Latest News

03
Apr
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Lots of cool stuff this week.

Let's break it down.

Take it to the bridge.

Turn left at the roundabout.

Documentary.

The Making of the Elder Movie Documentary is BACK ON.

I have a good friend called Steve Webster. Back in the day (the late 1980s), Steve used to be the singer in my and Owen's band's great local rivals The Daughters of the Late Colonel. Steve had hair like Worzel Gummidge and liked Status Quo. The Daughters were the first band ever to play the mildly legendary Railway Inn here in Winchester. (We were the second - we just copied the Daughters.)

And now, in a remarkable chain of events, Steve, who has hair like Worzel Gummidge and likes Status Quo, is now going to be making the Making Of documentary HIMSELF. Yes, he has been sitting, drumming his fingers and doing absolutely nothing for the last 25-odd years, until the call came late last week from yours truly after I had a eureka moment not long after going to bed and falling fast asleep. I immediately awoke, texted Steve, saying how great I thought he'd be at doing it, and he replied telling me to fuck off. I replied wait but I'm serious. He replied: fuck off. I paid him a mild compliment. He replied "hahahahaha". Then I fell asleep once more. Had this all been a dream? I saw Steve again on Sunday, before we went to see UFO together in Southampton, and he said "alright then". It was an emotional moment.

Steve will be brilliant at this. I just know it. He's very creative, has a good eye (the other is slightly gammy), good empathy, and is canny and discreet. He's also a good friend, so I trust him implicitly. We're going to purchase an inexpensive HD video camera from our movie fund (our first expense...!), for the job, which Steve and I will then timeshare, as I'm going to do some filming on it myself. Then Steve has a work colleague, Colin Burgess, who used to be a producer/director for the Discovery Channel, who is going to help him with the editing. What a total Dream Team!!

Steve is also the singer/frontman in local cover band sensations RELOAD. More on whom can be found here: www.reloadrocks.co.uk

If you are getting married or someone has died, you could do worse.

So welcome, Steve! (And Colin.) Fingers crossed your Making of the Elder Movie Documentary will catapult you into the very highest echelons of Hollywood, Cannes and so on, like it doubtless will us too.

Movie poster

As well as working on the screenplay (up to page/minute 70!), I have also this week been planning our first PROPER movie poster. You know when you see actors and directors etc etc talking about their films, they're always sitting on front of a giant, blown-up movie poster? That's what we need to get, so that we can do the same. My idea for the poster is Father Morpheus standing on a deserted windswept hillside holding a machine gun. Movie title above. Movie tag line below. Cast & crew details in that skinny font in a few rows along the bottom.

So for this I will need: Owen, a cassock, a replica machine gun, a hill, an SLR camera, Photoshop and David Bailey, our movie's Art Director. This is my next task. I'll let you know how this goes, and put up a few of the photographs before we make up the movie poster proper. I'm quite excited about this. I love movie posters.

Script

Owen and Simon, our script editors, have read the new draft of the script-in-progress and have both proclaimed it an immense step forward. This is a big relief. The previous issues have all been ironed out. Our tone, structure and narrative are all present and correct. We move serenely forward, in perfect harmony until the NEXT FIGHT.

Southampton F.C.

Top of the league Saints were humiliated live on BBC2 on Saturday afternoon when we were thumped 3-0 by Blackpool. Myself and the two children watched this from the sofa, all in our Saints shirts, the wife looking on, quietly mocking. We did not require any further mocking, however. "Top of the league, you're having a laugh," sang the Blackpool fans, lustily.

Right, I'm off to browse cassocksRus.co.uk

Amen.

Come on Saints, for fuck's sake!

27
Mar
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. 

It has been another quiet week here on the Elder movie. I am steadily moving forward with the screenplay, like an icebreaker grinding its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. At the moment this is a pretty isolated experience, as our crew are currently busy on other frankly more profitable vessels, working hard for their living, while our boat, a boat whose crew receive no wages, only violent abuse and the occasional tot of rum, struggles on singlehandedly. David Bailey, our art director, has a fabulous commission to redesign the BBC's incredibly popular preschool TV channel CBeebies, which is asking up all his time, whereas webmaster Colin has had a bit of a rug yanked out from under his professional feet, and thus is crazy busy firefighting to maintain his company turnover. David Knox-Williams, Father Cerberus in our film, is busy putting together his theatre company's latest production, a new play written by David and his writing partner Adam White entitled NETHERWOOD, which is a wonderful SATANIC FARCE all about The Beast 666 himself, Aleister Crowley. They've for a cast and a crew, all they need now is a venue to put this on at. As soon as that happens I'll be sure to let you know. Owen, our producer, has, it seems, simply died. 

But there is still me, bitches. 

And I am still writing this BLOODY screenplay. 

Someday soon there will be a blogpost in which I do not say "I AM STILL WRITING THE SCREENPLAY". 

Actually, fuck it, shall I post the movie context document? Might as well, eh? 

OK here it is. This is the film we are making! Sorry it's a bit long. 

THE CONTEXT / BACKSTORY

The film is set entirely in Wessex and the Isle of Wight

Ten years ago a deadly synthetic (man-made) virus was released into the atmosphere, wiping out 99.9% of the UK's mainland population. 

The virus was developed by American pharmaceutical giant Blackwell Corp, and released into Southern England late in 2012. Released on purpose? By accident? Only Blackwell himself knows. 

Blackwell is a cross between Hitler, Joseph Mengele and Robert Mugabe - a paranoid, delusional fantasist hell bent on 'perfecting' the human genome. He has a loyal band of scientists, 'priests' and hangers-on, all living on the highly-defended fortress which is the contemporaneous Isle of Wight. Blackwell himself lives inside a sterile virtual bubble, as although all of his staff are of the surviving 0.1%, Blackwell himself is not immune, and so is terrified of ever coming into contact with it - hence his perpetual state of highly medicalised quarantine. Little does he know that, in fact, since the virus occurred a decade ago, it is now harmless, and bears no threat to either him or anybody else. 

The Isle of Wight is his 'factory' for these genetic experiments; it's also his base - for the righteous Priesthood, home for his army of scientists, as well as functioning as a new home for the Blessed Citizens, or rather lab rats - a perhaps more pertinent description of their role. 

The Wessex mainland is Blackwell's 'farm' - homeland of the Citizens. These are the 0.1% - the remaining population, following 2012's Cleansing. The 0.1% who were genetically immune to the synthetic Blackwell virus. Every large village and town has its own family of Citizens, supported by regular visits from the always-on-the-move, roving Priesthood.

On the mainland there is no centralized support network, no government, no electricity, no rule of law. What law there is is aggressively overseen by the heavily-armed Priesthood, who travel the countryside on rickshaws and bicycles (the Priesthood finally gave up on the internal combustion engine in 2015, after the remaining refined gasoline ran out and further extraction proved impossible with the resources at their disposal), tending their flock and supplying their Citizens with batteries, ammunition and medicine.

Ammunition because as well as Citizens, there is also a raggle-taggle, decentralized Resistance, all of whom are of the surviving 0.1%, and who have decided to attempt to live their lives outside of the comforting yoke of the Citizenship. These people seem to be peripatetic and disorganized - unstructured. The Priesthood's primary function is to keep the Citizenship terrified of these 'freaks' at all times, and to encourage their violent elimination. These people - Resistance/freaks - are 'the threat' which must be guarded against at all costs. The Citizenship are thus all armed to the teeth, by the Priesthood, in order to defend their homesteads/towns from this perceived threat. 

The benefits of Citizenship are multifold. Blackwell's Priesthood offer peace and security; medicine; practical help and support of all shades, plus a constant supply of batteries (for small-scale electrical appliances - luxuries here in 2023). To qualify as a rightful Citizen one must wear a Bond, at all times, around one's wrist. This is a battery-powered bracelet which functions as a radio and tracking device for the Priesthood, so that Citizens' whereabouts are constantly monitored. Blackwell broadcasts music, practical information and 'inspirational' messages to the Citizenship over the radio. Each Bond has a small keypad with which can select one of five available radio stations. Anti-'freak' propaganda is a regular part of Blackwell's broadcasting - constantly stoking the fear of the unknown; exhorting vigilant defense of homesteads, etc. 'All freaks must be shot on sight, or they'll kill you first...'

The reality is very different. These 'freaks' keep themselves to themselves, and hold the Blackwell Priesthood and its Citizenship in contemptuous disregard. They are happy to lead their lives independently, free of the 'yoke of Blackwell' and the rigid rules (and fierce freedom of movement restrictions) that come with it. 

The Citizenship is encouraged to procreate as much as possible - ostensibly to increase population levels on the mainland, but in reality to provide Blackwell with a theoretically endless supply of the original 0.1% of humans genetically immune to the 2012 virus, on whom Blackwell continues to obsessively hone his theoretical human genetic 'perfection'. 

Thus, periodically, specific Blessed Citizens are 'chosen' to go to live on Blackwell's Island, from which of course they never return. These lucky 'chosen ones', after much bittersweet celebration in their homesteads, are transported by the Priesthood to the Isle of Wight where they are ensconced in relative luxury while they unknowingly wait their turns to be experimented upon by Blackwell's scientists. 

While they wait, their newly luxurious standards of living are captured on video and replayed to their families by their local Priest. They are put to work on the Island, but the work is gentle, and 'for the common good' (the work mainly involves the process of recharging empty batteries from huge, dynamo-powered generators; also powering these generators themselves via rows and rows of pedal machines). After a few months of this, however, one by one the Blessed eventually disappear into the huge Laboratory over on the East side of the Island, never to emerge. It's inside this vast Laboratory that Blackwell and his minions obsessively whittle away at the viral percentages, chasing their ideal of a 'perfect genome' (read of course: 'perfect race') which he would (notionally) be able to control absolutely. The 0.1% was only the initial culling. There is yet more fine-tuning to be done. His fleet of scientists and priestly evangelists/enforcers fully believe in the essential righteousness of Blackwell's mission - that in order to survive in perpetuity, and to avoid repeating the manifold errors of History, such a drastic, 'perfect solution' is necessary by whatever means. 

The Citizenship, whose families never come into contact with one another - indeed such contact is expressly forbidden - gradually come to accept the permanent disappearance of their Righteous Departed. The video messages dry up, and all that remains are the verbal reports given by the Priesthood, all of which eventually revert to stock 'yes, he/she is well, still hard at work for Mr Blackwell, he/she sends his/her regards, as ever'. Thus when a member of your family is Chosen, The event is at once the highest possible honor bestowed upon a family, and also, eventually, its most ultimately heartbreaking. 

The 2012 virus also affected non-humans. The animal kingdom suffered comparable levels of destruction. This means the the population leads a primarily vegetarian diet (all homesteads feature extensive vegetable plots), supplemented by the recovered fish stocks in the rivers. These rivers provide all of the fresh water required for both Citizens and Resistance. Cows, chickens and occasionally sheep are often reared by Citizens in their homesteads, but rarely end up as foodstuffs - they are more providers of milk/butter/ cheese, eggs and wool, for use in textiles and clothing. Home-made clothing is still rare, but encouraged by Blackwell, as left-over clothes in abandoned stores will run out one day, though there is still currently plenty for everybody. Department stores and clothes shops have been functioning for years as huge de facto wardrobes. Blackwell rewards homestead endeavor in local textile manufacture, cheese-making, leather-making, beer-brewing - basic Dark Ages peasant skills - with extra batteries. Basic veterinary advice is broadcast over the radio, along with other, miscellaneous practical advice. 

Electrical devices Citizens regularly use - apart from their Bonds, whose batteries the Priesthood always ensure regular replacement of - are generally light and heat-generating devices. These become increasingly more coveted during the winter months, when batteries become even more coveted than usual. 

The self-sustaining, heavily-armed large family unit is the ultimate ideal in the Citizenship - protecting their land, their territory, their towns (and their remaining plunder) from the 'freaks' at large in the countryside. Violent incidents are in fact very rare. The Resistance leaves the Citizenship alone and the Citizenship dares not leave the limits of their towns or villages, so the two rarely come into contact with one another. 

THE FILM

The Elder movie follows the odyssey of a 15-year-old boy named Grigorss, the oldest child of a family in the South Western town of Plymouth, who sets out with his local priest, Father Morpheus, after the boy has apparently been Chosen to travel with Morpheus to Blackwell's island - mark of the highest distinction among the Citizenship. Morpheus, however, turns out to be not quite what he appears. As the pair head East, Morpheus starts to torment the boy with allusions to an alternative way of life, to something called the Order of the Rose, an umbrella Resistance organization dedicated to fighting against the stifling dogma of existence under Blackwell. The Order of the Rose - according to Morpheus - prescribes freedom for remaining humanity, and a nascent societal unity, after these many years of isolation and fragmentation under Blackwell. And Morpheus says he knows where to find these Elders - that he is, in fact, leading the boy to meet with them now. But can Morpheus be trusted? Is he an agent of Blackwell, testing the boy's loyalty? Or could his claims simply be the demented, deluded ravings of a priest driven to madness by this lonely, brutal New World Order? To discover the truth, Grigorss finds he has no choice but to go along with Morpheus - wherever he's decided to take him - wherever this road might lead...

THE ELDER

LIFE IS PRECIOUS.
YOU'VE GOT TO KILL TO PROTECT IT.

14
Mar
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

This making a film malarkey can be a lonely old business, I am finding. 

After all the excitement and publicity and profile and new Facebook friends and pledges of help and support, and great vibes and huge positivity, at the end of the day it's just me, sitting here with my computer, attempting to write a godddamn film script - something I've never done before. I feel like a mole. Blind tunneling. Do moles get lonely? Do moles become crippled with self-doubt, self-loathing, self-abuse? I doubt it. They're moles. They're thick as shit. 

Yesterday I wrote the all-important pre-credits sequence, like you get in James Bond films, only shorter, and set in a toy shop. In James Bond films the pre-credits sequences are 10 minutes long and feature helicopters, speedboats, nuclear warheads and multiple violent death. They are very silly, but also, you know, THRILLING, and almost always the best part of the film. Things start to go downhill fast after that. JAMES BOND GOES DOWNHILL. ON HIS SPY SKIS. PURSUED BY A NUCLEAR HELICOPTER WHICH THEN EXPLODES WHILE BOND DOES A BIG POUT WHILST NONCHALANTLY SKEWERING A BELORUSSIAN DRUGS BARON WITH HIS SKI STICK. 

Jesus, even writing this I feel like I've temporarily escaped from prison. Because I can write whatever the hell I like. Tra-la-la! I am a pigeon! 

Moles, pigeons. 

Actually, speaking of James Bond, one of our STAR ACTORS, the really quite wonderful Christopher Sciueref, who plays psychopathic priest Father Dedalus in our Elder movie, has been cast in the new Bond movie, Skyfall. Congratulations, Chris! Chris plays a member of an elite squad of assassins sent to kill Bond in his ancestral home, texted Dave, last night, while I was rocking Poole in Crater. Good luck with the assassination, Chris. I hope you manage to take the tedious bastard out. Sadly however, I think it's more likely that Daniel Craig will kill you really really easily, in about half a second, and then do another big pout.

Another one of our co-stars, David Knox-Williams, who plays the slightly more Himmler-esque Father Cerberus in our Elder movie, and is also my actual real life cousin, came down to Winchester last week, and we did some heavy Elder movie brainstorming over a hefty 24 hour period. Dave is VERY GOOD at this sort of stuff. That sort of stuff. We also identified a potential Director of Photography, who we have subsequently contacted with regard to coming to work with us. 

In fact I am currently attempting to woo several pro movie personnel, for key roles in the shoot and post-prod. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. UNLESS MY EMAILS HAVE GONE DIRECTLY INTO YOUR JUNK MAIL FOLDERS. 

Why all these caps this week? 

I AM A PIGEON. 

Last week I created a log-in on KISSFAQ.com and introduced myself to the community there, after a series of unwitting misunderstandings pertaining to our movie project had antagonized a few of its regulars. It was really fun actually - there were lots of good points raised, and we discussed people's doubts, fears, general queries. All very healthy and positive, and it was a very useful experience for me all round. Thanks, KISSFAQ dudes! There are also a few people over there who appear to have a profound and intense dislike of me personally, and who appear to take great pleasure in mocking me and the movie project repeatedly. Although somewhat baffling, these are my favourite ones. Hello to all of you too! Keep up the good work! I only wish I could give you a real life cuddle and make everything OK. 

Site revamp coming soon. 

All-new real life teaser poster, plus new movie logo also both coming soon. After that, the merch. Yes, the merch really is going to happen. 

Also ACTUAL movie tagline. Like Owen was moaning about in his blog dissertation. Shall I tell you it? 

So right, in ALIEN, you've got "In space, no one can hear you scream."
in JAWS 2, you've got "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water."

So here is ours.

THE ELDER. 
Life is precious. You've got to kill to protect it. 

Not bad, eh? 
It's snappy AND has huge relevance for the movie. Profound relevance! 

OK, back into the cell. Lockdown. 

Oh and if you're in London tomorrow night and at a bit of a loose end, our improv trio Crater are playing the 12 Bar on Denmark Street, off the Charing Cross Road. With Lunar Dunes and Matt Baldwin. Doors at eight. 

Look out!

02
Mar
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

Hello Elder fans. 

I have made it up to page (and minute) 30 of the second draft of the Elder movie screenplay. To be honest, that's all there is to say this week. The second draft is FAR better than the first. Which is probably for the best, n'est-pas? 

We received some downer news this week from Mentorn Media, the guys who have been pushing so hard to produce the "making of" documentary. It seems the final mainstream UK broadcaster standing (Channel 4), have passed on the opportunity to finance the doc. We are too "niche". Also, I guess there are no celebrities involved, and no overt physical deformities to exploit, which also rules out any reality TV angle. 

Ain't that a shame?

But it doesn't matter. We are probably better off without this distraction. It's going to be a long, hard road making this film anyway, without a camera crew constantly in our faces, documenting the length and, erm, hardness, all then boiled down into an edit that makes us all look like idiots at 11.30pm on Channel 4 some wet Wednesday night which nobody gives a fuck about. We simply do not require this in order to look like idiots, ladies and gentlemen. 

This week we also experienced our first taste of internet revulsion (with regard to this particular project). Last weekend an interview Owen gave for a website called Decibel Geek was posted on a KISS fan discussion website called KISSFAQ.com. I don't know how he managed it (an interview with me, posted on the same site a few days before had elicited zero responses - yeah thanks), but Owen managed to draw out the haters, big style. Almost as soon as the piece was posted, nasty, bitter responses to both Owen (fair enough) and the movie project in general (simply cruel) began to appear, and multiply, until, after several pages of a spectacular, mesmerizing hate whirlpool, the thread was taken down for its own safety. 

I was somewhat taken aback by all this. It was all pretty funny, sure, but also a little bit bizarre to read complete strangers accusing you of being a scam artist and a fraud. Yes, some people (genuinely?) think we are doing this as a way to coax money out of people and then disappear (Switzerland? Cannes??) with ("all of") the money. If only people knew how much of our OWN time, effort and money we've put into this thing already! And to be honest, running away with the money we have raised so far would only get us as far as the Isle of Wight. Which is appropriate, as the final third of the Elder movie is indeed set and going to be shot on the Isle of Wight. So that's all rather handy, eh what? You tight bunch of bastards. 

As we all know, truth, logic, all that kind of stuff, doesn't work on internet trolls. Many of us have, at some point in our online lives, attempted to face down internet trolls, before belatedly realizing there's simply NO WINNING. Attempting to gain the upper hand in an online brawl is like being inside an Escher painting - logic is simply not your friend. So we might as well face up to this now: we're going to get this sort of stuff a lot. A good amount of shit is inevitably going to be flung our way over the coming year or so. This was just the debut installment. You raise your head above the parapet, somebody will take a shot at you. And the bigger this project gets, the more trolling we're going to attract, like seagulls following a trawler, as I believe Monsieur Cantona once, sort of, said. 

It probably also didn't help that in his interview, Owen said that he did not like (Music from) the Elder very much. (Owen has always been a Creatures man.) Please may I just say about this: IT DOESN'T MATTER. I am writing and directing this movie, not Owen. Owen is co-starring and co-producing. The fact that he is not a sad Elder gimp like me is almost certainly FOR THE BEST. And it DOESN'T MATTER that we don't have a camera yet. We will have one. We will have several. They have already been loaned to us. Jesus H Christ, I'm rising to it, aren't I? 

I MUST NOT RISE TO THE TROLLS.

Owen and I have had no arguments this week. Maybe we'll have some next week. Stay tuned. 

Oh, by the way, I'm going on a Film Course. No point in being willfully ignorant, right?

22
Feb
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

Wake up. 

I SAID WAKE UP. 

We were away on holiday last week, for half term. The family stayed in a farm house outside Great Torrington in North Devon. There were donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and ducks. It was total chaos. Ariel, our youngest (she is two) walked for six miles one day (she is very stubborn). I finished the new Michel Houellebecq novel. I do like Michel Houellebecq. 

I SAID WAKE UP. 

In Elder movie news, we have two new exciting staff announcements. 

Welcome, Craig Gilmour and Lana Penrose!

Craig Gilmour is a professional Hollywood storyboard artist. One night last week he drank way too much absinthe and emailed me in his cups volunteering his considerable expertise to the project. I managed to snag him before he sobered up. Too bad, Craig - you're in. 

Lana Penrose is an acclaimed author and journalist from Australia, and has volunteered to be our Press Officer (Southern Hemisphere). I first met Lana seven years ago when we both lived in London, and she interviewed me about my first book, Hell Bent for Leather, for some magazine. Strangely she then wrote about this obviously rather traumatic experience in her second book Kickstart my Heart, and then went off to live in Australia. (Her first book was the best selling - so Laz assures me - To Hellas and Back: My Modern-day Greek Tragedy.) So you see Lana is extremely well-versed in odysseys already. And she's a huge KISS fan. In fact as thanks for my agreeing to feature in her second book, Lana bought me a pair of KISS DVDs, one of which you can actually see me watching at home in the YouTube clip on the homepage of this website. It's a small world, huh? Thus in a way, Lana has COME HOME to this project. She has already generated considerable interest for our project Down Under, and were it not for yesterday's resignation of the Australian foreign minister Phil Rudd (that's right, isn't it?), I'm sure the Elder movie would be front page news all over Australia. I SAID ALL OVER AUSTRALIA. 

What else? 

While we were away in Devon, Owen and I had YET ANOTHER huge falling out over email. If you're lucky, perhaps Owen will tell you all about this in forensic detail. You think I'm joking. 

We have subsequently agreed that maybe this co-producing thing might not work out between us if all we can ever manage to do is argue. We'll see, eh? Owen called it 'couples therapy', and suggested it might actually be rather healthy in the long term. Who knows? All I know is that I wanted to lamp the bastard. And vice versa. At least there's no passive aggressive with us though, right? This is sheer aggressive aggressive. 

In the meantime I'm still writing the script. That's the main thing. All going well. Not really got anything exciting to say about that really. What's to say about a script? 

Webmaster Colin recently installed some BlogPress software on my phone, so I should soon be able to post here more often. Shorter, sweeter, plus more photographs, so that this blog will be a more immersive, more immediate experience for everybody. We will do this just as soon as I can get the software to work. 

COOOOOLLLIIIINNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!

Our fabulous art director David Bailey is also producing a new movie taster poster. We should be able to put that up soon. (David is a busy man.)

Still no word from KISS. I'm cool about that. Though they just announced yesterday they're going to be headlining this year's Sonisphere Festival, on the Friday night, so maybe I'll be able to pitch this project at them then, when they're over here next. Maybe I'll kidnap them in an Abner Devereaux style. 

I'd rather go to Los Angeles to pitch it though. For obvious reasons. 

Owen came up with the very cool idea of us going to the Cannes film festival. To network and drink Pernod. He has been looking into it. This could be very useful. More on this soon. 

I just want to go somewhere hot, I think. English winters are long, grey, depressing. A bit like the Brits.

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