Retro Sex and Violence: The “Best” of British Film.

I love being British. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly, but I suspect it has something to do with our rich British history of bad teeth, the repressed attitude to sex and an enduring ability to patiently queue for absolutely everything

I love British Cinema too. Especially the grimier stuff we churned out with so much enthusiasm during the 70′s – a decade that surely belonged to us. Babycham? Polyester Suits? Ford Capri’s and really bad television? Yup, we totally owned the 70s!

Moving in into the 80s, we got saucier and started beating people up in films with alarming regularity. But it’s ok because we did it with some semblance of dramatic meaning and grotty sophistication. Cheers Maggie!

It’s with genuine excitement, then, that I introduce VTSS‘s two week tribute to the “Best” of British Film – or rather, a trawl through the faintly sexy and violent underbelly of vintage cinema that quietly colours our blood drenched, flesh filled, skull splitting  inclinations on this oh-so Limey little film site.

Forget about Sid James, Mike Leigh, Edgar J. Wright, Hammer and Danny “Mr Olympic” Boyle for a moment. We’re switching channels and sinking our rotten teeth into the sticky world of low rent British genre film – straight out of the stinking council estates of the 70′s and 80′s.

Rich Flannagan kicks it off tomorrow with the first of several grubby Skin Flicks that form the first week of our mini-season. Take an Easy Ride, Adventures of a Private Eye and Norman J. Warren‘s Spaced Out are great examples of our filthy association with Smut in the old Blighty picture houses.

We’re delighted to welcome back David L. Hayles to the fold (having sacked off Britain by moving to Berlin last year), and he drops an entertaining piece on The Playbirds - tragic Mary Millington‘s “Slap ‘n Tickle” swan song. Italian Film Review’s Proud Welshman, Nigel Maskell, chips in with Au Pair Girls, and I invite you to, er, Come Play With Me

Week two is a little rougher and definitely tougher. Todd Cauley isn’t British, but he is a great writer, and, for his art, presents an American take on Hawk The Slayer, for our sins. We tread the crime ridden streets of London in Villain and Sweeney! and shift uncomfortably at the premise of Neither the Sea nor the Sand – an esoteric Zombie Love Story (no week is worth a bean without an esoteric Zombie Love Story, surely?). It’s  from Aenigma perzine’s head honcho, Nigel, and he has gifted us with yet another marvellous review.

Straying into the mainstream, Rich coos over Leslie Ash‘s remarkable hairstyle and Phil Daniels‘ amphetamine assisted temper tantrums with a fine piece on the classic Quadrophenia. We’re desperately hoping our good friend, “Mr Lightning Bugg”, Zack will be back in week two, and if he is, expect something special in accompaniment – The Music Machine is our rather splendid British take on Saturday Night Fever and it needs to be seen to be believed…

That man, Michael Hewis is in the house too, and lends some much needed 80s Catholic Art to our pages with a detailed dissection of Nigel Wingrove‘s experiMENTAL Nunsploitation short, Visions of Ecstasy, before Rich brings us back to the present day, wrapping the season up with his take on Peter Strickland‘s retro indulgent Berberian Sound Studio – last year’s British Darling,  and a film that nods enthusiastically to our eternal love for the Italian filone.

So put the kettle on, sit back and allow us to guide you through the Rothmans stained crevices of the “Best” British Cinema we could dig up from the crumbly soil of our beloved,  United Kingdom…