5D. Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror | Reviews, Blogs, News and Competitions
A blog that showcases my love of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Horror genres. It’s full of reviews, interviews, plus the odd occasional musings both on the mainstream and the more obscure fair! Supporting British productions and the independent-minded.
I’m still buzzing from the rather excellent Skype chat I had with director Tony Wash earlier this week. Tony talked about some of our movie inspirations as we realised we have a shared love of the horror master himself, John Carpenter. Tony and I proceeded to chat about his four feature films including; It’s my party and I’ll die if I want to, which featured the legendary genre icon, Tom Savini, as well as ‘High on the Hog’ which featured the equally legendary Sid Haig. If that wasn’t enough, there was lots of chat about Tony’s recent excellent films, The Rake & Skeletons in the Closet.
It’s been my good fortune to have been sent a couple of interesting short films. An old friend of 5D, Director Adam Spinks contacted us this week to see if we’d be interested in having a look-see at his newly released Sci-fi short film, Spaceman.
This slice of Sci-if is a delightful salute to youthful optimism and an endless sense of wonde
In the story, we see Myles, a young boy who in the face of planet wide catastrophe refuses to join the adult’s in accepting their fate. Instead he decides to persuade his family that their may well be an escape from destruction…… if only they will believe.
You can read the 5D Blog Article: Spaceman – A Sci-fi short from Adam Spinks and find out how you can see the film RIGHT HERE
The other short film I received was a yet unfinished horror film produced by students from Scotland’s Napier university. A ten minute horror/thriller graduation short film, Where It Dwells puts a twist on the terror of a home invasion.
Stalked by a malicious presence and her damning secret, Erin is forced to confront the reality of the traumatic events that take place in her home.
The team behind the film are very keen to push get a bit more exposure for their movie and crowdfunder in its last couple weeks. The film itself isn’t complete, the version I saw was a rough assembly. The film will be undergoing edit revisions this week, and music and sound will likewise be undergoing revisions as they are still in early drafting stages. This is what the crowdfunding is needed for.
Finally, we are thrilled with the download numbers currently showing for the 5D Podcast! We would genuinely like to thank all those who have taken the time to listen to our ramblings and musings, we really would.
In the latest episode Stuart from 5D & Zack from 8fifty2.com talk about the new release of Captain Marvel images, Henry Cavill in The Witcher. We also discuss finishing the Jack Ryan series + share our thoughts on the MGK & Eminem spat!
If you want to comment or provide suggestions then do so via the contact page here on 5d-blog.com & we’ll feature them!
Starring: Adrian Annis • Aislinn De’Ath • Lauren Hutchings • Noeleen Comiskey • Robert Dukes • Toby Oliver
Brought to you by Initiative Motion Pictures and Sunglass Films
An old friend of 5D contacted us this week to see if we’d be interested in having a look-see at his newly released Sci-fi short film, Spaceman. So, in light of the fact that my meds have now kicked in, the straightjacket had been slightly loosened, the restraining orders had finally elapsed and the allegations of 5D collusion with Russian electoral interference have finally been disproven, I found I had some valuable film-watching time on my hands.
With the world a matter of hours away from a cataclysmic asteroid impact, Myles believes he has found a way to spare his family from certain death.
It’s abundantly clear for all to see that we live in turbulent, crazy times. Whether it be impending financial meltdown (thank you Brexit voters), impending Nuclear oblivion (yes I’m looking at you North Korea), encroaching climate change (yes it is a real thing you idiots), increasing racial intolerance (forget that alt right crap – they’re bloody Nazis) or that thick-as-two-short-planks lunatic who is apparently the President of the U.S.A……. yep, we’re screwed, right?
Well if we are indeed screwed then one answer may be to dispense with some of our adult conditioned cynicism and return back to a younger, more optimistic self. You know, back to a time when you believed you were going to live forever and that achieving anything in the future was possible….especially when we were promised personal flying jet-packs, hover boards and summer vacations on our holiday home on Mars. Some of us grow up and forget that youthful optimism – no matter how many wine bottles we may empty in an effort to find it.
Spaceman (2016) is a delightful salute to that very youthful optimism and sense of wonder. We see Myles, a young boy who in the face of planet wide catastrophe refuses to join the adult’s in accepting their fate. Instead decides to persuade his family that their may well be an escape from destruction…… if only they will believe.
Spaceman has screened at over thirty international festivals, picking up a string of awards and nominations for the film itself and associated cast and crew. It ran on the circuit continuously for over 18 months
Adam kindly agreed to answer some legendary piercing 5D questions and chat about his film which is lovingly drenched in Spielbergian influence.
Q) So where did the inspiration for Spaceman’s story come from?
I originally wrote the idea for CREATE50 and it was rejected! So I expanded the two-minute script into the full scope of what I wanted to say and ended up with an 8 page screenplay, renamed to Spaceman quite late in pre-production. The idea I wanted to explore was that death is such an inevitability to an adult in that situation but to a child, maybe not so much, and maybe that approach opens up a more interesting way to view death?
Q) Would I be correct in saying that Spaceman is an unashamed homage to Spielberg and possibly even the wonderful Children’s Film Foundation (CFF)?
Spaceman is 100% an homage to the films I grew up watching and its true that most of the ones that left an impression were directed by Steven Spielberg. There’s just something about the way the man shoots, and how he captures those moments, that feels so grounded and real whilst never losing the spectacle and wonder of the moment too. I’ve often felt that, if he wanted, he could have made a scene about taking out the trash cinematic and spectacular. Making this film was my tribute to those inspirational films, like E.T or Close Encounters, whilst also exploring how he constructs those moments from a technical perspective.
Q) Why a short film, could it be regarded as a Proof of concept?
Originally, I had felt it was a singular story within a set time period but I’ve recently been developing something that I’d say is definitely ‘inspired by’ Spaceman, which we’re tentatively calling ‘The Great Beyond. I got back into making shorts coming off the back of two features and felt I wanted to rediscover my voice as a filmmaker, there’s something about short, self-contained stories that is incredibly difficult to master and the challenge appealed to me.
Q) I believe I’m correct in saying Spaceman was originally funded via a crowdfunding campaign. How do you find that whole process in raising money for a project?
People seemed to really get on board with Spaceman from the outset which was wonderful. Raising the finance for the project came from a mixture of personal investment from myself and my producer, Kristina, but also from a crowdfunding campaign and a couple of private investors as well. It was a joy to be a part of, it felt so focussed on the creativity and passion behind the project.
Q) What are the special challenges filming a short as opposed to feature length?
Short films are very difficult to get right. You have very little time to establish your characters, let alone tell their stories to any kind of detail, so it’s a delicate balance between the two. I have found it has really been an amazing learning curve for me as a filmmaker to tread that line.
Q) Your previous films (Including the wonderful ‘survivors’) have often had a horror-tinged theme. Is Sci-fi the movie making route you would rather go down?
For me it’s all about the story, if that happens to be a horror then that’s what it will be. I do seem prefer stories with a genre element to them and sci-fi does appeal to me. I think it’s because it’s less tribal, we can create spectacular alternative worlds and then use those as a canvas to project our own insecurities, issues, fears and opinions about the real world. It makes us forget our ‘houses’ so to speak, such as our religion or our political leanings, and lets us just be ‘humans’, which is really important.
Q) Spaceman has just come off a successful festival run. What was that experience like?
Everytime we thought it was over, another couple of festivals would get in touch and the run would continue. I kept thinking ‘pinch me’! It was also wonderful to win the two awards at Harrogate, quite late in the run, and there’s still a few smaller festivals that we’re waiting on hearing from!
Q) Spaceman is now available on Film Shortage from this weekend. What was the thinking behind using this forum for people to see the film?
Film Shortage has such a wonderful curated collection of shorts from around the world, so it’s a huge honour for us to have found a space within that.
Q) What are the future plans for Adam Spinks?
I’m currently supporting a brand new short ‘Like Glass’ on a festival run and then I plan to follow that with some new feature films, which are a whole new challenge! But the time and the stories behind the ideas, feel right.
BTW, 5D now also has a YouTube channel which includes conversations with actors, directors & assorted luminaries from the world of Sci-fi, fantasy & horror. The channel also includes the 5D Podcast and competitions – You can find it (& maybe subscribe if you feel so inclined) athttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYhAN0Nlqg7614W2df_zI-g
Some rather exciting news dropped yesterday when it was announced by those good people at thisfunktional.com that Age of Darkness: Evolution War is to become a series!
The news had originally broke a couple of months ago that acclaimed Director (and fellow ex-Boscombe boy) Neil Johnson was slated to direct the upcoming Sci-fi feature film, Evolution war later in the year. This was something that immediately made this here blogger very, very happy, because one of my favourite directors, together with a group of actors I have been lucky enough to be able to get to know just a little over the last couple of years, had pulled the proverbial fast one with one of the best kept secrets of 2018. Now they have done it again!
Those familiar with my ramblings here on the 5D website and the 5D YouTube channel will be fully aware of my love for Neil’s previous Sci-fi feature, the outstanding Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter (2017).
If you wish you can read my musings on the director and his filmRIGHT HERE. Thanks to the wonders of the modern technological world I have been lucky enough, via the 5D YouTube channel, to video chat with Neil about his career as a filmmaker. Not only that, but this led to conversations with the extremely talented and ridiculously gorgeous Tracey Birdsall(Sienna from Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter), the fabulous and lovely Marilyn Ghigliotti (from Neil’s Alien Armageddon and Kevin Smith’s Clerks), Daz Crawford (from Rogue Warrior, Agents of Shield) as well as the incredible talent herself, the gorgeous Brooke Lewis (Neil’s Starship Rising). Just click on any of those links to watch the video conversations with those most excellent people – just ignore my ugly mug in the corner as I aim to ask them questions and be all professional-like (failing miserably of course).
For those of you not in the know – ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER is a complex science-fiction actioner described as Mad Max meets Star Wars. Written by Neil Johnson, the science fiction film is set in the distant future depicting the overthrow of humanity by artificial intelligence on Earth and other worlds. Starring are Tracey Birdsall, William Kircher (The Hobbit), Daz Crawford (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Stephen Manley (Star Trek III), and Marilyn Ghiggliotti (Clerks).
As Tracey herself told me herself some time ago;
“Rogue Warrior is a journey – a complicated, exciting, excruciating journey… The relationships are deep and multi-layered, every cast member is skilled and on point, most of the film is practical including the effects where possible (and most of the robots), the arcs and the curves of this film are very much a deep drama delved into a science fiction film – like you’ve never seen before in this genre.”
I’ve never been a screaming blonde. No thank you very much. I very much lead with my talent in everything that I do. What you look like just gets you in the door. A movie like Rogue Warrior (any movie to me actually) can’t be cast on looks. When you watch a movie, you have to be drawn into the character and that’s not a reality with looks……..Whether you’re male or female (we’ve found out), you will relate with Sienna’s character: you will cheer for her, laugh with her (and at her), cry for her, have angst for her and revel in her.”
And do you know something? The lady isn’t wrong because Rogue Warrior was a genuinely exciting and intelligent science fiction story.
Age Of Darkness: Evolution War
I’m not trying to sound all big-headed (I know, there’s always a first time I hear you say!) but I must admit that I had been privy to a few details about the continuation of the story of the Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter (2016) for a little while after chatting with director Neil Johnson, Tracey Birdsall and another acting member of the Johnson acting crew, the fabulous William Kircher. Even now I’m unsure just how much I can divulge for various reasons – the main one being that Neil made it quite clear that any gossiping on my part would result in a “visit from the boys” and an opportunity “to sleep with the fishes”
Now, I may not be the worlds most intelligent man but I know what I am (to quote The Kinks), and that is an out-and-out coward……… Neil did suggest that Age of Darkness: Evolution War would be set in the same Universe as Rogue Warrior (confirmed in the piece by thisfunktional.com) and may, or may not, be a direct sequel. Tracey too on more than one occasion had talked to me about the exciting and gruelling filming schedule for the project.
Perhaps the most interesting responses I had about the project was with actor William Kircher a few weeks ago. William kindly gave up some of his time and took my on a tour of the Hollywood hills as we video Skyped – You can see the conversation on the 5D YouTube Channel right here.
William Kircher & Tracey Birdsall in Age Of Darkness: Evolution War
It was all going swimmingly well as we chatted a little more about his role as Bifur in The Hobbit, his new role in an incredible short thriller ‘Lake’ and some general reminiscing about The Six Million Dollar Man action figure (I kid ye not). That is until I asked him about whether he was going to be acting for Neil Johnson again and whether he would be appearing in any potential sequels to Rogue Warrior – to say his response was enigmatic, evasive and non-committal would be an understatement! Well I have news for you Mr. Kircher – if the pictures from the thisfunktional article and the images now passed on to me by Tracey Birdsall are anything to go by, well your secret is out!!!!
I for one cannot wait to see the results of Age of Darkness: Evolution War series, as she said to thisfunktional;
“Since I’ve been with this story idea from the beginning of Rogue Warrior how could I not want to be a part of it? The stakes are much higher, the action is off the charts, and the characters have such depth. It’s exactly the type of project I yearn for.
It’s In post-production now, and set in the Rogue Warrior universe, we are incorporating Sienna (and a whole new realm of characters) into a bigger series of adventures. This isn’t a sequel; moreover, a broader, epic storyline. It’s a television series (release details coming soon), along the lines of Game of Thrones…where the stories, characters, and situations evolve deeply and develop intensely over time.
This project has gone off the charts in size…The Season One story arc is named Evolution War and will span approximately 5-6 episodes with running time of approximately 45 minutes per episode.”
Hopefully more news about Age of Darkness: Evolution War will come from 5D at some point in the near future………. as soon I wake up from sleeping with the fishes………. For now just take a look at some more amazing images.
In the latest 5D Podcast episode we talk about the Sci-fi proof of concept film Apocalypse Now Now, some chat about US filmmaker, Tony Wash. After that its all systems go with chat about the recent The Walking Dead season 9 trailer and some favourite Denzel Washington movies.
If you you want to comment or provide suggestions then do so via the contact page on 5d-blog.com & we’ll feature them!
Producers: Mike Dozier, Tony Wash, Robert Patrick Stern, Sarah Sharp, Angela Cox, Jim Petersen.
Starring: Rachel Melvin, Shenae Grimes-Beech, Joey Bicicchi, Stephen Brodie, Joe Nunez, Izabella Miko
I have known of Tony Wash for a couple of years now – the man is a horror lover, writer, film producer and general all round good egg who amongst other things has worked extensively with and promoted some of the community of filmmakers that formed part of his brainchild, World of Death, an international compilation of horror short films produced by Scotchworthy Productions and JP3 Media. For those who haven’t yet sampled it’s gory delights, World of Death brought together the talent of over 400 filmmakers from more than 40 different countries in a compilation of short horror films that terrorized, astonished, disturbed, and excited genre fans across the globe. World of Death isn’t just a compilation; it’s a community. Consisting of over 400 filmmakers plus their casts and crew, World of Death includes independent talent of every age and level of experience from all over the globe. I think you could tell I liked it.
So it was with interest that I noticed a little while ago that Tony’s newest feature (The Rake is actually his third feature, but the second to be widely released) had recently been released to the world and so of course I wanted in on a piece of the action. Once I saw that the said feature was a suitably blood-soaked spooky chiller concerning an urban-mythical monster known as “the Rake” who decides that venting his terror upon an isolated group of adults is the thing to do, well lets just say that my interest was well and truly piqued.
The Rake was born in October of 2014 when FX artist Jason Kain and director Tony Wash were discussing frustrations over another project losing its steam. “Jason pretty much said ‘Screw it, why don’t we make a movie about The Rake?’ He showed me a brief synopsis from Creepypasta about the Rake mythos and I’ve always been a fan of creature features so it was pretty easy to convince me.” Shortly after, Robert Patrick Stern, Sarah Sharp, Jim Petersen and Angela Verdino became involved as producers and the team quickly began orchestrating the development of The Rake. Wash brought on co-writer Jeremy Silva to help pen the script and the duo had a shooting script ready in less than three months.
By March of 2015 a location had been secured along with a majority of financing and casting had begun. Initially, The Rake was to be a non-union project so the team had to look for talented cast members who were not affiliated with SAG. “We began reaching out to actors we’d worked with in the past and whom we felt were capable of bringing such rich characters to life.” recalls Rob Stern. One of the actors the team contacted shared the script with a group of producers he is associated with in LA and they were instantly eager to become a part of the project. With the movie now in the hands of the new producers, principal photography commenced in late March. After a 19 day shoot ended in April and three subsequent pickup days in December, The Rake was in the can and being shipped to LA for the edit, helmed by Sam Bauer (Donnie Darko). Over the next two years, the LA team put the movie through post production and secured distribution through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “It’s been an interesting process to say the least.” said Wash of the experience. “I’m accustomed to indie filmmaking where the director is the captain of the ship from inception to completion. The ‘Hollywood Process’ is a substantially different approach that I was unfamiliar with, but I’m damn proud of what our team created on set, hope our post team in LA built upon that foundation, and am excited for audiences to see that talent and diligence shine through in the final product.”
Tony and his production team were good enough to send me an online link to the film in order for me to provide some thoughts on his work……… so let me throw a brief synopsis your way.
“Following the death of their parents, seemingly at the hands of a psychopath, siblings Ben and Ashley reunite 20 years later, at a gathering of friends, and are forced to finally face up to the events of that dreadful night when their parents were killed. What follows is a night of terror in which this group will find out if it’s all in the heads of Ben and Ashley, following the trauma of their childhood, or is there some truth behind the legend of the supernatural creature known as The Rake.”
Any self-respecting horror flick rests on a strong opening act – The Rake does not disappoint in this respect with the introduction of a young boy, Ben, witnessing his father (a Psychiatrist) studying the video tapes in his bedroom of serial killer Jacob Murphy. Of course, watching interview footage of serial killers at home with children present is asking for trouble in most worlds, especially in the horror movie world because you know for sure trouble is just around the corner, especially when Murphy begins screaming in the interview about being possessed by a supernatural entity (I know, we’ve all used that excuse in a police interrogation……..wait, what, that’s just me?). However it seems that our cuddly local serial killer is indeed telling the truth because later that night he breaks into Ben’s family house to viciously murder his parents in front of him and his sister, Ashley. If this wasn’t bad enough for the children (and lets face it, so far it’s been pretty stressful) the killer proceeds to stab out his own eyes and mutters “it will infect us all” before slitting his own throat. All in all, a nicely atmospheric and deliciously bloody introduction to the film. As set pieces go, very effective.
As you can imagine, this all proves a little difficult to get over for the brother and sister, especially Ashley who has undergone years of Psychological and medical treatment in an effort to rid her of the trauma. It is clear that when 20 years after the event when she and her brother meet with a group of friends at their foster sister’s secluded home that the treatment hasn’t been particularly effective, in fact this would be something of an understatement. The middle act of the film explores the strained and complex relationships of the individuals brought together as they battle with their past and the ever crumbling present.
On the one hand this middle section provides an effective show of the progressing paranoia of the group, especially that of Ashley who we are asked to examine whether she is really being tormented by the Rake or whether her fear is merely a side-effect of her delusional mind’s connection with the entity. This is done by never really revealing the creature until far later in the film, instead Wash is keen to use the feeling that the group are constantly being observed from the darkness and becoming ever more aware of the creature presence, with it biding its time until it’s fully gorged on the mounting paranoia and is fully ready to finish its bloody work.
This all works to a certain extent in the middle act however it is occasionally let down in terms of pacing as certain conversational scenes simply last too long which serve to give a feeling that the film is ‘wandering and disjointed’ somewhat in this period. I fully understand (and like) the intention to play out the character’s psychological development and to provide a feeling of impending claustrophobic tension in the house (the filming is impeccably atmospheric), however this is less effective that it could have been if certain dialogue scenes had been trimmed a little more.
However, this is but a mere negative gripe as the final act certainly makes up for the uneven middle section when the magnificent creature is fully revealed and events take a somewhat violent turn! I will refrain from giving anything away, but suffice to say that if you like your horror violent, bloody and occasionally gory then you will not be disappointed. Nor will you be disappointed with the creature (imagined or real? Well, wait until you see the film for yourself) because it looks incredible as it works its way through some very effective chilling sequences.
The acting throughout is solid and effective from all the cast – especially from Melvin, Grimes-Beech and Bicicchi who provide sterling performances. The lighting, photography and overall look of the film also cannot be faulted, the movie constantly looks wonderful.
Would I recommend The Rake? Yes I would, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable slice of contemporary horror that I would be more than happy to watch again. It isn’t perfect and would have certainly been improved by a less disjointed middle act, however what does work in this movie works VERY well indeed and it is clear to see the level of work and commitment that went into this production. Highly recommended!
I hope to be talking to Tony Wash in the very near future for the Conversations Playlist on the 5D YouTube Channel, not only about The Rake, but also about a couple of other feature films of his that are coming out later this year; Skeletons In The Closet and High On The Hog (starring the legendary Sid Haig).
You can view more about the work of Scotchworthy Productions RIGHT HERE.
THE RAKE, spreading fear here on DVDand Digital June 5 distributed by Unified Pictures via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. SPE is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group includes film labels Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com.
The early 1980’s were my formative years in terms of a horror education. This was in the main thanks to a certain girlfriend of mine who taught me (easy, Tiger!) that there that the decade of the 1970’s was the true golden age of horror as we gauged each other (I said behave!) on 70’s horror delicacy after 70’s horror delicacy. Good times.Of course, me being me decided that t would be a fine idea to bet with her that I could find a horror film made after 1979 that was superior to any of the wonders from the previous decade, she said that this was an impossibility…….naturally, the wager was on.
She had been isolated at home after being diagnosed with tonsillitis and after a few days of me moping around like some lovesick suck (yeah, what a suck) I decided to wander down to my local video store to find something to take my mind of things. This being 1984, the video rental industry was still pretty much in its infancy so finding something new and worth watching was always a challenge in itself, I remember being less than hopeful of finding anything that would catch my attention. After what seemed like hours of deliberation whether to watch a movie I had seen a hundred times or a movie I had seen five hundred times my eyes caught sight of a dark looking video case with an orange effect lit wheelchair in the dimly lit shadow of what looked like a child. The video case was hidden away on the far end of the shelf and by its immaculate condition it was clear that it had hardly been rented – the movie was called ‘The Changeling‘. Best of all, it was made in 1980, so this might be a long-shot for me winning my major but I thought I would give it a go.
As one does, I read the blurb on the back and it should be immediately put down on record that I didn’t hold out too much hope of it being particularly good. Yes, it starred George. C. Scott, one of my favourite actors (and in my humble opinion, still the best ‘Scrooge’ there has been on the silver screen). However, the rest of the movie’s synopsis didn’t inspire many other positive feelings. I had never heard of it, even though it was only four years old at the time (thanks to ‘her’ I now regarded myself as something of a horror movie aficionado) and The Changeling’s themes of haunted houses, ghosts and seances seemed derivative at best. At worse it also apparently lacked any gore, blood or scream queen element to it either, a recipe for disaster it seemed to my horror-loving mind. So I asked the dependable video store assistant about the movie, a man whose opinion I invariably trusted. He told me that the film had been in the store for over a year with just a handful of rentals. It had done nothing on its cinematic release and gone pretty much straight to video…… and yet……and yet……he said that without fail, every single person had returned the movie and told him that it was quite simply the scariest and most terrifying film they had ever seen. He seemed particularly amused about one customer who had stated that they couldn’t sleep with the light off since seeing it. High praise indeed. I was intrigued. I was desperate for something to watch from the horror genre and then tell ‘her’ about it. I decided against renting it. I instead bought it outright on the spot.
It was only when I was on my way home that I started to doubt whether or not video store man was exaggerating and had just landed another sucker to buy one of his ‘never gonna sell products’ with a made up pack of lies about it.
There was nothing for it but to put aside my doubts, turn of the lights, draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook (Kids, look that term up in the history books) and put on the video………It is safe to say that the movie scared the living crap out of me………….
The plot is cunningly simple. The always excellent George C Scott plays Dr. John Russell a well-known classical music composer. The film begins with him and his family on a winter holiday in upstate New York where his wife and daughter are killed in a traffic accident. Following their deaths he moves across country to Seattle and starts to try to rebuild his life where rents a large dilapidated mansion and slowly begins to teach again and start re-writing his musical scores.
However, nightmares of the accident that killed his wife and daughter continue to haunt his dreams. Not only that, but unexplained noises start to emanate from within the house, but these noises are just the beginning. Convinced there is a supernatural presence in the house he enlists the help a local historian. What they uncover is more shocking than he could ever have imagined.
To say that The Changeling is an effective chiller would be something of a calamitous understatement, it is in fact incredible. Yet outside it’s loyal fan base, this movie is still often ignored as its contemporaries of the time such as The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and The Omen have gained a huge following whilst all being immensely inferior to this movie. So I think it’s time we redressed the balance eh?
So why is this movie so good, and yet even today is relatively unknown outside its loyal fan-base? As I mentioned previously, the themes within it have been done a thousand times in horror stories – the haunted house, objects suddenly moving through their own accord, mysterious loud noises, an initially disbelieving owner slowly realising that the ghost is real, a medium holding a séance – all familiar themes and often badly made. What perhaps makes this movie superior is its dedication to slowly building up the audiences tensions through careful and sympathetic character development and then providing scenes of genuine terror where often the terror lies not with what we see ( because often we see nothing) but instead leaving our imagination to digest and experience for itself.
Perhaps one of the factors that sets The Changeling apart from films of a similar nature are the actors performances – they are simply stunning. Scott as Dr. Russell in particular gives us a warm, confident yet vulnerable individual who slowly changes from a figure of disbelief, moving through terror, to a point where he truly wants to help the spirit of the murdered boy. My favourite scene comes when the boy’s spirit is first trying to communicate with Russell – it’s a sneakily simple yet effective set-piece that simply involves Russell first hearing, then seeing a child’s rubber ball bouncing down the wooden stairs. After taking the ball and throwing it over a bridge into a river he returns to the house…… only for the now wet rubber ball to come slowly bouncing down the stairs again. There is no blood, no violence, yet the feeling of true terror that Scott portrays simply through his facial expression and reactions is truly amazing. I know, I know the scene sounds lame……after all, A RUBBER BALL!!!??? But my god it’s as chilling a scene that I have ever witnessed in a film, and believe me, that is not hyperbole.
A final element of this stunning film is the use of the house – as in any good haunted house movie it should become an additional cast character in itself. The masterful direction makes the perfect use of the big spaces to help focus attention on Russell’s grief and loneliness The camera of tens looms around the set to give the sensation of the ghost watching and listening to the new occupiers. The house is always a main character making sure that the chills are genuine, the attic room in particular is the personification of eeriness. the soundtrack too should not be forgotten as the movie is constantly accompanied by some sweeping musical arrangements from Ken Wannberg (the music box theme composed by Howard Blake), without ever taking away the audience’s attention from the film itself.
So there you have it – in the space of a few moments my mind moved from a much loved piece of music, through a much-loved girl I once knew, to a movie that I love. You may be wondering whether I won my bet…….. well the sad fact is that a week later she dumped me before I had the chance to show her it……true story.
So it was with delight when I read the following message from the good people at Aim Publicity some weeks ago……
Cited as a huge influence by renowned film-makers including Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Amenabar and lauded by horror aficionados and audiences alike, The Changeling is one of the most chilling horrors of all time and now it arrives in a brand new restored version for the first time on Blu-ray, featuring stunning newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy.
One of the last classic horror films to finally be released in high-definition, Peter Medak’s (The Krays) The Changeling arrives as a limited edition collector’s set including stunning packaging, a poster, a 40-page perfect bound booklet and a slew of newly created special features such as a commentaries, interviews and featurettes. The Changeling Limited Edition Blu-ray will be released on 13 August 2018 from Second Sight.
George C. Scott (The Hustler) plays the lead alongside a strong cast including his wife Trish Van Devere (Where’s Poppa) and Oscar winning actor Melvyn Douglas (Being There).
One of the most highly acclaimed horror films of all time The Changeling will chill you to the bone.
Thankfully over recent years The Changeling seems finally to be acquiring the ‘classic’ level of appreciation that it deserves and so it’s wonderful to see the release of this newly restored version, together with an impressive list of special features.
The audio commentary with director Peter Medak and producer Joel B. Michaels is a genuine delight, the two having met when Medak was hired after the original director was let go & now have forged a friendship that has lasted 37 years. The affection the two of them have both for each other and for the movie itself is delightfully clear to witness as they regal us with a plethora of fascinating background stories to the making of the film. Particularly poignant are their recollections of working with George C. Scott, both of them admitting to being nervous before working with an actor whose difficulty to work with had approached legendary status. However the reality was that Scott was in both men’s words “an angel to work with” who loved the role and regarded the finished product as some of the best work of his career.
The House on Cheesman Park: The Haunting True Story of The Changeling is a fascinating account of the events that inspired the script for The Changeling – for a time the working title of the film was ‘The House on Cheesman’ and is passionately and entertained told by author Phil Goodstein.
• Brand new 4K scan and restoration
• Limited Edition packaging featuring outer rigid slipcase, Amaray case, poster, 40 page booklet and OST CD
• Audio commentary with director Peter Medak and producer Joel B. Michaels moderated by Severin Films’ David Gregory
• ‘The House on Cheesman Park’: The Haunting True Story of The Changeling
• ‘The Music of The Changeling’: Interview with Music Arranger Kenneth Wannberg
• ‘Building The House of Horror’: Interview with Art Director Reuben Freed
• ‘The Psychotronic Tourist’: The Changeling
• ‘Master of Horror Mick Garris on The Changeling’
• TV Spot
• New English subtitles for the hearing impaired
Limited Edition Exclusive Contents:
• Original Soundtrack CD
• 40 page perfect bound booklet with new essay by Kevin Lyons, production notes and on-set interview with George C. Scott
• Double-sided poster and reversible Amaray sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by artist Christopher Shy and original poster art
The Changeling Limited Edition Blu-ray will be released on 13 August 2018 from Second Sight. However you can win a copy of this by heading over to the competition page here at the 5D Website!
I know it’s not like me to blow my own trumpet (easy, tiger!) but I’ve mentioned before how lucky and happy we are here at 5D HQ to be the recipients of numerous requests to help promote all types of creative work. The only problem (albeit a nice one) is that due to time constraints (such as having to sleep, eat, shower, etc etc) we simply cannot accommodate every request that comes our way. Therefore, it stands to reason that the request has to involve a subject matter that instantly floats ones boat, as it were – and earlier today one very such request flew into my email inbox.
The message came from Liam Garvo, which read thusly………
I recently produced the SciFi feature film The Fitzroy which is set for release later this year.
I’m now running a Kickstarter campaign to make a proof of concept for a film I will be directing called METROPLEX. The campaign page gives an overview of the project, story and has a number of pieces of concept art if you want to have a look.
If I can share anything further with you, do let me know.
Thank you for your consideration.
As you will have readily assumed due to the fact that I am actually writing about the said project that I was indeed very interested in this project – so much so that besides sending your way a little information on the project and its Kickstarter campaign, there’s also a short interview with Liam himself. If that wasn’t enough, Liam has also kindly offered up one of the campaign perks as a 5D Competition prize.
The concept of Metroplex is as follows;
Set in 2050, the world is co-inhabited by humans, trolls, elves, dwarves, and dragons. Official governments no longer exist, instead laws are enforced by mega corporations through private security forces. Large sprawling cities called METROPLEX’S are divided into autonomous districts, each self-governing and at odds with one another.
The film centres around Avin Sull, a hardened career criminal that leads a team of mercenaries on a heist to steal the CODEX, a mysterious virtual book buried deep inside the Disconnect, a digital world representing all that is left of the shattered remains of the internet and fiercely controlled by virtual and real armed guards. Betrayed by Yamada Kitashiano, a lawyer to the Yoko-gumi Yukuza clan, who initially gave them the job, they must now all fight to stay alive at all costs.
The film is intended to be a 10 min live action short which will act as a stand alone high-octane piece of entertainment but also act as a proof of concept for a feature film that will hopefully spark interest in getting the project off the ground. It’s highly ambitious and that’s why Liam and his crew are HEREon Kickstarter to prove that there is an audience out there that wants to see films like this get made. If you click on the Kickstarter link you’ll see not only a hugely detailed background to the film, but also information on the amazing talent that is affiliated to the project – to say that they’ve been connected to some MAJOR works would be something of a catastrophic understatement! If you wish to contribute to the campaign you need to do so quickly as there are just 5 days to go!
If all that wasn’t enough we were delighted to announce that the makers of Metroplex offered up one of their fabulous Kickstarter perks as a 5D competition prize! The competition is now closed and the lucky winner will be advised soon.
I would highly recommend visiting the Metroplex Kickstarter page if you feel so inclined, please do that crowdfunding support thing that you do so well!
BTW, 5D now also has a YouTube channel which includes conversations with actors, directors & assorted luminaries from the world of Sci-fi, fantasy & horror. The channel also includes the 5D Podcast and competitions – You can find it (& maybe subscribe if you feel so inclined) athttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYhAN0Nlqg7614W2df_zI-g
5D would like you to check out Andrew Pledger’s short horror film My Pet Norman which has just been entered into the My Rode Reel film competition. Now in its 5th year, My RØDE Reel has even more categories celebrating every aspect of filmmaking excellence, with a combined prize pool of over $1 Million! Anyone can enter.
My Pet Norman‘s synopsis is as follows……
We all had a pet growing up whether it was a goldfish, dog, or a turtle, but this boy owns a different kind of pet.
A strange pet that has an unusual appetite.
One night after feeding his pet it starts acting bizarre.
You can see Andrew’s entry RIGHT HERE. Andrew would greatly appreciate it if you could also click on the ‘Heart’ vote section!
BTW, 5D now also has a YouTube channel which includes conversations with actors, directors & assorted luminaries from the world of Sci-fi, fantasy & horror. The channel also includes the 5D Podcast and competitions – You can find it (& maybe subscribe if you feel so inclined) at
I first came into contact with The Forest Of The Lost Souls in mid 2016 when I was lucky enough to be able to chat with the films creator and see an early release of the movie. Today I received news that the film has been picked up by the fabulous distributors, Wild Eye Releasing, setting it as their first theatrical release for August 2018.
It felt therefore appropriate to repost the article that not only included a review of the film but also an interview with the film’s creator, Jose Pedro Lopes.
The bulk of this review article, namely the inane chatter from myself and the illuminating interview, was first published in a nostalgically warm month (It’s now a perishing cold December) way back in a deliciously warm July of this year. It was something of an unusual promotion article, namely that due to a request from the filmmaker I wasn’t actually able to do much in terms of a review when talking about the film. This was due in the main for a need to hold off on reviews until the film was to be entered into the various festivals on 2017. Well it was certainly something of a tricky task – but I had a go.
Well six months had elapsed until I received an email just a couple of days ago from director, Jose Pedro Lopes who advised me that The Forest of The Lost Souls was debuting at the Fantasporto Film Festival in February 2017. In other words, it was time to put some review type comments down in print!
So in the time-honoured tradition of my wanting to save myself some work (or any if the chance permits) I’m re-publishing much (ok, all) of the original July article with the newly added review section at the end.
So there I was, in the strange position of having been lucky enough to get an early look at a yet to be released film, thoroughly enjoy the said film, and yet not be able to divulge a word about it. Yet that is indeed the very situation that I found myself in. It’s all the fault of JOSÉ PEDRO LOPES, who is the creative force behind a quite remarkable film, The Forest of the Lost Souls.
José wrote to me earlier in the week via the 5D website. He told me that he’s a filmmaker from Oporto, Portugal and currently starting the festival run for his first feature film, a coming of age slasher movie. In the message he asked me whether I would like to look at the trailer for his yet to be released film. Well indeed I would and indeed I did. After all, he had me at ‘coming of age slasher’.
In fact, so intrigued was I that I asked José if he would let me see the complete full length version of the film so that I could put a more complete article together (there’s a first time for everything, I hear you say!). José told me that he’d be happy to send me a super-secret online screener, however he had one teeny weeny minor condition, namely that I wasn’t to divulge to anyone just yet any major review details about the film. The reason being that The Forest of the Lost Souls has yet to begin its festival entry run and so understandably wanted to wait for reviews so as to accompany the films release.
Oh, OK I thought, this could be something of a challenge methinks, having never actually done a review article without actually writing a, er, review. At first I considered putting in a few clever and cunning hints about the film in this write-up. However I soon realised the problem with that plan was my complete lack of skills in the clever and cunning department. My second plan was to record a video review of the film in the form of improvised interpretive dance, that was until I remembered that I have the dancing skills of an Emperor Penguin on Valium.
So after much consideration I agreed to Jose’s request not to divulge any details of his movie….
I say ‘request’ because there was a definite undertone of him ‘making me an offer that I couldn’t refuse’ if I disagreed. Thankfully I managed the conundrum of talking about the film without talking about the film, by skilfully weaning some information by some clever investigative questioning techniques with the man himself.
First of all, let me provide you with a synopsis.
Ricardo and Carolina are complete strangers that meet seemingly by chance in the “Forest of the Lost Souls”, a place where many people go to commit suicide. These two, a young woman and an old man, are no different than the others as they also came to the forest for this very reason.
They decide to briefly postpone killing themselves in order to explore the forest and also to continue talking to one another, as Ricardo and Carolina find themselves intrigued by one another.
However, as the pair go further into the forest it becomes clear that one of them has other reasons for being in the forest and is not who they would have the other believe them to be and is actually a psychopath…
As I mentioned earlier, José also kindly agreed to answer a few of my piercing questions. Let me first give you a little information of the man in question.
JOSÉ PEDRO LOPES was born in Oporto (Portugal) in 1982. He studied Management at the Oporto Catholic University (Portugal) and film at Madrid’s Escuela de Cine Septima Ars (Spain).
José founded the production company Anexo 82 in 2011 with Ana Almeida with whom he has produced several shorts films in the fantasy genre such as «A Noiva» (2007, The Bride), «Survivalismo» (2011, Survivalismo) and the direct-to-web effort «M is for Macho» (2013). Their most recent work, the 90s-set coming of age drama «Videoclube» (2014, Video Store) proved to be a festival success and became part of the Mailuki Films catalogue.
We at 5D are happy to announce that our never-ending quest for complete world domination continues because the 5D Podcast is now available on Twitch TV. For those of you who may not be fully au fait with Twitch, well……It’s community where millions of people and thousands of interests collide in a beautiful explosion of video games, pop culture, and conversation. With chat built into every stream, you don’t just watch on Twitch, you’re a part of the show. From classic tv show marathons to esports tournaments, if you can imagine it, it’s probably live on Twitch right now.
Each week the Podcast will be live streamed RIGHT HERE . The episode this week contains chat about the planned Halo tv series, the new Netflix original movie, TAU & a shout out to Duane ‘The Rock’ Johnson & Eric Roberts. Plus the winner of the latest 5D Comp is announced!
The plan is that plenty of notice will be given in advance of the recording so that if you feel so inclined you can join us live! This means that comments, complaints. or (more obviously) outright love and adoration) can be sent our way – we would love it if suggestions, contributions etc are made while we record so that we can include them and give you a shout-out live aswell! So we would be thrilled and honoured if you would follow us on Twitch so that you can keep up to date IMMEDIATELY with all the developments in the 5D world.
Each episode is being simultaneously recorded to later appear on the usual 5D Podcast outlets as follows;
I think this week I discovered a cure for the common cold. I know you may be thinking that’s a rather grand statement, but let me assure you that I have the empirical evidence to support my assertion. So read on…..
You know me, I’m not one to wallow in the shallow and superficial pool of self-pity, using any vague glint of opportunism to bestow upon the world my tales of self-absorbed existence. Oh, hang on, that’s EXACTLY me…….right? Well let’s just say the past few weeks have been somewhat challenging on the health front with a pesky chest & cold infection which in turn went and annoyingly triggered my labyrinthitis. Of course, I have heroically carried on to the best of my ability with my life as I tackled the unending demands of family, work and life in general with, ahem, barely a word of complaint……. I kid yee not, minstrels will someday travel the land singing their songs of tribute and wonder about me battling through this endless adversity.
However, that was until this week when my body finally succumbed to its inevitable surrender and saw me crawl into my bed whilst mumbling such words as “I just can’t carry on”, “Kill me now” and “Where the hell is all this snot coming from?! As you can imagine, I’m not the best of patients.
You may well be asking yourself just what is the point of these ramblings? – we’ll let me tell you, because two things then took place this week. Not only did my illness mean that I missed some genuinely exciting Sci-fi news announced a few days ago, but also the said news probably overnight cured the worst of my illness when it came to my attention. The amazing fact is, I awoke this morning after reading this news, the jungle drums in my head had finally abated, my nasal passage wasn’t any longer full of 150 gallons of flowing mucus and I no longer had a cough that sounded like a heavily pregnant wild boar. Yes, this news be powerful medicine.
The news that broke this week was that acclaimed Director (and fellow ex-Boscombe boy) Neil Johnson is slated to direct the upcoming Sci-fi feature film, Evolution war later in the year! Blimey, I turn away for a minute (well, a few days) and suddenly one of my favourite directors, together with a group of actors I have been lucky enough to be able to get to know just a little over the last couple of years, have pulled the proverbial fast one with one of the best kept secrets of 2018!
Those familiar with my ramblings here on the 5D website and the 5D YouTube channel will be fully aware of my love for Neil’s previous Sci-fi feature, the outstanding Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter (2017). If you wish you can read my musings on the director and his filmRIGHT HERE. Thanks to the wonders of the modern technological world I have been lucky enough, via the 5D YouTube channel, to video chat with Neil about his career as a filmmaker. Not only that, but this led to conversations with the extremely talented and ridiculously gorgeous Tracey Birdsall(Sienna from Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter), the fabulous and lovely Marilyn Ghigliotti (from Neil’s Alien Armageddon and Kevin Smith’s Clerks) as well as the incredible talent herself, the gorgeous Brooke Lewis (Neil’s Starship Rising). Just click on any of those links to get a flavour of these most excellent people.
As yet details of Evolution War’s story are sketchy to say the least. All I know for now is that all the above names are reunited for the film and that Tracey Birdsall plays a character Angel-D with a plot as follows; Angel-D the machine war hero returns to Earth……….discovers humanity has been eradicated by plague……….strange creatures are now controlling the surface of the planet…….our hero Angel-D builds a robot army to battle aforementioned nasty creatures……”
I don’t know about you but that sounds like all sorts of wonderful! If nothing else, it appears to be a cure for the common cold. Which is nice.
I’ll be hoping over the next few months to pester, beg, stalk and beg again (my standard form of professional behaviour) to chat with Neil et al in order to glean more information about Evolution war……so stay tuned.