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Netflix Altered Carbon Set Visit Part 2: The Sets

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The Skydance Studio in Surrey, B.C. was once a printing press. The large building was built with one purpose in mind: the house the production of “Altered Carbon.” Future series and films will originate out of Skydance’s newest facility in the future, but right now it feels like it was custom built to bring Richard Morgan’s cyberpunk novel to life. Due to the requirements of the old printing press, the buildings feature high ceilings and wide open spaces. “Altered Carbon” makes use of every available inch to create some of the most detailed and fully realized sets ever seen in a Netflix series.

Due to the scale of the production, navigating is similar to a labyrinth. Multiple different sets connect to each other, turning basic functional hallways of the studio into futuristic passages. A stairway to access the main soundstage serves also as a VR café set for the show, complete with dirty royal blue paint and rusty chain-link fences. Through the café doors, the vast expansive soundstage is cluttered with several locations for both the street dwellers and the Meths.

The Raven Hotel & Kovac’s Penthouse:
The first stop on the tour came as a set which functions both as The Raven Hotel and the penthouse of the character of Kovac. The hotel features a revolving door that empties into the lobby heavily decorated in dark browns and blacks. The design harkens back to the grand old hotels of the early 20th century. A modern contemporary would be the St. Regis hotel in Rome.

The floor is tiled in a tessellation style that is commonly associated with the works of M.C. Escher. The artist’s influence spreads to the wall décor, too. What starts as a black mass, the print spreads out and it becomes apparent that the mass is actually a muder of ravens flying up towards the ceiling. The use of ravens and Escher tie directly into the keeper of the hotel, a synthetic who has taken on the personalities of Edgar Allan Poe and the artist.

Based on the concept art presented prior to this tour, it was easy to envision how this set would be redressed to serve as the alternate set. When flipped to serve as Kovac’s home, the hotel lobby bar becomes his headboard. A glimpse of the bed’s concept was seen in the production office. Rather than being a simple means of getting rest is actually a lavish sanctuary of slumber with velvet that is draped down from the second floor almost like a carnival tent.

Around thirty yards away from the Raven’s interior stood an even larger structure. White in color and vaguely resembling a gothic church, this set felt somewhat ominous. The only point of entry was through a faux elevator. Following a dark hallway from the elevator was an expansive two-story set that was introduced as Laurens Bancroft’s lair. Collective exclamations of, “Wow,” could be heard from the journalists as they entered the main room.

Walls of ivory white were indented on both floors with shelves housing various rare books, both real and replicas. Two spiral staircases flanked the long walls and a single walkway crossed the rectangular room. The walkway and second-floor deck are elevated by white pillars, carved in the Art Deco style. The entire room sports the look of a man who has classic tastes. Bancroft’s Tower could have easily been the second home of Blade Runner’s Dr. Eldon Tyrell.

Bancroft has an obsession with collecting strange and rare objects. At one end of his abode hangs Sputnik. In the center of this massive set is a black granite dining table with matching chairs. What makes this piece interesting is that the chairs appear to be growing out of the floor. Upon closer inspection, the floor below the table is, in fact, a pool of dark water.

At the opposite end of the set were Bancroft’s solid marble desk & chair. A small set of twin stairs leads up to the mysterious Meth’s observation deck. Here is where the attention to detail kicks into high gear. Bancroft’s collection includes an impressive silver telescope, a part of the Apollo II, dozens of maps, and a control panel. The control panel is particularly fascinating because it appears to be from the Cold War and each button is worn but some of the Russian writing is still visible. The exact function of the Soviet technology is not clear at this time, but it sits right behind the telescope.

From riches to rags, the next set was the polar opposite of Bancroft’s. In Richard Morgan’s book, the “bubble fab” structures that dot the Golden Gate Bridge are indeed bubbles that act as housing for the poor. For functionality purposes of the series, the name is the same, but the bubbles themselves are made out of large shipping containers. There is a slight bubble resemblance on the outside, but only fleetingly. Instead of a large sphere, the structure’s namesake resembles more of a half-Frisbee attached to rusting cargo containers.

Regardless of not being a pure adaption of the literary description, the bubble fabs presented here show the stark contrasts between how the lower and upper classes in “Altered Carbon”. This particular bubble belongs to the character of Elliot, who has much more to do with the plot than he did in the book. His home is a comprised of two shipping containers and is just about as miserable as would be expected. Racks of old electronics section off his workshop area from his small sleeping quarters. Servers, patch panels, harmonic oscillators and gutted PCs are strewn about the workshop, evidence of a man on a mission. Elliot’s pad is dark and dirty, giving real gravity to just how desperate life is becoming for those who live well below the Meths.

The exterior of the bubble fab is shot just outside of the soundstage. Two to three storage containers are stacked on top of each other, forming a rough ‘L’ shape which dead-ends at a small storefront. The fabs are painted with graffiti from various artists who were brought in to decorate this current iteration and those that came before when the set served as another part of the slum built onto the Golden Gate Bridge. The current state of the bubble fab was the canvas of a South African artist. The long side of two containers depicted a large face sporting a small crown. The face appeared to be yelling at a group of non-descript followers.

Above the storefront sits the exterior of Elliot’s home. The disc shape protrudes out a good ten feet beyond the advertisement filled windows of the store. The exact purpose or function of the shop was not made clear, but it may serve as something like a 7-11 or church for the Neo-Catholics. An interesting poster found on the glass promotes a concert for a band or tour called the Tusk Fuckers.

Once ushered back into the studio, another set can be seen that is tall and cylindrical. A short stair climb grants entry into the clone pod chamber belonging to Bancroft. In the final product, the chamber will be a part of a massive elevator that stores a vast number of Bancroft’s clones. The floors are a dark shiny gray and the walls are a silvery blue. Oval openings on the walls give way to white reclined chairs where the clones are stored.

The small clone pods appear to be dodecahedron-shaped with frosted glass to hide the details of the body doubles or dummies. No clones were present during this tour, but it was revealed that a large action sequence will happen here. During the stunt-heavy scene, the character Ortega will be in a fight for her life as all the clones come online and attack. The clone chamber will also be redressed to serve the same function, but located in an underground cave.

In the world of “Altered Carbon”, the clone chamber climbs reach up into the sky and connects to a haven for the wealthy know as Head in the Clouds. The floors were so polished that journalists were asked to wear booties before entering. From floor to ceiling, everything felt sterile like the interiors of the newer Star Trek films. The walls are curved, smooth and white. The floors are gray. This is Reileen’s stateroom. The few flat walls that exist here are covered with various ancient weaponry: katanas, broadswords, throwing stars, and halberds to name a few.

Some more human elements are scattered around that give us a peek into Reileen’s life that is less violent. In front of four medical pods are a guitar and a grouping of mannequins draped with her sexy outfits. Her bedroom is sparsely decorated with anything aside from weaponry, but there are two distinct paintings. Across from her bed is the painting titled “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco Goya. The one above her bed is less gruesome but eerie all the same. The name and artist were not available upon request, but it looked to depict Lot and his wife escaping the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The room connected to Reileen’s bedroom leads to an elevator and a large sliding door. Here is where the corridor set meets the stateroom. Here a group of stunt workers is rehearsing a fight. The scene should turn out to be quite violent as the floor shook violently as the actors threw each other around. The context here was not explained, but it may be a good guess to say a security force is escorting someone who attempts to escape.

Now onto the showstopper.

Spanning 400′ in length, by 45′ wide and 60′ tall, the City Bay Street set is a massive living and breathing slice of heaven. From the street vendors to the neon signage, to the garbage on the street, the homages to Blade Runner hit all the senses like a baseball bat of fandom to the brain. Steam was pouring out of grates on the sidewalk and lights beamed down from overhead simulating passing hover traffic. At one end of the street, filming was commencing with dozens of extras milling about their business on foot, bike and hybrid Segway scooters. Vendors peddle their wears out of carts constructed out of cannibalized vehicles or other found items. Some sell freeze-dried packs of food, other server noodles or technological scraps.

The empty side of the street contained a large 20′ tall police barricade used to section off parts of the set to aid in extending the versatility filming the same location as different parts of the city. Only a few vehicles are present but both are hovercars complete with futuristic gullwing doors. Oddly there are not many vehicles on the street set. One mode of transportation that is mentioned in the book will only be alluded to in the series, though. At the end of both sides of the street are tunnels which lead down to the subway system where large pill-shaped pneumatic transportation would exist. The pills will not be shown in the series, but they can be spotted in some artwork and signage around the entrances.

In terms of construction, the entire multi-level set took nine weeks to complete. This includes all the lighting, functioning elevated walkways, rain sprayers and the backdrop paintings that are so photorealistic one could not be blamed for thinking the street continued one for another mile. Impressive fails to accurately describe what was presented in sprawling Skydance facility, but it will certainly drop jaws when “Altered Carbon” premiers in 2018.

Check back tomorrow for the next part in our series on the “Altered Carbon” set visit.

Synopsis:
“Altered Carbon” is set in a dystopian 25th century where the wealthy elite are granted eternal life via downloading their digital souls into clones. Having an unending existence is not without its problems as one such modern Methuselah must rely on a resurrected nemesis to help solve his mysterious death.

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Want a LEGO Godzilla Set? Here’s Your Chance!

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The longest-running franchises in cinema history, the Godzilla films have created a cultural icon in the form of the titular beast. Simply hearing its roar or seeing its silhouette is enough to let us know precisely what we’re looking at. Having ventured out of cinema and forayed into TV shows, comic books, video games, and countless merchandise options, Godzilla still hasn’t managed to break into one of the world’s most popular toy company: LEGO. However, that might change if BRICK_101 has their say via LEGO Ideas, where they submitted a design based on the 1954 original film!

Here’s the description from the site:
This model contains approximately 850 LEGO pieces, stands 9 inches (23 cm) tall, and measures 17 inches (44 cm) from head to tail. Godzilla has had many different designs over the years, but we based ours on the original 1954 movie. The arms, legs, jaw, and tail are hinged to allow the model to be posed in a variety of positions. In addition to Godzilla, the set also includes a small microscale train for Godzilla to stomp on or chomp on and a flame piece to represent Godzilla’s atomic breath.

The website allows people to submit their own ideas (such as this Call of Cthulhu set) and then allow the public to vote on whether or not they want to see it get made. Should the idea get 10,000 votes, it then gets moved up the ladder within LEGO’s headquarters and a decision is made to see if they want to make an official set.

So, if you want to see LEGO make an official Godzilla set, click on the link above and cast your vote!

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#Brainwaves Episode 78 Guest Announcement: Legendary Film Composer Harry Manfredini

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The Friday the 13th franchise without the music of Harry Manfredini would be like peanut butter without jelly. McDonalds without the Big Mac. Knetter without Creepy. His music defined a generation of horror fans, and few could have done it better, if at all. Now Manfredini brings his equally as unique voice to Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

Join us this coming Wednesday, February 21st, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

SUPPORT BRAINWAVES ON PATREON!

Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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Supernatural Irish Horror Beyond the Woods Hits Home Video and VOD This February

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Supernatural Irish horror Beyond the Woods makes its way to DVD and VOD from Left Films!

Shot on location in Ireland, Beyond the Woods echoes the creepy supernatural horror of recent Irish genre hits The Hallow and The Canal, with its eerie and grisly tale of an unknown evil.

Synopsis:
Seven friends meet up in the Irish countryside for a secluded weekend getaway but unfortunately for them a fiery sinkhole has opened up in the mountains nearby. It’s burning hot, spewing out sulphur and casting a hellish stench over the local area. Determined to make the most of the weekend, the group decide not to let the noxious atmosphere get to them…but it’s getting worse. Soon the troubling hallucinations begin as an ancient evil starts to take hold. What malevolent force has crawled from the sinkhole and will any of them survive the weekend?

Following a successful run on the festival circuit where it picked up the Best Feature Film Award at the World International Film Festival Montreal in 2017, Seán Breathnach’s spine-chilling low budget nightmare finally makes its way to UK and North American DVD and VOD courtesy of Left Films.

On digital/VOD February 5th, DVD February 19th.

UK DVD AMAZON
UK VOD ITUNES
US VOD ITUNES

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