I haven't been well recently, not well at all. In fact you could say that I've been as sick as the proverbial dog - I know, what an attractive image that image produces. Now before the Internet goes into a terminal spin with the knowledge that I've been sick and so resulting in countless (well maybe just a couple) women plus fellow pop culture geeks going into an emotional breakdown at the thought of no more from the 5D Universe, let me put your mind at rest. It was just a cold, mixed with a little minx of a stomach bug which laid me up in bed for a number of days with just my wandering feverish thoughts for company.
I know what you're thinking - Just what the hell is important about this? Why should we care? Why can't you just get to the point of this article? Why don't you stop bothering us and stop blogging? ....... I completely understand, all fair comments, In fact all too regular comments about me if truth be told. However in the time-honoured tradition of flying in the face of all criticism and abuse I will continue boldly on.
The point is that while I was in the 'death throes' of illness and feeling more than a little sorry for myself (because it's all about me, you know) I started thinking about a number of things: Would the Doctor Who Christmas special be any good? Would Rogue One be better than A Force Awakens? Would The Walking Dead mid-season finale make me cry? Would Santa reward my begging letters? - As it turned out, the answer for all those questions was a resounding yes.
There was also something else that I began thinking about, though I'm not too sure where or why the thought began, or indeed why over the next day or two it became something of an uncontrollable 'ear worm' to the extent that it soon became an obsession. The thing is, in my life I have certain irrational pet hates, you know, the type of things that shouldn't really annoy, but invariably do. The over-use and incorrect modern use of the word 'literally' is one thing that makes my blood boil for example. Another is the propensity at this time of year for all and sundry to produce their 'year best of' lists........you know, 'My favourite 10 pictures of food that I took in 2016' etc etc etc. God save me.
However, in my pit of despairing illness it soon dawned on me that I too had fallen into the 'best of lists' trap, the details of which I'll talk about shortly. Earlier that morning I had decided that once I had escaped from the jaws of sickness and impending death I would get way for a few days and go on a road trip around god's own country of Scotland. The slight problem with that proposal was that my car is 'incapacitated' in the local garage over the Christmas period, in other words, I am without transport.
In my fevered brain I started looking at websites - I would rent one, dammit. The first site I came across, Turo had a very bold claim that they would have the very car I needed and one that I could afford. After perusing their rentals site at https://turo.com/rentals I thoughts they may be onto something. After looking at this car, The Aviato, I KNEW I was onto something - if you don't believe me then check out the baby at https://turo.com/aviato. Hmmm, I've just realised that I have just gone and provided Turo with a tidy amount of free publicity - well, I suppose that it's Christmas and all that so a modicum of good will to all etc etc should be displayed........... Don't worry, people - my god cheer won't last too far into 2017 so it will hopefully be a swift return to my selfish and self-absorbed self.
I soon realised that leaving on a road trip was going to be unrealistic just now, and so I started to ponder if given the chance to choose and car/vehicle from Sci-fi, fantasy & horror culture just what would I choose? And so we return (eventually) to my list, or to be specific;
THE 5D TOP 5 DREAM 'CARS'
As you may have noted, the word cars in the title is something of a loose term as you will see.....
5) The Ford Club Wagon from The Texas chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Those of you who me reasonable well will know that this film is my favourite ever film..... ever, ever, ever.
I'm not going to give anything near a detailed synopsis of the plot as any self respecting horror devotee will be at least familiar with the rudimentary elements - the other two people in the world can watch it for themselves. However, to basically sum it up...
Ever so loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tells the story of five teenage friends who are travelling across the state in their battered Ford Club Wagon. Their intention is to pay a visit to their grandfather's grave after stories of vandalism and desecration have reached them. However 'the best laid plans' and all that...... because as they travel cross-country to the homestead they chance upon an old run-down property. Here, they are hunted and terrorised by a chain-saw wielding murderer and his not so lovable family of grave-robbing cannibals.
Perhaps this film as much as any in horror history suggests that friends who travel together across desolate parts of the States in any sort of van are simply on a one way journey to Slasherville. The early scenes of the film featuring the travelling group perfectly sets the tone for the upcoming kill-fest, particularly empathising the already fractured relationships of the group. The fact that the confined filming in the van took place in an intense sticky Texas heat was bad enough. If you add the fact that Paul Partain, who portrayed the wheelchair-bound Franklin, and co-actor Marilyn Burns didn’t get on it resulted in a good deal of genuine argument and resentment.
4) The Star Wars Landspeeder
For those of us that experienced the first wave of the force back in 1977/78, we were quite simply blessed to be part of the whole insane adventure. Prior to the arrival of Messrs Skywalker, Solo, Vader et al, the science fiction scene in the 1970's was dire. Star Trek was nothing but a distant memory and the genre was wallowing in memories of well meaning (and some not so well meaning) B-movies.
Yes we had Doctor Who on TV (thank god), but every other attempt at producing good science fiction television was either good but short-lived (Planet of The Apes) or just plain rubbish (most everything else). The injection that George Lucas provided to sci-fi was seismic in proportions and arguably the greatest revolution in cinematic history that can still be felt in the genre today.
To those that weren't around in those heady days it is difficult to explain just how exciting and new the Star Wars universe was. It was everywhere; in film, literature, merchandising, music. In fact there wasn't one facet of popular culture that wasn't affected during those mad early years which evolved into living through the release of three truly iconic films.
All my friends wanted a Lightsabre, a stormtrooper helmet or a blaster..... Me, I wanted a Landspeeder.
Oh I wanted one so much! I truly wanted this car-like transportation which hovered a little over ground level whilst travelling as fast as an F1 car. Of course people tried to ruin my dreams by stating that the Landspeeder wasn't actually real, that the production crew disguised the wheels to create the illusion that the speeder was hovering.
Nonsense. It was real. I still want one.
When the master, John Carpenter brought Stephen king's story of a demonically possessed car to the big screen in 1983, the star of the book immediately became the star of the film.
Quite simply, the 1958 Plymouth Fury is a vehicle of genuine beauty. The car itself was a genuine classic of its time with only 5,300 ever produced of the V-8 engine which produced 290 horsepower and came equipped with the legendary quad headlamps, tube grille and lollipop taillights. As you may gather, I adore this car.
The film is quite rightly regarded as one of Carpenters classics, skillfully achieving the one thing that he needed to do to make the film convincing - after all, this is a film about a possessed automobile and the audience had to be convinced, they had to be scared. From the initial scenes where we first see Christine on the production line, the single gleaming red car inn-amongst the sea of plain white versions, the pleasing aesthetics of the car are immediately established. It's not long after, thanks to the deaths of a couple of factory workers, that the violent malevolence of the car is also established.
The car is the star of the story. Christine looks beautiful but there's never a moment when the murderous menace isn't clearly lurking just below the surface.
Around 20 separate cars were used in the making of the movie after Carpenter advertised throughout southern California for any models. It is true that not all of the cars used in the film were Furys (the Belvedere and Savoy models were also used), the Fury is the model that still reasonates. Of all the cars used in the making of the Christine, just two Furys still exist. I want one
2) 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon from Mad Max
Star Trek has the Enterprise; Star Wars has the Millennium Falcon; Back to the Future has the De Lorean.... the original Mad Max film has the Ford Falcon.
If there was anything that was going to upstage that young upstart Mel Gibson (and just whatever the heck ever happened to him after this film?) then it needed something with a monster charisma that could fill the screen. I think that it's safe to say that the car in this film just about did that..... in spades.
Director George Miller wanted a car that could match the revenge induced viciousness of Max, so they plumped for the 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon. They painted it midnight black (of course) and then gave it matt black stripes and finished it off with a roof spoiler. Well I say, 'finished it off', because the final touch was actually the quintessential element - the supercharger. This addition was intentionally set up so ridiculously high off the intake that it became a nonfunctional item. - but who cares, because it sounded and looked stunning.
I want one.
1) The Time Machine
This masterpiece was made in 1960 and directed by the excellent George Pal, who had not only already directed the first H.G Wells adaptation of The War of the Worlds, but was also responsible for a notable body of work with perhaps most famously, the wonderful When Worlds Collide.
The magnificent Rod Taylor plays George Wells (see what they did there?), who has asked one friends to attend his dinner party. However, George isn't yet present so, in accordance with his prior wishes, they begin without him. Not before long, a clearly stressed and exhausted George stumbles into the dining room and so begins to recount a quite remarkable tale of time travel and adventure.
However, for myself and many others, the real star of the film is the time machine itself. It is a thing of genuine beauty. MGM art director Bill Ferrari created the Machine, a sled-like design with a big, rotating vertical wheel behind the red plush seat, together with with a plethora of knobs and levers that is a attention to a detailers wet dream. It is a movie prop that has become an integral part of the wider entertainment history. Even those few that may never have seen the whole of this wonderful movie will recognise the truly beautiful design of the machine and from which film it comes from. It is a contraption that quite simply screams out Victorian Steampunk charm.
If anyone was to give me a full size, half size or even mini-sized Time machine copy, I would love them forever. I want one.