This fortnight, much to Alastair’s excitement, it’s time to tackle long-awaited sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049!

But first, Nick and Alastair update you on their other cultural consumptions, specifically The Furthest Station, a new Rivers of London novella by Ben Aaronovitch, and the album Exile in the Outer Ring by EMA.

And then, at last, they dig into Blade Runner 2049 (6:30). Can it live up to the original? Should it even try? And how will Nick’s lukewarm reaction to the original Blade Runner in MFV #38 pay off here? (No specific spoilers this time beyond the first few scenes, though some very vague chat about how the ending made us feel.)

Finally, this fortnight’s related point: are humanoid robots a good idea? (24:28) Which ends up sprawling into a wider chat about whether they’re even plausible and what humanity should probably worry about before we get to that. Deep, man.

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Some of the biggest horror movies of 2017 came out recently. The long awaited film adaptation of Stephen King’s It and Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! had a huge impact. Amongst all this hype, less high profile horror movies can be easily overlooked. So I have chosen some of my favourite obscure horror films.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Described as “the first Iranian vampire Western”, this film is very unusual. Arash works hard and looks after his father who is in debt to a pimp. When the pimp is killed by a mysterious girl in a Chador who grows fangs and sucks his blood, Arash’s world becomes scarier, darker and menaced by a constant threatening presence. Shot in black and white and with a cast little known in the West, this film is powerful, unsettling and creepy. This is essential watching for anyone who wants to broaden their knowledge of the horror genre.

Teeth

Vagina dentata, the words alone sends shivers up my spine. This black comedy horror follows teenager, Dawn, who discovers she has teeth inside her vagina. When a schoolfriend attempts to rape her, she responds by biting off his penis. After that, she must come to terms with what she can do, in a world where women often experience sexual violence. This film uses its premise to explore issues around consent and teenage sexuality. It’s gory and dark, sometimes comic and sometimes scary. The film ably straddles both genres, taking body horror to places that are painful to watch.

The Host

No, not the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s novel, but the Korean film about a giant killer tadpole attacking people on the Han River, obviously. This may sound like a silly concept for a horror movie, but it is a tense two hour viewing experience. Park Gang-du runs a snack bar near the Han River in South Korea. When a giant creature emerges from the river and kidnaps his daughter, Gang-du must venture down to the sewers to rescue her. What follows is a scary and violent confrontation with the creature and a government that will stop at nothing to cover up the creature they had a role in creating.

The Neon Demon

Nicolas Winding Refn has previous form directing films that are both abstract and unsettling (Drive, Only God Forgives), however with The Neon Demon he outdid even himself. The film follows Jesse, a sixteen year old model who quickly captures the imagination of photographers and casting agents in Los Angeles. However, her beauty and rapid success inspire awe and envy amongst her peers. This admiration and hated of Jesse prove to be really dangerous. This film contains moments of terror and extreme violence, but most disturbing is the aura of unreality in all Refn’s films. We have the sense that Jesse’s life is an unstable nightmare, beyond her control, where any situation could be deadly.

The Witch

The past is a scary place, filled with superstitions and where violent deaths were more common. The sense you could easily meet a horrible ending 300 hundred years ago is woven throughout The Witch. William and his family have to leave their Puritan plantation in 17th Century New England. They find a new farm on the edge of a secluded forest, but when the children start to disappear, they suspect the forest might not be uninhabited. Paranoia and fear of a malevolent supernatural force spread through the family, and the viewer doesn’t know what is real or what is superstition until the end of the film. This makes for an eerie and tense viewing experience.

If you found these horror movies suggestions interesting, you can listen to our recent reviews of It in MFV #45 and Mother! in #46 respectively.

Nick and Alastair’s second swing at the new format, and this time, it’s the turn of Darren Aronofksy’s controversial new horror-allegory film mother!

But first, of course, they consumed other media lately. Specifically, non-gamer Nick has read gonzo games journalism book Embed with Games by Cara Ellison, while Alastair revisits the music of Pink Floyd.

And then it’s right into reviewing mother! (6:04), complete with deep thoughts about auteur directors, biblical allegories and a surprising lack of ‘your mum’ jokes. NOTE ON SPOILERS: there are spoilers in this podcast. It may not outright state what happens at the end of the film, but does heavily imply it.

Finally, this episode’s related talking point: should writers write about writers? (22:46) Nick and Alastair try not to let the fact they’re both aspiring writers colour their opinions too much.

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The all-new Moderate Fantasy Violence format debuts! Every fortnight, Nick and Alastair now review a recent release, then discuss a related topic.

But first, just like the old days, they talk about their recent cultural consumption – Alastair revisits MFV #17’s recommendation and catches up on WW2 superhero comic Uber, while Nick dives into a rare non-fiction book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

And then it’s time to tackle the latest big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It (8:57), before staring down the big issue of the fortnight: are clowns still scary in 2017? (19:25)

And here, for anyone interested, is a link to the mentioned article ‘Why are we scared of clowns?’ by Chris Brosnahan.

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Forty-four, forever more! It’s a particularly event-packed episode (including Nick defrosting his freezer mid-episode and a huge chunk of ice falling out), but first, Nick and Alastair discuss a top Amsterdam tourist attraction, Nick finishing the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman and Alastair’s trip to Worldcon 75 in Helsinki.

Then it’s serious business time with Netflix’s Marvel’s The Defenders (6:52), the long awaited Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Luke Cage/Iron Fist four-way crossover extravaganza. Can The Hand overcome Nick’s past annoyance with them?

Almost as newsworthy – time for a big look at Game of Thrones season seven (24:14) – with full spoilers, just so you’re aware. Following that, a relaxing citybreak to Berlin with new action spy thriller Atomic Blonde (45:00).

And finally: Master of None (57:41), excellent Netflix sitcom and Nick’s recommendation from last time. And keep listening all the way past that for some news about the future of Moderate Fantasy Violence!

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Forty-three years since our last recording! Alastair’s gone on holiday and Nick’s about to do the same, so they recorded this back around when they did MFV #42. Hope it’s better than nothing. There’s some chat about two novels to start: the original The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Also a short audio clip recorded during the brief Team MFV trip to the Nine Worlds convention.

Our main timeless feature this episode is a double recommendation: first, to vibe with the upcoming Defenders series, Nick suggests Daredevil: Born Again (11:06), the classic tale of one man against bottomless crime noir adversity by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.

Then Alastair brings one of his all-time favourite films: Withnail & I (30:36), the classic British dark comedy starring Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann.

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Is this episode the meaning of life? We lead off this week by discussing Netflix zombie-suburbs series Santa Clarita Diet and Kameron Hurley’s epic book of essays The Geek Feminist Revolution.

In bigger, longer segment news: we cover Christopher Nolan’s new war-fight epic Dunkirk (6:26) and the intense psychological horror movie It Comes At Night (24:37). Then we return to the work of Warren Ellis for new Netflix video game adaptation Castlevania (34:48).

And finally, it’s Alastair’s recommendation from last episode: famously future-predicting Channel 4 sitcom Nathan Barley! The Guardian article mentioned during this article can be found here.

And if you want to do our listener survey and potentially win a £20 Amazon voucher, you can still do it at this link!

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Forty-one days since our last accident! Nick and Alastair have not only taken in some culture this week (specifically the comedy of Daniel Kitson and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy), they’ve also delved into the exciting new field of cultural hot-takes, as they discuss Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the first female Doctor Who (6:07)!

But that’s only a quick digression before our pop-cultural main events: Spider-Man: Homecoming (11:04), the latest big-screen Marvel-endorsed outing of Nick’s favourite superhero, and the beginning of the penultimate season of Game of Thrones (26:45).

And then we pop back to revisit Preacher (41:07) as it starts its second season – has it improved since we covered the pilot in MFV #8 and the whole first run in MFV #14?

Finally, Nick recommends the first volume of sci-fi robots comic Descender (52:32) by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, which is excellent and unfairly snubbed by the Hugo Awards (as he moaned about during his recent appearance on Radio Free Fandom, the new podcast from occasional MFV guest Claire Rousseau).

Finally finally, as mentioned during the show, we’re doing a listener survey and one randomly drawn listener will win a £20 Amazon voucher by taking part. So click anywhere on this whole sentence to get involved with that. (No, this isn’t any kind of advert/sponsored thing, we really are just curious what our listeners actually like.)

babydriver-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bqeo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAThe big 4-0! For this milestone, time to revisit some old friends, as Nick finally finishes Alan Moore’s Jerusalem and Alastair returns to Ben Aaraovitch’s Rivers of London world in comic form.

They’ve also seen Edgar Wright’s ice-cool car-musical Baby Driver (9:51) and, at long last, can discuss a whole new series of Doctor Who (25:01) at length. (which, oh, they definitely do.) We discussed the start of series 10 back in MFV #35.

Also, another revisitation, as they check back with magical Image Comics series Curse Words (49:22) to see how the first storyline ended, after our initial review in MFV #29.

curse-words-01Finally, time for some serious synth-pop of the soul with Alastair’s latest recommendation: You And Me Against The World by Apoptygma Berzerk (58:45).

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orange-is-the-new-black-season-5-teaser-041217-920x584Our first deleted chunk for a while – turns out we can bang on for hours about Orange Is The New Black, as it’s one of our favourite shows. So here’s a short chunk cut from MFV #39 where we get a bit overly specific about our favourite characters and how they’re used in the fifth season.

Hear our full OITNB discussion in the episode here, along with Orphan Black, American Gods and more!