Psycho (1960)

. Director: Alfred Hitchcock Screenwriter: Joseph Stefano By Roderick Heath In the late months of 1959 and through 1960, a battery of films hit movie screens that essentially initiated modern cinema. Amongst the films made the young lions of the French New Wave and the fanfare for the Italian ‘alienation’ mode, Psycho seems in odd …

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1919)

. Director: Robert Wiene Screenwriters: Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer By Roderick Heath Imagine what it must have been like, to be someone who just bought a ticket to see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari way back in 1919. Perhaps some ex-soldier just back from the abandoned trenches, curious to see that crazy new film someone …

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The White Buffalo

. Director: J. Lee Thompson Screenwriter: Richard Sale By Roderick Heath Horror films and Westerns long seemed utterly irreconcilable genres. The Western engages official mythologies of nation, history, and society, where the Horror film tends to set them in happy disarray. Horror films court anarchic impulses and dwell in zones of psychological figuration, where Westerns …

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Blue Velvet (1986)

Director/Screenwriter: David Lynch By Roderick Heath .. David Lynch’s name is synonymous with a creative style close to a genre in itself. His is an outlandish, numinous, discomforting aesthetic, purveyed across several art forms, where the texture of dreams, and nightmares, can suddenly colonise an apparently stable and homey world, where humans peel apart and …

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The Omen (1976) / Damien: Omen II (1978) / The Final Conflict (1981)

. Directors: Richard Donner; Don Taylor; Graham Baker Screenwriters: David Seltzer; Mike Hodges, Stanley Mann; Andrew Birkin By Roderick Heath The success of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) inaugurated a brief moment when Horror films were not just big business but could potentially be classy, mass-audience fare. Rosemary’s Baby …

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Mandy (2018)

. Director: Panos Cosmatos Screenwriters: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Panos Cosmatos is a second-generation directing talent, son of the Florence-born, Greco-Italian director George Pan Cosmatos and Swedish sculptor Birgitta Ljungberg-Cosmatos. Cosmatos the Elder directed many a punchy action movie over the years, including Escape to Athena (1979), Rambo: …

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Doctor Zhivago (1965)

. Director: David Lean Screenwriter: Robert Bolt By Roderick Heath David Lean had been a respected and heralded director since his debut helping Noel Coward realise his vision on 1943’s World War II classic In Which We Serve. His reputation was burnished with a succession of intimate, shaded, romantically charged dramas including Brief Encounter (1945), …

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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

. Director/Screenwriter: John Carpenter By Roderick Heath In the dark alleys of a modern cityscape, war is brewing. Heavily armed gang members stalk the dark, only to be spotlighted and coldly massacred by policemen, the bringers of death rendered dehumanised figures as the camera elides their faces and concentrates instead on their hands and weapons. …

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

. Director/Screenwriter: Lynne Ramsay By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers... Glasgow-born director Lynne Ramsay gained international repute with her impressionistic debut narrative film Ratcatcher in 1999. Ramsay cemented her status as a filmmaker to watch with her portrait of crisis adrift, Morvern Callar, in 2002, and her American film debut, the 2011 adaptation of …

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The Searchers (1956)

Director: John Ford Screenwriter: Frank Nugent By Roderick Heath John Ford was hardly lacking in fame and acclaim when he released The Searchers. He’d already captured four Oscars as Best Director, proof he stood for his peers as the most admired of American filmmaking talents. Given how rarely Westerns were given such awards and serious …

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