Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2020 - Gavin Rye ""

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Film Discoveries of 2020 - Gavin Rye

Gavin drives kids to school on a bus, makes films and is the co-host of the mainly unheard podcast ‘Cool Kids Film Club’. Find him on Letterboxd:

The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978)
My dad had been running on about The Rutles for years, so I’m shocked that it took me so long to get around to watching it. I don’t think I laughed as hard at a film all year. This mock-rock-umentry comes a whole 6 years before Spinal Tap and isn’t any less funny. Eric Idle is great as the presenter and the songs The Rutles sing, manage to sound really on point with The Beatles and yet don’t stoop to making fun of them. Mick Jagger is interviewed throughout the film and nails the tone really well. I’m still yet to see the sequel that was made 2002 but will remedy that soon.

Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (1996)
Troma are often looked down upon, ebven more so in recent years, but dig deep into their catalog and there are some real gems to be found like The Nobodies (2018) and Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo. The 90s doesn’t get quite the recognition for low budget regional horror that the 80s and 70s do (something I hope will be remedied when Bleeding Skull release their 90s book), but some great stuff came out of that forgotten decade and one of them is this crazy piece of work. The makers throw everything they can at the wall and a good amount of it sticks. We get a ton of rubbery, gooey goodness with various monsters popping up all over the place, and the finale has some extremely charming stop motion work.

Christine (1987)
Almost nothing happens in this and I loved every minute of it. It’s just so damn British, which really isn’t often shown in films. The estates in this film look exactly like the estates around my town, even some 30 odd years later. We follow a group of young people who are all heroine addicts. The scenes with the kids shooting up heroine are done in such a nonchalant way that it neither glamourises it or makes it out to be some kind of living hell. The people doing drugs here don’t live in either penthouses or crack dens, just normal working class houses. It’s probably far closer to the reality of most drug addicts than any film has ever presented. There’s some great use of Alan Clarkes signature shots following characters as they just walk and chat about their mundane lives.

Blood Nasty (1989)
I like to dig into the really obscure when it comes to horror in the hope of finding the odd gem. It doesn’t often happen, but it’s always exciting when it does. Unreleased in any form in it’s birth nation of America, Blood Nasty is actually a really fun little movie about a mother, who is severely struggling with money, receives a large settlement from an airline after her son is killed in a crash. But then he turns back up at the new house with a pole straight through his torso. He’s also slipping in and out of another personality called Blade. It feels a little influenced by Deathdream, but with far less of the subtext.

The Kirlian Witness (1978)
The Kirlian Witness really should be silly. A plant is the only witness to what could be the murder of her sister, so Rilla takes on the plant and attempts to communicate with it to find the truth. Yet the film not only takes the concept completely serious, but you will too. I was drawn in by the absolutely superb poster art that looks like an old paper back book you’d find in a shop that you’d never heard of. I stayed for the dry and drab atmosphere and the strange vibe the film just radiates.

Freaky Farley (2007)
Matt Farley is probably best known as the guy that has written tens of thousands of songs that he uploads to Spotify and lives off the earnings of, but I had no idea he made films too. We follow the title character Farley as he goes from being a peeping tom, to him pursuing a love interest, to creatures in the woods and witches and ninjas and his dad attempting to find him a job. Somehow it all works out and you are left with a really one of a kind film. The fact it’s shot on 16mm helps it out too as despite some shaky camerawork, the actual look is really great.

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