Friday, 25 September 2015

THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW












































HU-MAN, d. Jérôme Laperrousaz (1975)

A group of television executives approach Terence Stamp (playing a po-faced actor called Terence Stamp) with a unique idea for a television show that will blur the lines between entertainment and experimental science. Stamp will be placed in extreme danger and his fear will be transmitted directly to the viewers. The energy of their reactions will be captured and used to power the next phase of the plan, in which Stamp will travel backwards or forwards in time depending on the strength and clarity of their emotions. If he wants to, and if he can retain a positive mental attitude, he may even be able to return. 

It’s not much of a deal on the face of it but fictional Stamp, dealing with the recent suicide of his wife, readily accepts (the real Stamp was in an Indian ashram at this point, decompressing after a very busy sixties, and his onscreen counterpart,  with his pony tail and tai chi exercises, seems on a similar quest). What follows are some extraordinary scenes filmed on the very edges of the natural world, the wild places where man has no place or purpose other than to die: Stamp caught by the incoming tides at Mont St Michel, running back and forth until he stands on a tiny patch of land as the sea quickly engulfs him; hanging precariously out of a helicopter as it flies high over an arctic landscape; waking up at the edge of an active volcano, a lake of seething, spitting lava mere feet away. These set pieces, accompanied by electronic music and Stamp's enigmatic facial expressions are among the most amazing things I've seen on screen.


Hu-Man is both profound and off-hand, and the so called science that underpins it is as much magic as method (the time travel energy is apparently stored in a massive plastic bag). Never mind, it’s the mid-seventies, where good vibes are just as important as good wiring. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

MONSTER OF THE DEEP

























From Web of Mystery 18, May 1953 (as reprinted in IDW's Haunted Horror, available now)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

GREENS
























Some verdant looking company idents from the wonder years of the VHS boom. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

COLLAGE d'OR

























This. This is good. This is good stuff. Cosmic Neighbourhood make magical Moomin mushroom music, the soundtrack to the golden glowing endless woodland childhood you remember, not the one you actually had. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

FRANKENSTEIN UNHINGED








































FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER, d. Robert Gaffney (1965)

What sort of film is Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster? Well, it's terrible.

But who cares about all that Andre Bazin stuff, anyway? It has big eared aliens and girls in bikinis, what more do you want: plot, point, performances, a budget, mise en scene?

Friday, 11 September 2015

IT SEEMS LIKE A DREAM

















THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN, d. Jesus Franco (1973)

What sort of film is The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein? Well, it's the sort of film that starts with a shot of a human brain in a jar, although the brain is far too small to be human. As Doctor Frankenstein is apparently going to insert it into his fully conscious monster's head by drilling a hole just above his ear, however, it doesn't actually matter - the smaller the better, really. Yes, it's that sort of film, the sort of film where the brain doesn't go in the top.

It's the sort of film that has an insane, cackling, blind, beautiful parrot vampire woman, who is always naked.

It's the sort of film that contains dialogue like:

'I've heard of the work of Vera Frankenstein, of course, but it never occurred to me that she might be Doctor Frankenstein's daughter...'  and 'My triumph is intoxicating!'

It's the sort of film that has a scene where a naked man and woman are whipped by a silver monster as they stand tied together on a platform carpeted by poisoned spikes. 

It's the sort of film where a reanimated corpse tries to strangle a man to death, but is stopped in his tracks by having a bucket of sulphuric acid thrown over him. Despite the fact that he is gripping the man tightly, the acid is thrown so accurately that it removes the corpses head entirely and also neatly severs its dead strangling hands at the wrists - without a drop of acid getting onto his victim.

It's the sort of film where a magician needs Frankenstein's monster to impregnate a hybrid woman made from murder victims in order to improve the bloodline of a new race of skeletoid zombie people he has just made.

Finally, it's the sort of film that has no beginning or ending, like a dream. Haphazardly filmed in some genuinely amazing locations, it alternates scenes of overwrought sex fantasy horror with deadly dull scenes of middle aged men walking around in the dark for minutes at a time. It's beautiful, it's boring; it's amazing, it's appalling.

What's it like? It's like a Jesus Franco film.   

Friday, 4 September 2015

UNEASEFUL DEATH

















SOYLENT GREEN, d. Richard Fleischer (1973)

In the horrendously polluted and dangerously over-populated world of Soylent Green, the greatest thing a citizen can do for the state is to die. Those who volunteer for death are shown consideration, even kindness, often for the first time in their miserable lives, and, as they absorb a fatal cocktail of drugs, they are shown archive footage of a green, fertile Earth to the stirring accompaniment of 'Morning' from Grieg's 'Peer Gynt'.

The older Sol (Edward G. Robinson) takes no comfort from the footage, which simply reminds him all that has been lost since his youth, and why death is preferable to life in 2022 AD, regardless of what he knows will happen to his body as soon as his last breath leaves it.