The last of our Spooky SFF episodes celebrates a gritty slice of New York noir that twists and turns into a highly freaky slice of horror-tinged SF. From acclaimed low-budget film-maker Larry Cohen, this is a film that takes virtue from the lack of money. Cohen favours invention and good writing over special effects Sturm und Drang.
A meditation on identity, religion and family, God Told Me to is a powerful piece of work that really stays with you. A fitting end to our exploration of the horrific side of SFF!
Between 1844 and 2013, HMP Reading was the involuntary home for thousands of people who had caused offence to the state. From its original aim as a new model prison, with design features considered progressive for the time, the building changed, grew and mutated. Over the decades it became shabby, gradually less fit for purpose. Finally, after service as a young offenders lock-up, it was closed three years ago.
And that would have been the end for this unlovely, haunted building, if not for the fact that it is world-famous under its original name. Or rather, because of one particular inmate. Between 1895 and 1897 Prisoner C.3.3 suffered, wrote movingly of his torments, and immortalised the building whose walls enclosed him.
We know the man as Oscar Wilde, and the building as Reading Gaol.
Onwards with Spooky SFF month, as we discuss a massively influential slice of hauntological freakiness: Nigel Kneale’s terrifying The Stone Tape.
It ticks all the boxes: 70s setting, shot on video, Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack. A sharply empathetic performance from Jane Asher helps to elevate this story, but the whole thing is deeply unnerving and still bloody scary.
This is what happens when you try to solve the science behind hauntings…
Includes the first instance of a new term from Rob: cathode-punk.
GUYSGUYSGUYS! The Stone Tape is on Cosmic VideyouTube! Dim the lights, pour yourself a scotch and indulge.
We continue Spooky SFF month with the bizarre gore-drenched fantasy-horror The Sword And The Sorcerer.
It’s a formative experience for both our futurenauts for various reasons (including a parental ban from Clive’s mum and dad). Master of exploitation Albert Pyun’s first movie, it features changes in tone rapid and extreme enough to give you whiplash. From swashbuckling to sadism, this movie has it all!
It’s October, which means Curiosity is skewing spooky. This month our over-excitable alien chum is feeding Rob and Clive titles with an extra layer of creepyplasma.
We start with Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce–a deranged slice of Quatermass-style oddness with added nudity, exploding corpses and weapons-grade scenery-chewing. This one has to be seen to be believed, and even then you won’t believe what you’re seeing.
No, we’re not talking about the 70s Michael York/Jenny Agutter film. Rather, we’re taking a look at the source material–the William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson novel. An entirely different, much darker but much more cinematic prospect. Which is frankly a lot more fun!
We believe the time is right to reconsider this cracking, pulpy take on a society that has shrugged off its humanity in favour of youth. Who needs another movie?