Mr Majestyk (1974)
Classic. It's all about the ford cars, the double denim, the melon massacre, curtains with horsey patterns, the car chases, the hair and the stunning landscape of rural Colorado. Terrific Elmore Leonard screenplay perfectly realised. The pace and the tone were spot on. I believe this is now the fourth Charles Bronson film I've liked and this just might be my favourite. That's 4 out of 7 now, his average is growing. The soundtrack from Charles Bernstein is excellent up there with his other great scores White Lightning and The Entity. Why is Mr Majestyk not rated along with other 70s canonical shit? I get that director Richard Fleischer was old compared to the new Hollywood brats but hey so were Sam Peckinpah and John Huston. Perhaps it's the whole thing of auteur theory being valued above all else in film criticism particularly when it comes to American cinema in the 70s. Whatever.
The Last Run (1971)
The Last Run is an ok lil crime movie if a tad too slow. An ageing criminal getaway driver Harry (George C Scott) plans to retire after one last caper. Will he walk away cashed up and happy or will things go haywire? Spectacular Spanish setting.
The Tenant (1976)
The first time I saw this I thought it was silly, the second time I thought it was cool and this time I thought it was brilliant. Roman Polanski directs and acts in this psychological horror movie. Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) moves into an apartment previously occupied by a suicide victim. Things get very bloody strange and Trelkovsky gradually becomes unhinged. This is a wonderful time capsule of Paris in the 70s that also stars Isabelle Adjani. The Tenant is an amazing meditation on paranoia. The sense of unease created here is palpable. Quite possibly Polanski's best film.
Shivers aka They Came From Within (1975)
A parasite experiment gone wrong causes an epidemic of unstoppable orgy/rapey maniacs in a modern tower block. There is some pretty deranged shenanigans going on in this film but it's also pretty funny. At the time of release this was an enormously controversial movie in Canada. It almost feels quaint now but it's still a transgressive classic. David Cronenberg created one of the eeriest ever final scenes in the history of cinema at the end of Shivers.
All The Colors Of The Dark aka Tutti I Colori Del Buio (1972)
I like Gialli with masks and black gloves but I also like it when they go unconventional and don't use them. This Sergio Martino movie is in the later category. Three icons of Gialli Edwige Fenech, George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov star. All The Colors Of The Dark is Jane Harrison's (Edwige Fenech) paranoiac nightmarish vision that includes car crashes, dead babies, satanic cults, black masses, a stalker with a knife and more. Excellent Bruno Nicolai score too.
Una Sull'Atra aka One On Top Of The Other aka Perversion Story (1969)
An incredible Lucio Fulci Giallo shot in San Francisco in the late 60s. Is this the only bona fide giallo to be shot in America? Top crime jazz score with occasional psych interludes from legendary composer Riz Ortolani! French actor Jean Sorel, who is the star of my favourite Giallo Short Night Of Glass Dolls and the Buñuel classic Belle De Jour, plays George a shonky doctor who ends up on death row. Is the dodgy doctor being framed for insurance fraud and murder or did he do it? We've got double identities amongst some classic Giallo shit like inheritances, sexy shenanigans, police, sleaze, detectives, exquisite interior design, airports, people being drugged, photographers and even black gloves.
You know you are in for something different if a movie starts out with a tune from prime 70s King Crimson. This is a fucking mental movie like a queasy bad acid trip. I dunno if I liked it but I watched the whole thing so I can't have hated it. In 1983 Red Miller (Nic Cage) and his girlfriend Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) are living off the grid somewhere in the wilderness but an absurd hippy Christian cult leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) has spotted Mandy. Jeremiah wants Mandy for himself but his seduction technique doesn't work so the cult wreak havoc upon the couple. That first half of this film is very bloody slow going but the second half is more compelling with Red seeking spectacular vengeance on the lysergically altered cult members. The saturated colour scheme used in this film would make Michael Powell, Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Marty Scorsese and Michael Mann proud. Mandy is some kind of arty cosmic black comedy action revenge horror film, that has instant cult status written all over it.
I was thinking Mandy was a truly anomalous film but then I thought hmm it's a bit God Told Me To (1976) with a tiny bit Hellraiser plus the film's vibe had me thinking of batshit crazy movies like Blood Beat (1983), White Of The Eye (1987) et al. So it is a pastiche but a mega-mix like no other. The first Panos Costmatos flick Beyond The Black Rainbow was much more indebted to his influences ie. Kubrick, Lynch, Cronenberg, Tarkovsky etc. If that was his hypnogogic/vapourwave film Mandy is his prog rock/black metal movie. Seedy, unhealthy, gross, sickly, fantastical, icky, psychedelic, nightmarish, hallucinatory, languid, gory, feeble, uneasy, squeamish, nauseating, peculiar, queer and aberrant are all words that could be used to describe Mandy but I feel like we need some new language to elucidate more perfectly what this movie is like. Sorry, you'll just have to watch it but don't blame me if you hate it. Look out for the chainsaw sword fight plus tiger and big black insect. The late Johan Johannsson's gloomy drone score, which is frequently reminiscent of 90s post-rock legends Labradford and atmospheric black metal, is outstanding and this film would be nowhere without it.
|Best score since Mica Levi's Under The Skin|