Stuart Gordon, Gone Beyond – 24th March, 2020

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We bid a very fond farewell this week to Stuart Gordon – visionary director; subversive social commentator; cheeky bugger. In what is proving to be a crushing week for my creative spirit, Gordon has passed away at the age of 72. While he was not a household name the likes of Spielberg or Kubrick, to fans of genre cinema – most especially horror – he stands out among his peers as being one of the most unique filmmakers of the 80’s and 90’s. Whatever else one might say about him, his voice was truly his own.

There’s something of a rite of passage for movie guys of a certain generation – it comes about when one progresses from the point of being fascinated by the VHS covers in the genre sections of their local video store (ask your parents kids), to finally watching the movies themselves. When I was a kid our family would make weekly trips to the bargain video barn, and while my brother and sister searched and made their choices, I would slip away to the horror section, and gaze upon the terrifying, but engrossing, cover art. I would never dream of actually watching one, mind – I was way too intimidated. I was fascinated at their existence though. Many of those cover images are indelibly burned into my mind,  but none moreso than-

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Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator, based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, is an entry point for many into the magnificent fusion of horror and comedy. It is Gordon’s first and most widely known film, but is really indicative of his output as a whole. It is a film that combines genuine heart, biting satire, laugh-out-loud humour and gross-out horror sequences. It is bizarre, upsetting, tense, ridiculous, funny, awful, disgusting and at points in phenomenally bad taste…and I love every second of it.

While best known as a horror director, Gordon actually had a diverse output on screen and on stage, directing plays which may have been his greater passion. Gordon is responsible for bonkers sci-fi schlock Robot Jox, but also for a staple of my childhood, Honey I Shrunk The Kids.

Gordon scared me hysterical, and I loved him for it. Vale Stuart, I doubt we’ll see another like you.

We encourage you to read more of Stuart Gordon, who was a bizarre inspiration, but a great one.

Vale, Albert Uderzo – March 24th, 2020

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There’s not a single person I went to high school with – nor anyone who was a student anywhere at the same time as me – who is unfamiliar with the work of Albert Uderzo, though it is entirely possible they might not quite register the name. Collaborating with his long time creative partner, René Goscinny, they delivered to my generation the most constant source of entertainment on every school property, always located prominently on a display stand of the library.

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The Asterix series.

These timeless comics were a magnificent bridge between generations, nationalities and sub-cultures. Parents happily endorsed their kids reading the adventures of the diminutive resident of the unnamed village resisting Roman occupation and his rotund but kindhearted companion, Obelix. As a comic book reader and collector in general, I lost count of the number of conversations that went something like:

They: What are you reading?
Me: A comic.
They: Oh. I’ve never been into comics. I really like Asterix though.

Asterix was a common ground for so many people in life – a truly remarkable legacy that any artist would dream of being a part. Goscinny, who wrote the series, passed away in 1977, leaving Uderzo as the sole creator until 2008.
I first learned to draw by copying Uderzo’s characters; when I was too sick to go to school, Asterix books were my constant companions; I once dressed up as Asterix for a primary school book parade.

Albert Uderzo made an impact on my life I will never forget.

Adéle Haenel and wrestling with guilt…mine, and Polanski’s

adeleAlongside Al, who built Esoteric Fish in the first place, and everyone who has contributed over the years, I have worked hard to keep the tone of this place fun. Most definitely esoteric, but always fun. When we have looked critically upon a film, show or game I like to think we have never indulged in piling abuse for the sake of entertainment. Obviously the luxury we have had on this platform  is that – beholden to none but ourselves – we get to talk about literally anything we want. In light of all of that, what follows will likely seem an odd contribution, but it is a subject that hits very close to home for me. I have recently been challenged about whether my silence on certain controversial topics is wisely not becoming involved in pointless debate, or complacency that belies my personal convictions. This may be a little raw folks, but I pray it will make you reflect a little. Continue reading

Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn Released

After nearly 10 years, the fan developed project Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn has been released to eager Wing Commander fans around the world. The Darkest Dawn is a fully standalone game that uses an enhanced version of the Freespace 2 engine to give players a chance to step back into the Confed universe with two campaigns, 55 missions, a full cast of voice actors, cut-scenes, varied ship and mission types and much, much more. Continue reading

An Important Message about SOPA/PIPA

If you follow any gaming or web TV news at all you have probably heard the terms SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) bandied about. These terms refer to legislation that is currently making its way through congress in the US. While the idea behind the act is noble (to make sure creators are properly compensated for their work), this is definitely a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

The legislation as it stands at the moment has the potential to change the entire nature of the Internet as we know it. Sites can be pulled down without notice because of comments made by their users, the emerging professional gaming coverage on YouTube and other sites will likely disappear and worst of all, none of this will actually prevent any piracy from happening.

While the blackouts on sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit are a good start and those people in the US can write to their congressman/woman, the millions of Internet users around the world that will be just as affected as anyone else have had little recourse until now. Here is a short video from several notable figures in the gaming media/industry to show how you can make a difference.

So make sure to ask your favorite gaming websites and YouTube channel to join the cause by not attending and covering E3 this year until the ESA changes their stance on SOPA and PIPA. If they truly opposed this legislation the last thing they want to do is support an entity that spent a fortune on PIPA lobbying.

You can sign a petition to have the ESA remove their support from SOPA/PIPA here:
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-esa-petition-and-boycott-e3

Esoteric Fish on Radio

Hi All,

Just a quick update on the state of the blog. Things are slowly settling down here and I’m hoping to have some more time to devote to the site. I’m currently putting together an article with my impressions of the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta as well as a few articles on the recently relaunched DC Universe Online. Given that there are so many games being launched at the moment the site will be focusing largely on game reviews for a while. Since these reviews obviously take longer to put together (having to play through them first) I’ll try to squeeze some movie and TV reviews in there as well as some editorials e.g. Top 10 Movie Tie-in Games.

For those of you looking for some extra Esoteric Fish, Lindsay was recently on the Weekly Geek Show on Triple H Radio to talk about his top movies of the year and other geeky good stuff. The podcast of the show is now available to download here.

As always, if you have any suggestions for reviews or articles, feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers,

Al