Friends ask me if I’ve seen the latest episode of such-and-such or gorged myself upon the latest streaming series. They’re usually terrified or at least concerned for my well being when I admit to the crap that I actually pipe through my Roku box.
My excuse is that I’m busy sketching, and if I have the TV on, I have to watch something that doesn’t demand my strict attention. Made-for-television movies usually fit the bill which brings us to today’s offering.
Mazes and Monsters (1982) was a moral panic film warning parents about the dangers of fantasy role playing games upon impressionable minds. Tom Hanks played the impressionable mind who is getting over that role playing monkey on his back and has gone cold turkey when he falls in with the wrong crowd (all played by Canadians including the kid from Meatballs) at his new college who help him back up on his horse with a pair of verbal urges. Before you know it, the collegians are blowing off classes and destroying their grade point averages in order to play the game for hours on end. Lack of sleep and lack of showers sink the failing students deeper into the realm of fantasy. They start to LOSE TOUCH WITH REALITY. More Canadians playing parents become concerned and the police are called. I’m not sure why being that the gamers are all legal adults who have not broken any laws, but the Mayor from Jaws enters the scene as the chief detective acting as if he is breaking up a ring of either narcotic or human traffickers. I don’t know. Maybe that’s as exciting as police work can be in this college town. He’s taking slacker college students a lot more seriously than the initial shark attacks in Amity.
Tom Hanks’ character goes off the deep end and heads for New York City although I’m not sure how he gets there. The Canadians lie to the fuzz and figure they can find their goofy friend themselves in The Big Apple. Before they improbably find him, Hanks begins to HALLUCINATE! Why? Role playing games! THAT’S WHY! He starts to see monsters that wouldn’t have passed muster on Lost In Space or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I wonder if they were costume rentals.
I won’t spoil the end. If you want to catch it yourself, Mazes and Monsters is being run currently as part of Amazon Prime’s library of movies. Got Prime? Great! You can catch this craptacular for yourself. The nice thing about Prime is that their library is pretty deep with sub-par cinema. If it wasn’t for the free shipping, it would never be worth it.
Of course, it’s all fine by me because I’m getting some drawing done. I’ve been tearing through the Sketchbook from Heaven, and the idiot box provides soothing background noise. I could lie and say I listen to classical music. No. I watch trash and draw.
I didn’t draw all of these while watching Mazes and Monsters, but I did draw them either under similar circumstances — while watching trash — or early in the morning. What is nice is that they are getting me used to the possibilities of the new tools I’m using and certainly shaking the rust off of my drawing hand!
A story is brewing from these doodles. Stay tuned!