Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Mansion of Madness

Directed by Juan López Moctezuma, Mexico, 1973

A mysterious man is sent deep into the forest to investigate the bizarre behavior of the notorious Dr. Tarr. What he stumbles upon is the doctor's torture dungeon, a hellish asylum completely cut off from civilization and presided over by the ultimate madman. Innocent people have been savagely chained, tortured and stuck in glass cages, then forced to take part in gruesome games of ritual slaughter.

Loosely based on The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather, a novel by Edgar Allan Poe.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Night Watch

Directed by Brian G. Hutton, 1973

Based on a play by Lucille Fletcher.

Ellen Wheeler, a rich woman, is recovering from a nervous breakdown with the help of her husband and a good friend. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. But does anybody believe her?

Sergeant Norris: [after digging in the garden] It seems this is as far as we can go sir. There's nothing here.
Appleby: [to Inspector Walker] Well, what did you expect to find down there, Sherlock Holmes? A wax dummy covered with tomato ketchup? An earthworm with a revolver? I told you, last night me being there was pure curiosity. If I came to you and told you that I was looking for a dead body in that old house, wouldn't you come to have a look?
Inspector Walker: You could have at least told us last night the reason for your curiosity. You had no business being in that house. However, under the circumstances, we are prepared to drop the trespassing charges against you.
Appleby: [sarcastic] How kind!
Sergeant Norris: We'll have a go and re-plant these trees if you'd like.
Appleby: You don't re-plant the dead Sergeant, you bury them! Now, get these dead plants out of my garden!

Ellen Wheeler: [into the phone] Inspector Walker? Why didn't you come? Yes... I know. I have something to tell... Yes... I'm leaving in a few minutes. Inspector... there are two dead bodies in that old building. A man and a woman sitting side by side with their throats... cut. Yes, I know... but you must believe me this time. Won't you inspect that house just once more? Well... then send someone else over...
[Ellen gasps as a loud click is heard and then a dial tone. She hangs up the phone]
Ellen Wheeler: [breaking character; sinister tone] Heh, I always thought you would say that.
[Appleby enters applauding]
Appleby: Bravo. Bravo! Superb! Superb performance. Well... that's it then. Your plan complete in every last detail. Pity you also had to include my Burhams.
Ellen Wheeler: Sorry about that.

Appleby:How nicely you've done the house. Did you know this was three rooms when I was a child? Beautiful, quite beautiful. I do love Indian art. Erotic, violent... your inspiration for this whole scheme, I assume. So charming. Oh... will you be away long?
Ellen Wheeler: At the moment, that seems to depend on... you Mr. Appleby.
Appleby: Oh, Mrs. Wheeler... Inspector Walker wouldn't believe me either. But I do admire you. How many 'abandoned wives,' or cuckholds for that matter, would have had your courage to pull off what you did? I myself, did nothing.
Ellen Wheeler: It's a great favour to ask you, but since you are so fond of this house...
Appleby: Yes?
Ellen Wheeler: Would it be possible for you to take care of it while I'm away?
Appleby: [flattered] Well... I don't know what to say.
Ellen Wheeler: The garden too of course. Here are the keys.
Appleby:  [takes the keys] It will be a pleasure. I'll see that nothing is disturbed.
Ellen Wheeler: Thank you, Mr. Appleby.
Appleby: No... thank you, Mrs. Wheeler.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Blake's 7


Blake's 7
: Sarcophagus (Season 3 Episode 9)

Blake's 7: 3x10 - Ultraworld (Season 3 Episode 10)

"Blake's 7 ran between 1978-81, which isn't much of a run frankly, but in those few seasons it managed to establish itself as the ultimate British cult SF series. Forget Dr Who and The Tomorrow People and even Quatermass, this was Britain's real answer to Star Trek.

What was particularly extraordinary is that the appeal was largely political. Blake's Seven were a small group of guerrillas fighting a vast dictatorial system with whatever tools are at their disposal. Which means that in the modern world they would be targeted under George W Bush's so-called war against so-called terrorism, but back then, in more enlightened times, we saw them as being part of the human struggle against tyranny. Also impressive was the sheer pointlessness of their campaign: the tiny pin-prick actions they staged did little to sabotage the operations of the Evil Empire, and didn't even work as armed propaganda. If they were going to have any real impact as freedom fighters, Blake and his group would have done better to study some theory before lashing out."

The Damned Don't Cry


Visage, 1982

Of Human Bondage

Directed by John Cromwell, 1934

Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham (1915)

Starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard

A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.


The updated 1964 remake, set in the swinging sixties, starring Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey, is even better...

Of Human Bondage (1964) 1/2

Directed by Ken Hughes
Script by Bryan Forbes

and more digestible...


"The third screen adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel about the destructiveness of sexual obsession."

A medical student becomes obsessed with his faithless lover.

Kim's Mildred is quite different. She's much more of an enchantress.

Friday, 26 October 2018


Directed by Otto Preminger, 1944

Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson, Grant Mitchell

"A haunting film noir that is about a police detective investigating the murder of a mysterious, beautiful young woman."

~ Link ~

I shall never forget the weekend Laura died...

Storyline: Detective Mark McPherson investigates the killing of Laura, found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom he interviews. He is helped by the striking painting of the late lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall. But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case...

"The troubling premise of the film is that homicide detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is seduced by the portrait and aura of murder victim Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). As he investigates and interviews the scoundrels, charlatans, and egomaniacs of New York society with whom Laura surrounded herself, McPherson the blue-collar outsider is lured in by their universal testimony as to Laura’s decency, charm, and intelligence. Caught up in this unseemly passion, he begins to see his investigation as a battle for the dead woman's soul. It's a short step from this chaste fascination to jealousy:  McPherson starts to believe that in solving her murder he can also save Laura from the taint of her lovers, the penniless Southern cad Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) and the narcissistic columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb). McPherson, in a way, is carrying on a more than usually fraught courtship, with a dead woman." - Ben Parker.