Tag Archive for Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon

Peter Cushing from "The Revenge of Frankenstein" (1958)

The Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon begins today, and WeirdFlix is proud to participate in honoring one of the most cherished actors of the 20th century.

Initiated by Frankensteinia (your one stop for all things Frankenstein), the Blogathon will celebrate the life and career of Peter Cushing with profiles, art, reviews, and anecdotes all around the blogosphere. Here at WeirdFlix, we’ll take a comprehensive look at Mr. Cushing’s career in film tomorrow on his birthday. We don’t want to leave you empty-handed on Day One, however, so we’ve got a little curiosity item for you below.

Watching weird movies and blogging about them are just two of my hobbies. If only I could add time travel to the list, I’d have enough time for all of them. I guess watching Doctor Who is about as close as I’ll get.

Here’s a short video of Peter Cushing enjoying one of his own hobbies:

Sadly, the end of the video is cut. Per British Pathé, it should say “…proving, if we needed proof, that playing soldiers is one game that we’ll never grow tired of.”

Much has been made of H.G. Wells’ full title, “Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”. I would contend that Wells didn’t mean for the “more intelligent” quip to be taken any more seriously than the notion that two 150-year-old men would crawl around on the floor playing his game. Indeed, the notion that a girl would even WANT to play a traditionally boys’ game is quite modern, and Wells even suggesting the possibility is pretty progressive for 1913.

I still engage in the occasional tabletop battle, but I’m not terribly skilled at painting the little buggers. I leave that to my lovely wife, who has made quite a career out of it. She does manage to “drag” me to Gen Con every year, and the very thought that I might have pushed my little army against that of Grand Moff Tarkin does indeed warm the heart.

Badge for the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon (May 25 - 31, 2013)

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the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon

As of this writing, Peter Cushing is one of the most referenced actors on this humble site, as represented by the big honking tag in the list to the right. If you’re reading this after May, 2013, that might have changed, but I have a gut feeling that with over a hundred screen credits to his name, many within the horror or science fiction genres, Mr. Cushing will be a frequent topic of discussion here.

We first mentioned Cushing as part of our drinking game for At the Earth’s Core (1976), a fun if loose little adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Kevin Connor had previously directed Cushing for Amicus Productions in the portmanteau horror film From Beyond the Grave (1973). Core is noteworthy for Cushing’s portrayal of the quintessential absent-minded professor, a role that is more whimsical than his usual intense scientists, vampire hunters, and detectives.

Another literary adaptation we previously examined is the Hammer Films treatment of She (1965). Peter plays the narrator of H. Rider Haggard’s novel, the Cambridge professor and amateur archaeologist, Horace Holly. Holly is a focused explorer and, as a former soldier, a man of action, so he’s a far cry from the absent-minded or bumbling professor archetypes. The film, as a whole, is a fun little adventure romp, and Cushing gets to play against his favorite foil and best friend, Christopher Lee as the devious high priest, Billali.

Earlier, I hinted at my long held affection for Doctor Who, both old and new. In our tribute to Dalek creator Terry Nation, we discussed the pair of Doctor Who feature films with Peter Cushing in a version of the title role. I say version, because this character isn’t the Time Lord seen in other versions, but a human professor whose surname is actually Who.

There is a lot of hand-wringing among science fiction fans about what constitutes “canon”. Lucas Licensing even maintains a continuity database, ranking various elements of the Star Wars Expanded Universe in different levels of canon. It strikes me as particularly absurd, then, that in a series that revolves around travel through space, time, and dimensions (the S, T, and D of TARDIS, respectively), that anyone would take a hard stance on Cushing’s Doctor not being “real”.

As writer Alan Moore so poignantly stated in his introduction to the Superman story, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”…

This is an IMAGINARY STORY… Aren’t they all?”

Please come back tomorrow when we’ll celebrate Mr. Cushing’s birthday by looking at his long and storied career in film. Thanks for visiting, and we hope to see you again soon!

Let’s All Go to the Lobby…

Movie Poster for "At the Earth's Core"

Let’s All Go to the Lobby…
Let’s All Go to the Lobby… and Get Ourselves a Drink!

Some films are so bad they’re good. Some films benefit from a little liquid encouragement. Some people seek out such entertainment. We are such people, and we’re willing to share our discoveries with you.
Please remember to drink responsibly.

Tonight’s Feature:

At the Earth’s Core(1976)

At the Earth’s Core is a Victorian adventure film based on the science fiction novel of the same name written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (of John Carter and Tarzan fame). I suppose it could be called steampunk, but the steam-tech is primarily employed to get our heroes to the subterranean world of Pellucidar, and, aside from a little social revolution, there’s precious little punk. Still, this should be a hoot for the top hat and pocket watch crowd or anyone else who likes pulpy adventure.

Doc Perry and David in the "Iron Mole" from "At the Earth's Core"

Doc Perry and David in the "Iron Mole" from "At the Earth's Core"

Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars) is Dr. Abner Perry, the inventor of the “high calibration digging machine,” or “iron mole” as it’s nicknamed. We come into the film on the day of its inaugural “burrow.” Perry intends to dig through the heart of a Welsh hill and demonstrate the effectiveness of his device. Doc is a bit of a scatterbrain, but he has his moments of trademark English bravado and derring-do, making this a very unusual role for the normally stoic and sometimes sinister Cushing.

Caroline Munro as Princess Dia in "At the Earth's Core"

Caroline Munro as Princess Dia in "At the Earth's Core"

Doug McClure

Doug McClure (The Land That Time Forgot) joins Dr. Perry as David Innes, an American financier and son of one of Perry’s best students. David, on the other hand, was amongst the worst, but Doc still sees plenty of promise in “young” David. David’s a Victorian-era meathead, but he’s got guts, and guts is enough.

Caroline Munro

Caroline Munro (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter) is Princess Dia, because every Edgar Rice Burroughs story requires a princess and who better than the nubile Munro. Dia is one of the first inhabitants of Pellucidar that Doc and David meet, and she provides both exposition and motivation to our heroes.

In order to prepare for our voyage, you must first “ante up.”

Ante: A shot of Fireball cinnamon whiskey or alternatively, Firefly sweet tea vodka, or some other fire-themed liqueur. Harder lemonades or tea liqueurs would also be appropriate to the Victorian theme.

Now, once the feature has begun, pick your poison (beer, hard lemonade, etc.).
These are the few simple rules you must obey:

  • Rule # 1: Drink to new acquaintances whenever a named character is introduced.
  • Rule # 2: Any time a named cast member dies, drink to their memory.
  • Rule # 3: Drink for courage any time a rubber monster enters the scene for the first time.
  • Rule # 4: Drink to victory any time a rubber monster is vanquished.
  • Rule # 5: Every time you see a Mahar blink, then you must take a drink.

“What the deuce is a Mahar?” you ask. Patience, old sport. All will be revealed in time.

I recommend a 15-minute intermission about halfway through for cigars (a David Innes vice), restroom breaks, water (hangover-proofing), snacks, etc. Appropriate snacks include hot wings, smoked turkey legs, or, for vegetarians, seven layer bean dip. In any case, I do NOT recommend drinking additional alcohol during intermission.

Beer BottleBeer BottleBeer Bottle
Difficulty Level:
Viewers will typically consume 35 oz.
(3 bottles at 1/2 oz. per drink, 12 oz. per bottle)
of alcoholic beverage if all rules are obeyed.
Running Time: 89 min. (+15 min. intermission)

If you want to check your work or just live vicariously through others, click the link
(“iron mole”) below for the official At the Earth’s Core scorecard:

The "Iron Mole" from "At the Earth's Core"

The "Iron Mole" from "At the Earth's Core"