13 Great Horror Films

13 Great Horror Films from 1922 to 2022

My 13 contributions to A Great Horror From Every Year from 1922, first published by BFI, 28 October 2022 Includes capsules of: Nosferatu, The White Reindeer, Carnival of Souls, Onibaba, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Possession, Re-Animator, Cronos, Cure, A Tale of Two Sisters, Rec, Let The Right One In, Berberian Sound Studio  Nosferatu (1922)…

Peter Strickland

Peter Strickland on Flux Gourmet and outsider artistry

“Why can’t you be more like Stephen Frears?”: Peter Strickland on Flux Gourmet and outsider artistry first published in a much shorter version by Little White Lies. While our national cinema is dominated by ‘heritage’ stories, plucky underdog comedies and urban miserabilism, the films of writer/director Peter Strickland are eccentric outliers. His 2009 feature debut…

Flux Gourmet

Flux Gourmet (2022)

“I just like to be in control of how I am portrayed,” says radical vegetarian, feminist and performance artist Elle di Elle (Fatma Mohamed) near the beginning of Peter Strickland‘s Flux Gourmet. “Don’t we all?”, replies her patron Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie). Elle is the latest resident at the highly selective Sonic Catering Institute, an…

Diptych

Gender Divide in Diptych: Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy

Gender Divide in Diptych: Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy first published (in a shorter version) in July 2019 by Senses of Cinema, and also in the book Strickland (2019, Queensland Film Festival) The Berberian Sound Studio – a labyrinthine post-production complex in 1970s Italy to which all the events of Berberian Sound Studio are restricted…

In Fabric

In Fabric (2018)

In Fabric first published by Little White Lies Having set his previous features in Transylvania (Katalin Varga, 2009), Italy (Berberian Sound Studio, 2012) and a Middle-European Amazonia (The Duke of Burgundy, 2014), Peter Strickland returns to his native Britain for In Fabric. The location is the semi-fictitious ‘Thames Valley On Thames’, stuck in what appears…

Donmar

Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar Warehouse (2019)

Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar Warehouse first published by Little White Lies Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is as cinematic – metacinematic, even – as films come. It depends on a particularised grammar of pure cinema (disorienting edits, the collapsing of different spatiotemporal interiors, even dubbing and subtitles) to communicate its mannered story about…

Fabric

In Fabric (2018)

In Fabric opens with a montage. After a pair of scissors is seen cutting open a cardboard box to reveal a red dress within, a succession of disparate stills plays over the credits. Department store interiors. A rope-bound hand in a bed. A face at a window. Women carrying a coffin indoors. The imprint of…

Guide

The Field Guide To Evil (2018)

The Field Guide To Evil first published by SciFiNow The Field Guide To Evil opens with the text of a rhyme (attributed to ‘Anonymous, on Folklore’) about the power of dream-like, fictive tales to tell truths. It is programmatic for this anthology of short films, coordinated by producers Ant Timpson and Tim League (The ABCs of Death…

Berberian

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Berberian Sound Studio first published by Little White Lies, and here somewhat altered. No-one saw it coming. Defying all predictability, Peter Strickland‘s debut Katalin Varga (2009) was an English film telling a Romanian (and Romanian-language) rape/revenge story set to eclectic soundscapes by Nurse With Wound. Now, just as improbably, his follow-up is a bi-lingual tale of two halves (still with…

Burgundy

The Duke Of Burgundy (2014)

Review first published by FilmLand Empire His first feature, Katalin Varga (2009), is a rape/revenge story shot in Transylvania with exclusively Hungarian dialogue. His second feature, the metacinematic mystery Berberian Sound Studio (2012), is set in Seventies Italy and uses the grammar and tropes of giallo to explore the misogynies in and around an unseen…