Saturday, 28 November 2015

5D Blog Bite....Kellita Smith, 4TG Game Con and a little taste of Jessica Jones.

The 5D Blog Bite is a series of smaller bite-sized articles that will feature in-between the traditional longer in-depth features. In other words, the bites are still my self-obsessed and self-indulgent musings on various Scifi, horror & fantasy things that catch my eye. The good news then for the Internetland is that some blog pieces are going to be much shorter, with fewer pictures and less obsession with layout from myself. The bad news for you guys is that there will be more blog articles. 

It has been something of a strange week, mainly because it was supposed to be something of a quiet few days for this here blogger with nothing much planned except for trying to catch up with some binge-watching of Jessica Jones and The Man in the High Castle. Well things haven't quite worked out, in fact it's been anything but quiet - not that I'm complaining, mind you. It's nice to be wanted.


It all began with Kellita Smith, her gorgeousness herself who plays the redoubtable Warren form Z Nation, and who in the time-honoured tradition of dealing with me finally succumbed to my requests (pestering, begging, sulking, pleading etc) for a 5D interview. After all, it was only a matter of time until my winning charm and appeal finally won the day and made her realise just what she was missing out on. Now, I know what you're thinking, the accompanying picture of our Twitter conversation looks fairly brief and isn't quite an affirmation of our eternal friendship and general Bon Amie. 

However, don't let that fool you, because I can read the real sub-text beneath Kellita's reply of "OK'. In my interpretation, she is affirming that we are already practically BFF'S and that she simply cannot wait to chat with me about her life, career and potential proposals of marriage from yours truly.

So much of this week has seen me researching Kellita (behave, that wasn't meant in a creepy way) and beginning to compose some piercing and insightful questions. However if that doesn't work I'll just revert to my usual brand of rubbish interviewing. If life doesn't annoyingly continue to get in the way I should have the full interview transcribed with #teamwarren in the next week or so.

Things didn't stop there in getting in the way of my ongoing quest to binge on Jessica Jones (Once again, behave - that wasn't a metaphor.........) and The Man in the High Castle. Because just as I was recovering from the knowledge that my BFF and I would be doing an interview I received a message about a rather exciting event that is taking place next year, and very close to where I live. 

A little while ago news broke that the East of Scotland's largest gaming expo will be taking place in Aberdeen's AECC Arena on 6 & 7th of August 2016. 4TG Game Con 2016 will feature ESports tournaments, indie developers, retro and classic games, exhibitors, merchandise, cosplay, guest speakers, careers advice and photo opportunities for the attendees. 

Of course me being me, I wanted to get on some of that action and so requested (yes you guessed it, pestering, begging, sulking, pleading etc) a press pass for the event. Once again it seems that showing myself to be a pathetic shallow individual who is nothing without his regular doses of public affirmation, because I received a pretty back from the event support stating that 5D would indeed be placed on the press pack list. Hurrah!

Once again, me being me, I wanted to celebrate - so I did so by replaying the first two Gears of War games through the night. As a consequence Jessica Jones was not binged upon. I'm sure she's very glad of that...........





Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Railway Carriage (2015)

A short film from Adgar Productions

Directed by Ross Adgar

Starring Dean Sills as John.

I was going to have a weekend away from blogging this weekend, after all, it's been a long weary week in my day job (you know, the one I actually get money for.....this blogging lark doesn't exactly pay the bills you know) and I intended to spend my time binging on the new Jessica Jones series on Netflix (which actually reads much creepier than I intended). It was all going enjoyably well as I found myself halfway through episode 4, that was until I received a message from a Facebook buddy of mine, Dean Sills. He was wondering if I'd be interested in having a look at his latest acting venture, a 10 minute horror short called The Railway Carriage. 

Now, I've known Dean for a little while now and have been observing his progressing acting career avidly - though my lawyers would deny that I'm only doing that in case his career goes stratospheric and so I can hang on to his coat tails and bathe in his reflective glory....moi?  No, not all your honour. The thing is that not only is Dean a solid stand up guy, he also resides in a part of the world that I once spent some considerable time in myself - Sheffield, England. I'll be honest, not all the memories of the place are positive and there's nothing on Earth that would lead me to ever live there again - well except for the scenario where Helena Bonham-Carter buys a property in the area for the sole intention of keeping me there as her pleasure slave........blimey, is it getting warm in here or what?

Anyhoo, the area still has a few reasons to warm my cold and withered heart. Besides which, after doing my usual intense period of blog article research (5 mins max) I saw that some of the filming locations were places I myself had frequented in the dim and distant past, including Elsecar Heritage Railway in South Yorkshire and Elston Chapel in Nottinghamshire. More importantly, the premise of The Railway Carriage had me more than a little Intrigued.........

"The Railway Carriage is a psychological horror short film in which the lead character (John) is trapped in a dream like world where there is no easy escape. Throughout he is beset with flashbacks, vague memories that explain why he is trapped in a train carriage again and again. Is someone testing him? Has he done something so bad his mind has trapped itself in a strange repeating labyrinth? Through the memories and objects he finds in the carriage, John tries to find a way out of the nightmare world he has brought on himself!"

This 10 minute slice of psychological chills will not be for everyone, particularly those annoying individuals who like their narrative neatly signposted and tied up in a nice little red ribbon, with clear step by step plot instructions and an exploratory thesis on what the end of the film means just in case there is the merest hint of ambiguity. Oh and Lord help them if the ending doesn't have a solid resolution.......if I hear once more in my life "Well that's a strange place to finish" I just may have to commit serious violence. The fact is that this film is a fascinating example of tightly woven emotional and suspenseful complexity which will certainly leave the viewer with more questions than answers at the beginning, middle and end of the story. I like that, I like that a lot.

This is no mean achievement considering the very simple premise of the film; Man wakes up in a strange place; man is plagued by chilling images and sounds; man is confused and tormented when he can't escape...... Hey, we've all been there........

The Railway Carriage is a satisfyingly chilling slice of film making, achieved in no small measure from debutant director, Ross Adgar's confident and innovative direction. It cannot be easy to convey feelings of claustrophobic chills with just a 10 minute running time, but with a time honoured horror- making skill of providing some very clever and effective sound effects the viewers feelings of unease are suitably manipulated.

Full credit too must be given to actor, Dean Sills, who almost single-handed has to convey the emotional turmoil on show and for my money does it very well. I'm not just saying that because I know him, for once in my life I'm telling the absolute truth.

The Railway Carriage made its international film premiere at Nightpiece film festival at The Edinburgh Fringe on Saturday 29th August 2015. The festival had 2,101 submissions from 99 countries across the world and only 50 independent films were selected from 23 countries including The Railway Carriage. If you have the opportunity to see this very effective and enjoyable piece of psychological horror, make the most of it!

You can find out more about this film at the following links;



Thursday, 19 November 2015

Z Nation pt 3 - Interview with Keith Allan (Murphy)

Every once in a while a TV series comes along that nicely captures the audiences needs and imagination. The reasons for this tend to be many fold; good writing, a fine ensemble cast, great location, a much loved theme tune etc etc. It also doesn’t harm if the series taps in to the cultural Zeitgeist – in this case, our seemingly never ending obsession with Zombies and the accompanying apocalypse that would come with our face-eating friends. In addition, It often helps if the series in question provides us with an iconic character, someone who strikes a particular chord not only with the target audience, but also into the wider public consciousness; Walter White, Darryl Dixon, Tyrian Lannister, Mr Spock etc etc etc. The list could go on.

I've often fantasised about my role in any potential apocalypse - part of me would like to think that I would be a fearless fighting gun-toting heroic leader who would always know what to say and what to do...... and all the while getting all the female attention that I could handle - as it were. Now while a few of you are still lying on the floor at the back in hysterical fits of laughter at the thought of me being all loved up I will readily admit the reality would more likely be different - very different. I would in truth probably be something of an arse; that guy who holds everybody back by moaning that 'We're all going to die!".....that guy who wanders off after being told to stay put and so gets his face eaten off by a marauding zombie....that guy who everyone else hates and wants to kill far more than the Zombies do.......that b**stard who got Glen killed in The Walking Dead.

The thing that I like about Murphy, Z nation's own iconic character, is that while he is a bit of an arse he has also got more than a little style and panache to go with it. This is not to say that he outshines the rest of what is undoubtedly a fine ensemble cast, because the others more than hold their own. Not to mention that they also have in their midst, Kellita Smith, a kick-ass, bad-ass babe who could lead me through the Zombie apocalypse in a feverish heartbeat any damn time.......blimey, is it getting warm in here?

Murphy, let's face it, is something of a jerk. He was a prison inmate who was bitten not long after the outbreak of the apocalypse but survived thanks to an experimental vaccine that had been forced on him by desperate Government officials. Now, while that may have been enough to royally piss someone off, it's quite clear that being regarded as the potential saviour of the human race hasn't really done much to improve his character. If anything, he's becoming more selfish, self-absorbed and cowardly as the apocalypse goes on. And still we love him.

In part this is undoubtedly due to the fine performance of actor, Keith Allan who brings no little amount of charm and panache to what could easily be an unlikable character. But who is this Keith Allan chap? Well, according to the bio section on his website.....

Keith Allan currently stars as Murphy in the new SyFy original series “Z Nation,” which premieres on September 12th 2014.

Born and raised in Sacramento, he attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.  He then traveled to Colorado to work in theatre, where he was awarded The Drama Critics Circle award for his performance as the Emcee in “Cabaret.”  He's also lived in Seattle, where he trained and performed in regional theatre.  His television credits include “Will And Grace,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “C.S.I.,” “Enterprise” and “Mad Men” among others. As a filmmaker, he has produced, written and directed several short films including the official Sundance Film “The Big Abandoned Refrigerator Adventure,” which toured with the “Spike And Mike Sick And Twisted Film Festival."  In the summer of 2011, he co-wrote and directed his first feature "11/11/11" for The Asylum, and has continued writing and acting in several features for SyFy and the Lifetime network.

In his spare time, Allan likes to write, draw, hike, garden and travel, and gets his boogie on out on the dance floor.  He considers himself a novice inventor having manufactured his own line of kinetic lamps for several years.

Allan currently lives in Los Angeles with his cat Harry Johnson.

What's not mentioned in his Bio is that Keith has recently been stalked, I mean researched, by a handsome, charismatic and talented blogger based in Scotland (before you ask, that's me by the way). Not only that, but said blogger has also been followed back on Twitter by the redoubtable Mr Allan who has also accepted his friend request on Facebook. Of course once Keith realises his horrendous mistake he will no doubt chance his privacy settings to 'Anyone but that British blogger guy'. Thankfully Keith is well and truly oblivious at the moment and very politely agreed to a brief interview with yours truly just a few days ago.

I would like to go on record and give my sincere thanks for his time, it was a genuine thrill for me.......even if he wouldn't give me Kellita's telephone number.

The Interview bit.......


5D)  Far be it for me to ignore the cliched 'tell us how you got into acting'. So Keith, tell us how you got into acting.

KA) I always wanted to be an actor from the time I was a kid. I started in high school doing plays and taking drama class. I was hooked early on from being obsessed with TV and movies. 


5D) How did you get the role of Murphy in Z Nation?

KA) I auditioned, and auditioned and auditioned. I read for the part about 6 or 7 times before I was cast. I really didn’t think I was going to get it.


5D)  Were you a fan of or horror before? If so, what's your favourite scary movie? As it were.

KA) Alien! It has everything I love... great actors, scary monster, amazing art direction and brilliant direction. I can watch it over and over again.


5D) What is it that we love about Murphy, because let's face it, he's a bit of a dick isn't he?

KA) I think the audience can sympathize with his situation of being completely out of control of his own life. He didn’t ask for any of this and now he is a prisoner of his own circumstance. Yea he makes unpopular decisions...but it’s the apocalypse....there are no easy answers.


5D) I must admit it took me a few episodes to 'get' what Z Nation was trying to do in terms of mixing humour and horror. How do you view that balance?

KA) It’s exactly what I love in horror. I come from old school horror in the 70”s and there was always some level of the ridiculous in those films...it made them fun.


5D) Do you get bored/annoyed by the comparisons of Z Nation with The Walking Dead?

KA) Not at all. I think our fans understood early on that we were not trying to be The Walking Dead. We have many crossover fans that understand there is enough room for two different types of zombie shows and they seem to enjoy them both. I think it’s great.


5D) So who would win in a fight between your group and Rick's Walking Dead group?

KA) Well no one in Ricks group can control Zombies with their mind so......


5D)  What's the first thing you personally do when you get a new script - see how many lines you have..... Who dies..........if you die?!!!

KA) I give it a read through from beginning to end to see how the story unfolds. I want to make sure that it makes sense to me as it should make sense to the audience. If not then I start asking questions of the writers and Karl Schafer our show runner


5D) So come on, spill some beans of your fellow cast.... Who is the giggler amongst you when filming?

KA) We all have our moments. We get tired and can totally screw up and get giggling. But the truth is we don’t have a lot of time so that is cut to a minimum. If I had to point a finger it would be Russell who plays Doc.


5D) I asked Russell Hodgkinson this same question..... You can get me Kellita Smiths's telephone number, right?

KA) I'm lucky I have it.


5D)  Have you been surprised by the level of fan worship you seem to be getting?

KA) Well I’m surprised of the range of fans I have. Lots of kids...like young 5 and 6 year old kids to older people who I wouldn’t have guessed to be hardcore zombie fans....but boy are they ever.




5D) So apart from Z Nation, what else is in store for Keith Allan?


KA) Well I did a movie called “Kill Me Deadly” the is screening at a film noir festival in Paris this month and I believe is getting distribution soon. I’m also working on getting a film produced that I want to direct and act in called “Hearts Like Fists”. You can go to my web site www.keithallanactor.com or www.heartslikefists.com to see the teaser for the film. Dark comedy, graphic novel, crime fighter super villain...really fun. Also hit me up on twitter at @KeithAllanDuh and friend me on facebook at Keith Allan.




Sunday, 15 November 2015

5D Blog bite - King Falls AM: Episode Fourteen: Date Night At TheLibrary

I know you're not going to believe this, but most of my blog articles take quite a while to put together. It may look like an effortless splurge of genius prose after genius prose, but it is most definitely not effortless. As for the blog being a work of genius - well for be for me to say. I suppose that it doesn't help that I have the typing skills of a drunk one-legged Armadillo or that I frequently write something wonderful, then five minutes later recognise it for the catastrophically inept piece of writing that it actually is. If that wasn't enough, I also tend to take an age in obsessively selecting the right pictures and layout for each piece. I know, I have no life.

It all means that I wish that I could be more prolific than I am, but my pedantic nature means that this simply will not change. I know what you're going to say; "No, no, no, you take as much time as you need. In fact, you should take even more time in between posts..... maybe a year or so perhaps?"

Well once again I'm going to fly in the face of public opinion with a new series of articles - The 5D Blog Bite

The 5D Blog Bite is a series of smaller bite-sized articles that will feature in-between the traditional longer in-depth features. In other words, the bites are still my self-obsessed and self-indulgent musings on various scifi, horror & fantasy things that catch my eye. The good news then for the Internetland is that some blog pieces are going to be much shorter, with fewer pictures and less obsession with layout from myself. The bad news for you guys is that there will be more blog articles. 

The inaugural 5D Blog Bite features the very latest podcast episode from our friends across the pond at King Falls AM, the home of the small secluded mountain town that has more than its fare share of paranormal goings on.

Episode Fourteen: Date Night At The Library

Sammy & Ben welcome Dan & Larry from television's Mission: Apparition to King Falls with an exclusive interview and investigation from the King Falls Library.

You can listen to yet another slice of comedy infused paranormal activity the link below, brought to you by the late night show of Sammy & Ben - well done, fellas...... another winner!


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





Sunday, 8 November 2015

RIP Gunnar Hansen.

I don't have time for many regrets in my life, I think of them as generally a waste of time. What is done, is done, etc etc etc. However this morning I have a regret of major proportions.

A couple of years ago I had the chance to attend a Com event down in England, here one of the icons of modern cinema horror was appearing. 'Well I suppose that's reasonable exciting, but they happen all the time don't they?' I hear you ask. Well that may be so, in fact I have to be honest because that was actually my reaction. Never mind that the man in question was horror icon, Gunnar Hansen, or that he portrayed arguably the greatest of all iconic cinematic horror characters in perhaps the one of the most controversial and influential horror films of all time. No, because If that wasn't enough the film in question, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) happens to be my favourite film of all time.

So, my reaction to being able to meet one of my cinematic heroes was to pass up the opportunity. I do recall the reason was that I had some other things going on in my life (the subject of which I cannot remember what for the life of me), so it meant I chose not to travel down. I simply settled myself with thoughts that there would be numerous other chances to meet the great man.

Well this morning the news came through that indeed there would be absolutely no chances. Gunnar Hansen passed away today at the age of 68 and with it my selfish wish to meet him and ask him personally the hundreds of questions that I've had about him, Leatherface and the whole Chainsaw experience for more years than I care to remember. Sadly my chance has passed.

So I hope that you all don't think that I am grabbing an opportunity to take advantage of the news of his death, but I felt the only way to show my appreciation was to publish again a few self indulgent musings on the film that is still at the top of my all-time favourite list.

So ladies and gentlemen, I give you....

 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Let's stop here, what's the worse that could happen?....
Picture the scene - it's the early 1980's in a small Yorkshire town in England. A young man who has more than a few dreams in his head, stars in his eyes, and a growing obsession with all things Science fiction and horror, hears something startling and wondrous on a national news bulletin. Namely, a that particular movie which had over the years gained a reputation of controversial and mythical proportions, arguably as no other has in the history of movies, was finally to be released on video. Amazingly, some 7 years after its initial production the seminal horror movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was finally going to see the light of day over here in the UK. 

Believe me, this was big news. Since its release in the UK in early 1975, thanks in part to the usual suspects within our sensationalist and hypocritical tabloid press, the opportunity to see the movie in cinema's had been withheld by the British Board of film classification. Those bastions (I said, bastions) for the protection of the nations viewing sensibilities, believed vehemently that the magnitude of violence, particularly in two noted scenes and the feeling of claustrophobic terror in the last 3rd of the film, was far too much for the sensibilities of a British audience. Therefore deeming that it was unsuitable for a BBFC X certificate to be issued. Ah bless the BBFC for protecting us from making up our own minds.

So it finally seemed in those dark and distant days of 1981 that the British Board of film classification had finally seen sense it seems and permitted the movie's release. However, this respite of finally seeing sense turned out to be very brief as the video was soon to be removed from the video stores after new video classification rules came in ('Thank you', Margaret Thatcher...).

Seems legit......
Indeed, as it transpired, no theatrical or video release was going to take place for another 18 years thanks to the backward and miss-placed 'protection' of the the public sensibilities by the continuing preaching of sections of the press and political community - bastards.

However, before it was unceremoniously pulled from the shelves, a lucky few of us had managed to get our hands on the film, and it's iconic horror bad-guy, by now had achieved cult status of his own fabled proportions. I had managed to get a copy of the movie from a friend of mine, a grainy 5th of 6th generation copy which meant that the visual quality was less than perfect in some middle parts. But it was MY copy. It may be a lifetime ago, but believe me, it is still difficult to communicate the level of excitement and anticipation that me and my young friends were experiencing as we sat huddled around a VCR on a chilly February evening. Not only were we giving two fingers up to the establishment, we were about to see a colossus of Horror cinema that even today, though it may have been copied a thousand times, still has yet to be surpassed.

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.

Just a man and his chainsaw hobby.....
Forget the basic storyline. Put aside opinions on the quite frankly ropey acting in a couple of roles (the cast taken mostly from Director Tobe Hooper's teaching friends and students). While you're at it, if you haven't ever seen the film (and where the hell have you been if you haven't?!), ignore the rather miss-placed and over sensationalised claims that you may have heard that the film is nothing more than thoughtless violence and nothing else. 

No, this is a movie that is much more than that as it takes you along with it on an adrenaline filled 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, played impeccably by the legendary Gunnar Hansen. For me, there has simply never been a horror character as pitiful or frightening as Leatherface. Much of the credit obviously goes to the director and the editing of the film for this, but I must admit that I have always felt that Hansen has never quite received the recognition for his performance that he deserved. His movement, reactions and presence is quite magnificent.

The cinematography is frankly stunning, originally shot on poor quality 16mm film, this seems if anything to add to the overall atmospheric ambiance, partly in the external country scenes but particularly in the internal terror scenes that are at times genuinely suffocating in their claustrophobic intensity. 


Somebody won't be recommending this establishment
 on Holiday destinations.com
As I mentioned previously, it wasn't until 1999 that the BBFC realised that years of complete miss-interpretation of the movie had taken place. Contrary to popular misconception, there is no over-reliance on explicit violence in the movie (in fact there is a distinct lack of blood and gore throughout). Rather it is the often implied threat of violence and atmosphere that creates the power to shock and discomfort the viewer. 

I could also talk at length about Leatherface and his family's treatment of the teenagers being an evocation and allegory of America in the 1970's with such things as the Watergate scandal and Vietnam making it it quite clear that the modern world world was cruel and nothing like your childhood memories said it was. No one is safe, no-one can be trusted. The hippy peace loving days of the 1960's were long gone. But I'll leave that sort of discussion for those far more qualified and able than I.

I could also talk about the less than successful remakes, with the most recent an attempt to turn Leatherface into some sort of franchise leading character who we are meant to actually support and feel sorry for, thereby losing all the essential elements of this true classic original - but that is a rant for another time.

RIP Gunnar, you will be sorely missed.