Captain Howard Moon dies in hospital speaking the movie’s title (before it got changed to the generic The Cursed for streaming) after having a silver bullet yanked out of him in aftermath of WWI trench warfare.

Thirty-five years earlier, young Howard’s family and neighbors slaughtered all the gypsies, who had forged a set of silver teeth. The children, living in their fancy house with a mass grave in the yard, are having bad dreams, so they find the teeth and go all supernaturally murdery on each other and become tentacle werewolves, Howard surviving only to get killed in the war.

Crappy jump scares, and unforgivably long since it keeps repeating itself. I didn’t care about Anthropoid and this didn’t get great notices – can’t recall why I prioritized it, besides a masochistic urge to watch British movies during SHOCKtober.

Dr. Robert Powell (Ken Russell’s Mahler) arrives at the titular asylum to work for Dr. Starr, but is met by his assistant Patrick Magee instead. Magee says Starr is now a patient, locked safely upstairs with a trusty electrical system controlled by this button (I’ve heard that one before), and challenges Mahler to correctly identify the doctor. Mahler heroically pads the film on the way upstairs, and the orderly (who I correctly/immediately guessed as the doctor) lets him into each room, one at a time… yes, it’s a corny anthology horror, the same year Magee and Cushing and Dr. Orderly appeared in Tales from the Crypt. 1972 would seem to be too late for this kinda thing, but British people such as Edgar Wright think all this is great.

Bonnie (Barbara Parkins of The Mephisto Waltz and A Taste of Evil) isn’t even the murderer in her story – her boyfriend Richard Todd (the least famous person in House of the Long Shadows) chops up his harpy wife (Sylvia Syms, appropriately of Victim) and puts her in the basement freezer, but her butcher-paper-wrapped body parts reanimate, strangling him and attacking the unwitting Bonnie with the hatchet until the police arrive to blame the whole mess on her.

Tailor Bruno (Barry Morse of The Changeling) was brought the Man in the White Suit material by mysterious customer Peter Cushing, who planned on using dark magick to resurrect his dead son with the suit, but the tailor’s wife puts the suit on a mannequin which comes to life instead.

Barbara (young Charlotte Rampling, whoa) seems the most culpable so far. She starts by blaming Lucy (Britt Ekland of Wicker Man) for murdering her brother (James Villiers of Mountains of the Moon) and the nurse (Megs Jenkins of The Innocents), but Lucy might be an invented personality of Barbara’s.

Dr. Byron (Herbert Lom of The Sect) is at least a doctor of something – I don’t know how we’re supposed to imagine that the previous three were actually psychologists based on their stories. But Lom’s specialty is transmitting his consciousness into sub-Puppet Master wind-up dolls. The new visitor must’ve inspired a rampage, since he and Dr. Orderly go on the attack.

Cool opening as everyone in town passes out, and all the women wake up pregnant. But – oh no, it’s British – so we cannot say the word “pregnant,” it wouldn’t be proper. The men are understandably upset since nobody in Britain has had sex in years, but life must go on, all the babies are born heavy with strange eyes, growing fast and blonde, and the grown-ups make the best of it.

Alan (Michael Gwynn, a priest in Scars of Dracula) visits town to see what’s up, checks in with his friends George Sanders (All About Eve narrator, Voyage to Italy husband) and Barbara Shelley (Quatermass and the Pit) and their new alien son David. The kids are psychic, resistant to authority, and tend to make adults who threaten them commit suicide. As an unexpected tie-in to our Hellraiser-themed month, their intelligence is tested using a complex puzzle box. The angry drunks at the bar think mob violence is the solution, but it’s not – it’s sending George Sanders to the schoolhouse with a bomb, trying to guard his thoughts from psychic intrusion until it goes off. In the Defining Movies book, Chris Fujiwara praises the ending, the crumbling wall superimposed over Sanders’ eyes “shows the process of thought – the gradual erosion of the man’s concentration.”

The author’s Day of the Triffids was filmed the year before with Howard Keel, and more recently with Eddie Izzard, while this was remade a few times, the latest coming out just a few months ago (and now I need to check out the John Carpenter version). Rilla is mainly known for this – looks like he made some naughty indies in the 1970’s.

Sanders, matching the curtains:

Some notes I took along the way:

Day 2 opens with them looking thru Beatles fan magazines

Michael L-H is kinda an ass

Cutting between 1966+69 on “Rock & Roll Music” at end of day 4 is great

Mal is round-headed guy who plays anvil on Maxwell’s

We know that it’s magic to spend time with the Beatles, but episode two presses its luck, showing us different views of a flowerpot while John and Paul argue near a hidden mic

Peter Sellers shows up after The Magic Christian sets arrive

Reminiscing on their India trip, discussing the footage, which we get to see

Michael and Glyn are credited with the roof idea

Jackson has overbaked everything since Frighteners

Soon before the concert, John simply sings the setlist, wow

During the concert the movie thinks we want to hear everything the teenaged chinstrap-chewing pigs say, but we’d like to hear the music please

Problems with the crowd interviews on the street: British people are boring, and clearly Beatlemania is over

Beatlemania is back on in our house, though.

Aspirational Post-Beatles Media To-Do List

The Magic Christian (1969)
– Ringo: Beaucoups of Blues (1970)
– George: All Things Must Pass (1970)
– John/Yoko: Plastic Ono Band (1970) + Imagine (1971)
– Paul: McCartney (1970) + Linda/Ram (1971) + Wings/Wild Life (1971)
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
Concert for George (2003)
– Beatles Anthology (1995)
– Beatles Love (2006)
Rock and Roll Circus (1968)
How I Won the War (1967)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Jimi Plays Monterey (1967)
George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

Her Majesty wishes to have knowledge, so her whitehatted sorcerer summons the angel Ariel. This is awesome, and is the last awesome thing that will happen in the film, which jumps to present-day artpunk, deteriorating into campy self-satisfied in-jokes as the novelty wears off and it stretches painfully to feature length.

The Past:

Jarman’s second feature after a decade of shorts costars Adam Ant, who lip-sync-fronts a live band. One of the Bowie-wannabe youth is Nell Campbell who somehow specialized in maximalist rock films, also appearing in Rocky Horror and The Wall and Lisztomania. A spirit named Ariel and an actor named Orlando seem to productively predict future, better films.

The Present:

See Also: A Quiet Passion, for which I wrote: “Spoiler alert for a Terence Davies movie: her heart is full of poetry and yearning but her adult/love life doesn’t turn out very happily.”

Siegfried “Vidal” Sassoon is a sensitive soul, deeply marked by the war, witty and strong-minded but sweet, who has affairs with a string of bitchy bitter young men, and finally grows into a bitchy bitter old man himself. Jack Lowden (friendly lawyer of Mangrove) is brilliant as younger Sassoon. Feels like a large movie for Davies, more characters and stock footage and party scenes and time periods than usual. The well-done morphing effect is back. The other fine actors included Simon Beale (husband of Deep Blue Sea), Jeremy Irvine (star of War Horse), Gemma Jones (Oliver Reed’s eventual wife in The Devils).

With a new Downton Abbey movie out, it’s really time we rewatch Gosford Park, which also featured Ivor Novello as a character. Stephen Tennant is mainly shown wearing colorful scarves, but after visiting his wiki page, I resent the movie not mentioning that Tennant’s stepdad Lord Grey was a bird lover whose older brother was the namesake for Earl Grey tea. Sassoon’s son George taking an interest in UFOs in the 1970’s and writing “The Radio Hacker’s Codebook” in the 90’s are just more reasons this movie needs a sequel – all these would’ve been cooler codas than Sassoon aging into Peter Capaldi, converting to catholicism in the 1960’s and being horrible to family and friends.

My first movie at the Landmark Midtown Art since Portrait of a Lady on Fire in early 2020. Glad to see some things haven’t changed (audio bleed through thin walls, indifferent projection quality) and some things have (they’ve stopped labeling which movie is on which screen, the lobby seems more haunted).

Foolish boy gets job at decrepit baths, falls into the pool immediately. Young Susan shows him around, then his first customer keeps swatting him and saying “up yours,” and the next one becomes an overheated John Waters situation. Every woman in town is hot for this 15-year-old except for Susan, who gets him arrested when he tails her to an x-rated movie. I can’t follow the currency because I dunno the 1970 guinea-to-pound-to-quid ratio, but I can follow the Can soundtrack, which is very Can. The tone stays kinda cutesy and light, even as he slashes her married boyfriend’s tires and she knocks his tooth out. Ultimately when your protagonist is a creepy insecure mumblemouthed potentially-violent teenage boy, things aren’t gonna end well – he murders her, but still in a playfully cute way.

Mike D’Angelo:

Even as his behavior gradually becomes more and more troubling, less and less defensible, the film remains too messy for a simple flipped switch in which we belatedly decide that we’ve been watching a monster … Deep End is a portrait of adolescent horniness/haplessness that always seems to be headed for tragedy (and indeed is), yet foregrounds a kid who comes across as so innocent and absurd that it’s hard to do anything but smile indulgently at him.

Our hero James Fox is trashing the office of a gambler who didn’t pay protection, which is a trend in movies I watched this week. The gambler then trashes Fox’s place and gets shot for it, now Fox has to lay low until his boss can get him onto a boat for New York. He stays with some druggie beatniks who grow mushrooms, led by Anita Pallenberg and including Mick Jagger. Now we’ve got two of the worst kind of people in movies: the violent gangster and the drippy hippie. The hippies’ influence is felt on the filmmaking – once we arrive at the house, the editing stops jumping into the future/past and the camera roves around more.

Hard to see Fox’s makeshift red-paint hair-dye job in this light:

Mick dances with a fluorescent light then lip-syncs a music video. Fox inevitably gets fed a crazy mushroom. When his men come to pick him up, he shoots Mick in the head and maybe becomes him. At one point I paused to look up whether Bergman’s Persona had opened in the UK early enough to have been an influence (yep, mid-1967).

Brown sugar in the foreground when Mick is introduced:

It’s all more sordid than I was expecting… gonna have to be one of those respected cinema classics that doesn’t become a personal fave. At least Peter Labuza agrees. Roeg’s first movie as (co-) director, having ended his cinematographer-for-hire career with Petulia. Writer/director Cammell later made three other features which all sound intriguing: an audiophile serial killer, Anne Heche as a call girl, and a computer impregnates Julie Christie.