Films Which Have Really Peculiar Moments In Them – No.1


Right in the middle of Leos Carax’s wonderfully surreal movie ‘Holy Motors’, in which an eccentric millionaire is driven around the city in order to adopt different guises, the action stops dead and Denis Lavant dons an accordion in a church. What follows is an exhilarating interlude in an already strange movie. Enjoy.

Not Crazy About The Krays?


Quite why the Kray twins occupy such a central pillar in the legends of London criminal life is a bit of a mystery these days. Surely whatever residual glamour that was once attached to them has gone? Peter Medak made a very decent movie, ‘The Krays’, which looked as much at the women as the […]

Gothic Loses The Plot


NO SPOILERS It should have been a shoo-in for Guillermo del Toro, the director of gothic films like ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. An American-language big budget stab at High Gothick, complete with fleeing heroine, dastardly baronet and crumbling mansion – but somehow ‘Crimson Peak’ goes terribly wrong. All the elements are in place, […]



I’ve come to the party rather late on this one, I know, probably because it was a little overlooked here in the UK, where it didn’t even get shown at Frightfest, but ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ from director Ana Lily Amirpouris is one of the most interesting vampire films to come along […]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


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


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


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


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


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 […]