Under Three Hundred

The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Toys

Here’s a thing that might be of interest. When I was asked to write an ‘afterword’ for the DWM Special Edition guide to action figures, I initially misunderstand the nature of the brief. I thought it was gonna be a guide to collecting toys from the 60s and 70s, so I started writing an article on that basis. Then, just before I was about to write the introductory part (I am so non-linear, I just start at any point I can!) I re-read the brief and realized everything I had written was completely useless. So I had to start from scratch. But here, because I think it contained some rather neat observations, is the article I never finished, let alone sent in:

In Search Of Lost Time

INTRODUCTION TO GO HERE

One explanation is the desire to reconnect with childhood, and have the feeling of an involuntary memory being triggered. The ‘Proustian rush’ from a toy is different to that from a television programme or comic; the sensation of actually touching and smelling the object is a physical memory, rather than purely a mental one. There is something quite strange about handling a toy as an adult that you played with as a child; large, clumsy fingers holding an object once held by the same fingers when they were small and nimble. And it brings back memories of play; maybe a more innocent time, certainly a time of happiness, of being content within an imaginative bubble. And, as an adult, those memories become ever-more precious, so whether it’s through the same treasured toy, recovered from an attic, or a replacement for one that was damaged, lost, or cruelly thrown away, the motivation is the same; the desire to recapture, however slightly and briefly, a fragment of the past.

But you don’t need to have owned the toy to feel nostalgia. It could be because it is ‘unfinished business’. The desperate longing for the toy you didn’t own; the one you only saw in shop windows and catalogues and advertisements, can still be with you as an adult, so when you see that toy again, on an internet auction site or a dealer’s stall, buy it and finally hold it in your hands, there is a strong feeling of ‘at last!’ The sense that by fulfilling that longing, you are somehow making good a source of childhood unhappiness or frustration.

Paradoxically, you don’t even need to have been around at the time the toy was on sale to feel nostalgia for it. People can feel nostalgic for eras before they were born; maybe because of the aesthetics, or the idea of a more innocent age, or just because the past is a known quantity; it’s like a story where you know how it ends, it’s a safe space that isn’t going to change. The past is like a foreign country; probably nicer in your imagination than the reality.

And Doctor Who fans, in particular, are used to this form of time-travel, as for most of us, part of the fascination of Doctor Who is that it has a past. A past that we can visit, by watching old stories on DVD, casting ourselves back to life in the 60s, 70s or 80s. And collecting toys from those days is just taking the same process further; they give you the chance to touch the past.

But enough of the pop psychology. There’s also the fact that a lot of these old action figures have a lot of charm. They are just really cool to own. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Science Fiction


I am just using this blog as my list of SF films now. I have been busy adding things to the right-hand column though!

Note: I don’t count superhero films And manga as SF, they are their own marvellous genres, and where variant titles exist, I use one of them.

1926

Metropolis

1929

Woman In The Moon

1930

Just Imagine

1933

King Kong

1936

Things To Come

1942

Cat People

1950

Destination Moon

1951

The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Man In The White Suit, The Thing, When Worlds Collide

1953

Invaders From Mars, It Came From Outer Space, War Of The Worlds

1954

20,000 Leagues under The Sea, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Them!

1955

The Day The World Ended, It Came From Beneath The Sea, The Quatermass Xperiment, This Island Earth

1956

1984, Earth Versus The Flying Saucers, Forbidden Planet, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Plan 9 From Outer Space, X The Unknown

1957

The Abominable Snowman, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Quatermass 2

1958

The Fly

1959

Journey to The Centre Of The Earth, On The Beach, Return Of The Fly

1960

The Last Woman On Earth, The Little Shop Of Horrors, The Time Machine, Village Of The Damned

1961

The Day The Earth Caught Fire, The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne, Mysterious Island, Night Tide, The Phantom Planet

1962

Doctor No, The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

1963

The Birds, The Damned, The Day Of The Triffids, La Jetee, The Mind Benders, Unearthly Stranger, Voyage To The End Of The Universe

1964

Children Of The Damned, Doctor Strangelove, The Earth Dies Screaming, Fail Safe, The First Men In The Moon, Goldfinger, It Happened Here, The Last Man On Earth, Robinson Crusoe On Mars, The Time Travelers

1965

The 10th Victim, Alphaville, Crack In The World, The Curse Of The Fly, Dr Who And The Daleks, Gonks Go Beat, Thunderball, The War Game

1966

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD, Fahrenheit 451, Fantastic Voyage, Seconds

1967

Barbarella, Casino Royale, Jules Verne's Rocket To The Moon, Night Of The Big Heat, Privilege, Quatermass And The Pit, The Terrornauts, They Came From Beyond Space, You Only Live Twice

1968

2001-A Space Odyssey, Charly, Countdown, Planet Of The Apes

1969

The Bed Sitting Room, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, The Body Stealers, A Case For A Rookie Hangman, Doppelgänger, Marooned, Moon Zero Two, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Zeta One

1970

The Andromeda Strain, Colossus: The Forbin Project, No Blade Of Grass, Toomorrow

1971

A Clockwork Orange, Diamonds Are Forever, Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, The Omega Man, Percy, Quest for Love, Silent Running, Solaris, THX 1138

1972

Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes, Doomwatch, The Mind Snatchers, Slaughterhouse Five

1973

Battle for The Planet Of The Apes, The Day Of The Dolphin, Fantastic Planet, The Final Programme, Phase IV, Sleeper, Soylent Green, Westworld, World On A Wire, Zardoz

1974

The Cars That Ate Paris, Dark Star, It's Alive, The Land That Time Forgot, The Little Prince, The Man with The Golden Gun, The Stepford Wives, The Terminal Man, Young Frankenstein

1975

A Boy And His Dog, Death Race 2000, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rollerball

1976

At The Earth’s Core, The Big Bus, Futureworld, The Killer Bees, Logan’s Run, The Man Who Fell To Earth

1977

Capricorn One, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Demon Seed, Empire Of The Ants, The Island Of Dr Moreau, The Glitterball, The People That Time Forgot, The Spy Who Loved Me, Star Wars

1978

The Bermuda Triangle, The Boys From Brazil, Coma, A Hitch In Time, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Pirahna, Superman, The Swarm, Warlords Of Atlantis

1979

Alien, The Black Hole, The China Syndrome, Mad Max, Meteor, Moonraker, Ravagers, Stalker, Star Trek, Starcrash, Time After Time

1980

Altered States, The Apple, Battle Beyond The Stars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Final Countdown, Flash Gordon, Monster, The Island, Saturn 3, Scanners, Somewhere In Time, Superman II

1981

Condorman, Escape From New York, Galaxy Of Terror, Looker, Mad Max 2, Outland, Piranha II, Time Bandits

1982

Airplane II, Blade Runner, Britannia Hospital, ET, Forbidden World, Halloween III, The Thing, Tron, Videodrome, Star Trek II

1983

Brainstorm, Krull, The Man With Two Brains, Never Say Never Again, Return Of The Jedi, Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone, Superman III, Testament, Wargames, Xtro

1984

1984, 2010, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai, The Brother From Another Planet, Dreamscape, Dune, Electric Dreams, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, The Last Starfighter, Night Of The Comet, The Philadelphia Experiment, Repo Man, Runaway, Star Trek III, Starman, Terminator, Trancers

1985

Back To The Future, Brazil, Cocoon, Creature, DARYL, Enemy Mine, Lifeforce, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Morons From Outer Space, The Quiet Earth, Weird Science

1986

Aliens, Biggles: Adventures In Time, Critters, Flight Of The Navigator, The Fly, Howard The Duck, Invaders From Mars, Peggy Sue Got Married, Short Circuit, Star Trek IV, Whoops Apocalypse

1987

Batteries Not Included, Cocoon: The Return, Friendship’s Death, The Hidden, Innerspace, Predator, RoboCop, The Running Man, Spaceballs, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

1988

Akira, Alien Nation, Earth Girls Are Easy, Hell Comes To Frogtown, Mac And Me, Moonwalker, The Salute Of The Jugger, Short Circuit II, They Live

1989

The Abyss, Back To The Future II, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Communion, Deepstar Six, The Fly II, Ghostbusters II, Millennium, Slipstream, Star Trek V

1990

Back To The Future III, Gremlins II, The Handmaid’s Tale, Hardware, Jacob’s Ladder, Moon 44, Robocop II, Total Recall

1991

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Naked Lunch, The Rocketeer, Star Trek VI, Terminator II, Until The End Of The World, Wedlock

1992

Alien 3, Freejack, The Lawnmower Man, Split Second, Universal Soldier

1993

Body Snatchers, Coneheads, Demolition Man, Groundhog Day, Les Visiteurs, Robocop III, Jurassic Park

1994

Stargate, Star Trek: Generations, Timecop

1995

12 Monkeys, The City Of Lost Children, Congo, Cyber Zone, GoldenEye, Johnny Mnemonic, Judge Dredd, Screamers, Species, Strange Days, Tank Girl, Waterworld

1996

The Arrival, Barb Wire, Crash, Independence Day, Mars Attacks!, Space Truckers, Star Trek: First Contact

1997

Alien Resurrection, Contact, Cube, Event Horizon, The Fifth Element, Gattaca, The Lost World, Men In Black, The Postman, Starship Troopers

1998

Armageddon, Dark City, Deep Impact, Phantoms, Pi, Run Lola Run, Soldier, Sphere, Star Trek: Insurrection, The X-Files

1999

Bicentennial Man, eXistenZ, Galaxy Quest, The Iron Giant, The Matrix, Muppets From Space, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Thirteenth Floor

2000

Frequency, Mission To Mars, Pitch Black, Red Planet, Space Cowboys, Unbreakable

2001

AI, Donnie Darko, Evolution, Ghosts Of Mars, Jurassic Park III, Planet Of The Apes

2002

28 Days Later, Equilibrium, Impostor, Just Visiting, Minority Report, Solaris, Spider-Man, Star Trek: Nemesis, Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, Signs, The Time Machine

2003

The Core, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Out Of Time, Paycheck, Riverworld, Terminator III, Timeline

2004

The Butterfly Effect, The Day After Tomorrow, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, I, Robot, Primer, Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow

2005

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Island, Robots, Serenity, A Sound Of Thunder, Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith, War Of The Worlds, Zarutha

2006

Children Of Men, Deja Vu, The Fountain, The Host, The Prestige, A Scanner Darkly, Southland Tales, Superman Returns, V For Vendetta

2007

28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend, The Invasion, Premonition, The Mist, Next, Sunshine, Timecrimes

2008

Cloverfield, The Happening, Iron Man, Jumper, Outlander, WALL-E, The X-Files: I Want To Believe

2009

2012, Avatar, District 9, Frequently Asked Question About Time Travel, Land Of The Lost, Lockout, Moon, Mr Nobody, The Road, Star Trek, The Time Traveler’s Wife

2010

Despicable Me, Hot Tub Time Machine, Monsters, Never Let Me Go, Tron Legacy

2011

The Adjustment Bureau, Attack The Block, Cowboys Vs Aliens, In Time, Limitless, Love, Midnight In Paris, Paul, Perfect Sense, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Source Code, Super 8, Thor

2012

Cloud Atlas, Dredd, The Hunger Games, John Carter, Looper, Mine Games, Prometheus, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Total Recall, Upside Down

2013

About Time, After Earth, Continuum, Elysium, Ender’s Game Gravity, Her, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Last Days On Mars, Oblivion, Pacific Rim, Snowpiercer, Star Trek Into Darkness, The World’s End, Under The Skin, The Zero Theorem

2014

After, The Anomaly, Coherence, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Debug, Divergent, Edge Of Tomorrow, Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Giver, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1, Interstellar, Left Behind, Lucy, The Maze Runner, Noah, Mr Peabody & Sherman, Predestination, Space Station 76, Time Lapse, Transcendence

2015

Advantageous, Insurgent, Evolution, Ex Machina, High Rise, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2, Jupiter Ascending, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The Signal, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Tomorrowland

2016

10 Cloverfield Lane, Allegiant, ARQ, Arrival, Ghostbusters, Ghost In The Shell, Independence Day: Midnight Special, Resurgence, Passengers, Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Trek Beyond

2017

Anti Matter, Blade Runner 2049, Curvature, Geostorm, The Humanity Bureau, Life, Singularity, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Time Trap, War For The Planet Of The Apes

2018

2036 Origin Unknown, A Quiet Place, Annihilation, Await Further Instructions, The Cloverfield Paradox, High Life, Mortal Engines, Mute, Parallel, Prospect, Ready Player One, The Shape Of Water, Star Wars: Solo, Time After Time, The Titan

2019

Ad Astra, Color Out Of Space, Coma, Countdown, Enhanced, Farmageddon, Io, Paradise Hills, See You Yesterday, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Synchronic, Vivarium, The Wandering Earth, Yesterday

2020

Archive, Bill And Ted Face The Music, Black Box, Last And First Men, Love And Monsters, The Midnight Sky, Monsters Of Man, Palm Springs, Portal, Possessor, Sputnik, Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984

2021

2149: The Aftermath, Awake, Chaos Walking, Don’t Look Up, The Green Knight, Infinite, Infinitum: Subject Unknown, Last Night In Soho, Reminiscence, Space Sweepers, Stowaway, The Tomorrow War

2022

Big Bug 


Still left to see:

1944

Curse Of The Cat People

1953

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms

1955

The Conquest Of Space

1957

The Invisible Boy

1958

The Blob, Teenage Caveman, Terror In The Midnight Sun

1959

Teenagers From Outer Space

1961

Gorgo

1964

Dogora

1968

Je T’aime Je T’aime

1969

The Gladiators

1970

Gas-s-s-s

1971

City Beneath The Sea, Punishment Park

1974

Where Have All The People Gone?

1977

Tomorrow I'll Get Up And Scald Myself With Tea

1979

The Spaceman And King Arthur

1981

Inseminoid

1982

Android

1983

The Being

1984

Caravan Of Courage, Supergirl

1987

Bad Taste

1990

Meet The Applegates, Prayer Of The Rollerboys, Spaced Invaders

1992

Timescape

1995

Multiplicity

2000

Battlefield Earth

2001

Vanilla Sky

2002

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash

2005

Sky High 

2006

Earthstorm

2008

Death Race, Doomsday, Triangle

2009

9, The Fourth Kind, Pandorum, Splice, Triangle

2011

Apollo 18, Cold Fusion, The Collapsed, Dimensions

2012

Earth's Final Hours, Robert & Frank, Safety Not Guaranteed

2013

The Colony, The Congress, Europa Report

2014 

The History Of Time Travel, The Last Invasion, Robocop, Survivor

2015

Chappie, Circle, Evolution, Dark Planet, Infini, Rotor DR1, Turbo Kid

2016

Capsule, The Darkest Dawn, Morgan, Paradox, Spectral

2017

Beyond Skyline, The Discovery, The Endless, iBoy, Life, Orbiter 9, Revolt, Stasis

2018

Abduction, Aniara, Anon, Attraction, The Beyond, Bumblebee, Curvature, Extinction, How It Ends, Kin, Level 16, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Occupation, Replicas, Solis, Tau, White Chamber, Zoe

2019

Cosmos, Encounter, I Am Mother, Jurassic Galaxy, Prospect, Proxima, The Mandela Effect, White Space

2020

2067, 3022, AI Rising, Anti Life, Chronical 2067, G-Loc, Greenland, Monster Hunter, Possessor, Sea Fever, Skylines, Underwater, Variant

2021

Assimilate, Bios, Dune, The Intergalactic Adventures Of Max Cloud, The Mitchells Vs The Machines, Out Of Time, Oxygen

2022

The Adam Project