Hill House

BY ANDREW MOODY Shirley Jackson had the inspiration to write a ghost story from two sources: firstly a book she was reading on Victorian psychic researchers (see John Gray’s The Immortalization Commission for a detailed critique on this dubious art) and secondly a horrifying-looking house on 125 street New York that she had nightmares about for months afterwards. Stephen King wrote in his classic assessment … Continue reading Hill House

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Thompson

BY ANDREW MOODY Dr Hunter S Thompson (the doctorate was ordered by airmail in the 60s) was one of the most original, wild and innovative political writers of the twentieth century. A born rebel, he never graduated from high school after a delinquency rap saw him do thirty days in a juvenile prison. He joined the air force straight after, with the secret intention of … Continue reading Thompson

Donnie Darko

BY ANDREW MOODY A cult sleeper hit at the turn of the century, shortly after Columbine and shortly before 9/11, Donnie Darko is a curious, beautiful and ultimately tragic romance that ranks with the best movies of the past twenty years. Written and directed by Richard Kelly, his bravery in making a film this lyrical about what is either directly or subtextually about mental illness … Continue reading Donnie Darko

The Collector

BY ANDREW MOODY I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing. Frederick, an unloved, sexually awkward clerk whose hobby is butterfly collecting (with much in common with Norman Bates), falls in love with the sight of art student Miranda. After a massive win … Continue reading The Collector

Bonjour Tristesse

BY ANDREW MOODY In 1954, 18-year-old Francoise Sagan stunned the Parisian literary scene with Bonjour Tristesse, a scandalous tale of decadence and teenage sexuality on the French Riviera. That she had recently failed the Sorbonnes (the French equivalent of the A Levels) made its maturity, sensuality, sin and deceptively sophisticated dialogue see it become an instant bestseller and Sagan hailed as an enfant terrible and … Continue reading Bonjour Tristesse

Dispatches

BY ANDREW MOODY Michael Herr used his memoir and experiences as a war reporter to write the narration for Martin Sheen in Coppola’s masterpiece Apocalypse Now and co-wrote Kubrick’s most enduring film Full Metal Jacket with another Vietnam writer, Gustav Hasford, whose The Short Timers inspired the boot camp sequence. Herr said of Kubrick that had he not been a film director, he would have … Continue reading Dispatches

Welles & Wells

BY ANDREW MOODY On November 8th 1938, Adolf Hitler made reference to the mass hysteria caused by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre radio production of War of the Worlds, as evidence of “the corrupt condition and decadent state of affairs in democracy”. “He hadn’t much else to say,” Welles wryly commented during a meeting with the original author HG Wells in 1940 after war had erupted … Continue reading Welles & Wells

On Bukowski

BY ANDREW MOODY Charles Bukowski, the poet laureate of skid row and the mad old sleazebag of American letters, was often regarded as an honorary member of the Beat Generation. Whilst it’s certain he would have been familiar with their work, he never hung with Ginsberg or Burroughs or Kerouac and probably didn’t think much of them. To quote Hot Water Music: “What is your … Continue reading On Bukowski

The Fake News Factory

BY JAMIE FOSTER David Sedgwick’s book ‘The Fake News Factory’ is a polemic on the state of the BBC. It pulls no punches from the outset in covering what Sedgwick perceives to be the BBC’s dishonesty and malfeasance. The BBC is portrayed as the source of fake news on a number of subjects ranging from Brexit and Donald Trump to Hungary and Russia. The book … Continue reading The Fake News Factory

To the Cleaners

BY ANDREW MOODY In many respects, even more than the derivative Star Wars movies, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is the most famous movie ever made. “Hitchcock liked to boast about playing the emotions of audiences as though they were notes on an organ, but when he first read Psycho he must have recognized his own inner music surging through him. It was The Lodger as the … Continue reading To the Cleaners

Illusory Power

BY ANDREW MOODY I believe in America… The undertaker’s words to Don Vito Corleone (as the master toys with a kitten in a smoky back room office), are surely the most memorable opening lines in Hollywood history. I first saw the Godfather and the Godfather Part 2 on one, long hot summer’s day at a friend’s house whilst revising for my maths GCSE. I must … Continue reading Illusory Power