Deliverance (1972 United States)

Nature, in the wild, can be violent. How appropriate that the setting should be the American South. Very few places in the U.S. are, or have been, as violent as redneck country. In a story about Darwinian survival of the fittest, the film conveys the idea that humans are part of nature, not separate from it. The magnificent scenery, the sounds of birds, frogs, crickets, and the roar of the river rapids, combined with the absence of civilization, all convey an environmental message–even if the original audience and critics did not focus on it. [Read more…]


THE TRIAL (France 1962)

l_57427_0bda35dcA harmless, inconsequential clerk wakes up one morning to find himself accused of something (he never discovers what). Secret policemen enter his bedroom and subject him to a frightening interrogation in which every answer provokes a new line of questioning. [Read more…]

AMARCORD (Italy 1973/74)

0f30f03b9e25e702ff4d2b387f07ef8aTranslated as ‘I Remember’, the great Italian director Federico Fellini’s Amarcord is a series of slowly paced comedic vignettes that look back at his childhood in a 1930’s coastal town. Apart from the intertwining inhabitants, there is nothing thematically or even tonally linking the stories together. Much like memory itself, this requires patient sifting by the viewer. [Read more…]

The Valley Of Gwangi (1969 US)

PDVD_088While the build-up is rather tedious in some ways, the film’s second half – with its non-stop action and enjoyable stop-motion effects by the old master Ray Harryhausen – is rather entertaining. Looking at The Valley Of Gwangi from a modern viewpoint one could easily find unintended hilarity in its primitive visual trickery. [Read more…]

SUSPIRIA (Italy 1977)


Dario Argento’s finest, as well as his first film to deal with the supernatural, “Suspiria” maintains its cult following for good reason. Illogical and dreamlike, it’s filmed in rich red, blue and green hues, and the elliptical story is punctuated with several extremely gory (if technically unconvincing) murders. [Read more…]

The Funhouse ( United States 1981)

Who could fail to make a good horror movie out of a carnival? It has all the perfect ingredients: freaks, sleazy hustlers, creepy fun houses…Four potty-mouth teenagers decide to spend the night in the spooky ‘funhouse’ located in a carnival notorious for leaving (presumably) a string of murders that were left unresolved. [Read more…]

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD: The World According To Clarkson Vol 3 (Jeremy Clarkson)

for-crying-out-loud-the-world-according-to-clarkson-volume-3This book is a collection of articles that Jeremy wrote for the Sunday Times. The first 50% to 70% of each article is a slice of whimsy (which is why it’s on my blog) that seems to follow the loose thread through JC’s particular view on life. Although it was inevitable that they would eventually find their way into a book, that was not their prime purpose. [Read more…]

THE RATS (James Herbert)

61TsFHNfdoL._SL300_I am a simple fool, so no wonder I like this book. And a plot rarely gets simpler than this. Mr Herbert’s first book follows an outbreak of mutated giant rats in London, with most of the (early) action focused around the Docklands. The novel is reasonably short at just under 200 pages and the action proceeds at a rapid pace. There isn’t time to get bored during this! [Read more…]

The Legend Of Hell House (1973 UK)

catOn a first watch this is a very unsettling motion picture. The synthesized ‘score’ just creeps me to the bone every time, very effective, much more than straight music would have been; totally ahead of its time. It feels like some kind of un-natural percussion is performing drum fills inside my stomach. Yikes! I have seen this so many times but I still have to look away from the screen during the ‘ectoplasm’ scene (“leave a sah-mple in the jah, please”) though to get to the end of this film without flinching a number of times is difficult. [Read more…]


peter cushing house that dripped 2 Tracking down a missing film star, an inspector finds that the last reported sighting was in a large mansion in the countryside. During the course of looking through the house, he is told four different stories about past residents of the house. [Read more…]

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