Tars Tarkas and I have been doing the Infernal Brains Podcast for six years now, and have recorded almost 20 episodes. Astonishingly, over that entire time, we've managed to avoid becoming at all proficient at doing it, or acquiring anything even close to an air of professionalism; we always just hoped that our knowledge and enthusiasm would fill the gap. Some of you seem to think they did. Thanks for that.
Anyway, over the past couple of years it's become increasingly hard for Tars and I to find time when we both can put the necessary effort into researching, recording and editing the show. And by that I am not just saying that we are adult men with all kinds of adult shit to do, but moreover that we are infantile men who have wrapped ourselves up in so much other childish nonsense that we have time for little else. If you are someone attentive enough to have noticed that there was a full year break between the last two Infernal Brains episodes, you are probably saying "no duh, guys" right now.
What I'm getting at is that Tars and I have decided to retire the Infernal Brains podcast. This, of course, does not preclude us getting together to do one-off podcasts when we find a topic worthy enough, or re-branding as something like Infernal Brains Turbo 4D: Gothpocalypse! to appeal to that oh-so-important younger demographic. Meanwhile, all of our episodes will remain online until Donald Trump outlaws the internet. In fact, if you need to do some catching up, here's s few of our highlights to get you started
Episode 1: Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Episode 2: Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
These inaugural episodes are from back in the days when we were just called the Tars Tarkas 4DK Joint Podcast and recorded our episodes at the kitchen table in my San Francisco apartment. In them you'll hear us provide an exhaustive inventory of virtually every old Taiwanese movie in which a Japanese-style rubber suitmation monster appears. You could say that these episodes set the bar for comprehensive research that came to make later episodes so daunting. You could even say that the seeds of our destruction were sewn from the very beginnings.
Episode 8: Worst podcast ever!
This is the notorious episode in which each of us discuss what we think is the worst film we've ever seen. This sounds like a lighthearted enough concept until you consider the pool of films that we are drawing from.
Episode 11: Diagoro vs. Goliath
A fun episode in which Tars and I examine Toho Studios' turn toward the kiddie market in the early 70s--and in particular a movie in which a chronically constipated baby dinosaur must fight an alien monster to save the Earth. Will Diagoro overcome his fears to defeat Goliath and earn himself the huge, satisfying dump that he so deserves? You'll find the answer here.
Episode 13: Through the Looking Glass with Pearl Cheung Ling
In these two episodes, we join with David Wells of the sadly defunct Soft Film blog to fill as many holes as we can in what's known about Pearl Cheung Ling, an iconic figure in Taiwanese martial arts cinema around whom much mystery revolves. Thanks in large part to David's meticulous research, we manage to paint a pretty full portrait of this exciting actress, who is also noteworthy for being a rare female director in the male dominated world of Chinese language action movies.
For many of us of a certain age, the Starman movies--which were edited together for U.S. TV from Shintoho's Super Giant serials--were staples of Saturday afternoon TV in the early 70s. And as fond as our memories of them might be, it's unlikely anyone would ask that someone present a comprehensive history of them--as we, of course, did. I'm especially fond of this episode because it was the first one I edited.
This was the first episode we recorded when I returned after a long illness--and it's one of my favorites. Tars and I find our vocabularies and brains taxed while discussing films with all animal casts. And by "animals", I mean actual animals, and not puppets or cartoons. This one's a great example of our ability to mine for ever more obscure sub-genres within the field of world popular cinema.
One of our best, in which we team up with the Cultural Gutter's Carol Borden to examine the odd preponderance within the science fiction genre of films in which races of evil female aliens attempt to dominate or otherwise sap the Earth's men of their mojo. Films discussed include Cat Women of the Moon, La Nave de Los Monstuous, Missile to the Moon, and the Turkish entry Flying Saucers Over Istanbul, to name just a few.
It was inevitable that Tars and I would eventually get around to discussing Pakistani exploitation cinema--and what better jumping off point than this monumentally sleazy Pashto language hybrid of Catwoman and The Incredible Hulk? Along the way we discuss other classics of Pakistani trash cinema, from the notorious Haseena Atom Bomb to International Gorillay, an action film in which a band of everyman jihadis fight to bring down the evil mastermind Salman Rushdie.
And that's just a sampling, folks. Be sure to check out the Infernal Brains archives for more discussions of alluring international weirdness, and to pay your respects. Because, like it or hate it, no one did it quite like the Infernal Brains did--and likely will do again. In closing, I will simply say not goodbye, but so long.