Roman Polanski – Cul-de-sac [+extras] (1966)



A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to the criminals. Quickly, however, the relationships between the criminal, the wife, and the Englishman begin to shift in humorous and bizarre fashion. Continue reading

José Ramón Larraz – Vampyres (1974)


“The 1970’s was the decade of the gothic lesbian vampire film. The exploitation efforts of Jean Rollin (LIPS OF BLOOD), Jess Franco (VAMPYROS LESBOS), and Hammer (LUST FOR A VAMPIRE) were enormously popular at the time. These films successfully combined the fear of death and eroticism, which struck a cord with male audiences. Many of the films merely hinted at the overt sexuality, and most never fully explored the sexual aspects of the genre’s premise. That all changed in 1974, when upstart Spanish director Jose Ramon Larrez (or Joe as he is called stateside) raised the bar with the ultimate depiction of sex and horror, VAMPYRES. Larrez teamed with producer Brian Smedley-Astin to film their adult vampire epic in England. By the time VAMPYRES was released there, the censors cut out most of the offensive scenes, castrating the power of this artsy exploitation picture. Luckily when the film played the Drive-In circuit in America (as DAUGHTERS OF DRACULA), we got to see what the British audience didn’t–powerful sex trysts and disturbing death scenes. Thanks to Larrez’s scripting and directing skills, VAMPYRES rose to top of its genre. Today, VAMPYRES is a highly regarded classic in Euro horror-circles, and rightly so… Continue reading

Penny Woolcock – The Principles of Lust (2003)

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Crippled by his writer’s block, Paul enters into a new, exciting relationship with risk-taking Billy and super-sexy Juliette. As it becomes increasingly tangled, however, he must choose one of them over the other.

Jamie Russell, wrote:
“Likely to cause a stir because of its explicit scenes of orgies and coke snorting, what really separates The Principles Of Lust from the crowd is its edgy, dark atmosphere that combines conventional Hollywood thrillers about sociopaths – eg. Fight Club, Bad Influence – with a distinctly British, rough and ready feel. Continue reading

Alvin Rakoff – Passport to Shame AKA Room 43 (1958)

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Synopsis by Michael P. Rogers
Before Eddie Constantine became a French pop icon as the slapdash “Lemmy Caution,” he played Johnny, a straightforward London taxi driver. When his new taxi is smashed and he needs a big loan, he agrees to a five-minute marriage to Malou, a naive French girl, so she can become a British citizen. As planned, the two part after the nuptials, not realizing that this has all been rigged as a recruiting scheme by Nick (Herbert Lom), the boss of a Soho prostitution ring. Malou learns of Nick’s plans for her future and tries to escape but is drugged and locked up. With help from the head “girl,” Vicki (Diana Dors), Johnny learns of Malou’s peril, and hatches a plan to free her. This dark action thriller has a few clever twists, and Dors is gorgeous, but her fans may be disappointed at the smallness of her role. Continue reading

Alejandro Jodorowsky – The Rainbow Thief (1990)


A petty crook, in search of the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hopes to cash in by befriending the heir to a huge fortune.

Production notes:
This was Jodorowsky’s sixth feature-length film, and his first British film. Filming was carried out in Gdansk, Poland. He was frequently threatened by the producers not to change anything in the script, effectively restraining further artistic involvement from his behalf. Jodorowsky has since disowned the movie. It was released in cinemas in London (May 1990), Italy (Il Ladro dell’arcobaleno, 1990), France (Le voleur d’arc-en-ciel, Paris, 1994) and, after, Spain (El ladrón del Arco iris, Cine Doré, Madrid, 2011); but it was never released in American cinemas.This movie, along with his previous Tusk in 1980, mark his most impersonal work, set far apart from his earlier work. It was discussed along with his other films in the documentary La Constellation Jodorowsky (1994). Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Blackmail (talkie version) (1929)


Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920’s London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened. Continue reading