Gothic Films - episode seven

Això és la continuació del tema Gothic Films - episode six.

En/na Phantasmagoria and Haunted Screens: Gothic Films (and more) - Eight ha continuat aquest tema.

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Gothic Films - episode seven

feb. 18, 2020, 2:25pm

Good old Flick Vault keeps giving: I watched Island of Terror, delighted to add another Peter Cushing film to my acquaintance. @alaudacorax--you were so right about the girl, though. I can't think of another similar character written quite THAT badly. Mucho hysteria! It would have been a relief for the monsters to get her.

And then Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi and Fiona Lewis in a movie I'd never heard of, Blue Blood (1973). Reed is a demonic butler who gradually takes possession of his aristocratic employer's life, wife and mansion (in reverse order). A schlocky gem.

feb. 18, 2020, 2:37pm

Ready for the third installment of Les Compagnons de Baal.

feb. 23, 2020, 10:49am

Horror Hospital is now up on Flick Vault! So pleased I got to see this. Michael Gough in that splendid furry hat. I also absolutely adore how he puts on the mask for daily chores but for bedroom hanky-panky peels it off--no reason to please! Perfectly judged note of lunatic sadism.

Also seen The beast in the cellar, 1970, worth it for Flora Robson and Beryl Reid. The limp script really lets it down, could have been so much better with a little more effort.

març 13, 2020, 8:04pm

Getting old is a pain in the backside! Thought I would celebrate Friday the 13th. So I hunted-up The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Hour of the Wolf DVDs. Had my evening meal, then settled down to watch. Immediately fell asleep! Just woke up and it's midnight here ... time to go to bed, I suppose.

març 15, 2020, 12:53pm

>1 LolaWalser:
I must have read about Blue Blood but had forgotten about it. Just looking online today, I see it's based on a novel by the 7th Marquis of Bath, he being the Bohemian one with the "wifelets" living in the grounds and murals illustrating the Kama Sutra up the staircase of the Stately Home - the home in question being Longleat House. And that's interesting to me because I've been there. It used to be the home of the "secondary" Doctor Who Exhibition in the 70s and 80s. Blackpool Pleasure Beach had the larger exhibition. The Safari Park was a longer-lived attraction, it opened in 1966 and is still going.

>2 LolaWalser:
I have looked at the YouTube trailers for all those French TV series with envy. My French is nowhere near good enough for me to follow the stories without subtitles (I've got the stage where matching pairs in Duolingo isn't thing me any further and I'm going to have to tackle verbs and grammar properly).

Editat: març 15, 2020, 1:24pm

>5 housefulofpaper:

What a coincidence, I just looked in meaning to tell you I've seen Pete Walker's Frightmare (dear, dear Flick Vault), as I recalled you talking about it. Another GREAT performance by Sheila Keith!--she's now up there with Barbara Steele as a horror queen for me. Excellent movie, as wrong as it somehow seems to call it that given, errr, the theme, shall we say...

I'm not familiar with the 7th Marquis of Bath but it sounds as if I ought to make the acquaintance. Have you seen the Reed/Jacobi movie?

>4 alaudacorax:

Any luck watching since? I expect quite a few of us will be parked home for the duration...

>5 housefulofpaper:

Forgot to say, whatever you do, please don't stop listening to the spoken language, you'll surprise yourself eventually. Maybe you could use a list of French horror/ish stuff with subtitles you could use until your ear becomes practiced enough.

març 15, 2020, 1:36pm

Recent viewing:

Vampira (a.k.a. Old Dracula). This is the David Niven Dracula spoof and its worse than I'd remembered. The central premise is distinctly "iffy" - a faulty blood transfusion turns Dracula's wife black, to quote the IMDb summary in full. Jeremy Lloyd's script is full of "comic" exchanges and set pieces that die on their arse outside their natural environment of multi-camera sitcom in front of a live audience. There's a lack of focus as to who we're meant to be rooting for - Dracula/Maltravers, Vampira, or the writer (with a vague "jet setting playboy bestselling author" character) played by Nicky Henson, who gets tangled up in the Draculas' (sorry, Count and Countess Dracula, I suppose that should be!) plan to reverse the effects of the transfusion. He gets to provide an introductory voiceover as if this is his story - even though it occurs some way into the film - but then it never reappears.

Worst of all, although I don't recall seeing any commentators drawing attention to it, is the way the transfusion effects the character of Vampira (played, after the transfusion, by Teresa Graves who had been in Laugh In). Although it's "lampshaded" with a visit to a cinema showing a Blaxsploitation movie, the transfusion apparently affects the Countess by, not just making her speak in Jive, but making her impulsive and sexually promiscuous. One one hand I can see the parallels with the effects of Dracula's bite on Lucy and Mina in the original novel, and the need to introduce a sense of urgency and peril into the plot, but on the other, it does (I can only assume unintentionally) validate (within the world of the story) the worst racist assumptions about the African-American character.

I say unintentional because I read that Jeremy Lloyd knew Theresa Graves from Laugh-In and actively campaigned for her to be given the role.

What else can be said? Quite a few familiar faces from 60s/70s British TV appear. Patrick Newell (Mother from The Avengers) does possibly the worst American accent ever committed to film. Freddie James (also doing an American accent) is in a wig that surprisingly makes him look like Martin Freeman. Linda Hayden is in the film (too) briefly and is killed off in a scene that bafflingly chooses to spoof "The Golden Shot". Even in 1974, only UK and Netherlander viewers (I think the format came from Netherlands TV)) would have got that.

Like Love at First Bite, there's a scene where Dracula getting the better of a mugger (Blacula did it first, of course). This is after some travelogue-type footage of Niven's Dracula wandering around Soho at it's seediest. Lazy social commentary and a cheap way to pad the running time back then, a fascinating look back in time, now.

març 15, 2020, 2:05pm

>6 LolaWalser:
Sheila Keith's great, isn't she? I do need to steel myself before going into a Pete Walker film. As I think I wrote before, they are so nihilistic and grotty...

I haven't seen the film but just ordered it from Amazon as part of a triple bill with two other films I have heard of but not seen. The Legacy (it's got Roger Daltrey in it, and scriptwriting credits for Patrick Tilley (whose "Amtrak Wars" books I remember seeing in the science fiction section of bookshops around 1980, but never read) and Jimmy Sangster); and Neither the Sea Nor the Sand, which is from a supernatural love story written by newsreader Gordon Honeycombe (the Touchstone might have found the novel rather than the film). For less than a fiver each, (including postage).

I have got quite a lot of stuff - "arthouse" and a whole season of Spiral (Engrenages) that I've borrowed and need to return! I do find I have to "tune out" the spoken dialogue to read the subtitles, though. I can't seem to manage to follow both at the same time.

Oh, I've got the Blu-ray of Céline and Julie Go Boating, too. That (despite the title) apparently has a Henry James (in ghost story mode) influence.

març 15, 2020, 2:11pm

Oh, and I watched three more episodes of the Jonathan Rhys Meyers Dracula TV series. The Mr Selfridge comparison looks a little unfair now, it's pretty good, so far. It's kept the "reincarnation of Dracula's lost love" from the Copolla film though.

març 15, 2020, 2:24pm

>8 housefulofpaper:

Sheila Keith's great, isn't she?

I can't do her justice! It feels crazy to claim so much for such a grotesque role, but there it is--I'd call this one of the legendary character performances. That tarot session when she susses out the doctor's impersonation? I got gooseflesh. Her expressions, her tone, her delivery, that mad gaze from under her eyebrows... pure brilliance.

And the others didn't play half bad in support. Rupert Davies was a name, wasn't he?

I hope you like the Rivette, that's one of my all-time faves.

Still no new Drac for me... Don't know if there's any sense in ordering it at this moment...

març 15, 2020, 8:31pm

>8 housefulofpaper: >10 LolaWalser: Sheila Keith is an amazing actress, one of the greatest in horror films. 'Frightmare' is my favourite film of hers. What a performance! Interesting that 'Frightmare' was originally called 'Nightmare Farm' (a better title perhaps).

A fan called Simon Flynn produced a 74 page fanzine covering all her film and tv work about 20 years ago. Flynn also met and interviewed Keith, and included call sheets and Sheila's invites to Pete Walker's previews in the fanzine. She seems to have a delicious sense of humour. When Flynn asked her about 'Frightmare', she said 'That is the one where I chop people up and eat their brains'. She said she loved making the Pete Walker films, that they were 'fun to do'.

Rupert Davies was also excellent as the Monsignor in 'Dracula has Risen from the Grave'.

març 16, 2020, 2:16pm

>11 Rembetis:

That's wonderful to hear! Too many good actors feel apologetic about acting in such films.

Ah yes on Davies--I knew I knew him...

What is everyone looking forward to watching over the next indefinite period, if you're housebound?

I'm thinking it's finally time I saw Gormenghast (BBC, 201?), which I had forever... my French fantasy stuff, which I was doling out in small portions so it would last... maybe Twin Peaks again?

And of course anything with Veidt over & over again...

març 16, 2020, 6:52pm

>12 LolaWalser:

If I have the opportunity (my employer might be able to contrive it so that I can (and therefore must!) work from home):

I only have four Veidt films, Caligari, Casablanca, The Thief of Baghdad, and The Man Who Laughs. I haven't watched th last two, so they'd have to be on the list. Changing the tone, I've got a box set of the Coffin Joe films, and I haven't seen a single one. Lots of French movies to try to get the music of the language in my ears. Or just work through the pile of DVDs and Blu-rays by the TV as the fancy takes me...

Gormenghast has got an incredible cast (especially if you like spotting British actors and comedians). My current Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as Steerpike. I remember the actor playing the adult Titus failing to make much of an impact, which is a problem. It all looks brighter and more exotic than one might expect from the book. The production team took a hint from Peake's childhood in China and made a very "city of pagodas" Gormenghast. Probably guessing three hours of granite and shadow would be a bit much for a primetime mainstream audience.

març 18, 2020, 11:00am

>13 housefulofpaper:

Hmm, China is an interesting choice for a template, never would have predicted it...

I was thinking which French movies might be easy for a learner, within these genres, and I guess Jean Rollin would be suitable. They are not dialogue-heavy.

març 28, 2020, 11:46pm

I saw Ringu, the Japanese horror movie from 1997. I had heard it involved teenagers so dismissed it sight unseen as something along the lines of American teenage screamers... but it's actually quite "classically" Japanese, harking back to folk legends in theme and design. Very good and so creepy it's the reason I haven't gone to bed yet and clearly never will again.

Which reminds me--also need to cover all the mirrors. Or maybe I'll just throw them out...

març 29, 2020, 2:26pm

>15 LolaWalser:
I was sure I'd told this story already, but I can't find it in these threads. So apologies if it's familiar.

I watched Ringu on a UK DVD release that included some extras in including all the sadako footage edited together in create a version of the cursed videotape. Was I brave enough to watch it? Of course, why not, it's only a movie...

So I put it on, played it, and then..the video recorder switched itself off. Died. Well, came back to life long enough to disgorge the disc, but that was it.

I was subjecting the recorder to heavy use, it's true. I was busy digitising 20+ years of off-air VHS recordings. I'd no doubt flogged the poor thing to death. But why did it have ti choose that particular thing to expire on?

març 29, 2020, 3:41pm

>16 housefulofpaper:


Just count yourself lucky no one phoned you right then... instant heart attack!

març 29, 2020, 4:58pm

>17 LolaWalser:
Even without any phone calls, I'll admit to a few uneasy moments over the following week!

Recent viewing.. a bit sparse on the Gothic front. I've been working through the series 2 Monty Python Blu-ray. Disappointingly the picture is softer than series 1. The accompanying booklet explains the production switched from 35mm to 16mm film for location filming.

There's some oblique Gothic interest in The Avengers: The Cybernauts Trilogy.This is the three cybernaut stories from The Avengers and The New Avengers, beautifully restored and remastered, and with the option of playing with contemporary UK television commercials in the ad breaks. The 1960s stories guest star Michael Gough and, in the sequel, Peter Cushing. The stories draw on Mad Scientist tropes which I think have roots in the Gothic but are their own thing by the 1960s. Of the two, I found the first one more interesting - you can see it drawing on contemporary ideas and concerns (industrial espionage and fears of Japan's rising power in the technology sector drive the plot, and there's thematically-linked red herring around a martial arts school).

The third story is from the '70s and the not so well regarded sequel The New Avengers. This one has some genuinely Gothic elements - the villain is disabled, disfigured, and driven by revenge (yes, that would be handled differently today), and expresses his mood by wearing one of three grotesque masks. Dating from 1976, I suppose it was too tempting not to extend the cybernetic idea to a riff on bionics and The Six Million Dollar Man. The denouement does descend into farce, and online is universally hated, but I wonder if this was a deliberate undermining of a would-be nietzschean superman. The revised cybernaut design is interesting, played by stuntman Rocky Taylor (according to one online resource) with a loose-limbed stagger that reminded me, just bit, of Christopher Lee's Frankenstein Monster (and a face a bit like the crude make-up job on Kiwi Kingston's monster in The Evil of Frankenstein)

març 29, 2020, 5:55pm

I watched The Uncanny (1977 or 1978) today. Let's see if I can be a bit more concise with this!

It's a horror anthology co-produced by Milton Subotsky after Amicus productions was dissolved. It's a UK/ Canadian production. Part of it's filmed in the UK and part in Canada (Quebec). Similarly there's a mix of British (Ray Milland was born in Wales!) and Canadian actors. The screenplay is credited to Michel Parry, a name I associate more with the editorship of 1970's paperback anthologies - I assume it's the same person. There are three stories and a frame story in which Peter Cushing is an author trying to convince publisher Ray Milland that cats are evil and secretly running things. The stories stick to the EC comics model. The final story, which stars Donald Pleasance as, surprisingly, a randy actor in '30s Hollywood, is Bram Stoker's "The Squaw" retold.

The film has a fairly poor critical reputation, but I suspect that's more due to its coming at the end of a cycle than any intrinsic faults. Don't get me wrong, although it's not a bad film, I wouldn't want to overpraise it. My honest appraisal is that it's no better than okay. I will say that, like the Amicus productions, the film benefits from it the quality of its cast.

març 29, 2020, 6:14pm

>19 housefulofpaper:

Seen that; enjoyed it (it's been a while, it used to be on YT), thought it was funny, and let's face it, cats WOULD eat us.

>18 housefulofpaper:

Seen that (well, not your fancy edition, SIGH, but the DVD); huge fan of the Avengers and I do like The New Avengers too, Purdy is to die for.

I love the Cybernaut stories. In fact I think you've just pushed me to do a Steed/Mrs Peel marathon in these horrid hibernating times (was contemplating Buffy, but The Avengers would be better as I only went through the lot once before).

Speaking of, once upon a better time, a lady on YT with fab access to archive Brit TV (I owe her the introduction to loads of series) had up on her channel a 1960s--maybe 70s? series with a vibe VERY much like the more sci-fi-ish Avengers tales--Strange Things or Stranger Things (not to be confused with the recent American)--and it had one of Doctor Who assistants in it, I think the girl who played Polly. The swinging-sixties kitten.

Can't recall the title--it was interesting. Shot in colour. Wish I could see it again now that I'm better acquainted with the usual suspect actors...

març 29, 2020, 6:36pm


This is Ringu-level uncanny

març 29, 2020, 6:38pm

omg I should think next of of of of of of arghh nothing comes to mind!

Well that's me set for the evening... ta so much!

Off to brew some tea...

març 30, 2020, 4:26am

>20 LolaWalser:, >21 housefulofpaper:

This group regularly surprises me with 'sixties, 'seventies telly series which I would have thought right up my street but of which I have absolutely no memory. Don't know what I was doing rather than watching telly, but I really wish I'd kept a journal.

That lady now has seven subscribers ...

març 30, 2020, 8:01am

'Strange Report' is charming and great fun (love the theme music too). Network produced a dvd set of it about a decade ago with a ton of extras, and I devoured it in a few sittings!

My partner and I are both in the 'vulnerable' category (underlying illnesses) so staying inside as much as possible for the next 3+ months, only venturing out infrequently to buy food and get medicine (fortunately the shops are only 3 minutes walk away, and they are practicing social distancing inside and in the queue outside). My mum is quite ill on the other side of London, but we are keeping in touch by video on whatsapp.

I realise I am so lucky to have a garden at this time. I am keeping busy gardening, tackling thick books (currently 'No Name' by Wilkie Collins), and digging out stuff I haven't watched for ages. Yesterday's double bill was a VHS of John Waters' 'Desperate Living' and Ted Post's 'The Baby'!

Hope you all keep safe.

març 30, 2020, 4:50pm

>24 alaudacorax:

Not to kvetch about the gift horse's teeth, but I'll just note that the much lamented "CoachB's Wife" or however her handle went, uploaded content in high resolution, was a real pleasure to watch. Sigh. Actually, it seems YT deliberately downgrades quality on some stuff, so maybe it's not the uploader's fault...

>25 Rembetis:

Yes, do take every precaution! A garden sounds fantastic. Luckily my mum has one too, or she'd go batty with my grandma for sole company for months. Meanwhile I'm stuck here in the New World, helplessly monitoring family and friends in Italy--as it happens, everyone is concentrated in the worst-hit regions. Amazingly, no fatalities so far--only two fell sick at all! (so far).

març 30, 2020, 8:41pm

>26 LolaWalser: The news from Italy has been heart breaking. I hope all your friends and family in Italy come through this safe and well.

març 31, 2020, 5:05am

>27 Rembetis:
Seconded ...

març 31, 2020, 12:07pm

Thanks gents & same to you... Sadly it's not just the disease we have to worry about, but the all-encompassing depression that set on life--I was just notified of a third death (not virus related) of an old family friend who'll be buried only with one or two other people present and this is killing my oldsters mentally... I keep repeating to them that the dead will wait for our goodbyes, but of course the funerals are, normally, also where the surviving reconnect.

OK, back to the relative summery cheer of gruesome movies... I took in Dario Argento's The Cat o'-nine-tails, with the usual unpleasant mix of Italian and foreign actors: Catherine Spaak, the likeable Karl Malden, Horst Frank (a very good German actor with a great voice, not that it's in use here), and as the lead some pretty boy whose name escapes me... The story is standard serial killer and let down by the resolution that goes for the villain being someone we barely saw. There's a pretty cool car chase in the middle, though, showcasing more of Torino than people get to see on screen usually, as Italian locations go...

març 31, 2020, 5:32pm

Made myself quite depressed, a little earlier, thinking about the batch of gawd-awful films about the currrent situation that will be made a year or two down the road.

abr. 1, 2020, 1:42am

"Hey! I got a great idea. Totally ill-assorted couple trapped indoors by covid-19. Gradually fall in love."
"Nah--there's five of 'em in the works, already. Let's put 'em in a weird, Gothic mansion ... and there's a menacing, unseen entity in there with them ..."
"Um ... that's been done ... many times ..."
"Shaddup--it'll be a smash!"

abr. 1, 2020, 1:43am

Sorry. Going stir-crazy, here. Better go for my daily walk ...

abr. 1, 2020, 7:31pm

>29 LolaWalser:
That must be tough on them. My thoughts are with them, and you.

I've discovered the room I set up as a home office is too cold, this time of year. i made myself ill yesterday. I've retreated to the back of the house and I'm using an ironing board as a table. Classy.

I've got quite a lot of Argento to work through. I really am not going to be so insensitive as to complain about working on full pay through this crisis, but the DVD pile is no more going to reduce than the TBR pile of books. "Unpleasant mix of Italian and foreign actors", that akin to what movie writers used to call a "Euro-pudding" (think multi-national financing, European locations, Hollywood not-quite or no-longer A-listers in lead roles, dubbed voices)? I had started to come round to the idea that "Euro-pudding" was a condescending Anglo-American slur I needed to grow out of. Horror Express, after all!

Speaking of Karl Malden, there's a film on Vimeo by Guy Maddin called The Green Fog which recreates Vertigo using shots from other movies filmed in San Francisco. Karl Malden is there courtesy of some footage from The Streets of San Francisco and I think, at least one other film. Vertigo is solidly Gothic - it was featured in the BFI's film season at any rate - and San Francisco seems to me to have a Gothic feel to it, if only through the lens of particular works of art (Fritz Leiber's late stories, Wim Wenders' Hammett, maybe.

It's small and scruffy but I'm grateful for my patch of garden too. Still too chilly to spend much time in it but I saw a magpie a couple of days ago, and some wood pigeons (they moved from the country to the town 10 or more years ago). Crows too. No one can say they aren't Gothic!

abr. 2, 2020, 5:07am

>33 housefulofpaper:

You've just got me wondering how the feral pigeons are getting on in town. Stop moving in the memorial gardens, especially while carrying a paper bag, and you could find yourself surrounded by a couple of hundred of them. Shades of the Pigeons from Hell thread for those a bit bird-phobic, I suppose. I wonder if people are still feeding them. My daily walk doesn't venture into town any more.

abr. 2, 2020, 5:54am

>33 housefulofpaper:

I've retreated to the back of the house and I'm using an ironing board as a table.

That is a bit Gothic in itself. Are there any strange noises emanating from the home office which is eerily cold?

abr. 2, 2020, 1:16pm

>34 alaudacorax:

Pigeons from hell

I thought you were being funny but that is real! Pigeons--they are ALL from hell...

>33 housefulofpaper:

Maddin's experiments always sound interesting to me but I confess I only manage to see through every other or so...

"Euro-pudding" (think multi-national financing, European locations, Hollywood not-quite or no-longer A-listers in lead roles, dubbed voices)?

That's it, although it's practically always an Euro-American "pudding". It's usually the soundtracks that are the worst blemishes, at least to finicky people or those who may know the actors from other stuff... Weirdly, while the underlying reasons for such co-productions must have been above all financial, there also seems to have been a feeling that they had a cachet of their own. Which might make sense in the case of really big names in "important" movies (e.g. Anthony Quinn in La strada), but not really for most of this fare. Even stranger, dubbing the soundtrack was the usual thing to do in Italy even in the case of all-native cast (one of these days... years... I need to find out about the circumstances of this practice, what was it all about...)

I think I may have mentioned this before--Fellini, for instance, casually planned to have Claudia Cardinale's gorgeous husky voice dubbed in 8 1/2 because it wasn't considered "pretty"--she was getting dubbed all the time!--then changed his mind. The audiences finally got to hear her and from then on she was allowed to keep her voice (except, of course, when dubbed in other European countries.)

It always amazes me that good film directors could treat sound so indifferently, as if it didn't matter.

Oh, before I forget, there's another interesting new channel on YT, Cult Cinema Classics. I caught their excellent copy of Curtis Harrington's Queen of Blood, 1965--it's sci-fi AND vampires--truly sometimes the gift to the schlock-lover overfloweth.

Note that the beautiful sequences of the planets, moons, interplanetary flight etc.--everything that doesn't involve the actors--are ripped from Soviet science fiction movies bought expressly for that use. (Roger Corman in particular is famous for exploiting these sources.)

If vampires in space isn't attractive enough, there's also Basil Rathbone and a very young and still innocent Dennis Hopper!

abr. 2, 2020, 5:18pm

>35 pgmcc:
Truthfully, it isn't. In fact, I tried to give that room a feeling of airy rationality. It's a long way from an 18th century Stately home, of course, little more than white bookshelves and light blue paint on the walls.

On the other hand, this is what I've been sitting in front of for the last couple of days.

abr. 2, 2020, 8:25pm

Just watched The Legacy whose plot turns on Katherine Ross' character's resemblance to a 16th or 17th Century portrait. How I wish there was a similar film, with that portrait of Mary Tudor that looks like Dennis Waterman, starring Dennis Waterman.

abr. 5, 2020, 9:40pm

Oh my. This is the same individual mentioned in >5 housefulofpaper:? Quite a coincidence, in such a short period... Is the thread cuuhuhuhuuurrsed...?! (Oooh I got candidates...)

Well, sounds like he had a long life of fun & giggles, anyway.

abr. 6, 2020, 3:39am

>39 LolaWalser:

Sad. I suppose he had a good innings, but ... the country--the world, indeed--needs a scattering of characters like that--genuine, larger than life eccentrics.

abr. 6, 2020, 5:42am

>39 LolaWalser: & >40 alaudacorax: He was certainly entertaining when he was interviewed on TV.

His work with the Safari Park was ground breaking.

abr. 11, 2020, 2:14pm

I've just watched Maleficent. I know it's not highly-rated, but I quite enjoyed it. I watched it because I caught a clip of it somewhere and I was taken with the artwork and backgrounds, but I got quite carried along by the story and forgot to pay attention. Another of those things where Fairy Tale and Gothic blend into each other.

abr. 11, 2020, 2:26pm

>42 alaudacorax:

On my tentative to-watch list lo these many years now...

If anyone fancies watching Blood on Satan's claw in the delightful company of creatures of the interwebs--if I understand it correctly, chat will be enabled--here's your chance (starts in about 35 minutes--just the necessary time to make popcorn):

abr. 11, 2020, 2:28pm

>42 alaudacorax:

I was just a little disturbed by the appearance of Maleficent's cheek bones, though. I'm not sure if it was prosthetics or CGI, but it was uncomfortably reminiscent of victims of famine. I can see that it was meant to echo the evil queen in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, but still ...

abr. 11, 2020, 2:45pm

>43 LolaWalser:

I wonder if it's deliberate that it starts pretty much dead on sunset here?

abr. 11, 2020, 2:56pm

>43 LolaWalser:, >45 alaudacorax:

On consideration, I think that would be a bit of sensory overload for me--watching and chatting at the same time might over-tax whatever intellect I have.

Also, believe it or not, I've never written a comment on YouTube. Within a day or two of first discovering the web I decided YouTube comments was something I really didn't want to get involved in.

abr. 11, 2020, 3:00pm

get set... go!

abr. 11, 2020, 3:03pm

Yeah, it can be dire... I loved watching Twitch's Doctor Who streams with chat tho'...

abr. 11, 2020, 5:55pm

I wasn't ready for this, sorry...Also in the middle of The Amityville Horror. I'd seen a comment that, shorn of the dubious-if-not-spurious real-life connections, it's a decent ghost story. I don't know, so far, in the way it tells the story it just feels like a typical TV movie of the era.

By coincidence I have just finished listening to an audio adaptation of Blood of Satan's Claw. I've had it for a while but been put off by the decision to move the action to the north of England. The location of the film version looked like scenery I recognised as "countryside" and years later I realised it (not the scenes on Hammer's beloved Black Park) is only 10 miles or so due north of the house where I grew up. So the move left me feeling a little disenfranchised, but I got over it. (Also, what I thought was a farmhouse next to a field, when I was a child and looking north from the family home, is clearly just a big house on the Warren (on the other side of the Thames) and its garden!).

Editat: abr. 12, 2020, 12:49am

I didn't stick with the chat as the upload was in poor resolution and it felt silly with the DVD practically next to me. Switched to the much better Cult Cinema Classics channel and watched Gog, 1954, (wheee! Touchstone!), a tale of caution about AI gone power-hungry we should all take to heart.

Three notable things: one, the senior scientist is played by Herbert Marshall, who played the lead in Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, and generally had an actor's career when he (in my acidulous opinion) has one of the least actorly countenances ever--and a dead, wooden voice and a leaden delivery--but there you have it, he's in one of the gems of pre-code cinema... two, the leading lady is played by Constance Dowling, a minor actress you have probably never heard of BUT I have known OF since I was fifteen in a heart-shaking context because she was the woman who drove Cesare Pavese to suicidal despair.

Poor Pavese, who did a lot of translating from English and probably served as the interpreter for someone at the film set, met her when she was doing a job in Italy and fell madly in love. It's unclear that she ever returned his feelings, in fact it seems she regarded him as a huge nuisance.

Love. What a load of bollocks and twaddle, you think as you watch Gog and Magog, mechanical robots with six arms, chasing metallically blonde Constance with breasts shaped into pyramids by a 1950s bra across the papier-mâché sets.

Oops, forgot the third thing: unusually for sci-fi of any era, there's more than one woman doing sciency things! Woman radio-operator, woman chemist, Constance the scientist, woman scientist who gets killed at the start--quite remarkable profusion.

abr. 12, 2020, 2:19am

>50 LolaWalser:

Hah! Just looked up Marshall on IMDb. Face was familiar but that was it, memory was otherwise blank. Thought he looked like an accountant. Read the bio ... yep, he trained as a chartered accountant.

Editat: abr. 12, 2020, 2:26am

>51 alaudacorax:

Disclaimer: not in any way intended to be accountantist (just in case a particular niece is reading ...)

abr. 12, 2020, 2:29am

>50 LolaWalser: - Oops, forgot the third thing: unusually for sci-fi of any era, there's more than one woman doing sciency things! Woman radio-operator, woman chemist, Constance the scientist, woman scientist who gets killed at the start--quite remarkable profusion.

The makers probably intended that to be very futuristic. According to IMDb, they got a few other things right, too.

Editat: abr. 12, 2020, 11:36am

>51 alaudacorax:

I did not know that but not in the least surprised! (Also no diss meant to honest-to-god accountants...)

>53 alaudacorax:

Somebody had the right idea of "futuristic" for once.

The channel (Cult Cinema Classics) is a treasure. I got roped into watching the 1938 Flash Gordon serial but lasted only 6 episodes (each is about 20-25 minutes; there are... 15?) before needing to go to bed. Ming the Merciless! Azura the Queen of Magic! The wonderful Claymen (some really nice old-time SFX there.) One could get a wicked drinking game going by counting Dale's fainting fits. I'd be out by ep 3...

abr. 12, 2020, 4:47pm

>50 LolaWalser: et al.

Watched Gog this evening. I'm pretty sure I've never seen it before or heard of it before this thread. Interesting, and sort of fun.

The first half was very wordy, though; it took a long time to get going. Some of the special effects were ropey to the point of being amusing. For example, a repeated shot of some sort of aerial being elevated--there was clearly someone behind a big rock poking the thing up into the air. I actually thought Constance Dowling looked a bit sinister in quite a lot of shots (which was not at all appropriate for her character).

It may have been coincidence, but I felt Gog and Magog just a little foreshadowed the Daleks.

abr. 12, 2020, 6:28pm

>55 alaudacorax:

Yeah, she has the vibe of a hardboiled gangsta moll more than anything... something about the eyes + the sharp cheekbones...

abr. 13, 2020, 12:52pm

I really must get my own copy of Carry On Screaming--sat down with a meal and it was on telly about twenty minutes in. One forgets just how many excruciating one-liners there are. Wonderful!

abr. 14, 2020, 10:01pm

Down the bottomless well I go. Just subscribed to Ina's streaming service,

They hooked me with three months gratis (after that it's 2.99 euro/month)

Goodbye books, goodbye plans, projects, normal life... for I have lots of 60s and 70s French TV to catch up with.

abr. 15, 2020, 4:06am

>58 LolaWalser:

That sounds too good to be true, especially at only €2.99. I understand that INA has copies of everything French TV or Radio. I can't find on madelen's website that there are any limits on what you can watch or the quantity you can watch per month. I can't have that right, surely?

abr. 15, 2020, 4:13am

>58 LolaWalser:, >59 alaudacorax:

It actually sounds just what I need. I don't feel I'm making progress anything like fast enough and I'm always intending to find ways to engage with the language away from the lessons.

abr. 15, 2020, 12:01pm

>59 alaudacorax:

I'm now logged in all the time so the offer no longer appears for me, but the e-mail says the use is unlimited:

Votre abonnement à madelen, l’offre de streaming illimité de l’INA, est à présent actif.

It says they'll bill me July 14 (wahey! vive la République!) so the grace period fits; doesn't say how much; but let's first get there...

abr. 15, 2020, 12:12pm

Paul, I just realised, they have a YouTube channel, Ina Culte, where they put up some of the stuff--not WHOLE series, though!--so you could test-drive it if you like:

Here, for example, is the first episode of the serial La Duchesse d'Avila (based on The manuscript found in Saragosa--I started watching that last night:

Here is the first episode of Les Compagnons de Baal:


abr. 15, 2020, 12:19pm

I want this guy's jacket so much (without the ruff).

abr. 15, 2020, 3:11pm

>63 LolaWalser:
You have to take the ruff with the smooth.

abr. 15, 2020, 3:17pm

Mmmm. Does a ruff hide a double chin or accentuate it?

abr. 15, 2020, 4:00pm

>64 pgmcc:


>65 housefulofpaper:

Sounds like a Lewis Carroll puzzle... :)

abr. 15, 2020, 9:12pm

About the The Amityville Horror. Not revising my initial impressions although the cast are all good. Better than the dialogue they're given, that's for sure. Interesting tension going on in the Blu-ray's bonus features. A commentary by the parapsychologist who wrote the book Amityville II was based on(!) - i.e. not Jay Anson but Hans Holzer says the source is psychic energy in the ground latching onto a "sensitive" in the house. He also increasingly turns into a kind of querulous older relative through the course of the film: "This didn't happen. Why make it up. The truth i dramatic enough" "The real George Lutz didn't look like {James Brolin}" "What's he doing? He's stealing the book? From a library? Why would you show that in a movie". etc. Then there's an hour-long documentary (I think it's an hour - my new Blu-ray player doesn't have a timer. Annoying!) about one of the Lutz children. Grown up now of course. He blames his step-father's dabbling into the occult for releasing evil into the house and their family. He and other relatives in the documentary are (I don't know the right word - devout catches part of it, but they believe in the efficacy of Holy Relics, for example) Catholics. Holzer, on the other hand, denies the existence of Heaven and Hell but does believe the personality can survive the physical body.

And here's the other interesting thing. The house is built on the site of a Native American burial ground. As far as I can remember that's NOT the case with The Shining (the Overlook Hotel's decor merely suggests it, allows an inference). It's not true for Poltergeist (that was a modern cemetery, but admittedly it was "retconned" in the sequels). The trope apparently starts with The Amityville Horror.

Oh and one last thing. The actor playing Father Delaney's (Rod Steiger's) superior, who rubbishes the suggestion of anything supernatural going on, and blocking any Spiritual aid (is that the right term) to the beleaguered Luz family, is Murray Hamilton. That is, the mayor in Jaws (and Jaws 2 - he got re-elected!). I can't decide if that's clever casting or lazy casting.

Okay that's off my chest. On with the Ina treasure trove!

abr. 16, 2020, 3:40am

>61 LolaWalser: et al.

Ah, why worry? Can't really go wrong at that price, so I'll go for it anyway.

I don't know if it's too early in the morning here, but annoyed I can't think of a way of working 'ruff' into this post ...

abr. 16, 2020, 4:33am

>68 alaudacorax:

Done, and I've put Le Golem (see last thread) in Mes favoris ...

abr. 16, 2020, 4:36am

>69 alaudacorax:

Though, having said that, I seriously mistranslated the synopsis ... not a good start ...

abr. 16, 2020, 9:00pm

>69 alaudacorax:

Oh, YAY, I hope you enjoy it! I've been gorging on this and that, trying out dozens of titles--absolutely loved a strange science fiction two-episode story from 1971, "Mycènes, celui qui vient du futur". Features poetry by Apollinaire and Nerval (among others), a dodecaphonic soundtrack but also Pink Floyd. Far out!

>67 housefulofpaper:

I've never seen that, but if it's along the lines of The Exorcist, I'm interested.

Incidentally, wasn't that the haunting of the Borley presbytery (or whatever it's called in English) you discussed a while back?! If so, it looks as if the French covered the story too, parking this for reference:

It's part of a series, Le Tribunal de l'impossible--apparently the episodes were followed up on with debates where various individuals debated whether the phenomena were real etc.

abr. 19, 2020, 8:33pm

>71 LolaWalser:
Yes, Borley Rectory.
I haven't watched the French documentary. My grasp of the language isn't sufficient to even read the notice about subscribing. It feels as if I can imagine what it would be like, from the tone and style of contemporary British TV documentaries (and, demonstrating it was an international style, the fake documentary Jan Svankmajer made about The Castle of Otranto. Here it is:

I've just added a couple of VHS tapes to my other account - blank tapes that I filled with stuff recorded "off the telly", -
because they include things I couldn't copy to DVD, or buy. It seems at least one channel was broadcasting stuff with a copy protect signal that let you record it once.

Anyway, I found that these programmes are on YouTube now:
Tomorrow Calling, an adaptation of William Gibson's short story "The Gernsback Continuum" ("Just think of it as Ray-Gun Gothic", says a character at one point, perhaps justifying my mentioning it here). I should give a warning that there's some nudity at the start.

Old Father Christmas, a mini-opera with overtones of Harrison Birtwistle, Jan Svankmajer (again!), and Folk Horror.

Both programmes had UK terrestrial broadcasts in or around December 1994. The tapes are still looking pretty good (blank tapes hold up better than pre-recorded tapes I understand, and the analogue TV picture you were recording was usually pretty good.

abr. 20, 2020, 10:01am

>72 housefulofpaper:

The French movie is a dramatisation, not a documentary. Now that I watched it, I would only mildly recommend it to the aficionados of that particular legend--I suspect it's too humorous to be enjoyable to someone looking for a horror thrill. (Always funny to see how the French play the English, and vice versa.)

Thanks very much for the links to Tomorrow Calling and Old Father Christmas (the Svankmajer I had seen before)! I must say Tomorrow Calling hits close to home--I avoid thinking deeply about what this... nostalgia for yesterday's dreams, shall we say, implies for the state of our (my) psyches. Or life's hopes.

It's hard to imagine any future generations looking back to our nightmares for inspiration... only warnings.

That Father Christmas is more pagan than Christian. There's a note there I perceive as specifically Germanic horror (the Slavic versions of the figure and the stories are cheerful, pastoral, harmonious).

abr. 20, 2020, 10:05am

Not the greatest resolution (360p) but as I remember, this is not easy to find, so...

The Face Behind the Mask (noir-horror 1941) Peter Lorre

abr. 29, 2020, 5:28pm

I've been watching The Haunting of M. R. James--not the dramatisation with Mark Gatiss as James, but a 2019 documentary with Chris Halston and Ursula Bielski (it doesn't have a touchstone or an IMDb page I can link to--I found it on Amazon Prime).

In this new period documentary, we take a fresh look at the unrivalled master of the modern ghost story, M.R.James and his life and beliefs. Did he believe in the paranormal? Shot entirely on location, the show explores the life of M.R.James from his early days in Suffolk to his life as a Cambridge academic and later Provost of Eton. A historical journey presented by Ursula Bielski and Chris Halton

The premise is that James, influenced by his life-long interest in pre-Reformation, English catholic literature, was a believer in the supernatural and, indeed, had experience of it, but, because of his academic status, felt he had to keep these things to himself and, thus, let it come out in his fiction. It's rather long on conjecture and short on hard facts, also rather heavy-handed with the creepy background music. There is some fascinating stuff in there, though, and it's well worth a watch.

maig 1, 2020, 12:28pm

I'm not sure what boundaries can be traced between religious belief and the belief in the supernatural...

I watched again The City of the Dead, always a pleasure, and The Curse of the Crimson Altar for the first time. The DVD came from an outfit self-deprecatingly named Cheezy Flicks and the image quality isn't great, but tolerable. The best thing about the latter is no doubt the combo of Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff, just the fact of them together on a set. Plus Michael Gough, in some scenes. I was grinning like a fool.

Karloff to the hero (velvety tones): "I have a rather amusing collection you might be interested in seeing" -Oh, really, what do you collect?- (so suavely) "Instruments of torture."

Also saw, courtesy of Kanopy, a strange movie from 1963 called Blood Feast. Hand on heart, what did I expect?--nothing--what did I get?--well quite a surprise, in some regards. The terrible acting and flimsy plot were more or less what one might expect. But the gore for one was unexpected, in a movie of that vintage, and the thing did have ideas behind it, someone's stamp. Visually it's quite arresting. Some lovely sixties interiors and props, pastel colours & brilliant fake blood. There's unintended and intended humour. The former mostly derives from several truly terrible actors (the boyfriend of one of the victims, the cops, the main girl) but the latter is very much in the script, like the would-be sacrifice to Ishtar performed on the kitchen counter. I thought of Kenneth Anger, of Ed Wood, of Roger Corman, of John Waters. Whoever is inclined to enjoy them might want to check this out.

Editat: maig 2, 2020, 12:47pm

I wish The Curse of the Crimson Altar was a better film.

It also seems to have a production history that is still quite murky. Those of us "in the know" recognise Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch House" as contributing some elements to the story. But the story seems to want to be an "explained supernatural"/ Les Diaboliques or Psycho type of suspense thriller, of the kind that Jimmy Sangster was turning out for Hammer in the early sixties - apart from the final twist (or cop out) of seeing Lavinia at the end. Plus it flirts with the groovy sixties scene but loses heart or nerve and concentrates on a cast of middle-aged, middle-class men in tweeds.(I know, "but what a cast" -but, still).

Lovecraft gets no mention in the credits of course. The script is by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln who had contributed three scripts for Doctor Who (creating the character of the Brigadier in one of them). Henry Lincoln had a sideline in the '70s with BBC documentaries about the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau (until the BBC broadcast a further documentary debunking the whole thing) and co-writing The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail and sequels from the '80s. That script is from a story by Jerry Sohl, a name I recognised as one of the group ghost-writing scripts for Charles Beaumont when he succumbed to some form of early-onset dementia (I first learned about this from The Twilight Zone Companion before I'd ever seen an episode).

It looks as if a treatment had been put together in Hollywood, but somehow the property came into the hands of Tony Tenser (that is, Tigon Productions) and the two British screenwriters set to work on it. Did anyone working on the film even know the Lovecraft connection, I wonder?

Actually the production history is evidently even more complicated. Tenser is credited as Executive Producer. The producer is Louis M. "Deke" Heyward, American International Picture's man in England. AIP had made a couple of loose Lovecraft adaptations and would make The Dunwich Horror in 1970. Mystery solved? No, there's a credited associate producer. Gerry Levy has credits on low budget British films, including some other Tigon pictures, and later credits (production/unit manager) in the '80s and '90s on big films such as Gandhi and Octopussy. An interviewee in the DVD extras of my copy says he brought the property to Tony Tenser, at which point it had the title "Redemption".

And now I can't find it but I am sure I read a long interview with Roger Corman's production designer and director of The Dunwich Horror, Daniel Haller, which along the way discusses a script based on "The Dreams in the Witch House" being prepared by AIP in the '60s, to be shot in the States. All very confusing and none of it addressed in the DVD extras (the commentary is merely an excuse for David Del Valle to interview Barbara Steele at length).

Sadly the interviewees in the filmed extras are all sure that the cold and damp filming conditions hastened Karloff's death.

The blurb on the DVD box knows its audience: "This adaptation from Lovecraft's 'Dream in the Witch House' was shot in Grim's Dyke, the allegedly haunted home of W S Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. It is remarkable for being the only time that Lee, Karloff and Steele appeared in the same film and is also the last British film to star Karloff, which was innovatively filmed by John Coquillon."

Editat: maig 2, 2020, 2:41am

This is going to be a very vague post ... apologies.

Just nipped over to IMDb to check a title for another thread, and found IMDb currently pushing this: Lovecraft Country, based on a novel--Lovecraft Country--I've never heard of, either. Looked at the synopsis of the TV and a few reviews of the book ... and don't really know what to think of either ... but I thought I'd mention them, if only for the title.

maig 2, 2020, 3:48am

On Curse of the Crimson Altar:

I'm sure I've posted previously, and not too long ago, on a similar film--when I run searches on CotCA itself nothing is coming up, but I've hunted through the last three iterations of this thread without finding the post.

My post was to the effect that there seems to be a number of films with the same premise: a chap goes to a mysterious house, last-known location of a missing brother, finds possible bad guy and niece living there, falls in love with niece, and so on. Possibly the odd TV horror series episode, too. I remember seeing this film, but I also have memories of different faces in some of the roles.

maig 2, 2020, 12:26pm

>79 alaudacorax:

That outline does seem familiar in general. Could be an episode of Thriller as well...

>77 housefulofpaper:

Thanks very much for all the info, this tidbit in particular: "Henry Lincoln who had contributed three scripts for Doctor Who (creating the character of the Brigadier in one of them)".

Yes, it's a shame the overall result isn't better. Steele's role is practically a cameo. I think they had something with the "dream" sequences that could have turned even Jarmanesque, in better hands, with better props more imaginatively used. I suppose Tigon blew their money on paying the stars.

maig 2, 2020, 7:50pm

>78 alaudacorax: I’ve read Lovecraft Country and enjoyed. Heading over to IMDB now to check out their news on it.

maig 4, 2020, 5:08pm

I finally got around to watching Borley Rectory, that was mentioned in the previous thread. It was visually quite interesting--sort of fun (and I was amused by the sheer volume of pipe smoke floating about). I don't think it told me anything I didn't know, though. An overwhelming amount of extras on the disc--I gave up after an hour or so--perhaps tomorrow ...

maig 5, 2020, 6:30pm

>82 alaudacorax:
That's something I find about extra features on disc - they make the disc more attractive (before I buy it), more justifiable as vague for money, even as a piece of scholarship that deserves to be supported, but then the 2x feature commentaries or the stills gallery, or examples of the director's student films can be a real slog...

maig 5, 2020, 6:53pm

I looked back over the previous Gothic films threads, it seems to have been a while since Curtis Harrington's name has come up.

I wrote a few sentences about Night Tide when I bought it on DVD. I don't recall exactly what I said. I think I came away with the feeling it was sort of half-way between the avant garde and the mainstream and fell between the two stools, somewhat. I do remember being pulled by the quality of the film image, in some scenes it looked to have been shot on video.

This was I would guess the result of what was, 10 or so years ago, a heroic restoration attempt on very badly deteriorated film elements. Because a new 4k restoration has been made using a film negative apparently suffering very badly from vinegar syndrome, shrunk from a spool to a "rough hexagon" and only surviving long enough for a digital scan to be made by sone sort of cinematic miracle. Even so, some scenes had to be patched with a print made (from the same negative ) in 2007 - the source of my DVD version I presume. The Blu-ray (yes, I bought the Blu-ray!) is packaged with a booklet and a second disc of Harrington's short "experimental" films. This starts with his version of "The Fall of the House of Usher" made at age 14, the short films from the '40s shown as "experimental" films before labels such as "underground" or "alternative" cinema existed, the film he made about Marjorie Cameron and her paintings (widow of Jack Parsons, Crowleyite, the mysterious woman in black in Night Tide), an about synthetic fibres in industry which he contrives as a visual essay about alchemy, and his last film, a remake of his first film, in which he again plays both Roderick and Madeleine Usher.

The extras on the Night Tide disc are - contrary to my comments in >83 housefulofpaper: - both extensive and genuinely illuminating....

Editat: maig 5, 2020, 7:33pm

...>84 housefulofpaper:

the most substantial being a 25-minute feature based on an interview with Harrington (I've seen this footage also appearing on YouTube) from around the time he made his last film (which would be 2002) and 2 episodes of a 1980s cable TV show with David Del Valle interviewing Harrington about his film career. There are 2 commentary tracks (one with Harrington and Dennis Hopper - which is also on the DVD).

I was better-disposed to Night Tide watching it again, perhaps because all the supporting material helped contextualise it..and Curtis Harrington comes across as a genuinely nice man too, that certainly made me want to like his work.

maig 5, 2020, 7:40pm

it seems to have been a while since Curtis Harrington's name has come up.

Brought up in >36 LolaWalser:--it would be nice if there were a way to index titles and names (I suppose touchstoning works a little in that regard, but getting to posts instead of threads takes a bit of bending backward...)

Harrington's short "experimental" films.

This would be my reason for getting that, along with the extras. The shorts and the Poe sound utterly fascinating.

Editat: maig 5, 2020, 8:17pm

>86 LolaWalser:

It looks like the short films were released in the US about 10 years ago. That disc might be easier to get hold of than the limited-edition UK release I have (only 3000 copies made, apparently).

Editat: maig 11, 2020, 10:00am

Finally saw Macbeth yesterday. Stratford (Shakespeare) Festival in Ontario, with Ian Lake, was performed and filmed live in 2016. Released free on the SF website for 3wks. Weird Sisters, Lady Macbeth madness, at least two grizzly ghosts, dead babies, a few severed heads and a blinding body count? I'd say it qualifies for the gothic. The play is well known for many reasons of course, but I had never bothered to read it before now, nor viewed any of the many film versions. I'll revisit it again this week, to see 'more' as the lighting was extremely dark. But as Lady Macbeth observes, "Hell is murky."

maig 11, 2020, 6:50pm

Macbeth certainly gets a mention in the tie-in book to the British Library's big 2014 exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. "The dramas of William Shakespeare remained popular in performance, particularly supernatural and northern European thrillers such as Hamlet and MacBeth." This is in the historical context of "a growing canon of contemporary Gothic literature that blended Whig history with medievalism, the supernatural and anti-classicism."

I saw a production in the '90s but it was a bit flat. There are long speeches which the actors rattled though - clearly they didn't want to be in any way stereotypically "theatrical" but it made for some dull and often inaudible performances. Macbeth came alive during the fight scenes. It made me think, unkindly no doubt, that as Macbeth he would have made a good Glaswegian mobster in an episode of Taggart (oh, and he wiggled his toes all through his long speeches, you could see them moving in his boots. Very distracting once you'd noticed).

maig 12, 2020, 7:00am

>89 housefulofpaper:

Oh my goodness! Your parenthesis has just completely creased me! Almost choked on my cup of tea. I shall probably never be able to watch Macbeth the same way again ...

Editat: maig 14, 2020, 6:15pm

Ha ha. You two. Macbeth the comedic tragedy! We need a subgenre of 'Gothic Guff'. =D

The Stratford Festival at-home film fest continues. King Lear with Colm Feore from 2015 just finished its 3wk online run. He's facing Richard iii now, alongside The Miser, but we shall see if the season can be saved at all. Most of the 14 shows commence late-May, but some, mid-August. The others are; Much Ado About Nothing, All's Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Wolf Hall, Frankenstein Revived, Three Tall Women, The Rez Sisters, Hamlet-911, Here's What it Takes, Chicago, Monty Python's Spamalot, Wendy & Peter Pan. The four stages are; Festival Theatre, Avon Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre. The whole town of 30,000+ relies on tourism from the arts, so it'll be a bleak scene if they can't reopen. I wanted to aim for the World Premiere of Frankenstein Revived, set for Aug.02-Oct.22 but who knows. =(

The background interview between Colm and his director, Antoni Cimolino, also Artistic Director, revealed that the day the cameras were set up to film Lear (Oct?), his longtime friend died of cancer that morning, without having seen the show. The 4 howls when he staggers in carrying his daughter, were vividly realistic. Anguish in all its vulnerability. Saw it live from the balcony earlier in the run, but the closeups of his face, ugh.

Anyway, Richard iii is a bully, right? I read it years ago so need a refresh. WS's history plays are not in my wheelhouse. Malformed spine? Extreme scoliosis or a neck/shoulder bulge? Goiter?

Description: Charismatic, cunning and utterly ruthless, the misshapen Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the very embodiment of lethal ambition as he manoeuvres and murders his way to the throne of England. But once he reaches the top, the only way left is down - and in Richard's growing roster of vengeful enemies, none are more menacing than the ghosts of his past.

Ghost, like Hamlet's father's ghost? Or madness-induced lunacy ravings from mental collapse? Paranoia meets schizophrenia or whatever that's called now. Disassociative disorder?

Online pre-filmed dvd debuts are; King Lear, Coriolanus, Macbeth, The Tempest, plus 8 others (one weekly). I took my family to see Martha Henry play Prospero for Thanksgiving 2018 (Oct) so looking forward to seeing her closeups too. She has a male Ariel. The production was mesmerizing. I have Christopher Plummer 's Prospero on dvd (tiny female sprite Ariel). Saw Hamlet 3x with each of 3 sons when they were in high school, so maybe that will be one of the 8 remaining. Fingers crossed!

Editat: maig 14, 2020, 7:02pm

Curious. Tempest-Tost is the name of Robertson Davies' first book in his Salterton Trilogy. I assumed it was about The Tempest, but maybe he was quoting Macbeth. It just flew up the TBR ladder!

Editat: maig 15, 2020, 11:32am

The other 8 will be:
Hamlet (saw it performed)
Romeo and Juliet
Antony and Cleopatra
Love's Labour's Lost
Timon of Athens
King John
The Adventures of Pericles (saw it performed)
The Taming of the Shrew

Observations about The Tempest (2018):
* 2 hours 25 min dvd streaming online for 3wks
* it was written by WS after 4yrs of plague allowed theatres to be open for only 9mos which is all too relevant right now, with context and perspective, not as a given but as a goal re: free will
* director said that WS (in his last major work) brought all of the complex reflex themes of justice through revenge being overturned ultimately by love and forgiveness of one's enemies, which speaks to us today as much as to pre-1616 England
* Martha Henry said her emotions got the better of her each time the mask occurred, knowing that she'd set all this in motion but that she could now only look on as she lost her daughter for good. Poignant and unexpected as a veteran classic actor.
* director said it could be the first ever conceived work of sci-fi with Ariel, Caliban, black and white magic, books and costumes playing vital elements in conjuring elves and weather, 3 goddesses, etc.
* features a combination of alchemy astronomy astrology and karma, terrifying harpy with full wingspan per Da Vinci aircraft design (woman/vulture), hell hounds, natureas a creature not the Creator, etc.
* promises kept show Prospero's deep sense of moral integrity with Ariel, Miranda, sinking the book, etc. despite 12yrs of isolated obsession and corruption - shattered by Ariel due to Gonzalo, which ultimately saves the whole community - nature is no longer manipulated, nor is human nature - vice returns to virtue in balanced moral order - peace is finally possible through resignation to the Divine order - Prospero is redeemed through supplication
* although Martha Henry was born in Detroit she attended plays at Stratford Festival in high school so moved to Canada after graduating from university in 1959 and her first ever role was Miranda (age 22) to William Hutt's Prospero - a full circle career achievement! Still captivating at age 82.
* Antonio (Graham A.) was visibly younger, and a daughter of 3+12=15yrs looked realistic enough (Mamie Z.) but 80-15=65 thus suspended disbelief needed for an aged female Prospero
* quotes of note; brave new world, such stuff as dreams are made on, hell is empty and all the devils are here, etc.

maig 18, 2020, 6:57am

My suspension of disbelief just wasn't working last night. And my nitpicking gene seemed to be in overdrive.

I tried to watch The Blood Beast Terror. Before the opening credits, there a 'white hunter' type, complete with white bush suite and pith helmet, being rowed in a canoe by two African-looking gentlemen. So far, so good; but you never saw such English-looking countryside! Might well have been the Norfolk Broads. Clearly not in the tropics. And then they showed a Green Monkey and Saddle-billed Stork, from Africa ... and a Blue and Gold Macaw from South America. I watched another ten minutes or so, particularly as there was a carriage ride and I was waiting to see if that track alongside a lake--so familiar from so many British horrors--turned up; but my mood was shattered and I gave up. I probably shouldn't have been pausing the film to identify the wildlife ...

Editat: maig 18, 2020, 1:09pm

My own weakness led me to watch 3 seasons online of Rosemary and Thyme, 2 gardening sleuths wreaking havoc hither and yon. I'd heard of Pam Ferris so indulged in a binge. One episode was called 'In a Monastery Garden', filmed at Chicester Cathedral, complete with a young frail female murder victim, a dry well with skeletal remains, absconded funds, retired bishop on crutches, undercover investigations, etc. Got my dose of gothic in the inner/outer architecture and organ music. =) Something about mixed gothic and Norman influences, including a double aisle and detached medieval bell tower. The books and birds and bugs and greenery were distracting throughout all 22 episodes. Some Spain, some Italy, some France. Short and sweet. Lovely to see Emma Thompson's mum in an episode and a few other familiar faces. Not the least bit grizzly but inventive and visually appealing to one who has never been to England. Good for a rainy long weekend.

Speaking of suspension of disbelief, I just learned Anthony Andrews played Count Fosco on stage. I cannot picture it. Most know him from Brideshead Revisited or Ivanhoe but my intro was The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982. He was in one of the other Rosemary and Thyme episodes concerning murders at a private school for boys. I've seen the tv adaptation of The Woman in White after reading the novel last year, and he wouldn't be in my top ten, not even in costume. Unless he really is that good!?

Black Narcissus 1947 turned up in my research. Rumor Godden is new to me.

Happy Victoria Day long weekend everyone!

maig 19, 2020, 6:55pm

>93 frahealee:

The Tempest famously inspired Forbidden Planet.

Derek Jarman's film version emphasised the magical and alchemical elements of the play. Peter Greenaway's version, Prospero's Books, envisaged Prospero as a figure at the centre of Renaissance learning

maig 19, 2020, 7:01pm

>94 alaudacorax:
Speaking as someone who thought the geese on the river Kennet were "big ducks" for years, the dodgy fauna would probably have got past me. That section does look like a boating trip in the home counties nevertheless.

I think Peter Cushing called it the worst film he ever made. I quite like it. He's good, Wanda Ventham is good. And perhaps because of the low budget, weird outbreaks of common sense break out from time to time - instead of a blazing inferno for a climax, somebody has the level headedness to put the fire out while it's still manageable. I found it oddly cheering.

maig 19, 2020, 7:27pm

>95 frahealee:

Rumer Godden was a name I seem to have always known, from childhood, without ever consciously reading any of her books. Black Narcissus is a Powell/Pressburger film I have yet to watch (the DVD is buried deep in a box of similarly unveiled discs).

I looked at her Wikipedia entry, and a few of her works were adapted for children's television, which must be where I first heard the name. And the title of her novel (which was filmed) In This House of Brede had stuck in my head without my knowing what it was about (cloistered nuns). Like the submarine drama Gray Lady Down, it just sounded mysterious and possibly science-fictional!

But she wrote the original children's book that this very dark children's animation from 1984 was based on. When we started a thread about Gothic on film or television, this came to mind first.

maig 21, 2020, 6:48pm

In a "Dracula" mood at the moment, as you must have noticed :) - so watched the 1968 television version with Denholm Elliott in the lead role again. Surprisingly there's what I think is the full version on YouTube. Evidently it was shown on cable with an Elvira style "Horror Host" in the '80s.

It makes some interesting choices, some of them very probably dictated by the size of the budget, so it follows the stage play in limiting the action to a couple of locations. As with nearly all adaptations there's interest in seeing what has been kept, what left out, what has been emphasised, what isn't from the novel and is it from previous screen versions or is it new?

From a British television aspect, scenes and staging here didn't so much reoccur in later versions - the Louis Jourdan version for example - as seem to be echoed in comedy/light entertainment spoofs that I grew up with in the '70s/'80s (Light Entertainment had big budgets back then) - as if the people working with Dave Allen or Kenny Everett had this template to refer back to. Some of it, admittedly, was just cheap swing-a-bat-on-a-fishing-line stuff!

It's very clear that the Count is supposed to be a sexy hand grenade thrown into the middle of a repressed Victorian bourgeois set-up (not family exactly but the streamlined Lucy - her mother - Dr Seward & Mina - Jonathan (who is essentially Renfield here) & Van Helsing grouping(s). I have to go along with the majority of critical opinion that Elliott, splendid actor though he was, isn't convincing on that score.

There's a scene by the way, where Van Helsing tries to convince Seward of the reality of vampires with - I was going to write "photocopies! - copies of some kind of various woodcuts etc. from old books of various cultures. It's the scene from Quatermass and the Pit where Quatermass and Barbara Judd (I think, rather than Roney) find the references to "imps and demons" going back centuries. Four years before the Doctor Who story "The Daemons" recycled it again!

Editat: maig 23, 2020, 6:34pm

>93 frahealee: Timon of Athens (2018 dvd by StratFest @ Home) premiered online Thursday night and although the story is bleak and realistic, then and now, gothic elements were hard to find. Reading as I watched helped since the play was a new one for me. Loved the olive and the sword imagery.

>96 housefulofpaper: The website 30min. interview with Martha Henry and Antoni Cimolino, her director, (and the gal who played Miranda) mentioned the connection to Forbidden Planet, which I had to stop and look up, not being familiar with it.

They made an interesting observation in another segment, based on a comment during the livestream, that the performances at Stratford Festival were remarkably enjoyable even without English accents. It never dawned on me before, that I've grown up attending Shakespeare plays since 1980 with very few actors delivering lines with an accent. I have no preference, one over the other and enjoy both equally live or on film. This type of backhanded compliment or shaded harmless prejudice gave me insight into history and England/Canada/USA dynamics. Fascinating.

The actress who played Sister Ruth in Black Narcissus looked pretty darned possessed to me, although some young non-Catholic fellow who presented a 10min. online movie review thought otherwise. His opinion was a psychotic break from extreme isolation and asceticism. If that's the case, the good works stemming from St. Benedict's 3yrs in a cave and the hundreds of other canonized saints are even more miraculous. Good acting presents each to his own, I suppose. I'd love to see the whole film someday, after reading her book. Jean Simmons was unrecognizable, but I guess that was the point. Maybe she signed on initially to play a nuns but wanted a different experience by playing against type. 'Brede' will go on my wishlist if the author's writing style suits me with this first foray.

Timon of Athens is a whole other kind of hermit. Yikes. We've just been through our own forced plague based misanthropy. Hard times require hard looks in the mirror. The actors interviewed said the characters linger within themselves even now. Bone marrow revelations about one's friends who make up a makeshift family, and oneself. The plays WS wrote during that time bring the tempest theme and a certain self-loathing centre stage. They say if you want to learn the truth of the matter, make somebody angry and the facade falls away. So glad Shakespeare peeled himself all the way back. I will never look at root vegetables the same way again! Pot roast anyone? =)

Editat: maig 23, 2020, 7:35pm

Update. My son located the 1947 film on some obscure site on YouTube so just viewed it covertly. Book can wait. He found that Gemma Arterton is set to play Deborah Kerr's role in a 3-part miniseries remake of Black Narcissus by BBC One, announced Sept2019.

It (film) was less confrontational than expected, but sets were serene and the expanse captured adequately. Best gothic shots were multi level stone staircases, lots of shade and shadows and lanterns and candles. Remote mountain cliff setting, sweet little rectangular room for their 'Saint Faith' chapel, haunted by pasts, minimal communication so misunderstandings ensued, hands hard at work keep the devil at bay. I loved the anguish in the eyes of Sister Philippa much more than either lead character and the pragmatic sensibility of Sister Briony made for excellent contrast to the other perceived exaggerated bad behaviour. I liked the detail that this group of Sisters were responsible for renewing their vows annually, rather than one lifelong dedication after their novitiate.

maig 23, 2020, 3:58pm

>101 frahealee:

Somehow, I can't imagine Gemma Arterton as a nun. I'll be interested to see what she makes of it.

maig 23, 2020, 5:08pm

>99 housefulofpaper:

Thanks for the tip. I watched it on here (it came up as a playlist of six parts--better than the version with "Misty Brew"s interpolated commentary!):

There's a lot to like here, from the players to the design and the music. Yes, Elliott doesn't quite work for me either, a little too... ordinary, chatty-sounding in places? It's common to think the face is the most important, but I believe it's the voice that makes or breaks a Dracula. He needed to invent a different voice, something more than just the accent. I can't remember now what I'm flashing to but I know he has it in himself to play a terrific chilling villain, a real demonic force. Maybe he's too young here. There's some hint of the direction in which I think he should have gone full throttle, when he's ranting about the "Ugrics" and berserkers and whatnot--that's what it should have been, something madder.

Lucy and Mina were good, and Van Helsing seemed scarier than Dracula! Seward was OK, Corin Redgrave too (it's funny to me how his sisters look more like their father than he does...)

All in all, a very accomplished version by top professionals all around.

Oh yes. Extra points for the central incisor fangs--not as pretty a look as when they stick them on the canines, but so deliciously horrible.

Editat: maig 23, 2020, 9:35pm

>102 alaudacorax: Well, she was terrific against Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia and was suitably cast in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Which reminds me, I've put off reading Hardy's Jude the Obscure forever, having already seen the 1996 film with Kate Winslet and Christopher Eccleston. Looks like Gemma performed Joan of Arc on stage in 2016. She'll be fine. There is a bit of Irish imp called for in the role, which Kerr revelled in, rather than say, Julie Andrews slapstick or Audrey Hepburn humble austerity, etc. Mary Tyler Moore opposite Elvis Presley is what I'm seeing...

Side note, Marie-Marguerite d'Youville popped up in my research of nuns from France in the 18th century sent by their orders to Canada, to establish hospitals, schools, childcare, etc. for the voyageur families in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto. Although I was aware of the Grey Nuns, I never noticed the surname before reading Tess. Not exact, but similar enough in its rarity.

There is no Bishop figure or priest confessor in the film, which I found intriguing for the 1940s. One Mother Superior and one holy man figure, but the Order of the Companions of Mary were true to female expectations of nursing the sick and teaching the poor. They were already established in India but expanded to this Darjeeling region upon obedience to their vows, after a request was made by the resident Prince. The five nuns set out because they were requested, which was how it frequently panned out.

Scarlet Thread (1951) film is not easy to research. Anyone heard of it? Seems to be a B movie also with Kathleen Byron. Curious if it references the OT story of Rahab or if it's a fluke.

maig 24, 2020, 3:09pm

A plug for the delightful The Vampire Bat, 1933. I saw it first in a very bad copy on Millcreek which didn't allow for due appreciation; you can find it now in a splendid state intheusualplace.

Such a nice cast: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Dwight Frye... One of Atwill's best. Set around a castle somewhere sinister and German-speaking. People are being found dead, without a drop of blood in their bodies and telltale puncture marks.

"Bats! It's BATS!" shrieks the burgomaster at one point.

Hmmm, wouldn't do wonders for my décor, but I'd love to get this:

maig 27, 2020, 5:59pm

>104 frahealee:
The Scarlet Thread link goes to a Renown Pictures DVD box. So the people running Talking Pictures TV currently own the film. I'll look out for it on the channel while I'm working from home.

maig 27, 2020, 6:35pm

>104 frahealee:

On further investigation, the DVD hasn't been available for a while. The reviews on Amazon (UK) provide some info. It doesn't appear to be an especially religious picture!

maig 27, 2020, 6:47pm

>103 LolaWalser:

I don't know. When I think of Denholm Elliot I think either of sweaty desperation or caddish comedy playing. I looked through his IMDb entries but nothing with "real demonic force" leapt out ...but I haven't seen a 10th of his screen performances.

Agree about Van Helsing (the great Bernard Archard, of course). Didn't you think Susan George overdid the Joan Greewood/Fenella Fielding vamp, a bit, as the vampirised Lucy?

maig 27, 2020, 7:22pm

I'm terrible with remembering titles, but Elliott is etched in my mind most forcefully in some traitorous, villainous role(s). He had depth; I think he could have pushed past into higher ranges of Draculian evil.

Susan George--mostly I was noticing how very young she looked (maybe because of the B&W), but yes I think you're right, there was a tad too earnest AHHHCTING about her. Mina was better, more natural.

Editat: maig 28, 2020, 2:15pm

>107 housefulofpaper: Thanks very much for taking the trouble to look it up. I discovered the actress by accident, researching something unrelated at the time, an unknown (to me) actress wife of a famous British actor I think? Somehow it crossed over with Kathleen Byron. I think it was Anthony Andrews and Georgina Simpson. I'd just listened to John Gielgud read Brideshead Revisited. Funny and fitting that they have a son named Joshua. =) I wonder if he played trumpet?!

I do love the unexpected dichotomy of sacred versus secular, when it manifests itself. Some creativity comes from a place of reverence, some from opposition. Rahab was a prostitute who sheltered two spies and saved her family when 'the walls came crumbling down'. I might expect a similar plot from its film title. How mobsters/mafia factors in is anyone's guess. I might have known some Sicilian element would surface. I'm doomed to be haunted by the sins of my fathers, although my great grandparents escaped unscathed (both were buried here a month apart in 1942, when my dad was almost 12, which appeals to me on every level). I'd like to read its original script, liner notes and all! B movies are like adorable underdogs that get the last laugh.

Old Testament/Joshua 2:1 (scarlet thread/cord)
New Testament/Hebrews 11:30-31 (Rahab)
I love that she has a critical role in the line of David, thus Jesus. There's an auntie you want to know!

ETA: Found it, mystery solved (for my own peace of mind). The Moonstone (1972) miniseries featured both actresses, Georgina and Kathleen. That was the inadvertent overlap.

Editat: juny 12, 2020, 8:26pm

Recently watched -
Jack the Ripper The strange 1973 BBC drama-documentary in which two TV detectives (Watt and Barlow from Softly Softly: Task Force) re-examine the Whitechapel murders over six 50-minute episodes. Witness testimony etc. is played out in little staged vignettes (with some interesting faces under the stuck-on Victorian whiskers: Christopher Benjamin, Kenneth Colley, Morris Perry, a young Alan Ford in a scene with Norman Shelley (Dr Watson on BBC radio in the '60s), etc.). Brings in the Royal (Prince Eddy) cover up theory in the last episode. BEFORE the Stephen Knight book, I found out from Wikipedia.

Nothing But the Night - the only film produced by Christopher Lee's production company, Charlemagne films. He's in it and so's Peter Cushing but their neither antagonists nor do they have much screen time together, so on that score it feels like a missed opportunity. For about three minutes new the end it looked like the real missed opportunity was Cushing and Georgia Brown as at team. Interesting but also typically '70s cast, if you know what I mean - a big part for Diana Dors, Keith Barron (although I have to confess to not being a fan - there's something about him that just drains the energy from a scene), Fulton Mackay, Morris Perry pops up again, and a small role for John Robinson, aka the emergency Quatermass in Quatermass II (the TV serial) cast after Reginald Tate's death.

John Blackburn, the The author of the original novel is getting some critical attention. I read a recent essay that discussed the novel and the ways the film diverges from it - to the film's detriment, in the author's judgement. I knew the film had a lukewarm write up in things like English Gothic so maybe my expectations were lowered but I enjoyed it (admittedly this is coming from someone who now watches 50-year old films to go "look, that's Morris Perry!")

juny 12, 2020, 7:51pm

Rewatched House of Wax and Mystery of the Wax Museum. The last time I watched them I was more excited about Mystery of the Wax Museum sneaking onto the disc as an extra, and gave the Vincent Price remake slightly short shrift. I enjoyed it better second time around, it seemed pier than I remembered. I watched on Blu-ray this time. Disappointed to realise there's an actual 3D version on this disc, but I can't watch it. Also the gutsy girl reporter chucking her career away to marry her editor at the end of the film irked me more this time. Not making allowances for its 90-year old social attitudes!

juny 12, 2020, 8:01pm

Spirits of the Dead - the Poe portmanteau film (it's gone under several names) directed by Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, and Frederico Fellini. Yes the Fellini segment (a loose interpretation of "Never Bet the Devil your Head") is by far the best, but I have to confess to finding Roger Vadim's take on "Metzengerstein" more entertaining than Louis Malle's version of "William Wilson" (also, I grew up watching The Goodies so if I see an obvious dummy thrown from a stall building I can't help but expect a jump cut after it lands so Tim Brooke-Taylor can pick himself off the floor!).

juny 12, 2020, 8:08pm

Oh yes, Richard Stanley's new version of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Colour of out Space" (HPL favoured the English spelling). Color Out of Space is updated but is essentially faithful to the original. I couldn't help noticing some borrowings from other films to flesh out the effects of the "color" - it makes it more of a haunted house movie for the "middle act" - especially (perhaps I mean "specifically") the first Poltergeist film.

Editat: juny 12, 2020, 8:16pm

>112 housefulsfilmtv:

I don't remember much about the Price version except how very intensely coloured it is. As for the earlier one, I recall appreciating the female lead in it a lot as an unusually "strong" role--funny and self-motivated. Speaking of intense colours, I'm now in happy possesion of Chamber of Horrors, 1965 (coupled with The Brides of Fu Manchu). It too features a wax museum--strictly of murderers and their gruesome deeds. A midget runs through it.

>111 housefulsfilmtv:

The documentary that taught me everything I know about JtR (and I think it was your link that led me there). Engrossing and well argued, even if the conclusions are, as ever, open-ended.

juny 15, 2020, 5:55am

>113 housefulsfilmtv:

I don't know how I could have been quite unaware of Spirits of the Dead, but I was. It sounds fascinating.

juny 21, 2020, 7:00pm

I finally got to see The Return of the Vampire - 45 years after first reading about it. It's often described as an unofficial sequel to the Lugosi/Browning Dracula made by a rival studio (Columbia). I had assumed it would pick up after the events of Dracula with some name changes. Actually the first quarter of the film tells an admittedly Dracula-like story before moving the story forward (from a WWI setting to WWII) and a German air raid uncovering the vampire and permitting his accidental resurrection.

This looks a bit more sumptious, in terms of production design, than the Universal horror films being made around the same time. It's not a big-budget picture by any means but the sets - what looks like a country churchyard (though I think it's supposed to be in London), a bombed-out church - are more detailed.

Some interesting differences in approach too. Universal had developed a mythology which had become pretty pervasive but the script goes in a different direction here. Armand Tesla (the Lugosi character) became a vampire because he was obsessed with them (and the occult generally) in life. His Renfield-type servant is a werewolf because lycanthropy is the physical expression of the evil in his nature.

There's also a strong female character in Lady Jane Ainsley, played by Frieda Inescort (middle-aged too, in as required, really, by the 20+ year time period of the story). In a way she's a Mina Harker substitute (with her "Man's brain" (!), to quote van Helsing (in the novel). But unfortunately (infuriatingly) she gets sidelined (worse than that, metaphorically has her feet swept from under her by the most annoying, Blimpish character in the film) before the climax.

juny 22, 2020, 5:26am

>117 housefulofpaper:

I'd intended to post on that; must have completely forgotten. I watched it a week or two back. I did enjoy it---good, old-fashioned horror.

I was quite impressed by the sets and especially noticed the sharp contrast between the gorgeous, 'Gothic horror' graveyard and the news-reel-like, stark reality of bombed-out London.

... the most annoying, Blimpish character ...
Agreed---he did, just a little, spoil the film for me. I thought his blinkered thick-headedness rather overdone and I was a little jarred by his breaking the fourth wall. In my book a character has to be thorough-going villain or all-round 'good guy' (perhaps some avuncular narrator) to do that---he didn't earn the right!

And I'm with you on Lady Jane getting a bit short-changed by the script.

It's weird---I could have sworn I'd already done a post on this ...

Editat: jul. 3, 2020, 12:00pm

How did I miss the fact that Jack Nicholson played a werewolf?!? Anyone seen it? Stellar cast, with Jack opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, Kate Nelligan, Eileen Atkins, Christopher Plummer, James Spader, David Hyde Pierce, Om Puri, Richard Jenkins. Directed by Mike Nichols.

Wolf (1994)

Full moon Saturday night. I'm just saying.

jul. 5, 2020, 3:45am

I really like that movie, and always remember the scene with James Spader & Nicholson character when they talk to each other in a bathroom. Sorry, won't spoil the great Nicholson quote but it's funny and scary at same time....

jul. 5, 2020, 1:29pm

>119 frahealee:

I missed out on that one, I think it received some sniffy reviews just when I was in my deepest "arthouse" phase of film viewing (on VHS, usually). It so happens that I've been working my way through the Universal horror films and rewatched all the Lon Chaney Jr. wolf man films, plus the earlier Werewolf of London.

jul. 5, 2020, 6:39pm

>119 frahealee: One would think Jack Nicholson would be perfectly cast in 'Wolf'. I only saw it once, on original release, a quarter of a century ago, and didn't enjoy it. It was too serious, had bad effects, and wasn't scary, so far as I can recall. I might enjoy it better now I am more mature!

Editat: jul. 9, 2020, 8:14pm

This thread inspired me to go shopping...I rarely need much encouragement!...and these arrived today. Three werewolf films plus a misfit - John Landis' vampire follow-up to An American Werewolf in London, Innocent Blood. I discovered that I missed out on an Indicator edition of Wolf with lots of extras. I managed to get a bare-bones Danish edition via Amazon.

I hadn't noticed the similarities between the covers until I took this picture.

jul. 9, 2020, 10:53pm

I really enjoyed An American Werewolf in London, because it keeps you as a viewer completely off balance. There are some great comedic moments right next to some completely horrific scenes and imagery. And it also has a interesting soundtrack...

jul. 10, 2020, 7:58am

>123 housefulofpaper:

I saw Wolfen a few years back. Other than Albert Finney being in it I remember very little---which doesn't speak well for it. I saw Wolf about the same time and remember it (vaguely) as the better film, but Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rather lower rating than Wolfen, so I've probably got that wrong.
Don't know about The Beast Must Die. If I've seen it I've completely forgotten it; I know of it and I think I've been avoiding it as sounding too gimmicky.

>123 housefulofpaper:, >124 benbrainard8:

I've seen An American Werewolf in London a couple of times and enjoyed it. But I never know quite what to make of it; it's really out on its own. Now and then I've vaguely thought of watching An American Werewolf in Paris, but then I see the abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score and think better of it. Never heard of Innocent Blood, but if that's the real Landis follow-up perhaps I'd do better to watch that (though that doesn't have much of a RT score, either).

In the meantime, I've had Count Dracula and Gothic lying around here for weeks---really must get them watched and returned. Haven't been in a horror film mood or a Ken Russell mood ...

jul. 10, 2020, 8:12am

>125 alaudacorax: - ... I've had Count Dracula and Gothic lying around here for weeks ...

Gods, what am I thinking! I've sat down to Count Dracula twice and failed to get more than twenty or thirty minutes in. My impression is that it's a bloody lousy film, but it's so well-rated online that I can't bring myself to give up on it and move on. It's probably just my looming insanity that, having started with that one, I can't bring myself to watch Gothic till I'm done with it.

jul. 10, 2020, 1:36pm

I didn't know of that Cushing flick either. *updates wishlist*

Well, the Flick Vault regaled me again (sadly many movies are now geolocked), with--ta daaa!--a Christopher Lee movie I'd never even heard before, the 1994 Funny Man--ouch! what terrible ratings, I guess there's no point in linking.

I, however, enjoyed it, which apparently means I'm a terrible person of no taste, but you knew that already, so...

Go in with low expectations, oddity-adjusted spectacles and yer funny hat on, ye who follow in my footsteps, and mayhap you'll grin at various little things as I did.

jul. 10, 2020, 3:37pm

>124 benbrainard8:
John Landis has said in interviews that he wrote the script for An American Werewolf in London as far back as 1969 but no studios would make it until the success of Animal House. It was those wrong-footing changes of tone that the executive were wary of. My guess is that fans of Landis' generation were already attuned to that sort of thing by growing up watching old horror movies with "horror hosts" on TV, reading Forrest J. Ackerman's pun-laden Famous Monsters of Filmland, even seeing Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein as a precursor (if you're young enough to treat the Dracula/ mad scientist and Wolf Man subplots as straight dramas, and get emotionally invested in them).

>125 alaudacorax:
An American Werewolf in Paris is nowhere near as good. I've recorded it from the Horror Channel which I think equates to paying about 40p for it. Feels about right.

I put Count Dracula on this afternoon to see if I agreed with you. Making allowances for a 1977 BBC budget (inflation would have been whittling it away by the day) I thought it was pretty good. Admittedly mixing film and video can have the unfortunate effect of making each format look bad by comparison with the other. I'd wondered if Louis Jordan's Dracula suffered by being too much like Roger Delgado's Master (from Doctor Who) - 6 years after that character debuted on TV. But watching back he isn't like that, he isn't being superficially charming at all. From the outset he's just very sure of himself. I did spot that some changes were made to make the Westernra household more middle class and there were some early scenes obviously telling us how stifling that world could be. I think playing into the Freudian theories that Lucy partly welcomed Dracula's attack. Oh, and I just realised the casting of Frank Finlay and Susan Penhaligon a year after Bouquet of Barbed Wire would add a frisson to their scenes together.

Editat: jul. 12, 2020, 11:36am

I think that John Landis should also get credit for his contribution to the movie Twilight Zone: The Movie. And apparently he will be remaking An American Werewolf in London, that was as of year 2019, but its not been release yet to my knowledge.

For me personally, the movies that take from different genres and keep you off balance can be excellent movies. Thank you for the background, I didn't know that he'd had the script for such a long period of time before he could make it.

Editat: jul. 13, 2020, 3:41am

>128 housefulofpaper:

I've rarely, if ever, found myself so at odds with IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and the world in general (I so often find, mildly discomfortingly, that IMDb's starring of something exactly matches the one I've logged-on to give---so I suppose I should be pleased). I again tried and failed to watch Count Dracula last night.

... there were some early scenes obviously telling us how stifling that world could be.
I honestly think it was just plain bad acting. The Westenra family, especially Mina and 'Mummy', sounded like non-actors self-consciously reading aloud. I took against Mina from the very opening scene where she was meant to be tearfully taking leave of her lover but actually looked as if she was wishing herself well out of there. She didn't get much better (and I found it quite distracting that she was so painfully thin). I've rarely seen anything so excruciatingly, embarrassingly bad as the Westenra's dinner party with the 'stage-American' Quincy. I did wonder if he was meant as parodying or satirising Stoker's often-derided portrayal of an American. In fact, it several times crossed my mind that the whole production was some kind of parody on Stoker (it did seem to be trying to be as faithful as possible to the book---just when I'd accepted that films don't need to be).

Louis Jourdan seemed in a different film. I can't fault his acting, and I'm willing to blame the director for his giving such a subdued, low-key Dracula. I wasn't really getting anything of the predator or monster off him. At what I imagine was meant as his most menacing, he looked a bit cheesed-off. The scene with him calling off the three vampire ladies was extremely bathetic. What i saw of him came across like the villain in some French domestic drama.

It was almost the worst of the film that supporting actors gave such good performances. When Jonathan escaped from his women and was on his coach ride to the Borgo Pass, I really believed in the other passengers and the film seemed to be getting into a 'best of Hammer' mode. Didn't last. Renfield, again, seemed in a different film---quite believable. And George Malpas going at it full-blooded as the ancient mariner again evoked Hammer territory.

When Frank Finlay turned up with his 'funny foreigner' accent I started thinking of skits in old comedy shows; and discovering for the first time that there was were two-and-a-half hours of it I turned off in terminal exasperation. Life is way too short and precious to be wasted on it. You know that when you start clicking the remote control to see how long is left of a film. It's abysmal and I'm giving up.

Sorry for such a long post*, but at least I got through it without foul language (it was a struggle, believe me).

ETA - * I could write another five hundred words if you like---I don't feel I've fully vented yet. Just thank the gods I didn't watch all of it.

Another ETA - When a film has you thinking about Ed Wood, well ...

jul. 13, 2020, 10:13am

Ack! Well, we all have such instances... being the "only" (it's really never just the one) hater of something widely liked or appreciated etc. (Have you seen me rip into the X-Files? No fan loves them as much as I hate them!)

Anyhoooo... now I wonder, by way of contrary-day philosophy, what might happen should I push you gently in the direction of Funny Man... :)

jul. 14, 2020, 5:50am

>131 LolaWalser:

Oo! I've 'Watch later'd that---I'll get back to you ...

jul. 25, 2020, 11:06am

Article discusses three movies Eureka issued recently (as houseful knows...), cool pics:

Edgar Allan Poe Drives Bela Lugosi Mad in These 3 Horror Films

jul. 25, 2020, 3:40pm

>133 LWMusic:

The same restorations have been brought out by Scream Factory* in the US. The releases share the same commentary tracks** but differ in their other extra features.

* Murders in the Rue Morgue as a stand-alone and the other two films as part of their series of Universal Horror series
** Annoyingly, one of the tracks teases that I'l be able to go on to watch The Invisible Ray.

jul. 26, 2020, 9:00am

>133 LWMusic:, >134 housefulofpaper:

Oo! Proper, old-fashioned horror films. Got to have them ... ordered. Didn't even search to see if I could watch them free online.

jul. 26, 2020, 11:14am

>135 alaudacorax:

I think Murders in the Rue Morgue isn't easy to come by--plus, the extras!

>134 housefulofpaper:

That IS annoying. But for my part, I still hit the Blu-Ray obstacle... whyyy do they do this, aren't we DVD-watchers people too... :(

Everything is deteriorating for us vintage-movie lovers who buy DVDs. Warners, TCM etc. not only don't issue their archive on anything but DVD-R anymore, they have cut off all the nifty extras they used to include--short films, cartoons, commentaries...

jul. 26, 2020, 6:20pm

Just mentioned over the in the folk horror thread that I re-watched The Blood on Satan's Claw this evening.

I find it difficult, sometimes, to say why I enjoy one film and not another. I noticed this one seemed to take a very broad-brush approach to plot---it seemed suggested or implied rather than written---yet, at the same time, I was glued to the screen right through.

One thing that struck me was that I've seldom seen rural countryside so solidly portrayed. The tracks looked a foot deep in mud; footpaths were overgrown to the point of being non-existent; and you felt it was only the inadequacy of candle-light that stopped you seeing how dirty interiors were. It quite compensated for the over-proliferation of Roger Daltrey perms.

jul. 28, 2020, 6:31pm

>137 alaudacorax:

The episodic way the story's told is apparently because this was going to be made like an Amicus portmanteau film until quite late in the day. So, what began as three or four separate stories had to be linked together somehow, and the main actors had only been contracted for a relatively small number of days.

Both of those are reasons for major characters dropping out of the narrative for half an hour or so, and new characters being introduced halfway through.

You could analyse the story cold-bloodedly I think, and say that it is trading on anachronistic, very turn of the '60s/'70's concerns - anti-authoriarianism, the clash between the generations, and trying to have its cake and eat it by setting up Patrick Wymark's character as the hero but also try to suggest he's not to be trusted and the victory at the end is an ambiguous one.

It doesn't matter though, it's powerful and entertaining enough, and through some alchemy of casting and cinematography and what have you real enough, for it not to matter.

For a film of very nearly the same period, and trying to deal with similar themes, but getting it badly wrong, have a look at the vincent Price film The Cry of the Banshee. The best thing about it is Terry Gilliam's title sequence.

jul. 29, 2020, 5:23am

>138 housefulofpaper:

Huh---I'm confused again. I said over in the folk horror thread that I hadn't seen Witchfinder General in a 'long, long time' but that I vaguely remembered it as unpleasant and gave that as why I'd never re-watched. Now, looking at the IMDb page, I'm suspecting that, all these years, I've been confusing it with The Cry of the Banshee and now I don't know where I am. I'm going to have to watch both to get my head straight.

So, what began as three or four separate stories had to be linked together somehow ...
Ah ... that explains the vagueness of plot I wrote about. Well, partially, anyway. If they had to weld together disparate chunks of film, they probably had to avoid too much dotting and crossing.

jul. 29, 2020, 5:30am

>139 alaudacorax:

Paradox ... a lot of the film's grip (on me, at least) possibly comes from the viewer constantly not knowing what's going on ...

jul. 29, 2020, 6:15am

>140 alaudacorax:

I think it works in its favour. And it gives the lie to all the theorising about the "right way" to construct a screenplay.

There's a recent audio version that works hard to iron out the lumpy bits of storytelling and so forth. Somehow telling the story in a "better" way, in conventional terms, made it less gripping.

ag. 3, 2020, 10:25pm

>133 LWMusic:

I watched The Black Cat tonight. I'm pretty sure I'd never before seen it, and I really can't think why.

Okay, there were quite a few flaws, especially in the plot---definitely not the greatest film I've seen, but even as I was thinking that I was quite engrossed. It was such a pleasure watching Lugosi and Karloff.

I've rarely seen such a distracting film, though.
First of all I got distracted trying to put names to the great, bleeding chunks of classical music throughout the soundtrack.
Then I was quite derailed trying to figure out exactly where and when and why the young couple got married. They were hungry because they hadn't eaten much at the wedding lunch, so they couldn't have come far. I mean, obviously not across the '34 Atlantic between lunch and dinner, surely? So what was their story? Had they eloped? Had they just met---whirlwind romance, sort of thing?

And now I'm falling asleep ...

ag. 4, 2020, 6:09am

>142 alaudacorax:

Forgot to mention the haircuts! Karloff's and Harry Cording's hairstyles were just plain weird. Had to rewind a couple of times because I was missing bits because I was lost in hairstyle bemusement.

Editat: ag. 4, 2020, 6:14am

>142 alaudacorax:

... and as far as I could work out poor Joan didn't get any grub for at least twenty-four thirty-six hours ...

ag. 4, 2020, 9:54pm

I can't figure out if somebody had posted about this before; apologies if it's a repeat... A 15-minute long silent Italian adaptation of a Poe story, "Il caso Valdemar", from 1936. You know the plot, a dying/dead man is hypnotised and on release liquefies on the spot. You can find many copies on YouTube but I'm linking the top resolution copy on Cineteca Milano's website (accessible via a Google or Facebook account, or with a free registration):

The end is remarkably gruesome.

ag. 6, 2020, 7:00pm

>145 LolaWalser:

I couldn't log on to the Cineteca Milano website so I watched the film on YouTube. Remarkably gruesome is right! It could have been from one of Lucio Fulci's maggot-dripping Zombie films of the '70s.

ag. 7, 2020, 10:30am

>146 housefulofpaper:

Oh no--sorry you had trouble with the link, that's disheartening to hear. I'm glad you saw it nevertheless (and if I'd known the CM would be a hurdle I'd have linked to YT myself.)

Yes, I wasn't sure if it's just me, or the special effects were really something. The actors were very well cast, I thought, the dying man really looked cadaverous and the hypnotist menacing. The shadows in the claustrophobic setting, the low ceiling, the close-ups all contributed to a sense of unease, of being squeezed and smothered by dread. And the decomposition... mind you, this is all before plastics, whatever was going on looked... organic.

ag. 7, 2020, 10:39am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

ag. 7, 2020, 10:53am

>148 LucasColeman:

I'd quite forgotten that a gravestone with RIP on my homepage signified a removed spammer. I thought we had a deceased user still posting. I was quite intrigued---thought he had a personal interest in >145 LolaWalser: onwards ...

ag. 7, 2020, 12:56pm


ag. 18, 2020, 6:59pm

It has been too hot for watching films recently - apart from Morocco (with gin & tonic). But the weather has changed and I have watched Wolfen for the first time. I was vaguely aware of it when it was released in 1981 (I used to, when I had pocket money to spare, buy Starburst magazine, which was pretty much the UK's version of Starlog). It got marked down for lacking the spectacular transformation effects of An American Werewolf in London and The Howling and for stylistically being rather more late '70s than early '80s.

It's based on a Whitley Streiber novel and, if I'm honest, it feels like quite a pulpish plot...or rather a '70s/'80s paperback original plot, with just a bit too much would-be profundity added to it by the director (and screenwriter). A bit of social commentary, ecological concerns, mysticism focused on Native Americans. That last is actually key to the story as the Wolfen are shape-shifters who have gone to ground as predators in modern White society.

But the New York location filming (contrasting uptown Manhattan with lots in the Bronx bulldozed and dynamited to mimicry of tells in the Middle East, and awaiting redevelopment. There's lots of Steadicam and solarisation (or is it thermal-imaging?) of the picture to provide a Wolfens-eye perspective.

It looks very handsome (as most films do when buffed up for Blu-ray and shown in the correct aspect ratio).

Editat: ag. 28, 2020, 7:11pm

Spotting books in Amicus films that almost certainly belonged to Milton And Now the Screaming Starts, there's a scene where Stephanie Beacham is reading Comus. I reckon that particular book really is "Milton's Comus": it's the Heritage Press edition (not dated but a quick squint at Google hits gives publication dates in the '50s and/or '60s. The film is early '70s.)

Edit: - here's the screenshot I promised earlier.

Editat: set. 12, 2020, 1:42pm

My recently viewing has more-or-less by accident had a theme running through it: Old Dark House, isolated cast, sexual violence and/or murder. Gothic themes, but not of the films are obviously Gothic.

And Now the Screaming Starts. I first saw this late at night on a black & white portable television at some time in the late '80s. I can see that all the themes are pretty well-worn (and would have been in the early '70s) but it was probably the first time I'd seen them put together in a film and Found it pretty strong stuff: the flashback to the evil ancestor exercising his droit de seigneur, the ghost's bloodily mutilated eyes and hand, the Stephanie Beacham character's potential allies bumped off before they can be of any use, even Amicus' motorised crawling hand prop. Filmed in one of those houses on the Thames near to Hammer's Bray studios.

Three films by Joseph Larraz. Although he was a Spanish director, Larraz was influenced by his friend the Belgian Weird writer Thomas Owen (a pseudonym) and worked in the UK in the '70s and in the US for his final couple of films (he returned to Spain after the death of Franco). Owen seems to share in that rather doom-laden Belgian sensibility and Larraz latched onto it, creating doomy autumnal psychodramas with (for the time) surprising levels of sex and violence.
Whirlpool - a model goes to a remote house in the English countryside to mode for a creepy young photographer and an older woman (possibly she's his aunt); and gets caught up in sex games and more dangerous obsessional behaviour. Larraz's dialogue is painfully stilted and overly correct, which adds an alienating/absurdist edge to things.
Vampyres - the 1974 lesbian sexy vampire film. I wrote about this ages ago, it's come out on Blu-ray now. Sadly the commentary track from the DVD hasn't been ported over (this is an unintentionally hilarious comedy duo of unflappably proper English producer and excitedly voluble Spanish director. Apparently and rather incredibly, there's a commentary track out there somewhere, with Harry Alan Towers and Jess Franco doing the exact same thing). Watching it again I could see the thematic links with Whirlpool (and with the - rather classier - Symptoms that starred Angela Pleasance). I still think the story I construed from my first viewing makes more sense than Larraz's own explication (again this is only on the old DVD and not the Blu-ray). Briefly, the girls were murdered decades ago. Ted the travelling salesman is just unlucky to look look like the murderer (only an old man thinks he looks familiar). But Lisa Faulkner is his reincarnation (all unknowing of course) but Fran recognises her, says they've been waiting for her and marks her forehead his her thumb (something Larraz says the nuns used to do in school to freak out the kids!); and why her murder has the most intensity (and is the most unpleasant) of all the deaths in the film. And the vampyres seem to have disappeared at the end of the film: they've had their revenge.
Deadly Manor - a late entry into the slasher genre, filmed in New York State. Larraz managed to find an old dark house in the woods here, too. This is tamed down quite a bit from his '70s films but some familar themes are still playing out.

And Then There Were None - this is the 2016 TV version scripted by Sarah Phelps who got some grief for the changes to the next three adaptations (especially the character of Poirot or, rather, backstory in The ABC Murders). This is very bleak and I was surprised to learn that Phelps didn't have to do very much to the source material to make this "grim dark" version. Disparate characters summoned to a house on a remote island and killed one by one for their alleged crimes, of course. Detective fiction grow out of the original Gothic by way of Poe and the "sensation" novels of the mid-Victorian period, plus there's a big isolated house, so I think it merits a mention here.

Oh yes, and Killer's Moon, the notorious late '70s horror (with dialogue by Fay Weldon!) where a coach load of schoolgirls and four dangerous escapees from a mental hospital collide, mainly in an out of season hotel in the Lake District (another Old Dark House, you see). The escapees have been undergoing some sort of dream therapy dosed up on hallucinogenics and believe the rapes, murders, and animal mutilations they carry out are not just "only a dream" but actively sanctioned by their therapists - acting out their repressed urges. Cue three-legged dog, tail-less cat (don't worry, they both started the film as amputees), ripped-off nightgowns and the rest. I'd read about it so was expecting something headspinningly crass and zero-budget. I don't think I had been warned about the attempts to evoke A Midsummer Night's Dream - from the "madmen"'s (this is SO not a PC film) cod-shakespearian lines to scenes in the woods with one of the madmen decoyed by the hero as if he was one of the lovers and the hero were Puck (the heroes, by the way, are awful. The lead is an American actor (for overseas sales) who'd been in Star Wars, but he was only the Stormtrooper who gets hypnotised by Obi-Wan).

Editat: set. 13, 2020, 3:01pm

That's the same vibe I got from reading excerpt from Whitley Streiber's, The Hunger, bit of of pulpish plot and wording, which took away from the story. Unfortunately, won't drop the money on that type of read, library checkout only.

Haven't seen or read Wolfen, one of these nights I'll stream it.

Am streaming on Netflix rather creepy French Netflix show Zone Blanche, called "Black Spot" in English:

oct. 11, 2020, 3:15pm

One More Time (1970)
I'll just note here that I've watched this post-Rat Pack movie starring Sammy Davies Jr. and Peter Lawford (and directed by Jerry Lewis). All for just a glimpse of Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Count Dracula and Baron Frankenstein, respectively (of course), in a throwaway gag.

This is one of the four times that Lee appeared as Dracula on the big screen in 1970.

(and when I say "watched" of course I mean "paid actual money for the DVD"...).

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
Looking at the IMDB entry for this film, I noticed the name of Robin Stewart's character. The penny hadn't dropped before. It's Leyland van Helsing.

Leyland Van. British Leyland Van.

Oh dear.

oct. 11, 2020, 9:42pm

>155 housefulofpaper:

'Oh dear', indeed. That one must have whizzed past me, too.

oct. 26, 2020, 8:54pm

I've been working from home since March and I will admit to quickly moving from the dining room table to an ironing board set up in front of my television.

And when my paid employment hadn't required all my attention I've cast half an eye on what's on TV. There's been an awful lot of Midsomer Murders. I couldn't help noticing quite a few stories have a mild seasoning of rural horror (I am shy of using the term "folk horror" after failing to make any headway in coming up with a useful definition. But hints of pagan or supernatural goings-on have had a place in detective fiction from the first. The genre sprouted from the 1890s Gothic, and there was - as I understand it -a trend for writing up the British countryside in the light of The Golden Bough and From Ritual to Romance (the works T. S. Eliot offered up in his "notes" to The Waste Land. Notes not to be trusted according to my "A" level set book).

I've just ordered 6 Curtis Harrington DVDs. They're Region 2 but from mainland Europe, and it seems I won't be able to order from Europe come 1 January. Maybe not from the US either.

oct. 27, 2020, 12:23pm

>157 housefulofpaper: - ... come 1 January ...

Is this anticipating a massive cock-up with full Brexit? I haven't been able to find out anything definite about it.

oct. 27, 2020, 3:09pm

>158 alaudacorax:

Overseas sellers will be liable to collect VAT on behalf of HMRC. The associated costs are expected to make it unviable for smaller businesses to sell to UK customers.

This doesn't just affect EU member states, note, but (I believe) every other country in the world. William Shatner has tweeted that he probably won't sell memorabilia to the UK any more, and a US e-book company has said they won't sell to the UK (Why? is there VAT on e-books? If not, is it by way of being zero-rated for VAT, which the taxmen sees as being (in some occult way) different from not being liable for VAT? Because that could mean that physical books won't be available either).

This story was broken in The Times at the weekend, I think. That's probably going to be behind a paywall, but a summary was on Paul Lewis' (of Radio 4's Money Box) Twitter account.

oct. 28, 2020, 11:55am

>159 housefulofpaper:

Yup. Cock-up ...

oct. 29, 2020, 7:24pm

I've just watched The Hunger (1983).

I had thought I'd seen it before, probably decades ago; but the vague memories I had turned out to be wrong; so this was perhaps my first viewing.

Oh dear, what to say?

It was fascinating, different ... but not very good. It was a bit too slick and glossy---like expensively-made adverts. There were bits in it that someone clearly thought were 'meaningful', without having any clear idea of what 'meaning' they were meaning ... like in fashion shows. And, on the subject of meaning, the whole thing didn't make a lot of sense, and I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything (I had thought of watching it again, just to be sure; but I don't think I'd have the patience).

I didn't even like the famous Deneuve/Sarandon sex scene very much---they failed to make me believe in it and I felt a bit embarrassed for them.

And, by all the gods, how screen characters did smoke, back in the day!

Editat: oct. 31, 2020, 7:13pm

I've just looked over some of the things I've typed in in past months. My, but the Autocorrect on my computer is malicious. Fingers crossed, the new font and/or bigger point size for draft messages means I'll catch more of them.

I re-watched The Hunger not so long ago, and I thought I'd written about it then. At the risk of repeating myself, I'll briefly say what I thought.

I had gone along with the prevailing idea that this film is style-over-substance (Tony Scott wasn't the only British film director who made his way to Hollywood via TV commercials but he seems to have been the one who couldn't shake off the stigma). But on this viewing I thought the story just about made sense but more than that as a viewer it held me - I wasn't viewing th film as disconnected "arty" or "'80's pop video" bits. Although it's compromised by the ending - an enforced studio rewrite.

oct. 30, 2020, 1:15am

>162 housefulofpaper:

Hmm ... didn't know that about the ending ... and the ending in particular didn't make much sense to me.

... "'80's pop video" bits ...
Yes, that was the feel I was struggling for when I came up with 'expensively-made adverts'.

I did start watching again, but with the commentary by Scott and Sarandon, though I fell asleep about a third of the way in. Reading between the lines of what they were saying, I don't think either is really happy with the film, looking back, perhaps for much the same criticisms I had of it.

Odd little comment by Sarandon about Deneuve's gardening hands: she said they were still corresponding---I wonder if they still were after Deneuve heard about that comment---celebrity friendships have broken up for less ...

oct. 30, 2020, 6:46am

>163 alaudacorax:

'5:15am:'! No wonder I can barely remember posting that. One of these nights I'll figure out how to sleep seven or eight hours ... I just hope the shock doesn't kill me ...

oct. 31, 2020, 8:31pm

My Curtis Harrington films have started to arrive from the Continent. I watched Ruby first.

It was made in 1977 and has a 1970s US TV Movie feel despite being set in the early 1950s (with an opening scene set 16 years earlier). This may partly be due to the budget (certainly the special effects sequences are on a level with '70s TV but with more gore (to be clear, it looks like US TV, shot on 35mm film)).

Partly though it's the psychic investigator character, and the borrowings from The Exorcist, and the Omen-style set piece deaths which are welded on to a Tennessee Williams style Gothic melodrama.

Although this is a German DVD I was very pleasantly surprised to find an hour-long interview with Curtis Harrington (in English) added as an extra. From that interview I learned that this is a restored version of the film. A network TV version (disowned by Harrington) had previously been issued on VHS.

I also learned that even with this version it's not exactly a Director's cut. The ending was shot by the producers and wasn't what Harrington wanted. Watching it, I recognised how it echoed Harrington's early experimental films and I thought it was a personal touch rising above the commercial realities and working from someone else's script. You live and learn, I suppose.

nov. 2, 2020, 4:08pm

>165 housefulofpaper:

Interesting info.

I haven't been watching anything remotely "qualifying", for a while...

If anyone wants to continue the thread, please do--I did the last three continuations so feel that someone else should get a crack at it and maybe pick a nice topper etc.

nov. 2, 2020, 5:02pm

I'll tell you what I did not watch today.

I think I've written before about my disinterest in watching horror films during the day. Made lunch today; switched on telly for something to look at while eating it---The Revenge of Frankenstein was on, with Dr Terror's House of Horrors to follow (Horror Channel). Honestly, who watches this stuff at midday? And then they put on Star Trek and Andromeda this evening---I think their schedulers just pick the times out of a hat ...

nov. 10, 2020, 10:46pm

Came across Blood for Dracula (1974) on Dailymotion... I just searched the group and I can't find a mention of it (searched on the director's and star's names) because I wasn't sure if I'd never heard of it or forgotten I did. But, seriously, a Dracula movie "presented by Andy Warhol"... with Vittorio De Sica? I can't be so far gone I wouldn't remember that.

It's a combo of brilliant, bad, and tedious. The script is awful, in places outright farcical, and some of the acting even worse. The sets are beautiful and Udo Kier's Dracula the best reason to watch--a Dracula characterised like no other, and well played too.

nov. 11, 2020, 3:02am

>168 LolaWalser:

Apparently there's a 'sister film', Flesh for Frankenstein, Udo Kier and Morrissey again. I was aware of Kier as a recurring figure in horror films, but I have no memory of either of these. From his IMDb page:

Kier met director Paul Morrissey on an airplane trip. Morrissey offered him the lead role in the 3-D Flesh for Frankenstein (1973). It was this film, along with its sister film Blood for Dracula (1974), that made Udo a cult figure.

My curiosity is piqued, now. I've put the Dracula on my CinemaParadiso list, but the Frankenstein seems much harder to get hold of ... ah, it's on YouTube ... lousy picture quality, though ... I'm not watching that. Pity, they both seem, at least from the IMDb stills, to have better than the average photography.

nov. 11, 2020, 4:53pm

>169 alaudacorax:

The copy on Dailymotion is OK, maybe 480p or higher? But if you can get hold of a decent recording, that's no doubt preferable, as the visuals are sumptuous. (Another consideration may be that DM seems to have found a way around my adblocker--I don't see the ads, the screen goes black, but this does last seconds and there were many such interruptions.) The channel, btw, is FilmsGorillas or something like that.

I knew Kier only by name. If you get to see the movie, tell me whether he reminds you of anyone, in places...

nov. 11, 2020, 8:36pm

I remember seeing those two films mentioned in the sort of picture-heavy horror cinema books available in the 70s and 80s (can you call them coffee-table books when you know the target market is children and adolescents?) but with them flagged up as being so bloody and sexually deviant don't expect to ever see them (and anyway the old films of the 30s and 40s were much better, isn't that right, kids)?

I have seen Udo Kier in a few films, notable for being bloody and/or sexually deviant! - Suspiria (he's in Suspiria!), Exposé aka The House on Straw Hill (and also Trauma according to Touchstones), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne.

Yes, I can see a resemblance...

nov. 11, 2020, 9:40pm

>171 housefulofpaper:

Haha, do you? You should see the movie then... some scenes read almost as homages to, for instance, The hands of Orlac...

Huh--so technically I have seen Kier, in Suspiria--my only defence is that all I recall about it is who directed it. I don't think I've seen any of the Italian slashers more than once...

Editat: nov. 23, 2020, 8:05am

I watched the first hour or so of the first season of The Vampire Diaries last night.I got bored then and turned to something else, but I’ll try to watch the rest (if only so I’ll have some idea what people are talking about).

It seems to be shaping up to be pretty much a soap for teens/young adults, with the supernatural elements rather an add-on. Impressions get confused because of the screen presence of two of the actors—star quality, if you like—Ian Somerhalder and, especially, Nina Dobrev (she was the one of the two onscreen the most, so far). Their presence sort of disguises the soap-cliché nature of what’s going on.

Editat: nov. 23, 2020, 8:31am

Looking at that last post and some others, I'm wondering if, next time someone continues creates a continuation successor to this thread, they should rename it to include TV. Perhaps 'Screen Gothic' or something of that nature?

nov. 27, 2020, 5:05pm

Oh dear! I can't ... I can't ...

Either I'm a bad, unempathetic person, or I'm completely lacking in patience and resolve. Either way, I just can't cope with adolescent angst. And it doesn't help that some of the 'teenagers' look in their twenties.

I've lumbered myself with a a box set of the first season of The Vampire Diaries and I can't get past the first episode ...

Editat: nov. 29, 2020, 5:54pm

I've mentioned the latest Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies in two other threads, so I might as well make it three:

I know there are at least a few Jean Rollin fans here. There is a really interesting article on him included: Virginie Sélavy's 'Virgins and Vampires: The Expansion of Gothic Subversion in Jean Rollin’s Female Transgressors'.

She has Rollin's films as a reaction to the counter-culture revolution of the late '60s as a parallel to the original Gothic as a reaction to the French Revolution. And she depicts them as taking the original Gothic's challenging of societal norms much, much further.

That's the basis of it, but she has lots of interesting stuff in there. She's got me wanting to re-watch Rollin's stuff and I know I'd be watching it with fresh eyes.

ETA - I meant to link the URL to that title—it's at

nov. 29, 2020, 6:45pm

>176 alaudacorax:

Thank you for doing that. I keep forgetting about online journals, but I've bookmarked this one.

nov. 29, 2020, 9:28pm

>176 alaudacorax:

I notice DVD/blu-ray copies of some of Rollin's films are available from either Redemption or Black House Films. Anyone have any comments on the respective qualities of these two outfits?

nov. 29, 2020, 9:45pm

>178 alaudacorax:

I think the UK Redemption editions are older. The Black House editions may have had some digital restoration, at any rate I don't recall the picture quality being sub-standard, although Dracula's Fiancee is the exception.

I saw an online review that bemoaned the quality of the transfer (I'd assumed it just looked worse than the other films because it was should in the 2000s on video). If anything the quality of an off-air copy I recorded from a short-lived satellite channel (Total Film, I think. Evidently it tied in the magazine) was slightly sharper.

You might want to consider looking at French or German editions as well, if they'll still ship to the UK. The Black House editions have no extras.

nov. 29, 2020, 9:55pm

>179 housefulofpaper:

Thanks Andrew.

des. 3, 2020, 4:54am

>175 alaudacorax:

Yes ... senility is fast approaching ...

I bought the first season of The Vampire Diaries on November 20th. It wasn't until about four this morning, twelve days later, that it occurred to me to wonder the hell why?! Woke up staring into the darkness with just that thought in my mind. The whole point of my CinemaParadiso subscription is to watch DVDs and Blu-rays I don't want to own! I actually had things like TVD in mind when I first subbed! I've just checked on there and---yep---there is TVD on the top of my list ...

Okay, TVD only cost me £4-29. But ... I have no problem with spending my money, but I really hate feeling I've wasted it ...

I did get back to sleep, though ...

des. 3, 2020, 4:59am

>181 alaudacorax:

Suprising how many copies of 'The Vampire Dairies' are online. The mind boggles at what that may be about ...