Articles and Lists

24 Hours of Terror

It’s Halloween soon, so a lot of movie lovers are planning horror marathons for the season. I’ve clearly gone mad, so I figured I would try to suggest the longest endurance test of them all: a 24 hour horrorthon. I’m five minutes short, but hopefully you’ll forgive that. Obviously I’d suggest doing this over two days, because I’ve not built in little things like tea breaks or meals. I’ve listed the titles alphabetically, leaving you free to juggle how you’d...

Flashbacks To 1993: Malice and Cool Runnings

MaliceAh the yuppie thriller, a preserve of the late 80s and early 90s that dealt with the fear of home, family and prosperity being invaded by an outside source. There was an attempt to revive the subgenre a few years back (which failed with the release of The Resident, which played like it had sat on a shelf since 1991), but Malice, along with our earlier subject Indecent Proposal, was one of the later gasps of the original cycle. It...

Flashbacks To 93: True Romance

I was born in 1981 and while I was a fan in my childhood, I came of age as a movie nerd in the mid-90s. At a certain time, as far as I was concerned, Quentin Tarantino may as well have invented cinema. It wasn’t just his movies (though they were impossibly cool, all the more so because my friends and I weren’t old enough to watch them), it was Tarantino himself. The video store clerk who got his film...

Flashbacks To 93: King of the Hill and Kalifornia

King of the HillBetween the Palme D’Or winning triumph of his 1989 feature debut sex, lies and videotape and his 1998 mainstream breakthrough in Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh made several more esoteric films that struggled to win over a wide audience. If any of them should have broken through, it was King of the Hill; a 1930s set coming of age film from the memoirs of A.E. Hotchner. The story is, to begin with, one of small dramas, as...

Banned! Snuff (1971/76)

Snuff is one of the best known and likely one of the least seen of the video nasties. The title and its reputation have passed into urban legend and served as one of the major boogeymen of the moral panic around the nasties, with the rumour always circulating that this was the film that showed a real murder. If it had been more widely seen, people would realise how funny this is. The long, weird and fascinating story of Snuff...

Flashbacks To 93: Needful Things

Okay, what do I write here? So far, Flashbacks To 93 has consisted of a mix of movies I’ve seen and love, ones I’m revisiting after a long time away from them and a few that I’d never seen before. I think it’s been going well. Even when I’ve not been wild about the films, there’s been something interesting to say, whether looking back at my childhood love of the characters for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III or gawping in...

BANNED! Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)

So far this series has been about horror films, a theme that will continue through most of the entries, but there are other kinds of films that the BBFC, historically, has had issues with. Martial arts and other action films sometimes struggled with the board under James Ferman, not least because of his dislike of certain weapons. Throwing stars came under great scrutiny and nunchucks were completely prohibited, to such an extreme that a scene was cut from the Tom...

Flashbacks To 93: Hard Target

Hollywood has, from its very beginnings, been importing talent to serve both in front of and behind the cameras. John Woo had made his directorial debut in 1974 with the martial arts movie The Young Dragons (featuring action choreography by one Yuan Lung Chen, you may know him as Jackie Chan), but it was only with his 1986 film A Better Tomorrow that he came to greater international prominence. A Better Tomorrow was a film that cemented Woo’s personal style,...

BANNED! I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

I wonder whether, without the striking poster image, its lurid tagline “This woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned five men beyond recognition… But no jury in America would convict her!” and with writer/director Meir Zarchi’s preferred title, Day Of The Woman enough people would have taken note of this film for us still to be talking about it forty years on. Titles matter, and the phrase I Spit On Your Grave has such a visceral charge that it...

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