I've been meaning to share this with you for a couple of weeks, hoping to get a good scan of it. Unfortunately, it's too big for my scanner, so you'll have to settle for a so-so snapshot instead. Hey, settling for less than you deserve is what life's all about, right? Because you, dear reader, deserve nothing but the best, and I absolutely promise not to ever give you anything even remotely resembling that. Anyway, it's a Mexican lobby card for Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" starring Klaus Kinski (their first of five films together, not counting Herzog's documentary "My Best Fiend," made many years after Kinski's death) and it's quite lovely if I don't mind saying (no, I don't mind saying, I don't mind at all). Click the picture for a larger image...
Well, it hasn't been that long since I last posted, though I still feel the urge to apologize for whatever reason because it feels, to me anyway, like I haven't posted in a bit. Shame wields power beyond reason sometimes, I suppose. Anyways, the new job is going well (I dare say I actually like what I do), and I'm adjusting to the my new schedule okay, but I'm still pretty tired at the end of the day, and haven't been watching many films, and haven't had the chance to sit down and scan some more Kirby comics. The good news is that I recently came into a nice sized stack of Kirby stuff to post, and I still have a number of Kinski flicks to peep. Because my time is at a premium, though, I'm sort of putting a semi-moratorium on the Kirby/Kinski theme, which is not to say that I'm not going to keep posting material on both, but I'm not going to limit myself to that. Which is to say if I watch, or read, or hear something interesting that isn't realted to either Jack Kirby or Klaus Kinski, I'm going to post it.
Which is cool because one of the few decent films I've had a chance to watch recently has nothing to do with either. "Twisted Nerve," a UK film from 1968, directed by Roy Boulting, is maybe best known as the source of some of the music in "Kill Bill" (from the theme by Bernard Herrmann, which is very similar to his "Taxi Driver" score), but at the time of its release, it was quite controversial for linking autism and psychosis. Apparently at the time a prologue was added explaining that the two conditions were not related. (This prologue was absent from the version I saw).
Controversy aside, Twisted Nerve is a decent film, certainly a descendant of "Psycho" and "Peeping Tom," and a precursor to the less violent but equally grim "Deep End." Hywel Bennett plays Martin (one wonders if this had any influence on George Romero's "Martin," a film that is certainly a spiritual cousin to this one), a mentally ill young man who seems to have fooled everyone around him into believing he is autistic and trapped in a childlike mentality, but is actually quite intelligent and cunning, if unbalanced (at least, I'm assuming he's not actually autistic, the film doesn't make it crystal clear, which is fine by me, the ambiguity is interesting). Martin becomes fixated on a cute young librarian, Susan (played by Hayley Mills). He tricks her into believing his is an idiot man-child, and even manages to move into her house as a boarder. As Martin's actions become increasingly desperate and unhinged, Susan becomes increasingly aware that something is wrong with him, along with another boarder, Shashie (Salmaan Peer). Naturally, everything comes to a boil somewhat violently.
Generally speaking, "Twisted Nerve" isn't exactly a masterpiece, but it is reasonably effective and consistently pretty interesting, despite moving at a slow pace, without a whole lot of action necessarily taking place from scene-to-scene. The atmosphere is engaging though I think the film would have benefited from a more natural approach, as it is the proceedings are somewhat formal. Some of the visuals are quite nice, though. Hayley Mills is pretty great as the female lead, and really also kind of sexy, which is a bit unnerving given that I know her best from the original "Parent Trap," made about seven years before this. Bennett is alright as the antihero, although he more-or-less is just aping a mix of Anthony Perkins in "Psycho" and Karl Boehm in "Peeping Tom." The prominence of Peer's role is quite interesting, as we so rarely see a North Asian hero in a film, particularly one of this vintage. It's somewhat akin to George Romero's casting of an African-American in the lead of "Night of the Living Dead," made more-or-less at the same time as this, though unlike in Romero's film, Shashie's race is a subject of discussion amongst the characters in the film.
Unfortunately, "Twisted Nerve" is unavailable on DVD (or VHS, for that matter) in the States. It's well worth a look, despite its flaws. It should also be noted that film inspired the name of Twisted Nerve, a decent Scottish postpunk/deathrock band that played from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. They recorded tunes like "Twisted Nervosis" and "It's All in the Mind," though to the best of my knowledge, they never covered Herrmann's theme to "Twisted Nerve." (Was that meant to be a joke? I'm asking myself, because I'm not sure. It seems like kind of an old man joke- i.e. corny not funny. Which I guess would make me an unfunny old man. Fuck it, I'm tired).
Check back when you can for more groovy-ass shit. Though I'm moving away from tying myself to a theme in general, I was thinking of changing things up in January and making the subjects actor George Sanders and comics artist Walt Simonson (Sanders vs. Simonson), but who knows? As mentioned, I still have a ton of Kirby and Kinski, though I suppose that topic will keep. It feels like I should do something different for the first month of the new year, although maybe I shouldn't kowtow to that kind of meaningless symbolism...