Monday, 3 January 2011

Seventies heavens

This one's for joe especially. Yesterday's post was a lot to take in, and he reminded me I need to keep it simpler for readers less familiar with the world of gaming. He and others might like a primer in key influences and mental atmosphere.

Building on yesterday's use of cinema and taking the bold cyclopeatron and his 10 greatest works of fantasy fiction as encouragement, I venture into something more joe's bag - the 1970s - vital to understanding what makes many of us tick.

My criteria won't be overall impact, but apparent popularity and importance to the hobby, especially in this particular corner of the internet, especially to me, and I won't be annotating like cyclopeatron because I'm nowhere near clued-up enough. If you want my take on the influence of the '70s on the alien from Alien, that's still waiting for the brave.

Here we go then. Watch these to understand us better. All of the links will take you to IMDb, which ought to have a trailer for most. I recommend Wikipedia too for more on context. Remember, as always, some will not be for the sensitive or easily scared.

A Clockwork Orange - disturbing exploration of a dystopian Britain
Alien - body horror, claustrophobia and suspense in space
At the Earth's Core - Victorian sci-fi digs deep
Battle for the Planet of the Apes - post-apocalyptic and -revolutionary; fifth in the series
Beneath the Planet of the Apes - the metro, mutants, the bomb; second in the series
Capricorn One - faking the Mars landings
Close Encounters of the Third Kind - a thoughtful first contact
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - the revolution; fourth in the series
Count Dracula - Christopher Lee
Dark Star - lively space opera parody
Dawn of the Dead - post-apocalyptic zombie survivalism and satire
Escape from the Planet of the Apes - a trio of apes travel back in time; third in the series
Invasion of the Body Snatchers - mass alien possession horror
Logan's Run - escape from a supposed utopia
Mad Max - post-apocalyptic highway battles
Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Arthurian absurdity; everyone expects the jokes
Moonraker - Sven - sorry, Bond - in space
Rollerball - violent future sport in a corporate dystopia
Shivers - relatively subtle, sexual body horror
Silent Running - isolation and ecology
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger - fantasy search for a cure; third in the series
Soylent Green - big food gone madder and more dystopian
Stalker - spare existential journey into a forbidden zone
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - the original reboot; slow and reflective
Star Wars - defining and seminal space opera
Superman - superpowers and small-town goodness
The Black Hole  - Disney does live action sci-fi
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad - Sinbad returns, a seagoing fantasy; second in the series
The Hobbit - animation based on the novel by Tolkien
The Island of Dr. Moreau - mad scientist tropical island horror
The Land That Time Forgot - Lost World adventure with prehistoric creatures
The Man Who Fell to Earth - David Bowie meets human nature
The Omega Man - post-apocalyptic almost last human versus mutants
The Ultimate Warrior - survival in a post-apocalyptic New York
The Wicker Man - neopagan cult horror
THX 1138 - escape from a dystopia; George Lucas' directing debut
Westworld - sci-fi thriller in a wild west theme park
Wizards - animation blending fantasy, post-apocalypse and the Second World War
Zardoz - Sean Connery in an eccentric blend of sci-fi and fantasy

For those familiar with the hobby, what have I missed?


thekelvingreen said...

I might include The Chronicles of Riddick, not because it's any good because it's not, but because the world has an appropriate Jack Kirby/Warhammer 40,000 feel to it.

Oh, and Dune.

Andy said...

What about Bladerunner, or was that in the '80s? Raiders of the Lost Ark is also a good one for the list, but I'm also in doubt: '70s or '80s?

thekelvingreen said...

Oh, sorry, I missed the bit about the 70's. In that case, both of mine are out of the running.

Andy, both are 80's films, 1982 and 1981 respectively.

Xyanthon said...

Good list Porky. There are several from that timespan that may or may not be appropriate for the list like Clockwork Orange. 2001 would be a contender but it was released in 1968 (really, wow, that's a classic). How about Battle Beyond the Stars? Ooops, that was done in 1980.

Porky said...

Hi guys! Thanks for the suggestions so far, in or out! I know how difficult it is to hit the mark - my own mental '70s in cinema does begin more with Planet of the Apes and 2001 and end late, at Dune maybe, or even Conan in '82. I checked and had to reject some of the same.

Looking back from 2010, the social awareness, optimism and mock realism coming after Apes, 2001 and the moon landings makes the decade seem to start earlier, and films up to the late '80s have that gritty, model-based aesthetic by contrast with the squeaky CGI revolution. Films like Star Wars and Alien came late in the decade too and it might be that the films that followed in their footsteps are making the end harder to fix.

Clockwork Orange could be included for influencing the way we view the language and culture of the settings we create. I know it's at the back of my mind when I think about how I can make vocabulary fit. Does anyone else feel the same way?

Lexington said...

I'd suggest Lucas' first effort, THX1138. It's A Clockwork Orange's opposite number, in so much as it's nearly devoid of language, but communicates a world and unfamiliar concepts with a lot of clarity.

As a big fan of the decade in general, I'd like to see your take on similar influences from 90's flicks!

Porky said...

Welcome to the Expanse! It's good to see your familiar face here too.

I thought briefly about this one, but I've never actually seen it so allowed my mind to wander on. I guess that having come five years earlier than Logan's Run - and as far as I can tell having a similar subject - it does deserve listing. I'll put both films in.

As for other decades, it now seems unavoidable! I'm no expert, but with help from you guys it should be possible.

The Angry Lurker said...

The only one I hadn't seen was At the Earth's Core.Damn good list.

Porky said...

Thanks, and well done on so many - I've got some way to go to match that.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much to add other than this blog I stumbled upon that tackles 70s and 80s sci-fi tv shows:

I stumbled upon it and wandered around it for a few HOURS the first time I was there!

Porky said...

Good recommendation and good idea. I've been following that blog for a while and know exactly how absorbing it can be, but I'll take a look through the archive and see what I can turn up.

Anonymous said...

One of the people I work with just lent me Zardoz today (with Sean Connery!) which, according to the spine of the DVD, was released in 1974.
I've seen stills, and the movie looks pretty cringe-inducing ...yet I've heard it's actually a pretty good sci-fi.Is it good enough to make your list?

Porky said...

I'd only ever heard of it, but just watched the trailer and read up some. It seems a science fantasy-style mash-up and spaced-out in nature, and that qualifies it I'd say, far more than technical quality. It does suggest the ideas and mental atmosphere of areas of the hobby. I'll add it.

Dave Garbe said...

For the fantasy side of things
The Hobbit ('77)
Wizards ('77)

Both are great movies and work in social outcry at the state of the world and recent wars.

This is a great clip from The Hobbit showing some of it's propaganda:

Wizards is about two rival brothers, one that wants to dominate the world, the other to just enjoy hippy love. The evil one finds a secret weapon - a projector containing WW2 Nazi propaganda that he projects into the skies over battlefields.. the good guys, unaccustomed to witnessing such evil can't stand against the evil armies while it plays.

Porky said...

Great suggestions, and now in the list. Thank you too for finding the links for me! That particular video is from The Return of the King, but it's a good reminder of how the material can be interpreted and how much fun the older techniques can be. As a partial substitute, I found this fan-made trailer for The Hobbit.

Dave Garbe said...

Was it? Shoot... I'm mixing up Tolkien goblin ref's..