Thursday, 25 June 2015

WHAT POSSESSED YOU?







LA PAPESSE, d. Mario Mercier (1975)


A beautifully composed film full of vibrant colour and some genuine looking arcane ritual, 'A Woman Possessed' (UK title) is about a man who wants to join a hippy witch cult so much that he ends up sacrificing his wife to achieve his goal. The poor woman is kidnapped, tortured, raped, made to eat cream cakes and pig swill and drink urine, gets shut up in a cave with some sex-mad elementals and then goes mad and has her throat torn out by a black labrador. 

It may sound awful but it's actually nowhere near as cruel and explicit as that synopsis might suggest. In context, it works, with the great psychedelic music and surreal look and feel of the production being the blood red icing on the black magic cake.   

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

THE WICCA WOMAN



THE NAKED WITCH, d. Larry Buchanan (1961)

I like witches, I like exotica music and I like interpretive dance, so this sequence from 'The Naked Witch' ticks a lot of little boxes for me. I'm not so keen on hairy men with their shirts off, but you can't have everything, where would you keep it? 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

SET YOUR LIFE ON FIRE



Ruins were formed in 1978 in Mestre, a small town just outside of Venice where I once stayed for a few days in late eighties. In the long, warm Summer evenings, the people of the town would gather in the main square and drink wine and socialise and dance to angry electronic music about how horribly bourgeois they all were, something that growing up in rural Essex had not prepared me for. I miss the place.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

A MILLION MAD CLOCKS
























































THE OUTER LIMITS: THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN, d. Gerd Oswald (1964)


‘My Mr. Hobart tinkers with time, just as time tinkers with Mr. Hobart’

This episode was the last of the first series, and was originally planned as the pilot for a new anthology show called ‘The Unknown’. It is as weird as hell, comprising an strange, disjointed plot, sinister performances, some arty and experimental camera work and an overwrought atmosphere that wouldn’t seem out of place in one of Tennessee Williams’ more hysterical psychodramas.
The story involves the poisoning of a gigolo by two women, and his subsequent resurrection by a once dead scientist who is now stuck in the realm of the living due to the intervention of his time machine, which comprises a 'million mad clocks' and a thousand taut pieces of wire. The scientist wants to go back to whatever lies beyond the grave, and the two women want the gigolo dead again. All three will get what they want, but not until fifty minutes of tense and unsettling television has played out.
The most impenetrable episode yet, the show is made of shadows and madness and is actually quite scary in its own way, not least in the fact that it makes the viewer wonder if what they are seeing is really there, or whether they themselves are having some sort of breakdown.  

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

AU GONE GONE



"The non-stop party is not defined by its refusal to stop, but rather by the mystery of its origin. No-one knows where it started"

JAMES LAST (1929-2015)

Monday, 8 June 2015

HOW TO BECOME A MONOLITH






















PSYCHOMANIA, d. Don Sharp (1971)

After being jeered at for many years, 'Psychomania' has emerged as one of the most interesting British films of the nineteen seventies, not least because of the way it exploits both contemporary youth trends and ancient pagan lore, combining the mundane and the arcane, the mechanical and the metaphysical. Here, undead biker leader Tom is turned to stone for overstepping the mark, witchcraft wise. It's no less than he deserves, he's behaved abominably. And the same goes for those reckless layabouts he calls a gang.



FOUR MEETING PLACES






















THIS LAND OF BROKEN DREAMS



Of late, I have become greatly enamoured by The Filmcast’s  strange cover of the Jimmy Ruffin song ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?’ 

I like the original very much, but this version has a woozy oddness about it, as if the band members are in different time zones, except for the saxophonist, who seems to be on the Moon. 

The emotionless vocals are very 1980, but the dissociative nature of the production and the pervading sense of weary futility mainly evoke a future disaster, ultimately sounding a little like a karaoke contest in the midst of a nuclear winter - but then it was recorded in Wokingham.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

WHAT A STATE TO GET IN































THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, d. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973)

‘The Holy Mountain’ was filmed in Mexico, but the brutal police force / army depicted brings to mind the contemporaneous horror of Pinochet’s Chile or, of course, the dark pomp and pseudo-occult ceremony of the Third Reich. 

The police here parade through the city centre carrying the flayed carcasses of crucified goats; transport lorry loads of corpses down the main streets; they carry out public executions in front of tourists, mowing down groups of students with short bursts of rifle fire. These sudden deaths are rather beautiful, as Jodorowsky has the victims bleed dark ink, or brightly coloured paint, or have tiny, pretty birds flutter out through the holes the bullets have left. 

Later on, the Policemen gather at a dance hall and, still armed and wearing gas masks, waltz with mustachioed local men to melancholy music. It is a relatively tender moment in a film of great savagery, but one that may still end in a massacre.

MOMENTS FROM 'THE HOLY MOUNTAIN'














004: Blue Evil

Monday, 1 June 2015

FAR F*CKING OUT

































THE SOURCE FAMILY, d. Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos 

In the absence of any new cult news, here's a documentary about The Source Family, a white clad hippy health food meditation group of around 150 adherents led by a middle aged millionaire, murderer and martial arts master called Jim Baker, aka Father Yod. 

The original premise was simply to be kind to each other, which worked for a while until Yod became a sex obsessed megalomaniac who claimed to be God. In 1975, in a final act of hubris witnessed by the whole cult, the totally inexperienced Yod strapped himself into a hang glider and launched himself from a 1,300 foot tall cliff in high winds. After the inevitable crash, he wasn't taken to the hospital because of his own rules, so died in agony nine hours later.  

Under the name of Ya Ho Wa 13, the cult also recorded a number of psychedelic rock albums, some of which achieve a ragged propulsive groove, but mostly sound like a moderately competent garage band fronted by someone's granddad. 

My cult will definitely have a band, too, but I'm thinking more along the lines of jazz fusion with cosmic themes and really long song titles with lots of parentheses like '(Are You Ready To) Ride The Rainbow? (You're Already On Course For The Sun), Parts I-V'. Something like that.