Three new movies and one classic make the most of ghosts, monsters and demons.
Two recent Blu-ray releases from Indicator showcase the idiosyncratic intensity of Terence Stamp’s acting. William Wyler’s The Collector (1965) is a prestigious Hollywood production, while Alan Cooke’s The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) is a little-known low-budget Amicus feature.
Classic 3-D revivals, bloated CG action rooted in video games and recycled superhero and monster cliches, and a brooding contemplation of emotional and sexual repression in post-war England.
Sometimes something authentic can shine through the incompetence of a “bad” movie; that’s the case even in something like William A. Levey’s clumsy Blackenstein (1973).
Michael Powell’s final masterpiece, Peeping Tom (1959) virtually ended his filmmaking career, but it’s rediscovery in the 1970s and ’80s restored him to the pantheon of cinematic greats. Revisiting the film on Blu-ray reinforces my appreciation of a film which was ahead of its time.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Robert M. Young’s The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) gives new life to a remarkable but too-little known film which takes on greater urgency in the current political climate in the U.S.
Four typical thrillers centred on grim men expressing themselves through violence are offset by two thrillers in which strong women control events … through violence.
Two Blu-ray releases from Indicator represent shifts occurring in American filmmaking at the end of the ’60s, with Don Siegel’s near-perfect heist movie Charley Varrick (1973) quietly trashing all the rules once imposed by the Production Code and Alan Arkin’s directorial debut with Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders (1971) offering an unsettling, blackly comic dissection of the violence at the heart of American society.
Recent viewing includes a range of genre titles, high and low-end, from Vinegar Syndrome and Arrow Video: serial killers, Japanese vampires, sewer-dwelling mutants, zombies and a schizophrenic woman struggling to maintain a tenuous hold on reality.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Victor Erice’s second feature, El Sur (1983), presents this exquisite depiction of childhood innocence and loss in a breathtakingly rich hi-def transfer, with excellent, informative supplements.