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Pilot Error: A Look at ‘Chamber of Worlds’

I promised to get back to sci-fi unaired pilots so here is one with a trove of a backstory (the making of, not the plot). Here we have another with no IMDB listing but again, there is a link below so it does indeed exist. Okay, it does have an IMDB but it’s not a real listing. It lists only one cast member (the famous one), lists the wrong director (kind of) and is barebones.

Also IMDB credits this “short film” as a 2009 production whereas it was actually shot around 2007 or early 2008. So for all intents and purposes it’s not listed.

I am talking about Chamber of Worlds.

Chamber of Worlds was meant to be a Sci-Fi Channel original series in 2009. This never made it to a real pilot just this 16 minute “test pilot”. At 16 minutes it runs very fast and covers the kind of ground that a normal hour long pilot would only without all that character stuff that normally gets in the way of the plot. That said some of the flaws herein can be excused but then again the frankly moronic plot and the babble babble hooey of exposition is inexcusable no matter the circumstances.

The plot (such as it is) as summed thusly:

A dimension/time traveler aids a teen who comes to have a psychic link with his estranged aunt after his parents death. What the teen doesn’t know is that he is gifted like his parents were prior to their death. His gift is that he can open doorways to other dimensions/planets/worlds. The doorways are everywhere if you have the ability to find and open them. He should have known something was wrong when he shows up and crows in the trees fall dead (due to the sound waves of time doors being opened). Those seeking to control these chambers use Soul Snakes to re-animate the dead and attack those world travelers who know the secret.

The teen is also threatened by bounty hunters from these other worlds as a vast conspiracy is unfurled to control the titled Chamber of Worlds. An elfin traveler as well as a grizzled human are being hunted by the Morzillians and Morzillian assassins (who happen to be invisible unless you have special goggles).

Nothing is explained and at the end our teen and Trevor (Brian Krause from Charmed) enter the Chamber of Worlds to unearth the conspiracy.

Everything I just wrote is FAR more interesting than what actually occurs in this bland boring pilot. The bulk of that plot up there is hinted and I only got all that after talking to the crew on this thing. As shot Chamber of Worlds is a boy gets a mental message, goes to a house, gets beat up, a hero arrives, beats up invisible bad guys and they all go through a glowing door. That’s it. Maybe as a full pilot this would have been explained as the plot but this is the full backstory as explained to be by Hank Carlson who did the FX for the pilot.

If it had been picked up more worlds of all types were meant to be shown and the series was meant to have a more Steampunk style rather than a traditional Science Fiction style.

Written and directed by David C. Olson (although IMDB credits a David Olson, a different person). Olson is… not very good at writing or directing. After Chamber of Worlds was not picked up Olson would write (if you can call it that) the DTV garbage that was Anaconda: The Offspring and Anacondas: Trail of Blood. That’s it. His entire career is those two pieces of shit and this.

You can really see the limitations that Olson has when as director he pulled a Michael Sarne and spent too much time on meaningless shit and almost no time actually shooting what might have sold the show.

According to the crew Olson spent the majority of the 5 day shoot setting up “artistic” shots for pointless filler such as a car driving into frame or a doll on a swing and left the fights and character interactions to the final day. Almost as if he were afraid to shoot the scenes that required people. Olson also ignored the advice given to him by his much more seasoned crew. Veteran FX man Hank Carlson for instance (FX work in movies such as Army of Darkness and Super Mario Brothers) attempted to show Olson how to make the death of the Soul Snake dynamic and interesting… Olson eschewed this and decided he knew better by shooting it in a simple centered shot. To hell with being dynamic and interesting.

Chamber of Worlds is hard to classify since it’s just a quick little test pilot but what can be explicitly said is that Olson failed to pay his crew. Shot just outside of Madison Wisconsin no one was paid despite the promise of such.

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Once Chamber of Worlds was passed on by Sci-Fi, Olson moved on to Hollywood to write those two Anaconda films and left his Wisconsin crew holding the bag. Yes, David C. Olson is a cheapskate who owes his crew. Most of the crew would continue to make other productions such as House Of Purgatory (also with Brian Krause).

By the way, everyone I have spoken to that said Krause was amazing to work with and brought no “Hollywood Ego” nonsense with him. Down to earth was the most common phrase. Always nice to hear that.

There was one other weird thing about Chamber of Worlds though… the MORZILLIANS!.

As you can see (briefly) in the pilot and here with a picture of the mask the Morzillians had a distinct look to them.

Well in 2011 the New 52 Aquaman had this on it’s cover and as a new villain design.

Look remarkably similar? I have no proof of this but I know that Olson went on to attempt to work for Warner Brothers after Chamber of Worlds. Warner Brothers owns DC comics. Anyone else think Olson might have tried to sell a design he did not own (Carlson has all copyrights to that mask and design)?

Then again, there’s just pure coincidence.  It’s not like anyone but me watched this thing.

 

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