Wednesday, July 23, 2014

047: Alien3 (1992) - The Ungainly, the Underwhelming, and the Ugly

SPOILERS FOR ALIEN (1979), ALIENS (1986), ALIEN (1992), ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

In this episode:
  • A Matter of Taste recommends that everyone take a deep breath and find a strong drink before pursuing the ill-advised course of watching this movie.
  • That's right, we're talking Alien3. 
  • Spoiler alert, in case you didn't see this one coming, the special effects do not hold up so well.
  • The set design, however? Pretty solid.
  • We discuss the various follies that resulted in this film.
    • Most of them can be laid at the feet of a script passed around between a cavalcade of screenwriters and one dude who apparently just hated fun.
  • Ripley's characterization: where is it in this movie? Did it escape when the pod crashed? What happened?
  • This is the first time we see an Alien's form altered by the host it impregnated, so that's kind-of cool at least.
    • The concept moreso than the execution.
  • We address the elephant in the room, namely why Newt and Hicks don't survive the first scene.
    • There's really no good reason.
    • None at all.
    • Okay, there are a few reasons we can come up with, but no good ones.
    • I don't know what you want from me, it was a bad choice.
  • Because of the magnitude of this betrayal, it becomes difficult to get invested in any of the other characters in the film because the screenwriters have already broken the audience's trust for no discernible reason, we touch on this a bit in the 'cast.
  • We do get around to talking about stuff other than how upset we are at the murder of Newt and Hicks. I think.

  • Double-Y chromosomes are a thing, but not the thing that the movie wanted them to be.
  • UPDATE: Tumblr user eriksmaugcanton informs us about the comic book series Fio recalled but couldn't remember the name of.
  • Highlights from Ian's Timestamps:
    • 9:52 - I honestly did not register the mugs looking weird. I think this is another Dolarhyde’s chairs situation. XP
    • 11:52 - See, my brain immediately went to Doctor Hugh and started making House jokes.
    • 13:30 - Did I just call it a “spacehugger”? ahahahahahahaha. Futuristic environmentalists ftw. “HUG THE VACUUM! PROTECT THE EMPTINESS OF SPACE!”
    • 16:11 - “I don’t know how to judge that part [killing off Newt and Hicks] of the movie…” Oh, don’t worry, former Ian. You’ll know by the end of the podcast.
    • 53:35 - And boom goes the dynamite. :P “BULLSHIT,” FIO. YOU MADE ME USE A SWEAR OTHER THAN “FUCK.”
  • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
  • Outro: "The Great Disappointment" - AFI | YouTube | iTunes |
(Screencap taken from

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

046: Aliens (1986) - They Mostly Podcast At Night. Mostly.

SPOILERS FOR ALIEN (1979), ALIENS (1986), ALIEN 3 (1992), ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997), PROMETHEUS (2012), and ANIMORPHS #53: THE DECISION (are you even surprised?).

In this episode:
  • Cleolinda Jones joins us once again for one of her (and our) favorite movies!
  • Discussion of Aliens (1986), including our first exposures to the film, the theme of family throughout the film, the differences between the theatrical and Special Edition cuts, and our favorite moments and lines.
  • Why does this movie speak to so many people? We theorize.
  • Ian pulls in references to Captain Underpants and Animorphs, because of course he does.
  • We need a bingo card for frequent podcast occurrences. Any takers?
  • The morality of Carter Burke
  • Cleo shows us why Aliens really is It Gets Worse: The Movie.
  • We discuss the xenomorph lifecycle as a dark reflection of human reproduction, this movie especially emphasizing parenthood.
  • Ian regales all with excerpts from the Aliens novelization.
  • Bishop and androids in the Alien movies.
  • We talk a little bit more about the upcoming Alien: Isolation video game, which just had a pretty awesome announcement.

  • I am aware the line is "You've blown a trans-axle," not "busted." For the longest time I remembered it as "busted" (and also as "ease off" instead of "ease down"). It's close enough that I didn't feel like re-recording it once I realized the error. FORGIVE ME, INTERNETS.
  • According to Wikipedia, it was 17,372 Yeerks that Jake ordered Ax to flush. Of course, it also says he did it "Hoping to distract Visser One and Tom long enough to save Rachel's life," which is a complete and utter lie.
  • In a rare moment of clarity while listening back to the podcast, I remembered where Cleo must have gotten "158" for the colony's population.
  • Highlights from Fio's timestamps:
    • 4:00 - 5:10 - And a phone is ringing. That no one can hear but you, Ian. There was no phone. There was no phone, was there Ian? Was there?
    • 16:41 - I said Lurkers when I meant Licker. I’m a bad Resi fan.
    • 26:51 - I know you said “thirty-thousand, or…” here, but it sounds like you said “thirty-thousander” and it made me giggle.
  • Opening: "Ripley's Rescue" - James Horner, Aliens: The Deluxe Edition (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) | YouTube | iTunes
  • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
  • Outro: "Killer Queen" - Queen | YouTube | iTunes |
(Header image taken from

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

045: Alien (1979) - I Sing the Nostromo Electric

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALIEN (1979), ALIENS (1986), ALIEN 3 (1992), PROMETHEUS (2012), Starcraft, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and JASON X (2001) (no, really).

In this episode:
  • Well, we're talking about Alien, so clearly there's only one way to begin:
    • A loooooong-ass digression on 2001: A Space Odyssey, that's how!
  • We discuss the movie Alien, its impact on the horror genre, specifically talking about Sci-Fi horror and the evolution of Monster-based horror away from the campier radioactive terror flicks of the previous decades.
  • Retro-futurism, more specifically whether or not we would consider Alien to be intentionally retro-futuristic, or if that's a layer added by the temporal distance between the film's creation and our discussion of it.
    • It's actually pretty wonky when you think about it, we get into it a little deeper on the 'cast.
  • The Chestburster scene, how it's a masterpiece, and our initial experiences with the Alien franchise as children.
    • Yes, children. People with glass parenting skills shouldn't throw stones.
  • Where exactly does the term Xenomorph come from, how is it applied in the films, and what is it with toy companies in the 80s making (admittedly awesome) action figures (that were marketed to children) for films waaaaaaaaay outside their target demo?
  • The way Alien has a habit of drawing you into the perspective of the characters so that you experience the film alongside them.
    • We get a little bit into writing strategies and how they could have achieved that, but really not much more than that. This is something we've both agreed we'd like to mine out some more before approaching the subject in a later podcast.
  • Always Reblog Ripley
    • Always.
      • Seriously, though, we get into Sigourney Weaver's immense performance and her equally immense impact on the sci-fi genre, how she navigates the "final girl" trope in the film, and the legacy she's left in her wake.
  • The possibility of perfection and the horror of actually attaining it.
  • We dance around different definitions of Body Horror and what it means to us.
  • Finally, if you were having trouble finding the podcast on, we've navigate that treacherous crossing ourselves.
  • If it wasn't blisteringly obvious, the title of this podcast is Ian's and the header image is Fio's
  • Highlights from Ian's Timestamps:
    • 1:15 - 1:30 - *sung a la Dave Matthews* The space betweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen, the podcast paaaaaaaaarts…
    • 26:58 - Have you heard my new band, Jungian Osmosis?
    • 52:41 - “The cat is an ill omen in this movie!” File this under: Sentences I’m glad exist.
    • 1:00:31 - “When Ripley goes into that...I dunno, control panel room, if that’s what you want to call it…” Oh, I don’t know, Ian--maybe you could call it a CONTROL ROOM? *facepalm*
    • 1:01:07 - p, and “It was so much computer.” Another sentence I’m glad exists.
    • 1:12:10 - P and what the fuck do we talk about for the next 40 minutes, damn
    • 1:15:47 - If only I had had the presence of mind to say, “Yeah… yeah, that’s right.”
    • 1:40:20 - It was all I could do here to keep from bringing up the uncanny valley again--at this point it’s almost a given when discussing horror monster design.
    • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
    • Outro: "I Sing the Body Electric" - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes | YouTube | iTunes |

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    044: The Video Game Episode or I Knew it was Going to Happen, You #@$%ing Criminals

    Minor spoilers for Bioshock; Dead Space 1 & 2; Half-Life 2; Portal 1 & 2; Oddworld 1 & 2; Silent Hill 1, 2, & Shattered Memories; The Evil Within; Amnesia: The Dark Descent; Batman: Arkham Asylum; Folklore. MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 2 “OVERLORD: ATLAS STATION,” THE LAST OF US, ODDWORLD, and HANNIBAL SEASONS 1 & 2.

    In this episode:
    • Our dear friend Vic joins us for a few hours of revelry
    • As you may or may not have gleaned from the spoiler warnings, this episode we're discussing horror in the realm of video games. The Ole' Interactive Electronic Hickory Spookshow, as no one has ever called it in history ever.
    • So of course we're going to talk about our personal experiences with horror games, because none of us did the reading.
      • Consummate professionals.
    • We discuss how the player's agency in the narrative changes the different tactics the producers of the game need to utilize in order to maintain the horror atmosphere.
      • By that token, we also get into the influence that horror movies have (some might argue obviously had on the horror game genre).
    • We address the concept of Aggressive vs Defensive gaming in regards to Action Horror vs Survival Horror.
      • Going off of that concept, we also look into what purists might argue are "true" horror games vs games that are not by their nature horror, but employ a horror-themed aesthetic.
    • There's, like, a whole lot about lighting in here. Ian's got a serious jones for lighting, if you guise weren't aware.
    • We get into how far logic can be bent in the medium of the game vs a non-interactive medium (Say, Hannibal, perhaps?)
      • Opening: Clip from Resident Evil (Linked is your best bet of getting a new, physical copy of the first game at this point)
      • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
      • Outro: "Want You Gone" - Jonathan Coulton | YouTube | iTunes |
      (Header image taken from this post:

      Wednesday, May 28, 2014

      043: Hannibal 2x13 "Mizumono" - It Was Weirdly Upsetting


      In this episode:
      • Cleolinda Jones returns!
      • we can all sob together.
      • Discussion of Hannibal 2x13 "Mizumono," including why, God, why.
      • From Fio: "So much of this episode is just us commiserating via emotional vomit cleansing."
      • Blood. So much blood.
      • srsly why.
      • what's even the point of description bullets.
      • Life advice: If you hear the theremin, just stay downstairs.
      • The AV Club Interview with Bryan Fuller for "Mizumono" 
      • This is My Design eyeshadow collection from Aromaleigh
      • As we said on the episode: Between now and the fall, we'll be covering general horror topics (and possibly more movies!). Let us know here or through one of the ways listed in our sidebar if there's anything in particular you want us to discuss.  
      • You can expect the next episode of A Matter of Taste in two weeks' time on Thursday, June 12. Prospective topic: Horror video games.
      • The song from Inception is "Non, je ne regrette rien" by Édith Piaf
      • "Dear Sister," the SNL (Lonely Island) sketch I reference which features "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap
      • Despite us backtracking through the episode several times, we managed to completely gloss over the scene between Bella and Hannibal this episode where they talk about forgiveness. Will you forgive us?
      • Highlights from Fio's timestamps:
        • 19:46 - “At the Breakfast Dinner Table” is like a lighthearted palate cleanser version of our podcast
        • 46:26 - Price and Zeller’s Bed and Breakfast spin off is my dearest dream and I refuse to let it die.
        • 48:03 - Hah hah. Yes, fifteen other serial killers living in Baltimore who are not me, not at all even a little bit in any way shape or form. Hah hah. Cleo, you kidder, you slay me, which is entirely different from the way that I, a normal human creature, interact with other people. Hah.
        • Opening: "Sirens - Air Raid Siren - CU - Rise, Steady, Fall"-
        • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
        • Outro: "Mosquito Song" - Queens of the Stone Age | YouTube | iTunes |
        (Header image taken from this post:

        Wednesday, May 21, 2014

        042: Hannibal 2x12 "Tome-Wan" - A Matter of Interpretation

        SPOILERS UP TO (and including) HANNIBAL 2x12, as well as MAJOR SPOILERS for the Hannibal novel/movie.

        In this episode:
        • Discussion of Hannibal 2x12 "Tome-Wan," including the most horrific thing we've ever seen, ever, Hannibal's amazing reaction to Mason trouncing around his office with an utter lack of respect, the plot points and details cherry-picked from Thomas Harris' Hannibal, Bedelia's return, and where we think things might go in the finale. 
        • We dive right into the super-upsettingness of the Mason scene, the uncanny valley (drink) nature of his mask, and how we can see the Vergers featuring into the rest of the series.
        • How much of the books/movies the show is burning this early in its run, so where do we go from here? (drink)
        • Who will live? Who will die? How fucked up will it really be?
        • If you're trying to minimize your spoilers for future storylines, the biggest spoilers for the Hannibal novel/movie begin around the 54:00 mark.
        • Next week: A special guest will be joining us for the finale! Hint: It's Cleo. ...I may not entirely understand the whole concept of "hints."
        • Made it through the whole episode without making a Hitchhiker's Guide reference. I'm...slightly disappointed in ourselves.
        • Bryan Fuller's AV Club interview on this episode. Just as fair warning: He makes a few vague comments about the season finale near the end. 
        • The Wikipedia article for the novel Bedelia by Vera Caspary 
        • The point I think I was trying to make RE: Bedelia and Hannibal's role reversal as patient and psychiatrist, and what Fio basically comes to on the podcast: The way she characterizes her relationship with Hannibal draws connections to Randall Tier, Margot Verger, and of course Will, and back to the major themes of Shiizakana in general. That's where I'm getting this whole "teacher/acolyte" idea from. Bedelia, like Randall, Margot, and Will seems to have at one time been one of Hannibal's "students"--a "student of predators," as Will comments about Randall. Interestingly, it also possibly casts Will's bringing up Bedelia in the whole "How many are there?" conversation in Shiizakana in an entirely new light.
        • You in danger, girl. (As if anyone who's spent a modicum of time on the Interwebs needs a link.)
        • The production still of Bedelia from the season finale that I bring up. EDIT: As an anonymous Tumblr user brought up, the post actually says 113, not 213, meaning it's from Savoureux, not Mizumono. Doesn't mean she can't be in the finale, but yeah. My mistake, and my most sincere apologies.
        • Highlights from Fio's timestamps:
          • 9:55 - I’m stumbling over my words a lot around here, care to clean this up and make me not sound like an idiot? I know it’s a tall order, but I trust you, Ian. I trust your judgement. I trust your ability to judge the heat and texture of a poorly cooked ravioli and I trust that you would stop a well meaning manticore from losing an argument with a storm drain.
          • 17:22 - I’m pretty sure that with that Gaiman quote it’s originally used to reference retellings and I’m just bogarting it to talk about adaptations. But I guess you could make a very reasoned argument that adaptations are just retellings with a bit of a medium shift. Blah.
          • 31:51 - Mason whips out... test the meat... heyoooooooooo
          • 46:10 - A Matter of Interpretation is our spinoff podcast where we’re even more obtuse and pedantic
        • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
        • Outro: "March of the Pigs" - Nine Inch Nails | YouTube | iTunes |
        (Header image taken from this post:

        Wednesday, May 14, 2014

        041: Hannibal 2x11 "Ko No Mono" - Useless Prognostication


Bless you 

        SPOILERS UP TO (and including) HANNIBAL 2x11, as well as mild spoilers for the novel Hannibal.

        In this episode:
        • Discussion of Hannibal 2x11 "Ko No Mono," including the fate of Freddie Lounds, religious symbolism, how Hannibal perceives the people around him, the Vergers, and Alana's journey this episode and beyond
        • What does all of this mean for Will's slide into darkness?
        • Hannibal as manipulator vs Hannibal as lifetroll. Ian concludes: Hannibal, you fucker.
        • Also according to Ian: Bryan Fuller is basically Hannibal. Minus the cannibalism and the murder and all that jazz, but you catch my drift.
        • Lots of religious symbolism.
        • We talk about how serialized this season has been, and the way the writing reflects elements of Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs.
        • Who's in on what? What's the end game?
        • There's definitely a bunch of stuff we didn't dig deep into here--feel free to bring things up in the comments.
        • Highlights from Fio's timestamps:
          • 33:08 - Does anyone want to join my Nerdcore Shoegaze band Useless Prognostication?
          • 39:37 - So we’re talking about Hannibal’s religious beliefs here, but quick aside. A Gay Christian and a Straight Atheist debate horror movies. You realize this is a sitcom, right? We live in a sitcom right now and it’s all our fault.
          • How sincere is Hannibal? Like, at any point in time? Ever?
        • "Previously On" clips taken from AMOT 012 & 013
        • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
        • Outro: "I Want to Conquer the World" by Bad Religion | YouTube | iTunes |
         (Header image taken from