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Downtime

UK 1995
produced by
Keith Barnfather for Reeltime Pictures, Dominitemporal Services, Tropicana Holdings
directed by Christopher Barry
starring Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Deborah Watling, Jack Watling, Beverley Cressman, Mark Trotman, Geoffrey Beevers, Peter Silverleaf, John Leeson, Miles Richardson, James Bree, Kathy Coulter, Alexander Landen, Jonathan Clarkson, Miles Cherry, Richard Landen
written by Marc Platt, music by Ian Levine, Nigel Stock, Erwin Keiles, Yetis designed by Julian Vince

Doctor Who spin-off, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sarah Jane Smith, Victoria Waterfield, Professor Travers, Yeti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling) would do anything to bring her father Professor Travers (Jack Watling) back from the death, and "everything" includes helping an alien intelligence build up a powerful company, New World, that on the outside seems to be a bit like a hippie cult dedicated to better the world in any which way, but on the inside, there's something much more sinister going on - even if Victoria refuses to see that. One who does see though is the company's chief programmer Daniel (Mark Trotman), who one day makes a daring escape from company premises to hook up with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, formerly head of UNIT, a top secret UNO subsection to defend earth against extraterrestrial and supernatural threats. Nowadays, he's retired though ... and has spent the last few days in some sort of weird limbo where he gets bits and pieces of information about what's going on, and he can't but help to come to the comclusion there's something sinister going on with New World.

Anyways, eventually Daniel, the Brigadier, Harrods (Geoffrey Beevers) - a former soldier turned bum who has saved Daniel's life -, and the ubiquituous investigative reporter Sarah Jane Smith all convene at the Brigadier's daughter Kate (Beverley Cressman) for one reason or another, to find out that she has her hands on the object that will bring Professor Travers back to life ... and thus the New World people are quick to retrieve it at gunpoint and shoot Daniel dead in the process.

It's only when her father is revived and not at all the man he once was but a power-hungry villain that Victoria comes to the conclusion it might not have been such a good idea after all, but then it's too late - or is it? Thing is, the Brigadier and Harrods have made their way into New World headquarters, Kate and Sarah Jane follow them closely, Victoria has switched sides, and Daniel comes back as a ghost to advice everybody. And in the end, not even New World's fluffy robot monsters, the Yetis, can keep the company from collapsing and the alien intelligence being driven from our planet when our heroes destroy the company's mainframe ...

 

The cast of this film is probably enough to give a die-hard old school Doctor Who fan goosebumps, and it's most certainly cool to see this guys playing their old characters again in a tale set in the Doctor Who-universe - without ever directly mentioning the Doctor though - telling a story not at all dissimilar in style to the series. That all said, the movie as such is less than perfect, it's just too confused in concept, too complex for its one-hour running time and too convoluted to give one the chance to follow the thing properly. Plus, the story's resolution is somewhat less than satisfying. That all said, the film's quite a bit of fun for the fanboy still, but a more streamlined story, more emphasis on atmosphere (only the sequences set in limbo are atmospheric at all, actually), and maybe even a few less characters to follow would have done the movie loads of good ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD