Published on June 27 2012

Alright listen up. I hate remakes. It's at best nostalgia gone awry, it's at worst repeating history to make money. Is it any mystery that in the ratio of good to bad remakes, the best are in short supply and the worst are not only more numerous, but often so terribly unforgiveable or forgettable?

 

If I had any say, we'd only have remakes under three conditions, and even these are stretching it:

  • The remake is of a media property that was either obscure, unappreciated or ill funded.
  • The remake is able to make itself unrecognizeable to the original, but keep its core essence.
  • The remake is of a foreign property.

I won't get too into that, I just wanted to use it as a bookend to explain my new blog series:  

Reefer Remakes.

 

After my article on Recess proved popular, I decided that rather than seek the hidden adult concepts in kids TV, I'd implant them myself. This is essentially what children shows would have been like had they had extremely heavy drug overtones. That's right, nothing clever or deep about it, just cheap stoner humour.

 

Childhoods, prepare to die.

 

Thomas the Bongine

 

Fucking loved Thomas The Tank Engine. It's the sole reason why Ringo Starr is my favourite Beatle. And I was a hardcore fan; be a badass like me and read the original 'The Railway Series' books. The author's son continued writing them after his Dad put down his pen, and with illustrations they were like proto-comic books but about motherfucking talking trains.

 

That said if you just read the Wikipedia articles on the different trains, they put my fandom to shame. I have much respect for the railway enthusiast community, but their level of attention to detail is frightening sometimes. Makes the thought of actually riding a train with them a peverse nightmare.

 

A few months ago I had the interesting idea of what would happen if you slipped a piece of hash in Thomas the Tank Engine's coal fire. Faster than you can say 'steam rolled' I had an entire re-envisioning of the series in which our favourite locomotives are puffing and polluting everything with the illest stink stink. 

 

What could be more hilarious than a crew of anthromoporphic locamotives baked out of their minds? It wouldn't exactly make it any weirder around the Island of Sodor. Can you imagine if you were a trainee at that railway station on your first day, but had no idea the trains could talk? That would fuck you up for sure, especially when just people act like it's normal.

 

"Oh the trains? Yeah they're alive. In his spare time Percy teaches hobby crafting, and Toby the Tram Engine just got confirmation on an allotment." 

"Right. And can they fuck too?"

"Probably not. Which is a shame because if Donald and Douglas ever get a civil partnership they're going to miss out on so many of the benefits."

 

 

I like to think the trains were already stoned. Most of the time if you look at their expressions they seem overly happy or zoned out about something.

 

Or maybe the whole show was just the fat controller's drug induced hallucination after smoking some really nasty shit.

 

Fat Controller-copy-1

 

But this is a remake, not a truth theory.

 

Essentially this new version would be the same, only the daily antics of the engines and vehicles wouldn't be about them falling down holes, leaving their signal-guards behind or crashing into barber's shops. Actually it probably would, but they'd only do all that stuff cause they were high at the time.

 

Because I got high-copy-1

 

The reason I think it would work is because there's just so many comedic similarties between train terminology and the stoner's dictionary. To demonstrate, here's the rhyme that inspired the original author, Christopher Awdry, to write his first story about the trains in Sodor:

 

"Early in the morning,
Down at the station,
All the little engines
Standing in a row.


Along comes the driver,
Pulls the little lever
Puff, puff! Chuff, chuff!
Off we go!"

 

And here's my little revision:

 

"At 4:20 in the afternoon,

Coached at the station

All dem little bongines

Passing in a row.

 

Along comes the dealer,

Pulls out a joint,

Puff, puff! Choof, choof!

Dude...woah..."

 

But what is a good stoner comedy without memorable characters? After all a good time is had with the people you share it with and share with.

 

Just a few joining Thomas in his hippy circle of friends include:

 

ganja finished

 

Ganja,

 

Henry Hemp

 

Henry Hemp,

 

Whitey

 

Whitey,

 

Tomato eye

 

Tomoato Eyed,

 

Dutch-Oven-cropped.jpg

 

Dutch Oven,

 

Bertie.jpg

 

Bung the canniBUS,

 

Dealer-Engine.jpg

 

The Dealer Engine,

 

Harold-the-Helicopter.png

 

and Harold the Helicopter

 

For those curious Edward is a narc and won't be part of the crew.

 

 

So that's pretty much all I have to say about this particular series. I'll leave these stone rollers to their myriad of wonderful adventures, whether that is to find a takeaway, to grab another dimebag or just finding the will to leave the station.

 

Next time on Reefer Remakes: The Magic Mushroom Bus

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

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Published on June 23 2012

I was enlightened last father's day not only with the annual reminder that it was father's day, but with a touching memory.

 

Growing up I was given much liberty with what films I could watch. There were a few handful of out of bound flicks, most of which ironically became favourites of mine (such as Tarantino's), but otherwise I was able to peruse most of the ugly stuff. In fact, I was almost encouraged.

 

It's possible my memories have been tainted by warmful nostalgia or that these occurances were unrelated to my gore filled childhood, but I distinctly recall two instances of my father actually describing the stories of two 'grown-up' films beloved to him to me.

 

The first isn't the first story you want your child to be familiar with: the first Alien movie by Ridley Scott. Whilst he didn't quite give it the ten page children's bed time story adaptation, his telling of it was certainly not through the eyes of an adult living off the thrill that the Universe is a Godless vacuum with creatures bred to kill, be born, then kill some more. He didn't hide the more gruesome aspects, describing the chest bursting scene as if through the eyes of one of Kane's doomed crew members aboard the Nostromos. I was a tad frightened, but at the same time riveted.

 

Alien-the-children-s-book-copy-1.png

 

When it came to watching Alien not long after, I felt as if I'd seen it before, or rather that I was watching one of my childhood stories brought to life on the big screen, only with sexual overtones courtesy of H.R. Giger. Seriously that guy is wonderfully fucked up. You know one of his paintings had vaginas on meat hooks? I digress...thank christ.

 

The second was the Rocky movies; all of them. Whilst quite a step down from mass death aboard a spaceship, the tale of a bum turned champion-worthy boxer has everything a growing lad would want in a hero. As I grew older I finally got the chance to see the movies themselves, and Balboa became the hero to my ages. Even though I started with the ridiculous Part III and moved upwards then back to the beginning, the outwardly comical meanness of Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago turned them into the perfect villains for my action hero to take on. Maybe that's too fantastical for a boxing movie, and it sure didn't make Rocky V bearable, but I can't imagine being introduced to those movies any other way.

 

So here's the crux of my post: could we stifle the youth's need for restricted material by imparting it with this method of storytelling? I fail to see the danger gruesome images can have on children (of which there is already meagre evidence) if it's only through the spoken word, explained in a context they can grasp. But it's not all about the gore either; what I recall most gleefully is how enthusiastic my Dad was to tell me these truly great stories. When you tell your friend about a great violent movie you saw, unless the film itself drew points for its violence (or say, in the case of Fritz the Cat, the fact that it had cats shagging) its generally not why you recommend it. Fact is life is brutal, blunt and full of unknowns, and the stories that best encapsulate the lessons we need to learn growing up often come hand in hand with what are considered 'adult concepts'.

 

The-Hungry-Centipede.JPG

 

Obviously I wouldn't want to charge full in with children's book adaptations of Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom or The Human Centipede (as FUCKING FUNNY as the latter would be), but it's certainly a concept worth musing over. Children are fragile creatures; easily frightened and naive, but at some point in our lives we've had to deal and delevop these natural shortcomings. My suggestion is that we take the anti-Hemmingway approach: 'gradually and then more gradually'.

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

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