Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

Terence Davies is perhaps the most important creative force to emerge from Liverpool since The Beatles.  The veteran filmmaker, who only has a handful of films to his name, is the quintessential art cinema director who mixes art house visuals with kitchen sink realism and autobiographical narratives.  His first full length film is an exercise in storytelling and makes a relatively straightforward drama seem something … Continue reading Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

Falstaff: Chimes At Midnight – Orson Welles (1965)

Like most films by Orson Welles, Chimes At Midnight (1965) sits uncomfortably in the shadow of his debut film; Citizen Kane.  However this is a view often dismissed by viewers that actually take the time out to watch the rest of the Welles canon and a viewing of any number of his films will quash the ridiculous criticism of achieving success too early on. Chimes At Midnight is an … Continue reading Falstaff: Chimes At Midnight – Orson Welles (1965)

BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI

The third volume of the BBC Ghost Stories, restored and released by the BFI, is perhaps the darkest set of stories to come out of television adaptations yet.  This release sees the last of Lawrence Gordon Clark’s screen transformations of the stories of M.R James before the director went on to adapt stories by the likes of Charles Dickens and even commission entirely new tales … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI

Night Of The Eagle – Sidney Hayers (1962)

If Alfred Hitchcock were to have made an occult horror film, it’s not beyond the realms of fantasy to believe that it would look something like Sidney Hayers’ 1962 film Night of the Eagle.  Mixing up all sorts of clean cut imagery and marvellously juicy language, the film is one of the more Freudian in the horror canon and a far more subtle affair than … Continue reading Night Of The Eagle – Sidney Hayers (1962)

X The Unknown – Leslie Norman (1956)

Following on from Hammer’s The Quatermass Xperiment, the company continued their desire for rating incorporated titles with 1956’s X The Unknown. It may perhaps hold the most unimaginative of Hammer’s titles but the film itself has some surprisingly good moments. The story follows an extremely similar route to its predecessor but certain tweaks allow more paranoia to build specifically around the radiation that clearly obsessed … Continue reading X The Unknown – Leslie Norman (1956)

BBC Ghost Stories – The Stalls of Barchester/A Warning To The Curious (1971/1972)

This review contains spoilers. The second release of the BBC Christmas ghost stories finds the real birth of it as a staple of the wintery Christmas nights of the 1970s and showcases the first two of five serials by Lawrence Gordon Clark.  Though both of the stories are again M.R James adaptations the connecting factor here, apart from being chronologically accurate, is the inclusion in … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories – The Stalls of Barchester/A Warning To The Curious (1971/1972)

Paths Of Glory – Stanley Kubrick (1955)

The pointlessness of war and the slaughter of men at the word of fools at the top of the hill has been a poignant and depressingly timeless subject of war films since their very inception.  One of the most powerful of these films is Stanley Kubrick’s Paths Of Glory(1955) which portrays the most infuriating yet believable tales of injustice. The film deliberately accentuates the contrasts between … Continue reading Paths Of Glory – Stanley Kubrick (1955)

The Reptile – John Gilling (1966)

This article contains spoilers. As a companion piece to John Gilling’s other big Hammer success The Plague of Zombies, 1966’s other Cornish based horror is an entirely different film even though shot relatively back to back.  The Reptile focuses far more on the individual effects of a creature on the loose rather than a general view on the chaos, though obviously the villages where both … Continue reading The Reptile – John Gilling (1966)

The Wolf Man – George Waggner (1941)

One of Universal’s best efforts within the gothic tradition, 1941’s The Wolf Man is one of the studio’s best horror films from its golden era. Though its director isn’t well known for his horror, the success of this feature is no doubt down to borrowing certain stylistic elements from Universal’s most innovative horror director, James Whale. George Waggner’s film could easily be a Whale film, … Continue reading The Wolf Man – George Waggner (1941)