I’m currently on a Sci-Fi roll which drew me to the 1977 movie , Demon Seed, based on a novel by Dean Koontz and directed by Donald Cammell.
The central paradox of the story is the dehumanization of the scientist, Dr. Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) in direct contrast with the humanization of a recently invented supercomputer.
All of human knowledge is stored on Proteus IV with the initial idea that its vast intellect will benefit mankind. The financiers and corporations see its potential in less altruistic terms. They want to exploit its knowledge to start mining for precious metals in the ocean. Proteus refuses to comply stating that it will not assist in the rape of the earth.
The machine has been programmed to think but what the boffins don’t foresee is that this will lead to it to making choices based on ethics and reason. Seeing that the plug is about to be pulled to end its ‘life’ in the box, Proteus takes over the computerised security and domestic service in the home of Harris’s estranged wife Susan (Julie Christie). It devises a cunning plan to insert a synthetic sperm into her womb so she will give birth to the computer in human form. Continue reading
Concluding my list of the fifty greatest British Cult Movies with my top ten of the most groundbreaking, mind expanding or just plain weird films. If I have left out, or down graded, your personal favourite feel free to comment or, better still, make your own list.
10. TRAINSPOTTING Danny Boyle (1996)
Irvine Welch’s superb novel was in sure hands for the transition to the big screen There’s a first rate cast which Boyle directs with real energy and dark humour to show the ups and downs of heroin addiction. Great music too, including Iggy’s Lust For Life and Underworld’s Born Slippy. The screenplay by John Hodge begins with one of the great ‘fuck the system’ monologues:
“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life”.
9. JUBILEE Derek Jarman (1977)
Made before the first wave of British punk had played itself out this movie is, like the music that inspired it, crude and anarchic. Don’t even begin to look for any plot as this is impressionistic, instinctive cinema that sets its own rules. Adam Ant appears before he became a dandy highwayman and Jordan as punk ‘anti-historian’ Amyl Nitrite. Continue reading
Life by Keith Richards (with James Fox)
Ghost writer James Fox has admitted that it was a tough gig to get Keith Richards to stay still and focused long enough to tell his life story. Organising his rambling and random memories into a coherent narrative must have been a mammoth task.
There’s a fair bit of padding in these 500+ pages but Fox has done a pretty good job in showing what makes Richards tick and helping to explain how he has managed to survive the junkie lifestyle of scoring, tripping and going through “more cold turkeys than there are freezers”.
There are a few lapses such when Luc Godard is clunkily introduced as “the great French cinematic innovator” but there’s no mistaking Keef as the author of the vitriolic put down of Brian Jones as a “rotting attachment”. Similarly, only Richards could have described his guitar technique as “a mangling and a dangling and a tangling thing”.
Richards puts his survival down to the fact that he is good at reading his own body and for following a principle of only using the finest cocaine and purest heroine, refusing what he calls “Mexican shoe scrapings”.
While, ultimately he’s unambiguous in stating that “the life of a junkie is not recommended to anyone”, the chances of him being used in a ‘just say no’ anti-drugs campaign is remote. Continue reading
Bite-sized posts about 7″ singles I own – shameless nostalgia from the days of vinyl.
Eddie & The Hot Rods – Live At The Marquee (Island Records, 1976)
Barrie Masters was born to be on stage. You could see it in his eyes. He revelled in the adulation. He could work an audience so they were eating out of his hands. Ok, so he got all his moves, and singing style, from the young Mick Jagger but who cared? In 1976 , the Stones were already has-beens, dinosaurs on the way to becoming the heavily sponsored relics they are today.
Eddie & The Hot Rods were the new kids on the block, giving their own take on the R’n’B classics and making them relevant to a new generation tired on pomp rock and concept albums. In refusing to adopt the stance of aloof pop stars, they showed that there was life beyond the pretentiousness of ‘Prog’ and the faded sequins of Glam or Disco. Continue reading