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The Spinning Image Newsletter #10

Obscurity Knocks

Obscurity Knocks

Welcome to the tenth edition of The Spinning Image Newsletter, and this time we're looking into the dark recesses of the forgotten celluloid archives. But first...

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  • Competition News

    This months competition (starting soon) features the soon to be released The Hills Have Eyes check back regularly

  • Last Month's Competition Winners!

    Congratulations to the lucky people below... they were pulled from the hat in our July Competitions. Thanks to all those who entered and don't forget if you weren't a winner this time, have a go at our new competition which'll be on line very soon.

      Deathwatch
      Glenn Jones (Manchester)
      Paul Shrimpton (Berks)
      Emma Joyce (Kent)
      Anna Smart (Lancashire)
      Dave P. (Salisbury)

      Stargate SG-1
      Lesley Bambridge (Bristol)
      Craig Bannister (Cleveland)
      Paul Murrey (Lincolnshire)

NEVER HEARD OF IT

One thing about being a film buff that you just don't hear enough about is the competition. It's all very well seeing the latest Star Wars episode before George Lucas, but what about delving back into time? The "I've seen it but you haven't" factor? Never underestimate the status of this, my friends.
So here is an important space filler, er, I mean, important survey to find out how many obscure movies you've seen. Not all of these movies are recommended, mind you. See how many you've watched from this list, whether it was on late night TV or an old video tape...

  • 1) Star Wars (1977) - this science fiction epic was one of the biggest moneymakers of all time - here, wait a minute.... Sorry, I was looking at the wrong list. Let's start again...

  • 1) The Gong Show Movie (1980) - A well known obscure movie to start with, here Chuck Barris (subject of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) tells us what a miserable time he has on TV. Funny bit: Count Banjola.

  • 2) Krysar (The Pied Piper) (1985) - One of those East European animations that ends up being creepier than a night in Hill House. About an hour of the fairytale, told the eeriest terms possible.

  • 3) Jennifer (1978) Liked Carrie, but felt there weren't enough snakes in it? Here's a movie just for you, a rip off of the Stephen King/Brian De Palma horror with a giant snake in it.

  • 4) The Maze (1953) - Seems like just another mysterious castle horror, but wait until you see the bizarre ending, where you find out the true nature of the family curse - you won't know whether to laugh or, er, laugh.

  • 5) The Carpenter (1989) - Canadian horror with Mr Eighties Straight to Video himself, Wings Hauser, as a ghostly carpenter who helps out a troubled wife by using his skills on those who cross her.


  • 6) Spawn of the Slithis (1978) - Rubber monster nonsense that would have looked dated ten years earlier, never mind in 1978. Low budget, needless to say.


  • 7) Ghost Story (1974) - Not the Peter Straub thing, but Stephen Weeks' story of madness and murder in an isolated country house. Note the presence of Marianne Faithful.


  • 8) The Animals Film (1981) - This documentary sets out to convert you to vegetarianism, ostensibly by showing you they scandalous conditions of the meat industry, but actually by disgusting you into never touching animal flesh ever again.


  • 9) Life is Cheap... But Toilet Paper is Expensive (1989) - Offbeat Chinese gangster tale from Wayne Wang with (a) the longest chase on foot ever and (b) the most disgusting meal ever.


  • 10) The Nature of the Beast (1988) - There's a big cat at large in Northern England, and parallels are drawn between the life of a rebellious young boy. But we want to see the big cat!


  • 11) Fragment of Fear (1970) - Weird mystery with David Hemmings suspecting that someone is trying to drive him insane - or is he insane all along? Don't expect any explanations.


  • 12) The Discarnates (1988) - Curious Japanese horror, a mixture of touching melancholy and unpleasant shock moments, with a man discovering his dead parents are apparently still alive. And his new girlfriend is a bit odd, too.


  • 13) The Third Secret (1964) - Incredibly talky murder drama with a standout performance from a young Pamela Franklin, and an odd twist when the killer is revealed.


  • 14) The Whip Hand (1951) - Those nasty Nazis are infiltrating in 1950s America - only this time they've decided to become Communists, because we all know how much the Nazis loved the Communists, don't we?


  • 15) Victory Through Air Power (1943) - The lost Disney film, a cartoon all about how bombing the hell out of your enemies from the skies is a great idea. How come this wasn't turned into a ride at Disneyland?


  • 16) Joyride (1977) - Low budget road movie that's only notable because some of the stars are offspring of other Hollywood stars, eg. Melanie Griffith and Robert Carradine.


  • 17) Devils of Darkness (1965) - William Sylvester doesn't look entirely comfortable in this period romp with added vampires. Not a Hammer production, but in a similar style.


  • 18) Crash! (1977) - Confusing Charles Band horror with Sue Lyon trying to avoid getting splattered in a car crash thanks to husband José Ferrer. Nothing erotic here, Cronenberg fans.


  • 19) 12+1 (1969) - Sharon Tate's last film before her murder, which makes this hard to enjoy, but luckily this comedy based on The Twelve Chairs isn't very funny anyway. Apart from Orson Welles.


  • 20) Dream Demon (1988) - Nightmare on Elm Street style horror, with loads of "is it a dream?" fright sequences, but nothing beats the sight of Timothy Spall and Jimmy Nail as demons for real terror. Ahem.


  • 21) Blue Blood (1973) - Bizarre, satirical attack on the British class structure, with Derek Jacobi and a very nude Fiona Lewis being intimidated in a Pinter-ish fashion by servant Oliver Reed.


  • 22) Long Weekend (1978) - Come on, if you watched late night BBC TV in the eighties you must have seen this! Young, Australian married couple go on camping holiday to a remote beach, only for nature to turn against them. Very creepy.


  • 23) Tracks (1976) - Dennis Hopper is a Vietnam War veteran who is transporting his friend's coffin back home. On the train he hallucinates - or does he even leave the station? "They stole my uniform!"


  • 24) Hand of Night (1966) - Another William Sylvester vampire movie? Ah, but this one's different, it's set in North Africa and features, wait for it, no blood! Not much of a gimmick for a vampire movie, but there you go.


  • 25) Spermula (1976) - Young lady vampires from outer space who live on sperm try to attack the world's men. There are worse fates, I suppose, but only Udo Kier's fate is really funny here.


  • 26) Docteur Petiot (1990) - Unsettling drama with Michel Serrault as a nasty doctor who sells out victims of the Nazis in WW2 France, all filmed in the style of a creaky old chiller of the 1920s.


  • 27) Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) - Well, more of a peaceful demonstration on Sunset Strip, with this early attempt to understand the new youth culture of the late sixties.


  • 28) The Deadly Invention (1958) - Marvellous-looking Czech fantasy, based on Jules Verne stories, with a Nautilus-like submarine and many clever special effects and animations.


  • 29) Static (1985) - Mark Romanek's weird directorial debut, with Keith Gordon as a man who believes he can see heaven on his TV. Romanek says he hates the film, which could be the reason it's so rare.


  • 30) Boom in the Moon (1946) - Poor old Buster Keaton had fallen pretty far when he starred in this Mexican comedy about a innocent man who is forced to be an astronaut, but in fact lands back on Earth. Abbott and Costello did the same thing, of course.

So how did you do? Here's how to rate your score:

  • 0-5 You haven't wasted enough time on movies. You get no prize.
  • 6-15 That's better, not too bad. You get no prize.
  • 16-25 Excellent. You are obsessed. You get no prize.
  • 26-30 This is the best! You are a true movie buff! You get no prize! Congratulations!

If you've seen more obscure movies than these, let us know. Tell us on the forum, or something. I dunno. Right, what's next?

GUILTY PLEASURES

Here's Wayne Southworth with those films he's just a little bit guilty about enjoying...
  • Zombie 3: What is perhaps one of the worst movies ever to some people is, to me, the best zombie film of all time. Extra baggage such as 'plot' is discarded before the opening credits and we are subsequently treated to a non stop orgy of violence and poor taste (including incest). Everybody gets killed too... the movie ends with some guy's head being forced onto a circular saw....
  • Zombie '90: Even worse than Zombie 3! This pile of crap was made by Hamburg's notoroius Violent Shitters, the big difference here being that the movie has been dubbed into English... by what sounds like just one American blaxploitation star! Truly abysmal, yet enchantingly surreal...
  • Fight For Your Life: Like SS camp movies, no serious reviewer will ever admit to liking this film. Why? It's gotta be the funniest movie ever made. Let the tears roll down your cheeks and then wait until the next day for the dirty feeling to set in. Also has the best alternative title ever: I Hate Your Guts!
  • Death Wish sequels: The first film has a serious social question to ask, no matter how right-wing the answer. The subsequent flicks are nothing but trash (Death Wish II being the best). Non-stop violence and bad taste presented for the viewers' pleasure. Classic!
  • The Exterminator: The only film to my knowledge to deal with the global child-abuse problem in an intelligent and understanding manner: with exploding bullets! We are also treated to a pimp being burned alive, a gangster being put through a meat-grinder and a guard-dog being hacked to pieces with an electric knife! Even better than Death Wish II!
  • Let George Do It: Originally coming from Leigh, I have to like George Formby! All his films rule, but this one especially as it features a fantastic trip-scene where George gives Hitler a good hiding.
  • Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!: The last of the "great" F13th movies and one of the best. The James Bond intro scene does it for me.
  • War Of The Monsters: Everyone likes Godzilla movies, no matter how bad they are (except the American remake of course). I like this one because it features Godzilla and Anguirus having a laid-back conversation on Monster Island.
  • Police Academy (and sequels): The same jokes presented over and over again, but hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! The funniest joke is watching the actors' careers roll steadily downhill. Whatever happened to Bobcat Goldthwaite?

THINK LINKS

If you're looking for obscure movie suggestions, then there are a few sites around.

http://members.aol.com/shockcin/
This is the site for Shock Cinema magazine, but it has pages of short reviews of way out movies you may or may not have seen. That colour scheme might give you a headache, though.

http://www.unknownmovies.com/
This site features more in depth reviews of little-known films, easy to read and nothing too heavy.

http://www.pimpadelicwonderland.com/home.html
If it's something seventies you're after, try Pimpadelic Wonderland's movies section. A good selection here.

http://www.sporadic.co.uk/static/
Lastly, here's a site devoted (and we mean *devoted*) to the aforementioned Static. Everything you need to know about the eighties strangeness.


REST IN PEACE

Katharine Hepburn, one of the greatest stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, died at the end of June aged 96. She made her mark playing independent-minded women in a career lasting from the 1930s to the 1990s, and won four Oscars. Her films included A Bill of Divorcement, Alice Adams, cult favourites Sylvia Scarlett and Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Suddenly Last Summer, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Lion In Winter and On Golden Pond. She was teamed with Spencer Tracy, with whom she had a long affair, in Adam's Rib, Woman of the Year, Pat and Mike and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, among others.

Screenwriter David Newman died in June aged 66. His credits included co-writing Bonnie and Clyde, There was a Crooked Man, the first three Superman movies, What's Up Doc? and Bad Company.

Comedian Buddy Hackett appeared in God's Little Acre, The Music Man, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Muscle Beach Party, The Love Bug, The Little Mermaid and Paulie. He died aged 79 at the end of June.

Director Rod Amateau worked extensively in television, with Gilligan's Island, My Mother the Car and The Dukes of Hazzard among his credits, but also directed some feature films such as Where Does It Hurt?, Drive-In, the infamous Hitler's Son and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. He died aged 79 in July.

N!xau gained worldwide fame as the African bushman in South African comedy The Gods Must Be Crazy. He also appeared in the sequel, but returned to his previous way of life when his celebrity faded. He died aged 59 in July.

Actor Buddy Ebsen died aged 95 in July. He was best known for starring on TV in The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones, but had been in films since the 1930s, appearing in Attack! and Breakfast at Tiffany's. His claim to movie fame was that he was almost in The Wizard of Oz, but had to pull out when the original Tin Man makeup made him ill (aluminium poisoning!).

British director John Schlesinger, who won an Oscar for Midnight Cowboy, died in July aged 77. He directed many acclaimed dramas and thrillers, both in Britain and Hollywood, including A Kind of Loving, Billy Liar, Darling, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Day of the Locust, Marathon Man, Yanks, The Believers, Pacific Heights and Cold Comfort Farm.

Legendary comedian Bob Hope died in July at the ripe old age of 100. His career in film saw him as a quick-witted, wisecracking coward in such films as The Cat and the Canary, Caught in the Draft, They Got Me Covered, The Ghost Breakers, My Favorite Blonde, My Favorite Brunette, The Paleface, Fancy Pants and Son of Paleface. He will be best remembered for the Road pictures he made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, including Road to Morocco and Road to Utopia.

Actress Marie Trintignant died in August, aged 41, after being beaten into a coma, allegedly by her boyfriend. Her films included Serie Noire, Les Amants du Pont Neuf, Portraits Chinois and Ponette, and she was the daughter of Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Jacques Deray, a director sometimes dubbed the French Hitchcock, died aged 74 in August. His films included The Swimming Pool, Borsalino and its sequel, and Le Marginal.

Dancer and actor Gregory Hines died from cancer aged 57 in August. He appeared in History of the World Part 1, Wolfen, The Cotton Club, A Rage in Harlem and Mad Dog Time, among others.


NEW ARTICLES

New articles on the site include:

Bloody Hellbillies - a look at the Hillbilly hicks responsible for the fun 'n' games in flicks such as Deliverance, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Two Thousand Maniacs plus many more. Hell, it's almost as much fun as poking a dead rat with a stick!

Jonathan Breck Interview - the man behind The Creeper in Jeepers Creepers talks exclusively to The Spinning Image.


NEW REVIEWS

New reviews on the site include:

Dougal and the Blue Cat
Body Puzzle
Titan A.E.
Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter
Carry On Matron
Jacob's Ladder
Veronia Guerin
Five Fingers of Death
Carry On Screaming
Phone Booth
Basic Instinct
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Ninth Configuration
China Strike Force
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
The Wages of Fear
Teen Wolf
Gone in 60 Seconds
Less Than Zero
Invisible Invaders
Commando
Infernal Affairs
Big Trouble in Little China
Candy
Vanishing Point
The Good Girl
The Keep
Femme Fatale
Human Nature
Shiri
Jaws
The Addiction

WHO ARE YOU AGAIN?

Well that was all very elitist, wasn't it? To remedy this situation, next newsletter will be all about the biggest money makers of all time! Titanic! Spider-Man! Mr Mom! The Ups and Downs of a Handyman! All this and more! Meanwhile, any comments can be sent to us via the usual little box. Tattie bye!


 

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Last Updated: 1 November, 2004