A Disturbing Tale In Any Language


When it comes to translating titles, some distributors seem to go out of their way to wreck the films they’ve paid for. ‘The Witches of Zugarramurdi’ was always going to be a problem title, but changing it to ‘Witching & Bitching’ didn’t help. Likewise turned the twisted thriller ‘The Hidden Face’ into ‘The Xxxxxx’ (I […]

Are Clowns Actually Creepy?


I don’t understand why they terrify Americans. My US friends all seem to have a great fear of clowns when there are surely bigger things to worry about; the guns thing, irrational behaviour (like the woman who just shot up a McDonalds for leaving bacon out of her burger), Fox News, US Customs & Excise […]

White Snow, Black Comedy


What is it that makes snow-set films so appealing? The whited-out spaces that give images a purity of design? The emptiness that conjures the spirit of old westerns? The cinematography that puts figures in vast landscapes? ‘Prize Idiot’ probably wasn’t the best title for a movie, so this new Scandi-noir starring Stellan Skarsgard has been […]

Movies That Mangle The Mind


For me it started with a screening of ‘Eraserhead’ at the Scala Cinema when it used to be in Scala Street. After, nothing else measured up for a while because it had dream-images that stayed despite their lack of logic. Is there anything worse than a film where you can see every scene telegraphed? ‘The […]

Cool Double-Bills No.1


An occasional series in which I pair two little-seen films together to make a neat double-bill. It’s an idea I developed years ago, after seeing one of the rarer double bills at my local cinema; ‘The Strange Vengeance Of Rosalie’ and ‘To Kill A Clown’. In the former, psychotic Bonnie Bedelia lured a businessman to […]

Movie Moments 3: The Artist

The Artist

  It’s been too long since we had a film clip. If this isn’t the most uplifting way to end a film since Edward Woodward got deep-fried in the Wicker Man, I don’t know what is. After a movie filled with the pains and pitfalls of rising and falling fame, the couple find their mojo…take […]

Starry Eyes


I’ve been waiting for a New Millennial Hollywood horror film now since, well, the turn of the century. There have been a few green shoots in films like the wonderfully bonkers ‘The Nines’ and the hideously claustrophobic ‘Buried’, while most of the really original work has been coming from Spain, South America, Korea and even […]

Mental Movie Moments 2: Tutti-Frutti!

Carmen Miranda 5

Used as a weapon to draw South American support for the war in Europe, Carmen Miranda had an odd career which saw being forced to her play on her image of a sexualised, then de-sexualised ‘easy’ Latin girl. When photographs surfaced of her infamous wardrobe malfunction (which theoretically should have further played into her sexy […]

How To Make Things Frightening


Although I’ve written fewer of them in the last few years, I’ve always enjoyed a good supernatural story or film. In the last few years, the genre has become lost, without much of a way forward. Once it reflected simple fears of darkness and unknown lonely places, but subtlety is required to build the right […]

The Most English Films Ever Made


The rubbish line-up of the Oscars this year set me thinking, not that I set any store by these awards; any supposed system of excellence that could ignore ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Singing In The Rain’ and ‘Vertigo’ isn’t worth bothering with – If you were to look down the list of most popular British […]