Ib Melchior passed away on March 13, at the age of 97. His death was rather overshadowed in genre circles by those of two far more famous figures in the field, so I’m going to take a few moments now to remember the contributions of the novelist, screenwriter and director. While his most notable contributions have been more SF than horror, there are enough horrific elements in his work that I think he has a place in this column.
The most high-profile works associated with him are ones where his involvement was in one way or another indirect. He wrote the English-language script for Mario Bava’s SF/horror masterpiece Planet of the Vampires (1965). His concept Space Family Robinson (later a comic book) was, he claims, plagiarized by Irwin Allen as Lost in Space, and indeed, when the film version came along in 1998, Melchior was a paid consultant. And his short story “The Racer” was the basis for Paul Bartel’s brilliant (and ever-more-topical) satire Death Race 2000 (1975).* Continue reading →
Like almost everyone else, my first encounter with Leonard Nimoy was in his Spock role. But as I watched endless reruns of Star Trek in my elementary school years, I did not have much awareness of the actor behind the character. The names in the credit sequence meant little. They were less real than the characters themselves. I knew that Spock wasn’t real, of course, but imaginatively and emotionally he was. The real person behind the character barely registered in my consciousness. Continue reading →
Robot babies, creepy babies, and just babies, oh my! Shaun, Julia, Paul, and Rachael join forces to talk about 1999’s Baby Geniuses, which one critic described as “about as endearing as unanesthetized gum surgery.” You can guess how we all felt about it…
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I thought I’d start off this year with a few short films — and since we’re doing women and non-binary people in genre, how about some short films directed by women? Well, my friends, easier said than done. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise (consider for example that only 6% of top Hollywood features were directed by women in 2013, and films with female directors are often chronically underfunded) that it’s already slightly more challenging to find films directed by women, let alone trans-women or non-binary people. But most of those short films tend to be documentary (women filmmakers often gravitate toward documentary, actually), drama, or romance. Looking specifically for sci-fi and fantasy short film — already only a small percentage of all short films made — directed by women is even more challenging. I actually had a much easier time finding genre short film done by African directors.
After a mighty amount of googling, I’ve found a couple of excellent full short films for you, and two trailers that I wish I had the full films for!