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Horromford

Horromford

Soon every town in the country will have its own horror film festival, which I suppose is no bad thing, although I could hardly keep up when it was just Frightfest. I saw one film that escaped me at Frightfest (Austin Jennings' Eight Eyes) in late January at...

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American Fiction

American Fiction

I haven't seen this literary satire, Cord Jefferson's debut film, based on a 2001 book by Percival Everett, but I was fully intending to until I saw the trailer. It put me off. Judging a film by its trailer is a bit like judging a book by its cover, but you can in...

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FrightFest 2023

FrightFest 2023

FrightFest has a new sponsor and is now the Pigeon Shrine FrightFest. It has to be said that Pigeon Shrine isn't the most inspiring name – 'the Pigeon Shrine FrightFest' sounded suspiciously like a bargain basement version of the original, and my fears seemed to be...

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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...

Burke And Hare (1971)

This is director Vernon Sewell’s last film and there’s something fitting about that: after two ventures into the more fantastical side of horror (The Blood Beast Terror and The Curse Of The Crimson Altar from 1966 and 1968 respectively) neither of which went out of...

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quay De Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

CAUTION: Pre-lockdown content. May include allusions to leaving the house. Are there awards for audiences? Sometimes I feel that I deserve recognition for the efforts I make to catch one-off showings of alienating arthouse films – or at least, that they should pay me...

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...

The Devil’s Rain (1975)

I've taken to listening to Shaun Keaveny on BBC6 Music in the mornings, via my TV – specifically Freeview 707. A couple of months ago my just-awoken fingers were fumblingly pressing those figures out on the remote and hesitated too long, inadvertently accessing 70, at...

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

In theory this could be my ideal film, uniting art and trash with no middle ground; but there's a difference between theory and practice. I remember years ago, when I used to work in Waterstones, looking at the cover of the book this is based on and wondering if there...

La Grande Bouffe (1973)

Marco Ferreri’s 1973 film La Grande Bouffe has airline pilot Marcello Mastroianni, chef Ugo Tognazzi, TV director Michel Piccoli and judge Philippe Noiret gathering in Noiret’s old family pile to indulge themselves in hedonistic pleasures until the toilet backs up -...

45 Years

Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling play Geoff and Kate, a couple in their 70's who seem to think they are happily married until his ex-girlfriend Katya turns up, entombed in ice in a Swiss glacier and apparently unchanged since she fell into a fissure back in 1962....

Frightfest 2014: Cheerleaders, Show Pieces, and the Babadook

ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE As is well-known, the only way in which girls can achieve any kind of power in that hellish jock-dominated microcosm of American society known as high school is either by means of their bodies or through witchcraft. And witchcraft doesn't work. Or...

The Hart Of London (1970)/Sodom (1989)

Experimental cinema – you either love it or you hate it. Or you don’t know what to think. The BFI’s Will Fowler assembled this double bill in January 2015 under the heading of ‘Transcendence’. And rightly so, I think. The Hart of London confounds our expectations from...

Some more reviews.

Talk To Me / Asteroid City / Nope

Talk To Me / Asteroid City / Nope

TALK TO ME Directors Danny and Michael Phillipou come to us from YouTube, where they operate some sort of channel apparently, which may explain why this BFI showing was full of young people. They were probably taking advantage of the BFI under-25's offer (as if youth...

Enys Men / Skinamarink

Enys Men / Skinamarink

ENYS MEN Mark Jenkin's follow-up to the attention-grabbing and fiercely Cornish Bait is being sold as 'folk-horror' but it's a bit more experimental than that might suggest. I don't know if anyone has complained. Certainly I won't, since I enjoy an experimental film,...

BFI London Film Festival 2022: Lockdown Lingers

BFI London Film Festival 2022: Lockdown Lingers

COMA I am increasingly belated. Already it is 2023 and I still haven't got around to dealing with the 2022 London Film Festival. However, in many respects the festival itself hadn't yet escaped the preceding lockdown years – obviously nobody was expected to wear a...

Frightfest 2022

Frightfest 2022

'Keep On Rollin', says a T-shirt on a little girl outside the Prince Charles Cinema, which I at first imagined was a reference to Jean Rollin, French director of sex vampire films and subject of the documentary Orchestrator of Storms, showing at Frightfest. The image...

Post-Horror: Men / Bergman Island

Post-Horror: Men / Bergman Island

MEN I see that the Barbican are putting on a summer season of 'post-horror' films. Is that a film you see after a horror film, for light relief perhaps? Well no, apparently – it's just another iteration of our old friend 'elevated horror'. So the films in question...

Peeping Tom (1960)

Peeping Tom (1960)

I used to say that Michael Powell's Peeping Tom was my favourite film. That I don't say it now has nothing to do with the quality of the film or my changing perception of it; more, it's down to a realisation that there are too many films, and that I have too many...

Amulet /Master

Amulet /Master

AMULET Can horror be 'progressive'? Actor and now director Romola Garai talks about 'changing the narrative' of horror with her first film but I'm not sure that she's managed it (what is this 'narrative' anyway?) though she might have thrown a few spokes in its...

Bad Luck Banging, Or Loony Porn

Bad Luck Banging, Or Loony Porn

Ah, masks! Still de rigeur at the ICA at this point (this was before Plan B kicked in). During the London Film Festival I dared to go in there unmasked, which felt like a transgressive act, but hey, it was a festival and anyway isn't the ICA supposed to welcome...

BFI London Film Festival 2021: Age and Agency

BFI London Film Festival 2021: Age and Agency

LA ABUELA In this Spanish film from Rec director Paco Plaza, Susana (Almudena Amor), a fashion model on the verge of success, has to take a career break when her grandmother Pilar (Vera Valdez) has a brain haemorrhage and she has to go and look after her, at least...

BFI London Film Festival 2021: Between Feast and Famine

BFI London Film Festival 2021: Between Feast and Famine

THE FEAST I remember overhearing a punter at the London Film Festival one year asking the guy next to him what he'd seen and he replied: 'A lot of films that could have been better'. My experience this year (last year) was a bit like that. Even before it started I had...

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...

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...

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...