Friday, 20 January 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 26: Thursday Jan 26

The Body Beneath (Milligan, 1970): BFI Southbank, NFT1 8.45pm

This looks fascinating. A screening from The Flipside team at the BFI.

I asked Will Fowler from The Flipside for the history and the ideas behind their screenings. He told me: "Our first Flipside was back in late 2006 when we screened the mondo-style documentary Primitive London. The drive for the slot is really to show films and TV programmes that are held in the BFI National Archive but rarely or indeed never shown in the cinemas at BFI Southbank.

"And these could be things that might not automatically be considered similar or comparable but that at some level do all sit in the margins of cinema and TV history- old Rupert Bear television episodes, the shocking horror film Corruption starring a rather blood thirsty Peter Cushing as well as genre pictures, 'curates eggs', the weird and wonderful.  

"I think our favourites tend to be things that sit on genre borders.  Art pictures that feature horror or exploitation elements like the film The Lifetaker, starring the old Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, that we are showing on 23 February when Peter Duncan will be a guest. We like to make our screenings enjoyable and accessible and invite the directors or actors but we don't mess around with the conventional cinematic viewing experience - there are no new soundtracks - we're also traditionalists!"

There's an excellent interview with Sam Dunn here which gives more background and you can get details of the titles on special offer via the BFI website here.

Here's their introduction to this night: Breaking from relentless work on the NYC grindhouse circuit, gay trash-meister Andy Milligan flew to England in the late 60s to direct this brilliantly rough-and-ready, gory, camp romp about an ancient vampire who lives next to Highgate Cemetery. Desperate to reassert his bloodline, the stately, charismatic ghoul - who dresses as a Reverend - must find a young descendant, supply them with fresh blood and stage a wild, sabbat-like feast for vampire friends from around the world. Originally shot in and around the cemetery on scraps of 16mm stock, through a greased lens, then later blown up for 35mm release, the film boasts a bizarre colour-drenched look which only enhances its peculiar dreamlike imagery.

The star of this film, Jackie Scarvellis, will also be present for a Q&A at this screening.

Take a look at this trailer.

There will also be a screening of 24 Hours: Highgate Vampire a short made by the BBC. Atmospherically shot in the dilapidated cemetery around the same time as the Milligan feature, this eerie, unsettling television news item reports on the infamous Highgate Vampire - and those who sought to lay it to rest.

The evening will be introduced by Will and his fellow archive curator Vic Pratt

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