Monthly Archives: August 2020

The Holy Mountebank? Alejandro Jodorowsky’s PSYCHOMAGIC, A HEALING ART Reviewed.

ajblackwhiteclose_1.jpg

“Tell me about your mother…”

As contained in Arrow’s limited edition BD Box Set The Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection. Region B. 18.

Whenever the manifold personal qualities of the extraordinary Alejandro Jodorowsky are discussed, modesty and humility are conspicuous by their absence. True to form, El Jodo opens this documentary presentation of Psychomagic (the therapeutic method he has evolved through his life and films) by comparing / contrasting himself to / with Sigmund Freud. Whereas Psychoanalysis is a talking cure that bans touching, he tell us, Psychomagic is an active cure to which physical contact is fundamental. No doubt Jodorowsky is a sufficiently cultured man to realise that he is here revisiting the schism that eventually sundered Freud from one of his longest serving, ablest and most fondly regarded lieutenants, Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933).

90f517e83725d37091b80123862925ff.jpg

“Cheer up, Sigi and gimme a cuddle…” Ferenczi and Freud in 1917.

Reasoning that at some level, all of his patients were (or perceived themselves to be) insufficiently loved, Ferenczi began to believe that their analyses could be more readily expedited with the judicious application of kisses, hugs and caresses. Horrified by the implications of this for Transference (the process by which the client reveals important clues about their relationships with significant others by visiting them upon the blank canvas of the emotionally remote analyst), not to mention the potential ethical pitfalls (nobody was worrying about Coronavirus in those days), Freud cried foul. No doubt his prosthetic jaw would have dropped and his ubiquitous cigar fallen to the floor if he had lived to see where Jodorowsky has taken Ferenczi’s heresy.

HolyMountain03.jpg

The Holy Mountain, 1973

As well as one-on-one and group massage sessions (in such case studies as those entitled “Brothers Competing For Mother’s Love” and “A Man Abused By His Father, On The Verge Of Suicide”), AJ’s prescriptions include theatrical (and often public) ritual. The abused guy on the verge of suicide, for example, is buried alive (with provision made for him to breathe) while vultures pull apart carcasses laid on his grave. Dug up and “reborn”, he attaches a picture of the abusing parent to a balloon and lets it float away.

1280x720_cmsv2_dcaf70e5-f9da-5c84-a517-698c4acaefa3-4138764.jpg

“An Australian In Paris, Angry Against His Family” is seen smashing pumpkins (hey, that would be a good name for a band, right?) on the streets of France’s capital while screaming: “Why won’t you listen to me?”, then mails the pieces to his unsupportive family in Oz. “A Mexican Woman Whose Fiancé Committed Suicide On The Eve Of Their Wedding” (by jumping out of their window in her presence) goes through a funeral ceremony for her wedding dress then jumps out of a plane (El Jodo generously allows her the use of a parachute). “A 47 Year Old Man Who Wants To Stop Stuttering” feels like a child so AJ lets him loose in a Disney-style kids’ park wearing a sailor suit and silly hat (a concerned mother hustles her daughter away from him). Then Jod takes him to a church and squeezes his bollocks, telling him:  “In this Holy place I will pass Manly energy on to you… because I am The Father Archetype!”

maxresdefault

As if all this wasn’t enough,  the guy is then painted gold and sent to walk down the street in his skivvies… and yes, he finally stops stuttering. “An 88 Year Old Woman In Deep Depression” probably isn’t up to some of the energetic and bold stuff described above but does seem to benefit from pouring water on the roots of a massive tree every day. In “Coming Out Of The Closet” an actual closet is burned during a gay wedding ceremony and during “The Walk Of The Dead In Mexico City, 2011”, participants chant “Psychomagic against violence!” to protest casualties of the country’s drug wars. In the section “Birth Massage”, a young woman frightened of bearing children is given therapeutic massages by a pair of Psychomagic practitioners and is later shown proudly displaying a beautiful baby bump. “A Couple In Crisis” decide to separate, but on amicable rather than antagonistic terms.

psicomagia-cine-detour

All of the episodes are illustrated with apposite clips from Jodorowsky’s films and intercut with his sage pronouncements, delivered in front of a corny “psychedelic” background. Their titles are presumably intended to evoke such classic Freud case studies as “The Wolf Man” and “The Rat Man”, though “Is Menstruation A Problem?” (in which El Jodo advises a cellist to daub her instrument with period blood) is more reminiscent, at least to this viewer, of the cod Krafft-Ebing in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (1972).

jodorowsky-dune-villeneuve-lo-vedro-film-impossibile-realizzare-v3-461669-990x533

Jodorowsky claims that the shortcomings of classical psychoanalysis “obliged” him to create Psychomagic, a name that (given his cooky reputation) offers hostages to wise cracking fortune. He cites the Tarot, rather than any conventional therapeutic discipline, as the foundation of his method, which blends a frisson of Ferencszi, a jolt of Janov and perhaps a soupcon of snake oil. El Jodo is a charismatic individual and although we see apprenticed Psychomagic practitioners applying his ideas at various points in this film, one wonder how the discipline will fare when he’s gone. Innumerable studies have proven that those in therapy benefit from human company and attention, also (yes, Sandor) from tactile comfort. Jodorowsky has always been an expert manipulator of emotion (a manifestly cool and together lady who accompanied me to The Scala to watch Santa Sangre was reduced to tears during the scene of the elephant’s death) and some of the case studies here are genuinely moving, though I can’t entirely dismiss the suspicion that some of the patients just might be shills. Then I think I’m just being an insensitive heel…

08b68541-07aa-4d44-8526-4e162f49e352

The thing that troubled me most about Psychomagic, A Healing Art, was the section in which AJ’s helping a cancer sufferer come to terms with her illness and prognosis… fair enough, but entitling this episode “Can Cancer Be Cured?”, in an age of rising quackery (tied in with conspiracy theories, the “post truth” media landscape, Gwyneth Paltrow’s vaginal candles, et al ) seems, to me anyway, to be a seriously questionable move.

Health warning. Embrace Psychomagic. With caution.

giphy-2.gif

Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Phantasmagorical Indonesia… SATAN’S SLAVE Reviewed

BD. Severin. Region Free. Unrated.

Not to be confused with Norman J. Warren’s identically titled 1976 effort or Joko Anwar’s 2017 remake Satan’s Slaves, this is the milestone Horror effort that Sisworo Gautama Putra directed in 1982, freaking out a whole generation of young Indonesian viewers and outraging the country’s conservative religious establishment. Two years earlier, of course, Sisworo had authored that astonishing pastiche of the Italian cannibal film tradition, Primitif aka Savage Terror (under which title it appeared on the “Section 3” appendix to the “video nasties” list).

Pendabdi Setan (to give this film its original Bahasan title) takes a more eclectic approach, grafting elements from the (then recent) likes of Phantasm, Salem’s Lot and (briefly) Zombie Flesh Eaters (all 1979 offerings) and any amount of Chinese vampire / ghost films onto its fokeloric and mythological story stock.

Fachrul Rozy plays young Tomi Munarto, the Michael Baldwin surrogate from Coscarelli’s film. When his Mom dies unexpectedly, he notices a mysterious woman (Ruth Pelupessi) smirking at her funeral. Islamic piety dictates a quiet period of dignified mourning to help guide Mom’s soul to its heavenly destination, but Tomi’s more interested in having fun on his motor scooter, sister Rita (Siska Widowati) attends louche disco parties with her cousin Herman (Simon Cader) and their Dad (W.D. Mochtar) is too focussed on the family business to correct their errant ways. Rita compounds her sins with her rude treatment of the family’s faithful, ailing retainer Karto (H.I.M. Damsyik), who dares to question the appropriateness of her lifestyle at this time. The Munartos aren’t exactly the world’s most diligent Muslims then and as we are reminded throughout the film, the faithless are particularly vulnerable to the attentions of The Devil.

In a blatant pinch from Salem’s Lot, Mom turns up at Tomi’s window and he communes with her bug eyed spirit in the garden, witnessed by his sister (“You’ve been acting weird, the last few days” she tells him.) He also dreams that he’s being ritually murdered in a cellar by what appears to be an Indonesian chapter of the Templars. A friend who recently lost his own Mon urges Tomi to visit a psychic (further shades of Phantasm), another vaguely sinister and enigmatic woman who warns him that his family are the focus of evil and he should protect himself with black magic. A local Imam advises him that it would be a better idea to improve his practice of Islam but of course Tomi gives more credence to that sinister fortune teller, developing his occult studies by meditating and reading magazines (including Issue 21 of Dez Skinn’s Halls of Horror!)

Satan does eventually turn up in the shape of Darmina, sent to keep house by a domestic agency but instantly recognisable to Tomi as the the smirking woman from Mom’s funeral. As spooky occurrences in the house accelerate, Dad relents and calls in a shaman to exorcise the evil presence but after the usual indoor gales and furniture upheavals, the shaman comes off second best in an encounter with a chandelier.

With the atmosphere around the Munarto household becoming ever heavier, Karto discovers a satanic shrine in Darmina’s quarters and shortly afterwards is found hanged… Herman gets wiped out in a traffic accident… and still the family won’t mend their irreligious ways! Ultimately Darmina leads a gaggle of goggle-eyed deadites (Mom, Karto, Herman) to attack the Munartos (things get a bit Scoody Doo-esque around here), only for a deputation of Imams to turn up outside the house, chanting Islamic prayers until the zombies crumble to dust, while Darmina herself  bursts into flames.

A voice over urges fidelity to Islam and indeed, the closing shots depict the family as model Muslims, visiting the mosque regularly and now apparently happy. So the film makers get to have their cake and eat it, moralising while indulging all sorts of profane stuff. Indeed, in the final shot, saved as they are  supposed to be, the family clock another mysterious dark haired woman watching them, testifying to ongoing tensions in Indonesian society between religious orthodoxy, primeval paganism and the Modernising influence of soft / hard Western power, the continuing relevance of which is evidenced in the extras here…

In “Satan’s Box Office”, producer Gope T. Samtani staunchly maintains that Satan’s Slave is an entirely original production that didn’t borrow anything from anywhere. Sure thing… inIndonesian Atmosphere“, screenwriter Imam Tantowi is significantly more candid about the film’s obvious, er, influences. “Satan’s Slave Obsession” is an audio interview (because of Covid-19) with remake director Joko Anwar, who confesses that he saw the original when he was eight (!) and that “it scarred me for my lifetime”. In case you didn’t get his point, we’re also treated to his 2016 shorts Jenny and Don’t Blink, which he shot to convince (successfully) Rapi Films that he was the man to direct the Satan’s Slave remake for which he’d been intensively lobbying.

Severin have scanned this one from the original negative, doing full justice to the splendid cinematography of F.E.S. Tarigan. Special mention also to  Gusti Anom’s atmospheric score, which recalls Popol Vuh when it’s not reflecting Philip Glass.

Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Firth Of Fifth… A Disconcerting Canter Through The Dyionisian Consciousness in Peter Shaffer & Sidney Lumet’s EQUUS.

hqdefault-1.jpg

BD / DVD. Region B / 2. BFI. 15.

“The aim of (Psychoanalysis) is a modest one, to transform neurotic misery into common or garden unhappiness”. Sigmund Freud.

Growing up gay in Liverpool during the interwar years was no doubt a bumpy path to manhood for playwright Peter Shaffer but at least, as a Jew, he never suffered a Catholic education, where we budding straights were also also taught to mistrust and despise our sexual feelings. Apocryphal accounts place the origins of Shaffer’s 1973 play Equus in reports, now difficult to substantiate, of an obscure and unpleasant case in rural Suffolk where a 17 year old youth blinded several horses. Whatever details that were available at the time, Shaffer disregarded in the construction of a dramatic edifice that confronts several of his own ongoing philosophical preoccupations.

ccffnn-CTIz3S6rjtXCvX1YP2mpDG4Gc5wgJW1CPBzNsS8pu98x3wtUcK3Y3uMO3XA7RvZ_7PlUo_7dptqFsLlleU-tRRhg-22XDfmsdTVNQjOyfCTM2y2EYqsTX1w copy.jpg

Alan Strang, the maladjusted horse blinder, is spared prison by the eloquence of his defence counsel and committed to the care of psychiatrist Martin Dysart in a juvenile rehabilitation unit. Dysart struggles against both Strang’s initial uncooperativeness and his growing sense of the futility of his own work and life. Like the protagonist of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus In Furs, he sees the world he occupies as a pale shadow of Classical times but perceives himself as an ineffectual “plastic pagan”, a perception which his patient picks up on and uses against him. Through their verbal sparring and his interviews with the the boy’s parents (a similarly discontented dad / fanatically religious mother) and others, Dysart pieces together Alan’s narrative and arrives at the primal scene that preceded his atrocity, which the doctor increasingly sees as some kind of twisted sacrament, an heroic affirmation of spirituality in a materialist wasteland, one with which he finds himself in more than a little sympathy…

rd

“Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world”

… well, R.D. Laing was taken a lot more seriously, back in the day, than he is now. Pink Floyd’s management even booked an appointment with him for Syd Barrett, but the befuddled guitarist failed to show up. Syd never blinded any horses, though, as far as we can ascertain.

b9fc43e1136b1983a9e59cdd595d9abf.jpg

Another Sidney, Mr Lumet (seen above, with some Italian actress or other) made films in most every genre, which were frequently among the best in those genres yet always carried his personal directorial stamp. Stage productions adapted to the screen always loomed large in Lumet’s resumé (Murder On The Orient Express, The Offence, The Hill, A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A View From The Bridge, The Iceman Cometh and 12 Angry Men, just off the top of my head). The director worked closely with Shaffer on this one, resulting in something much more naturalistic than any of the stylised theatrical performances up that point. I never saw any of those so can’t pronounce on how they measured up to the impact of Lumet’s film but it’s amazing to consider just how much challenging work was filling stages (and auditoriums) in those days, e.g. this… Peter Weiss’s Marat / Sade (and when are we going to see a decent release of Peter Brook’s 1967 film of that?)… Howard Brenton’s The Romans In Britain (the 1982 National Theatre production of which led to director Michael Bogdanov being privately prosecuted – thankfully unsuccessfully – by the despicable Mary Whitehouse) and so on. Before Covid 19 brought it to a useful pause, the contemporary theatre scene has, in contrast, been dominated by the likes of the unspeakable Andrew Lloyd Webber (an aristocratic who was flown across the Atlantic to vote for poor people being made poorer), juke box bio plays and fatuous celebrations of  rap “musicians”.
 

image-w856.jpg

With a more than capable director and powerful script in place, it didn’t exactly damage this endeavour to add the top notch cast assembled here. Declaiming Shaffer’s choicest lines like his afterlife depends on it, Richard Burton is a veritable force of nature as Dysart, his performance residing almost exclusively  on the right side of the dividing line between “OMG, feel the power!” and “OMG, somebody put a spoon in his mouth!” Peter Firth had played Strang on stage over a thousand times before the film started shooting yet perversely wasn’t the original casting choice and ironically it was through the insistence of Burton (who’d only briefly trodden the boards as the Doc, standing in for Tony Perkins) that he was recalled to recreate his role on celluloid. It’s no small part of the young actor’s achievement that he holds his own against Burton on this kind of form. Firth had certainly come a long way from Here Come The Double Deckers! (below), though ultimately it was en route to the likes of Tobe Hooper’s risible (albeit highly entertaining) Lifeforce (1985). Did poor career choices derail his momentum? Or was Equus always going to be impossible to top?

MV5BMzU5MzM5OWYtMjQyZS00NjBlLThmMDItMDUxOTRhYjg1ZmVjL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDQ3NTQwMg@@._V1_

Nor are the supporting roles exactly filled with second rate players: Joan Plowright, Colin Blakely, Harry Andrews, Eileen Atkins, Kate Reid, Jenny Agutter… it’s always struck me (and you can make of it what you will) that while Dysart makes a point of talking to Andrews’ stable owner (and discovers – no shit, Sherlock – that he’s none too happy about having his horses blinded), he never bothers (at least in the film) to seek out Agutter’s character Jill, who is such a key figure in the run-up to Alan’s crimes. He and by extension Shaffer and Lumet reject her as comprehensively as Alan did… what’s that all about? For Catholic school casualties of a certain age, the presence of Agutter is always most welcome and her performance here even occasioned a spike in my own fast flagging libido.

bdde259e463228a8a46c29d468070ec1.jpg

“Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Mea culpa, peccavi. Domine miserere mei!”

This special edition, limited to 3,000 copies, comes with a drove of extras spread over its BD (on which the main feature, looking splendid, resides) and DVD discs, including Tony Palmer’s 1988 feature length, career-spanning doc on Burton… an audio interview with director Lumet, conducted by Derek Malcolm and recorded at the NFT…. another audio interview with Peter Firth… Richard Rodney Bennett’s score as an optional isolated track, should you require it… a PIF from (1951) on the importance of the horse to the British way of life and another, made at the beginning of WWII, on the central role played by Faith in that national life, incorporating a timely reflection on the assimilation of Jewish people into British society, in stark contrast to what was going on elsewhere at the time. There’s also an audio commentary from Julie Kirgo and her late husband Nick Redman, which suggests stuff about their interpersonal dynamics that might have made it an interesting listen for Doctor Dysart. Suffice to say, her comments about the Greek hero Ajax fly resolutely over his head. Richard Foster’s black and white short short The Watchers (produced by the BFI in 1969) completes the on-disc extras, earning its place here via its depiction of a mentally unstable schoolgirl achieving her own ecstatic transfiguration on the moors around Todmorden. A fully illustrated collectors’ booklet is limited to the first pressing of this edition.

DDzGQweUAAAkNeH

Like Hamlet, Dysart reasons that life is not worth living but his working out, so eloquently expressed, strongly suggests to us that it is… as neat a demonstration of Aristotelian catharsis as any pagan, plastic or otherwise, could wish for.

Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Reviews | Leave a comment

“Mr Foot Knows All About Eating Human Flesh”… THE BEAST MUST DIE, Buffed Up Into A Spanky New Severin BD.

26f0a1f5c397396e3cc38b249c8cee21d05d5bb1_hq.jpg

BD. Severin. Region Free. Unrated.

Those Severin guys don’t muck about or go in for half measures. Having already released a pretty good looking BD of Paul Annett’s The Beast Must Die (1974) as part of their totally cool Amicus box set, as soon as they got wind of a better looking alternative they acquired the rites and have now released it in a stonking stand alone edition. Severin’s previous rendering was an amalgam of (censored for TV broadcast) HD telecine with inserted scans from an uncut 16mm print. This one is based on a 35mm pre-print element, recently discovered in France and newly scanned / restored to pristine condition by Studio Canal. Needless to say, Annett’s country mansion whodunnit / hi tech blacksploitation survivalist werewolf hunting epic now looks like the proverbial mutt’s nuts.

TBMD.jpg

(My money was on Paul Foot but WTF do I know?)

Concluding their legendary run of Horror pictures (only Hammer outdid them in UK terms), Amicus came up with a grab bag of exploitable elements and as if that wasn’t enough, topped them off with a ludicrous gimmick (the truly hysterical “Werewolf Break”) blatantly filched from William Castle’s Homicidal (1961). Improbably, the result is a pants-pissingly entertaining concoction that still stands up 46 years after the event.

werewolf-break1.png

A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse…

Calvin Lockhart stars as thrusting industrialist Tom Newcliffe (equal parts Shaft, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Count Zaroff) who’s invited a few guests around to his impressive pile for an ostensibly civilised weekend in the country. Unfortunately the croquet and canapés are regularly interrupted by bouts of hunt the loup garou. Tom has always wanted to top off his collection of hunting trophies with one of those and as all of his guests have been, er, dogged by rumours of lycanthropy, ONE of them MUST be a werewolf, right? (Makes no sense whatsoever but let him have his fun).

4Ag2QDCserHrg3oq294M0QyydDU

As he waits for the full moon to bring out the hairs on the guilty party’s knuckles, we are invited to ponder the lupine credentials of those assembled, prior to taking our punt, come that Werewolf Break, ushered in by the sepulchral tones of Valentine Dyall. There’s Supertramp refugee and one shot cannibal (“You have been doing your research!”) Paul Foot (Tom Chadbon)… boring Jan (Michael Gambon)… patrician Bennington (Charles Gray)… sexy posh bird Davina (Ciara Madden)… and even Tom’s own missus, Caroline (Marlene Clark). It’s a strong cast, keeping its collective face admirably straight amid all this unfolding piffle, which werewolf researcher Dr Christopher Lundgren (Peter Cushing) compounds with a few fascinating new wrinkles on lycanthropic lore (bet you never knew that silver will only kill one of these beasties when there’s Wolfbane pollen in the air, huh?)… not forgetting Anton Diffring as Newcliffe’s surveillance supremo.

450px-Beast_must_die16

If you can’t extract a riotous evening of viewing pleasure from the contents of this disc, you’re probably reading the wrong Blog. Among the bonus features, some of which will be familar from that earlier Amicus box and other releases, you’ll find the late Paul Annett’s amusing audio commentary, moderated by Jonathan Sothcott; archival interview with Annett; audio essay by Troy Howarth concerning the history of cinematic variations on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None; audio reminiscences of The Beast Must Die from Amicus’s Milton Subotsky (interviewed by Phil Nutman) and Max J Rosenberg (in conversation with Jonathan Sothcott); and if you aren’t sufficiently excited by the Original Theatrical Trailer, you get the option to run it again with a (necessarily short) commentary from Kim Newman & David Flint.

BeastMustDieSLIP-500x654.jpg

Stay on the moors, dear readers and beware the moon…

Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Widow’s Weeds… THE WOMAN IN BLACK Reviewed

The Woman in Black (Network)

BD. Region B. Network. 15 (available exclusively from Network’s website).

It’s misleadingly easy to think of Network as a label that just collects old ITC / Gerry Anderson / whatever TV series into (rather nifty) box sets but there’s more to it than that. Elsewhere on this blog I’ve raved about the restoration job these guys did on Sidney Hayers’ British giallo Assault (1971) and now they’ve worked similar wonders on the 1989 TV movie rendering of Susan Hill’s retrogothic novel The Woman In Black. Adapted to the small screen by the legendary Nigel Kneale and directed by Herbert (I Claudius) Wise, it’s long been overdue a decent disc release (let alone as beautiful looking an HD debut as this).

The Woman in Black BD 2D.jpg

TWIB comes as a bittersweet reminder of what regional ITV companies were capable of before they got rolled up into a nationwide monolith and submerged under a sea of Reality TV / talent show / soap operatic horse shit. Yes, as late as Christmas Eve, 1989, Central were aspiring to (and attaining) the same high standards as the BBC’s ongoing seasonal presentations of M R James, Sheridan Le Fanu, et al. How heartbreaking it is to see the Beeb now priding itself on delivering platform loads of Millennial-focused drivel that matches any LCD inanity that ITV can come up with…

Adrian Rawlins in The Woman in Black (Network) (01).jpg

Up-and-coming London solicitor / loving family man Arthur Kidd (Adrian Rawlins) is dispatched by his employers to the coastal backwater of Crythin Gifford so he can sort out the estate of the recently deceased Alice Drablow… at least he didn’t have to go to Transylvania (though, as it happens, he might as well have). He’s welcomed by the agricultural estate agent Sam Toovey (Bernard Hepton) but the other locals can’t conceal their Michael Ripper-grade uneasiness at any mention of the late Mrs Drablow. Unsettling details accumulate and congeal into a mounting sense of dread… why are so many of the tombstones in the local cemetery those of infants? And just who is the grey-skinned, black garbed woman (Pauline Moran) who Kidd keeps catching glimpses of at Mrs D’s funeral and thereafter? He comes closer to the truth than is comfortable after a night spent at the old woman’s house, on an island only reachable from the mainland when tides allow. But even when he flees back to London, Arthur has not seen the last of The Woman In Black…

Pauline Moran in The Woman in Black (Network).jpg

Throughout, TWIB is ravishingly shot (Michael Davis’s cinematography done full justice in this restoration), brilliantly cast, beautifuly played, cannily paced and insistently atmospheric. Period recreation is immaculate and the film’s sound design nothing short of heroic, setting up and underscoring (in concert with Rachel Portman’s marvellous score) a series of increasingly effective jump scares.

7245c02bd5a6cacb-600x338.jpg

Disregard the (what currently passes for) Hammer remake and unwanted sequel, pull on your brownest pair of trousers and make yourself uncomfortable. Grab yourself an egg nog and settle down to “enjoy” a festive ending so downbeat, you’ll be checking the contents of your stocking with extreme trepidation, come this Christmas.

Adrian-Rawlins-in-The-Woman-in-Black-Network-02.jpg

This beautifully packaged set (which comes with a collectors’ booklet put together by Andrew Pixley) offers you the options of widescreen or original broadcast dimensions and an audio track by Kim Newman, Mark Gatiss and Andy Nyman, who has a small role in the film (below, left). Each doughty commentators in their own right, their group session does rather verge, it has to be said, on the self-indulgent. And while we’re indulging ourselves…

Andy Nyman and Stephen Makintosh in The Woman in Black (Network) (01).jpg

If you blinked, you might well have missed Alison King as “Gypsy Woman” so here’s an opportunity to take a more leisurely look at the future Coronation Street temptress. It’s possibly the distortions occasioned by that conspicuous rip in the space / time continuum here in the bowels of Oak Mansion that license us to devote a significant portion of this posting to somebody who only appears subliminally in the film under review. Or maybe ol’ Bob’s just an incorrigible letch. You must be the judge…

69ee79e325c9581412c49072fed36a25alison-king-2029-500x500

Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: