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Sep15

Lance Serious: R. J. Downes

For the 10th anniversary of the movie Space Zombies:  13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!, Triple Take presents “Where are they now?” posts from some of the Space Zombies cast and crew.

And now, R. J. Downes, news anchorman Lance Serious:

“Okay, I have a horrible confession to make here on Triple Take’s new site.

Here it is: In ten years…I…have…never…watched…Space Zombies…all the way through. Whew! There I said it. Now let me explain.

It has nothing to do with the film itself. I’ve caught parts of it when it was played on The Space Channel or Drive-In. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. There’s nothing quite as entertaining as watching people you know and love in an intentionally bad B-Movie. My problem is, I’m terrified of the monster in the film. And I don’t mean the Space Zombies. I’m scared of a much worse monster. I am deathly frightened of watching the very tiny role I play in the film.

While I understand on an intellectual level that my acting in the film is intentionally bad, I am unable to come to terms with it on an emotional level. I am terrible in the film. (As I am supposed to be, I know.)

I watched my first scene and cringed at the depths of how bad I was. I couldn’t watch any more for fear that the horrible actor would return and give me actual nightmares. After that first scene I am in, I could no longer continue to watch.

I’ve been told by a person here and there that they really liked my role in the film. In fact I think I’ve been recognized more for that film than for any other film or play I’ve been involved in. It’s funny how that happens.

In the ten years since the film was made, I’ve moved from Toronto to Kingston (a move based solely on a job offer) and started a whole new life. I got married two years ago and last summer we had a child, making my wife and I our own sort of space zombies for the past year (oh sleep, how I miss you). I continue to work at a theatre as a Front of House Manager and also as a playwright, director, producer and occasional actor but, to my recollection, I haven’t been in any other films since this one.

Don’t get me wrong. The film didn’t stop me from making other films. I’ll make a fool out of myself again on film if someone offers me a role. But no one has. Maybe it’s the curse of the Space Zombies! Maybe it’s because I haven’t finished watching it.

A copy of Space Zombies has sat on my shelf in at least four different houses since it was made. I’ve looked at it many, many times and said to myself I have to sit down and watch all of it. I’m not exactly sure how ten years have passed. And I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t watched it in its entirety. After all, I’m barely in it despite my view of my acting. Surely I can sit down and watch it to simply enjoy a fabulous B-movie pastiche. I know from what I’ve watched that it’s a fun and funny film. I know that the people who made it put heart and love into it. I also know that ten years on it should be easier to watch myself since I now have a healthy distance from that person.

Maybe I’ll sit down and watch it soon. On one of those nights where I’m up anyway with a child that just won’t sleep through the night. After all isn’t the witching hour the best time to watch a fabulous B-movie?”

And don’t forget you can buy or rent Space Zombies on iTunes…and there’s also the novelette adaptation by Regan W. H. Macaulay available through lulu.com.

LanceSeriousSF

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