Symptoms (1974) | The once lost British horror gets a world premiere restored release from BFI Flipside
A young woman (Lorna Heilbron) is invited to stay at the remote country mansion belonging to her girlfriend (Angela Pleasence). But the peaceful retreat is interrupted by the menacing presence of the local gamekeeper (Peter Vaughan)…
And so begins Symptoms, director José Ramón Larraz’s modern gothic horror story and the official British entry for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1974. Slipping into obscurity following its release, the film has long been considered lost, appearing on the BFI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list of 75 missing films. But with the negatives found and the film restored following a 2K remastering, Larraz’ eerie master class in suspense and terror will be released by BFI Flipside in a Dual Format Edition on 25 April 2016, with the following extras…
• From Barcelona… to Tunbridge Wells: The films of José Larraz (Andy Starke and Pete Tombs, 1999, 24 mins): Archive documentary, featuring interviews with Larraz, Brian Smedley-Aston and Marianne Morris.
• On Vampyres and other Symptoms (Celia Novis, 2011, 74 mins): Archive documentary on Larraz’s most acclaimed films.
• Interview with star Angela Pleasence (2016, 10 mins)
• Interview with actress Lorna Heilbron (2016, 18 mins)
• Interview with editor Brian Smedley-Aston (2016, 17 mins)
• Original trailer.
• Collector’s booklet.
Filmed in Supermarionation | This definitive look at Gerry Anderson’s iconic 1960s TV puppet series is FAB!
STAND BY FOR ACTION!
This documentary, directed and produced by Stephen La Rivière, is the definitive look at how Gerry and Sylvia Anderson pioneered what was to become their trademark in filmmaking using marionettes – Supermarionation, and celebrates the creative team behind the shows that have become TV history. It’s also a must-see/must have for Thunderbirds aficionados and Fandersons everywhere!
Thunderbirds‘ Lady Penelope and her loyal chauffeur Parker guide us through the history of the Anderson’s iconic small and big screen adventures, incorporating a wealth of new interviews (led by the Andersons’ son Jamie) with the studio’s original puppeteers, artists and craftsmen and previously unseen archive footage.
Starting out as AP Film in a makeshift studio at Islet Park in Maidenhead, the Anderson’s created The Adventures of Twizzle, Torchy the Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls (which signalled the birth of Supermarionation), before moving to a small Ipswich Road factory on the Slough Trading Estate (today a car repair shop), where they produced Supercar and Fireball XL5. AP Films’ fortunes took off in 1963 when Lew Grade bought into the company. Moving to new premises on the Estate, the company’s next effort Stingray was shot in ‘Videocolor’ and premiered on UK TV in October 1964 (five years before the colour service began on ITV).
But the crowning glory of the Supermarionation shows was 1965’s Thunderbirds. Inspired by a real-life mine disaster in Germany at the time, the series followed the daring exploits of International Rescue, headed up by ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons. Bringing big film techniques to the small screen (courtesy of unsung hero Derek Meddings) made this the star of children’s TV of the day, and featured two characters that have become iconic: the Emma Peel inspired Lady Penelope (voiced by and modelled on Sylvia Anderson) and Parker (voiced by David Graham, who based the character on a waiter he once met). Lew Grade loved it so much; he made them into 50-minute episodes.
In 1966, AP Films became Century 21 Cinema Productions to reflect its space age image. It was a glorious time for the tiny Slough-based company, but their golden goose laid a bad egg in Thunderbirds Are Go!, which crashed at the box-office and spelled the end of the series. The following year, Captain Scarlet battled the Mysterions in a dark sci-fi which was also the first to feature non-caricatured puppets in human scale, while Joe 90 centred on the adventures of a school boy turned super spy.
Anderson’s Secret Service in 1968, however, was also a dud, as it awkwardly tried to marry puppets with live action and featured a language that no one could understand. It was his last puppet TV show until 1980s Terrahawks, as he then threw himself into his live-action adventures, beginning with Doppelgänger (for the big screen) and UFO (for TV), which wasn’t good news for the Slough crew who had to stand by and tearfully watch 12 years of their hard work get dumped unceremoniously into skips. The puppet era was well and truly over.
• Deleted Scenes Package: A selection of material that was unused in the final documentary.
• Filming in Supermarionation: a 3-minute short about filming the puppets and effects for the documentary.
• Special Effects Reel: a reel of the special effects shot for the documentary.
• Gerry and Sylvia in America: colour footage shot by Barry Gray of Gerry and Sylvia at the World’s Fair in New York. With new music track.
• Tomorrow’s World: Behind the scenes at Century 21 looking at their video assist system.
• Something for the Children: interview with Sylvia Anderson for the BBC.
• Parade Behind the Scenes (with sound synced up): colour behind the scenes film.
• Lord Mayor and Thunderbird 3 (silent)
Filmed in Supermarionation is available on DVD and in a Limited Edition Box Set from Network Distributing and also on iTunes (click here)
Space 1999: The Bringers of Wonder | Holy nuclear meltdown! Alpha’s under attack from giant blob monsters – in HD!
From Network in the UK comes the new restored Blu-ray of the Space 1999 two-parter, The Bringers of Wonder, plus the Destination Moonbase Alpha movie (unrestored) in a Special Edition release limited to just 1999 copies.
Originally screened in the UK in August 1977, The Bringers of Wonder is one of the most memorable adventures in Gerry Anderson‘s much-loved British sci-fi, mainly for the seven-foot jellied creatures seeking a rejuvenating blast from Alpha’s nuclear waste domes. Pulsating with light and blood, these icky one-eyed sentient amoebas looked fantastically ridiculous, like the lumbering offspring of The Green Slime and Sigmund & the Sea Monsters – both big faves of mine.
I remember these cool monsters very well and they were the best thing in this slightly ridiculous, but wholly enjoyable, story in which the aliens use telepathy to dupe the Alphans into believing they are friends and relatives from Earth on a rescue mission. Only Commander Koenig (Martin Landau), who has undergone experimental surgery for a neurological trauma, sees through their disguise, until he finally convinces Helena (Barbara Bain) and Maya (Catherine Schell) that he hasn’t gone mad…
Written by Terence Feely (who went on to create ITV’s The Gentle Touch in 1980) and directed by Tom Clegg (The Sweeney), this episode was the only two-parter in the series and served as the basis for the 1978 big-screen feature Destination: Moonbase Alpha, one of four films assembled from episodes of the series, which is included in an unrestored version in this release (along with the trailer, also unrestored). The adventure was also novelised in the fourth Year Two Space: 1999 novel The Psychomorph by Michael Butterworth published in 1977.
Besides the monsters, the other highlight was seeing Maya metamorphing into a beetle, a kendo fighter (played by sensei Okimitsu Fujii), a green lizard and a blue creature, and also one of the blobbies. And for fans, the introduction of a new spacecraft, the Superswift.
Network has again done a brilliant job on this restored Blu-ray (especially when you compare it with the unrestored movie compilation). The futuristic sets and costumes really zing, while the HD shows up every pore on the actors’ skin, and the SFX sequences look astonishing. Roll on 2015, when the Series Two Blu-ray gets a release.
‘It’s better to live as your own man than as a fool in somebody else’s dream’
Space 1999: The Bringers of Wonder is released on Blu-ray on 8 December (but available as a pre-buy now) from Network Distributing
SPACE 1999 LINKS
Cooking With Joan Crawford | Dine like the Hollywood legend
Ever fancied playing host or hostess in old Hollywood style, then Cooking With Joan Crawford, might just give you a few ideas. The star of classics like Mildred Pierce and cult fare like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Trog may not have won any awards in the mothering department, but Joan Crawford regarded herself as a bit of a domestic goddess in the kitchen, and her dinner parties in the 1930s were the talk of Tinseltown. The proud Texan loved the elaborate and exotic when playing hostess with the most-ess, but out her couture cocktail dresses she preferred her food down home.
Jenny Hammerton, who runs the divine Silver Screen Suppers website, which is dedicated to the culinary habits of Hollywood stars of old, has put together over 30 of Crawford’s favourite receipes, including hearty old-fashioned mains like Turkey and Noodles Alfredo and retro desserts like Floating Island, in her new cookbook, with notes about the recipes origination (mainly vintage issues of the film fan magazine Photoplay).
I’ve tried out two of the recipes, the Bisquick cheese straws (I made our own Bisquick, but you can get it in Tesco) and the Charcoal Broiled Steak with Roquefort Cheese. Both were delicious and very easy to make.
Best served along with a Joan Crawford movie matinee and a hostess trolley full of Cosmos. Just don’t forget the ugli fruit (Joanie’s favourite) or the wire coaters will be out in a flash.
Cooking With Joan Crawford is available exclusively through Blurb (click here) in two versions, one with a swanky hardcover dust jacket with extra titbits about how Joanie liked to entertain, and an image wrap version (sans jacket).
Twitter @silverscreensup #joancrawfordcookbook
House of Whipcord (1974) | Pete Walker’s depraved exploitation horror remastered for your sick pleasure
Pete Walker’s sleazy masterpiece screens tonight at 9pm on The Horror Channel and gets a special retro screening at the Barbican on 22 November as part of the House of Walker season curated by Cigarette Burns.
Only young girls may enter and no one leaves…
Immoral young women are undermining the social fabric of Britain. What can be done about it? One couple think they’ve found the answer – buy a disused prison, fill it with women of loose morals and then degrade, flog and hang them until they see the error of their ungodly ways. When French model Ann-Marie (Penny Irving) causes a scandal for appearing naked in public, she accepts an offer from the dashing Mark Desade (Robert Tayman) to hide out at his family’s country estate. But she soon finds herself hurled into a secret women’s prison run by Mark’s parents – disgraced prison governess Mrs Wakehurst (Barbara Markham) and the blind, senile Justice Bailey (Patrick Barr). Now, she and her fellow inmates face the starkest of choices – submit or die. But Ann-Marie gambles…
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Stay Tuned | Normal Service Will Resume October 20
They’ll be no posts from me for the next few weeks as Im off on a much-needed digital break. But stay tuned for reviews of the FrightFest 2014 surprise hit THE BABADOOK, THE COMPLETE BLACULA COLLECTION from Eureka!, and the blu-ray releases of CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR and ISLAND OF TERROR from Odeon and Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA from Cinema Classics.
Network announces limited edition Supermarionation Blu-ray box set release
Gerry Anderson fans rejoice! Following the news that the acclaimed documentary Filmed in Supermarionation will gets its UK premiere on 30 September, as the curtain raiser to the BFI’s Days of Fear and Wonder Sci-Fi season, Network have announced a special limited edition Blu-ray box-set will be released on 20 October.
Limited to 2,500 copies and available exclusively from networkonair.com and gerryanderson.co.uk (pre-orders start today 1 August), the covetable Supermarionation box-set marries the documentary with newly-restored key episodes from the Supermarionation spectrum. Also included is an expanded edition of Stephen La Riviere’s book, an exclusive one-off TV21 comic, and a wallet of postcards featuring newly created artwork.
THE FULL SPECS:
• Filmed In Supermarionation – Blu-ray edition features a wealth of special features including extended interviews and full length archive material. See the trailer below.
• This Is Supermarionation – Blu-ray
Lady Penelope and Parker host a four hour Supermarionation marathon (Four Feather Falls: Gunfight on Main Street; Supercar: False Alarm; Fireball XL5: Space City Special; Stingray: pilot; Thunderbirds: Terror in New York City; Captain Scarlet: The Mysterons; Joe 90: Hi-Jacked; The Secret Service: More Haste, Less Speed),
• HD21 – The Lost Worlds Of Gerry Anderson In High Definition – Blu-ray
Two additional Blu-ray discs of restored key episodes (Supercar: Crash Landing; Fireball XL5: Planet 46; Stingray: Plant of Doom; Stingray: Titan Goes Pop; Thunderbirds: Trapped in the Sky; Captain Scarlet: Treble Cross; Joe 90: The Most Special Agent; Supercar: Talisman of Sargon; Fireball XL5: XL5 to H2O; Stingray: Count Down; Thunderbirds: Atlantic Inferno; Captain Scarlet: Winged Assassin; Captain Scarlet: Noose of Ice; The Secret Service: A Case for the BISHOP)
• TV21 – Edition 243
Exclusive brand-new edition of the classic Century 21 comic TV21.
An exclusive wallet of A5-sized postcards featuring some of the Justin T Lee’s stylish graphics originally produced for the film and book.
Film4 FrightFest 2014 | Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performs Dawn of the Dead and Suspiria live in London
For the first time ever in the UK, Claudio Simonetti’s GOBLIN will be performing live scores for George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA on consecutive nights at the Union Chapel, Islington, London N1 2XD
On Monday 18th August they will be scoring ‘Dawn of the Dead’ – accompanying the NMS Records, German, English Language version of the film, and on Tues 19th August, ‘Suspiria’ – accompanying the CDE, Italian, English Language version. Doors open at 7pm. Audiences must be aged 18 and over.
Tickets are on sale now from http://www.seetickets.com/artist/goblin/321495
FrightFest pass holders have been offered a special discount. The code can be found on the FrightFest website www.frightfest.co.uk
Arrow Video kicks off it’s 5th birthday celebrations with six Steelbook reissues and a Golden Ticket offer
This June, Arrow Video, the UK home entertainment label responsible for distributing the best in cult cinema, will celebrate its 5th year anniversary. To kick off the celebrations, six commemorative Steelbook re-issues are being released exclusively through Zavvi, starting with Maniac Cop (already sold out) and Day of the Dead on 30 June, followed by Black Sunday, Inferno, City of the Living Dead and Phenomena. Inside one of these limited edition Steelbooks will be a Golden Ticket, which will win one lucky fan the entire Arrow Video back-catalogue and all upcoming 2014 titles.
Later in the year, Arrow also plans to hold a series of talent-led fan-events, offer unique merchandise and unveil some interactive competitions. So stay tuned for some special announcements being made in the coming weeks…