Another entry in the Cultus Obscuram and this time it is Wes Craven’s TV show “Nightmare Café“, a short-lived supernatural drama from the early 1990s played mainly for dark laughs. At the time the two lead actors, Jack Coleman and Lindsay Frost, were minor US television celebs though the headline billing went to co-star and Craven alumni Robert Englund. Yes, Freddy Krueger himself (not to mention that annoyingly sappy alien from the original incarnation of “V” or virtually every US horror convention since 1984). Each episode was given a sort of redemption of the week theme, like a feel-good “Twilight Zone”, but there is little of interest beyond that. The dialogue is so-so, the acting mixed (male lead Jack Coleman is particularity poor though he went on to bigger and better things as the character Noah Bennet in the 2000’s hit “Heroes“) and after a viewing one can understand why the whole thing lasted for just six episodes before being cancelled. Still, some people like the fairly mild black humour and the interaction between the three lead stars, Lindsay Frost is something of a Fanboy favourite (on that I’d tend to agree), and it could be argued that it has stood the test of time better than many of its contemporaries.
In the oft-played Geek game of “Cultus Obscuram” I’ve yet to be beaten, whether it is in the arena of movies, TV programmes, books or comics. Undoubtedly my winning hand when it comes to contesting a knowledge of cult films is the truly obscure 1981 George A. Romero effort “Knightriders” (note the plural) notable for its leading and only star, a young and frequently stripped-to-the-waste Ed Harris, and the acting appearances of Horror author Stephen King and his wife Tabitha (the former sporting some rather odd-looking facial hair). Hailing from the era when Home VHS was starting to drive the growth of the newish phenomenon of Fandom, the story itself is an overly self-referential Arthurian tale in modern dress, with motorbikes for horses and misfits for knights. This is delivered via the medium of the most inanimate acting and bum-squeezingly awful dialogue you are likely to see outside of a fan-made Star Wars movie.
However its very awfulness does lend it a quaint charm of its own, the portentous mystical musings are fun (and quotable), you can play spot the 1980s’ B-movie actor or actress, and some fans actually see it as a sort of template for life. Which is the very definition of a cult film.
Find your inner adolescent Geek and enjoy.
Norwegian cinema is unusual, sometimes very unusual, but fun. And none more so than its small, Indie scene. Here are two recent examples. Of course their Scandinavian cousins have also given us the brilliant TV thriller ‘The Killing‘ (Denmark) and the suitably dark and disturbing movie (given it’s source material) ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ (Sweden).
I’ve written several articles about the long tradition of Irish language authors working in the Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres and will post them here soon. In the meantime here is some interesting essays which touch on the subject from the Celtic Cultural Studies journal. Interesting question: when does Mythology and Folklore cross over into literary genre? Does Irish Mythology qualify as Fantasy?
More of this from me anon but in the meantime we have:
Philip O’Leary, “Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Irish Language”
C.W. Sullivan III, “Conscientious Use: Welsh Celtic Myth and Legend in Fantastic Fiction”
I have a lengthy appreciation of the wonderful British-born Irish language writer Cathal Ó Sándair - whose prodigious body of quality works would shame most other writers, in any language – that I will post here as well.
And if you like your Science-Fiction or Fantasy with a hefty dose of Irish and Celtic inspiration try these gems: