a 13-part returning sci-fi series
In an earlier incarnation THE DARKLING was known as [ahem] 'THE FART MONSTER' , a short film project scripted by me and developed with Director Luke Rodgers (whose wonderful short films can be viewed here) and Producer Hugo von Halle. It was inspired by a shared nostalgia for the cinema of the 80s - a golden era for children’s fantasy movies - and for the old practical effects of creature design. Some of the DNA of THE FART MONSTER links back to GREMLINS with its wonderful spirit of mischief, playfulness and comedy. It also references classics of science fiction fantasy, alien invasion horror (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) and body horror (ALIEN). But at heart it's a coming-of-age story, (hopefully) reminiscent of E.T. in its emotive power and portrayal of a young boy standing on the brink of the adult word and the unknown universe. And so this Sci-Fi Monster-Horror comedy was from the outset intended for the guilty enjoyment of all audiences, young and old.
In 2014 the project was shortlisted for the Southern Exposure Film Fund, a branch of London Calling. The project was developed over a month of workshops at the BFI, alongside the other teams shortlisted. This culminated in us pitching to a panel of Film London executives who would award funds to just three projects... In the final outcome THE FART MONSTER came a narrow fourth, and so just missing out on the initial financial backing of the BFI, we made the difficult decision not to launch our crowdfunding campaign. This was from the beginning a very ambitious project. I'm happy to say that even during its development THE FART MONSTER caught the imagination of many who encountered it, and certainly made people smile. The process also produced an absolute gem of a thing, which I would like to share...
As part of our pitch we assembled a mood film, of sorts. We also wanted to record the voice-over monologue with which the film begins... Luke, our director, was fortunate enough to have worked with the wonderful Timothy West (CBE) on his short THE OGRE HUNTERS. Luke and I soon found ourselves with some hired recording equipment, at the home of a true great of British stage and screen... It was an extraordinary pleasure to hear Mr West read the monologue I had written. He has one of the finest voices I can possibly imagine, and he imbued the speech with a life and magic and beautiful vocal nuances that only an actor of very rare talent and great depths of worldly experience could achieve.
And so I'd like to share the video we presented to Film London. Credit to Hugo von Halle for cutting this together. Our mood film contains some video material used for reference purposes only - no copyright infringement is intended. My thanks to both Hugo von Halle and Luke Rodgers for all their hard work during the development of this project to date. And thanks finally to Timothy West.
The project has evolved and metamorphosed, and lives on as THE DARKLING.