Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Black Christmas

Tis the season to be bloody....

A special Christmas present for everyone, we have teamed up with our good friends/enemies Mayhem & Kneel Before Zod to bring a very black Christmas triple bill.

We shall be screening the one film we have most wanted to screen all year, Ken Russell's The Devils.
Mayhem will screen Frank Henelotter's Frankenhooker.
Zod will screen Jim Wynorski's Chopping Mall.

All for £10!

Tickets


Come one, come all. You might get exactly what you wanted for Christmas.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beyond The Beyond

Sorry for the neglect we have been busy.
Performance has sadly been cancelled, but we have a very special Christmas event planned with our good friends/worst enemies Mayhem and Kneel Before Zod.  The event is called Ghouls, Frankenstein and Murder. 
I will post the program and essay from our screening of Altered States over the weekend but here we are stepping though that doorway into The Beyond.
We asked Luther Bhogal - Jones the director of the excellent Creak if he would like to write about The Beyond for our program. He wrote a lot. So much in fact that we couldn't fit everything in, so here is the full uncut, bloody essay torn from the book of Eibon!



The back room of Huthwaite Video – a dusty cornucopia of frightening and exotic pre-certificate delights. It was there that my brother and I cast our eyes on a video with a stunning cover– a futuristic metal masked Roman gladiator brandishing a huge machine gun, a spacecraft hovering over the ruins of the coliseum and a wild haired scantily clad woman fighting behind him on.
The title was emblazoned in huge dynamic letters - “ROME 2033: FIGHTER CENTURIONS” with the icing on the action cake the tagline “Champions Of Death.”
For two kids who loved Mad Max 2 at a highly impressionable age, this looked FUCKING EPIC.  So we hired it out. We - as in - our dad hired it out for us.
It was shit. It was boring. We didn’t even get half an hour into it before it was unceremoniously yanked from the machine.
Unbelievably, we were so convinced there had to be something as dynamic and exciting as the cover suggested that at a later date we hired it out again – it was still shit. It was still boring. We once again failed to sit through the limp action for more than half an hour.
8 years later, thanks to a now insatiable love and interest of horror, I discovered the horror magazine The Dark Side. They were excited about the Vipco reissue of the classic video nasty Zombie Flesh Eaters, back on the small screen for a new generation of horror fans. With a love of Romero’s zombie films and caught up in the hype of the reissue, ZFE was hired out and, accompanied by my two best friends, we sat through this highly regarded classic.
After the non stop action and gore of Romero’s films, Zombie Flesh Eaters seemed somewhat disappointing, hampered by the fact it was unfortunately missing it’s more (literally) eye popping gore moments. I recall us laughing at the ropey dubbing and some of the more bewildering moments of the film, such as the underwater zombie/ shark face off. Perhaps I was impressionably caught up in the reissue hype - after being told that this was a classic I wanted to believe it, that I did think it was great, but really wasn’t too sure...but there was something definitely there in this film that intrigued me enough to keep on the hunt for Fulci’s other highly regarded work.
So scouring the second hand stalls of markets I would eventually be exposed to more of his work – City Of The Living Dead, again, even in it’s terribly cut Elephant Video reissue exuded a strange, unreal atmosphere and the gothic family melodrama of House By The Cemetery was wonderfully baroque, even though in the cut form the most horrifying part of the film was the execrable dubbing used on the main child actor. Once heard, never EVER forgot.
Even his understandably more lesser regarded works joined the ranks on my video shelf - Manhattan Baby - a strange tale of a child and a cursed medallion (and that fucking dubbing on the same child AGAIN), Conquest – a truly dreadful entry into the swords and sorcery genre and Aenigma – a film lacking in money and imagination, Contraband – a truly vicious, violent mob movie – just to see more Fulci works.  It was an unbelievable moment when I realised that “Rome 2033” – that boring turd which failed to delivery any gimp costumed post apocalyptic action thrills to my 8 year old self = was also directed by Fulci. Here I was, ten years later, obsessively collecting his films, buying up fanzines and magazines devoted to his work which were endlessly perused, seducing me with these images of horror that remained unreleased or banned on these shores.
It was The Beyond, the most highly regarded of Fulci’s quartet of classic horror films, that remained frustratingly out of my grasp. I’d become a regular customer with one video stall, badgering the poor owner of the stall with my lists of Italian trash that I was on the look out for. It always seemed like there had been a copy “just last week”...for a long time I didn’t even know what the cover to the fabled Vampix video release looked like. I never saw the Elephant Video reissue. It seemed my Holy Grail was never to be found. After an endless search which seemed to be leading nowhere I discovered a peculiar and yes, questionable, mail order video company based in Amsterdam who could supply me with a film, resulting in a nervous wait whether the film would make it through customs...
But after several weeks of watching the letterbox finally that chunky VHS tape was in my hands, the box fronted with the wonderful E Sciotti artwork of the screaming Catriona MacColl and the truly exciting tagline – “AND YOU WILL LIVE IN TERROR. THE BEYOND” Hell yeah!
A tagline that still makes my skin tighten with excitement all these years later, even as I write this programme. Finally, I would see Fulci’s masterpiece!



It is easy to see why The Beyond is so highly regarded and the favourite Fulci film of many horror fans - n some cases this fandom is almost bordering on fanaticism – Fulci’s daughter has a tattoo of The Beyond’s “symbol” on her arm and on a local Nottingham level I recall Craig, a member of staff at the long defunct Another World, proudly showing me his tattoo of a certain gruesome death scene from the film.  
At times the film is almost a goreatest hits (sorry) of Italian exploitation cinema referencing Fulci’s previous work (the chain whipping of the “witch” from his rural murder mystery “Don’t Torture A Duckling”, a reverse eye popping recalling Zombie Flesh Eaters most celebrated moment, the book of Eibon recalls the similarly important tome from City Of The Living Dead) and a death which will seem familiar to fans of Argento’s “Suspiria”...the casting of Veronica Lazar, previously seen as the malevolent Mater Tenabrarum in Argento’s “Inferno”, adds another Italian horror link along with Catriona MacColl in the lead role of Liza, having played the lead female role in Fulci’s prior production, “City Of The Living Dead.”
Fulci described the film as “plotless - just a series of images” which is ironic as it is regarded as one of the more strongly plotted films of his career.  It’s a film which exudes its sweaty, damp Louisiana atmosphere, from the opening boat ride across the swamp, the flooded basement of the cursed hotel to the sticky, clammy interiors of the film. Only the cool, clinical atmosphere of the hospital seems to offer some respite from the atmosphere, though they offer no solace come the climax of the film,
It’s a film obsessed with eyes and the act of seeing - from Fulci’s trademark close ups of eyes ,which are then gouged or pulled from their sockets by hungry pipe cleaner tarantulas...there’s a subjective moment where the camera is covered by the hand of an attacker, putting us the audience in the viewpoint of the victim. Liza can’t trust her own eyes when the Book of Eibon strangely disappears from a shop window she was looking in moments before. Emily, the mysterious girl with clouded eyes seems to be the only one who knows the danger Liza is in, is introduced to the audience on a lonely bridge, itself an endless vista in both directions, foreshadowing the crushing vision at the climax of the film.
Fulci and his team of collaborators had previously laid the groundwork with Zombie Flesh Eaters and City Of The Living Dead – screenwriter Dardano Sachetti, Serio Salvati’s cinematographer Serio Salvati, special effects genius Gianetto De Rossi and the talented composer Fabio Frizi  - but it was with The Beyond that the team truly pulled together to create something memorable. Sachetti weaved a tale with aspects familiar to most horror fans but conjured something uniquely its own, Salvati frames some of the most memorable moments in Italian horror, De Rossi gives the gore fans a diverse range of nauseating special effects and Frizzi composes an evocative and suitably apocalyptic score.
Special mention has to be given to the two leads in The Beyond, Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck. It would be unfair to call MacColl a scream queen – in all of her work with Fulci she brings a performance which grounds the films for the audience as the surreal extreme violence occurs around her. She is always a magnetic, attractive presence without having to resort to some overtly sexualised role. Her performances were no doubt assisted by retaining her own voice in the post production of the film. Nonetheless, she does retain a scream queen status based on the trilogy of Fulci films she starred in, beginning with the vulnerable young psychic Mary in City Of The Living Dead. In The Beyond she brings a weariness and cynicism to the role of Liza, a woman who has one last roll of the die with the hotel she has inherited, a grounded view which will be eroded as much as the walls of the hotel’s basement as the events of the film take place. Afterwards she would go on to give another strong role as the housewife on the edge of a breakdown in the House By The Cemetery before turning her back on genre cinema, returning only in the last year with the anthology film “The Theatre Bizarre” much to the excitement of horror fans worldwide.


David Warbeck, the greatest James Bond we cruelly never had, was a veteran of Italian genre cinema for many years, beginning with a small but important role in my favourite Sergio Leone film “A Fistful Of Dynamite” then mostly working closely with director Antonio Margeheriti, but also generating a special bond with Fulci going on to star in his oddly English interpretation of Poe’s “The Black Cat”. It was in Margehriti’s gore laden Vietnam film” The Last Hunter”, filmed as an unofficial sequel to “The Deer Hunter” and well worth checking out, where I first saw Warbeck in action. Always an entertaining personality on screen and in print, he gave 100% to his film roles, even in the most ludicrous of situations – on one memorable occasion, he was asked to run along an exploding pier slowly to give a dramatic impression of slow motion as the paucity of the film production meant they couldn’t afford enough film stock to shoot at high speed. In The Beyond, like Liza, he’s a grounded rational man, giving a stoic performance as his reality crumbles around him...and when rational thought fails he discovers a bullet from a magnum can’t do much harm! Warbeck’s playful nature is further evident in his endless efforts to get visual gags past the editors of his films – see if you can spot the moment where he showcases an unorthodox way of reloading a gun, much to MacColl’s amusement!
When asked by Warbeck why he made such fantastically violent films, Fulci apparently told him that real life is much more unpleasant, a fact which Fulci sadly knew all too well. Starting his directing career in the late 50s, he started in comedies before directing films in many genres, from gothic Spaghetti Westerns, period dramas, giallos, even family action with his “White Fang” films, But his personal life no doubt had some effect on his world view – for years I’d read of some darker moments in his personal life but never knew of any concrete details.  The ever reputable Wikipedia tells of the suicide of his wife and the death of a daughter in a car accident, which surely informed the cold, cynical view of the world reflected in his films. It’s no surprise that most of Fulci’s films have pessimistic, or at least ambiguous endings.
Fulci’s international recognition came with Zombie Flesh Eaters, though this was originally to be directed by Enzo G. Castellari, an amazing director of Italian action films including the original Inglorious Bastards, before the role was offered to Fulci, kickstarting. Sadly after the highs of the early 80s with his quartet of horror films, Fulci’s career was hit by several stumbling blocks – the savage backlash against The New York Ripper, the breakdown of his relationship with screenwriter Sacchetti and a bought of illness in the mid 80s, after which his career seemed to never recover with the disastrous Zombi 3 (apparently started by Fulci but completed by renowned shitty director Bruno Mattei) a particularly sour footnote. It was a cruel blow that Fulci died in his sleep while in pre-production on The Wax Mask, which was set to be his biggest budget film in years, produced by Dario Argento (a man Fulci bitterly felt he had lived in the shadow of for too many years) and highly anticipated by the horror community. The final film would be completed by Argento’s effects whizz Sergio Stivaletti with a script which apparently bares little resemblance to the film Fulci had planned. I like to think Fulci would have spared us the uncharismatic Fabio styled himbo star of what ended up being a disappointing film leaden with questions of what could have been.
Nevertheless, Fulci’s reputation as a master of the horror genre continues to grow as the years go by, with The Beyond understandably held up as his crowning moment and the starting point for anyone interested in his work. It’s a film which can stand alongside John Carpenter’s “Apocalyptic trilogy”, offering a similarly intimately epic vision of the collapse of the world as we know it, where reality, logic, consequences and space make little sense anymore.  For those of you checking in to the Seven Doors hotel for the first time enjoy the stay as much as many of us have over the years. As the lights go down, may you face the sea of darkness...and all therein that may be explored...



PS
Funnily enough, I personally don’t regard The Beyond as Fulci’s greatest film - sadly, I feel that award belongs to the New York Ripper, which due to its extreme content is hard to judge objectively, though to me it seems the absolute synthesis of Fulci’s cold cynicism of a brutal world.
I also finally did watch 2033: The Fighter Centurions 10 years after those initial failed attempts. Possibly the most interesting aspect of this film is how much “The Running Man” movie rips off Fulci’s effort being as it is barely recognisable from the original Richard Bachman aka Stephen King story. There are still some moments I like – the much derided murder of the hero’s wife is a creepy camp scene which I still think is effective and there are some fun comic book action moments which wouldn’t have been out of place in 2000ad at the time. But the “action packed” gladiatorial games of the finale are utterly dismal and tedious. My 8 year old self obviously knew a stinker from the start.



And if you want to go beyond the...er...Beyond...then here are some obvious recommendations...
You can’t go wrong with any of Fulci’s quarter of classic horror films, beginning with Zombi (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters) – for anyone expecting Romero type spills like I was as a teenager then you may be disappointed, this is a different beast entirely enmeshed in the world of voodoo. It’s responsible for some of Fulci’s most memorable moments with the WTF of a zombie attacking a shark, the most gruelling splinter in the eye sequence in cinema history which. Does. Not. Seem. To. End. and some of the most wonderful dusty and dirty looking zombies ever seen on screen – special mention for one which comes out of the ground, drops some maggots from its eye socket on to us the viewers then charges towards the screen.

Fulci followed this with City Of The Living Dead, which could well be my favourite Fulci film despite its “We don’t really know how to end this, do we?” final image. This time it’s any town America under attack, which at times gives it a resemblance to a Stephen King novel, with the regular joes drinking in the bar, teenagers getting high...and small town fascism ready to put a drill through a head should you start messing with someone’s daughter. Like The Beyond this has a really powerful atmosphere from the very beginning, fog enshrouded cemeteries, a hanging priest, zombies which appear and disappear once their head scrunching is done and Catriona MacColl’s memorable rescue from a premature burial involving a pickaxe inches from her face.

After The Beyond came a more intimate affair with House By The Cemetery – like City Of The Living Dead the urban city is abandoned for the leafy small town America and a house with deadly secrets. Much like The Beyond this has a distorted sense of causality and imagery, with Fulci wanting to give it a childlike sense of logic (or lack of, as the case may more likely be) especially with children being important characters in the film. Starting with an opening that hits you like a knife in the back of the head and ending with a family being ripped apart, House By The Cemetery also gave us one of the greatest looking monsters in horror cinema, the amazing looking Dr Freudstein. It also gave us the worst dubbing in cinema history – if I could invent a way to do ear lobotomies, I could make a fortune from people who have seen this film.

The Black Cat isn’t one of Fulci’s greatest works but has a definite odd charm to it. After the excess of the above quartet the film feels sadly restrained, but it does have David Warbeck in the lead role as well as the incredible Patrick Magee in one of his final film roles, seen here wandering cemeteries recording the voices of the dead, as well as possibly holding a special bond with a certain kitty. Like some of Corman’s Poe adaptations, this feels lighter and more playful than some of Fulci’s other horror films, but is a fun diversion.

Fulci’s murder mystery films of the 70s are all well worth checking out – Don’t Torture A Duckling is an unusual rural based murder mystery set in southern Italy in contrast to the urban locales of Argento’s celebrated giallos. It has Thomas Milian, cool as ever and the gorgeous Barbara Bouchet investigating murders of children in a superstitious narrow minded town. Small town fascism is evident again here, when the townsfolk blame a local “witch” and bring their own form of justice and punishment in the film’s most brutal and tragic moment. Definitely a unique giallo worth checking out if you can find it on import.

The finale of Don’t Torture A Duckling would be revisited for the climax of The Psychic (aka the more striking title of Seven Notes In Black.) Fulci dismissed this film as “mechanical” but I think it’s a smart little thriller where Jennifer O’Neill investigates the psychic vision she has had of a murder to come without fully understanding the consequences. My favourite aspect of the film is O’Neill’s vision itself, built purely cinematically from shots removed from their proper context, creating an abstract montage of material. The fun is seeing her and us as an audience piece these elements back into their proper place before it’s too late!

But Fulci’s greatest giallo has to be the ludicrously titled Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, which is full of incredible dreamlike imagery, in keeping with the dream diary that the lead Florinda Bolkan is keeping. Opening with a nude train nightmare and surrealistic slow motion stabbing, the film constantly has something visually arresting for the audience, with the most infamous moment being the discovery of a horrific lab experiment on dogs which nearly landed Fulci in jail, so convinced were the authorities of the authenticity of the scene. For me the most memorable moment is an incredible chase through the deserted and part derelict Alexandra Palace, with the victim giving away her position by accidentally pressing the famous organ in the main room. Just one amazing sequence in this brilliant film.

Fulci made a few westerns but one of most interest in the impressively titled Four Of The Apocalypse which brings together two leading male stars of Italian genre cinema, Thomas Milian in a brutal role and Fabio Testi, being as bloody suave as always. Fulci brings a gothic sensibility to the film, with a memorable rainstorm in a cemetery being one such moment and also brings his trademark brutality, especially shown in the actions of Milian in the uncut version. It also climaxes in a very peculiar setting of a town entirely run by men who won’t allow any women to live there, which is unique in the macho world of spaghetti westerns.

So, the hardest recommendation – the New York Ripper. Notorious in this country with the film print allegedly being escorted out of the country back in the early 80s...recently released cut in this country showing that even now, 30 years later, it’s a film which is still too much at times. This to me has some of the greatest memorable subjective shots in any of Fulci’s films, like the moment where a broken bottle cuts across the audience’s line of vision. It portrays a real dirty, trashy New York which no longer exists, giving it a time capsule sensibility. There’s a moral hypocrisy and decay at the centre, where all the characters have secrets, mostly of a sexual nature, that all of them are ashamed or try to hide, most tragically the police inspector who has a regular relationship with a prostitute, but dithers when she is under attack, not wanting to reveal that he knows her location then finally doing the right thing when it is sadly too late (and after Fulci has given us possibly the most sadistic on screen murder ever.) It’s hard to stomach, but as an absolute synthesis of the cold cynical Fulci world, along with some stunning imagery, it all feels like this is his greatest work.

Further reading – it probably goes for a pretty penny these days, but Stephen Thrower’s “Beyond Terror” is a stunning book devoted to Fulci’s work, an incredible amount of stills photography and posters from around the world with every film from Fulci’s directing career critically assessed, including his impossible to see early Italian comedies and rock’n’roll teenage movies. It’s one of the all time greatest books dedicated to a genre director.

Further listening – legally questionable, but you can listen to and in some cases download tracks from Fulci films at “his” Soundcloud page. Not really sure who is responsible for this (the same goes for the Fulci Twitter feed too – maybe it’s a member of his family) but well worth a listen! http://soundcloud.com/luciofulci



 For more information on Creak and Luther Bhogal - Jones please look here.
And if you are feeling very brave you can watch Creak here. 


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Performance


We will be screening Performance on Thursday 8th November.
There were 2 films we really needed to screen when we first started Kino Klubb, Performance and The Devils. WE NEED TO SCREEN THE DEVILS.

Here are the posters for this Thursdays The Beyond screening.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

This is your brain on KIno


Very excited and honored to be able to present Ken Russell's Psychotropic classic Altered States as part of this years Mayhem Horror Festival.
We have been massive fans of Mayhem for years and it means so much to us to be able to join the party.
Can't wait.

http://mayhemhorrorfest.co.uk/

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lolita and The Beyond


Sorry for the long pauses between blog posts, we are working hard at Kino on our screenings and don't get much chance to write. If you haven't seen it yet please go and see Berberian Sound Studio its fantastic. Lots in the pipe line for us including Carpenter's They Live and a halloween screening of Fulci's The Beyond.


Lolita was great and we thought we would share the essay with you if you didn't make the screening.
This months programmes were road maps.





How did they make a film of Lolita?

Lolita was an important film for Kubrick, it helped to shape him as a director, it was a move towards the satire that is prevalent in his work that followed Lolita, It helped to sew the seeds for his next film Dr Strangelove, it helped him to set up in England and it shaped Kubrick’s philosophy regarding studios and censorship.
Lolita is part of a set of lost works, the Kubrick films you should have seen because they are classics but somehow you have never got around to it, Barry Lyndon, The Killing, and Paths Of Glory – the films that aren’t Clockwork Orange, the Shining and 2001.
“How did they make a film of Lolita” was the films clever tag line, a witty repost towards the difficulty in getting the film made and past the censors but it could now be “Why haven’t you seen Lolita?” Why isn’t Lolita screened more often or shown on TV? Why isn’t Lolita embraced in our hearts as much as say Dr Stangelove?
Obviously this is a presumption, I’m sure many of you have seen Lolita.
But I’m sure you had to search for it, Lolita isn’t a film that comes and finds you.  Kubrick is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest directors of all time so why are some of his works neglected?  Does the film still contain some power to shock as it did in 1962? Is the subject still a taboo?
Kubrick knew that he couldn’t just simply film Vladimir Nabokov’s book
as Lolita would not get past the censors. The decision was made to raise Lolita’s age from 12 to 14 (in some US states this was legal marriage age) Stanley also wanted to move away from the books feeling of sexual depravity and move the film more towards unconventional love and satire.
Nabokov was approached to provide the script and eventually handed in a massive 400-page script, which would have been difficult to film. Nabokov, who had it written into his contract that he would receive the sole screen credit, would later receive an Oscar nomination despite the fact that the script was really a joint effort between Kubrick and producer James B Harris.
Kubrick and Harris felt they needed to portray Humbert Humbert in a more sympathetic light and less of a snarling predator. His first choice for the role of Humbert was James Mason; Kubrick felt he would bring some dignity to the role. Mason was very keen to play Humbert but had signed on to do a Broadway musical despite not being able to sing “its never stopped Rex Harrison” he was heard to say. He did offer his daughter Portland up as a possible Lolita though. Kubrick next approached Laurence Olivier who turned the part down, next it was David Niven who accepted then quickly declined even Marlon Brando and Peter Ustinov were considered. Luckily Mason decided to drop out his show despite a lot of singing lessons and signed on to play Humbert.  Lolita was more of a challenge to cast; Nabokov felt the part should be given to a dwarfess! Luckily Kubrick decided to ignore Nabokov’s suggestion and newcomer Sue Lyon was cast.  Peter Sellers was offered the role of Clare Quilty invitingly as a 5 minute cameo that kept growing, Kubrick gave Sellers the freedom to improvise in all of his scenes constantly ad libbing until he reached a ‘comedic ecstasy’.  Sellers also got to play more than one character as Quilty appears in different disguises one of which a Dr Kempf, who bears a striking resemblance to Dr Strangelove. It was also during the Lolita shoot that Kubrick would first read Terry Southern's book ‘The Magic Christian’ (later filmed with Sellers in the main role) Southern would go onto write the script for Kubrick’s next film Dr Strangelove. 
Sellers played a vital role in lightening a heavy film by steering Lolita towards black comedy. Kubrick shot Sellers with 2 to 3 cameras to capture his spontaneity, this was a wise move as by the 3rd take Sellers would be spent; Kubrick often used the 1st take.
Shelley Winters joined next with the role of Charlotte Haze, she only agreed if it was written into her contract that she could be guaranteed to be allowed time to go to JFK’s inauguration ball for whom she had campaigned heavily. This never happened due to poor weather over the Atlantic but she was later the maid of honour at the private press ball for Kennedy.
Lolita was shot in the UK to take advantage of the Eady Plan and this was purely a business decision but Kubrick enjoyed the freedom of being away from the studio system and was also quite an Anglophile so decided to stay and make the UK his home.
The hardest part was always going to be getting the film past the MPPA, BBFC and the Catholic Legion of Decency uncut. This meant holding back on the sexuality and depravity, Kubrick said “because of all the pressure over the Production Code and the Catholic church at the time, I believe I didn't sufficiently dramatize the erotic aspect of Humbert's relationship with Lolita. If I could do the film over again, I would have stressed the erotic component of their relationship with the same weight Nabokov did”. Kubrick kept close contact with the MPPA and John Trevelyan head of the BBFC and the film was released uncut, though the Legion Of Decency deemed any Catholic going see Lolita would be committing a mortal sin and Cannon John Collins went even further saying that he believed the film would lead to rape or even murder.
Lolita began filming in October 1960 with a budget of $1.75 million, and it generally followed the structure of Nabokov’s 400-page script, the film wrapped in March 1961.
Nabokov praised Lolita upon its release even going so far as to say that he felt some scenes in the film were an actual improvement upon his book but by the time (1973) he published his original screenplay he claimed that actually the film had left him a mixture of aggravation, regret and reluctant pleasure.
Though the finished result may not have been as sexual as both Kubrick and Nabokov has first imaged the film to be, it does stand out as a great black comedy. Many feel that Adrian Lyne’s 1997 version staring Jeremy Irons is a more faithful adaptation but is it as enjoyable to watch?  There have been many films that have dealt with the heavy themes of Lolita since its original release, the idea of an older man in love with a young girl is a recurring theme in Woody Allen’s work particularly in ‘Manhattan’ (1979) and the subject of paedophilia has been looked at in works such as David Slade’s brutal ‘Hard Candy’ (2005).
Kubrick’s Lolita deserves praise and it deserves attention, it’s a very dark and very funny film full of great performances. We hope you enjoy the film and that Lolita finds a place in your heart. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

If...


Last night we screened Lindsay Anderson's classic If...
Our good friend Christy Fowlston wrote a piece for our program and heres what he had to say...




No film can be too personal.
The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude.

Or so said the first manifesto of the Free Cinema movement. Several years before the Royal Court’s ‘angry young men’ reshaped British drama forever, Lindsay Anderson was already busy challenging the cultural and social order, cutting his cinematic teeth with shoestring documentaries funded by the BFI. Struggling to get his films shown, Anderson joined forces with friends Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and Lorenza Mazzetti, the four of them deciding to show their short documentary films in a single programme at the National Film Theatre. Despite the fact that the group had made their films independently of one another, Anderson identified a shared, novel attitude to their filmmaking, and opportunistically concocted a ‘Free Cinema Manifesto’ for the occasion. Such was the press attention garnered by Anderson’s manifesto that not only did all the screenings sell out, but a further five Free Cinema programmes took place over the next three years (with notable contributions from Roman Polanski and François Truffaut). With its evident contempt for mainstream British films, institutions and attitudes, and its respectful portrayal of ordinary people, Free Cinema, With Anderson as its spokesman, was the artistic melting pot from which the British New Wave was born.



What do you have?
Picking up where Free Cinema left off in 1959, The British New wave (BNW) consisted of perhaps no more than 9 major works, more than half of which were directed by the founders of Free Cinema (including Tony Richardson’s Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey, and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night Sunday Morning). The late 50s saw the emergence of a youth culture eager to reject the fustiness and hidebound attitudes of their parents and the prevalent culture. BNW films told the stories of characters and issues on the social margins of society that would previously have been left untold. Anderson’s own contribution, This Sporting Life (1963), was his first feature length film and arguably the final film in the BNW movement. In common with most of the BNW’s films, This Sporting Life was based on a novel with a screenplay adapted by the author, David Storey (from his novel of the same name). It tells the story of Richard Harris’ inimical, violent coal miner, manipulated on the rugby field and manipulator off it. It wouldn’t be until 1968 that Anderson made another full length film. But This Sporting Life’s themes of power and class would be central to his next, and greatest, film.






There's no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts.
Set in an elite and elitist public school, Anderson’s 1968 film, If… is certainly a departure from the BNW’s focus on working or lower middle class people. Malcolm McDowell takes the lead (in his first screen appearance) as the sixth form rebel Mick Travis. Arriving back at school at the beginning of term with a non-regulation moustache, a fellow pupil remarks "God, it's Guy Fawkes back again". It’s a line that anticipates the unexpected finale of a film that was made while the students were literally manning the barricades in protests in France.
If… is a searing allegory of British society where public school serves as a microcosm. The contempt for British mores and institutions of Anderson’s earlier work is present, and so too are some more esoteric cinematic elements that Anderson had temporarily abandoned in This Sporting Life. Colour scenes are interspersed with monochrome, the day-to-day drudgery of school life is broken up with fantasy and surrealism. The repeated use of a Congolese mass as a musical motif hints at the escape to another world that Travis and his friends long for.
Many people (myself included) have looked for some sort of meaning in the unusual mixture of black and white, and colour film in If…, there was even a rumour at the time of the film’s release that the black and white scenes had been included because the production had run out of money and could not afford to process all the scenes in colour. In fact, they filmed the first chapel scene in black and white because, in tests, the natural light rendered the high speed colour film they were using grainy, and shifting colours coming through the stained glass window made colour-correction impossible. When Anderson checked the dailies he liked the way the monochrome ‘broke up the surface of the film’ and decided to insert more black and white scenes to disorientate the viewer.
Although a piece of its time If… still resonates. The young, charismatic, pseudo-liberal headmaster with his condescending understanding of Travis and his band of ‘hair rebels’ smacks of David Cameron (or any of the current shower of ‘caring’ Tories). And having served a brief sentence in the early nineties at a public school where some of the scenes in If… were shot, I can confirm that many of the prefects’ more unadmirable attitudes were still very much in evidence then. With the UK government’s Cabinet once again stuffed full of Eton’s spawn, and many of the grand old institutions in the City teetering, what better time to take a seditious look at Anderson’s anarchic fantasy?






Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Phantom




We were extremely honored that Chris Cooke agreed to provide us with a piece for our Phantom Of The Paradise program, its so good that we had to share it with you.
Chris is part of Mayhem who has been such an inspiration for us. 
Each Mayhem event feels very special and is an education in terror. They have curated some fantastic screenings in Nottingham and have that special talent of putting together some dream double bills. 
Nottingham are very lucky to have them. 

...and yes, our programs were Origami Swans.



PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
Directed by Brian De Palma, 1974. Starring William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper and Gerrit Graham (as Beef).

He sold his soul... for Rock N' Roll.

His face destroyed in a vinyl record press, wronged composer Winslow Leach dons a mask and hides out behind the scenes at The Paradise Theatre, watching and waiting for the perfect time to take his revenge against evil record producer Swan. But as he methodically destroys one band after another he finds that his lovely muse, Phoenix, is starring in Swan's opus – using the music stolen from him... but if Leach wants success at any cost, then Swan wants nothing less than his soul.

The very definition of a cult movie, Phantom was a failure when released and built up a huge, loyal and loving fanbase that now sees the film rightly recognised as a mini-masterpiece, and if you've never seen it, you really can't afford to miss it now!

For more information visit The Swan Archives online at: http://www.swanarchives.org/

“Delirium...” Slant Magazine

“Highly inventive...” Time Out.

“Bizarre colors, vintage 70s-era rock and truly imaginative ideas... a thrill.” Combustible Celluloid.

“Outrageous... a visual triumph.” The Los Angeles Times.





PAUL WILLIAMS
Williams is probably best remembered for the brilliant score and songs to Bugsy Malone and his contributions to everything from The Muppets to Yo Gabba Gabba, but it's his work here that is well worth being reminded of.

His clever score allows him to pastiche a number of trends from rock to surf sounds, from folk to pop, all the while creating a cohesive opera of violence and mayhem. Here he creates whole bands, ranging from The Juicy Fruits, The Beach Bums and The Undeads... and of course wild solo-singer, Beef.

Phantom of the Paradise also allows him to demonstrate just what a great character actor he is in the role of the sinister Swan, creepy record producer and corrupter of all pure and innocent – but we shouldn't forget that he's also brilliant as Virgil, the scientist orangutan, in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and is great in Smokey and the Bandit, of course.

The film and William's music has had a more recent influence informing avowed fans Sebastian Tellier and Daft Punk.





WILLIAM FINLEY
Finley died earlier this year, and this screening of Phantom is a great way to celebrate a career of collaborations with his life long friend, Phantom director Brian De Palma.

The pair met at university and worked together over a series of films seeing Finley turn in increasingly bizarre and quirky performances, from a deranged doctor in love with Siamese twins in Sisters, a sweaty psychic in The Fury and a demented private dick in The Black Dahlia, De Palma's adaptation of the James Ellroy novel.

Finley also worked with Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper on Funhouse as a very drunk fairground magician as well as playing Marilyn Burns' unhinged husband in Eaten Alive. But perhaps his most must-see cult performance outside of Phantom is as yet another loopy loser in the Chuck Norris starring martial-arts-slasher pic Silent Rage.

"RIP: Winslow Leach a.k.a. William Finley one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies." Bret Easton Ellis

JESSICA HARPER
Harper is given full rein to her incredible vocal talents here in Phantom and still performs the brilliant soundtrack today as the film has inspired convention screenings and retrospectives in the USA.

Her obvious interest in music is also evident in her performance as young dance student Suzy Banyon in Dario Argento's masterpiece Suspiria, the Hollywood remake of Pennies from Heaven  as well as the little remembered but very good Shock Treatment, a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, playing Janet herself!




GERRIT GRAHAM
Actor, comedian (and here singer), multi-talented character actor excels as the ridiculous and doomed Beef. His affection for the genre is evident in films ranging from Demon Seed to TerrorVision, the hilarious Chopping Mall, the cult sequel Chud 2: Bud The Chud and terrible post-Vietnam vigilante thriller The Annihilators.

His skills also extend to penning screenplays for Disney's The Little Mermaid and Oliver & Company and there aren't that many flamboyantly condemned characters called Beef who can lay claim to that.

BRIAN DE PALMA
Phantom is a genuine, quintessential cult classic from writer-director Brian De Palma and one that nearly lost him his fans.

Made before he thrilled everyone with now horror classics Carrie and Dressed To Kill and his move into big budget success with films like Scarface and The Untouchables, this bizarre rock-opera fusion of The Phantom of the Opera with the legend of Faust came after a series of explosive new wave features like Hi Mom! (starring then newcomer Robert De Niro) that marked De Palma out as a ground-breaking, left-field avant-garde film-maker.

But the real gripe of his radical fans was the score by Paul Williams. Everyone had expected a new film from their feted director to feature the music of a radical or cool underground band – not the composer of tracks for The Carpenters and Helen Reddy!

However on seeing the completed film they knew they needn't have worried – De Palma had fashioned a stunningly independent attack on the music industry itself, lampooning the scene as pompous and self important, interested only in money and not art.

The film is also a template for many of the techniques De Palma was developing for suspense – from split screens to sustained set-pieces De Palma's love of 'pure cinema' is at here at it's most evident. Plus of course, Phantom is genuinely enjoyable, thrilling and fun.

TRIVIA FACT FANS –
Sissy Spacek, star of Carrie, was a set-dresser on this film!
The film was nominated for Best Music Oscar!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Phantom Of The Paradise

Here is the poster for our screening of Phantom Of The Paradise.


Designed by our very own Tara Hill, please visit her blog for more of her fantastic work. 

And I forgot to post our poster for The Boy Friend ...




The drawing is by our other very own fantastic Lotti Closs, you can visit her blog too. 




This isn’t the last song.


This piece was written for our screening of The Boy Friend, I wanted to show a contrast in modern musical conventions and how Lars Von Trier had interpreted the legacy of the Hollywood musical and mixed it with raw emotion and reality. 



“This isn’t the last song,
They don’t know us you see,
It’s only the last song,
If we let it be.”





Dancer In The Dark  - Lars Von Trier (2000)

Lars Von Trier had always wanted to make a musical and capture the magic of Gene Kelly films he had seen in his youth, He wondered how he could approach making one and thought it would be interesting to shoot a musical in his faux real life Dogma documentary style.
The result is Dancer In The Dark and it is one of the most harrowing musicals ever filmed.

The film starts in the traditional style with an Orchestral Overture, combined with abstract paintings, which are a motif of Von Trier’s work.  The tragic plot revolves around Bjork who gives a gentle and honest performance as Selma a Czechoslovakian who has failing sight and escapes into musical fantasy while at work in a small town American factory in the 1950’s.  
The story starts with Selma in rehearsals for a community production of The Sound Of Music in which she plays Maria she is helped by her work colleague Cathy (Catherine Denuve), Trier manages to through in a little joke as one of the characters comments that Selma “Sings funny”. Selma is naïve and child like talks with most of the characters about musicals and how there conventions don’t apply to real life, whenever a musical number starts its built up for environmental rhythms such as factory machinery or a train going across tracks.  Selma loves going to the musicals but sadly due to her eyesight can’t actually see the Berkeley dance routines so her friend Cathy has to trace the moments out on her palm.
Trier plants clues of what will to come as Selma talks about hating the last song as when it builds up and the camera pulls up and goes through the roof that the story ends, she leaves the cinema after the second to last song so the film can continue forever. 
Upon seeing the film for the first time I wish I had left during the second to last song, the final song is called  “The Next To Last Song” which is cut horribly short due to the films devastating conclusion and the camera silently pulls up and out of the roof. No violins and no choir. It’s a heart stopping moment and knocks the breath out of you.  




Selma has come to America to raise funds for an operation on her son’s eyes that he would be unable to have in Czechoslovakia. In typical Trier fashion things don’t go to plan and it ends with the slaughter of an innocent who has been cruelly exploited with horrific and inevitable results.  The musical numbers are filmed in a wonky handheld style and the fantasy is firmly placed in reality no large Busby Berkley numbers with lavish costumes and enormous sets, its all quite kinetic using a lot of movement as well as dance. Bjork's songs are beautiful and fragile like her character full of joy and menace and are co-written with Bjork regular Chris bell while the lyrics provide narrative direction and were written by Lars and Sjon Sigurdsson.
The film is helped by a great ensemble cast of including some Trier regulars Jean Marc Bar, Udo Kier, Peter Stormare, David Morse and Stellan Sarsgard.
Lars cleverly casts Joel Grey from Cabaret in a cameo as Selma’s idol tap dancer Oldrich Novy.
I feel Dancer In The Dark is a perfect musical for people who struggle with the conventions of the musical, its emotionally engaging and damaging and will bring tears to the hardest of hearts. 




Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Read all about us.

We have done an interview about our Kino Klubb screenings with Leftlion magazine, you can read all about it here

Monday, 30 April 2012

May- August 2012 programme

THURSDAY 31ST MAY, 7PM



KEN RUSSELL'S 'THE BOY FRIEND' (1971)
+ SURPRISE SHORT FILM


After the brutality of Benny's Video we thought we'd show something a bit nicer.

Ken Russell’s Busby Berkley homage is a visually stunning musical starring Twiggy and former international ballet star Christopher Gable.
Made and released the same year as The Devils, this film is Russell at his most charming and playful. Everything shines- the sets, the costumes, the script, songs and performances.

“A glittering, super-colossal, heart warming, toe tapping, continuously delightful musical extravaganza”

A film to fall in love with.

You could even bring your nan to this one.

“A glittering, super-colossal, heart warming, toe tapping, continuously delightful musical extravaganza”
A film to fall in love with.
You could even bring your nan to this one.



THURSDAY 28TH JUNE, 7PM






BRIAN DE PALMA'S 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE' (1974)
+ SURPRISE SHORT FILM

He Sold His Soul For Rock n’ Roll”

De Palma's Faustian tour-de-force rock Opera is the Rocky Horror it's OK to like.

Brilliantly bonkers, trashy, colourful and loud. This film is one of the reasons that we started Kino Klubb. You will never have seen anything like it before. 

Dario Argento cast Jessica Harper in Suspiria after seeing her performance in this.



THURSDAY 26TH JULY, 7PM



LINDSAY ANDERSON'S 'IF...' (1968)
+SURPRISE SHORT FILM

“Which Side Will You Be On?”

Malcolm McDowell’s debut performance and probably his finest.

The first part of Anderson’s Mick Travis trilogy this savagely attacks the English Public School system. A beautiful film with some fantastic cinematography and a wonderful soundtrack. It is oddly surreal and at the same time brutally honest. It's also number 12 in the BFI's 100 best British films.

THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST, 7PM



STANLEY KUBRICK'S 'LOLITA' (1962)
+ A SPECIAL SCREENING OF HOLY STATE'S 'DIAL 'M' FOR MONOLITH' (2012)

LOLITA-

“How Did They Ever Make A Movie Of Lolita?”


How indeed? Kubrick Masterfully directs Nabokov’s classic with gorgeous stark crisp monochrome photography and the dream cast of James Mason, Shelly Winters and Peter Sellers. It feels both old Hollywood and also thoroughly modern. A must see, especially on the big screen.


DIAL 'M' FOR MONOLITH-


"How did they get here, these mysterious black monoliths, void of texture or detail? A freak natural occurrence, an alien race, a "higher" power... or a manifestation of our own uncomprehending minds? As we draw near we begin to feel the pull, calling on an ancient power long lost in our ancestry. Our tonal prowess evolves out of the galaxy, and our brains are slowly destroyed - 1:4:9"

Taken from the album 'Electric Picture Palace', out now on Brew Records.

"An absolute masterclass" - Rock Sound

Video directed by Robin Fuller.









Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Thinking Man’s Video Nasty?


Another great guest piece, this time written by the mysterious Mr A. Fan. 







It is only fitting at a screening of Michael Haneke’s Benny’s Video (1992), to mutter the title of another psychological Austrian cinematic gem, Angst (1983).

In 1983, Angst was distributed theatrically by Cine – International, totally uncut and only in its native country of Austria. Written and directed by Gerald Kargl and starring Das Boot (1981) actor Erwin Leder, the film forces the viewer on a journey alongside a convicted killer, who upon release from a ten year stretch, immediately wishes to indulge in more sadistic and unprovoked violence towards the local community, with one intention, to kill as many people as he can.

You are presented with a cold, detached and alienating character that is only driven by the lust to kill. This un-named character is not portrayed as an unstoppable Hollywood killing machine, as in the form of Michael Myers, nor is he depicted as an intelligent and charismatic cannibal like Hannibal Lecter. Instead, he is presented as clumsy, prone to mistakes and somewhat unplanned in his mission of misery. This invites the viewer to playfully believe in him for 80 minutes; believe that he could actually exist, as his human error, is all too familiar.

The film is carried along by the internal monologue of the killer, his unnerving descriptions of past childhood events and his previous violent shenanigans are extremely powerful; mainly due to the fact they have been lifted from documented confessions of actual serial killers from the viewer’s world. From the beginning, the film moves slowly but creepily along, initially free from extreme violence and at a pace that is unheard of in mainstream violent horror movies. However, the film turns its head and snarls at the viewer, particularly in one scene, influential and comparable to the extreme underpass assault in Gasper Noe’s Irreversible (2002).

If you pray at the alter of Gaspar Noe you may be intrigued to hear that Angst has been cited by the man himself in several interviews, as an influence on his film Seul Contre Tous  [I Stand Alone] (1998). Noe saw the French distributed version of Angst in his youth (re-titled as Schizophrenia which was distributed on VHS by VDS Video). The rare opening scene of Schizophrenia (sadly edited from Angst) serves to the viewer a presentation of photographic stills (similar to Noe’s movie), comprising of the protagonist’s family portraits, and the photographic evidence of the weapons used in our character’s previous murder; all this combined, connotes a documentary style fable. The viewer of the French version is also treated to the footage of the original killing that imprisons our character in the first place, prior to his release in the opening of Angst.








But there is light?
There is a surprising four-legged presence of humour in this film, in the shape of a dachshund dog, which is owned by one of the victims, and whose performance when it comes to loyalty (and a pair of false teeth) is incredibly funny.






What helped this film stand out from the usual 80’s stalking ‘slasher’ movies, found on the DPP list, are the excellent performances delivered by all parties involved (including the dog). The camera work is suffocating, the use of a body attached camera, at times gives the impression that you are hovering above the killers shoulders, in an almost spirit fashion. The camera, attached to the actor’s waist, swings and tilts about, creating a drug induced visionary experience, not too dissimilar to the bar scene in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973). 

The only problem I have with this film is that it is still unavailable officially in the UK, the US and basically everywhere, except Germany. The two-disc DVD box set of Angst (distributed by Epix Media), can be picked up from the German Amazon site, however, sadly there are no English subtitles included. Also to rub salt in, I discovered on this release, there is an interview with the actor Erwin Leder and Klaus Schulze (the composer of the soundtrack, known to many as a member of the German Prog-Rock group, Tangerine Dream).

I might add that this film suffered terribly from distribution right from the start. In the 80’s, British video distributors didn’t touch it due to the video nasty fever that was sweeping the nation, and in the US it was suggested that if distributed, it should carry a XXX rating, which would force Angst on to the shelves alongside pornographic material.

I suggest, when searching the World Wide Web for more information (if you catch my drift); do consider searching under the title of Schizophrenia. You need to view the film in its original cut; and again, the official German DVD release of Angst still has the opening scene missing.

Come on Gerald, the rest of the world is ready for some Angst…

Yours Sincerely,
Mr. A Fan.