Secret Cave Office Chart [MARCH 2017]

This month’s playlist is much more varied than the February edition.  I tried a lot harder to make it a bit more representative of my overarching tastes.  That said, quite a lot of this material was new to me.  I’m finding that making these is helping me to discover a few things myself.  That, at the very least, makes it worth doing.  Overall, i’m really quite happy with this one.  However, I do have a couple of problems i’d like to iron out for April’s Office Chart.  For example, I feel the two halves are slightly too separate.  After a more upbeat opening, it’s quite a bit more chilled out by its conclusion.  …   [continue reading]

Reefer Madness (1936-1939) [COMMENTARY]

Reefer Madness
DIRECTOR: Louis J. Gasnier
STARRING: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles

Originally known as Tell Your Children, Reefer Madness has become infamous. Better known today as an archetypal “stoner” movie, it was first released in 1936 as church group propaganda.  As such, it’s full of nonsense.  Later re-cut in 1938 by Dwain Esper into an even more tawdry film, I honestly have no idea which version I have here.  Many consider it one of the best “bad movies”. For me, the current “bad movie” champion remains The Amazing Mr. X.  With a myriad of public domain movies still to come, there’s plenty of time for it to be dethroned….…   [continue reading]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) [COMMENTARY]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
DIRECTOR: Joseph Green
STARRING: Jason (Herb) Evers, Virginia Leith, Leslie Daniel

Completed in 1959, but not released until 1962, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die has one of the best titles I’ve ever come across. Produced in the same year as Attack of the Giant Leeches, it does a much better job of being coherent, likeable and gripping. Unfortunately, it devolves into a sexist and meandering plot. Its opening is strong enough to make it memorable, however. Overall an enjoyable hour with some genuinely disturbing moments!

From Wikipedia:

The main plot focuses upon a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive.

…   [continue reading]

Samurai Jack Season 5 [TRAILER REACTIONS]

I was a mere eleven years of age when Samurai Jack first premiered on Cartoon Network.  Because of this, I can speak with first-hand clarity of its instant obvious quality.  Even at that tender age it smashed out from the screen, leaving its peers far behind with an unbelievable strength of vision.  That’s not even to denigrate the network’s surrounding programming, itself a rich buffet of well-crafted material.  It’s just that Samurai Jack is so singular.  In no way does it ever hand-hold its audience.  Instead, each frame shines with its own beauty, leading us through a slow and quietly crafted narrative.  …   [continue reading]

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) [COMMENTARY]

Attack of the Giant Leeches
DIRECTOR: Bernard L. Kowalski
STARRING: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepherd

This mess, known alternatively as The Giant Leeches, should be ashamed of itself for being created in 1959. This is because Attack of the Giant Leeches is a truly terrible piece of work with, as far as I can tell, no redeeming features whatsoever. It’s hard to believe that this laughably awful dross has anything to do with the legendary Roger Corman, but it does.  However, it does make The Amazing Mr. X look like a work of genius.

From Wikipedia:

In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches live in an underwater cave.

…   [continue reading]

Pixies – “Head Carrier” [ALBUM REVIEW]

I bloody love the Pixies.  They’ve been one of my favourite bands since I first heard Bone Machine; before my balls had even dropped.  To this day I consider their performance at 2005’s Leeds/Reading festival my finest live event.  To their hordes of vocal admirers, they carry around an enormous legacy everywhere they go.  It’s probably this pressure that has kept their back catalogue compressed and minimal over the years.  Indeed, even with their lengthy hiatus, you’d have expected more than six LPs from a band with the stature and history that the Pixies enjoy.  For me, this has always given them a mystique that greatly adds to their presence.…   [continue reading]

The Last Guardian [FINAL IMPRESSIONS]

The Last Guardian
Final Impressions

Concept
8/10

The conceptual thrust behind The Last Guardian had me somewhat confused when I first reviewed it.  After a more complete experience it’s clear that my assumptions were right.  For example, the main themes permeating both its story and gameplay are teamwork and friendship.  To expertly explore those thoughts, Trico is a uniquely realised AI mechanic, which anchors the whole thing.  Bringing him to life must have been a daunting prospect in an age where artificial intelligence is so widely weak.  That they took to the task with such flair and determination is laudable in itself, and the end result is entirely one of a kind.  …   [continue reading]

Louis Theroux [BRITISH NATIONAL TREASURES]

This feature has nothing to do with a blind, xenophobic patriotism.  My wish to highlight the best of my country comes not from a posturing of our superiority.  Such divisions have no place in an evolving world, despite current world leaders having no grasp of that.  Instead, I thought it healthy and helpful to magnify the finest examples of my geographical kin.  After all, it’s not my place to discuss cultures of which I have very little knowledge.  Every town, city, country and land boasts its own cultural pillars, but Louis Theroux is one of the first that comes to mind when it comes to British exports; at least for me.…   [continue reading]

Final Fantasy XV [FINAL IMPRESSIONS]

Hear the writers discuss this subject (and the whole Final Fantasy series) on the Secret Cave Podcast!

My first impressions of Final Fantasy XV came after a mere four hours of toe-dipping.  As a result it was quite naive, occasionally singing praises where it shouldn’t.  Conversely, there were many criticisms that weren’t exactly fair.  There’s much to comment on with this release, and the mix of emotions it can bring about in players is stark.  An equal portion of you is likely to utterly despise it as the side of you that loves it.  With both its successes and its mistakes, it constantly provokes a strong response.  …   [continue reading]

The Last Guardian [FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

The Last Guardian
First Impressions

Concept
7/10

From its opening notes, it’s tough to discern exactly what the designers’ intentions were.  However, the game is clearly about teamwork and forming bonds.  Its unique approach of interacting with a very independent beast is compelling in the extreme.  Beyond that, it seems a slow and contemplative puzzle-platformer.  Under that lens, The Last Guardian is far from unique – even from the creators who made it.  While the ideas at play here are interesting and engaging, it’s admittedly a little thin on the ground.  Its minimalism sometimes undermines it, while also being a credit to its approach.  …   [continue reading]