Select Page

Unworldly Views

Latest

Frightfest 2021

Frightfest 2021

NIGHT DRIVE A mysterious fugue enveloped Frightfest last year – it's like it didn't really happen. But suddenly here I am again in the Empire Leicester Square, and – after a few 'missing' years - Dave is even back, and sitting next to me. It all feels suspiciously...

read more
Censor / Surge

Censor / Surge

CENSOR Prano Bailey-Bond's Censor makes a link between censorship and (emotional, psychological) repression that's pretty obvious, but the film has a knack of making the obvious work – which has the additional virtue of being thematically appropriate. After all, the...

read more
In Pictures 2: Rope (1948) /Possessor (2020)

In Pictures 2: Rope (1948) /Possessor (2020)

ROPE On the extras on my DVD of Alfred Hitchcock's Rope screenwriter Arthur Laurents nails several of the reasons why this adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's play (based on the Leopold/Loeb case in which a couple of students felt entitled to kill a 14 year old boy...

read more
Apples / In The Earth

Apples / In The Earth

APPLES Who on earth, returning to the cinema after – well OK, during – a global pandemic would go and see a film that is about the pandemic, even if obliquely? About six people (including me) is the answer, if this afternoon showing is anything to go by. Apples seems...

read more
In Pictures

In Pictures

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) Mario Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) is said to be the first giallo, but of Bava's films it is this that feels like the ur-giallo, a template for everything that came after – not just 70's gialli, but 80's slasher films as well....

read more

BFI London Film Festival 2017: Good Manners

The first film by Brazilian directorial duo Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra was 2011's Hard Labour in which a woman's attempt to get her small business (a grocery store) off the ground is undermined by the corpse of a werewolf lurking behind one of the walls – and also...

Frightfest 2014: R100

What's that you say? Are Japanese films still as bonkers as they used to be? Why yes, and here is the proof. In Hitoshi Matsumoto's beguiling oddity a furniture salesman (Nao Ômori) attempts to escape the drudgery of his existence (wife in coma, young son to raise) by...

Frightfest 2016 Day Two

FURY OF THE DEMON On day two I returned unaccompanied to Shepherd's Bush as Dave had to get up early on Sunday, but another recurring character in this blog - Michael Blyth, BFI cult film programmer - was sitting nearby for the first two screenings, which was oddly...

Eyeball (1975) / Short Night Of Glass Dolls (1971) / Spasmo (1974)

EYEBALL The original Italian title of Umberto Lenzi's Eyeball translates as Red Cats In A Glass Labyrinth, which makes very little sense and is all the more impressive for it. However, there is no doubt that Eyeball is more to the point. This giallo is about a busload...

Frightfest 2017: The Glass Coffin

Some kind of religious revival seems to be going on outside Frightfest's new (old) home, the Cineworld (formerly Empire) Leicester Square. A sign saying 'Repent or Perish' has been held aloft. I wonder if this is particularly aimed at the Frightfest crowd. Maybe it's...

And Soon The Darkness (1970)

Forget everything I said about the Horror Channel, like for example that it’s 99% shit. In fact it has been keeping me fed with delightful tidbits without over-stimulating me – what more could anyone ask for? This is a case in point. Like The Devil’s Rain it was...

Frightfest 2019 Part Two

BLOOD AND FLESH: THE REEL LIFE AND GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON The Cineworld discovery screen offered up David Gregory's documentary about Al Adamson, the 60's /70's exploitation director responsible for such films as 1965's Psycho-A-Go-Go and 1971's Blood of Ghastly...

Strongroom (1962)

Vernon Sewell's career in British film started, weirdly enough, with a German film - Morgenrot (1933) a collaboration with Gustav Klimt's illegitimate son (one of them) that premiered in front of Adolf Hitler. Apparently Hitler liked it. His next collaborative...

LFF 2018: Holiday / This Teacher / Cam

HOLIDAY I took over a week's holiday for the London Film Festival in 2018. This leaves me with no anecdotes about my experiences when I get back to work but it means that I can 'visit' many different countries without the hassle of actually having to go anywhere...

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

Ah yes, the London Film Festival. I remember that. Well it did happen this year, it was just 'different' – they even tried to suggest that the festival we had (mostly online) represented some kind of exciting innovation rather than an attempt to pretend that a film...

Some more reviews.

Screen Time

Screen Time

MYSTERIES OF LISBON (2010) Lockdown was a good time to finally sit down, maybe even lie down, and watch those films whose running time demanded an entire day devoted to them, and their extras. The Chilean director Raúl Ruiz, in the extras on the New Wave Films DVD of...

Downton Abbey (2019) / Ray and Liz (2018)

Downton Abbey (2019) / Ray and Liz (2018)

DOWNTON ABBEY For many years the TV series Downton Abbey, created by Julian Fellowes, mined the Sunday night craving for reassurance about the past, presenting it as a world in which everyone knew their place. The past, at least the past we never knew personally, is a...

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

Ah yes, the London Film Festival. I remember that. Well it did happen this year, it was just 'different' – they even tried to suggest that the festival we had (mostly online) represented some kind of exciting innovation rather than an attempt to pretend that a film...

Phantoms of the Opera

Phantoms of the Opera

IL MOSTRO DELLA OPERA (1964) In the days before the cities became tombs and the cinemas morgues I went to a showing of this obscure Italian film at the Barbican on a Saturday morning, only to discover that I was encroaching upon a Phantom Of The Opera symposium. Who...

Rabid (1977) / Black Magic 2 (1976)

Rabid (1977) / Black Magic 2 (1976)

RABID (1977) I watched this (on Arrow Video Blu-Ray) quite early on in lockdown, before the later symptoms of COVID-19 like frothing at the mouth with blue foam and biting people in the neck appeared. Oh no wait, that hasn't happened yet has it? Nevertheless this is...

Privilege (1967) / Duck Soup (1933)

Privilege (1967) / Duck Soup (1933)

PRIVILEGE On this BFI DVD you get a couple of early short films from director Peter Watkins, one of which is 1961's The Forgotten Faces, an urgent, authentic-seeming account of the 1956 people's uprising in Hungary, filmed in Canterbury. Therein lies the moral of much...

LOCKDOWN! The Giant Claw (1957)

LOCKDOWN! The Giant Claw (1957)

How often have I fantasized about the government forbidding me to leave the house so that I am finally compelled to watch all the DVDs I have accumulated over the years? Well never, since that would have been absurd, even for a fantasy. Nevertheless here we are. Or at...

The Burning (1981)

The Burning (1981)

CAUTION: Contains unlicensed film theory Carol Clover's Men Women and Chainsaws is most famous for drawing our attention to the figure of the Final Girl. Clover had been struck by the way that slasher films, aimed (as she saw it) at an audience of adolescent males and...