Saturday 24 March 2018

West German telefantasy roundup

Der Androjager (1981) - Nice synthy soundtrack, annoying hero - like an alien Frank Spencer.

Cherie Mir Ist Schlecht (1981) is a very Nice Video Shame About The Song art student-y shot on video vampire-themed mess of Chromakey,  reminds me of similar British experiments like Rock Follies or the Flipside of Dominick Hide. See also the CSO-tastic ZDF Utopian odyssey of We (1982).

Silas (1981) - ZDF classic, notorious amongst Brits of a certain age (see also its brethren - Legend of Tim Tyler (1979), Jack Holborn (1982), Patrick Pacard (1984)), this sort of serial is crying out for a Danger 5-type spoof – blind nursemaid, a comedy horse, abusive father figure, Silas nooses someone, there’s a German Nicholas Lyndhurst-type named Bein Godek, dog on a tightrope, Silas as a clown with a moustache, entertains idiot peasants by riding a horse and tunelessly playing a flute, Silas tames a bear, chased by a comedy nobleman, taken in by a nice rich family and their hearty housekeeper, then has to escape with Bein-Godek, meet Slugworth and the Princess from Conan the Barbarian, and then Bein-Godek and Silas ride into the sunset- almost wondering was it intended as a comedy…

Jack Holborn (1982) is much more conventional – a New Zealand coproduction, weirdly while Silas/Jack himself Patrick Bach supplied voices for the German dub of Lord of the Rings, David Weatherley, of the British navy played Barliman Butterbur in Jackson’s films. It’s impressive, with whole market sets and the tribal chief is an appealing Sydney Greenstreet-esque grotesque essayed by famed Maori showbander Prince Tui Teka (for Irish audiences, this would be akin to Joe Dolan as a vicious knacker), and then they introduce Arab slavers, but only in the background. Then, they all return home to England/Dubrovnik and all the adults get hanged, and Jack reunited with his mum.

These series were shown in a Winter Holiday slot, on ZDF, others in the slot – Timm Thaler and Patrick Pacard, these were HUGE in Germany, big, expensive treats – imagine the Box of Delights level. Fondly remembered by German fortysomethings.

Black Are The Galaxies (1981) - French series, begins with a scuba-masked Chuck Norris alike sinking into the water, then coming across sinister white-suited ambulancemen, one of whom looks like Tony Osoba. It begins too much like a typical French gangland saga. It features Hawk the Slayer/Fulci regular Catriona MacColl, Quite slow, overlong, attractive but uninvolving, but maybe, it loses something in translation. Not until episode 2 where we find a spacecraft. The last episodes get more exciting - with Bodysnatcher-esque silver eggs. But still a bit of a slog. The alien surgeons' space-holiday camp is striking. And there are mysterious bonfires.

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