THE SNORKEL (1958)
Never even heard of this British murder mystery/suspense flick until Indicator released this blu-ray in February. I've come to realise over the last 10 years that there's an entire parallel history of British film out there to the one we already know and it's just as good if not better! The Snorkel is an absolute classic thriller that I reckon Hitchcock would have been proud of. Best to go in to this one with as little knowledge as possible. Highest recommendation.
RUNAWAY TRAIN (1985)
I must have seen this classic 80s action thriller on telly before but I couldn't remember it so it was like I was watching it for the first time. As Peter from Britain's Dragon's Den likes to say "It does what it says on the tin!" ie. It's about a Runaway Train and it's edge of the seat of your pant stuff. John Voigt is outstanding in this Cannon Films production. This is pop art action entertainment!
FROM BEYOND (1986)You know how Re-Animator (1985) is pretty much the best Sci-Fi Horror movie of the 80s, along with The Fly (1986) & Aliens (1986), well Stuart Gordon's second directorial effort is just as good. It's another HP Lovecraft interpretation. Nutty scientists bugger about and end up creating a "Resonator" which has all sorts of affects on dimensions and sexuality with weird & horrifying consequences. I mean sure it's all about Barbara Crampton in leather underwear, if you saw it in the 80s as a teenage boy but it's more than that, I think. You should watch it again if you haven't seen it since the 80s as it's an exciting wild trip into body horror. TOP SHELF 80s VHS!
It's hard to believe José Larraz the director of one of my all time favourite 70s horror movies Symptoms (1974) directed this bottom of the barrel 90s slasher. Only die hard slasher fans are going to find anything of interest here and I suspect they're not even going to extract too much enjoyment here. Steer clear!
THE GOOD DIE YOUNG (1954)
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record with all these ye olde British crime films but here's another gem I haven't watched in a while. I'm surprised by the amount of great British films that don't make the "so called" cannon lists. Is that because cannons are bullshit? It was mentioned on a podcast a while back so a re-watch was in order. Miles Ravenscourt (Laurence Harvey) is a degenerate gambler but with a set of great social skills to enable him to round up three other down and just about out blokes in London to help him pull off a heist. Three quarters of this film are dedicated to the ins and outs of the minutiae of manipulating such relatively good men into criminal and diabolical circumstances. Worth the build up for the terrific ending.
The Good Die Young has a stellar cast including legendary Gloria Grahame and a a young Joan Collins along with stalwarts Stanley Baker, Richard Basehart and John Ireland. Directed by Lewis Gilbert who went onto fame helming such films as Alfie, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine.
SAVAGE DAWN (1985)
Well this is a pretty good fun outlandish 80s action film with plenty of bad-arse motorbike action in a desert town. We get crazy firearms, tanks, betrayal, revenge, insane military weapons, tractors and even lassos! Stars Lance Henriksen, Karen Black, George Kennedy, Richard Lynch, William Forsyth etc. With characters called Tick, Stryker, Virgil, Zero, Meatrack, Joyboy, Spyder and Lipservice you know you've entered deep into the 80s VHS shelves of bonkers late night action entertainment.
Ms .45 aka Angel Of Vengeance (1981)
Abel Ferrara's Ms .45 seems to get better with age. This rape-revenge movie is not going to be for everyone. Set in the trendy but sleazy garment district of NYC at the start of the 80s our mute protagonist Thana (Zoë Tamerlis) works as a seamstress. After work one day she is raped in a laneway by a masked man, as if that's not bad enough, when she she gets home she is raped again by a different dude whom she kills. There's more carnage to come as Thana becomes totally unhinged and revolted by any sexual advances from men. The final costume party mayhem extravaganza is actually quite ethereal, befitting Thana's alternative title as an angel of Vengeance. If I spit On Your Grave (1978) is way too much for you perhaps you'll be able to hack Ms .45 but it's still bloody rough going. There's no doubt though that this is a spectacularly put together exploitation film which must have been very unexpected in 1981 after the dross of his debut feature Driller Killer (1979). Ms .45 belongs in the higher echelons of the vengeance and rape-revenge genres. Zoë Tamerlis is brilliant as Thana. Whatever happened to her? er....drugs and lots of them but she did co-write Ferrara's 1992 depraved cop classic Bad Lieutenant before dying in her late 30s of too much drugs.
Wow when I first put this on I thought geez I've underrated this for 30 years. I loved it with its outa space slime falling out of the sky, squishing out of hospital and oozing into the sewer system. But then after half way through comes the the buzzkill information that it's a government scientific military warfare experiment. I couldn't even be bothered trying to read the subtext. Was it anti-Reagan, anti-war, anti-government, anti-military, anti-who gives a fuck?! Why not just have a scary gloopy blob destroying everything in its path without the tedious politics. Still it is worth checking out for the excellent old school effects and the top mysteriously scary first two thirds. For 80s VHS sci-fi horror enthusiasts. A missed opportunity but then again it seems to have quite the cult following.
This blu-ray was in the Vinegar Syndrome sale so I took a chance and it payed off! This is a quaint British horror film set in a bucolic mansion owned by a very wealthy couple. Inheritances, chauffeurs, gaslighting, death, ghosts, and other assorted monkey business takes place for a splendidly entraining evening of light spooky viewing. Top thriller/horror to watch with your grandma.
Here we go again! Another British crime movie of the highest calibre. This is a heist movie with twist then a few more twists and some romance. Basil Dearden directs so what could go wrong? Nothing. The pace, the plot, the scenic London being rebuilt post-WWII, the acting and just the whole vibe is enticing. Surely this one makes some of the canonical lists. Two Merchant seamen and best buddies Johnny Lambert (Earl Cameron) & Dan MacDonald (Bonar Colleano) get the weekend off whilst their ship is docked in London. Johnny finds a woman who he falls in love with while Dan is up to all sorts of shady shenanigans in the streets, pubs and dancehalls of post war London. The duo find themselves inadvertently involved in a jewellery heist. What will become of this duo?
This is right up there with the best British films of all time like Dearden's other efforts Leaugue Of Gentleman, Victim, All Night Long, Sapphire, Blue Lamp, The Mindbenders etc. For my money Dearden is the greatest British director of all time to not cross the pond. A quick look at the Time Out & BFI lists of 100 Best British Films Of All Time reveals no love for Dearden whatsoever, with no entries in either list, which is a disgrace! Next time you read such a list have a good think and you'll realise they are in no way indicative of the greatest films of all time that they purport to be. There is always a narrative being followed or an agenda or some sort of commercial interest but you can become a heterodox thinker so make your own real list. I mean come on! 24 Hour Party People over every single brilliant film in Dearden's entire filmography, that's a bullshit list innit?
LINE OF DUTY THOUGH
But I haven't been in movie mode really because LINE OF DUTY SEASON 6. First we had to watch the new season but then we had to watch all the previous seasons again. So now we're in the middle S6 again. One of the top 3 episodes ever is in the new season that being episode 4. Steve Arnott even agrees. Of course the best ever is episode 6 of season 3 followed by episode 4 season 5. Fans you know what I'm talkin aboot! But there's NOT a bad episode in the entire 6 seasons. So that's over 36 hours of television (pretty dense) perfection. Nobody can touch the Brits when it comes to outstanding telly!
I've watched a bunch of other films and old favourites that I couldn't be bothered writing about or reviewing again like all of the Umberto Lenzi & Sergio Martino poliziotteschi movies, Chopping Mall (1986), The Blood Spattered Bride (1972), Maniac (1980), The Night Train Murders (1975), Der Fan (1982), Bunny Lake is missing (1965), Endless Night (1972), 11 Harrowhouse (1974), The Trinidad Affair (1952), Blood On Satan's Claw (1971), Radio On (1979) and probably some others I've forgotten.