ALL CHANGE-THE CAST IS THE SHOW?

I was just now thinking about the new series of AMERICAN HORROR STORY-ASYLUM that I am trying to keep up with, as it is fairly superb horror on the small screen. I considered how the cast had switched around, a number of the previous actors staying for series 2 but starring in very different roles and characters this time around. It was a surprise and shock to some, though this had been done before, but usually it is seen in theatre.

Then I began to think about how this changing of cast and stars in other series would be a very interesting thing. Let’s look at some the most interesting and popular genre TV shows right now and just wonder about how good or bad they might be if the actors changed roles-

One of my current faves-Lost Girl-what if the actress Ksenia Solo who plays Kenzi has been cast as Bo, the actual lost girl, and Anna Silk-what if she had been cast as Lauren, the scientist doctor? Could that have worked?
(Although, in LOST GIRL they have already done a body swap episode, which was quite funny and crazy)

What if they two male leads in SUPERNATURAL played the opposite roles in the show? Would that have possibly worked?

The cast of THE WALKING DEAD? Could any of those stars have worked well if they changed roles with each other earlier?

It’s just a brief interesting path to think along.

Could what they did in the AMERICAN HORROR STORY-ASYLUM series show in the US work on any TV show in the UK at all without coming across as cheap, or like a simple desperate gimmick? So far it seems to be working well enough for AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Perhaps it is due to the actors, the writing or the pacing of the series. However it continues, it is an interesting experiment in terror…

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Andy Remic – The Next Big Thing

ANDYREMIC.COM

William Hussey (http://www.williamhussey.co.uk/), author of the fabulous Witchfinder series, tagged me on his blog as part of THE NEXT BIG THING author chain. So, now it’s my turn to pass on the burning brand of doom, tap out my deepest ramblings, and nobble another five authors so that our collected gibberish can spread like some great and unwholesome disease of the mind. Here we go then…

1) What is the working title of your next book?

My next novel is called THE IRON WOLVES for Angry Robot Books http://angryrobotbooks.com/.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

After working on KELL’S LEGEND, SOUL STEALERS and VAMPIRE WARLORDS for Angry Robot, I penned a section in VW where Kell and Saark, our heroes of the moment, have to train an army from a rag-tag rabble of cut-throat inmates in a desecrated prison complex, which has been…

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‘ALTERNA-DEAD’: HORROR SERIES SAMPLE

It has been going for the last four months in KULTUR magazine, but here now I shall offer a sample of the very first part of my horror series, which has two more parts ahead to go.

ALTERNA-DEAD HORROR SERIES PART 1

(Excluding Prelude)

Melissa was almost certain that he had been looking right at her earlier. She had never been so sure . As  her friends were standing down by the bar and entrance doors, Melissa had stepped off toward the far wall. She had thought that she had glimpsed him, moving off up the staircase to the first floor of the building. It had been him hadn’t it? She had seen his face before he disappeared. Did he want her to follow him up? She shook her head at how stupid she felt, but for the smallest, positive feeling she walked over in the direction of the stairs. A long etched crack had appeared there, starting at the base of the floor and rising up in a crooked manner, and she looked up the staircase by the wall and saw that it continued on up. It was so strange and she could swear that it had never been there before. The building certainly was decades old, if not even older, she knew. The building often seemed to stand on the street above as if it were in some quite pain, resting uncomfortably on the hard ground of the streets there.

The lights that were placed intermittently along the ceiling above the staircase did not seem to be working well, most of the them out with only one or two flashing dimly on then off. Despite this problem, she decided to follow the crack up the staircase. It was to her, one of those unusual, neglected things that should be followed, explored and she did heard some muffled sound higher up she believed.

The crack which continued up, in such a haphazard broken up way was so curious, crooked and wild, almost artfully elaborate, as if chiselled into the wall by some unknown artist. How could it be continuing so far up, without breaking once, one continuous line of ruin like that? It even suggested to her that the building was actually unstable, dangerously at risk of cracking open, falling down, the floors above might come down at anytime of weakened more in future? It was an uncomfortable thought, especially while she was still inside and climbing the stairs. It made her slightly uncomfortable then, almost stopping her in her tracks. An unexpected breeze of cool air brushed up past her suddenly, drawing her attention upwards again. She looked up to the next first floor of the building. Reaching the top of the stairs eventually, she saw the crack in the wall end as it met the doorway there. The doors themselves  strangely appeared much older and weaker than usual-some rot setting in, even a little moss and mold around the edges. Was the building really in such a bad state, she wondered?

She stepped inside the long open corridor of the first floor-this floor mainly sold and displayed gothic costumes, outfits, clothing, fetish wear, and related inspired accessories and similar dark things to wear. Melissa very often spent much time there alone, just admiring the fascinating, amazing work that had gone into the producing the beautiful garments, jackets, dresses, skirts, and other gothic items there. She never fully believed herself to be  so beautiful enough to wear a full entire gothic outfit all of the time, even in clubs under darkness. Right then, she was in torn black tights, embroidered ruffled black and purple mini skirt, her t-shirt was navy blue and lime green, hair black with brown parts. She did however wear heavy dark black eye shadow, purple and silver lipstick and her face was subtly powdered lightly white.  She needed to feel different, unique, special, her own kind of person. This was her look, her identity which set her apart from many others.  It put her into the subculture she loved and connected with most.

‘A cracked sanctuary, a shadowed wise place to be, my secret home to me’ she quietly spoke aloud to herself as she looked around at the stalls and walked ahead.

Melissa looked around her, the stalls and rooms very different. The entire floor was blanketed in deep dark gloom of shadows, there were only thin slits of moonlight here and there every few yards between the individual stalls and shops. She had not ever been in the building at night like this before. Should she be there at all? Would she get caught and be banned permanently from this possibly her favourite hangout area? This did worry her, but she was still so tempted forward onward. A short flick of light appeared to her left. She looked then, and saw a window to her left, only small, and saw her own image, reflected. Just before she walked on, she stopped and realised that she looked a little different in the reflection. She looked back. Strangely it was gone from the window, and she realised that she should not physically be able to see herself from that angle. She continued on, forgetting what she may have seen.

She did not want to steal anything at all, she would not dream of doing that kind of thing, not there or anywhere. But with all of the very many hundreds of different items of clothing and accessories she did want to look at them. There was only her there still, she remembered. Only her to know, she thought to herself. She did look around, a little apprehensive but eager in the darkness and moonlight. She twisted her black hair between her fingertips thoughtfully.

A flapping sound appeared by a window to her left, startling here then. She turned so quickly, with a gasp. She looked over and froze, shocked. She imagined someone grabbing her, catching her there then, calling the police maybe. Carefully she then peered out of the window, standing by it, she looked down and around outside the building. The dark streets below, street lamps illuminating just a couple of people casually strolling past then. What had the sound been? She was just simply overly nervous she realised. She nearly laughed.

Shaking her head with embarrassed relief, she slowly then walked up to a stand at the front of a stall, and took down a beautiful long gothic trench coat, feminine with cut open long tails and studs down the back, pvc pockets shining in the moonlight behind slightly. She smiled and then,  dropping her own smaller jacket on the floor pulled on the longer new one. She felt very important, powerful, sexy. It was so cool, very badass in fact, she thought as she moved around, folding her arms, stretching them out. She could be in a band, or some damn awesome wild gothic punk priest poet feminist gal. Felling confident, she walked over and took up some other things then-she added studded hair clips, leather gloves with lace around them, then slipping off her skirt she pulled on a much more elaborate and heavily tailored gothic long skirt. She felt darkly glamorous, unstoppably sexy and better than ever.  Moving slightly, she felt proud but then caught some person near. She twisted. Again she turned and noticed a window close to her. Her partial image reflected just slightly once more. She stood care and still, just enough to make sure. Yes, it seemed to be her. But as she stared, again the image seemed different. Was it the clothes or make up? She took a slow step toward the window.

There was suddenly some sound then, up at the far end of the floor, she heard. What was it? Who was it? There was no one else around there was there, she thought? If there were, she might actually be in some other kind of danger she considered then. She was only there, well for no real reason, but why would anyone else be there right then?

She gripped her gloved fist tightly and stared right into the dark ahead. She looked across at the wall to her left, and noticed the crack in the wall had come all along through into the first floor. She was almost sure that she had not noticed there minutes earlier when she first walked in.

The unusual sound came again then,  some possible rustle, or scrapping of shoes further up maybe. She swallowed, took in a breath, then stepped ahead slowly. She was ready, feeling strong in these fantastic different gothic clothes. She would defiantly kick someone’s arse if she had to for sure, she thought. There was then a break of light at the far end of the floor, past a dozen or so shop stalls and rooms. She saw what seemed to be possibly the outline of a man in the darkness around.

Quietly then, a voice spoke

‘Here all alone?’

Who was it? Someone she knew or someone who knew her? Could she trust whoever it was there, she wondered?

‘Who are you? She asked, tentatively with hopefully some audible confidence

‘And who are you? Good question’ the voice responded. She thought she could almost make out a smile on the face bathed in shadow all that way from her.

‘Are you the guy from the gig downstairs? We, we kind of saw each other?’ she asked nervously

-To read the rest of part 1 and the whole series, buy KULTUR magazine, visit their website now.

JUSTICE FOR ALL:DC GET THINGS MOVING ALONG…

Looking through the latest issue of SFX magazine, I find some new comments about what still could be happening, even now being planned much more clearly and with dedicated focus.

After the phenomenal worldwide success of Marvel’s AVENGERS, which absolutely showed how much interest in comic book action and capers there is, and that audiences seem to now be so much more open and receptive to increasingly bombastic and wild comic book characters and story lines which previously would only generally been accepted on printed pages, by die hard comic fans.

While Marvel studios (Working with Disney now) have been pumping out a continuous line of great and fantastic movies including IRON MAN, IRON MAN 2, HULK, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA; the rival comic creators DC and Warner brothers studios have for the most part only had the BATMAN series keeping them proud, which of course has also matched if not been more successful than the IRON MAN movies in some ways. Besides that, DC put out the GREEN LANTERN movie.

It was reported to have a staggeringly over the top budget, then went over budget, looked like it really might have been some great new mind blowing superhero series, doing what others had not dared to approach yet. On release however, GREEN LANTERN, really did not grab people in the best way. Personally, I myself did like the movie, and there were many great things going for it. It did look really fantastic at times, at other times maybe not so great. Maybe it was a few stepped ahead too early on, with such deeply written back story and dozens of characters suddenly around, and perhaps not fully explained soon enough or it was possibly just all put together it the wrong way. Too much, too soon for DC.

Next up, we have a bold new SUPERMAN film. Have you seen the enigmatic trailer? Even with director Zack Snyder on board, it is being in some way produced by Chris Nolan, director of the BATMAN trilogy. It could still go in any direction, this new outing for the one from Krypton. It could look fantastic, but have just an extremely embarrassing script. Or not even that.

Now though, the long hoped for production of a potential DC JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, following on after the success of AVENGERS, could be so much more plausible and possible. Though after the GREEN LANTERN movie, with as much money as was poured into it, it does seem that DC and Warner Bros. are repeatedly nervous and consistently hesitant in the shadow of Marvel.

While DC would find problems of course, as a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie would at least have to include BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN and probably GREEN LANTERN it could, like many speculated over the AVENGERS be such a shambolic mess on screen. It is going to demand a new actor for BATMAN, possibly Ryan Reynolds returning as GREEN LANTERN-not a really bad thing, and lastly the choosing of an actor for the role of WONDER WOMAN. And like AVENGERS, JUSTICE LEAGUE could potentially open up space for an exceptionally wide narrative, their many regular locations and surrounding potentially there to be used and included.

Already with the GREEN LANTERN movie, which was probably one of the very most over -the-top and fantastical narratives to put on screen, DC attempted to create and put on screen the kinds of other worldly visions which could just be the beginning of what could be seen in an actual JUSTICE LEAGUE film.

Could it now all rest on the reaction and soon to be seen success or failure once again of their man of steel, SUPERMAN before we know for sure? The bigger news now was that DC/Warner Bros. do believe they might just put out a JUSTICE LEAGUE film in the very same year as the second AVENGERS movie. The strongest will survive.

PHANTASM: A TALL MAN CREEPING BACK AGAIN…

I’ve just recently re-watched the often maligned and underrated horror film series PHANTASM, seeing all four movies in order for the first time. I had previously seen the first two, the the latter sequels were new to me. For those of you who like your horror movies, but perhaps do not know too much about the films, they certainly are something very different to most other fear films.

Having in the past been a bigger fan of Hellraiser, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the Halloween film series to name a few which continued on over several sequels and franchises, this series was one which I had never fully given my attention to while they were being released.

A long time back I did somehow firstly end up seeing I think the second Phantasm movie-why that before the first, I am not too sure, but I think a friend had the VHS-and just initially judged it to be a really confusing and unoriginal mess of a film, which brought down my expectations for a long time, having before seen the very iconic film posters featuring the deadly flying steel balls and the terrifying Tall Man.

For a long time, a then placed seeing the sequels and original quite low on my list of things to do, and it remained that way until only I think maybe three or four years back when I finally saw the original possibly on television. Then, I definitely had the opinion that it certainly was a very unique, strange and fascinating horror movie.

If you have seen it, you will know it to be a very unusual film, regularly confusing, dreamlike and irregular for a horror film in a number of ways. Yes, it is sometimes a bit goofy, plain weird, but viewed alongside other horror films of the past thirty or more years, Phantasm certainly was a very influential and original film.

It was not just simply a ‘horror film’. The director, Don Coscarelli created a personal film, which was very bold and creative for the very late seventies when it was released. It seemed to have possibly had a strong influence upon films including the Elm Street Wes Craven series, the Halloween films and many others. Initially it frustrated me as I watched, the narrative chopping around, sequences seeming to jump around, possibly dream or reality for the main characters. Very much like Dario Argento’s Suspiria, it should simply be taken as a thrilling experience firstly and then judge and debated much later.

The second Phantasm movie did seem to possibly try to mimic a number of popular bigger horror films around at the time it was released in the mid-to-late eighties which probably lowered the quality and originality though it was still a very fun and entertaining sequel. The first three movies at times do regularly seem to just throw in a good few sequences which aim to just add some crazed horror action, while lacking needed narrative logic but then the series does anchor itself in a strong dream/nightmare and otherworldly extra-dimensional atmosphere which can in ways always excuse this.

I remember thinking that even while not seeing all of the Phantasm movies until now, and before seeing any of them, the video posters and artwork was just so strong and powerful and promised so much in terms of terror and horror on screen, but at least with the the first two in some ways they let me down.

I think that I was possibly hoping for something, another epic and grand series similar to the Hellraiser movies which I also very much adore. While those were initially written and directed by creator Clive Barker,in his distinctive manner, the Phantasm series were impressively and very unusually repeatedly written and directed by Coscarelli, who had a very different but still focused vision in mind.

It can seem frustrating in at least the first two Phantasm movies, that very little is clearly revealed about the origins of the Tall Man, his helpers and the threat they pose. To some viewers that might just equally be pleasingly mysterious and bring them back, ready and waiting for answers next time but others who watch the films could very easily be so frustrated and hellishly confused very quickly.

By the third Phantasm movie, things do change quite a bit-the actual production levels and style of the movie has been brought up, as it was released at arguably a strong commercial height for mainstream horror, especially horror movies which featured clear strong iconic monsters or villains like the Tall Man himself.

Again, at times the plot goes a bit crazy, illogical and silly, while the actual sets, locations and special effects are the best yet in the series, at times genuinely very impressive and cool to witness. Possibly more logical than the second film, a bit funnier, and maybe better writing the third certainly also ends with a last half hour or so of very impressive plotting, finally revealing at least some answers to the continued mysteries of the series.

Finally we have the fourth movie sequel in the series, and it a number of ways it returns pleasingly to the stripped down mystery and atmosphere from the first film. I would say it even in ways definitely redeems the series, and is at times very thoughtfully plotted out. While for the first half hour or so it again follows on right after the previous sequel, it soon very impressively opens up, and challenges what we think we can expect and know about the world of Phantasm. If that is to be the very last movie in the series, then it is most certainly a very admirable final closing chapter.

While often neglected and ignored by many horror fans, viewed as cheap or derivative but as a whole surprisingly influential, entertaining and original this is a series which deserves to be seen by horror fans who like things a little different, unpredictable, weird and nutty.

The Phantasm, films may not always make clear sense, and may irritate or confuse, but they still scare and terrify as good as some of the other recent horror franchise series. Don’t just stick with Freddy, Jason, Pinhead or Jigsaw, look to see just how dangerous and mysterious the Tall Man can be.

Producers set the record straight about Galactica’s Blood & Chrome

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Speaking in a conference call to promote the release of the first two episodes of the Battlestar Galactica prequel Blood & Chrome, producer David Eick took the opportunity to explain the genesis of the latest story in the Galactica universe.

“I feel like there’s a certain record to set straight,” he said, “which was a little bit frustrating to me a few months ago when I saw the headlines that the Blood & Chrome project had somehow been rejected or was a failed pilot or wasn’t going to make it on the air.

“It was never intended to be a traditional pilot, so to speak, such that Syfy not picking it up in a traditional manner to an episodic series was some kind of a rejection or failure. It was always developed, at least from my point of view, as a project for an online environment. Something that we would…

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