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Showing posts from February, 2013

Audiodrome #14

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In this month's edition of Audiodrome: Music in Film, I take a look at Roy Ayer’s astoundingly funky score for Jack Hill’s 1973 blaxploitation classic Coffy. Starring Pam Grier as a nurse who turns vigilante on the inner city drug dealers who get her younger sister hooked on smack, Coffy combines exploitative thrills with sly social commentary and barbed pot-shots at police corruption. The film made Grier into a genre icon, and its psychedelic-funk score brilliantly showcases Ayers signature vibes. Head over to Paracinema to read the full review and treat your ears to a track.

While you’re there, why not pick up a copy of the latest issue of Paracinema Magazine? Inside you’ll find damn fine readin’ in the shape of articles and essays such as The Goriest Film You Never Saw by Jose Cruz, Marriage Bites: Lesbian Vampires and the Failure of Heterosexuality in Daughters of Darkness by Erin Wiegand and “When Single Shines the Triple Sun”: Duality and Self Discovery in The Dark Crystal …

Experiment IV – Kate Bush

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A couple of years back I wrote a piece about the influence of horror cinema and literature on the music of Kate Bush. I recently acquired The Whole Story, a ‘best of’ compilation released by Kate in 1986, and have since become rather ‘obsessed’ with one of the tracks featured on it: Experiment IV. Said track was written especially for the compilation and released to promote it. Along with the accompanying video it once again demonstrates Kate Bush’s singular vision as a musician, an artist - and a lover of horror. Taking the ‘storyline’ from the song quite literally, the video tells of a top secret and highly dubious government experiment to create a sound that can kill. That sound is, of course, portrayed by Kate in the video – initially as an alluring siren-like wraith (underpinning the notion of deadly music at the heart of the song; sirens lured seamen to watery graves by bewitching them with their irresistible but deadly voices), and then as a nightmarish spectre reminiscent of …

Female Gothic

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An artist, gripped by the clutching fingers of a dead past; a scientist, defying nature in the dark realm of the senses; an expectant father, driven mad by creeping shadows… These are the chilling tales relayed by a lone, haunted woman in Dyad Production’s latest show, Female Gothic. A one-woman theatrical production, this dark celebration of female gothic literature is adapted and performed by Rebecca Vaughan, who assumes the role of narrator, as well as frequently channelling the various characters that move throughout the three distinct tales of quiet terror she shares.

Victorian fascination with tales of supernatural mystery and the macabre has created an enduring legacy of Gothic fiction; but, with a mere handful of exceptions, it is often the male writers that are remembered. Many eerie tales of terror from female writers of that era – which subversively articulated and highlighted women's dissatisfaction with patriarchal society - have gathered dust and been forgotten. …

The Bloody Judge

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1970
Dir. Jess Franco

17th Century England is in the grip of Satanic Panic, and amongst those seeking to rid the land of traitors to the throne and anyone 'in league with the devil’, is Judge George Jeffreys, whose unreasonable sentences and excessively violent tortures are dished out with puritanical abandon. He soon becomes obsessed with Mary, a young women whose sister he accused of witchcraft and whose lover is a rebel against King James II. When the rebels are defeated, Mary tries to save her beau by surrendering herself to the Judge’s cruel lust. Betrayal, bloody torture and murder ensue.

Believe it or not, The Bloody Judge marks the first time I’ve reviewed a Jess Franco film for this here blog. I know. For shame! Despite his insanely prolific career - spanning decades and genres alike - this humble scribbler has seen but a mere scrap of the kinky-exploitationer’s films, which, not including my recent indulgence in The Bloody Judge, includes his kitsch classic Vampyros Les…

The Shadow of Death

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2012
Dir. Gav ‘Chuckie’ Steele

A group of friends head into the local woods to try and score some weed. Unbeknownst to them, a madman has been running amok, bumping off anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Their only salvation lies with a local cop-obsessed oddball who soon realises he’s as out of his depth as they are…

What Steele’s debut feature film lacks in budget, it makes up for in outrageous humour, decently developed characters and group dynamics, assured direction and a plethora of increasingly splashy but brilliantly realised effects. Low budget indie horror can often be tedious and flat, but the imagination on display throughout The Shadow of Death demonstrates the considerable talent - and imagination - of its makers, and it unspools as a cheap and cheerful – though thoroughly innovative – throwback to grindhouse splatter flicks of yesteryear. While the scenario may be very familiar – group of friends terrorised in dark woods by rampaging psycho – the likeable cas…