Dark Tutelage

I have never seen The Evil Dead, Evild Dead 2 or Army Of Darkness. Yes, I understand that this represents a significant gap in both my geek education and credibility. I really do think this sort of thing is the direct result of not having an older sibling, cousin, neighbor, whatever that would have introduced me to and apprenticed me in the Devil’s music, periodicals and moving pictures. Oh well. As they say, “Darkness is as darkness does,” and I’m indulging in and spreading all manner of unholy propaganda these days, so I guess I’ve made up for lost time.

Sex, drugs, Rock and Roll, Hail Satan.

COMMENTERS: Are there any major gaps or omissions in your geek pedigree? Did having/not having an older sibling effect the media you were exposed to?

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  1. The biggest gap I'm feeling is for original Doctor Who. I never really watched the show avidly when I was younger, and only really got into it with the last two seasons before it was cancelled in 1989.

  2. I have the same gap as you, and many, many more. But not due to a lack of an older sibling (I have a 4 years older sister), more due to the Curse of Being Born in the Wrong Country at the Wrong Time (East Germany in the late 70s). When I think of all the awesome geektastic developments I missed out on… *wails*

  3. I've been into zombies for as long as I can remember, so I'm quite well-versed in Evil Dead and its sequels. When it comes to gaps in geek education however, I never could get through the Lord of the Rings books. I liked the movies fine, but the books were just too overwritten for me. Also, I've never seen the original Doctor Who.

      • For years I resisted reading LotR. All my friends swore by it–my D&D group were all absolutely gaga over it, but I’d tried reading Fellowship and found it not just boring but badly written. Bleah. Well, I finally sat down and read the damned things when Jackson started announcing the movies. After flogging through all three, I can honestly say–meh. The first half if the third book is pretty good. The rest is all dull as dirt.

  4. I'm thinking people are putting too much stock into seeing old Doctor Who. Before the revival, I never came across anyone who would have claimed it was required watching, even if they were fans.

    As for my sins of omission, I still have never seen Blade Runner or Terminator 2. (But have inexplicably seen every OTHER Terminator movie and the Sarah Conner Chronicles. What the hell is wrong with me?)

    • I have been trying to find a cheap way to watch the old episodes of Doctor Who since before the revival. Alas, it seems I missed my chance as I wasn't on Netflix when it was there.

    • Every time I have ever tried to watch Blade Runner I have fallen asleep. I had this same problem with Mad Max until I finally saw the un-dubbed version. I think it's something with the way the audio was done in Mad Max's dub (also, seriously, why did we dub a movie that was already in English??), and I KNOW it's the pacing in Blade Runner that gives me issue.

      • Original Mad Max is in a thick enough Australian dialect to be difficult for a lot of people, but IMO that gives it just that extra little bit of Otherness to take it from Good to Great.

        The pacing of Blade Runner is… deliberate. You've got to be prepared to soak up quite a lot of atmosphere in between action sequences. It's worth it if you can push through to the end, but I find it pretty much impossible to watch alone and have a hope of staying awake.

  5. I am the Big Sister and I put up a big fight with my little brother who wanted to take the family copies of Evil Dead trilogy to college with him. I blame my parents for lettling us roam the video rental store unsupervised. While Ash is a god among zombie victims/slayers, you should check out Dead Alive.

    My geek gap: I am not a gamer. I didn't play any video games in the years between Prince of Persia and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. I try not to get into a situation where I have to fake any gamer knowledge, but I do know what a n00b is. I really enjoy watching The Guild because it uses The Game as a frame, while talking about how isolated, awkward and normal – geeks can be. If I say that I like The Guild, then people assume I am a gamer too.

    • I have the same gap! I haven't played a videogame since Mortal Kombat 2, unless you count Tetris and Mahjong (I know, nobody counts those). Do I get partial credit for hanging out and *watching* other people play Halo?

      • Me three! I'd totally be with you, though, if Tetris and Mahjong counted. I watch the gamers, too! *Love* watching my little bro play Skyrim. Tried my hand at it too, for a laugh…. and OH BOY was it laugh-worthy. LOL

  6. There are still rock groups from the 60's-70's that I don't know about.

    Also, I somehow never played Half-Life until the Orange Box came out.

    Additionally, I still haven't played any Elder Scroll game. I plan to rectify…when I'm not bleeding broke.

  7. I didn't see Star Wars: A New Hope all the way through until I was 30. Before that, I'd caught snippets when it aired on Saturday afternoon TV. I've still never seen Empire or Jedi in full.

    I did, however, watch a SHOCKING amount of super-gory horror flicks as a kid. My mom put a lot of faith in the rating system and there are an unreal number of late-70s, early 80s screamers that slid by with a PG code. Sleepovers are an excellent substitute for older siblings in the scare-fest department. Just looking at the box for Sleepaway Camp ruined me for years.

    • Yeah, I didn't see all the way through Empire or Jedi until my nephew got SUPER into them a couple years ago. I still haven't seen the prequels, and I plan NEVER TO DO SO.

  8. Never seen Alias. It just looked like a Nikita ripoff when it started so I never tuned in and by the time people were raving about it they were also talking about how intricate and dense the long term story telling was and I felt like I couldn't just jump in. Its in Netflix and on my list eventually. Netflix is how I watched Lost – and a good thing I think because there's no way I would have tolerated it on a weekly basis and since I only committed myself to a month of gulping it down rather than years the ending only annoyed rather than enraged me.

    • I didn't get into Alias because at the time it premiered, Dark Angel was still on and I was convinced Jessica Albe could TOTALLY pwn Jennifer Garner in a fight, and the whole plot was incredibly twisty-turny, before nose-diving into nonsense.

  9. All mine have been mentioned, but for the sake of completeness:
    1. The Lord of the Rings – even though I loved The Hobbit, I just couldn't sit through what amounts to (in my opinion) a history book for someone's D&D setting
    2. Firefly/Serenity – not for any particular reason, I've just never got around to it
    3. all of the Half-Life games – i started 1 a few years back, but never got in to it, and just kinda gave up
    4. Lost – I didn't really even try to pay attention to it until a couple seasons in, when it had already gotten Superbonkerscrazybananapants, and at that point it sounded like work

  10. Please don’t kill me but… I’ve never seen Star wars. All my friends have disowned me after learning that. WHY WON’T ANYONE HELP ME!?

  11. A Song of Ice and Fire or better known as A game of Thrones. I tried to read the books but quit in the middle of book three, I couldn't stand the writing style, it made me mad. So I won't ever watch the series on television.
    Fun fact : it was our best selling book series and I had to redirect custommers to my colleagues.

    • I'm slightly confused by your logic… the series is the story MINUS the writing style, so you might really enjoy it.

  12. The only gaping hole in my geek cred was/is Doctor Who. I'm not talking about the old stuff. I never plan to watch that. In the past few months I've started watching the new series on Amazon Prime. I'm through 3 seasons now, so the problem is being rectified.

    I'm the oldest of 3 boys and I had older friends who serverd as corrupting influences, so I think I did my job pretty well as a big brother. We loved Army of Darkness growing up. I didn't watch the first 2 Evil Dead movies until college though. You should really check those out.

  13. I don't know that I'd consider it a matter of "gaps or omissions" – I simply have no interest in horror/gore, so virtually everything in that category I've never seen. (The only thing close is John Carpenter's "The Thing" – because I'd read the original short story "Who Goes There?")

    Have never seen any vintage of Dr. Who, Bored of the Rings (though managed The Hobbit), no Firefly or Red Dwarf; my reaction to Dune was much the same as to LotR; and I haven't been anything close to "current" on video games since the DOOM/Hexen/Descent era. (I'd still rather play The Lost Vikings or Lemmings than any first-person shooter.) No Game of Thrones, no Hunger Games either.

    Great Maker, I'm old.

    • When you say Bored of the Rings, are you making a comment on the original trilogy or are you referencing National Lampoon's book of that name? Apparently it's rather well-known in some circles.

      As for horror, you have my sympathies (empathies? I always get those mixed up). I find what some things in the genre can do fascinating, but I have a low tolerance for actually watching them.

      • I was commenting on the original trilogy by referencing the title of the parody, because I found it so apt. <grin> (And no, I haven't actually read the parody either.)

        You know how there are people who just can't suspend disbelief for science fiction? I'm like that with horror; I just cannot take it seriously.

        • Furr … try some World of Tanks out. It's not nearly as break-neck as Descent ever was, sure, but it's rather satisfying.

  14. Oh, I'm sure I'm missing loads of "essentials," but I couldn't begin to tell you what they were. If I know about it, I've read/seen it. If I don't… well…

    To be fair, Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 were both shit. Army of Darkness is the only one actually worth watching – because it's the only one that's actually entertaining. But then I don't find base horror or gore entertaining. AoD is only redeeming because it's hilarious in the right way.

    • That's what I was going to comment. The first Evil Dead movie is popular as something to laugh AT, not be entertained by in the traditional sense. The second has a lot more "funny because it's ridiculous" moments along with some over-the-top gory bits and insanity. Army of Darkness is the true gem of the original three.

      Because of all of this I'm not even certain I want to see the new Evil Dead since it seems to be based, from the trailers, on the original (tentacle-raping tree vines and all).

  15. No older siblings for me, and I've been a giant bookworm my entire life, so only book geekery for me growing up (my dad's library was stuffed with science fiction and horror, along with everything else under the sun, hurray!).

    But reading this made me realize the one good thing getting married as young as I did (married at 23, now husband and I have been roomies since 20) – I caught up on a lot of geek topics thanks to him. Evil Dead, Doctor Who, MST3K, Buffy, horrible 80s action flicks…that last one belongs, right?

    I'm going to have to give him a huge hug and kiss when gets home. He's the best! 🙂

  16. Barring some scattered fragments of TNG reruns, I have never seen an episode of Star Trek. I have seen Wrath of Khan, but only with the RiffTrax, so I'm not sure it counts.

  17. –I haven't watched much New Who. The first few episodes (including Blink so I do get to participate in pants-wetting terror) but after that it just kinda slipped away. I like the clips I see but I'm meh about watching whole episodes.
    –Big Bang Theory. Apparently a lot of it is "laughing with geeks" but whenever I catch a clip it always seems to be a "laughing at geeks" joke.
    –Battlestar Galactica, old or new.

    Other than that I'm pretty good in my coverage. I'm mostly a Book Nerd because my dad has a large sci-fi/fantasy collection and I grew up reading them (earliest memory is sitting on my dad's lap while he sang the "over the Misty Mountains" chant from The Hobbit). In college I got my introduction to Babylon 5 and Firefly.

    As for introducing others to stuff, more people need to read Terry Pratchett; I keep finding folks who don't get my jokes. My brother hasn't seen Alien/Aliens despite my best efforts, but since we're 30 now I think it's time to write him off as a lost cause.

  18. Dr. Who (old or new, I've seen like 2 episodes and the US movie) and I am nearly entirely ignorant of anime. (A few movies and parts of some series.)

  19. Up until last summer, I hadn't seen any Dr Who. I didn't even know what the show was about beyond sci-fi/fantasy aspects. Saw it was on Netflix instant, and the rest is history. No older brothers, but my dad is a bit of a nerd who saw Star Wars opening day before people realized how big is was going to be. So his influence definitely helped, but I managed to become a bigger nerd than he ever was and proud of it.

  20. Never saw Army of Darkness until this year. It was awesome except for the duplicate Ash-the effect is extremely conspicous.

    There's a lot of classic adventure games i've never touched.

    And there's a crapton of old movies i've never seen thanks to shitty tv.

  21. I'm notorious for waiting a few months (or years, or more) after something gets hugely geeky popular before I finally go "okay maybe I should watch that…" The bad thing, however, is that I used to go out and just buy the first season, watch it, get hugely into it, and buy as much as I can.

    Thankfully Netflix has solved my issues there. Now I like to wait for several seasons of a good show and then sit down and watch it. The downside is that this is exactly why I won't be watching Game of Thrones for a few years yet. I'm all caught up on Eureka, Warehouse 13, Doctor Who (watch those as they come out now), and several not-quite-so-nerdy shows I really enjoy like Psych, White Collar, almost everyone ON USA, and so on, all thanks to Netflix.

    The bad part about being this way is that you can run out of shows that interest you when you tear through a season or two in a weekend and suddenly have nothing left to watch until the shows come back for their next season.

    • I do the same thing! And I agree about "the bad part"; running out of Doctor Who was particularly rough. I also have trouble actually finishing shows when I'm watching them this way after they've already been cancelled; it feels like if I watch all the episodes, that's it, but if there are still some left then it's not really "over". This is why I've never actually watched the last few episodes of Firefly, Eureka or Buffy.

  22. I have enough geekery to last 10 lifetimes, and yet my frieds will not except that I do not need Dr. Who to make me complete

      • Well, I'm the same, and agree. But, instead of Doctor Who, it's anything made by Joss Whedon. I just don't get the rabid fanaticism of his fandom, including those Browncoats. They kinda really scare me.

    • I think perhaps it's time to open a rehab for this sorta thing. No beachfront property, no mountain lakes. Just a basement with a 486 running DOS, a stack of old old games, a 25" tube television and VCR with a ton of 70's and 80's horror/sci fi videos, a table to seat eight, one closet of assorted tabletop/wargaming/RPG games (with dice, counters, miniatures, et al), stocked fridge and bar and a red phone that only connects to the local pizza joint. We're gonna stuff you and Joel in there and you lot don't come out 'til you've watched 'em all.

  23. Did you have friends?.. I was the oldest kid in my family and it was a friend that got me into Evil Dead. He told me I needed to see Army of Darkness and we rented it when I went over to his house.

    I guess I'd have to say the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I didn't see them until I was well into my 20's. I had known about them, but never watched them until I found them for $5 each on DVD.

    • I was raised ULTRA christian/conservative, so regardless of friends most media was off limits. I met a kid when I was in 4th grade that moved down from a more liberal state and he taught me about rock and roll and comics and Monty Python and drawing. We stayed best friends for 5 or 6 years until he decided he was too punk rock for me. I owe him for pretty much everything I am today. Yet we never delved into b-horror, despite him seeming to have been a huge Bruce Campbell fan.

    • I am also the oldest and got into horror movies through a friend, or her dad really since he would rent them for us during elementary and middle school. I owe my love of terrible horror movies to her family.

      It was a lot of fun for my family too when we got into the Chucky movies because we had this creepy as shit red head doll and they would just hide it places around our house when she was staying over and scare the shit out of us. I once found it hanging from a noose fashioned from a jump rope in my closet. It progressed in middle school and high school when she moved into a house behind ours connected by a wooded back yard, they would chase us at night through there sometimes to her house.

  24. I haven't owned a console since the NES. I can kick ass in Blades of Steel, that's pretty much it. I didn't even own Contra. The only big PC games I've had any experience with are Diablo II and Star Craft. However, I was able to recognize the Colecovision in the episode of Family Guy where Peter wins maid service on Wheel of Fortune before he says what it is, so there's that.

    I also haven't touched the Game of Thrones novels, due to my rigid enforcement of The Jordan Rule – no books in long series will be read until the final book of the series is published.

  25. i hate to admit this on the internet, but i never managed to get into battlestar galactica

    ever…….seen a handful of episodes, old and new, just didn't do it for me

    • I was the oldest of three, my sister, only now in her teens almost young adult hood is starting to get it, when she was younger no way no how we lived on separate planets. My little brother he took after me and proudly follows in my footsteps. There's one left and it could really go either way. Sometimes you can only push as much it is always up to the younger sibling to receive the information. That being said if it wasn't for my uncle…I would fail the horror genre. Marathons of different space/sci fi movies and of course all classic zombie flicks.

  26. Yep, my big brother was a BIG influence on my life. He got me into rock music and introduced me to all the great anarchic UK comedies of the 80's.
    I became who I am, because I emulated him. I wanted to be a rock star with all the girls and good times.
    Now, it seems we've reversed roles. He has a son, a family life, etc, and I'm the one living in Los Angeles, but no longer wanting to be a rock star… But, I wouldn't mind becoming a rock star in the webcomic world. lol

  27. I also have the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness gap. I accredit this to having a mom who was not into horror so therefore we did not watch horror. (Exception: Alien/Aliens which are family favorites and I saw at way too young an age most likely and all of the acid nightmare "childrens" movies of the 80's.) I didn't start catching up on horror until high school and that was just with whatever the UHF station was airing. YEAH I SAID UHF. I"M OLD.

    I love horror now, I just still have huge gaps.

    • Same here (both the gap and the reason.) I was an only child with a single mother, so basically all I was exposed to was the stuff my mom liked, which did include a lot of geeky stuff, but not much horror (except, like you, the Alien movies.) Have to say, I'm still not that into straight horror, but if it's combined with sci-fi and/or comedy I like it sometimes.

  28. I'm the oldest, and I never really thought about my lack of interest in the horror or horror-ish genres. I watched Blair Witch at a friend's house when it was newish (new to rental?) and I thought it was actually kind of boring.

    Another friend introduced me to Supernatural, and we watched the first five or six seasons together. I'll watch an episode 'solo' if it comes on TV while I'm already watching TV, but I rarely watch TV on the TV to begin with. (My DVD collection is roughly 50% seasons of TV shows, 42% Classic Doctor Who, 8% movies/other.)

    I can't think of a geek gap that I haven't rectified myself in the years since. I suppose, console gaming? I haven't picked up a console controller since Sonic & Knuckles. I don't miss it.

    I do have a Nintendo DS, and a handful of pokemon games that I mostly haven't even played beyond the first gym, I don't know why I keep buying them. I guess because I always wanted a Gameboy as a kid, but my mother could never afford it. (I was the oldest of four – if she got me one, she'd have to buy three more.)

  29. I saw Army of Darkness a while back. It is a heck of a lot of fun. I haven't seen, though, Jaws, Fight Club, the anime Yu Yu Hakusho…whole lot of stuff.

  30. I was the older brother, no dad around… but I had my own geeky Army of Darkness to trade bad ideas with. We made sure all our brothers and sisters got all of the games, firearms, porn, high explosives and trouble they could ever want.
    Hey, we had cookies too.

  31. Haven't seen Blade Runner. Haven't seen Evil Dead (have seen 2 and AOD several times each). Haven't seen Dark Knight Rises. Do not intend to see the new Star Trek movie; the last one I mostly liked but I'm tired of the "raise stakes by destroying a planet" trope and will stick to TNG, DS9 and the original universe. I like optimism and hope in my Trek.

  32. I'm the oldest, and a girl but had other influences that lead me to geek culture.
    My Dad was a Star Trek Fan (CBC used to air classic Trek on sundays and late nights) so the whole family went to Star Wars and Star Trek movies. He also read classic sci fi, as an avid reader I eventually started reading his books. Back in the 70's I watched classic tv shows like the 6 Million Dollar Man, Battle Star Galactica and Buck Rogers.

    My cousins had huge comic book collections, and my Dad would bring me back superhero comics from his trips.
    For some reason I was really into horror movies as a child (not so much now, today's movies are gory), and my parents would let me watch the tv versions, the earliest I can remember is watching Vincent Price's House of Wax at age 6.
    PBS broadcast Dr. Who reruns and Red Dwarf in the late 80s.

    The Gap is Video Games and Role Playing games like Dungeon& Dragons. I haven't played on a gaming system since Atari and Coleco-Vision. Asked for a Dungeons & Dragons set for Xmas, but had no other geeks to play it with.

  33. I've never seen Battlestar Galactica. I've been meaning to, it's been in my Netflix queue for over a year now, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

    I don't have cable, so I won't be watching Game of Thrones until either it shows up on Netflix, or I find a good deal on the DVDs. (And I'm not going to start reading the books until I know they're finished. Don't want to be stuck in suspense.)

    I have a huge horror gap, including the Evil Dead movies. Not particularly inclined to fill that gap, though.

    There's a lot of movies that I want to see, but not enough that I'm not willing to wait until they show up on Netflix (the vast majority of recent movies that have been mentioned here, actually.)

    Stopped watching Harry Potter movies after the 5th one. The changes to the books got on my nerves too much.

    I didn't have any way of playing video games when I was a kid, so I never got into them, so that's another massive gap. I recently played the Portal games and absolutely loved them though (actually that was indirectly thanks to HE; the comics about Glee stealing Jonathan Coulton's music led me to search for his stuff on YouTube, where I came across Still Alive and decided I needed to see what it was about), so I'm thinking about trying some others. Half Life is next on my "to-do" list.

  34. You never saw Army Of Darkness?!

    I CAST THEE OUT!!! Never darken the halls of geekdom again, pretender!!

    (I kid)

  35. Look, man … there's a good bit of shit I haven't seen, so I'm with you. But wow, that's a ballsy admission! Sit your ass down and WATCH'EM! Evil Dead is damned hilarious. Part two … eh, it's alright. Army of Darkness is a comedic tour de force that cemented Bruce Campbell's place as God of All B Actors, to be surrounded by his pantheon of lesser folk such as Kevin Sorbo and Colm Meany.

    And then, do what you must to locate a copy of Bubba Ho Tep.

  36. I started working at a friend's comic store ('95) and he sat me down in front of the teevee. I was to watch Army of Darkness and the Evil Deads. Required employee training, he said. Worked for me!

  37. The only gap I'm aware of in my nerducation is comic books. Haven't read one in well over 30 years. As for the Evil Dead, the movies were fun. but if you ever have a chance to see Evil Dead: the Musical, DO IT! Absolutely fantastic!

  38. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Couldn't get past the first half of the first season. So. Freaking. Boring.

    The one thing that really bugged me about the show is when some bad guy would be on the viewscreen threatening to destroy the Enterprise and Picard would signal to hit the mute button and talk to everyone on the bridge and the Big Floating Head would just… just… kind of hang out for a while. Picard never said, "Hey, let me put you on hold for a minute." Just bam, mute. That was just freakin' rude. Picard's a dick.

    The other major geek omission would be the whole NES-era video game thing: Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy. Never played any of 'em except Mario Kart Wii.

  39. I don't know if it's GEEK pedigree but I've never seen Goonies. I'm at the age where I should have (33) but I never did. I never particularly want to either. My parents were protective of my movie and tv habits so I ended up seeing a lot of animation until I was 14 and they couldn't avoid it anymore

  40. I am mostly missing comic books in pedigree. I have a very general base knowledge of it, but my geekidom resides mostly in horror/ video games and animation. My uncle (I always felt more like my grandmothers 7th child rather than her grandaughter #4) educated me well on the old geek movies. My mother did instill a taste of good classic rock, while my uncle spiced it up with Off the wall 80's pop…Devo I'm looking at you. My fiancee is also a sci/fi nerd so he got me into Trek. Not a hardcore fan but I enjoy its…campiness? As the older sis of 4 children I did the best I could. My sister who is almost an adult was the prissy pants of our family. Oh gods did we not have a single foundation to stand on. Even though we looked similar we were worlds away from speaking any language. My brother however I trained that boy right from the get go. I'm one happy older sis. The baby sister….right now either way. I'm getting the nerdom in there as much as I can but she wants to be a princess…so it is really up in the air for about another year.

  41. I'm a bit late to the party, but I would like to courteously point out that, panel 2, 2nd sentence, you must lose the apostrophe from "it's" to make it possessive.

    Thanks! 😀

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