Electric Sheep and Strange Attractor Present: The Lair of the White Worm + Talk with Flipside programmers
‘It has a lair, it has a worm, the worm is white.’ Roger Ebert
Electric Sheep and Strange Attractor are proud to present a rare outing for this unjustly neglected horror romp from the late Ken Russell as part of Ken Russell Forever, a tribute to the director organised by the good people of Scala Forever to coincide with the release of The Devils on DVD in March that runs from 10 to 20 March 2012.
Tenuously based on a 1911 novel by Bram Stoker – itself inspired by the ancient tale of the Lambton Wyrm, a staple for every book of true monster stories – this shamelessly camp horror comedy is generally considered to be Russell’s last great film.
Our Ken gleefully captures the spirits of Hammer and Carry On, doses them both with LSD and then dangles them over a bottomless pit containing an 80ft phallus while standing at the side pointing and laughing.
Featuring a soon-to-be-all-star cast including Hugh Grant, Peter Capaldi and Amanda Donahoe, gags and gore galore, not to mention sex, folk rock and slapstick, The Lair of the White Worm is a joyful outrage from beginning to end.
Plus talk with BFI archive curators and Flipside programmers Vic Pratt and Will Fowler.
Electric Sheep and Strange Attractor present a screening of Sex Jack (1970, 69 mins), directed by yakuza-turned-filmmaker Kôji Wakamatsu and written by his politically engaged acolyte Masao Adachi. Set against the background of the 60s Japanese student movement, it follows a group of young revolutionaries who take refuge in the flat of a stranger. Screened at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the 1971 Cannes festival, it remains one of Wakamatsu’s most striking works. Wakamatsu and Adachi chose to work in the pink film (soft porn) industry as a way of ensuring financial independence and artistic freedom, and Sex Jack offers a typically radical mix of sex and politics. Denouncing both government repression and the apathy of the revolutionary movement, the film paints a disillusioned picture of collective action, ultimately suggesting that liberation from all shackles can only come from individual action. With thanks to the French-based international label Dissidenz, which has recently released three Kôji Wakamatsu DVD box-sets.
Sex Jack will be preceded by the black and white animated tale Man-Eater Mountain (dir Naoyuki Niiya, 2008, 28 mins), which uses paper theatre to tell a gruesome folk tale. A couple of police inspectors and their guide take a serial killer to the mountains to find the bodies of his victims, but soon they face the demons that reside there. Both beautifully atmospheric and hellishly nightmarish, it has Bosch-like visions of blood-sucking trees, impaled animals, bodies torn apart or eaten by demons. Man-Eater Mountain is presented by Zipangu Fest, the first UK-wide festival devoted to Japanese film, which runs from 18 to 24 November.
The films will be followed by a talk with Jasper Sharp, author of Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema, director of Zipangu Fest and co-editor of the Japanese cinema website Midnight Eye, and Julian Ross, commissioning editor at Vertigo Magazine and programme coordinator for the Theatre Scorpio season at Close-Up Film Centre and the Art Theatre Guild season at the BFI Southbank in July-August 2011. The talk will be hosted by Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy.
Electric Sheep is very proud to be involved in Scala Forever, the celebration of the legendary Scala cinema organised by the Roxy Bar and Screen taking place across a range of London venues from August 13 to October 2.
In collaboration with Strange Attractor Press, Electric Sheep will present an evening of film and talk on Tuesday 20 September at the Horse Hospital. The event will start with a discussion, hosted by Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy, about the life and times of the Scala with Jane Giles, former Scala film programmer and currently Head of Content at the BFI, horror maestro Kim Newman and Mark Pilkington, publisher of Strange Attractor Press and a regular Scala visitor. This will be followed by a screening of demented horror porno-comedy Thundercrack! (1975, dir Curt Mcdowell, starring and written by George Kuchar).
Doors at 6:30pm, talk at 7pm, film at 8:30pm. Buy tickets
The very exciting Scala Forever programme includes John Waters, Dario Argento, Russ Meyer and Fassbinder nights, a Turkish Grindhouse evening, a Jack Smith programme, a screening of one of our favourite 60s Italian exploitation films The Frightened Woman, and much more! For full details, please go to the Scala Forever website, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.
We will be celebrating the publication of our first book, The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, a collection of previously unpublished essays on the darker side of cinema, on Tuesday 7 June at the Horse Hospital. Please come along to toast the book with us, all welcome!
The event will start off with a panel discussion on apocalyptic cinema at 8pm, featuring writers and illustrators who have contributed to the Electric Sheep anthology, including Electric Sheep assistant editor Alex Fitch, writer and musician Frances Morgan (former publisher of Plan B Magazine), graphic artist and film writer Mark Stafford (Cherubs!) and Jim Harper, author of Flowers from Hell: The Modern Japanese Horror Film.
This will be followed at 9pm by a screening of Night of the Living Dead: REANIMATED (2009) with a live DJ soundtrack by Robin Warren (Resonance FM). NotLD: REANIMATED is an experimental collective reinterpretation of George A. Romero’s classic zombie film by various artists, animators and filmmakers, using mixed media including puppetry, CGI, hand-drawn animation, illustration, acrylics, claymation, etc.
+ DJ sets by Frances Morgan and Zoe Baxter (Lucky Cat, Resonance FM)
Watch the trailer of Night of the Living Dead: REANIMATED:
Monday 2 May, Old Blue Last, 38 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3ES, 2pm, free
As part of the East End Film Festival’s Secret Societies series, Electric Sheep presents a double bill of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s spiritual quest The Holy Mountain, a masterpiece of visionary and absurdist cinema, and Dario Argento’s gorgeously oppressive Suspiria, set in a sinister ballet academy run by a coven of witches. With special guests and cult film experts Kim Newman and Xavier Mendik.
The Holy Mountain screens at 2pm, Suspiria at 4.15pm.
Monday 2 May, Masonic Lodge, 40 Liverpool St, London EC2M 7QN, 6.25-8pm, free, but you need to book your seat
Electric Sheep will then move to the atmospheric confines of a Masonic Lodge for an evening of discussion about secret societies in cinema, including talks on Jack the Ripper and the Masons, witches’ covens as well as a panel discussion on religious cults in film. Speakers include Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy, assistant editor Alex Fitch, Nollywood scholar Nicola Woodham, filmmaker and horror specialist Jennifer Eiss, and Jim Harper, author of Flowers From Hell: The Modern Japanese Horror Film.
We are very excited to announce that our friends at the East End Film Festival will present a very special screening of Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) at the Barbican on Sunday 1 May. Heavily cut by the studio and by the British censors on release, this provocative portrayal of witchcraft and possession in 17th-century France has now been restored and footage that was previously thought lost is included in this never-seen ‘director’s cut’. It is only the second official screening of the film in the UK and this chance to see Russell’s astonishing visions and Derek Jarman’s stylised sets on the big screen is not to be missed! Tickets available from the Barbican.
The EEFF will also screen Jerzy Kwalerowicz’s Mother Joan of the Angels (1964), a feverish exploration of sexual repression and religious fanaticism based on the same cases of possession in 1634 France dramatised in The Devils.
In addition, there are two late-night horror screenings: Julia’s Eyes, a Guillermo del Toro-produced chiller about a near-blind woman trying to solve the mystery of her sister’s death, and Agnosia, a retro-futurist thriller about a young woman suffering from a neuropsychological disorder that confuses her senses and who is being manipulated by two ruthless men.
We are especially looking forward to the Secret Societies day of screening in a beautiful and atmospheric Masonic Lodge on Monday 2 May. The films include From Hell, Dark Days and The Brotherhood of the Wolf, with more events to be announced shortly. In fact, we liked the idea so much that we’ve made ‘Secret Societies’ our theme for May, so look out for more on this!
The EEFF runs from 27 April to 2 May and this year’s tenth anniversary edition will open with an all-access documentary about The Libertines, There Are No Innocent Bystanders. Other highlights include the UK premiere of the new, digitally restored print of Taxi Driver introduced by Adrian Utley of Portishead, a special focus on the Romanian New Wave, a free outdoor screening in Spitalfields Market of silent 1925 Romanian drama Manasse with live accompaniment by Minima and a Bank Holiday bonanza of movie madness where hundreds of free screenings, projections, live music and events will be found in every nook and cranny of the East End…
Tickets are now on sale for all screenings and events here. For full programme information, please visit the EEFF Festival website.
Electric Sheep‘s assistant editor Alex Fitch is curating a comics festival as part of the 10th Sci-Fi London Festival in April. He is also the presenter of Panel Borders, the UK’s only weekly broadcast radio show about comics, Thursdays on Resonance 104.4 FM.
The two-day comics festival will celebrate modern British comic creators from the last 30 years. The event will take place at the Apollo Piccadilly Cinema and at BFI Southbank and welcomes guests who have been published for over three decades plus newcomers to the medium.
Featured guests include: David Lloyd, Andy Diggle, V.V. Brown, China Mieville, Denise Mina, Ian Edginton and Yuri Kore as well as Electric Sheep-featured artists Hannah Berry and Karen Rubins.
Sci-Fi London has ensured there are a number of female guests on the comic book panels and members of the small press and manga community are well represented to ensure members of the audience can get advice from creators and professionals working their way into the industry.
Comics at Sci-Fi London takes place at the BFI Southbank on the May Bank Holiday weekend (30 April – 1 May 2011). There will be an additional panel at the Apollo Piccadilly cinema on 23 April about ’25 years of John Constantine: Hellblazer’: Andy Diggle and David Lloyd discuss the character from his first regular appearance in Swamp Thing #37 to the 250th issue of his own title, published last year.
At the BFI, panel discussions will include ‘Poe, Lovecraft and comics’, ‘Manga Jiman’, ‘Comics and moving pictures’ and City of Abacus. Hannah Berry will be previewing her new book Adamtime, the long awaited follow-up to the acclaimed Britten and Brülightly plus children’s workshops run by creators from Solipsistic Pop and a screening of 20 minutes of footage from the new film Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts followed by a discussion of the writer’s work with some of his collaborators.
There will also be a handful of tables at the BFI for creators to sell and sign their work and Sci-Fi London will be inviting small press creators to take part in the festival for free.
Confirmed guests include:
David Allain (City of Abacus, music video director)
Martin Baker (Battle among the Stars)
Hannah Berry (Britten and Brülightly, Adamtine)
V.V. Brown (City of Abacus)
Paul Collicutt (Robot City Adventures)
Huw J. Davies (Freeman, Garth)
Andy Diggle (The Losers, Thunderbolts)
Alice Duke (Self Made Hero: Poe and Lovecraft anthologies)
Ian Edginton (Scarlet Traces, X-Force)
Ilya (Mammoth books of Best New Manga, Ballast)
Yuri Kore (The Boy Who Runs from the Sun, Manga Jiman Winner 2009/2010)
Zarina Liew (The Sun and the Moon, Manga Jiman Runner-up 2009/2010)
David Lloyd (V for Vendetta, Night Raven)
Roger Mason (2000AD, The Mice)
China Mieville (Kraken, Hellblazer)
Denise Mina (Hellblazer, A Sickness in the Family)
Edward Ross (Filmish, Parasites!)
John Spelling (City of Abacus)
Comics at Sci-Fi London is a Sci-Fi London Lab event, which encompasses talks with artists, writers, scientists, filmmakers and critics talking about science-fiction and science-fact.
Zhang Yimou’s breakthrough martial arts epic is a lavish visual feast best appreciated on the largest screen possible! Set in the third century BC as the ambitious, war-mongering king of Qin is trying to unite China by force, it stars Jet Li as a nameless swordsman granted a rare audience with his sovereign after killing three fearsome assassins (played by some of Hong Kong cinema’s greatest, Donnie Yen, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung). As the sly king questions the ‘hero’, we are presented with three different versions of the events, each colour-coded. The result is a sumptuous spectacle combining graceful fight scenes, magnificent décors, dubious truths and questionable politics.
Guest speaker: Zoë Baxter, presenter of Resonance FM’s radio show on East Asian culture.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Hero and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. A film expert to be announced shortly will pick the best entry. Deadline: Thursday 26 August. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in September. Read the May winning review of Midnight Cowboy.
This blaxploitation classic has it all: sleaze, violence, badasss mamas, nasty drug pushers, mean inner city streets and a funky score by Willie Hutch. But what makes it truly special is the formidable Pam ‘a whole lotta woman’ Grier (who returned as Jackie Brown in Tarantino’s homage to the genre), handing out magnificently spirited ass-whippings to the bad guys in this outré tale of revenge in the ghetto. Exploitation specialist Jack Hill directs, and Foxy’s no-good brother is played by Antonio Vargas, better known as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch.
Guest speaker: Rebecca Johnson, award-winning writer/filmmaker, director of Top Girl, the Brixton-set story of a fearless young girl coming of age in a man’s world.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Foxy Brown and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. A film expert to be announced shortly will pick the best entry. Deadline: Thursday 29 July. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in August. Read the May winning review of Midnight Cowboy.
In Sergio Leone’s masterful follow-up to A Fistful of Dollars, Clint Eastwood is a laconic money-driven bounty hunter who forms an uneasy partnership with Lee Van Cleef’s justice-seeking Colonel Mortimer as they pursue Gian Maria Volonté’s deranged, psychotic bandit. Add Klaus Kinski to that already phenomenal cast, and you have one hell of a movie, with Leone’s cynical world view, sadistically inventive violence, black humour and epic grandeur enriched by Ennio Morricone’s lush score. This one absolutely has to be seen on the big screen to appreciate its full splendour!
Guest speaker: Comic artists Tim Keable and Andrew Cheverton, creators of the ongoing West series, are no longer able to attend the screening but we are very pleased to welcome Ian Rakoff, screenwriter, film editor, comic book collector, author of Inside The Prisoner: Radical Television and Film in the 1960s, and writer of the Western episode of Patrick McGoohan’s TV series The Prisoner, who will introduce the screening with a discussion of Westerns with Electric Sheep’s Alex Fitch.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of For a Few Dollars More and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Howard Hughes, author of Spaghetti Westerns (Kamera Books), a well-researched, detailed analysis of the genre illustrated with rare colour posters and stills, will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 24 June. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in July. Read the April winning review of Battle Royale.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 14 JULY: Blaxploitation classic Foxy Brown!