On 23 September, Indicator shines a light on a quartet of outstanding, yet little-seen films which star some of Britain’s most celebrated acting talent. First, Alberto Cavalcanti’s classic They Made Me a Fugitive (1947); secondly, Michael Winner’s The System (1964); next, Indicator proudly present their second world Blu-ray premiere – the fascinating sixties drama 90° in the Shade (1965); and last but by no means least, Indicator present another long-overdue UK Blu-ray premiere – Matthew Chapman’s Hussy (1980).
Shed of the Dead is a zombie thriller, from director Drew Cullingham. One part Shaun of the Dead and one part 28 Days Later, the film follows two slackers, who whittle their days away playing Dungeons & Dragons, painting figurines, and dreaming of their fantasy hero, the battle mage Casimir the Destroyer. As life pressures build up for Trevor and his agoraphobic friend Graham, events take an unexpected turn, when the undead turn up in their little gardening spot. Now, it is a fight for survival, in a real zombie apocalypse – this May!
“An unlikely hero’s tale of blood, sweat, and shears!”
Joe Ahearne is a British writer and director whose TV miniseries The Replacement was shown on the BBC in 2017 to a warm reception. I caught up with him to chat about this and his other project, the horror/thriller film called B&B.
“This was the first time I’d written something where I was determined that the gay guys were absolutely going to be the stars, and it was sort of a genre piece as well. I was definitely interesting in doing something that had some kind of fantasy or horror.”
B&B takes as its inspiration a court case that received quite widespread publicity about six years ago for being the sort of thing that makes you go, “seriously, in this day and age?” The set-up is that a homosexual couple have fought and won a court case against a bed and breakfast that discriminated against them by refusing them a double room – a legal battle which really did take place and which was eventually decided in the Supreme Court, because there seems to be a disappointing abundance of legal funding for bigoted wankers.
“They made their bed… Now they have to die in it.”
The word ‘Epic’ has recently been devalued and just used to mean something that is striking or enjoyable, but the correct meaning of the word indicated narratives in the ‘Epic’ mould – those which surpass the ordinary in scale and reach heroic proportions – this applies to films too. I’m taking a look at some of the truly Epic movies from the early 1980s that showed extraordinary ambition in their story and spectacle.
“Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.”
On 22 July, Indicator delves into the darkest recesses of British horror cinema of the 1970s and 80s in order to unleash six terrifying tales on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK. First out of the shadows is Bloody Terror: The Shocking Cinema of Norman J Warren, 1976-1987. Next up is Richard Marquand’s 1979 bloody chiller The Legacy; a horrifying tale of supernatural revenge.
“Conceived in violence, carried in terror, born to devastate and brutalize a universe!”
I needed to know for myself how far Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House had diverged from the 1959 book and if it had actually improved on it. So I read the book first and then watched the 1963 film, The Haunting, which I’d heard was a classic. I must admit I enjoyed both of them – and found them very different from one another – so I decided that so I decided that all three needed to be compared.
“You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror!”
On 24 June, Indicator presents a selection of iconic independent productions from the 1970s and 80s – Black Joy (1977); Scum (1979); The Missionary (1982); and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987) – which bring together some of British film and television’s most celebrated talents, both on and off screen, including award-winning cinematographers Phil Méheux and Peter Hannan – both of whom worked closely with Indicator to ensure that the films all look as they originally intended.
“Life is for living…”
Matthew Holness is best know for his turn as Garth Marenghi, the darkly comic horror novelist that spoofs trashy 70’s British television, but here in his directorial feature debut there’s nothing humorous, in fact things are extremely grim indeed. What formula he does stick to is keeping with the style of trashy 70’s British horror films.
“Mother, Father, what’s afoot? Only Possum, black as soot. Mother, Father, where to tread? Far from Possum and his head. Here’s a bag, now what’s inside? Does he seek or does he hide? Can you spy him, deep within? Little Possum, black as sin.”
London has inspired countless horror films over the years. Its historic streets have long whispered their macabre stories into the ears of willing film directors, who base their tales of terror in England’s eerie capital. Whether it’s vicious serial killers or undead hordes, London has always provided a spectacular backdrop to films that go bump in the night.
“Beneath modern London, buried alive in its plague-ridden tunnels lives a tribe of once humans. Neither men nor women, they are less than animals… they are the raw meat of the human race!”
Adapted from Kendal Young’s 1964 novel The Ravine, Sidney Hayers’ Assault is a vicious psychological thriller. Tessa Hurst, a 16-year-old pupil of the Heatherdene School for Girls in London, decides to take a shortcut home through the woods – through an area known as the Devil’s End. Unbeknownst to Tessa, she is being stalked by an unseen assailant who, upon making himself known, proceeds to chase her as she flees in terror. With nowhere to run Tessa is assaulted, partially stripped, and raped.
“If you go down in the woods today…”
After sleazily making his way to the London Underground from the sex district, James Manfred, OBE, some big shit… shot, at the Ministry of Defense, or something, confronts a woman waiting on the platform at Russell Square tube station. “How much?” he asks. “Look darling, god knows if you are worth it… but fortunately I can afford to find out.” Her response? A swift knee to his gonads before running away! As Manfred winces in pain, something catches his eye emerging from the underground tunnel…