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Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans

UK 1994
produced by
Mark Ayres, Kevin Davies, Gary Leigh (executive) for DreamWatch Media, Reeltime Pictures
directed by Kevin Davies
starring Jan Chappell, Brian Croucher, Carole Ann Ford, Sophie Aldred, Rory O'Donnell, Michael Wisher, Toby Aspin, Tom Finnis, Jonathan Saville, Keith Dunne, Derek Handley, Julian Jones, Stephen Mansfield
written by Terrance Dicks, music by Mark Ayres, special effects by Ian Scoones, special makeup effects by Stephen Mansfield, Susan Moore

Sontarans, Rutan, Doctor Who spin-off

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Captain Lisa Deranne (Jan Chapell) commandeers a spaceship taking part in an interstellar solar race, and her crew is made up of the rich and famous who have nothing better to do with their time and money than to play space-sailors. Then though, the ship is entered by a batallion of Sontarans, an alien race that has been at war with the Rutans - another alien race - forever, and now they suspect a Rutan spy aboard Captain Deranne's ship. They are right of course, but the problem is that Rutans are shapeshifters able to take on the form of whoever they have killed - and thus both the Rutan and the Sontarans soon start killing the human crew of Captain Deranne's ship. The Rutan however is better at it, and even starts killing Sontarans - and thus has no problems taking on their form as well. Eventually, Captain Deranne and Steg (Toby Aspin), commander of the Sontarans, form an alliance to fight the Rutan, based on promises Steg has no intentions of keeping. However, his treachery doesn't pass unnoticed by Captain Deranne, and ultimately she and the only other human survivor Kurt (Brian Croucher) are pitted against him, even manage to kill him ... which is when the Rutan stops by, bids everyone farewell, and prepares to leave in the Sontaran ship. With his dying breath, Steg tells Captain Deranne how to place a bomb in the ship with the Rutan and even saves her life when she almost fails to make it out in time. He lives just long enough to see the Rutan's ship go up in an explosion, then dies in the knowledge he has defeated his enemy, while Captain Deranne and Kurt emerge as the real winners.


More than anything else, this film is an hommage to British science fiction television from the 1970's, series like Doctor Who or Blake's 7 - so it's no surprise that the cast is made up from regulars on both these series, plus both alien races originated on Doctor Who. And as an hommage, Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans is pretty successful, everything from the low budget sets to the slightly stagey direction, from the retro-futuristic costumes to the 70's style special effects is reminiscent of the shows it's paying tribute to. Taken by its own merits though, the film is also pretty basic in its narrative, and even a tad unimaginative - not bad, mind you, just nothing special ... but to tell you the truththis is of course a movie made by fans and for fans, so the nostalgia factor might be much more important than the originality factor concerning this one.


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




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD