Editor of the UK's leading Telefantasy and Cult Websites:

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?

1970 - when nobody was looking--
the mysterious birth of Darren Rea
DARREN REA: I was always fascinated by writing from a very early age and I have no idea why. I remember a close family friend knew someone who worked at Ladybird Books.
I don't know if they're still around, but Ladybird used to publish classic children's stories in an easy to read format for young readers. For some reason, and thinking about it now, I still can't
July 1970 Touchdown and...
fathom what my fascination was, I had asked for a typewriter for my birthday. I used to make crudely put together magazines and loved writing so I spent an entire afternoon writing a children's story about a kitten that got into all sorts of problems.

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
...instant Princedom
British TV, but I remember loving it. I also remember renting RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK on video when it first came out and being totally blown away.

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
August 03, 1970
Cogito Ergo Sum
Dreamwatch Sci-Fi Magazine. He did his day job and then spent his evenings and weekends commissioning articles for Dreamwatch.

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
May 1971
working for Dreamwatch back in 1994 and after a while we realized that the Internet was a better way of reaching more people and would allow us to provide an online archive of all of our reviews.

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.
June 1971 - Captain Landrocket

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.

May 1972 - Sphere kicking
I really can envisage a point in the future where people won't leave their homes -- everything will be conducted online and things will be delivered to you.

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.
January 14, 1975
With his Launch Crew

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.

June 09, 1975
Just another Brick in the Wall?
JH: Darren, to show you I'm not only academic, or, maybe very academic... what is your all time favorite shock-moment in movies?

DR: The one thing that I always remember as being the most shocking is that double "jump" moment in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.

Summer 1978
How about another brick through your window, sir?
JH: Your favorite all time sci-fi film from The Isles?

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.

September 1982
Alien contact in Denmark
JH: Your favorite all time horror film from The Isles?

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?

1992 - Orbit has been reached
DR: As a reviewer I don't think there's anything I can say--I'm either a filmmaker's best friend or worst enemy solely on how I respond to their film. And at the end of the day my opinion counts for nothing -- it's just my opinion. But if I had to give some advice (although who am I to do that?) it would be the same advice I'd give a writer. Stay true to yourself and your dreams. Never compromise and don't settle for second best.

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?
Glorious Rea-volution Part II

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
The Starter Home
intentions to us -- it would like humans trying to communicate with animals, no matter how much we try, they don't get what we're saying to them. So I'd guess that whatever reason they come to Earth for, they'd do or take what they want and either ignore us or take some of us away to experiment on. That's quite bleak isn't it? That probably speaks volumes about me!

JH: Darren, what will you do for yourself-- today-- that's just for you?

DR: Sadly, I'm a bit of a gaming fre
ak 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...

Connecting with Captain Rea
Remembering the First Contact