Thursday, November 29, 2012

WINTER OF DISCONTENT: The Nun and the Devil

When the Mother Superior at the convent of Sant’Archangelo pegs it, the Roman Catholic equivalent of a bitch-fight kicks off as various parties vie for vacancy. The elderly Lavinia (Maria Cumani Quasimodo … yes, really) uses her age to pull rank and pretty much appoints herself Acting Mother Superior. Sister Carmela (Claudia Gravy … again, genuine surname) covets the position as lustfully as she covets the body of Pietro (Duilio Del Prete) who sneaks into the convent at night for a bit of the old in-out-in-out. Meanwhile, Mother Julia (Anne Heywood) gets her Machiavellian funk on good and proper, enlisting the help of well-connected nobleman Don Carlos (Pier Paolo Capponi) in petitioning Rome on her behalf. Don Carlos, however, has an ulterior motive in that the new Mother Superior will have the ear of Cardinal d’Arezzo (Claudio Gora) regarding the appointment of governor to a foreign territory rich in ore and minerals. Don Carlos has a fiscal interest in said assets. He also has an interest – lascivious, this time – in Mother Julia’s niece Isabella (Ornella Muti), newly arrived at the convent as a novice. While Don Carlos plots to coerce Mother Julia into pimping out Isabella as part of the powerplay, fellow novice Agnes (Muriel Catala) worries that Isabella will replace her in Mother Julia’s affections. Meanwhile, the walking case of sexual hysteria that is Sister Chiara (Martine Brochard) is already jealous that Mother Julia favours Agnes and not her, while Isabella yearns for her earnest but low-born sweetheart Fernando (Gianluigi Chirizzi), out of whose arms she was vouchsafed into the supposed safety of the convent.

So: Borgia-like corruption and power struggles, illicit love affairs, barely suppressed lesbian urges, backstabbing, bitchery and general ungodliness in the house of the lord. Starring world-class Eurovixens Muti and Brochard and former Miss Great Britain Heywood. Nunsploitation heaven, right?

Ladies and gentlemen, lechers and hairy-palmed pervs, it is my sad duty to report that ‘The Nun and the Devil’ is quite a tedious little number. Yes, you read that right. Director Domenico Paollela manages to make a nunsploitation movie – surely one of the most illicitly titillating of sexploitation subgenres – boring. A nunsploitation movie, I might add, that is rife with sexual hysteria, sexual rivalry, power games and politicking; a nunsploitation movie that fires off some pretty resounding broadsides against the Catholic church; a nunsploitation movie, for Chrissakes, that features Ornella freakin’ Muti – Ornella Muti, the kind of woman who could not only make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window but set fire to the pulpit as well. And it’s boring.

There should have been an inquest, with expert testimony from every exploitation director working in Europe in the 1970s, to determine how this happened. Just like there’s an inquest – i.e. an inquisition (of the capital “i” variety) – in the second half of the film. There is, perhaps, just enough of the truly nasty in the final stretches of ‘The Nun and the Devil’ to get Paollela off the charge of cinematic ennui. As Cardinal d’Arezzo’s crusading right-hand-man Carafo (Luc Merenda) descends on Sant’Archangelo to investigate accusations of corruption and immorality, Paollela cuts loose with a sequence that intercuts courtroom drama speechifying with scenes of torture that generally require the nuns on the receiving end to be naked.

It all ends with Julia delivering an impassioned speech accusing her accusers – Heywood goes all out – but there’s a definite tang of “too little too late”. Too many longueurs in the lead up to the nasty stuff, and even the nastiest of the nasty can seem like a desperate scrabble for the audience’s attention.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


“Fuck Bram Stoker.” Thus quoth vampire/hitwoman Lilith Silver (Eileen Daly) early on in Jake West’s sex, goths ‘n’ guns horror comedy. Statement of intent? Fuck, yeah! Here’s another of Lilith’s trenchant voiceover homilies: “I bet you think you know all about vampires, don’t you? You know fuck all!”

The vampires in ‘Razor Blade Smile’ drink blood because they have to, not because they particularly enjoy it: Lilith can identify a blood type like a connoisseur sampling a single malt (she spits out some Type A negative, dismissing it as “too iron-y” … oh, the irony). The vampires in ‘Razor Blade Smile’ hold down day jobs. Granted, Lilith’s is assassin which automatically makes her cooler than the rest of us wageslaves. The vampires in ‘Razor Blade Smile’ can function in the daylight so long as they wear shades.

They don’t sparkle, either.

I almost wish ‘Razor Blade Smile’ had been made in 2008 not 1998; it would function as the biggest “fuck you” to the ‘Twilight’ saga ever. Put Lilith up against Stephanie Meyers’ milquetoast characters and Edward would get his deathly white arse handed to him on a bloodstained plate while Bella would most likely be inducted into the joys of Sapphic vampirism.

*Your host excuses himself. Takes cold shower.*

Made for about £20,000, it was a serious contender for the lowest budget British movie ever to enjoy a cinema release … until Marc Price’s no-budget zombie flick ‘Colin’ shuffled off with that particular accolade by dint of being made for £19,955 less. Still, the difference in production values is palpable, not least for ‘Razor Blade Smile’ being shot on celluloid. Indeed, West shoots for the moon, throwing in a black and white period set prologue, a Bond-style opening credits sequence, some snazzy time-lapse vistas of nocturnal London, a psychedelic dream sequence and all manner of sex violence, shoot-outs and swordplay as if he had a few million at his disposal. Put it this way, and let’s joyously invoke Werner Herzog’s philosophy that a filmmaker shouldn’t worry about money (“start making the film and the money will follow you into the street like a dog”), Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ was made for something in the region of $6million and looks like a home movie shot at a group therapy session while ‘Razor Blade Smile’ was made for next to nothing and looks like a motion picture.

The plot almost doesn’t matter (although it plays out straight-faced for most of the running time, ‘Razor Blade Smile’ is a comedy and its final scene is essentially the punchline) but just so we can tick the appropriate box, here goes: stone-cold hits, Sapphic shenanigans, corrupt cops, nemeses from the distant past, and the Illuminati. Intrigued as to how these elements knit together? Don’t even bother trying to second-guess; just watch the motherfucker and wallow in slack-jawed disbelief at the WTF-ness of it.

If West’s directorial style is a visual exegesis of Browning’s maxim that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp”, then his leading lady tears into the material in similar fashion. Subtlety doesn’t exist as far as this movie is concerned. Eileen Daly, though incredibly versatile in many disciplines (actress, poet, musician), has generally been consigned to erotic features, and although ‘Razor Blade Smile’ requires her to shed clothing on a fairly regular basis it also gives her a chance to seize a lead role and run with it, and the lady gives it her all. By turns vampish, vicious and snarlingly sarcastic, she makes Lilith her own.

Friday, November 23, 2012

WINTER OF DISCONTENT: City of the Living Dead

The first of three horror movies Lucio Fulci made with Catriona MacCall in a two-year period, and something of a stepping stone to his flat-out masterpiece ‘The Beyond’, ‘City of the Living Dead’ is atmospheric, incoherent and tries to con you that is has something to do with H.P. Lovecraft.

Like the two films that immediately followed it, the premise is basically: hero and heroine stumble upon piece of real estate that turns out to be one of the gateways to hell, a metric fuckton of weird and nasty shit ensues. In ‘The Beyond’, it’s a decrepit Louisiana hotel. In ‘The House by the Cemetery’, it’s the eponymous Freudstein residence. In ‘City of the Living Dead’, it’s an entire cemetery in the small town of Dunwich.

Naming a town Dunwich in any film, let alone a horror flick, is tantamount to the director pedalling around in front of the camera on a unicycle playing the ‘Witches’ Sabbath’ movement from ‘La Symphonie Fantastique’ on a mouth organ, while a big flashing neon sign slung around his neck blinks out, in blood reds and necrotic greens, the message “YO, MOTHERFUCKERS, IT’S CTHULU TIME”.

Only Fulci proceeds to do absolutely nothing Lovecraftian. There’s an appropriately claustrophobic buried alive moment that recalls Poe; some vicious treatment is doled out to a mistrusted outsider that evokes Fulci’s own ‘Don’t Torture a Duckling’; various characters find themselves holed up in confined locations (bars, funeral homes, cemeteries) a la John Carpenter’s besieged-by-supernatural-forces aesthetic; and there are zombies aplenty, reminiscent of any number of Italian horror movies from the same period. But absolutely bog all to do with the Cthulu mythos.

Here’s what we do have: a priest hangs himself from a tree in Dunwich cemetery which causes Mary (MacColl), a medium in New York, to have a fit and seemingly expire during a s√©ance. The case attracts the attention of journalist Peter (Christopher George), who becomes even more intrigued after he attends Mary’s burial, realises she isn’t dead, rescues her from interment, and hears her story about the gates of hell opening as a result of the priest’s suicide. Meanwhile, in Dunwich, highly-strung artist Sandra (Janet Agren) turns to psychiatrist Gerry (Carlo De Mejo) to try to make sense of the disturbing visions which are tearing away at her sanity. Together, they discover that the unreal exists, the dead are coming back to life, the townspeople are turning against each other – and particularly against mentally ill teenager Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) – and that the key to it all lies in the catacombs beneath the cemetery.

If the morse code operator in the back of your mind is repeatedly sending out the call sign whisky tango foxtrot at this point, don’t panic – you’re just experiencing narrative according to Lucio Fulci. Which is to say “what is this concept ‘narrative’? to hell with it! I’ll just string a bunch of weird and gruesome scenes together as I see fit.” My best advice is, relax and go with the flow. Keep calm and get eaten.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WINTER OF DISCONTENT: Anthropophagus: The Beast

Watching exploitation movies, there’s always the risk of an anticipation/actuality disconnect. Sometimes the title sets up the false expectation. ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’, anyone? I was expecting a movie about lesbians hunting vampires, Buffy gone muffy as it were. Sometimes the cover art suggests a lurid thrill-ride only for the viewer to realise, as the end credits roll, that the artist had given up on the piece of shit movie ten minutes in and painted what they would have conjured on screen if only someone had demonstrated the foresight to hire them as director instead of the talentless fucking hack who actually called the shots on the rancid slab of celluloid in question.

On which note: ladies and gentlemen, please give a big warm Agitation of the Mind raised middle finger to Joe D’Amato’s ‘Anthropophagus: The Beast’.

Approaching the film, I was aware of two things: its presence on the DPP’s “video nasties” list, and the embryo-munching scene that earned its place there. I was aware of its director, his reputation and the catalogue of cinematic excrescence that bears his name. He’s not even a stranger to the Winter of Discontent; back in 2010, I wrapped up a review of the loathsome ‘Emanuelle in America’ – a film whose woman-on-horse masturbation scene is something I would give a lot to unsee – with the heartfelt homily “fuck you and rot in hell, Joe D’Amato”.

So I’m not going to clog up the thousand words of this review with any bemoaning the fact that I didn’t know what I’d let myself in for. I was even aware, courtesy of an entry in Tim Brayton’s 2010 Summer of Blood season on Antagony & Ecstasy, that this was one of the least ineptly made entries in the D’Amato canon even if it’s first half was terminally low on tension, incident and drama.

What I didn’t expect of ‘Anthropo-Fuck-This: The Cheese’ was that it would be so turgidly and dust-gatheringly slow. That the set-pieces would be so tortuously contrived and so utterly leeched of tension. That, at 91 minutes, it would contain more padding than an orthopaedic mattress. That, in short, it would leave me not disgusted, not outraged, not corrupted or depraved, but plainly and simply bored.

The opening scene has a German couple holidaying amongst the Greek islands finding themselves a nice empty beach. He stretches out and works on the tan, a pair of industrial sized headphones clamped over his ears; she plunges into the invigoratingly cold sea and swims out to where a rowing boat, seemingly devoid of rowers, is bobbing on the waves. What she finds in the boat isn’t revealed, but it occasions a piercing shriek, only the boyfriend doesn’t hear because of said personal stereo equipment. A POV shot of something heading from boat to shore suddenly gets very sinister as we see droplets of blood preceding its passage up the beach. The boyfriend looks up just in time to get a cleaver in his head.

It’s a reasonably effective opener. It sets the scene, it plays out in a somewhat unexpected manner and the sharp-instrument-meets-cranium pay off promises video nastiness a-go-go. So how much screen time do you reckon it accounts for? Minute and a half? Two? Three at the most?

Six minutes.

And how about the next sequence where Julie (Tisa Farrow), on her way to the island residence of an English couple to whose visually-challenged teenage daughter Rita (Margaret Mazzatini) she acts as carer, cadges a lift with sojourning twenty-somethings Maggie (Serena Grandi), Arnie (Bob Larsen), Carol (Zora Kerova), Danny (Mark Bodin) and Andy (Saverio Valone), only to find the island deserted and her friends’ house empty apart from a traumatized Rita? Ten or fifteen minutes? Twenty if you really want to probe the interrelationships?

Try forty minutes. Almost half the Christing movie.

And the interrelationships in question? Arnie’s married to Maggie who is heavily pregnant (hands up anyyone who can guess where this is going; congratulations, you’ve just won two tickets to the DPP’s annual ball); Andy and Danny are best buds, but Andy’s not too struck on the fact that Carol, his sister, has a thing for Danny, while Carol herself is gets royally pissed off very quickly over Danny’s immediate attraction to Julie. 

D’Amato establishes all of this so laboriously you’d think a Strindbergian angst-fest was on the cards. But no, Carol’s antagonism towards Julie pays off in a “locked in a cemetery at night” prank which (a) detracts from what could have been a tense “band of survivors hole up against unknown/unseen attacker” sequence, and (b) is curtailed arbitrarily before any atmosphere or tension can be developed. Otherwise, that’s it. The character dynamics are never explored.

Even when ‘Anthropo-Fake-Ass: The Puh-leeze’ creeps past the halfway mark and our merry band of stupid-decision-making protagonists fetch up at a creepy old house which seems to have shared an architect with the domicile in ‘Deep Red’, there’s no sense of D’Amato infusing his narrative with any degree of urgency. Chase scenes ebb to the soporific. Hushed and supposedly urgent dialogue passages are punctuated with more pregnant pauses than a Harold Pinter manuscript. Characters split up, get distracted or go wandering off on their own with such moronic regularity that you very quickly cease fearing for their safety and instead get bored at how fucking long it takes for the inevitable blood-letting.

Which brings us to the gore. It’s incredibly fake. Even by the standards of Italian horror movies. That horribly unconvincing mannequin that tumbles down the mountain at the end of Fulci’s ‘Don’t Torture a Duckling’? Documentary freakin’ realism compared to what’s on show here.

So, yeah: the viscera is phoney, the tension is a non-starter, there’s no nudity, and the music is like listening to a rhinoceros trying to emulate the stripped-down synth-heavy score of a John Carpenter classic using some saucepans and a kazoo. Take it from me, the only reason ‘Anthropo-Dickless: The Zzzzzzzs’ got put on the DPP list was to protect audiences of the day against the possibility of RSI from repeatedly ramming their thumbs down on the “fast forward” button.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WINTER OF DISCONTENT: A Virgin Among the Living Dead

Made in 1973 and, arguably, a consolidation of the aesthetic triumphs and bold narrative experimentalism of ‘Vampyros Lesbos’ (1971) and ‘The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein’ (1972), the transitional ‘A Virgin Among the Living Dead’ denotes a continued rejection of genre imperatives and a deeper, more profound embrace of the director’s own iconoclastic vision. Indeed, ‘A Virgin Among the Living Dead’ – or, to use the more appealingly poetic original title, ‘Christina, princesse de l'√©rotisme’ – can be seen as the vanguard of Jesus Franco’s true golden age as auteur.

Who the hell am I kidding?

‘A Virgin Among the Living Dead’ was one of at least ten films that Franco made very quickly and on the cheap during 1973, which in turn was just one year in a decade which saw him churn out at least 70 titles. Apologies here for the lack of specificity, but given the panoply of pseudonyms the guy used (personal fave: Dave Tough), the 197 films that IMDb attributes to Franco as director is less a comprehensive filmography than a jumping off point for anyone determined enough to undertake their own research into the Spanish maverick’s long life and crazy career.

In the pantheon of cult and curious cinema, Franco’s name is up there with Jean Rollin, Joe D’Amato and Bruno Mattei, though it’s always seemed to be that he falls into something of a middle ground. Franco never quite attains the hazy dream-like conjurations of Rollin, nor does he go all-out in the pursuit of unapologetic exploitation a la D’Amato. And there’s enough of a signature style in evidence that he (mercifully) sidesteps Mattei’s rancid ineptitude.

‘AVAtLD’ charts the hallucinatory experiences of titular virginal heroine Christina Benson (Christina von Blanc) as she returns from schooling in London to the ancient and decaying family seat in wherever (I couldn’t determine whether it was in Europe or Latin America) for the reading of her father’s will. A local innkeeper tries to dissuade her from going to the house/chateau/mansion/castle [check out the screengrab below and delete as applicable] …

… and makes some pointed comments which suggest the place is empty. Factor in the English language title and I don’t think you’ll be in for any surprises come the denouement. She’s collected from the inn by chauffeur-cum-handyman Basilio (Jesus Manero – i.e. Franco himself), a tubby individual with a pre-Village People moustache, some evident learning difficulties and an inability to express himself in anything other than grunted monosyllables.

Arriving at chez Benson, she meets, in short order, eccentric pianist Uncle Howard (Howard Vernon), stern and unfriendly Aunt Abigail (Rosa Palomar), slatternly Carmence (Britt Nichols) who may or may not be related to someone, anyone or no-one and is given over to wandering around in a half-open nightgown most of the time, and a blind girl (Linda Hastreiter) who I don’t recall being referred to by name. This visually-challenged young lady seems to be a seer or medium and tells Christina that her soul is white, meaning she’s pure of heart, and oh by the way it might be in her best interests to pack her bags and head back to London like immediately.

A young lad she meets while out skinny-dipping (this kind of situation being par for the course in a Jess Franco movie) also proves reluctant to visit the house, while a strange old man they meet outside a nearby chapel opines that death is upon everything in the immediate locality. Me, I’d have been on the big silver bird for Heathrow or Gatwick at this point, but our heroine is incapable of taking a hint. The disturbingly erotic hallucinations she’s been having don’t convince her to relocate either, and even when the ghost of her father (Paul Muller) shows up to warn her she’s in grave danger of having her soul claimed by the Queen of the Night (Anne Libert), she stubbornly stays put. Although, to be fair, the Queen of the Night is a bit of fox. 

Anyway, what passes for the narrative leaps randomly between:

- Abigail and Basilio plotting against their richer relatives/employers respectively;

- Carmence throwing out a definite Sapphic vibe in Christina’s direction;

- hints that the entire household are vampires, ghosts or Satanists;

- Christina enduring visions of her eventual fate as a sacrificial offering.

Franco succeeds in maintaining an atmosphere of ambiguity – are Christina’s dreams/hallucinations genuine second sight, evidence of mental instability or the result of sexual hysteria? – but whether this achievement was by accident or design is hard to tell. Judged on most of the usual critical criteria, the film’s a mess and no doubt about it.

Acting? Von Blanc is gorgeous but her performance is trance-like; Nichols spends the movie directing a thousand yard stare just off camera as if to warn Franco that if she’s asked to flash her boobs just one more time, he’s getting a slap that’ll leave a mark; Vernon gives the typical Howard Vernon performance of any piece of Euro-shlock he’s even been in, which is to say he seasons the scenery, lightly grills it, gives himself a side order of fries, tucks in the napkin and wolfs in down like he hasn’t had a square meal in months.

Editing? Well, some of the shots match.

Music? Bruno Nicolai’s score veers from atonal brutality to bossa nova cheesiness with no respect for anyone’s sensibilities.

Cinematography? Please, no more zoom. Pleeeeeeeeaaassssse!

Script? It contains the line “Why did you shatter the ebony phallus?” The question isn’t even rhetorical. 

Reviewer’s exit line? That’ll be the one above. Thank you very much and good night.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: Christina von Blanc in A Virgin Among the Living Dead

With the Winter of Discontent sweeping isobars of exploitation across the hitherto warm front of this blog, there didn't seem to be any excuse not to resurrect an eye-candylicious old tradition and raise the temperature over the next few weekends.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The aficionado of trash movies gets used to his or her viewing fare of choice going by various aliases (pop quiz: how many alternative titles for Mario Bava’s ‘Reazione a catena’ can you name?), or being lumbered with English language titles that have sweet f.a. to do with the indigenous original. Example: you can tell that Sergio Martino’s ‘I corpi presentato tracce di violenza carnale’ doesn’t literally translate as ‘Torso’ based purely on the difference of the amount of words in the title.

Which brings us to Umberto Lenzi’s ‘Milano odia: la polizia non puo sparare’. In English, and man is it one unwieldy motherfunster of a title: ‘Milan Hates: The Police Cannot Shoot’. A single line of dialogue in the very last scene offers context, but the title seems to have been settled on purely to suggest a connection to Sergio Martino’s ‘Milano trema: la polizia vuole giustizia’ (‘Milan Trembles: The Police Want Justice’) made the year before and itself a nod to Fernando di Leo’s ‘Milano calibro 9’. Because, hey, Italian exploitation cinema is nothing if not derivative.

It was released in the English speaking territories as ‘Almost Human’, a punchier title albeit one that’s utterly meaningless. If it’s supposed to refer to antagonist Guilio Sacchi (Tomas Milian), epic fail – the dude’s nowhere freakin’ near human. If it’s a nod to Commissioner Grandi (Henry Silva), the harried cop trying to prove Sacchi’s part in a kidnapping that has spiralled into a miasma of violence, then a better title might have been ‘All too Human’ since he’s strictured by rules, regulations, superiors and burden of proof.

Which makes ‘Almost Human’ sound like the Italian ‘Dirty Harry’, a prospect to set trash fans salivating when taken in conjunction with the presence of Henry Silva, he of the thousand yard stare that instantly communicates an inclination to challenge the mortality of the recipient of said stare. And there’s a slim case to be made for the comparison come the closing scenes. However, the focus remains on nervy, edgy, twitchy criminal Sacchi throughout. In other words: if this is ‘Dirty Harry al’ Italiana’, then it’s a fucked-up re-edit that gives Scorpio most of the screen time.

We first meet Sacchi in a tyre-squealing five minute opening sequence where he’s acting as getaway driver for a gang of bank-robbers. Approached by a cop threatening a ticket because he’s in contravention of a parking restriction, he panics. Net result: the bank job goes south, a child is kidnapped, the high speed pursuit ensues, they’re lucky to get away, and Sacchi takes a beating from his disaffected partners in crime. Later, ameliorating the humiliation with a skinful of liquor, he turns up on his on-off girlfriend Iona (Anita Strindberg)’s door demanding sex and money. He’s a regular charmer, our Sacchi.

Iona works for billionaire businessman Porrino (Guido Alberti) – that’s billionaire as in lira, by the way; dude’s probably worth about ten grand in dollars and the price of a second-hand car in pounds sterling – and when Sacchi learns that Porrino has a daughter, Marilu (Laura Belli), an only child, he hatches a kidnapping plot and ropes in loser friends Vittorio (Gino Santercole) and Carmine (Ray Lovelock).

From the outset, the script paints Sacchi as an asshole incarnate, a small man with a big ego and a loud mouth, and Milian positively embraces this characterisation. He takes risks when he doesn’t need to, kills when there are less psychotic options available, and creates dissent between Vittorio and Carmine. The kidnapping itself is a complete mess, Sacchi hopped up on amphetamines which he insists Carmine also takes; the snatch ends with Marilu’s boyfriend dead and the girl herself begging for sanctuary at the house of some well-to-do socialites, a situation that escalates into home invasion as Sacchi and his buddies pursue her.

This sequence is easily the film’s most exploitative moment, and seems to set things up for a juxtaposition of Sacchi’s scheme going tits up while Grandi’s dogged investigation brings him ever closer. Then Ernesto Gastaldi’s script hares off into Ripley territory as Sacchi races to establish an alibi, even if means allaying himself again with his erstwhile associates (another slapping around proves to be part of the deal). The ensuing cat and mouse shenanigans between Sacchi and Grandi detract from the human drama of the kidnapping on the one hand and the procedural elements of the investigation on the other. It gives ‘Almost Human’ a very different vibe and, particularly after its welter of car chases and casual violence, slows it down quite a bit.

There’s also a sense of the perfunctory, notably in the way supporting characters are tossed aside as soon as Lenzi and Gastaldi lose interest in them. The denouement, too, is somewhat by rote, although it does showcase Henry Silva in a magnificently badass image. Welcome to your month as an Agitation of the Mind banner icon, sir.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


On 13th November 2007, I posted my first article on The Agitation of the Mind. I acknowledged Werner Herzog as one of my favourite filmmakers and ’fessed up that I’d stolen the name of the blog from him. There followed, through the remainder of that month, a short Herzog season.

Five years and approximately 1,100 posts later, we’re firmly entrenched in this year’s Winter of Discontent and trawling through all things sick and twisted. I guess it’s like they say: it ain’t what you do, it’s what it does to you.

Anyway, to celebrate Agitation’s fifth anniversary, I’m rehashing a little gimmick I used back in April on the occasion of my fortieth birthday when I selected forty DVDs from the collection and took a screengrab at the fortieth minute. Here, I’ve hit pause and taken the screengrab at thirteen minutes and eleven seconds; and just to make it even more gimmicky, there are twenty four films: thirteen I’ve already reviewed on these pages, and eleven I haven’t … yet.