the psychedelic era dawned and people started contemplating the infinite and saying ‘wow’ a lot. Indeed, in the Marvel universe, the Age of Aquarius kept dawning up until around 1980, and that's pretty far out. 

Here, in a comic from 1977, Dracula meets Doctor Stephen Strange (along with The Silver Surfer, THE psychedelic hero of the era) in an explosion of mind expanding light, which, luckily, is arresting enough that the reader doesn’t immediately notice that, apart from slightly different costumes and a rather small horse, the adversaries look more or less identical. A moustache will do that for you.

Saturday, 15 February 2014


These days, the vestiges of fame predominantly clinging to Hot Gossip are as the flexible and untamed troupe of half-naked jezebels who gyrated provocatively during the Kenny Everett Video Show. Their musical career, which spanned from 1978 to 1985, is perhaps less well documented, although their first single (and only hit) ‘I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper’ remains a fond memory for fans of hi-energy space camp disco kitsch which, let’s face it, is more or less everyone, isn’t it? 

In 1980, they released ‘Space Invaders’. It wasn’t particularly successful, but it did nicely encapsulate the spirit of the emerging arcade gaming industry: fun, trivial, repetitive, annoying, hopelessly outdated almost as soon as it’s released. 

Don’t expect to like it, but do be aware that it will probably haunt your waking hours from now on, and then creep insidiously into your dreams. Eventually you'll contemplate walking into the sea. If you do, warn your family not to expect anything from us in the way of compensation: we've been down this road before and, apparently, our I.Q's are below the level at which we can be found legally responsible for any of our actions.  

We’re going to start posting a bit of hi-energy space camp disco kitsch with synthesised sitars at the end from now on, which will be great, won’t it? 

We’ll take your stunned silence as a resounding ‘yes’, shall we?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


A glittering galaxy of pure science fiction...

The passions of today in all the possible postures of tomorrow...

Depths we know not how to dream of...

Desires we know not how to imagine...

A cover we cannot hope to understand...

Some bloke in a weird wetsuit carrying a dolly bird whilst simultaneously surfing without any visible means of support...

It has to be 1967... 

It is.

Sunday, 9 February 2014


‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ is a favourite film of ours, and one of the scenes that is permanently glued to the inside of our skulls is when Thomas Jerome Newton (the cadaverous but quite brilliant David Bowie) is travelling through the American mid-west in the back of a limousine and looks out of the window to see that, somehow, the car has been spotted by a group of settlers from a hundred years previously. 

There is no explanation for this unsettling, green tinged time warp, and it passes almost instantaneously - as it reaches a certain point the limo disappears in a ball of blue light, then the gawping settlers do the same - presumably leaving an empty landscape. 

The interesting thing is not that Newton can see the settlers (he’s an alien, he has special powers), but that they can see him – and they, understandably, are pretty freaked out. So who is haunting who? Is this how ghosts happen: momentary temporal shifts from the past or future that leave indelible marks on the landscape? 

The idea of a ‘backwards haunting’ is an interesting one, i.e. the spectres are from the future rather than the past. In Nigel Kneale’s 1963 teleplay ‘The Road’, inhabitants of an 18th century village are disturbed by paranormal noises and visions they can’t understand, but we can recognise as psychic reverberations from the aftermath of a nuclear war that won't happen for another two hundred years. You’ll have to take our word for it on that one, though, as the BBC wiped it after transmission.

Friday, 7 February 2014


TOMTIT favourites Bong have a new album out. It's a 70 minute slab of cosmic doom split into two relentlessly brutal tracks that move at the inexorable speed of tectonic plates, grinding together to create a sonic earthquake that has the power of an imploding black hole with a netronium yolk. So, yeah, it's not pop, and it's called 'Stoner Rock', which is also not pop. Only buy it if you want to go to strange, primeval places - and aren't necessarily bothered about coming back. 

We love that this is a 'radio edit'. This is not going to be played on the radio. Not until we get our own show, that is. Which might happen, so watch it.  

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


A rare advert for the controversial reboot issue of D.C Thompson's long running sci fi comic 'Starblazer'. Hastily withdrawn after a heated board meeting, a single batch went out by mistake to half a dozen Leicestershire newsagents, all of which later burned down in mysterious circumstances.  

Monday, 3 February 2014


'In a world predating history as we know it, 
the people cringed under an evil rule. 
Black clad warlocks enslaved anybody useful to them, 
and spilled the blood of those that were not'.  

That's the back cover blurb for a remarkably contemporary sounding tale from a 1987 edition of 'Star Blazer' .

Essentially a sci fi companion to publisher D.C Thompson's much more successful 'Commando'* imprint, 'Star Blazer' suffered from poor distribution and the fluctuating fortunes of the fantasy market, but still managed to run from 1984 to 1991, racking up 281 easy-and-cheap-to-find-on-ebay editions.  

* The indomitable 'Commando' started publication in 1961, and is still going strong - with over 4,500 issues to date.