On The Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about Hammer’s These Are the Damned and Folk Horror for the Atomic Age. These Are the Damned came a few years after the third in the Quatermass series, all of which were also adapted for the cinema by Hammer Studios. It’s a curious film that effectively pulls off the difficult stunt of starting off as one type of story but ending up a very different type. It is equal parts crime melodrama, science fiction, and folk horror.
As the series begins, Quatermass and his team are in a quandary after their most recent manned space flight vanishes without a trace, only to turn up later when it crashes into a farmer’s field. Rushing to the site, Quatermass is baffled to discover that of the three astronauts launched into orbit, only one is still in the ship.
The greatest compliment you could pay an exploitation film is to say it looks like they designed the poster first and then recreated it on screen. This formulation describes Inframan perfectly. It is, in many ways, a perfect film, in that it is resoundingly successful in achieving what it sets out to do.
On the Cultural Gutter, Over the Moon, Comrade is my look at the Soviet science fiction adventure Cosmic Voyage and the film that inspired it, Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon.
One of the great films of the Hong Kong New Wave, Tsui Hark’s Chinese Revolution era adventure is notable for focusing not on the war or heroic men, but on the friendship that grows between three women who find themselves involved in a tangled web of espionage.
On The Cultural Gutter, I’m fighting the Battle of the Brains, a look at the classic B-movie Fiend Without a Face.
Steve McQueen stars as a San Francisco cop assigned to protect a witness against the Mob. Before the film winds to its thrilling conclusion on the tarmac of San Francisco International, viewers will marvel at McQueen’s casual cool and one of the best car chases in cinema.