Category Archives: Short films

Twilight Zone to return as BBC radio drama

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

‘You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!’

There are numerous versions of the above opening but they are all pretty similar and are all pretty damned awesome. I love the original black and white Rod Serling-helmed Twilight Zone. Maybe the newer ones were good – I never saw them – but the fact that channels like Syfy and streaming services like Netflix always play the original shows, makes me wonder if the newer ones might not be the best. I saw the 80s film and it was ok, as far as I remember, but certainly no better than watching several original episodes in a row.

Maybe I am just a fan of Rod Serling or maybe it was that the stories were written by some superb talents. Writers included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Serling (obviously) and many more. There were also stories adapted from the brilliant tales of writers like John Collier, who wrote the superb short story collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’, and Ambrose Bierce who is probably most famous for his ‘Devil’s Dictionary’ and also for a great story called ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’.

Which is my rather long winded way of introducing the first Twilight Zone radio play in a new series on the BBC. ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ was first published in 1890 and is a non linear tale set during the American civil war. It was then a short silent film, and was then adapted to an ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents…’ episode, then a Cannes film festival and Academy award winning short film. It was this latter version that was then adapted for the Twilight Zone. It is a cracking tale and will be the first of a series of 10 adaptations that will air on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I highly recommend Radio 4 Extra and I highly recommend the Twilight Zone. According to the Independent the new radio series will feature actors like Jane Seymour, Jim Caviezel, Michael York, Malcolm McDowell and Don Johnson. As you can tell, I am pretty damned excited about all this. I love “Golden Era” scifi stories with a twist in the tale and Rod Serling’s Carl Sagan-like voice is a superb start to any show and I am sure Stacey Keach, his replacement, will put in a pretty good effort.

The radio series starts in March and will will air on Saturday nights. Check BBC Radio 4 Extra for details.

 

TIE fighter wars short film

TiefighterThis has been all over the internet already but in case you missed it, here is the much discussed TIE fighter wars short film by Paul Johnson. Basically, the premise is to show a Star Wars space battle from the point of view of the Empire and TIE fighter pilots, done in the style of 80s anime. It is superbly animated.

To be honest I am not a 100% keen on the music but given it’s harking back to a Gundam-esque style of animation, I guess it fits.Anyway, who cares. This is great. Go TIE fighters! Go Empire!

 

New Power Rangers short

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.24.45 AMDo you remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? If so, poor you. It sucked. I recently worked for a kids TV channel and had to watch a ton of the different Power Rangers on a daily basis and they were all dire. I grew up in Hong Kong and masked heroes from the 70s on kids’ TV were generally a lot cooler – Gatchaman, Masked Rider V3, and so on.

If you never saw the Power Rangers, the basic story is this: an evil alien witch, who had been imprisoned in a space container, escapes and decides to attack the nearest planet – Earth. Usually using robots or weird creatures. Another alien picks five teenagers and gives them the power to morph into a giant robot. They could also fight really well, which is what you want in a load of angsty teenagers.

Got that? Right. Well here is a short film starring Katie ‘Starbuck’ Sackoff, and James Van Der ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Beek in a gritty reimagining of how the whole story may have played out, if the annoying Power Rangers grew up to be attractive adults twisted by a life a violence. This new Power Rangers short movie is pretty well done, given the source material. Enjoy.

 

Cloud Rise short film

Cloud Rise

Cloud Rise is a superb animated short film by writer/director/producer/animator Denver Jackson. He spent 4 moths of his life putting this all together and crowdsourced the money needed to get the actors and sound recordist he wanted. I think it’s pretty amazing that a driven individual can do this sort of thing and am happy to provide support by showing the video.

There really isn’t any need to say any more. If you want more information about the Indiegogo campaign and the story behind it all, click here.

Watch the whole video as the story develops and the art is great. Hopefully Mr Jackson will be encouraged to do more. Here is Cloud Rise. Enjoy:

 

 

Robots on Film

Sexy Metropolis robot

This two and a half minute clip shows almost a hundred years’ worth of robots on film and is pretty damn cool. Everyone loves a robot and I’m gutted the nearest I am likely to get to owning one in the next five years is if I buy a robot vacuum cleaner. Personally I think the robots from Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet still hold up pretty well. But then I am a fan of all three films and may be a bit biased. Anyway, here are some robots on film. So many scifi classics… so little time… Enjoy!