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Kim Newman presents…
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! KILL!
Dir. Russ Meyer. Starring Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard (1965). B&W. 83 mins. Cert. 18.
“Psychotic go-go dancer Varla (Satana) leads two equally busty, equally crazy sidekicks into the desert. The thrill-kill kittens double-cross each other, seduce every man in sight, and explode with a hyperactivity that suggests they are on course for early graves and don’t much care about it. Russ Meyer’s ultimate expression of the American cinema’s greatest fetishes: big breasts, fast cars, tight jeans, and sudden death.”
Dir. Harry Kümel. Starring Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet, Andrea Rau (1971). Colour. 96 mins. Cert. 18.
“In a deserted Ostend hotel, a honeymooning couple fall under the spell of a marcel-waved vampire in astonishing Dietrich dresses. Despite moments of unconventional sex and violence, this is a comedy of undead manners, with director Harry Kümel surrounding the extraordinary Delphine Seyrig with oodles of bizarre atmosphere. Far better than the films it influenced (‘The Hunger’, for instance), this is an underground classic of the horror cinema.”
Dir. Nathan Hertz. Starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers (1958). B&W. 66 mins. Cert. 18.
A wealthy heiress has a close encounter with an enormous alien in a spherical UFO, and transforms into a giantess. Complicating her existing marriage problems with an unfaithful husband, she leaves a trail of destruction both literal and emotional in her wake.
Dir. Don Leaver. Starring Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Michael Goodliffe, Griffith Davies (1966). B&W. 52 mins.
Emma Peel inherits an electronic key to the house of her late uncle and becomes trapped in a maze designed by a revenge-crazed former employee.
Dir. Byron Haskin. Starring Robert Culp, Arlene Martel, Abraham Sofaer (1964). B&W. 51 mins.
Written by Harlan Ellison. Trent (Robert Culp) awakes with no memory of his previous life and with a glass left hand with three missing fingers. The hand contains a computer which tells him the missing fingers must be reattached before it can tell Trent who he is.
Dir. Nathan Hertz. Starring Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Tachikawa, Yoshio Tsuchiya, (1963). Colour. 89 mins. Cert. 15.
Castaways on an island are altered by a local species of mutagenic mushrooms to become grotesque creatures. Their resemblance to victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks nearly led to the film’s being banned in Japan.
Dir. Chris Windsor. Starring George Dawson, Clarence Miller, Andrew Gillies (1982). Colour. 66 mins. Cert. 18.
Space aliens in British Colombia reanimate a murdered mayor so he can help them harvest a rare radioactive substance ‘balonium’ from a butcher’s shop. Sadly, the intended sequel ‘Teenage Mounties from Outer Space’ remains unmade.
Edgar Wright curates…
Dirs. Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker. Starring Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Christopher Villiers, Jeremy Kemp, Peter Cushing, Omar Sharif (1984). Colour. 86 mins. Cert. 15.
“A gloriously silly joke marathon from the makers of ‘Airplane!’. This film flopped in 1984 and the team of Zucker Abraham Zucker attribute this to it not having a clear genre that it’s parodying. (WWII movies and Elvis movies?). But fret not, because this is a tickertape parade of zingers, from complete groaners to background details to hugely expensive physical gags. A festival of silly. Viva Nick Rivers!”
Dir. Brian De Palma. Starring Archie Hahn, William Finley, Paul Williams, Jeffrey Commanor, Harold Oblong, Jessica Harper, George Memmoli, Gerrit Graham, Herb Pacheco, Walter Foster, Peter Harrell, Troy Haskins (1974). Colour. 89 mins. Cert. 15.
“I will go to the grave with the firm opinion that of the two horror musicals distributed by Fox in the mid 70’s, this is the better movie, twice as good as ‘Rocky Horror’. Brian De Palma goes all out on his neo gothic Faustian music biz satire. Brilliantly played by Bill Finley, Jessica Harper, Gerritt Graham and the marvelously evil Paul Williams (who wrote the whole score), this is cinematic gold right down to the best end credits song ever.”
Dir. Martin Scorsese. Starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, Cheech Marin, Catherine O’Hara, Dick Miller, Will Patton, Robert Plunket, Bronson Pinchot, Murray Moston, Margo Winkler, Martin Scorsese (1985). Colour. 97 mins. Cert. 15.
“Someone once wrote that ‘Edgar Wright must have learned everything he knows from the direction in ‘After Hours’.’ That’s not totally true, but it isn’t too far off. This film is one that beguiled me as a teen and continues to dazzle. It’s amazing to see Scorcese at the peak of his powers direct the hell out of a small all-in-one-night comedy. Fun fact: 2nd camera assistant, David Dunlap went on to be my Director Of Photography on ‘Shaun Of The Dead’.”
Dir. Michael Winner. Starring Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo, Nana Tucker, Tom Berenger, William Hickey, Jeff Goldblum (1985). Colour. 87 mins. Cert. 18.
“Make no mistake: this is not a great movie. It’s frequently campy, nearly always in poor taste, laugh out loud weird in several scenes and YET… it has some memorably creepy moments that stick with you. I can’t write the film off as it has images that resonate and gets into a groove that produces some genuine creeps. A bonkers cast and a premise so good, they ripped it off wholesale in ‘Ghostbusters’. Please enjoy and remember: ‘Black and White Cat, Black and White Cake!'”
Dir. Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley. Starring Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Guy Kibbee, ZaSu Pitts, Hugh Herbert (1934). B&W. 91 mins. Cert. A.
Aspiring Broadway song-writer Dick Powell will be cut off by his rich family if he doesn’t give up his theatrical ambitions, till gold-digging showgirls from his cast led by Joan Blondell turn the tables on his kill-joy uncle. Mesmeric musical numbers directed by Berkeley, including ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ and the extraordinarily frank ‘The Girl at the Ironing Board’.
Dir. Mario Bava. Starring John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Terry-Thomas (1968). Colour. 105 mins. Cert. 12.
Kinky heist action adventure, based on the Italian comics about master criminal Diabolik. Admired for Ennio Morricone’s standout psychedelic score and visually stunning sequences.
Edgar reviews the eye-popping trailer:
Julia Marchese selects…
Heavy Metal Parking Lot
Dir. John Heyn (1986). Colour. 17 mins. Cert. 15.
“Perhaps the most down home, no frills, most American documentary to come out of the 1980’s – ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ was filmed at a Judas Priest/Dokken concert in suburban Maryland in 1986 and documents the hair sprayed, drug addled excitement of tail gaiting before a heavy metal concert. Traded heavily on bootleg VHS (which is where I first saw it) this one is a party starter and a perfect slice of head banging life!”
“‘Everything is Terrible’ is genius – mining obscure video tapes found at thrift stores, EIT finds amazing clips that will stagger the mind, edited together in a sometimes nearly linear fashion, – and it truly has to be seen to be believed. If you’ve never seen one of their “films”, you owe it to yourself to delve into the depths of an unfathomable VHS rabbit hole. ‘Everything is Terrible’ lives up to their slogan: if everything is terrible, then nothing is.”
Dir. Ken Hughes. Starring Mae West, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, Dom Deluise, Timothy Dalton, George Hamilton (19). Colour. 84 mins. Cert. PG.
“Released in 1978, ‘Sextette’ was Mae West’s final film – still playing the naughty bombshell role that made her famous – at 85 years old. The film’s cast is out of this world, including Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, George Hamilton and Alice Cooper. And did I mention it’s also a musical? Get ready for some surreal eye popping, mouth gaping, head-shaking-in-disbelief fun with ‘Sexette!'”
Dir. Mark Rosenthal. Starring Donovan Leitch, Joe Pantoliano, Peter Boyle, Scott Plank, Jennifer Runyon, Bruce Kirby, Wendy Gazelle, Sean Sullivan, Charlotte d’Amboise, Page Hannah, Mark Soper (1988). Colour. 95 mins. Cert. PG.
“This flick is like the under seen sister film to ‘Hairspray’ – it’s got another great alliterative after school dance program (‘The Perry Parker Show!’) but instead of Ricki Lake, we get Donovan Leitch who sneaks his way onto the show to fit in with the in crowd – and shakes his moneymaker like nobodies’ business! I’ll never understand why he wasn’t the biggest star of the 80’s! (He is in my heart.)”
Dir. Terry Zwigoff. Starring Robert Crumb. (1995). Colour. 120 mins. Cert. 18.
“When I think of fabulous documentaries, this one always springs to mind. Terry Zwigoff’s deep look into the mind and life of 60’s underground comix artist R. Crumb (who I deeply adore) is fascinating, illuminating, and – Crumb would have it no other way – perverted and shocking. A must see!”
Dir. Max Ophüls. Starring Anton Walbrook, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Simone Simon, Daniel Gélin, Danielle Darrieux, Fernand Gravey, Odette Joyeux, Jean-Louis Barrault, Isa Miranda, Gérard Philipe, Jean Clarieux, Marcel Mérovée, Robert Vattier, Charles Vissière. (1950). B&W. 90 mins. Cert. PG.
“I only saw this film recently, but it completely blew my mind. It’s everything I want in a film – beauty, pain, loss, wit and a concept that will be repeated in cinema for decades after its release. Perfect!”