FADE AWAY:THE FADES series 1

This little show came suddenly as a quirky surprise. Absolutely not expecting anything like this on BBC Three, it appeared to defy all logic and make its own mark. This was a very brave, different, unusual series with only a few flaws which held it back from greatness. I would say that it just did not know exactly what it wanted to be, or how to be it. Perhaps it was due to budget pressure, or otherwise but something seemed blocked, heldback. Alright this was not a cinema release horror flick, and there is certainly nothing wrong with a series challenging its audience with crossing genres and throwing out questions or slowing the pace. There is a good influence of Neil Gaiman of course, but taken in darker bleaker way and elements of some kinds of British folklore seems to creep up through the narrative in a new way.

It definately was a brave series. It seemed to want to try to grow in new directions, take us in new paths. This can only be applauded really. From the start I was shocked, facinated, confused, and very well entertained. I did just about keep up with the series and I’ll admit that I did begin to feel let down, or dismayed as the tone and atmosphere whimpered and settled down along the way. It certainly picked up a couple more times before a reasonably impressive end episode. There were some great characters and some good writing through the series. A good strong bave effort, and a second series would be pleasing to see, with more to build upon.

However this short dark new series may have been recieved, it has I would say; opened up fresh pathways for new dreamers, writers and storytellers through television channels to offer us tales of fear and shocks, dread and doom.

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PROMETHEUS IS THE QUESTION…

 I am sure that so many of you will have sat watching the long anticipated trailer for this new RIDLEY SCOTT science fiction film with stunned awe. There certainly are many, many questions which it creates, put forward and teases us with. Which is probably a good thing.

This is RIDLEY SCOTT, not just another science fiction movie by just another director; but one of the great living legends who gave us at least two of the most very influential profound amazing films of the science fiction genre ever.

Many people all over are rapidly debating just how much real connection to the ALIENS films there will be, and now finally it does seem to be quite a lot. Not that it would be all bad if there was simply no connecting themes, imagery, characters or else. But it seems so, and the thing is that this is the ALIENS series we are discussing, which has a very pasionate loyal following and influence in the world of science fiction.

Of course, many had hoped or dreamed for years that SCOTT might return to the series to produce a sequel better than most that had been released, but it coulnot be that straight forward. Over the years there have been countless offshoot graphic novel and paperback tales involving similar charcaters and always the infamous alien xenomorphs. There have been more than plenty of stories to adapt or take inspiration from and here we have now the strange mysterious PROMETHEUS. It is only a short but potent trailer, powerful like those of the original film, but it does offer us hints at numerous way this new entry will possibly be one of the most creative prequel films made so far.

One point worth considering is though that a strength of the aliens films was in the dark, terrifying mystery of the beasts themsleves. Might this new film reveal just too much? I would like to think that RIDLEY SCOTT judges a story, even a dark science fiction story; very well. Then again, we now have around six versions of BLADE RUNNER, including a director’s cut. The wait will be over soon, PROMETHEUS will rise.  

Stories of American Horror…

So here we now have a titilating new series broadcasting on FX channel in the uk, AMERICAN HORROR STORY. It perhaps is not the best, or worse new genre series, but it certainly is one very interesting one. What we do have is a series bold and brave enough to put out startlingly real sudden violence and genuinely horrific moments. I will now admit that I initially just caught a short burst of the first one or two episodes and was maybe confused, unimpressed. Well, that is partly down to the way we as audiences catch and pick up our shows we decide to follow. A couple weeks later, reading more about it in a magazine, I decided to record a few episodes.

Eventually making time to return to this new creepy show, I was finally fully impressed. For one thing, it is unapologetic horror drama on a big successful channel. It is serialised, not one off episodes like Tales from the Crypt or something. There really has not been too many genuine horror television series either from here in the UK or overseas in recent years that I can think of other than, a good while back a brave bizarre but bloody good series called URBAN HORROR on UK Channel 5.

With American Horror Story though, we have a fermenting, creeping ongoing narrative with a group of characters which seem to work very well. They are not all perfect, some are flimsy but most are interesting flawed individuals with some deeper dark edges.

There are some things which I see as frustrating such as how we, in the Uk seem to easily accept very ‘American’ shows, with strong accents, visual iconography, but when we try home grown fear television, it falls flat. I would think it could be because these American TV series easily conect and pick up where American movies leave off.

To talk about too many weaknesses now might be too easy. I would have to remember to discuss it as a television series, alongside any other similar series, and not compare with movies initially. Of course, it does owe a debt to TWIN PEAKS, many series still do. It feels very Hitchcock, and elements of Twilight Zone and Outer Limits seep in also.

The main point of ongoing interest, and where it seem to build steadily and with increasing dama well, is in the way that regularly the episodes involve flashbacks to many years earlier, revealing some previous nasty murders or deaths which continue to haunt the house. This is a good fresh narrative trick, as previously we generally have only witnessed haunted houses in movies, not over a series, allowing the writers and audience to explore with more time the characters, building, past, dangers around in much greater ways. Like many recent American TV series, this could tragically disappear before it really gets to show us real greatness, but hoprefully there is enough dark special horor there for us and producers to want to see much more at our own peril. 

Okay then people, from here on in, I have been thinking about looking at the way we view films, movies, books or games right here now. Why do we accept certain kinds of characters, plots, narratives very easily? We knew big companies and distributors do have strong control on what is produced and chosen often, be still there are regular kinds of films or books with reoccuring tales, types, stories probably far too often. Now, would that be due to only budget issues? With film or movies quite possibly yes. We want to see the very best effects, stunts, sights amazing us so well in the theatres or at home. Not everyone, true. There are obviously mainstream and more cult tastes in film, fiction, games even.

There ar of course good examples of highly creative tales appearing from places outside of Britain or America (Hollyweird). And as is often a good sign, when budget are tight, brilliant creativity shines through. While CGI effect might not come best from outside USA, often films, fiction even from elsewhere seems to in ways scrub narrative clean, rewrite and unblock fiction and entertainment production.

I like my more recent surprising films from Spain, France. Sweden, Asia and elsewhere and still remain open to the big shouty shows of display from the West. I think am I finding that we should all be as open as possible, brave and adventurous when looking for that next book of fiction or film to entertain us for a couple of hours. Be brave out there…

Very good hello there people. Welcome, this is where I am probably going to rant on and off about many of the best, worst, strangest and controvertial films, books, games, and many other things in pop culture, unpopular culture, the world and beyond. So keep watching to be entertained…