The transgressive art of William Friedkin

Bad behaviour is attributed the Devil in William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin’s death in August prompted a look back at his most significant work from the ’70s and ’80s, a run of movies which were controversial and only intermittently commercially successful. At his best, Friedkin’s cool, detached approach to dangerous subjects resulted in powerful movies which influenced the direction of popular genres and his work from that period remains challenging today.

Vinegar Syndrome January releases

Dr. Pretorius (ted Sorel) returns very much changed in Stuart Gordon's From Beyond (1986)

Vinegar Syndrome begin 2023 by casting a wide net to gather a range of exploitation movies from Hong Kong, Mexico and the U.S. It’s a mixed bag encompassing Stuart Gordon’s classic H.P. Lovecraft adaptation From Beyond (1986); three extreme horrors featuring iconic actor Anthony Wong; a sordid Mexican movie about a psychopath killing and raping for Satan; Tom Chaney’s Frostbiter (1995), a derivative low-budget horror from Michigan featuring ambitious special effects, miniatures, stop-motion animation and Evil Dead-inspired excess; and Curt Siodmak’s minor oddity Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956), the first from a new sub-label, Vinegar Syndrome Labs, intended to gauge interest in this kind of obscure title.

Recent disks from England, part one

The climactic battle between Cyclops and Dragon in Nathan Juran's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Recent disks from England include Franco Parolini’s late spaghetti western Sabata Trilogy (1969-71), the classic Ray Harryhausen Sinbad fantasies (1958-77), Carl Franklin’s revisionist neo-noir Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Tsui Hark’s influential martial arts fantasy Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983), and David Greene’s tense submarine disaster movie Gray Lady Down (1978).

Indicator in a box

Killers Dancer (Eli Wallach) and Julian (Robert Keith), looking for smuggled drugs, terrorize a mother and daughter in Don Siegel's The Lineup (1958)

Indicator have done their usually exemplary job with a pair of recent box sets – one devoted to the five Fu Manchu movies written and produced by Harry Alan Towers in the late 1960s, all starring Christopher Lee in racial drag; the other showcasing six films from Columbia Pictures rather loosely gathered together and labelled film noir.

Blasts from the past

DVD Review: The Sword Identity (2011)

Mad Max: from B-movie to Myth

Year-end ruminations: 2016

Recent Arrow viewing, Part Two

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