Monday, April 22, 2024

Review: The Monster Man

The Monster Man is the latest release from Keith Barnfather and Reeltime Pictures, and as usual it's a slick and professional production.

Superbly edited by Roger Stevens, the production focusses on Neil Cole, the creator and proprietor of the Museum of Classic SciFi based in Allendale, England, and his work restoring old screen-used props and costumes for display.

The love and work that goes into these projects become evident as Cole, an engaging and interesting character, introduces us to his top ten restorations ... and the amazing work that goes into them becomes apparent.  He receives through the post a hand from an '80s Doctor Who monster, The Destroyer, to display - he already has the matching hand! He works on a Bannerman, on the Garm, both from Doctor Who, on a Thing mask from The Fantastic Four ... large and small, Cole is so enthusiastic about his passion, and that enthusiasm rubs off on the viewer.

There's so much to see inside the crammed cases of the Museum - I have visited and know how small a space it really is - and at one point Cole mentions there are more than 300 items on display! And many more in storage which he cannot fit in - so I assume he constantly cycles them and keeps the museum interesting for repeat visitors.

As the top ten comes to a conclusion, you feel an affinity with Cole and his passion. What he has done is incredible as virtually a one-man operation, and the battles he has fought with the local council have been ridiculous and painful as they attempted to use his Museum as a political football ... whereas in fact it's probably drawn more footfall and custom to Allendale through café and food sales and guest house bookings than anything else.

Overall the DVD is exceptionally entertaining. Barnfather and Stevens never forget that this is meant to be fun, and the production takes a potentially dry subject and turns it into an exciting and compelling documentary, which would be right at place on any streaming service or official Blu-Ray release.

The DVD is available to buy or to stream from:

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