Tuesday, 29 July 2008

X-Files UK PREM




Wednesday 30th July sees the UK premiere of I WANT TO BELIEVE, the new X-Files movie, at The Empire Leicester Square. Those of us who can't be there may wish to check out a couple of webcams situated on the square, which will hopefully give decent views of this major event.






The first of the above links offers several cams (which are sometimes slow to respond so stick with it when you change views), while the second link states the streaming webcam views will change when there is a film premiere on. Jeremy Richey offers an early look at this film in his excellent blog http://mooninthegutter.blogspot.com/ and I'll be keen to read his thoughts when we've seen the film, which should be on 6th August. Like Jeremy, I'm a big fan of this excellent series and greatly look forward to viewing this brand new offering. Before that, my wife and I will be catching THE DARK KNIGHT tomorrow in the Director's Hall at the new Cinema De Lux in Derby. While we have been mightily impressed by our new cinema, we have yet to see a film in the Director's Hall which, by all accounts, is an even bigger step up in terms of sheer luxury. With all the publicity surrounding TDK, some of my friends have expressed a doubt that it may not live up to the hype. Somehow, I think we're in for a most enormous treat.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

SIGHT AND SOUND DOUBLE BILLS



Just picked up the latest issue of Sight & Sound magazine, which includes a killer feature where 52 critics and programmers choose their own fantasy (or actual)double bill pairings. Tim Lucas chats about this on his own excellent blog http://www.videowatchdog.blogspot.com/ and also mentions a post on Jeremy's Moon In The Gutter blog http://mooninthegutter.blogspot.com/ (images from A TALE OF TWO SISTERS).


The 52 pairings make for very interesting reading and include selections from Kim Newman (who also used to sneak into X cert screenings aged 14), S&S editor Nick James (who uses his position of power to plump for an all-nighter), Ian Christie and Geoff Andrew. My favourites from this list include reality double-header DON'T LOOK NOW/THE WICKER MAN (dubbed my Mark Kermode as "Perhaps the greatest double bill of all time) and THE HONEYMOON KILLERS/PROFUNDO CARMESI (DEEP CRIMSON) as chosen by Mexican critic Leonardo Garcia-Tsao. I think my own dream double (apart from a JD) would be VERTIGO/MULHOLLAND DRIVE, or maybe even SESSION 9/THE STONE TAPE. What would you choose?

FEAR IN THE DARK: FRIGHTFEST LINEUP


The 9th FRIGHTFEST takes place at the fab Odeon West End cinema in London between 21st - 25th August. This years bash includes a record amount of world premieres, and fans are promised this will be the biggest and best festival yet. The lineup is:


DAY ONE - THURSDAY 21ST AUGUST
6.30 pm - Eden Lake9.00 pm - I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer11.15 pm - Scar 3D
DAY TWO - FRIDAY 22ND AUGUST
10.30 am - Time Crimes12.30 pm - The Substitute2.40 pm - Trailer Park of Terror4.50 pm - Mum & Dad7.15 pm - The Strangers9.15 pm - Freakdog11.45 pm - Bad Biology
DAY THREE -SATURDAY 23RD AUGUST
10.30 am - Fear(s) of the Dark12.30 pm - Dance of the Dead2.30 pm - Manhunt4.40 pm - The Chaser7.20 pm - Bubba's Chili Parlor10.00 pm - The Midnight Meat TrainMidnight - Tokyo Gore Police
DAY FOUR - SUNDAY 24TH AUGUST
11.15 am - From Within + The Listening Dead1.30 pm - Let The Right One In4.00 pm - The Broken6.15 pm - Autopsy9.00 pm - Martyrs11.30 pm - Jack Brooks Monster Slayer
DAY FIVE - MONDAY 25TH AUGUST
11 am - The Dead Outside1.20 pm - The FILM4 FrightFest Short Film Showcase3.40 pm - The Disappeared + Dead Set6.30 pm - Mirrors9.00 pm - Death Race

Unfortunately, we don't have the money to attend but wish everyone present a safe and happy festival. You may wish to check out the excellent Frightfest web site for further details. http://www.frightfest.co.uk/
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Saturday, 26 July 2008

DEAL OR NO DEAL

Released in 2003 by Channel Four, this made- for- TV film focuses on two idealistic Labour politicians who may or may not have brokered a deal as each sought to become Prime Minister. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown first met in 1983, and THE DEAL takes us on a breakneck tour of the next 11 years, moving through disastrous election results under Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock to the circumstances and aftermath of party leader John Smith's death. Like Foot and Kinnock, John Smith was a decent man, possessing more political savvy than either of the aforementioned leaders. He also had the common touch, and would doubtless have made a good PM had fate not struck a cruel blow. While his passing rocked the entire country, it also signalled the beginning of a new political age. Gordon Brown had been hotly tipped to become Labour Party leader, having been very much the rising star. Now, he faced stiff opposition from Tony Blair who also had an eye for this position.

Of course, parts of this film are entirely speculative; particularly the key conversation between Brown and Blair (known as 'The Granita Pact') which prompted acres of newsprint. We know that Brown came round to clearing the way for Blair to become Labour leader, but was it agreed Blair would step down after a pre-determined period and hand the reins of power to his ally? Peter Morgan's screenplay condenses all the activity and intrigue into 90 minutes, and while some viewers may feel that an additional half-hour would have been beneficial, this drama is entirely absorbing. Performance-wise, the two leading players (Michael Sheen and David Morrissey) are both excellent, the latter fashioning his own take on Gordon Brown, while Sheen - mildly criticised for mimicry - really does become Tony Blair; a role he would later reprise in Frears' remarkable THE QUEEN(more on that in the very near future).

With Brown facing the very real possibility of a leadership challenge in the Autumn, THE DEAL stands as a testament to that age-old adage, 'Be careful what you wish for'. Recommended viewing, even for those who don't follow politics too closely.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICK!


Just got time before I go to work to wish Mick Jagger a happy birthday. Mick turns 65 today, and is still rocking as The Stones formulate plans for another tour. It's been a busy week for Jagger, with the band yesterday switching record labels from EMI to Universal: a move which guarantees that Mick will have no need to make use of his free bus pass. Let's raise a glass to this legend and hope he has a good day.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A DARK KNIGHT IN THE SQUARE


Those who regularly check the live web cam on London's Leicester Square would have been privy to the red carpet treatment as yesterday evening, the square played host to the European Premiere of THE DARK KNIGHT. Hundreds of fans - many in fancy dress - watched as a Batmobile careered around shooting flames before pulling up in front of The Odeon. Fittingly, the cast wore dark coloured clothing to mourn the loss of Heath Ledger, who plays The Joker.

We're greatly looking forward to attending the film when I get my next day off work, but wish we could have made it to London for this most special event. The Odeon hosts many important movie events , and anyone who has ever set foot inside this vibrant area of the West End will know it has a magic all of its own. Check out the following link http://www.radissonedwardian.co.uk/leicester-sq-webcam.html

You'll have a choice of views from several different cams. You never know who you'll see!

Monday, 21 July 2008

A GREAT NEW BLOG TO ENJOY!

Just paid my daily visit to Jeremy Richey's essential Moon In The Gutter blog(link to this is over to the right) and learned there's an excellent new blog devoted to Dean Martin and The Rat Pack. Head on over to http://coolnessistimeless.blogspot.com/ and enjoy a blog that reads great and looks great.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

MCFLY WITH YOUR CORNFLAKES


Mcfly fans should be aware that the bands latest album, Radio:ACTIVE, comes as a free CD with today's Mail On Sunday newspaper. The band see this collaboration as helping to ensure their music reaches as wide and audience as possible, and drummer Harry Judd feels this new release contains songs which are by far the best they've ever done. Up to now, Mcfly have achieved 13 top 10 singles, seven of which made number 1 in the charts.

Radio:ACTIVE will be officially released 8th September in the form of a CD offering 4 extra tracks and will be accompanied by a DVD and a 32-page booklet. The Mail On Sunday also gave away Prince's CD Planet Earth, and David Bowie's iselectbowie compilation. The Prince giveaway saw the paper sell an extra 600,000 copies.

Friday, 18 July 2008

AN ITALIAN HITCHCOCK


The Region 1 Anchor Bay boxset of the Dario Argento collection has been sitting on my shelf for two weeks, patiently waiting for me to find time to dip in and savour a restored PHENOMENA, take my umpteenth viewing of TENEBRE, give TRAUMA a long overdue reappraisal and see if THE CARD PLAYER really is as bad as I initially thought. Plenty to keep me going there, but my opening foray into this collection directed me to DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?

This TV movie - made in 2005 - concerns a film student who is studying German Expressionist cinema for his thesis. Giulio (Elio Germano) might also add voyeurism to his list of talents, moving from spying on the activities of a bizarre lesbian couple(an episode from his childhood) to following the activities of tenants in the apartment block opposite. Giulio also finds time study the works of Alfred Hitchcock; an interest which throws up all sorts of plots and possibilities when he decides to investigate the murder of an elderly woman in the building across the way. With Pino Donaggio's score bubbling away in the background, Argento uses various Hitchplots - STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, DIAL M FOR MURDER and REAR WINDOW - and references to his illustrious past (BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, SUSPRIA,TENEBRE and DEEP RED) to concoct a thriller that entertains for some of its running time without ever really getting close to prime time Dario. While the acting and dubbing frequently make one despair, there are a number of set-pieces that threaten to hit the spot as Giulio finds his sleuthing may ultimately lead him to a most undesirable plot of land. Unfortunately, Argento overplays practically every scene of promise: particularly the violent bath tub assault and Giulio's flight from the unwelcome attentions of an enraged suspect.

The film is beautifully shot throughout by Frederic Fasano (SCARLET DIVA, MOTHER OF TEARS), and, bless him, he's certainly well up for Argento's invitation to go see what those lesbians are up to, though we never reach the heights of Luciano Tovoli's Louma crane shot from TENEBRE (which may have been performing a similar exercise). With it's mix of nudity and a couple of reasonably violent scenes, DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK? will doubtless tick a few boxes on your Italian Horror checklist, and its playful air and small pockets of humour render it a fairly entertaining if hardly essential addition to his filmography.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

KING FOR SEPTEMBER


Abel Ferrara buffs should mark the 22nd of September in their diary. That's when Arrow Films will be releasing a 2 disc special edition of THE KING OF NEW YORK. On disc one, the film will be presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and 5.0 surround audio. There will be two commentary tracks: one from Ferrara, and a second featuring composer Joe Delia, producer Mary Kane, editor Anthony Redman and casting director Randy Sabusawa.

The second disc will include an interview with producer Augusto Caminito, a documentary looking at Ferrara's career, a making of featurette, 'The Adventures Of Schooly D: Snowboarder' documentary, 'Cinema de notre temps' documentary and two further featurettes; one on Ferrara, the other on Chris Walken. Very welcome news for admirers of this film. Let's hope other films from Ferrara's catalogue get the same treatment. I'd certainly be head of the queue for similar releases for THE ADDICTION and THE FUNERAL.

A JOURNEY IN 3D






In the 90s, the city of Derby played host to the Cinema Fantastique Film Festival; an event which no longer takes place due to lack of finances. This is a crying shame because the festival played host to some truly wonderful slices of world cinema on the big screen. A great Dario Argento double-bill comprising of INFERNO and FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, along with JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, BRAZIL, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, THE GROTESQUE (a film starring local boy Alan Bates which is still unavailable on DVD), DEATH LINE and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON were just a few of the films on offer. The latter was presented in 3D, and I can recall ducking oncoming meteors which were amongst the handful of 3D effects in this screening. Until yesterday, this was the only film I'd seen in this format.



Just before our new cinema opened in Derby, a newspaper article ran through exactly what the Cinema De Lux would be capable of, and the ability to screen movies in 3D was one of them. So, my wife and I decided to catch a screening for the new JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH (3D) movie. Directed by Eric Brevig (who makes his feature-length directorial debut here after working on fx for films such as THE ABYSS and MEN IN BLACK), this new adaptation of Jules Verne's novel pitches a professor (Brendan Fraser) his nephew and a local guide into an amazing world hundreds of miles beneath the earth's surface. While Brevig doesn't batter you into submission with 3D effects, there are a lot to contend with, ranging from flying piranhas (an effect that initially had us ducking), a rampant T Rex, flying boulders, man-eating plants, a yo-yo that threatens to have your eye out and Fraser spitting a mouthful of water right into your face. While I didn't find this particular journey to be as enjoyable and enduring as Henry Levin's 1959 film (there's no Count Saknussen following the trail here), the 92 minute running time fair whizzes by with the 3D effects making this a real rollercoaster ride (literally so when we join the intrepid trio on a wild ride through a mine shaft). While I'm sure that future 3D movies will make more of the technology (James Cameron's AVATAR should prove very interesting), this Journey got the job done and got it done quick. Given the family friendly '12' certificate, things were never going to get too heavy but we both found it worth the time and money invested. Look out for the scene involving magnetic rocks and prepare to laugh out loud when one of the trio takes a call on his mobile phone. All good fun!



Tuesday, 15 July 2008

SATAN VISITS THE BFI



In 1976, The Elite Cinema closed its doors for the last time in my small home town. For me, this signalled the fag end of my first period of going to the movies. In just over a year's time, Punk Rock would emerge, forcing me to take a break from the silver screen and embark on a musical journey taking me the length and breadth of England's clubs and concert halls. If the cinema had remained open, I'd like to think that I'd have continued attending screenings on at least a weekly basis but who knows? One thing I am sure of is that The Elite turned me onto the world of Horror Cinema, and the guy responsible for booking the films was a hero to me and my group of buddies. DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, DRACULA AD72, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA and BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW were just a few of the treats on offer, along with the likes of PUPPET ON A CHAIN, CABARET, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and CHARIOTS OF THE GODS. Actually getting in to these films was invariably a hit-or-miss affair, with some members of staff willing to admit a group of snivelling schoolkids while others sternly pointed out we were underage and not allowed to view X Certificate fare. The Elite site is now a very small shopping arcade, with an adjoining night club open at weekends. Although we have possibly the best cinema complex in England now open in nearby Derby, I still have fond memories of my formative years at the flicks.


I was reminded of The Elite earlier today when perusing the listings at The National Film Theatre web site. I first became a member here in the 90s and made my first journey to London's South Bank to see a re- run of Wender's WINGS OF DESIRE. After that, I was hooked. My friends and I took in many films in this famous cinema complex, enjoying a mixture of old classics and first-run features: LIFT TO THE SCAFFOLD, NOSFERATU, THE LOST WORLD, THE ARCANE ENCHANTER, TENEBRAE, KILL, BABY...KILL!, THE STONE TAPE, UNDER THE SAND, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME, THE LAST METRO, DEAD RINGERS, ED GEIN, MALPERTUIS, LA DOLCE VITA and THE ADDICTION are just a handful of the delights we savoured. Those lucky enough to live in or around London should be aware that the NFT will be hosting a rather special event on Thursday 21st August when Piers Haggard, screenwriter Robert Wynne-Simmons and the utterly fab Linda Hayden will introduce a screening of BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, along with a post-film Q&A. The rarely seen 1970s folk documentary CHILDREN OF THE MOOR will also be screened; the latter examining life in three remote villages in Dartmoor. Looks like being a wonderful night out and I only wish I could be there.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

ANOTHER BLOG WELL WORTH READING

Susan Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK novel has to be one of the finest ghost stories ever written. You can find my account of the London stage play amongst the 'Ghosts' label on this very blog. I've just discovered that Susan has a blog, and I recommend checking it out on a daily basis. Click on the following and enjoy: http://blog.susan-hill.com/

WANTED FOUND WANTING

We've not long been back from a much-needed 3 day battery-charging trip to the seaside town of Skegness. Due no doubt to the downturn in our national economy, 'Skeggy' was nowhere near as busy as this time last year, and the piss-poor weather can also be taken into account for a glaring lack of trade. I reckon we were extremely lucky to get around 6 - 7 hours of sunshine during our short stay, with the rest of the time being a mix of rain and dull periods. It rained pretty much all of Wednesday evening, so we decided to go to the local cinema and catch WANTED.

Timur Bekmambetov's actioner pitches James McAvoy as a downtrodden accounts manager, who is given the chance to escape from his worthless existence when Angelina Jolie confronts him with surprising news concerning his long-lost father. It turns out that dad was one of the worlds greatest assassins, and it now falls to his son to join a shadowy group known as The Fraternity in order to help save the world and avenge his father's death. If the kind of visual pyrotechnics that 'graced' THE MATRIX float your boat, then WANTED may well satisfy for pretty much the duration of its 104 minute running time with a multitude of bullet ballets attempting to deflect any temporary restlessness caused by a script that requires the ultimate in suspension of disbelief. After the opening 30 minutes, I was ready to shout 'Uncle' after being subjected to the aforementioned barrage of not-so special effects, punctuated by lame dialogue, ludicrous training manoeuvres (been there before as well) and plot twists that aimed high and fell flat. The cast certainly seemed to be having fun (including, I hope, Thomas Kretschmann, who is frankly wasted here) and box office returns suggest this a nice, safe popcorn flick that will doubtless do more than decent business on DVD. At the end of the day, WANTED is nothing more than undemanding multiplex nonsense. Nothing wrong with that, but go in with higher expectations and you may well be exclaiming 'So what!' by the time the closing credits arrive.

Monday, 7 July 2008

A TRUE MAESTRO OF THE MACABRE




















Although HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON has been out for quite a while, copies are still available in the UK for the bargain price of £3.99 at play.com. This Region 2 Anchor Bay release features a glorious transfer of what may be Mario Bava's most personal film, and I'll doubtless chat about it at some stage in the future. For now, I'd like to turn the spotlight on an excellent 60 minute documentary which can be found on this same DVD as a special bonus feature.






MARIO BAVA: MAESTRO OF THE MACABRE contains a winning combination of interviews with family, friends, colleagues and admirers, with the added value of film clips and rare stills. Narrated by Mark Kermode, MOTM offers nostalgic glimpses of Bava's life with son Lamberto, grandson Roy and granddaughter Georgia remembering the man with pride and great affection.The aforementioned family members are slotted in amongst such talented film writers as our very own Kim Newman, and Bava biographer Tim Lucas, while Tim Burton, Joe Dante and Daria Nicolodi are amongst those representing the film world. This, together with the main feature, represents a solid introduction to those yet to dip a toe into Mario's filmography, and it's also required viewing for fans of long standing who seek out anything and everything relating to probably the most imaginative director in Horror Cinema. The likes of BLACK SUNDAY, TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE and BLACK SABBATH are featured in clips that compel one to reach for those wonderful Anchor Bay boxsets, reminding us that Bava accomplished so very much with so very little money.






Of course, Bava had his critics just like any other director, and has been accused of caring more about the imagery than the performances of his cast. While Bava may not have been an actor's director in the truest sense of the term, his experience and eye for detail ensured no-one looked out of place. Indeed, Tim Lucas makes a brilliant point when he observes Bava always knew if an actor was visually right for a film. That's why the likes of Barbara Steele and Rada Rassimov will live in our minds forever. When Tim Burton declares that "Images are the story" right at the end of this doc, we are reminded that Bava's films were often shot in a parallel dreamworld where the line between the living and the dead are wafer thin. MOTM is testament to a great career which has recently been afforded reverential treatment in book and DVD form.






While we're not quite there in terms of authorised releases of all Bava's directorial output, the Anchor Bay boxsets offer practically definitive versions of most of his major works and missing titles will most likely surface in the not-too distant. Those who wish to learn everything there is to know are directed to Tim Lucas' book which is quite simply the finest book on film I've had the pleasure of reading.






MARIO BAVA: MAESTRO OF THE MACABRE makes for a wholly worthwhile companion to the above treasures and bring back memories of the Fantasm Festival in 1998 at London's NFT. The month of July saw a major retrospective of Bava's films. A friend of mine who lives in London managed to attend every screening during this amazing run, and I was lucky enough to see KILL, BABY...KILL!, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS, DANGER: DIABOLIK and BARON BLOOD on the big screen. The only film missing from this festival was RABID DOGS, and Alan Jones explained that Lea Lander held the print and refused to release it. Thanks to Alan's sterling efforts, we all savoured the chance to see such classic titles on a cinema screen and KILL, BABY...KILL! had quite an effect on my group of friends. Indeed, as we stepped out onto The South Bank on a hot July evening (remember those?) after the screening, I shivered for a good few seconds as I recalled the images of a little girl reaching from beyond the grave into the land of the living. Alan Jones was involved in the MOTM release, acting as consultant and interviewer but it would have been nice to see him onscreen, adding to the tributes for a great director. Jones did more than anyone to raise Bava's profile in the UK. Our thanks go to him and all the others who did so much to aid our discovery and enjoyment of this maestro of the macabre.

TRIPLE AT HANGING ROCK


Peter Weir fans will be delighted by the three disc special edition of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK which has just been released in the UK by Second Sight. Disc one contains the Director's Cut, while the 2nd disc features the original theatrical version. Both are anamorphic widescreen.

The 3rd disc has some great extras including: 'A Dream Within A Dream' - the 120 minute documentary, 'The Day Of St Valentine'(1st screen adaptation), an audio interview with Karen Robson, scenes deleted for the Director's Cut and a Joan Lindsay interview. There's also a featurette: 'Hanging Rock And Martindale Hall - Then And Now' and 'A Recollection - Hanging Rock 1900'.

Weir's classic really deserves the 'fully loaded' treatment so jump all over this one! The original version is currently unavailable in any territory, which makes this a pretty essential purchase . This deluxe edition can be found online for £11.99.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A DRAMA FOR OUR TIMES

With just 4 television channels to choose from, it's inevitable that choice is severely restricted when compared to the multi-channel viewing capacity offered to more fortunate areas of the country. So, it made for a refreshing change to find BBC1 screening a five part drama containing extremely well drawn characters and a plot which made one think deeply about the judicial system and our society today.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE follows the trial(s) and tribulations of Ben Coulter (Ben Wishaw); a young man who takes his father's taxi cab without consent after his own vehicle breaks down. When a teenage girl hops into the cab, Ben strikes up a conversation and agrees to drive her to a seaside town. After consuming pills and booze, Ben and his new companion have consensual sex before he crashes out downstairs as the drink and drugs take a hold. When Ben awakes, he goes up to the bedroom and finds the girl lying on the bed, stabbed to death. After a vain attempt to clean up bloodstains on the wall, Ben flees the scene, concealing what looks to be the murder weapon and is apprehended after crashing his car. Unable to account for the missing hours between consciousness and sleep, Ben is remanded in custody awaiting trial for murder.

Although CRIMINAL JUSTICE contains its fair share of cliched characters - a world-weary lawyer needing a big result, an all-seeing old lag, a convict who runs the prison and sundry police and barristers who make one despair for truth and justice - the whole shebang works because the characters really do come alive to the demands of the script. Peter Postlethwaite as the ageing prisoner who befriends Coulter delivers a remarkable turn, while Bill Paterson as the chameleon-like cop goes up and down in our estimation as warring counsels attempt to strike deals and Ben suffers the harsh rigours of prison life. Wishaw is amazingly good as the frightened young man who may or may not be guilty, his expressions conveying the living hell he finds himself in.

As we turn on our televisions and see there's knife crime in our cities on an almost daily basis, CRIMINAL JUSTICE serves as a frightening reminder that the country is in very real danger of facing total meltdown, and the legal procedures are almost as terrifying with some of those enlisted to deliver justice playing the whole system at their own game of self-advancement. Indeed, this series has caused harsh words amongst the legal profession with a high-ranking barrister objecting to the portrayal of prosecuting and defending lawyers. Peter Moffat - former barrister and writer of CRIMINAL JUSTICE - of course begs to differ, and it's somewhat difficult to accept that his drama is totally separated from reality given the controversial miscarriages of justice down the years. While the final episode may have displayed a few fault lines, the series as a whole is of a very high standard. We may not have enjoyed viewing a drama that boldly underlines much of what is wrong with our society, but there was plenty to make us think and that's a real rarity with television output at the moment.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

PRIMAL SCREAM: THE HORROR, THE HORROR...

A friend of mine alerted me to this YouTube link which I thought may be of interest. I'd heard the track concerned on the radio but, as I give YouTube a wide berth for reasons I won't go into, I haven't actually seen this video. Hope all you PS fans enjoy it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8JHgu4XZOQ

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

ABANDONED ON DVD

Nacho Cerda's THE ABANDONED turned up as a recent rental DVD on the excellent Momentum label. The film begins in Russia, 1966 with a badly injured woman driving two babies to a remote house. 40 years later, central character Marie (Anastasia Hille) is summoned to Russia with news of an inheritance. Marie decides to travel in the hope of building up a picture of her parents who put her up for adoption shortly after birth.

A derelict farm - one of this films key characters - soon takes on a life of its own as Marie explores the old family home in a effort to find any clues relating to her real identity. Forced to take flight into the nearby woods, Marie almost drowns and is only saved by the mysterious Nikolai (Karel Roden) who has also been directed to this house of death.

While the convoluted plot may prove a tad off-putting to some viewers, this eerie slice of Euro Horror proves to be time well spent with an abundance of sights and sounds that remain in the head for days after. Fulci-esque blind corpses stalking the grounds and interiors; glimpses of demonic figures just within the frame and several 'jump' moments all combine to fashion a more than decent ghost story. Cerda's main problem here is a script that is often confusing and rather reluctant to come up with answers. Still, Cerda does manage to tick quite a few of the boxes that are de rigeur for Euro spookers and, if like me you are sufficiently impressed, a second viewing will perhaps help clear some of the muddy waters.