Showing posts from November, 2021

Despite the Gods (2012)

Penny Vozniak’s documentary follows filmmaker Jennifer Lynch as she spends 8 months in India navigating culture clashes, overbearing studio execs and personal demons while directing "creature feature-love story-comedy-musical" Hisss (2010). Despite the Gods was initially planned as a behind the scenes 'making of' feature to appear on the DVD release of Hisss , several weeks into production, however, Vozniak asked Lynch if she could stay and continue to film as she felt there was more going on and could see a whole other story emerging from the production. The resulting film is as fascinating as it is compelling.  Lynch is such an interesting individual. As an artist and storyteller, she is concerned with the darker side of human nature, her work is full of serial killers and psychologically scarred individuals. After working as a production assistant on her father David’s film Blue Velvet (1986), she authored The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (1990) in her early twen

Lucky (2020)

Self-help author May (Brea Grant) is stalked and attacked in her home one night by a masked figure. The intruder returns to attack her again the following night. And again. And again. He returns, without fail, night after night. The authorities are unable to help and the people in May’s life appear weirdly indifferent. With no one to turn to, May is forced to take matters into her own hands to regain control of her life.  Written by and starring Brea Grant, and directed by Natasha Kermani, Lucky is not only a tightly wound chiller, it also serves as an arresting social commentary on violence against women; specifically attitudes to violence against women in wider society. Recent research disturbingly reveals there is a woman killed every three days in the UK. A news feature in The Guardian earlier this year described an ‘epidemic of violence against women’ in England and Wales, and said a radical shift was needed to address this deeply rooted problem and how police tackle these cri

The Black Dreams: Strange Stories from Northern Ireland

With its title echoing Louis MacNeice’s poem 'Autobiography' ( When I was five the black dreams came / Nothing after was quite the same ), this anthology of Weird fiction from Northern Ireland brings together new and established literary voices, and weaves together the modern and the Gothic. The stories present a Northern Ireland that is by turns recognisable, yet oddly unknowable; a place of bewitching stories, strange secrets, and where the eerie softly encroaches upon the everyday, the mundane, the domestic. An in-between place, a purgatorial place, internalised and unstable, nothing here is as it seems. Stories unfold in uncertain realities and are told by unreliable narrators. Streets trod countless times in real life are rendered unfamiliar, homes and havens harbour dark secrets, family and neighbours become strangers, and past actions and words seep deeply into the landscape to leave spectral traces of those who have gone before. A dreamlike essence pervades, beautifully

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones, this fun, deceptively unconventional slasher follows a group of teenaged friends menaced by a power drill-wielding maniac during a sleepover party. On the surface, The Slumber Party Massacre is an exploitative, low-budget, trashy B-flick. However, throughout its duration, a slyly subversive edge becomes apparent. While directed completely straight by Jones, with a brisk pace and no-nonsense style, it was originally written as a parody of morally conservative slasher films. Released during the hey-day of the 1980s slasher, during which time the subgenre’s tropes and conventions had well and truly been established, Brown’s knowing screenplay adds a few wee rebellious elements to the mix by skewing the conventional use of the male gaze in slasher films, touching on social pressures experienced by young women, and generally highlighting everyday misogyny and violence against women. And it does so in a really fun,