Tag Archives: A

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

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Aterrados /Terrified (2017)

Director: Demian Rugna.
Starring. Maxiiliano Ghione, Norberto. Elvira Onetto. Argentina. 1h 28m.

We who are about to be scared Salute you Argentina!! Thank you so much for breaking the rules and making a truly terrifying movie!! (you see what I did there?)

I get really annoyed when people give up on a genre, be it music, art or indeed beloved Cinema, for the amount of media being produced you can be guaranteed to find something to tickle your fancy but the only thing stopping you from finding it is effort and if you’re searching for that next buzz, then I always suggest that you try something not aimed as the masses for profit. Continue reading Aterrados /Terrified (2017)

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 Agency (1980)

Director: George Kaczender.
Starring. Lee Majors, Robert Mitchum, Valerie Perrine, Saul Rubinek. USA. 1h 34m.

I nearly forgot when subliminal messages were a real hot topic, I remember my mother being freaked out about them but them being used on the TV and in cinemas, from what I remember, being so young, this will be marred, but it all got washed away as being a joke cos it just didn’t affect anyone.. or did it? Either way the idea of messages being slipping into commercials to mind fuck the public into doing anything is a pretty scary notion and The Agency really plays with this fear and it’s potential consequences, and re watching this recently couldn’t have come at a better time with all of the cases of media being used to change public opinion in the run up to the recent USA elections, is this a procurer to such covert control? Continue reading The Agency (1980)

Annabelle (2014)

Director: John R Leonetti.
Starring.Ward Horton, Annabell Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola. USA. 1h 39m.

The Annabell doll scene from The Conjuring (2013) was one of the most frightening in the slightly scary supernatural mystery horror that went on to create its own warped far-from-the-truth universe and I wasn’t surprised that it became its own movie, however I was shocked that it became such a boring mess riddled with plot holes and only few genuine jump scares, that went to to spawn it’s own mini universe within the Conjuring universe, but it sells and we keep watching so who’s the idiot!?

In the Conjuring were introduced to the Warrens and their museum of creepy haunted keep you up at night stuff, including Raggedy Ann doll.. wait, the doll was changed from the original raggedy ann doll into a fucked up grimace/smiling porcelain doll which is already a thing of nightmares, and this “why-did-they-do-that” theme carries on throughout the movie as every trick in the book is employed in this dismal horror. Continue reading Annabelle (2014)

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)

Amer (2009)

Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.
Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.

There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.

I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.

The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.

During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.

In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.

It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.

To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.

The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.

Rating 8/10

RThe strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa (2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017)
L – New Wave of Giallo

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ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

Director:Various.
Starring. A lotta people WORLDWIDE. 1h 25m.

There aren’t many movies series that I fangirl over but the ABCs of Death and VHS are certainly anthologies that I got my teeth firmly into. I had lost hope for a 3rd part to turn the duo into a trilogy, and in my haste I didn’t realise this strange collection has been compiled. It definitely seems to be a marmite movie, but if you enjoyed the previous then you’ll probably see a lot of charm in this selection of movies which seem to be just as creative and diverse as the rest.

During the original submissions, there was an outstanding amount of M’s submitted, and this ABC, is really an MMM as it complies the 26 favourites from the M list, which begs me to ask why the hell isn’t there a box set of 26 movies for each letter in an epic box set, but alas we have the MMM’s of death to enjoy for now. Continue reading ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

American Psycho (2000)

Director: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny,Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, Guinevere Turner, Reese Witherspoon .USA. 1h 41m

After the success of a brilliant deeply disturbing and somewhat witty and stylish novella of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, Mary Harron transformed the saucy satirical bits into this cult movie starring the charismatic Chriistian Bale at the front of star studded cast. Bale was set to steal the show and this really boosted his career and ego to the outer limits, but I can’t argue that he gives a smart and sensuous performance.

I read the book and was happy to leave it as that, something the original author agrees with, but it became impossible to totally avoid the movie as it’s used to popular culture so much through doll’s phrases, and gifs it’s unavoidable. Continue reading American Psycho (2000)

A Ma Soeur / Fat Girl (2001)

AKA: For my sister, Story of a Whale.

Director: Catherine Breillat.
Starring: Anais Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo, Arsinee Khanjian. France. 1h 35m.

Catherine Breillat’s dark drama inspects the lives of two young sisters at a pivotal moment in their development into womanhood with all the graphic insights that Brielliat is akin to producing for her fans and mostly for her critics.

Anais (Reboux) and Elena (Mesquaida) are two sisters who are poles apart, the film opens with them walking into town from their families holiday home, discussing losing their virginity and sex, which is quite advanced for such young girls but Elena is firm in her beliefs that it should be between two people who really love each other and her huskier sister; Anais, is on the thought train of losing one’s virginity should be just done to get it out of the way, she’s convinced that any stranger will do then she’ll just get on with her life.

Be careful what you wish for. Continue reading A Ma Soeur / Fat Girl (2001)