Furry Death From Outer Space

Professor Daniel Winchester’s latest Psych-Out expose of disturbing alien interventions centred on Leamington Spa…


Elstree 1976 – Now with Added Jon Spira

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 10.38.35.pngExciting news film fans. Director Jon Spira is now also coming along to the Elstree 1976 – Spa Wars Screening on Saturday and will be available for quizzing at the Q&A after the film. Also Jon and producer Hank Starrs will be at the Spa Wars: Celebrating 40 Years of Star Wars event earlier in the day with all sorts of film related stuff for your entertainment. You can grab tickets on the day at the Elstree 1976 stall, on the door at 7.30pm, or get them in advance from…

Standard tickets – £10

Student/NUS – £5


One Week Until Elstree 1976

Next Saturday, Leamington Spa will be getting distinctly star wars-ey – with the first ‘Spa Wars’ event during the day, followed by our screening of ace doc, Elstree 1976, in the evening.

Both events take place at the big, gothic All Saints church located at the bottom of the parade.

Doors for the screening are at 7.30pm and the film action starts at 8.00pm, Following the screening there will be a Q&A featuring producer Hank Starrs and cast member of Elstree 1976 (and coincidentally Star Wars), John Chapman, all conducted by Leamington’s very own Nic Pillai.

Tickets are £10 from: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/407159

If you are a poor tax-dodging student however, it is just £5!:  http://www.wegottickets.com/event/422938

Some examples of the critical praise for this cool film, which has a very respectable 80% on Rotten Tomatoes:

“Elstree 1976 is a must-see for Star Wars fanatics, and coming shortly after the much-hyped franchise adrenaline shot that is The Force Awakens, it’s almost shocking to hear firsthand accounts of the first film’s way-under-the-radar status.”

“In telling a small story of bit players, the director, Jon Spira, captures a more universal picture of the droplets of fame created by a pop-culture tidal wave.”

“A deadpan documentary with notes of wistful irony …”

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ELSTREE 1976 gains Furry Death From Outer Space & £5 Student tickets

An exciting addition to the programme for our screening of Elstree 1976 is professor Daniel Winchester’s short, but disturbingly formed, new documentary ‘Furry Death From Outer Space’.

This devastating expose will be playing before the main feature at 8.00pm. This will be the only live public screening of this important film, so if you are a fan of the professor’s previous work (The Tidings Of Restless Nell and They Walk Amongst Us), you will not want to miss this event.

Tickets are available in advance or on the door for £10, or just £5 for Students/NUS members.

BUY STANDARD TICKETS HERE: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/407159

BUY STUDENT/NUS TICKETS HERE: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/422938

The main feature is of course the marvellous documentary Elstree 1976 as well as a Q&A conducted by Nic Pillai in conversation with producer Hank Starrs and Star Wars cast member Jon Chapman.

Remote Control Film Night 14

Leamington Underground Cinema presents another free online film night that you can enjoy from absolutely everywhere, except perhaps some of those scary countries with mad dictators like North Korea and America.

On the evening of Thursday 19th October we will be curating a selection of the finest, strangest and most entertaining short film entertainment from around the internet. There may also be a creative challenge or two to get invoved in…

The fun will begin at 7.30pm GMT, please ensure you’ve been to the toilet before we start and remain at least 5% above horizontal throughout – it is for your own safety.

You can join in in on the Leamington Underground Cinema Facebook page or by following our twitter feed at www.twitter.com/LeamUCinema.

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The Ten Greatest Failures in Adapting Movies into Video Games

NOTE: This article first appeared in issue 3 of LUC’s randomly periodical journal of film, Underclass.

The relationship between video games and movies has never been a particularly happy one. For every successful adaptation of a beloved film into pixel form, there are dozens of absolutely wretched examples. Some fail so profoundly, that even the most ardent gamers are probably not aware that they ever existed. Here are the ten most appalling efforts that our crack team of researchers could find…

One – Watership Down (1979)
watership downCreated by a little known arcade machine company, Happy Player Inc., this simple vector game seemed only tangentially connected to the novel and movie of the same name. The player was tasked with using a rollerball controller to aim and shoot at crowds of rabbits that moved across the screen at increasing speed.

As no legal rights rights had been sought or secured to licence the Watership Down name, the developers quickly found themselves on the wrong end of all manner of legal action. The game was hastily re-badged and the few units that found their way to the US were adorned with the title ‘Heroic Pest Saga’.

Two – Gandhi (1982)
atari gandhi 800pxMany know about the infamous failure of the ET Atari game that ended up with thousands of copies buried in the desert. Less well known is the other Atari project based on a 1982 blockbuster film. After a catastrophic press preview ‘Gandhi’ was never released and never mentioned again.

The few scraps of information that leaked out detailed two different levels, firstly a scene set on a beach where the player has to collect piles of salt while avoiding British soldiers. Then secondly, a level which involved running along the top of a train, jumping over bridges. One of the journalists that actually experienced the game remarked many years later that it was ‘Thematically troubling, even by 1982 standards’.

Three – Kramer vs Kramer (1984)
kramer vs kramer box art.pngAs Atari went through all manner of commercial troubles, one division hit upon the idea of creating interactive entertainment for a more mature and sophisticated audience. To this end, they licensed a whole bunch of classic novels and serious, oscar-winning movies to somehow be developed into games, including a console version of Robert Benton’s 1979 weepy divorce drama.

Perhaps inevitably, what seemed like a clever marketing gambit floundered when the development arm of Atari struggled to come up with a game that would stay true to the source material and appeal to grown up gamers. The project was quickly cancelled and resources channelled towards the more commercially secure Pitfall 2.

All that remains in the public domain is the incredibly incongruous draft box art.

Four – F For Fake (1985)
The uk home computer explosion of the 80’s provided fertile ground for developers to experiment with new types of games and interactive experiences. None more so than Stafford based Singular Systems whose output for the ZX Spectrum consistently tested the boundaries of what could be considered a ‘game’. Following the surprise success of their highly politicised platform game satire ‘Manically Depressed Miner’, SS ploughed the profits into a highly ambitious multi-media project based on Orson Welles’ 1974 tricksy documentary.

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Due to packaging and pricing issues, retailers refused to stock the game, which came on three individual cassettes and also included a VCR tape which included specially shot footage and voice recordings of Welles designed to be played on a separate screen as part of the overall experience.

Costing an unprecedented £25 and requiring two TV’s and an addition VCR player – the game sold in miniscule numbers. Reviews reported that it took the form of a number of individual games themed around art forgery and a number of Welles unmade film projects. Each level had to be loaded individually and played through according to exacting timings to fit in with the VCR elements. Your Sinclair described it as ‘unplayable and confusing’, while Crash magazine refused to review it on the basis that they didn’t ‘consider it to be a game in any way at all’.

Five – Wings Of The Apache (1990)
cage wings of the apache.jpgA vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up arcade machine to tie in with the release of the Nicolas Cage helicopter movie. Legendary for the huge ‘sit-in’ cabinet with working plastic rotor blades on top and heavy use of Cage’s digitised image and voice, most notably yelling “I AM THE GREATEST”, at the completion of each level. Unfortunately, the failure of the film to perform at the box office led to few orders. Coupled with the high cost of manufacture, only a few units ever reached the arcades and none are currently known to be in working order.

Six – Boxing Helena (1993)
FlyFire studios of California had spent 6 months building a state of the art (by early 1990s standards) digital model of Kim Basinger as the basis of their innovative adaptation of Jennifer Lynch’s debut feature.

The game was based around a complex conversation based mechanic in which the player (as Helena) tried to explore the tortured psyche of the surgeon Nick Cavanaugh in order to stop him cutting more bits off you.

Groundbreaking for both its approach and the use of a female protagonist, the game suffered a similar fate to the movie when Basinger controversially left the project. While the producers of the film eventually recouped millions from Basinger in court, the game developers couldn’t afford any type of litigation. Desperate to recoup their extensive development costs without too much further expense FlyFire quickly knocked up a bog-standard platform game in which Helena has to collect golden coins while dodging flying surgical equipment. Somehow it managed to get worse reviews than the film. It sold 84 copies.

Seven – Falling Down (1994)
Falling DownAlthough you can question of taste of turning the ‘Michael Douglas going postal’ movie into a light-gun shooting game – this title was actually well received by the gaming press at the time. Reviewers praised the intensity of the experience and noted that the game left the player questioning their morals and actions.

The game was developed exclusively for the 3DO console, to help show off its (at the time) ground-breaking full motion video capabilities and featured extra footage shot by Joel Schumacher. The hugely expensive console tanked in the hugely competitive mid-90s game market and was discontinued in 1995. Very few people ever got to play the game and the costs of porting it to the forthcoming Sony Playstation were deemed prohibitive. Rumour has it that Michael Douglas maintains a working 3DO and wheels the game out to entertain guests at at parties.

Eight – Pearl Harbor (2001)
California’s PinPoint Games were confident of a delivering a major hit with their adaptation of the infamous film about the day of infamy. They’d tied up a deal for the game rights and secured use of the prototype Unreal Engine v2 to help them build a spectacular 3D blockbuster war game.
During early design discussions, it transpired that although they had a licence for the film, they didn’t have the rights to use the likenesses, character names, voices or performances of any of the main cast characters – with the exception of Kate Beckinsale’s Nurse Johnson.

A number of proposals and prototypes were put together before the project was eventually cancelled and the costs written off. The most intriguing of which was what can only be described a first person ‘inject ‘em up’ in which you, as Nurse Johnson have to run around a hospital ward injecting wounded soldiers with the right medicine.

Which, to be honest, would probably have been better than the film.

Nine – Battle Royale 2 (2003)
Small time Tokyo based developers Joy Simulation couldn’t believe their luck when Nintendo snagged their prototype flower-themed strategy title Petal Rivals, to be developed as a high profile Gameboy Advance title.

Their excitement was short-lived when after the contracts were signed they were told that their game had to be re-skinned into an adaptation of the violently militaristic sequel to Battle Royale.

The graphics department who had spent months working on making cute anthropomorphic flowers that swayed gently in the breeze, had to suddenly switch them out for school age terrorists with explosive death animations. The whole thing was a rush job and completely failed in the market due to the underperformance of the film and the subject matter being a terrible fit with Nintendo’s Mario loving fanbase.

Ten – The Raid (2011)
The Uk distributors commissioned Hoxton ‘boutique development house’ BooomK@ M3dia to create a web based game to promote the theatrical release of this martial arts adventure. They were less than impressed when with less than 2 weeks to go, BooomK@ presented them with an old school, text adventure game.

A source revealed:

“They just sat there in the presentation looking smug and pleased with themselves. They said it was ironic and that we didn’t understand new media strategy. They stopped smiling pretty fucking quickly when I said we weren’t paying them”

Although the game was swiftly canned and not used, it was later leaked onto an interactive fiction web site, where it was derided on the community forum as ‘repetitive’ and ‘not as clever as it thinks’.

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Elstree 1976 – Spa Wars Screening

ELSTREE 1976 POSTER 1 1000pxLeamington Underground Cinema is delighted to present a screening of ace documentary Elstree 1976 following the Spa Wars event on Saturday 2nd December.
This screening will take place in the epic and gothic All Saints Church aka that big building at the bottom of The Parade opposite Viallis.
After the film there will be a Q&A with producer Hank Starrs (who with director Jon Spira is now working on sequel Elstree 1979 about The Empire Strikes Back) and some Star Wars cast members.
Tickets are £10 and will be on sale from Friday 9th June. ,there will be a licensed bar to keep you fully refreshed, doors open at 7.30pm and the age limit is 12.
For more info on the whole day of Spa Wars events please check out the facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/192980474554893
“In 1976, during the hottest summer on record, Star Wars was shot in suburban North London. Nobody involved had any idea how big the film would become, many couldn’t even remember the title.
Yet for the bit-part actors and extras, their faces hidden in masks and helmets, this seemingly insignificant job would go on to colour their lives even four decades later.
ELSTREE 1976 is a portrait of a cross-section of these people; from the man inside the most iconic villain in film history to the guy whose character was completely cut from the final film. It tells the stories of their lives and explores the eccentric community they have formed, traveling the world, signing autographs for fans.”