Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Volition – The Movie (2019)


The upcoming science-fiction feature film VOLITION - Directed by Tony Dean Smith and co-written/produced with his brother Ryan W. Smith just won BEST FEATURE at the Philip K. Dick Film Festival!

A man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder. 

Executive producer: LAURENCE “PALY” PALESTRANT in association with SMITH BROTHERS FILM COMPANY


ADRIAN GLYNN MCMORRAN (The Revenant, CW’S Arrow, CW’s Supernatural, Woody Woodpecker)

MAGDA APANOWICZ (Caprica, Kyle XY, Continuum, Butterfly Effect) 

ALEKS PAUNOVIC (War for the Planet of the Apes, Van Helsing, Percy Jackson, Siberia, Dirk Gently, Continuum, The 100)

JOHN CASSINI (Seven, Continuum, Get Carter)

FRANK CASSINI (Good Fellas, Watchmen, Blackstone)

BILL MARCHANT (Chappie, Strange Empire) 


VOLITION — a mind-bending science fiction thriller, where the line between fate and free-will blurs. When you know your world is predetermined, it’s hard to care about your choices.

This is true for James Odin. On a rain-soaked night in 1991, two cars collide, leaving all drivers dead on the scene, including the mother of the lone survivor — a child — James Odin

It’s a tragedy. But what’s more tragic is that seven-year-old James foresaw the accident happening two months prior. He tried to prevent it, but who’s going to believe a kid who claims to see the future?

Twenty-plus years later, James is a product of the failed foster care system. Knowing that the events of his future are predestined, he’s getting by, using his ability for petty crime and cheap thrills. But when a prescient vision reveals to him his own imminent murder, James must go on the run.

Together with a new friend, Angela, he must change the fate he knows is fixed.

My Recommendation 

Volition is a compelling sci-fi film that will grab and hold fast your attention from the start through to the very end. It deals with themes we are familiar with in science fiction: time travel and notions of free will vs destiny and Fate. Instead of finding ourselves along with the characters stuck in the usual endless temporal loop, the action rapidly moves between time periods in a novel and interesting way. The essential clues are there and do make sense and not everything is necessarily what it seems. 

The actors give very competent and strong performances and you’ll find yourself thinking for each one, “I’ve see that actor before.” Chances are you’ve probably seen them in a number of roles in many other fine films and series. 

Volition works well not just as faced-paced entertainment but also on the cerebral level as it forces us to consider aspects of own existence: To what extent are our lives and indeed our possible futures determined by the choices we make and the free will we exercise? OR Is free will just an illusion and are we merely playing roles that have been predetermined along the road towards a fate that is set in stone? 


“I have always loved social and cerebral science fiction, all the way from The Twilight Zone to Black Mirror. What I love about these stories is how they position a character in direct opposition to his/her belief system – forcing them to look at their choice-points in the most creative of ways.

“I’ve also been fascinated by the existential debate of fate vs. free-will. If we have free-will, do we exercise it? How do we know we aren’t fated to do so? On the surface, VOLITION fits into this mold. It’s is a cerebral science fiction thriller about James, a man afflicted with clairvoyance, who is spurred into action after seeing a vision of his own imminent murder.

“From its origin, this premise had enough of a hook to grab me, yet it’s not what drove me to spend years developing the story alongside my brother Ryan W. Smith (co-writer and producer).

“What compelled me was something far deeper and, ultimately, something entirely personal. It took me a while to realize it, but I was really telling my own story. Like the character in VOLITION, there was a time in my life when the world felt fated and deterministic. The more I leaned on this fixed mindset — a belief that I “knew” how my future “should” transpire — the less active I became. My worldview became a self-fulfilling prophecy — sometimes as a boon, but more often as a hindrance.

“For me, VOLITION works as a metaphor, challenging us to face our greatest fears and to take a leap into the unknown. We hope VOLITION takes the viewers on a mind-bending adventure, allowing all to partake in the choice-points that shape our characters. I also hope that, like the stories that inspired me, this film lingers just a little bit longer... allowing our audience to think about the ideas of fate versus free-will and how the notion that the very thing we think about ourselves (positive or negative) becomes our worldview and therefor, our world. And though this vision may seem fated, there is always time to break free.”


TONY DEAN SMITH — DIRECTOR / CO-WRITER / EDITOR / PRODUCER Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith is a Director, Screenwriter and Editor, living in Vancouver. His first 35mm short film, “Reflection” — a paranormal thriller — was granted the Directors’ Guild of Canada “Kickstarter Award.” It went on to earn five Leo Award nominations and First Prize at the Spiritual Cinema Festival, run by Producer Stephen Simon ("What Dreams May Come").

Tony’s feature film directorial debut is “Volition” — a science fiction psychological thriller, which he co-wrote with his brother, Ryan W. Smith. The film is the culmination of Tony’s years of experience with directing short films and television and working in post-production.

As a seasoned editor, Tony’s strong story sense has shaped over 100 hours of features, indie-films and TV movies for companies such as NBC, Universal, Syfy and, most recently, for Neill Blomkamp’s company, Oats. Tony and his brother are also winners of the Superchannel Super Catalyst Award for their screenplay, "The Sensational,” a project they are currently developing.

RYAN W. SMITH — PRODUCER / CO-WRITER Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ryan is a writer for film and television, living between Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Recent credits include: Adapting a confidential political drama feature for Anonymous Content; writing on the animated feature, "Next Gen,” starring John Krasinski and Constance Wu (Netflix Original); Co-writing and Producing the feature sci-fi thriller, "Volition" (Smith Brothers/ Paly Productions) with his brother, Tony Dean Smith, the film’s Director; writing and serving as Senior Story Editor/Writer for "ReBoot: The Guardian Code" (Netflix Original); serving as Supervising-Producer/Writer on "Some Assembly Required" (Netflix Original); and as Senior Executive Story Editor/ Writer on "Mr. Young" (Disney). 

Between the above series, Ryan has written on over 150 episode of television, and received two Leo Awards. He is also the winner of the ScreenCraft Fellowship and an Austin Film Festival Semifinalist for his historical thrillers, "Jacaranda" and "Black Messiah." Ryan and his brother Tony are also winners of the Superchannel Super Catalyst Award for their screenplay, "The Sensational.


Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith & Ryan W. Smith are the Smith Brothers, a creative partnership forged in the fires of sibling rivalry. The brothers moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1990, where their childhood collaboration began, making short films that Tony would direct, with Ryan acting. As their love-affair with film making developed, they combined their talents to write various short films, television concepts and features films. This led to each of them working as professionals in the film and television industry for the past decade. 

More info:

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Terror in The Midnight Sun (1959)

 Space Invasion of Lapland
(Rymdinvasion i Lappland)
Invasion of the Animal People 

For some, a Viking good time! 
For others, a bloody waste of time! 
So bad, it’s good some might say 
While yet others might suggest 
It should never see the light of day.

Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
Produced by Bertil Jernberg, Gustaf Unger
Written by Arthur C. Pierce (screenplay and story)
Music by Harry Arnold, Allan Johansson
Cinematography Hilding Bladh
Edited by Shirley Citron, Tom Rolf; 

Running time: 73 minutes (Sweden); 55 minute (US); 80 minutes (TV)


Barbara Wilson as Diane Wilson
Sten Gester as Erik Engström
Robert Burton as Dr. Frederick Wilson
Bengt Blomgren as Col. Robert Bottiger
Åke Grönberg as Dr. Henrik
Gösta Prüzelius as Dr. Walter Ullman
Doreen Denning as Anna, Dr. Ullmans secretary
Ittla Frodi as girl in the sports car
Brita Borg as the singer
Lars Åhrén as the monster
John Carradine as narrator (US version) 


Space Invasion of Lapland is a 1959 Swedish-American black-and-white science fiction-monster film that was heavily re-edited by American producer Jerry Warren and had newly filmed American sequences added. I admit that until recently I was unaware of the existence of this film. Sadly, after viewing it I feel that I have not missed much. 

Read on for more....

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

A Tribute to Warren Stevens

Screen Sci-Fi Stalwart - 
That & Much More!

Warren Stevens is the actor with the familiar face we have seen in many films such as the sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet (1956) and the 1954 film, The Barefoot Contessa in which he appeared with Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner and Edmond O'Brien. Let’s also not forget the numerous TV series Warren Stevens appeared in such as the original Star Trek.

Warren Stevens was born Warren Albert Stevens on November 2, 1919 in Clark’s Summit, Penn., He attended the Naval Academy but due to vision problems he left before graduating. He did later manage to serve as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII.

After WWII he worked in radio and joined the Actors Studio in New York. He was then offered a Hollywood contract at 20th Century Fox and made his Broadway debut in The Life of Galileo (1947).

As a contract player, Stevens had little control over the roles he played.

His first movie role was in The Frogmen (1951), starring Richard Widmark and Dana Andrews, followed by other roles including Phone Call from a Stranger (1952), Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (1952).

In 1952 Stevens appeared in seven films, including the Deadline — U.S.A. (starring Humphrey Bogart) in which Stevens had a significant supporting role as a reporter.

In 1956 Stevens was given a very solid role in the classic sci-fi masterpiece, Forbidden Planet (1956) in which he played the part of Lt., "Doc" Ostrow.

His other sci-fi movie appearances included, On the Threshold of Space (1956) as Capt. Mike Bentley and as Dr. Carl Zellar in Cyborg 2087 (1966), starring Michael Rennie. 

Warren Stevens went on to have occasional supporting roles in big films but was unable to achieve a real breakthrough in his career with A-list movies. The direction of his acting career thereafter shifted to television as a journeyman dramatic actor.

Stevens appeared in over 150 prime time shows from the 1950s to the early 1980s, including: Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers (as Lt. William Storm), Actors Studio, Campbell Playhouse, Studio One, Route 66, Hawaiian Eye, Perry Mason, The Untouchables, Climax!, Surfside 6, 77 Sunset Strip, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ironside, The Mod Squad, Mannix, Cannon and Mission: Impossible.

Stevens also appeared in episodes of some classic Western series such as, Laramie, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, The Virginian and Rawhide.

Fans of film and TV sci-fi / horror will definitely appreciate Warren Stevens contribution to the genre with appearances in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone ("Dead Man's Shoes"), One Step Beyond ("The Riddle”), The Outer Limits ("Keeper of the Purple Twilight"), Star Trek ("By Any Other Name"), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, Science Fiction Theater, and Land of the Giants.

Warren Stevens died in Sherman Oaks, Calif., of respiratory failure on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. He was 92. He had three sons and was married to Barbara Fletcher Stevens for 43 years.

©Chris Christopoulos 2019

Monday, 18 March 2019

Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)

A rather bad low budget 1950s sci-fi B movie with numerous flaws but performed by very earnest unknown actors. Some viewers no doubt will find this film to be good fun.

Directed by Tom Graeff
Produced by Tom Graeff
Screenplay by Tom Graeff
Music by Tom Graeff
Cinematography Tom Graeff
Edited by Tom Graeff
Production company: Tom Graeff Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Running time: 85 minutes
Budget: $20,000


David Love: Derek
Dawn Bender: Morgan
Bryan Grant : Thor
Harvey B. Dunn: Gramps Morgan
Tom Graeff: Joe Rogers
King Moody: Spacecraft Captain
Helen Sage: Nurse Morse
Frederick Welch: Dr. C.R. Brandt, MD
Carl Dickinson: Gas Station Attendant
Sonia Torgeson: Alice Woodward
Billy Bridges: Driver Picking Up Thor
James Conklin: Prof. Simpson
Gene Sterling: The Alien Leader
Ralph Lowe: Moreal (Spaceship Crewman)
Bill DeLand: Saul (Spaceship Crewman)

An alien invasion plot! 

Earth to become an alien food-breeding pasture! 
Ray-gun wielding aliens in flying saucers! 
Beware - The Gargons!! 
Alien mutiny and treason! 
An interplanetary romance! 


And Tom Graeff did ALL this?

Read on for more…..

Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Manster (1959) 双頭の殺人鬼, "The Two-Headed Killer"

An imaginative low-budget movie with a cautionary tale that explores questions of identity and what it means to be human

Directed by George P. Breakston, Kenneth G. Crane
Produced by George P. Breakston
Screenplay by Walter J. Sheldon
Story by George P. Breakston
Music by Hiroki Ogawa
Cinematography: David Mason
Edited by Kenneth G. Crane
Production company: Shaw-Breakston Enterprises
Running time: 72 minutes


Peter Dyneley: Stanford
Jane Hylton: Linda Stanford
Tetsu Nakamura: Dr. Robert Suzuki
Terri Zimmern: Tara
Norman Van Hawley: Ian Matthews (as Van Hawley)
Jerry Itô: Police Supt. Aida
Toyoko Takechi: Emiko Suzuki
Kenzo Kuroki: Genji Suzuki
Alan Tarlton: Dr. H.B. Jennsen
Shinpei Takagi: Temple Priest
George Wyman: Monster

A mad scientist! 
Experimental drugs! 
Two-headed test subjects! 
Horribly mutated human guinea pigs! 
What on earth is going on?


Before the credits even begin to roll, let’s consider the title we have before us: THE MANSTER. Encapsulated within this title we have two concepts which are central to the film – MAN & MONSTER. At what point does a man stop being a man and instead becomes a monster? Does a monster in fact lurk deep within the heart of every man? If so, what forces contribute to bringing that monster to the forefront? These and other questions will be answered in…..

The Manster!

Read on for more....

Friday, 22 February 2019

Father of Science Fiction & Fantasy - Oscar Winner George Pal Interview Preservation - GoFundMe

George Pal was as you may know is known as The Father of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Modern Film. In the annals of Hollywood, Academy Award winner George Pal will always be remembered as a titan, a brilliant visionary who profoundly shaped the art of motion pictures. As an animator, Pal was a pioneer of stop-motion animation known as Puppetoons ™ and a peer of Walt Disney. In the 1950's as a producer and director of live-action films, he brought to the screen such science fiction and fantasy classics as "The War of the Worlds", "The Time Machine", "When Worlds Collide", "Destination Moon", "Tom Thumb", "Houdini", "Atlantis the Lost Continent" "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm", "7 Faces of Dr. Lao", "The Power", "Doc Savage: Man of Bronze" and others. Pal's cinematic legacy can be traced in the works of Walt Disney, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Gene Roddenberry, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and dozens of others.

Link to George Pal Tribute on this blog: 

The original 1 inch 'B' NTSC video format used in the production of The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal - the only film document ever done on Pal - are long out of use. To make matters worse, only 2 working 'B' NTSC 1 inch videotape machines exist that can aid in the digitization process. There is no telling how long these machines will last or their working parts as they are no longer in existence! 

It goes without saying, this is a severe race against time to preserve what represents the only film document ever made on George Pal and the beloved one of a kind icons that worked with him.... most of whom have sadly passed on.

The historical importance of preserving and digitizing these interviews cannot be understated!

Talent interviews to preserve includes: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Tony Randall, Tony Curtis, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Gene Roddenberry, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Russ Tamblyn, Barbara Eden, Ann Robinson, Roy E. Disney, Ward Kimball, Robert Wise, George Pal, Mrs. George Pal, David Pal, Gae Griffith, Walter Lantz, Gene Warren Sr., Wah Chang, Jim Danforth, Robert Bloch, Chesley Bonestell, Albert Nozaki, William Tuttle, Duke Goldstone, Bob Baker and Phil Kellison.

The digitizations will be used to upgrade existing productions. Eventually they will be find a home with film footage companies and possibly donated to an educational institution yet to be determined.

If you’d like to help with preserving these irreplaceable interviews about one of the most influential figures in the history of motion pictures and the science fiction/fantasy genre, please use the Link Below:

Friday, 8 February 2019

The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

The Giant Gila Monster is a film that tries to rise above the typical B science fiction film of the 50's. It contains relatable characters who have interesting relationships rather than just pure stereotypes. The settings have an air of authenticity and the eerie background music adds to the atmosphere of the film. Despite the dismal special effects and a largely unconvincing and almost irrelevant monster, it is pretty darn hard to hate the film. 

Directed by Ray Kellogg
Produced by Ken Curtis, B.R. McLendon, Gordon McLendon
Written by Ray Kellogg (story), Jay Simms (screenplay)
Music by Jack Marshall
Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline
Edited by Aaron Stell
Distributed by McLendon-Radio Pictures Distributing Company
Running time: 74 minutes
Budget: $138,000 (estimated)


Don Sullivan: Chase Winstead
Fred Graham: Sheriff Jeff
Lisa Simone : Lisa
Shug Fisher: Old Man Harris
Bob Thompson: Mr. Wheeler
Janice Stone: Missy Winstead
Ken Knox: Horatio Alger 'Steamroller' Smith
Gay McLendon: Mom Winstead
Don Flournoy: Gordy
Cecil Hunt: Mr. Compton
Stormy Meadows: Agatha Humphries
Howard Ware: Ed Humphries
Pat Reeves: Rick
Jan McLendon: Jennie
Jerry Cortwright: Bob


Thank goodness for the grand disembodied voice of the narrator! If only life in today’s bewildering and over-complicated world had the comforting baritone voice of an all-seeing narrator to waft over us as it explains to us what the hell is going on……And what do we have instead? Bloody Alexa and Google Assist! God help us! 

The story starts off with a teenage couple’s romantic shenanigans about to be rudely interrupted when their car is pushed over and down into a ravine. Their existence is about to be obliterated by a giant claw-like object that descends upon them.

Read on for more.....