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The Spinning Image Newsletter #2


Avast, me Hearties! Films Ahoy! Shiver me timbers!

This is the second newsletter from The Spinning Image, and you're welcome to it.

What a tremendous response we had to the first newsletter. Here, for example, is a message from May Dupname: "when r u gonna review titanic??? it rocks!!!! :) :)"

Rest assured, May, we'll review it next time it's on TV. Now, to business...

As a member you can send your own news items for inclusion in future issues. These can be interesting anecdotes, snippets you've heard or picked up off the net, ideas for future newsletters or anything you think might interest other readers.

 

GUILTY PLEASURES

In repsonse the previous newsletter, here's Darrell Buxton's choice of films that just don't get the respect he thinks they deserve:

  • HONKY TONK FREEWAY - how can anyone resist an hilarious, wacky road movie starring Bill Devane and featuring a pink elephant on water skis? [It also features the immortal line: "Cash the check, turkeytits!" - Ed]

  • BODY DOUBLE - Brian De Palma’s masterpiece, hack actor Craig Wasson finds himself trapped in a combined remake of Rear Window and Vertigo while the world of hardcore pornography conspires against him.

  • THE LAST PAGE - the great Diana Dors in a cheap, little-known Hammer thriller directed by Terence Fisher. Despite being largely set inside a dingy London bookshop, it's packed with intrigue and even climaxes with a traditional Fisher conflagration.

  • CRIMINALLY INSANE - the debut of Crazy Fat Ethel in a deranged psycho movie which would even give John Waters nightmares.

  • TOP SECRET! - forget Airplane!, this is the best of the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker comedies, somehow combining rock music with wartime resistance fighters and a cow in wellington boots (in exactly what year is this movie set!?). Peter Cushing and Omar Sharif make surreal cameo appearances and the ending is the greatest, addest Wizard Of Oz homage of all time.

  • RAISING CAIN – more classic De Palma, with John Lithgow playing about 17 different loopy personalities. If this film was European it would be celebrated as a work of maverick genius.

  • CONFESSIONS OF A POP PERFORMER - Anthony Booth and Robin Askwith enter the music business. Featuring the legendary Peter Cleall as lead singer of Kipper, stars of the 1975 Royal Variety Performance. Also on the bill – The Climax Sisters...

  • KILLER’S MOON - 4 escaped mental patients, undergoing drug-fuelled dream therapy, encounter a bus-load of stranded 14-year-old schoolgirls in the Lake District. A three-legged dog, a tail-less cat, and dotty Hilda Braid add to the fun in this insane British shocker.

  • THREE HATS FOR LISA - Joe Brown and Una Stubbs help a French tourist collect an assortment of unusual headgear during a trip to 60s London. Sid James sings the unforgettable ditty 'Bermondsey'!

  • I DRINK YOUR BLOOD - hippies invade a quiet little town but are unwittingly fed with rabies- infected meat pies. Energetic and gory, this crazy 70s horror movie deserves to be much better-known.

  • SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER - a cast of major award-winning stars in a film about lobotomies, homosexuality and cannibalism?

 

THE DUDE ABIDES

How about entering the right-on world of Jeff Bridges? Here's the link: http://www.jeffbridges.com

You're greeted with an, er, animated squiggle and and the site is distinctively written out in Jeff's barely legible handwriting.

The main menu lists various pages, such as the latest news from Jeff, a filmography (why isn't Winter Kills on DVD?) or a page about his new album (and how to buy it, naturally). Jeff's a keen shutterbug, so there are some of his (wide) photos on display, mostly from the filming of K-PAX.

In common with many movie stars it seems, Jeff has interests in charitable causes, in particular the End Hunger Network which he helped to set up. You'll find out about it here, and even buy the cookbook if you're so inclined.

The "Stuff" section has links to a Tron game and Jeff's dear old mother's poetry website. Check out the "Doodles" part for an unusual interpretation of the Dude. You can also find out how to draw a labyrinth - always a useful skill.

All in all, a website as likeable as the man himself. And if you don't agree, well, that's just like, your opinion, man.

 

RUINING MOVIES WITH MUSIC

You know, a carefully placed, inappropriate song could very well ruin a movie.

For example, Hank Mizell's "Jungle Rock" could be played during the scene in the cave near the end of The English Patient.

Ray Stevens' "The Streak" could be played just as Darth Vader says, "I am your father" in The Empire Strikes Back.

Captain Beefheart's "Diddy Wah Diddy" could be played at the bouncing ball scene in The Changeling. The theme from The Banana Splits could be played during Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone's first sex scene together in Basic Instinct.

The Sex Pistols' "Liar" could be played during any scene with Hugh Grant in Sense and Sensibility.

Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky" could be played so loudly at the end of Braveheart that Mel's last line "Freedom" would be barely audible.

You could go even further by replacing all the oldies on the soundtrack of The Big Chill with tracks from Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music album.

Any other suggestions?

 

UDOWATCH

Udo Kier was recently spotted at the ICA in London being interviewed by Alan Jones. This was followed by a screening of his new British horror film Revelation. Revelation hasn't been getting great reviews, so it might be best to wait until it's on video or DVD before you see it, but congratulations to the film makers on getting the movie into cinemas in the first place. And it has Terence Stamp in it. Terence and Udo... together at last.

Any other sightings of Udo - let us know.

 

READING MATTER

Looking for something to read? Why not try: http://www.pocketessentials.com/

They are short and cheap paperback books (around 100 pages at £3.99) on a variety of topics, including Philip K. Dick, U.F.O.s, Alan Moore, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Conspiracy Theories, Doctor Who or Sherlock Holmes.

But if it's films you're interested in (and you are) there's plenty to choose from. For directors, there are books on Terry Gilliam, Alfred Hitchcock, The Coen brothers, Sam Peckinpah, David Cronenberg, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Orson Welles, Michael Mann and many others. The Mike Hodges one is the first ever book on the director of Get Carter and Flash Gordon.

For stars, there's Steve McQueen, Jackie Chan, Marilyn Monroe, Laurel and Hardy and Bruce Lee.

They also cover genres like Horror Movies, Spaghetti Westerns, Hong Kong Action, Slasher Movies and Blaxploitation films.

The only problem is their tendency to give away the endings of the films they review, so if you haven't seen the films then you're better off avoiding the synopsis. But overall, they are informative and feature "stimulating" opinions, and there are more on the way.

 

ARTICLES

As a member you can send your own articles for inclusion on the site. These can be on any cult movie related subject - although you might like to email me before embarking on a massive project which is then deemed unsuitable. On the whole though, if you think it might interest other readers it's good enough for us.

 

REST IN PEACE

Musician, comedian and actor Dudley Moore died in March aged 62. Part of the pioneering Beyond the Fringe comedy team, he was frequently the comedy partner of Peter Cook in films such as Bedazzled, The Bed Sitting Room, The Great Race and The Wrong Box. On his own, he starred in Foul Play, Arthur and 10. We hope he's enjoying a sandwich in Heaven.

Comedian Milton Berle was perhaps the original television superstar in America, and he also appeared in films like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Who's Minding The Mint? Mostly he took small roles in comedies including The Muppet Movie, The Loved One and Broadway Danny Rose. He died aged 93 at the end of March.

Writer, director and producer Billy Wilder was a cinematic genius with a host of classics to his name. He died aged 95 at the end of March; some of his cult movies are Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Ace in the Hole, Kiss Me, Stupid, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and The Apartment.

Tonino Cervi, Italian producer, writer and director, died at the end of March aged 72. He produced films by Fellini, Bertolucci and Antonioni. Other films he was involved with included Dairy of a Cloistered Nun and The Spider Labyrinth.

John Agar died in April aged 81. He gained fame as Shirley Temple's first husband and appeared in some John Wayne movies, but he became a leading man in low budget fantasy films like The Brain from Planet Arous, Revenge of the Creature, The Mole People, Tarantula and Journey to the Seventh Planet. He also appeared in Miracle Mile.

Robert Urich died aged 55 in April. Best known for TV work in shows like Spencer For Hire and Vega$, his rare film appearances included Ice Pirates, Turk 182 and Endangered Species.

Explorer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl died in April aged 87. He won an Oscar for his film of the Kon-Tiki expedition, where he and his crew sailed a balsa wood raft across the Pacific to prove a point. A follow up film was Ra, concerning a similar expedition across the Atlantic.

 

NEW REVIEWS

New reviews on the site include:

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

Cry Uncle

The Sorcerers

Catch-22

The Tenth Victim and an alternate review!

A Bullet for the General

Summer Holiday

 

GOODBYE-EE

Well, that'll do for now. Any comments, type them into the little box on The Spinnning Image site. It's time to set sail... into the movieland sunset...

 

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Last Updated: 1 November, 2004