SFX Issue 31

November 1997

What’s That Tat?

There’s so many pieces of buzzing tosh out there that we thought up a game to make fun of them. Guy Haley takes you through the whirrs and perflincks of some diverse SF junk...


“Ladies and gentlemen, will you please welcome the host of What’s That Tat – Guuuy Haallley!” The contestants blink muzzily in the studio lights. Snatched from their beds in the dead of night, they’ve endured an arduous journey aboard the SFX cattle truck, and are currently set to be subjected to the whims of the Quizmaster while chained about the round table of terror! All they have to do is listen to the noises and sound effects made by various hidden genre toys and guess what they might be from the aural clues. Are eskimo Steve, Viv, Simon the Lurker, Ollie, Hillary (Mrs MJ) and Happy Dan the Sub up to the task?

Dan: “Why are you wearing that stupid suit, Guy?”
Guy: “Silence! I am The Quizmaster and you are my victims! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Okay, plebs, here’s the first one, and don’t look in my bag! We’ll play each a couple of times. Now what do we think this is?”


The Phoenix

From: Star Trek: First Contact
Sounds produced: Warp nacelles opening up

The team is divided in its opinion: X-Wing fighter or dinosaur?

Ollie: “It’s a really bad-tempered Tyrannosaurus Rex...”
Simon: “It sounds more like a spaceship.”
Steve: “Yeah, a wanky X-Wing fighter.”
Simon: “It started like a dinosaur.”
Ollie: “Then it got a bit funny.”
Dan: “It’s like a dinosaur running very fast. ‘SCHING!‘”
Simon: “Dinosaurs in a spaceship going apeshit. Firing everything.”
Steve: “I’m going with the dinosaur thing but it’s not one of the big boys.”
Viv: “It’s a cat.”
Guy: “You’re all wrong! First round to me! It is, in fact, the Phoenix from First Contact ! You may handle it if you wish, but I wouldn’t advise it. Being this shape, you don’t know where it’s been.”

Power Ranger Zeo

From: Power Rangers.
Sounds produced: Kind of a “Shhhh!” when its arm moves. God knows why...

Simon: “Is that at full volume?”
Ollie: “It’s an electronic cricket.”
Dan: “Or a deadly phaser.”
Simon: “A baby animal thing going ‘SCHHHHHH!’”
Steve: “It’s not a librarian, is it?”
Dan: “‘SHHH! SHHH!’ The kids would go wild for that!”
Ollie: “It’s definitely a phaser, not a monster.”
Dan: “I’m going for the phaser. I think it’s ‘SCHING!’ again.”
Simon: “No, I don’t think it’s got the ‘ING!’ bit on the end.”
Ollie: “It’s Ivor The Engine, innit?”
Steve: “It’s a baby alien, something to make the kids go, ‘Aaaahh!’ Newly born.”
Guy: “You won’t get this. What it actually is... is... a Power Ranger Zeo!!!”
Ollie: “Is that really the sound Power Rangers make?”


From: Star Trek (various).
Sounds produced: “Humans,” “What a pity,” “Bonjour, mon capitan.”

Several incomprehensible phrases issue from a hidden Q action figure.

Ollie: “Is it a Mr Bean doll?”
Viv: “‘What a pickany?’ Is that what it’s saying? What about, ‘Oh, what a pity?’”
Dan: (Incomprehensibly) “Your dinner’s in the oven. Mummy loves you.”
Simon: “I think he’s saying, ‘Remem’. Or it’s a bloke with a cold saying, ‘New Man.’”
Ollie: “It must be a robot, but it’s certainly not Robby.”
Dan: “It must be a Star Trek toy. Only they make such mumbling rubbish.”
Steve: “‘Hom-em.’ Is that it?”
Simon: “Or a baby animal thing that’s going, ‘SCHHHHHH!’?”
Dan: “Oh, young men! I bet it’s just plastic tat. Now that Phoenix is high quality. That’s art, luvvy.”
Simon: “I bet it’s a Jewish stereotype alien in the Star Trek tat range.”
Viv: “Fat Villain. Yum-yum!”
Steve: “It’s somebody doing Q’s lines and saying ‘Remember!’ quite lazily.”
Guy: “Well done! It’s actually... a talking Q action figure!”
Simon: “Jeez, it doesn’t sound anything like him!”


Han Solo Blaster

From: Star Wars.
Sounds produced: Two blaster noises, one convincing; one not.

“Curses!” bellowed the evil Quizmaster. “But this will fox you!” “Kerchow!” sounds the gun, more like a bronchially disadvantaged Ewok sneezing than Han’s trusty sidearm. Viv’s first guess is surprisingly close...

Viv: “Er, a Mars Attacks! gun?”
Ollie: “A Star Wars X-Wing?”
Simon: “It’s an ‘Eeeaaw..!’ It’s a donkey.”
Ollie: “It’s not easy.”
Simon: “I’m glad we’re not playing for money.”

Guy: “No, but if you get it wrong I’ll shoot you. You got it half right. It is, in fact, Han Solo’s blaster. And it’s bright orange too, so that short sighted police don’t shoot children!”

Klingon Badge

From: Star Trek (various).
Sounds produced: Comm-badge sound, then “What do you want?” in Klingon.

While the team debate the merits of painting toy guns orange, the Quizmaster searches in his diabolical bag for yet more hidden sonic horrors. A Klingon badge is selected.

Dan: “It sounds French!”
Viv: “Is he actually saying ‘merd!’ because that’s French for shit. Er, so someone told me.”
Ollie: “He’s saying, ‘Move’ or something.”
Steve: “I think it’s saying, ‘Hey creature, you’re cool.’”
Dan: “‘Creature! Oh merd!’”

What they don’t know is that it’s Klingon! Ha-ha-ha...

Simon: “Is it Klingon?”

Oh well, can’t win them all…

Guy: “Yes! It’s a Klingon communication badge. It says: ‘What do you want?’ in Klingon. Curses, Simon got it right again... ”

Alien Supreme Commander

From: Independence Day.
Sounds produced: Throaty roar.

More cries of “Dinosaur!” issue from the assembled aural testers.

Guy: “We have some movement with this one.”
Ollie: “It’s one of those things from The Lost World .”
Guy: “What, a velociraptor?”
Ollie: “No, a jeep.”
Simon: “It’s a T-Rex on wheels.”
Dan: “Like those tortoise amputees on Blue Peter which had lego wheels instead of legs.”
Ollie: “I think a T-Rex would be a bit too big for Lego wheels.”
Dan: “You’d certainly need a big tube of glue.”
Viv: “Is it one of those things that the bad kid made in Toy Story ?”
Guy: “No! It’s an annoying alien commander from Independence Day . It’s going off now before I throw it out of the window...”

Luke Skywalker Talking Pen

From: Star Wars
Sounds produced: “I can’t shake him,” “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you,” “Red-five standing by.”

The team – so sure everything is either a) a dinosaur or b) Star Trek tosh – find this particular teaser a little beyond them...

Dan: “What the hell’s he saying?”
Ollie: “It doesn’t make sense. ‘Get out of the car I want to wink at you?’”

Suddenly, Steve and Viv grasp it. Steve: “Red five standing by!”

Viv: “I can’t shake him!”
Dan: (vaguely) Heenawnooinoneckynoo.”
Steve: “I’m Luke Skywalker!”
Dan: “It’s got to be Star Wars.”

The Quizmaster laughs aside suggestions that it may be a Stormtrooper and produces his bulbous orange object to hoots of laughter.

Dan: “That is poor!”
Viv: “Can you imagine trying to control a class full of kids with those things? It’s a teacher’s nightmare.”
Simon: “Why is he wearing an American football helmet?”

Captain Pike’s Laser Pistol

From: Star Trek (pilot episode).
Sounds produced: Various laser blasts.

Pike’s laser pistol proves to be the easiest guess of the evening. Everyone guesses it’s a phaser (apart from Viv who suggests it’s Metal Mickey gargling with Listerine).“Sadly, I can’t let you have this one,” laughs the Quizmaster cruelly, “because it’s not a phaser, but a laser...”

Steve: “I did say it was from the original Star Trek ...”
Simon: “And that’s pretty original.”
Guy: “Doh! Okay then.”


From: Various Godzilla pics.
Sounds produced: Tinny screech.

Viv: “It sounds like a donkey. Could be from Winnie The Pooh.”
Dan: “Ahhh, donkey!”
Hillary: “If I didn’t know what it was I’d say it was a robot pussycat.”
Steve: “I’ll just go for a monster or something. Is it Godzilla?”
Viv: “A dinosaur, but this time in pain.”
Simon: “It sounds like one of the Godzilla monsters. But it’s probably a talking golf ball or something like that.”

“Ghidorah!” somebody shouts. “That’s right,” confirms Guy. “Dora The Monster.”

Romulan Bird of Prey

From: Star Trek (original series).
Sounds produced: Photon torpedoes, transporter beam, phasers and warp speed.

“Okay, only three left to go,” says Guy, seductively caressing the buttons on the hidden Romulan Bird Of Prey. Strangely relaxing noises fill the room with a pulsing, hypnotic sound. “Let me take you to a faraway land,” he murmurs, lost in a reverie soon smashed by Simon.

Simon: “It’s a washing machine.”
Hillary: “I know what that sounds like... A hypnotherapy tape.”
Viv: “That is nice!”
Steve: “It’s soothing. Bizarre. Quite alien. Is it from The Never Ending Story ?”
Simon: “It sounds like Channel 5.”
Viv: “Does each sound relate to different visual effect?”
Guy: “No clues!”
Hillary: “I can’t think of what it is.”
Dan: “I really have no idea. It’s probably some Star Trek tat. Again.”
Viv: “Remember that electronic game Simon? It sounds like that.”
Steve: “Some Earthbound vessel or womb.”
Simon: “I’ll go for a Star Trek ship.”
Guy: “It’s actually a Romulan Bird Of Prey!”

Got to watch that Simon with your wibbly noises; he’s consistently right.

The Mask

From: The Mask animated series.
Sounds produced: “I’m hungry!”

Viv asks, not unreasonably, whether it’s a Riker doll. “A critter,” says Hillary. “A Gremlin,” says Simon. “Clive Dunn,” suggests Steve.

Dan: “Popeye?”
Simon: “No, Popeye would say, ‘I yam hungry.’”
Steve: “It sounds horrible whatever it is.”
Dan: “Popeye’s horrible anyway.”
Guy: “It does sound like Popeye, but it’s actually... The Mask!”
Simon: “It looks like a dinosaur!”
Dan: “Oh, another piece of awful tat.”
Simon: “Hey! If you put his head on backwards he makes another sound. Look...”

Wrist Communicator

From: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Sounds produced: Three bleeping effects.

“It sounds like that crap robot out of Rentaghost ,” snarls Dan, cynically.

“Yeah, the cleaning thing that had that stupid whirling mop on its head,” adds Steve helpfully. Bizarre statistic: 9.3% of conversations involving SFX staff eventually turn to Rentaghost .

Simon: “I’ll just put Star Trek for everything.”

Hmmm, he lets slip that he thinks it’s something called “a Triquarter”...

Hillary: “The Prodigy.”
Dan: “They all go bloody ‘SCHIIING!’”
Guy: “Well, it’s actually a Star Trek: The Motionless Picture Original Home Office Curfew Tag.”

D’k Tahg Knife

From: Star Trek (various)
Sounds produced: Two different steel-on-steel combat-style clangs.

And “SCHIIING!” it was to finish, with the superlative D’K Tahg Klingon combat knife, complete with extendable side blades! Wow. Needless to say, the team were convinced it was a dinosaur.

Hillary: “A robotic warthog...”

Anarchy breaks out; the natives are restless! An impromptu mix of BEEPS! and AAAARGHS! ensues. Put a beat to it and you could be in a barn in Essex.

Viv: “Oh yeah, definitely a robot.”
Simon: “An actual realistic-sounding clanking noise... Could this be something from RoboCop ?”
Steve: “Space Spanners?”
Viv: “No, it’s Wonder Woman’s bullet-deflecting bracelets! ‘Kerching!’”
Hillary: “Could it be the thing from The Wrong Trousers ?”
Steve: “Some duelling bastard.”
Dan: “They all sound – every one – like bleating sheep.”
Guy: “Well, it’s none of those things. It’s a Klingon D’K Tahg knife!”

And the final score…

Guy: “Drat, you got most of those completely or virtually right. I obviously underestimated just how utterly sad these people are.”