After all, it's just a ride….

Missing Menagerie Manuscripts…

the-day-the-clown-criedHmm, I might be getting an appetite back for list posts after last weeks efforts, following on from that recent ‘The Best Movie You’ve Never Seen’ post I was conducting some administration over the weekend and stumbled across a few films I’ve been trying to see for years but either can’t source Region 2 copies or simply haven’t found the time in the schedule to digest. Now I’m not necessarily talking about the real unicorn horn texts, the items so rare even whispers of their existence are muttered only in frantic furtive gasps at cinephile conferences, we’re not talking the Malick scripted Deadhead Miles or Kubrick related Strangers Kiss, I’m not even talking about the holocaust abomination The Day The Clown Cried, just a dozen or so films which have eluded my grasp due to the odd vagaries of global distribution deals and LoveFilm embargos, or in some cases sheer laziness on my part. Before we begin then let me make a couple of things clear, firstly I know that some of these are uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo or any one of many other hosting sites, but I’m simply not interested in viewing these on my computer with compressed quality – it’s that simple. My second disclaimer is that much of this material is strictly NSFW due to some rather difficult subject matter, as a self-confessed fan of outré and dare I say it ‘challenging’ material it should be no surprise that some of my missing Menagerie pieces of the jigsaw are somewhat jagged and dangerous in the extreme. In any case if you can point me in the right direction with some of these items then I’d be much obliged, and let’s begin with a curious request;

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – I’m not quite sure why this has failed to reach the likes of Lovefilm to enable a swift hire, like Take Shelter it seems some films just don’t get picked up for distribution by the better known exhibition vendors. The only versions I can find are Region 1 imports, and given that I really do prefer not to resort to swashbuckling on the high seas of international piracy to obtain my celluloid booty I guess I’ll just wait for a TV screening.

Sleep Dealer (2008) – Remember my mentioning of this unusual sounding project, a South American SF film, in and of itself a rarity given its geographical genesis? Well five years later and I’m still no closer to this one, despite plaudits in the likes of Wired and award-winning Sundance screenings I’m still waiting for my man….

Ilsa She Wolf of the SS (1975) – One of the great wonders of the internet was the explosion of exploitation and lurid genre fare suddenly finding an audience beyond the grindhouses of Times Square or the wanted Ad’s of Fangoria magazine, where a slightly creepy guy called Colin would flog you a fifth generation VHS rip for £15 from a P.O. Box in Bristol. Call me sick but here we are, this infamous shocker still hasn’t found its way into my media centre, by all accounts it’s a pretty terrible film from a quality and production perspective let alone the subject matter, but I still have to see it one day….

Gun Crazy (1950) – Yes I know this is on YouTube in its entirely and I’m sure it’s easy to get a DVD copy but I just haven’t got round to it, one of the key film noirs which often get mentioned in any article of merit on the genre. The BFI even screened a restored print of the film a couple of years ago and I didn’t make it to that, I deserve to be shot.

Dans Ma Peau (2002) – The first of three French atrocities I first heard of this on either the Outside The Cinema or GGTMC podcast (I forgot which), both of which are fine repositories of cult movie information and intrigue. I’m not entirely sure what the notion of the film is other than some feminist body horror angle, but I’m willing to give this a go on just the recommendation of similarly cinema minded sickos.

Supernova (2000) – I’ve embarked on a short Walter Hill season recently, not focusing on his more established material such as 48 Hours, Southern Comfort or even The Driver, no I’m talking about delving deep into his catalogue such as the Kurosawa remake Last Man Standing, the revisionist Western The Long Riders and the ominous sounding Extreme Prejudice, and this exercise reminded me of his only foray into SF which was quickly canned and hidden from view after disastrous early screenings. So I’ve never seen Supernova which as a big budget SF piece seems like a horrendous oversight, I don’t have much confidence in this but we shall see….heck I’m even going to give Red Heat another whirl….

Cockfighter (1974) – Banned in the UK due to the animal cruelty scenes this Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton starring picture is a shocking omission from that era of American 1970’s brilliance, although there is a DVD floating around for the princely sum of £125 it is apparently a travesty of a pan & scan transfer, the purveyors of which should be thrown to the dogs cocks?

Trouble Every Day (2001) – Another turn of the millennium French extremity, Claire Denis has gone on to international acclaim with the likes of 35 Shots of Rum  and White Material winning plaudits and gongs across the European festival circuit, this earlier piece has been described as a ‘deeply brutal, existentialist horror’ which sounds like an ideal addition to the Menagerie paddock.

Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010) – Why, why, and I say again WHY the fuck hasn’t this been released in Region 2 Blu-Ray? This is probably the most irritating gap in my celluloid closet, the mere act of avoiding spoilers or much of the films unusual design for the past few years in itself has been a herculean effort. To the best of my knowledge it’s had exactly one big-screen exhibition in the UK at the SF film festival, since then nothing. If anything this makes me worry about what a potential disappointment the film might be, given the high expectation I’ve built for it…

I Stand Alone (1998) – Gasper  Noé has carved out something of a reputation for himself as one of the most excessive filmmakers currently raping a viewfinder, even a hardened and jaded film fan like myself is a little hesitant at reviewing his debut feature, especially when you read that his central character is an angry and disaffected butcher you can pretty much assume it’s not going to end well. Still, it’s pretty darn rare for the pedigree of Jonathan Rosenbaum to lavish the praise on of a ‘corrosive masterpiece’ so this must be apprehended….

Sorcerer (1977) – Being a Facebook friend with Mr. Friedkin we fans have been kept abreast of this films lengthy reconstruction, he’s wrestled the rights back and the film is in the midst of a digital and aural scrub, before potentially getting another spin round the block at festivals this year -I may even get a chance to see this at Toronto.  Either way a brand spanking new Blu-Ray is on the cards for 2014, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the BFI gets a digital print to screen around the same time.

Strange Circus (2005) – And finally some Oriental excess, alongside Takashi Miike the garrulous Sion Sono is probably the most high-profile Japanese director working today from a horror and extreme perspective, and don’t let appearances fool you as that rather restrained trailer apparently masks a particular shocking and outré atrocity. Like Mikke he’s also a productive sort, with another new film later this year….

One response

  1. I’ve seen “Deadhead Miles” and, yes, even with the pedigree of a Malick script, it’s still pretty awful. Now “Trouble Every Day” is the real masterpiece on this list. Audacious, bloody as hell and just the way one would imagine a Claire Denis vampire film would be!

    July 1, 2013 at 8:10 AM

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