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The Full Lid 18th October 2019

Happy Friday everyone!

By the time you read this I'll be neck deep in co-running the RedCloaks, the annual con volunteer team for FantasyCon. This year we're in Glasgow so I am on ALL THE TRAINS on Thursday and scheduling this on Wednesday. As a result, slightly truncated this week but there's still plenty of fun to be had. 

So, here's me. Alasdair Stuart, professionally enthusiastic pop culture analyst, podcaster2019 Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist,  BFS award nominated for this very newsletter, jazz maverick, cheese liker. You name it I'll spell it. Every Friday, around 5, I'll tell you about all the fun pop cultural stuff I've encountered this week. Sometimes comics, sometimes movies, sometimes pizza.If you like what you read,the archive and sign up link are here. Please share it but if you do please tell folks how to subscribe and where you got it. Also if you want to buy me a coffee, that would be amazing.


So what's on deck today?

Contents

Seis Razones Para Ver Seis Manos
A Short Note About Limetown
Horror Christmas: A Nightmare on Elm Street
So Where Can We Find You?
So How Was Work This Week?
Signal Boosting
Signing Off/Playing Out

Seis Razones Para Ver Seis Manos

I do love how so many of my favorite pieces of media are arriving in the final months of the year. Good LORD, Seis Manos is FUN. Big, fast, flashy, character-driven, bloody-nosed and grungy knuckled fun and it's built from the strongest base nowhere near enough shows work from; character and influences.

1.Character
See the three up top? They're, right to left, Isabela, Silencio and Jesus. All three are orphans, raised by Chao, the Daoist monk who lives on the outskirts of the sleepy Mexican town of San Simon. Chao has trained them all in martial arts, Isabela specializing in the deep, low stances and hand strikes of Hung Ga, Silencio in the historically controversial style of Bak Mei and Jesus in Drunken Boxing. They're all incredibly gifted and all carefully limited; Isabela has a fierce code of morals, Silencio's rage is never far from the surface and Jesus runs from any emotion besides joy into the nearest bottle.

2. Voices
They're the heart of the show and drive the action. Jonny Cruz and Aislinn Derbez. excel as Jesus and Isabela, the former bringing an amiable and wide eyed charm to the big man and the latter a steel that belies her fluid attacks. Vic Chao is excellent as Chiu, their teacher and surrogate father too. Better still the design work by Power House animation is STUNNING. Silencio is a coiled spring of mortal violence, Isabela is possibly the first female character in a show like this to actually look like she would (Described brilliantly as 'never skips leg day. Probably orders extra portions of leg day.') and Jesus? Jesus is MY GUY.

3. Representation
At least half the cast are female. That includes two grandmothers, both of which are among the most terrifying badasses on the show. The age range goes from 11 through to 'elderly, possibly supernaturally so' and the body types? THE BODY TYPES, FOLKS.

Look, it's surprisingly easy to put something like this together and populate it with models of any gender who'd done enough martial arts to get by until the stunt double tags in. But between the animation here and the Wu Assassins cast, it really feels like a corner has been turned in TV based martial arts material. These people look like people who train every day and, in Jesus, they also embody the truth that as a Person of Size who has done all sorts of long form exercise, I've almost never seen before; 

You can be fat and you can still be fit. Witness this amazing human too.

I've done Judo, Rugby at a (sort of), international level, Tai Chi, Thai Boxing and running. I am still a delightful Manx chonk and always will be. Seeing Jesus on screen? Was seeing me on screen. It mattered. It's still making me smile. 
 
4. Mike Colter's Most Fun Day EVER
This is Brister and Garcia. Garcia is the local cop played with tremendous grace and laconic humor by Angélica Vale. The wing collar behind her is Brister. Brister is voiced by Mike Colter and Brister has the MOST fun.

Well actually Brister gets shot, stabbed, shot, almost run over, into a staring contest with an occasionally dead owl and repeatedly fired into a Vietnam flashback by the local bruja. He has a really lousy time.

The series brilliantly establishes Brister as the archetypal badass '70s detective and then proceeds to not only dunk on him for about five episodes but have him REALIZE that. There's a fantastic action sequence in a later episode where they have to be silent. It's going so well until Brister runs across the biggest guy in town and Colter's reaction is just PERFECT. He knows he's outgunned, he knows this is WAAAAAY off the beaten track. But he's Brister, baby. Nothing can keep him down. Plus any show that gives Mike Colter a chance to say 'Woah, momma!' is always going to have a place in my heart.

5. No Holds Barred
Seis Manos is exuberantly violent. The violence is often made of beautiful, crisp techniques and always, without exception, leaves consequences and blood behind it. Much of the plot is powered by the death of a small boy, much of the rest by the actions of Danny Trejo's horrifying drug kingpin La Balde. But instead of just playing with grindhouse aesthetics the show uses them as grammar to write some very new sentences. La Balde's horrific, offhand brutality is paid back on him in a beatdown that is so intensely brutal it comes out the other side of cathartic into disturbing and back again. Silencio is a loose cannon throughout, a man his siblings almost can't stand to be around but who just can't stop killing bad guys. Every punch that's thrown lands. Every strike leaves a bruise. This isn't The A-Team fun as that is. This is Seis Manos And Seis Manos throws DOWN.

6. Looks Back, Moves Forward
Seis Manos is crammed full of references and jokes. There's an Assault on Precinct 13 episode. There's every word Brister says. There's the wonderfully obtuse reason Silencio's eyebrow turns whiter every time he kills. This is a show that knows exactly what it's building on and exactly what it's building towards. By the end of the season San Simon is a very different place, Garcia and Brister especially have very different priorities and the siblings have gained a teacher, lost a teacher and discovered they need to study abroad. All of it feels earned, none of it feels like marking time and all of it bristles with energy, emotion, humor and a well placed palm strike. Never a pastiche, always a loving salute and an invitation to move forward with it, Seis Manos handles its roots and pays its dues with the same grace and precision Chao's siblings dismantle their opponents.

Did I mention I REALLY liked this? Because I did. Seis Manos season 1 is on Netflix now.

Horror Christmas: A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th are the original triumvirate of modern slasher movies with, of course, TCM idling in the backwoods, waiting for unwary travelers. Much like a language you live in but never quite learn I'm fluent in slasher despite only ever seeing the original Halloween. This year I decided to change that, which brings us to Elm Street.

Directed by the legendary Wes Craven, what amazed me about A Nightmare on Elm Street was how modern a lot of it felt. The sequels, rightly or wrongly, have a reputation for being schlocky and, well, when a dog peeing fire is a vital part of your plot, it's easy to see why. Here though, there are two things that really work; the way the dream murders are dealt with and Nancy, played by Heather Langenkamp.

Dreams first. The movie opens with a dream sequence and continually slides into and out of them with a clammy grace. Fred's use of reality manipulation isn't, with one exception, played as a cheap gross out here. Rather it's simply the chosen tool of his trade and he takes practical, but real, joy in it. Rod's death in particular is genuinely disturbing precisely because of how much fun his killer is having.

That joy takes on an even nastier tone where Nancy is concerned. The attacks are overtly sexual in nature and surprisingly physical in execution. There's one gag, with a telephone becoming a tongue, that's a cheap gross out but the rest are one step up from a Criminal Minds episode. This movie doesn't play around and it's all the stronger for it. Also, weirdly, it grounds Fred, offsetting his otherworldly powers with his all too human, all too disgusting proclivities.
That? Is Nancy. Nancy is not here for your bullshit undead child murderer nonsense and that's the main reason why the movie works. Heather Langenkamp's performance is variable, as is, well, everyone's here but the core of it is solid iron and it pushes the movie over the finish line in far better condition than you'd expect. Nancy is no one's victim and the second act dives into precisely why, and the various systems restricting her, in some deeply fun ways. Veronica Mars fans will especially enjoy the way she gets access to the police station and the moment where she reveals she's reading Improvised BoobyTraps, only for Glen (An impossibly young Johnny Depp) to laugh it off tells you exactly how much chance he has of surviving. Inside half an hour, Glen is a fountain of blood fired at his bedroom ceiling and Nancy is going full Ethan Hunt.

Nancy, far more than Fred (She actually nicknames him Freddy as an insult here) Krueger here is what holds the movie together. Her grief, her refusal to buy into the accepted story of the murder and eventual discovery of her mother's role in events are all sledgehammers thrown through the plate glass windows of the expected narrative. In doing so, the movie establishes a paradigm for female characters in horror movies that would make the 2018 Laurie Strode and 2019 Sarah Connor nod approvingly. Not to mention making the fact her pizza-faced, immortal and incompetent nemesis is the breakout star of these movies all the more maddening.

A Nightmare on Elm Street holds up very well given it's 35 years old. It's got a scrappy old school physicality to it that makes Krueger genuinely dangerous and Nancy far more than a standard damsel. It's also the clear ancestor of movies such as It Follows, embracing the same suburban dread and curdled reality if not quite the same unease. Nonetheless, there's a lot to enjoy here at the start of one of modern cinema's most horrific, and recurring, nightmares.

The entire A Nightmare on Elm Street series is available to stream and buy now.

About Limetown

A few weeks ago I ran a link to the upcoming (Actually out now) TV adaptation of Limetown. I love the original podcast and the TV show looks great. I was planning on writing about, and taking a look at what options there are to watch it that don't involve a Facebook log in.

Then this story broke.

The impact of the pivot to video is difficult to explain without using hyperbole so please indulge me. Effectively, by releasing those misleading stats, Facebook destroyed an entire generation of online journalism. Just flat out annihilated. I was, at that point, extremely small fry and it directly impacted me. Companies closed, jobs collapsed but the unstoppable Zuckerberg garbage baby, the pound shop Borg Collective, just kept right on trucking. And as a result facilitated atrocitiestook years to ban a pinwheeling grifter who accused parents of faking their children's murder and worked with Cambridge Analytica

So, I wish the Limetown team all the best and I don't have an iota of ill will for them going with Facebook. Creative work is murderously, relentlessly hard. Triply so when you're trying to get someone to pay you a fair rate for it. I'm sure the show is great, I hope it finds an audience that will be as entranced and horrified as I was and I look forward to seeing it on DVD at some point. But not until then, because I'm not giving the world's most feral Hot or Not knockoff a second of my time, attention or money. And honestly, neither should you. 

And now? This.
 

Signal Boosting

It closes in two days but UFO Press, who are one of the most interesting RPG publishers on the planet right now, are holding a writer call for real money. Go, read, investigate. Even if you don't make the deadline their stuff is worth your time.

The White Vault is one of the gold (Or perhaps, white, so...bone chillingly white) standards for modern audio drama. I'm delighted to see them return for a third season. Catch up with what you need to know here.

Primordial Deep is currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo. I mean, they had me at 'Primordial Deep' but listen to this:

 '...when a long extinct sea creature washes up on the shores of Coney Island. Marine biologist Dr. Marella Morgan is contacted by a secret organization to investigate the origins of the creature’s sudden and unnatural resurgence. Soon, she and a team of experts find themselves living on the research station The Tiamat, traveling along the abyssal plains as they search for answers far below the waves. But there are dangers in these ancient waters. Reawakened, prehistoric monsters are rising from the deep -- jaws wide and waiting, and in the darkness, something is stirring. "
Blood Cries Out  launches this year Thought Bubble and is written by Cy Dethan, drawn and coloured by Conor Boyle and lettered by Nic Wilkinson. 
"The Reverend is a weapon forged by fate and the cruelties of men, his life an endless crusade waged in shadow and blood. He is a one-man holy war, but he is not the first product of the machinery that created him. When the twisted Broken Heart cult seeks to conjure and enslave a force they are ill-equipped to control, The Reverend must face a custom-built killer who knows him as only a brother can. The Reverend has finally met his equal in battle, and faith alone may no longer
sustain him."

This is the fourteenth comic spin off from the Unseen Shadows Universe. Founded by podcasting legend, positivity avatar and the owner of just the best damn hats I've ever seen, Barry Nugent, the USU is a shared universe that embodies all the strengths of that format. It spans comics, audio dramas and the best selling novels Fallen Heroes and Forgotten Warriors, Classic contemporary supernatural tinged action adventure, these are the books that the 2017 Tom Cruise Mummy movie thought it was. Hell, these are the book's The Mummy's Rick O'Connell would READ. 

Barry and the team are among the most talented and hard working creatives in the UK. I'm incredibly happy to see this project land and can't wait for it, or the Choose Your Own Adventure book they have planned. Check out the USU here, and if you're at T Bubs, pick up Blood Cries Out. Or pre-order at the special price of £10 (RRP 14.99). Every pre-order will receive a free digital copy of Wrath of God on launch day (9th November).

And of course, here's my Ko-Fi.

Where You Can Find Marguerite and I This Week

At PseudoPod!

PseudoPod 669: Zanders the Magnificent

I do love a good magic show...

At FantasyCon!
Friday
5pm-Panel Room 1
Breaking The Glass Slipper Live!

One of the best SF discussion shows out there! Marguerite! As Commander Shepard! Fighting! A! WEREWOLF! (Meedly guitar)

8pm-Panel Room 1
Obscure Monsters of Horror Cagefight

You, me, Charlotte Bond, Eric Steele and a whole mess of weird monsters! Two monsters enter! Well...slither...One monster leaves! Doctor Serizawa's ALL time favorite panel!

Saturday
2pm-Panel Room 3
Reviewing and NonFiction

Come see Alasdair join a host of genre non-fiction luminaries to talk about what it's like to write non-fic in 2019.

3pm-Panel Room 1
Horrorvengers Horrosemble!

Alasdair and an elite group of Ginger Nuts of Horror badasses combine to discuss the ultimate Horror super group(s).

6pm-Panel Room 3
Reinventing the Wheel

The amazing Ruth EJ Booth, myself and others combine to answer a question so odd I set it myself'; There have never been any conventions before. You are the first ever ConCom. Pop quiz, hotshot! WHAT DO YOU DO?!

Just with...less Denis Hopper...obvs

7pm-Panel Room 3
The A-Z Of Audiobooks

Marguerite! Me! Motherflipping Yates! Allen Stroud! Karen Fishwick! From audio narrators to audio producers, we get together to discuss the taxonomy of audio fiction, how to make it and what we love about it. 

8pm-Panel Room 1
PseudoPod Live!

Guest reader Eliza Chan! An amazing story by Effie Seiberg! Us chatting to you about the job we love! Come say hi!

So How Was Work?

Truncated? These things always expand to fill the available space even at the best of times. Plus, I continue to struggle with the fact that despite feeling like I'm not doing enough I may possibly be going flat out and making myself slightly ill. I seem to have had a sore throat for a loooong time and I'm hoping the throatcoat tea coming to Glasgow with me will help.

Aside from that I'm feeling a certain calm. I've got stuff to do. Right now I don't have NEARLY enough time to do it. It will get done though and I don't have to kill myself to do it.

So yeah, not a bad week. Just a short one.

Signing Off/Playing Out

And that's our show. Shorter than normal but still fun. And if you like fun, why not try the veritable panoply of fictional tapas offered by the Escape Artists Podcast Network?

Also check out the Team KennerStuart instagram. There's a bunch of stuff from our recent adventures up there including one shot of coffee mugs lined up with the London skyline that I am just disgustingly proud of.

Oh and MASSIVE thanks to everyone who sent gifts! You folks are amazing!

As ever I work without a safety net, or pay,If you can afford it please consider dropping something in the tip jar. Thank you:)

Take some water, take a seat. No one has to be on the line (or the online) all the time. Let other people take a watch and every now and then yes I AM writing this for me as much as you. You got this. Do the thing.

Playing us out this week! Nightmare by 213! Because it is both the closing music to A Nightmare On Elm Street and A Lot! 

A

LOT

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a Full Lid.
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Agathon Towers · Cheapside Road · Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AG · United Kingdom

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