Crime and Horror from Radiance

Cynthia (Barbara Steele) descends into the cellars in search of answers in Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)

A sampling of releases from new U.K. label Radiance covers a range of favourite genres from the 1960s and ’70s – from classic Japanese yakuza film Big Time Gambling Boss (Kôsaku Yamashita, 1968), to the American indie horror Messiah of Evil (Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz, 1973); from the Swedish police procedural Man on the Roof (Bo Widerberg, 1976) to a pair of Italian Gothic horrors separated by a decade, the perverse The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (Riccardo Freda, 1962) and The Night of the Devils (Giorgio Ferroni, 1972), a contemporary retelling of the final story from Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath (1963); topped off with a revisit to Gordon Hessler’s Scream and Scream Again (1970), which seems to get better every time I see it. All of them come with excellent presentations and a wealth of extras, including commentaries, documentaries, interviews and visual essays.

Don Shebib’s Canadian working class poetry: Goin’ Down the Road (1970) and its sequel

Friends Joey (Paul Bradley) and Pete (Doug McGrath) search restlessly for a better life in Don Shebib's Goin' Down the Road (1970)

Don Shebib, who died on November 5 at the age of 85, left an indelible mark on Canadian cinema with his first feature, Goin’ Down the Road (1970), a raw, realist depiction of the country’s economic inequalities and the failed dreams of a pair of working class friends who leave impoverished Nova Scotia for the promised land of Toronto.

Claude Chabrol’s La cérémonie (1995): Criterion Blu-ray review

Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) and Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert) become allies against the bourgeois Lalievres family in Claude Chabrol’s La cérémonie (1995)

Four decades into a career which began with the New Wave, Claude Chabrol delivered a masterpiece with La cérémonie (1995), a psychological mystery adapted from a Ruth Rendell novel. Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert play a pair of working class women whose bitterness and resentment drive them on a collision course with the bourgeois Lelievre family. Criterion’s new Blu-ray edition provides some illuminating supplements on the director and his two stars.

Fall 2023 viewing: Arrow Video

Cloistermouth (Nicholas Hoye) panics when he realizes his privileged position is threatened in John Mackenzie's Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971)

A selection of new and slightly older Arrow releases range from ’70s Japanese gangster movies by Kinji Fukasaku to David Cronenberg’s icy adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s Crash (1996), from an early feature by John Mackenzie combining a satire of class with psychological suspense to a sampler of sci-fi and horror movies produced in the ’80s by Charles Band’s Empire International Pictures.

Two Godzilla novellas by Shigeru Kayama

A star is born: Big G, woken by an A-bomb test, is very angry in Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954)

The publication of a pair of novellas aimed at young adults, first published in 1955 and now translated for the first time into English, adds an interesting footnote to the history of Godzilla and restores writer Shigeru Kayama to his key place as the creator of the original story which was adapted by Ishiro Honda and Takeo Murata into the classic Gojira (1954).

Fall 2023 viewing, part two

Amnesiac Johnny McBride (Anthony Quinn) investigates his own past in Victor Saville’s The Long Wait (1954)

This week marks the thirteenth anniversary of the blog and there’s still no clear pattern to what I watch and write about! The first post went up on October 22, 2010. Hard to believe it’s been going this long, with almost 900 posts and over 3200 reviews so far. I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with anything this faithfully in my entire life! Thanks for reading!

Blasts from the past

Two Mexican westerns from Vinegar Syndrome

Recent viewing: miscellaneous disks

Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground (2021): Criterion Blu-ray review

Guest Post: Considering Anthony Asquith

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