Best of 2016, Theda Bara, The Veil
As 2016 comes to a shuddering close, we take a look back at some of the most rewarding and provocative releases of the year. Our cinema highlights of the last 12 months include Lucile Hadžihalilovic’s poetic and disturbing second feature Evolution, Babak Anvari’s Farsi-language horror film Under the Shadow, Ben Wheatley’s Ballard adaptation High-Rise and Mexican director Emiliano Rocha Minter’s visceral subversive spectacle We Are the Flesh. We were also impressed by David Mackenzie's solid neo-Western Hell or High Water, Brady Corbet’s directorial debut The Childhood of a Leader and poignant ghost story Nina Forever.
In home entertainment, we welcomed the releases of seminal American independent film Suture, Andrzej Żuławski’s striking directorial debut The Third Part of the Night, and Duccio Tessari’s stylish giallo The Bloodstained Butterfly. We also loved Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s deliriously libidinous all-girl rock band melodrama Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and re-watched Barry Lyndon on the occasion of its new 4K restoration. Not to forget the great Alan Clarke Collection released by the BFI, including Baal, starring David Bowie, and visionary coming-of-age dream Penda’s Fen.
For the latest edition of his ‘Nightmare Movies’ column, Kim Newman looks at The Veil, a recent film from the busy Blumhouse boutique genre production label. And author Essie Fox explains why she has chosen silent film vamp Theda Bara as her filmic alter ego. ■