Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ken Russell

Farewell to a brave, wild and visionary director. Quite simply, there will never be another like him.

He made films that ranged from the truly sublime to the frankly terrible, but
all of his work was astonishing, surprising and undeniably his own.

Chief among my personal favourites are The Devils and Crimes Of Passion, but I've always been most fond of Altered States. I'm sure others of my generation will remember all the hullabaloo at the time of its release (in mags like Starlog and Cinefantastique), with writers hailing the film as visually transcendent and technologically cutting edge, the final sequence in particular. The film also contains FX sequences that are textbook examples of the amazing results that can be achieved using only practical, in-camera FX. It's a flawed but fantastic film, and I still can't understand why Paddy Chayefsky detested it so much.

The legacy of Ken Russell is garish, psychedelic, lurid, shocking, silly... and ultimately very beautiful...

I'd like to think that somewhere he's having a few stiff whiskies with Oliver Reed right now.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ass 2 Mouth

I actually think "Ass 2 Mouth" would've made a pretty classy tagline for this sequel, but I digress.

The premise behind Tom Six's Human Centipede series, shallow as it may be, is obviously quite seductive to me. Having been sucked into the vortex of hype surrounding the first film, only to be left disappointed and wondering what all the fuss was about, I've still got enough interest in this revolting spectacle to subject myself to it's sequel. Although the first film didn't deliver on it's promise, I didn't completely dislike it. It was an attractive film, pretty easy on the eyes really, and the central performance from Dieter Laser as the mad Dr. Heiter was amusing and entertaining enough.

Both films have raised the ire of many horror fans who feel that Six is just an egomaniac having a laugh at our expense, and continuing to guffaw all the way to the bank. I have no doubt that he's doing just that, but personally I don't always need to be pandered to and treated like a valued customer. I don't mind being fucked with a bit, and after all, horror filmmakers have been doing it for decades. It's called exploitation cinema for a reason.

At least Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) looks like it truly delivers on the disgusting goods.

If you're an inquisitive sucker like me you can find out for yourself this weekend, as Sydney's Mu-Meson Archives are hosting three screenings of the film completely uncut. Each screening will feature an appearance by Martin himself, Laurence R. Harvey (right). Details follow:

Limited seats, limited screenings, Monster Pictures presents in conjunction with the Mu-Meson Archives the Sydney premier and preview screenings of Human Centipede 2. Each screening will have a special live appearance by lead actor Laurence R. Harvey (Martin).

Friday 18th November late night preview screening, doors 10pm for 10.30 start, tickets concession $15/$20 (limited to 60 seats).

Saturday 19th November official Sydney premier screening with discussion panel and Q&A with film critics including lead actor Laurence R. Harvey (Martin).


Coffin Ed - freelance writer. Coffin has been involved in the Sydney music scene for the past thirty years and was also co-founder of the Mandolin Cinema during the 1980s. He currently writes for Drum and City Hub and was a former FBi Radio presenter with the Naked City program.

Jack Sargeant - underground culture and film historian, author of Deathtripping: The Cinema of Transgression, Naked Lens: Beat Cinema, Suture, Cinema Contra Cinema. Film festival programmer. Sometime art curator.

Dean Bertram (PhD) - freelance writer, filmmaker, and film festival
director based in Sydney. He is the co-founder of A Night of Horror International Film Festival.

Richard Kuipers - film critic for the international trade paper Variety. He also contributes movie reviews and commentary on ABC Radio National and the webzine Urban Cinefile. Richard has produced and directed several documentaries including Stone Forever (1999), a look at one of Australia's most famous cult films. He produced the national television program The Movie Show on SBS Television from 1992-2000.

Jay Katz - moderator.

Doors 7.30pm for 8pm start, tickets concession $20/$25 (limited to 80 seats).

Saturday 19th November late night preview screening, doors 10pm for 10.30pm start, tickets concession $15/$20.

Tickets available at door for preview screenings.

Premier screening tickets can be purchased beforehand during other screenings @ Mu-Meson Archives, please check website for other screening times.

Mu-Meson Archives at Crn Parramatta Rd & Trafalgar St Annandale at the end of King Furniture building up the steel staircase. Phone 9517-2010

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Mondo Zombie

This poster by Jeff Proctor for Mondo Tees recent Mondo Mystery movie screening of Dawn Of The Dead is incredible.

Jeff always does outstanding work (I love his poster for Hobo With A Shotgun), but he's truly outdone himself here, creating the coolest piece of alternative artwork for the movie I've ever seen (I've still got a nostalgic fondness for the poster book artwork too, at right). He must have spent hours pouring over reference material in an effort to get every zombie in the movie on there, and I think he's just about done it.

It's sort of like a Where's Wally of the walking dead.

Some of the more prominent ghouls on the poster: the plaid shirted poster zombie, Stephen, hare krishna, the zombie who's cranium Stephen ventilates in the elevator, machete zombie, the blonde girl who attacks Roger in the truck, Roy Frumkes getting a pie to the face, the African woman who gets her jewelry so rudely snatched by the bikers, helicopter zombie, the fat zombie who falls into the fountain, sweater/escalator zombie, nurse, M-16 zombie, Miguel (who takes those meaty bites out of his wife in the tenement) and the nun (love that undead tableau on top of the truck).

That's only about half of the festering blue rotters. Who have I left out?

But the attention to detail doesn't stop there! Jeff has even included vehicles from the film as if they are characters in their own right. The WGON helicopter hovers in the sky, as the two trucks driven by Peter and Roger sit in the stinking, seething car park below. Interestingly, the grill and light of the car visible between the trucks isn't the 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco driven through the mall by our heroes, but a 1977 Ford Pinto seen elsewhere in the movie.

Please enlarge the poster to study it really closely for a long time and become completely obsessed with it as I did.


A quick heads up to my fellow Sydneysiders to start watching the skies. Chris Murray and the other fine folks at Popcorn Taxi have put together a Q&A screening of Joe Cornish's SF debut Attack The Block a few weeks ahead of it's local theatrical run.

The film has enjoyed wild popularity this year with North American audiences at festivals and screenings there. The resultant hype preceding it now seems pretty over the top, and I'm not sure that audiences in it's native UK ate it up as readily. Perhaps people over there would rather see obnoxious little hoodies get destroyed by Michael Caine instead of portrayed as charming anti-heroes. Having seen the movie, my advice to others would be to temper your expectations. It's a rewarding little slice of SF horror, perhaps even a minor genre classic, but the second coming it most certainly isn't.

However I'm just grumbling, and Attack The Block really is worthy of your time and attention. Monster freaks will love the original and very effective creature design and FX, and for fans of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and Don't it's cool to see the emergence of yet another talent from the same camp as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The screening and Q&A with director Joe Cornish is on November 21. Details and tickets HERE. Seeya there!