Carnival of Souls – Rediscovering ‘7 Faces of Dr. Lao’ (US 1964 – 100 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 03, 2016

Although I have never been a big fan of fantasy movies, I’ve always enjoyed the colourful drama ‘7 Faces of Dr Lao’, which is at times a dark but mostly charming tale of how a troubled community learns some valuable life lessons from an unlikely source.

At the same time that the residents of a small western town are voting on whether to sell their homes to a corrupt investor (Arthur O’Connell), elderly Chinaman Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) suddenly arrives in town with his mysterious circus. Through various mythical character changes, the impressionable Dr. Lao is soon spreading his wisdom, while …

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The Wild One – Remembering Susan Tyrrell (1945 – 2012)

Remember ‐ February 27, 2016

Appearing in many cult movies in a long and fascinating career, the unique Susan Tyrrell was a genuine one-off. A chameleon-like performer who could play both attractive flirts and grubby grotesques, she revelled in being an outcast. And in doing so, she created an array of memorable (and sometimes funny) colourful characters, often with a devilishly dangerous streak.

Born Susan Jillian Creamer, in California on March 18th 1945, Tyrrell came from an entertainment background, with her father a powerful agent at the time. She spent the Sixties in regional theatre before being noticed by Hollywood’s elite. Her first role of note, …

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Mirror Mirror – Rediscovering ‘The Man in the Back Seat’ (UK 1961 – 57 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 18, 2016

A nifty London-based B-movie with a surprising twist, the genre-changing ‘The Man in the Back Seat’ is one of those late night relics that takes you by surprise and, at just under an hour in length, wastes no time with its set-up and execution.

After robbing a racetrack of its takings, bickering thieves Tony and Frank (Derren Nesbitt and Keith Faulkner) find themselves lumbered with the unconscious body of the bookie (Harry Locke), who’s still chained to the briefcase they’ve just stolen. After some tricky obstacles and finally freeing themselves of the bookie’s body, the pair suddenly have a spine-chilling encounter, …

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A Cold Night’s Death – Rediscovering ‘Penny Dreadful’ (US 2006 – 92 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 12, 2016

A modern horror that’s rightly gained a minor following, the engrossing nail-biter ‘Penny Dreadful’ is one of those little movies you stumble across by accident, but leaves you wanting more. A film that has the possibility to become a cult, it’s got an air of unease running throughout, and features a terrific performance by its lead actress.

Recovering from a childhood trauma, Penny (Rachel Miner) embarks on a road trip with her therapist Orianna (Mimi Rogers) to help conquer her fear of cars. Not long into their journey they accidentally knock down a mysterious figure standing in the middle of the …

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Brave New World – Rediscovering ‘When Worlds Collide’ (US 1951 – 83 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 06, 2016

A very good cult fantasy with no major stars, the colourful apocalyptic drama ‘When Worlds Collide’ is an exciting sci-fi picture, notable for being one of the few movies in which the world is ultimately destroyed rather than saved.

After studying astronomical charts, scientist Dr. Cole Hendron (Larry Keating) learns that there are two planets hurtling towards earth, risking its total destruction. When his findings are dismissed by the UN, Hendron creates a space-like Ark, funded by egotistical millionaire Sydney Stanton (John Hoyt) that will take a team of chosen individuals to the newly discovered planet of Zyra.

While the main …

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Panic in Needle Park – Rediscovering ‘Hanna D. – La Ragazza del Vondel Park’ (France/Italy 1984 – 83 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 02, 2016

Though not as stylish or well made as the earlier German feature ‘Christiane F’ (’81), the low-budget and provocative ‘Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park’ took that film’s grim premise to an even darker place, leaving it a memorable piece of sexploitation with a few good intentions here and there.

Innocent 16 year old Hanna (Ann-Gisel Glass) is supporting both her and her boozy mother (Karin Schubert) by selling her body in and around Amsterdam’s vast Vondel Park. Scared away by the local prostitutes, Hanna is picked up by a local man (Fausto Lombardi) who talks her into being her …

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The Wrong Man – Rediscovering ‘Phantom Lady’ (US 1944 – 87 mins)

Rediscover ‐ January 25, 2016

A wonderfully dark and moody thriller, ‘Phantom Lady’ is rarely mentioned in the same sentence as other classic film-noirs. Yet, I think it’s one of the more accessible thrillers of the 1940’s, and one that holds your interest as we root for its appealing female lead to solve the central mystery.

Returning home from a date with a mysterious hat-wearing lady, Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) is shocked to discover the dead body of his wife. Henderson is arrested for her murder, and in need of an alibi, can find nobody who can remember seeing him with the woman. After exhausting all …

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Cops, Crooks & Clowns – Richard Basehart (1914 – 1984)

Rewind ‐ January 18, 2016

One of the first American actors to explore European cinema, the serious-looking Richard Basehart gave many top drawer performances from both sides of the law. A diverse actor, he was also noted for his deep voice which he put to use in numerous productions, especially in his later years.

Born in Ohio on August 31st, 1914, Richard’s screen career got off to a strong start when he gave a superb performance as a cop turned killer, in the excellent thriller ‘He Walked By Night’ (’48), the first of his memorable run of noir roles. Anthony Mann took over directing duties on …

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A Fate Foretold – Rediscovering ‘Malamore’ (Italy 1982 – 90 mins)

Rediscover ‐ January 12, 2016

An intriguing adult tale with a touch of tragedy, the little seen Italian drama ‘Malamore’ is an obscure film with a simple plot, yet very well told.

During the 1st World War, Marcello (Jimmy Briscoe), a wealthy dwarf who has long been sheltered by his embarrassed family, meets and falls in love with Maria (Nathalie Nell), a prostitute from a nearby brothel. Their budding friendship is ridiculed by Maria’s boyfriend, who eventually sets out to rob and kill the dwarf. But when Maria’s tarot reading foresees danger for Marcello, she decides to intervene, but at a cost to her own wellbeing.

An …

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Apocalypse Now – Rediscovering ‘No Blade of Grass’ (US/UK 1970 – 96 mins)

Rediscover ‐ January 07, 2016

Derided by some critics but an always interesting piece of Sci-fi, Cornel Wilde’s eco-horror ‘No Blade of Grass’ is a gloomy doomsday drama and an interesting addition to the ‘End of the World’ genre. Kicking off with a strong opening montage of an over-populated and polluted world, it paints a depressing picture of how the environment can slowly choke us to death.

When the world is gripped by a severe grass plague, John and Ann Custance (Nigel Davenport and Jean Wallace) pack up their family, and leave a panic-stricken London to find shelter at his brother’s farm in the Lake District. …

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