Italian Genre Giants Unite for ‘The Book’

A new project is in the works which will see some of Italy’s finest figureheads in genre film unite for a unique collaboration exploring elements of the last sixty years of Italian cinema. Written by screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (Manhattan Baby, City of the Living Dead, Demons, Body Count) and featuring a score by Goblin and Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, The Book will feature twelve individual episodes, each helmed by ‘a master of Italian cinema‘, showcasing the Giallo movement, Eurocrime and Spaghetti Westerns amongst other examples.


From the press release itself; ‘Following the ambitious extremity of The Profane Exhibit, producers David Bond, Sergio Stivaletti and Manda Manuel present: The Book. Assembling the finest living Italian filmmakers, the project intends to provide these elite creative forces a platform with which they can showcase the dexterity and innovation which brought them initial acclaim. Free of studio constraints, The Book will be Italian genre at its most raw and basic form, with the impetus placed upon recapturing the magic which resonates with so many fans the world over’.

If this wasn’t exciting enough, then the news that the following directors are confirmed for involvement most certainly will; Lamberto Bava (Shock, Demons 1 & 2), Aldo Lado (Short Night of the Glass Dolls), Umberto Lenzi (Nightmare City, Eaten Alive, Cannibal Ferox), Enzo G. Castellari (Cold Eyes of Fear, Inglorious Bastards) and Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust, House on the Edge of the Park) to name a few!


An IndieGogo project has been started to generate funding for the feature, which has some great rewards available for people willing to invest in what sounds like a definitive and interesting exploration. There is also a Twitter account to follow and a Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the latest news. Spread the word!

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears


From the directing duo, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, who brought us AMER and the O is for Orgasm segment of ABC’S OF DEATH, comes our first taste of L’ETRANGE COULEUR DES LARMES DE TON CORPS (The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears).

A solid Giallo title if I’ve ever heard one, obviously riffing off the rather cumbersomely named WHAT ARE THOSE STRANGE DROPS OF BLOOD ON JENNIFER’S BODY (aka The Case of the Bloody Iris), as well as Sergio Martino’s STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH and ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK. All featuring the lovely Edwige Fenech… Could she be making a return to the genre…? We can only hope.

Black gloves, gorgeous women, blood splatters, classy looking, and a seven word title, all the cards are certainly in place for another winner.

This month with Cigarette Burns

So the season of the witch is upon us, and normally Cigarette Burns attempts to shy away from the the rather obvious calling that this month brings. But not this year. This year we’re embracing October, and making the most out of the 31 days.

Albeit, with a focus on the final third of the month.

First, continuing in the spirit of our first Halloween spectacular, when we screened a distinctly non Halloweeny film, Heathers, we’re rolling up to the Rio in Dalston with none other than he epic 80s breakdance film – Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

I know what you’re thinking, how is this Halloweeny? It’s not. And that’s the point. All month the world will be over run with Horror films. It’s a bit like New Years Eve. Professionals don’t need New Years Eve as an excuse to get drunk, they are professionals, and do it all the time. So Cigarette Burns doesn’t need Halloween to screen Horror films, we know how to do that already, this is one for the party people.

So we’ll see you at the Rio Cinema on 20th October, more details here

Earlier this year, we were approached by the lovely folks at the Leicester Square Theatre and asked if we would like to take part in their inaugural Halloween festival, the 13th Hour Horror Festival, a selection of theatre, comedy, spoken word, film and more to help us all along through this lovely month. Well, far be it from us to turn down a wonderful offering, and so we came up with two contributions. The first of which is….

Psycho v Psycho

Now Gus Van Sant’s version of Psycho has received almost nothing but disdain, and abuse, personally, I’ve always felt that was incredibly unfair. Van Sant was at the height of his career when he decided to film Psycho. Having just finished Good Will Hunting to a fair amount of acclaim, the world, as they say, was his oyster. He could do no wrong. So he thought he test that theory…. He went back to his arthouse roots and decided to subvert the master, question his authority. What exactly made a film great? Was it the actors? The script? The director? What?

Van Sant did the unthinkable and remade Psycho. Line for line, and shot for shot.

Or did he?

Never before have the two films been presented to an audience side by side in a direct comparison. So that’s exactly what Cigarette burns is doing.

We have 4 small screens suspended above the audience showing GVS’s version and one main screen showing Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. The audio will be Hitchcock, but the fun will be for you to decipher exactly what GVS was doing. Was he mad? Or was he playing Hollywood at their own game? Having sat through test runs of this truly mind melting experiment, I can tell you that watching them simultaneously is fascinating and hypnotic, your eyes flitting between the two screens and picking out the most minute differences.

Prepare to see Psycho as you’ve never seen it before.

Pyscho v Psycho is for one night only, 25th October, more details here

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we have decided that those carpeted floors are not enough for us, we shall now tread upon the boards, as Cigarette Burns presents The Hallowe’en Sessions –

Taking advantage of the Leicester Square Theatre’s actual purpose, you know, it being a theatre and all, it seemed obvious that a play would be best suited for this environment. But CB being CB, a normal play just won’t do. Let’s roll out the Amicus style anthology. But perhaps something genuinely dark and unsettling, the sort of thing that makes one worry late at night when they are walking up the stairs and the light switch is just out of reach.

Enter Kim Newman‘s Dr. Myra Lark, played by none other than Sarah Douglas, as she tries to find out exactly what is troubling her five inmates, we slowly realise, all is not as it seems.

Directed by Sean Hogan, of Devil’s Business fame, written by a formidable sextet, including Kim Newman (Anno Dracula, Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles), Stephen Volk (The Awakening, Gothic, Ghost Watch), Anne Billson (Suckers, Stiff Lips) Paul McAuley (Fairyland, the Quiet War trilogy), Maura McHugh (Jennifer Wilde, Roisin Dubh) and director Sean Hogan (The Devil’s Business, Little Deaths), and starring  Sarah Douglas (Superman 2, Conan the Destroyer), Pollyanna McIntosh (Exam, The Woman), Billy Clarke (The Devil’s Business, Hunger), Daniel Brocklebank (The Hole, Little Deaths), Holly Lucas (Little Deaths, Holby City), Joshua Mayes-Cooper(Doctors, Outpost 11) and Grace Ker (‘Madame Edwarda’).

The Hallowe’en Sessions runs from 29th October to the 3rd November, with special Q&A sessions on both the 2nd and 3rd. More details here and tickets here

October will be a busy month for everybody, but we hope to see you at some, or even all of the above.

A Storm from the East

A child born with one purpose, vengeance.
Emotionless, robotic, Yuki surges forward, silently.
To avenge her family.

Like the Eastern Pam Grier, Meiko Kaji spent much of the 70s kicking ass and leaving the collecting of names to those who could be bothered.

Whether she was girl bossing it in the Stray Cat Rock series, in lockdown as Female Convict 701 or suffering from a Blind Woman’s Curse, Meiko was turning heads and cranking out a steady stream of Girls Take No Shit style exploitation.
Ostensibly much of her output falls under the Pinky Violence banner, that little tiny sub genre of the Japanese Pink films, Pink films being Japan’s answer to softcore porn (oversimplification alert). Pinky Violence films were an offshoot, mainly girl gang exploitation or Sukeban. Lots of rape and shirts being ripped off in breast exposing ways. The initial intention was to grab a gap in the market, by combining the Yakuza and Pink genre’s into one, and getting the teenage boys into the cinema. Combining sex and violence, as one would expect, turned out to be quite a successful move.

At the same time as the Yakuza films there were the Chanbura films, period pieces, Samurai films to you and me. Films like Zatoichi, The Blind Swordsman, or the iconic, Lone Wolf and Cub, better known as the infamous Shogun Assassin, it was here that fountains of blood became the norm. Shogun Assassin was, of course a Western invention, a mashup of the “best bits” of Lone Wolf, tailored for the West. If you want to work your way to the more over the top end of things you can thrown in some Hanzo for added penis bashing and orgasmic torture achieved through rape, or Bohachi for breast filled insanity.

It was only a matter of time before the Pinky Violence crept into the Samurai genre, creating a miniscule sub genre of PV, starting with Female Demon Ohyaku. But Meiko Kaji herself starred in three of these PV tinged Chanbura, Lady Snowblood 1 & 2 and the outstanding Blind Woman’s Curse. Kaji’s genre companion was Reiko Ike, like Kaji, she too had her start in Sukeban, before starring in PV classic Sex and Fury alongside Swedish sleaze star Christina Lindberg, who delivers the single worst performance ever committed to film (a Swedish hardcore porn star in a Japanese film playing an English assassin).

While Ike typifies the hard as nails girl you’d expect to be wielding a flick knife, someone you’d not want to meet in a dark alley. Her stocky build and steely eyes lent themselves perfectly to the girl gang films. It was Kaji, whose grace and beauty, makes the silent assassins of Sasorai of the Female Convict series and Yuki of Lady Snowblood so deadly and terrifying.
Whether she’s running down the street with a dismembered hand cuffed to her own or calmly walking walking down a flight of stairs as she slashes her way through 15 armed men of the secret police, she cuts a striking image of a strong and defiant woman.
Lady Snowblood itself isn’t quite Pinky Violence, often unfairly thrown into that genre, it’s lacking in the Pink, but brimming with the Violence. At it’s base, Snowblood is pure exploitation, like it’s namesake, it’s on an almost single minded mission to paint the screen crimson and show off the gorgeous actress.

You can easily sell this film by waffling on about how it was a heavy influence on Kill Bill, but you shouldn’t need too, it’s a gem of a film that will have you locked in from the opening sequence, falling snow and spraying blood, it’s beauty and grace sets it in a league of it’s own.


Shogun Assassin, Hanzo the Razor and the Female Convict Scorpion Series are available through Eureka.

Lady Snowblood 1 & 2 are out on 24th Sept on Bluray and DVD from Arrow. Zatoichi is also available from Arrow.

Sex and Fury is available from Fabulous Films.

The Devil bears gifts

So tonight we follow the torch up Kingsland Rd to the Rio Cinema with a preview screening of Sean Hogan’s Brit Horror The Devil’s Business, followed by a Q&A with Sean Hogan himself, hosted by the one and only, Kim Newman.

However, a bloodied box with a note taped to it has appeared at my door this morning.

These things happen at CBHQ… This is perfectly normal. 

It turns out that within said box, lied a dead baby in a coffin, and the note read:

Often, in indie horror, special effects get recycled for reasons of cost. Weighing in at about six kilos the gross dead baby was made originally for Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers for a scene where the eponymous garbage frotters microwave a kidnapped infant and then cut it open, eating its innards. The scene was eventually cut by Harmony for being too unpleasant. 

When Sean was writing the script for Devil’s Business he visited Dan Martin’s effects studio (at that point situated in a series of dimly lit railway arches) to see what could be salvaged, borrowed or pinched to gore up the movie. Gross dead baby was quickly a favourite of Sean’s and got given a quick refurb and paint-job to become a sacrificial offering to the lord of the flies himself. 

Now you have the opportunity to take home this soft, grimy, unpleasant piece of cinema history to do with as you will. Use him in your own indie horror film, fill him with pot puri or simply use him as an unnecessarily harsh cautionary tale for your own real kids. The possibilities are endless. 

13Finger FX

Dan has kindly offered to give away this “grimy, unpleasant piece of cinematic history” and if memory serves, I remember hearing a tale about a scene in Human Centipede 2 that it appeared in, only to end up on the cutting room floor.

Some lucky boy or girl will get to walk home with their very own dead baby tonight,, so I suggest you do some homework and start learning Dead Baby Jokes, the best one wins.

Eastbound and proud – East End Film Festival Cult round up.

In addition to our own little contribution to The East End Film Festival’s Cine-East fringe, the EEFF has gone and programmed a slew of other interesting genre films including the must see TETSUO Double Bill. 
Without doubt, London’s cinematic landscape is becoming more and more exciting, relevant and challenging with every day that passes. Get on board, go outside the confines of whatever you think film is, and support those that work to bring you cinemagic. 

EEFF 2012 is delighted to present restorations of Shin’ya Tsuakamoto’s twisted cyberpunk classics
Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II:Body Hammer, as well his latest film: the stunning, disturbing
Kotoko. The work of a singular filmmaker often compared to David Cronenberg, not to be missed on
the big screen.


TETSUO: IRON MAN (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 1989, London Premiere)
A strange man known only as the ‘metal fetishist’ is hit and seemingly killed by a Japanese ‘salaryman’, who then begins to be slowly overtaken by a strange disease that transforms his body into scrap metal, a process guided by his own rage and frustration. Shin’ya Tsuakamoto’s cyberpunk classic is presented here in a brand new restoration.
Screening from 6pm, Saturday 4th July, Hackney Picturehouse.
Details Here

TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 1992, London Premiere)
Tsukamoto’s sequel to Tetsuo sees his Iron Man transforming into a cyberkinetic gun after a gang of vicious skinheads kidnap his son. Eventually captured himself, they begin experimenting on him only to speed up the mutative process. As powerful, twisted and singular as the first instalment, ‘Tetsuo: The Body Hammer’ is again introduced in a brand new restoration, with Tsukamoto in attendance, in an unmissable double bill.
Screening from 6pm, Saturday 4th July, Hackney Picturehouse.
Details Here

KOTOKO (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 2011, London Premiere)
A single mother, played by Japanese singer Cocco, suffers from double vision that speaks of wider instability, and as she slowly loses grip on reality, struggles to protect both her child and herself. Or perhaps they really are out to get her. Legendary provocateur Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, see page 20) returns to his best with another tale of dizzying psychological descent.
Screening 8.30pm, Sunday 5th July, Rich Mix.
Details Here

THE LEGEND OF KASPAR HAUSER(Davide Manuli, 2012, UK Premiere)
Kaspar Hauser is reimagined as an androgynous woman washing up on a Mediterranean island,
kicking off a war between the Sheriff and the Pusher, both played by Vincent Gallo. Davide Manuli’s
barmy Techno Western is a tale of faith, suspicion and flying saucers set to the thudding beats of
techno behemoth Vitalic; the sort of astonishing experience modern cinema rarely manages anymore.
Screening 9pm, Friday 6th July, Hackney Picturehouse. 
Details Here

CARRE BLANC (Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, 2011, UK Premiere)
Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s debut is a gravely stylish vision of a dystopian future France; a society
run by a mysterious caste system that turns those who fail in an arbitrary, Kafkaesque “game” into
hamburgers. Phillipe, a man on his way up, is ultimately forced to choose between his meteoric rise
and his marriage in this cult classic in the making.
Screening 11.30pm, Friday 6th July, Rio Cinema. 

Welcome the the EEFF’s very own X-Files – an unsettling selection of 8 shorts about all things supernatural and uncanny. We’ll be opening our secret vault to unleash invisible demons, abductive aliens, cursed children, zombie mums, possessed walls, haunted submarines, Canadian goat people and a lady who swears she sees dead people. Join us – the truth is out there.
Screening 11.30pm, Saturday 7th July, Rio Cinema. 
Details Here

See you folks East.