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INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 BEHIND THE SCENES THE WORLD’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION

FANTASY AND HORROR MAGAZINE

www.scifinow.co.uk

DAREDEVIL
RETURNS
Season 2 secrets, the
Punisher and more

// MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
// ASSASSIN'S CREED
// DOCTOR WHO
// FAHRENHEIT 451
// CIVIL WAR 2
// HUNTERS
// DAMIEN
// LEGION
THE DARK KNIGHT VS THE MAN OF STEEL

INSIDE DC'S BIGGEST EVER SUPERHERO MOVIE


PRODUCERS ON REWRITING NOLAN'S BATMAN
HOW WARNER BROS IS GIVING THE GOLDEN AGE ITS DUE TION
SEC
THE FIRST WORD ON JUSTICE LEAGUE AND BEYOND ? ? ?
E D I
A J
PAG NCE NGER
E
S O VE
HUNTSMAN JJ ABRAMS' R W A IC A LER
YOU
F F OX T E L
COMETH SECRET MOVIE INSID E HO HE T ORY
E
ISSUE 117
Why this could be
2016’s surprise hit TH T ST
The shocking truth of
10 Cloverfield Lane
GET EXCITED ABOUT
GHOSTBUSTERS
By the time this issue’s hit shelves,
the first footage for Paul Feig’s
Ghostbusters movie may or may not
have aired. Either way, we’re excited to
see what he has in store. Having helmed
some of the funniest films of recent
years, he definitely has the requisite
comedy credentials, and what’s more,
virtually all of the original talent are on
board in some capacity. Even if you’re
not convinced yet, give it a chance. Feig
hasn’t let us down yet, and we’re sure
he won’t now.

We’re living in a new era of Yet you have to admire Zack Snyder and discuss the making of sci-fi classic in the
filmmaking, and no film better co’s ballsiness for daring to step out of the making Midnight Special.
encapsulates this than Batman shadow of Donner, Burton and Nolan to But it’s never a bad time to look back.
V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. present their own takes on the Man of Steel We’re especially excited with what we’ve
Not only will Earth’s two greatest and the Dark Knight. We certainly do – a case got in store in our TimeWarp section
heroes meet together on the big screen for we put forward in our bumper behind-the- this month, from the story of how David
the first time; they herald a world in which the scenes exposé on the fight of the century. Hasselhoff became a knock-off Jedi and
Justice League can finally unite. And the excitement doesn’t end there. the making off Neil Marshall’s horror hit The
Yes, Marvel has been there before, but they The cast of Daredevil tease another epic Descent, to an account of working with
had it easier; their films were tailor-made from smackdown as the Man Without Fear Jim Henson on cult hit
the beginning to slot nicely together. DC’s looks all set to bump horns with Jon The Storyteller.
heroes are infinitely more disparate entities, Bernthal’s Punisher; we go behind the We hope you enjoy
and as a result their movies are far more risky, scenes on Game Of Thrones Season Six this issue as much
especially when they’ve already been done with industry insiders, and director-and-star as we did putting Steve Wright
before so brilliantly. combo Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon it together. Deputy Editor

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SCIFINOW 117
Contents

PORTAL
06 Independence Day: Resurgence
Find out what’s bringing the aliens crashing back to our
cinema screens.
08 The Flash
Keiynan Lonsdale on how Kid Flash will change the series.
09 Doctor Who
Say farewell to Steven Moffat and hello to Chris Chibnall.
13 Legion
What we know about Marvel’s newest TV outing.

FEATURES
20 Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
The masterminds behind the highly anticipated clash of
comic-book titans speak.
30 Evil Geniuses
What happens at the Evil Genius Convention…
34 Batman’s Forgotten Creator
36
The story of Bill Finger, Batman’s long-forgotten – and finally
credited – co-creator.
36 Game Of Thrones
The latest speculation, rumours and theories on the
upcoming season.
42 The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan reveals all on the sequel
46 Daredevil
Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal and Elodie Yung tell us what we
can expect from Season Two.
52 The Punisher
Creators Garth Ennis, Gerry Conway and writer Steven Grant
on the character and the ‘unmakeable’ series.
56 Damien
Get the lowdown on the Omen prequel.
60 Midnight Special
The cast and crew on what makes midnight so special.

REVIEWS
68 Deadpool
Was the Merc with a Mouth worth the wait? 42
69 High-Rise
Did the high-rise meet our high hopes?
And… TV Shows
The Librarians, Supernatural, Doomwatch and more.

BOOK CLUB
86 Essential Read
Discover the world of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451.
90 Beginner’s Guide to Alternate History
Discover the sub-genre that changes the world as we know it.
And… Interviews & Reviews
Snowpiercer’s new sequel, Terminus, Adrian Barnes on his
debut novel Nod, and more.

TIMEWARP
106 Italian Sci-Fi
We give you the rundown on Italy’s overlooked science
fiction blockbusters.
118 The Toxic Avenger
Reminisce about the unlikeliest of heroes. 56
And… More Old Classics
Revisit Jim Henson’s The Storyteller and The Descent.

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20 BATMAN V SUPERMAN
THE FIRST WORD ON DC’S SUPERHERO SMACKDOWN
MEET THE TEAM
Q. Which DC superhero needs their
own solo film?

James Hoare
Editor in Chief
A. Animal Man
Could prove that Marvel
doesn’t have a monopoly
on self-awareness.

Steve Wright
Deputy Editor
A. Mr Terrific
Just the name alone
means he deserves his
time to shine.

Jonathan Hatfull
Features Editor
118 A. Death
Yes, a movie is
happening, but where’s
The High Cost Of Living?

Poppy-Jay Palmer
Senior Staff Writer
A. Barbara Gordon
But she slays the
Joker and then steals
his wallet.

Marcus Faint
Art Editor
A. Robin
68 Let’s finally make
Robin coo! Origin story
at the circus anyone?

EVERY ISSUE Jen Neal


Production Editor
A. Felicity Smoak
18 SUBSCRIPTIONS 130 NEXT ISSUE
Subscribe to the magazine Your first look at the
106 She was added to the
comics for a reason.
and save today next issue of SciFiNow Badass hacker genius.

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THE HOTTEST NEWS FIRST

PORTAL Your essential, trustworthy


and unrivalled guide to the
latest genre happenings

THE WORLD
HAS COME
TOGETHER
AGAINST A
COMMON ENEMY
ROLAND EMMERICH

Both Brent Spiner and


Jeff Goldblum return for
the long-awaited sequel.

The Hunger Games’


Liam Hemsworth stars
as pilot Jake Morrison.

006 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
010 HUNTERS 011 ASSASSIN’S CREED 015 CLOVERFIELD 2 016 CIVIL WAR 2
Julian Jeremy How JJ The
McMahon Irons drops Abrams’ lowdown on
reveals all a bombshell created the the sequel
on Syfy’s on the sequel under to Marvel’s
exciting videogame everyone’s epic
new series adaptation noses crossover

INDEPENDENCE
DAY 2 “IS A
WORTHY SEQUEL”
Screenwriter Dean Devlin tells us what
to expect from the sequel to the alien- The film is set 20 years
later, which shows in
invasion epic WORDS OLIVER PFEIFFER the amazing tech.

I
n 1996, Roland Emmerich’s The new batch of characters banding in the same way,” explained Goldblum
Independence Day became a global together to overcome the latest threat during the Resurgence press conference
phenomenon. Blowing the White include Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger last year. “It’s my job to lead the way in
House to smithereens and leaving Games) as US pilot Jake Morrison, whose making sure everyone is safe.”
the rest of the world in ruin, it was the parents were a casualty of the events Devlin told us this was always the
ultimate sci-fi disaster flick, instantly of the original film; It Follows’ Maika intention. “To start with, there’s this
drumming home the totalitarian attitude Monroe as former President Whitmore’s idea that Independence Day is so related
of its antagonistic space-invader threat. now grown-up daughter; relative with an American holiday, but now it’s
Sequel Independence Day: Resurgence newcomer Jessie Usher as Dylan Hiller, all humanity related against a common
will serve as an alien origin film as we the stepson of deceased war hero Steven enemy. So we wanted that sense of
learn more about what makes these Hiller, and Sela Ward (Gone Girl ) as the patriotism to go beyond boarders and [be] Bill Pullman and Vivica
extraterrestrials tick when they stage first female president of the United States. patriotism for humanity.” A Fox are also returning.
a retaliation after supposedly being So why has fearless pilot Steven Hiller “We call it in the film ‘the War of ’96’,”
completely annihilated two decades ago. been killed off in between films? “In the said returning director Roland Emmerich.
“The first movie was our first first draft we wrote [he] was one of the “It’s like a post-world generation that’s
impression, and what we were able to characters, and when Will Smith said he unified, and that’s amazing to see a world
deduce from what we studied. In this didn’t want to be in the sequel we had to come together with a common enemy.
movie we now fill in the blanks, and it do a pretty major rewrite of it,” he reveals That’s a resurgence.”
becomes a much larger canvas,” scribe- regarding the role that helped launch During footage shown at a convention
turned-producer Dean Devlin tells us. Smith’s film career. “We actually found in Australia, an older, wearier Levinson
He reveals that the sequel will be that was a benefit. He’s such a giant movie boards a spacecraft with Hemsworth’s
an expansion. “It can’t be a complete star now that even if you put him in an Morrison – flying off into the stars
throwback. We really wanted it to feel like ensemble [it] still feels like he’s the lead, presumably to the rumoured new space-
an organic sequel,” he explains. “We’ve so by not having the character we kind of defence base set up on the Moon. This Destruction is 100 per cent
brought a lot of the old characters back, recaptured the ensemble feel.” certainly tallies with the revelation in guaranteed in the sequel.
and there’s a lot of fun to be had with Devlin is also quick to dismiss the trailer that they have used the aliens’
them. Then there’s a whole new group of rumours that Smith was unable to technology to strengthen the planet.
characters who are going to take the reins participate due to a scheduling clash with So why has it taken 20 years for a
and move forward.” Suicide Squad. “No, definitely not. He sequel? “For years, I didn’t want to do a
Returning are Jeff Goldblum as plucky didn’t want to do it,” he elaborates. “He’s sequel,” Delvin admits. “Not long after
environmentalist David Levinson, Judd done a few sequels to some of his films. 9/11 I’d written a sequel that we never
Hirsch as his verbose father, Bill Pullman I think he wanted to take his career in handed in because I didn’t feel it was
as damaged former fighter-pilot/president another direction.” worthy. I’m really pleased that we’ve been
Whitmore, Vivica A Fox as Jasmine – the If the overly patriotic attitude to able to do one that is a worthy successor.
now widowed wife of Steven Hiller (Will saving the world was a little hard to take I’m really proud of this movie.”
Smith) – and Brent Spiner as eccentric, back in 1996, it looks like Resurgence
seemingly back-from-the-dead scientist will take an all-nations-fighting-as-one Independence Day: Resurgence will be Promo footage showed
Dr Brakish Okun. approach. “Borders are no longer relevant released in cinemas on 24 June 2016. an advanced space ship.

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WHERE’S
WALLY?
We chat with the future Kid
Flash, Keiynan Lonsdale
about what’s in store…
WORDS ADAM TANSWELL

H
ow would you describe your
version of Wally West?
Wally is still learning and growing.
It’s hard for him to accept love at
this point, and he’s definitely got some
attitude issues. He’s defensive and afraid
to trust people, but he knows how to have
fun. He’s got this passion for drag racing
Lonsdale says that Barry
and he’s very confident. Flash look up to The Flash, but in order to and Wally “need to learn
get there, a friendship has to be built and a to trust each other.”

How soon will fans get to see the bond has to be formed.
speeding superhero, Kid Flash?
I haven’t been fitted for a costume, so I Is Wally jealous of Barry?
imagine it will be some time away! Every Wally would never say he’s jealous of
time I get a new script, there’s a new Barry, but he feels like Barry got the love
development. It could be the next episode, from Joe and Iris that he didn’t get. He
it could be next season. I have no idea. doesn’t understand why they think Barry
is so wonderful. He doesn’t know Barry is
What research did you tackle when The Flash. He’s got a lot to find out.
you landed the iconic role?
I’ve read the New 52 comics and I’ve Did you get feedback from fans?
received a bunch of old-school comics The fans have been really cool, supportive
from DC, which was awesome. There’s and excited. I think everyone loves the
been a lot of fun homework, but the fans show and they love the idea of seeing Kid
helped me out the most because they told Flash, so I feel really lucky. I’m blessed.
me to watch the animation, Young Justice.
Has there been any negative
What did you learn from the cartoon reaction to your casting?
version of the character? Wally West/Kid Flash is Caucasian with
Wally’s not in that headspace right now. red hair – and that played on my mind.
There’s a lot going on in his life, but that The day I first appeared on the show, I
comedic side to the character is wrote a post about it. I wanted people to
always within him. As time goes on he’ll know that people don’t love Wally because
show more and more of that. of the way he looks or because of the
colour of his hair. You love him for who he
How would you describe Wally’s is. People feel really strongly about him…
relationship with Barry Allen? so I just want to do that justice.
It’s full of tension. Obviously, we want to
see Barry and Wally running side-by-side The Flash continues on Sky1 every Wally has plenty to find Lonsdale did a lot of
and fighting crime. We want to see Kid Tuesday at 8pm. out about Barry Allen. research into the role.

As if we couldn’t be even more Clearly having realised the The number of Clearly Saw: The Final
excited about Twin Peaks, the folly of trying to compete with Stephen King Chapter wasn’t as ‘final’ as it
cast has expanded further, Star Wars, the release date adaptations. claimed to be, as an eighth
with Naomi Watts, Ashley for Steven Spielberg’s Ready 11.22.63, airing film is reportedly on the way
Judd and Tom Sizemore the Player One has been changed from 10 April, is from Piranha 3D scribes Josh
latest to be added. from 2017 to March 2018. the 89th. Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger.

008 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
NEWS

42
PUSH THE FORMAT
Okay, so this wasn’t the best

HANDING OVER THE


start for his Who career. An
ambitious ‘real-time‘ episode, it
just didn’t work. Top marks for
aiming high, but this is far from

KEYS TO THE TARDIS


peak Chibnall.

What can we learn from Doctor Who’s


new showrunner’s time in the TARDIS? BM – Before Moffat

WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL

THE HUNGRY EARTH/

A COLD BLOOD
nd so, Steven Moffat’s tenure as Doctor Who showrunner is coming
to an end. Since his arrival, he has given us the 11th and 12th Doctors, GET POLITICAL
as well as the Ponds, Clara, and a host of villains, including Michelle This Silurian two-parter was
Gomez’s glorious Missy. The new writer behind the Doctor will be the first time Chibnall wrote
Who-niverse veteran and Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. for the 11th Doctor, and it’s
We’ve still got a final series still to come from Moffat in 2017, but it’s not a great throwback to the
politically loaded episodes of
unreasonable to both look ahead and back at Chibnall’s work on Doctor Who.
the Pertwee era, as the Doctor
rages against the two species’
KEY inability to trust each other.

Political Heartbreak Fun Personal Outside box

DINOSAURS ON A THE POWER OF THREE


SPACESHIP IT’S ALL ABOUT CHARACTER
DON’T BE AFRAID OF FUN Chibnall’s second contribution
This Series Seven episode to Series Seven was a great
came about concept-first, combination of an invasion
and it’s a gloriously fun hour storyline and a character
of Doctor Who that is exactly piece on Amy and Rory. The
as joyful as its title suggests. mysterious cubes were all
There’s a brilliant mish-mash well and good, but it was
of characters from around great to see how the Doctor
history, and David Bradley’s had affected the lives of his
black market-dealing bastard companions, and we just love
is a wonderfully horrible villain. Brian Williams.

PS
MAKE US CRY
POND LIFE Just in case the Ponds’
DON’T FORGET departure in ‘The Angels Take
THE LITTLE THINGS Manhattan’ wasn’t enough,
We loved these little slice-of-life Chibnall wrote this scene
webisodes that took snapshots in which Brian gets a letter
of the Ponds’ life outside of from Rory explaining why he
the TARDIS. They were funny won’t come back. It was never
and sweet, and gave us the filmed, but Arthur Darvill’s
immortal line “Ood on the loo.” voice performance over the
animation is superb. Sniff.

AM – After Moffat

In one of the first pieces of Which Bryan Fuller series are Speaking of American Gods, Having been announced and
sequel/remake news people you most looking forward to? Fuller’s adaptation of Neil seemingly forgotten about,
are actually pleased about, Gaiman’s fantasy epic has a new Battlestar Galactica
Shane Black is directing a found a leading man. Enter movie has been all but
new Predator film, inventively Ricky Whittle, most recently confirmed, thanks to the
57% American 3% Amazing 40%
named The Predator. Gods Stories Star Trek seen in The 100. hiring of actual producers.

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FIVE THINGS WITH

JULIAN MCMAHON
The actor on what to expect
from Syfy’s new thriller, Hunters
WORDS ADAM TANSWELL

1 Novel inspirations
Julian McMahon plays an ever-changing villain in Syfy’s
Hunters, and it’s a role that the actor is excited to talk about. “Hunters
is a show inspired by Whitley Strieber’s best-selling novel, Alien
Hunter,” he explains. “We’ve got a fantastic pedigree behind the series.
Gale Anne Hurd is an executive producer, and I’ve been a huge fan of
hers for a long, long time – for obvious reasons. The Walking Dead
is a great show! Natalie Chaidez is our showrunner. She’s the genius
behind the television series 12 Monkeys, and she worked closely with
Whitley during the development of the show. The characters in the
show and the book are similar, but the structure and the delivery is
very different. I’m a huge sci-fi fan, and I think it’s a great story.”

2 Total annihilation
Wolf Creek star Nathan Phillips and American Horror Story
actress Britne Oldford join McMahon on Hunters. “We shot 13
episodes in Australia over a period of six months, but it’s very difficult
to explain what the show is about,” McMahon admits. “We start our
show on D-Day, when a terrorist organisation goes into action – but
let’s transpose aliens for terrorists. They’ve been sitting in sleeper cells
for the last 15 to 20 years, waiting for the right moment to take over
the planet for two different reasons. The first reason is to get back to
their own planet, and the other reason is to annihilate humanity.”

3 Under the skin


McMahon is no newcomer to the sci-fi genre, having played
Doctor Doom in two Fantastic Four films, as well as Cole Turner in
Charmed. “I play a character called McCarthy,” he reveals. “McCarthy
is pretty much the main alien in the story. He thinks of himself as the
boss, but he’s not… He goes into action to make a point; to destroy
and destruct. All of our aliens appear to be in a human form – but
underneath, they are oddly structured creatures. What they’ve done
is found out how to manipulate the human cell and lather themselves
in skin. We also see McCarthy’s need to continue this facade that
he wears. He calls it a ‘meat sack’. We went through a whole slew of
different looks with hair, make-up and prosthetics. There’s a bunch of
looks that didn’t even make it into the show.”

4 Lights, camera, action


In the show, the disappearance of an FBI agent’s wife leads him
to a secret government unit assembled to hunt a group of ruthless
alien terrorists. “I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to give away about
the plot, but there’s a lot of fighting, and I even get tortured in the
story,” admits McMahon. “I know a lot of actors like to do their own
stunts. That’s cool. But when it comes to action scenes, I usually try to
find a good stunt guy to help me out, because that’s what they do. For
me, these guys train every day, and they’re very good at action scenes,
so why not let them take over? I like working together with a stunt guy
to create a character that looks seamless when you see him on screen.
That works well for everyone.”

5 Pushing boundaries
McMahon reserves high praise for the show. “Hunters is really
well written, and it’s really well shot,” he explains. “I think the show
really pushes boundaries. It’s poignant, it’s incredibly current, and
it’s very character-driven. You’re going to see an environment and a
world that you’ve never seen before. You’re also going to see aliens
in a way that you’ve never seen them before. It’s a piece that you can
really invest in because the characters are so interesting. They are
characters that will appeal to everybody, and they are characters that
you will watch and think, ‘What are they going to do next?’”

Hunters premieres on Syfy in the USA on 11 April, with a UK air date


© Getty

to follow.
HOT NEWS NEWS

Dark Matter/Assassin’s Creed

DARK DAYS AHEAD


Joseph Mallozzi on of Devon, who is a medic that will come
Dark Matter’s action- in handy on board the ship. And there

driven second season is Arax Nero, who’s a prison boss and


another guy with connections.”
WORDS MICHAEL SIMPSON
Whether these new characters will be

S
eason One of Dark Matter friends or more antagonists remains to be
saw members of the crew of the seen. With so many criminals around in
Raza splitting their time between Season Two though, crew members of the
uncovering the truth about the Raza who are wanted by the authorities
crimes they’re accused of and trying to will find it harder than ever to shake off

MEM RY BANK
avoid the enemies they’ve made as a their own chequered histories. “This
result. According to showrunner Joseph season, like Season One, will be full of
Mallozzi, however, in the Syfy show’s twists and turns, shocks and surprises,”
upcoming second season they will be says Mallozzi. “But I’d say there will be Welcome to our brand
new regular Portal titbit,
taking matters into their own hands. “We’ll darker moments, too. I think Season Two
Memory Bank! Join us as
still be discovering aspects of their past, will put the ‘Dark’ in Dark Matter.” we step back in time, flick
but now the characters will be taking the through old issues from
fight out and being a little more proactive.” Season Two of Dark Matter is expected to the SciFiNow archives
Loose ends will also be tied up, air on Syfy later this year. and cringe at the
including the mystery surrounding predictions we got well
and truly wrong.
a keycard that Five (Jodelle Ferland)
We’re starting off with
stole in Season One. Mallozzi’s fellow issue 51, which went
Stargate alumni – Torri Higginson and on sale five years ago and sported
David Hewlett – will be back too. Yet, the a lovely minimalist Smallville cover.
second season won’t just be retreading old Remember Smallville? The final
ground; there will be new weapons, more season was on the horizon, and we
were actually kind of sad about it. At
space battles and an “incredible” prison
least we now have Netflix to binge all
set, Mallozzi promises. ten season whenever and whenever
“The great thing about the prison we want. What a way we’ve come.
setting is that it allows us to introduce a Rather embarrassingly, we
lot of interesting and colourful characters. predicted Supernatural would wrap
One is Nyx, played by Melanie Liburd. itself up not too long after Smallville’s
finale. How wrong we were. We
She has a lot of pull in the prison, a lot of Dark Matter is returning to predicted it would end soon again in
connections. There is also the character Syfy for a second season. 2014, so we guess we’ll all just laugh
about how wrong we were a second

ASSASSIN’S CREED UNCOVERED


time in another five years time when
Season 16 premieres on the newly
launched The CW 2.0.
In the same month, we also
Jeremy Irons on why the latest videogame adap will appeal to all spoke to everyone’s favourite
WORDS ADAM TANSWELL quantum leaper, Scott Bakula. He
told us of captaining the Enterprise,

T
hus far, the plays lead antagonist Alan Rikkin – Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, people hating on Season Three and
creators for gospel, it will at the very least pay Michael K Williams and Brendan becoming part of Star Trek’s legacy.
of the lip service in the form of the title. Gleeson, Irons is confident that it We’ve since read that Bakula felt he
didn’t spend enough time with his
Assassin’s “The movie has the same name [as will appeal to everyone.
family while working on Quantum
Creed movie are the videogame]… I think it might be “I think the Assassin’s Creed Leap, so he made sure his Enterprise
keeping their secrets well. Aside called Time Out Of Mind actually, not aficionados will go and see it, but contract included wrapping filming
from the main cast members and Assassin’s Creed. I don’t know how I think a lot of other people will go by 6pm every Wednesday. What a
something vague about going similar it is to the movie.” and see it too. From what I’ve seen, lovely man.
back in time, it’s hard to tell how Previous videogame transfers it’ll stand up well as a movie and The quote of the issue goes to Nick
Frost while promoting his and Simon
faithful Justin Kurzel’s adaptation have suffered from being thinly possibly there’ll be more.”
Pegg’s sci-fi romp Paul, which he
will play to its videogame source veiled retreads. Assassin’s Creed, described as “essentially Little Miss
material. If we are to take the word however, is clearly a different kettle Assassin’s Creed will be released Sunshine, but with an alien instead of
of Jeremy Irons (High-Rise) – who of fish. With a cast including Michael in cinemas on 26 December. Alan Arkin.” Amazing.

Season Three of Charlie Which of the new Star Wars The Power Rangers movie has
Brooker’s Black Mirror Episode VIII characters are found the perfect villain: none
continues to excite, with you most excited about? other than Elizabeth Banks
Deadpool’s record-breaking Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bryce will play Rita Repulsa. She’ll
worldwide gross for an Dallas Howard, Alice Eve and show those pesky Rangers a
51% Benecio 43% Laura 6% Kelly
R-rated film Mackenzie Davis all on board.
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Del Toro Dern Marie Tran thing or two…
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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REBEL DAWN
A look at what’s ahead for the Star Wars
animated series WORDS STEVE WRIGHT

D
espite inevitably being overshadowed by its big-screen brethren, Star
Wars: Rebels has quietly but confidently gone about its business, building
on its strong first season. Judging by the mid-season trailer, the show will
continue to pile on the drama for the galaxy’s finest freedom fighters…

1 Jedi/Sith Temple
At first glance this looks like a Jedi
temple that Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka
2 Master and apprentices
Darth Vader meets his two
Inquisitors. Judging by their repeated
3 Round two
Jedi and Inquisitors face off –
including among their number a new
4 Inquisitors do battle
The Inquisitors face off against
what look like the Jedi Temple
have stumbled on, but the red tinge… failures, we doubt he’s too pleased foe alongside the Fifth Brother and sentries. It would appear that some of
smells of Sith to us. with them. Seventh Sister. them survived their Clone Wars run in.

5 Ezra, meet Yoda


“Growing, your abilities are. And
with them… danger.” Ezra communes
6 Remembering Anakin
“He’s amazing.” Ezra and
Ahsoka watch an old hologram of
7 Guard of honour
We get a better look at the Jedi
Temple guard thanks to Kanan. But
8 An old foe returns?
Is that Darth Maul? Last seen
fleeing the Emperor in the Son Of
with Yoda, this time face to face. Or is Anakin Skywalker in action. Oh, if only where exactly are they? And what is Dathomir comic, it looks like the fallen
it another dream sequence? he knew… the symbol at the top? Sith apprentice might be back.

9 Looking back
“Ahsoka… why did you leave?” The
former Jedi padawan is tormented by
10 Making an entrance
Ezra’s powers are growing.
Unfortunately, this attracts more
11 Ezra awakens
Is that a more Jedi-friendly
version of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber we
12 Ahsoka vs Vader
Master and apprentice finally
meet as Vader and Ahsoka face off.
the knowledge of her master’s fate trouble in the form of Vader, here seen see? Looks like Rebels might have We’ve been waiting for this since the
and her own guilt. making his entrance in style. more than a few nods to Episode VII. end of Clone Wars. It will be epic.

Love The Flash? Love Kurt Russell’s presence in Fans of The Magicians
Supergirl ? You’re in Guardians Of The Galaxy: rejoice – a second series
luck, as the two will be Volume 2 has been of the adaptation of Lev
appearing together confirmed. The smart Grossman’s hit novel is
in a unique crossover The amount of awards Game money is on him playing definitely happening. Still
episode. You’re welcome. Of Thrones has won to date. Star-Lord’s dad. no UK air date, though.
Star Wars: Rebels – Season Two is airing now on Disney XD.
@grantgust

012 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
IT’S
NOT AN
X-MEN SPINOFF

6 THINGS WE
Legion will occur in its own
universe, as FX head John
Landgraf explained at the TCAs.

KNOW ABOUT
“Legion takes place in a parallel
universe, if you will, where
the government is aware

LEGION
mutants exist, but the
public is not.”

DAN
STEVENS IS Breaking down the
LEGION X-Men TV series
The Guest star is playing WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL
David Haller, aka Legion, who
discovers that the visions he’s
been seeing might not be the
product of his schizophrenia.
In the comics, he can bend
reality, travel in time… oh,
and he’s Professor
X’s son. IT’S
GOT THE BEST
SHOWRUNNER
Noah Hawley’s work
on Fargo was superb, and
FX obviously agreed. With
regards genre cred, it’s worth
remembering that he’s reported
to be working on one of
the Universal monster
movie reboots.

THE
SUPPORTING

© Dominic D
CAST IS BRILLIANT
Stevens has been joined
by Fargo co-stars Rachel
Keller and Jean Smart, and the
awesome Aubrey Plaza. The
Parks And Recs star will play
David’s friend Lenny, an addict
and optimist on the verge IT’S
of turning her life ALREADY
around. A HIT
It’s only at the pilot stage,
but it’s already loved. Veteran
X-Men writer Simon Kinberg told
© David Shankbone

Collider that there is “an intent


to do something completely
original… and almost do
our Breaking Bad of
superhero stories.”
IT’S
JUST THE
BEGINNING
Hellfire is still ticking away
at Fox, but hit a setback when
the creative team departed to
join the 24 reboot. We don’t know
how it will tie in with Legion, but
it’s full steam ahead for the
latter, which is aiming at
a 2016 air date.

Legion will air later in 2016.

Syfy’s new female-fronted Visit the SciFiNow magazine Well, Alien: Covenant won’t be
The worldwide gross of Van Helsing TV series has a YouTube channel for the boring, as This Is The End star
Star Wars: The Force leading lady in the form of all the latest film reviews. Danny McBride will join Michael
Awakens to date, making it former True Blood star Kelly This month, Poppy tells you Fasbender, Demian Bichir and
the third most successful
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Overton, who will play the title everything you need to know Katherine Waterston on the
film of all time.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx role of Vanessa Van Helsing. about Deadpool! Prometheus sequel.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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| 013
NEWS
PORTAL

BEST OF THE BILLBOARDS


Celebrating the best, worst and weirdest movie posters out there
WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL

UP
ER

ER
NN
NN

RU
WHO GOES THERE?
WI

Why fans of classic


British sci-fi need to watch
Cops And Monsters
WORDS STEVE WRIGHT
Of all the things to thank
Kickstarter for, we can now add
supernatural web drama Cops
And Monsters to the list. Having
recently surpassed the target
for the series’ fourth episode,
creator Fraser Coull is looking
ahead to a fifth – and judging by
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE the synopsis, this is something
Courtesy of an excellent surprise teaser you’ll want to see.
trailer and this ace teaser poster, we “Cops And Monsters delves
know what JJ Abrams has been up to. into a near-future Scotland,
And what about that tagline, eh? where the Paranormal
Investigation Team Scotland
UP

(PITS) work the cases from


ER
NN
RU

the supernatural community,”


Coull tells us. “Our show
follows the Glasgow division as
Commander Norris Fletcher
(Simon Weir) polices the
vampires, werewolves and
zombies with his team made
up of newcomer Maya Hedges
(Ellen Patterson), who is seeking
answers for why her parents
were murdered randomly by a
pack of werewolves, and hacker
with a heart Martin Carmichael
(Kenny Boyle).”
Furthering its geek credentials
HIGH-RISE THE VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH are the treasure trove of genre
One of an absolutely gorgeous set of designs for Ben Wheatley’s take on JG Ballard’s We will admit to not knowing too much
dystopian nightmare, this High-Rise one-sheet is stunning. Not only does it neatly about John Portanova’s low-budget stars who are showing up.
capture the time period, it beautifully conveys the sense of there being something horror The Valley Of The Sasquatch. Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who) is
terribly wrong just out of view. You know, because of the fella falling to his death. Based on this alone, we’re watching it. appearing in the fourth episode,
and fellow Who alumni Caitlin
MONSTER HUNT THE DIVERGENT SERIES:
ST
T

Blackwood and Sarah Louise


ES

OR

ALLEGIANT
IR D

Our eyes didn’t know what


EW

Madison are on board. Aldred


WE

TH

to make of the posters for We appreciate that this is


Chinese box-office smash a film about a society that is enthusiastic about being
Monster Hunt. There’s a forces its citizens to conform, involved, “I just think it’s so
wealth of character posters but if you’re going to do brilliant that the democratic
showing what we assume character posters, shouldn’t process of Kickstarter projects
is every single talking cast they have a little more…
means that talented people can
member, and they all feature character? These movies
variations on this cheery are repeat offenders when
make the stuff they really want
little monster, who’s weirdly it comes to dull posters, to do and the people who want to
reminiscent of the Adipose and they need to sort it see/hear it can be involved too.”
from that Doctor Who out. Honestly, they aren’t
episode in Series Four. It inspiring us to go and see Watch Cops And Monsters at
might be genius. it. At all.
copsandmonsters.co.uk.

014 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
How JJ Abrams created the ultimate sequel
WORDS STEVE WRIGHT

J
ust when we were beginning to
think that we’d never see a sequel to
Cloverfield, it turns out that one has
already been made.
Described by JJ Abrams as a “blood
relative” to the original, 10 Cloverfield
Lane sees three people (played by Mary
Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and
John Gallagher Jr) living in a bunker of
sorts – but why are they there?
With first-time director Dan
Trachtenberg taking over from Matt
Reeves, we can expect a new approach
in the sequel. More than anything else,
however, we have to admire just how they
kept it under wraps for so long. In case
Turns out the Cloverfield
you were wondering, here’s how they sequel was right under
managed it: our noses all along.

JJ’s big sequel plan


Give it a fake name
g
Considering it was bein
produced by Bad Robot,
some Hire an all-new cast
ht have sus pected that a No returning names wer
e
mig
being made. confirmed; instead, Joh
Cloverfield sequel was n
was given Goodman, Mary Elizabe
To deflect attention, it
f ield Lane
th
Winstead and John Gal
10 C lover the name ‘Valencia’. lagher Jr
were all signed up to the
project.

Pretend to be making a

How t o keeppsit
dif ferent film
t bought
Back in 2012, Paramoun

under wra
, a story
the script for ‘The Cellar’
in a bunker
about a couple hiding
th,
in a post-apocalyptic Ear
bee n on 201 2’s ‘Hit List’ of
having
d screenp lays .
unpublishe

Let the cast talk about Suddenly release the trailer


the project The first teaser was attached
Rather than raise suspicion by
Cause an almighty to Michael Bay’s explosion

distraction
keeping everything hush-hush, the extravaganza 13 Hours: The Secret
cast were allowed to talk about Soldiers Of Bengazi, with the title
rs, no one
‘Valencia’, with Winstead describing For the last couple of yea 10 Cloverfield Lane only being
it as “a really contained film.” n asking JJ Abram s about disclosed at the very end. Cue the
has bee
y were too
Cloverfield 2, since the shortest wait for a movie ever…
the secrets
busy trying to uncover
Star Wa rs: The For ce Awakens.
of
Quite a goo d red herring , that. 10 Cloverfield Lane will be released
in cinemas on 11 March 2016.

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NEWS
PORTAL
Civil War II will see Iron Man
face off against Captain
Marvel ahead of her 2019 film.

POE DAMERON
AWAKENS
The greatest pilot in the
galaxy gets his own comic
WORDS CHRIS ANDERSON
Some of the burning questions
left by Star Wars: The Force
Awakens could be answered in
the new ongoing Poe Dameron
series from Marvel. Until now,
and since regaining the licence

CIVIL WAR: ROUND 2


from Dark Horse, Marvel’s Star
Wars line has generally avoided
the period after Return Of The
Jedi – the Shattered Empire
The lowdown on Marvel’s game-changing miniseries and C-3PO one-shot
being the notable exceptions.
sequel to its successful crossover series With the new title, set just
WORDS CHRIS ANDERSON
before the events of Episode

I
t looks like Marvel’s finest won’t from Steve McNiven. It remains one of According to New York Daily News, who VII, readers can learn more
only be scrapping on the big screen the company’s top sellers in a collected sat in on the Civil War II brainstorming about Dameron and his trusty
in Captain America: Civil War, as Iron format, pitting Iron Man against Captain session at the company’s last editorial droid, BB-8, as they embark on
Man is set to take on Captain Marvel in America on their opposing views of the retreat, when Bendis and Marvel editor- missions for General Leia Organa
the blockbuster comic-book sequel Civil Superhuman Registration Act, with other in-chief Axel Alonso announced which as part of the Resistance’s
War II, with a battle that ends badly for heroes picking a side. The story inspired character was to die and who would X-wing squadron – all with the
some Marvel heroes. Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain be doing the deed, it was met with a ultimate goal of finding clues to
The original series was published ten America: Civil War, out this summer, loud ovation. “That’s like an epic,” said Luke’s whereabouts. The First
years ago, written by Mark Millar with art which is when Civil War II hits stores. writer James Robinson afterwards. “I’m Order will never be far behind,
The sequel will be created by All-New genuinely shocked.” including a new character within
X-Men duo Brian Michael Bendis and Alonso also told The Washington its ranks described as Dameron’s
David Marquez, this time seeing Iron Post why Captain Marvel was the personal nemesis.
Man facing off against Captain Marvel. The protagonist, in addition to raising her Charles Soule, who worked
plot involves the emergence of a profile ahead of her own movie in 2019. on the Lando and Obi-Wan &
new superhuman character that can “It not only speaks to her character, but Anakin miniseries, will handle
predict future catastrophes in true her new role in the Marvel universe,” the writing, while Phil Noto, who
‘Minority Report’ style. Marvel, aka Carol he explained. “She’s the leader of Alpha drew the Chewbacca comic,
Danvers, believes these abilities should Flight, which is Earth’s first line of provides the art. While it may
be utilised, with supervillains locked up defence from all incursions… she is a very not be featuring Finn or Rey,
and dealt with before carrying out their powerful, authoritative figure.” Soule told USA Today that the
plans; Tony Stark disagrees, saying that This is all Marvel is saying for now, Poe Dameron series will “explore
the punishment should never precede but more will be revealed in Civil War II locations new and old in the Star
the crime. The argument divides the #0, written by Bendis with art by Olivier Wars galaxy… while also bringing
Marvel universe. Coipel, in May. That same month also sees depth and expanding the world
But the stakes are raised when the the release of a Civil War II special on Free of The Force Awakens.”
new character announces that something Comic Book Day, while the series kicks off
terrible will happen because of one of the properly in June. Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 will
heroes, prompting another to take matters be available to buy from 6 April.
into their own hands and murder them. Civil War II #0 will be released in May.

016 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
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TOP 14 GENRE TV ’SHIPS WE’RE


OBSESSED WITH
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2
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TOM CRUISE WILL DEFINITELY
STAR IN THE MUMMY
tinyurl.com/hp84rco MAJOR MOTOKO KUSANAGI (GHOST IN THE SHELL)
COSPLAYER: CAULDRON OF MISCHIEF FROM: YORKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM TWITTER: @CAULDRONOFCAKE FACEBOOK: /CAULDRONOFMISCHIEFCOSPLAY

1 THE CHARACTER
I’ve been a fan of Ghost In
The Shell ever since I watched
the movie in my very early teens,
so from there I explored the
2 THE COSTUME
The under-suit was the
hardest part. I used a four-
way stretch vinyl fabric with a
slight sheen to it in a very pale
3 THE DESIGN
The under-suit she has is
quite fitted, and in order to
get that look I needed to create
the custom pattern from my
4 THE ACCESSORIES
She has two metallic shin
guards and a belt. I made
the shin guards from EVA foam
and Worbla, a thermoplastic that
other series. Major Motoko lavender colour. I had to buy body, and I did this by using the becomes moldable when heated.
Kusanagi is one of my favorite it from a Korean online store. ‘duct tape dummy’ method – I cut and shaped the foam first,
characters. She’s a cyborg and I made a custom pattern and wrapping my body in layers of then covered them with Worbla
TOP 10 X-MEN THE ANIMATED even though her personality made a test costume using scrap cling film and duct tape, drawing and carved any additional details
SERIES EPISODES differs depending on the fabric to see where adjustments out the pattern and then cutting before molding it to my leg shape
tinyurl.com/jsubcmr different series, for the most part were needed. Once the pattern it out. This allowed me to sew and adding straps. The belt was
she’s a very strong, no-nonsense was down correctly, sewing it the costume to fit me correctly made by covering a piece of
character, and has a very was fairly straightforward. The without having any loose areas, foam in the suit fabric, and the
commanding presence. I also socks were also made of the and I was able to see and adjust buckle was again foam, Worbla
very much like her design. same fabric. how the suit would look on me. and painted to match.

Medway Comic and Screen MCM Birmingham Edinburgh Comic Con Sci-Fi Scarborough
DAYS Festival 19-20 March 2-3 April 9-10 April
19 March NEC, Birmingham EICC, Edinburgh The Spa Complex
OF FUTURE NOW Medway Park, Kent MCMComicCon.com HeroConventions.com SciFiScarborough.co.uk
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Adults £10, children £6
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go free*
Adults £16.50 – £27.50,
children £0* – £5.50
FEMALE SPEEDSTER conventions that you
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The Medway festival brings This year guests include Bionic The action-packed weekend Scarborough’s self-confessed
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COVER FEATURE
Batman V Superman

BATMAN

020 |
BATMAN V SUPERMAN
Fight Of The Century

THE COUNTDOWN TO CINEMA’S ULTIMATE


SUPERHERO SCRIMMAGE IS ALMOST
OVER, BUT THE DC CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
IS ONLY JUST GETTING STARTED. WE TALK
TO PRODUCERS CHARLES ROVEN AND
DEBORAH SNYDER ABOUT BATMAN V
SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, WONDER
WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE AND MORE…
WORDS POPPY-JAY PALMER

SUPERMAN

| 021
COVER FEATURE
Batman V Superman

I
F A CINEMATIC GRUDGE MATCH BETWEEN
BATMAN AND SUPERMAN, THE TWO BIGGEST
COMIC-BOOK CHARACTERS IN EXISTENCE,
HAD BEEN ANNOUNCED A COUPLE OF DECADES
ago, back when superheroes still wore
their underpants over their leotards,
everyone would have lost their shit.
Now, however, it’s more difficult to
provoke that kind of reaction. The
game has been upped since then,
but the audience is more cynical, and
it’s considerably harder not only to
impress, but to get people excited at all.
Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
became the benchmark for superhero
team-ups in 2012 when it brought
together six of Earth’s Mightiest
Heroes for an epic battle through New
York City. To make an impact, you have
to be on that level. Up to this point, DC
movies have stayed within the lines
of the tried-and-tested formula: one
good guy fights a couple of bad guys.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
In Batman V Superman,
is shaking things up. Now, we have two the world is torn on
good guys fighting each other, with whether Kal-El is a hero.
a couple of bad guys standing on the
sidelines, egging them on. This isn’t a of the consequences he doesn’t expect someone with such enormous power
superhero team-up; it’s a superhero happen, he begins to question his role that could do anything he wants is
smack down, and presumably there and his place in the world. a dangerous thing, because even if
can only be one winner. “[Batman V Superman] still puts our there’s a one per cent chance that he
As a direct sequel to Man Of Steel, characters into a real-world scenario, could act against us and harm our
Batman V Superman is set to take and that’s what is interesting to me. I interests, America’s interests or even
place about a year after the Black think it’s about seeing these characters humanity for that matter, then he’s very
Zero Event, when the Kryptonians with these superpowers existing in our dangerous,” Snyder tells us. “When we
came down to Earth. “We’re kind of world, and what are the implications of come to Gotham, crime has been down
seeing that although he has good that and what does it mean for society? because he’s doing such a great job and
intentions, sometimes when Superman What does it mean for religion? What has cleaned up the city so much. I think
intervenes there are consequences does it mean for national security? I he’s maybe taken it too far. There’s a
he doesn’t expect,” says producer think it really stirs conversation, and fear that’s kind of controlling a lot of the
Deborah Snyder. “I think that’s a really those are the movies that are most crime in Gotham.”
interesting thing to talk about. What interesting to me personally.” As if the titular skirmish wasn’t
if there was this alien, this god from It’s not just Superman who has to enough to get excited about, Batman
another planet with these amazing live with the consequences of the Black V Superman will of course also
superpowers? Would you want him to Zero Event. The fallout from the battle introduce Ben Affleck’s interpretation
intervene? Under what jurisdiction is with Zod was a lot bigger than the on the Caped Crusader. “Ben’s take
he? I guess he lives in the US, so he falls US could have imagined. After all the on Batman evolves from Chris Terrio’s
under their jurisdiction. Do they want violence, the terror and the destruction script and Zack Snyder’s overseeing of
to use him as a weapon? What is he of property, he’s giving superheroes it,” says producer Charles Roven. “Ben
supposed to do in his role? Who is he a bad name, and Batman’s not having just takes it to a wonderful level. He
supposed to save? I think when some any of it. “I think [Batman] feels that realises it in a wonderful way, which is

022 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BATMAN V SUPERMAN
Fight Of The Century

From what we’ve heard,


Gal Gadot’s performance
will be a sight to behold.

ALTHOUGH HE HAS GOOD THE FUTURE IS FEMALE


INTENTIONS, SOMETIMES Deborah Snyder on why Wonder Woman
& Gal Gadot are forces to be reckoned with
WHEN SUPERMAN INTERVENES

© Rex
What has made you most What is Gal like in the role?

THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES


excited about working on a Gal’s amazing. You have so
film of this scale? many kids that look up to these
The fact that we have Wonder heroes – they can’t necessarily

HE DOESN’T EXPECT… HE Woman in the movie and that


we’re seeing her on the screen
distinguish between an actor
playing the role. It’s, ‘No! This is

BEGINS TO QUESTION HIS


for the first time is such an Wonder Woman!’ Even my kids
important moment. It’s such a go, ‘Are you going to work with
defining moment. I believe that Superman and Batman today?’

PLACEDEBORAH
IN THE WORLD
SNYDER
there needs to be more strong
female roles just in general for
women, especially in the action
genre. She is like the pinnacle
They’ve met them, but they’re
still Superman and Batman!
Finding the right person
to play Wonder Woman was
of characters. She represents critical, because she’s going to
so much for women. be a role model for women of
Throughout history she’s all ages, and how she acts and
changed and evolved and really behaves in her personal persona
reflected the time of women’s of who she is, and how she
place in society, and I think would react to fans, we had to
Bruce’s enmity with
Superman stems from the now, with so much talk about take that into consideration, and
destruction in Man Of Steel. gender equality, it’s fitting Gal is just an amazing person.
that she’s going to be gracing She’s positive and energetic and
the screen for the first time in sweet and hopeful, and she’s an
Batman V Superman, as well amazing mother and an amazing
as having her first standalone daughter to her mum, and she
movie that we’ve been shooting personified all those qualities
in London. To me, that is the that we would want in a person
most exciting thing. who is going to represent her.
She’s a hard worker. She
What kind of bearing does had to work out really hard
Wonder Woman have on the because she will admit that
plot of this film? when she came into the role
I can’t tell you that! [laughs] she’s always had more of a
Let’s just say that it’s her first model-type body, and physically
introduction. The film is mostly we wanted to make sure she was
about Batman and Superman strong. She has been training
and what their struggles are, but so hard. Since Batman V
she does play an integral role, Superman, it’s been a constant
especially at the end of the film. training regime to be fit and
I think audiences will definitely strong and healthy. So I just
want to see more from her after couldn’t be happier with Gal in
seeing it. I know I do! this role, as is everybody.

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| 023
COVER FEATURE
Batman V Superman

the toughest, most seasoned, oldest Although Man Of Steel technically the satellite. We’ve allowed for super
Batman that we’ve seen. He’s battling became the first film of the DC abilities, and we’ve allowed for aliens
and he’s been desensitised and he’s Extended Universe in 2013, Batman V to exist because Superman is an alien.
been hardened by the experiences he’s Superman is going to be making more We expand on all of that in Batman V
had over a number of years that he’s waves than its prequel ever could. It’s Superman, and also introduce you to
been Batman. Is the character the Bat, Doomsday will
being treated as a launch pad for the other member of the Justice League
or is he still Bruce Wayne?” rear his ugly head. rest of the universe, one that will not universe, and we’re standing out from
“I think it’s a really interesting only introduce us to these brand new that. We want these movies to build on
take, and a really nice juxtaposition versions of Batman and Gotham, but each other.”
that we have,” says Snyder. “Henry the world of the Justice League. As the gateway to the rest of the
[Cavill] in Man Of Steel, he just kind of “We do different things in Batman Justice League, it would have been very
figured out his powers and he started V Superman than we did in Man Of easy for Batman V Superman to lose
becoming this superhero. He’s next to Steel,” Roven tells us. “We’ve taken its way. Huge franchises have been
Ben Affleck’s Batman, who has been the story, even though it’s related to known to fall into the trap of focusing
doing this a long time. He’s jaded, he’s Man Of Steel, in a sensible but slightly too much on world-building and set-up
seen so many things, and obviously I different direction that also makes it early on. But Snyder reassures us that
think both their point of views would pretty clear that it’s a gateway to the this isn’t the case this time. The film is
differ based on the experiences or Justice League movies and the other very much an epic in its own right.
lack of experiences that they have had Justice League characters. We sort of “You have to focus on the story that
being a superhero. I think that’s a really planted that in Man Of Steel as well; you’re delivering and make sure it’s the
interesting dynamic in the movie. we just didn’t hint it as hard as we do in best movie possible,” she says. “On the
“It’s enormously exciting for me to Batman V Superman. It’s why we called other hand, you’re serving this larger
see this match of these two amazing [the film] what we called it: Batman V universe, and so talk a lot about what
superheroes. The fact that the Superman: Dawn Of Justice. the plan is for the future, and what is
characters have been around for over “It continues to stand outwardly as the timeline. So even when there are
75 years means there’s a history in opposed to being closed and inward, these single movies, they all fit into a
cross-cultural, and it seems to appeal so we like that, just like Man Of Steel let particular timeline, they all make sense,
to many different generations. To be you know, if you look at all the Easter they all work together because they’re
able to bring them together in this way eggs, that Lex exists even though you all in the same universe. You have to
on the big screen for the first time, it’s don’t see him, and Bruce Wayne exists have a particular amount of planning,
enormously exciting.” because there’s Wayne Industries on but at the same time you have to tell

IF THERE WAS THIS


ALIEN, THIS GOD FROM
ANOTHER PLANET
WITH THESE AMAZING
SUPERPOWERS,
WOULD YOU WANT
HIM TOCHARLES
INTERVENE?
ROVEN

024 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BATMAN V SUPERMAN
Fight Of The Century

the story that you’re telling in the best


possible way, and service that story. It
started out as another Superman film,
and then Zack started thinking about
what would be interesting. He said, ‘You
know, we’ve seen it in comics, but we’ve
never seen it on the big screen, this
battle between these two characters,
and wouldn’t that be amazing?’ Then it
kind of just took off from there.”

T
HE SECOND TRAP THIS FILM COULD
STUMBLE INTO WOULD BE COMPARING
ITSELF TO CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S DARK
KNIGHT TRILOGY. THERE, WE HAVE A SERIES
that became a turning point for comic-
book movies: they proved superheroes
didn’t have to be campy, colourful and
in-your-face to make an impact. They
could be cool, dramatic and artistic.
After its immense success, Nolan’s
series would be a great benchmark for
any project, but if Batman V Superman
draws too much inspiration from it,
it would end up being compared to it
forever by both fans and critics alike.
‘Not as good as the Dark Knight trilogy’
is not an ideal description. Thankfully,
Snyder insists that those close Zack Snyder behind the
comparisons were not the case during camera with Ben Affleck.
production on the film.
“I think the world is so different,”
she says. “Christopher Nolan, who’s
an executive producer with [his wife
Emma Thomas], and who produced
Man Of Steel, are very good friends
of ours. We love the movies that they
make. I think the story is so different
and our Batman is so different that
everything about it just felt very
different, so it wasn’t a comparison
when we were making it along the way.
Of course, with the iconic moments
you’re like, ‘Okay, how are we going to
do the death of the parents, or how are
we going to do the moment when he
Batman V Superman’s take on
flies, or what are we going to do with Batman draws closely from Frank This incarnation of Bruce Wayne
the Batmobile?’ Because you’ve seen Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. is older and more world-weary.
what was done in the past.
Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg)
“You’re always striving, and Zack with his assistant, Mercy
especially has a very strong point of Graves (Tao Okamoto).

view, and really makes things his own


with his unique style. We weren’t really
comparing along the way because
it was so very different. This is also
the first time, you know… Chris’s
Dark Knight trilogy was a very closed
universe. It was only that one particular
character. There wasn’t room for any
other characters in the world, but the
world that we created is a world where
Gotham and Metropolis exist. Not
only do they exist, but they are kind of
across the river from each other. So
I think we were really just working on Finally, the two will face
the details that would make our world off on the big screen.

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COVER FEATURE
Batman V Superman

make sense. Really, we didn’t have to


try and make comparisons.”
From the audience’s point of view,
the comparisons with Nolan’s series
are inevitable, as are comparisons
with what Marvel is doing now. To
many, DC and Marvel seem to be in
constant competition. DC announced
Wonder Woman ; Marvel decided to
make a Captain Marvel film. Marvel
brought the Avengers together for the
one of the biggest movies of all time,
and DC is planning an even bigger
team-up with Justice League. Visit any
comments section on the internet, and
you’re sure to find a DC fan slagging
off Marvel followers and vice versa. It’s
relentless. But according to Snyder, it’s
a perception that only fans hold.
“I think what we’re both doing is very
different, but the bottom line is that
[Marvel’s] success and our success
is good for both of us. The fact that
these comic-book characters that have
stood the test of time are now coming
to the big screen, that’s amazing. It’s
an amazing thing for comics. I think the
more success for both of us means the
better it is for comics – and for movies!
We want people to go to movies.”

A
S WELL AS OPENING THE DOORS TO AN
OLDER BATMAN, BATMAN V SUPERMAN
IS ALSO GOING TO PRESENT US WITH
BRAND NEW TAKES ON A FEW OF
other iconic characters from the DC
Comics universe, particularly power-
mad businessman/supervillain Lex
Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
Lex’s limited appearances in the film’s
trailers already stand out as unusual
simply because of how young he is and

BEN IS THE TOUGHEST, because of the fact that he still has hair.
“We wanted Lex to be, you know,

OLDEST AND MOST


it’s the modern world, so what is the
modern businessman like?” says
Snyder. “He’s different than he has

SEASONED BATMAN WE’VE ever been before. He’s always one step
ahead. We did a scene at a party that he

SEEN. HE’S BEEN HARDENED


was hosting, and it’s really interesting
when you see the physicality of Ben
as Bruce Wayne and the physicality of

AND DESENSITISED BY Henry, even when he’s playing Clark


Kent, and then there’s Jesse, who’s

HIS EXPERIENCES OVER


slight and wiry. But what you realise is
intellectually he is far superior to either
one of them. He’s the puppet master

THE YEARS
CHARLES ROVEN
controlling the whole scene. I think
that’s a really interesting dynamic. It’s
something we haven’t seen before.”
And then, of course, there’s Wonder
Woman, played by the brilliant Gal
Gadot. It’s an exciting time to be a
Wonder Woman fan. We’ve only been
treated to glimpses of her in a couple

026 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BATMAN V SUPERMAN
Fight Of The Century

CRIMINAL
of the Batman V Superman trailers, ‘How could I produce this movie and “We love the fact that the
so we’re still not sure how much she’ll not hire a female director?’ It was a fans really are as dedicated as
feature in the actual film. But Roven
promises that however much of her we
no-brainer. Coincidentally, about seven
years ago, Patty has had a passion for
they are. At the same time we don’t
want to acknowledge any of their DAMAGE
get will be worth it. “We’ll get a taste, this character and approached Warner questions and queries or their How much would it cost
and hopefully you’ll understand her Bros and kind of pitched her idea, and thoughts and things that they believe
head space by the time the movie is it just didn’t get off the ground. So I in because we don’t want to destroy
to fix the damage done by
over and where she’s coming from,” he think for Patty, this is a dream that’s the feeling when they discover for Supes in Man Of Steel?
says. “In Wonder Woman, you’ll find been in the making for many years and themselves what’s for real. I’m excited United States of
out how she got to be where she is. But I think she just turned out to be the to get the audience feedback, I’m America Government
we’re excited about it. right person in so many respects. She’s excited to be involved in the universe 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
“She’s appropriately dynamic and doing an amazing job.” – I grew up reading comics – and it’s NW
charismatic. And she’s fun to watch! The reaction to the first few trailers just a real joy to be able to play in this Washington, DC 20500
Most of her interaction is with Bruce for Batman V Superman has been sandbox every morning.” Tel: 1-844-872-4681
Wayne, and I think there’s a really phenomenal. It’s very difficult to watch “There are going to be a few
playful quality in their exchanges… two of the biggest titans in superhero surprises left when people are seeing INVOICE #
I’m hoping [the fans] will be pleasantly history brush shoulders and throw Batman V Superman. I don’t want [5797866]
surprised and enjoy her. We certainly abuse at each other without having to give any of it away,” says Snyder.
do. We think she’s great.” a massive grin on your face. Five “At the same time, we’re in full pre- DATE
“I really am excited for the Wonder minutes of action-packed footage with production on Justice League, so 12/06/2013
Woman film,” enthuses Snyder. “I just a dramatic soundtrack thrown over the we’re working a lot with Flash and
think it’s about time. I love the script, top of it is enough to reduce even the Cyborg and Aquaman, and that’s really BILL TO
and I’m thrilled to have hired the first most serious of comic-book movie fans exciting, because having all these Kal-El
female director to bring her to the big to a state of giddy childlike glee. amazing characters, working on their Address unknown
screen. The fact that Patty Jenkins will Roven reveals that he’s delighted costumes and figuring out how do we
be the first woman to direct a big studio with the reaction to the trailers, just as show their powers for a visual effects Destroyed government
tent-pole action film is amazing, so on we’re excited by the trailers themselves. standpoint, it’s a lot of problem solving, wrist restraints $20
so many levels that is the film I’m most “Some of the feedback from the fans and it’s an honour to be working on the
proud of… We met Patty when we were is always surprising, because there movie with these characters that have Destroyed power
doing our director search for Wonder are so many rumours coming out of been around for so long.” station cooling towers
Woman, and we made a conscious what they see and how they dissect it, $300,000,000
effort to hire a woman. We felt like it and it’s always interesting and fun to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
was very important. For me, I thought, watch different takes on it,” he says. is out in cinemas on 25 March. Destroyed three corn
Judging by this image, the fields $1,200
fight might not be the forgone
conclusion it should be.
Destroyed petrol
station $500,000

Destroyed 100+ cars


$1,200,000

Destroyed small town


For the first time, Superman $30,000,000
will truly let loose.

Destroyed three cargo


trains £7,500,000

Destroyed 50+
skyscrapers
$70,000,000,000

Destroyed oil truck


$50,000

Destroyed multi-storey
car park $1,000,000

Destroyed marble bank


interior $200,000

Destroyed surveillance
drone $12,000,000

TOTAL
$70,352,451,220*
*not including lawsuits

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| 027
AT THE BOX OFFICE
Batmobile

0 100 200 300 400 500 600

SUPERMAN (1978) - $461,732,900

SUPERMAN II (1980) - $313,271,600 Thomas Wayne Martha Wayne


(Deceased) (Deceased)

SUPERMAN III (1983) - $153,207,100


Batarang, Batclaw, smoke
grenades, flash grenades, Batcall
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987) - $32,284,500

AN
Bob Bill
BATMAN (1989) - $506,784,700 Kane Finger

M
BATMAN RETURNS (1992) - $315,854,300
Black costume, black

BAT
cape, black bat ears

BREAKING
BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (1993) - $10,873,700

COMBINED BOX

DOWN
BATMAN FOREVER (1995) - $340,563,300
OFFICE GROSS
BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997) - $188,228,300 BATMAN $2,898,109,900
WORLDWIDE
SUPERMAN $1,359,300,000
BATMAN BEGINS (2005) - $257,881,000 WORLDWIDE

DC’S NEW
SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) - $245,901,300

THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) - $597,865,600

DAWN IN
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) - $463,691,500
Jor-El Lara Lor-Van
(Deceased) (Deceased)
MAN OF STEEL (2013) - $279,584,300

OSCARS
■ SUPERMAN ■ BATMAN
Kryptonian War Suit

Blue costume, red cape,


AN NUMBERS
Batman
1 win Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Flight
red and yellow S
RM E
Batman Returns P
2 nominations Best Effects in visual effects,
Best Make-up

Batman Forever
SU
3 nominations Best Cinematography, Best
Sound, Best Effects (Sound Effects Editing)

Batman Begins
1 nomination Best achievement in Cinematography Joe Jerry
Shuster Siegel
The Dark Knight
2 wins Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement
in Sound Editing

RING KEY
6 nominations Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in
Film Editing, Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Makeup,
Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Superman
1 Special Achievement Academy Award Visual effects
3 nominations Best sound, Best Film Editing, Best Music (Original Score) VEHICLE PARENTS ACCESSORIES
Superman Returns
1 nomination Best Achievement in Visual Effects CREATED BY COSTUME

BRINGING
THE LEAGUE Batman and Superman First appearance together First meeting of Batman, First actual Batman- First appearance of

TOGETHER
Shared Cover All-Star Comics #7 Superman and Wonder Woman Superman crossover the Justice League
New York World’s Fair Comics #2 (October 1941) All Star Comics #36 The Mightiest Team In The World, The Brave And The Bold #28
(July 1940) (August 1947) Superman #76 (June 1952) (Feb 1960)
CYBORG
Created 1980
THE FLASH
Created 1940
Alter ego Victor Stone
Home New York City Alter ego Barry Allen
Skills Superhuman strength, Home Central City
intellect, healing, combat, Skills Superhuman speed,
technopathy, just generally being a genius level chemistry
cyborg with advanced prosthetics. knowledge, time travel.

AQUAMAN BATMAN
CYBORG JUST Created 1941 Created 1939

IC
Alter ego Arthur Curry Alter ego Bruce Wayne
Home Atlantis Home Gotham City
Skills Telepathy with sea Skills Brilliant mind, exceptional
life, superhuman strength, combat skills, world’s greatest

TH
swimming speed, endurance, detective, top of the line equipment,
invulnerability, combat. bottomless wealth.
E LE
E FL

AGU
ASH

SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN


THE JUSTICE LEAGUE Created 1938 Created 1941
E
Alter ego Kal-El/Clark Kent Alter ego Diana Prince
Home Paradise Island/
IS JUST AROUND THE
Home Krypton/Metropolis
Skills Super strength, flight, Themyscira
super speed, heat vision, Skills Superhuman

CORNER, SO HOW DO freezing breath, X-ray vision, strength, agility, endurance,


AQUAMAN

superhuman endurance. reflexes and speed, master

DC’S BIGGEST HEROES in hand-to-hand combat.

WEIGH UP? FROM Original members Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern,

SUPERMAN ON FILM The Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman

AND WONDER WOMAN


PUMMELLING BATMAN Red top, gold eagle breastplate,
blue star-spangled culottes, red

TO LEX LUTHOR’S and gold boots, gold tiara

MOST HEINOUS ACTS, LEX GIVETH – AND


HERE’S THE INFO William Moulton
Marston
HG
Peter LEX TAKETH AWAY
WON

ADVENTURE COMICS VOL 2 #6


YOU NEED…
MEET LEX LUTHOR
First
ch
in a aracter
D

book comic
atom to use an
E

Zeus Hippolyta First appearance: ‘Superman #4’ March 1940. ic bo


mb
R

WO (God) (God) Created by: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster


Accidentally made bald by: Leo Nowak
M AN Golden Age: Diabolical mastermind (Alexei Luthor)
Silver Age: Mad scientist
Modern Age: Super-rich business magnate
Runs: LexCorp
Amazon bracelets, Lasso of Truth, sword, Crimes include: Destroying Metropolis, engineering the death of his
shield, razor sharp telepathic tiara parents, becoming US President and using his powers to try to destroy
Superman, tried to turn people superhuman to humiliate Superman,
mass murder.
Played by: Lyle Talbot (Atom Man vs Superman, 1950), Gene Hackman
(Superman, Superman II, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace), Scott
Invisible jet Wells and Sherman Howard (Superboy), John Shea (Lois & Clark: The
New Adventures Of Superman), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), Kevin
Spacey (Superman Returns), Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman:
Dawn Of Justice)
Personal assistant/bodyguard: Mercy Graves

KEY
SMACK The Dark Knight Returns Wonder Woman: Hiketeia Superman: Sacrifice Superman: Sacrifice Batman: Hush

DOWNS
Batman beats Superman with Batman wants to get his hands Possessed by Maxwell Lord, Superman tries to beat Superman hunts down Batman,
the help of kryptonite and Green on a vigilante that Wonder Superman beats the hell out of Wonder Woman to death, but the Caped Crusader retreats,
Arrow. He fakes a heart attack Woman is protecting. She Batman, leaving him broken in she knows he’s possessed triggering the Batcave’s anti-
and ‘dies’, but the victory is his. doesn’t let that happen. the hospital. and ends Lord’s influence. Superman failsafes.
www.evilgeniusesconvention.com

THE EVIL GENIUSES


CONVENTION 2016
WHERE EVIL GENIUSES
GET TOGETHER AND
DISCUSS THEIR
DIABOLICAL PLANS,
GIVE PRESENTATIONS
AND DRINK EVIL TEA
WORDS POPPY-JAY PALMER
ILLUSTRATIONS DAVID COUSENS

1
Lex Luthor
(Superman)
He’s the most famous and
recognisable of Superman’s
villains, but is he the most diabolical?
We think yes. The combination of
corporate businessman and evil
genius has had very diabolical
consequences in the past, like

2 3
the time he held a room full of
millionaires hostage and used Ozymandias Dr Evil
high-tech machinery to give himself (Watchmen) (Austin Powers)
super-strength and invulnerability The worst thing about Ozymandias Everything about Dr Evil reeks of
so he could beat Superman. Or is that he didn’t even realise diabolical genius, from his name
that other time when he kidnapped and tortured Lana Lang to find out how diabolical he was. He thought he and facial scars to the bling on his pinky
Superman’s secret identity. The grudge he holds is nothing short of petty. was doing everything for the greater finger. His father would womanise and
The pair were childhood friends until that fateful day when a fire broke out good, but it doesn’t matter what your drink. He’d make outrageous claims
and destroyed his laboratory and burnt all the luscious red hair from his intentions were if millions of people end like he invented the question mark or
head. From then on he blamed Superman for this baldness and sought up dead. The label of evil genius almost accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort
to break him down, one evil plan at a time. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor doesn’t apply to him, simply because of general malaise that only the genius
has a full head of hair in the Batman V Superman trailers, so we’re looking that’s not what he was in his own mind. possess and the insane lament. Like
forward to seeing whatever is going to happen to that barnet. Maybe a delusional genius… father like son, we guess.

030 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
4
Dr Horrible
(Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)
Of all the world’s evil geniuses, Dr Horrible started as one of
the least evil ones, but oh, how he tried! He was more of a
niche, fluffy-bunny brand of diabolical. His aspirations were high: his
heart was firmly set on joining the Evil League of Evil, building a Freeze
Ray and sharing a frozen yoghurt with Penny. With the Freeze Ray
complete he was well on his way to becoming a verified supervillain,
but then something happened that he could never have anticipated.
Diabolical or not, he couldn’t escape the fact that he had a heart.
Having it broken was the final push he needed to become the evil
genius he always wanted to be, for better or worse.

5
Palpatine
(Star Wars)
In a world where Darth
Vader tops almost every
‘best movie villains’ list, it
takes someone very special
WANTS YOU and extremely diabolical to
beat him to the mantle of the
At LexCorp, we’re dedicated to being saga’s overbearing evil tyrant.
the best and we’re always keeping an Palpatine has been at it from
eye out for just that – the best. the start, plotting and lying
his way through the prequels
Whether you’re a prodigy in the world and finally reaching full power
of software, communications or in the original trilogy. As a
engineering, we want you! politician, he knew how to
work the system, sucking up
Come and work with us, and see if to the people that mattered
you’ve got what it takes to be the best. and stepping over the ones
that didn’t. He was also a bit of
A P P LY N OW. a creeper, angling most of his
attention towards grooming a
young Anakin Skywalker.

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www.evilgeniusesconv

Det.Hoffman@reversebeartrap.org

Want 2 play a game?

Amanda@pighead.com

6
Jigsaw
(Saw)
So much time, planning and effort went into the
Jigsaw Killer’s diabolical plot. As a former civil engineer,
he had the skills to orchestrate such nightmarish torture
contraptions. It’s clear he had the imagination of an evil
genius of the highest order to dream up the nightmarish
torture contraptions up in the first place. The Reverse Bear
Trap? The Venus Fly Trap? The Butterfly Ribcage Trap? What
level of sicko does someone have to be to think of these
things, let alone carry them out?
He knows the importance of making sure someone carries
on your work after you die. How are you supposed to make
an impact in the world of diabolical badness when everyone
forgets your name as soon as you kick the bucket? He’s also
bloody organised: despite being on his last legs, he seems to
have a healthy supply of warehouses and storage space to
carry out his deeds. What makes Jigsaw stand out is that he
actually has a moral of sorts that he wants to convey to his,
um, subjects. Appreciate the life you have, or someone will
come along and make you rip your own jaw apart.

Attachments

play_a_g...mp4 instructio...txt

7 8
The Master Rotwang
(Doctor Who) (Metropolis) Lonely, misunderstood and
As the arch-enemy of the Doctor, Rotwang was a traditionalist looking for love?
the Master needs to be at least when it comes to diabolical
a bit of an evil genius if he’s to stay on evil. All he wanted was for his love for Meet your perfect match on
top of things. Working his way up the the beautiful Hel to be reciprocated, Hel Dating!
political ranks in Series Three until he but things just weren’t meant to be.
was finally appointed Prime Minister, Hel chose the master of the city Joh Search for available robots in
that little stinker used his newfound Fredersen over Rotwang, and eventually your area and start the next
Earthian power to turn nations into died while giving birth to Fredersen’s chapter of your life today…
work-camps and military bases, recruit son, Freder. Rotwang sought revenge,
the Toclafane to kill a third of the and created a robot in the form of a Our unique algorithm and
human race and start a war with the woman to replace Hel, which he used experienced love engineers are
rest of the universe. Diabolical. But in to sabotage both Fredersen and Freder. committed to finding your next
true evil genius style, he was ultimately His plan went south pretty quickly, and special someone.
defeated – for a while at least. You need ended with Rotwang spiralling into
to get up earlier than that if you’re madness and falling to his death from So, what are you waiting for?
going to pull one over on the Doctor. the roof of Metropolis’s cathedral.

032 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
vention.com

9
Hannibal Lecter
(Hannibal/Silence
Of The Lambs)
In the cannibal community, no one is more
diabolical than Hannibal Lecter. No matter the
setting – be it a book, movie or TV show – Lecter
was relentless in his plotting, scheming and
strategising, all with the aim of sinking his teeth
into a juicy bit of human meat. The fact that he
managed to get away with butchering, seasoning
and consuming what he reckons are unsavoury
folk for so long just convinces us further that he’s
a bona-fide evil genius. He even made his dining
ritual something of a game, shooting hunters in
the woods as they ran for their lives and cracking
cannibal puns at dinner parties to see if anyone
would notice. How did no one notice the puns?
However, the character reaches peak diabolical
genius status in The Silence Of The Lambs, in which
he was portrayed an extra creepy-ass version
of Anthony Hopkins. Even though he spends a
fair chunk of the film locked up in an apparently
impenetrable fortress, he still managed to run the
show. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to get the
upper hand, including cutting off his own. His
genius also shines through every time he plays
Clarice Starling like a fiddle, which is a lot. It’s all
part of his master plan. It’s all quid pro quo. Sure,
were rooting for Clarice all the way – she’s such a
good horror heroine – but Hannibal is just so darn
fun to watch. Damn him and his diabolical ways,
making us like him and causing us to question our
own life choices.

10
Kesslee
Chesapeake (Tank Girl)
Italia Wine Tours When the world experiences a
decade-long drought, the man
Sample only the best Italian wines with
Chesapeake Italia Wine Tours. with access to water is king. In this story,
Wine, dine and explore your own little piece that man is Kesslee. Holding the little
of Italy on tours through Emilia Romagna,
Umbria, Liguria and the Chianti region,
remaining water in reserve, his corporation,
Tuscany, led by Chesapeake Italia’s Water & Power, has the population of
experienced, world-class wine
connoisseurs.
the Australian outback under control by
keeping everyone just thirsty enough to do
Visit chesapeakeitalia.com to book.
exactly as it says. What a douche. But he
gets even worse: as well as keeping tabs
on the water in the reserves, he manually
extracts it from people’s bodies and gulps
it down while standing over their lifeless,
dehydrated corpses. Evil and diabolical, it’s
also genius, which is why he earns a spot
among the most cunning villains around.

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COVER FEATURE
Batman V Superman

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO


BILL FINGER
?
BATMAN V SUPERMAN WILL BE THE FIRST FILM TO OFFICIALLY RECOGNISE BILL FINGER AS THE CO-CREATOR
OF THE DARK KNIGHT, AFTER HAVING HIS CREDIT SNUBBED FOR THE PREVIOUS 75 YEARS. AUTHOR
MARC TYLER NOBLEMAN TALKS TO US ABOUT SEEING HIS WISH COME TRUE…
WORDS CHRIS ANDERSON

I
N MARCH, BATMAN WILL FINALLY BE UNITED ON THE BIG biography, Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co- Comics and negotiated a deal without Bill, not
SCREEN WITH AN IMPORTANT FIGURE FROM HIS PAST – Creator Of Batman, which throws the spotlight even mentioning that there was a Bill.
NO, NOT SUPERMAN; WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HIS SECRET on his contribution. He became the unofficial
CO-CREATOR, BILL FINGER. SINCE HIS DEBUT BACK IN 1939 spokesperson for getting Finger credited, with HOW WERE THE FOLLOWING YEARS FOR BILL AND BOB?
in Detective Comics #27, every comic-book story, interviews, Comic-Con panels and presentations, Bob soon farmed out his drawing duties to ghost
TV show or movie has somewhere featured the and even a TED talk. Now that his campaigning has artists. By the mid-Forties, Bob was neither
words ‘Batman created by Bob Kane’. Last year, paid off, how does he feel about it? drawing nor writing Batman, but was the only one
something changed, and the credit has since credited, while Bill was still churning out stories for
added ‘with Bill Finger’. Batman V Superman will be WHY IS BILL FINGER IMPORTANT TO BATMAN? a page rate and no credit. By the Sixties Batman
the first movie to include his name. Bill Finger was the co-creator of Batman, but TV show, Bob was wealthy, and less than a decade
It is something that has been in the works for was officially uncredited during his lifetime and later Bill died poor and virtually unrecognised.
a while. Finger and Kane were a writer-and-artist for decades after his death in 1974. He wrote the
team, and while Kane is thought to have originally first Batman story [in Detective Comics #27] BILL ACTUALLY WROTE AN EPISODE OF THE 1966 BATMAN TV
come up with the name and a drawing of a and 1,500 more over 25 years, including the first SHOW. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
character in red tights, a domino mask and huge appearances of Robin, the Joker, Catwoman, the His sometime writing partner Charles Sinclair
bat wings, it was Finger who suggested a cowl, Penguin, the Batmobile and the Batcave. Batman’s landed them that assignment. Charles knew that
making the wings into a cape, and then named origin story was his idea, he helped Bob Kane Bill’s contributions on Batman in print had been
Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. But the original design the character’s look, and also nicknamed marginalised, so he offered to let Bill’s name be
contracts had Kane listed as the sole creator, him the Dark Knight. listed first in the credits for the show.
and while the comic-book industry and Finger’s
family knew it was a dual effort, helping him gain BUT KANE NEGOTIATED A PUBLISHERS DEAL WITHOUT HIM? WHEN DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN HIS STORY?
recognition was never going to be easy. Yes. Bill and Bob got together one weekend in 1939 I’ve been a DC superhero fan and a writer-in-
But the cause was given a boost in 2012 by and came up with Batman. The following Monday, progress since my early childhood. It was
author Marc Tyler Nobleman, who released a Bob went to the company that would become DC inevitable that these interests would meet at one

034 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BATMAN V SUPERMAN
What Ever Happened To Bill Finger?

Ben Affleck will be the


latest actor to take on
the iconic role this year.

BILL WAS CHURNING


OUT STORIES FOR
A PAGE RATE AND
NO CREDIT
MARC TYLER NOBLEMAN

Adam West and Burt


Ward in the classic
1966 film adaptation.

point. I don’t remember when or how I learned of HOW DID BOB AND BILL VIEW EACH OTHER?
Bill’s role on Batman, but it was clearly an important Bob’s 1989 autobiography, Batman & Me, revealed
story that somehow had not been covered in book what he thought of Bill. He called him the unsung
form yet, so I seized it. I began the research in 2006. hero of Batman, and said he should be credited, but
made no effort to follow it up. And in a 1965 letter
WHO DID YOU SPEAK TO, AND WHAT WERE THEIR OPINIONS? to a fan, posted on my blog, Bill said that he was
I contacted more than 250 people: comic creators angry Bob had taken full credit for Batman. In a 1972
who had worked with Bill, others in the industry who interview, in Thomas Andrae’s book, Creators Of The
knew him, and most poignantly, people from his Superheroes, Bill said he was a “tool” Bob used to
private life. Of the Golden Age writers and artists, bolster his pay cheque.
I interviewed [Jerry Robinson, Arnold Drake, Alvin
Schwartz, Irwin Hasen], all of them have since died. WHAT MADE THE CHANGE, AND WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?
I’m thrilled. Bill’s name will now be officially linked
HOW DID HIS FAMILY FEEL ABOUT IT? to Batman. I consider that a landmark win. It was
I actually located Bill’s sister, who was in her 90s, helped by the determination of a legal heir, the
but she and Bill had been estranged since before nine-year campaign of an obsessive writer and the
Batman, so she didn’t want to participate. But I enlightened state of DC management. It took so
tracked down a nephew and niece, who led me long because it’s not a simple process to adjust the
to the biggest find of all: Bill’s lone and previously credit line of a multi-million-dollar character.
unknown grandchild. I also spoke to his cousins,
some of whom didn’t know that Bill was involved in Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-
© Karen London

Batman. Most were happy to talk, but the family was Creator Of Batman by Marc Tyler
Marc Tyler Nobleman has
fractured and Bill was apparently fairly private. Plus, fought for Bill Finger’s Nobleman is available to buy now,
this all happened a long time ago. recognition for nine years. distributed by Charlesbridge Publishing.

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AFTER A FIFTH SEASON THAT DIVIDED FANS, GAME OF
THRONES LAUNCHES INTO THE UNKNOWN WITHOUT A
BOOK TO WORK FROM. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM
SEASON SIX, AND SHOULD WE BE WORRIED?
WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL
INVESTIGATION
Game Of Thrones

THE SHOW IS
WILLING TO
DRAW ATTENTION
THROUGH THE
USE OF SEX AND
VIOLENCE
ELIO M GARCIA JR

OU CAN’T HAVE MISSED THE CONTROVERSY.


GAME OF THRONES’ FIFTH SEASON GOT FANS,
HATERS, CRITICS AND CONVERTS RILED UP WITH
CONTROVERSIAL STORYLINES, DIVERSIONS FROM
the texts and taking its time moving through
the plot. It also delivered some of the most
jaw-dropping set pieces it has ever mounted,
and this isn’t exactly a series short on show-
stoppers. We still get chills thinking about
that incredible battle sequence between the
Free Folk and White Walkers at Hardhome.
And what about Jon Snow?
With Season Six approaching, this is the
time when we start to put aside the problems
we had with HBO’s fantasy behemoth. Our
concerns are normally pushed away by
the sheer excitement of another return to
Westeros and the anticipation of betrayal,
bloodshed and another legion of beloved
characters facing the chopping block. With both Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei
(Lena Headey) having suffered their own tragedies,
However, this will be the first year that finds the future’s looking bleak for the Lannisters.
every viewer on equal footing.
For the first time in the series’ history, Still, you could also argue that we saw has a far more notable role in the novels,
showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss the show at its weakest. The storyline of and many had hoped to see it play out. We
won’t have a George RR Martin novel to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn’s were both incredibly disappointed with the
directly draw from. Sure, there are a few (Jerome Flynn) trip to Dorne felt like a huge show’s descent into farce when it came to
lingering plot threads, but they’ve sailed disappointment. Given how strong the Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). We
right past A Dance With Dragons and, as of show’s fight sequences have been, the scrap doubt the intention was black comedy, but
a blog entry from Martin on 2 January this between the two visitors and the deadly Sand the way they just hammered Stannis (and
year, the author has said that he still hasn’t Snakes was strangely lacklustre. the audience) with one disaster after another
The Sand Snakes got their
finished The Winds Of Winter. “I think it was a serious misstep to revenge on the Lannisters. in quick succession seemed like another
Are we on the brink of a serious remove Arianne Martell from the equation example of the writers going for exuberance
divergence? Could this be the first season and reshape the Dorne story around her over subtlety.”
that really separates the fans of the books Sand Snake cousins and Ellaria (Indira
from the fans of the series? How seriously Varma),” opines Susan Miller, editor in THE SANSA STARK PROBLEM
should we take the fact that Martin isn’t chief and co-founder of Game Of Thrones The accusations of misogyny aren’t exactly
writing a script for the second year running? community Watchers On The Wall. new for Game Of Thrones. It’s a criticism
Is the show’s treatment of women getting “Arianne’s relationship with her father was that the show has weathered since fairly
worse? And what about Jon Snow? Join us ultimately the heart of that plot; cutting her early on, but it was particularly vocal last
as we get to the heart of our fears and hopes gutted it and left Doran [Martell] with little to year. The rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie
for Game Of Thrones Season Six. do. What a waste of Alexander Siddig! And Turner) by Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon) –
instead of women plotting to raise Myrcella a crime which befalls Sansa’s childhood
SEASON FIVE LEFT ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT [Baratheon, played by Nell Tiger Free] up friend Jeyne Poole in the novels – and the
As we’ve already mentioned, Season Five to be queen, we had them threatening and handling of that sequence was seen by
offered viewers some proper highlight- ultimately killing her.” many to be yet another example of the
reel stuff, and not just in terms of action “Their depiction of Dorne was a shadow makers using sexual violence as a plot
sequences. Seeing Tyrion Lannister (Peter of what was in the novels,” agree Elio M device. Geek culture website The Mary Sue
Dinklage) finally meet up with Daenerys García Jr and Linda Antonsson, founders of decided to stop running coverage of the
(Emilia Clarke) felt like a huge step up for Westeros.org and writers of Westeros history show altogether.
the show as it finally started bringing its bible A World Of Ice And Fire. “But we “Some of the furore has been overstated,
disparate strands together, which we’ve been found the abrupt end to Barristan Selmy (Ian and overheated as well, but it’s clear that the
told to expect much more of this year. McElhinney) particularly sad. The character show has often been very willing to push

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GAME OF THRONES
Watch The Throne

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) with


the ‘Three Eyed Raven’ (Max von Sydow).

Jaime failed to prevent the death


of Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free).

DAENERYS
GameOf Roads JAIME
Pentos, Mother Of Mountains The Wall Plotting the journeys of Game Of Thrones’ key characters Kings Landing to Winterfell,
(across the Dothraki Sea), to Kings Landing, to Riverrun
Lhazar (Season 1), Across (1), to Oxcross (2), Harrenhall,
the Red Waste, Vaes Tolorro, to Kings Landing (3, 4) to
Quoth, (2), Across the sea to Dorne (5)
Astapor, Yunkai (3), Meereen The Shivering Sea
(4), Dothraki sea. BRIENNE
Winterfell
Evenfall Hall in Tarth to
Bitterbridge to Storms End
JON SNOW The Bite to Oxcross to Sherrer (2) to
Winterfell, Castle Black (1), The Eyrie Harrenhall to Kings Landing
Braavos
Craster’s Keep (2), Forest Of The Twins (3) to Crossroads Inn (4) to
The First Men, Hardhome Winterfell (5)
The
Sunset
Sea King’s Landing
ARYA
TYRION The Winterfell to Kings Landing (1),
King’s Landing to Winterfell, to Narrow to Harrenhall (2) to Hollow Hill
Castle Black, Crossroads Inn, Sea to Crossroads Inn to The Twins
The Eyrie, The Bloody Gate, Jade (3) to close to the Eyrie (4) to
Sea
Kings Road (1), Kings Landing Braavos (5)
(2, 3, 4) Pentos, The Flatlands, Sea of Dothraki Sea
D orne Slaver’s
Volantis, Orosi, Meereen (5) Bay
Meereen
PETYR
Kings Landing (1) to
High Garden Dorne Bitterbridge, back to Kings
SANSA Gulf of Landing (2) to the Eyrie (3), to
Winterfell to Kings Landing Grief Kings Landing (4) back to the
(1, 2, 3) to The Eyrie (4), to The Summer Sea Eyrie, to Winterfell and back to
Winterfell (5) Kings Landing (5)

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INVESTIGATION
Game Of Thrones

Songs Of buttons and draw attention through the


use of sex and violence,” opine García Jr
the series. Against that is the fact that the
general outline of the narrative as Martin

Thrones and Antonsson. “In the specific case of


Sansa, we were initially quite neutral on
has planned it is being used by the writers,
so there are bound to be major events and
The rockers who have appeared the matter. After all, what happens to Sansa revelations that will be on the screen before
in Game Of Thrones is similar to what happens to another they’re in the novels. For those who see
character that is in that situation in the themselves as readers of the series first and
COLDPLAY books. That said, we were concerned that foremost, that’s definitely a concern.”
Remember ‘The Rains Of
Castamere’? Well, you may have it would take Sansa on a regressive path So while we can expect to see elements
been slightly distracted by the into victimhood when her narrative had of The Winds Of Winter, this is the second
brutality of the Red Wedding, been developing her towards taking control season in a row that comes to us without a
but look! There’s Coldplay’s Will of her own destiny. Sansa did almost script from Martin. Although some fans felt
As new players enter the fray, expect
Champion on drums.
nothing to try to gain control over her own the body count to continue to rise. that his absence was noticeable, García Jr
GARY LIGHTBODY destiny this past season. This realisation and Antonsson downplay those quibbles.
Clearly someone on the Game made everything that had come before Thrones world; fans simply want all major “It would have been nice to see another
Of Thrones team likes sad seem like a tremendous missteps by the characters to have agency and a plot that script from him, but we understand why
British music, as Snow Patrol writers; not because the specific content serves them well.” that wasn't the case,” they tell us. “However,
frontman Gary Lightbody made was objectionable, but a whole series of whether he writes a script or not, the
up part of Locke’s (Noah Taylor)
travelling company, singing away
questionable writing choices were made to IT’S NOT BASED ON A BOOK… showrunners Benioff and Weiss make all
on his horse.
get there. Most critics have focused on the With The Winds Of Winter still in the the decisions about what happens in any
hot-button topics, and so the fact that Sansa’s future, Season Six will be the first time that particular season. Even the scripts George
SIGUR ROS story arc was a prime example of bad writing the fans of the books will be on the same wrote were based on breakdowns provided
If someone breaks into song in for the past season is lost.” ground as the Unsullied. “It’s frightening and to him by the executive producers.”
Game Of Thrones then death Miller points out that Sansa’s treatment exhilarating!” says Miller. “I hate and love “Martin served as co-executive producer
is near, as evidenced by the
wasn’t the only instance of the show not it all at once, the not knowing. We’re all on for Season Five,” adds Miller. “As he has
appearance of Jón Þór ‘Jónsi’
Birgisson, Georg Hólm and
writing its women well. “I think the Dorne unsteady ground now.” for most of the seasons. Clearly his input
Orri Páll Dýrason at Joffrey’s story made a misstep with regard to female Although fans can look forward to not was a part of the equation. For example,
wedding. Don’t eat the pie. characters, and the criticism around that knowing what every major set piece from David Benioff has mentioned discussing
plot was warranted,” she tells us. “There the Red Wedding to the Mountain and the the burning of Shireen [Baratheon, Stannis’
MASTODON was an opportunity there for an intriguing Viper battle is building to, García Jr and daughter, played by Kelly Ingram] with
Finally a bit of metal, as Brann
women-centered plot, but the show Antonsson point out that there’s a flipside Martin beforehand, with Martin informing
Stark Dailor, Bill Kelliher, and
Brent Hinds appeared as
seemed more concerned with connecting to the excitement of an unpredictable series the showrunners of Shireen’s fate in The
Wildlings in the epic Season the story back to Oberyn – a male character that has some readers worried. Winds Of Winter. Martin didn’t pen an
Five episode ‘Hardhome’, and that was already beloved. It’s not necessary “It’s a positive in some ways, since in episode, but I don’t think that’s a factor. The
got brutally murdered by White to keep female characters completely theory it should mean there will be more dominant voices in the show adaptation
Walkers. None more metal. untouched by the ugliness of the Game Of separation between the novels to come and have always been Benioff and Weiss.”
WILKO JOHNSON With Myrcella dead, Tommen
Yes, the guitarist from Dr (Dean-Charles Chapman) is the sole
surviving child of Jaime and Cersei.
Feelgood was in Game Of
Thrones. Bizarrely enough, the
creator of the Duck Walk starred
as mute executioner Ilyn Payne,
the man who chopped off Ned
Stark’s head.

040 |
GAME OF THRONES
Watch The Throne

THE DOMINANT VOICES


IN THE SHOW HAVE
ALWAYS BEEN DAVID
BENIOFF AND DB WEISS
SUSAN MILLER
By the end of Season Five, Tyrion
(Peter Dinklage) was back in power.

Who’s next?
Place your bets on who lives
and who dies…
SANSA
30/1 – They wouldn’t. Not after
last season.

The Season Five finale saw Theon (Alfie ARYA


Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) treatment Allen) and Sansa escape the clutches 25/1 – Having been taken down
was a source of controversy. of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). several notches by the Faceless
Men, we’re confident that this
Jaime that could be excellent if the writers person who provides it, so we absolutely season will see Arya rally rather
were inclined to use the books.” agree with Gaiman’s sentiment.” than bow out.
There are also new additions, with some The situation resulted in Benioff and
DAENERYS
heavyweights joining the cast. We’ve got Weiss meeting with Martin to get an idea of 20/1 – She may be in a tricky
Ian McShane in a mystery role, Richard E where the story will go. While the situation situation right now, but it’s
Grant as a theatre manager, and the great isn’t ideal, both sets of writers are making it definitely not her first. We can’t
Max von Sydow will be helping Bran (Isaac work. “George is disappointed by this fact, as see her dropping out yet.
Hempstead-Wright) with his magic abilities he had hoped to get it out by now,” continue
as the Three-Eyed Raven. We will also get García Jr and Antonsson. “But ultimately this
TYRION
18/1 – Similarly, the Imp has too
UT THERE’S STILL A LOT TO LOOK FORWARD TO some exciting additions to some family trees, next season seems to be drawing a significant much left to do. However, being
After moving at a leisurely pace, the show namely Lucy ’s Pilou Asbaek as Theon’s portion of its material from the extant novels the biggest name on the show is
did what it does best in the final three uncle Euron Greyjoy, and we’ll meet the rest as is, introducing storylines from A Feast For still a risky business. Ask Ned.
episodes: build towards an absolutely of the Tarly clan. Given that Sam’s (John Crows that were passed over. That shouldn’t
stunning finale. Daenerys’ position as a Bradley) father threatened to kill him if he be a problem. The fact that the story is now MELISANDRE
15/1 – Seems untouchable, but
power player is in question after being didn’t join the Night’s Watch, we shouldn’t moving ahead of the novels… for people who
that’s often a death sentence.
dropped off with the Dothraki by a wounded expect a happy reunion. “Randyll Tarly see themselves as readers first and foremost,
Drogon; Arya (Maisie Williams) has been (James Faulkner) is a character that I didn’t there’s a lot of concern about ‘spoilers.’” LITTLEFINGER
blinded; Sansa and Theon (Alfie Allen) have think we’d see on the show,” enthuses 11/1 – He seems like he’s too
fled Ramsay, and Cersei (Lena Headey) has Miller. “Sam’s father is grade-A terrible WHAT ABOUT JON SNOW? clever to get killed, but he’s too
been stripped of her power. Oh, and Jon person, but a fascinating character.” Finally, we have to address the bearded confident. You don’t want to get
too big for your breeches here.
Snow (Kit Harington) was stabbed to death. elephant in the room. So… Jon Snow?
“People are hungrier than ever for new THE WINDS OF WINTER IS COMING… “Dead – until Melisandre finds his corpse CERSEI
information,” Miller enthuses. “Usually the Earlier this year, George RR Martin and that Chekhov’s gun from Season Three 7/1 – After a rude awakening,
book-readers can sit back smugly, enjoying announced that The Winds Of Winter was (Melisandre’s woodsy run-in with Thoros) she’s realised that she’s not as
our knowledge. This time around all of us still unfinished. Predictably, some fans took goes off. Then, alive…ish,” suggests Miller. untouchable as she thought.
are scrambling for titbits of info, wondering the news badly, while others pointed to the “Oh, he’s definitely dead,” García Jr and Could she finally fall?
if this is the season we’ll get confirmation of still-relevant Neil Gaiman post in which he Antonsson tell us. “He’ll get over it.”
JAIME
theories we’ve had for years.” stated, “George RR Martin is not your bitch.” 5/1 – The Kingslayer has done a
With Benioff and Weiss showing that Seven years later, that fact hasn’t changed. Susan Miller is the editor in chief and lot of bad, a little good, but he’s
they weren’t bound to the books, it’s a best- “We’re as eager to get our hands on the co-founder of WatchersOnTheWall.com. always watchable. We’ve got a
guess situation. “There’s so many things book as the next fan – perhaps more so, Elio Garcia Jr and Linda Antonsson are the bad feeling about him this year.
which are now impossible to show, because given our devotion to the series! – so we can authors of The World Of Ice And Fire: The
the moments have passed or the involved understand feeling the occasional anguish,” Untold History Of Westeros And The Game
BRIENNE
5/1 – We love Brienne. We do.
characters have met premature ends,” García laugh García Jr and Antonsson. “But having Of Thrones, available now from Harper But she’s kind of failed in most of
Jr and Antonsson tell us. “However, there are a personal desire – however strong – for Voyager. Game Of Thrones Season Six begins her tasks. We see her going out
some moments in the Riverlands involving something doesn’t give you a claim to the on 25 April on Sky Atlantic. while doing something heroic.

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BIG MOVIE
The Huntsman: Winter’s War

042 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Killer Queen

SNOW WHITE IS GONE, and reveres all types of women, and I think
it’s very much a film that promotes women
with each other on different projects again.
That’s the biggest proof of how great it

BUT HER LEGACY in very different ways,” says Nicolas-Troyan.


“Freya is a mother, Ravenna is someone
worked between us, because we’re all trying
to work with each other again! So yeah, that I BEG YOUR
REMAINS. WE TALK PARDON?
who is a love-lust type of character, and Sara was my favourite part by far, being with
is woman who is really strong, but wants them and being different for them because

TO THE HUNTSMAN:
desperately to be in love again. There are they don’t have the same needs. They’re not
different variations within those women. looking for the same things. So trying to be Hemsworth is the best and worst
at not sounding like himself. How
WINTER’S WAR
And then of course, there are the dwarves, the best I could be for every single one of
who also have their own thing going on. them and being different, for me, was a great do other genre stars compare?

DIRECTOR CEDRIC
I just think that women characters have a challenge, and a great reward at the end.” Chris Hemsworth
wider spectrum of emotion and action, and He also reckons we might end up seeing as Thor (Thor)
Obviously Asgardians probably
I think that it’s so interesting to see them new sides to some of the actors, particularly

NICOLAS-TROYAN
don’t actually exist, but if
they did they would definitely
interact with each other and have them drive Jessica Chastain as Sara, the warrior. “Ah, sound like Chris Hemsworth as
Thor. It’s the stuff dreams are
the story.” Sara. She’s a badass. She’s really badass. I

ABOUT WHY THE FILM


made of.
Does that mean The Huntsman: Winter’s think it was fun for Jessica to play because
War could also be planning to pull another she doesn’t usually play that type of David Tennant as The

IS STILL VERY MUCH A


Doctor (Doctor Who)
Mad Max, where the male titular character character. It was really fun for me to work Tennant’s beautiful Scottish
accent is one of our favourite
isn’t actually the one running the show? with her because I love those characters.

WOMAN’S WORLD…
things about him, but he’s
“It’s definitely the Huntsman’s story, but She’s equal; she’s a huntsman too. She’s not managed to master an English
one. If we didn’t know, we
it’s like two storylines that are interwoven just one of the huntsmen; she’s the leader of wouldn’t be able to tell.

WORDS POPPY-JAY PALMER into one,” says Nicolas-Troyan. “It’s very the huntsmen when Eric goes away. They’re
Hugh Dancy as Will
Graham (Hannibal)
One of the best parts of being
a Fannibal is when you finally
discover that Dancy isn’t
actually an American. The other
part is when you realise he was
in Ella Enchanted.

Colin Morgan
as Merlin (Merlin)
Over five seasons of Merlin,
Morgan altered his natural Irish
accent into an English one,
which would have been perfect
if he hadn’t said ‘person’ in
episode one.

W
ITH KRISTEN STEWART MOSTLY much a battle of wills between people. We husband and wife, so they are on equal Karen Gillan as
Nebula (Guardians
ABSENT FROM THE SEQUEL TO SNOW have two relationships that are living side footing. She’s not the love interest of Eric, Of The Galaxy)
WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, SHE HAS by side, and are being interweaved within like she needs him to save her of anything Nebula was Gillan’s first post-
Who role, so we were expecting
TAKEN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TITLE the story. There’s the relationship between like that. She’s very much capable in her big things. The character was
fun, and Gillan was a joy as
(and thus the main protagonist) with her. Freya and Ravenna, the two sisters, and then own right. She’s really kick-ass, but they always but the accent could
have been a lot better.
The best thing the original film had going there’s the relationship between Eric and have this relationship together, and they’re
for it was that it showed Snow in a new Sara. They’re both love stories: one is the trying to find their way back to each other Cate Blanchett as Irina
light. She wasn’t the dainty, house-keeping story of love-lust, and one is the story of love because they’ve been bad. They’ve been bad Spalko (Kingdom Of The
Crystal Skull)
Disney princess we knew from past rekindling and finding love again. Those two children. They misbehaved, and the queen is As a two-time Academy Award
winner, Blanchett’s accents
adaptations. She was a warrior, and she stories are really intertwined with each other not happy with them.” are usually spot on, but we
could hold her own in a battle of both brain throughout the entire timeline of the movie, Although he’d only helmed one short film still have no idea what she
was trying to do in the fourth
and brawn. and they’re dependent on each other.” before settling down in the director’s chair Indiana Jones movie.

Now that Snow’s gone, we’re left with With the new characters come new for The Huntsman, Nicolas-Troyan was a
Domhnall Gleeson as
Chris Hemsworth’s huntsman, Eric, holding performers. The cast of the first film was perfect fit for the task. He already knew the Bill Weasley (The
the fort, but according to director Cedric pretty impressive back in 2012, what with world like the back of his hand after helping Deathly Hallows)
His American accent in Ex
Nicolas-Troyan, who acted as second Stewart and Hemsworth getting ready to create it; he happened to be the visual effects Machina was perfect, but for
some reason his Irish lilt made
unit director on the first instalment, The release the final Twilight film and Avengers supervisor on the first film, a job that he says him sound a bit Australian in
Harry Potter, and unlike the
Huntsman is still a female-driven film. Assemble respectively, and Charlize Theron came up out of the blue. “I was working on rest of the Weasley family.
Charlize Theron’s brilliant evil queen, just being Charlize Theron – but the sequel’s another project, and then all of a sudden this
Ravenna, is back, and some new women cast is somehow even better. came around, and they were like, ‘Oh, we Dick Van Dyke as
Bert (Mary Poppins)
have also been added to stir things up. Emily “That’s got to be the best thing that want you to work on this movie.’ I just didn’t He may be everyone’s favourite
chimney sweep/pavement
Blunt (Into The Woods) is playing Freya, happened to me on this movie, working with have a lot of time to think about it. It was like artist/one-man band, but he
the Ice Queen, and sister of Ravenna, while those actors and actresses,” Nicolas-Troyan I was jumping on a train that was already sounded like he’d never heard a
human speak before, let alone a
Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak) is raiding tells us. “When you see the cast, you go, ‘Oh, leaving the station. I didn’t really think to cockney one.

the armoury as Eric’s hunter wife, Sara. Even crap! That’s kind of an impressive cast!’ So myself, ‘Should I do it? Should I not?’ It was
Chris Hemsworth as the
the dwarves – which were previously all men for a first-time director you’re thinking, ‘Ooh, more like, ‘Alright, let’s go!’” Huntsman (Snow White
– have had a bit of a reshuffle, with Sheridan what’s going to happen?’ And to be honest The Huntsman also came for him in And The Huntsman)
It still baffles us that
Smith (Cilla) and Alexandra Roach (Utopia) I didn’t know. So I went there with the best much the same way. “There were a lot of Hemsworth was the only
person in the film with a
joining the mix. Could The Huntsman go intentions, and it worked! I just wanted to projects that were on, and yeah, obviously I Scottish accent, and also the
only person that didn’t seem
the same way as Mad Max: Fury Road and be the best director that I could be for those was very much interested,” he tells us. “It’s a to have the capacity to do a
become this year’s surprise feminist hit? actors and actresses, and it worked out. We world that was very dear to me. I spent a lot good one.

“I don’t know about feminist, but I had a really great experience on set together, of months creating it with Rupert [Sanders]
certainly sure hope it’s a film that promotes so much so that we’re now trying to work on the first movie, so I was very interested.

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BIG MOVIE
The Huntsman: Winter’s War
COOKING WITH ERIC
When the Huntsmen aren’t chasing a bounty, they’re
venturing into the magical culinary arts...
But then things happen, things don’t happen,
you go on other projects, and then all of a Pegasus wings
sudden, the next thing you know is the thing Unicorn tongue (Clash Of
The Titans)
has gone full circle, and you’re like, ‘Oh, (Stardust) Best served with a vast
we’re going!’” Place in a slow cooker
amount of barbecue sauce.
Along with Snow White And The along with onion, garlic and
Huntsman’s new look at an old character, magical roots.
one of the things that made it stand out was
that it was extremely aesthetically pleasing,
especially where magic was involved, so
there’s pressure on the sequel to match
it.“Obviously that was one of the things that
we had to do in keeping the visual aspect
of the first movie, but also trying to offer Dragon tail
something that is different,” says Nicolas- (The Hobbit)
Cook into a casserole
Troyan. “You want to bring back the stuff Hippogriff and serve with a
that you loved in the first movie, but then front legs Laketown wine.
you want to add a little bit of other stuff (Harry Potter)
about it. You’re not reinventing the wheel, Always buy free range. Tastes
but you’re also not just showing all the same like chicken, only bigger. Werewolf shin
things from the previous one. You liked the (Teen Wolf)
Remove footwear and skin
enchanted forest? We’re going back there!
before attempting to cook.
But we’re going to show it a little differently.
We have things that are very reminiscent of
the first movie, but it’s a new take on it.
“I think people are going to be surprised universal,” says Nicolas-Troyan. “The stories
how funny the movie is. I think people don’t are very simple. It’s always about love, and
expect it to be that much fun. That’s one of it’s always about children, whether they are
the things that is very different from the first eaten, captured or this or that. They’re very
movie. The first movie was darker. This one simple stories about what is right and what
is lighter. It’s a little bit more light-hearted. is wrong, and what is good and what is bad.
We’re offering something that is a little They’ve been told first, and then they have
different. The first movie was exploring been written, and then they have been read,
one relationship, and this one is exploring and after that we’ve made cartoons out of
something else, so I think people are going to them, and now we’re making movies out of
be surprised about how fun it is.” them because it’s possible. It’s just that the
With the unfaltering popularity of classic tool of telling the same stories has changed,
fairy tales made into big-budget films, The but the stories remain the same. I think it’s
Huntsman needs to stand out to stay ahead because the cores are very simple things,
of the game. But what is it about fairy tales and yet they resonate with everyone.”
that inspires masses of viewers to keep
on seeing stories that they’ve heard many The Huntsman: Winter’s War will be
times before? “I think it’s because they are released in cinemas on 4 April.

Sara (Jessica Chastain) isn’t


just Eric’s (Chris Hemsworth)
love interest; she’s a leader too.

The film shows two different


relationship dynamics: husband
and wife, and sibling love.

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE


SURPRISED AT HOW FUNNY
THE MOVIE IS
CEDRIC NICOLAS-TROYAN
The dwarves also return
to the character line-up.

044 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
MUST-SEE TV
Daredevil

WORDS POPPY-JAY PALMER, JONATHAN HATFULL


INTERVIEW JONATHAN HATFULL, ADAM TANSWELL

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNIS ED

046 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
DAREDEVIL
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

THE KINGPIN MAY BE BEHIND BARS, BUT THE CHAOS IS JUST


GETTING STARTED. AS THE PUNISHER AND ELEKTRA BEGIN TO
SHAKE THINGS UP FOR DAREDEVIL IN SEASON TWO, WE TALK TO
THE CAST AND CREW ABOUT RETURNING TO HELL’S KITCHEN…

M
ARVEL’S NETFLIX EXPANSION it’s not so black and white,” Cox tells us.
HAS SO FAR BEEN DAMN GOOD AT “It operates in the grey areas, and it poses
ANTAGONISTS. ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS questions rather than present you with good
OF DAREDEVIL’S FIRST SEASON WAS and evil. And that’s at least the aim. With
being let into the wonderful but thoroughly Frank Castle showing up, what happens to
messed up world of Wilson Fisk (Vincent Matt emotionally is hopefully as interesting
D’Onofrio). In the same year, Jessica Jones as the plot of what actually happens in the
wowed and disturbed with David Tennant’s show, because of course, what he represents
take on the Purple Man. Both were complex, is something that Matt recognises in himself
captivating and, though neither of them on the one hand, but at the same time could
would believe it, undeniably villains. For not possibly agree with his methods.”
Season Two of Daredevil, however, the lines “It’s an enormous honour to play this
between good and evil are being blurred character,” says former Walking Dead
beyond recognition. star Bernthal. “He’s a character that’s
When the protagonist of your show is very iconic, and he’s important to a lot of
a vigilante himself, it takes someone really people. I’m extremely humbled to have the
special (and really evil) to be the opposing job, and I look at it as a real responsibility
force. Now that Fisk has been incarcerated, to try to get it right. In my opinion, what
a couple of new players need to step in to was so successful about Season One was
cause real chaos for Matt Murdock. how layered and complex the characters
“I think there’s a sense at the beginning of were, and how rich the series was. A lot
the second season that for six months or so, of Season One was about Matt Murdock
things have kind of returned to normalcy,” dealing with this decision to be a hero – but
says Charlie Cox, who plays Murdock. “With then comes along this guy, the Punisher,
Fisk away, there’s a sense that Matt has been who is really not concerned about being
able to relax a little bit… he’s come to terms a hero. His superpower is his rage. His
with who he is, and he’s come to terms with superpower is that he is not going to quit.
what he’s capable of. He’s no longer having He is going to go forward no matter what.
that argument in his head and his heart so He has a different sense of justice. The level
much any more. There’s a period of time of physical discipline that this show and this
when he’s able to just enjoy it all. And then role required from me was unlike anything
of course, one person in particular shows I’ve ever done before. It’s full on, and it keeps
up, and that throws everything into disarray going. It never stops! The fight team on
all over again.” Daredevil is extraordinary.
That one person in particular is Frank “I think what’s key is that these guys are
Castle (played by the marvellous Jon not two superheroes; they are two complex
Bernthal), a former US Marine Captain more men who have gone through a lot in their
commonly known as the Punisher. Like lives. I think the writers were courageous
Daredevil, he has his own way of dealing enough to let these characters delve into a
with things. “Punisher, I think, is more of genuine relationship. Opinions can change.
an antihero really, and that’s one of the It’s not black and white, and I think that’s
things that I always liked about this show: what made me a fan of Season One.”
Elodie Yung will portray
Elektra in Season Two
of Daredevil.

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Life Is Pain
Ranking the characters on
the Foggy angst scale
Matt Murdock
Last season saw Matt confront
some demons, old and new,
and figure out just how far he
would go to protect his city. On
the plus side, he’s made new
friends, he’s told his oldest
friend his biggest secret, he got
a brand new suit, and he didn’t
have to kill anybody. Maybe he’s
doing okay?

Karen Page
You could argue that Karen
should have a higher rating. She
killed a guy. Her new friend was
killed. She saw all the darkness in
the big, scary city, and she’s still
sitting on a big goddamn secret
that she won’t tell her employers
about. But you know what?
Karen gets on with it.

Wilson Fisk
You could say that Wilson was
driven by angst into becoming
As well as being a Daredevil fan,
Bernthal is a fan of Charlie Cox. “Charlie’s
the Kingpin. His rough childhood
and Daddy issues led him to try “THE PUNISHER’S
work is unbelievably grounded and
authentic,” he says. “His confession scene
to fix the city in an incredibly
violent (that car door!) and illegal SUPERPOWER IS
[from Season One] was the first thing that
way. We can’t imagine Daredevil
ruining everything for him has HIS RAGE. HE’S NOT
I saw, and I was hooked right away. When I
saw that scene, I said, ‘The level of work in
helped his temper problems.
GOING TO QUIT”
JON BERNTHAL
this show is unbelievable. If that’s what these
guys are going for, I want to play with them.’ “Elektra is a highly trained killer, and
It was very easy for me to sign up to the unless you have people who are very good
show after I’d seen what they did. at faking it, I think it helps to have someone Foggy Nelson
The fact that the metric we’re
For many fans of the first season, who’s able to really throw a punch, a kick
using is based on him should give
the Punisher was at the top of the list of and all that,” Yung tells us. “This is a very you some clue about how angst- personal elements to her. I’ve tried to get
‘characters we want to see Daredevil fight’, exciting job for me. Being an actor, I’m trying ridden Foggy is. Your friend has her grounded and real. I’ve also tried to
so his addition to Season Two alone was to understand who this person is – but she superpowers. He’s out helping empathise with her on some things that
something of treat. Now that we’re also is very complex. I don’t think she’s good or people. He’s a hero. And your life we don’t have in common; I’ve tried to
getting Elektra Natchios, Matt Murdock’s bad, and I would never judge that. I think she is absolutely fine compared to understand why she would react to the
everyone else. Move past it or
ex-girlfriend, it’s practically Christmas. Much has some element of good, and she has some way she does. She’s a sociopath. She’ll use
make good on your threat to be
like with the Punisher, she couldn’t have element of bad in her, which is the same a butcher. anything she needs to use to get to her goal.
been cast better if we’d done it ourselves. for everyone. She is a person with different If she needs to kill people, she will. She has
French actress Elodie Yung (Narcopolis) is traits. She’s a person with many layers, and this coldness in her, which is something I
a perfect fit for the assassin/martial artist to she’s seeking who she is. In this season, tried to keep in the character.”
the point where it’s like she’s been preparing there’s an arc to her story. Hopefully we’ll “In the first season, our story was about
for the role her whole life. With a black belt find out who she is by the end of it. Matt Murdock and his decision to become
in karate and decades’ worth of training, “I really love Elektra. I’ve really enjoyed a hero,” says Marvel Television head Jeph
we’re sure she will kill it. building the character and bringing some Loeb. “Our second season is pretty much
about what it is to be a hero. Rather than
simply show him going through the paces,
it gave us an opportunity to bring two
iconic and important characters from the
comics. We didn’t just pluck characters out
of the sky; they each brought a different
interpretation of what justice is. One of those
characters is Elektra, the other is Frank
Castle… In the simplest terms, Frank Castle
sees the world in a very black and white way.
What Elektra brings to it – and in particular
in the way that Elodie Yung portrayed her –
is the fact that she lives in the grey.”
Relationships were a large part of
the show during its first season: Matt’s

048 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
DAREDEVIL
Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The Punisher’s actions puts

Inside the mind of the Punisher


him at odds with Daredevil.

15% civic duty


They gotta pay,
40% vengeance particularly if they’ve
They gotta pay. done anything even
They all gotta pay. remotely bad.

Rosario Dawson returns 30% grief


as Claire Temple. They killed my
wife. They killed
my kids. Which
is why they
gotta pay.

10% military
training
They gotta pay and
I know exactly how
to make them pay 5% lone wolf mentality
most efficiently I don’t play well with others.
and/or painfully. Unless they’re also making
people pay.

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MUST-SEE TV
Daredevil

relationship with Foggy Nelson (Elden


Henson), his relationship with Karen Page
(Deborah Ann Woll), Foggy’s relationship
with Karen, Fisk’s relationship with Vanessa
Marianna (Ayelet Zurer). After some
unsatisfying loose ends, there’s a lot left that
hasn’t even been touched on.
“I think that one of the things that
[Season One showrunner] Steven DeKnight
did that I thought worked very well at the
end of the first season, was that we wanted
to finish that season with a sense of triumph
and give the impression that something
great had been accomplished,” says Cox. “At
the same time, there was a lingering feeling
that some things have been resolved, and
other things haven’t. So there’s still a ways to
go in terms of dealing, mainly emotionally,
with all the discoveries that have been
made. There’s that scene outside Nelson &
Murdock when Foggy goes off to see the girl
he’s been seeing, and Matt says something
to Karen about, ‘I know that not everything’s
okay, words to that effect. And so this season
I think we’ll begin to learn… I mean, a lot
happens, so there’s only so much time to talk
about one’s feelings in the second season.
“Very quickly we hit the ground running,
and we meet new characters, and it kind
of escalates from there,” Adds Cox, “But
there is a sense that Foggy and Matt still
have a lot of ground to cover. That the
wounds that were inflicted based on Matt’s
lies or dishonesty haven’t just healed
completely, and maybe their relationship is
more fractured than Matt had hoped. And
similarly with Karen, Karen poses a real
problem for Matt in some ways, because
I think one should feel like that, as an
audience member we should feel that Karen
is a real potential love interest for him. Those

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DAREDEVIL
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

two have so much in common, and they’re by punching people, and yet that’s what he right wrongs,” says Bernthal. “Maybe I’m
so right for each other in so many ways,
and she’s exactly the kind of person that he
winds up doing as an adult. Then he meets
this woman who is worldly and travelled. She
a selfish actor, but I look at it very much
through my own character’s eyes. That’s
Elektra Reborn
wants to be with. She’s the kind of person speaks other languages and she comes from certainly what Frank is going through when How to get Frank Miller’s
that he would like himself to be able to fall money. She has grace. That weighed heavily we meet him in Daredevil.” assassin right
for. But at the same time she doesn’t know in our decision to have Elodie, because she “The issues of morality and truth are While most of the marketing
his biggest secret, so how can he truly be has all those things. When Elodie and I something that will constantly challenge for Season Two has focused
himself when there’s this huge gap in what talked about the character, one of the things our hero,” Loeb explains. “We should on the arrival of Jon Bernthal’s
she always brought up were the layers in the Punisher, the introduction
she knows about him? continually want to ask, ‘Is Elektra telling
of Elektra is just as exciting
“That’s one side of Matt that Elektra does writing. With every line, there are multiple the truth, or is she telling her version of the for Daredevil fans, and just
know,” Cox continues. “So it’s very tempting levels. Is she teasing? Is she threatening? Is truth?’ Since Matt’s goal is always to seek as crucial to get right. We’ve
for him, regardless of whether we feel that she being funny? The answer was always: it’s out justice – and we have to remember that already suffered through an
Elektra is good or bad for Matt. What’s great all those things.” he’s also an attorney – he is looking at the Elektra film so bad that we’re
about her presence for him, what’s addictive The characters aren’t the only things that world differently than many of us look at actually grateful that it’s so
from his point of view, is that he doesn’t are new for Daredevil’s second season. Doug forgettable, but there’s such
the world. In his eyes, there is a sense of
a great opportunity to bring
have to pretend to be anyone.” Petrie (Buffy The Vampire Slayer ) and Marco right and wrong. He also believes that justice
one of Marvel’s great female
“One of the things that is very important Ramirez (Fear The Walking Dead ) joined the is something that can be proven, which badasses to brilliant life. So
about the story of Matt and Elektra is that series as co-showrunners after DeKnight left is different to Elektra’s attitude. Elektra is with that in mind, here are a
he’s this pug from Hell’s Kitchen,” adds the post last year. However, the old Daredevil always thinking about whose interests are few key things to get right.
Loeb. “He’s the son of a boxer. He’s a lower- themes are more or less the same: everything best served, and that may be hers.”
income Irish kid who grew up fighting in
the streets. He had a father who tried to
is still going to shit for Hell’s Kitchen.
“For me, the underlying themes are Daredevil: Season Two premieres on Netflix
1 Make her deadly
Elektra is a ruthless killing
machine for hire – at least she is
convince him that the world is not solved vengeance, pain and loss, and the search to worldwide on 18 March. in the earlier parts of her journey.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) will She’s had an incredibly painful
continue to get close to Karen life, and she’s been trained
Page (Deborah Ann Woll). by the very best. If she’s not
convincingly deadly then we will
be disappointed.

2 Don’t try and get every part


of her back story in there
Some of her past is extremely
dark, and we wouldn’t
necessarily recommend
staying away from that. What
we would be cautious about is
the introduction of the more

“KAREN AND MATT


supernatural and mystical
elements of the character.

HAVE SO MUCH Still, with Netflix’s emphasis


on grounding the show, this

IN COMMON, AND shouldn’t be too much of a


problem. And we don’t want her

THEY’RE SO RIGHT to be humourless either.

FOR EACH OTHER”


CHARLIE COX
3 Don’t do what the films did
While we’ve got no beef with
Jennifer Garner, there was very
little of what we loved about
Elektra in either the Daredevil
movie or her solo film. The first
saw her in ‘tragic love interest’
mode with a leather outfit,
and the other introduced lots
of potentially great mystical
elements (Stick, Typhoid Mary)
and just wasted them.

4 Give her enough time to


make an impact
The Netflix TV show is a busy
place. Even before the arrival of
Elektra and the Punisher, there’s
Matt’s friends Karen and Foggy,
and we can’t imagine that the
new season will completely
exclude Wilson Fisk. Frank Castle
might be the more obvious
dramatic opposite of Daredevil,
but Elektra is just as important
and potentially brilliant. Make
It appears that even tougher Jon Bernthal will be the first sure she has the time to shine.
times are ahead for Matt. small-screen Frank Castle.

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INTERVIEW
The Punisher

052 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
THE PUNISHER
A History Of Violence

A HISTORY OF
VI  LENCE
AS MARVEL’S REVENGE-FUELLED VIGILANTE PREPARES TO MAKE HIS TV
DEBUT, WE TALK WITH GERRY CONWAY, GARTH ENNIS AND STEVEN GRANT
ABOUT THE PUNISHER’S MOST FURIOUS RAMPAGES OF REVENGE…
WORDS RUSSELL SHEATH

A
S THE PUNISHER’S WAR ON CRIME some emotional resonance, which led From his first appearance in
ENTERS ITS FOURTH DECADE, FRANK to the idea that it's not really Gwen, Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974,
CASTLE STANDS POISED TO BRING HIS but a clone, which led to the idea of the Punisher became a runaway hit
UNRELENTING FORM OF JUSTICE TO HELL’S working out who might create a clone with fans and creators alike, making
Kitchen – and Netflix – in Daredevil. of Gwen Stacy. That villain became the several appearances in Amazing
A Vietnam veteran and Marine Jackal, but I wanted to give him more Spider-Man and Frank Miller’s
Corps hero, Castle’s family were authority than just be a mysterious character-defining run on Daredevil.
gunned down when they unwittingly villain. One way to do that was to give Drawing parallels between the
stumbled upon a mob hit in Central him a henchman, someone who would success of his creation and the social
Park. Enter the Punisher, as Frank is go out under the Jackal’s influence with zeitgeist of America in the Seventies,
reborn as a relentless, gun-wielding a mission to kill Spider-Man.” Conway offers, “New York City in the
vigilante whose black and white vision Seventies was a real cesspool with
of justice would set him against villains very high crime. The police were kind
and heroes alike. The look and the name would require of ineffectual, and there was a social
Beginning life as a Spider-Man some extra refinement, and Conway meme about vigilantes in real life and
antagonist, the Punisher’s origin looked to legendary artist John Romita with movies like Death Wish.
couldn’t be more different to the and Wolverine co-creator Len Wein “You wouldn’t have been able to
characters born of the atomic age. for inspiration. “I drew a sketch of this create the Punisher in the Sixties,
The Hulk, Spider-Man and Daredevil guy in a black outfit with a small skull as the Comics Code Authority was
all gained their powers courtesy of on his chest, which I took to Romita,” so strong that they wouldn’t let
radioactive accidents; the source of explains Conway. “John expanded you portray him as a sympathetic
the Punisher’s power is the vengeance the skull, created the belt that forms character. In the Eighties you had
he wreaks on the criminal underworld. the teeth, and we settled upon calling a very authoritarian government
Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway the character ‘The Assassin’. But as I under Reagan, and anyone who was
sheds some light on the character’s began talking to Len Wein about the on the side of law and order would
beginnings. “It was late 1973, and Stan character, we decided that we wanted a have been considered suspect, so
Lee asked me to create a storyline to name that had more resonance.” the Punisher wouldn’t have been
bring back Gwen Stacy,” he reveals. “In true Stan Lee fashion, Stan considered sympathetic.” But come
“Stan had been taking a lot of heat asked, ‘What does the character do?’ the mid-Eighties, the Punisher would
for the death of Gwen, and he wanted I replied, ‘He goes around and kills really capture imaginations.
to create a story where we bring her people he thinks are bad guys. He’s the 1986 saw a rebirth for the Punisher
back so he wouldn’t get yelled at as embodiment of crime and punishment.’ as writer Steven Grant and artist
much. I started thinking about bringing To which Stan goes, ‘Well, that's it; let’s Mike Zeck, made Castle grittier and
Gwen back in a way that would have call him… the Punisher!’ ” more realistic. Grant explains, “I felt

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| 053
Punisher has evolved from guest-
starring villain to Marvel mainstay.

it was important to play the Punisher someone else who’s dead and means return to Marvel. Bringing with them
seriously and for him to be more ‘real nothing to the Punisher. Nor does their dark humour, the duo would re-
world’, dumping all cheesiness that
had gone before. Years later, I heard
Castle’s family. That was somebody
else’s life, somebody else’s family.”
launch the Punisher in ‘Welcome Back
Frank’. “When I first wrote the Punisher IN TRUE STAN LEE
from Gerry Conway, who said he’d As the shell cases rained down, each for Marvel Knights, it was almost as
FASHION, HE ASKED,
always wanted to go that way with the
Punisher, but editorial restrictions
new title further cemented him as one
of Marvel’s key characters, with writers
a lark – a chance to showcase some
sub-Tarantino OTT violence,” offers ‘WHAT DOES THE
forbade it.”
The success of the miniseries,
including Chuck Dixon, Mike Baron and
Larry Hama establishing their influence
Ennis. “The Punisher worked his way
through a series of larger-than-life CHARACTER DO?’ I
titled ‘Circle Of Blood’, catapulted on the blood-soaked vigilante. But his freaks and grotesques while taking the TOLD HIM, AND HE
the character to new heights, with an
ongoing monthly comic and a number
success was to prove short-lived.
If the Eighties saw a boom in The
piss out of superheroes. The tone is
pretty goofy, and you can almost hear SAID, ‘WELL THAT’S
of spin-off series including Punisher
War Zone, Punisher War Journal and
Punisher’s appeal, then the mid
Nineties marked a low point. Following
the Merrie Melodies theme playing in
the background for a lot of it.”
IT, LET’S CALL HIM
Punisher Magazine. There was even
Punisher Armory, a kind of Guns &
the explosion of speculation in the
comics industry in the late Eighties
Ennis drew upon the British comics
of his youth, blowing away any trace of
THE PUNISHER!
GERRY CONWAY
Ammo for adolescents, where Frank and into the following decade, the angelic wings and even the white skull
Castle offers readers insight into his mid Nineties marked a decline for
favourite tactics and weapons. the comics industry. As Marvel faced Jon Bernthal will provided the latest
Returning to The Punisher five years bankruptcy, gone were the gritty, Punisher portrayal in Daredevil.
after ‘Circle Of Blood’, ‘Return To Big edgy stories that had proven popular
Nothing’ saw Grant and Zeck once with fans. In their place were more
again make their mark on the character. outlandish adventures.
“One thing Mike and I did was stop The Nineties also saw short-lived
referring to him as Frank, as we find efforts to breathe new life into the
out he doesn’t actually self-identify character with relaunches, miniseries
as Frank Castle at all,” offers Grant, and even a story where the Punisher
delving into his troubled psychology. appears as a literal ‘avenging angel’.
“He comes to deny the Frank Castle Despite a flawed start, the Marvel
identity, saying ‘Frank Castle died with Knights imprint would signify a
his family. I’m the Punisher.’ I wanted changing of the guard at Marvel,
to undercut the ‘They killed his wife rejuvenating the fortunes of the
and child!’ vengeance cliché. Frank publisher and Punisher alike.
Castle was just one more poor loser The new millennium saw Preacher
who couldn’t get the job done. He’s just creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

054 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
THE PUNISHER
A History Of Violence

THE PUNISHER’S
GREATEST HITS
The best of Frank Castle

1 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129


(FEBRUARY 1974)
Writer Gerry
Conway
and artist,
Ross Andru
introduced the
Punisher as an
unwitting pawn
in a plot to kill Spider-Man.
Graded copies of this legendary
first appearance regularly sell
for upwards of $5,000.

2 THE PUNISHER:
‘CIRCLE OF BLOOD’ (1986)
Writer Steven
Grant and
artist Mike
Zeck redefined
the Punisher,
elevating him
from bit player
to star billing. ‘Circle of Blood’
sees him become involved with
The Trust, an organisation who
believes in his mission to clean
up the streets.

and classic costume that had become the real world, would be considered a The Punisher’s fortunes have 3 THE PUNISHER
the character’s trademark. “The dangerous person. The question Frank reflected the times he lives in, and TV (MARVEL KNIGHTS):
Punisher reminds me of the characters raises is one of, ‘Is society doing its and film will continue to set their sights
‘WELCOME BACK FRANK’ (2000)
In the first of
I read as a kid – Dredd, Strontium Dog job?’ Given the social context, different on Frank Castle. many acclaimed
and Dredger,” he explains. “He’s a writers will see different values in him.” No revenge story ends well, and amid outings, Garth
gunfighter rather than a superhero.” Recently, writers like Mark Millar, the myriad incarnations of the Punisher Ennis, together
Matt Fraction, Rick Remender and Greg there is once constant: Frank Castle with artist Steve
Rucka have added their spin on the isn’t going to walk happily into the Dillon, throw out
the rule book
This was a new Punisher for a new his plight, as he continues to find an sunset, as Grant reveals a third, never
as Frank Castle takes on crime
era, but neither Castle nor Ennis were audience with each iteration. realised Punisher story, in a proposed boss Ma Gnucci, a polar bear
taking prisoners. “The Punisher MAX “In the Seventies, the biggest final mission for the Grant/Zeck duo and endless mobsters in a fan-
book was a different kettle of fish. What thing you could fantasise was that a and the Punisher alike. favourite run.
influenced it was 9/11, and the grim character might make it into a Saturday “Mike Zeck and I pitched a bookend 4 THE PUNISHER (2000 TO 2008)
turn America in particular – and the morning cartoon,” Conway enthuses. for our version. Marvel didn’t want it. Garth Ennis
world in general – took at the time. I “There have been three Punisher We’re never going to do it, so I’ll tell continued to
wanted to write about that – the sense feature films, and I’ve not seen any of [you]… The Punisher is after a really dominate and
of life being turned upside down and them, but I’m really looking forward to bad guy who gets away to a Caribbean define the
character for
people feeling rudderless, cast adrift, seeing the Netflix version on Daredevil. island where he can live out the rest of
almost a decade
staring hopelessly into the dark. I It really is an unusual story about how a his days in luxury,” reveals Grant. as he shifted
realised I had the perfect vehicle with character that was created as a minor, “The Punisher can’t go after the the character to Marvel’s ‘MAX’
which to talk about such ideas for a secondary character has gone on to bad guy because he has bought off imprint. Look for ‘Born’ and
mainstream audience: the Punisher.” have such cultural significance.” the police and army. Going after him is ‘Barracuda’ as just two of the
This new take would see Castle take “I haven’t seen Daredevil… I don’t a pure suicide mission. The Punisher many highlights from Garth
Ennis’s take on the Punisher.
on real-world problems and enemies, watch superhero stuff, but if they do goes after him anyway and sneaks onto
finding himself in the firing line of the a Punisher spin-off I might give that a the island, finally gets to the guy and
CIA, the SAS and the IRA, as well as on go,” adds Ennis. “I like Jon Bernthal. has his gun right in the guy’s face, when 5 THE PUNISHER (2011)
the forefront of the war on terror. My attitude to Punisher movies and the place floods with cops and military, Greg Rucka set
the Punisher
“What’s great about the Punisher them using my stuff in films is that I did all drawing laser beads on the Punisher.
on a collision
is that he’s a kind of Rorschach test work for hire, and I gave up all control The bad guy smirks and says ‘You course with
and a great reflection of where society over how the material is exploited lose.’ The Punisher pulls the trigger as new criminal
is at that moment,” offers Conway. [when] I took the job. Marvel treated everyone else pulls the trigger. And he organisation
“You have the fundamental of the role me decently, and I was even flown to dies. But he also wins.” The Exchange,
of honourable man in society and the the set of the Thomas Jane movie in concluding in Punisher: War
Zone by Greg Rucka et al.
person who sees injustice. How far do Florida. Thomas was just right… but the Daredevil Season Two begins in March
you go? The Punisher is a guy who, in film is a bit of a mess.” on Netflix.

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Damien

056 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
DAMIEN
Antichrist Superstar

THE OMEN IS ONE OF THE SCARIEST FILMS OF ALL TIME, BUT THIS NEW TV SERIES
WILL PRESENT A VERY DIFFERENT DAMIEN THORN. SHOWRUNNER GLEN MAZZARA
TALKS US THROUGH THE DEVILISHLY INVENTIVE NEW SERIES…

I
T’S PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST INGENIOUS these characters and the stories and how “I think in the original movie,” she
PREMISES FOR A HORROR FILM SERIES EVER the characters are going to drive the story. proposes, “She was behind many of the
DEVISED: THE ANTICHRIST ARRIVES ON EARTH Then you bring in the actors, and the way things that happen, but you never knew
AS A NEWBORN, AND AS HE GROWS UP OVER we work is I’ll have a lot of conversations it. It sort of makes sense when you see the
the course of a number of stories, he moves with the actors and say, ‘What do you think present world of her influence then. She
ever closer to the centre of power, in this about this character?’ As you do your work, was always in the shadows, guiding and
case the office of the President of the United people call and respond to the material, protecting and trying to shape what was
States. In the end he leads the world into and I’ve had a lot of stories that have been happening. She’s been with him his whole
Armageddon, fulfilling his destiny. inspired from those conversations. I feel like life without him knowing, and it isn’t until
While things kicked off successfully it’s all a process. What’s really been exciting this moment in time that she steps out of
with Richard Donner’s The Omen (1976), is working with Bradley [James] and Barbara the shadows.”
they kind of faded with Damien: Omen II [Hershey], and the way that relationship just Offers James, “Of all the people for this
(1978) and The Final Conflict (1981), which felt so natural once we got it up on its feet.” burden to fall on, Damien is probably the
became more an excuse for bloodshed than James is best known for his time as Prince- guy you would want it to fall upon, and that’s
an exploration of Damien’s role in humanity. turned-King Arthur on the BBC TV series not necessarily because he’s the best at this.
Flash-forward 40 years from the first film’s Merlin, while Hershey is an award-winning It’s just that he’s a good representation of
release, and he’s getting another chance. actress best known for her roles in Black humanity’s moral code; neither good nor
“I’m not really sure about the details of

DAMIEN
how those films were made,” admits Glen
Mazzara, executive producer/creator/ THE OMEN (1976) DAMIEN: OMEN II (1978)
Played by: Played by:

THROUGH
showrunner of the TV series Damien. “What
Harvey Spencer Stephens Jonathan Scott-Taylor
I’m excited about here is we have a character
dealing with his destiny as the Antichrist.
That’s perfectly suited for a TV show. A lot
of the stuff being done on TV is so grounded
THE YEARS The original child Antichrist
is an expressionless,
emotionless terror,
Aided by his pet raven,
the adolescent Damien
continues to cause death
in character that I think it gives us a lot to The different faces manipulated by the
despicable Mrs Baylock to
wherever he goes, albeit
unintentionally. He still
play with. I’m sort of glad that they didn’t do
more in the films, because it leaves more for
of Thorn Jr fulfil his destiny. doesn’t realise he’s evil yet.

us to do.”
Mazzara, previously of The Walking Swan and most recently in ABC’s Once Upon bad. Not just, you know, ‘I’m Superman, I
Dead, was actually approached by Fox with A Time. James has taken on the title role, do everything that’s good,’ or, pick a villain,
the notion of creating a show based on the while Hershey plays Ann Rutledge, who has ‘I do everything that’s bad.’ He is us. He is
character of Damien. A huge horror fan as shadowed Damien his entire life and is there a representation of all of the people who go
well as a fan of the Omen films, he agreed to to remind him who he really is so that he can day to day. That is Damien.”
write it so long as he could do so his way. embrace his ultimate destiny. Mazzara emphasises that the intrigue of
“I didn’t want to be beholden to the films’ “From the child in The Omen, Damien has telling his story in this medium is that there’s
mythology,” he details. “I wanted to take blanked out as far as what’s happened to him an opportunity to see someone attempting to
the first film as canon for our character and up to this moment in time,” says Hershey. gain control of his life. “Things happen that
develop everything from the last shot of “It’s like Christ supposedly taking up the he doesn’t want,” the writer muses. “Just like
that film. I wanted to create a new character, mantle when he was about 30, and was on shows that I’ve written on, like The Shield,
or develop a new storyline and a different crucified when he was 33. Damien is now 30, the guys would end up doing something and
mythology. So we ended up spending a lot so it’s time. It’s the moment. It would be as if things would go wrong and you have these
of time creating Damien, and as a result I someone said to you, ‘You’re the Antichrist’. moments of horror, but you also have a lot
feel like the story that unfolds has to stay What do you do with that information? of nice character moments. What’s been
WO RDS true to that character instead of some larger
mythology. It’s really a character piece that
And that’s what the first season is really
about. It’s a really fascinating and interesting
fun about taking that first film is it gave us
a world, it gave us a tone and it gave us a lot

EDWARD plays as a thriller that has a lot of great


horror, but people watch TV because it’s cool
question. And the thing that’s intriguing to
me about my character is that it’s completely
to start with, and now you can say, ‘Okay,
let’s revisit that world and freshen it up and
characters doing cool stuff every week. It’s complex. It is protective for sure, but it’s visit it 25 years’ – yes, we’re fudging with
GROSS about those characters that we care about, a lot of other things. She’s very powerful, the timeline – down the road. How does he
and that’s why we watch them. so that automatically wields a certain kind live with it day-to-day, how do other people
“When you start developing a show,” of warpedness, but there are a lot of other come into his life? What does it mean when
Mazzara elaborates, “you’re thinking about things that hopefully aren’t so obvious. something goes wrong for him?”

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Damien

Most important for him and the rest of the Differs Mazzara, “It’s a show that will,
writers was to fill in the back story of Damien of course, have the usual tropes of any
over the last two and a half decades in order good classic horror, which are the scares,
to create a full life story for the character. the thrills, the fun and all of that. But
“I would say Damien has been in denial we’re also examining issues of humanity,
of what he is,” says Mazzara. “He’s been religion, human suffering, love – those larger
running from the devil, and now when we questions. There’s something that’s really
Damien follows the
meet him, time is up. He needs to begin his about choice, free will. There’s a depth to the life of the Antichrist,
work for the devil; he needs to start to pull material that we can examine, because we now aged 30.
things together and embrace his destiny as have, hopefully, seasons ahead of us where
the Antichrist. What we’ve done is create a we can dive in and have our characters
character that desperately doesn’t want to do wrestle with these questions.
that. He wants to retain his humanity, “It’s meant to be an entertaining piece,”
so there’s real inner conflict here. What’s he notes, “but I think there’s also a lot of
nice about the original film is you do have thought behind it. We’re taking those issues
these deaths and tragedies that are all seriously. If people show up and enjoy
somewhat plausible if you’ve heard about it, that’s great. If some people get upset
them, but clearly originating from some because we’re perhaps addressing religious
supernatural source. That supernatural matters in a particular way, I just try to
source is, in a way, manipulating Damien focus on telling the best story possible and
Damien (Bradley James)
and affecting his life, so no matter how far something that really is meaningful to me is a war photographer.
he tries to get out of its grip, that grip only and the rest of the creative team. Any show
becomes tighter.” you put out there, if you have a strong point
Although the devil has already recently of view, some people are going to disagree
made his way back to television in the with it. I think it will be interesting to be able
form of Lucifer, Damien is promising to be to talk about these matters in, hopefully, an
considerably darker, with a lead character intelligent way.”
that could be more controversial in that the
writers are trying to make the Antichrist Damien is airing on Lifetime in the US, with
sympathetic to viewers. a UK air date to follow.

OMEN III: THE FINAL OMEN IV: THE THE OMEN (2006)
CONFLICT (1981) AWAKENING (1991) Played by:
Played by: Sam Neill Played by: N/A Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick

The now 30-something Damien is absent from Sadly, this isn’t a patch
Damien has fully embraced the film this time round. on the original, despite
his heritage, even going so Instead, his long-lost closely following its visual
far as to order the deaths daughter Delia (Asia Vieira) cues and a suitably game
of all boys born on 24 attempts to take on the performance from the
March 1982. mantle of evildom. young lead.

DAMIEN IS A
REPRESENTATION OF
ALL OF THE PEOPLE
WHO GO DAY TO DAY
BRADLEY JAMES

058 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
Star Child
Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon tell us
about creating the most soulful sci-fi film
you’ll see this year WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL INTERVIEWS JAMES MOTTRAM

One of the recurring criticisms of modern Midnight Special starts as it means to go on, with
sci-fi is that we’ve lost our sense of wonder. two men and a young boy readying to leave a motel
Postmodernism has ruined the genre; if you can’t room in a hurry. The local news reveals that one
pop the balloon with a self-aware joke then no of them, Roy (Michael Shannon), is wanted by the
one will take you seriously. All the masses really police for the abduction of his son, Alton (Jaeden
want is to skip the spectacle. So when a film Lieberher). Few words are spoken, but the stakes are
shows this isn’t true, it makes our hearts sing. clearly high as they rush to the car and Roy’s friend
While Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special uses genre Lucas (Joel Edgerton) dons night-vision goggles
classics like Starman and Close Encounters Of and cuts the lights, storming down the Louisiana
The Third Kind as inspiration, there’s no winking at back roads. “That’s how these things always go,”
the audience. There’s no convoluted explanation remembers Nichols. “It begins with an image or an
about what’s going on, who these people are, or idea. In this case, it was two guys in a car moving
why they’re chasing after each other. Something very fast in the middle of the night down these
incredible is happening. At the centre of the chaos back roads in the American South.” After a pause,
and conspiracy is a real family. It’s not just the plot he adds, “Well, I knew there was probably a kid with
that feels nostalgic; the whole film does. superpowers in the backseat.”
“I was a kid of the Eighties!” laughs Nichols when That kid is the subject of a manhunt that goes
we speak to him at Berlin Film Festival. “So from beyond the local law enforcement. The religious
Star Wars to ET to Close Encounters to Starman, ranch Roy took him from, led by the boy’s adopted
these are real, serious touchstones for me. And they father Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepherd), believe he
were tremendous influences on the development belongs with them, and will do whatever it takes to
of the film, for sure. There are obviously these get him back. If they weren’t bad enough, the beat-
aesthetic relationships. I like the way those films are up car is being tracked by a multitude of different
lit. I like the texture of it. If you look at the blue lens government branches and personnel, including Dr
flares and the inky blacks and just the aesthetic of Paul Sevier (Adam Driver). Everyone wants Alton
those films, I think is really great. Even if you look at because his of his extraordinary abilities, but are
the beginning of Close Encounters… all the stuff in they divine, are they alien, or are they something
Richard Dreyfuss’ house, the way his home looks… else? As Roy, Lucas and Alton’s mother Sarah
how crazy it all is. There’s a toddler that is in the (Kirsten Dunst) race to get him to a certain location
baby-holder banging a stick, and the kid is hitting by a certain date, Alton’s powers began to manifest
the piano. The house feels very, very honest to me.” more and more powerfully.
BIG MOVIE
Midnight Special

We all love John Carpenter’s Starman, in which Jeff his doomsday prophet in Take Shelter. The character
Bridges’ alien is driven by a grieving widow (Karen of Roy is driven and intense, but he’s a family man first
Allen) to reach the place where his ship will come to and foremost who is prepared to do whatever it takes
pick him up, and Nichols assures us that he’s well to protect his child. “He brought this up when we were
aware of the similarities. “It’s the easiest one to draw doing Take Shelter,” he recalls. “He said he had an idea
direct parallels to,” he acknowledges. “You’ve got the for a chase movie: ‘Just you and an old car going real
genre of sci-fi, but then you have a sub-genre inside fast.’ That’s about it. That was the pitch.” When he got
that, which is a government chase film. Obviously, the script, that pitch had certainly evolved. “Oh yeah,
Starman is probably the easiest to say, ‘That kind of I was delighted by it really. I thought it was going to be
lines up’, but it’s more the essence of all those films very exciting for fans of Jeff’s work to see him make
put together that is the real inspiration. It wasn’t like I a movie like this. It felt like it was full of surprises. Not
sat down and said, ‘Okay, this is when the gas station what you would expect from Jeff, necessarily. “
is going to blow up’ – although gas stations tend to While the subject matter may be a break from what
blow up in all those films, and mine! But no, it wasn’t a we’ve come to expect from Nichols, it shouldn’t be
direct charting of one film to the other. It was more the too much of a surprise to see the focus on family and
sense of the things, how they felt.” the connections between the characters that compel
“Jeff talks about that movie Starman, I’ve heard them to stick together in the face of impossible odds.
him bring it up in conversations about the movie,” “I didn’t quite know the relationships,” he remembers.
Shannon tells us. “I remember seeing Starman when “And then you start fleshing it out and you’re like,
I was a kid, and it had a profound effect on me – ‘What is the movie about?’ And that’s when the
probably the first time I saw a movie that I thought, relationship with my son started to dominate my life,
‘Wow, this is actually a really great movie.’ The budding so it obviously started to dominate my writing. I’ve
sensibility that I was acquiring as a young person. But always written on two tracks at once. One is this genre
being really, genuinely impressed with that movie, and track, and that’s all about the plot and the window
Jeff Bridges’ performance in it – thinking that was dressing. But then the heart of the thing comes from
really special.” some personal relationship in my life.
This is the fourth consecutive collaboration “If I talk to Mike about that in Take Shelter, that
between Nichols and Shannon, with their fifth, a was before my son was born, and this was very much
drama called Loving, already in the can. With Shotgun written after my son was out of the womb. It became
Stories, Take Shelter and Mud, Nichols has quietly a film not about two guys in a car moving through
established himself as one of the most exciting back roads in the American South at night. It became
talents working in American cinema, and has given about my relationship with my son. If you take
Shannon the platform for two of his most acclaimed Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Midnight Special,
performances. “I have a gentleman’s agreement with it seems to be a trilogy of sorts, and it seems to be my
Jeff that I want to be in all his movies,” Shannon says. development as an adult, as played by Mike Shannon!
“He seems amenable to the idea. I don’t think we’ve I’m very lucky that my alter ego is such a good actor.”
ever really had a fight. We just seem to get along pretty With these two elements, Nichols began to work
well. We’ll see. We’ll see how long we can keep it going.” on creating a world that felt real. For a movie with this
Midnight Special sees Shannon deliver another subject matter, it’s incredible how grounded Midnight
barnstorming turn, albeit much more subdued than Special is, and small moments of tenderness and
The focus of the film is on the unique
abilities of young Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).

Michael Shannon with


co-star Joel Edgerton.

Director Jeff Nichols has worked


with Shannon on all four of his films.

062 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
Star Child

“I have a
gentlemen’s
agreement with Jeff
that I want to be in
all his movies”
Michael Shannon

humour take on an extra weight. It’s in the family


interactions that Lucas witnesses from a distance,
Anatomy Of Midnight Special
the look of fascinated bafflement on the face of 15% ET
A benign creature 20% Close
Adam Driver’s scientist as he hears testimony from Encounters Of The
of unknown origin
commune members, and the conversation about Third Kind
who must be
whether or not Alton should be reading comic books. protected from Real people struggling
We care about what’s happening because it feels so sinister government to deal with the
real. Every mistake counts. There’s not much in the agencies? Yep. reality of something
truly incredible.
way of action, but it’s fantastically involving.
“If you’re going to pick a genre as potentially silly as
a government chase film, you just have to ground it
and make it as specific as you possibly can,” explains
5% Two-Lane
Nichols. “Obviously, there are the specificity of the
relationships, but also in just the way it plays out. I just
Blacktop
Just a dash
Midnight Special
didn’t want it to be cheesy. You start to think about it of Seventies
from the point of view of your main characters, and chase movies.
how would this work and how would you handle this
situation. You come up with what could be considered
a pretty fantastical situation, but you execute it in a
very pragmatic way, and that’s what we’ve done here 20% Jeff Nichols
– or at least attempted to do.” Families. Great acting. 40% Starman
Minimal dialogue. Slow- Someone with special
“Well, yeah, that’s one of the things I really
burning. Maximum powers in an extended
appreciate about Jeff’s work,” enthuses Shannon. emotional impact with race against time
“It’s secretly very lyrical and poetic. It seems very minimal visible effort. through the American
grounded in this very… I don’t want to say cliché, Michael Shannon. South? Big time.

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Wanted
BIG MOVIE Have you seen
Midnight Special these fugitives?

but what one thinks of as a down-to-earth American hokey or cliché. At the end of the day, he’s a special River Tam (Serenity)
experience. Salt-of-the-earth, hardscrabble, the kid. I’ve worked with kids a lot over the years, and Wanted for: Psychically learning pretty much every
people of the Mid-West, the people of the South… usually with kids when they’re good, it tends to be government secret
they’re not typically thought of in poetic terms. It’s by accident. It’s not like they know what they’re Known accomplices: Simon Tam, Malcolm Reynolds
going back to that Faulkner-like tradition.” doing or they even want to be there in the first place. Transport: Firefly-class spaceship Serenity
A huge part of this comes from casting choices. They’re just being themselves, and what they are is Notes: Approach with caution. She might seem like
she’s off in a world of her own, but her martial arts
We’ve already talked about how good Shannon is as appropriate for what you need them to be. But Jaeden
skills are off the chain.
the father, while Edgerton does superb character work is very serious about what he does, and he’s very
as the quiet Lucas; upright and capable, but hiding a focused. In a way it’s like working with another grown-
big heart. Driver is great as the scientist fascinated by up. He’s very generous. He doesn’t complain.”
what he’s chasing, and it’s safe to say that his star has There’s no time for reams of exposition. These
risen since his casting was first announced. Nichols characters don’t have the full picture, and neither do
tells us that the crew found out about Driver’s big we, just as we didn’t know what ET was or where he
Star Wars news at the same time as the rest of us came from. “Well, there are no answers,” Shannon tells
did. “Yeah… his first day at work was the day it was us. “It’s not like we secretly have the answers to the
announced,” he laughs. “And we were all like, ‘Oh! many questions that the film raises. I didn’t need Jeff
That’s going to change that guy’s life!’ He’s such an to explain it to me. I don’t honestly think Roy knows Starman (Starman)
honest guy, I think he’s an extraordinary actor.” what the hell’s going on. All Roy knows is that he loves Wanted for: Crash-landing his spacecraft into Earth
Kirsten Dunst continues a brilliant run of form as his son. That’s basically all he knows. That’s his whole and not immediately turning himself in
Alton’s mother Sarah, while the boy himself is played motivation for everything he does in the movie. I don’t Known accomplices: Jenny Hayden
by the excellent Jaeden Lieberher “It never ceases to think he has any defined perspective about any of it. Transport: Orange and black 1977 Ford Mustang
Cobra II Coupe
amaze me, the situations you find yourself in where But he knows that he has a son that means everything
Notes: The extent of his powers is unknown. He
you just have to establish intimacy with complete to him and he has to protect him no matter what.” brought a dead deer back to life, for one thing.
strangers,” says Shannon. “But Jaeden is like… I’m
trying to figure out a way to say it that doesn’t sound Midnight Special will be released in cinemas on 8 April.
Essentially, Midnight Special
is a grounded chase movie.

Space girl (Lifeforce)


Wanted for: Sucking the lifeforce out of a bunch of
easily seduced male scientists
Known accomplices: N/A
Transport: Whoever will give her a lift, the body of
Patrick Stewart.
Notes: She has a habit of wandering around naked
and turning people into skeletal monsters.

Patrick Crump (The X-Files)


Wanted for: Murder, abducting a federal officer
Known accomplices: Possibly Fox Mulder
Transport: 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Fastback
Notes: Crump has taken Special Agent Mulder
hostage, so be careful when approaching him. There’s
also the chance something in his ear might explode.
Alton is pursued by government
agent Paul (Adam Driver).

John Ryder (The Hitcher)


The director picks Starman as one Wanted for: Lots and lots of murders
of his more obvious inspirations. Known accomplices: Jim Halsey
Transport: 1975 Cadillac Seville
Notes: Ryder is an extremely dangerous character.
064 | Catch him and he escapes. Escape from him and he
catches up with you. One thing’s certain: he won’t stop.
PRAISE FOR A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC:

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68 CINEMA
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70 The Survivalist
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71 Midnight Special

72 HOME/FILM
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75 Tales That
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76 A Frankenstein
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78 You Me And The
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78 The Librarians:
LATEST Season One
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79 Doomwatch

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AWARD EXPLAINED THE ‘MUST SEE NOW’ AWARD GOES Must "THE MOST UNSURPRISING ELEMENT IS
TO REVIEWS THAT SCORE EIGHT OR MORE…
see now! HOW WONDERFUL RYAN REYNOLDS IS"
T TRIVIA NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD HAS ONLY APPEARED 14 TIMES IN THE COMICS. | 067
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FILM INFO
Released
Out now
Certificate
15
Director
Tim Miller
Screenwriters
Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast
Ryan Reynolds, Morena
Baccarin, Ed Skrein, TJ
Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna
Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic,
Leslie Uggams
Distributor
20th Century Fox
Running Time
108 mins

Musotw!
DEADPOOL
X-Men gonna give it to ya
see n

After years of production and months Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) nor Negasonic and infectious, covering the entire joke
of one of the most ambitious, in-your-face Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) spectrum: satire, meta jokes, dick jokes,
advertising campaigns the world of cinema has have much to do. Deadpool looked like visual jokes – you name it, it’s in there.
ever seen, if would have been a real anticlimax it was going to redefine the genre in That all being said, there’s not that much
if Deadpool had been terrible. Or, even worse, the sense that it seemed to feature a lot underneath the humour. The laughs come
if it had been kind of ‘blah’. Thankfully, it’s more women than we’re used to from hard and often, but they’re also pretty
actually pretty good. male-led, comic-book solo movies. Vanessa hollow. If it wasn’t funny as hell, Deadpool
However, while it doesn’t disappoint, it also (Morena Baccarin), Negasonic, Angel probably wouldn’t be that good. But who
doesn’t defy expectations. It deviates from the Dust (Gina Carano) and Blind Al (Leslie cares? The same was true of the comics,
regular ‘superhero movie formula’, but so did Uggams) all appeared ready to step up and if you like them, chances are you’re
WHAT A all the trailers. If you’ve seen them, you will to the forefront. As it turns out, only going to love this.
Poppy-Jay Palmer
DOUCHE already know what to expect from Deadpool,
and not much surprises as a result. That isn’t
Vanessa, Wade’s fiancée, has a storyline
of her own. Blind Al is amusing,
The biggest arseholes of the SciFiNow scored 8 for
to say the story is predictable; it’s just that and mutant Negasonic has awesome
superhero movie world 8 Deadpool
nothing happens here that wouldn’t happen in powers, but neither of them really do
Tony Stark Follow our scores on
Iron Man is occasionally the comics. anything. They’re just there to flesh out
a sweetie pie, and One of the film’s most unsurprising elements the cast. Hopefully this will change for the
sometimes he is a hero, but is how wonderful Ryan Reynolds is. Ever since sequel or, in an ideal world, Negasonic’s
OR STAY IN AND WATCH…
more often than not he’s just a that bit of test footage in 2014, it was almost a future spin-off series. Think of the Kick-Ass
bit of an arsehole without much There’s a lot of cussing, blood
basis as for why.
given that he would be brilliant, but it’s good to children, 20th Century Fox; the children and violence in Matthew
Vaughn’s first venture into
have confirmation. He’s doesn’t truly transform would want this. comic-book adaptations.
J Jonah Jameson into Deadpool until he puts the suit on, but Aesthetically, Deadpool is stunning,
Enough with the shouting his suitless Wade Wilson is also excellent, or as stunning as a film of this sub-genre
and the defaming! We
which is great because he spends quite a lot can be. There aren’t any artistic, sweeping
know you’re in charge, but
you’d don’t have to be such a of the film out of it. He’s sleazy but sweet, shots through the wilderness, but there are
dick about it. But it’s also kind of and awful but charismatic. He’s not really an explosions, fire and oversized structures
hilarious, so do keep being a dick antihero like he’s often described; he’s more falling down all over the place. The fact
about it!
of a criminal who doesn’t mind wreaking that Deadpool has the ability to recover
Magneto havoc, killing people and causing pain as long from disembowelment and grow back
He’s up, he’s down, he’s as his loved ones are safe and his face looks limbs also makes room for a lot of weird
left, he’s right… it’s hard good. But Reynolds is only one of the stars in but beautiful creativity, especially in the
to keep track of his many the sparkly Deadpool sky. TJ Miller (Big Hero cinematography. Seriously, watch out for
moods, a lot of which are a bit
douchey. And he does a lot of 6 ), for example, is amazing as Wade’s best that shit.
bad – not just badass – things. friend Weasel. His deadpan delivery and blank Most importantly, the film is bloody
expressions make it difficult to tell if Miller is hilarious. The gags start during the
Eddie Blake secretly one of the best actors of his generation opening credits (which are truly
Watchmen’s Comedian is
a colossal dickhead, but
or if he just genuinely has no soul. spectacular) and don’t stop until the end.
not of the fun variety. He’s Something that is surprising is how little Occasionally, a joke will feel misplaced or
violent, volatile and just a really a few of the trailers’ main players are actually misjudged – or it will be difficult to tell if
terrible person. in the film. Besides the final battle and a you’re just laughing because everyone else
couple of tiddly scenes earlier on, neither is – but on the whole they are relentless

068 | T TRIVIA THE DEADPOOL COSTUME ORIGINALLY HAD AN EXTRA MUSCLE LAYER INSIDE, BUT IT HAD TO BE REMOVED BECAUSE RYAN REYNOLDS WAS ALREADY TOO MUSCULAR TO FIT INTO IT. WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
REVIEWS CINEMA

Must
see now!
Musotw!
s en
THE WITCH Open up and let the devil in

HIGH-RISE
e
Details 15 // 90 mins // 11 March Director Robert Eggers Screenwriter Robert
Outside of society Eggers Cast Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Distributor Universal

Details 15 // 112 mins // 18 March Director Ben Wheatley Screenwriter Amy Over the last couple convincing, combining with Jarin
Jump Cast Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss
Distributor StudioCanal of years, the hushed Blaschke’s stark cinematography and
‘best horror of the year’ Mark Korven’s unnerving score to
Kill List duo Ben does a superb job, using his looks rumbling was reserved plunge the viewer into this wintry and
Wheatley and Amy Jump’s and charm to create a superficially for It Follows and The deeply foreboding landscape.
adaptation of JG Ballard’s appealing character, and twisting it Babadook. This year, This crucible is a grim and
horrific, darkly comic to make him scarily unreadable. it’s the turn of Robert Eggers’ debut, a punishingly difficult environment,
tower-block tale has proven The shift into savagery happens beautifully made horror about a family but as much as the characters fear the
to be divisive. But while gradually, then very suddenly, much in 1630s New England struggling in presence of evil, it’s the fear of God
many seem to have taken against of the change shown in a montage the face of seemingly endless and that creates the real sense of dread
High-Rise, we felt quite the opposite. set to a morose cover of ABBA’s increasingly violent misfortune. in the film. This combination works
Tom Hiddleston plays Dr Robert ‘SOS’ by Portishead. It’s heavily Devout Puritan William (Ralph beautifully, and for the most part Eggers
Laing, a new resident in the first of stylised, and Wheatley encourages Ineson) takes his family away to relies on atmosphere, but when the
five new tower blocks created by the actors to play up the revolting the edge of the woods, far from the scares do arrive they hit hard.
visionary architect Anthony Royal and the ridiculous, resulting in more corrupting influence of their fellow The work of the cast is top notch.
(Jeremy Irons). The wealthy live in comedic moments than viewers pilgrims, but shortly after their arrival Ineson balances religious fervour with a
luxury at the top, with the less well- may be expecting, but he beautifully a devastating accident occurs. As the surprisingly warm heart, playing a man
off families at the bottom. Clashes at conjures the ever-more toxic family struggles to move past the who loves his family, and views their
the swimming pool and arguments atmosphere of an uneven society loss, their efforts to survive only seem situation as a trial they must endure.
over power failures lead to lines gone violently to rot. The ‘catalyst for to result in more misery. Is this the Dickie delivers yet another superb turn,
being drawn, and human society change’ is a pressure cooker from harsh reality of frontier life, or is there and Taylor-Joy gives a star-making
breaks down. which no one can escape. something more sinister at play? performance as a girl on the verge of
This is a savage satire rather than High-Rise is not without its flaws Based on real accounts of witchcraft, womanhood who finds herself the
a comic horror; often bombastic, or missed opportunities, and it will there’s a grim authenticity to the film, subject of terrifying accusations and
very stylish, and with a fantastically alienate as many as it engages, but which combined with its sincerity with no one to defend her.
oppressive atmosphere. As Keeley this gruesome, scabrously funny and gives it real power. Eggers’ construction This is an intricately made, brilliantly
Hawes’ Ann Royal rides a horse on bold adaptation is most definitely of his chosen time and place is performed and utterly chilling horror
the roof terrace and the children are worth taking a chance on. stunning, the dialogue, set design, about the dark side of faith, and an
denied access to the pool, the social Jonathan Hatfull decoration and costuming are absolutely fantastic debut from Eggers.
commentary is as subtle as a brick, painstakingly detailed and utterly Jonathan Hatfull
SciFiNow scored 8 for
but certainly makes an impact.
The casting is perfect. Sienna 8 High-Rise SciFiNow scored 9 for

Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss Follow our scores on 9 The Witch
Follow our scores on
and Dan Skinner stand out, and it’s
nice to see Irons on form. Meanwhile,
OR STAY IN AND WATCH…
Shivers OR STAY IN AND WATCH…
Hiddleston’s Laing drifts, unable
For tower-block terrors with The Blood On
or unwilling to fit in anywhere. It’s a a body-horror emphasis,
check out David Cronenberg’s Satan’s Claw
tricky performance, and Hiddleston incredible nightmare. A 17th century English
village falls under the spell
of devil worshippers.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK T TRIVIA CUBE DIRECTOR VINCENZO NATALI WAS PREVIOUSLY ATTACHED TO DIRECT HIGH-RISE. | 069
review

THE OTHER SIDE


THE SURVIVALIST End of the world
as we know it…
OF THE DOOR Knock knock
Details 15 //96 mins //Out now Director Johannes Roberts Screenwriter Johannes
Details 18 // 105 mins // Out now Director Stephen Fingleton Screenwriter Stephen Roberts, Ernest Riera Cast Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky, Suchitra
Fingleton Cast Mia Goth, Martin McCann, Olwen Fouere Distributor Bulldog Pillai-Malik Distributor 20th Century Fox

A suspenseful, closes in on his characters and then Any cinema goer consequences she faces for opening
thoughtful and brutal wildly swoops upwards, making this will know that Sarah the bloody door.
post-apocalyptic thriller both suffocating and striking viewing. Wayne Callies’ (The Callies has always felt like an actor
from Stephen Fingleton It also inserts surreal and haunting Walking Dead) grieving in need of a good showcase, and it’s
marks him out as one to flourishes through deft camerawork mother should follow great to see her step into a leading
watch. In the same way and trickery. The sounds of the natural instructions given to role. It doesn’t flinch from showing
that Threads took a realist approach world trickle while the dialogue her by her housemaid, and they’ll also the extent of her guilt and depression,
to depicting the end of civilisation, so remains spare. At times its pared-down know that she won’t. and Callies definitely rises to the
does Fingleton, who takes great care styling is reminiscent of Scott Graham’s Callies plays Maria, an expat challenge, keeping us invested in
in creating a world where nature still Shell, which was another impressive living with her antique-dealer Maria’s struggle and making sure that
flourishes, but industry has collapsed. debut feature. husband Michael (Jeremy Sisto) we’re still on her side once she starts
He superbly evokes a desperate Strong physical performances across and their young daughter Lucy making some questionable decisions
mood in a future where money is no the board from Goth, Fouere and (Sofia Rosinsky) in India, and she’s around the halfway point. Sisto (Six
longer significant and nourishment McCann add to the intensity with their struggling and failing to live with the Feet Under) gives solid support as
is currency. interactions proving to be particularly grief and guilt following the death of her husband, but it’s really her show.
We meet a lone man (Martin menacing. Their distrust in one another her son Oliver (Logan Creran). After As it progresses onto the
McCann) who resides in a cabin going and the sense of paranoia is often she tries to do something drastic, Piki consequences, we enter familiar
through his daily routine until he is palpable with occasional bursts of tells her that if she goes to a certain territory, but Roberts shows he’s
interrupted by a mother and daughter, violence erupting, making for an edgy temple she’ll be able to speak to her capable of constructing a good scare
Kathryn (Olwen Fouere) and Milja (Mia and jumpy experience. son again. There’s just one hard and outside of claustrophobic confines
Goth), who attempt to negotiate a deal Fingleton delivers an atmospheric fast rule: don’t open the door. of a school building or a storage unit,
with him to gain access to his crops. and bold debut that poses smart, The essential setup is shop-worn with some of the most unnerving
Fingleton uses both sound and provocative questions about the way in but director Johannes Roberts (F ) sequences coming during the bright
silence to great effect to create a which the world is changing, and the makes the most of his Indian setting. light of day. It putters along through
haunting and tense ambience, and way in which peak oil theory could turn There are a couple of instances the story notes that you’d expect, but
places his actors in tight spaces and into reality. It speaks volumes through where it threatens to veer into ‘exotic strong performances and direction
then expansive countryside to elicit its silence and lingers in the memory for mysticism’, but for the most part the make for a solid ghost story.
the sensation of their small part in the a long while after watching. focus is squarely on Maria and the Jonathan Hatfull
bigger scheme of things. The camera Katherine McLaughlin
SciFiNow scored 6 for
SciFiNow scored 7 for
6 The Other Side Of The Door
7 The Survivalist
Follow our scores on
Follow our scores on

OR STAY IN AND WATCH…


OR STAY IN AND WATCH… The Orphanage
The Road A grieving mother attempts
to locate her missing child
A bleak and stirring post- in an old orphanage in this
apocalyptic adaptation of brilliant Spanish chiller.
Cormac McCarthy’s novel
from John Hillcoat.

070 | T TRIVIA THE SURVIVALIST ’S LEAD ACTRESS MIA GOTH ALSO APPEARED IN LARS VON TRIER’S NYMPHOMANIAC VOL II. WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
REVIEWS CINEMA

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see now!

GOODNIGHT MOMMY Must


MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Shine a light

see now!
Details 15 // 111 mins // 4 April Director Jeff Nichols Screenwriter Jeff Nichols
Cast Michael Shannon, Jaeden Lieberher, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver,
Little monsters Sam Shepard Distributor Entertainment One

Details 18 TBC // 99 mins // Out now Directors Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz Following the characters’ histories with glances
Screenwriters Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz Cast Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz,
Susanne Wuest Distributor Vertigo Releasing Shotgun Stories, and gestures while keeping the plot
Take Shelter and Mud, moving. It’s all so grounded that it’s
Following positive Although much of the writer-director Jeff almost easy to forget how invested
word from festivals and conversation will be about how it’s Nichols continues his incredible run you’ve become in their journey, until
posters that promise hard to watch, Fiala and Franz aren’t of form with this smart and sensitive Nichols puts them in jeopardy.
nightmares, we’ve been limited to shock value. With its young homage to Eighties sci-fi classics. A big part of that is obviously due to
excited about Austrian characters coming to a conclusion With so many filmmakers merrily the performances. Shannon is superb
horror Goodnight that feels logical to them and lifting from the gloomier work of John as the driven father, channelling
Mommy for a while now. Having taking horrifying action, Goodnight Carpenter, it’s refreshing to see a movie that unpredictable intensity into a
seen it, we can tell you that it’s just as Mommy owes as much to dark latch on to Starman’s sense of wonder, desperate protectiveness, while Joel
gripping and upsetting as you’d been fairy-tale films like The Reflecting as well as its chase-movie structure. Edgerton quietly steals the film as
led to believe. Skin as it does to Funny Games. With The target of this manhunt is Alton Roy’s deceptively big-hearted driver/
Newcomers Lukas and Elias its dark caves, endless trees and Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), a child with muscle. Kirsten Dunst doesn’t appear
Schwarz play identical twins Lukas burning fields, the location is loaded special powers who has been abducted until roughly halfway, but completes
and Elias, who have been alone at with symbolism and the filmmakers by his father Roy (Michael Shannon) the family unit beautifully, and Adam
their idyllic forest house while their expertly add it to their palette. from the religious commune that has Driver brings a nice sense of humour
mother (Susanne Wuest) has been The deliberate pacing and been treating him as a miracle. Roy and awe to his NSA scientist.
in the hospital. When she returns moments of cruelty might give needs to get him to a certain location Nichols embraces the structural
swathed in bandages, they’re the impression of a cold-hearted in three days, but can they evade the simplicity of the road movie, with the
unsettled. She seems colder, crueller film, but the significance of what fanatics and government forces while pursuing forces and Alton’s health
and more ill-tempered. Is this really the children are doing and how this keeping Alton alive? acting as the ticking clock. Teasing
the same woman who went away? situation has been able to manifest As much as Midnight Special lifts hints are dropped about Alton’s powers,
Filmmaking duo Severin Fiala is as frightening as the glimpses of from Carpenter and Spielberg, it’s and the fragments of it we witness
and Veronika Franz have delivered visceral bloodshed. This is a potent absolutely a Jeff Nichols film. He are incredible. Somehow Nichols has
something very impressive. and disturbing nightmare, with displays incredible confidence as the managed to combine that Spielbergian
It’s atmospheric, as the cool, flawless performances and a rich film jumps right in, trusting the viewer feel of something magical we’ll never
unpredictable feel inside the house imagination behind its grim façade. to keep up. That lack of condescension quite understand with a family story
contrasts with the summer heat. Jonathan Hatfull is both bracing and refreshing, as that is utterly involving and moving.
Glimpses of jars teeming with Nichols relies upon his cast to convey Jonathan Hatfull
SciFiNow scored 8 for
cockroaches and eerie walks in the
woods are jarring when placed next 8 Goodnight Mommy SciFiNow scored 9 for

to moments of fraternal affection Follow our scores on 9 Midnight Special


Follow our scores on
between the boys, while the mother
watches from behind her bandages.
OR STAY IN AND WATCH…
A Tale Of Two Sisters OR STAY IN AND WATCH…
There’s one very obvious division in
A girl returns home from an
this triangle that’s hinted at early and institution and suspects her Starman
stepmother of wickedness in Jeff Bridges and Karen
often, but the film doesn’t suffer. this terrifying horror. Allen are superb in one of
John Carpenter’s most
underappreciated films.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK T TRIVIA THE FILMMAKERS SAW 240 TWINS FOR THE ROLES OF LUKAS AND ELIAS IN GOODNIGHT MOMMY. | 071
review

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER


In for the Vin
Details 15 // 102 mins //2015 // • // Released Out now
Director Breck Eisner Cast Vin Diesel, Michael Caine, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood
Distributor Entertainment One

One of the unlikeliest Michael Caine does well is in an


passion projects of all underwritten role; Rose Leslie
time, The Last Witch (Game Of Thrones) is winningly
Must Hunter sees Vin Diesel likeable as always, and Elijah
see now! enter full-on Dungeons
& Dragons mode as Kaulder, an
Wood proves to be an unexpected
scene-stealer.
immortal warrior who finds himself Even with all this working in its

THE HUNGER GAMES:


combating a magic-based threat in favour, it’s far from perfect. Outside
the modern day. the four main characters, very few
It isn’t the easiest film to of the cast are sketched out, and

MOCKINGJAY – PART 2
follow, but luckily the cast do a very rarely do you get a true sense
great job of selling the stakes of what’s driving Kaulder – his
to us. Diesel’s protagonist family, supposedly his motivation,
possesses undeniable charm; are seldom seen.
Game over Still, in an era where fantasy
Details 12 // 137 mins // 2015 // • // Released 21 March Director Francis like this on the big screen is hard
Lawrence Cast Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, to come by, something like this is
Natalie Dormer, Woody Harrelson Distributor Lions Gate Home Entertainment
always worth watching, especially
As far as film series damaged beyond repair, and the series’ when it’s so nakedly endearing.
go, The Hunger Games main focus is her attempts to come to Steve Wright
is a strange beast. After terms with this while continuing to
SciFiNow scored 7 for
the plodding first movie, survive. When she’s on the screen, it’s
Catching Fire upped the almost as if no one else matters – as 7 The Last Witch Hunter
Follow our scores on
ante, and Mockingjay – Part 1 evolved good as they are, Josh Hutcherson and
into something weightier – and most Liam Hemsworth’s supporting players
importantly, better – altogether. But can are mere window dressing.

Must
NINA FOREVER
Part 2 continue this upward spiral? After the calm of the first-act
Yes and no, as it turns out. The truth
is that the bulk of films with two parts
wedding follows the inevitable storm,
which duly engulfs the rest of the film,
Dead and see now!
loving it
are unnecessarily stretched out to punctuated by extended cameos from
fill the running time – one is usually practiced scene stealers like Woody Details 18 // 99 mins //2015 // • // Released Out now Directors Ben
Blaine, Chris Blaine Cast Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Cian Barry, Abigail Hardingham,
enough, and you get the feeling in Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Donald
David Troughton, Elizabeth Elvin Distributor StudioCanal
the case of Mockingjay that a single Sutherland. The pacing may not always
film might have sufficed. Even so, be there, but at no point do you ever feel Of all the oddball gleefully revelling in its bizarre plot
this is covered up by the bulk of the that anyone’s safe – and duly a number horror-movie ideas to while avoiding plummeting into self-
performances, with the majority of of major characters are bid farewell to. come about in recent parody. The performances from the
the cast going far beyond the call of In a world like this, the best we can hope years, Nina Forever’s three leads are on point (particularly
duty. The level of commitment is real for is a bittersweet ending, but even this premise has to be up O’Shaughnessy, who can’t have had
and pronounced, and while other YA manages to question what has been lost there: namely that of the deceased the best time considering that she’s
dystopias look suspiciously clean and as much as what has been one. protagonist (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) in the buff and covered in fake blood
shiny, there’s nothing nice about this As ever, some will find fault with who resurfaces whenever her in all her scenes), as they all attempt
world; no one is having a good time. what was cut from the source material former boyfriend Rob (Cian Barry) to come to terms with the strange
At the centre of it all is Jennifer and what was changed, but in all gets intimate with the new girl on the state of play that has come about,
Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, who honesty it’s hard to imagine how the scene, Holly (Abigail Hardingham). all the while never losing sight of just
stands apart from near enough every filmmakers could have done a better job As well as being inventive and how ridiculous the situation is.
one of her YA counterparts. While with this. If nothing else, the Hunger gory, Nina Forever is hilarious, Not only has Nina Forever
others are well adjusted in spite of Games series has set a benchmark, and announced the arrival of the
their circumstances, Katniss is already it’s up to its successors to follow this up. Blaine brothers on the feature-film
Steve Wright directors circuit; it is also one of the
SciFiNow scored 8 for best horror movies in recent years,
fully deserving the acclaim it has
8 The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 2 garnered on the way.
Follow our scores on Steve Wright

IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY… SciFiNow scored 9 for

The Maze Runner 9 Nina Forever


Another YA novel Follow our scores on
adaptation series that
seems to revel in sending
kids to Hell and back.

072 | T TRIVIA OVER THE COURSE OF THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES, PRIM’S CAT BUTTERCUP CHANGES FROM BLACK AND WHITE TO GINGER.
WIN!
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Produced by JJ Abrams, directed by Dan
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review
Must
see now!
AMONG THE LIVING
Details 18 // 90 mins //2015 // • // Released Out now Directors Alexandre
Dead rising

Bustillo, Julien Maury Cast Anne Marivin, Théo Fernandez, Francis Renaud, Zacharie
Chasseriaud, Damien Ferdel Distributor Metrodome

Alexandre Bustillo fit together, the secret uncovered


and Julien Maury are by a trio of kids in a dilapidated
two of the most exciting house threatens to destroy not only
up-and-comers in horror them, but their family as well. This
cinema, so it’s good to lack of discrimination functions
see them build on their promise in the film’s favour, keeping you in
shown in the likes of Inside and Livid the dark regarding the stakes until
with Among The Living, a tale of well into the final third – by which
high-school hijinks gone wrong that time the body (and blood) count
gets progressively more horrific. has already been ratcheted up to
Zig-zagging between Joe Dante satisfyingly macabre levels.
suburbia parable and Wes Craven- As well as introducing one of

THE GREEN INFERNO


esque social commentary in such the most disturbing on-screen
an effortless manner that it seems bogeyman in recent years (think
the two were always intended to the Pale Man crossed with
Leatherface – coincidentally the
Will put you off your dinner subject of the Bustillo and Maury’s
Details 18 // 100 mins // 2013 // • // Released Out now Director Eli Roth next feature), Among The Living is
Cast Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Aaron Burns
a genuinely terrifying, if all too brief,
Distributor Entertainment One
slasher flick.
So, Eli Roth’s cannibal to speak the language or doing any Steve Wright
horror The Green Inferno preparation of any kind beyond
SciFiNow scored 8 for
has finally overcome bringing bug spray. Roth’s glee is so
the horrors of whatever obvious that the sly dark comedy tone 8 Among The Living
Follow our scores on
distribution problems it makes sense in the first half hour.
was having. It’s been such a long wait So when the characters find
that Roth made and released a film in themselves being torn limb from limb,

THE VISIT: AN ALIEN


the interim (silly but fun Keanu Reeves getting eaten alive and facing the kind
thriller Knock Knock). We caught the of atrocities that they were appalled by
movie at its FrightFest screening back in class, that tone feels out of place, but

ENCOUNTER
in 2014, and to be honest, we didn’t find not as much as the gross-out moments.
that it was worth the wait. The blend of shock and shit jokes feels Very
American student Justine (Lorenza crass rather than anything else, and terrestrial
Izzo) knows that she wants to become Roth can’t seem to decide exactly what
Details PG // 83 mins //2015 // // Released Out now Director Michael Madsen
an activist, but she’s having trouble reaction he wants. Do we laugh, are
Distributor Metrodome
finding the right cause. When she we shocked, or do we feel their pain?
meets a group that is dedicated to Maybe he’s going for all three, but this If The Visit: An difficult to describe what it
saving Amazon rainforest, she jumps at tonal confusion might be the reason Alien Encounter is exactly, besides ‘documentary-
the chance. But after a horrific turn of why the second half feels so devoid had been an actual style’, and that in turn makes it
events lands the students in the hands of tension. documentary, then difficult to figure out what to
of the tribe they wanted to protect, It’s also curiously lacking in it would have been think of it. It certainly provides
Justine will realise that she’s made a atmosphere, which is odd given how mind-blowing. But it’s not, so it food for thought, but it’s more
terrible mistake. handsomely made the Hostel movies isn’t. Instead, it’s a ‘simulation’ the type of thing you’d discuss
The film makes its case very early were. Horrible things happen, but it’s that asks how Earth’s leaders in a start-of-term, ice-breaker
on that these students who are willing curiously uninvolving as we wait for would respond to an extra- seminar or with your friends
to jump into any cause are going to get Justine to be sacrificed or saved. terrestrial arrival. over pizza than the type of
punished for it. “Don’t think,” Jonah There are some sharp moments and Director Michael Madsen (no, thing you’d actually watch a
(Aaron Burns) tells Justine. “Act.” That some truly gruelling ones, but this is not that Michael Madsen) takes film about.
kind of attitude is what leads them to a disappointment. an interesting approach to the Ultimately it’s all hypothetical, so
travel to the jungle without learning Jonathan Hatfull subject: he actually speaks to really it’s hard to let go of the fact
genuine scientists and crisis experts that nothing anyone says during the
SciFiNow scored 3 for
in order to get a clear idea of just run time really matters all that much
3 The Green Inferno
what would happen in the event of in the end.
Follow our scores on
extraterrestrials landing on Poppy-Jay Palmer
our planet.
IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY… SciFiNow scored 5 for
It’s almost a satire, but it’s
Cannibal Holocaust not witty or cutting. It’s almost a 5 The Visit: An Alien Encounter
The original cannibal horror Follow our scores on
retains all its power to documentary, but it’s not real. It’s
shock, and it’s got a brain
behind it too.

074 | T TRIVIA THE VILLAGERS ON LOCATION FOR THE GREEN INFERNO HAD NEVER SEEN A FILM BEFORE, SO ROTH SHOWED THEM CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, WHICH THEY THOUGHT WAS A COMEDY.
REVIEWS HOME / FILM

ALIENATE
Details 15 //90 mins // 2016 //
Nothing to see here
// Released Out now Director Michael Shumway
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Details PG //101 mins // 2015 // •
Arlo can
you go?
// Released 21 March Director Bob
Cast Blake Webb, Tatum Langton, Jaclyn Hales Distributor Altitude Peterson Cast Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Steve Zahn
Distributor Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The promotional The budget is clearly minimal
material for Alienate to the point of non-existent, but When a young breathtaking up to the point
describes fusing the the key to good filmmaking is to dinosaur named Arlo is where it’s difficult to believe it’s
suspense of Gareth disguise the lack of capital – not separated from his film not just real life. But it’s not just
Edwards’ Monsters highlight it by veering the camera and gets lost out in the visually beautiful; the story is
with the intelligent alien assault away at every opportunity whenever wilderness, he’s forced warm, engaging and often
of Independence Day. While this something exciting threatens to to overcome his fears in order to genuinely funny, and it frequently
sounds like a winning formula, occur. Most unforgivably, it’s simply find the path back home. On the but gracefully meanders between
unfortunately the similarities are boring, there is very little here to way he meets a variety of colourful joyous and devastating. It’s an
purely superficial, and the end keep you gripped. The best part is creatures, including a human boy emotional rollercoaster.
product rather bland. the DVD case… called Spot, who quickly goes from a Unfortunately, its timing was
While the cover art teases an Steve Wright pesky pest to his best friend. a little off, being released only a
epic battle for the fate of Earth, Honestly, The Good Dinosaur is couple of months after Inside
SciFiNow scored 3 for
what’s actually in the film is another worth watching for the animation Out, the greatest emotional
matter entirely. The unconvincingly 3 Alienate
alone. The hyper-realistic rollercoaster of them all. Though
Follow our scores on
photogenic young cast attempt backgrounds continue to be it’s lovely and wonderful in so
to survive in the wake of an alien many ways, The Good Dinosaur is
invasion, despite the fact that predictably overshadowed by the
Earth doesn’t look like it’s just been Pixar film that came before it. It’s
invaded. Although most of the film sad, but it happens.
concerns the uninteresting human Poppy-Jay Palmer
dilemmas taking place before and
SciFiNow scored 6 for
during the invasion, which, frankly,
is a disappointment considering the 6 The Good Dinosaur
Follow our scores on
amount of promise.

TALES THAT WITNESS


MADNESS
Details 15 //90 mins // 1973 //
Enough to drive
you mad…
// Released Out now Director Freddie Francis
Cast Kim Novak, Joan Collins, Donald Pleasence, Peter McEnery, Mary Tamm
Distributor Fabulous Films

Springing from the Be Tygers’, and manages to be funny,


golden era of British unpredictable and creepy, building to a
anthology horrors, Tales pleasantly nasty conclusion.
That Witness Madness Fairbank’s screenplay does have a lot
doesn’t match the very of fun dangling the inevitable horrible
best that the craze had to offer, but ending to each story over the viewer,
there’s some fun to be had. It sticks and there’s an endearing weirdness to
to the template: a group of connected them all. How often do you see a film
strangers, a motley crew of character with a haunted penny-farthing that’s Hammer and Amicus veteran Freddie
actors, and one stand-out story makes also a time-travel device? McEnery’s Francis finds room for a few flourishes
the bits that don’t work worthwhile. antique shop owner is tricked into amidst the obvious cost-effectiveness.
Psychiatrist Donald Pleasence invites mounting it by a painting of his Uncle If you’re unfamiliar with the sub-genre,
his colleague (Jack Hawkins) to view Albert, with terrible consequences. there is some silly fun to be had here.
lunatics in his asylum. He has evidence Despite a clunky script, the idea of Mel Jonathan Hatfull
of what drove them mad, but the stories is a lot of fun, as Joan Collins competes
SciFiNow scored 5 for
need to be heard to be believed. with a dead tree for her husband’s
As with any anthology horror, this is (Michael Jayston) attentions. 5 Tales That Witness Madness
Follow our scores on
definitely hit and miss. The best comes The final story feels the most like a
first, as the lonely son of a wealthy Night Gallery episode, as Kim Novak’s
IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
couple constantly at each other’s literary agent tries to win over a new
From Beyond
throats starts talking to, and feeding, an client, not suspecting that he plans The Grave
imaginary friend: a tiger. It plays out like on using her upcoming luau for an Peter Cushing’s shop owner
delivers cruel punishment
Stephen King’s excellent ‘Here There altogether more sinister ritual. on his customers.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK T TRIVIA KIM NOVAK REPLACED RITA HAYWORTH AFTER SHOOTING BEGAN ON TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS. | 075
review

A FRANKENSTEIN STORY
The modern Prometheus
Details 15 // 77 mins //2014 // // Released Out now Director Billy Senese
Cast Jeremy Childs, Shelean Newman, Shannon Hope Distributor High Fliers Films

Originally titled Closer struggles to protect his creation,


To God, this low-budget but what’s he hiding?
chiller is much more Senese does a tremendous job
restrained than its of building tension, helped by a
rebranding and cover art very strong central performance by
would suggest – at least for the first Childs. Are Victor’s mounting stress
hour. Writer-director Billy Sensese’s levels due to abuse from Christian
feature debut takes the themes groups and threats of legal action,
of Mary Shelley’s novel and brings or is there something more?
them right down to earth. Victor Teasing flashbacks and cuts
(Jeremy Childs) has successfully to secondary characters hint at
created life with a baby made of the card the film has up its sleeve,

400 DAYS
cloned DNA and immediately faces leading to a gory and slightly
ferocious public judgement. As he underwhelming final act that
retreats to his country estate, he rushes towards the finale and
shifts a little too eagerly from chilly Bunker down
morality play to Cronenbergian Details 15 TBC // 91 mins // 2015 // Digital download // Released 16 May
horror, but this is a clever and Director Matt Osterman Cast Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Ben Feldman, Dane Cook
Distributor Koch Media
restrained cerebral skin-crawler,
and a very promising debut. When four astronauts Tom Cavanagh (The Flash), Ben
Jonathan Hatfull are locked into an Feldman (Cloverfield), Grant Bowler
underground bunker (Defiance) and, um, Dane Cook
SciFiNow scored 6 for
simulation for 400 days (Employee Of The Month). But once
6 A Frankenstein Story
to test the psychological you’re there you end up staying for the
Follow our scores on
effects of deep space travel, they end up story and to find out what the heck is
getting a lot more than they bargained going on.
for when they first signed up for the It’s also creepy as hell. The contrast

FRANKENSTEIN
programme. After they lose contact with between the sterile, pristine simulation
It’s alive (and that’s the outside world and are forced to leave bunker and the rocky wasteland of
the bunker, the planet they find is a lot the Earth 398 days after the start of
a good thing)
different to the one they left all those the mission both provide excellent
Details 18 // 86 mins //2015 // • // Released Out now Director Bernard months ago. environments for spooky sci-fi
Rose Cast Xavier Samuel, Danny Huston, Carrie-Ann Moss, Tony Todd
For a Syfy Films original, 400 Days shenanigans to go down. A tense score,
Distributor Signature Entertainment
is surprising. If you’re looking for strong direction from Osterman and
Candyman director scientists 3D printing the perfect something to fill the void while you the frequent use of hallucinations and
Bernard Rose human (Xavier Samuel), only to try wait for Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! to dream sequences make 400 Days not
rediscovers his form to dispose of him when he falls ill. air, this probably won’t be for you. only a surprising decent watch, but
with this smart and Adam escapes and wanders LA, Instead, it’s pretty reminiscent of an exhilarating and psychologically
sensitive update of learning and witnessing how cruel Duncan Jones’ acclaimed space drama thrilling one too.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It’s a humanity can be. Moon, but in a good way. It’s stylish and Though a lot of questions are posed,
common complaint among fans Rose hits all the important atmospheric from start to end, and the not that many are answered and the
of the book that it’s never been notes and big scenes of the novel, concept and story behind it are actually clues that seem to be set down along the
adapted properly, and although delivering a sensitive creature really intriguing. way don’t really lead anywhere. What
Rose brings the story to present- whose journey is heartbreaking, 400 Days seems to know it’s not 400 Days does do, though, is force you to
day LA, it feels like the most faithful violent and affecting. Samuel (The groundbreaking and relies on its think about how you would handle the
adaptation in years. Loved Ones) is absolutely superb audience coming along for Brandon situations the crew are faced with. The
It starts with Danny Huston and in the title role, and there’s a great Routh, Caity Lotz (both currently ending will definitely be unsatisfying
Carrie-Ann Moss’ husband-and-wife supporting turn from Tony Todd as starring in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow), to some, but those people should try to
the blind beggar. The finale can’t take it with a pinch of salt.
match the stunning opening, but Poppy-Jay Palmer
this is an excellent adaptation that
SciFiNow scored 7 for
treats Shelley better than any film
has for years. 7 400 Days
Follow our scores on
Jonathan Hatfull
SciFiNow scored 7 for IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
7 Frankenstein
Moon
Follow our scores on Sam Rockwell has a rough
time when he’s left with
his own thoughts on a three-
year trip to the Moon.

076 | T TRIVIA THE SPACE SUITS THE ASTRONAUTS WEAR IN 400 DAYS ARE ACTUALLY MOTORCYCLE SUITS. WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
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review

Season One Season One

YOU, ME AND THE Must


see now!
THE LIBRARIANS Worse than
the movies

APOCALYPSE
Details 12 // 420 mins // • // Out now Creator John Rogers Cast Rebecca
Romijn, Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim
The final Distributor 4Front Films
countdown
The fact that The effects look fake and unnatural – like
Details 15 //300 mins // // Out now Creator Iain Hollands Cast Mathew Baynton,
Librarians uses the scenes in Friends when they go
Jenna Fischer, Rob Lowe, Gaia Scodellaro, Megan Mullally, Kyle Soller, Paterson Joseph,
Pauline Quirke Distributor Universal Pictures UK Papyrus as one of its outside – and the levels of quirkiness
go-to series typefaces injected into the show could induce
Promoted as a it’s the intimate character moments is a perfect metaphor vomiting. Even Noah Wyle is absent
comedy and quite heavily that impress. The relationship between for the state of the for six out of ten episodes, which
sold on the idea of how Rhonda and Megan Mullally’s white show: it’s trying to be fun and exotic, doesn’t exactly help when he’s the
weird it was to see Rob supremacist, Leanne, is well played, and but really it’s just lame and irritating. show’s biggest name.
Lowe and Pauline Quirke it’s indicative of the writing’s complexity As a direct spin-off of the not-very- As well as a fantasy adventure,
in Slough together, Iain from start to finish. Jamie’s buffoonish good Librarian TV movie series that The Librarians is also a comedy, but
Hollands’ apocalyptic British-American best mate, Dave (Joel Fry), is often the nobody saw, the pilot opens with it’s hard to differentiate between
co-production quickly reveals itself to voice of humanity, Jude’s brash exterior the Librarian himself, Flynn Carson laughing with it and laughing at
be something really quite sharp and conceals genuine faith, and Rhonda’s (Noah Wyle), bumping into an anti- it. Occasionally, there will be a
as capable of moving the viewer as it is scientist brother, Scotty (Kyle Soller), terror agent, Eve Baird (Rebecca genuinely good joke that will make
making them giggle. and his army general boyfriend, Gaines Romijn), while out on a library you genuinely laugh, but the dialogue
The series opens with depressed (Paterson Joseph), are tortured by the mission to Berlin. The pair clash, but is mostly rushed and a bit rubbish.
bank manager Jamie’s (Mathew horrible decisions they have to make on are inevitably forced together when It’s also quite a confusing show.
Baynton) narration as he watches the behalf of our race. It’s as much about the it turns out that Eve is destined to The storylines are simple, but there
end of the world from a bunker under need for connection as it is about end-of- become his next Guardian. Together, are many moments that make you
Slough with a bunch of strangers. the-world madness. they put aside their differences in question the creative decisions.
Flashback 33 days, and he’s just It’s not perfect; the conspiracy and order to train a new generation of In the episode ‘And The Fables Of
been arrested under suspicion of hacking business never quite convinces, Librarians; including a labourer with Doom’, a naked man’s butt crack is
cyberterrorism when it’s announced and Jamie’s evil twin brother, Ariel (also an IQ of 190, a genius mathematician blurred out. But why? Why feature a
that a giant asteroid is coming and will Baynton), often feels like an easy way to with a brain tumour and a man of butt crack in the first place if you’re
kill us all. Discovering his whole life move the plot forward. Minor quibbles, mystery with sticky fingers. just going to blur it out? You’re a
might have been a lie, Jamie sets out to though. This is a smart, sensitive and The Librarians’ main failing is that Rubik’s Cube, Librarians, but one we
find the truth, while in the US, recently very funny, and the performances are it’s just so shit. The stories are shit, don’t care to solve.
jailed librarian Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) excellent. More, please. the soundtrack is shit, the special Poppy-Jay Palmer
must escape to find her son, and Italian Jonathan Hatfull
SciFiNow scored 4 for
nun Sister Celine (Gaia Scodellaro) is
sent to the Vatican to work with Devil’s
SciFiNow scored 8 for 4 The Librarians Season One

Advocate Father Jude (Lowe) in order 8 You, Me & The Apocalypse Follow our scores on

Follow our scores on


to help him debunk potential messiahs
and miracles. Can this group find IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY… The Librarian:
answers and their loved ones before the Quest For The Spear
end arrives? Utopia Find out where it all started
A group of strangers with the first Librarian TV
While the show has a global scope stumble upon an elaborate movie adventure.
government conspiracy in
that’s both convincing and impressive, Dennis Kelly’s superb drama.

078 | T TRIVIA THE ORIGINAL TITLE FOR YOU, ME & THE APOCALYPSE WAS APOCALYPSE SLOUGH. WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
REVIEWS HOME / TV

Season Ten
SUPERNATURAL
Lay your weary head to rest already DOOMWATCH The end is here
Must
see now!

Details 15 //1,030 mins // // 4 April Year Made 1970-72 Creator Terence Dudley
Details 15 // 966 mins // • // 21 March Creator Eric Kripke Cast Simon Oates, Robert Powell, John Paul, Joby Blanshard Distributor Simply Media
Cast Jared Padalecki, Jenson Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Ruth Connel
Distributor Warner Home Video
You don’t get shows herself. By far the most memorable
Things are quite trying do in future seasons to create an like Doomwatch anymore. episode, however, is ‘You Killed Toby
for the Winchester entirely new storyline. Fuelled by Cold War- Wren’, in which the team react to the
brothers at the start The fun subplots that are woven paranoia, it wears its death of the eponymous character. From
of the Season Ten between the big, beefy episodes contemporary influences there, things get even darker: ‘Invasion’
opener: Dean (Jensen are splendid as always, though they proudly, although time hasn’t served to sees an entire village forcibly evacuated,
Ackles) is still a demon after Crowley are also fewer and farther between make it any less profound. and ‘The Islanders’ captures an isolated
(Mark Sheppard) turned him into than they usually are. Dean gets It sees the ‘Department for the community struggling to get to grips
one at the end of the previous turned into a Taylor Swift-loving Observation and Measurement with mainland life.
season, and Sam (Jared Padalecki) teenager, Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim of Scientific Work’ (nicknamed Thanks to the BBC’s policy of
is still trying to find Dean after he Rhodes) gets forced into attending ‘Doomwatch’) tackle various scientific wiping episodes, just 24 of the original
died and vanished. an officers’ retreat, and Castiel’s mysteries and undergoing odd 38 episodes exist. All of Series Two
Supernatural’s momentum (Collins) human vessel Jimmy Novak assignments from week to week. While is present, but just two Series Three
has been decreasing for about six comes back into the picture (sort the brilliant, haunted Dr Spencer episodes are present, and the Series One
seasons now, and sadly Season Ten of) when his daughter Claire, played Quist (John Paul), new addition Toby finale depicting Wren’s death is missing
is no exception. The stakes continue by the delightful Kathryn Newton Wren (Robert Powell), debonair ladies (although the climax is repeated in
to be high, but there’s only so much (Paranormal Activity 4), decides man John Ridge (Simon Oates) and archive-footage form in the Series Two
you can put your audience through Castiel should be a part of her life. lab coat-clad boffin Colin Bradley premiere). One nice surprise, however,
when your central characters have The highlight of the season, (Joby Blanshard) find their niches is the presence of the previously
already been killed and resurrected however, is the show’s 200th immediately, others are less assured: unaired ‘Sex And Violence’, featuring
about a million times each. There’s episode, ‘Fan Fiction’. It’s just a big, secretary Pat (Wendy Hall) seemingly Doomwatch’s take on moral outrage
no danger to get worked up over. All goofy, stupid masterpiece featuring exists solely to be condescended to. and the Mary Whitehouse brigade –
there is to worry about is the state of Winchester-obsessed theatre kids, Indeed, by the second year, the more incidentally, one of the main antagonists
Sam and Dean’s relationship. the Greek goddess Calliope, a high- explicitly sci-fi antics of the first series is a very thinly veiled version of her.
Most of the show’s signature school musical and a surprisingly have been toned down in favour of a Doomwatch remains an incredible
brother-angst this season comes emotional acapella rendition of more grounded approach, as indicated viewing experience. It’s just as relevant
from Dean’s Mark of Cain, and the ‘Carry On Wayward Son’. by the arrival of Barbara Mason (Vivien and likeable as it was back when it was
fact that he and Sam have no idea Poppy-Jay Palmer Sherrard), who has no trouble handling brand new.
how to remove it. It’s interesting Steve Wright
SciFiNow scored 6 for
to see this new side of Dean, with
the Mark causing him to become 6 Supernatural Season Ten SciFiNow scored 9 for

savage and volatile when he gets Follow our scores on 9 Doomwatch


Follow our scores on
too hot under the collar, but again
we’ve seen it before. This is just Sam IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
Teen Wolf IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
drinking demon blood in Season
A group of magical The Last Train
Four all over again. At this point, teenagers bump uglies and After accidentally being
fight fantastical evil in this cryogenically frozen in a
there’s very little Supernatural can supernatural series. train, the survivors wake
up years later in a post-
apocalyptic Sheffield.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK T TRIVIA MARK SHEPPARD HAS PLAYED THE SAME CHARACTER AS HIS FATHER, WILLIAM MORGAN SHEPPARD, BUT AT A YOUNGER AGE IN NCIS, DOCTOR WHO AND MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. | 079
Vault
BOARD GAMES // CARD GAMES // YOUR GAM
ES

STAR WARS:
RETURN TO HOTH
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games //
Players: 2-5 // RRP: £49.99

B
attle Of Hoth is not a standalone game;
it is actually an expansion, as you need
Imperial Assault in order to play it. It’s
certainly worth buying though, as it’s
easily one of the best expansions we’ve
played for some time, and is certainly the
biggest addition to Imperial Assault since Twin
Shadows was released in early 2015.
Return To Hoth is set on the icy planet
shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes
Back. While predominantly set on Hoth, there
are also skirmishes on Bespin, with events in
the game neatly mirroring elements from the
sixth movie. Ultimately though, this is a chance
for your own heroes to shine, and Return To
Hoth introduces three exciting new characters.
The most unusual is MHD-19, a medical
droid who is weak in combat, but able to make
strong use of medical cards, effectively acting
as the party’s healer. Loku Kanoloa, on the
other hand, is an incredibly accurate marksman
who gains bonuses during combat, and is faster

6
MODELS
The new figures look
fantastic, and include
4 snowtroopers, a pair of wampas
HEROES and the assassin droid that
1 While there are only was last seen in Star Wars:
BOARD three new heroes, they are
completely different to each
Knights Of The Old
Republic.
The game board is made
up of numerous double- other, and integrate well
sided map tiles that can with earlier Imperial
be slotted together to Assault sets.
create a number of
2 exciting maps.
HERO
CLASS CARDS
Each hero has a deck that’s 6
filled with incredibly
useful cards to be
1
used during play.

3
MORE CARDS 5
Return To Hoth also uses
Agenda, Command, Reward, TOKENS
Item, Supply and Condition 3 There are a number
cards that were last seen of different tokens
in Imperial Assault. representing damage, strain,
conditions and unique
allies and villains,
including Princess 5
Leia.

082 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
VAULT
Star Wars Imperial Assault: Return To Hoth

TOP
than his companions, while Verena Talos is
more of a rogue, gaining useful ability bonuses
when defending or in direct combat. It’s also
FIVE The Big Book Of Madness
possible to use characters from the previous Publisher: iello // Players: 2-5 // RRP: £29.99
MAGIC: THE
I
games, thus adding to its longevity. ello’s latest is a great effort forth a large array of dangerous a better chance of defeating
One character controls the Imperials and
effectively runs the game like a Dungeon
GATHERING RETURN that combines co-operative monsters. The aim of the game whatever monster is currently in

Master, reading out key bits of flavour text TO ZENDIKAR play with the popular deck-
building genre. Players play
is to learn new spells that you
can use to defeat your enemies
play. Each player starts off with
different elemental-based cards,
at the beginning of a scenario and whenever a group of bumbling wizards and eventually close the and you soon realise that certain
certain events are triggered. Players have who have opened the book powerful book. spells are stronger against
a variety of actions available to them each of madness and summoned As the pages of the book certain enemies, meaning you
turn, and also have distinctive Hero Decks of madness are turned, really need to work together to
that further define their characters. The aim monsters pop up and have any hope of completing
is to complete each mission and follow the trigger a set amount of the game.
interesting story, which boasts plenty of slick curses. Players must As with many other co-
twists and turns along the lengthy campaign. work together to destroy operative games, the odds are
It might not add lots of new rules, but it the curses by playing heavily stacked against you,
doesn’t really need to, as the base game is cards from their hand but the deck-building aspect
already solid. The new campaign is huge in that have the same does mean you always feel like
scope and will take months to complete, the 1. ULAMOG, THE matching symbols. you’re in control of your actions.
included components are of a high standard, CEASELESS HUNGER As with similar deck- The Big Book Of Madness is
while the new models look absolutely fantastic £18 building games, you can a highly entertaining game,
and are just as detailed as earlier offerings. buy better cards that will boosted by excellent artwork
It’s annoying that you’re expected to fork out slowly filter back into and a fun theme.
more cash for characters such as Princess Leia your deck to give you BEST FOR: FANTASY FANS
and Dengar, but these are minor niggles. All in
all, Return To Hoth is an excellent game that

The Witcher Adventure Game


greatly expands the Imperial Assault universe.

BEST FOR: ADVENTURE FANS


Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games // Players: 2-4 // RRP: £44.99

A
lthough Witcher fans will complete the quest. The four
benefit more from Fantasy main heroes excel in different
7 2. GIDEON, ALLY OF
Flight’s game, those that areas, so Geralt Of Rivia, who is

HERO SHEETS ZENDIKAR £17


love the likes of Talisman will
also find a lot to enjoy here.
skilled at combat, only needs
three red leads for proof, while
These are double sided, The aim is to acquire the the magician Triss Merigold
with one side being use for most victory points, with the needs seven, although she
missions and the other game ending once three quests excels in magic-based quests.
for the standalone have been completed by a single Players have two action
skirmish mode. character. Quests are based on tokens that they can use on a
Diplomacy, Combat and Magic, number of options each turn,
but are all largely completed in from travelling and investigating they can also gain additional
the same way, with the player new areas to resting or victory points by helping others
travelling around the game developing their skills and complete quests.
world looking for specific leads equipment. Each character has It’s not the most original
that they can then turn into their own specific skill too, which of games, but is a challenging
proof. Once they have received ranges from singing to earn gold adventure all the same.
3. DRANA, LIBERATOR the required proof, they can or brewing useful potions, while BEST FOR: TALISMAN FANS
OF MALAKIR £9

Expansion Of The Month Do You Remember?


SURVIVE – DOLPHINS & TREASURES AND
SQUIDS & 5-6 PLAYERS
Publisher: Stronghold Games // Players: 2-6
TRAPDOORS
Clash Of The Titans without the annoying owl
// RRP: £15.99 Treasures And Trapdoors was a fun game
This recent expansion pack combines all the that saw you trying to negotiate a dangerous
previous ones for the excellent Survive, a treasure-laden pyramid while avoiding its many
classic adventure where you must escape the traps and searching for a golden cobra statue.
4. OBLIVION SOWER sinking city of Atlantis with as many meeples While the gameplay is relatively easy, it featured
8 £7 as possible. In addition to now catering for 5-6 an innovative mechanic that featured a rotating
players, Survive also gets friendly dolphins and turntable that would cause one of seven trapdoors
dangerous squids that greatly shake up the to open, seemingly at

8 7
core gameplay. The giant squid is
the most dangerous adversary,
random. Players could
try to gain clues from
DEPLOYMENT as it can attack meeples on both the Pharaoh’s eyes as
CARDS land and sea. Sea monsters are
generally a lot more dangerous
play progressed. Once
three jewels had been
There are used by the
Imperial player, and have with the Dolphin expansion, but collected, the players
all the key stats for any it’s balanced out by the dolphins had to exchange them
enemies that will be themselves, which are incredibly for a key that would allow
encountered during speedy and make it much easier access to the coveted
play. 5. OB NIXILIS REIGNITED for survivors to reach the shore. golden statue.
£6

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3

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menace Hewgodooko derails puzzle-adventure game set in a teams of heroes and lead attacks so much to shoot
like if it was combined with classic
your latest shipment, leaving you giant asteroid space maze. With across the usually peaceful land at in this adventure-
Minesweeper and zombie cows
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then Dungelot: Shattered Lands
This story-driven RPG gets harder explore and unusual creatures minions of Queen Amethyst. With large planetary system at your
is for you. The result is as weird
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and wonderful as it sounds. It is as
through the levels. It has bases always something poised to get to receive your commands, you’ll story, the universe is your oyster.
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to build, bosses to fight, over 500 your heart racing. The best thing, be levelling up, unlocking moves The price tag is a bit off-putting,
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BEST FOR: GREAT ADVENTURERS BEST FOR: BOVINE ENTHUSIASTS BEST FOR: RODEO ASTRONAUTS BEST FOR: MAGE HANDLERS BEST FOR: PLANET PRANCERS

084 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BookClub
Issue 120’s Essential Read:
The Amityville Horror by
Jay Anson
Join in and share your thoughts on
Twitter or Facebook

86 Essential Read

90 Beginner’s Guide: Alternate History 92 Book Reviews 98 Adrian Barnes 100 Graphic Novel Reviews 102 Snowpiercer: Terminus
BOOK CLUB
Essential Read

“I WENT TO FIND
ME IN THE LIBRARY.
BEFORE I FELL IN LOVE
WITH LIBRARIES, I
WAS JUST A SIX-
YEAR-OLD BOY”
RAY BRADBURY
© Rex

086 |
ESSENTIAL READ
Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
Essential read: SYNOPSIS
Firemen have never
had it easy, but there
was a time when they
could take comfort in
the knowledge that
they were helping
people, extinguishing flames that could
Ray Bradbury’s most famous work is one of the most misunderstood novels in science scar, maim and destroy, and not torching
piles of material considered ‘illicit’ by
fiction. Far from an argument against state censorship, it was really a warning about those in power: books. Not everyone saw

humanity’s dangerous love of new technology


it that way, though, and the more Guy
WORDS MATTHEW HANDRAHAN Montag did his job, the clearer that truth
became. Never more so than the moment
Few acts are so provocative, so story imagined a future where books shadowy, cigarette-huffing agent that an old woman, facing the loss of
barbaric and so loaded with the are burned at the behest of the state – or encountering Fahrenheit 451’s vision of her voluminous library, chose to burn
weight of historical events as so many people think. The culmination a world, the brutalist tactics of the state alongside it rather than accept a future in
which it didn’t exist.
book burning. The destruction of of ideas explored in a series of short playing out in an unnamed city at some
All firemen succumb to the temptation
literature has been a favourite tool stories written in the final years of unspecified point in America’s future. eventually, or so Montag’s chief says,
of maniacs, despots and armies the Forties, and published against a The FBI’s file – which was obtained stealing a book before the flames begin
for almost as long as humans have backdrop of anti-communist and anti- and exposed by The Huffington Post to try and understand the danger they
been keeping records. Soviet sentiment created and aggravated in 2012 – noted that an informant had present. Did the chief know what Montag
Around 210 BCE, the emperor of the by Senator Joseph McCarthy, when advised that “some of Bradbury’s stories had done before that woman started to
burn? Could he see the thoughts now
Qin dynasty in China buried hundreds Fahrenheit 451 appeared in 1953 it have been definitely slanted against
playing out in his head? All he had to do
of Confucian scholars alive, then was almost immediately interpreted the United States and its capitalistic was burn the book within 24 hours and
made a bonfire of their philosophy as a warning against the possibility form of government.” The FBI feared it would all be forgotten. The question is:
and teachings. Around 150 years later, of totalitarian rule and the pervasive that writers like Bradbury were using would Montag be able to do the same?
the great Library of Alexandria was censorship that would ultimately follow. books like Fahrenheit 451 to “frighten
destroyed by fire, the flames consuming It was favourably compared to George the people into a state of paralysis or
a collection considered the most Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which psychological incompetence bordering
comprehensive in existence. At that was published only four years before. on hysteria,” leaving the way clear for a
point, the manufacture of books was a Bradbury did little to dispel that reading third World War.
long, laborious and intricately detailed of his text, and for the most part those More recently, the Internet
process. How many pages vanished in embryonic impressions endured. Engineering Task Force (IETF)
that fire, inscribed in volumes of which Considering that Bradbury was considered employing the number ‘451’
only a handful existed? investigated by the FBI during the as a HTTP status code. The governing
In the 13th century, the Mongol Sixties for perceived communist body that ultimately decides on well-
leader Hulagu Khan laid siege to sympathies, the kind of suspicion that known online error codes like ‘404 Not
Baghdad, a week in which the city was might well have started with some Found’, the IETF believed that there
pillaged and plundered by his army.
Book burnings have been a
Every one of its libraries were destroyed, recurring feature of oppressive
including the House of Wisdom, the regimes throughout history.

most important centre of reading and Bradbury was investigated by the FBI
for perceived Communist sympathies.
learning in the world: mathematics,
chemistry, astronomy, zoology,
geography. Yet, by the time Hulagu’s
armies had finished, it is said that the
river Tigris ran black with the ash and
ink of destroyed books.
In 1497, there was the Bonfire of
the Vanities, a fanatical burning of
objects considered sinful by Florentine
preacher Savonarola. Irreplaceable
sculpture, art and books were torched
as a baying crowd of religious zealots
watched with pious fury. The Nazis also
adopted a ceremonial approach, and the
pictures of grinning German students
posing by the smouldering ashes of
destroyed books are now just a Google
search away. The motives may vary, but
the sad truth is that burning books has
been as much a part of human culture
as reading them.
This fact wasn’t lost on Ray Bradbury,
the seminal author whose most famous

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BOOK CLUB
Essential Read

Where Have
could be no more suitable number for
a situation where access to a website is
blocked due to government pressure.
It would be both thematically coherent

I Seen This
and a fitting tribute to the man whose
concern over censorship birthed one of
the greatest science fiction novels.
Bradbury might have appreciated the
sentiment, but the notion that he would

Before?
have enjoyed his book being associated
with the internet is unlikely. And the
reason why goes to the very root of
what Bradbury was thinking when he
sat down to write Fahrenheit 451; not
A QUESTIONABLE FUTURE freedom of expression and freedom of
choice in general, but very specifically
A CANTICLE FOR the freedom of expression in literature,
LEIBOWITZ and the freedom to choose to read.
Bradbury carried an Fahrenheit 451 was a product of his
unshakable belief that suspicions about the rise of new media,
reading and writing was a
pillar of society, regarding his eternal, unquenchable love for the
books as primary vessels written word and the influential role
for knowledge. Similar libraries played in his development.
concerns are the very
foundation of Walter M “I’m completely library educated.
Miller’s A Canticle For I’ve never been to college,” he said in an
Leibowitz, which depicts a interview with the Paris Review, first
religious order’s attempts
to preserve scientific
published in 2010. “I went down to the
knowledge in the aftermath of library when I was in grade school in
a nuclear war. Waukegan, and in high school in Los
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Angeles, and spent long days every
THE ‘CLUB OF Fahrenheit 451 has been lauded for its prescient ideas, but
Bradbury was offering a warning about the path he believed
summer in the library… And it’s far
ROME’ QUARTET humanity was taking. Anthony Burgess picked apart that
more fun than going to school, simply
kind of reactionary fear in this novel, which was elevated to a because you make up your own list and
Much like Bradbury
in the early Fifties, new level of infamy by Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation. you don’t have to listen to anyone.
John Brunner “I discovered me in the library. I
looked at the world
a decade later and
THE MATRIX went to find me in the library. Before
didn’t like what Fahrenheit 451 is I fell in love with libraries, I was just
guided by fear of the
he saw. Those a six-year-old boy. The library fuelled
concerns were the dehumanising impact
of technological all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to
catalyst for a series
of four novels, progress, and far ancient Egypt. When I graduated from
each exploring a more so than the high school in 1938, I began going to the
contemporary issue: average science
fiction dystopia. The library three nights a week for almost
overpopulation,
the environment, Wachowskis’ seminal
racial tension film is anything
and relentless but average, but it
technological is a more typically
progress. Sadly, conflicted treatment
all four are just as of the subject:
relevant today. technology leads to
our undoing, then
we use it to wreak
THE RUNNING MAN spectacular revenge.

One of Bradbury’s most


prescient observations
was the commodification
IDIOCRACY
of news, with real violence Bradbury closes
and conflict packaged Fahrenheit 451 on the
in the same manner as possibility of redemption,
entertainment. A different but as a whole it takes a
take on that idea plays dim view of where people
out in Stephen King’s might end up, given the
The Running Man, which ability to choose. The
was published under his society depicted is passive,
pseudonym, Richard lazy and (very often)
Bachman. Needless to medicated, while younger
say, the Schwarzenegger generations are violent
movie is a very different and disenfranchised.
animal to the book, so For a similarly jaundiced
we would suggest that view of our hell-in-a-
you look at the source handcart future, see Mike
material instead. Judge’s Idiocracy.

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ESSENTIAL READ
Fahrenheit 451

ten years. Finally, in 1947, around the In 1951, Bradbury bemoaned radio’s the neck of any author who dares to
time I got married, I figured I was done.
So I graduated from the library when I
contribution to a “growing lack of
attention” among the American public.
speak above a whisper or write above a
nursery rhyme.” Your Take On
was 27. I discovered that the library is
the real school.”
Indeed, Bradbury’s young life was
Television, which was just starting
to appear in normal households, as
a cause of even greater concern, and
Fahrenheit 451 couldn’t possibly have
been a warning against censorship,
because Bradbury was often censorious
The Classic
WHAT YOU THOUGHT
so fundamentally entwined with he didn’t imagine that government in his opinions when it came to
libraries and literature that he married influence would be necessary to get anything that could interfere with or
@SCIFINOW
a book-store clerk. By the time the idea people to choose the passive experience detract from an appreciation of books. “#Fahrenheit451 was a
fantastic read! Brilliant
for Fahrenheit 451 started to take shape of staring at a screen to the engaging There were “too many junky things
descriptions, I was constantly
in his head in the form of a short story experience that literature had afforded around,” he later told Time Magazine. highlighting my favs. Very
called ‘The Fireman’, libraries had him. As great an author as Bradbury “There are too many computers, too relevant too!” @lisahawson
effectively become a low-cost stand-in was, it’s impossible to overlook the air of many emails, and too many devices.
for a real office. It was the UCLA library snobbery that informs this worldview. They get in our way, and prevent us “I enjoyed Fahrenheit 451
but the underlying misogyny,
where he discovered that less than $10 There is a conversation between from reading.” When a publisher offered
and dismissal of ‘minorities’,
could buy enough time on a typewriter Guy Montag, the protagonist, and his to turn Fahrenheit 451 into an eBook, is quite jarring 60 years later.
to get his vision down on paper. captain at the fire station, in which he Bradbury replied, not too politely, “To #bookclub” @Brummie_Jen
“I created the 25,000-word version of articulates the events that led to the hell with you. To hell with you and to
‘The Fireman’ in nine days,” he wrote in banning of books. The government hell with the internet.” “I 1st read Fahrenheit 451 on
Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile
a letter to the Fayetteville Public Library didn’t ban reading, Beatty explains; Viewed in isolation, these comments
Beach, on honeymoon. Read
in 2006. “How could I have written so people chose mindless entertainment could simply be a man ill at ease with the 1st page to my wife. She
many words so quickly? It was because instead. Minority groups agitating for the changing times, railing against didn’t let me stop.” @newjorg
of the library. All my friends, all my the removal of offensive material dealt that which he doesn’t understand.
loved ones, were on the shelves above the killer blows. “Magazines became Bradbury couldn’t have argued against “Hopefully your reading the
@foliosociety edition. It’s a
and shouted, yelled and shrieked at me a nice blend of vanilla tapioca,” Beatty the internet and email in 1953, but beauty.” @meowy24
to be creative. So I ran up and down says. “Books, so the damned snobbish he didn’t have to. The principle that
the stairs, finding books and quotes… critics said, were dishwater. No wonder guided him then can be applied to any “A gripping classic, ripe
You can imagine how exciting it was books stopped selling.” new technology, and his belief in that with the dangers of cultural
to do a book about book burning in If it doesn’t seem clear that Bradbury principle remained undimmed until the erasure, totalitarian control
and the importance of the
the presence of the hundreds of my is speaking through Beatty, consider day he died, aged 91, in 2012. written word” @MalkyDel
beloveds… It was the perfect way to be the coda to the 1979 edition: “There “People ask me to predict the future
creative; that’s what the library does.” is more than one way to burn a book, when all I want to do is prevent it,” he “Fantastic, moving, thought-
and the world is full of people running wrote in his essay, ‘Beyond 1984: The provoking; there aren’t
about with lit matches,” Bradbury enough superlatives to
People Machines’. “Predicting the future
sufficiently heap upon this
McCarthyist paranoia certainly wrote. “Every minority, be it Baptist/ is much too easy, anyway. You look at masterpiece.” @CultTVMike
played a part in Fahrenheit 451, but Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/ the people around you, the street you
the driving concern behind it wasn’t Zen Buddhist… feel it has the will, the stand on, the visible air you breathe, “As with all his books, I find
the way governments abused power to right, the duty to douse the kerosene, and predict more of the same. To hell the idea for the narrative
far outweighs his ability to
control the citizenship. Rather, he saw light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who with more. I want better.”
tell it with decent prose.”
the ubiquity of radio and he feared for sees himself as the source of all dreary @m_leigh_g
the future of books, of literature, and blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened Fahrenheit 451 is available to buy now,
even the basic ability to read and write. literature, licks his guillotine and eyes published by Flamingo. “I remember it was a chilling
cautionary tale.”
@Harlegatot68

“PEOPLE ASK ME TO “It´s a great, great book but

PREDICT THE FUTURE


harder to read. I liked it”
@Corhonis

WHEN ALL I WANT TO “One of the best books I’ve


ever read. Scared me to

DO IS PREVENT IT” death to see just how true it’s


already becoming.”
@AnnCarters
RAY BRADBURY
François Truffaut directed a “Started reading it to calm my
film adaptation in 1966.
brain so I could sleep, ended
up reading the whole thing in
one sitting. Superb”
@cyanideandjd

“Fantastic prediction of
how our world of social
media has destroyed the
written text, ahead of
it’s time” @j_combat

What do you think? Let us


In Fahrenheit 451, the banning
of books is met with apathy.
know on Twitter or Facebook

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| 089
BOOK CLUB
Beginner’s Guide

Alternate history tropes


Things to look out for…
Nazis
If you gather together every
piece of alternate history
literature in the world, you’ll find a large
portion of them feature the Nazis and
Germany winning the war, and it’s almost
always in a hellish context. But it doesn’t
stop there: armies spread out, and before
you know it, Hitler is God.

Which sub-genre Bleakness


would you like to Alternate history stories are
see tackled next? very rarely chipper. Whatever
happened in the past to change the
Let us know on Twitter
or Facebook present is usually extreme bleak, the
characters are often grumpy and a lot of
people end up dead. Occasionally you’ll

Alternate History
A Beginner’s Guide To find that everyone is fine and dandy, but
99.99 per cent of the time it’s horrible.

Time travel
Sometimes past events do
occur the way the occurred
in real life, but then some numbskull
decides to go back in time to change the
What is and what should never be WORDS POPPY-JAY PALMER events and thus alter the course of future

A
history forever. This usually happens in
ll alternate history novels have story titled P’s Correspondence, perceive realities in which long- the first chapter, and the rest of the book
one thing in common: ‘what ifs’. which is considered to be the first dead famous people like Napoleon is spent trying to undo it.
What if the Nazis had won the example of alternate history in Bonaparte and Lord Byron were
war? What if John F Kennedy the English language. At the time still alive.
hadn’t been assassinated? What of its publication, the concept Alternative history started to
Historical figures
Many alternate histories get
if Jesus had been a revolutionary was considered to be somewhat become more common in the 20th kick-started by dying too soon
agitator? As a sub-genre of science outlandish. The narrator, who is century with the rising popularity of or not dying soon enough. It’s strange to
fiction, alternate history is set apart presumed to have been a real-life the science fiction genre as a whole, think how one person in time could have
by the fact that the stories told within friend of Hawthorne, was treated and each decade brought a plethora so much influence on the future simply
them could actually have happened. as a madman both in the story and of new works that explored more by being alive/dead.
More often than not, there are by readers because of his ability to ‘what ifs’.
no lasers, no mutants and no
spaceships. This branch of science Watchmen’s alternate history sees the
existence of superheroes changing the
fiction is frequently not too far balance of the Cold War.
removed from our own reality. It’s
more relatable than first-contact
stories and space operas. Imagining
that the events of, say, The Man In
The High Castle could have occurred
simply by the Nazis and the Imperial
Japanese Army winning WW2 is
more terrifying and mind-boggling
than aliens could ever be.
Valencian knight-cum-author
Joanot Martorell became a pioneer
of alternate history literature way
back in 1490 with his novel Tirant
Lo Blanch. It explored what would
have happened in a knight from
Brittany had stopped the Turks from
taking Constantinople. Almost five
centuries passed before another
popular author delved into the sub-
genre again.
In 1845, American writer
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a short

090 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BEGINNER’S GUIDE
Alternate History

Philip K Dick’s The Man In The The Comedian as played by Jeffrey


High Castle inspired an Amazon Dean Morgan in Watchmen .
Original Series last year.

Axis victory European union Gettysburger king Lock in kop A sci-fi tail
Lost in San Francisco The plague of mankind Backmaker to the future Fercockt in Alaska Across the universe
THE MAN IN THE Things get
THE YEARS OF History is BRING THE What if the THE YIDDISH Michael Chabon THE COMING OF Named in
HIGH CASTLE terrifyingly RICE AND SALT altered much JUBILEE Confederate POLICEMEN’S combines THE QUANTUM reference to
Author: real in Philip K Author: earlier in The Author: States of America UNION alternate history CATS Schrödinger’s
Philip K Dick Dick’s acclaimed Kim Stanley Years Of Rice Ward Moore had won the Author: and crime in Author: Cat, Pohl’s
Publisher: dystopian novel. Robinson And Salt Publisher: Battle Michael his acclaimed Frederik Pohl novel explores
Putnam 15 years after the Publisher: when the 14th Ballatine of Gettysburg Chabon detective novel. Publisher: scientific
Published: 1947 surrender, HarperCollins Books Publisher: The story takes Random breakthroughs.
1962 Published: century Black Published: in 1863? HarperCollins House
Price: the Nazis 2002 Death plague 1953 Sometime during Published: place in Alaska, Published: Each advance
£8.99 have occupied Price: kills 99 per Price: the mid-20th 2007 or ‘Alyeska’, which 1986 in quantum
New York, £8.99 cent of Europe. £8.99 century, a Price: became the new Price: physics shatters
the Japanese have taken over Separated into historian named £9.99 homeland for £13.42 boundaries
California, and Africa has been ten parts, it tells the story of how Hodge Backmaker decides to Jewish refugees between
almost completely wiped out. Muslim and Chinese pioneers travel back through time in order after WW2. Now, Orthodox Jewish universes, and as a result billions
Following the lives of several repopulated the continent, and to witness the moment the South gangs roam the streets of a 1940 of possible futures collide,
characters living in a San the indigenous peoples of the won the war and to change the film-noir version of the city of creating chaos. In one universe,
Franciscan dictatorship, The Man Americas formed a league to outcome of the historic battle, but Sitka. Things get complicated young Joseph Dzhugashili (ahem,
In The High Castle offers a bleak resist invaders. It has often been his plans quickly go awry. With when Detective Meyer Landsman Stalin) escapes from Russian to
look at what our world would be praised as being one of the most one wrong move, his actions could comes across the corpse of a the US in the 1900s. It’s a trippy
like if the Allies lost WW2. It’s as ambitious alternate-history well alter the entire world as he chess prodigy, and is determined and complex voyage across space
relevant today as it was in 1962. stories ever. knew it. to find out who killed him. and time.

“Dick’s a master “Fascinating alternate “Interesting Alternate “What a novel! Complex “a good little sci-fi
storyteller; the way history. Fun idea to make History, South is victorious alternate history book, with some thought-
characters adapt to survive use of reincarnation to follow the in Civil War. Effective use of Irony/ classic and deserved winner of provoking ideas
regime is brilliantly realised same characters through the satire in presentation of post-war multiple awards.” #BookClub”
#bookclub” @Brummie_Jen ages.” @landettanien North.” @rmltpie @Sulphonix @laura_fenner

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BOOK CLUB
Nod

Details Author: Adrian Barnes Publisher: Titan Books Price: £7.99 Released: Out now
Your Five
terrifying end-of-
days scenarios
NOD
Up all night
End-of-the-world books are starting Vancouver apartment with his girlfriend Starting at Day 18 before turning the
CHOOSE YOUR TOP FIVE to look less and less like speculative Tanya, a successful PR who is as clock back, Nod moves at a breakneck
@SCIFINOW ON TWITTER fiction, and Adrian Barnes’ debut outgoing as Paul is reclusive. Paul’s life pace, one day at a time. You’ll have a
novel has more than a little anger and seems cosy, if a little controlled, when very difficult time putting it down. Paul
1. The Death resignation at the way we’re treating the world-changing event takes place. is a very engaging narrator; someone
Of Grass
our planet. It’s more than a sermon, As most of the world tries to recover who had a hard time liking people even
“Plausible,
heart-breaking
however, despite the mad prophets, from a sleepless night, it becomes clear before they went crazy, but who has a
and an ending crazed acolytes and sequences straight that this is a global event. Only one very clear need to do the right thing.
so downbeat it out of the ‘Book Of Revelation’. Nod person in every thousand can sleep. So while the brilliant and nasty
makes Joy Division works brilliantly on several levels; as Paul is one of the lucky ones. Tanya mass-insomnia hook gets right under
look cheery. a nerve-shredding horror, a timely isn’t. The sleepless go mad within a your skin (and Barnes’ description of
#BookClub” week, and die after a month. As the
cautionary tale, and a study of a man’s it is utterly convincing and relatable
@Zardoz67
life being stripped away. city goes insane, somebody confronts for those of us with sleepless nights),
Our narrator is Paul, an etymologist Paul with the similarities between this it’s Paul’s struggle to keep things
working on a book about words that cataclysmic event and his work, and he on some kind of even keel that has
2. The Road have been lost. He lives in a small finds himself at the centre of it. us engaged. The sequences of Paul
“Just grinding and Tanya trying to make their way
desolation and
Must through the nightmarish streets of
read now!
bleakness with ruined Vancouver are gripping, and
no hope of a
there are sudden, shocking moments of
better future.
Terrifying! violence, but we found the knife-edge
#bookclub” conversations between the couple even
@lisahawson more nail-biting. Paul’s doubts about
the length of their future together before
the event make Tanya’s disintegration
all the more heartbreaking as she
3. Illuminae alternates between lashing out and
“It’s not our struggling to hold onto who she is.
world, but this As the days pass and Paul is brought
book terrified me into an Awakened leader’s Kurtz-like
(in a good way) compound, it’s clear that there’s no
#BookClub” turning back. The best-case scenario is
@Pasmine-
that the crazies die before they can hurt
Jalmer
the few remaining sleepers, including
mute and eerily calm child Zoe who
Paul feels compelled to protect. Barnes
obviously has fun with the different
4. The Stand factions of the Awakened, whose
“Because I can motives and methods operate with the
see it happening. unwavering commitment of the insane.
#BookClub”
They’re ridiculous, which makes them
@2013
tweetybird all the more terrifying.
Again though, Nod connects because
of its humanity. There are horrors, and
there are shocks, but Barnes manages
to give us a perspective on the end of
the world that feels utterly relatable. The
world is hard, and people can be cruel,
5. The Day but that’s never the whole story.
Of The Jonathan Hatfull
Triffids
“I wasn’t keen SciFiNow scored 8 for
on it, but that’s 8 Nod
because I’m Follow our scores on
scared of going
blind. The big
plants didn’t IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
help” @The The Three
Sarah Lotz
CrowAndGin Conspiracies swarm around three
plane-crash survivors in Sarah
Lotz’s brilliant genre-bender.

092 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BOOK CLUB
The Tiger And The Wolf // The Book Of Lies

Details Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky Publisher: Macmillan Price: £16.99 Released: Out now

UR RE A DS
YO
THE TIGER AND THE WOLF
Equally deft in the realms of of a powerful wolf clan. With a torn
Sober, expansive,
grand ol’ tale
The real strength of The Tiger And
What you lot have been
reading this month
science fiction and fantasy adventure, soul, young Maniye never fits in with The Wolf , though, lies in the main “Reading The Secret
Adrian Tchaikovsky knows how to take her tribe, ultimately going on the run character herself. Accompanied History Of Wonder
Woman by Jill Lepore –
you to a place, no matter the setting. instead of facing humiliation and very by a serpent priest and chased by a about half way through.
In a world where men can ‘step’ into possibly death at the hands of her own relentless hunter, Maniye Many Tracks Extremely well researched
their inner animal, The Tiger And The people. Of course, a chase ensues. is a fascinating character; layered, book. #BookClub”
Wolf tells the story of Maniye, the lone Maniye’s journey takes her across strong, torn, constantly developing @mockery66
daughter of her father, the chieftain the ‘Crown of the World’, into the and hugely empathetic. While some
“I’m reading John
unknown and through harsh, secondary characters tend to steer
le Carre’s The Night
unforgiving winters. Tchaikovsky toward the generic (the father, Akrit, Manager. it’s the only one
weaves a grand old tale filled with the main culprit therein) or underused of his I haven’t read, and
archetypal characters, each befitting (the comical Asmander being one), it’s great fun. #BookClub”
their animal form. There is a sense Maniye and her tireless pursuer, @TheCrowAndGin
of the thirst for exploration, search Broken Axe, are inspired creations.
“I am reading Leviathan
for a sense of belonging and a Native As such, the planned fantasy Wakes by James SA
American approach to character names series building on The Tiger And Corey. #BookClub”
and tribal conventions. The Wolf should have plenty more @GapStargate
In terms of style, the infusion of the in store.
“The Art Of Star Wars
classical adventure and almost magical Erlingur Einarsson
The Force Awakens. A
fantasy works to create a unique world fantastical journey that’s
that is simultaneously familiar and SciFiNow scored 9 for
enjoyable. #BookClub”
exotic, even to a seasoned genre reader. 9 The Tiger And The Wolf
@Jbarnes532
In addition, Tchaikovsky is able to Follow our scores on
“The Girl On The Liar’s
craft individual scenes with vivacity,
Throne by @Den_Patrick
making for visceral battle scenes IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
the start was a bit jarring,
and character confrontations littered Prince Of Fools but hoping for a good
Mark Lawrence
throughout Maniye’s journey. It makes ending for the Erebus
Must w! Game Of Thrones meets
sequence. #BookClub”
read no
the rather extensive length well worth the Viking Sagas in a dark
adventure, the first in the Red @Cascararogue
the investment. Queen’s War series.

“The Bazaar Of Bad


Author: Teri Terry Publisher: Orchard Books Price: £7.99 Released: 24 March Dreams by Stephen King
Must some very creepy tales.

THE BOOK OF LIES read now!


#BookClub” @philbooty
Teen tantrums
with a twist “Edge Of Dark by Brenda
Cooper. VG! #BookClub”
Two girls meet at a funeral and are archetypes (for plotting purposes), @ColanMitchell
are soon found to be twins, albeit but others are so gloriously well-drawn
having lived entirely different lives. and likeable that they anchor the tale “Doctor Who And The
While there is intrigue aplenty to a sense of safety despite its more Loch Ness Monster. Can’t
beat a good Zygon story...
in Teri Terry’s new novel, it is the adult themes.
#BookClub”
focus on the mundanity of teenage The make-or-break detail for many @SharkOfLargo
jealousy that makes its uneasy is likely to be the story’s evolution,
impact in The Book Of Lies. which moves from family drama to “Haven’t long started
The book is divided in order to outright epic. The latter elements #BeneathTheDarkIce
by @greigbeck, and
tell its story from the perspectives arguably overshadow some of the
really enjoying it so far!
of the twins. The reader will character study that takes place #BookClub”
naturally begin to look for ways earlier in the book, but they are also @CalebBeldom
to distinguish between them, and effective. Terry proves herself adept
the point is that this is deceptively at using different modes of language, “The Fog by James
Herbert. A strange &
difficult to do. That said, seasoned and only occasionally overuses it. The
gruesome story. I’ve read
readers will guess key plot strands additional plot strands intertwined it loads but it still creeps
precisely because of the way the with those segments are historical, me out! #BookClub”
information is presented. The entire and it gives the story a particularly SciFiNow scored 8 for @paul_bowler
narrative turns what appears at romantic frisson.
8 The Book Of Lies
“Daughter Of The Forest,
first to be a simple tale of jealousy The Book Of Lies combines a study Follow our scores on sucker for fairy tales so
into a deconstruction of the way we of teenage uncertainty with universal I’m hooked. #BookClub”
all develop our identities. themes of acceptance and betrayal. IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY… @beckygracelea
The cast is small but diverse, It leaves you with a satisfied and yet Carrie

helping the reader to keep track of oddly realistic chill.


Stephen King
A girl tries to make friends,
Tell us what you’re reading
the story. Some of the characters Charlie Oughton but murders people with her
telekinetic power instead. on Twitter or Facebook

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK Get in touch @SciFiNow /SciFiNow | 093


BOOK CLUB
The Girl On The Liar’s Throne // Speak

CONDS W IT H
60 SE Author: Den Patrick Publisher: Gollancz Price: £14.99 Released: Out now

Simon Morden THE GIRL ON THE


How would you
Must w!

LIAR’S THRONE r ad no
pitch Down Station to
those who may
e
be unfamiliar with
your work?
‘Chronicles Of
The Erebeus Sequence ends
Narnia meets Finally, the Silent Queen speaks. series protagonists Lucien and Dino,
Solaris’ is probably the best shorthand In the last instalment of the her cool rationalism proves to be just
that I can come up with when describing Erebus Sequence, Den Patrick as dangerous as their fiery tempers.
the plot.
lifts the veil on one of his most Whereas they were fighting personal
As with many of my stories, the
fantasy and science fiction elements intriguing characters. The Girl battles, Anea is waging a moral
run side-by-side each other. I play On The Liar’s Throne focuses on crusade, and will sacrifice anything to
with various Jungian archetypes and Anea, who seemingly betrayed achieve it.
psychogeography, as well as riffing her ideals and her brothers at In a break from the other books in
on the branes that separate different the end of the last book of this the series, Anea is not the only POV
dimensions. But that’s all happening
brooding fantasy. character. Rather stylistically, Patrick
under the bonnet: you can just enjoy
the ride without having to worry about It’s hard to say much about has set chapters up so plot threads machines, The Girl On The Liar’s
any of it. the plot, as Patrick opens his final parallel one another, with the novel’s Throne rounds off the series
episode with a game-changing ending mirroring its beginning. But broad theme of flawed, outcast
Did you always conceive it as a London twist. But we can say that all is Patrick is an author that is chiefly characters finding self-acceptance.
story, or was the location incidental to not as it seems, and when Anea’s concerned with character, and he Jack Parsons
the plot?
brother Lucien declares war against does a surprisingly good job of
Yes. I have a love-hate relationship SciFiNow scored 9 for
with the place in that I find it both her, the Erebus masterplan for the rounding out every member of his
glorious and terrible simultaneously. Italian Renaissance-like realm of enlarged cast. 9 The Girl On The Liar’s Throne
Follow our scores on
The earliest settlement on the banks Landfall is revealed. As the final book, nit-picking fans
of the Thames was built some 10,000 Anea proves to also be worth the might be disappointed that Patrick
years ago, and has been in almost IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
wait, having evolved from a relative doesn’t reveal all of Landfall’s secrets.
continuous occupation ever since. The Boy With The
innocent into a warrior over the But while we may never know why Porcelain Blade
London was probably the only place
course of the trilogy. Though she’s the seemingly medieval castle’s Den Patrick
that could bear the weight of the Go back to the beginning of
mythology I impose without breaking not as deft with a sword as previous catacombs are full of futuristic this richly gothic tale.
it completely.

Have you always been drawn


towards portal fantasy as a way of
Details Author: Louisa Hall Publisher: Orbit Price: £8.99 Released: Out now

SPEAK
writing fiction?
I think the idea of a portal to escape
through is incredibly beguiling, and a
large part of it is the idea that we can
Through the media of chat
cast off our mundane lives and become Louisa Hall delivers a smart and who is imprisoned in the year 2040 voices in history. Gaby’s narrative
the heroes that we always believed affecting sci-fi novel designed to make due to his development of lifelike dolls; intertwines with Chinn’s in relations
ourselves to be. So I think we’re all
you think about your surroundings. Gaby White, a young girl who owned a to his creation born out of love for his
drawn to it, but when done badly, it
can be shallow, self-serving, childish Hall explores changes in technology doll and is struggling to come to terms daughter, who he wanted to give the
wish-fulfilment. and the origins of Artificial Intelligence with its loss by speaking to software gift of “the pleasure of devoting one’s
It needs the right story, and the and how they have altered the way programme MARY3; Alan Turing’s life to another”, but it also throws up
right setting, to make it sing. Someone we connect through the five distinct correspondence from his youth to his questions about the way in which
who knew what they were doing was voices. These include Stephen R Chinn, conviction; Mary Bradford, a pilgrim young girls’ potentials are often stifled
Julian May when she wrote the Pliocene
making the long journey by ship to the by society’s constraints. The Dettman
Exiles series, which are pretty close to
being my Desert Island Discs books. I’m new world; and the Dettmans, a couple letters observe a man reaching out to
simply in awe of what she achieved in who have grown apart and detached. his wife charting the often petty taunts
them, and if I come even a little close Hall plays with form, reminding and craving for attention.
with the books of Down, I’ll consider it the reader of the many different The riches of the human experience
job done. communication mediums. The and the faltering memory are navigated
poignant conversation with Gaby is by Hall, making Speak an engaging,
Finally, are you able to ride the London
Underground without thinking about a messenger chat, with the software poignant and unputdownable read.
what’s behind the programme often shouting at the void. Katherine McLaughlin
tunnels? Turing is writing personal letters to SciFiNow scored 8 for
No. And neither will Christopher Morcom’s mother, his first
you now. Sorry. love from school who passed away at
8 Speak
Follow our scores on
the age of 17. It makes for an incredibly
Down Station by
Simon Morden is moving insight into grief and the IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
available to buy things we do to persevere. The Lifecycle Of Software Objects
now, published by The pages of Mary Bradford’s diary Ted Chiang
A slyly funny exploration of the
Gollancz. from the 1600s raise relevant issues
Must
impact of AI on humanity and
their moral obligations towards a
read now!
regarding the muting of women’s virtual pet product.

094 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BOOK CLUB
The Masked City //The Flicker Men

Author: Catherynne M Valente Publisher: Corsair Price: £8.99 Released: Out now

RADIANCE
How many sub-genres can you
Dying to
make art
of Radiance; it’s like an exercise in
divide science fiction into? Radiance writing techniques rather than a
is an insane mix. It’s a space opera, an novel. If you’re looking for a book
alternate history, a mystery, a decopunk to lose yourself in, this isn’t for you.
literary endeavour… after all, author Each change of narrative is jarring,
Valante herself has acknowledged that leaving you conscious of your own
Radiance is pure “crazypants”. surroundings. There’s no opportunity
Set in an alternate reality in which to become absorbed by the plot; it’s
our Solar System is inhabitable, constantly twisting back on itself, from
Radiance follows the disappearance of planet to moon and planet again.
Severin Unck, a documentary director It’s a shame, really. The idea in
whose art leads her and her team to itself is fascinating and its execution
the ruins of a diving colony on Venus. is ambitious; from such an acclaimed
It’s this fateful journey sees her crew author, it seems wrong to feel so
shattered, driven to madness, while disappointed with the final product.
Severin herself inexplicably disappears. And yet, that’s exactly what it is:
Like Marmite, Radiance is the kind unique and ambitious, but ultimately
of book that you’ll either love or hate; a disappointment.
there’s no grey area between the two. Philippa Grafton
The writing style is unique – almost
SciFiNow scored 4 for
Beckett-esque in its absurdity at
times – and jumps constantly from 4 Radiance

one character’s narrative to another. Follow our scores on

This post-modern approach is quite


polarising, and comes across as IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
Decopunk: The Spirit Of Age
overbearing and pretentious at times. Judith Dial, Thomas Easton
In fact, it’s this writing style that An anthology of short stories based
around the decopunk alternate
really seems to make up the substance history sub-genre.

Author: Antonia Honeywell Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson Price: £8.99 Released: Out now

THE SHIP
A teenager’s rebellion gets a
Come
sail away
Must
read now!
only registered citizens have rights, and
claustrophobic jump-start in Antonia a series of government acts have done
Honeywell’s debut. The girl in question nothing to help. While Michael revels in
is Lalage ‘Lalla’ Paul, a 16-year old who knowing best and having known best all
was born “at the end of the world.” along, Lalla’s mother, Anna, resists the
Famine, overpopulation and floods urge to flee, desperate to help and to
have pushed the human race to the provoke Lalla’s independent thought.
brink of self-destruction, but Lalla’s The author skilfully interweaves
father Michael has always had a plan. Lalla’s jolt into adulthood with the
He’s hand-chosen a group of survivors unsettling ease of the rest of the
to board a ship to escape London, but passengers’ slide into comfort and
as they set sail, Lalla begins to question complacency. Honeywell makes no
what her dad’s end game is. secret of her environmental concerns,
Everyone is grateful to have been but rather than coming across as
given the chance to escape, and is preachy, it gives this coming-of-age tale
overjoyed at the never-ending food, a real punch.
water and creature comforts Michael Jonathan Hatfull
has provided, but no one apart from
SciFiNow scored 8 for
Lalla seems to be questioning where
it is they’re going. Is Lalla simply 8 The Ship
Follow our scores on
going through her rebellious phase at
a delayed stage after years of being
hidden from the horrors of the world? IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
The Death House
Or is Michael really hiding something? Sarah Pinborough
It is convincingly written, and horribly A teenage boy finds something to live
for at a quarantined boarding school for
realistic; fracking has poisoned the soil, terminally ill kids.

096 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
What happens when a superior technology is set to re-
engineer the human eye? The visual function that lays the
very foundation of human reality is threatened, with potential
deadly consequences.

In "Second Sight" (published by AuthorHouse UK), author


Maximilian Pereira explores this possibility and challenges
readers to re-examine the thin line that divides perception and
reality.

It, therefore, challenges the preconceptions of our


reality to which we cling and thus serves to spark
our curiosity into the very nature of our existence.
prweb.com
www.maximilianpereira.com

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AT YELLOWBULLDOG.CO.UK
Sleepless Nights

WE ALL LIVE IN A
MASSIVE PAST AND
A MASSIVE FUTURE…
WE’RE JUST A DOT
BETWEEN THEM!
© Liam Barnes

ADRIAN BARNES
098 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
ADRIAN BARNES
Sleepless Nights

Adrian Barnes talks about his terrifying vision of the end of the world
WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL
Extinction by…
The many ways authors have brought about the end

W
e’ve all had a sleepless night. We wake up the a simple victim or the stereotypical perfect girlfriend Dementia
next day grouchy, in need of caffeine, a little before the event? The End Of The Whole Mess
less likely to forgive minor irritations and a little I had such a hard time with Tanya. I loved her, but I also Stephen King’s superb short story
is told from the point of view of a
more likely to snap at friends and loved ones. felt I had to torture and kill her. I’ve always admired and
journalist whose brother was hoping
We spend our day cranky, but then we get an early night loved women so much in my life that there’s no way I to cure aggression, but caused
and service resumes as usual the next day. But what if the could write her to be weak. It was so hard to kill her in my everyone’s minds to decay instead. The
next night’s sleep never comes? book, and I wept when I hurt her and killed her. But it had ending is heartbreaking.
Adrian Barnes’ debut novel Nod finds the world to happen, I still feel. Because these things… well, they
suddenly afflicted by mass insomnia. Only one in 1,000 happen all the time in our world. Global pandemic
can still sleep, including our narrator Paul. The rest will Oryx And Crake
A supervirus takes out the world’s
go insane within a week and die within a month. Paul Did you find writing in the single perspective limiting population, and Snowman tells us just
and his sleepless partner Tanya do their best to struggle at all? how the old race came to die out as he
on, as he struggles to reconcile his misanthropy and No, I like the single perspective. Why not just wonder wanders the wilderness in the first book
sense that we all had this coming with the need to push what’s going on out there? And if nothing, I could write in Margaret Atwood’s brilliant SF trilogy.
on and survive. books about Nod in New York or Nod in London, I
It’s chilling, gripping and a powerfully moving piece suppose! Though that said, I am beginning to write about Blindness
Blindness
of work about humanity at the end of the world, and a the world after Nod at the moment. Not just a clever title. Jose Saramago’s
highly impressive slice of debut fiction. We were very acclaimed bestseller sees the world
excited to get the chance to talk the chance to talk to It’s a very scary novel, and there’s some sudden suddenly lose its collective sight, with
Barnes about his debut novel, the end of the world, and shocking violence. Did you find it was difficult to have the exception of our heroine, who
how his perspective on fiction has changed since the those elements without losing the emotional core of accompanies her husband to a facility
where they must resist violence and cruelty.
publication of his essay for The Daily Beast titled ‘My the novel?
Cancer Is As Strange As My Fiction’. No, not really. Fear and violence are a part of who we are All men die out
as a species, as much as anything else. At the end of the Y: The Last Man
What was the first seed of the idea for Nod ? There’s day, the book is about humanity, and it was necessary to Brian K Vaughn and Pia Guerra’s
the reaction of society to a terrible event, the language include the bad emotions with the good ones. amazing comic series sees amiable
element is fascinating, and there’s the idea of mass, slacker, Yorick, and his capuchin
monkey, Ampersand, the last males left
permanent insomnia… Did writing a novel that is concerned by the state of the
on Earth. Can they find the answers,
Well, for me at least, my ideas don’t emerge one by one world and what we’re doing to it come fairly naturally? survive and rebuild?
while writing. A bunch of stuff sort of bubbles away in There’s quite a lot of genre fiction at the moment that is
my head. But in terms of a novel, I definitely saw ‘no obviously very worried about where we are, and a lot of The Earth stops spinning
one can sleep’ as a giant metaphor I would enjoy it doesn’t feel too speculative… The Age Of Miracles
exploring. Beyond that, I’ve always loved old words and ‘Natural’, yes. I have certain views of human beings, 11-year-old Julia finds her world turned
upside down when the planet itself
human insanity, as it reveals our ‘normal’ the deeper we and used the metaphor of ‘no one can sleep’ to just…
starts to slow and stop spinning on
go in it. discuss them. Certainly this isn’t a book that’s based its axis. Karen Thompson Walker
on science, except for the research about insomnia. I combines her doomsday scenario with
Is it helpful to think about the other end-of-the-world suppose I’m in a funny place, concerned with a future a beautifully written coming-of-age tale.
movies and novels, or do you have to put all of that out event that also raises up the past. We all live in a massive
of your mind when you’re trying to create the factions past and a massive future… we’re just a dot between
that would form at the end of the world? them! I think the future naturally attracts us most To an extent, but it was more a combination of influences.
I grew up reading science fiction that was full of ‘big though, because of how infinite the possibilities are. It Initially I didn’t want to write about the end of the world,
thoughts’. As a child and teenager, I loved them so allows us the freedom of dreaming, even if those dreams but more the mind of the individual instead. On the
much. Many of those novels pushed me into philosophy, are a little nightmarish. science fiction side of things though, my hero has always
science, religion, psychology and so on. These novels been Harlan Ellison. Books like Deathbird Stories or the
always inspired me to have a go at it some day! Science In your wonderful Daily Beast essay about dealing story ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream’… either of
fiction is not only about the future; for me it’s about today. with your illness, you wrote about how you’ve which could have been a decent title for Nod, come to
It’s about self-examination. learned that love is the most important thing (I have think of it!
paraphrased this horribly!). Do you think that your One of the books that really influenced me was
To what extent do Paul’s worldview and opinions on fiction writing will grow more optimistic? Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke. In that book,
the human race and what we’re doing to the world I write in two genres: pain and joy, perhaps. Nod is humanity as we know it ceases to exist, but the children
reflect your own? pain, of course, and my latest book, Satan À La Mode, of humanity become something different, like a sort
Er… all of it. No point in lying! I’ve always seen that what is full of joy. It’s my own attempt at a modern Alice In of evolution.
we call ‘our civilisation’ is sort of insane and requires a lot Wonderland, filled with love and laughter. Why do I go I think both Nod and Childhood’s End could be read
of analysis. And we need to go deeper and deeper. And to such extremes? No idea, honestly. Maybe I just find it as apocalyptic, to an extent. But perhaps it is simply the
that’s Paul and Adrian. so much fun to go here and there…. in a way, Satan À La next step for our species and the world, a
Mode is a comic version of Nod. beginning instead of an end.
Tanya, Paul’s partner, is obviously a crucial character,
and her descent into madness is heartbreaking to Finally, do you have a favourite end-of-the-world story, Nod by Adrian Barnes is available to buy
play witness to. How important was it that she not be or one that particularly influenced Nod? now, published by Titan Books.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK Get in touch @SciFiNow /SciFiNow | 099


BOOK CLUB
Izuna

Details Writers: Saverio Tenuta, Bruno Letizia Artist: Carlita Lupatelli


Publisher: Humanoids Inc Price: £21.99 Released: Out now

IZUNA
Wow. So scare. Very myth
Musotw!
s en
e

It’s rare that a comic so beautiful on the transitions through action scenes that
outside continues to deliver once the cover could easily have been rendered chaotic.
is turned, but this fully painted fantasy of Comparisons with Hayao Miyazaki’s
mythical ancient Japan is a genuine work Princess Mononoke are of course
of art. impossible to resist, with many surface
Having worked in comics since 1992, similarities – the battle between forest
Tenuta found critical acclaim ten years ago gods and humans; the young female
with the original French publication of La protagonist; and the giant wolves that are
Légende Des Nuées Écarlates, Legend Of so iconic. Izuna though is perhaps least
The Scarlet Blades, a story of an amnesiac concerned with the humans, focusing
Ronin adventuring through a land of more on the overall world and how the
folklore. It is in this same world that Izuna people and the Kami can benefit each other
is set, but as a prologue of sorts requiring in the face of an all-consuming darkness.
no prior knowledge of the world Tenuta In true Tolkien spirit, one individual has
has crafted. the power to shape the fate of the world, the
Here, mankind and the spirits of nature, first fruit of the sacred tree with the ability
the Kami, exist in the same time and to bear her own fruit. The change she
space, separated by an invisible veil, the presents to an established culture brings
Kamigakushi. Over time, the veil comes both apprehension and acceptance, as both
under attack from a plague of sentient Aki and the Izuna come to understand the
demonic darkness, the Noggo, and the difference between living immortal and
titular Izuna are created in defence. This living with power.
race of enormous wolf-like beings with Laura Sneddon
pointed and branched ears are birthed from
SciFiNow scored 10 for
their sacred tree, the Munemori.
While the Noggo grow ever more 10 Izuna
Follow our scores on
powerful in their efforts to break the veil,
the Munemori conceives a new Izuna to
IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
replace a fallen comrade, followed by the Legend Of The Scarlet Blades
first ever human to come forth from the Saverio Tenuta
Explore Tenuta’s realm and the
great tree. Aki’s arrival splits the Izuna further adventures of the Izuna
in the original comic series.
into those who believe she is their
salvation, and those who believe she is an
agent of darkness.
On the other side of the veil, young
Kenshin stands aghast in the bloody
remains of a massacre, enslaved and
moulded through dark magic into the
perfect warrior by his renegade warlord
father, a vicious daimyo who thirst for the
Shogun’s power. The fates of Kenshin, Aki
and the Izuna are intertwined, but make no
mistake – Aki is the hero of this tale.
Tenuta’s storywork is bolstered by the
addition of Letizia as co-writer, but truly
it is Lupatelli’s stunning paintwork that
brings this magical realm to full and
immersive life. Her depiction of darkness
and light, hope and oppression, romantic
heroism and samurai spiritualism urge the
reader to step through the pages and into
this captivating world of wolves and ninjas,
pagodas and tanuki.
From the flashing blades of horrific
battles to the swishing tails of the fox
princess Kitsune Hime, Lupatelli showcases
a mastery of fine details and sumptuous
backgrounds even as she effortlessly

100 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
BOOK CLUB
Kaijumax // The Beauty // Midnighter

Details Writer: Steve Orlando Artists: ACO, Stephen Mooney, et al Publisher: DC


Details Writer: Zander Cannon Artist: Zander Cannon Publisher: Oni Press Comics Price: £10.99 Released: Out now

MIDNIGHTER
Price: £7.50 Released: Out now

KAIJUMAX
Pokémon squee meets Oz brutality
Must w!
read no
Violence + Fun x
Sex = This!
Fans of Godzilla and Pacific Rim much is a tribute to the Toho films Quite possibly the most universally
will already be familiar with the of the Seventies. Yet whether loved comic that DC has published in
giant monster kaiju of Japanese you spot the nods to Destroy All recent years, the fan-favourite vigilante
origin, here placed in a maximum Monsters and Godzilla’s Revenge, – the fun Batman, if you will – finally
security prison island. Electrogor or you’re just there for the wise- gets his own series.
is the new detainee, flung into a cracking monsters with their own Steve Orlando has managed a fine
world of conflicting social strata lingo and a gym where they lift balancing act here, writing a fun
and dangerous power circles. skyscrapers, Kaijumax is uniquely and fresh take on Lucas Trent that
Cannon has great fun with the compelling. satiates the demand of long-time fans
pop culture shout-outs and A playful pop-art veneer gives while also giving new readers a very
Must
way to dark and frightening prison
drama in shocking contrast.
accessible intro to the character.
Midnighter is a man without a past,
read now!
Despite the humorous appearance and this lack of baggage frees him from
and some genuine laughs, Cannon the brooding that plague many other in the early pages gives new readers a
is telling a much more complex comic vigilantes while also giving him a quick rundown of who Midnighter is –
story about the destructive impact slightly tortured, but not melodramatic, and who he likes to bone.
of the prison environment and soul. With his bioengineered Superhero comics are not exactly
oppressive hierarchies. Not enhancements, Midnighter possesses known for their acceptance of
for kids! super speed, strength and resilience, gay characters beyond an initial
Laura Sneddon and most importantly he has the introduction and subsequent headline
ability to predict any possible outcome space, but Midnighter’s sexuality
SciFiNow scored 8 for
when fighting – making him a highly is simply one of many facets to this
8 Kaijumax
formidable and rather arrogant complex character. That said, his
Follow our scores on
opponent to come by. portrayal as a non-stereotypical ‘token’
ACO handles art duties for half of the gay man has been welcomed by many,
issues here, exploding the pages with as has his sexy and fun dynamic with
his more experimental layouts and love the straight-laced Grayson, who features
DetailsWriters: Jeremy Haun, Jason A Hurley Artists: Jeremy Haun, John
of multiple tiny panels that emphasise in a third of this collection.
Rauch Publisher: Image Comics Price: £7.50 Released: 31 March
Laura Sneddon

THE BEAUTY
action points and broken skulls, while
Stephen Mooney takes over for the
Must w! arrival of Dick Grayson. SciFiNow scored 9 for

r ad no
e Orlando slings readers in at the deep 9 Midnighter

Drop dead gorgeous end, with a bunch of stolen powerful sci- Follow our scores on

In a society that goes to such Until the first Beauties start fi weapons to track down and the many
extreme lengths to achieve going up in spontaneous flames, absurd villains that keep interrupting IF YOU LIKE THIS TRY…
Grayson
physical perfection, what would quite literally burning up from Midnighter’s dating life. Newly Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mikel Janin
happen if allure could spread like the inside, the moral quandary is separated from long-time boyfriend, The man formerly known as Robin
is now an Agent of Spyral in this
a disease? The Beauty is a new simply one of prevention versus Apollo, a glimpse of a dating profile super-spy espionage thriller.
STD, and the symptoms happen desire – now it is one of literal life
to make you absolutely gorgeous or death.
with only the minor drawback Two detectives attempt to
of running a constant low fever. unravel the riddles while in a
How do you cure a disease that move eerily prescient of real life
everyone wants to catch? news, a shadowy corporation
seeks to maximise profit from
Beauty ‘treatment’ rather than
a cure.
It’s a very strong and original
hook wrapped around a great
crime drama bolstered by
brilliant characterisation. And
fittingly, the comic is indeed drop-
dead gorgeous.
Laura Sneddon

SciFiNow scored 9 for

9 The Beauty
Follow our scores on

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BOOK CLUB
Snowpiercer: Terminus

SNOWPIERCER
RETURNS
Jean-Marc Rochette and Olivier
Bocquet shine a light on the newest
Across
the channel
Dip into some more
classic French sci-fi
The Eyes Of
The Cat
(Humanoids,
Inc)
Alejandro

adventures of the Snowpiercer Jodorowsky, Mœbius


Any work by the late great
WORDS LAURA SNEDDON Mœbius is an absolute must-
read for any fan of science-

B
fiction, and his collaborations
EFORE CHRIS EVANS SHED HIS CAPTAIN sequel. So I started with that abseiling, but with the famous Jodorowsky
AMERICA SKIN FOR THE POST-APOCALYPTIC with the additional idea of going down to are no exception. This is their
WORLD OF SNOWPIERCER, THERE WAS hell. Then several key ideas came to me: the earliest gem set in a desolate
LE TRANSPERCENEIGE. THE FIRST COMIC train station, the dog, the city polluted by a dreamscape world.
by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette leaking nuclear power plant, the deformed
was published to great acclaim in 1982 – children, and the ending with the blind
Valérian And
Laureline:
the height of the severe global economic hero, the killer whale, and so on. But all The City
recession and the dawn of Thatcherism and these ideas weren’t linked together, and Of Shifting
Reaganomics on the world stage. that’s when Olivier Bocquet came on board. Waters
Five years later, Rochette returned with (Cinebook)
writer Benjamin Legrand to expand upon By moving beneath the surface of the Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude
Mézières
the snow-blighted world, maintaining the ice, Terminus feels very Dantean. Was
Protecting the world from
core themes of transhumanism and class that a deliberate nod to the Inferno, rogue time travellers is no
struggle, but with the aspects of a new and did that have any bearing on the easy job, and here the two
generation. It’s perhaps no accident then, decision for Terminus to be the first spatio-temporal agents
that the latest volume arrives after a similar coloured volume? begin their adventures by JMR: I came up with the foundation of
wait, once more hitting upon the themes JMR: My idea was to make Terminus in attempting to intercept the the story, the abseiling, the lynching of
worst megalomaniac that the
that haunt our newest nightmares. black and white, like the first two books, Brady, the nuclear threat, transhumanism,
capital of the Terran Empire
Rochette returns once more as the with colours only at the end of the story has encountered. the mad scientists, the ending and lots of
connecting artistic thread for Terminus, – the colours appearing with the blood of scenes. Olivier structured the story, made
while Olivier Bocquet takes up writing the killer whale to mark the reborn world, The 6 Voyages the dialogue, gave flesh to the characters,
duties for a unique and masterful a new spring of nature. But during the Of Lone came with the detention centre in a cinema,
collaboration that feels as politically making of the book, I felt that I needed Sloane the prison scene and lots of other scenes.
(Titan Comics)
relevant today as its esteemed predecessor. the colours to appear gradually in the And he also had a lot of visual ideas,
Philippe Druillet
underground city, to show we were entering 800 years after the ‘Great Fear’ including the most important one, that
The Snowpiercer volumes have been a new world, to emphasise the difference our eponymous hero must irrigates the whole story: the mouse masks.
released over quite a long period of between the old world of the train and the battle his way through multiple So this book is really a combination of
time. What was it that inspired you to new world of the city. The colours in the dimensions, space pirates, our visions, like a child is the combination
create the final volume now? city can give hope to the reader, despite gigantic robots and dark gods. of the DNA from both his parents. In the
Jean-Marc Rochette: At the end of the all the disturbing details and the mouse end, it’s hard to tell who’s responsible for
Aldebaran:
second book, in 2000, I already had the idea masks… If everything is coloured, what The what in the story. As for the film, it’s really
of abseiling in a frozen elevator shaft in could possibly go wrong? Welcome… Catastrophe Olivier’s part. He’s the one who asked
search of a power source. I had the idea of Olivier Bocquet: Since the beginning, (Cinebook) himself how to make the film and the
an underground city, inhabited by clones… Jean-Marc was very clear about that idea of Léo comic book live together in Terminus.
like post-apocalyptic infertile Barbies and ‘descent through hell’. The verticality was The first in an epic world- OB: I saw the film before reading the
building series that spans
Kens. There was a lack of cloning material, really meant that way. As you go deeper in books, and I really liked it. What the film
three main cycles and a
so they now could only create monsters. the story, you go deeper underground, and new spin-off adventure – all gave me in the process of writing was two
They were looking for a fresh source of when you finally reach the last circle of hell, following the colonisation things. First, freedom: the film was as good
DNA, like modern vampires. in the nursery, the whole sequence is in red. of beautiful and strange as the first book, but in a totally different
In 2013, after the success of the far planets in a post-global way. It proved that the story could be
Snowpiercer movie, my publisher How did your Terminus collaboration warming wrecked world. told without being slavish to the original
Casterman asked me if I had any idea for a come about? material and still be great.

102 | Get in touch @SciFiNow /SciFiNow WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK


BOOK CLUB
Snowpiercer: Terminus

The second thing was a key for my script. Was the series always intended to be
I decided that the train in the film was political, and what do you think the
different from the train in the book, but legacy of Le Transperceneige will be?
coexisted in the same universe. It meant OB: The series is clearly a political one…
that there were multiple Snowpiercers There are 15 years between each issue, so
travelling around the world, which opened the political concerns are not the same
up a whole lot of possibilities and new in each volume. They capture what the
stories. I even included the survivors from society was like when they were written.
the film in Terminus. In the first book, in 1982, it was really the
basics of class struggles. The second book
Are the sinister mouse masks and the was issued in 1999 and is more about
theme park setting a nod to Disney corruption and the lies of the political
and the evils of capitalism? community. In Terminus we talk about
OB: Absolutely! I was stuck with this environmental issues and genetic
underground city and I couldn’t make it engineering. I’m absolutely sure that
work because every idea I had just felt like Snowpiercer will live on in the next
old stuff. It’s a classic sci-fi topic, and it’s decades. The simplicity of the concept is
really easy to imagine… I struggled for extremely renewable. That confined space
weeks and then I had the idea of the post- acts like a magnifying glass on everything
apocalyptic city being a theme park, and mankind is about. The best and the worst.
everything fell in place. It matched with Social struggles and personal dreams. I’m
almost everything Jean-Marc and I wanted really curious to see what stories will take
to talk about. And the masks were not only place in that train, 15 or 30
useful for the story arc and the visual look years from now.
of the book; they were also an interesting
symbol. The world is collapsing, but let’s Snowpiercer: Terminus will be
not worry, let’s have fun! released on 15 March.

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| 103
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COMPLETE GUIDE
THE
ITALIAN
JAWS
THE STORY OF FLASHBACK
THE LOW-BUDGET
BLOCKBUSTER THE
REMAKES 106 DESCENT
INSIDE NEIL
MARSHALL’S
INTERVIEW GAME-
HENSON CHANGING
HORROR 122
STORY
TIME
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CLASSIC 114
ARE YO
THE CH U
OSEN
O
R E M IN
NE?
IS C E A
THE ST BOUT
P R E Q UA R WA R S
E L S 12
6

HOW TROMA’S TITULAR TITAN GINE


A Y
BECAME A CULT HERO 118 IM THL
ANMON
ITALIAN SCI-FI
COMPLE TE GUIDE

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO

ITALIAN SCI-FI
ITALY HAS LONG BEEN CELEBRATED FOR ITS SPLATTER THEATRICS, BUT FAR
FEWER FANS KNOW ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S LONG-STANDING LEGACY
IN B-MOVIE APOCALYPSE FLICKS AND SPACE-ADVENTURE MATINEES.
SCIFINOW EXPLORES FURTHER…
WORDS CALUM WADDELL

To anyone with even a passing interest in Nevertheless, audiences were curious enough to influenced by the odd, but commercially successful,
the glory days of Rome-based genre flicks, ensure that the spy-fi era was not quite over and done Italian comic-book caper Superargo Versus Diabolicus
names such as Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci with after just one effort. Fast-forward a year later, and (1966), which would spawn a sequel two years later,
and Mario Bava are as iconic as they come. ambitious Italian producers had hired Neil Connery, Danger Diabolik had a bigger budget than usual
Widely considered by critics and fans alike Sean’s non-actor brother, to headline his own riff on thanks to the investment of ace producer Dino De
to be auteur filmmakers, this legendary trio MI5’s finest. The result is the notoriously awful OK Laurentis (who would later remake King Kong). In
of horror masters are usually the kicking-off Connery, a muddled mess of espionage and 007 Bava’s adaptation of one of Rome’s most beloved
point for fans who, even today, find themselves in-jokes. Also known as Operation Kid Brother, and comic-book antiheroes, the titular masked character
immersed in the colourful, non-linear directed by the late Alberto De Martino, the film roped (played by John Phillip Law) and his gorgeous girlfriend
cavalcades of classic Italian creepies. in such Bond stalwarts as Daniela Bianchi (Tatiana (Marisa Meli) basically take from the rich and give to
Unfortunately, only the most dedicated of cineastes in From Russia With Love), Adolfo Celi (Largo in themselves. Thieving from banks and multi-millionaires,
scratch beneath the surface of the stylish, black-gloved Thunderball ), Bernard Lee (the original ‘M’) and Lois the remarkably agile robber, who boasts a Batman-style
killers and technicolor terrors typical of the best-known Maxwell (Moneypenny in Dr No all the way through secret lair, is both loathsome and likeable at the same
titles. Indeed, the boom time of Italian horror – which to A View To A Kill ). Featuring an inevitably wooden time, and Danger Diabolik would go down as one of
encapsulates Bava in the Sixties through to Argento performance from the Scottish leading man, who plays Bava’s finest achievements. Today, it remains one of the
and Fulci in the Seventies and Eighties – also leads an expert hypnotist enticed into gaining ‘information’ greatest pieces of superhero cinema ever crafted.
to a number of bizarre and badly looped sub-genres about a terrorist organisation by the British Secret
that barely anyone could have anticipated, from exotic Service, OK Connery is unutterably flat – a satire that
cannibal and zombie pictures to sex comedies and even barely raises a laugh. Reportedly, Sean was furious that
a brief fad in Nazi-torture flicks. one of his siblings had even been lowered to such trash “Dino De Laurentis was a huge fan of my father’s
Far less recognised but equally as enticing is the – and so it was, little brother Neil’s on-camera career pictures, and he always wanted to work with him,”
Italian run in fantasy fare, usually encouraged by ended just as soon as it had begun. states Lamberto Bava. “Danger Diabolik was a success
the success of a major Hollywood blockbuster, but Possibly seeking to make amends for Dr Goldfoot, in the United States, and Dino was very happy with the
frequently imaginative and interesting all the same. Bava would return to the genre with the superhero final film. Some critics did not seem to understand it,
The trend actually begins with Bava himself. For shenanigans of Danger: Diabolik (1968). Possibly also but then this was a character who was deeply rooted in
1965’s Planet Of The Vampire, which sees space Italian culture, and I think my father did well to translate
Last Shark : guess
explorers coming into contact with an extraterrestrial its inspiration. it. Dino wanted my father to move to America after
evil that they cannot fathom or even identify, the great Diabolik and make more films with him, but he chose
man anticipated the set design of Ridley Scott’s Alien. to stay in Italy to be close to his family and friends.”
The next year, Bava took a further career U-turn when With Bava returning to his nest-egg of full-blown
he was hired to turn out a James Bond-style spy-spoof fear-films, Italian fantasy took a rest period. Yet, it would
entitled Dr Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs. Starring be with the arrival of Star Wars in 1977 that the country
Vincent Price and released to general bafflement really took up the mantle of intergalactic insanity. Given
in 1966, and giving an obvious nod to Goldfinger, a then-massive budget of $4 million to produce a Lucas
the story introduces a mad scientist (played with sound-alike flick called Starcrash (1978), director Luigi
exaggerated aplomb by Price) who is working with Cozzi – a former assistant of Dario Argento’s – crafted
the Chinese government to blow up a NATO meeting one of the craziest genre jaunts of all time. Interestingly,
via some shapely, bikini-clad female robots. Featuring it was all a total accident.
Bava’s trademark use of eye-watering colour and “For years, I had been trying to get a sci-fi film off
delirious set decoration, this Cold War-era farce was a the ground in Italy,” he recalls. “I had been doing some
disastrous flop, and Price would later disown the movie. horror movies, but my true love were these old matinee

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COMPLETE GUIDE TO
WES CRAVEN

pictures such as This Island Earth, It Came From Outer just come out, and it is huge. So we should make your up in the hands of Roger Corman and his New World
Space and Godzilla. I made a great little special- movie. But it all has to be changed. It has to be just like B-distribution outfit, audiences became well aware
effects reel of stop-motion animation, just like Ray Star Wars.’ And to be honest, I sighed a little.” that this was not the real deal. Not even a last-minute
Harryhausen was doing, and I showed it to everyone As it happened, Starcrash would attract a cult all of Anglocisation of Cozzi’s name – to Lewis Coates –
I could think of, but nobody would invest in science its own, and it is easy to see why. Starring ex-Bond girl could hide the fact that this had ‘cheap and cheerful’
fiction. They would tell me, ‘No, no – Italian audiences Caroline Munro in the most ill-fitting and slinky piece written all over it.
do not want to see this sort of thing. It is horror which of lycra ever devised as Stella Star, a young smuggler “It was released in late 1978 and treated as a Star
is popular just now’. I even went to [legendary western locked in a battle against the authoritarian rule of Wars cash-in, which really saddened me,” claims
director] Sergio Leone to ask for his help, and though the bearded Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell), Cozzi’s Cozzi. “My main problem was that I did not want to
he sympathised, he could not find anyone to reconsider film is a fast-paced, slapdash amalgamation of sci-fi just imitate Star Wars, and that put me at loggerheads
this attitude. The last person I went to was a French greatest hits. Moreover, with a supporting cast that with the producers. To me, Star Wars was a serial – it
producer called Nat Wachsberger. He saw my reel and includes David Hasselhoff (as Munro’s love interest) was pulp. So I took Starcrash in a different direction. It
he said the same thing: ‘Luigi, no one is making this and Christopher Plummer – plus a sizzling score from is more like a Ray Harryhausen film, and it is also like
sort of movie any more’. Then a few months later he John Barry – it at least looked, on paper, as if Starcrash Barbarella – the character played by Caroline Munro
called and said, ‘Luigi, you were right – Star Wars has would be a sizeable success. However, when it ended is really based around that. It was not huge like Star
Wars, of course – how could it be? We could never
duplicate these special effects. But Roger Corman told
me it was his biggest hit of the year.’
Not that this stopped Cozzi from flying the flag for
Italian sci-fi and fantasy. His next project would be yet
another attempt at following in the footsteps of a major
American studio epic – this time Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Clearly aware of his work with Starcrash, it would be
Cozzi who would receive the phone call to work on
Contamination (1980), a cheaply lensed, chest-bursting
cash-in that was mainly filmed in and around Bogota,
Colombia. Oddly banned as a ‘video nasty’ when it
made its British bow on VHS cassette, Contamination
is a harmless but not charmless romp about
extraterrestrial eggs that arrive in New York, and cause
anyone within their vicinity to explode from the gut
upwards as soon as they hatch. Leading a mission to
find out what is going on is a rogue Scottish investigator
played by Ian McCulloch (fresh from Fulci’s Zombie
Flesh-Eaters), who follows a trail to Latin America, only
to discover an entire community beholden to a static
Sean Connery’s brother Neil starred foam-latex mannequin that is supposed to represent an
in shameless 007 ripoff OK Connery. all-powerful, galaxy-enslaving ‘Cyclops’.

108 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
ITALIAN SCI-FI
COMPLE TE GUIDE

“MY MAIN PROBLEM


WAS THAT I DID
NOT WANT TO JUST
IMITATE STAR WARS”
LUIGI COZZI

“Yes, the Cyclops was awful. I almost wept when


I saw it,” groans Cozzi. “I was told we were going to
have the greatest alien ever seen, then I found out we
had a ridiculous creature that could not even move and
had a light-bulb eye. When I got hired to make that
movie, all they wanted was something that would be
like Alien. I said, ‘We don’t have the money to create
a spaceship, so what if the alien is already on Earth?’
They agreed, and then I got a lot of freedom. I just had
to make sure people could burst open at the chest. That
was what the backers liked most about Alien!”

At the very least, Contamination would lead to


another enterprising attempt at ripping off Scott. Alas,
Starcrash was Italy’s
when a dull little escapade entitled Alien 2 slipped answer to Star Wars.
out into Italian theatres later in 1980, Fox went for the
jugular and forced an immediate title change to Alien “Yes, and this bothers me,” affirms Castellari. “I went
Terror. A similar fate faced journeyman director Enzo to see Jaws 3D, and they had their shark targeting IT IS NOT ALL
ONE WAY…
Castellari when he chanced The Last Shark in 1981. people, breaking through glass, knocking rocks around
A shameless attempt to recreate Jaws, right down and all sorts of things. It was all copied from Last Shark
to similar characters and an almost identical plot, it – but no one could see my movie at that point because How Mario Bava made Ridley
was little wonder that it got into legal trouble and was they had succeeded in suing us!”
ultimately pulled from cinemas worldwide. While Jaws Strangely though, it wouldn’t be Alien, Jaws or Star
Scott the man he is today…
is not really a ‘fantasy’ flick, The Last Shark veers into Wars that instigated a new era for Italian sci-fi. Rather, Everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Martin Scorsese
will speak enthusiastically about the legacy of Mario
genre territory by having its great white purposely act it would be John Carpenter’s Escape From New York
Bava – one of Italy’s most underrated filmmakers, whose
with intelligence; from attempting to trap divers in a in 1981, which proved to be an enormous box- reputation for creating a heady slew of (predominantly)
cave by pushing rocks into the exit to breaking through office attraction in Italy. Soon enough, Snake Plissken art-horror films went, sadly, unrecognised during his
boats and stalking specific characters. Interestingly, this wannabes and tormented anti-government rebels were lifetime. Yet, it is with Planet Of The Vampires that most
‘fish-intelligence’ would later make it into the third Jaws the name of the game. Assisted by the VHS-era success new fans discover Bava for the first time. Highlighting
third film, which was released in 1983. of The Bronx Warriors (1982), helmed by Castellari a desolate space station awash in mist and a genuine
feeling of being ‘picked off’ by an unexplainable
It’s safe to say you haven’t seen otherworldly threat, Bava’s movie is viewed by almost
David Hasselhoff like this before. everyone as an early template for Alien. Seen today, and
the production, as with most of the director’s work, still
holds its own, with some gregarious use of technicolor
and a classic sense of space trepidation. Check it out, and
then watch Prometheus as well – Ridley Scott is not above
a few ‘winks’ to one of his earliest cinematic influences.

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STARCRASH PT II?
How one of Italy’s biggest sci-
fi films never quite ended up The Atlantis Interceptors
from a script by Fulci’s regular pen-man Dardano
with the sequel it deserved Sacchetti, the titles came thick and fast. Escape From
was one of many Escape
From NY knock-offs.
When Starcrash arrived in cinemas in 1978, it not only The Bronx, 2020 Freedom Fighters, 2072: The New
turned a healthy profit; it ended on the sort of note that
Gladiators, Endgame, The Atlantis Interceptors, The
– just as with Star Wars the previous year – hinted that
a sequel was sure to be on the way. This was indeed New Barbarians, 2019: After The Fall Of New York – all
supposed to be the case, but as Luigi Cozzi explains, of these were made within a two-year period, and each
it never quite worked out that way. “When I wrote the one offers a mix of sleaze, cheese and post-apocalyptic
script for Starcrash, I knew that sci-fi was taking off,” battlegrounds in which heroes and villains pit their wits
acknowledges Cozzi. “So I decided to do another against one another, Mad Max-style.
screenplay, this one called Star Riders. I gave it to Nat
“I remember the period during the preparation and
Wachsberger, the producer of Starcrash, and said,
“Maybe after this movie we can film another project – tell shooting of The Bronx Warriors with great pleasure,”
me if you like this, because I just wrote it.” Well, what reflects Castellari, who also called the shots on its
happened is that after my Starcrash was a success, he loosely related sequels The New Barbarians (1982)
went through Star Riders and changed all the characters, and Escape From The Bronx (1983). “People thought I
so now it could be a sequel. He took it to Cannon Films, was mad to actually film in the Bronx – they told me it
and they said, “Okay, let’s do Starcrash II,” but he needed
would be really dangerous out there. Well, dangerous “The blaxploitation films had dried up, but I could
my permission for this script, and when I found out what
he had done I said, “No, absolutely not. This is not even a locations had never influenced the making of one of do my own stunts and I had a tough-guy image,
Starcrash movie!” Thankfully, Cannon had another movie my movies before [laughs]. I went out to New York, and so when the chance to work in Italy came up I was
ready to go at that time – Hercules – and they said, “Well, I treated the people of the Bronx with respect. I always thrilled,” enthuses Williamson. “I was given the chance
we liked what you did with Starcrash, so come and make invited them to eat lunch with us, and I invited some of to come out on top in these movies, just like I had in
this instead.” I know Nat was not happy, and that is why them to work as extras on the movie. They protected my blaxploitation films, and I got to work with some
you never got a Starcrash II.”
me for the whole period of the filming. I also had a interesting characters. Fulci stands out because he was
great leading man in the wonderful Fred Williamson, so filthy: he was always coughing, smoking on a pipe
a first-class collaborator who was doing many Italian – he looked as if he never went near a shower in the
movies at that time. Fred is an extraordinary person and morning [laughs]. But those were great days, because
a fantastic, underrated actor. He is also a very intelligent these directors, who were true professionals, were
and well-prepared professional.” making movies that they knew would play everywhere,
At this point in time, one way for Italians to trigger and that meant I kept getting some very strong roles.”
action at the international box office was to introduce Usually featuring motorcycle chases (in 2072: The
a somewhat recognisable (but not too expensive) New Gladiators, Williamson gleefully decapitates his
American thespian. Former football player turned opponents while driving one at high speed) and dusty
blaxploitation icon Williamson was one such man, landscapes, the Escape From New York cash-ins remain
collaborating with Castellari and also taking on the first-class beer-and-pizza movies. Or put it this way,
lead role for Fulci’s 2072: The New Gladiators. The there is not one which is inferior to Carpenter’s own
latter pre-dates the Schwarzenegger hit The Running Escape From LA.
Ultimately, a Starcrash
Man with its plot, in which a futuristic TV network steals Furthermore, a few even add an unexpected twist
sequel never materialised. convicts from death row and forces them to fight to the or two. Take Rats: Nights Of Terror (1984), which
death in the hope of increasing ratings. sounds, from the title, as if it is a mere cheapo-creature

110 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
“WE HAD A
RIDICULOUS
ALIEN WITH A
LIGHT-BULB EYE”
LUIGI COZZI

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COMPLETE GUIDE TO
ITALIAN SCI-FI

Danger: Diabolik remains


feature. In all actuality, nothing could be further from a cinematic classic.
the truth, for this is yet another dose of Snake Plissken
silliness. This time, a gang of post-nuclear war survivors
come out of hiding to wander around a desolate and
deserted Earth. Yet it soon becomes clear that all that
has survived the atom bomb are flesh-starved rodents.
Not just this, but – as a twist ending reveals – walking,
talking, human-sized rodents at that.
Similarly strange is Ruggero Deodato’s The Atlantis
Interceptors, which was made in 1983, but sets its
plot in 1994 – even though the director does nothing
to change a single thing about the location. Here,
scientists discover a rock from what they assume to
be the legendary ancient underwater kingdom. Alas,
it turns out they have disturbed the sleep of some
mutants, who rise from the depths of Atlantis complete
with motorbikes, perfectly spoken modern English and
bizarre S&M costuming.
“I had been alienated by many film producers
since my movie Cannibal Holocaust caused so much
trouble,” mentions Deodato. “But I had done so many
different kinds of movies, so I thought this was unfair. So

“DINO WAS VERY


HAPPY WITH
DANGER: DIABOLIK” Eagle (1982) – Deodato’s The Barbarians (1987) would
be one of the biggest hits of the period.
chance for film producers in Rome to churn out
something that would offer audiences a more cash-
LUMBERTO BAVA “It was produced by Cannon Films, just like Luigi’s starved slant on a familiar trope. James Cameron’s The
movie Hercules,” continues Deodato. “They had Terminator, for instance, would kick-start a new era in
with The Atlantis Interceptors I got to show I could make made money with Hercules, and The Barbarians adult-orientated, techno-phobic cyberpunk pictures –
this little sci-fi adventure movie in Florida and hopefully was supposed to be shot cheap, in Rome, with these although, for the budgetary-starved Italians, it merely
regain some of my standing. It was a success when it identical twin brothers [David and Peter Paul], who were gave audiences Hands Of Steel (1986), directed by an
came out, and it gave me a chance to some other films body-builders. Cannon told me to make this violent and old pro in Sergio Martino.
in this genre later on.” serious – just like Conan, but the two brothers were not One of Italy’s most talented journeymen (previous
Indeed, Deodato would be one of many who cribbed actors, and when I picked them up at the airport the credits include giallo favourite Torso), Martino’s
onto the muscular business that had been achieved first thing they did was stick their bottoms out of the car Terminator take-off has a robot who is 70 per cent
by the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Conan The window. They were like two little children – they would cyborg and 30 per cent human programmed to murder
Barbarian (1982). Along with Cozzi, who gave the squabble with each other, work out and chat to women, a skilled scientist. Yet, unlike Schwarzenegger’s one-
world Lou Ferrigno in the diabolically dull Hercules and I knew that this had to be a comedy. We just played man army, our robo-fighter finds that his humanity wins
(1983), Fulci with Conquest (1983) and Joe D’Amato the whole thing for laughs.” out, and he is soon seducing a beautiful motel owner
– most famous for his ‘video nasty’ Anthropophagous In the interim, Hollywood science fiction was and going into battle against his cold-hearted creators.
The Beast but hitting pay-dirt with Ator The Fighting beginning to change once more, leading to yet another Oddly, Hands Of Steel prefigures Terminator II by

THE TOP 10 ITALIAN SCI-FI/FANTASY FILMS

1. PLANET OF THE 2. DANGER 3. STARCRASH 4. THE BRONX 5. ESCAPE FROM


VAMPIRES (1965) DIABOLIK (1968) (1978) WARRIORS (1982) THE BRONX (1983)
It is difficult to deny that the look of One of Mario Bava’s finest Never again will the world see Enzo Castellari’s rental-shop Also known as The Bronx Warriors
this misty and malevolent space- achievements, this quick-witted David Hasselhoff as a Jedi success story is, at times, at least 2, this is an honourable follow-up
shocker was an inspiration to Ridley and lavishly composed superhero wannabe, but thanks to Starcrash as exciting as John Carpenter’s that in some ways anticipates
Scott’s major studio effort Alien. As staple is at turns exciting and also we have the memories of what Escape From New York. Whizzing RoboCop, with its narrative based
such, the reputation of Mario Bava’s hilarious. In addition, Diabolik could have been. A special mention along at a breakneck speed, with around knocking down the ‘old’
ground-breaking space-thriller highlights a scorching Bond-style goes to Caroline Munro’s wardrobe some authentic locations and a real parts of a city and replacing the
continues to grow with every new theme track (‘deep, deep down’) people – has a bikini ever been sense of adventure, this is one of the slums with skyscraping apartments,
xenomorph sequel. that once heard is never forgotten). so ill-fitting? highlights of Italian sci-fi. suited only for the rich.

112 | WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
having its man-machine act as a protector to
a young woman, although scenes where the
metallic marauder self-repairs his own injuries
are taken straight from Cameron’s trendsetter.

A regular feature in VHS rental stores, Hands


Of Steel proved popular enough to convince Bruno
Mattei – the man behind Rats: Nights Of Terror –
to attempt his own no-budget riff on the formula.
Unfortunately, by the time his 1989 schlock-fest
Shocking Dark arrived in Italy (briefly unleashed as
Terminator II until Cameron’s legal team got involved)
the good old days were over. No longer screening in
cinemas, what was left of the proud legacy in Italian
B-cinema was now relegated to direct-to-video bin
and, within just a couple of years, even that little cottage
business would no longer be alive.
“I think we hurt our own film business by cutting
costs and trying to make 100 movies that all did the
same thing,” admits Dardano Sacchetti, whose writing
credits also include Umberto Lenzi’s Conan-like epic
Ironmaster (1983), Lamberto Bava’s Rambo-rip
Blastfighter (1984) and Hands Of Steel. “With The
Bronx Warriors it was new and it was fresh, but soon
you just had cheaper and cheaper versions of that. It
was the same with everything. Then, of course, Roger
Corman and Troma began to make movies for the
video market, and we just could not compete. Our
product was the victim of unscrupulous producers who
took most of the money during the boom times and
never reinvested when the industry most needed it.”
Yet, from his apartment in Rome, no less than Cozzi
keeps the flag flying for a hopeful resurgence. “Finally
I have a new movie – Blood On Méliès’ Moon,” he
smiles.”It is a little bit horror, a little bit sci-fi, a little bit
fantasy. It is a crazy story that I have had in my mind for
30 years. So yes, we made it with a low budget, but it
is full of enthusiasm and imagination – it is about the
birth of cinema and a strange secret that dates back to
just before the advent of the first silent movies. But most
importantly it is very Italian. Exactly what fans of this
genre will expect.”

The best of the space-chasing carnage and fantasy frissons…

6. THE ATLANTIS 7. THE NEW 8. RATS: NIGHT OF 9. HANDS OF STEEL 10. THE
INTERCEPTORS GLADIATORS (1984) TERROR (1984) (1986) BARBARIANS (1987)
(1983) One of the late Lucio Fulci’s least Featuring some appallingly Not only does Hands Of Steel feature Arguably the ‘best’ of the Italian
This one begins like Miami Vice, well-known works (hampered non-PC characterisation (the sole the greatest arm wrestling match Conan movies, it’s a restrained
complete with a kidnapping on the by a full-frame DVD that cuts African-American personality is ever documented; this Terminator- bout of whimsical fantasy. Peter and
Florida coast, and then veers into the filmmaker’s fluid widescreen named Chocolate), Bruno Mattei’s influenced action outing just never David Paul can’t act to save their
post-apocalyptic territory when the photography), this futuristic battle very, very strange riff on the post- lets up. Helicopter chases, gun life, but watching them awkwardly
ancient island of Atlantis rises from between convicts and immoral apocalypse trope climaxes with fights and even a robo-dominatrix romance the ladies and battle a
the sea, complete with Mad Max- television executives is ahead of a bestial surprise that is likely to (anticipating Terminator 3 ) are low-rent dragon is worth the price
style punk gangs. its time. arouse waves of laughter. thrown into the mix. of admission alone.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK | 113


BEHIND THE SCENES
JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER

THE MAKING OF

JIM HENSON’S
THE STORYTELLER
WE SPEAK TO DUNCAN KENWORTHY, PRODUCER OF THE STORYTELLER, ABOUT
ITS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AND WORKING WITH THE LATE, GREAT JIM HENSON
WORDS JAMES CLARKE

In the early Seventies, a book was published organisation] in 1979, and he died in 1990. I was there sit and talk about what sort of ideas we had come up
entitled The Uses Of Enchantment. It explored to make whatever Jim wanted to have happen, happen. with to develop. One of the ideas had come from Jim’s
the value of fairy tales in the imaginations of I was very content to be that person, being that close to daughter, Lisa, who now runs the Henson Company
young people, and was written by an educator a man who’s the only person I think I’ve ever described in the States. Lisa, when she was probably 15 or 16,
named Bruno Bettelheim. Over the years, as a genius. He had a genius, whatever that word really worked on The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth, photocopying
it has become a book that you might have means. He was such a gentle man, but he had spirit, and making coffee, and then she went on to be a
occasionally seen referenced in relation to taste and creativity, and a perspective on the world that student at Harvard in folklore. That was part of her
certain movies of a fantasy and science fiction was very unusual and extraordinary. This gentle mind course at any rate, and she said, ‘Why not do a series
vintage. Certainly, the enchantment offered had a major impact, and everyone felt it. It was just a about storytelling?’ It wasn’t about fairy tales so much
by fairy tales was at the heart of the lavishly privilege to be there and interpret what he wanted to as about storytelling. So Jim talked to me about this,
produced fantasy series The Storyteller that other people. He got quite comfortable with my being in and I leapt on it. Jim talked about what we could do,
was broadcast in the UK way back in 1987. charge of what happened in England because he had and I made notes and wrote up a treatment, and then
Our conversation with producer Duncan Kenworthy to spend a lot of time in New York.” we pitched it. So that’s how it developed.
begins with him describing his own background and Kenworthy goes on to set the scene for how the “The thing that drove Jim and piqued his interest was
how it anticipated some of the ways in which he was conditions were right for a lavish, new, Henson- fairy tales full of imagery: a horse gallops so fast it was
the perfect fit for The Storyteller. “I’d read English at produced, fantasy-themed TV series. “After The Dark as fast as an arrow, say. Lisa said, ‘What if, because
Cambridge, and so I was very literary,” Kenworthy Crystal and Fraggle Rock, things started to coalesce in TV can do that, you showed a horse transforming into
explains, “whereas Jim [Henson] was very visual and London as a production centre for Henson. Every so an arrow, or you brought that sort of imagery to life
not very literary or story-directed. I joined [the Henson often, Jim would come over from New York, and we’d visually? That excited Jim, because the moment you said
to him, ‘No one’s ever done that before,’ he was there.
Growing up in the Eighties, The Storyteller
was a staple of many childhoods. He wanted to be the first. So this visual trickery was an
integral part of the concept. It wasn’t just dramatising
a narrative, as if a folk tale or fairy tale is nothing
more than a series of events; it was bringing a tale to
life in a visual, almost visceral, way that could render
metaphorical language concrete.”
As we talk, Kenworthy brings off the shelf a copy of
Stith Thompson’s book, The Types Of Folktale, and
explains that in developing the scripts, “this was our
bible. We used this as a sort of reference point.”
Kenworthy then goes on to recollect how The
Storyteller evolved from its initial concept to being
developed into scripts. The first writer to be brought on
board was Anthony Minghella, who would go on to
direct fantasy romance Truly, Madly, Deeply and the
movie adaptations of contemporary literary classics The
English Patient and Cold Mountain. At the time of being
assigned The Storyteller, Minghella had written his first
TV drama, entitled What If It’s Raining, which covered
the topic of divorce. It was clearly a long way from the
concerns of The Storyteller.

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WWW.SCIFINOW.CO.UK
© Henson Organisation Ltd
BEHIND THE SCENES
JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER

“I met him,” Kenworthy recalls, “and drew him into Kenworthy observes that Minghella’s richly expressed said his idea was to go back to some eastern European
the Henson world. [Anthony] wrote the pilot script, which dialogue and characterisation “was one of the reasons films, like The Singing Ringing Tree, and shoot people in
was fantastic. Jim had this idea of the Storyteller sitting why John [Hurt] took the job.” He notes, “The script silhouette against white backgrounds. If you could justify
by the fire with a dog. He’d always intended the dog to was just such a standout, the erudition, if you like, the what the background was, then it was a completely
be real. When Anthony wrote the script, the dog talked! poetry that went into the narration and the character.” credible image, because the bleeding around the edge
We had no intention that the dog would talk, and it was Kenworthy then goes on to explain how production was because it was backlit. So we had this idea of
a complete misunderstanding, because Anthony said, began with the pilot. “At that point, I could not take having silhouettes come to life, and that was, in a way,
‘I just assumed it was Jim Henson: of course the dog the time away to produce the series, so as a way of why the Storyteller had a fire. There are shots where
talks!’ When Jim read this he thought, ‘He’s one of us.’ reinforcing the story element – as opposed to just the you go into the flame and then you see characters in
It was a complete accident, but it turned into a great visuals and Europeanness – I brought in Mark Shivas. silhouette against the flame.”
double act: the Storyteller and the talking dog. The I said to Jim, ‘Why don’t we get Mark to come in and Kenworthy notes their ambition, “[was] to try and
dog speaks for the child in the audience and asks the produce; so, he produced the pilot episode ‘Hans My come up with a different way of telling a story. The
straight emotional questions: ‘Wasn’t he afraid?’ ‘But Hedgehog’. Mark brought with him the stature within Storyteller would kick it off, but then, instead of simply
what happened then?’ ‘Oh, that poor thing.’ He was the British television establishment of people who would ransacking the tales themselves, we wanted to find a
sympathetic, and the Storyteller treated him so carefully, be prepared to work with this American company.” Of way of rendering the texture of a fairy tale, which is
as if he were a child.” his own role, Kenworthy explains, “Doing the series of more than just simply the basic ‘Once upon a time…’”
Kenworthy’s has fond memories of the writing The Storyteller, I was very much in between the UK, and Each episode took about six days to film. “Jim’s
process. “The scriptwriting was one of the most our sort of European spirit and ethos of Grimm’s Fairy episodes, like ‘The Soldier And Death’, took longer than
pleasurable experiences of my life, because it was really Tales, and NBC who were all about thresholds of what others. It was the same director of photography for each
just me and Anthony coming up with what I think were you could and could not show on television.” series. It was John Fenner on The Storyteller, with Roger
some of the best scripts seen on television in those two The Storyteller was shot at the regular Henson studio Pratt taking over on The Greek Myths. The director
years; so imaginatively conceived. He came up with base at Elstree. Kenworthy acknowledges, “It was very, changed for every episode, but everyone else stayed
a new sort of poetic language. We were bonded by very imaginative, and actually groundbreaking at that the same, which made me a little more central to the
those nine scripts and nine productions, which we both time. The key person was Steve Barron, who made his operation, because each director came in as a newbie,
cared so passionately about for two years or more. And reputation at that point by having directed the Michael and there were certain things that were givens.”
it’s perhaps not surprising that he became my closest Jackson music video for ‘Billie Jean’. He was a young He happily recalls the experience of overseeing the
friend. He was a truly remarkable person, as everyone English guy, and we got him involved. music composed for the series. The Storyteller was an
in the world now knows. Having Jim join forces with “His idea was not using what used to be called early project for Rachel Portman, who would go on to
Anthony was great. It changed both of them in some chroma-key, against blue screen, and then that a well-regarded career composing music for film and
ways. He loved Jim, and it was mutual.” developed into green screen. Instead of doing that, he television. Of the collaboration with Portman, he calls

“WHEN JIM READ


THE SCRIPT HE
THOUGHT, ‘HE’S
ONE OF US’”
DUNCAN KENWORTHY
JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER
BEHIND THE SCENES

CASTING THE
STORYTELLER
KENWORTHY ON THE PEOPLE
BEHIND THE PROSTHETICS
In developing the most effective way to realise The
Storyteller, there had been a period of time when
the Storyteller character had been considered as an
animatronic puppet character. “I’ve got a photograph
somewhere of a character from Labyrinth who looks like
the Storyteller,” Kenworthy recalls. “So I think that would
have been an idea of Jim’s.” The idea then evolved
into having a person portray the Storyteller, and John
Hurt essayed the role, his face quite heavily masked by
prosthetic make-up. “You might say we got the best of
both worlds – we had the power of John’s storytelling,
which was crucial, but half-turned him into a Henson
creature.” The Storyteller series was notable as much
for its casting as for its animatronic characters. Notable
actors included Bob Peck in the episode ‘The Soldier
And Death’, Miranda Richardson in ‘The Three Ravens’
and Alison Doody in ‘Sapsorrow’. In Greek Myths, the
Storyteller character was portrayed by Michael Gambon.
In this series actors bringing the ancient world to life
Inside the legendary
included Derek Jacobi as Daedalus and David Morrissey
Henson Creature Workshop. as Theseus.

John Hurt memorably starred


as the title character.

The Gorgon animatronic character from Greek


Myths episode ‘ Perseus And The Gorgon’.

Hurt alongside Kenworthy


and Jim Henson himself. it, “Another fantastic thing. She and I would have a
meeting where she played the themes for each episode,
I would go to her apartment, and she would sit at her
piano, and almost with one hand play the piece of
music. One of the other really enjoyable parts of the
series was the day when she recorded the music.”
“It was highly praised.” Kenworthy says of both The
Storyteller and spin-off series The Greek Myths, and
even though the series didn’t quite find the audience that
had been hoped for in the UK, it was very popular in
Japan. Kenworthy notes, “When we did the first series,
the Japanese did a promotional book, which was very
nicely done.” Very much more recently, The Storyteller
has found a new burst of life in comic-book form.
As we sit, we are surrounded by various photos and
books from Kenworthy’s time working with Henson.
“I’m very proud,” he says. “I think it’s really complex and
strangely beguiling.” With a smile, he adds, “One my
© Henson Organisation Ltd

greatest pleasures, one of the greatest honours of all,


was that Bruno Bettelheim admired The Storyteller.”

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: The Complete


Collection is available to buy on DVD now,
distributed by Sony.

SUBSCRIBE WWW.IMAGINESHOP.CO.UK
| 117
RETRO CLASSIC
THE TOXIC AVENGER

IT’S TROMA’S MASTERPIECE, THE VERY BEST IN SCHLOCK AND


AWE! HE’S THE HERO WE NEED RIGHT NOW, THE GUY TO Retro
PUNISH EVIL, CORRUPTION, AND PEOPLE WHO STEAL OLD Classic
LADIES’ CARS! JOIN US AS WE TAKE A TRIP TO TROMAVILLE Film
AND CELEBRATE THE ONE AND ONLY TOXIE!

TOXIC AVENGER
WORDS JONATHAN HATFULL

For schlock fans, Troma movies are over, he decided that this was the genre he lifers and body-image perfectionists
the stuff of legend. The low-budget wanted to work in. that the film finds both hilarious and
production company crew are an Describing The Toxic Avenger as a fascinating. This skewed take on the
industry and a sub-genre unto horror movie isn’t accurate; it’s a superhero Eighties’ obsession with lycra-clad fitness
themselves. Beloved by genre fans comedy. The character of Toxie is one hunters is very much part of its charm,
for their homemade aesthetic and driven by his desire to fight evil, whether it’s showing a John Waters-esque disdain for
cheery approach to gore, nudity in the form of a pimp trying to sell him a anyone so desperate to fit in.
and giddy laughs, their crowning kidnapped 12-year-old girl (“You said you
achievement remains 1984’s The were going to take me to the David Bowie
Toxic Avenger. It not only created an concert. He’s not David Bowie!”) or the
icon in its disfigured, ultraviolent but town’s bloated, corrupt mayor. He helps While Melvin gawps, squeals
Film sweet-hearted hero; it’s the perfect
showcase for their mad blend of
little old ladies cross the street, opens jars
of popcorn for struggling housewives, and
and pratfalls, we get much more of
an introduction to the four villainous
RUNNING TIME:
82 minutes
cartoonish carnage, slapstick, social stops kids being mown down by lunatic hardbodies. The gang is led by the
RELEASE DATE: commentary and exploitation. hit-and-run drivers. The movie loves Toxie, perpetually on-edge Bozo (Gary
11 April 1986 Troma was still in its fledgling stages and we do too. Schneider), his girlfriend Julie (Cindy
DIRECTORS: when Kaufman struck upon the idea for But the film doesn’t start with our Manion) and his friends Slug (Robert
Michael Herz, the character that would become the radioactive waste-scarred superhero. Like Prichard) and Wanda (Jennifer Babtist).
Lloyd Kaufman
face of the company. At the time, he was all origin stories, it begins with his ordinary, Just in case we’re in any doubt about how
WRITERS: Joe Ritter, Lloyd
Kaufman, Gay Terry, freelancing for other New York-set films, humdrum existence. This being a Troma monstrous they are, we’re shown how they
Stuart Strutin while working on the pre-production of movie, everything is pushed into ludicrous like to go out driving, looking for people
CAST: Mitch Coren, Mark John G Avildsen’s Rocky. Having spent a excess, including our hero’s utterly pathetic to run over. Just as they discuss the scoring
Torgl, Andree Maranda, lot of time in health clubs and gyms as the state. Melvin Junko (Mark Torgl) is the system (riddled with hateful racial epithets,
Gary Schneider
Stallone classic geared up for filming, the dweeby mop-boy at the Tromaville health just to really drive that home), we see an
About idea of setting a schlock movie in one of centre, and is reviled by its resident fitness older sister waving her little brother off
these locations took root. When he read an freaks. The opening title sequence takes us on his bike. Things don’t end well for that
Melvin Junko is a dweeby
mop-boy at Tromaville’s article proclaiming that horror movies were through the various aerobicisers, weight- kid. Kaufman and co-director Michael
most popular health club, Toxie’s all heart, in addition to being a
hated by the evil fitness super-strong mutant vigilante.
freaks that go there. After
a cruel prank, Melvin falls “THE CHARACTER
through a window and
into a vat of toxic waste. OF TOXIE IS ONE
He undergoes a painful
transformation that sees DRIVEN BY HIS
him become taller, more
muscular, and possessed DESIRE TO
with an unstoppable urge
to punish evildoers. He FIGHT EVIL”
starts with the small-time
crooks who litter the back
alleys of the New York
‘burg, but his do-gooding
makes the absurdly corrupt
authorities nervous,
especially as they’re
looking at dumping even
more toxic waste in the
area. Can Toxie take them
on while looking after his
new girlfriend, and making
sure his violent urges are
restricted to the bad guys?

118 |
THE TOXIC AVENGER
RETRO CL ASSIC

CLASSIC
QUOTES
“ALL RIGHT
EVERYBODY, DROP
YOUR TACOS OR
I’LL BLOW YOUR
BRAINS OUT”
LEROY

“YOU FAT SLOB. LET’S SEE IF


YOU’VE GOT ANY GUTS”
THE TOXIC AVENGER

Melvin, mid-tranformation and halfway to “FOR YOUR INFORMATION,


becoming the ultimate crime-fighter. EVERYONE KNOWS MONSTERS
PREFER BLONDES”
BRUCE

“NOW WE’RE GOING TO GIVE YOU