This week, Nick and Alastair face their sins after watching all thirteen episodes of Netflix’s guntastic new adaptation of Marvel’s The Punisher!

But first, they share some recent less hardcore consumption – Alastair’s been watching comparatively lightweight BBC comedy The Detectorists, while Nick’s decided to finally check out Mr Robot.

And then, at last, they get stuck into the punishment (7:56) with a long chat about all the surprising deep themes in this show about a gunwielding vigilante revenge man.

Lastly – two main characters in Punisher are living off the grid, so for the related issue this episode, seemed a good time to ask: is it ever acceptable to fake your own death? (33:51)

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This is it! The fiftieth episode of Moderate Fantasy Violence, and to celebrate reaching this half-centennial megaversary, Nick and Alastair assembled in person and arranged a Q&A with you, the listening public, via our social medias.

But before they can indulge themselves, they need to get through the episode’s scheduled business: a quick talk about some classic culture consumed (namely The Wire and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and reviewing DC superhero team-up film event thingy Justice League (8:27).

That done, at the time of 25:29, our heroes get down to your queries. If you want to zero in even more specifically on a topic, here are all the seven questions answered, with timestamps.

  • How can Warner Bros fix the DCEU taking into account getting rid of Affleck and Snyder is a given? – Simon Doig (25:29)
  • Is FlArrow (i.e. Flash, Arrow et al) still worth it? Are new series like The Gifted making it irrelevant? – Kirsty (33:12)
  • What is your favourite superhero film/TV adaptation of all time? – Julianne Benford (39:12)
  • What not-yet-adapted-for-screen property would you like to see adapted? – Julianne Benford again (43:23)
  • What was your favourite discovery from the recommendation item on your show? And did any of them cause you to investigate further? – Clive (49:24)
  • Can anyone pull off yellow braces? (i.e. What do you think of the new Doctor Who costume?) – Ed (52:55)
  • What will the state of the cinematic universes be by MFV #5000? – Oli (56:31)

Phew. And that really is it. Thanks for listening, everyone. See you again for MFV #100, obviously.

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After a short break, Nick and Alastair are back on the superhero adaptations this time (and the next couple of times also), with the latest trip to Fake Marvel Asgard!

But before that, they’ve consumed other recent, heavily talked-about media too, namely La Belle Sauvage, the start of The Book of Dust trilogy by Philip Pullman, and Stranger Things 2!

But most important, it’s super-fun super-sequel time with Thor: Ragnarok (7:28), as the God of Thunder takes on the Goddess of Death (and also the Hulk)! And in case you enjoyed that last segment too much, the guys bring you right back down to earth with this fortnight’s side-issue: are we on the verge of Ragnarok? (26:32)

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This fortnight, Nick and Alastair are looking at exciting new space-ship show Star Trek: Discovery!

But first, other recent intake – Nick went on a Baltimore drug scene binge with HBO’s renowned series The Wire and related book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighbourhood, by series producers David Simon and Ed Burns.

Alastair, meanwhile, is here with his annual report back from London Film Festival, covering films such as Tiger Girl, The Final Year and Downsizing – which Nick saw with him, so cue the inevitable mini-review.

Then they finally crack into Star Trek: Discovery (8:22), with talk (and spoilers) spanning the first five episodes. Alastair’s seen loads of the previous Trek shows, Nick barely any – will this affect their judgments?

For the follow-up question this time, prompted by the first f-bomb in Trek history, they ask: are there any franchises that shouldn’t go full adult? (23:40) You may not be surprised to hear that the conversation eventually turns to Batman.

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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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