The heart of Australian television : from a bush kangaroo to a man from the moon by David Chittick

David Chittick, 2014

David Chittick, 2014

Here’s a labour of love and a treasure trove, all in one lavishly illustrated volume. Film and television historian David Chittick grew up in front of a black-and-white telly in the 1960s and 70s, during what is now seen as something of a golden-age of Australian television. Shows like Homicide, Division 4, Number 96, Skippy, Adventure Island and Mr Squiggle catered for viewers of all ages in a decade that saw this relatively new medium become a fixture in homes across the nation. No dry retelling of shows, casts and dates, the author’s own love of the era comes through in his reminiscences, and his interviews with a vast range of actors and participants brings to life what was a really exciting time in Australian television history.

Some lovely moments with Mr Squiggle, Bill the Steam Shovel and the charming Miss Pat (aka. Pat Lovell)

Science fiction double feature : the science fiction film as cult text: edited by J.P. Telotte and Gerald Duchovnay

Liverpool University Press, 2015

Liverpool University Press, 2015

I admit it, the cover alone made this a must-have for inclusion here! But if you can get past the fabulous still from the infamous 1953 Z-grade film, Robot Monster, you will find a remarkably scholarly work that examines science-fiction cinema in relation to cult films; what are the attributes of cult films and why do so many science-fiction films (and television shows) qualify for this status? Indeed, how has Robot Monster itself transcended its own badness to become a cult classic, worthy of inclusion in this very worthy tome?

Heavy metal movies : guitar barbarians, mutant bimbos & cult zombies amok in the 666 most ear-and eye-ripping big scream films ever! by Mike “McBeardo” McPadden

Bazillion Points, 2014

Bazillion Points, 2014

Apart from the title (which has to be one of the longest yet featured here), and the author’s name (which you couldn’t make up), and the cover (which you need sunglasses and a calm disposition to look at for any amount of time), there is a lot of entertainment to be had here. Mind you, I’m not entirely sure that there is such a thing as a heavy metal film genre, and I was surprised to find films such as Return to Oz, Fantasia and King Kong rubbing shoulders with Iron Maiden: Behind the Beast, Death Metal Zombies and Kull the Conqueror. Perhaps the unifying factor bringing these disparate films together is their dark tone and pervading sense of the world as a chaotic, and loud, place. Approach with caution.

Gilliamesque : a pre-posthumous memoir : TG’s bio(degradable) autography : a singular person’s first first person singular palin-dromic biograph : my me, me, me memoir by Terry Gilliam and Ben Thompson

HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015

HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015

 

I spoke too soon, an even longer title; fortunately it happens to be the wonderful Terry Gilliam’s autobiography, so well worth including. American born founding member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and creator of the show’s groundbreaking animations, Gilliam went on to direct a series of films notable for their rich, fantastical imagery and complex, sometimes dystopian, visions of societies past and present. His autobiography, as you would expect, treads no ordinary path through his life, and is instead a kaleidoscopic mix of images, cartoons, detours, asides and downright frank confessions of a life still being well lived.

You didn’t think I’d let you go without at least a small taste of Robot Monster, did you?

 

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