Film

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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In 1996, when I still had my film company, we worked on a disastrous new version of ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’. HG Wells never makes for easy adaptation, partly because, like John Wyndham, we remember his books wrongly. In Wyndham’s ‘The Kraken Wakes’ and also in ‘The War of the Worlds’ events unfold in […]

The End Of The World Keeps Changing

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In 1954 Richard Matheson wrote a science fiction novel called ‘I Am Legend’, about the only man on earth not afflicted with a kind of vampirism. In 1964, AIP made a cheap film version starring Vincent Price, acknowledged as the template for all ‘living dead’ movies that followed. In 1968 ‘The Omega Man’ was the second […]

Ten Non-Disney Animated Movies

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With Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ getting good reviews, I thought I’d take stock of animation. As it did for many of us who wanted to be artists at some point, animation played a huge part in my early childhood cinema, but Disney films went in quality cycles, from the watercolour innovation of ‘Pinocchio’ through to the […]

Gone In A Flash

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The actor George Cole has died aged 90. I never saw ‘Minder’, I just think of him with his mentor and hero Alistair Sim, usually playing a spiv, and ultimately in ‘The Belles of St Trinians’ and its three sequels, in which he played Flash Harry, complete with his own theme music. He was memorably […]

Odd Films From Mainstream Directors

John Mills in the film adaptation of Oh, What a Lovely War!

Graham Greene used to divide his novels into ‘entertainments’ and serious books, and the entertainments were better. Sir Arthur Sullivan spent his life worrying about being more serious, and when he finally wrote ‘Ivanhoe’, his serious opera, it was a horrible flop, and he remained best-known for his work with Gilbert. When creators aim for […]

Going Back To Castle Dracula

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Bram Stoker supposedly had the idea for ‘Dracula’ after seeing a Victoria family enjoying a picnic inside a crypt in Highgate Cemetery. And so the most exotic fantasy was born of a very English obsession, the taking of high tea with relatives, albeit ones that were dead. I had that thought in mind as I […]

After The Dark

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I watch a hell of a lot of strange movies. (‘Yellowbrickroad’ anyone? Don’t play it on headphones, it’ll blow your ears out!) Once in a while you stumble across a movie so strange that you think it can’t possibly sustain its running time. Welcome to ‘After The Dark’, a film with such an unusual subject […]

The Chaos Of Collecting Movies

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This is a bit of a geeky post unless you’re interested in home entertainment’s future. I try to keep up with what would once have been called ‘B’ movies in the horror/suspense/black comedy/no-budget genres. There are often enjoyable surprises which make the genre worth checking out. I never pirate because I used to belong to […]

Movies Set In Theme Parks

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As summer films are analogous to theme park rides, it’s curious that there’s an entire sub-genre here – after all, the one thing a film can’t do is provide you with the same level of visceral thrills – or can it? The nearest I got to Disneyland as a child was ’40 Pounds of Trouble’ […]

Christopher Lee: No More Back From The Dead

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They may have to bang a stake into this one to keep him down. As you age you get to watch your band of heroes dwindle. Lee was never a hero as such – he adopted rather too much of a (baritone) one-note in his performances – but he was certainly a powerful part of […]