The Sorcerers (Reeves, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT1 8.45pm
The death of director Michael Reeves shortly after he filmed Witchfinder General was a great loss to British cinema. Here's a link to renowned critic Robin Wood with his In Memoriam article on Reeves in Movie magazine in 1968.
Tonight the Flipside team at BFI Southbank present a Michael Reeves night in NFT 1, focusing on Reeves' film The Sorcerers. Here is their introduction to tonight's presentations:
Swiftly shot on the streets of Swingin' London, The Sorcerers, cinephile Reeves' sleazily psychedelic take on the ‘mad scientist' genre, drew strongly upon the established persona of its elderly star, horror legend Boris Karloff. Here he plays Professor Monserrat, inventor of a bizarre hypnosis machine, that allows him to control and experience the thoughts and feelings of his subject. Bored young mod-around-town Mike is lured away from his dolly birds and out of the local Wimpy Bar to be Monserrat's groovy young guinea-pig. At first, Mike's exploits seem harmless enough, but, as Monserrat's manipulative wife Estelle develops a perverse taste for violence, Mike is pushed ever further towards bloody sensual excesses. Plus Intrusion (UK 1961, 10min), a rare, short, silent amateur thriller, also featuring Ogilvy, shot by Reeves early in his career. Introduced by BFI Archive curators Vic Pratt and Will Fowler. We look forward to welcoming Benjamin Halligan, Michael Reeves' biographer, to introduce the screening.
Here is the trailer.
This is 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: 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."
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.