Stuart Gordon, Gone Beyond – 24th March, 2020


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-


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


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.


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:

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.



Get ready for 8 months of hype

Avengers Poster

Marvel’s experiment with bringing the Avengers universe to life through several different franchises has been a very interesting one to watch. When they started, nearly everybody scoffed at the idea that the classic comic tradition of crossovers would work when transferred to the cinema. Given that almost every single film thus far has been hugely successful for Marvel, most of those doubters are now silent. Continue reading

What’s been going on?

Hi All,

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I haven’t posted any new reviews for a little over a week, and they had been a little irregular for a couple of weeks before that. Things had been a little busy lately which had cut down on my viewing time, but my schedule seemed to be getting back on track until last Thursday when the universe threw me a curveball.

To put it simply, my father passed away unexpectedly after a massive stroke on Thursday night. He was only 54. Needless to say, I haven’t exactly been at my best for the last week, and most of my time has been devoted to sorting out the remnants of his life.

But life goes on and hopefully things will settle down a bit now, giving me time to once again post up my regular reviews. I have a review of Real Steel which should be going up shortly, and I plan to continue my weekly reviews of Boardwalk Empire and Terra Nova. Lindz and I are also planning to do a collaborative play-through of the MMO DC Universe Online (which will be going Free to Play in a couple of weeks) posting our daily impressions up on the site. There are some other collaborative reviews that we are looking at over the coming months.

Things will still be a little hectic here, so I don’t think I’ll be able to get back to the daily schedule straight away, but hopefully things will get back to normal by November. If there is anything you’d particularly like to see reviewed, please post a comment below.



Rest in Peace Andy Whitfield

I was very saddened to hear that Andy Whitfield passed away yesterday after losing his battle with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Andy was best known for his breakout role on Spartacus: Blood and Sand although some may recognise him from appearances in various Australian shows and the movie Gabriel. Unfortunately we never got the chance to see him in many other things. While I didn’t know him personally, Andy always seemed like a fun-loving guy that really enjoyed what he did. A video of him hanging out with Freddie Wong and his crew provides a great look at the man behind the gladiator.

Andy passed away in his wife’s arms at their Sydney home yesterday morning. He was 37. Far too young.

Rest in Peace Andy, we’ll miss you.