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 …

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

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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Galaxy Express 999 (1979) / Adieu, Galaxy Express 999: Final Stop Andromeda (1981)

Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain / Sayônara, Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain: Andromeda Shûchakueki Director: Rintaro Screenwriters: Kon Ichikawa, Shirô Ishimori; Hiroyasu Yamaura By Roderick Heath Leiji Matsumoto isn’t a household name outside of Japan except to fans of manga and anime, Japan’s beloved, specific styles in cartooning and animation. But for anyone who does love those art forms, …

Continue reading Galaxy Express 999 (1979) / Adieu, Galaxy Express 999: Final Stop Andromeda (1981)

Touki-Bouki (1973)

Director/Screenwriter: Djibril Diop Mambéty By Roderick Heath Following its 2007 restoration by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki-Bouki has emerged in recent years to be celebrated as one of the finest products of African cinema. Touki-Bouki made a Sight & Sound Film Poll as one of the hundred greatest films of all …

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The Land That Time Forgot (1975) / At The Earth’s Core (1976) / The People That Time Forgot (1977) / Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Director: Kevin Connor Screenwriters: Michael Moorcock, James Cawthorn, Milton Subotsky, Patrick Tilley, Brian Hayles By Roderick Heath Movies like Star Wars (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) stand large as templates for contemporary blockbuster cinema, for better and for worse. But I’ve long thought of them rather as a culmination in popularity for …

Continue reading The Land That Time Forgot (1975) / At The Earth’s Core (1976) / The People That Time Forgot (1977) / Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Director: Sydney Pollack Screenwriters: Edward Anhalt, John Milius (uncredited: David Rayfiel) By Roderick Heath John Jeremiah Garrison “Liver-Eating” Johnson was one of those authentic characters of the American West’s history who nonetheless occupies a blurred zone between fact and legend. Born in 1824, Johnson became one of the strange breed of wandering trappers and traders …

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The Velvet Vampire (1971)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Stephanie Rothman By Roderick Heath At a time when women directors were still excruciatingly thin on the ground even in Hollywood’s least reputable quarters, Stephanie Rothman forged herself an intriguing place in movie history. Rothman had proven herself a stalwart operative for Roger Corman and his low-budget movie factory at AIP during the 1960s. …

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Me, You, Him, Her (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, 1974) / All Night Long (Toute Une Nuit, 1982)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Chantal Akerman By Roderick Heath Chantal Akerman’s death in 2015 at the age of 65 was a wrenching moment for many movie lovers, and closed curtains on a career beloved in the most studious corners of the world cinema scene. Akerman staked her claim to such loyalty with her most famous work, Jeanne Dielman, …

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The Shout (1978)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Jerzy Skolimowski By Roderick Heath Jerzy Skolimowski was born in Łódź, Poland just before the outbreak of World War II, and like many film talents of his time and nation, his life was doomed to be a strange tale of exile and wandering. After enduring a terrifying childhood in the midst of war, Skolimowski …

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