Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Crawler in the Tower

Spoilers follow for both Jeff VanderMeer's novel, ANNIHILATION, and its soon-to-be-released film adaptation, directed by Alex Garland.

The above screenshot, taken from the recently released second trailer for ANNIHILATION, appears to be a very spoilery look at The Biologist's climactic confrontation with the tower crawler. A couple of other, less explicit, images from this scene are scattered throughout the trailer. That Paramount/Skydance are so willing to spoil the film's ending, just so they can shoehorn some of its most powerful imagery into the trailer, speaks volumes about their lack of confidence in what Garland has delivered. Indeed, they're so utterly freaked out about ANNIHILATION's lack of commercial appeal (based on an allegedly disastrous test screening a couple of months back), they completely choked, cancelling its worldwide theatrical release, and dumping it onto Netflix instead. Unless you live in the United States, you'll more than likely be watching this film on your TV or laptop at home.

This is classic studio suit behaviour of course, but in the end it's probably the most positive outcome for the film, and for fans of intelligent, weird sci-fi horror. I'd rather watch Garland's film, as it was intended to be seen, on a small screen at home, than a butchered test-screening travesty in a theatre. 

What we're seeing here is the marketing machine struggling to assemble trailers with mainstream appeal, but I think in February we're going to get something much more akin to UNDER THE SKIN. A moody, visually stunning arthouse sci-fi, which leaves the viewer with a number of unanswered questions.

I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


This has been a crowded year for cinema in general, but an unusually prolific one for good cinema. It would appear that the creative spark, the desire for escape, and the need to find meaning in this world through our art, are qualities that really do flourish in more trying times. Film-wise, 2017 was so densely packed that despite making an effort to see more movies than ever, I still feel like I've only scratched the surface.

Here then, my friends, is my Top 10 for the year, ranked. Following that you'll find a dirty dozen of Honourable Mentions (unranked), each one excellent enough in its own right to be included on any number of other Top 10 lists. As ever, I'll see you on the other side!













Sunday, 10 December 2017


Vinegar Syndrome's freshly released, lovingly restored blu ray of Slava Tsukerman's LIQUID SKY is a must see. I'm not even sure it looked this good when I saw it screened in 35mm, during its first run in the 80s (at Electric Shadows!), making this a solid contender for hottest home video release of the year. As for the film itself, it's aged like a fine wine. LIQUID SKY now serves as a valuable time capsule, a window onto a moment of the New York art punk/new wave scene (albeit a hyper-stylised version of it) that today's kids try to emulate, but which is in truth irretrievably lost to time.

More than just a document of a forgotten subculture, the film also transports you to a Manhattan that no longer really exists, not just the skeezy old Broadway and 42nd Street that so often gets the attention when people talk about the old NY, but the city as a whole. There's probably ten minutes of footage in this that have to rank as some of the most stunningly beautiful images of NYC ever shot.

If you had to choose a single movie to call the quintessential example of a "cult film", LIQUID SKY would be it, and Vinegar Syndrome's blu ray is cult film preservation at its finest.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


With just a few weeks to go till Synapse's definitive blu ray finally hits*, get in the spirit by feasting your eyes on this gallery of trippy SUSPIRIA artwork. Some of these have appeared in these pages before, but the majority are fresh. Every poster and illustration here is an eye-melter. All killer, no filler!

(Sorry, it's as humid as the green inferno here today and I'm feeling lazy, so no artist credits. Right click > search google for image!) 

*In a limited pressing of 6000, so avoid paying those inflated ebay prices by pre-ordering your copy from Diabolik right here.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Malcolm Young

Malcolm Young, we salute you.

AC↯DC, laying waste to the chaste at the Myer Bowl, Melbourne, '76.