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Sunday, 31 January 2016

A love letter to David Bowie, his music and The Man who Fell to Earth

A couple of weeks ago one of my genuine heroes died. It was a death that affected me far more than I ever anticipated would do, not that one spends ones time wandering around mindfully anticipating the deaths of all those that I admire of course, but the depth of loss I felt for someone whom I had never met was surprising indeed. It seems too that I wasn't alone in my experience, for if the level of coverage in all forms of media is anything to go by, then the loss of this particular icon appears to have resonated far deeper than any other public figure of recent times. It is abundantly clear that he meant so much to so many, and on so many different levels. However, as always these are my own self indulgent ramblings, while I may well not come anywhere close to matching some of the truly beautiful words that have been written about the man since his death earlier this month, this will be at least my own heartfelt tribute to David Bowie.

If truth be told, whilst I would have always regarded myself as something of a fan of his work, there was a time when I probably wouldn't have thought I was any more than just that. Being a child of the 1970's, Bowie had always been part of the cultural landscape in terms of his music for many people so  I suppose I quite simply simply took him for granted. This view of myself as little more than 'something of a fan' changed in 1981 when two things happened simultaneously to make me completely reevaluate my feelings towards the man and his work, thus regarding him in far more grander terms. You may not believe that it all happened this way, but they did.

The first of these simultaneous occurrences was the visit in one Saturday in January of 1981 by my Auntie Jane. She was the younger sister, the cool younger sister, of my mum and had always seemed to me as about as deliciously rebellious and uncaring as one could get away with in Yorkshire back in those days. Jane wore the coolest clothes, she went to the coolest gigs and had just about the coolest taste in music. Yes, there was certainly a good deal of hero worship towards her from myself back then.

The visits to her house unfortunately were rare as she lived away in the next town and back then we didn't have a car, but when did manage to visit I would always go straight for her collection of T-Rex records and play them until even she would get fed up of hearing 'Cosmic Dancer' for the 10th time in a row.

So when she visited our home in that particular January of 1981 with the promise of a very special musical birthday present for me it was with barely concealed anticipation of what I thought would be her collection of T-Rex records. However, I was very much mistaken because while it certainly was a musical present, it turned out to be her own personal collection of each and every album that a certain David Bowie had made up to that point. It even included his very latest release, a brand spanking new as yet unplayed copy of his album, Scary Monsters. For a brief moment I was a little disappointed (yes you're correct.....ungrateful little shit), after all Marc Bolan at that point was still my musical bliss and as I've said earlier, Bowie was fine but all I really knew of him was his radio play list singles. However, for once in my life I managed to hide my immature disappointment and gave her my best "oh my god!!" response as I took the record collection upstairs.

I'm a firm believer that every single one of us has certain moments in our life when things inexorably change beyond all measure. Sometimes we are aware of these moments, sometimes we're completely unaware and it's only with the benefit of hindsight that we recognise them for the pivotal moments in our existence that they are. Let me me make it clear, within a few moments of listen to his exquisite Hunky Dory album I was completely aware that in musical terms, life wouldn't ever be quite the same again. Beautiful, beautiful music in album after album. I couldn't believe what I had been missing all those years as the day quickly passed by in a haze of Ziggy, Aladdin et al.

That very same evening the second happening occurred when, taking advantage of a birthday treat in being able to stay up late on that weekend night, I chanced upon a movie featuring none other than the redoubtable Mr Bowie. Now you you must remember that by this point in my life (having justice turned 14) that I was now firmly ensconced in my private but satisfying world of Scifi & horror geekdom. I say ' private' because the world of 1980 was a very different world for the geek than it is now, there was no Internet (god help us), little in the way of super-hero movies and certainly no celebration of all things geeky that there are today. Whereas today being a nerd or a geek is tantamount to being a badge of honour, back in the day one could be in serious danger of being clipped around the head at school by ones peers for such outlandish behaviour as carrying a copy of a Phillip K. Dick novel. 

However, thanks to the ever increasing behemoth that was Star Wars and the likes of Star Trek etc, the tide was beginning to change and this here blogger was in his element - Scifi was my world. So when I noticed that not only was there a relatively rare Science Fiction offering on mainstream TV (we only had 3 channels here in the UK at that time for crying out loud - it was like living in the dark ages!) but also it starred the man whose music I had been binging and gorging myself upon all day, well I was there ready and waiting. In all truth I don't really remember what I was expecting, maybe a blaster and space fight or two, but what I found in The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) took me completely by surprise - and some thirty odd years later, it still does.

Spoilers ahead me hearties!!

The premise of the film is relatively simple. An alien (played by Bowie) from a planet dying from the effects of drought has travelled to our little world in search of the water that will save his home. This Alien has a particular set of technological knowledge and skills as his electronic inventions quickly begin to bestow upon him a great deal of wealth as part of his ultimate plan to build a spaceship that will transport water to his drought-ridden planet.

However, things soon begin to unravel for the Alien as his incredible wealth, a Howard Hughes type existence, a series of destructive relationships  and a developing addiction to alcohol soon attract the attention of the dastardly CIA (the CIA is always dastardly in these movies). This eventually results in his capture and eventual emotional and psychological destruction as his plans are thwarted at the last minute. The film ends with him a lonely broken individual, haunted by the knowledge that his family and world are beyond help.

There are a number of age-old questions that people never tire of debating; Would Mohammad Ali have beaten Rocky Graziano? Was Lee Harvey Oswald the lone gunman? Was David Bowie any good as an actor?

Well let me tell you that the answer to all three is a resounding yes. Bowie's performance in The Man Who Fell To Earth is truly mesmerising (even more so on repeated viewing) in evoking the frail (both physically and emotionally) Alien trapped in a world that he barely understands.

David Bowie's performance was exactly what this type of film demanded  - because lets be clear that this is no blasters in space Star Wars type of Scifi. In truth it is a film that arguably would struggle to be made today with its emphasis on complex exploration of both character and philosophical ideas. There is little time or consideration for special effects of even a completely coherent plot here as it ponders along on it's existential abstract way. The tone is at times almost poetic in nature and if you haven't seen it think Solaris, think Sunshine........ then you may be halfway to understanding just what an experience this film is.

Bowie was quite perfect for the part as he portrays a figure of pitfall dreamlike loneliness, both in the flashbacks to when he left his family and the empty relationships with the people on Earth. The final scenes when he is left a broken lonely alcoholic made me cry back in 1981, and still does. It is possible that his lifestyle, fuelled with copious amounts of cocaine contributed to his dreamlike performance - perhaps. One cannot avoid the fact that his personal demons of the time certainly played a part in all that he did. Nonetheless, he is masterful here.

The Man Who Fell To Earth may well be a child of its time with its 1970's undertones of Watergate infused paranoia but it still holds up astonishingly well as a great film featuring a great central performance.

I was driving to work just a couple of weeks ago when, after a few minutes of half-listening to the radio, it suddenly occurred to me that four David Bowie tracks had been played in a row. At first I thought it was the local radio displaying a rare sense of consistent musical taste. When I then heard the news I pulled the car over and cried.

However the music still remains in all its glory - for me 'Life on Mars' is a song nearing musical perfection as much as any in the 20th Century. As for his films, well the jury may forever be out in regard to his acting career - but for me we are more the richer for movies such as The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Hunger and Labyrinth. As well we should be.

Cheers David.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

El círculo de Raynard (2014)

"A film crew are making a documentary about Frederich Raynard, a Nazi war criminal and expert in occultism who could have ended his days in a town in Leciñana, northern Spain. What starts as an easy job soon will become a dark adventure that will change their lives forever. 

With Raynard's diary in their hands and chased by a secret organisation, they will look for the help of a parapsychology professor. With him, they will soon find out their lives are in danger and the only way to save themselves is to perform one of the rituals from Raynard diary. The ritual that caused Raynard death years back."

I don't know about you, but I'm forever in awe of independent film makers. If it isn't enough that they often barely have two coins to rub together to be able to invest in the film's production, there's often little money left over to pay even the living costs of cast and crew. Actors and filmmakers often end up doing a multiple of jobs during the time of the production, invariably working in between the 'day jobs' that actually go somewhere to paying their bills. So against the odds a film finally may get made but then the battle has only really just begun, because the task now is to get some publicity in order for people to actually see the film - you never know, it may then recover the costs and even make some money.

So I suppose that the last part there is where people like myself come in. Now, I know that my dear reader unfortunately knows me far too well. I could say that I see myself as someone who wants to help these insane people who put their heart, soul and bank accounts into making a movie that could possibly only be seen by two people and their pet dog in Alaska. However, as I said you know that the truth is that this blogging lark enables me to hang on to the coat tails of these wonderfully creative people and bask in their reflective glory when success comes their way. It may be superficial, but hey, it's a hobby and keeps me off the streets - well actually it's the legal restraining orders and ankle tags that keep me off the streets....... but you know what I mean.

So apart from my raging shallowness and superficiality motivating me to help publicise a movie, it does actually help if the film in question is a little bit different in content and origin. Well I think that it's safe to say that El círculo de Raynard well and truly ticks both those boxes in abundance. The box I call 'well is it actually any good?' for the record, also contains a very, very big tick - it's wonderful.

This week Maria Valle, the film's producer and co-director, asked me if I would be interested in watching and reviewing El círculo de Raynard. If truth be told, I was at first a little reluctant to do so, the main reason being that I was little busy with something else and didn't feel as if I would have the time - that was until I heard some details about the film...... A Spanish made horror with elements of time-bending Scifi, Nazi war Criminals, the occult and the paranormal all rolled into one feature - what isn't there to like???!!! I was hooked.

Maria went on to tell me that the movie is a blend of history, found footage, mockumentary and narrative.  It centers on a film crew making a documentary about Frederich Raynard, a Nazi war criminal and occult expert who like many of his like never got caught or turned up dead after the war. Instead he was believed to have possibly ended his days in a town in northern Spain. With Raynard’s diary with them, what starts as an easy job soon becomes a dark adventure that will change their lives forever.

El círculo de Raynard is a low cost movie with a budget of just 12000 euros that has taken since seven years to see the light of day. In 2009 Maria and her colleagues started writing the script, which took a year and then in 2010 they shot the movie throughout the whole year during weekends and holidays. But what the heck inspired a story of Nazi war criminals and the occult? Well as Maria herself told me; " When we first started writing the film we knew we wanted to make a Scifi movie, we also knew it was going to be difficult for budget reasons and because it's an unusual genre for a Spanish movie. Our screenwriters Manuel Vidal and Rául González are big fans of all the secret societies that came up during the second world war and all the mysteries and mysticism that surrounds them. To add veracity to the project we decided to start the film with a mockumentary that fitted Spain, because Nazi precedents can be found in Spain. This plot gave us a new world to develop the story."

You may wonder if a film that mixes a number of filming styles (documentary, found-footage and traditional narrative) works - well yes it does.

The one aspect that constantly shines through is the abundance of enthusiasm in all that are taking part in front and behind the camera. The opening first 10 to 15 minutes 'documentary' section is nicely made, serving as a handy device to provide the viewer with lots of tasty background information on the dastardly Nazi, Frederich Raynard and his dastardly Nazi secret society together with their dastardly fascination for the dealings of the occult and paranormal. The section also serves to provide a chance to get to know some of the ensemble cast of the piece - namely the driven documentary director, the sassy presenter and the disgruntled camera & sound assistants - In fact all the cast are very good, with Natalia Diaz especially excellent as Sara, effectively conveying her journey from initial professional optimism after being introduced to this secretive occult reality, only to slowly realise the pain and horror that in fact awaits. 

Soon the traditional narrative section takes place as the group delve deeper into the mystery that is unfolding before them. While is could be argued that the script may not be quite as tight and crisp as it could be at times the actors nonetheless manage to skilfully convey the impending sense of foreboding and doom that their investigation has unfolded. This results in an atmosphere of genuine chill and several moments of nerve-jangling suspense.

El círculo de Raynard  clearly wears its heart and influences on its sleeve with the odd nod and a wink to a number of thematic origins whilst still remaining distinctly original in it's own narrative approach. Yes there some clear philosophical elements about the Nazis,the occult and secret societies, but don't worry those of you who like your horror not to be overly preachy or ambitious because there are a number of genuinely atmospheric and exciting set pieces throughout the third act of the drama.

This film provides a totally unexpected richly visceral experience, both on a visual and auditory level. For a start it looks wonderful with a rich tone of colour, texture and lighting which all serve to very nicely enhance the atmospheric narrative. The quality is such that visually the film completely belies the fact that it cost so little to make, it simply doesn't look cheap at all. In fact, so impressive is the visual element that I've now watched the film again without the sound and the overall effect is still striking. 

As I said earlier, I simply have no limits of admiration of the tenacity needed to complete the film production process as shown by the makers here. From the moment of inception back in 2009, almost every spare moment from day jobs was invested in the film. The main problem that Maria and the crew had was that they ad very little money. This meant that the writing of the script not only had to ensure a good tight plot but also take into account the need to use everything that was available. As a consequence, frequent adjustments to the script were constantly needed to tie in with something that they could shoot.  All the people involved were friends and everybody worked for free which was very tricky when they were shooting because we had to find days when everybody was available. 

The post-production took around 2 years as all the post-production crew had to work on the movie at night or during weekends.  By then they thought their job was done but they hadn't taken into account that they had to take care of the promotion as well. So for the past 2 years the team have been doing just that with El círculo de Raynard travelling around the world for almost one year now, participating in 12 international film festivals and winning 3 awards: Best SciFright Film in the Boston SciFi Film Festival, Best Film Award in the Artelesia Film Festival in Italy and the Special Jury Award at the Detective Film Fest in Moscow.

So where can the public see the movie? El círculo de Raynard tcan be rented (2 euros) or bought (5 euros) in vimeo on demand at the following link: you can find the first 14 minutes of the film for free, which is basically the opening documentary.

To find out more about El círculo de Raynard then visit their official website at 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The House on Pine Street (Second Sight Films)

Title: The House On Pine Street 

Cert: 15

Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0

Release Date: 1 February 2016 

RRP: £14.99

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 / 16:9

Running time: 108 mins approx.

I don't believe in ghosts and I certainly don't believe in haunted buildings - be they houses, mansions, castles, ships or local corner shops. It is all superstitious nonsense built upon a human psychological need that we all have to add complex meaning to ordinary events. These complexities of cognitive desire to finds patterns in otherwise simple occurrences manifest themselves in various formats; such as some of those weird and wonderful contrived conspiracy theories or the age-old the manifestation of supernatural apparitions. 

I did once have a friend (no seriously, I did once have a friend) who swore that her basement was haunted by the ghost. This particular apparition was of a woman who had been punished by death for being 'overly generous with her affections' towards many in the local male population. Now THAT'S the type of ghost I would like to have been haunted by. Alas, as much as I ventured into that basement to try and see this nymphomaniac ghost she never appeared, even if it was only to give me a cheeky wink of the eye.

No, I don't believe in ghosts, but I still bloody well adore a good ghost or haunted house movie - and before I go any further let me say this, The House On Pine Street is a damn good haunted house film.

The fact, that it is so good, on one level may be somewhat surprising - and I don't mean in relation to the usual indie horror restrictions on budget and crew. No it is surprisingly good when one takes into account the the explicit nods and winks that the filmmakers have made to a number traditional haunted house themes (more of which I will mention little later), but what they have achieved with more than a confident aplomb is to turn some of those themes well and truly on their head.

The result is to provide a fresh and lively treatment of a familiar narrative of young family meet house, young family love house, house though hates family, house threatens family, only one member of family knows house hates them, rest of family don't believe her, house and family member have death match face-off. Ahh, we've all been there.

Have a look of the synopsis to see what I mean;

"After an unexpected mental breakdown, seven month pregnant Jennifer Branagan (Emily Goss  - An Emotional Affair) reluctantly returns to her hometown in Kansas with her husband Luke for the arrival of their baby. Struggling to cope with fears of motherhood, a strained relationship with her husband and the presence of an overbearing mother, Meredith, Jennifer is losing control of her life. 

But what begins with objects moving behind her back and unexplained knocking sounds, soon escalates into  something far more sinister and threatening. Jennifer fears the house is haunted yet alone in her convictions, she is forced to question her own sanity. Is she losing her mind, or is there a dark entity within the house that  is all too real? "

This could easily have been a painting-by-the-numbers haunted house tale. You know, the one featuring a weak whimpering woman who would rather shriek with unburdened terror at the first bump in the night, or whisper in the basement rather than jettison the cliched and boring two dimensional constraints imposed by traditional horror lore.

In The House on Pine Street we have a main female lead character (Jennifer) that completely rejects the formulaic scream queen cliche by giving us a genuinely authentic and textured character rarely seen in horror. 

Credit has to be given in no small measure to the very lovely Emily Goss, who skilfully brings a wholly believable and sympathetic portrayal of a woman with a troubled and traumatic past. In turn she provides the audience with a deeply complex character full of the inconsistencies and imperfections that we all indeed share. She clearly despises her domineering mother (a lovely performance from Cathy Barnet) and often uses nothing more than a flicker of the eyes to show just how she belittled she feels simply by her mother's bullying presence. If that wasn't enough Jenny has also has clearly reluctantly moved back to Kansas and also seems rather less than delighted at being pregnant - much to the ignorance of her unknowing but seemingly well intentioned husband. Goss's performance in highlighting the vulnerability and dimensions of a character that refuses to bow down and whimper as she tries to make sense of what is happening to her is to be commended.

* Disclaimer: The rumour that I have been even more glowing in praise of Emily's performance because she liked and responded to one of my tweets the other night is nothing more than mischievous and libellous. It will be dealt with my team of lawyers as soon as my other restraining orders issues are dealt with. 

It is clear to see that the makers of The House on Pine Street, Aaron and Austin Keeling proudly wear their knowledge and inspirations of supernatural horror lore on their collective sleeves. Once again this could have resulted in nothing more than a cliched hotchpotch of familiar horror sub-themes. Yes we do have some old horror chums here such as the jaded Psychic, the faithful friend, the nice but dim husband and the domineering mother. However the filmmakers confidently avoid falling into to tried and tested horror tropes by turning some of those themes inside out. Instead, by employing some clever techniques of lighting and editing they succeed in constantly keeping the viewer on their toes. By forcing the lead character to increasingly question her own sanity and paranoia means that we too are never truly certain of what we are seeing.

In my opinion far too many contemporary horror films pander to the maxim of explaining all to the audience, often in the very first act. While this may please the mainstream film companies and their obsession with bland focus groups and audience feedback who want everything nicely tied up with a pretty red resolution ribbon, it doesn't please me. So it's refreshing to see filmmakers such as the Keelings avoid such cop outs and not resorting to seeking safe refuge in an over cooked  CGI experience rather than producing genuine chills.

Be very clear, The House on Pine Street is a genuinely scary film. I will as usual try to avoid spoilers at all costs but it's safe to say that there are a number of scenes that will provide any self-respecting chill seeker with their adrenaline fix. The one scene where Jenny takes a shower (hey, clear your dirty minds!) is especially creepily effective.

But don't just take my word for it because I'm not the only one singing this films praises.  For example it was the winner of Best Feature Film at Kansas International Film Festival and New Orleans Horror Film Festival and starring  Emily Goss, winner of Best Actress at Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival and Fargo Film Festival, this chilling tale of a disturbed dwelling with a ghostly lore makes its debut as download to own from 25 January 2016 and DVD and VOD 1 February 2016.

Aaron and Austin Keeling’s tauntingly sinister new feature – The House On Pine Street wreaks havoc on an expectant young couple as they move into an eerily ominous house. This highly acclaimed psychological thriller comes to DVD and digital; thanks to Second Sight Films. 

Fear what you cannot see in The House On Pine Street

This and other examples of blogging wonder can be found on the blog section (go figure) of my website

Friday, 22 January 2016

Survivors The Movie - Interview with Adam Spinks & competition to win the DVD

For the lucky competition winner.....minus one card, that one's for me!
Adam J Spinks has featured in a number of previous articles here on 5D, first coming to my attention with his first film, the rather good The Expedition which featured all sorts of funky Dinosaur stuff. You can see the review type musings from yours 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 skillful interrogation back in 2014 then check out the blog article RIGHT HERE

A little while ago I was given the chance to get a sneak preview of his latest venture, Survivors The Movie. 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. 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. If you wish to read my article about Survivors, then you can access it via the link HERE.

It seems that it's not only me that appears to like the film because by all accounts the sales of Survivors seems to be doing rather well thank you very much. As a result it was decided that I could plug myself and my website once again interview Adam - and not only that, offer you good people a little bit of a competition bonus........ a brand new DVD copy of your very own. I know, I'm too good to you!

So what follows is a very recent chat that I had with the director of Survivors, with the final part containing a competition question picked by Adam himself. You can visit the Survivors website at


Q) For those who haven't read any previous 5D articles about Survivors (damn them) please explain the  film's plot.

Survivors is a horror/drama is about three people fighting to stay alive as a deadly virus sweeps the country and at different levels, how they all discover just how far they’d be prepared to go to stay alive. As you can imagine, everyone has a different breaking point.......

Q) The film contains a nice variation of filming style, alternating between POV & traditional format. What were you hoping to achieve by this?

The found-footage element came from wanting the film to have an immediacy and a reality to the storytelling. The thing is, if something awful happened, people would film it- be that on their phones or other devices, but there would be a record of it happening from the first person so for me, it was important to reflect that kind of relationship we have with video now. 

And then for the cinematic portions, I wanted to create a more traditional distance from the characters, raising the questions of how we came to feel so distant given what else we’re seeing. The two stories reflect different feelings around the disaster on the part of the characters. 

Q) I've already talked to you about the pre-production process for Survivors. So what about the post-production, was it enjoyable or a laborious process?

Post-production on this was long, much longer than we’d intended but ultimately, it was for the best. We didn’t want to rush the film out and have elements we weren’t happy with in the finished film, so we really took our time with it to make it just right. Unlike a lot of films, this cut is really the ‘Directors Cut’ with everything I wanted to include! 

Q) Did the final version of the film match the original concept?

Because we took our time and really laboured over attention to the finest details, I feel that the film is exactly the film we all agreed to make a few years ago. Of course things change in the shooting and you’re always discovering new, maybe cooler ways of shooting something or trying something new but in general, yeah this is pretty much exactly how I wanted! 

Q) Is there anything at all that you would change?

Every production is a learning curve and sure, in hindsight it would have been great to have had a slightly bigger budget to work from but, compared to my other films, there’s very little I’d change about the finished film. I got hands on with every element, along with my producers, who really got behind the vision for the film. When you have people like that working towards a shared goal, the result is always stronger. 

Q) Any prospect of Survivors II ?

Well actually… maybe. For ages I said that I felt this story was complete and that there wasn’t anywhere else for it to really go (no spoilers!) but I saw a wonderful short film recently that really opened my eyes to something I hadn’t thought of before and also I haven’t seen this kind of thing really done in a zombie movie before so… watch this space

Q) What has been the reaction to Survivors?

Critics have overall loved it (awesome) and the feedback from people who’ve watched it has been wonderful! It’s been nice to be on the more positive side of things for a change! I’m pleased audiences are responding to this kind of film making and storytelling. 

Adam's hero pose.
Q) What extras are available on the DVD?

As well as the Directors cut of the film, we also included a cool Featurette which explains a bit more about how we managed to make the film for what we did, as well as about 4 minutes of deleted scenes and a blooper reel. We’ve also subtitled the main feature too. 

Q) In broader terms, what is the state from a filmmakers point of view of the current indie film scene?

Independent film is at an interesting place but I think it’s still difficult to make inroads for new filmmakers. Crowdfunding helped us to launch Survivors which was great, I doubt we would have gotten the backing without the belief of our supporters. 

Distributors and investors aren’t in the business of taking risks on new filmmakers, they want tried and tested routes to success but I think as distribution changes further, more opportunities may open up. It’s about whether you’ve got a good story with a commercial element to it. Do an audience want to see it? And is it any good? Those are the big questions all filmmakers need to be honest with themselves about. 

The new bargain-basement flight to Tenerife gets ready for take-off....

Q) So, plans for the future?

I’ve actually only shot one short film this year so it’s been a quiet production period for me but I’ve been writing a lot with various people and it looks as though we’ll be announcing a very exciting and ambitious project in the very near future called ‘Into The Grey’. It’s best described as ‘The Descent meets A Lonely Place To Die’ 

Watch this space.

Q) So Adam, what is the competition question for one lucky person to win a brand spanking new DVD of Survivors?

Which of these was NOT one of the working titles for SURVIVORS?

A) Dark Days
B) Sunset 9:04
C) Tomorrow

In order to enter the competition, simply visit the 5D website at and click on the competition page. Good Luck!!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Planet Jimbot: Good Cop Bad Cop #3 PLUS a competition to win signed issues of Wolf Country


A couple of days ago I was contacted by an old friend of 5D (though he would probably deny even knowing me), comics writer, Jim Alexander who wanted to know if I would like a peek at his latest release, GoodCopBadCop. 

For those of you in the know, you will be fully aware of my past ravings about the work of Jim and his press label, Planet Jimbot. However, if you are completely oblivious to my words of wisdom on many things Jimbot, well you can find a couple of prime examples of my scribbling attempts HERE & also HERE.

In a nutshell, Jim has written "Judge Dredd", "Calhab Justice", "O'Rork" and "Pandora" for the Judge Dredd Megazine and "The Grid" for 2000 AD in the early-mid 1990s. Since then he was worked for Marvel, DC, Tokyopop and Metal Hurlant. 

In 2012 he set up a small-press label called Planet Jimbot. Its publications include Amongst the Stars (drawn by Mike Perkins), Wolf Country (drawn by Luke Cooper), the anthology Amazing & Fantastic Tales and Savant (drawn by Will Pickering and Fin Cramb; originally conceived for Strip Magazine). GoodCopBadCop and Gabriel have also been rebranded as Planet Jimbot comics Click Here for more info.

So, my impatient reader, yes I can hear you say, "You could actually tell us something about GoodCopBadCop, you know"

Well, the story returns for the all-new Casebook#3: ‘Only Pigs and Horses’ Part 1.  The book has reverted to publisher Planet Jimbot.  The first two volumes are still available from Rough Cut. If you haven't read the them, don't worry because volume 3 can easily be read as a stand-alone piece of work which will in turn lead very nicely into this new volume of stories. However I would heartily recommend that you find the earlier at your earliest convenience, they really shouldn't be missed in terms of pure experience. Essentially, the tale is a modern crime take on Jekyll and Hyde where the good cop and the bad cop are the same person.  This is not a story about a good man turned bad, or indeed a bad man turned good.  Both good and bad arrived at the very same time. Casebook#3 will be told over 3 issues which sees Detective Inspector Brian Fisher and his ‘bad cop’ alter-ego driven further down into the hell that is the Glasgow underworld.  Be warned me hearties, there is a distinct mature theme here, so those of a nervous disposition or the many in the world who seem to be daily waiting to be offended by just about anything and everything - well let's just say that GoodCopBadCop may not be for you. Bless your fragile hearts.

This is a deliciously twisted, gritty and violent story set in the equally twisted, gritty and violent underbelly of the Glasgow criminal world - not that I actually know much about Glasgow's underworld....... obviously. Yes, my dad was born and bred there, however his nefarious criminal activities amounted to nothing more than an unpaid overdue library book and some particularly unseemly business on the 18th hole of the local golf course after a drunken night with his friends. Apart from that he was as clean as a whistle.

Anyhow, back to the story. I must admit that I do like my characters to have certain shades of grey in their personality make-up. I simply cannot abide cardboard cut-out black and white figures.........boring!! I think it's safe to say that Detective Fisher has more than his fair share of grey texture as he battles with a sadistic figure from his own mysterious past, the wonderfully named 'Horse Peter' who seems keen to wreak his own particular brand of horror on the local police and populace.

GoodCopBadCop is a hugely enjoyable no-holds-barred romp of unhinged psychosis and violence (and I'm not just talking about the bad guy). The dialogue, curtesy of Mr Alexander is as crisp and dynamic as ever which provides a nicely authentic feel of that area of the world without ever falling into Rab.C. Nesbitt territory of pastiche. It also needs to be mentioned in dispatches that praise too should be heaped upon Aaron Murphy for his stunning artwork which at times is simply mesmerising.

As I've already mentioned, this is a violently harsh tale (though it must be said,not without its humour) that deals with subjects that some may find challenging in their grim depiction. I personally found the reading experience completely pleasurable and simply cannot wait for part two of this tale. Highly recommended. 

GoodCopBadCop is written by Jim Alexander (Batman 80-Page Giant, Marvel Milestones, Metal Hurlant) with stunning interior art by new kid on the block Aaron Murphy (The Yorkshire Cowboy). The stunning cover is by rising indie star Luke Cooper (Hollow Girl, Wolf Country). The Jimbot people be launching the book at the Geek-aboo comic mart (74 High Street, Glasgow) on Saturday 23rd of January between 11am-3pm.  In attendance will be writer Jim Alexander and Editor and Publisher Ed Murphy.  

Alternatively you can order the book online from the Planet Jimbot shop:


5D works closely with a variety of people from organisations big and small. These people often send me presents to have a look at which allows me to offer my readers the opportunity to get their hands on some great swag. 

So, for the inaugural 5D competition on the still very new and updated 5D website Jim Alexander has very kindly donated the first four issues (signed by the man himself) of his excellent series, Wolf Country as a prize for the lucky winner. 

There are just a few days to go for the competition deadline - you can win by answering the question below and putting your answer into the box in the form on the competition page on the 5D website at

Please don't forget to include your contact email address or your submission won't be counted.

Question: What is the name of Judge Dredd's brother?

Prize: The first four comics in the Wolf Country series (all personally signed by Jim)

Good luck!!