Sunday started in a pleasantly bland way with Secret Rites
; a 1970s faux-documentary about witchcraft starring Alex Sanders and following various initiation rituals. As an informative piece, it was alright, but ruined by the obvious falsification. If I'm going to believe a documentary about a religious ritual, I want the set to be built of something besides tin foil. The rituals it documents aren't such a secret any more, and I'm pretty sure that the wiccans in my acquaintance don't follow a practice quite as patriarchal and heteronormative, so in that way it was a sign if its time. Enjoyable, but nothing to write home about. And Alex Sanders was a dull, dull man.
I had a ticket to see C4's Spooky Animation in TV Heaven, but as it wouldn't quite end in time for The Sorcerers, and I really wanted to see more Michael Reeves movies after really enjoying Witchfinder General on Friday, I instead decided to give Jennie a ring and find out where she was. It turned out where she was was somewhere that took me half an hour just to find, so instead I went straight to The Sorcerers
Boy, am I glad that I saw that. I'm sure the animation was good, but this was superb. Boris Karloff you'd expect to be excellent, but Catherine Lacey stole the show with her wonderful Lady-Macbeth esque character. The mind-control plot hit all my horror buttons – mind control is a sticking point for me, and it has to played as a straight up horror for me to enjoy it, which this does. Ian Ogilvy I'd first encountered on Friday's Witchfinder General, and I straight up adore him now. In Witchfinder
... he was the reactionary hero, seeking to avenge his wife's honour and bring down the antagonist by means of buckling swash and posing ridiculously. In Sorcerers, he nailed the bored pretty boy, and his utter obliviousness to the situation, and ability to rationalise what he can and forget what he can't, brought an extra layer of storytelling to the movie about mental illness. Plus he was super chiselled in the jaw line area. He's promptly stored in my idiot hero file next to Orlando Bloom.Robocop
is... well, it's Robocop
. It's been a while since I saw this movie, but the humour and the characters are still there, the effects, particularly on the ED-209 still hold up, and it was very fun to watch. Unfortunately, as with Verhoven's more recent Starship Troopers
, I fell that the humour and the spectacle and the shallow characterisation rather bury any deeper point he's trying to make, and the universe he's building, even with the great ad sequences scattered through. It's a pity, but it's not one that scores against the movie, which is great.
The weekend ended with The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
, which, while languishing sadly in unintentionally funny land, was jolly good fun and contained a couple of decently stirring zombie-chasing scenes. It's a shame, I think, that the lead man was so appalling as a character I activly wanted him to die, because I think we were supposed to think of him as a loveable rogue. I thought of him as an utter git. Fortunately, despit the director's attempts to convince us that lead asshole was right in his out-of-nowhere decision that Modern Technology was to blame for zombies, I saw absolutely no convincing evidence and am happy to reflect that he was compltely wrong, a git, and fortunately... well, that's a spoiler, isn't it?
All round, a great weekend. Though in retrospect it was a little too heavy on the zombies and, like last year, desperately lacking in werewolves. I'll be watching next year's dates closely in the hope it might fall between semesters.
More about the Fantastic Films Weekend can be found at the website of the National Media Museum
. If you think you might like to head over next year, then email Tony Earnshaw (address on that site) and let him know what you'd like to see. (Werewolves. We need more werewolves)This post is also posted at InnerBrat @ Dreamwidth. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.