Category Archives: Fantasy

A Thought of Ecstasy

Director: Rolf Peter Kahl,
Starring: Rolf Peter Kahl, Ava Verne, Deborah Kara Unger, Lena Morris. Germany/USA. 1h 30m

This gentle murmur of a movie is half waking dream and half private investigation but the apparent nightmare that runs throughout its winding narrative is hidden behind a psychosexual noir.

A majority of the movie follows a bemused love sick German trailing around the American desert, in search for his estranged lover. With long sun bleached shots of the desert where naked bodies writhe together, mixed with elaborate sexual encounters set to pounding electronic soundtracks, the movie feels like a series of naughty dreams, but it’s easily missed quirk, is that the movie is strangely set in the near future, in an America going through a unusual heat wave and kind of political turmoil, this erotic thriller is science fiction as much as it’s art house, but the blend, while unusual is pretty captivating.

After finding a random book that reminds him of a heated love affair he had 20 years previous with a woman named Marie, Frank (Kahl) is spurred on by the reminder of their dark sexy fuelled romps, and immediately heads out to the USA to investigate the author. Her literary agent Liz (Unger) confirms the author is the same Marie, but has no contact details for her. Frank hangs around and meets a sex worker named Nina who sets up sophisticated scenarios with her colleague ?? and the pair record the sessions, Frank can’t help notice the similarity of Nina in both the women and becomes their cameraman in order to be closer to them, as he continues to read the book/journal about the mysterious Marie who he thought he knew but is only now discovering.

This is one of those movies where the journey is the movie, the destination is something you work out after the film had ended and that’s pretty unusual, but there’s a beautiful meandering sequence of sets and encounters to experience instead of gripping hold of a solid narrative and trying to mentally rip it apart, A Thought of Ecstasy forces it’s audience to sit back and feel and experience the delirium along with Frank.

Love is immortal. Seduction is Inevitable. Revenge is irresistible.

In-between scenes of Frank driving around the desert, reading Marie’s book, which runs like a journal of her time in the desert, his time alone is pretty dry, but once he’s with Nina and co, while she is a sex worker the movie slides into soft core porn, there’s plenty of nudity and sex, which I a lot of people were willing to trash it because of this, but accepting that it’s part of adult life the movie’s ability to shift totally is really impressive. Time seems to slow down, movements become like chorographical dance, is washed out sunny USA becomes soft and luxurious and very dark both in lighting and mood, this nightlife is very different and very seductive. You can see why Frank wants to be there, but the nagging feeling is that someone wants Frank to want to be there, and this is the big mystery which slowly unfolds to it’s resolute climax.

Rolf Peter Kahl, is the holy trinity of this project, director, writer and star, so while this is his all about him, you can only assume that the film is a perfect rendition of his original concept. It’s pretty easy to sit back and enjoy what’s put before you, it’s also impossible to just ignore that there is a bigger picture within a narrative that’s filled with naked bodies to move your attention away from the nitty gritty, or at least that’s how I felt about it.

On the surface it’s an attractive movie, but underneath all the softcore it’s a well of dark desires, death, a very distressing ending which is somewhat glazed over, but once you get it, it’s bloody brilliant if you can get through all the tits and art house it’s fully rewarding.

Rating 6/10

R: Amer (2009)
L: Desert Trip

Post Discussion

Monkeys Paw (2013)

Director: Brett Simmons.
Starring: Stephen Lang , CJ Thomason, Michelle Pierce. USA. 1h 31m

I love when an old classic story gets a boost into a modern film, although there is always a need to be sensitive in the approach of modernising any aged tale, some stories seem to thrive as costume dramas, being so heavily strung in their own time that it’s almost impossible to shift elsewhere, such as Witchfinder General, while it could be updated, it relies on the mass hysteria of the age to really boil up some trouble. Timeless classics can be shifted back and forwards through time effortlessly, Lifepod by Alfred Hitchcock became a pretty interesting Sci Fi piece in 1993 by the talented Ron Silver (RIP) a ship lost at sea can easily become a ship lost in space.

The Monkey’s Paw was a story which filled me with marvel as a child, the moralistic side is deeply devastating but the horror aspect usually boils down to the concept of the evil dead returning, in the original story they simply come knocking but this presence has been resurrected many times now and death takes a gory step closer each time. The charming segment “Wish you were here” of Tales from the Crypt, the screaming dead are resurrected at the wrong time and face an everlasting life of pain.. ooops! Continue reading Monkeys Paw (2013)

Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)

Director: Albert Serra
Starring: Eliseu Huertas, Lluís Serrat Massanellas, Vicenç Altaió . UK. 2h 28m

Albert Serra, the Catalan trailblazer, always fascinates with his interpretations and adaptations of withering classic figures. Through a dusty lense he creates lavish cultured tapestries for them to play in, sometimes seeming alive now and again they seem as fragile and shaggy relics they have left behind.

His baroque mix up of pleasure meets desire in the guise of Cassanova meets Dracula combines fantasy and fiction in a flight of fancy style, at times it’s pretty grotesque while bolsters by lots of risque blush and tickles, a truly great adventure set against an unusual Transylvanian setting. Continue reading Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)

Shasta Triangle (2019)

Director: Barry W Levy.
Starring.Ayanna Berkshire, Dani Lennon, Deborah Lee Smith, Madeline Merritt, Leah Ann Cevoli, Helenna Santos. USA. 1h 14m.

In a world filled with strange new realms of astrophysics, mechanics and conspiracy theories, Barry W Levy has strung together a bunch of entry level ideas together, probably after binge watching a year of Gaia TV and he seems to have constructed an acceptable spare time filler of a movie.

A woman returns to her childhood home to investigate the disappearance of her father by using his encrypted notebook but there’s an urgency to her mission as the area is subject to a deafening bombing sound and strange, almost paranormal activity in a certain spot found via lay lines and dowsing, although it’s just called “using the rods” in the movie. Continue reading Shasta Triangle (2019)

Alien Factor (1978)

Director: Don Dohler
Starring: Don Leifert, Tom Griffith, Richard Dysz, Mary Mertens, Richard Geiwitz. USA. 1h 30m

Make no mistake there’s a deeper meaning behind this 16mm Quality Color movie, on the surface Dolher’s homemade sci fi adventure is simply about a small handful of rogue aliens that have landed on earth and intend on making some mischief, but by the end of this wintry escapade we’re left questioning who the real monsters are.

In a sleepy Baltimore down during mid winter, the biggest crisis was who was going to be nominated as the new mayor, but after a suspected meteor lands out in the woods, there’s a spate of unusual deaths. Before the town can really comprehend who or what is killing anyone who wanders out into the wilderness, a brilliant scientist is soon lending a hand and aiding the officials in the right direction of a possible downed UFO. Continue reading Alien Factor (1978)

The Necromancer (2018)

Director: Stuart Brennan
Starring: Stuart Brennan, Marcus Macleod, Mark Paul Wake….UK. 1h 28m

This darkly twisted fairy tale follows a group of soldiers fleeing a war zone who find themselves lost deep in the woods where only magical things can happen.This British horror with a small budget definitely dreams big and while it has a solid story the execution comes across a little trying.

There is evil inside all of us.

Continue reading The Necromancer (2018)

Jauja (2014)

Director: Lisandro Alonso
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger. UK. 1h 49m

Sometimes I watch a movie and I’m left with a feeling of nostalgia hinted with the question of did I really just watch a dream come to life on screen? There’s a rare select group of directors who can achieve this unique atmosphere but the determined efforts of Lisandro Alonso and Viggo Mortensen have made a movie which starts out quite straight forwards eventually boils down to a crazy trip in the desert, akin to any modern classic but it’s set in the past and it almost fools you into thinking that such a step into the unknown is not plausible. Continue reading Jauja (2014)

Evilspeak (1981)

Director: Eric Weston.
Starring. Clint Howard, Joseph Cortese, R G Armstrong, Don Stark, Claude Earl Jones, Haywood Nelson. USA. 1h 37m.

Part teen revenge part occult horror, Eric Weston’s Evilspeak is a venture into the unknown by a downtrodden young man looking for revenge and biting off more than he can chew. but this well worn revenge story has a much needed transfusion by stripping out the detailed build up to a justified revenge scene and instead opens it up for wild violence with a Satanic edge, showing enough gore for it to be banned in the UK in the 1980’s.

Opening with a Dark Ages sun setting on a Satanic mass on the beach, the group are approached by a church official telling them, they will be banished from Spain and denied the glory of a christian god, the naked group don’t pay much attention and the opening credits roll. Continue reading Evilspeak (1981)

Hilarys Heart (2019)

Director: Reginald Ebere.
Starring. Fredrick Leonard, Nigeria. 4h +.

After a spate of gangland style Nollywood movies I settled into something a bit more tender, This mini series sees a father having to deal with a niaeve and rebellious daughter who has the ability to see ghosts but that’s not her biggest problem is a strange one but pulls on the heart strings as intended.

The series opens with Hilary being dropped off at her father’s house, her mother has decided that she wants to get married and is dropping off Hilary as it’s not her father’s turn to look after her, an unsuspecting bachelor (Leonard) who wasn’t aware that he has a daughter and the shock of the 14 year old instantly kills his current relationship with an unnamed flame (Uju Okoli). I have to give it to the Nigerians for introducing a movie in such a razzmatazz style. Continue reading Hilarys Heart (2019)

Alphaville (1965)

AKA Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution) Tarzan Vs IBM
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon..France. 1h 39m

Jean-Luc Godard, the King of the French New Wave lands this cryptic and incredibly iconic, sci fi noir story in the height of the movement, while on a wild run with actress and wife, Anna Kerina, the film was released around the time that the couple divorced but he continued to work with the stunner in Pierrot le Fou (1965) released in the same year.

Godard’s ceaseless innovation lead many into the realm of radical politics and extreme formal experimentation, but few could match his raw invention. Alphaville is one of his more approachable works and offers some inspiration for the dystopian futurescape of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, along with having strong parallels with John Boorman’s classic revenge flick, Point Blank (1967). Continue reading Alphaville (1965)