Blue Velvet (1986)

 

Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet
Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet

 “I’m seeing something that was always hidden.
I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret”

After spending the other evening immersed in the seedy underbelly of 1960’s London (thanks to ‘Peeping Tom’) it’s time for a change of pace. Tonight it’s Blue Velvet, a look at the seedy underbelly of 1980’s small town America. Hmmm… there definitely seems to be a theme developing here. Continue reading Blue Velvet (1986)

Peeping Tom (1959)

peeping-tom-large

Whatever I photograph I always lose”

Michael Powell’s 1959 study of a serial murderer who films his victims last moments is as much a tour-de-force as his better known films, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus to name a few. At it’s core the film depicts Mark Lewis, a psychologically damaged photographer (played with real compassion by german actor Carl Boehm) as he murders a string of London prostitutes and glamour models, filming their dying moments so he can watch their last moments again and again. But the film is so much more than than the study of a murderer and as the film progresses it becomes a carefully crafted essay on the voyeuristic nature of cinema. Continue reading Peeping Tom (1959)

Paperback covers #1: Chris Foss

The Stars Like Dust

The first in a series looking at some of my favourite book covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.

#1 Chris Foss’ covers for the Isaac Asimov novels published by Panther Science Fiction, circa late 1970’s.

It will probably come as no surprise to visitors to this site that as a child my main literary interest lay with comics. Marvel comics were my main staple but DC, 2000AD or any of the cartoon weeklies (Buster, Cheeky, Whizzer and Chips, etc) were all fair game. It’s hardly surprising that with such a diet of fantasy, adventure and heroics I then graduated to myths and legends – the greek and norse myths being particular favourites – and after that I made the natural progression to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I dipped my toe into some of the greats, Clarke, Bradbury etc, but found them all a little dry and I eventually settled on the John Christopher Tripods novels and early David Eddings, to name a few.  Continue reading Paperback covers #1: Chris Foss

One Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Once Upon a Time in the West Italian poster
Once Upon a Time in the West Italian poster

“You don’t understand, Jill. People like that have something inside… something to do with death.”

In December 1966 directors Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci (“Last Tango in Paris”, “The Last Emperor”) and Dario Argento (“Suspira”, “Tenebrae”), three life-long fans of the American Western, discussed the possibility of creating a new film incorporating well-worn motifs and cliches from the genre. The film would not just be a pastiche but something new, a homage that would be greater than the sum of it’s parts – a new kind of Western. Over the next few months they created a story outline referencing over 50 other Westerns – from films as diverse as “Iron Horse” (1924) to “Johnny Guitar” (1954), “High Noon” (1952) to “The Searchers” (1956). They incorporated well used character motifs such as the gunfighter bent on revenge, the thief with a conscience, the stone-cold killer and the whore with the heart of gold. Continue reading One Upon a Time in the West (1968)