The usual year-end round-up – not necessarily the best movies or disks, but some of the ones I most enjoyed, from high art to entertaining trash. The sheer range of what’s available should lay to rest any lingering rumours about the demise of physical media.
Horror, westerns science fiction, crime, magic, demons, vampires, zombies, witches, a one-legged detective, people trapped in a deadly house, a damsel in distress and a film editor driven mad by cheap exploitation movies …
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984) offers an impressive 4K restoration of this grim and gritty dystopian fantasy faithfully adapted from George Orwell’s novel.
A random selection of recent viewing, from Nazi propaganda to British Angry Young Men, from classic sci-fi to the 1960s revival of a French criminal mastermind as slapstick pastiche.
Following the surprise international success of Gregory’s Girl (1980), writer-director Bill Forsyth was given greater resources by producer David Puttnam and made what on the surface was a whimsical comedy reminiscent of Ealing Studios in the ’50s; three-and-a-half decades later, the delightfully charming Local Hero (1983) can be seen as a subtly prescient warning about the most urgently pressing issues we now face – climate change and the need to find sustainable ways to inhabit the planet.
Recent Blu-rays from Indicator serve up a feast of British exploitation horror with Bloody Terror, a lavish box set of five features (1976-87) by Norman J. Warren. plus Richard Marquand’s first feature, The Legacy (1978).
Indicator’s third box set of Hammer movies highlights some interesting issues about the treatment of race in popular culture.
This week, I revisited several classic horror and sci-fi movies, plus a few more recent exploitation movies.
Guest contributor Howard Curle examines The Net (1953), a little-known film by Anthony Asquith which combines elements of science fiction and Cold War thriller with a drama about a troubled marriage. Howard finds stylistic links which hearken back to Asquith’s brilliant silent films from the late ’20s.
Another eclectic week – Italian gore from Joe D’Amato, regional American exploitation, a pair of Amicus horrors from director Roy Ward Baker, a documentary about Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, and a glorious restoration of the Russian folk-horror Viy.