All 5D Blog articles from June 2017 onwards can be located on the 5D Website at www.5d-blog.com No more post will appear on blogger from this point.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Patient 62 (Movie) - The Indiegogo campaign is now launched.

A little while ago I was contacted by a Canadian Film maker asking whether I would be amenable to sharing news about his film. The said request came from Rick Anthony, who immediately claimed to be an award winning Sci-fi/Fantasy novelist and screenwriter and went on to tell me that his latest project, Patient 62, a Sci-fi/Action film, was currently competing rather well in his country's CineCoup film accelerator.

Now according to my rather overused 'Blogging handbook for complete and utter clueless dummies', the first thing I should have done after bearing witness to such a bold claim was to go ahead and check out the details before committing myself. After all, I have something of a reputation as an intrepid blogger who puts objective in-depth research about his subject matter before all else. Actually I have no such reputation.......but one has to start somewhere I suppose. So after some expansive and ultra-analytically detailed investigation (which by my personal reckoning is about 2 mins) I found out that not only were the bold claims true in terms of the award winning bits, but that Patient 62 was in fact ranked at the time as first in the Cinecoup competition. 

Those of you who have read my blogs before will no doubt remember (as long as the medication hasn't dulled your senses completely) that I've written about this Canadian movie competition before. For those not in the know, Cinecoup is a unique funding model that allows filmmakers to submit concept trailers for their films to an audience who decides which gets made. The prize is a million dollar production budget and massive distribution deal - very nice.

So what, I here you ask, is this movie all about and why is the intrepid blogger featuring it on his soon to be world renowned site? Well the plan was that when Rick contacted me a few weeks ago I would put together a Fifth Dimension piece to highlight the progress in the Cinecoup accelerator. However due to circumstances beyond my control, there was a slight break in blogging activities.....something which actually turned out to be a good thing because....

We'll, to borrow ever so slightly (or a lot) from their own information....."Patient 62 is a film being produced by Factory Factory Entertainment, the creative team behind the award winning indie film, Bread Thieves. Front runners in this year's CineCoup Film Accelerator, the team withdrew from the competition, choosing another distribution option as their bird in hand. Although they've now got distribution covered, the large burden of budget is still upon them, and although they have significant investment in this film already, they need more funds to extend the duration of their shooting schedule."

As a consequence the team have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign (see the link at the bottom of this article) in order to gather the funds and so in their words ' allowing them to take the time needed to knock this film out of the park!

Hmmm, more bold claims! Well to be honest I've watched the concept trailer, seen the concept art and the claims that the film may be a goodie may indeed have more than a little merit. So much so that after providing you with a brief plot outline, I've also included an interview that I was lucky to get with Rick himself where he further elaborated on the details of some of the inspirations and themes of the film.

"On poor terms with his sister, Angela since their father’s death, Lucas Chase is hesitant to believe that she has been taken against her will until he learns their mother suffers from the same strange dreams of her abduction that Lucas himself has been having. Unsure of the meaning of it all, Lucas enlists the help of Angela’s ex boyfriend, Dennis, and the two set out to poke around the strip club she worked at. 

The trail leads them to a drug manufacturing plant where Lucas witnesses the murder of a chemist, and accidentally comes in contact with the substance the chemist was manufacturing. Lucas soon comes to realize that the drug has given him newfound telekinetic abilities which he struggles to control as he searches for his sister in an ever-changing web of human trafficking and experimentation."


The Interview bit.......


Q) So before we talk about Patient 62 can you tell us a little about your Scifi inspirations?

As a child I always loved sci-fi and fantasy books and movies. I started with the usual suspects like Star-Wars and eventually began reading Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov. But I think I became a die-hard fan of the genre after seeing Aliens (which scared the bejesus out of me even the first ten times I watched it). I was just so sold on the world they created, and the special effects for the time were incredible.

Q) What or who inspired you to become a filmmaker?

A) I actually fell into film making. My passion had been writing for some time, and I had recently received a lot of praise for a fantasy novel I wrote called Red Smoke Rising. From there I decided to try my hand at screenwriting and turned the book into a screenplay. I went to Burbank and pitched it to a number of producers who all complained it would take $300M to make and told me to write something more grounded. I wrote and optioned a couple of screenplays after that but because of funding, etc, none of them ever got made. It was at that point that I decided to get into producing, brought some people on board and we shot a script I wrote called Bread Thieves for only $10K. That film went on to win an award at the Canada International Film festival and by then I had really developed a tasted for making films.


Q) How long has Patient 62 'been a thing'?

A) The concept is something that Director Bryce Schlamp and I have been kicking around for years, but the script has been in development for well over a year now. We hope to have it produced before the end of the year.


Q) The storyline that has some interesting themes such as genetics & telekinesis, what appeals to you as a storyteller about such concepts ?

A) Genetic manipulation is a real-world news topic that is front of many people's minds. I wanted to take that to a fantastic level with the telekinetic angle, but very much wanted to keep it grounded with a 'real' feeling to it. I really enjoyed inventing the physics and limitations that might be behind such an ability.

Q) I have to say I very much liked the Cine Coup concept trailer you made for Patient 62. How long did it take to film & how different is it to what you actually want to accomplish in the finished product?

A) The first concept trailer was filmed in two epic, long days. I think the tone and pace is very much what you can expect from the finished product, however, given our constraints the world of Patient 62 is much smaller in the trailer than the film will be. Much of the trailer centers around the strip club, where in the film that location only accounts for about 25% of the scenes. So in short the film will be bigger. Bigger cast, bigger effects, more locations and a bigger world.


Q) So why originally enter the Cinecoup competition as opposed to the more fashionable Crowdfunding route that many indie filmmakers take these days?

A) We had intended on making this film before the CineCoup film funding challenge was announced this year. Should we not have won the competition, this is likely the route we would have gone to get the film made. CineCoup, however, offers something more valuable to an indie film producer than money - distribution.


Q) Then why did you remove yourselves from the CineCoup contest?

A) We were offered an option agreement from cinecoup but chose a different distribution deal instead which we have now signed. (yay!) and today we just launched a crowdfunding campaign to that end.

Q) All things being equal, when would full filming begin?

A) September is our target month to film regardless of the funding strategy. We hope to have the film shot and cut before the end of this year.


Q) So go on and persuade me, just why should I believe that you guys can make Patient 62 live up to expectations?!

A) I think the talent of our crew is very apparent in the quality of the concept trailers. That ability to execute coupled with a dark, witty script with deep characters is going to make for an exciting film! If you enjoy the trailers, you'll LOVE the movie!



The Indiegogo crowdfunding page for Patient 62 can be found at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/patient-62-the-movie#/story

The Patient 62 Facebook page can be located RIGHT HERE


You can find the Patient 62 website at http://factoryfactoryentertainment.com

Monday, 25 May 2015

My dream movie memorabilia

The Han Solo" DL-44 Blaster - though sadly only ever so slightly out of my price range

This week I was asked a very interesting question, which led to a major problem and consequently - a major headache.  Now before you ask me whether it took place in a court of law - no it didn't........those charges have never been proved and in any case I'm still in the opinion that sending a just a few emails a day to Helena Bonham-Carter professing my undying love is in no way shady or obsessive.

No, the question quite simply was; If given the choice, just what would my personal dream movie memorabilia item be? 

Now you see, while I have considered that question before (as I'm sure have many others) for some reason I haven't spent a great deal of time pondering over exactly what dream piece of Scifi/horror or fantasy kit would head my personal 'want' list. Yes, there have been occassions of thinking occasionally "I like that Lightsabre/blaster/phaser etc etc and would just love to own it". The mere fact that I'm usually broke means that the thought and ability to pay the price of some much lusted after items never quite match. However, you know how it is with 'ear worms', once they find their conniving way into ones brain they simply refuse to leave. And so this was the case for me.

There I was, minding my own business and about to pay some online bills when I decided that I would quickly check my emails before parting with my well earned money. What could possibly go wrong? Well not much, except for an email that caused my ear-worm of all ear-worms. The message in question came from a representative of Invaluable.com who did two very sneaky things. Firstly, he immediately praised and complimented me on my recent blog article A love letter to Star Wars. I won't be so uncouth (for once, I hear you say) and embarrass him by going into details about his compliment - lets just say that it was effusive......and quite probably accurate.

After snaring me in with his words of praise, he then hit me with THE question...sneaky, but you know me all too well, compliments sent in my general direction never ever fail to work. He then went to say how Invaluable were looking for bloggers and the like to share with them what their particular dream memorabilia pieces would be. The reason that they want to pick the brains (Quiet! - yes I do have one) of blogger people like me was quite simple, they want to know more about what makes us nerd types tick. Apparently, Invaluable is the largest online global auction marketplace for fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles  and estate sales.They have a revolving door of must-have movie memorabilia and props up for auction. For example, two years ago, they were fortunate enough to hold an auction for Harrison Ford’s blaster from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi. 

Apparently it created something of a huge amount of interest.....I can't imagine why :-)

So, back to the problem of the ear-worm. Those who know me well will be fully aware of my habit of becoming well and truly obsessed with questions that may never have an ultimate answer. So the request to think of my ideal piece of movie memorabilia morphed over the period of a few hours from being what should have taken a few moments of my time to eventually fill most of my conscious thoughts for the rest of the day. In other words, I couldn't actually reduce my list down to a top 10, let alone make a decision on the ultimate dream piece. 

Eventually I decided to put on here merely a couple of my ultimate 'wants'. Of course, the list will most likely have already changed before I have finished pressing the 'publish' button....


A mask, a chainsaw and a suit from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

I'll take the mask.....or the chainsaw.....or the suit.....
Don't get me wrong when I say that I like masks. But it's a fact, I do. For me one of the hallmarks of some of the classic horror/slasher films of all time, apart from plot and action etc, mostly have an iconic mask or two. You all know the characters that I'm talking about. As it turns out, I would sell my children, pets and even my favourite wine glass to own a particular mask from a very particular movie. Actually, scratch that. I would sell all of the previously mentioned to own absolutely ANYTHING from this very movie.

I've never made it anything of a secret that my favourite horror film just happens also to be my favourite movie of all time. Period. I'm not going to give anything near a detailed synopsis of the plot as any self respecting horror devotee will be at least familiar with the rudimentary elements - the other two people in the world can watch it for themselves. However, to basically sum it up... Loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tells the story of Five teenage friends who are travelling across the State in order to pay a visit to their grandfather's grave after stories of vandalism and desecration have reached them. As they travel cross-country to the homestead they chance upon an old run-down property, where they are hunted and terrorised by a chain-saw wielding murderer and his not so lovable family of grave-robbing cannibals.

This is a movie that is much more than that as it takes you along with it on an adrenaline fuelled journey of barely suppressed terror. Indeed, there are times, particularly in the last act of the film when that the experience becomes more of a sensory and emotional overload - such is it's intense and unsettling power. There are scenes and images within this film that burn themselves onto your consciousness for a variety of reasons. Yes there are scenes of unyielding violence which will shock, even on repeated viewing, particularly from one of the true iconic horror characters, Leatherface.

I've been obsessed with this film ever since I saw it on VHS during the catastrophically misjudged attempts of the British film establishment to ban it for many a year. That obsession all these years later  shows little sign of abating. So.................

I want one of Leatherface's masks. Please help me, I'm a worthy cause........


A Time machine. a smoking jacket & an Eloi wig from The Time Machine (1960)

I can see myself wearing that smoking jacket.....
The movie holds a special place in my sci-fi affections for two reasons. Firstly, it seems to have served as a much needed 'crutch' to lean upon in times of emotional uncertainty. For some reason, it has always been one of my 'go to' films where I could be certain that it would either soothe, inspire or provoke whatever emotions needed to be provoked at that particular time. I'm not sure why other films that I love with equal measure aren't on that 'go to' list while this has one pride of place on that list……….hmmmm, maybe this blog entry will serve as yet another much needed self-indulgent analysis of yours truly :-). Anyhoo, The second reason why I adore this version of The Time Machine is quite simply that it is perhaps the perfect example of how to make a truly beautiful piece of science fiction, features a stellar performance by Rod Taylor and the employs  an endless  array of creative and sumptuous cinematography. 

However, for myself and many others,  the real star of the film is the time machine itself. It is an object of genuine beauty. MGM art director Bill Ferrari created the Machine, a sled-like design with a big, rotating vertical wheel behind the red plush seat, together with with a plethora of knobs and levers that is a attention to a designers wet dream. It is a movie prop that has become an integral part of the wider entertainment history. Even those few that may never have seen the whole of this wonderful movie will recognise the truly beautiful design of the machine and from which film it comes from. It is a contraption that quite simply screams out Victorian Steampunk charm. 

If anyone was to give me access to the full size, or miniature sized Time machine from the film, I would love them forever. If they were to get me access to a smoking jacket even a wig from an Eloi, I would love them for plenty years.


The Facebook page for Invaluable can be found RIGHT HERE







Sunday, 24 May 2015

Maidenstone - A new Horror Comic from Aberdeen's La Baguette Noir Press.

The stunning cover of Maidenstone
from Aberdeen artist, Andrew Kelly
I make no excuses for my behaviour - I'm quite happy to acknowledge that my geekness seemingly knows no end of ever stopping, even in my ever increasing middle-age.....and that is the way things will probably stay. In fact I rather confidently predict that when I lie on my death bed in the (hopefully) many years to come that I will be surrounded by some of my favourite comics, books and other sorts of goodie nerdyness. I also anticipate that I'll be surrounded by a veritable bevy of beautiful women who who be collectively distraught at the mere thought of losing my very presence in the world.....Hey, stop laughing you there at the back, you're only mocking because you know me. A man is allowed to dream.

If I'm being brutally honest for once, there genuinely was a time when I considered actually growing up and discarding my love of scifi, fantasy and horror and changing my interests in life to something more grown up and responsible adult-like...such as lentils or something. However that was just about the worst two minutes of my life and I promised myself never ever to do that again.

Anyhoo, my never ending appetite for comic books was further fed a couple of weeks ago when I was sent the first of a new horror series in the expectation that A) I would want to read it, and B) I would want to review it. Naturally, they were correct on both counts.

However I do want to make it clear before I go any further that thanks to the impending and very exciting inaugural Granite City Comic Con taking place here on the 30th of May, I am familiar with the creator of this particular comic, Chris Robertson. Of course, I am nothing if impartial in my opinion so of course it will be an honest appraisal - Scouts honour and all that. After all, I'm a professional........well alright, I'm not a professional, merely a keen delusional self-obsessed amateur....but it will still be an honest opinion.

Maidenstone is a creation of the quite wonderfully named Aberdeen based company - La Baguette Noir Press. So who the heck are they? Well in time honoured tradition of my blogging, let me save myself some work and let them tell you themselves.....

"Founded late 2011 by writer Chris Robertson and artist Greg Fisher, Baguette Noir initial focus was on our first publication – OLD WORLD ORDER. Since then we’ve produced three issues of that book, contributed work to other local publications and brought together Aberdeen’s local scene of creators. In 2013 we started to bring our madness to masses at a number of events, including MCM Glasgow Comic Con and Hero Conventions.

As an imprint our aim is to bring readers an original thrilling mix of Science Fiction, Adventure, and Horror comics, with a healthy dose of weirdness.  To that end we’re looking to get more people on board. If you have a great idea for a story; or if you’re an artist looking to hook up with a writer – get in touch. 

At the moment our back catalogue is small, but mighty. In 2015 we’re planning to continue the success of Old World Order, with issues #3 and #4 (featuring new artist Ewen Cameron!), a new title called Maidenstone (out now!), and the Silver City Comics Anthology, by local creators; as well as the debut book by writer Alex Giles, AND THEY COME! in July." 

So there you go....but, what about the actual comic?.....Well.....

Maidenstone is the first in a new Scottish horror series of comics set here in god's own country, the North East of Scotland. Now, in my time honoured tradition of not wishing to contain any spoilers, I will try and keep the plot details down to a minimum.......

In principle the story has its roots in local legend and myth as it begins to depict the seeming re-emergence of an ancient and threatening force. It is a force which is once again beginning to cast its shadow upon both the remote landscape and the scattered population who inhabit it. The focus of the story is a young girl, Lucy, a child who traditionally has found it hard to 'fit in' and whose emotional vulnerability has been further damaged by the recent death of her father. Lucy is unable to connect with either her 'drugged up' brother or any of the people outside her family. She soon finds herself drawn to a new arrival in the area, the charismatic Dylan. Just what are his intentions for Lucy and rest of this closeted rural community?

Story & dialogue from Chris Robertson,
artwork by Scott Beveridge
So is Maidenstone actually any good? The answer is a resounding yes. 

The aspect that is immediately apparent from Robertson's crisp dialogue is the gritty realism it imparts throughout. I have lived here in the North East of Scotland for going on 10 years now (and fully intend to stay forever unless I'm barred) and like many areas it contains it's myriad of of local traditions, dialects and philosophical nuances. I know the area where the story is set very well, it's a genuinely beautiful part of the world where tradition and a sense of history are all important in forming the fabric of the local community. It is also a part of the world where the local dialects can often confuse outsiders with the speed and intensity of their delivery and intonation. 

People generally say what they think up here, there is little time for subtlety of emotion, and I like that. The sense of realism of speech and life is wonderfully conveyed throughout this first edition without ever proving a barrier to those who may never have visited this part of the world - the dialogue is continually laced with a mixture of intense and occasionally despairing realism and at other times contains familiar dry engaging humour. Indeed, people may even recognise some of the themes here, they are universal. For rural life, as in Lucy's case here and indeed for many of us that went through a similar experience, is no different throughout the world. Sometimes it is difficult to fit in, especially if one is slightly different form that society's norms. The narrative throughout the story is nicely realistic without ever resorting to tired cliche.

Naturally, no matter how good the story and dialogue may be in a comic book, the result invariably rests upon the quality of it's artwork. Not only is the cover art from Andrew Kelly a thing of real beauty, the story art by Scott Beveridge has a gritty surrealist style all of its own that perfectly conveys a sense of the confusion, isolation and despair of Lucy. I found myself again and again simply soaking in the delightfully (and at times hauntingly) textured layers of surrealist gothic tinged artwork throughout. The imagery on show in Maidenstone is as intense a comic book experience as I've encountered for some time.

This hauntingly evocative horror comic launched on 25th APRIL. It is written by Chris Robertson with art by Scott Beveridge and Andrew Kelly. Give it a go - you won't be disappointed.

As I alluded earlier, I was already a Facebook acquaintance of Maidenstone author, Chis Robertson, through his other 'current pastime, the co-organiser of Granite City Comic con. I can quite honestly say that the GCCC event next week (30th May) is perhaps the most excited I've personally been about any event for many a year. Not only is is going to be a stonkingly good pop culture event featuring special guests, art and writing workshops, children’s activities, cosplay, retailers and independent publishers. But even better, it's a much need local event that we've needed up here in the North East of Scotland for a very long time. So consequently I thought that it would be nice to chat with Chris and get some of his thoughts on the launch of his new comic but also few words on the preparations for GCCC.


Q) Firstly, before we talk about Maidenstone, tell us a little about your Sci-fi/fantasy/horror influences 

A) I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek, so they're my sacred texts as far as Sci-fi goes; and I loved shows like (old) Doctor Who, Lost in Space and Land of Giants when I was a kid and I used to write and draw my own little Doctor Who comics on folded bits of A4. A bit further on I got into HP Lovecraft in a big way, and his work is a pretty big influence on Maidenstone. His type of existential horror, where the protagonist slowly realises that not only does the world not care, there are forces they don't understand out to hurt them, or control them.  

Comics-wise, Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison are my go-to guys for inspiration, I read The Invisibles for the first time last year and just couldn't believe some of the stuff Morrison pulls off in that book - stuff that I thought you couldn't do in comics. More recently I've been blown away by Rat Queens, by Kurtiss Weibe. It's an amazing book, the characterisation is just stunning - it feels like it's been going forever because it's impossible not to instantly love each character. Chris Claremont's X-Men is what got me into comics, and it had the same thing.

Music is a big influence for me too, Jeff Wayne's original War of the Worlds album scared the living bejesus out of me as a kid, but I kept listening to it again. I write to music when I can, mostly soundtracks if I'm scripting; computer game soundtracks are great, the Mass Effect one is a favourite. If I'm coming up with ideas I like to listen to Amanda Palmer, The Afghan Whigs, The Manic Street Street Preachers, Ice T - stuff with imagery. 


The Real Maidenstone - I've touched it
(the stone, that is) you know.
Q) So what's the origin of the name La Baguette Noir Press?

A) It's pretty convoluted to be honest! It's partly in homage to a french friend of mine and a super hero alter-ego Greg Fisher (Old World Order artist) created for him. The origin of the logo is way more interesting - back in my days as a touring musician myself and our bass player had this idea that if rock n'roll didn't work out, we would open a chain of toastie shops, called 'MixingMeToasties'. The logo for which would be a dead rabbit. Years later, Greg and myself had to come up with a logo for the imprint at the eleventh hour before Old World Order issue 0 and 1 went to the printers. I told him the story of MixingMeToasties, and he drew a dead rabbit - voila! 

Q) What was the inspiration for Maidenstone?

A) The Maidenstone is a real Celtic standing stone just outside Garioch, in the shadow of Bennachie; and my parents used to take to there all the time as a kid. There's a pretty oppressive and lonely feeling in that area, which influenced a lot of the art choices for the book. My Dad is pretty into Scottish history and legends, and the stories and legends of the Maidenstone combined with the feel of the place and my memories of it gave birth to our story.


Q) Was it important to to you to base the story here in the North East of Scotland?

A) As much as Maidenstone is a horror story, I really wanted to convey a sense of what it's like to grow up in rural Scotland, especially if you're a bit different. There's definitely a lot more of autobiographical stuff in this book - just little scenes and phrases from being a teenager in Ellon.


Q) The artwork by Scott Beveridge is amazing. Did his style influence the story development, or visa versa?

Chris Robertson (right), with Scott Beveridge
A) Isn't Scott amazing?! Scott had to put with the densest, most descriptive script I've given an artist, I even sound-tracked that bad-boy! I had pitched this to artists as something they could experiment a bit with, and the book will get more surreal as the story goes on. One of the best things about doing comics is when you get art back and it's better than what you had pictured in your head, and Scott's also from a rural up-bringing too and he really got that aspect of book.

My favourite panels are the ones with the bullies, Scott just nails that intensity and despair. As I said, the script is pretty dense, and Scott has worked a lot of layers in the art, there's a fair bit of seeded imagery in there that's meaning becomes more apparent as the story goes on. I think with re-drafting issues two and three after seeing issue one finished, I'll tweak things a wee bit more to play to Scott's style and strengths. Props also to cover artist Andrew Kelly - his work is so great too.


Q) How much of a market is there for the 'traditional' comic format in this modern technological world?

A) Man, that's a tough one, and one that I can't really form an opinion on to be honest, as I've never bought a digital comic. I have comixology on my phone and never used it. I'm part of a dying breed that still pitch up to the comic shop every week for single issues, and I'll probably do that until single printed issues stop being made. 


Q) When will the next instalment of Maidenstone be available & what (if anything) can you tell us about how the plot may develop?

A) Issue 2 will be out September, we're launching it at ICE Birmingham, but it'll be available in Aberdeen shortly afterwards. I'm toying with the idea of another wee launch event at Brewdog - that last one went great. Issue 2 ramps up the horror a bit as Lucy and Dylan's relationship develops and his motivations become a little clearer - things start to get surreal.


Chis with GCCC co-organiser, Colin Penny
Q) Apart from being a horror comic writer extraordinaire, you're also the co-organiser of Granite City Comic Con - Aberdeen's (probably) first ever Comic Con which is only a week or so away (May 30th) - how are the last minute plans going?!

A) I'm thankful to say we're pretty much there, it's just a case of letting it happen! Baguette Noir will launching the first Silver City Comics Anthology at GCCC. Silver City is a monthly group I run for creators who want to discuss and show of their work - this is where I met Scott. It's been great for meeting like-minded folks and from the wee homework exercises we did emerged this anthology of stories that hang loosely together, mostly horror again! I've written a couple of the stories and worked with Scott again on one.

So we've not only got the Anthology in May and Maidenstone #2 in September, we'll have Old World Order #3 out in the summer, and a debut from writer Alex Giles in July with his book And They Come!. So that combined with organising GCCC 2016 means it's all comics, all the time. It's awesome.


You can buy a copy of Maidenstone directly from the La Baguette Noir Press website at http://baguettenoirpress.bigcartel.com/product/maidenstone-1

The Facebook page for La Baguette Noir Press be found RIGHT HERE

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Blood Loss (2015) - A fabulous horror/thriller short from Scotland.

There's a lot going on here in Scotland at the moment, it is a genuinely exciting (and mostly positive) time in terms of political and social change. Independence may not have come for us (yet) who cherished the dream, but the desire for a different future still seems to burn bright......... However, you may be glad to know that piece of incisive and somewhat poetic example of political commentary will be about the limit of my political musings in this blog.

You see, what is even more exciting is the amount of Sci-fi/fantasy & horror work that is currently being produced and highlighted throughout this wonderful country these days - and I'm determined to hang on to the coat-tails of some of these marvellously creative individuals and continue to 'photo-bomb' their success. Don't judge me, there's nothing wrong in shamelessly basking in other people's glory and success.

There seems no end to the amount of seriously good projects going on, in this blog alone I've mentioned just a fabulous few: The brand new fantasy film heading our way soon THE FAIRY FLAG , the big bad and blue new Scottish comic superhero - SALTIRE, and of course the stomach tickingly exciting event at the end of this month taking place in my local city of Aberdeen - GRANITE CITY COMIC-CONScotland has long since had a fine tradition in horror and the such like, but all too often that work has originated in the so-called 'big two' of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Now except for the fact that they're not in the North East of Scotland, and so by definition it makes those places distinctly inferior, it does the heart good to help highlight some of the great work that is being produced even closer to my home.

This week I was asked if I would care to watch and review the brand spanking new debut short film 'Blood Loss', a horror/thriller made just down the road from me by an Arbroath-based film company - IronStar Films. Hmmm, I thought to myself, do I really want to? In all honesty  I was feeling a little lazy after something of a stressful (an in-your-face kind of stressful) week and quite frankly was feeling more than a little jaded and tired. In fact my weekend plans of no blogging contained nothing more complex than consuming a few beers.....and, er......well that was about it actually. As it turned out, there were a couple of reasons why I agreed to watch and review the film; One - the request itself came from a friend of mine, two - it's a local film and thirdly - the film itself wasn't going to take too much of my tired concentration as it runs for a nice 25 mins and 31 secs ........ yes I know that's actually three reasons, but as I told you, I'm tired.

The tiredness didn't actually last for long, because I was immediately drawn in to the extraordinary piece of film making that is Blood Loss.

"BLOOD LOSS  is a tale of retribution and redemption among a group of friends who find themselves in too deep.

When three friends are forced by a local criminal to sort out a potential problem, their plans end in a horrific accident destroying their lives forever.

Months later the three men are confronted with the possibility that not everything was as it seems and find themselves caught between a criminal who wants the job done and a victim who wants revenge....no matter what side they choose, there's going to be ...Blood Loss."


One of the perks of my now legendary blogging escapades is getting to see new films that have yet to see the full light of distribution. In fact Blood Loss only had it's official premiere at the end of March at the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath. Sadly though I wasn't there, though 200 guests did attend along with cast and crew to essentially pack out the theatre. However it could be that my invitation was lost in the post or eaten by a roaming deer or something, because I failed to receive the inevitable invite. That's the only logical reason I can think of. Either that or I may not be quite the legend in my own mind that I think I am....... nah, that would be stupid thinking.

The film stars former Rugby player, now model and actor - Craig McGinlay, Alan Cuthbert, Tom Ingram, Chris O'Mara and Demi Pearson. 


Safe to say that things are not going well 
for Messrs McGinlay (right), Ingram & O'Mara.....

Now you may call me a jealous, insecure and self-obsessed individual (well get in line, because you're not the first) but in my opinion that McGinlay chap is far too tall and good-looking for my liking, and for his own good. So alright, he's also in the upcoming fantasy epic, The Fairy Flag alongside fellow Blood Loss actor Alan Cuthbert and he may have been in numerous productions (including a recent commercial with David Bloody Beckham). I haven't even mentioned all that International girly modelling stuff that he gets paid for. The simple fact is that he's just too tall, athletic and displays the most glorious of beards. Not sure if I like him being good at all this stuff....leave some for the rest of us mere mortal men, eh mate?

What I do like though is Craig's performance of a man who is clearly haunted (in more ways than one) by his past actions as he appears alongside the rest of a fine ensemble cast in this remarkable first time effort from IronStar films. It has to be said that the overall quality of acting is very fine indeed. One of the occasional drawbacks of low-budget independent films is how the end result can sometimes by let down by below-par (or worse, over the top) acting. This can result in ensemble casts often being affected by one or two significantly weak performances. This doesn't happen here with a believable and effective range of acting throughout. I'm not sure whether this was actually the case, but what comes across is that the cast genuinely enjoyed getting their teeth into portraying a group of friends whose relationship and view of reality is about to disintegrate. Nicely done, people.

Perhaps the stand out element of Blood Loss is the cinematography - the quality of shooting throughout is confidently assured and at times borders on beautiful.
Yep, still not going well for Cuthbert either......

The filming, and consequent editing, provides a perfectly eerie and deliciously atmospheric quality to proceedings with a style very much of it's own. The lighting, particularly in the interior warehouse scenes provides a the perfect level of chills throughout as the movie reaches it's climax. This serves to make the building itself almost feel like another character in the plot and serves to convey an approach to filming that at times feels like an homage to previous films yet manages to feel fresh and innovative in its own right. This quite exquisitely shot film perfectly compliments the tight script from writer/director Graeme Carr.

If that wasn't enough there are three pieces of music that very nicely add to the overall quality of the experience, again a feature that emerging filmmakers often neglect. The three songs, 'Danger Man' by Courtneys Chain, 'Forgiven' by Lizabett Russo and 'Tonight' - also by the fabulous voice of Lizabett Russo. Lovely stuff.

This high quality of filming is made even more astounding so when you consider that not only was this a first feature from a fledgling production company, with the limited funding previously acquired partly via an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, partly by money donated from friends and family. Also, there is no way at all that it looks like the filming itself lasted only two days, which it did. Bloody Hell, more talented people - just where did I go wrong? Well, apart from having little or no filming or acting talent that is......

One of the gifts of any good supernatural horror is to make the audience at times question what we are seeing on screen and to challenge our expectations of the film narrative. Blood Loss more than achieves this by leaving one wondering what did actually happen to the characters onscreen and just who amongst them exactly managed to achieve redemption. In fact I have now watched the film three times and still I'm left with questions about what really and truly takes place. And I like that. I like that a lot.




The production team are currently waiting for the results of submission of Blood Loss to the various film festivals and I would expect that general release will take place after the film has played at them. For more information about the plans for distribution etc then check out the various links below....



The IMDB page for Blood Loss is at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4633356/?ref_=rvi_tt

You can find the Blood Loss Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BloodLossShortFilm?fref=ts

The IronStar Films Facebook page can be found RIGHT HERE

You can also do the Twitter tweeting thing via www.twitter.com/IronstarFilms