Sincerely hope you aren’t referring to Dennis Brown’s Things in Life here. What a tune.
Probably am , apologies I didn’t know who it was, cool song and I thought when it airs in the film (it gets payed more than once) that is was an odd choice for a film with the style, look and feel of Chungking Express.
I went through about two solid weeks of watching it every day as an impressionable teenager so the song stuck in my brain permanently
It certainly works in the film, all of the music in it does. Watched it again for what is my 3rd time this afternoon. Almost like nothing even happens in it yet jam packed with imagery, emotional waves and the way it is hanging near the end just mesmerising.
Yous, a freshly found Dennis Brown convert.
- A Clockwork Orange (1971).
A Clockwork Orange is a unique film. It is known for being withdrawn by its director (Stanley Kubrick) for a very long period of time. As a 16 year old I had never even heard of the film. I went to record fair, at a church in 1986 and saw a bootleg video stall, mostly live bands but a small selection of films. Someone was asking about A Clockwork Orange and did this seller have it? The guy fumbled around and stuck a video into a TV / Video Player combi and I, as a browsing potential customer saw the intro to the film. “Is it uncut?” asked the someone also browsing, it was, he bought it immediately. Now, this piqued my interest, I looked around the other stalls, nothing much doing, returned and asked the seller if he had another copy, he did. Sold.
So, I take this potential banned grail immediately round to a mates house and 5 of us watch it, none of us had heard of it. We are blown away by the film. How dark it is, how violent it is, the way it uses classical music. It is bleak, colourful, futuristic and dated in look - it’s content exciting, wrong, worrying, vivid and thought provoking. The film uses a dialogue of its very own and you, the viewer adjust to this with alarming ease. Controversy will always attract. A Clockwork Orange is not really the media painted monster it can be portrayed as, this is art, and it sure is heavy, it hits the Heavy Metal Cinema buttons correctly, even if that Heavy Metal artist is Beethoven.
The lasting impression on popular culture this film permeates. How many bands and the likewise are named after things in this movie? In 1986 i’d never seen anything quite like it, and in 2023 I still haven’t. I’m Singing In The Rain, will never be quite the same, ever again…Viddy well little brother, viddy well…
- The Blair Witch Project (1999).
The Blair Witch Project began with a budget of around $30,000, it took near a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office. In 1999 you would hear everyone talking about this film. I went to see it at the cinema and couldn’t even get in and had to watch the X Men first movie instead, I tried again next weekend, success.
In a time before everyone was online, all the time - this film served to push people to the Internet, it was a propeller of this medium. Yet The Blair Witch Project is set in 1994, no mobile phones, no Internet, just some folklore, and small group of friends and a camcorder.
At just over 80 minutes the film moves fast, some interviews at the start with locals, who are ideally cast, one in particular and we are off to the woods. And in those woods a mind alters quickly, is there something there? Tension and fear escalate at phenomenal rates.
The film looks remarkable for what it is, black and white and grainy camcorder colour. “Don’t fucking tell me to relax”. Watch this film in a dark room and it pops with fear, genuinely terrifying. It carries a rating of a 15 certificate, which I still can’t compute properly. Simple things, piles of rocks, sheer darkness, things moving, sounds, a leaf, a twig, what is that?
When the map is lost the sound of fear in all actors voices does indeed sound real, not the sound of acting. The crew in the film would shake the tent and unsettle the actors, a fair few shots are unplanned, that switch from film to reality comes across, that’s why it works so well. I can’t remember fully but I think it features subliminal cuts, I might be imagining that.
There have been found footage films before and after The Blair Witch Project, but none of them come anywhere near it. It’s a film with perfect timing of release yet it does stand up now. Its ending is an all timer - and you are relieved when the house lights go back up for sure. It’s a small film that inspires film making It had a, for the time - incredible marketing campaign.
"It’s not the same log. It’s not the same log. It’s the same log"…
I saw this at the cinema when it was first out and got completely obsessed with it. Haven’t seen it for a few years now but would still rate it very highly: his second best after Days of Being Wild. This one has more of those absurd little touches which I worry I might not like as much now.
Haven’t eaten a tin of pineapple chunks since.
It’s pretty hard to get hold of (Chungking Express), well, not hard to get hold of but expensive. I looked up the cost of the Blu ray and soundtrack yesterday. I watched it again yesterday and it’s all kinds of perfect. I loved the scene where one of the main leads is talking to a bar of soap. It stands up. I’ve never seen the other film you mention.
Think i had an old Tartan Video VHS copy but that’s long gone. Days of Being Wild is one of his earlier films.
If you like Chunking Express, you should definitely see Fallen Angels. Actually, you can’t go wrong with anything up to 2046.
Current cringing myself inside out at the memory of trying to coax a lady into coming to the cinema with me by telling her we could be happy together at Happy Together.
How weird that I read this article earlier today not knowing about the film at all….
Hi Mr midnightpunk
At the time of this release I was living on an Island about an hour by car and short hop by boat near Sydney, Australia. It was situated in a place called Pittwater. The water it sits in is linked to the Tasman Sea but sheltered by a large peninsular. I was working on the island and staying with a friend, who at weekends would stay with his lady friend in the city. So weekends I was sleeping alone (even though I had friends on the island), the house wasn’t situated on the busy waterfront, but quite detached, by itself up in the wild bush and woods.
When this film came out I decided to make a rare visit to Sydney city and watch it. It was an early afternoon slot, during the week and as far as I can remember, I was the only one in the theatre. I really liked the film, it absolutely my kind of thing. Satanic, witches, dark woods, shadows, not seeing much but the imagination seeing loads. However I wasn’t unduly concerned or thinking much about it for the rest day. I did a bit of shopping and forgot about it. Went home to the island, probably had a few beers, few glasses of wine. Probably listened to some tunes, something like that.
It was however when I went and put my head on the pillow, in the creaky old house, isolated in the woods and switched the light out that in seconds that this film, and all the panic and atmosphere and imagery immediately began broadcasting back again through my mind. It was charging through me. It was so intense. And yes I’d admit for the first and last time I actually had to sleep with the bedside light on. This film totally freaked me out. No other film had such an effect on me like that. If I’d watched it at home at Maidenhead cinema I doubt it would have had the same effect. But that night, the Blair Witch was coming for me!
Blair Witch is the only horror film I’ve watched as an adult where I had to stay up and watch something really boring to clear it out of my head before I could go to bed!
Maybe it’s as I used to sleep in a tent on my own as a kid when we used to go to Cornwall on hols so could relate to the strange noises that seemed to be right outside, or maybe it was just the convincing fear of the cast I don’t know, and that ending shook me up something awful!
Such a polarising film though, people I’ve spoken to either find it not remotely scary or they find it utterly terrifying, there never seems to be a middle ground!
Don’t watch Blair Witch 2 though, utter bilge.
Was super psyched for this on release, caught it at the cinema the moment it came out, didn’t find it scary at all, have never revisited…
I was a bit too young to go see Blair Witch at the cinema, but I think that gave it more mystique. There were so many stories going around about it. I think I made my Mum get it on DVD for me eventually and I watched it in bed, absolutely rigid with fear - there’s so much suggestive space in it for your mind to follow, but I bailed before the end, and never tried to revisit it. Think the idea of it was really powerful for me, and that coloured my viewing. Which means I probably shouldn’t try to watch it now, but I might have to, just for curiosity’s sake!
Yes, you should try again. In the dark, alone with the sound loud. It sure is scary.
Love stories like this!
Saying everyone else is sharing…as much of a horror fan as I was back then, it was all stuff like Evil Dead, Braindead and From Dusk Til Dawn, cartoony and filled with action and splatter. I didn’t have so much of a relationship with more slow burn films and I’m struggling to remember if I’d ever seen a horror film in the cinema by that point either. Anyway, we lived way out in the country, about 30 mins outside of Belfast. When my dad picked me up, I was pretty shaken up but I was still in the bright lights and big city and everything was safe. As we got closer to home the street lights got fewer and further between til we were right out in the dark. I remember being really freaked out when we finally parked up at our house.
Our house was set about 20 metres off the road and for years afterwards, I would always sprint back in panic from taking the bins out and the distance felt enormous. My dad caught on one night and thought it was funny so it wasn’t unusual for him to be chortling at the door when I made it back unharmed.
Also around that time if me and my mates were doing a bit of underaged drinking we’d roam round the surrounding fields. We were out at 3 or 4 am one night and stumbled across an old shack surrounded by a thick circle of trees. Of course, being teenage lads someone said we should all go in the Blair Witch house for a laugh. I was absolutely shitting it. Any time after that we’d always somehow end up there at some point and someone would always say we should go in. I was terrified every time without fail.
The wee shack is still known as the Blair Witch house by all my family today. I’m probably still terrified to go in it.
- Faster Pussycat Kill Kill! (1965).
1960’s beatnik Trash cinema, the likes of which Tarantino could only dream he could better, he certainly did try. Possibly the ultimate Trash movie? If not probably one of the most influential.
Violence. Music. Iconic imagery. Girl power, and a LOT of power they wield too. Quotes galore, “this is the point of no return - and you’ve reached it!”. It’s just such a cool movie, effortless. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill generates a pre Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe as it sinks further and further into the wilderness and who just may be there, and why. It always maintains a sense of fun and plays this with a straight face. It is engaging and for a film made in the mid 60’s still holds its strong Cult Movie status, for there is nothing quite like it. Style. Substance. A Russ Meyer film that displays his outrageous cut to shot technique. Like a template for glorious Pop Music video. It has it all and I love it to pieces…
- Akira (1988).
31 years after World War III. 2019 Neo Tokyo. Fast television channels. Motorcycle chases through a neon city. A sense of doom. The background city shots look nothing short of incredible. Riot Police. Street gangs.
In 1991, when I first saw Akira, I thought, hey, a cartoon, yet Akira depicts wild on screen violence. It gets cerebral, surreal and thought provoking. The soundtrack is remarkable, bars of beautifully beating sparse near electronica with a traditional eastern vibe. Haunting.
Akira flashes in and out of reality, Twin Peaks style, before Twin Peaks. Playground flashbacks before Final Fantasy VII. Hospital corridors surreally leading into hallucinations that look like Rez, before Rez.
Humour. Bags of style. Powers of Gods. Astonishing animation. Mind blowing. A crumbling city. A crumbling society. Two hours in a parallel world - every second of it many shades of perfect. All together now Kaneda! TETSUO!!
Amazing film, the books are much better thought.
Have you heard this?