Friday, September 30, 2022

Viewings: September 2022

Which is worse; 2022's continuous cinematic dreck, or all the wretched S.O.V vintage titles I watched in September? The all important question which had this humble blogger's brain short-circuiting like Landru in Star Trek.

Fatih Akin's The Golden Glove was my favourite discovery this month. An excellent film that I would have imported already if the pound hadn't flatlined.

More recent films that didn't go out of their way to annoy me and just tell a good story were Jean Luc Herbulot's Saloum which I posted about, and Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick turned out half decent; with those great aerial combat scenes.

Had taken forever, but I finally completed my 101 G.O.A.T British Films List this month.



Bunny Lake is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965)

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Martin Ritt, 1965)

Neither the Sea Nor the Sand (Fred Burnley, 1972)*

The Last House on Dead End Street (Roger Watkins, 1973)

Seizure (Oliver Stone, 1974)*

Slade in Flame (Richard Loncraine, 1975)*

Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (Joe D'Amato, 1978)*

The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1978)*

Thirst (Rod Hardy, 1979)

Crimes of Passion (Ken Russell, 1984)*

Hard Rock Nightmare (Dominick Brascia, 1988)*

Streets of Death (Jeff Hathcock, 1988)*

Nemesis (Albert Pyun, 1992)

L.A. AIDS Jabber (Drew Godderis, 1994)*

Red Lips (Donald Farmer, 1995)*

The Necro Files (Matt Jaissle, 1997)*

Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (William Hellfire & Joey Smack, 1999)*

The Golden Glove (Fatih Akin, 2019)*

Bodies Bodies Bodies (Halina Reijn, 2022)*

Jikirag (Alexander J. Baxter, Leigah Keewatin & Jessica Moutray, 2022)*

The Munsters (Rob Zombie, 2022)*

Nope (Jordan Peele, 2022)*

Saloum (Jean Luc Herbulot, 2022)*

Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller, 2022)*

Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski, 2022)*



Romper Stomper - Season 1 (Geoffrey Wright, 2018)*

Cobra Kai - Season 5 (Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, 2022)*

The Queen's death on every channel (2022)*


* First time viewings.


Dada Debaser Notes:

  • Finally got off my arse and sat back down again to watch The Shout. First impression; I thought it was just ok, but it has marinated a bit more favourably for me since then.
  • Ken Russell's Crimes of Passion has this amazing neo-giallo quality to it at the start of the film, but it derails into relationship drama territory; almost ruining it for me. Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins are very memorable in it, however.
  • Rewatched The Spy Who Came in From the Cold for what's undoubtedly one of Richard Burton's finest performances. Feeling relieved that I picked The Iprcress File over it, however. John Le Carré's material just goes over my head at times.
  • Aussie horror, Thirst has aged like fine wine.
  • George Miller completely wasted his time and mine with that genie movie.
  • Can thoroughly relate to Daniel Kaluuya looking completely disinterested in Jordan Peele's latest film, Nope. Such an overrated and boring film.
  • There is no way Rob Zombie's The Munsters cost $40M to make. Terrible film, regardless.
  • Did not expect to find a condom in one of my blu-ray purchases this month.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Saloum's Lot

Saloum (Jean Luc Herbulot, 2022)

Folk horror has been all the rage in recent years. Like most trends that step into the mainstream limelight, the output has been a mixed bag. Enter Jean Luc Herbulot's effort Saloum to rectify this situation. Saloum is something of genre bender as it mixes crime caper, revenge western, mystery thriller and folk horror all in the same cauldron. The final result is a refreshing witch's brew which stands out from all the current crop of mumblecore tripe masquerading as "elevated horror".

Herbulot's film offers plenty of positive highlights; the biggest being the dynamic composition of the legendary trio of mercenaries known as Bangui's Hyenas. These three very unique and distinctive characters, exert great chemistry on-screen; their leader, Chaka, played by Yann Gael, is the essential cog linking all the events in the film. After their extraction of a Mexican drug lord from a fatal hotspot in Guinea-Bissau, the trio make a pit stop at a remote tourist resort in Sine-Saloum, Senegal. All is not what it seems, and it's at this point where the film weaves from a tense neo-western style thriller to its superstitious folklore narrative. This is all achieved impeccably well.

Breathtaking cinematography and exotic locations are instant standouts. Found myself repeatedly asking how come there aren't more genre films from the African continent making their way over here like this? None of that Asylum style Wakaliwood claptrap, nor hipster bait like Fried Barry (2020); I'm talking about a proper genre flick from this continent. The last serious attempt which I can recall was all the way back in 2011 with the Fulci inspired zombie movie, The Dead, by the Ford brothers. Really ought to state my relief that Saloum isn't another Poundland version of The Witch (2015), nor is it some incomprehensible, alternative drama catered towards its pompous director's Twitter followers. Not only does its Sine-Saloum geography make it so distinctive from all the other traditional European based folk horror, but its use of Senagalese fables makes it all the more unique as well.

A crying shame then, that the horror themed showdown is in some measure underwhelming following such a well delivered build-up. Whether or not it's due to low production resources, the realisation of the supernatural entities that the gallant Hyenas encounter appear as surprisingly anticlimactic. These humanoid shaped swarms of insects and fire embers, look a bit farcical whenever they are shot at. Also, shame on all those critics who conveniently sidestepped this observation in their reviews. It's still a fine film, but it's an issue which sullies what's otherwise an impressive effort for me.

Enjoyed Saloum; despite the one and only lingering real issue that I had with it. In any case, it's still a noble effort and well worth checking out.

Saloum (Trailer)
Jean Luc Herbulot, 2022

Monday, September 26, 2022

Disasterpeace for a Disaster Piece

Considering how influential John Carpenter was for not only being a film maker, but as a soundtrack composer, it comes as no surprise then that Disasterpeace has fallen into the same pitfall as his spirit animal this year, by scoring an excellent soundtrack to a trash movie. Won't bore anyone reading this with just how bad the failure of Bodies Bodies Bodies (where are the commas, Hollywood?) and its social satire is, but after sitting all the way through to the troll worthy finale of this Agatha Christie style, zoomer turd, I've well and truly earnt the right to berate the film until my last dying breath.

Disasterpeace - Body Drop
(Bodies Bodies Bodies soundtrack, 2022)

Still processing the soundtrack, but the main theme, Body Drop is an instant highlight for me since it conveniently sums up what's so great about this new album; it resembles Disasterpeace's older work the most, but it also displays some obvious progress since then. Along with the rolling menacing trap basslines, what's really apparent about Disasterpeace's latest album are the influences of other horror soundtrack composers featured on it. There's still the gawd John Carpenter's indelible blueprint all over it, but you can't help noticing Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave's classic Phantasm Main Theme on the track Whokiller, nor Jonathan Newton's score from the relatively obscure Unhinged (1982) on the track titled Dork.

Disasterpeace - Old Maid
(It Follows soundtrack, 2014)

One of my favourite film soundtracks from the 2010s was for David Mitchell's venereal teen horror, It Follows (2014). Other than it being a classic horror film in its own right, Disasterpeace's soundtrack for it, was an important contributor with it popping out from other generic teen horror flicks. The track I love the most is undoubtedly Old Maid. The build up at the start sounds so alien like, that it's become an earworm to me in the same vein as the one Chekov had that one time. Add in that alarm clock from hell chiming in and that's my morning wake-up theme to get the day poppin' off on the right track.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Picks of 1992

A time of novelty rave choons and when I took my first steps into a much larger world in film. 1992 was when I first discovered the legendary Psychotronic Video basement store in Camden Town. It was the most eye opening education into film since the heady times of Alex Cox's run presenting Moviedrome (1988) and Jonathan Ross' The Incredibly Strange Film Show (1988).

Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi)

Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara)

Basic Instict (Paul Verhoeven)

Braindead, AKA Dead Alive (Peter Jackson)

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)

Candyman (Bernard Rose)

Deep Cover (Bill Duke)

Fortress (Stuart Gordon)

Full Contact (Ringo Lam)

Hard Boiled (John Woo)

Man Bites Dog (Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde)

Police Story 3: Supercop (Stanley Tong)

Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)

Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (David Lynch)

Under Siege (Andrew Davis)

The conspicuous omission of Clint Eastwood's acclaimed western, Unforgiven is intentional since it has forever been ruined by my mates heckling it at the cinema; whinging about it being nothing like the Sergio Leone films. Same lot dragged me with them to watch the awful The Lover in the same year. Harrison Ford's suit and tie action hero movie Patriot Games was also a favourite; largely because of Sean Bean, but I've killed that film having seen it so many times on TV and James Horner's recycling of his Aliens soundtrack really irks me somewhat.

Also enjoyed: Juice, Batman Returns, Single White Female, California Man (AKA, Encino Man) and Poison Ivy at the time, but have never seen them ever since. No idea how any of them hold up today. After revisiting Deep Cover, Fortress and Romper Stomper this year, I was surprised by how well they had aged. What have aged like terrible CGI are: Wayne's World, The Lawnmower Man and Sleepwalkers. The latter is especially tragic as this humble blogger was utterly smitten with Twin Peaks actress Mädchen Amick back in the day.

Dada Debaser Bonus:

Picks of 2002 and 2012.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Moment I Feared: Part 4

Doctor Who (The Keeper of Traken - Part Four )
John Black, 1981

For this aging blogger, early eighties Saturday tea time TV could be summed up by the dulcet voice of Tim Gudgin announcing the football results, and the uncompromising science fiction theatrics of Doctor Who. Amongst a certain age range, Tom Baker's portrayal of the fourth incarnation of the scatterbrained Doctor was the most revered. The long running BBC series, which originally began from 1963, was plagued by numerous budget restrictions, but despite the wobbly sets and shite effects, where it excelled at was its creative writing. It was highbrow sci-fi to a youngster like me back then.
Robert Delgado's The Master; the arch-nemesis to The Doctor, came and went well before my time. However, the decayed visage of the character was perhaps my earliest memory of the popular sci-fi series, and it turned out to be an unexpectedly frightening viewing experience. Witnessing some rotten ghoul in a robe creep out of a grandfather clock and meld into the helpless Tremas, played by Anthony Ainley, was pure nighmare fuel for me. Judging by the video's YouTube comments, I wasn't the only one scared shitless by this scene. Ainley would subsequently continue playing The Master for the remainder of the classic era Doctor Who.
A pity that Nu Who fell off completely with the arrival of Chris Chibnall's tenure as its showrunner. Not even changing its traditional Saturday slot to a Sunday, and sandwiching it between Country File and The Antiques Road Show could save it hemorrhaging viewers. However, at least we got Stacey Dooley and Kevin "Cackling" Clifton dancing the "terrifying tango" on a Halloween special of Strictly Come Dancing because of it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Fritz Like a Glove

The Golden Glove (Fatih Akin, 2019)

Late pass here! Heard a lot about this film the last couple of years, but it wasn't until now that I got to see it. Kicking myself for taking too long, because it's a superb film. Based on the true story of German serial killer, Fritz Honka; a repulsive-looking, alcoholic, night watchman who lured vulnerable women to his festering lair for booze and a good time. Unfortunately, for some of them, his attic apartment would be the last place they would ever visit alive. These victims would eventually be dismembered and then hidden within the walls and beneath the floorboards of his rancid, porn-decorated flat.

What's blatantly apparent about Akin's film is how insanely well it depicts the seemy and pathetic lives of the local denizens of the notorious Hamburg pub, The Golden Glove. Set in the seventies, the viewer is thrown into Fritz Honka's repulsively, grimy, alcohol-fuelled world. Life is incredibly bleak and depressing for the patrons of this seedy drinking establishement. It makes it all the more plausible how the disfigured Honka, could take advantage of a number of alcoholic women for his own malevolent satisfaction - which includes beating them and inserting large frankfurters in their orifices. It's on the same atmospheric wave length as the real crime scuzziness of Fhiona Louise's Cold Light of Day (1989) - a film based on another real life serial killer, Dennis Nilsen. Genuinely felt rotten seeing not only Honka's cruel depravity unfold on-screen, but also the entire social environment he was a part of. At times I was reminded of Jim Hosking's The Greasy Strangler (2016); minus all the hipster comedy.

Amazed how Jonas Dassler, who was in his early twenties during the filming of The Golden Glove, managed to play Honka and was transformed into playing a man almost twice his age at the time with such a high degree of conviction. The film weights heavily on his performance and the gamble of casting someone so young actually pays off here. In other films with a similar subject matter, there tends to be a narrow, redemptive opportunity presented at some point to the protagonist, and here this is also the case. Thanks to Dassler's performance and Akin's direction, it doesn't feel like a shoehorned cliche, however.

Both the make-up and production design are the biggest highlights of the film. The characters and sets instantly transport the viewer to this grim and seedy world from the past. The acidic oranges and browns remind me of vintage Open University lectures from back in the day. Love all the little details found in the film, like the Magic Little Tree air freshners adorned everywhere in Honka's apartment, to mask the rotting smell of the cadavers. Also, Honka blaming the awful smell on the cooking coming from the Greek family living below him was hilarious.

The problem with serial killer films including those based on real-life monsters, is that they either tend to psychoanylise them and attempt to humanise them into almost sympathetic characters, or just glorify them as anti-heroes. Thankfully, The Golden Glove is a film that goes against these portrayals. You're meant to be repulsed by these horrific people and that's what makes this film so damn immersive and compelling to watch. Definitely would have made my film highlights of 2019 if I had bothered to check it out earlier. Better late than never.

The Golden Glove (Trailer)
Fatih Akin, 2019

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Depressed cinephiles maybe in mourning over their beloved film god Jean-Luc Godard popping off this mortal coil earlier this week, but for us godardless heathens, it was Tuesday. Although, no doubt we'll be deluged with the inevitable obituaries and think pieces of how innovative he was.

Absolutely love finding out about respected creatives feuding with one another: be it film directors shittin' on other film directors; rap diss songs sans the smokescreened subliminals; to critics poppin' off at their once venerable heroes. Which segways nicely to one of my favourite all time Kermode rants. I refuse to believe any of this hilarious annihilation of both Godard and his film Socialisme (2011) was not rehearsed by Mark Kermode. It's too perfect to just fly as an off the cuff rant. It also feels somewhat tragic that the Quiffed One treads more cautiously with his more recent film critiques nowadays.

Socialisme (Review)
Mark Kermode, 2011

Kind of funny how the one thing that immediately came to mind upon hearing of Godard's passing was this classic video, and judging by the comments section, I wasn't the only one either.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Dada Debaser's 101 G.O.A.T British Films

The most appealing characteristic pertaining to British cinema is it runs the gamut of dealing with various subject matter and aspects of  life, and handles them in an uniquely distinctive way. This national psyche tends to come across as somewhat eccentric to non-Brits. "Having a bad day? I'll put the kettle on." Touch of the Dunkirk spirit, know what I mean?

Came up with this idea before I even created this blog and the biggest palaver was having to determine whether or not some of these films would even be classed as British; as mentioned in a recent and older post. This detail is unnecessarily restrictive when you consider just how many different cultures are thrown into the melting pot resulting in something so idiosyncratically British like fish and chips.

The best part about compiling any kind of "best of... list" on your own is having the luxury of being utterly selfish and not having to justify them to some contributor completely ignorant and oblivious to why you love these films. The worst thing about compiling any kind of "best of... list" on your own is the chance you'll run the risk of not seeing the wood from the trees and forgeting some notable titles. Having had to endure various film critics and talking head pundits gushing over movies which either failed to resonate with me, or were placed on a much higher pedestal than they deserved to be, this is significant payback time - albeit if it happens to be written on an obscure blog in the internet ether. 

101 G.O.A.T British Films

Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936) 

The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938) 

A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946) 

Brighton Rock (John Boulting, 1948) 

Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949) 

The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) 

The Lavender Hill Mob (Charles Crichton, 1951) 

The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, 1955) 

Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourner, 1957) 

The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) 

Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958) 

Ice Cold in Alex (J. Lee Thompson, 1958) 

Beat Girl (Edmond T. Gréville, 1959)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Terence Fisher, 1959)

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla, 1960)

Cash on Demand (Quentin Lawrence, 1961)

The Curse of the Werewolf (Terence Fisher, 1961)

The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963) 

The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963) 

First Men in the Moon (Nathan Juran, 1964)

Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964) 

Zulu (Cy Endfield, 1964) 

Bunny Lake is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965)

The Collector (Willaim Wyler, 1965)

The Hill (Sidney Lumet, 1965)

The Ipcress File (Sidney J. Furie, 1965) 

The Nanny (Seth Holt, 1965) 

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) 

Alfie (Lewis Gilbert, 1966)

Carry on Screaming (Gerald Thomas, 1966) 

Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (Gordon Flemyng, 1966) 

The Plague of the Zombies (John Gilling, 1966)

Quatermass and the Pit (Roy Ward Baker, 1967) 

Twisted Nerve (Roy Boulting, 1968) 

Where Eagles Dare (Brian G. Hutton, 1968)

Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968)

Carry on Camping (Gerald Thomas, 1969)

The Italian Job (Peter Collinson, 1969) 

And Soon the Darkness (Robert Fuest, 1970)

Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970) 

Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (Freddie Francis, 1970) 

10 Rillington Place (Richard Fleischer, 1971) 

A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)

The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971) 

Get Carter (Mike Hodges, 1971) 

The Flesh and Blood Show (Pete Walker, 1972) 

Straight on Till Morning (Peter Collinson, 1972) 

Tower of Evil (Jim O'Connolly, 1972)

Carry on Girls (Gerald Thomas, 1973) 

Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973) 

Steptoe and Son Ride Again (Peter Sykes, 1973)

Theatre of Blood (Douglas Hickox, 1973)

The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)

Frightmare (Pete Walker, 1974)

The Vault of Horror (Roy Ward Baker, 1973)

From Beyond the Grave (Kevin Connor, 1974)

House of Whipcord (Pete Walker, 1974) 

Vampyres (José Ramón Larraz, 1974)

The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston, 1975)

The Black Panther (Ian Merrick, 1977) 

The Medusa Touch (Jack Gold, 1978) 

Porridge (Dick Clement, 1979) 

Scum (Alan Clarke, 1979) 

The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980)

The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie, 1980) 

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)

Time Bandits (Terry Gilliam, 1981)

Who Dares Wins (Ian Sharp, 1982)

The Company of Wolves (Neil Jordan, 1984)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (Michael Radford, 1984) 

Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984) 

Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985) 

Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan, 1986)

Sid & Nancy (Alex Cox, 1986)

When the Wind Blows (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1986) 

Hellraiser (Clive Barker, 1987) 

Paperhouse (Bernard Rose, 1988)

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989) 

The Firm (Alan Clarke, 1989)

The Witches (Nicholas Roeg, 1990)

Shallow Grave (Danny Boyle, 1994) 

Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000) 

28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002) 

Dead Man's Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004) 

The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) 

V for Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2005)

Children of Men (Alfonso Cuorán, 2006) 

Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007) 

Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2009)

Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009)

Four Lions (Chris Morris, 2010)

Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011)

Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012) 

The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012)

Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (Declan Lowney, 2013) 

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

'71 (Yann Demange, 2014) 

Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021)


Dada Debaser Notes:

  • Loathe Simon Pegg with a passion, but Hot Fuzz is the biggest standout in his filmography, as he isn't acting like a spoilt whiny man-child throughout it.
  • The use of the slide whistle as a comical sound effect is of greater entertainment value to me than any so-called bourgeois comedy loved by poncey film critics.
  • Unlike the 1990s, there were plenty of contenders from the 2010s that were considered, but not enough to take a coveted spot.
  • Take note, Mike Leigh: the Severin cellar >>>>>> the Criterion closet.

Had naively hoped to share this list with the gawd Kim Newman, but contacting him over at his website is via an agent. Forget that! Twitter is out of the question since it's a hellhole. Oh well, mustn't grumble! Good to finally have this done, regardless.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Chozen One

Cobra Kai (Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Shlossberg, 2018-Present Day)

Spent the beginning of the year full of praise for season four of Cobra Kai, perhaps the second best in the series thanks to the superb return of the machiavellian villain, Terry Silver. This latest chapter in the series isn't really on par as its predecessor, but it's still entertaining and better than any of the increasingly overrated water cooler shows out there. Cobra Kai still pays respect to the past and adds to it rather than ridicule it. The farcical concept of rival karate dojos in a Californian set teen drama is still blessed with better writing than any show Jeff Bezos' deep pockets has ever invested in; take for instance an episode where Chozen tries to snatch an egg from each of his Miyagi Do students, initially feeling like a filler episode, but becoming a valuable lesson in teamwork and a crucial scenario in the season finale.

Season Five highlights include:

  • John Kreese's young persona beating the ever living shite out of a gang of prison goons craving his Jell-O cup, and subsequently turning their leader into his prison bitch.
  • Johnny Lawrence's one star reviews as an Uber driver.
  • Terry Silver burning down Mike Barnes' furniture shop.
  • Cobra Kai's main dojo looking like the set of the Death Star.
  • Robby and Miguel finally putting their animosities aside with a fight; poorly moderated by Johnny Lawrence.
  • Terry Silver shipping in a bunch of no-name senseis, looking like they're from a low budget action movie; including one guy wearing an eye patch.
  • John Kreese and Terry Silver's 1980 flashback sequence. Terry wearing a double breasted blazer and an ascot tie.
  • The revelation of Amanda LaRusso's cousin being Jessica Andrews from The Karate Kid Part III.
  • Danny LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence and Chozen Toguchi drunk as hell and rocking out to Eye of the Tiger in the back of limo that's being driven by Mike Barnes.
  • Chozen Toguchi versus Terry Silver fight scene. The choral music in the background turns a back yard fight it into an epic ‘duel of the fates’ type battle:
Cobra Kai: Season Five (Chozen vs. Terry Silver fight scene)
Joel Novoa, 2022

Thursday, September 8, 2022

She's Not There

Bunny Lake is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965)

It's remarkable how a particular film maker like Alfred Hitchcock left such an indelible imprint in film that the term "hitchcockian" exists to describe a particular style of thriller. Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake is Missing seems to fit the bill according to various film writers, yet, I would imagine Preminger might have considered it a disservice in categorising his film in such layman's terms. Considering he spent years trying to get his subversive film made after acquiring the rights to Merriam Modell’s novel of the same name.

Revolving around Carol Lynley's lead performance as a distraught American mother, recently moved to London, experiencing the sheer hell of her daughter's disappearance; making matters even worse, nobody seems to believe her. The viewer is placed in the awkward position of having to determine fact from fiction. These types of films where the protagonist's claims is discredited or gaslighted is hardly a new concept, but it's a delicate balancing act with many nuances which are often telemarked poorly by many played-out, predictable thrillers. Bunny Lake is Missing is a far superior effort to any of them, though.

The supporting cast are exceptionally good; particularly Lawrence Olivier as the compassionate detective trying to make heads and tails of the whole situation. Keir Dullea plays Lynley's brother, and you begin to wander what the relationship between the two siblings is really like during an uncomfortable bathroom scene. There's also an over-the-top performance by Noel Coward as Lynley's drunk and sleazy landlord; resulting in a bizarre scene at his abode where he shows off a cane and whip, along with the supposed skull of the Marquis de Sade to the police. 

Always considered foreign film makers working in Britain having some kind of preconceived notion of what British living is like and Preminger is no exception. The film is loaded with some very British quirks and oddities peppered throughout; ranging from eccentric Brits in bit part roles to the dish known as 'junket'. Somewhat baffled that a quintessential British pub scene in the film features the sixties band The Zombies appearing on the pub's TV performing a couple of their songs. Ironically, one of their biggest hits and a more fitting song, She's Not There does not appear in the film.

Cinematographer, Denys N. Coop, captures beautifully shot scenes for the film; strong contrasting black and white shots play an integral part as they reflect Lynley's mental state throughout her daughter's disappearance. Scenes where she escapes from a hospital feel like they're from Jack Clayton's gloriously, gothic chiller The Innocents (1961). Add the unmistakably distinctive and highly symbolic paper ripping opening credits sequence by the legendary Saul Bass and the film feels like a complete package.

Goes without saying that Bunny Lake is Missing exhibits the same qualities that would eventually become often associated with many psycho-sexual thrillers and gialli in the years to come. The scene where Lynley winds up late at night in a creepy doll repair shop off Soho, is the stuff of nightmares and would suffice enough as testament to this claim. The final act of the film is enough to quash any remaining doubters.

Along with Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Seth Holt's The Nanny (another adaptation of a Merriam Modell novel) which were also released in the very same year as Preminger's film, there really had to have been something in the water, with these top notch British psychological thrillers. If only the trailer department drank from that same well too:

Bunny Lake is Missing  ('The Zombies' Trailer)
Otto Preminger, 1965

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Picks of 2002

Fave films released from the same year Jade Goody and Alison Hammond were unleashed unto a post-9/11 world. When it rains; it pours.

28 Days Later (Danny Boyle)

Blade II (Guillermo del Toro)

Cabin Fever (Eli Roth)

Catch Me if You Can (Steven Spielberg)

City of God (Kátia Lund & Fernando Meirelles)

Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall)

Ju-On: The Grudge (Takashi Shimizu)

May (Lucky McKee)

Paid in Full (Charles Stone III)

Reign of Fire (Rob Bowman)

Secretary (Steven Shainberg)

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Park Chan-Wook)

Slim pickings in retrospect.

Considered adding Gaspar Noé's Irreversible onto the list; which is admittedly a powerful film. However, the first ten or so minutes are beyond nauseating, to the point of vomit inducing. Add that infamous underpass scene and I have no real desire to ever watch it again; nor any of his other films for that matter (except maybe Climax).

Dada Debaser Bonus:

Picks of 2012

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Sunday Roast

Time for an update on the arduous task of collating the G.O.A.T Brit Flicks™ . As a solo endeavour, it feels rather cathartic knowing your own choice of films won't be tarnished by some other person's picks on the list; neither would they be collated via a means of average votes. Dada Debaser is an autocratic movie blog, in this regard.

Originally planned to do a brief write up for each film, but I said, "f@ck that!" once I accidentally deleted a long post I was writing and Blogger auto-saved it. Also planned to rank my selection, but that's another headache altogether.

Here are some discoveries/opinions that are worth sharing:

  • Abiding by Parliament's somewhat liberal definition of 'what is a British film?', British co-productions, largely partnered with a foreign body (sometimes with a British subsidary), would completely dominate this list. This makes certain films like Alien (1979) or The Elephant Man (1980) very difficult to assess, and forces each film to be treated on a case by case basis.
  • At least one title from Top of the Flops' 100 Worst British Movies list made it on my first draft.
  • Gerald Thomas was a way more prolific film maker than David Lean, Ken Loach or Mike Leigh. More than one Carry On... film made it onto my working list.
  • More than one film adaptation based on British sitcom filled a place on the list.
  • Originally thought the eighties was a low point for British film, but, in hindsight, the nineties was considerably worse. We were starving for good Brit flicks. It was a wilderness, where pretentious dross like Orlando (1992) would appease the hoity-toity Tarquins and Tamaras, and overrated shite like Trainspotting (1996) would endlessly hog up late night television's schedules for the next decade or so.
  • Billy Elliot (2000) and The King's Speech (2010) were both funded by The National Lottery, which is a good enough reason to make it illegal again.
  • Lynne Ramsey's filmography is way more depressing than Threads (1984) ever was. As a matter of fact, Glaswegian council estates in Ratcatcher (1999) look even more apocalyptic than any post-nuclear wasteland featured in film.
  • Noughties film also tapped into British woes with the same level of fear mongering intensity as the tabloid press. Films like Eden Lake (2008), Harry Brown (2009) and F (2010) exist because of the media outrage headlines.
  • As phenomenal as British cinema was in the sixties it also caught the new wave fever and we've been suffering from it ever since.
Harry Enfiend's Television Programme (Poppet on a Swing sketch)
Harry Enfield, 1990-1992

Friday, September 2, 2022

To the Extreme

Props to the The Martorialist for putting me on to the television series Romper Stomper which served as a follow-up to Geoffrey Wright's 1992 film with the same name. Didn't even know about the show until just a few days ago, let alone it being aired in 2018. Naturally, I ended up binge-watching it. Television shows capitalising on revered films tend to have a habit of being shite, in my opinion. This mini-series, however, succeeds in bucking that trend. I wouldn't go as far as saying it is perfect from start to finish, but much like Cobra Kai, it invests in new elements without resorting to being disrespectful of its source material. The series is well written for the most part, and I personally commend it, especially in this day and age it highlighting the two sides of the extreme political spectrum as both being completely reprehensible. It's a shame there aren't any further episodes on the horizon as there were some great characters; new and old, along with important plot developments waiting to be expanded upon further. It's doubtful there will be a follow-up after this length of time, but we can keep our fingers crossed, right?

Since I'm waxing lyrical about Romper Stomper, I have one pertinent question regarding Hando's white jeans (not genes): aren't they Levis? After my recent revisit of the film, I spotted the label and red tab on his back pocket, and that's how undercover Daniel Radcliffe nearly got caught in Imperium (2016), innit?