January 24, 2017

Our Mother’s House (1967)

One of the most fascinating things about studying cinema and TV is the amount of subgenres your researches will throw up. Your average man in the street (and who cares what he thinks anyway? He probably wears a tracksuit!!) will be largely unfamiliar with terms such as ‘exploitation’ ‘giallo’ ‘WIP’ ‘or ‘quota quickie’, and those of us ‘in the know’ could be forgiven for feeling a sense of slight superiority. But even by those … [Read more...]

Secret Ceremony (1968)

“Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start”. Sound advice, if you happen to be Julie Andrews. However,  viewing Joseph Losey’s work in a linear context, and therefore, judging him as you would any other director, is a tricky business- never more so than when dealing with SECRET CEREMONY,  a film which, forty-something years on, invites as much debate as when first released. Is it a work of genius? A by-product of the era … [Read more...]

Nightmare (1964)

A deserted courtyard, a grey post-war, almost military building. A green-tinted yet monochrome corridor lit by dim electric light, but still predominantly in darkness. As the credit sequence rolls, out of the shadows steps a figure. A girl in white, scared, terrified, troubled, yet drawn inexorably toward a room, where inside lurks another female. A mad, bedraggled, grinning, leering apparition. Her mother. She laughs maniacally as the girl, realising that the door is locked tight and there is … [Read more...]

Sabotage (1936)

“Sabotage” is one of Alfred Hitchcocks's better made films of the 1930's that integrate intrigue, thriller, and art into one film. The film is about a group of international saboteurs wreaking havoc on the city of London that occurs during a time in history when Nazi Germany is suspected of infiltrating England but the group headed by the main character played by Oskar Homolka, has no known exterior origins. “Sabotage” shows pre-World War 2 sentiments about the alarming … [Read more...]

Women of Twilight (1953)

Many years ago, in an autumn afternoon of my dim and distant Home Counties youth, this film was screened on television. Walking into the living room as my mother sat watching it, I either remarked that it was ‘boring’, or liked the visual images but just didn’t understand it- I forget which, but either way I was obviously far too young to understand it properly. Years later, as a rabid exploitation freak, I the same mother (well, obviously) buys me a book on Pete Walker, and … [Read more...]

The Black Torment (1964)

“By thunder, sir, you’ll pay for that insolence!!” The above is not an exact quote from this Tigon chiller, but it might as well be. If you’ve come looking for a proper, old-fashioned Brit horror yarn, one that pays no heed to the turning tide nor cinematic trends, and remains firmly within the traditions of good old-fashioned gothic terror, country ‘ouses and sinister blacksmiths an’ all, then you’ve found it in The Black Torment- one of … [Read more...]

Taste of Fear (1961)

For some, it all began here. The immense impact of PSYCHO, which shook the world of horror and suspense in a manner largely unexpected, meant that even Hammer, previously seen as world leaders, realised they were going to have to pull something spectacular out of the bag in order to stay on top. In the last three years, the American filmmakers that had influenced the studio so much, presumably galvanised by the success of their Brit protégés (not to mention the regular … [Read more...]