Black Easter

Black Easter (2021)

Jim Carroll’s Black Easter carefully set its store in the opening sequence. To the accompaniment of a bombastic orchestral score, baroque gold credits appear on screen – the first reading “Jason Castro as Jesus” – over the incongruously anachronistic image of a red car speeding along a road. “Stop, wait, time out, says protagonist Ram…

Disco

Disco (2019)

Disco first published by EyeForFilm at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2019 The elevator pitch for Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s film would go something like this: a young championship disco dancer who keeps stumbling on stage is undone, done over or redeemed by her faith.  That jarring juxtaposition of sparkly, sexualised Seventies choreography and fire-and-brimstone Catholicism…

Darlin'

Darlin’ (2019)

Pollyanna McIntosh has been playing ‘The Woman’ – a feral cannibal with a vicious streak to match her strong mothering instinct – for a decade now. In 2009, she starred in Andrew van den Houten’s Offspring, and in Lucky McKee’s The Woman (2011) she was the lone survivor of her tribe and, in her encounters…

Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday (2016)

“Come quickly and hear me, oh Lord!”, declares man of the cloth Smith (François Arnaud), as he prays at the foot of his apartment bed in Providence, Rhode Island, having just awoken from a dream of lying in a burning church. “My soul is weakening. Do not hide your face from me. Do not let…

Penda’s Fen (1974)

Penda’s Fen first published by Little White Lies as the tenth instalment in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “Father, do you think dreams come true?” asks Stephen (Spencer Banks) in Penda’s Fen, David Rudkin’s 1974 teleplay for BBC1 directed by Alan Clarke. “Don’t come true. They are true,” replies Stephen’s father, Reverend Franklin (John Atkinson). “Your dreams…

Configuration

The Ninth Configuration (1980)

The Ninth Configuration first published by Little White Lies, as the eighth part of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “You’re going to die up there.” In William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, whose script William Peter Blatty has adapted from his own 1971 novel, the possessed 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) creepily directs these words at an astronaut in attendance…