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The Mind Benders

This strange picture goes forth in search of a genre, mainly because its theme — the destruction of the human personality — had previously seen light only in movies about brainwashing and alien possession. The Michael Relph and Basil Dearden team may not be as slick as The Archers, but they do peg this sober Isolation Chamber drama — even if we wonder if Dirk Bogarde will start talking like Paddy Chayefsky, and then shape-shift into an ape man. The real issue here is scientific ethics, of which Bogarde’s associates seem to have zero.

The Mind Benders


Kl Studio Classics

1963 / B&w / 1:66 widescreen / 109 min. / Street Date October 15, 2019 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Mary Ure, John Clements, Michael Bryant, Wendy Craig, Harold Goldblatt, Geoffrey Keen.

Cinematography: Denys N. Coop

Film Editor: John D. Guthridge

Original Music: Georges Auric

Written by James Kennaway

Produced by Michael Relph

Directed by Basil
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Drive-In Dust Offs: Girly (1970)

Dysfunctional families have long been a cornerstone of the movies; conflict is key, and the closer to home the harder it hits. Horror has capitalized on this for several decades; Spider Baby (1967), The Baby (1973), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (’74), and The Hills Have Eyes (’77) are just a few examples of familial ties more than a little twisted and frayed. But hey, that’s hospitality North American style; let’s hop across the pond and check in with the clan in Girly (1970), Freddie Francis’ veddy British and very dark comedy of manners, games, and psychotic role playing.

Distributed by Cinerama Releasing in February stateside but not until April in its homeland, Girly did much better business in North America than back home (where it was released under its original title Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, & Girly); this can be attributed to the U.K. buttoning up while exploitation films pulled everyone else’s knickers down around the globe.
See full article at DailyDead »

Drive-In Dust Offs: Torture Garden

Horror comics and magazines filled my shelves as a kid, titles such as Creepy, Eerie, House of Secrets and The Witching Hour weakening my eyes and troubling my sleep. I simply could not get enough of them. However, when I discovered that there were films made in the same multistory, blood soaked spirit, well, I forgot about sleep altogether. My first stop was Creepshow (1982), and delighted with that, I made my way back through earlier (and gentler) excursions of terror. Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Enter the Torture Garden (1967), a carnival exhibit where the evils of man are laid before you…for a price.

Released by Columbia Pictures November ’67 in the U.K. and July ’68 in North America, Torture Garden was the second film of Amicus Productions (Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (’65) being the first) that followed the omnibus format. Amicus, started by producers Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky,
See full article at DailyDead »

Oscar-Nominated Film Series: Dazzling-Looking Russian Revolution Epic Much Too Old-Fashioned

'Nicholas and Alexandra': Movie starred Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman 'Nicholas and Alexandra' movie review: Opulent 1971 spectacle lacks emotional core Nicholas and Alexandra is surely one of the most sumptuous film productions ever made. The elaborate sets and costumes, Richard Rodney Bennett's lush musical score, and frequent David Lean collaborator Freddie Young's richly textured cinematography provide the perfect period atmosphere for this historical epic. Missing, however, is a screenplay that offers dialogue instead of speeches, and a directorial hand that brings out emotional truth instead of soapy melodrama. Nicholas and Alexandra begins when, after several unsuccessful attempts, Tsar Nicholas II (Michael Jayston) finally becomes the father of a boy. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife, the German-born Empress Alexandra (Janet Suzman), have their happiness crushed when they discover that their infant son is a hemophiliac. In addition to his familial turmoil, the Tsar must also deal with popular
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Review: Robert Powell in Classic Ghost Stories.

If you love dark fiction you’ll already be acquainted with the works of M.R James. Maybe you read his short tales as a schoolchild or watched the excellent BBC Ghost Story for Christmas adaptations in the 1970s. Maybe you even caught these readings by Robert Powell on TV as part of the Jackanory strand when they aired.

I only have a vague memory of the series myself, though I’m familiar with the tales. So it was a real treat to listen to Robert Powell bring these ghost stories to life.

Originally broadcast in 1986 these five ghostly tales are collected for the first time on this newly issued DVD from BFI as part of their Gothic season. Each 14 minute episode (15 minutes for The Ash Tree) is interspersed with small vignettes of action lifted from the page. Although these playlets don’t really add much to the storytelling they
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Nicholas and Alexandra: mashing up history can't make this pair lovable

Trying to humanise pigheaded royals running full-tilt towards death is a tough call. Luckily the other side weren't much better

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

Director: Franklin J Schaffner

Entertainment grade: C+

History grade: B+

Nicholas II Romanov became tsar of Russia in 1894. His reign was beset by social and political unrest, culminating in the Russian revolution of 1917.


The film begins in 1904, with the tsarina, Alexandra (Janet Suzman), finally giving birth to an heir, Alexei. "I thought we'd go on having girls forever," she admits to the tsar (Michael Jayston, a dead ringer for the real thing). They have already produced four little grand duchesses. Meanwhile, at a political meeting, stony-faced Lenin (Michael Bryant) and exasperated Trotsky (Brian Cox) meet a bubbly young Borat lookalike calling himself Stalin (James Hazeldine). The film has elided a couple of events here: the Bolshevik-Menshevik split of 1903, in Belgium, and the All-Russian Bolshevik Conference of 1905, in Finland,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

‘The Stone Tape’ Review

Stars: Jane Asher, Michael Bryant, Ian Cuthbertson, Michael Bates, Reginald Marsh, Tom Chadbon, John Forgeham, Philip Trewinnard, James Cosmo | Written by Nigel Kneale | Directed by Peter Sasdy

I’ve never been a huge fan of ghost stories, largely because most of them feel (if you’ll excuse the pun) insubstantial and are more often than not resolved cheaply and without much in the way of originality. Which is to say nothing of the BBC’s insistence on producing at least four dusty Victorian-era spooky tales every Christmas. With exception, if you’ve seen one ghost story, you’ve seen them all, and The Stone Tape is mercifully one of the former.

Set in an ill-kept Victorian house, an electronics research team stumble across a room in which a female apparition appears at regular intervals to scream and just as quickly disappear, leading them to believe that she’s a psychic
See full article at Nerdly »

The Stone Tape DVD review

Review Aliya Whiteley 22 Mar 2013 - 06:38

Hailed as one of the scariest TV shows ever, The Stone Tape arrives on DVD. Here's Aliya's review of a perennial favourite...

The Stone Tape has enjoyed a reputation of brilliance since it was first broadcast on Christmas Day of 1972, so this DVD release, complete with commentary by writer Nigel Kneale and film critic Kim Newman, is a very welcome chance to see why the critics continue to rate it as one of the all-time scariest television experiences.

Jane Asher plays Jill Greeley, a computer programmer who is working on a new way of storing data for Ryan Electronics. She’s also having an affair with her power-hungry boss, Peter Brock (played bombastically by Michael Bryant). When Ryan Electronics moves into new premises, it turns out that the room marked as a storage facility has not been touched by the builders. It’s much
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Seven Classic TV Horror Movies

By Erin Lashley, MoreHorror.com

When Michael Calls - 1972

Helen begins receiving phone calls from a troubled child who claims to be her nephew Michael. The problem is that Michael died fifteen years ago.

Phone calls from beyond the grave are bad enough, and these sound mighty eerie, if you are affected by sounds in horror films the way that I am. But what really has the potential to be chilling is the idea that, if it’s not a ghost calling, then someone has to be absolutely batshit crazy to perpetrate a hoax like this. Not only that, but they’ve managed to coerce a living child into making the phone calls.

Michael Douglas is here in an early role, and if you’re a fan of Falling Down then you know that he does disturbed characters very well.

When Michael Calls stars Ben Gazzara, Elizabeth Ashley, and Michael Douglas,
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Your next box set: Colditz

The escape planning is rigorous and ingenious, the execution fraught with danger and full of tension. This 1972 series set in the infamous PoW camp never failed to grip

Major Pat Reid was the head of the escape committee at Colditz, the castle near Leipzig used by the Nazis as a PoW camp, and the war hero's input on this 1972 BBC series gave it an extraordinary level of authenticity. Sure, most of the names have been changed, many of the characters are composites and a few of Reid's fellow captives complained about his loose loyalty to actual events – but the day-to-day details, the daring escape attempts and the dynamic between captive and captor all ring true. And Reid did actually escape, crossing the border into Switzerland in 1942.

A co-production between the BBC and Universal Studios (highly unusual at the time), Colditz is a fine example of why British TV was considered
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Jeremy Paul obituary

Prolific playwright and the hidden hand behind a string of classic TV series

Jeremy Paul, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 71, was a prominent and industrious television writer associated with many of the leading series of the past 40 years, from Upstairs, Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street in the 1970s, to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected in the 80s and Lovejoy in the 90s. Relatively unknown writers such as Paul – who also wrote three BBC Plays for Today, including The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980), starring Peter Firth as a time-traveller, and many of Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes series, starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke – are the unsung heroes in the sustained supply of wit, literacy and humanity in our popular culture.

A 1988 West End stage spinoff of the Granada series, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, was revived last year at the Duchess theatre, starring Peter Egan
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Hamlet Debuts on Blu-ray on August 17th

You can bring home Kenneth Branagh's critically acclaimed 1996 version of William Shakespeare's classic play on Blu-ray this August. Hamlet (1996) will finally make its Blu-ray debut on August 17. This Bd set will be priced at $34.99 Srp and will come in a collectible book packaging that will feature biographies of cast and crew members, trivia and more and you can take a look at the packaging below. The film stars Kenneth Branagh, who also directs, along with Kate Winslet, Judi Dench and Robin Williams.

"Hamlet has the kind of power, energy and excitement that movies can truly exploit," award-winning actor/director Kenneth Branagh says. In this first-ever full-text film of William Shakespeare's greatest work, the power surges through every scene. The timeless tale of murder, corruption and revenge is reset in an opulent 19th-century world, using sprawling Blenheim Palace as Elsinore and staging much of the action in shimmering mirrored and gold-filled interiors.
See full article at MovieWeb »

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