Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Creeping Fingers of Memory

July 21, 2014

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When I was little, televisions were pieces of furniture. They often came in wood and cloth consoles, reception was through antennae, and one changed the channel by (gasp!) getting up and turning the knob. There were perhaps four channels, or possibly five, depending on the signal.

 

The arrival of cable in our house was a cause of much excitement (on our part) and trepidation (on my mother’s.) Suddenly, there were several more choices. Cartoons! Movies! Really bad commercials! With this sudden invasion came Channel 17 out of Philadelphia and, on Saturdays, Wee Willy Webber’s show. For those of you not from back East, Mr. Webber was a radio personality and then TV host of several shows on many channels over the years – one of those voices that was soothing, friendly and entertaining all at once. The show in question was a Saturday Matinee sort of affair where he showed old Science Fiction and Horror movies – a little intro, sometimes a little serial short (Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers) – and then the MOVIE!

 

A friend recently asked me if classic SF movies had influenced my writing. Yes and no. Obviously, I’m interested in more advanced science than 1950’s cinema, but the fact is that these movies from childhood seeped into my brain. I know that. The images, the feel, the atmosphere all stayed with me, consciously or not. Sure I loved classic horror. The Boris Karloff Frankenstein, (“It’s alive!”) Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, adored them all. But I loved the weeks best when Mr. Webber’s movies were about space and radiation, mutants and time travel.

 

Early influences are inescapable, whether we acknowledge them or not. Some of the underground scenes from my novel, Gravitational Attraction, owe a great deal to Forbidden Planet, to that sense of awe and wonder I felt at finally seeing the alien underground installation. Visions of cityscapes in Vassily the Beautiful have much to do with those early futuristic city skylines in Metropolis and The Shape of Things to Come. And my need to return to cold landscapes, in the case of Sub Zero, even Arctic? Ah, there are echoes of The Thing there, not so much the terror of it but the isolation and eerie beauty.

 

I don’t consciously channel those old movies I love so dearly, but they’re in there, the images curled around my gray matter. And it wonderful.

2 Responses to “Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Creeping Fingers of Memory”

  1. JJ says:

    I’ve read how futuristic the silent film Metropolis is especially for such an old film, but I’ve never seen it. Is it interesting to watch?

  2. OMG, JJ – you MUST watch it. It’s strange and eerie and exciting. They’ve just done a newly restored and remastered version of it, so try to find that. Some parts of the old film had deteriorated terribly, so I’d love to see a cleaned up version myself.

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