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Be on the look out for the latest episode of ’11 Questions with…’ This time it’s going to be a bonus sized edition with legendary filmmaker John Carpenter on Monday April 2nd 2012! In the mean time, there’s this…

I am not the hugest fan of Madonna.

Like, I enjoy a lot of her “classic” music works alright (the pre-Ray of Light days) particularly most of everything off her first and second albums. But really I get more enjoyment from her cinematic abortions… well ONE of her cinematic abortions anyways, namely the 1993 Basic Instinct coat tail rider Body of Evidence. But aside from my unhealthy love for that ‘film’ (and believe me, it is unhealthy) I find her, especially as a person, to be quite annoying and tired.

Back in the day, 900 years ago, about 200 years after her birth, she may have indeed been the awesome, original, pop progeny she is so often and past tensely referred to as (VERY much past tensely.) And, certainly, without her Lady Gaga wouldn’t exist (or have any corpses to mine her musical wares from so liberally) but these days, and really I’d say every day since about two months AFTER Ray of Light‘s release way back in 1999, she’s become more (and more and more) of an insane old cat lady, airing her hamster meat and tinfoil stuffed pies out on the windowsill for the world to be nauseated by and fearful of. And, I think it goes without saying, by hamster meat and tinfoil stuffed pies I of course mean her vagina.

On that note, this notion has never been more prescient and well represented than on her latest desperate (futile) gasp at relevancy, er… album, MDNA. But, before we get to that rotten old chestnut (once again… her vagina,) I did promise a MEGA MADONNA MELTDOWN in the title bar and that is what I shall provide; by diving into a Shanghai Surprise and examining our Body of Evidence.

Back at the dawn of mankind as we know it today, at the height of Madonna’s popularity as a singer, somewhere around 1984, Madonna decided she could also be an actress (anyone who has seen the horrifically awful celluloid stone carving A Certain Sacrifice made during her pre-fame, college days could have told her that this wasn’t a wise decision and saved us a whole lot of heartbreak) and wound up, essentially playing herself in the movie Vision Quest.

Vision Quest was critically acclaimed, and a minor hit at the box office, and it would seem that some of that notice rubbed off on Madonna, unwittingly opening the pandoras box that is her film career. Her next part in Desperately Seeking Susan only reinforced her utterly false acting abilities, when again essentially playing herself, the movie in which she starred (but had little real impact on) was critically acclaimed and financially successful.

Despite the cinema successes, Madonna perhaps subconsciously realized her limitations (read: no abilities) as an actress she married actual thespian (and future Oscar winner/as big an annoyance as Madonna for other reasons) Sean Penn in 1985 and then promptly dragged him (kicking and screaming, with her pussy) into the first true target of this article… 1986’s (somehow pre-emptive Romancing the Stone rip-off, yes that can happen) Shanghai Surprise (which has a SPECIAL EDITION DVD, which I own.)

All joking aside for a moment, Shanghai Surprise is ACTUALLY an Indiana Jones cash-in (much like 1983’s High Road to China, or 1985’s Allan Quatermain and King Solomon’s Mines.)

Now, back to where we were… Of course Shanghai Surprise is an utterly terrible Indiana Jones knock off, in which Madonna has vastly overestimated her already vastly overestimated (read: entirely overestimated) acting talents and cast herself as a virginal, Julie Andrewsesque, nun/missionary (who teams up with a rougish, very decent, Sean Penn, to find a whole piss ton of missing opium that she can use to aide all of the patients in the free hospital she works at, leading to much madcap misadventure along the way.)

I really only include the movie in this article because it is one of those things that is so terrible it needs to be watched (like Murdercycle, Shark Attack 3 or Mansquito.) There are moments in the film where Madonna’s acting is so wholly misguided and improperly motivated that it literally can rip convulsive laughter from the pit of your soul. The movie would actually be a pretty decent test run for what would become Romancing the Stone, if not for Madonna sucking the life out of every scene she is in (which of course, her being Madonna, is nearly all of them.)

Each line delivery is SO stilted, and each facial expression she belches forth vacillates violently between vacant non-expression to children’s school play over the topness; there is nothing good about her in the film, other than that she is SO absolutely bad.

Needless to say, Shanghai Surprise rightfully failed in every way once it was released (which doesn’t explain the Special Edition DVD, but Cutting Class has one too, so… whatever.) Madonna finally got the critical crucifixion on the cinematic front she so desperately deserved and it seemed at least for a moment that she might throw in the old acting towel and go back to doing what she does best (things with her vagina.)

But no, she geared up again and unleashed a staggering array of awful across numerous films, including Who’s That Girl, Bloodhounds of Broadway and Dick Tracy (to name a few.) Then came 1993… and her two greatest contributions to film… Dangerous Game (in which she gives her sole BRILLIANT performance. And I’m being deadly serious here. She’s wonderful, but the rest of the film is nearly unwatchable.) And, Body of Evidence.

I LOVE Body of Evidence. Love it. Love everything about it. If there were Body of Evidence conventions I would be the first person there, in costume, posters in hand, ready to be signed.

It is still a terrible movie, but the best kind of terrible movie. An A-List, star studded, big budgeted, filmic nightmare of epic proportions.

The entire concept of the film is a true story based around Madonna’s vagina and it’s completely factual ability to screw people to death. It bounces back and forth between over wrought courtroom scenes and even more over wrought (and ridiculous) sexual interludes, replete with as much graphic (and disgusting) nudity as you could possibly want (aside from Julianne Moore, who is ALWAYS smoking hot.)

Once again, Madonna has overestimated her abilities and is not playing herself, or a reasonable facsimile of herself (aside from the murderous genitals), instead she (woefully, stiltedly, misguidedly) plays a (non) character named Rebecca Carlson (some sort of rich, self made painter or something, who lives on a massive implausible house that sits on stilts inches above the water, with perpetually unlocked doors and opened windows, who’s dangerously backlit by hundreds of ever present candles see through curtains forever billow in the heated night air, that could never exist anywhere but a movie.) However, unlike her other films, the makers of Body of Evidence decided to distract the audience from her omnipresent badness by surrounding Madonna with a cadre of typically excellent thespians, who embarrass themselves completely and utterly here.

First there is Willem Dafoe, who plays her reluctant lawyer/reluctant lover, Frank Dulaney, as if he is about to vomit from this misdecision every time he delivers a line or has to fuck Madonna on a pile of broken glass (don’t ask.) Then we have Joe Mantegna playing his part as a total hammy lark, to the cheap seats, as the DA prosecuting the ridiculous murder case that the film is based around. Poor Anne Archer (looking frumpy and haggard) is about too, barely able to push herself through her useless role as Madonna’s primary antagonist. And the legendary Frank Langella is even dragged into the mess, bringing a touch of visibly annoyed class to his tiny tiny part as one of Madonna’s ex lovers. Only the previously mentioned Julianne Moore comes across as she should, delivering the only good performance in the film, as Dafoe’s wife.

Special mention also goes to the production designers on the film who bathe every inch of the movie (no matter how awkward and impossibly placed) with smoky, backlit, venetian blind and ceiling fan shadows. And, of final note, Madonna’s improvised masturbation scene (or Nightmare Fuel as it is known between myself and my friends) is the stuff that Lovecraft wrote about causing the destruction of Men’s minds from even a momentary viewing.

Anywho, despite it’s obvious awesomeness, Body of Evidence tanked at the box office and with critics, and that with the one two punch of Dangerous Game pretty much (thankfully) ended Madonna’s film career (aside from some ensemble parts and the musical Evita in 1996.)

She still had music going on though, and that brings us to the present…

As I kind of implied at the start of this novella, Ray of Light was Madonna’s last good album. Music was atonal and underwritten. American Life is a nightmarish audiophonic shotgun blast to the face that should be locked away for all eternity along side the Ark of the Covenant in Area 54. Confessions on a Dance Floor was… actually pretty OK, if only for the fact that Madonna gave in and went back to her early 80’s discotheque roots for a moment. And, her most recent album before today’s subject, Hard Candy, was a nauseating display of Madonna (‘s vagina) trying her best, but failing miserably to do so, to grasp a hold of the current music scene and ride it dry. (The accompanying music video for the album’s one hit single 4 Minutes, featuring Justin Timberlake, stands along side the Body of Evidence masturbation scene as the most garishly stomach churning display of Madonna’s physical being. Seriously… her arms… her crotch… her face *shudder*)

And, skidding over the edge and in to the rocky death trap below of the same subject, there is today’s final subject, MDNA, Madonna’s newest album.

I won’t be doing my usual song-by-song review, as I honestly can’t bring myself to listen to each song all the way through (aside from the terrible, but catchy, lead single Give Me All Your Luvin,) I’ve only been able to stomach the first minute and a half of each, instead it’ll just be an album spanning bashing.

MDNA is as if Madonna has paid no attention to the lessons she should have learned from the release of her last four albums and combined all of their worst aspects into one barely cohesive musical hell spawn. As with Music, each song is woefully UNDER written, lyrically vapid (Britney’s Blackout features more depth, and is genuinely a good dance album) and atonal (seriously, Madonna’s voice sounds like the dying breath of a cancer patient being teasingly plugged and unplugged from life support.) As with Hard Candy each track is OVER produced to the Nth degree, causing every song to blend together into a toneless cacophony of computerized beats and bleeps. As with Confessions on a Dance Floor Madonna is once again TRYING to go back to what we like her to do best, club songs, but unlike Confessions her reliance on much currently better guest stars just makes you realize even more how woefully useless she is now. And, lastly, as with American Life, the album is utter garbage; BETTER than American Life, but still complete trash.

The lone standout of mild listen-to-ability is Give Me All Your Luvin, but for all the wrong reasons. Madonna (especially in the video) just comes across as a granny trying to be hip and hot and failing in every way. It’s a musical train wreck. Nicki Minaj’s rapid fire, typically foam mouthed, guest spot is energetic and funny, and FUN, basically everything the song (and album) needs more of but gets none of and she steals the show, unfortunately for Madonna, as expected.

Throw in the towel Madge, you’re done. Retire. Live a life of quiet luxury banging dudes 40 years younger than you somewhere on the French Riviera. Quit directing films at the start. And never threaten us with anything even remotely like that Casablanca remake you threw around for a while.

Also, whatever you keep doing to your face, please stop. You look like a sentient blob of half cooked, overly expanded bread dough in a bad wig and one piece.

Shanghai Surprise, 2 out of 10, neon colored, eye sore, neckties.

Body of Evidence, 10 out of 10, candle wax and champagne covered nipples.

MDNA, 1 out of 10, broken hips and cough drops.

Moving swiftly along toward the latest edition of ’11 Questions with…’ This time it’s going to be a bonus sized edition with legendary filmmaker John Carpenter on Monday April 2nd 2012! In the mean time, there’s this…

Ahh… Jess Franco. When I hear his name I immediately see breasts before my eyes.

And, his 1987 (excessively 1987,) Eurotrash (excessively Eurotrash,) exercise in bad taste (EXCESSIVELY bad taste) Faceless doesn’t disappoint in the tit department, but it does, unfortunately, do so in numerous other areas…

Quite sad too, because this could have ended up an all time classic…

I spose in the end it’s probably Franco’s best and most accessible film, overall… not that that’s saying much.

The plot, in a nutshell, begins when the beloved (incestuously beloved,) gorgeous-model-sister of a renowned plastic surgeon (played with seedy relish by Helmut Berger) is horrifically disfigured (how does every average Joe get access to such powerful acids in the movie world?) by a disgruntled (and also disfigured) former patient. The surgeon then cares for his (increasingly, delightfully, bitchy) sister in seclusion with the help of his sexy nurse girlfriend; while trying to return her face to it’s former beauty… by, of course, surgically removing the faces of other gorgeous models for transplant purposes.

Great concept right (John Woo… are you a fan)? Not so hot in the execution department.

As with most of Franco’s films the pacing is far too sluggish for the subject matter. This thing should move like a nasty, slice n dice tinker toy (I’d give anything for a De Palma, or even Frank Henenlotter, remake) but instead moseys along like a sleazy raft on a lazy river made of blood covered breasts.

The performances are better than usually found in Franco Flicks (particularly from Berger.) The always enjoyable Telly Savalas is on hand in a slumming (obviously filmed in 1 day) cameo as the father of one of the models Berger is trying to give an extreme facial to. And, Christopher Mitchum turns in a decidedly decent (for him) role as a hard boiled detective trying to find Savalas’s daughter, that more than brings to mind his legendary father Robert Mitchum.

Chuck in a few (but nowhere near enough) high quality gore scenes; including a cringe worthy eyeball meets syringe attack, a nerve rattling power drill to the face bit and some GRAPHIC, and fairly realistic (love the moving eyeballs) face removal scenes; an evil ex-Nazi doctor who specializes in the field of face transplantary; a humorously annoying, out of place, sappy ballad theme song and an offensively (but hilariously) fem gay couple and, you do get the recipe for a mostly decent, fairly unique slasher film.

But it could have been so much more and that’s why I’m more displeased with it then I generally would be.

Had the performances been ramped up to 11 on all fronts, the pace been tightened judiciously, the kill scenes been thrown out at a faster (and higher) rate and had they 100% followed through on the twisted “happy” ending (only implied in the final cut) Faceless could have been a sleaze/exploitation/horror masterpiece of the highest order, up there with Savage Streets, Maniac and Dressed to Kill.

Alas, it falls a bit more than a scalpel’s edge of perfection. But, I still recommend it as a nice laugh for those who enjoy this sort of thing, and maybe as a bit of a stomach churner for those who don’t.

6 out of 10 disgusted male prostitute cranial knifings.

 

Be on the look out for the latest episode of ’11 Questions with…’ This time it’s going to be a bonus sized edition with legendary filmmaker John Carpenter on Monday April 2nd 2012! In the mean time, there’s this…

A little while back I went on a rant about remakes, you can read about it here.

And now, I’m going to rant, at least a little, again.

My readers should know my feelings for Brian De Palma at this point. Even when the man does plenty wrong, he can do no wrong. His stylistic over the topness is music to my eyes. The soft focus, gelled lens, rose tinted, slow motion, split screen world that his films exist end never cease to thrill and excite me. This sentiment of course holds true for his handling of the first screen adaptation of Carrie in 1976.

While the film may deviate quite a bit from Stephen King’s source novel, it gets the spirit 100% correct, and aside from a few dated touches (the “whacky” prom clothes buying, sped up montage, anyone) it is a true classic of the genre.

On the acting front, Sissy Spacek is perfect as the terminally shy, but psychically gifted Carrie White, eliciting sympathy from the character that few other actresses, even of the time, could’ve come close to, as well as making her intense and terrifying. As her mother, the uber-religious Margaret White, Piper Laurie plays to the cheap seats, delivering an electrifying, scenery devouring performance that is the polar opposite, but perfect match for Spacek’s understated turn. They both truly deserved their rare for the genre Oscar Noms, is pretty much what I’m saying here.

Overall De Palma and crew set out to create a Horror film that plays with a touch of class, amongst it’s lurid shocks, and they succeed amiably. It’s probably the 1st or 2nd best treatment a King Novel has ever been given cinematically, behind or tied perhaps only by Dolores Claiborne, The Shining or Misery. It’s no wonder the film is still talked about and loved the way it is to this day, and why it was one of the most respected and massive horror hits of its time.

23 Years after the first film we were given it’s exorable sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2. The film is exactly what you’d expect from a late 90’s horror flick from the director of Stripped to Kill. The cast is a bunch of teenage by way of 30, bland, WBish cast offs (aside from the lone original film star to return, Amy Irving, who skews her general awesomeness with a phoned in banality) who blithely emote their way through on camera line readings.

The plot is a thinly “gothitized” version of the original films (shades of The Craft influence the whole proceeding) in fact I’m willing to bet the movie was an entirely “original” film called ‘The Rage’ that was turned in to a Carrie sequel to bump up the potential profit. The direction is uninteresting, uninterested, and flat. And, the special effects (especially the CGI) are typical for the time period, horrendous. It’s not a movie you watch, it’s a movie you endure.

3 years after The Rage left its musty stain in theaters (in 2002 mind you, 10 years ago) an official, made for TV remake was foisted upon the Carrie name (seemingly just because so many other King projects have been turned into mostly successful mini-series.)

Carrie The Mini Series tells the same story as the De Palma version, in practically the same way, aside from the lack of style, and the non-linear framing device of the film, which jumps around the timeline and unfortunately comes from the book, and also adding back in some scenes from the novel that had been excised from the original film due to budget/time constraints.

The direction from TV veteran (and Star Trek Generations) director David Carson makes Katt Shea’s handling of The Rage seem positively Fellini-esque by comparison; it’s flat, it’s dull, it’s lifeless. The cast is equally without consequence, practically faceless. Naturally, being a mini-series, it is needlessly long. And despite having more elements from the novel incorporated and more time to deal with it, the film seems empty and hollow, lacking even a tenth of the emotional validity of De Palma’s original.

It’s not as bad as The Rage in terms of sheer awfulness, few things can be, but its excessive mediocrity makes it FEEL a lot worse.

Now that all that back story is out of the way, we’re up to the soon-to-come new remake of Carrie (to be released in 2013.)

As mentioned in my remake/rant article, I’m not opposed to remakes, there have been some great ones, the 1988 Version of The Blob, Philip Kaufman’s take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and John Carpenter’s classic handling of The Thing, to name a few. But there is a trend as of late that churns my stomach to no end…

Remaking a movie a scant few years after it has already been unsuccessfully remade.

A recent take on this would be The Hulk. Ang Lee did one in 2003 that made some dough, but was pretty much hated, then they hit the reset button on it 5 years later with The Incredible Hulk (which also made some money, but was kind of given the “meh” reception overall.) Same thing with Invasion of the Body Snatchers; the original from 1956 is a classic, as is the previously mentioned 1978 version, the one from the early 90’s, Body Snatchers? Not so much… Then you have Nicole Kidman’s horrendous version (The Invasion) from 2007, and a forth coming remake of THAT.

Why?

I’ll tell you why… I know from personal experience and behind the scenes conversation with NUMEROUS industry big wigs and higher ups that most studios literally do not want anything new. They only want franchises, tested properties and tent pole projects. It’s not suspicion, its fact. No gay characters, no interracial romances, no messages, no sex, no nudity. It’s the Hayes Code all over again. Sure once and a while an indie film that’s of some weight will slip through the cracks, as will the occasional big film of some mild quality from an ‘auteur’ filmmaker (Nolan’s handling of the Batman series, for one.)

But overall, there truly is a ban on original thinking. And, it’s sad.

What can be said or done now, in film, that couldn’t have been said or done 5 or even 10 years ago?

There are a ton of young (and old) screenwriters and filmmakers out there who’d be willing cut off their left arm to deliver an original script (or even an original knock off) for next to nothing. You could do 200 or more original films, or even knock offs, with decent low budgets and a couple “name” actors, for the cost of 1 John Carter. But no one is going to do that. Why? I dunno. Supposed ‘risk.’ (Granted I’d hardly call the 200+ Million Dollar write off known AS John Carter to be a NON-Risk, would you?)

Chloe Moretz, a plain looking starrer of numerous things of little note has been cast in the title role of Carrie in the new film, it’s being directed by ‘classy’ filmmaker Kimberly Peirce (of Boys Don’t Cry acclaim, and Stop-Loss not so much acclaim) and scripted by a producer/writer who is best known for contributing a lot to Glee; and it sounds, at least from all that, that we’re going to get another exercise in cinematic water treading and banality like we did with A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Stepfather, The Hitcher and Prom Night (to name just a few.)

I’m angry and I hate it all, but, I won’t bitch and complain anymore, I’ll just leave it at that… Oh and remind everyone of another resent remake/abortion… Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows

 

London doubles as a dark and dangerous future world in director Paul Cotrulia’s debut feature film Modified. The Pacha London venue in Victoria, London was transformed into an illegal underground nightclub for cyber criminals and vengeful murderers for six shooting days last year.

“I think it’s enormously ambitious for a lower budget film,” says Paul Cotrulia. He adds: “I’m thrilled that it’s being released this September!”

Modified is a dark science fiction thriller set in an underground world of body modification with technology. Modified boasts an international cast of actors including John Sandeman, Robert Dawson, Cory Sanders, Lia Albers, Joe Law, Megan Anstee and Gabriel Constantin as cyberpunk antiheroes in a high-tech world of easy sex and death.

Kerr (Cory Sanders) searches an underground world of illegal body modification with technology for Cole (Lia Albers) the woman he loves, but soon finds himself caught in a battle for control of the modification scene. Their world will be torn apart.

Modified is being released online, as a limited edition DVD and in select cinemas nationwide on September 3rd, 2012.

Stephen Soderbergh directs an all star cast in action thriller Haywire, including mixed martial arts supremo Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a highly-trained black ops specialist, contracted for hazardous covert missions by the US Government. When her paymaster’s point-man (Ewan McGregor) teams her with fellow agent (Channing Tatum) to extract a Chinese journalist held hostage in a Barcelona safe house, the mission swiftly unravels and she barely escapes with her life. During her next assignment in Dublin, with Irish assassin Paul (Michael Fassbender) Mallory is violently betrayed and pursued across the city by the local police and assorted ruthless hit men.

Now the target of an international manhunt, spearheaded by the CIA official who hired her (Michael Douglas), Mallory realises she can trust no one and is forced to flee across the US from upstate New York to the New Mexico desert. There, she seeks refuge in the home of her ex-soldier father (Bill Paxton), but danger is not far behind her. As she confronts her heavily-armed pursuers, she begins to understand the cause of her betrayal, and the part played by a shadowy Spanish official (Antonio Banderas). Battling with her superiors to uncover the truth behind their deception, she sets out to exact revenge on those that want her dead.

Haywire is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 21 May 2012

By day, Griff is just a shy, socially inept office worker, easily bullied and ignored. However by night, he turns into a dark-suited vigilante to go fighting crimes and righting wrongs. Unaware of this dual identity, his brother Tim (Patrick Brammall) is concerned about his behaviour and whilst trying to get him to socialise more, Griff meets the beautiful but obsessive scientist Melody (Maeve Dermody), who has discovered a way of walking through walls. It’s a dynamic team-up that unexpectedly unleashes new found powers that will transform all their lives.

A quirky caped comedy that blends superheroics with romance, Griff The Invisible marks the feature debut of Leon Ford, a former actor who has appeared in The Pacific and Hex. Shot on location in Sydney, Ryan Kwanten (True Blood’s Jason Stackhouse) heads up an Aussie cast which includes Maeve Dermody (Beautiful Kate) and Patrick Brammell (TV’s Home and Away; Canal Road). It’s executive produced by Jan Chapman (The Piano; Lantana) and Scott Meek (TV’s Hamish Macbeth; Velvet Goldmine). This is more in the vein of indie comic-book films such as The Mystery Men and Ghost World but with a knowing wink towards the likes of the Spiderman/Batman franchises. He may not be ready to join some avenging super team, but Griff The Invisible is a hero who has to be seen to be believed.

On Saturday 7th April between 11pm and 7am, at The Roxy Bar & Screen London, Filmbar70 present…
Night of the Black Mass Allnighter

What better way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ than to pay homage to his arch-nemesis, the Angel of Light himself – Lucifer. Throughout a night of desecration, death and eventual rebirth, Filmbar70 will be your guide as they enact certain rituals that will make the average Daily Mail reader’s blood BOIL.

Delights of the arcane and enchanted include visitations from mischievous imps, the consumption of dog food by disciples of decadence, ubermensch proto-Nazis being flayed alive and the majestic sight of a computer less advanced than a Commodore 64 unleashing the hordes of Hell. Ladies and gentleman – Filmbar70 bids you to join the coven and partake in the all-night ritual of The Night of the Black Mass.

Demons (1985) – Lamberto Bava
What spawn stalks the pathways of the inferno? Demons, that’s what! When these abominations of unspeakable corruption are unleashed from their fiery torment through the portal of the cinema screen itself, all Hell is let loose! Lamberto, son of the legendary Mario, moves Italian trash into the 1980’s with this adrenaline fuelled, blood soaked cacophony.

Evilspeak (1981) – Eric Weston
Don’t get mad, get EVIL. When uber-nerd Stanley Coopersmith is bullied beyond the brink of sanity, he finds his only friend blinking back at him from the screen of his computer. Yup, Beelzebub goes binary! A bona fide video nasty upon its initial release, Evilspeak combines ‘state of the art’ computer imagery with copious beheadings – a winning mix indeed.

Satan’s Blood (1978) – Carlos Puerto
Satan gets sexy in this Spanish serenade to sacrilegious excess. A truly steamy ride into the rarefied realm of Eurotica, ‘Satan’s Blood ‘is exactly the type of randy provocation that drove the more conservative members of societies’ congregation into a ‘Satanic Panic’ in the heated Seventies.

The Black Cat (1934) – Edgar G. Ulmer
Ulmer’s art deco excursion into necrotica features two legends of monochrome horror locked in a lethal chess game, culminating in the most stylish Black Mass yet witnessed. Haunting and incredibly perverse, ‘The Black Cat’ ranks as the most shocking of the Universal horrors, with Karloff’s suave Satanist setting the template for the urbane acolyte of darkness.

Fear No Evil (1981) – Frank LaLoggia
Back to high school with this bizarre labour of love, which mounts a spectacular battle between good and evil on a miniscule budget. Imaginative, inventive and featuring the strangest Satan put to screen, ‘Fear No Evil’ is truly a hidden treasure of the cult film fan.
And if this ain’t enough, prepare to witness a feast of Filmbar70 created goodies interspersing the action.
All Hail the Lord of Flies!

To celebrate the release of Kill Keith on DVD now we have scoured the murky world of cinematic deaths to bring you a top 10 list of the most memorable deaths in film; be they gruesome, iconic, or downright ridiculous…

10) Ashley and Ashlyn – Final Destination 3

We all know the risks of sun bedding; leathery skin and terminal illness, but when Death has a score to settle neither of these should be of great concern. In the wake of a catastrophic rollercoaster accident and lucky to be alive, Ashley and Ashlyn of Final Destination 3 take an ill-advised trip to the tanning salon. Inevitable incineration ensues; Death 1 – Tanorexics 0.

9) Wicked Witch of the West – Wizard of Oz

Begging the question “how far will a woman go to get her hands on a new pair of shoes?”, the Wicked Witch of the West defies all expectations in her quest for Dorothy’s rosy red duds. Thwarted at the last by a well-placed pale of water, the dying screams of “I’m melting!” are the roots of many a childhood nightmare.

8. Phillip – Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Choosing just one of the enumerable deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is a tall order but we’ll stick our necks out and name the death of Philip in film 3 as its denouement. Strung up like a marionette by his own tendons, Phillip is walked to the edge of the roof of the psychiatric hospital at which he is a patient. Once on the roof, Phillip’s “strings” are cut and he’s left to plummet to his death. Gruesome but effective.

7) Scanners

We like exploding heads as much as the next guy, and no film pulls off the spectacular gore of a head explosion quite like Scanners. Accomplished by filling a latex head with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun, the illusion of skull bone and brain matter spraying out at 360°is mesmerizing. Anybody for a 2012 re-release in 3D?

6) Joe Pasquale – Kill Keith

Much maligned in recent years, Joe Pasquale probably didn’t foresee his comic comeback as a bolshie, monkey suited self-parody. Fresh from the set of a breakfast cereal advert, Pasquale meets his maker when an unknown assassin places a box of the very cereal Joe is advertising over his head, twisting, allowing the hidden razor blades do their damage. The irony is delicious!

5) Marion Crane – Psycho

If there ever was a more iconic death in cinema we challenge you to show us. Constantly parodied in pop-culture, the murder of Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 ‘Psycho’ is indisputably one of the most recognizable moments ever committed to film.

4) Nazis – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Nobody likes a Nazi, especially not a Nazi (or two) hell bent on stealing the Ark of the Covenant. Such a shame then that the Nazis of Raiders of the Lost Ark, consumed by a burning greed for biblical artifacts, failed to read the supernatural small print. It’s hard to enjoy holy relics when spiritual demons are stripping your face of its flesh.

3) Donald Gennaro – Jurassic Park

Never turn down the opportunity to use a toilet – “you never know when you’ll see the next one” – more often than not this is a rule to live by. Unless, of course, you’re Donald Gennaro, in which case the toilet is the last place you want to be. Death in a port-a-loo may not be the most glamorous way to go, but becoming a tyrannosaurus’s entrée is cinematic gold.

2) Chrissie Watkins – Jaws

Have you ever thought how much more fun life would be if you had a personal soundtrack? Something jolly for a sunny day? Something melancholy for when you’re feeling blue? John Williams’ score for Jaws when a man-eating shark is on the loose? We’re betting Chrissie Watkins wishes she did.

1) Kane – Alien

Somebody should have warned John Hurt et al not to count their chickens before they’d hatched. Having made a remarkable recovery after a parasitic alien attached itself to his face, Kane (John Hurt) and the rest of the Nostromo crew breathed a sigh of relief only to have that relief shattered quicker that you can say “jack-in-the-box” when the aforementioned aliens offspring explodes through Kane’s chest. Lethal and messy.

Kill Keith is out NOW on DVD.