Wednesday, 20 December 2006
Cultish Shocking Horrors: (Sur)realism, Sadism and Eroticism, 1950s-1960s
Another Bizarre Sinema series book, Cultish Shocking Horrors: (Sur)realism, Sadism and Eroticism, 1950s-1960s, arrived today. Again, comparatively expensive but once more worth every penny, being profusely illustrated and full of information that isn't really available elsewhere, as when you have someone like Jean-Pierre Bouyxou reminiscing on seeing these films on the Midi-Minuit-Fantastique circuit at the time of their first release.
For the English-language reader the book makes an especially nice companion piece to Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs's Immoral Tales, in that it covers some of the same films – Horror of Spider Island, Mill of the Stone Women and The Awful Dr Orloff – in greater detail and, more importantly, from a different perspective, that of the continental European.
This enables the volume's authors to respond to British films like Blood of the Vampire, Horrors of the Black Museum and Peeping Tom by situating them as part of the same international quasi-movement rather than as aberrations from the Hammer Gothic formula, and – perhaps most interestingly – discuss some little-known Mexican horrors such as El Monstuo Resuscitado.
One little fragment I found particularly intriguing is Leone Frollo's erotic / pornographic re-imagining of the monster from Horror of Spider Island's attack on one of the shipwrecked nubiles, which has certain affinities with these Lucifera and Maghella excerpts at Groovy Age of Horror, again highlighting the broader sense of that overarching cross-media, cross-culture - both in the sense of being an international phenomenon and one that crossing traditional high/low class culture distinctions within the national culture - sensibility.