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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Orient City: Ronin & The Princess - The Kickstarter for this animated film.

A couple of days ago news of a brand Kickstarter campaign landed on the desk of 5D headquarters. Now I don't want to sound all big-headed and conceited like, I really don't, however I do get quite a number of press releases and invites each week for a range of projects. Unfortunately, time being such the precious commodity that it is, I simply don't have the capability to do them them all. 

So occasionally, when two or three requests simultaneously come to me as they did just a couple of days ago, the decision has to be relatively quick - and in the case of this article, the subject matter was decided upon in just a few moments after a small number of choice words leapt off the press release;

'Samurai', 'Spaghetti' and 'Western' were the first of them, oh and three others that seemed to go together just wonderfully well; 'ultra violent animation'. Well that was me hooked in then. Because anybody who knows me knows of my eternal obsession with Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns and the Samurai films of Akira Kurosawa et al.

Not only did this speedy press release perusal result in some hugely enjoyable research, it spawned an equally enjoyable interview with one of the film's creators, as well as the next 'legendary' 5D Website competition - but more of that last point later.

The Kickstarter launch in question was from acclaimed graphic novel, R.E.M creators Ryan Colucci and Zsombor Huszka who were proudly announcing the launch of their hand-drawn animated film, Orient City: Ronin & The Princess.

Ahh, already I can here some of you asking just what is the plot of this animated film? Well let me tell you........

"Orient City: Ronin & The Princess is a samurai spaghetti western that mixes the characteristics of the American Wild West and Feudal Asia. 

An unforgiving place, Orient City is a vertical tangle of rock and skyscrapers interconnected with waterways and cable cars. The poor, quite literally, dwell at the bottom. 

At the center of it all is Boshi, a fallen samurai who has sworn to protect a young girl whose family has been assassinated. Together they head to Orient City for one thing… revenge."

The team launched its campaign just this week to bring the striking 2D animation to life, and is already on their way toward their overall crowd-funding goal of $30,000 to help cover the total cost of the film. The link for their Kickstarter page can be found RIGHT HERE

If my advice is worth anything at all I would recommend going to the page straight away, if nothing else to watch the info video clip which includes a quite frankly breathtaking opening shot from the film - it looks stunning! Of course, on the crowdfunding page you can also see the plethora of rich information about the film itself, the perks available for contributing and further examples of the incredible storyline created by Ryan Colucci and the stunning artwork from Zsombor Huszka.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to arrange not only a fascinating interview with Ryan Colucci, but in addition Ryan kindly agreed to offer up a beautiful original art print drawn by Zsombor. The competition question can be found at the end of this interview and it, together with further details on how to enter can be found on the competition page of the 5D Website at

So without further ado - the interview bit with Ryan Colucci.........

Q) Before we get into the specifics of your latest project - c'mon, tell us about yourself.... You know, influences, inspirations etc etc! 

I grew up as a child of the 80s, so the Star Wars films basically defined my childhood. I love new and interesting worlds, and I love world-building. But the biggest overall influences on me were the things that I was repeatedly watching everyday. TMNT cartoons, Muppet Babies, Ducktales, Saved by the Bell, Charles in Charge, etc… It has cultivated this odd 80s sensibility and outlook on the world. I also spent a lot of time just sitting on the floor in the living room while my dad watched old westerns. That has left an indelible mark on me.

Since my current project is hand-drawn animation, we are definitely influenced by Miyazaki, specifically for me Princess Mononoke. But I guess Ghost in the Shell is the one that stands out the most. It was the first time I saw an animated film that was definitely not for children. It wasn’t until then that I realized I wasn’t alone in the world. It transcends animation – it’s one of my favorite films, period.

Q) So Orient seems to have a plethora of flavours;  samurai spaghetti western that mixes the characteristics of the American Wild West and Feudal Asia! So how did the story begin in your mind & how long has it been evolving?

Like I said, I love world-building. There’s a difference writing a story or movie that exists in our world and seeing it come to life and creating a unique world that exists somewhere other than my head. And that has always been my dream – to see that come to life.

I didn’t specifically have this world in mind – that didn’t happen until Zsombor Huszka and I were on the road hitting as many conventions as we could to promote our graphic novel R.E.M. You have a lot of down time in the car and at a convention table, so he was always sketching. We both love samurais, and he loves to draw samurais, so he sketched a samurai Batman (which we finished as an art print) and then we started spit-balling ideas… And Orient City was born.

We were both interested in making an animated film that isn’t necessarily for children and we wanted the world to have this epic, grand scale… beautiful but ultra-violent at the same time.

Q) The animation work of your collaborator, Zsombor Huszka is stunning. Tell us about him & how you work together.

He is based out Budapest and was actually a member of the Hungarian national fencing team. He’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt.  So he’s not your traditional artist.   

Even though we are a world apart, we have a short-hand working together. It started during R.E.M. and continues today. We spend a lot of time going back and forth on design work. Once that is done, bringing it to life is more about labor and small tweaks.  

For Orient City, the most important guideline to keep in mind is that everything from the smallest details to the choreography of a fight scene has to have both Western and Asian movie elements in it. If Zsombor creates a typical western wanted flyer, he makes it a scroll and puts it on rice paper with faded Kanji symbols on it. 

Q) The Kickstarter campaign has a couple of weeks to go as yet. How's the campaign going?

The response to the hand-drawn animation has been very kind to say the least. Let’s hope my script lives up to that.

This thing is going to very, very violent… while also being quite stunning to look at.

Q) Tell us about some of the stunning perks for contributors to the campaign (I especially like the scroll print).

Thanks… I can’t take credit for that one. It was all Zsombor. The opening shot of the film is rather epic. Our city stretches vertically, and we start at the bottom and boom up until we arrive at a saloon. Zsombor wanted a print that showed the entirety of that opening shot – and since our film is obviously inspired by Asian-culture/themes, doing a scroll print just made sense.  

Besides the film itself, which you can get as a digital download, DVD or Bluray, most of the rewards are based around the artwork. We have a series of art prints that reflect samurai or wild west culture. My favorite is probably The Dark Ronin (Batman as a Samurai) – which is actually the start of this whole world.

We also have personal commissions. Something cool that relates back to the film is drawing someone as an ink-washed avatar. Because the film is traditional animation, we thought it appropriate to offer animated cels. You select a frame (out of 8 from the final film) and we are going to print each layer of animation on a cel – which is going to look very cool once framed.  

Then we have some traditional things like the Orient City T-Shirt and two versions of a full-sized movie poster.  

Q) I know this isn't your first Kickstarter campaign. Tell us a little about what planning goes into a successful campaign (without giving too much away!)

It’s extremely hard to plan for what people want.  If we knew that I wouldn’t be so stressed. So we put as much as we can into it in terms of information and artwork… trying to make what would traditionally be black text on a white background to better represent our project. We are artists, so it’s the one thing we can do to spruce up the campaign.  

I learned a lot from R.E.M. in terms of what rewards were working or not working, both in terms of how hard they were to deliver and what people were responding to. In large part, I put way too many rewards on that one and watered it down. I fear that maybe I did that here too. I don’t have some great answer because I’m still learning as I go. And a movie and a graphic novel are different animals.

The truth is, my friends and family don’t necessarily like the same things I do… which means my reach isn’t that great.  So I’ve put a lot of time into social media.  But it’s a very fluid thing, I don’t know what posts will get traction. I try to post a lot of quotes from filmmakers or actors I respect, or movies I love. It’s not easy to find 350 quotes, most of them I have put on an image… and I can’t really say if that has made a difference. However, it has been fun interacting with like-minded people. I spent so much time alone working, it’s good to have a conversation – even if it is taking place over social media instead of in-person.

Q) What is the current climate like for crowdfunding campaigns, graphic novels and animated films?

I’m sort of in the thick of it, so I don’t have a full grasp yet.  We had a lot of great feedback and success with R.E.M. – but Orient City is still early in the process.  I can only work my butt off and hope for the best. I can tell you that we are going to kill ourselves on the film. We want every frame to be something you could pull out, make a print out of and be proud to hang on your wall.

Q) So the Kickstarter campaign will hopefully be a success. What is the timeframe for the completion and release of Orient?

I hope you are right! We will be done with everything by December 1. That gives us time to not only finish the animation itself, but we have scheduled enough time plus a pad to put together/create all of the rewards.

Q) What are the other future plans of Ryan Colucci?

Right now the main focus is on Orient City: Ronin & The Princess

Last year I directed my first live-action film, Suburban Cowboy. It’s a small film… a gritty thriller that is being sold right now, so I try and keep myself busy and not freak out about that.

We actually did hand-drawn animated titles for that and they were nominated for an Excellence in Title Design at this year’s SXSW festival, against massive films like Spectre and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Q) Oh, and I almost forgot. You've graciously agreed to offer a prize of The Dark Ronin 11x17 Art Print on the 5D completion page of the website. What is your question for the entrants to answer?

A Fistful of Dollars is an unofficial remake of this samurai film?

The Prize - The Dark Ronin 11x17 Art Print
To win go to the competition page at

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A little whisper about 5D, Blasting News & Game of Thrones.

It was with great pleasure that 5D last week agreed to contribute a series of news articles for the social media phenomenon that is Blasting News.

There may indeed be some of you who don't know what's happening with those fab and groovy hipster kids on the street, Daddy-O (I think that's the modern vernacular). Well Blasting News is a fully independent online magazine based on the principle of social journalism and powered by the voices of thousands of people called Blasters. So now 5D is, apart from being quite possibly the finest Scifi/fantasy & horror website on the planet, now a blaster. I know I've been called worse.

If truth be told I was a little unsure at first what specifically to contribute, because each news article had to be in essence relatively short (no more than 800 words) and punchy. Of course, those poor unfortunates who have regularly read any of my blog articles will know fine well that if there’s anything I particularly struggle with, it’s being short and punchy – waffling and punch drunk is more my style I’m afraid. And to those who muttered that I can add to the list of struggles piffling little things such punctuation, grammar and a reasonable level of interest – well you can leave the room now. No matter how correct you may well be.

So there I was, frantically trying to think of the angle my news pieces should take until I finally stumbled onto what should have been blindingly obvious in the first place. The decision I eventually made was to provide a few select musings each week on a specific TV programme, but not a full review mind you. Because that would imply a level of detail, structure and expert subject knowledge that would be better left to those reviewers who take themselves far more seriously (and rightly so) than I'm capable of. No, the plan would be to put forward to the unsuspecting general public a few musings each week........ But on which programme? 

Well for those of you who took notice I'd this article's title I suppose that it's not exactly a secret. So Game of Thrones it is then. 

I  mentioned earlier my initial reticence about contributing to, there was however another reason for that. There is a saying that has developed over the years about life on the Internet that I rather like which goes something like this; There are two steps to causing a major fight on the Internet. 1) State an opinion; 2) Then wait one minute.

Because inevitably, once news articles like this are published the result is a volume of responses such as "I can't believe you didn't mention........!" Or the "are you sure you watched the same program as me??!!! Then there's the age-old classic " I think you'll find your talking absolute bullshit and I hope your dog dies a slow painful death..." - or words to that effect. Well, it's my article, my rules and my own particular take on a show which happens to be just a little bit special to me. But, feel free to disagree and suggest alternatives as much as your hearts desire - after all we're all entitled to our opinions and will probably have a multitude of viewpoints, just don't call me names - I'm delicate you know. In due course there will be a direct link to the 5D Blasting News articles via the 5D website at

However for now you can access my pearls of wisdom (sic) via my Blasting News profile RIGHT HERE.

So far the I've managed to 'cover' the 2nd and third episode of season 6, which of course includes the resurrection of a certain man who knows nothing, the return of Bran, Arya being no-one, Tyrion still having the best one-liners and Lena Headey still rocking the gorgeous short hair look as Cersei. Of course much more than that has happened, some of which I've even remembered to talk about in the news article...... I said, 'some'. 

As well as reading the aforementioned selections of attempts at proper type news articles you also have the option of following me on the site - though of course there's  no pressure to do that. I mean, it's not as if it will provide me with all your personal details, online passwords and home address - believe me, I've checked and unfortunately it gives me nothing about you. In all said and done, it's just a bit of fun and essentially yet another medium to enable me to further talk about myself. This of course is what it's all about!

Oh and be warned, because in October when The Walking Dead returns to our screens I'll be doing the same for that series. I know, there's no escaping me.

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Dark (2015)

DARK (2015)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 93 min
Director: Nick Basile
Writer: Elias
Executive Producer: Joe Dante
Starring: Whitney Able (Monsters), Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead), Brendan Sexton III (Boys Don't Cry) and Michael Eklund (The Call)
with Redman (Seed of Chucky)

A few months ago there was a power cut in our part of the North East of Scotland after some of the worst snow storms here in many a year. Up until that point the day had been rather mundane, I was away at my day job, it was the middle of the week so therefore I was fast losing the will to live. It was approaching 4pm when the power went off in our office. The lights went out, the computers went silent and perhaps the most frightening aspect of all, the coffee machine stopped working. I won't say that there was panic, but the thought of no coffee was enough to send some of us into an ever-increasing feeling of apprehension. 

It became clear within the hour from a radio announcement that this was going to be one of those rare extended power outages, so the powers that be decided to let us go home to the relative safety and comfort of our homes...... well at least that was the intention because when I eventually reached my house about an hour later, well lets just say that I now know my place in the hierarchy of survival in my family. The thing is, my family (wife, son, daughter, 2 dogs and 2 cats) had heard the news that the power could well be out for a couple of days, such was the damage that the weather had wreaked on the local infrastructure.

They had quickly come to the communal decision between them that the well stocked food in the refrigerator may well be wasted as it quickly defrosted, something had to be done. Did they think of putting the food safely locked up outside the house (remember it was a snow storm) - nope. Did they think of connecting the refrigerator power supply to a spare battery that was there doing nothing in the garage? - nope. Instead they decided that the only thing to do was to eat all the food that was in there, all 5 days worth of it........ well at least it wouldn't go to waste.

By the time I reached home there was barely any food left. I entered the kitchen to see my dogs eating my supply of Italian meat section - all that was left for me was a couple of plain biscuits.......bastards.

Well OK, on the scale of things my losing my supply of fine Italian meats in a blackout may not be the theme for a great movie, however the notion of what the mind of a human being is capable of experiencing in such circumstances is well wroth exploring. And this is exactly what this remarkable film DARK does.

"Set in NYC during the blackout of 2003, Kate, a struggling 30-something model with a troubled past, has just moved into her girlfriend Leah's Brooklyn loft, but already doubts about their relationship has begun to loom. When Leah leaves for the weekend, Kate unexpectedly finds herself alone in the apartment in the midst of the worst blackout in North American history. 

As darkness falls over the city, Kate's  paranoia grows and she begins to believe someone in the building is stalking her. With no one to help her and escape out of reach, Kate is forced to confront her deepest fears as she fights to survive through the night."

The backdrop of DARK is based upon the actual blackout back in 2003 which affected huge swathes of the Northeastern and Midwestern US, together with some southern Canadian provinces. The power cut lasted for a few hours for a lucky few, others were not quite so lucky with some areas being without power for between two days and up to a week for some of the more remote parts. It was regarded at the time to be the world's second largest blackout which overall effected over 10 million Canadians and up to 45 million people in the affect U.S states. So alright, maybe my tale of blackout isn't quite as extreme as that one, but it's all relative.

When I received the request a couple of weeks ago to have a sneak peek at an online screener for this film two things immediately persuaded me to do so. Firstly the story was written by a past acquaintance of 5D, Elias, who was responsible for the hugely enjoyable GUT, a film that didn't hold back on it's psychological and violent punches. If you want to see what I mean then you can read the article RIGHT HERE.

The second persuading element was the connection to DARK with the role of executive producer being taken up by non-other than cinematic legend, Joe Dante. Yes that's right, only Joe bloody Dante! He of Gremlins, The Howling, Piranha and Innerspace to name but a very few. If that's not enough to sell anyone into seeing a film, well I really don't know what is.

This is a film that in some ways took me by surprise, both in it's study of the psychological complexities that can impact on an individual who is already in the throes of mental fragility, but also in the willingness to be disciplined in taking its time to tell a story that is sometimes deceptive in its portrayal of acute emotion. I must admit that the opening scene between Kate (Whitney Abel) and Leah (Alexandra Breckenridge.... yes, she from The Walking Dead) is quite simply electrifying - just don't watch it, ahem, with any children!

However, the relationship between the two women is clearly already in troubled waters, the strain seemingly caused by the long-standing psychological issues which are tormenting Kate. These issues are currently being amplified by the problems between the two women, with the very issues plaguing Kate about to significantly explode when the blackout hits and she finds herself alone in a darkened city to accompany her darkened mind.

This leads us to one of the main strengths of DARK, because the intention of writer Elias and director Nick Basile seems quite clear, to show how the blackout is responsible for the speedy psychological disintegration of a individual, and so acting as a metaphor for how the social disintegration can also unfold on such occasions. To be able to to this, time and patience has to be spent in order to fully appreciate the desperate struggle of Kate to keep hold of her sanity in the face of an increasingly unseen terror. There are some who watch this that might become impatient with the periods of apparently little happening, but this it one of its strengths the as the result is a sometimes implicit yet constant increase of suspense and psychosis.

Another undoubted strength of the movie is the central performance of Whitney Able as Kate, for she is quite simply stunning. In truth she needed to be because the whole success of this examination of a fractured mind rests on a completely authentic and convincing portrayal by the lead actor. And convincing she is, moving effortlessly between ever changing moods of bewilderment, despair and terror as she battles her inner demons. I predict great things for Miss Able, great things indeed.

If you add to that a strong supporting cast, particularly the equally wonderful Breckenridge, a fine script and some inspired lighting and editing which belies the films low budget you have a package that should not fail. I'm sure it won't.

What we have in DARK is a genuinely suspenseful psychological study of the effects of isolation and entrapment. There will be the inevitable comparisons to a certain Mr Hitchcock and his predilection for ripping a vulnerable gorgeous young blonde woman from the secure trappings of normality and placing her in the grasp of many of society's mortal and unspoken fears. I have been lucky enough to have been given the chance to interview the films director in the near future and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this was a conscious homage to Hitchcocks methodology.

A thoroughly enjoyable movie experience.

You can find out much more about this remarkable film at the official DARK website

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Horde

I once had a friend (no behave, I really did) who came from a sophisticated and well to do family. It's safe to say that she was something of a classy girl. She wore the best designer clothes, listened to the latest music and had read vociferously the works of Chekov - and yes, I was besotted with her. In all truth, I had always thought that she was way, way, way out of my league, what with my unashamed love of Sci-Fi & horror, comics and the like. However, it became clear that we had something of a connection and soon became the best of friend until one day she invited me around to her parents house.

After the usual pleasantries and stilted conversation between myself and her parents she asked me if I wanted to see her room, but first I was told that I had to prepare myself for a surprise. Of course I wanted to see her room - however, before your dirty little minds start getting ahead of the story let me warn you that you're on the wrong path. This is not that type of story. After making me promise for about the 36th time that I wouldn't divulge what I was to see in there, she took me in. Now, I'm not sure what I was expecting to see, but there in one corner was what she described as her one true love - it was a wall-to wall collection of marvel comics, Stephen King Novels, slasher dvd's, B-movie science fiction tapes and finally her absolute pride and joy - every single Jean-Claude Van Damme action film ever made. She described this area as her guilty pleasure sanctum and something that nobody was to know about. She told me that she was in awe of me (me?!) because I didn't give a toss what people thought of my tastes.

I must admit that I dislike the term 'guilty pleasure' when it comes to admitting ones love of something, whether it be music, movies or literature. I also dislike the elitist tone some that occasionally comes to the surface in some conversations within the scifi and horror genre community - you know the ones I mean, such as the one where you simply must love 2001: A Space Odyssey but at the same time you simply must deride Flash Gordon. Elitist nonsense. There's room for everything. You should never be embarrassed about what floats your boat, never.......... Well maybe except for a predilection for certain things that may cause a rather lengthy stay in a correctional facility. Those you should keep secret.

So when 5D headquarters received the following message this week one of my own particular boats was well and truly floated:

"Hey! Love the site! (That's always a good start for Mr Ego here).
We’re representing the new action-horror film THE HORDE, released this May, and thought it’d be up your alley!  The flick stars rising action star Paul Logan, Mad Max icon Vernon Wells and Costas Mandylor. Keen to review the film (below) and/or interview some of the cast/crew?"

You see, if there's one thing I love in movies it's a good no-nonsense in your face high octane action flick....... you just have to say the words Con Air or Under Siege and I'm yours forever. Just one look of the overview of The Horde was enough to peak this here bloggers interest.

"The film follows ex-Navy Seal John Crenshaw (Paul Logan) as he accompanies his girlfriend and her students on a weekend nature-photography expedition deep in the woods. What should be an educational and fun-filled trip turns into horror as the group is besieged by an unspeakable evil: a horde of hideously disfigured, mutated humans with an insatiable taste for blood. 

With the stakes higher than ever, John must once again embrace the life he left behind and become the unstoppable combat soldier he was to track down and kill the horde.The mutants have no idea who they are up against when the hunters become the prey in this life-or-death, kill-or-be-killed conflict that proves how much one man will do and endure to save the woman he loves and get them out of this Hell alive."

Ok, lets get a few things out of the way straight away.......... Yes, the lone warrior type person against a rag-tag group of low-lifes has been done many times before......... Yes, the fusion of action film with mutant hordes has been done before.......Yes, the story of some less than appealing teenagers getting far more than they bargained for on a camping trip has been done on countless occasions......... and yes, the increasingly inventively violent ways to kill a bad (or good) guy isn't new either........

But who cares? Because, bloody hell, I enjoyed this film immensely. In fact if truth be told, one or two of those familiar tropes are actually turned on their head in this film. For a start one of the keys to its success is that The Horde doesn't attempt to take itself too seriously. It knows from the start what it is - a high energy slice of action intended to simply entertain it's audience with no grand or elitist pretensions. I dare anybody not to be seduced by its charm and endeavour.

I have it on good authority (namely, my wife) who suggests that Paul Logan has at least two major attributes in order to make him a fine action hero - firstly, a very nice smile; secondly, muscles to die for. I did ask her why she suggested that I started working out myself when I don't actually look that different from the degree holding martial artist action star. I must admit that I did take her uncontrolled hysterical laughter a little personally while she was barely barely able to breathe, let alone talk at that point. "Just what is that supposed to mean? I have a degree too!"....... at that remark she collapsed in incredulous laughter once again.

In all seriousness, Paul is perfectly adept at the requisite (sometimes deliciously cheesy) one liners as he progresses to dispatch the mutant baddies in an ever increasingly inventive and brutal manner as the hunters now become the hunted. In addition to that, it is quite clear that as writer and producer of the film this is a very personal and important project to Logan, and this factor certainly comes through. So let's see......another all round talented guy, good, that's another one of us then.......

The Horde must be praised to in giving a sizeable amount of screen time to the selection of bad guys, with particular mention being given to the legendary Vernon Wells who, as one of the horde, completely steals the few scenes that he has in the film. I was incredibly honoured to speak on the phone with Vernon a few weeks ago while he was filming in his native Australia and wow, what a nice guy! If you have a moment you can see the transcript of the interview RIGHT HERE.  In this film, not only does he display a nifty skill with a an electric saw, but also a some wonderful lines, especially the sequence where one of the unfortunate students is about to succumb to the sharp delights of his steel blade.....

"Well of course there was the screaming and the begging...... oh and the crying....... But then there's the realisation...... that when this cold steel blade cuts into warm flesh and that burst of spray of blood......ha!.......what's left?....... What's left is just the screaming........oh god........I love the screaming....."  

Utterly brilliant!

In fact the film as a whole boasts a fine selection of bad guys with Costas Mandylor (Saw IV) and Matt Willig adding an excellent addition to the bad guy ensemble.

The supporting student characters are suitable annoying and obnoxious in parts but special praise must go to to Tiffany Brouwer as the students teacher and love interest of John Crenshaw. To say that she is on the right side of delicious would be an understatement and has absolutely no bearing on my saying how fine she is in the movie. The fact that I have just sent her a friend request should not be seen as questionable in a court of law, after all, she's a friend of Paul Logan and while there's a small chance that he could kick my arse, well I really don't want to take that chance.

As I mentioned earlier, The Horde takes some familiar themes and does it's very best to fuse them with elements of horror and gore, and for the most part it succeeds. That's not to say that the film is without it's faults however. At times the combination of traditional action picture and horror gore don't quite always work with a couple of scenes feeling a little disjointed to leave the narrative feeling somewhat less linear than it could of been. In addition the soundtrack is perhaps the least successful part of the production, and something which at times clearly detracts from the the experience rather than adding to the atmosphere and tension. 

However, these are but minor negatives. It is abundantly clear that everyone involved fully enjoyed the whole filming process and this transmits itself effortlessly to the audience. The result is a hugely enjoyable since of action and horror fun. Yes, that's the word - FUN. And nobody should be ashamed of embarrassed about enjoying that experience here.

The Horde will be available in the US and Canada on the following platforms : iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies , Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Video Store, Playstation Network, Hoopla, and in the US on AT&T U-VERSE, DISH, DirectTV, Cox, Charter on Demand, Verizon FiOS, Suddenlink, Mediacom, Insight, WOW, RCN, and in Canada on Eastlink TV, Rogers on Demand, and Shaw.

You can find out more about The Horde at its official website at

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Witching Season Web series

This week I was contacted via the 5D Facebook page asking whether I'd be interested in looking at a horror web series with a view to scribbling some thoughts about it. To be honest I was a little reluctant to do so so at first, after all the upcoming Comic-Con here in the north east of Scotland was taking up the majority of my attention  - you know the usual stuff; make sure I can remember how to use the camera this time, actually have questions ready for the guests I want to interview and to this time make full use of my press pass instead of getting sidetracked into buying lots of Comic-Con Goodies....... well one can hope. 

Well my couple of readers won't be surprised to learn that I quickly changed my mind and indeed decided the watch the three episodes made so far in the horror web series that is The Witching Season. Perhaps the main reason for my change of mind was the quick look I had of the short introduction sequence that accompanies each episode - because,!

The intro section of The Witching Season unashamedly nods a respectfully knowing head in the general direction of John Carpenter's sublime Halloween with a segment that oozes a dark atmospheric tension with it mix of dreamy visuals, seemingly normal small town scenes interspersed with jarring Halloween props and a haunting synth soundtrack throughout. The haunting soundtrack comes courtesy of the wonderfully named, Slasher Dave - it is not clear whether this is a harmless yet curiously strange nickname or the result of the man's predilection for unsavoury knife-related weekend activities which require the need for a number of body bags and bottles of bleach..... I'll check with him at some point. It really is a fabulous opening sequence which barely lasts 60 seconds, but nonetheless, the perfect precursor to the main attraction.

So what is this Witching Season malarkey, I hear you ask. Well ask no more, for in the words of the people themselves..........

"The Witching Season is an anthology of short horror films, presented on YouTube as a free web series. Inspired by classic anthology shows such as "Tales From The Crypt", "The Twilight Zone", and "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?", The Witching Season delivers originally produced tales of terror that are all set during the Halloween season. Fuelled by nostalgia, the series pays special attention to the atmosphere and spirit of the Halloween season."

Ahhh, brave words, but are they true? Well yes, in my opinion I would say that the claim is pretty much on the mark. If you don't believe me, we'll have a quick looksee at the descriptions below and then click on the YouTube link to watch the episodes for yourself.

Episode 1 - Killer on the Loose

In this first episode, and perhaps my favourite of the three, an escaped killer lurks in the shadows of an isolated home on Halloween night.

The episode is written and Directed by series creator Michael Ballif ("2 Hours"), and skilfully pays its own form of tribute to classics horror films of the 80's, but with its own particular Witching Season variation. As an introduction to the web series it works very well, containing a suitable level of tension and terror throughout. Not only that but the film is confidently filmed and acted with a degree of aplomb that occasionally escapes some low budget indie horror productions. Add a couple of genre in-jokes (watch out for the film playing on the Television) and you have a thoroughly polished and effective chiller.

Episode 2 - Princess

The second instalment of The Witching Season sees Kendra and her daughter Jamie move to a new home in the quiet suburbs in search of a new beginning........But something evil lurks in the basement and it isn't looking for roommates. The episode is written and Directed by James Morris ("The Astrological Whipping Boy" & "Absolution Is Now Public"), this second episode of The Witching Season takes the series in new direction of terror. The filmmakers sincerely hope that their Princess doesn't frighten you...... but she probably will!

The second instalment  will most definitely squeeze the nether regions of certain viewers, as it takes some other favourite elements of the horror genre, a family in a new home that on the surface seems perfectly blissful........however underneath lies something distinctly sinister in the buildings depths and fabric. Once again, we're provided with a skillful and effective slice of terror.

Episode 3 - Not Alone

In the third and final episode (well, so far at least) we find Kyle, who wakes from a horrific nightmare, struggling to bridge the gap between his dreams and reality in the darkness of his room. But then, he notices something… an ominous figure standing silent in the darkness. He is not alone. 

Once again the episode is written and Directed by James Morris ("Princess", "The Astrological Whipping Boy" & "Absolution Is Now Public"), here The Witching Season explores the realm of sci-fi horror, a sub-genre that I perhaps love more than any other.

So there you have it, a trio of well written, acted, and filmed horror shorts all wrapped up in a delicious helping of atmospheric soundtrack. I have it on good authority from Mr James Morris himself that episode 4 is in pre-production so it should be hitting YouTube in the very near future. James also mentioned that they have a cunningly clever plan in releasing episode 5 after that. I may not be the sharpest knife in the kitchen drawer but I'm pretty sure I would have definitely worked that out for myself......... eventually.

Personally I can't wait.

You can find out all that you need to know about this excellent web series by checking out the following links;

▶ Main Website:
▶ Contact e-mail:

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