The Vikings (1958)

In a historical context, The Vikings might be deemed a bit of a curiosity, walking a tightrope between the grandiose historical epic and the B-movie swashbuckler. Given that its leading men Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis reunited two years later for Spartacus, it’s easy to dismiss The Vikings as little more than a dry run […]

The Yakuza (1974)

Movies in which East meets West have always been a somewhat tricky proposition. Historically, representations of Asians in American (and, for that matter, British/European) films and television have tended to hinge on stereotypes; generally either the impeccably wise asexual Kung Fu master, or “Miss-a Gorightry, I plotest.” The 1970s, being of course the most progressive […]

Demons of the Mind (1972)

It’s interesting how accounts of the later years of Hammer Films can vary according to the tastes of the writer. Some will sigh in resignation at how the once great company lost its way as the times changed; others, such as myself whose early horror education largely consisted of films from that era, look back […]

Willard (1971) and Ben (1972)

1970s cinema has many noteworthy qualities, but amongst these, the decade is certainly remarkable for its brief, but intriguing phase of imagining animals ‘going rogue’ and attacking humans; some of the resulting films were breakthrough hits, such as Jaws (1975), whereas some, such as Day of the Animals (1977) would be long-lost to obscurity if […]

Only Yesterday (1991)

When most people think of Studio Ghibli, they think either magical fantasy, high flying machines, or both. Almost all of the studio’s work (excluding one or two films) has some sort of larger-than-life element to it, be it flying witches or the newest airplane signalling the beginning of the Great War. Only Yesterday, Ghibli’s 1991 […]

Body Heat (1981)

As much as devotees of horror and science fiction will often quite reasonably complain about their favoured genres failing to get the respect they deserve, I’m not sure there’s any genre with quite so bad a name as the erotic thriller. The very utterance of the words invariably elicit titters, not just from childish types […]

Point Blank (1967)

To the best of my recollection, the first time I heard the name Lee Marvin was in Reservoir Dogs, when Mr Blonde suggested Mr White must be a fan of his. Personally, I’m afraid to say I never really have been. Not that I have anything against the actor, I’ve just never seen enough of […]

Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959)

We sometimes like to think that overblown, overpriced high-concept blockbusters with tacked-on love stories, two-dimensional bad guys and awkwardly inserted comic relief are an entirely modern phenomenon. Not so much, as this 1959 take on Jules Verne’s classic science fiction adventure stands to demonstrate. Decades before the Pirates of the Caribbean set sail, the Transformers, […]

The Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh (1971)

Shameless have been spoiling us lately with Blu-ray releases of gialli in their catalogue, previously released as DVD only. The latest is another of Sergio Martino’s distinctive gialli, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, which not only marks his first foray into the giallo, but his first collaboration with the iconic Edwige Fenech. While Bava […]