Familiar Monsters

Best of 2016, Theda Bara, The Veil

As 2016 comes to a shuddering close, we take a look back at some of the most rewarding and provocative releases of the year. Our cinema highlights of the last 12 months include Lucile Hadžihalilovic’s poetic and disturbing second feature Evolution, Babak Anvari’s Farsi-language horror film Under the Shadow, Ben Wheatley’s Ballard adaptation High-Rise and Mexican director Emiliano Rocha Minter’s visceral subversive spectacle We Are the Flesh. We were also impressed by David Mackenzie's solid neo-Western Hell or High Water, Brady Corbet’s directorial debut The Childhood of a Leader and poignant ghost story Nina Forever.

In home entertainment, we welcomed the releases of seminal American independent film Suture, Andrzej Żuławski’s striking directorial debut The Third Part of the Night, and Duccio Tessari’s stylish giallo The Bloodstained Butterfly. We also loved Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s deliriously libidinous all-girl rock band melodrama Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and re-watched Barry Lyndon on the occasion of its new 4K restoration. Not to forget the great Alan Clarke Collection released by the BFI, including Baal, starring David Bowie, and visionary coming-of-age dream Penda’s Fen.

For the latest edition of his ‘Nightmare Movies’ column, Kim Newman looks at The Veil, a recent film from the busy Blumhouse boutique genre production label. And author Essie Fox explains why she has chosen silent film vamp Theda Bara as her filmic alter ego.

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The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology

The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (Strange Attractor Press) brings together Bill Morrison's chemical ghosts, 50s bad girls, apocalyptic evangelical cinema, Spanish zombies, Japanese nihilists and David Lynch's soundtracks of decay. 'Superb - a masterly accomplishment. Beautifully produced - and its content and vision could not be more accurate and timely.' - Peter Whitehead. Read the reviews.

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Revolutionary Soviets, Nazi Bombast, Apolitical America: In this theme we look at propaganda in film - excessive, obsessive, ruinous or sublime, including articles on 'The New US War Film', Sergei Eisenstein and 'Watching Films in the Time of Trump', along with a Reel Sound column on Triumph of the Will, interviews, reviews and more.

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Electric Sheep Film Show
November 2016

Investigating Genre: In the latest podcast, Alex Fitch talks to Lee Broughton about his book Euro-Western, and to director Andrew Martin about his excellent Cold War SF thriller Capsule, recorded at the 2016 SCI-FI-LONDON film festival. Plus, Virginie Sélavy discusses this year’s London International Animation Festival (LIAF) with festival director Nag Vladermersky.
The Electric Sheep Film Show is on every third Wednesday of the month, 5.30-6.30pm at Resonance FM 104.4. Next date: 21 Dec 2016.

Miskatonic December 2016

Miskatonic London
Working the Blue Rose Case

On 8 December 2016, Miskatonic London returns to the Horse Hospital with a special on David Lynch's puzzling dream narratives. Maura McHugh will explore the symbols and themes that underpin Fire Walk With Me and Twin Peaks, offering a refresher course in its characters and strange happenings in advance of the new series of Twin Peaks in 2017.
Tickets are now on sale at wegottickets.com £10 advance / £8 concs / £11 on the door.

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