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Dr.Bedlam last won the day on March 20

Dr.Bedlam had the most liked content!

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About Dr.Bedlam

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    his top secret Lab-Matory hidden under the gift shop at Buffalo Bill's gravesite
  • Interests
    Miniatures painting and modifications, general gaming, psychology, education, medieval metaphysics. My greatest joy in life is knowing that somewhere out there, I have made someone snark their drink all over the monitor.

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  1. Glad to be of help. Glad it was still on sale. Something over a week ago, Amazon wanted seventy bucks for the thing (plus shipping; the vendor wasn't on Prime). I share in your delight of savings.
  2. Dr.Bedlam

    RPG-ing 1980's Style

    I be dawgged. She's right.
  3. The story starts and ends with the Labyrinth board game. The one based on the movie, with the figures. And it's a long story, so all you TLDR types, just go on to the next post that's brief enough to get your attention. The film Labyrinth is a bizarre, dreamlike excursion which, I am told, didn't do so hot when it came out, but has boomeranged BIG in the years since. I was completely unaware of it when it came out. It was the eighties, and I was much younger then, being heavily involved in gaming, drug trafficking, and the development of better marital aids. But I digress. Point is, I never even heard of this movie; it came and went and never showed up on my radar. Which is a shame, because its visual design was heavily influenced by Brian Froud, an artist whose work I greatly admire. Back in high school, I got hold of this book, Faeries, which showcased the work of Alan Lee and Brian Froud, and pretty much put 'em both on the map, to my understanding. It's a great book. Go out and buy a copy; it's STILL in print, albeit in special anniversary editions. But I digress again; the point is, that this book REALLY fired me up for the art of Brian Froud. Which is why, when The Dark Crystal came out, I very much wanted to see it; he did a lot of the visual design work. And I saw it, and I liked it, but for some reason, when Labyrinth came out, I was distracted, and missed the whole thing. So it goes. Until I noticed this book at a used bookstore... Whoa. New Brian Froud book? Terry Jones... Terry Jones... where have I heard that name before? Did I go to high school with a Terry Jones? Is he British? And it was only in reading the introduction, in which the narrator describes Froud discovering archaeological evidence of goblins and a Labyrinth, in between guzzling bottles and bottles and bottles of exquisite French wine, that I realized: Terry Jones. A member of Monty Python, did a lot of their writing, tended to get overshadowed by Michael Palin! Played Sir Bedevere and codirected Monty Python and the Holy Grail! And HE wrote this thing? Two bucks? Shaddap and take my money! Still have it. And it was funny as all hell. Essentially, Jones took Froud's preproduction concept sketches and wrote little biographies for each individual goblin that you see in the background of the movie. Not Jareth the Goblin King, not Ludo, not anyone with much in the way of lines, but as you might recall, there were a LOT of background goblins. And this was how I discovered there was a movie with a labyrinth full of goblins. And after this, well, I had to go out and see this movie, right? And by then, it had vanished from mortal ken, not in any theatres, nowhere to be seen. Well, it was still the Eighties, the Age of VHS, and so I sought to rent the thing somewhere. It took an effort. For some reason, it was like this movie didn't WANT to be seen. But I was a dedicated film buff, and knew where to look, and eventually, Labyrinth presented itself, although it took a good cleaning before I could watch the thing; as far as I could determine, the last renter had let it sit all night in a puddle of soda before returning it. And he didn't even rewind. And I watched the movie, and found it downright enchanting. Still perhaps David Bowie's finest film appearance. Definitely his codpiece's finest hour. It's like someone decided to let Bowie and Jennifer Connelly run around in this big amazing work of art, interact with OTHER artworks, at least one of which had their own musical number. Neat movie! And decades later, last Reapercon, on the way back to the airport, we stopped in a game shop... and they had the GOBLINS expansion set for LABYRINTH: THE BOARD GAME. With five little goblin figures, straight out of Froud's art and Jones' hilarious biographies... well, yeah, SURE I bought it! So... there's a Labyrinth board game? With FIGURES? So naturally, I couldn't FIND the thing. Supposedly, it retailed for fifty bucks, but online retailers wanted a hundred, except for the ones who'd be happy to take retail, but, whoops, we're out of stock, sorry... want the expansion set? We got plenty of expansion sets... Drove me nuts. In between the moments of real life, I kept an eye out, but the cheapest I ever saw it was seventy, with another twenty shipping and handling... although I did notice there was also a Dark Crystal board game from the same company. Yow. Skeksis figures? That's tempting. Fifty bucks? Maybe not THAT tempting. Until, while I hunted for a retailer willing to sell me Labyrinth at a sane price point, Amazon decided to sell Dark Crystal for seventeen bucks. Urrrgh. Yeah, I bought it. This IS the acquisitions thread, right? And Skeksis figures... But I digress. FINALLY, this past week, Amazon suddenly offered Labyrinth for something like thirty bucks. And naturally, I jumped on it. FINALLY! And now I have two boardgames, an expansion, and some painting to do. And for some reason, all these online retailers are NOW offering Labyrinth for something like thirty dollars.
  4. I didn't know that. I'm not sure ANYONE knew that in 1958, with the exception of that Russian dude. That being said, the glass armonica is an AWESOME instrument, although I understand people who can PLAY one are kind of at a premium.
  5. Dr.Bedlam

    Don't ask me anything. Tell me something.

    Awright, boys and girls, today's lesson is about Pulgasari. It is a monster movie, and has been described as a Godzilla ripoff; this could be interpreted as true, in that it's about a giant monster who runs amuck through Korea, and it is not too different stylistically from several Godzilla movies of the Showa era, albeit set in medieval times. If you like Godzilla movies, you'll like it well enough; if not, you can safely skip it. What we're gonna talk about is the MAKING of this film, which is to me far more interesting than the film itself. The guy on the left is Kim Il-Sung, who was running North Korea at the end of the seventies. He has nothing to do with this story. The guy next to him, though, is his son, Kim Jong-il... and he's the guy to thank for Pulgasari. Y'see, Double Kim was a BIG movie fan and felt that films could play a BIG part in his father's political doctrine; were they not a powerful tool for the imparting of information? He'd already accumulated a great many bootleg Western films for private screening and his personal study; he was apparently a big fan of Rambo and James Bond films, among others. And as a big movie fan, he felt the creative impulse. He wanted to MAKE movies, and did, as the head of the North Korean Film Board. Some say that his dad's influence got him the job, but that's neither here nor there. But it wasn't enough. Double Kim needed MORE, he needed that creative spark, he needed... someone who actually made commercial movies. Enter Shin Sang-Ok, a South Korean movie director. His wife, Choi Eun-Hee, was among South Korea's biggest female movie stars, as well as his collaborator on several film projects... but life got in the way... and they got divorced. Shin suffered, but was getting over it and moving on with his film career. Meanwhile, Choi had been offered a directing job, and went to Hong Kong to discuss it, where she promptly vanished. Upon hearing what had happened, Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, where HE promptly vanished... ...at which point Shin found himself in North Korea facing a smiling Kim Jong-il. After a few escape attempts, Shin wound up in a reeducation camp, where he says that life was not a summer camp. For something over two years, no summer camp. Finally, he agreed to make movies for Double Kim and resign himself to his new life as a North Korean citizen. A happy Kim agreed, and reintroduced him to his ex wife, and suggested that wouldn't it be lovely if they got remarried? Um, yeah, boss, whatever you say. And they were remarried. And the happy couple spent several years making movies for Kim. The last, Pulgasari, came out in 1986; upon hearing the idea, Double Kim was so delighted that he convinced the original Toho special effects team that had created Godzilla that they should do the effects for Pulgasari, as well. The SFX team was under the impression that they would be working in China, and was rather nonplussed to discover that they were in North Korea... but they did the job, collected their paychecks, and skedaddled back to Japan. Now, giant monster movies are apparently sort of a rarity in North Korea, and the North Koreans LOVED the movie; by NK standards, it was a blockbuster. A very elated Double Kim promptly began arranging a huge international release... and promptly realized that (a) he'd need Dad's permission to leave the country, and (b) he didn't have the slightest idea how film distribution worked. Luckily, Shin and Choi were quite familiar with this process, and offered to go to a film festival in Vienna to promote the film and talk to international film bigwigs about a distribution deal! Now, Double Kim wasn't stupid. He finally agreed to let the couple go to Vienna, but they would first sign a statement promising to return to North Korea upon the completion of their business. And, of course, they would be accompanied by a retinue of "bodyguards" and "assistants." Shin and Choi were agreeable, and off to Vienna they went... ...where they met an old pal, a Japanese film critic, with whose help they ditched their "helpers" and scootled off to the American embassy, where they were immediately granted political asylum. It is said among South Koreans that you could hear Double Kim screaming in rage as far as Seoul. Pulgasari was immediately pulled from theatres, despite the fact it was still doing decent box office nearly a year after its release, and it was made to disappear... at least until 1998, when it finally got that international release Kim wanted. Surprisingly, it bombed in South Korea and Japan, where critics regarded it as, at best, a mediocre Godzilla clone, and at worst, a symbol of North Korean evil. Weirdly enough, at least one critic pointed out a distinct similarity between the "evil king" character in the movie and Kim's daddy... Interestingly? Choi and Shin remained married until he died in 2006. The North Korean official position, last I heard, is that the two defected to North Korea of their own free will, and that the audiotape recordings they secretly made of Kim explaining how he'd had them kidnapped are pernicious fakes. A fascinating article on the subject can be found here.
  6. Are you sure? A theremin was used for much of the score for Forbidden Planet, and this didn't sound much like a theremin... admittedly, it didn't sound much like a slide whistle, either... and as cheap as this movie was, I wouldn't have thought they could AFFORD a theremin.
  7. Watched "It! The Terror From Beyond Space!" for the first time in forty years yesterday. It was written by Jerome Bixby, who invented Star Trek's Mirror Universe and the Twilight Zone episode where Billy Mumy wishes people into the cornfield, among other things. And it was the first film that revolves around an extraterrestrial man eating monster who gets loose on a spaceship and begins picking off the crew, predating Alien by more than twenty years. It's a fun, creepy little 1950s rocket jock movie that makes the most of its tiny budget, and holds up well even today, if one is indulgent. But I found two things that irritated me: 1. Whenever our heroes are in the control room? Background noise is heard of computers and machines running, as our heroes deliver dialogue. And one of those quiet, distant background noises is the electronic rattle/hiss sound made by the Martian war machines in War Of The Worlds (1953). Since It! was made five years later, I'm guessing they found it on a stock sound effects reel and decided it sounded like a spaceship noise. But to an old badfilm buff like me, it makes me expect the Martians to come dashing in any second now. 2. Most of the film occurs aboard a rocket en route back to Earth from Mars. We regularly cut to exterior shots of the rocket, and in several scenes, our heroes put on space suits and walk on the outside of the rocket, attempting to outmaneuver the alien monster. And every single scene that happens in space? We get this ooooeeeeeooooeeeeooooeeee sound effect. Apparently, back in the fifties, someone thought outer space sounded like a slide whistle. But aside from that, if one can stomach elderly space rocket stories, I recommend it. It's probably where Dan O'Bannon stole the plot for Alien, and it's a fun comparison!
  8. Dr.Bedlam

    Don't ask me anything. Tell me something.

    In the terrible fall of 1979, nearly everyone who worked on Saturday Night Live quit. They were tired, burned out, and several wanted to move on to movie careers, or just do something different. Showrunner and producer Lorne Michaels was bowing out, the cast was all done, and even the writing staff collected their checks and exited, stage left. NBC's next choice to helm the show, Jean Doumanian, had been in charge of handling the musical guests, and suddenly, she was in charge of the whole thing... and the only people she had that had been there during those first magical years were the technical crew and the stagehands. She was, as the show's biographer put it, "in charge of a shell of a show." It didn't help that the network cut her budget to a third of what it had been the previous year. She immediately set up auditions for a new set of Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Among the supplicants she rejected were Billy Crystal, Jim Carrey, and Paul Reubens. She apparently felt that Charles Rocket and Tim Kazurinski were funnier. She did hire Eddie Murphy, but then gave him nearly nothing to do on the actual show. Interestingly, Lorne Michaels' choice to replace him was Al Franken, but due to network president Fred Silverman's burning hatred of Franken, this was not to be; Franken had written and performed a sketch making fun of Silverman's problems running NBC that year, and Silverman was not amused. SNL's 1980 season is often called the worst in the show's forty year history. I've often wondered what might have happened if Franken had been in charge. I'd like to think the show would have been better, but would Eddie Murphy have ruled the 1980s?
  9. Dr.Bedlam

    Don't ask me anything. Tell me something.

    One of the first choices to play Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film of the same name... was Will Smith.
  10. Free RPG Day yielded a considerable haul: Starfinder, Pathfinder, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and her Magic Chicken, Kids On Bikes, DCC, COC, Delta Green, the D&D folio offering, and the commemorative die. Found a new game shop that I had never visited, and need to visit more often; they gots good stuff. Replaced my copy of Space: 1889 and Dragon Lords of Melnibone, found a gorgeous copy of the Spiderwick Field Guide for less than Amazon wants for it, and a great many heavily discounted treasures. The only bump was some rather confused counter people at the place we stopped for lunch. These commemorative dice are starting to stack up.
  11. Dr.Bedlam

    Incredibles2 miniatures

    But they strip down just fine.
  12. Dr.Bedlam

    Don't ask me anything. Tell me something.

    I've heard more than ONE story about someone who used what they thought was a dead phone number, only to discover that it was some sort of phone sex line...
  13. Indeed. CMPA paint club, my girlfriend's birthday, Father's Day, Denver Comic Con, first weekend of Renfaire, and the Colorado Springs Celtic Festival are all on the same weekend. Urrrrgh. I am going to be busy, and that's putting it mildly.
  14. Dr.Bedlam

    Don't ask me anything. Tell me something.

    This'z Knights Of The Dinner Table, a long running strip about a mob of tabletop gamers in Indiana. Creator Jolly Blackburn insists that they are fictional... but not by much. The strip got started in the old SHADIS magazine, and ran in Dragon Magazine for years, before finally settling at Kenzerco, where it became its own monthly magazine. This strip is one of the earlier ones, and chronicles the infamous incident of the Gazebo. The censor bars are mine, for to not offend or provoke the mods. Anyway, the staff at KODT magazine were all gamers themselves, and recalled fondly the way Dragon Magazine used to publish spoof articles every April. So they decided to do one of their own... Russian mail order gamer brides! The young lady in the photo was, if I recall correctly, a student who'd worked for them as an intern for a while. And everyone had a good laugh about it. ...until the communications began coming in. Apparently, whoever was on that 1800 number had no idea what everyone was talking about. Was it a typo? WHERE ARE THE RUSSIAN GAMER BABES? And they wound up having to publish a retraction for what was supposed to have been a joke...
  15. Dr.Bedlam

    RPG-ing 1980's Style

    I got Fourth Edition at a FLGS. My players chipped in and got me the three pack. And we monkeyed with it for months... but it was just too DIFFERENT from what we'd gotten used to with third, and required a VERY different mindset, particularly as the DM; giving the players a challenge without a TPK required some serious forethought and engineering... no spur of the moment games, any more. And DON"T get me started about the fiction and the hardbacks. I felt bad enough that they threatened to have another author replace Salvatore if he tried to walk, but then they tell him, "Yeah, we're doing a hundred year time skip, so all Drizz't's supporting cast is either really old or dead now. And Elminster's a bitter old shell of his former self, cuz we bumped off the Goddess of Magic, and stripped most of his powers. Good luck writing an engaging novel with the new framework." Who in potato's name thought this was a good idea?