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Saturday, 31 October 2015

A love letter to Halloween (1978)

I'll let you into to something of a dirty little secret of mine, though I'll do it only if you promise not to tell a soul. Promise? ......... I'll take that silent response as a 'maybe'.

My secret is this. When one considers that I've been a horror hound since I was a mere pup and that I've been well and truly drenched in the blood of the genre (metaphorically, at least) ever since, it may come as a surprise that I I've never really felt much of an affinity of the whole Halloween/trick or treat/dressing up thing. I just find the time of year just a little tedious and cliched. I know, its a shock and I'm not too sure why. Maybe it's because I don't like the gentrification and watering down of the horror genre that the mainstreaming of horror seems to have. I suppose that it also could be that I'm simply being selfish horror snob and don't like the idea of Mr & Mrs Suburbia dressing themselves and their kids up for yet another zombie themed party with suitably themed food and drinks....oh lordy, give me strength.

No, I generally avoid it all........... well except for one personal tradition that I enjoyed every year on this date for many, many years - and that is to make sure that the last thing I do on All Hallows Eve  before going to bed is to watch a certain classic horror film that has more than a passing relation to the whole damn thing.

Halloween (1978) is one of those few movies that has well and truly morphed from being just a cheaply made independent film. Instead it has weaved its wonderfully wicked way into being arguably the seminal example of the horror slasher genre. Not only that, but in the process the film's big nasty bad guy has himself become part of of wider cultural and public consciousness. But more of that poor misunderstood chap in a while.

I was too young to see the film when it it first came out - besides which, I was still completely under the spell of a certain film that was set A long, long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away. It wasn't until a few years after Halloween's release, when video was working it's wonderful magic and letting us poor souls who had missed out the first time, to catch up on what for many regard as the classic era of horror film making - the 1970's. As it turned out, the very first time I experienced Carpenters work of cinematic genius took the form of me and two friends sitting in front of a small TV on a spring evening in 1983. To say it had an immediate impact would be an understatement. We didn't speak for the entire 91 minutes running time......and we slept with the light on that night. Halloween quite simply scared the crap out of me. To be honest, it still does.

Now I know that any self respecting horror film lover knows the plot backwards, but indulge me (yet again) - because, well you know, I just can't help myself.

The story first begins on Halloween in a small Illinois town in 1963.  A young boy, Michael Myers, witnesses his older teenage sister and her boyfriend kissing in the living room. After seeing the two teenagers sneak up to his sisters bedroom he puts on a clown mask, takes a butcher knife out of the kitchen, and waits until the boy leaves before entering her room and stabs her over and over again until she falls down dead. He then walks downstairs and wanders outside with the knife still in his hand. Michael's parents, who have just arrived home, pull off the clown mask that Michael is wearing, to reveal the angelic looking face of the young boy.

This opening scene is a masterpiece of film-making. Designed to look like a continuing single tracking point of view shot, it means that the audience is only slowly aware that something terrible is about to happen. 

The genius of Carpenter was that he knew that for most people the true horror would not be the violent bloody murder, it would actually be on seeing the boy's face for the first time after he has butchered his sister. It is not the face of a monster, it's just a normal boy........he simply has one or two issues.

Some fifteen years later on the day before Halloween, Michael's Psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis (a masterful performance from Donald Pleasence), arrives at the sanitarium in which Michael has been institutionalised. However Michael has managed to escape - and we know where he's going don't we? Yes that's right, the poor misunderstood soul just wants to pay his old hometown a little visit for old times sake. And what does any homesick young guy do on his way home? Well Michael breaks into a small store and steals a Halloween mask, a rope and a knife. Ahhh, we've all been there........

The following Halloween day, a young high school student Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee-Curtis) continually sees the mask-wearing Michael around town. Of course, this being a horror film, it has to follow one of the golden horror rules - Nobody but nobody believes her.  

That night, Laurie is babysitting a young boy while at the same time her friend is doing the same with a young girl. When her friend gets a call from her boyfriend to go and collect him to brings the girl to the house where Laurie is babysitting. But on her way to pick up her boyfriend her friend is killed by Michael, who was hiding in the back of her car. Meanwhile back at the original house another couple of Laurie's friends sneak in and head to the bedroom, where they have sex.  What a mistake to make!!! Another golden rule of poor films - Never, but never have sex....because if you do you'll die a bloody painful death. (That's a top health tip for you kids reading this out there - don't have sex.......it leaves more for us older folks)

The boy is  well and truly skewered on the wall with a kitchen knife, then Michael strangles Laurie's friend with a telephone cord as she talks on the phone with Laurie. Feeling worried, Laurie heads over to the house to investigate……. Don't go in there Laurie!!!!!

The production of the film has itself gone down in movie folklore as It was made on a shoestring budget of only $320,000 and shot over just 28 days in 1978. In fact, the money to make the film was so tight that the main female lead (Jamie Lee-Curtis) was only paid $8000. There wasn't even enough money to buy a real mask for the Michael Myers character so instead a cheap William Shatner mask was purchased for a dollar and a film assistant was put to work with some left- over false hair and white spray paint to make a few adjustments. The money saving didn't stop there as the fake paper leaves used to simulate the late Autumn falling leaves had to be collected by one of Carpenter's minions after each shot in order to be re-used later in the movie.

At the last count, the film has so far grossed over $70 million worldwide to make it the most successful independent film ever.

Halloween is a genuinely seminal film which provided the blueprint for numerous copycat slasher movies, which in turn became gorier and gorier as the years progressed (not necessarily always a bad thing!). However, I feel the last word on the power of Carpenter's filming is that contrary to popular belief (and the conservative film critics), the level of blood and gore in this film is remarkably low. In fact he only blood seen is when Judith Myers is killed, on the body of the man Michael killed for his clothes and on Laurie's hand and arm after escaping from Michael. It is actually the emotional power of the casts performances that drives the film - Curtis is especially convincing as the scream queen turned plucky survivor (strong women being a recurring theme in many of Carpenters' films). A masterpiece.

An often overlooked contribution to his movies is the music that Carpenter (the vast majority of which he wrote himself) provides for each production. Forced to write his own synthesiser music due to budgetary constraints in his first few movies Carpenter quickly realised the importance that music can provide. He's never content to let musical score simply accompany a film to fill the odd silence and occasionally add something to the overall effect. Instead the music often acts as a principle character in the story. 

The likes of Assault on Precinct 13 (the score for which was written in a staggering three day period), Halloween (where he produces arguably his most iconic slice of movie soundtrack) and Escape from New York would all be far the poorer if Carpenter hadn’t taken the real care and passion to intimately wed the music to the complexities of the narrative. There times when if it’s done well, the musical score is pushing effortlessly along the action and tension rather than the opposite way around. If that wasn’t enough, much of Carpenters musical output stands very much on it’s own merits as being decidedly listenable in its own right.

So tonight I will put up with the trick or treaters, the middle class suburban 'horror' themed parties and the chance that the vastly inferior Rob Zombie remake might be shown on TV instead. I will sit myself down and spend 91 minutes with my mate Michael while I listen to his problem of just being a little misunderstood.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rotor DR1

Another day, another blog article.... and another apocalypse. However don't get me wrong, I'm not yet suffering from apocalypse-fatigue, at least not yet. It helps that the film that I'm going to be musing about in this article is perhaps one of the more unique approaches to film making and production that I've seen in quite some time. 

Before I talk about the plot etc of Rotor DR1, let me tell you a little about the background to the project, because it's a doozy!

A few days ago I received an email from a Los Angeles based production studio, Cinema Libra studios, stating that they had acquired the rights to distribute this particular film. The email had started by them mentioning that they had read my blog and very much enjoyed it. Now, hopefully that is true, but quite frankly I don't really care - flattery will get anybody anywhere when it comes to finding my attention. The email then went on to say that they wanted to reach out in the hope that a story on their upcoming film release might be of interest to my blog, as it offers a unique perspective on modern film making. "Hmmm, an interesting perspective on filming', tell me more" I said to no one in particular..... well I suppose that my dog Jasper was in the room, but he doesn't count as he's made it abundantly clear in the past that he couldn't give a toss about my blog. 

Anyhow, my interest had been well an truly peaked and so I read on. I was told that Rotor DR1, recently released to DVD & BLU & VOD on October 20th, was conceived and evolved out of the Flite Test (flitetest.com) community. I must admit that that I didn't have a scooby doo what the heck the Flite Test community was, thankfully I was soon to be enlightened. Apparently it is a 400,000 member strong online community for drone enthusiasts that director/producer Chad Kapper founded in 2010. After posting the idea of creating a community-collaborated web series to the forum, he soon had input from 7000 people. Using forums, GoogleDocs, Facebook and Youtube--and without a script--the group embarked on developing a ten episode series over twelve weeks in late 2014, with each episode shared with the Rotor DR1 community for feedback and further development of the story line.

Blimey, sounds like movie making anarchy to me! No studio control, no film studio focus groups deciding what the movie going audience wants by simply pandering to the lowest common creative denominator. No none of that, because here decisions on casting, wardrobe, props, dialogue, action scenes, the episodic arc and the back story of the virus that wipes out civilisation, were all made in collaboration. While this may not work for huge studio films, this 350K indie was able to engage the community they built and give them the exact product that they were asking for. Chad Kapper believes this could become a bigger part of the entertainment field in the future as companies grow wearier of risk taking. Do you know something? He may be right.

So it came to be that after partnering with Cinema Libre Studio, the episodes were edited together to produce a feature film.Here's a synopsis of the story....


After a viral epidemic eliminates 90% of the world’s population, the survivors struggle to rebuild and reconnect with the world they’ve lost. Autonomous drones, originally meant to deliver vaccinations for the deadly disease, now fly aimlessly through the sky and are hunted for their parts and power sources.

But when a 16-year-old boy named Kitch stumbles upon a peculiar drone named DR1, clues about his long-lost father begin to surface. As Kitch defends his new drone from a local crime syndicate, he befriends one of its members, a young woman named Maya. With Maya’s encouragement and DR1 leading the way, the three travelers set out on a journey to find Kitch’s father. Potential enemies lurk around every corner and Kitch, Maya and DR1 must work together to navigate the unknown and find the answers they seek.


On the one hand I am very well versed with post-apocalyptic films, on the other I'm not particularly au fait with drones or the passionate community behind them. In fact, my main exposure to hobby drones has been the result of some of the negative publicity that they have garnered in relation to the debate about public safety and privacy. Hopefully films such as this might begin to redress the balance.

I must admit that I hadn't seen the original web series from which the film has been edited from. This could be an advantage in parts as it means I have no frame of context that may influence my opinion of what has been produced here - because for the most part, Rotor DR1 is a thoroughly enjoyable example of intelligent post-apocalyptic movie making.

For a start the film looks great with the Ohio locations providing a nicely authentic look of a place ravaged by the effects of human disintegration. This is something which is perfectly personified with the regular aeriel scenes from the drone which serve to portray the vastness of the landscape which serves also to magnify the apparent hopelessness that the survivors face. It does have to be said that the film at times meanders slightly and occasionally seems to lose it's way, whether this is due to the editing adaptation from the web series is difficult to say. Nonetheless, some episodes in the plot could have been tightened up a little more in post-production.

If you are in the mood for an in-you-face adrenaline fuelled Mad Max-esque tale of apocalyptic woe - then do not look the way of this feature. This isn't though a criticism of the film in any way, because there's always a place for a slow and measured paced movie - not everything has to include mindless, pointless and endless high octane set pieces to be effective. Yes Transformers, I'm talking to you. The result here is instead a brooding and thoughtful atmospheric treatment that slowly enfolds you.

The two central performances from Christian Kapper and Natalie Welch are excellent in their natural and under emphasised way with Kapper's measured narration the constant backbone of the story. I must admit that before I watched it I had a nagging fear that, as result of the need to make it a central theme and character, the drone was going to be some sort Disney-esque personality with cutesy flashing mannerisms and being noises to help the hapless kids on their way. Thankfully this turned out to be nothing of the sort, and while one cannot help but anthropomorphise DR1, it's part isn't overly saccharine at all.

While the two main characters are well played, unfortunately some of the supporting roles are less effective. This is often the case it seems with independent productions and while one or two of the less convincing performances don't overly detract from the final production they are nonetheless noticeable.

Rotor DR1 provides a rather nice slice of post-apocalyptic adventure and in many ways does the hobby drone, and it's passionate community justice to give us an intelligent, considered and enjoyable film. Highly recommended if you like to think about what you are seeing. On the other hand, if you want mindless exploding pap that has the intelligence factor of a brick, then you could always stick to watching Transformers.


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ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE

Cinema Libre Studio is a full-service mini-studio known for producing and distributing high concept feature films and social impact documentaries.  Headquartered in the Los Angeles area, the team has released over 200 films  including the Sundance Audience Award®‐Winning FUEL, THE END OF POVERTY?, Rachid Bouchareb’s LONDON RIVER and Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER. This year, the company has released CAN’T STAND LOSING YOU, based on a memoir by Andy Summers, the guitarist of the band The Police, DAYS OF GRACE (DIAS DE GRACIA), an eight-time Ariel Award ®-winning film by Mexican director Everardo Gout and is gearing up for a Fall theatrical run for OLVIDADOS (FORGOTTEN), the Damian Alcazar-starring feature which was Bolivia’s Official Selection as Foreign Language Film at the 87thOscars ®.


Friday, 23 October 2015

Dark Matter

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from Dark Matter before it began. After all it didn't seem like it was exactly going to break new ground in terms of a sci-fi space drama - if one was being kind I would have anticipated it to be somewhat 'traditional' in format, if I was being nasty (Moi? As if!) I may have referred to it as being a potential derivative mishmash by-the-numbers space adventure. Well as it turns out, like many thoughts and decisions in this bloggers life, I was quite wrong.

Yes, there may well be a number of familiar elements contained within the series, For example we have; A disparate mix of individuals thrown together all with a skeleton or two hidden away on the closet, an android with distinct human aspirations and a whole heap of bad guys waiting for them around every nebula's corner. No, if truth be told, I wasn't expecting anything that I hadn't already seen on the criminally mis-treated (by the studio) Firefly, the classic of British Sci-fi - Blake's 7, Red Dwarf, Star Trek Voyager or even the wonderful Guardians of the Galaxy. Have yourself a look at the synopsis of Dark Matter below to see what I mean.......

"When the six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awaken from stasis in the farthest reaches of space, their memories have been wiped clean and they have no recollection of who they are or how they got there.  

The mysteries of their respective pasts take them on a journey to the deepest depths of space. Hounded by the galactic authorities, their former employers, ruthless corporations, rivals, bounty hunters, and former enemies – they only have each other to rely upon. All the while, the clock is ticking as there is a traitor in their midst, a mole who orchestrated their communal mind-wipe."

As i've said, it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well that once again I was wrong, because as it turns out, Dark Matter takes all the aforementioned familiar well worn themes and instead provides a welcome and refreshing treatment of the space adventure sub-genre. Though don't just take my word for it, the 13-part drama was the  Syfy channel's number one rated show since it began airing and has subsequently been renewed for a second series. So it seems that it may not just have been me that was wrong.....or maybe I was just overly cynical to begin with.

So pray tell, Mr 5D blogger person, just what is the appeal of this show? Well sit down quietly and I will tell you dear reader person.

To begin with, the premise of having a group of people suddenly waking up from stasis with no memories between them, of who they were and why they are there, is inspired. This concept immediately enables the writers to slowly but surely piece together snippets of their past lives with a clever plot device (no spoilers here) which serves to provide a level of character development that would put many a more mainstream show in its place. Not only do we get to witness the piecing together of their pasts but also see that the information that they retrieve comes at a price, because not all they find out about themselves is exactly favourable. In fact some of their past deeds turn out to be downright terrible, for a whole number of reasons.  

This results in the formation of complex relationships amongst the newly formed crew. Trust mixes with distrust, friendships and fall-outs are intelligently given time to develop against some genuinely exciting and well designed set pieces.

The success of any ensemble acting group, particularly one set as an adventure in space, relies on the charisma and performances of the central cast involved. The mistake many programme producers make is to try and formulate an array of eminently likable characters, though this often simply ends in a collection of one dimensional cardboard cut-out personalities. The writers of Dark Matter have identified that not all characters have to be liked by the audience, but they certainly have to by empathised and understood at least. Considering that this is a collection of relatively unknown actors they should be commended in creating a collection of believable and engaging individuals, each with his or her own set of respective complexities. For me this always makes for more interesting viewing than an 'everybody loves and respects each other scenario'......boring.

Particular note should be made of Melissa O'Neil, who plays 'Two'. Apart from the fact that she plays a tough, aggressive and complex character which far belies her lack of acting experience. she is also quite simply gorgeous and quite likely to be the next Mrs 5D Blogger. I appreciate that she may not have a clue yet as to who I am, but I would say that the fact that she doesn't know me is actually something in my favour.

In truth there isn't one weak link amongst the core cast group.

The founder of the Behaviourist school of Psychology, John Watson, famously suggested that all humans as born with their mind as a blank slate, or 'Tabula Rasa". In other words, from the moment we are born all our thoughts, perceptions and behaviours are the sole product of our environment. There was no scope for genetically inherited behaviour, no such thing as free will. In essence, all that we know is determined for us by our environment. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul MullieDark Matter is ultimately a series about redemption and examines the debate of Nature vs Nurture...... The ship is referred to as 'The Raza'.......  Tabula Rasa....get it? Are people born bad or are they a product of their environment? And, more importantly, once they’ve followed a certain path, is there any turning back?....... Questions, questions questions. For some viewers who seem to need complete resolution in anything they watch or read, well some questions are answered for those saddos individuals. For those of us superior folks who are not interested in having everything explained and tied up in a pretty bow and actually like to think for ourselves on occasion, well many questions are left tantalisingly open.


I don't want those who haven't seen Dark Matter to be under the impression that the show is simply one long philosophical and psychological study into the complexities of the human condition. While it may not be that heavy, there is certainly an intelligent and well thought out approach to character development and plot. However the writers haven't forgotten that the show is supposed to be entertaining - and it has delivered that in plenty throughout the opening season. For me, the highlight of season one was the eventual revelation of the traitor amongst the group while holding back a whole plethora of insights and explanations of the motives and objective behind his/her/it's true intentions. 

The one minor quibble that I would have would be regarding the shows' budget which occasionally at times meant that the special effects, though entirely adequate, were not quite up to the high levels they could have been. Its budget restrictions also meant that much of the plot took place in the confines of the ship, and while this resulted in some nicely atmospheric interior set pieces, it meant certain external plot avenues were left unexplored. The fact that the series has now been picked up for a second season will hopefully see a more ambitious budget this time around.

If you like your science fiction intelligent, though provoking and bloody well exciting - then this is the show for you.


Dark Matter was released this week on DVD 12 October courtesy of RLJ Entertainment's Acorn Label.







Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Survivors Movie - Infection is coming

'Infection is coming' - that's a bit worrying, right?
I don't know about you, but I myself am getting a little impatient for the Zombie apocalypse to start. It's not that I want to see the near total decimation of the human race happen - though there are a good few number of people on my personal dislike list who I sincerely hope get their comeuppance by getting their face eaten off by a zombie..... very slowly and very painfully. 

No, it's simply that once the inevitable apocalypse does happen, I'm pretty sure that not only will I survive it but I'll also no doubt be taking a leading role in gathering the remnants of humanity together. Yes, indeed, I'm not too sure if I'll be the charismatic and forceful leader who pulls a ragtag collection of individuals together with his ingenuity and forceful character, or whether I might be the distant yet charismatic loner that helps bind the group together with his sense of purpose and charm.

The one thing is certain in my fevered little mind, I'll be heroic. It's inevitable.

So while we wait with anticipation about the real event, we'll just have to make do with the ongoing conveyor belt of apocalypse related fiction that thankfully shows little sign of ending. This week I was asked by an old friend of 5D. The Fifth Dimension (don't ask him though, for some reason he, like many others, will deny knowing me at all...very strange) if I would like to cast my eye over his latest film venture, Survivors. After checking my social calendar and seeing that it was distinctly empty for some unfathomable reason, I replied that I did indeed have some time on my hands and would be happy to see more of his work.

Adam J Spinks has featured in a number of previous articles here on 5D, notably with in regard to one of his previous films, the rather good The Expedition which featured all sorts of funky Dinosaur stuff. You can see the review type musings from yous truly about that particular film RIGHT HERE. If that wasn't enough, Adam has also had the great fortune, some may say distinct mis-fortune, to take part on one of 5D's legendary piercing and incisive interviews that make Frost/Nixon look like a nice little chat over croissants during breakfast. If you want to see how Adam buckled under the pressure of my skilful interrogation back in 2014 then check out the blog article RIGHT HERE.

Adam it seems clearly hadn't had enough and so invited me to have a look at a secret online screener link (it makes me sound important, so just humour me) and give my opinion about his new film, Survivors which is due for DVD release here in the UK on the 26th October. So last night, sat armed with a bowl of Nachos and a glass or two of wine (alright, three glasses) I sat myself in front of my TV, hooked it up to the Internet (god bless technology) and watched some more lovely apocalypse.

Ryanair's economy class flight ready for take off....
"Kate Meadows (Joanne Gale) and her cameraman Duke (Simon Burbage) embark on a mission to uncover whether or not a government weapons contractor has secretly been using humans as their test subjects.  

As they dig deeper, they realise the brutal reality...

The test subjects have escaped and are carrying a deadly new contagion meant for use in biological war. They soon find themselves in a race for their own survival as the military lose the fight against the infected and those responsible for the outbreak stop at nothing to prevent the truth being revealed

In a world without laws, without order and with nobody watching, how far would you go to survive?"


When I spoke to Adam last summer he and the team were in the final stages of a lengthy and time consuming post-production process for this film. One of the things that he mentioned early on was the desire was to produce something that nobody has tried before, in essence, to produce a character driven piece that plays with different styles of presenting the narrative.  

Whether he has achieved something that no one else has done before is open to conjecture, but he has certainly produced an immensely interesting style in telling the story across two distinct timelines; The use of a hand held camera style takes place in the 'pre-apocalypse' storyline that follows Kate and Duke as they slowly unravel the mystery and conspiracy that may affect the whole human race. Whilst this style of filming may not be the favourite of all film goers (myself included) what is does in very offset and accentuate the post-apocalyptic story which is filmed in a more traditional style.

1st rule of the apocalypse - no eye contact with your group
This combination of filming styles has the benefit of providing a strong sense of characterisation of the two principle characters which serves very nicely to make them entirely sympathetic to the audience. In other words, the very personal hand held style provides the perfect method of highlighting the characters ordeals in trying to escape the outbreak and the subsequent lengths they would be prepared to go to survive.

Regardless of my belief that I would indeed be something of a hero leader figure come the apocalypse I am genuinely fascinated to see what would happen to the rest of humanity as  society breaks down. More often than not I tend to be something of an optimistic in most aspects of my day to day life (some may say it's delusion, not optimism), but I have to say that judging from cases around the world when social order disintegrates I don't hold much hope for our long-term cohesion. In truth, would I really be a hero when faced with the dilemma of whether to save someone else or myself first? 

The consideration of such questions is one of the main strengths of Survivors, with Spinks and his team taking the time and patience to explore what might happen if the rules of socialisation didn’t exist anymore.... there are no longer any laws, no longer anything to hold our animal instincts back. Instead of wondering how fast ones Internet download speed is, the only decision now for people is how hard to fight to stay alive and whether the kill or be killed trait that we once had in abundance can surpass our sophisticated evolution.

Survivors is a very good character-driven horror movie set in amongst the unfolding and aftermath of a deadly contagion that turns the infected population into the living dead. 

"There's something on your neck.... no, there"
The film contains more than its fair share of tense and chilling moments while still managing to treat the audience as having more than a modicum of intelligence with some strong emotional characterisation. It is well acted throughout with Joanne Gale as Kate frequently stealing the show with a confident emotional range throughout the film.

There may be some of a particular persuasion that lament the low levels of gore or a zombie film in Survivors, and I could understand that to a degree. However that would do this fine low-budget production a distinct disservice which nevertheless still manages to provide an immensely powerful chilling punch. If you like your British independent films with a skillfully written slice of horror, conspiracy theory and confident story telling then this is the film for you.

Now, come the inevitable apocalypse - what would YOU do to survive?



To find out more about Survivors and how to order the film then visit the website RIGHT HERE

You can find Survivors on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SurvivorsTheMovie/timeline

Survivors can be followed on Twitter via their handle @SurvivorsMovie





Order here.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

King Falls AM - Catch up time.



It's been a little while since I shared some of the goings on from a certain sleepy mountain town, or rather specifically, that radio station over there in the U. S. of A - King Falls AM. In fact it was way back in the midst's of time (well, actually it was August) when I extolled upon the merits of Episode 8: Electrolocaust Now - For which you could have a look at the article itself RIGHT HERE.

If you can't really be bothered to read any more of my incessant ramblings (and who quite frankly would blame you?) then episode 8 featured Sammy & Ben who had planned a tribute to King Falls AM's resident jazz legend Chet Sebastian. However an impromptu, and selective power failure took out most of the station's broadcast tools, leaving the boys to fend for themselves.This was another excellent podcast episode that once again contained a wonderful mix of comedy and the supernatural. However, I'm not saying that the horror element necessarily came from the singing - but I'm not sure if Ben's singing escapades may need to repeated, sorry Ben my friend, but I think Travolta's portrayal of Danny Zuko is still safe for now!

It is safe to say that the escapades of those weird and wonderful people in King Falls haven't been falling on deaf ears; not only can the podcasts from the late night show be found on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/king-falls-am/id1016760065 
but also the lovely folks over at audioBoom have partnered up with them to take their feed and blast it all over the world. You can listen to 660 on the AM Dial from your desktop, from their handy dandy mobile app, making King Falls AM anywhere you want to be.

From a purely selfish and shallow viewpoint (I know, that's not like me!) you could simply rely on me pulling once in a while pulling my finger out and keeping you good people up to speed with the episodes on this blog. I know which option I would like you to choose by the choice is obviously yours - just remember me in passing someday? .........

Now, while I may not have been exactly prolific in including the podcasts on here since Episode 8: Electrolocaust Now, the releases have indeed been posted to 5D blog's Facebook page, the link for which can be found RIGHT HERE. However, as Facebook thesedays in its wisdom decides to share pages to an audience of three people, a puppy and a cute kitten, I thought I would provide a brief recap of what has been happening on King Falls AM in the intervening weeks....




Episode Nine: Jack in The Box Jesus featured an alleged sighting of the Lord & Savior at a downtown fast food restaurant has the residents of King Falls ready for deliverance, meanwhile Sammy & Ben try to navigate the flood waters of this revelation.You can listen to the show by clicking on the link RIGHT HERE.




Episode Ten: Medium Rare sees Sammy & Ben welcome in studio guest, medium Miss Olivia DuPont, however a miscommunication of her talents brings up some painful memories that both Ben & Deputy Troy wish to forget. You can listen to the show by clicking on the link RIGHT HERE.




Episode Eleven: Ringin' Hell's Doorbell. After an unexpected listener call-in, the boys find a cassette tape in the mail and listen live as an adventure unfolds from one of King Falls less-friendly hiking trails. You can listen to the show by clicking on the link RIGHT HERE.






Which brings us to the latest episode from King Falls AM....

Episode Twelve: All The Pretty Flowers. Against Ben's wishes, Sammy broaches a touchy subject after witnessing a hearse delivering white roses on his way into the station. Is it a King Falls Halloween tradition or could it be something more sinister? #‎RedRumRoses

You can listen to the latest instalment RIGHT HERE.


Anyway, if any of you good people reading this want to help to promote the show and the King Falls AM station, just send Sammy a message and they'll converse with you and plug and all that happy jazz. Sammy can be reached on Twitter through his handle at @KingFallsSammy

You can also locate the show itself on Twitter via @KingFallsAM

The Facebook page for King Falls AM can be found RIGHT HERE



Personalife - Kickstarter campaign

I really don't get some peoples idea that Autumn (or 'The Fall', to my American friends) is the most attractive season of the year. In my view it's an overly romanticised view of a time when the weather is actually rather bloody horrible with the ever increasing wind, rain and cold - not to mention the days getting shorter and shorter. Yes, the leaves on the trees may turn into an array of lovely coloured textures, but that particular vista seems to last for about two days before they drop onto the roads to become a slurry sludge of colourless gunge. Take today for example, here in the North East of Scotland, which is colder than a Conservative's view of foreign immigrants........ Blimey, not only at 5D do you get reflections on the weather, but you you get political satire as well - Jon Stewart eat your heart out.

Anyhoo, the point is that I was feeling a little stretched and thin this week and I desperately needed something here at 5D headquarters to take my mind off the increasing doom that October's weather was affecting on my tiny little mind. Luckily, I wasn't to be disappointed just a few days ago when I received the following email all the way from (presumably an annoyingly sunny) Italy.

"Dear Staff, First of all thanks for your time. My name is Federico Paloschi and with my brother Matteo have created a story called Personalife. We would be honoured if you could take a look to it. We are Italian so it's going to be hard for us to reach US people and maybe you can help us out in this. We love SCI-FI and we worked a lot to this project. Thanks again. Federico & Matteo. 
ps. our campaign will begin on October 15th"

You know something? I've never been called 'staff' before, but I kind of like it! As you know of me all too well, butter me up with even the vaguest of platitudes then you inevitably have my immediate interest. So of course, Federico and Matteo Paloschi immediately peeked this blogger's inquisitiveness. The element that well and truly reeled me in was also the news the involvement of an artist whose work I've admired for some time, but more of him in a little while.

Brothers Federico and Matteo launched just this week a Kickstarter campaign for their project 'Personalife'. The campaign is hoping to raise 15,000 Euros for the creation of a fully illustrated book of approximately 80 pages containing the story, original artwork, and an expansion into the world of Personalife. The book will consist of a full colour illustration accompanied by the different chapters, presented as recorded memories, of the story. Over twenty full colour illustrations will accompany the different chapters, presented as memories, of the story.

But just what is the concept of Personalife I hear you ask? Well that's a very perceptive question, let me enlighten you.

"It's Your Turn To Become A God....... Imagine a life in which you work for eight hours a day, not for money but to obtain TIME… TIME to “spend” within a parallel virtual world in which you can live the life that you have always wanted and dreamed of. The Personalife technology gives man unlimited power and the freedom to decide who he is and which experiences he will live without fear or limitation. 

Can mankind be responsible with such a powerful technology?"

Essentially, Personalife is a story that deals with a hypothetical future world divided into two extremely different communities whose destinies seem they should never intertwine. Eden is an idealised concept of a simple future society that lives in harmony with nature and makes living in the moment a focal point of its existence. Hmmm, very 1960's hippy ideal of love, peace and, ahem, other things - sounds pretty good to me.

In contrast, Equilibrium is a extremely technological society living in a hectic but precisely controlled way under the Sentech (a new social class made up of experts in the different fields of technology). Equilibrium is founded on the design of a behavioral society whose CEO is takes the form of an individual, William Flames

The citizens of the city don’t work for money like today - which judging from the amount contained after deductions from my last pay in my current 'day job' may well be the way to go. Instead the people accumulate time to be spent in Personalife: the most powerful technology ever created, allowing those who use it to live in a virtual reality in which every person can attain their utmost dreams without the limitations of money or space. The citizens of Equilibrium have all of this and the freedom to share their fantastic experiences with each other. Hmmm, forget the 1960's hippy ideal of love, peace and instead give me a piece of this place...... (I know, I'm shallow and easily led).

Man’s advance, which seemed unstoppable, was ultimately derailed by the blind certainty of its supremacy, and, at a certain point, was dramatically interrupted giving birth to the worldwide phenomenon named the Fall.

Now the world is divided into new communities, each painstakingly trying to recover the path to new and genuine progress. The story takes place in two of these new communities, diametrically opposed to one another: Eden and Equilibrium.

Sounds good eh? Yes it bloody well does! However, that is not all because as you can seen from the selection of artwork in this article, Personalife also looks great. I mentioned earlier that one of the attractions of this project was the involvement of a particular favourite artist of mine. His name is Victor Togliani. Victor is one of those incredibly annoying people that is not only talented, but his creative talents transfer across a whole different series of mediums and applications. He is an illustrator, sculptor, set designer - costume, props and model designer (maker). If that wasn't enough to fill this bloggers cup of envy to be well and truly overflowing, his work has specialized in science fiction and fantasy working in a wide variety of areas such advertising, editorial, television, film and record industries.

I've been a particular fan of many of his works that have adorned a selection of Science fiction novels and am delighted to see that his art is being further explored as a result of this project. I would love...'cough'......to get my hands on.....'cough'...... some, ahem......original work........'cough!'

As with any good Kickstarter campaign worth its salt, there is an abundance of rewards and offers available with the project, including the art book itself, being available in either English or Italian. 



For example, pledge 50 Euros and that then entitles you to a signed Personalife art book, and Eden t-shirt, the wonderfully bizarre cookbook that features some genuinely original recipes from Eden, a signed CD of the Personalife soundtrack, a backpack and an ebook.

If you are feeling more financially confident and creative then you could do two things. Firstly you could send a heap of money my way - I'm a genuinely worthy cause and faithfully promise to use the funds that you send me for good causes....namely wine and women. 

If you preferred to use your money in a different way than giving it to me (and I wouldn't blame you) then for 1040 Euros you could have the above rewards but also actually become part of the story with your photo taking the part of one of the missing characters. In addition to that, your name is put in print as one of the founders of Personalife, more posters and t-shirts plus dinner (Skype or in person) with the team themselves.






To find out more about this fascinating project then visit the Personalife Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/personalife/personalife?ref=category_newest

You can find the Personalife Facebook page RIGHT HERE

You can visit Victor Togliani's website to see more of his stunning work at http://www.victortogliani.it