Bizarre AKA Secrets of Sex
Anthony Balch | UK | 1970 | 91 minutes
A brainy sex flick with a sense of humor, the film begins with a narrator/mummy who guides us through a number of vignettes promising to show what some of us go through in the pursuit of sexual pleasure. There’s a fabulous ten minute opening, where the half naked go-go dancers have vegetables thrown at them. One of the tales features a female photographer who tortures a male model. Another has a female burglar caught by the house owner. The craziest involves a nerd hiring a blond call girl in pursuit of a menage-a-trois with his pet lizard; and there’s a endearing misadventure with secret agent Lindy Leigh who does topless safecracking.
Director Anthony Balch collaborated with William Burroughs on experimental short films and programmed exploitation films for the Jacey cinema chain.
Lindsay Shonteff | UK | 1970 | 75 minutes
The Groupie scene – a headline making ‘problem’ in the late Sixties – seems to have inspired a fairly nasty and mean-spirited reaction from British filmmaking. In spite of baring as much teenage flesh as possible, Permissive adopts the stance of a sad, downbeat, would be morality tale of runaways who come to London looking for adventure as groupies but only end up being used, abused and ‘damaged’.
Under the direction of Canadian emigre Lindsay Shonteff, the film eschews a straightforward narrative in favour of an almost documentary approach. There’s unique flash forward editing, proto-music video sections and scenes of rockers and groupies huddled into cramp, dingy rooms that are shot in a ‘fly on the wall’ fashion.
The Fiend AKA Beware My Brethren
Robert Hartford-Davis | UK | 1972 | 98 minutes
This is one of the more notable British horror films from the early 1970s, a stylish and generally accomplished mix of religion, psycho-drama, music and exploitation. The opening cross-cutting between a prayer meeting – accentuated by a powerful gospel song – and a vicious murder is especially stunning. Thematically, the film anticipates Pete Walker’s House of Mortal Sin but with the bonus of an intense performance from Patrick Magee, fresh from A Clockwork Orange, as the religious group’s fanatical leader.
Pete Walker | UK | 1974 | 88 minutes
After serving a lengthy prison sentence for acts of murder and cannibalism, a ‘fragile’ old lady (Aberdeen born Sheila Keith, a Walker regular) is released into the care of her husband (Rupert Davies) and they retire to a farmhouse deep in the English countryside. But old habits and tastes die hard…
One of the great exploitation titles of all time, Frightmare has often been described as the UK’s answer to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre thanks to its bleak scenario and uncompromising violence. It also sees Walker take a characteristically cynical view of the psychiatric system.
The Black Panther
Ian Merrick | UK | 1977 | 102 minutes
A very close account of Army fanatic Donald Nielson, the Black Panther of the title, and his campaign of armed robbery and kidnapping.
Norman J Warren | UK | 1978 | 85 minutes
An alien shape-shifter is found by a lesbian couple who invite him to stay with them. An intriguing one-of-a-kind combination of The Man Who Fell to Earth, Cul-de-Sac and Straw Dogs that explores themes of racism, sexism, love, jealousy and betrayal whilst delivering the exploitation goods.