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Forces of Geek: we like pop culture.

Published: Nov 22, 2014 4:42:45 AM
Forces of Geek features columns and commentary on all aspects of geek culture including pop culture, technology, art, television, comics, music, fashion, film, literature and video games. The premiere Geek Culture community online, forcesofgeek.com wants you to discover and embrace the unknown, the forgotten, and the beloved.
  • Nov 21, 2014 5:00:01 PM
    A world of four color magic arrives every Wednesday.

    Stories and adventures of heroes and villains, good versus evil.

    Tales that entertain and excite by talented writers and artists.

    Here are my thoughts Among The Panels.

    Punk Mambo #0

    Writer: Peter Milligan 

    Artist: Robert Gill

    Publisher: Valiant 
    Price: $3.99

    Punk Mambo #0 is the newest addition in a long line of titles from veteran comic book writer; Peter Milligan, and frankly it rocks! Pun intended.

    Punk Mambo is a thrilling ride through a punk rock imagined world full of voodoo.

    The story is about how Victoria, our main character, became the mythical Punk Mambo that lives in the swamps of Louisiana. After she tricks a couple of reporters into venturing deep within her swamp and driving them crazy, she sends herself into a magic inspired high.

    While tripping, she sees a vision of punk rock icon Sid Vicious who inspires her to go back home to London.

    While she is in London she returns to her roots while telling us the story of how she became a voodoo priestess. After running away from home she ended up on the harsh streets of London. She soon fell in with a bad crowd that ultimately ends up sacrificing her to a voodoo priest named Joe Mayhem. It’s kind of unexplained how his powers were transferred into Victoria but soon enough she knew how to do voodoo as well and ran away to America. One of her new powers is the gift of agelessness, which also kind of unexplained.

    While on her pilgrimage she finds the two old “friends” that served her to Joe in the first place. She terrorized them and made sure they never forgot her. The she starts tracking down Joe himself. When she finally finds him their interaction is brief but supremely fulfilling. The comic ends with her back in Louisiana wreaking havoc on the locals.

    Peter Milligan has spun a really awesome punk rock tale in this book and the art of Robert Gill was perfect. His art style felt matched evenly with the high talent of Milligan. Gill’s vision of punk rock is spot on.

    The way he created the look and feel of Victoria and Joe is reminiscent of the great of Punk rock stars from the 80’s. I really wish Milligan had included a punk rock playlist that I could have listened to while tearing through page after page. This book felt like they put a ton of time into it. Each page of this one shot story begs you to continue and when it’s over you’re kind of left feeling let down that there won’t be a follow up soon enough.

    I have to admit that Valiant Entertainment isn’t really one of my favorite comic book publishers but if they continue to put out books like this, they might just find a loyal fan in me. I hope to see more of this book and character as soon as possible.

    Score: 4.5 out of 5

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 3:00:00 PM
    When people think about the moment they became fans of Stone Cold Steve Austin, about the magic moment that locked them in for the ride that would come with his rise to the top of professional wrestling they typically point o Wrestlemania 13.

    It was Wrestlemania 13 that saw Austin enter the ring with Bret “The Hitman” Hart in a submission match.

    Anyone who knows even a little about Hart knows that when it comes to submissions, there are precious few who are (or were) his equal. So of course it was a given that he was going to walk away the victor.

    And he did, but Austin still came out the unofficial winner of that match. It was that match that gave us one of the very first iconic images of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    While Hart did manage to lock the Sharpshooter, bloodied Austin refused to tap out. Actually, that’s not really an adequate enough description. An Austin who’d been busted wide open, face relaying excruciating pain to the audience, a seemingly endless supply of blood running down his face and pooling on the canvas below.

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  • Nov 21, 2014 1:00:00 PM

    What I love about documentaries is their ability to highlight the beauty that can be found in the minutia of the world. Take this particular doc, it's about the waa-waa pedal, you know, the creator of the waaaaaaaa-waaaaaa sound that you hear in virtually all your favorite rock/blues songs from the past (nearly) 50 years.

    Yeah, there's a documentary about it...and it is fucking fantastic.

    If you have an hour, love music and want to get an in-depth look at a device that helped to shape the world of rock-n-roll, then you need to STOP what you're doing and watch Cry Baby- The Pedal That Rocked the World right now.

    And afterward you can brag to your friends about your new-found knowledge.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 11:00:06 AM

    If you are looking for a seasonal booze-filled dessert that you can easily hide somewhere in the house (which will provide you with the much needed gelatin-strength it takes to deal with your family) might I suggest the Pumpkin Pie Jello Shot.

    Filled with spiced rum, actual pumpkin pie and a crushed graham cracker topping, this shot glass full of Thanksgiving spirit will help you through the most difficult, judgmental questions your mother/aunt/sister-in-law/whomever can dish out.

    The recipe (which can be found HERE) can serve 10 (so yes, you can include your non-asshole siblings/family members if you desire) but I suggest making a couple of batches just in case of emergencies...like getting dragged to Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday shopping against your will no matter how hard you try and convince your family that the "Door-buster Deals" aren't worth the pain that the low-paid retail workers have to deal with.

    Better yet, if you are at Target at some ungodly hour, pass out a few of these shots to the employees as a way of saying you're sorry that they can't be home in bed asleep.

    It might make you and them feel better.

    Source: Craft

  • Nov 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM

    Well, it's the final Friday before the storm known as "The Holiday Season" begins so let us all take a deep breath, brew up a coffee pot filled with a nice dark roast (spiked with your choice of booze) and get into a calming/fun state of mind before the eventual screams of "I'M LOSING MY SHIT HERE PEOPLE!!!" bursts forth from between our lips in regards to family, holiday shopping and the craziness of the season.

    To help put you in a good mood, here's Frederik Storm's Milkshakes, a fun, nonsensical animation set to the music of Simon Jonas Larsen (which is reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's Rock It).

    I promise you, it doesn't sound anything like Xmas music.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 7:00:06 AM
    Review by Caitlyn Thompson
    Produced by Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik
    Screenplay by Danny Strong, Peter Craig
    Based on Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
    Directed by Francis Lawrence
    Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, 
    Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, 
    Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, 
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, 
    Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

    As Mockingjay Part 1 begins we're back in District 13.

    That's right.  The place we thought was decimated by the Capital is in fact, a militarized state that has been preparing for an uprising since the rebellion which resulted in the creation of the Hunger Games seventy-five years ago.

    Third installments should ascend in some way, and Mockingjay Part 1 is, overall, rather stagnant.

    The film feels like it might reveal something exciting, something new, something, or at least you hope it might.

    I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t and should have been condensed into forty minutes. It’s poor form to have an audience wait two hours for a taste of the intensity to come in Part 2.

    Now we have to wait another year for the real action.

    Read more »
  • Nov 20, 2014 5:00:00 PM
    For this week’s post, I’ll be covering the ten cartoons of 1936 that I think are the best and/or most notable.

    This was a significant year in animation, largely due to the debuts of Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin and Carl Stalling at Warner Bros., with Avery in particular pushing towards a new kind of comedy that hadn't been seen in animation up to this point.

    But Disney was still king of the animation world, and his studio was heavy at work on its first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which would be released towards the end of 1937. As for other studios, Van Beuren and Ub Iwerks both closed their doors in 1936, and there weren’t many significant new characters born (Terrytoons birthed Kiko the Kangaroo and Walter Lantz gave us Meany, Miny and Moe, if you’re interested), but there were still plenty of wonderful films from studios like Disney, Warner Bros., Fleischer and MGM.

    Take a look:

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  • Nov 20, 2014 3:00:06 PM
    Last Sunday night I was partaking in one of my favorite past times: hate-watching The Newsroom.  The main takeaway for me from Sunday’s episode was not the heavy exposition that laid the groundwork for what the remainder of the show will be about, but the fact that virtually all of the characters are dating a co-worker in the office.

    I’ve worked in a variety of different companies and office environments over the last decade, and the social scene is decidedly more banal.

    That’s not to say that I’ve never observed co-workers who dated or were involved in some kind of liaison (and it’s typically the later rather than the former), but people have lives outside of the office.

    Specifically, most of the dating is happening with people outside of the building rather than within.

    And this is fatal if not depressing flaw of just about every work place TV show: it’s a vision of America where there people have no lives outside of the office. We have no friends besides our work friends (both romantic and platonic).

    Do Hollywood TV writers really think all of us schmucks work 9 to 5 jobs have lives that are so defined by where we work?

    Read more »
  • Nov 20, 2014 1:00:02 PM
    The look and style of any game is created through imagination, artistry and visual storytelling.

    The ability to interpret written ideas into something visual is a difficult thing to master, production design in games (and also film) can transform not only the story and the characters into being but also narrative themes.

    Every detail must be thought about; decor, architecture, clothing, locations, texture, physical space, colour palette, tonality, physics...the list is practically endless depending on how long you have to research.

    Image via Smithsonian /CNN

    Many games, despite being fictional forms of entertainment require a sense of authenticity to ensure the player is suitably engrossed.

    Survival horror games need this especially to set the tone and aid the overall experience - imagine a survival horror game with bright lighting, upbeat music and flashing multicoloured objects (wait a minute...am I describing a Nintendo title?!) - it would no longer immerse the player in their surroundings and thus, could no longer be labelled as 'horror'.

    This is why production designers and the creative team behind a game are absolutely vital.

    Until recently, I believed I solely enjoyed the my favourite games based on their stories (being a writer, I relish great stories over everything else!) and to some extent I still do, however, it occurred to me that all of the games I hold in high regard also benefit from incredible production design.

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  • Nov 20, 2014 11:00:00 AM

    Thanks to social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook your inability to succeed at anything is gloriously highlighted by photos of the perfect cupcake, the most beautiful family ever and feed updates that let everyone know how awesome life is for people who are not you.

    It can be pretty fucking depressing.

    Especially during this time of year when you are barraged by nothing but glorious holiday representations of perfection that make people feel less worthy than a pile of dog shit
    Fuck you asshole

    But this year, instead of striving for some unattainable goal of creating the most perfect gifts or decorating your entire house in a craft-tastic version of the lodge from the movie White Christmas why not simply throw in the towel and give everyone cans of cake?

    Yeah, you heard me, fuck spending your valuable time and money hand-making embroidered cocktail napkins for a bunch of ungrateful jag-offs, throw 'em a gift bag filled with Cake In A Can instead and call it a day.

    Hell, they'll probably end up enjoying it more anyway...So shove that up your ass Pinterest.

    Happy Holidays.

    Source: Foodiggity

  • Nov 20, 2014 9:00:01 AM

    The internet has given us a lot over it's short life span, from changing how we are able to research topics that were once limited to what you could find in the drawers of your local library's card catalog or migraine-inducing microfiche (if you don't know what that is, be thankful) to being able to type in the words "70s Hairy Muff Porn" and finding just what you need (rather than having to search it out physically like a perverted Indiana Jones).

    Unfortunately, with all that access and information comes a darker side as well, one that allows for people to say and be as awful as they want without the fear of retaliation.

    When situations like Ferguson, MO break we all have about five seconds to take sides online before the worst inside of us comes frothing out. The fight between reason and racism begins the moment the first person comments on a story and it escalates from there, sometimes to the point where the violence of online spills over into real life (like in the case of #gamergate).

    But where does all of this need to be vitriolic come from? Sure, some of it is learned at the knees of our parents, but inherently, when we reach puberty, the desire to rebel from the values, rules and social norms of our mom and dad helps to shape our individual identities. We make the choice the see others as different or as similar to ourselves just as we make the choice to be an asshole or a nice person. While we may have an immediate reaction to another individual (a prejudice) we still have the ability to not act on it (bigotry and discrimination).

    For a fascinating look at the whys, hows and what the fucks behind the concepts that seem to be exploding all over the place, watch Hank Green break down the learning after the break. And if you enjoy what you watch, pass it forward to some of your friends and family members...who knows maybe they might learn something as well (or, better yet, let this link be your comment to any online assholery).

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  • Nov 20, 2014 7:00:03 AM

    Back in 1985 a Masters of the Universe float was concocted to enchant children (and scare Pat Sajak) while simultaneously making it clear to parents that they should buy EVERY He-Man & She-Ra toy on the planet for their bastard offspring.

    The float worked.

    Hearing the annoying pleading from their hell-spawn, parents bought the testosterone-centric action figures by the droves, where in my neighborhood it was declared the Xmas/Hanukkah of He-Man! The buzz and subsequent Ch-Ching! of cash registers worked so well that they brought the float back again the next year with Dolph Lundgren (who was filming the live-action version of the cartoon at the time) to introduce it....with poor Pat Sajak once again.

    Of course, we all know what happened after that movie opened...no more float.

    For those of you who were old enough to remember the epic awesomeness that was The Masters of the Universe float, this may bring some tears to your eyes, if you are too young to understand how radical it was to open up a Skeletor action figure that had the revolving battle-scar armor thing-a-ma-jig on Xmas morning (or on one of the Hanukkah nights), go fuck yourself, this post is not for you.


    Video after the break.

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  • Nov 19, 2014 7:00:00 PM
    It’s Christmas Eve in Hong Kong, and while the residents prepare to celebrate, a dedicated band of brothers - the firefighters of Pillar Point Division (Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Andy On) – are dispatched to a warehouse fire. What they find there first plunges the city into darkness, then threatens a far worse fate for them all.

    When every move could mean sudden death, the bonds between the men are tested, and dangerous truths uncovered. Will they be able to trust each other enough to make it through the night, saving themselves and the city they’ve sworn to protect?

    And we're giving away three copies!

    Read more »
  • Nov 19, 2014 5:00:02 PM
    Review by Clay N Ferno
    Produced by Brett Culp,Tricia Culp, 
    Matt Andrews, Josh Costella, Ian del Carmen, 
    Vasilis K. Pozios, 5th Element Events, Sultan Saeed 
    Al Darmaki, Sultan Al Saud, Southeast Psych
    Written and Directed by Brett Culp
    Starring Michael Uslan, Denny O’Neil, 
    Lenny B Robinson, Jill Pantozzi, Kye Sapp, 
    Petaluma Batman, Rabbi Cary Friedman, 
    Dr. Travis Langley, Gotham Chopra, 
    Brian Elliott, Patrick O’Connor, Daniel Scott

    As a side dish to your binge-watch of Batman ’66 DVDs we present to you Legends of the Knight from Virgil Films. The documentary takes a look at people passionate to a fault about the Caped Crusader on his 75th Anniversary.

    From Batman film franchise executive producer Michael Uslan’s story, to the one-legged breakdancing Daniel Scott to Lenny Robinson — “Maryland Batman”, each vignette tells the story of people making the world better as if Batman were real.

    Brett Culp’s touching documentary shows the side of fandom not exploited by cosplay press, but the human side of using Batman as an inspiration to make the world a better place.

    Read more »
  • Nov 19, 2014 3:00:04 PM
    By Erin Maxwell

    When Walt Disney first began to realize his vision, it began with a rabbit. Then when the rabbit became the sole property of a large conglomerate, so Disney moved on to a mouse. That mouse would soon come to represent a large studio, several theme parks, a video game industry, an entire interactive community and movies and TV shows galore.

    In his vision, poor Walt probably didn’t mean for little Mickey to become a central figure in a chilling urban legend.

    According to legend (and by legend, I mean biased and unfounded Internet rumors), the short was created in 1931 by Walt himself.

    The cartoon itself is very simple.

    It appears as a continuous loop with everyone’s favorite mouse protagonist walking down the street past the same six buildings as a haunting piano tune accompanies him on his journey.

    The graphics are grainy and shaky at best while the animated Mickey conveys no emotion or change in character.

    Read more »
  • Nov 19, 2014 8:29:26 PM
    Review by Sharon Knolle
    Produced by Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, 
    Jon Kilik, Bennett Miller
    Written by E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
    Directed by Bennett Miller
    Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, 
    Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, 
    Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall 

    There's a fascinating movie to be made about the true-life events surrounding wrestlers Dave and Mark Schultz and eccentric billionaire, John du Pont but Foxcatcher isn't it.

    The pre-release buzz on the film was inordinately high, with massive praise for Carell's serious (and heavily made up) turn as du Pont. While there are moments where Carell's humor shines through, the actor seems intent on being as absent as possible from the proceedings, as if being more present would ruin his characterization. du Pont was evidently an eccentric, socially awkward man, but Carell is so determined not to be his usually funny, charming self that he makes very little impact as the odd character.

    Channing Tatum is equally opaque as the troubled wrestler Mark Schultz, who is trying to get out from the shadow of his older, more confident brother (Mark Ruffalo).

    Speculation also placed Carell in the running for a Best Actor Oscar (his first), but the lead role is really Tatum's. We're sympathetic to Mark's struggles, but we never really get to know or care about him. Deeper troubles are hinted at, but never revealed.

    The one bright spot in the film is Ruffalo, who has less screen time than his two co-stars, but whose natural affability comes across despite the limitations of the script.

    Read more »
  • Nov 19, 2014 11:00:04 AM

    With all this talk of the new voting registrations being implemented around the country in order to suppress certain voters, one can't help but reflect back to the days of the blatant racist tactics of politicians in the 60s who tried desperately to keep black Americans from participating in their right to vote. Of course in today's more PC climate, racism is just polished up a bit more but the result is the same, to keep people (who have the right) from voting.

    Which is why I have never understood why people (mostly whites) don't vote. Perhaps it is because our rights have never been trampled on, or, that we have never been made to feel as if we are second-class citizens, or maybe we are so apathetic to the point of boredom that to leave our house and actually participate in the luxury of creating change is passe.

    Whatever it is, perhaps a wake-up call is in order, and what better way to show how difficult it was for people to vote (who fucking had the legal right to it) than by enlisting a bunch of Harvard student to take the actual 1964 Louisiana literary test that was given to mostly blacks in order to keep them from casting a ballot.

    Watch and take note people, all of us may someday have to do this in the future if we don't pay attention.

    Video after the break.

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  • Nov 19, 2014 9:00:00 AM

    In 1990 the Voyager 1 Space Probe snapped a picture of earth from over 3.7 billion miles away. The Pale Blue Dot, as Carl Sagan waxed poetically about it in his 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, is one of those monumental photos that creates within each of us a sense of wonder and a desire for self-exploration. To look at it is to realize that in the expanse of the universe we are nothing but a fuzzy speck, hovering around in a sea of self-importance that leads to nowhere.

    Carl Sagan knew what it was to feel that pale blue dot and to understand how precious and special it really is and no one but Sagan could ever put the experience of being of and from the earth so beautifully (well, except for Neil deGrasse Tyson).

    After the break is an animated version of a passage from his book that I think everyone should have on them at all times, just to remind them how amazing our little existence really is.

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  • Nov 19, 2014 7:00:07 AM

    I didn't think that David Wain's Wet Hot American Summer could get any better...I was wrong. In this faux trailer retooled to look as if Scorsese had directed it, the classic comedy might actually be even more awesome as a profanity-filled drama dripping with violence and sex.

    If Wain ever decides to put up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a Scorsese re-edit, he can have everything in my bank account (which, at this moment is about $224).

    Video after the break.

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  • Nov 18, 2014 7:00:00 PM
  • Nov 19, 2014 9:34:42 AM
    I said before that it felt like Gotham was finally working out its groove and had figured out what the show’s formula was.

    The problem with that is how formulaic it’s become to the point where we know going in to it what steps it will take before the credits roll.

    A generic one-shot villain is introduced, a new character ripped from the comics makes an entrance, Gordon and Bruce have their scene together, Penguin and Fish trade insults, Bullock makes some snide comment to Gordon reminding him which city they work in (this time it’s “Welcome to Gotham). Rinse and repeat.

    This time the episode’s baddie is a sick-minded demolitions expert who has been apprehended before the title card appears and Gordon must try to stop him before lives are lost. '

    That’s the A story and the rest is easily filler.

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  • Nov 18, 2014 3:00:00 PM
    The plot of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi opus Interstellar hinges on the discovery of a wormhole near Saturn that allows our intrepid astronaut heroes to jump across the stars in the blink of an eye to a galaxy far, far away.

    The portal is expressed visually in three dimensions as a reflective sphere.

    Wormholes are not to be confused with black holes, those giant mysterious patches of seeming nothingness in space that devour everything within its gravitational pull—including light. Nolan’s movie features both phenomenon prominently, and shows the inside of a black hole as a cosmic projector room where infinite strands of space-time unspool simultaneously like interwoven strips of constantly running film (a wondrous visual touch from a filmmaker determined to save celluloid from extinction).

    As the science behind wormholes and black holes is theoretical, sci-fi tales have always taken license with how the quantum physics might work—specifically regarding the ways Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity would (or would not) play out.

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  • Nov 18, 2014 1:00:01 PM
    While my days as a supervillain holding the world ransom from a secret undersea volcano lair with my latest scheme are most assuredly coming—probably sooner than the planet would like based on my current trajectory—this week I’m going to keep the planning pretty much on the simple side.

    It’s been a really long roller-coaster of a year to this point, starting with the birth of my son, Lex, months of painful unemployment, and then a new job that started out quite rocky before leveling off, so this Thanksgiving, I’m just going to focus on the positives and be thankful for being fortunate enough to have food and a roof over my head with a loving family.  

    And for comic books.

    For the love of Elvis, let’s not dare forget about the comics.

    Why I’m not eating Thanksgiving dinner off one of these is beyond me.

    Now I know some of my more recent columns have been on the complainy side (yeah, I wrote complainy; if I can use it in a sentence, it’s a word), and I apologize for that. When life hands you lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade and not get agro at fictional characters and plots. But I said, “Screw that noise, who the hell wants lemonade at a time like this, where’s my Dr. Pepper?!,” and focused a bit more than I should have on some of the things irking me most about the current X-Men stable of titles.

    So, in honor of the current event called Axis, which is wrapping up its second of three phases wherein the roles and personalities of many heroes and villains have been flipped so good becomes bad, bad becomes good, Nancy Grace becomes…well, nothing, she’s still an idiot, no magic whammy is gonna fix that hot mess, I am going to look at a few things about the X-Men that I’m thankful for.

    Pictured: One worthless excuse for a human being.

    Read more »
  • Nov 18, 2014 11:00:00 AM

    As we are counting down to the beginning of the holiday season (which starts in a mere 8 days) the stress level of the U.S. is starting to rise in anticipation for all of the family drama that will no doubt occur. To help lower the amount of people putting together mix bags of Ambien and Prozac just to make it through the long weekend of hearing how much weight they've gained this year, here's a compilation of old people getting jiggy to the melody of Turn Down for What by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

    I suggest keeping this video up on your phone/tablet/computer so that you can revisit it anytime a family member inquires when you plan to give up your non-lucrative blogging job and get a "Real" career.

    Think of it as a hit of virtual pot.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 18, 2014 9:00:06 AM

    Stephen King's favorite director Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers, The Stand, The Shining, Riding the Bullet, Desperation and Bag of Bones) gabs with William Shatner about all kinds of nerd stuff in this 1979 interview for the Fantasy Film Festival.

    Yep, the internet can still dig up some fine-ass dork history for all of us OGs (original geeks).

    Loads of Trekker fun after the break.

    Read more »