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The Spinning Image Newsletter #6

So we meet again Meester Bond - what a pleasant surprise!

Welcome to the vast underground lair of the 6th newsletter from The Spinning Image. We don't expect you to talk - we expect you to die! In the nicest possible way, of course.

You can't help but have noticed that there's a new James Bond movie out, so here we go in depth and investigate 007's past adventures. Firstly, let's look at that villain success rate...

TOMORROW - THE WORLD!

Makes you wonder why they bother. Yer average James Bond baddie will have this cunning plan to steal something big, or hold something to ransom, or start a world war - and what happens? Ooh, here comes Mister Shaken-Not-Stirred to kill off your henchmen, shag your girlfriend and generally mess up your meticulous plans. All on his own. Makes you sick.

  • Dr. No - Maybe things were a lot easier back in the sixties. You enjoyed the backing of SPECTRE, a huge, evil spy organisation, to help you ruin the space programme from your island hideout. Then 007 arrives to send you to a watery grave. Thanks a bundle.

  • From Russia With Love - Your spy organisation is after a top secret decoding device. You assemble a highly skilled team to get it. All fine and dandy until Bond shows up to spoil everything. Brilliant - I don't think.

  • Goldfinger - Your plan to nick all the gold from Fort Knox can't fail. Or so you think until Bond beats you at golf, shags one henchwoman and electrocutes one henchman and sees you sucked off, er, I mean out at high altitude. Not a good day.

  • Thunderball - ransoms and nuclear weapons don't mix when Bond is around to throw a spanner in the works. Git.

  • You Only Live Twice - best secret base yet, in a volcano! Stealing spaceships is a superb idea! You've even killed off Bond. But oh no, he's not dead, he's invincible. As usual.

  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Your evil superbrain has devised the ideal humanity-threatening plan to wipe out life as we know it, with a posh skiing resort thrown in. Bond arrives. Blows it up. Still, revenge is sweet. Call it a draw.

  • Diamonds Are Forever - You assemble eleven guys to pull off a heist in a high security Las Vegas casino. Bond then makes certain your laser satellite never gets going. Something like that, anyway.

  • Live And Let Die - Drug smuggling is your game, but that honky mofo Bond has other ideas, even shagging your virginal fortune teller to make sure she never even picks so much as a Derby winner again. I think if James Bond met John Shaft he'd get a bullet in his ass. But Shaft isn't in this film.

  • The Man With The Golden Gun - You're a trained assassin out to kill General De Gaulle. If only the General hadn't moved his head slightly you wouldn't have missed. Whose fault is that? Our old friend James Bond. (Are you sure about this? Ed).

  • The Spy Who Loved Me - You have your own undersea lair and an excellent henchman in metal-toothed Jaws. Soon everyone will be living under the sea, and under your command. But Bond ends up ensuring you sleep with the fishes. Bleedin' marvellous.

  • Moonraker - You've constructed a huge space station known as the Death Star to ensure the Rebel Alliance are utterly defeated, only for Bond to, er, no, wait a minute...

  • For Your Eyes Only - Nuclear submarines are the order of the day as you try to devastate the world. And then Torvill and Dean put an end to all your efforts. Typical.

  • Octopussy - You're trying to single-handedly transport a live elephant across the Alps, but 007 defuses your atomic bomb with seconds to spare, just like in every other Bond movie. Tch.

  • A View To A Kill - You're a genetically enhanced criminal mastermind who has created the first cloned sheep: Grace Jones. And then Bond shags her and erm, you fall off a bridge and yes you've failed again! AGAIN!

  • The Living Daylights - James Bond is a singing nun who has to save all the children in her care while winning the heart of her handsome but emotionally distant employer. You're the entire Nazi army. Bond gets away. You lose.

  • Licence To Kill - Drug smuggling is your game, and - hey! Haven't we done this one?

  • Goldeneye - Turns out that you're not on a different planet, it's actually Earth thousands of years in the future and everyone is descended from James
    Bond's one night stands. Godammit!

  • Tomorrow Never Dies - You're a powerful media mogul who is setting off a major war to increase sales of your news outlets. James Bond beats you to it and instigates World War III, thereby destroying all life on Earth, leaving no one to buy your papers. I don't believe this.

  • The World Is Not Enough - What is there to say? Bond kicks your ass.

  • Die Another Day - You have this giant space laser, great, you'll use it to terrorise the free world, great, you'll even get your own country, great. What happens? James Bond turns up in his invisible motor and flies your plane into the path of the laser. With you on it. Cheers.

So there you go - mess with 007 and you're doomed to failure. Apparently the next Bond bad guy will be a cross between Blofeld and Oddjob. He's going to be called Blo-Job! Er, no, I meant to say Odd-Feld. Sorry, got a bit mixed up there.


AND ALL BECAUSE THE LADY LOVES...

Legend has it that to become a Bond Girl is the kiss of death to any starlet's career. For every Ursula Andress there are plenty of Daniela Bianchis, Mie Hamas and Claudine Augers. A quick search of the net does reveal little in the way of official sites for those beauties who dropped off the radar.

  • A good place to start is the Swinging Chicks of the 60s site. You'll find a bunch of 60s Bond Girls listed, including those named above, who don't have their own official pages, like Shirley Eaton from Goldfinger, for example. The 60s actresses are poorly represented, but the 70s ones are more up to date.

  • The scent of Le Jardin hangs heavy over Jane Seymour's site... which is more interested in Janey's roles in Dr Quinn and Somewhere in Time, or selling you her brand of clothes. But she's an artist AND an author, too. It says here.

  • Britt Ekland has no official site, but I did find this... which seems to be a front for Britt merchandise, including the chance to buy her justly forgotten non-hit single.

  • This isn't official either, but if you're in the mood to browse through hundreds of pictures of Babs, then this is the site for you.

  • Onto the eighties, and - sacre bleu! Je found une site de Carole Bouquet, avec les interviews et un filmography: Malheureusement il est tout en Francais! Mais non! Bonjour! *boop*

  • If there's one Bond Girl (well, she's more of a Bond Woman) who you would expect to have a website, it would be Grace Jones. But I couldn't find one, although I did find this... which should give you a few sleepless nights.

  • Maryam D'Abo fans get this...graced with the least flattering picture of any Bond Girl on its title page, this is basically the usual filmography and photos. Unofficial, as far as I can see.

  • For Talisa Soto your best bet is this... fairly extensive, news, pics and stuff. Someone must really like those Mortal Kombat movies.

  • At last an official site, courtesy of Izabella Scorupco: Quite professional looking, too, and with some input from Izabella herself. Worth seeing that dragon movie for. Michelle Yeoh has this dedicated to her... you know what to expect. She sings, too, apparently.

  • The best looking site has to be this one for inflatable woman Denise Richards. Flash animation, photos, news of her marriage to Charlie Sheen, even a real live fan club.

  • Denise's co-star Sophie Marceau has loads of sites dedicated to her, so here's a good place to begin... especially if you want to see her starkers.

  • Lastly, hooray for Hallewood! All things Halle Berry can be found here.

  • So there you go. Just a quick mention for Caroline Munro.

...and we're done.

BAH HUMBUG

There's nothing quite like the sight of Santa getting gunned down in Cronenberg's Rabid to make you feel all Christmassy, is there? And here we present a handful of other festive films to warm the cockles of your heart...

  • Die Hard - What better way to spend Christmas than with a gang of murderous terrorists?

  • Gremlins - Great Yuletide movie, if only for Phoebe Cates' explanation of why she isn't keen on the festive season.

  • Silent Night Deadly Night - It's ho, ho, ho-micide when a deranged Santa starts bumping off people in this horror and its many sequels.

  • The Ref - Is this the way the family really feels about Christmas with the relatives?

  • Black Christmas - Prank phone calls go a little too far in this wintertime shocker, sometimes called the first true slasher movie.

  • Tales From The Crypt - Joan Collins is menaced by a psycho Santa in one story of this Amicus collection.

  • It's A Wonderful Life - Depression, dire financial situations, suicide - all this adds up to the one of the bleakest Christmas movies ever. Don't let that "happy" ending fool you.

  • "That Charles Band classic Trancers has a Christmas theme running through it... Helen Hunt is working as an elf in a mall, and there's a scene where a Trancer Santa attacks Jack Deth with a pair of antlers. There's also a punk version of jingle bells in there!" [Daniel Auty]

  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians - Lastly, if this doesn't put you off Christmas, nothing will. Hooray for Santy Claus!

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Cast your mind back to the comic book films newsletter: Justin Bomba has a comment to add about the ones we missed out:

"Brian Yuzna's cheapo Faust - filmed in Spain where union staff are cheap! was based on Tim Vigil's ultra explicit and convoluted comic of the same name. Dark Man was obviously (to any comic reading nerd) Raimi's response to not getting the Batman film- uncontrollable mood swings, histrionics, dark rages it had it all. Dr Morded with Jeffrey Coombs was a "how in Odin's name didn't they get their asses sued off by Marvel Comics" rip-off of Dr Strange - even down to outfit. And the never released version of Fantastic Four from Roger Corman. But I did still enjoy it (the newsletter) greatly, it just bought out the trainspotter in me."


REST IN PEACE

Hell of a lot of celebs dying this year, aren't there?

Al Matthews had small roles in films like Superman III, Defence of the Realm and The Final Conflict, but was best known for being the Sergeant in Aliens. He also appeared in Stormy Monday, The Fifth Element and Tomorrow Never Dies, and in the classic "Bullshitters" episode of The Comic Strip Presents. He died from cancer in October.

Adolph Green co-wrote Singin' in the Rain with his longtime collaborator Betty Comden; they also wrote On the Town, The Band Wagon and It's Always Fair Weather. He died aged 88 in October.

Richard Harris was one of the most passionate actors of his generation. He starred in The Guns of Navarone, This Sporting Life (one of his best roles), The Red Desert, Camelot, The Molly Maguires, A Man Called Horse, Juggernaut, Robin and Marian, Orca, The Wild Geese, Tarzan the Ape Man (one of his worst roles), Unforgiven, Gladiator, and appeared in the first two Harry Potter movies. He even had a top ten hit record with "MacArthur Park". Harris died of cancer aged 72 in October.

Hungarian-born Andre De Toth died aged 89 in October. An expert at thrillers and Westerns such as Pitfall, Dark Waters, Ramrod, Man in the Saddle and Day of the Outlaw, he will be best remembered for directing the 3D horror House of Wax, despite having one eye and being unable to see the 3D effect. He was once married to Veronica Lake.

Peggy Moran starred in many low budget B Movies of the late thirties and early forties, her best known film being The Mummy's Tomb. She died aged 84 in October.

Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith appeared in many cult movies including Lemora, The Swinging Cheerleaders, Caged Heat, Farewell My Lovely, Massacre at Central High, The Choirboys, The Incredible Melting Man, Up In Smoke and Melvin and Howard, before disappearing from view in the eighties. She died aged 47 of hepatitis in October.

Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, died aged 37 in October, after being shot in the head. He was the DJ for pioneering rappers Run DMC, who starred in one movie, Tougher Than Leather, and also appeared in Krush Groove.

Art director and Director Nathan Hertz Juran died aged 95 in October. Some of the cult favourites he directed included The Brain from Planet Arous, Jack the Giant Killer, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and First Men in the Moon. He also directed episodes of TV series like Lost in Space and Land of the Giants.

Spanish writer and director Juan Antonio Bardem became known for his film Death of a Cyclist. He was Javier Bardem's uncle and died aged 80 in October.

Italian actor Raf Vallone made his name in Bitter Rice, and appeared in international movies for the rest of his career, including El Cid, The Italian Job, The Kremlin Letter, The Other Side of Midnight, and The Godfather Part III. He died at the age of 86 at the end of October.

Influential skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan died at the start of November aged 71. A huge star in the 1950s, he appeared in two films as himself: The 6.5 Special and Light Fingers.

Actor Jonathan Harris will be best remembered as Doctor Zachary Smith in the TV series Lost in Space. He also provided voices for A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. He died aged 87 at the start of November.

Writer and director Antonio Margheriti worked in all genres throughout his career. Some of his films include Castle of Blood, Wild, Wild Planet, The Long Hair of Death, Take a Hard Ride, Killer Fish, Cannibal Apocalypse and Yor, Hunter from the Future. He died aged 72 in November.

Eddie Bracken was a comic actor of stage and screen, best remembered for his starring roles in two Preston Sturges comedies: Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. He also appeared in Caught in the Draft and National Lampoon's Vacation. He died, aged 82, in November.

The underrated James Coburn died in November aged 74. He starred in a wide variety of films, usually action-oriented, from cult movies like The President's Analyst (a great performance), Ride Lonesome, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Candy, The Loved One, The Muppet Movie, the Derek Flint films (much beloved of Austin Powers), Hudson Hawk, Cross of Iron, Hard Times, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and Duck You Sucker, to such projects as Charade, Monsters Inc, Major Dundee, Eraser, Looker, and Affliction, for which he won an Oscar.

B-Movie star Adele Jergens appeared in such films as Armored Car Robbery, Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man and The Day the World Ended. She died aged 84 in November.

Czech-born director Karel Reisz died aged 76 in November. He made an impact with Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, cult favourite Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, The Gambler, Who'll Stop the Rain? and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Among French actor Daniel Gelin's many credits were La Ronde, Hitchcock's remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, La Souffle Au Couer and La Nuit de Varennes. He died aged 81 in November.

Veteran actress Billie Bird died aged 94 in November after a career of many small roles in films like Las Vegas Hillbillies, Getting Straight, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone and two Police Academy movies.

Stage actor John Justin died in December aged 85, and was best remembered for starring in the classic 1940s Thief of Bagdad remake alongside Sabu. You may also know him from the Ken Russell films he made in the 1970s.

NEW REVIEWS

New reviews on the site include:

Waking Life
Gremlins
A Better Tomorrow
Punch-Drunk Love
Narc
An American Werewolf in London
The Anniversary
Hitch-Hike
The Spy Who Loved Me
Sleepwalker
28 Days Later...
Re-Animator
Halloween III Season of the Witch


I THINK YOU GET THE POINT

And so the world is safe once more - we've defused the bombs, killed the baddies and bedded the ladies, not necessarily in that order. But if you have anything to add, contact us via our secret codebreaker on the Spinning Image site.

The Spinning Image Newsletter will return...

 

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