Pool of London (1951)

Director: Basil Dearden By Roderick Heath Basil Dearden remains an underappreciated figure of British cinema, although he made some of the most fondly-remembered hits it saw from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. Perhaps he’s neglected precisely because of that, as he was one of those establishment figures loathed by the young guns of the various …

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Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon, 1957)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath Headlights, burning the night like eyes of a spectral beast, light the way along a country road at night, branches etched in slivers of brightness against vast darkness. The car arrives before a great old house, and its driver, Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham), meets with the house’s owner, Julian …

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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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High-Rise (2015)

Director: Ben Wheatley By Roderick Heath Ben Wheatley debuted as a director with 2009’s Down Terrace and leapt to the forefront of British filmmaking talents with his second work, the gruesome, tantalisingly semi-abstract horror film Kill List (2011). Since then Wheatley, working in close collaboration with wife Amy Jump, who cowrites and edits his films, …

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Blowup (1966)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Michelangelo Antonioni By Roderick Heath Michelangelo Antonioni was a relatively minor figure in the European film scene until 1960. The former economics student and journalist entered that scene in the days of Mussolini’s regime, and started his directing career making documentaries. His early labours offered hues of the oncoming neorealist movement, depicting the lives …

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Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula, 1958) / Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Director: Terence Fisher By Roderick Heath Christopher Lee, son of an English soldier and an Anglo-Italian countess who had been an artist’s model, had aristocratic roots that could be traced back to Charlemagne. Born in London, he grew with a diverse education and a swathe of languages at his command, a scion both of imperial …

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Green for Danger (1946)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Sidney Gilliat By Roderick Heath Outside London, 1944. During the second, lesser-known but very bloody Blitz turned on the city by Hitler, V-1 bombs, nicknamed “doodlebugs” for the insectlike drone of their rocket propulsion, rain on southern English. These flying weapons are a unique blend of the amusing, for the sound of their jets …

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The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Director: Terence Fisher By Roderick Heath A fog-rimmed lake. A sonorous voice on the soundtrack telling us we are now in Transylvania. A carriage careening through the twilight forest, the driver whipping his horses in frenzy, his comely passenger panicking as her journey to a new life seems to be turning into a nightmarish ride …

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Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Director/Screenwriter: Peter Strickland By Roderick Heath British sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) arrives at the Berberian Studio of Post-Production, a labyrinthine facility and a niche for creating the aspect of cinema perhaps least appreciated by laymen and yet amongst the most vital. This particular netherworld, where glowing, pulsing red lights wait with infernal meaning for …

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Centurion (2010)

The Days of High Adventure: A Journey through Adventure Film Director/Screenwriter: Neil Marshall By Roderick Heath English film editor Neil Marshall burst out of the gate as a director with Dog Soldiers (2002), a vigorous, gory, refreshingly cheeky spin on the traditional templates of low-budget horror with a strong dose of hyped-up style. He quickly …

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