JOHN HUFF: Darren, as editor and progenitor of one of, if not the, most respected sci-fi / fantasy film sites in the world, Sci-Fi Online, sci-fi-online.com, how did this fascination begin when you were a little scupper?
As for my interest in sci-fi... I'm not sure that I really ever had that strong an interest in it growing up. I wasn't a fan of DOCTOR WHO in the '70s and '80s, but I remember watching Tom Baker and hiding behind the sofa. I didn't even see STAR WARS at the cinema -- I watched it when it was first broadcast on
The reason I got interested in sci-fi publishing was because I'd left University and had moved to London to try and get a job in journalism. Luckily one of my old university friends let me sleep on his living room floor for a week while I found my own place. This was Anthony Clark, who was freelancing as the editor of
I ended up offering to help while I temped at various government jobs (including working for the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defense) during the day. I started ringing around all the film studios, DVD companies and publishers trying to get on their mailing lists to receive review copies. Anthony ended up asking the publisher ofDreamwatch to give me the title of Reviews Editor and so I then commissioned reviewers (most of whom were old friends with a healthy interest and knowledge of sci-fi). I started
So today Sci-Fi-Online.com and now our general reviews site reviewgraveyard.com is run very much like Dreamwatch used to be--by a group of friends who have a love of writing and reviewing.
JH: Darren, if you were to do a trend analysis across popular culture now and compare it to five years ago, what would be different?
DR: That's a tough question. The take-up of social networking sites is more mainstream now. Most people I know have Facebook pages, which they didn't a few years ago. My Facebook pages (sadly, I have two -- one for my work contacts and one for my friends where we are generally just rude and offensive to each other all the time) are pretty much open all the time on my computer. We have a Facebook page for Sci-Fi-Online and Reviewgraveyard which are updated daily.
I remember about 5 years ago I did all of my Christmas shopping online as it was easier and cheaper and almost everyone I told looked at me like I was some sad loser. This year (December 2011) I know loads of people who have not ventured to a shop to buy a single Christmas gift.
As far as electronics and gadgets go... I was watching an old STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode and Captain Picard was sitting in his ready room on his laptop-like device and I was amazed at how thick the screen was... so already that show's starting to look a little dated.
And as long as we're on trends--I'm slightly concerned by how much reality TV is becoming acceptable. Pop Idol and shows like that aren't something I really find entertaining, but I know loads of people who get caught up in it.
DR: The one thing that I always remember as being the most shocking is that double "jump" moment in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.
DR: By "the Isles" I assume you mean Britain. I'm not really sure.
JH: Yes, that's what I mean.
DR: That's a tough question -- mainly because defining a British film is never that easy. For example a lot of films are made in the UK but financed by America--so they're British films that had to seek funding overseas because our country doesn't take filmmaking seriously any more.
My all time favorite sci-fi film of any nation though is probably something from my childhood. BACK TO THE FUTURE made a huge impact on me, so I think I'll choose that.
DR: I'm not a huge horror fan and haven't seen that much in the genre -- so all the usual suspects (I guess) I won't have seen. I remember finding BAD TASTE extremely funny, and rather shocking, when I was younger.
JH: You took a liking to our movie, CYXORK 7 (and that heartened us greatly even to be noticed); what do you look for in a movie? What do you respond to?
DR: The same as everyone, I guess, something that speaks to me... Something that offers something a little different and has been well constructed.
JH: As mentioned before, your noticing our movie was a mega-boost. What do you say to indie filmmakers working out there all over the world?
JH: Ted Markland passed away this December last. Do you have any reflections on this veteran character actor's career?
DR: I wish I'd hassled you when CYXORK 7 was being promoted for access to Ted. He's had such an interesting career; I'd loved to have interviewed him. He's worked with some great people and been a part of some incredible films that it would have been interesting to hear some of his stories.
JH: Darren, if extra-terrestrials do actually reveal themselves to us broadly and generally on BBC and CNN this year, what space-alien film or TV episode-- in your experience-- will prove to be a template for that reality?
DR: Something like KNOWING where they won't have any interest in contacting world leaders or those in charge here on Earth. That won't mean anything to them. I doubt they'd be able to convey their
JH: Darren, what will you do for yourself-- today-- that's just for you?
DR: Sadly, I'm a bit of a gaming freak when I get the time. I'm hooked on the new CALL OF DUTY game. If anyone wants to join me online (on either PS3 or Xbox) then they can add my gamertag: Reviewgraveyard. Hopefully I'll see you online soon!
JH: Thank you, Darren. Over and out...