Our production of Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer has been commended by Steve Moore, writer of the original strips, who kindly offered to provide us with an interview plus exclusive unpublished Abslom Daak material. Click here to read the interview.
Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer tells the story of a convicted murderer sent to the planet Mazam to kill as many Daleks as he can before the Daleks exterminate him. However, things do not go according to plan when Daak is forced to team up with Princess Taiyin...
Our production of this classic Doctor Who Weekly strip was released in 2006.
DVD and CD-style covers and disc labels for the production can be found here.
Steve Moore (creator of Abslom Daak) writes:
Many, many thanks for the Abslom Daak movie, which was an absolute delight … and all the more so for having been made for love rather than money. The enthusiasm that’s gone into this is obviously enormous, and it’s a terrific job, from the slick opening credits and zippy music, through the voice-acting (a great job by all concerned … I thought Richard Dadd’s Clint Eastwood-influenced voice was just right for Daak, and played well against the Englishness of Anola Chase’s Taiyin) to the animation which, if some of the movements are maybe a little awkward compared with professional stuff, is still highly impressive… and the facial expression and lip-synch with the dialogue are great.
Mainly, though, the enormous dedication of all concerned is amazing… as is the fact that you’ve followed the original story so closely, not only using the original dialogue but reproducing a lot of the visuals as well. And I have to say that the fidelity to the original story is really rather touching (and flattering)… I watched the movie with Alan Moore (he also thought it was great), who said that, on that basis alone, it was far better than any of the movies that have been made adapting his work! The courtroom scene was great, and it was good to see you’d even kept in Curtis Henry Foobl… J-17 was cool, and the stuff on Mazam… well, it was all terrific. I loved every moment of it.
You know, characters you create are kinda like family that you carry round with you for the rest of your life, and suddenly seeing Abslom Daak walking, talking and losing the girl in a movie, nearly thirty years after he was first written for comics, is kinda great. And pretty damn strange, actually. After all, I thought everyone had forgotten the story years ago!
The Daakumentary was really well done, too, and well-researched… I’d completely forgotten about the Kill-Mechs in Star Tigers! I thought this was really well done, with lots of interesting uses of the visual material, and with a well-written and well-delivered narrative. Taught me quite a lot I didn’t know, too … like all those later appearances of Daak that no one ever told me about!
So all in all, congratulations all round (yeah, even the downloadable packaging is great!) … and if you did ever bite the bullet and decide to do Star Tigers as well, I’d love to see what you did with it…
Anola Chase (Princess Taiyin in the production) writes:
I just wanted to say thanks for sending me a copy of the film. I think it is absolutely brilliant! I was so impressed by it - you did a great job. I really enjoyed watching it. That Abslom is a bit of a hunk as well, I can see why I fell for him now, he he! Keep up the good work.
Steve Swales writes:
Here's a very different take on the Dalek myth compared with both the Chronicles' formal (now retro-) futurism and with that chap from Gallifrey who always seemed to be modelled on a series of very British eccentrics. Instead we have a psychopathic mass-murderer from the U S of A with echoes of Judge Dredd meets Rambo meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre!
Despite having the graphic novel for many years, I must confess I'd only read it a few times so I was very unsure how the dense monochrome pen and ink stuff would translate to 3D full colour motion. I needn't have worried; AV11 takes the originally claustrophobic first story and gives it breathing space. With a chainsaw, Dalek-slicing anti-hero it's still daft pulp science-fiction of course, but things like the characterisation and performances of the two leads and even details like the vibration effects as Daak chainsaws his way through Skaro's finest, make you suspend disbelief. Plus, Taiyin and her very tight costume would probably carry you along even if you couldn't give a stuff about the aforementioned.
The Daleks themselves are almost incidental (as was true it seems in the original stories, being replaced at one point when it was thought Terry Nation wouldn't give permission), but are still nicely detailed in a Death to the Daleks style and anatomically correct when sliced open by Daak's chainsword. It's all very enjoyable stuff, and runs along at a fair pace. The lip-sync'ing present is now essential as there's plenty of human dialogue and the slow-burn romance between the leads is handled amazingly deftly considering they're CGI.
With this, the Chronicles, music, documentaries and the Children of the Revolution Doctor Who story, Altered Vistas is certainly branching out, and I can't wait until the stage is tackled in Curse of Daleks.
Extras: After the new TV series reinvention of the Daleks as practically indestructible by normal means, it's odd seeing the Daleks behaving as sitting ducks whilst some psycho butchers them with something he may well have got out of a 26th Century branch of B&Q. However, as the comprehensive accompanying documentary demonstrates, the new series isn't above plagiarising . Sorry, taking a few lines as homage!
We also get the original theme tune: it's a blatant but cheesy rip-off of the Stranglers' Peaches - 25 years on from the Go-Gos and Roberta Tovey efforts and they still couldn't get it right. But, it's all still impeccably lip-synced to Stuart's visuals!
Roger Smith AKA Black Dalek writes:
What can you say, Stuart, this work is amazing.
There are three options for you this time:
1 ABSLOM DAAK : DALEK KILLER
3 DAAK THEME
Starting with the main feature ABSLOM DAAK: DALEK KILLER, the music is what hit me first - fantastic!
Richard Dadd does a very good job with Daak. 10/10
Felt a little sorry for Anola Chase, as the character of Taiyin is little more then a bit of fluff for the male teenagers, but she does well with what little there is for her. 8/10
I AM ONLY A STUPID MAN AFTER ALL!
The Robots’ voices are good - a little of Fireball XL5 sprang to mind and the Daleks take a pasting for a change, over all a well paced story.
One little thing; I think Daak’s face is a little like Captain Black to look at.
The Daakumentary was very informative and longer then I thought it would be - I did not know there was so much information out there and it explains why he did not come back to the comic strip for so long, and leaves you feeling they missed a great opportunity with this great character. 8/10
As for the Daak theme, this is the first time I’ve heard it as I lost mine a long time ago. I thought it was surprisingly quite good. By the way, I like the Stranglers and Stuart’s images work well with it. 7/10
Over all, a nice addition to my growing Altered Vistas’ collection.
P.S. One tip - do not be in a hurry to switch off the VCD is all I am saying...
Mark Kelly writes:
Just watched Children of the Revolution and Abslom Daak.
Children was good but I was a bit disappointed that their mouths didn't move at first (first watched AV production) but then the story gripped me and I didn't even notice anymore. The Eighth Doctor's voice was spot on (And you would have thought Pat Troughton had done his own voice, it was that good ( ha! ha!)).
Abslom Daak was a masterpiece - absolutely fantastic (can't wait for the next one).
Guy Newmountain writes:
Just a quick message to say thanks so much for the CD, which I have to say brought back many fond memories, namely of my life aged thirteen or so reading Doctor Who Weekly! You got that goofy little droid down to a tee, and the characterisation of Daak is spot on.
Fascinating connections in the documentary also, I KNEW I'd heard that cliff-hanger line of the Doctor's in Bad Wolf tugging at the edges of memory, and also, as I don't buy into all the New Adventures etc. (just had to decide where I stand and draw a line!) I had no idea Daak had continued beyond the comic strip... So I guess now begins the long haul towards Star Tigers and the next Dalek Chronicle!
Keep up the brilliant work.
Andrew Panero writes:
This VCD marks quite a departure for Altered Vistas in terms of style and presentation. The opening sequence with Daak being summoned from his cell in a dreary 26th Century prison block is slickly put together and the emotions portrayed on the protagonist’s face are wonderfully rendered. I also loved the sense of scale that was portrayed by the skyline, very Blade Runner in inspiration. We then go into a title sequence that is almost James Bond in character with the actors who give their voices to Daak (Richard Dadd) and Taiyin (Anola Chase) receiving star billing.
We then have some great robots including one with a serious over-bite problem before Daak is dispatched through space in his new role as Dalek Killer.
Daak was himself a radical departure in the days when he first appeared; a Doctor Who spin off story with a gritty anti-hero as the lead was certainly unprecedented in 1980 when this strip first appeared. A psychopath with a death wish also marked something of a new direction in the days before the New Adventures and Torchwood continued the path towards more adult stories. Daak's adventures are kind of in that league (well in comparison to previous Doctor Who strips perhaps) and as Stuart's excellent Daakumentary points out Steve Moore was also responsible for creating Axel Pressbutton, a similarly psychotic character for Warrior magazine. (Though if I remember correctly Axel did feature in a couple of strips for Sounds in the Seventies, but I digress).
The animation in the story struggles to keep up with the level of action and there are times when one wonders if Daak really knows how to use that Chainsword. There was a particularly good point where Daak saws his way through the door to the Dalek command cell where we actually get to see some jagged lines, more of that kind of thing would have been good. The Daleks in this story are of the easy to destroy variety that was in vogue at the time of the original comic strips (you know the routine 'my vision is impaired etc') and are also remarkably cowardly. Daak at one point even manages to take one hostage and instead of doing the decent thing and blowing itself up, the snivelling little pepper-pot leads him to the central command Dalek. This is a black Dalek wired up in a similar sort of way to the controller of satellite 5 in 'Bad Wolf' and there is a great line where it informs Daak it can't move. 'Now ain't that a shame!' is Daak's reply.
As always Stuart's releases always leave one hungry for more and so I look forward to the next instalment of the Dalek Chronicles, or even another Abslom Daak...
Chris Halliday writes:
Thank you! The package arrived on my birthday, which was a pleasant start to what turned out to be a great day. I watched it later that night, and was blown away. I'd been concerned at how well you'd achieve the animation of Daak and Taiyin, but for the most part you did a great job. The court room scenes and Daak's subsequent exile were lots of fun; I loved the nerdy robot who looked like Steve Dillon's drawing had simply come to life. Beautiful!
There were a couple of scenes where the limitations of the software became apparent, but otherwise this was a triumph. I kept thinking throughout that you could use this to storyboard a live-action version. The Daleks were, as always, superb, and their technology was nicely captured. The saturation bombers - one of my favourite bits of non-canon Dalek hardware - had leapt straight from the page, a real treat for an old comic purist like me.
About the only niggles I had with the production was the voices. Daak's accent kept sliding into "good ol' boy" deep south, and Taiyin sounded bored most of the time. This is only a minor criticism, however, because the rest of the production was simply fantastic. Of course, now I want to see more of Daak's adventures; an adaptation of Emperor of the Daleks would be awesome!
Paul Twamley writes:
As always, another fantastic production from Altered Vistas. As much as I like the Daleks it’s just as enjoyable seeing them getting destroyed, and Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer has plenty of this.
Not having a clue how you make these fantastic animations, it would be a treat for all us admirers of your work to see a condensed documentary on how you produce these, from the storyboard to the finished article!
But for now, thank you again for bringing these comic strips to the small screen!
Sue Michaels writes:
Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer:
Excellent that these stories are made
Daleks are cool
Jerry Pappin writes:
Thank you, Stuart Palmer - you've done it again. You and your team have come up trumps here. Wow! It’s soooooo bloodthirsty. Heehee! I love it, very enjoyable, I say. Well, this story is a very fast paced story that'll leave you wanting more of good old D.K. Yep, he's a bad man alright, but we don’t mind. Haha! Go on, son.
Will there be any more of the sadist Dalek killer? I hope so. The extras are very good so newbies like me can understand the history of this colourful dude. Very good... Thank you to everyone involved, epecially Empire 639 and you, Stuart, you legend. Thank you to Steve Swales too, as without you I wouldn’t be writing this review. Thank you for being an awesome dubber... Thank you all very much.
Martin J. Parsons writes:
I have been a fan of Abslom Daak for many years now, and to my mind he has always been chronically under represented in Doctor Who fan circles. People have made audio plays, of course, and he crops up in books from time to time but the most enticing aspects of the original comics were the visuals, which obviously do not play a part in these mediums! Now, however, Altered Vistas have answered my prayers and created a living, breathing Abslom Daak, and done it very well indeed. Clearly the creators are not working with immense amounts of money, but the love for the project shines through in every deliciously animated frame.
Here's to the next one, and thank you guys for making the dream a reality!
Abslom Daak - what a guy!
This story is amazing, this isn't an interpretation of Abslom Daak, this is Abslom Daak 100% through and through.
I can't believe how close to the original strip this feature is, I only recently watched Black Legacy (also by Stuart Palmer) and I thought it was brilliant, but this time around I not only found myself drawn into the story, I actually felt like I was part of the story, it was that close to my memories of the comic strip itself.
The voice acting in this story is superb from the Judge and the brilliantly visual J-17 right through to Abslom himself who I have to say is an inspired choice (Richard Dadd, you rock as Abslom Daak)
I won't spoil the story here but wow what memories you have brought back with this story, Stuart - Cuddles, oh my god, I loved that character when I was little, and as for the finale I don't know how you did it but you somehow managed to get the voice of the Command Dalek one hundred percent spot on to the point where I did feel sorry for him at the conclusion (intrigued, reader? Well you better send off for this story then better you LOL)
To sum up, Visuals and animation one hundred percent spot on, sound and voice acting one hundred percent spot on, Music? Wow it really kicked me in the teeth right at the beginning and I wasn't sure I was going to like it at all, a couple of minutes later and I can't imagine the story without it - it grew on me that fast.
The Daakumentry is superb. I stopped collecting the Doctor Who magazines not long after they turned into Monthlies so didn't know about any of the Daak stories after Star Tigers so that was a real eye-opener and was very interesting to me personally and I loved every minute. The narrators voice was interesting and at times It sounded to me a lot like Tom Baker and then sometimes Brian Blessed.
The Abslom single - hmm... you know, that could get quite catchy if you listen to it enough :-)
Another fine piece of work, Stuar.t I can't wait for the next story. Oh and don't be surprised if you get a voice audition from me in the future - Richard Dadd is giving me ideas above my station.