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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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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...

Office Killer (1997)

The first thing I knew about photographer Cindy Sherman making a sort of horror film was when I saw that feminist film club the Final Girls were screening it at the Prince Charles; either that, or I did actually see it at the cinema in the 90's and subsequently forgot...

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...

The Voices

A toy factory worker in a small American town, Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is your standard eager-to-please psychotic passing for normal, at least until he starts ticking the box marked ‘serial killer’ by stabbing his indifferent love-object (Gemma Arterton) to death and...

Frightfest 2016 Day One

This year Frightfest disconcerted me by moving temporarily to the Vue in Shepherd's Bush. I don't like change. As we sat in the Pizza Express near Soho Square beforehand, which is where we always go on Frightfest Friday, Dave tried to reassure me by showing me the new...

Norte: The End Of History

'You do know this film is four hours and ten minutes long?', asked the man doling out the tickets at the ICA. In fact, I knew about the four hours but not the ten minutes – but I said yes. He advised me to go to the toilet beforehand, as if I needed to be told. That...

The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

Arrow Video keeps up the good work of supplying us with pristine transfers of films that possibly don't deserve it with this DVD/Blu-Ray combo of William Sachs' 70's creature feature. 'Alex Rebar as the Incredible Melting Man' the opening credits say, denying Rebar's...

Blind

The old Renoir cinema has resurfaced as the Curzon Bloomsbury. It hasn’t got any bigger on top but underneath it’s a rabbit warren, leading me down dark tunnels in search of the ‘Minema’ screen. This sounds small, and so it proves to be – so very intimate that the...

Emmanuelle 5 (1987)

My interest in Polish director Walerian Borowczyck came about by accident. Back in the early 80's I saw his 1971 film Blanche described in the Daily Mail's TV listings as one of the most frightening ghost stories ever filmed - at any rate, this is what I remember. As...

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...

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...