Thursday, 24 November 2016

THE FUTURE, 1972
























The future as depicted in a 1972 West German tv series called Alpha, Alpha: a mix of James Bond and the X Files, with lots of leather coats.

Friday, 18 November 2016

INBETWEENERS



























Yet more abstracts, transitions and vacated frames from the golden age of cartoons, specifically Hanna Barbera's wonderful Wacky Races.   

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

LIFELONG PLEASURE











































As I write this, and as you read it, there is an episode of Star Trek playing in a hundred different places in the world, and that’s how it should be. I grew up in the 1970s, where you were never more than a week away from an episode, and it forms some of my earliest televisual memories. I’m not a Trekkie by any means, but I have a deep and abiding love for the original series, partly from familiarity, but mainly because it’s just fantastic telly.

I’m just watching the third and final season now, and enjoying it enormously. The characters are so familiar at this stage that you can see what they’re thinking and the format established enough that it can be stretched and mutated and psychedelic optical effects can be inserted at regular intervals. Even the obvious budget cuts of this last series work in its favour, making it tighter and more reliant on sets, creating an occasionally surreal world of light and shadow, flat studio walls and fibreglass rocks. If some of the messages are a little heavy handed then that’s how Star Trek rolls, baby, and these were heavy times.

I humbly present some snapshots from the first few episodes of Season 3, a simple parade of images that particularly appealed to me. I’ll be back with more analysis – perhaps – the world isn’t exactly short of this sort of thing, after all.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

THE ICE IS GONNA BREAK!






















THE DEAD ZONE, d. David Cronenberg (1984)


Is The Dead Zone the most depressing film ever made? Every character in it is miserable and/or doomed, living in a squalid world of sex murders, dead kids, broken dreams, busted minds, bad decisions, impossible love, endless loss - and it snows all the time.  

At the centre of it is Christopher Walken as the terminally unlucky Johnny Smith, a role that fits Walken's disconnected persona like a glove. After a freak accident with a milk tanker, Smith wakes from a five year coma to find that his girlfriend is married and his job has been filled - although, on the plus side, his previously quite boring hair is now as wild as hell. Oh, and he's picked up the ability to touch a person and see into their past - or their future - and he even has the power to change it.

This gift of clairvoyance seems like no gift at all to poor Johnny, and though it ends up saving the world, it doesn’t bring him any happiness, just death. It’s all terribly sad.

Let’s hope that there’s a Johnny Smith out there somewhere who’s shaken Donald Trump’s hand and is working on a way to sidestep the apocalypse. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

STRANGE CHANGES






















ALTERED STATES, d. Ken Russell (1980) 

Altered States is the wild story of an intense, quasi-mystical academic (William Hurt, in his film debut) who experiments with psychotropic drugs and isolation tanks to the extent that he becomes another person, two other persons, in fact: a savage hominid and, later, an amorphous, undulating blob of star stuff, a cosmic slice of future humanity. It’s actually one of my favourite films, a bizarre jumble of psychedelia, pseudoscience, new age philosophy and hippy excess played absolutely dead straight. 

It’s directed by Ken Russell, which could have been cause for concern, but he does an excellent job and still manages to fit in his obligatory crucifixion scene. Even so, it never gets silly, although it’s amusing to note that its climax, where a rapidly mutating William Hurt hurls himself against the wall repeatedly to try and jar his body back into reality, was later paid homage to in A-ha’s famous video for ‘Take On Me’.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

SUPERSHOCKER


'Suspended in water in the confined darkness of an isolation tank. No light. No sound. No sensation except the workings of his own mind under the influence of a powerful hallucinogenic...

The sacred mushroom coursing through his body was drawing him back beyond the limits of time and space. Back into the depths of the universal consciousness. Back into the Original Self...'

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

2016 FILM DIARY, PART TEN
















From Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

01.10.16 - 31.10.16

Doomwatch, d. Peter Sasdy (1972)
Madhouse, d. Jim Clark (1974)
Psychomania, d. Don Sharp (1973)
Satan's Slave, d. Norman J. Warren (1976)
Terror, d. Norman J. Warren (1978)
Vault of Horror, d. Roy Ward Baker (1972)
The Uncanny, d. Denis Heroux (1977)
Rabid, d. David Cronenberg (1977)
The Brood, d. David Cronenberg (1979)
Friday the 13th, d. Sean S. Cunningham (1980)
Class of 1984, d. Mark L. Lester (1982)
My Scientology Movie, d. John Dower (2016)
Shooting Bigfoot, d. Morgan Matthews (2016)
The Evil of Frankenstein, d. Freddie Francis (1964)
Dracula, Prince of Darkness, d. Terence Fisher (1965)
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, d. Terence Fisher (1960)
House of Whipcord, d. Pete Walker (1974)
Frightmare, d. Pete Walker (1974)
House of Mortal Sin, d. Pete Walker (1976)
The Lobster, d. Yorgis Lanthimos
Curse of the Werewolf, d. Terence Fisher (1961)
The Witches, d. Cyril Frankel (1966)
Hypernormalisation, d. Adam Curtis (2016)
Island of Terror, d. Terence Fisher (1966)
Run Silent, Run Deep, d. Robert Wise (1958)
Prehistoric Women, d. Michael Carreras (1967)
Creatures The World Forgot, d. Don Chaffey (1971)
The Killer Is On The Phone, d. Alberto De Martino (1972)
The Killer Must Kill Again, d. Luigi Cozzi (1975)
Little Clumps of Hair, d. Jim Hosking (2003)
Renegades, d. Jim Hosking (2010)
The Greasy Strangler, d. Jim Hosking (2016)
Anthropoid, d. Sean Ellis (2016)
The Finest Hours, d. Sean Gillespie (2016)
Cabaret, d. Bob Fosse (1972)
Harlequin, d. Simon Wincer (1980)
The Mummy's Revenge, d. Carlos Aured (1975)
Exorcism, d. Juan Bosch (1975)
Frankenstein Created Woman, d. Terence Fisher (1967)
Trog, d. Freddie Francis (1970)
The Man Who Haunted Himself, d. Basil Dearden (1970)
Lights Out, d. David F. Sandberg (2016)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes, d. Robert Fuest (1971)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again, d. Robert Fuest (1972)
Taste the Blood of Dracula, d. Peter Sasdy (1970)
John Clare: I Am, d. David Jones (1970)
Penda's Fen, d. Allan Clarke (1974)
Lock Your Door, d.Anthony Gilkinson (1949)
Cross-Roads, d. John Fitchen (1955)
Dr. Strange, d. Scott Derrickson (2016)
The Devil Rides Out, d. Terence Fisher (1968)
Darling, Do You Love Me? d. Martin Sharp, Bob Whitaker
Unknown, d. Sheffield University Union of Students (1972)
Going To Meet Becky, d. Jon Coley (1980)
Transcending Mirror Boundaries, d. Jon Coley (1981)
Frankenstein & The Monster From Hell, d. Terence Fisher (1974)