Archives for posts with tag: movies


James Kennaway was a brilliant, talented writer, whose career spanned best-selling novels, block-busting screenplays and Oscar-winning movies.   More than forty-odd years after his death, he remains one of Scotland’s most enigmatic and unacknowledged literary heroes.

Born in Aucherarder, Perth, in 1928, Kennaway first came to prominence with his 1956 novel ‘Tunes of Glory‘.  An instant critical and popular success, it was made into a powerful film with Alec Guinness and John Mills in 1960.

In 1962, Kennaway adapted another of his novels for the superior psychological thriller ‘The Mindbenders‘, starring Dirk Bogarde (who was just at that cross-over point in his career, from “cheesecake” to serious actor), Mary Ure, and Wendy Craig.  Later in the decade, another of Kennaway’s novel, ‘Household Ghosts’ about an incestuous relationship between brother and sister, received the big screen treatment starring Peter O’Toole and Susannah York in 1969.

Kennaway’s other books include ‘The Cost of Living Like This’, ‘Some Gorgeous Accident’ (the last published during his lifetime), and the filmic and beautiful novella, ‘Silence’.

Kennaway was an Oscar nominated screenwriter (‘Tunes of Glory‘) who also wrote the screenplays for ‘Violent Playground‘ starring Peter Cushing, David McCallum and Stanley Baker, as well as a successful adaptation of Morris West’s ‘The Shoes of the Fisherman’ and Len Deighton’s ‘The Battle of Britain‘, starring Michael Caine and Robert Shaw.

His short story ‘The Dollar Bottom’ was made into an Oscar-winning short film in 1981 with Rikki Fulton and Robert Urquhart.

Tragically, Kennaway was killed in a car crash in 1968, at the very moment he seemed destined for greater success.

A theatrical production of ‘Some Gorgeous Accident’ will be premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, this year.

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Derek Marlowe copyrght Paul Gallagher 1984

Someone, somewhere, has probably written a thesis on fan letters, showing how the turn of phrase, spelling, sentence structure and language, reveal the psychology of the writer.  I can guess the flaws my intense three or four fan letters reveal about me, both good and bad.  That said, the replies were always pleasing – a signed photo, a message from a secretary, a written response.  The reply that meant so much to me, in my mid-teens, came from the brilliant author, Derek Marlowe.

Marlowe inspired me to see the beauty of writing and the power a novelist has in telling their tale.  His books took me away from the comfort of Sherlock Holmes, Alistair MacLeans, and dog-eared ghost stories, into a world of shifting ambiguous, complex relationships, through dark, witty stories told in beautiful language.

Marlowe’s response to my Biro scribbled missive was a typed, two page letter, in lower case and capitals.  It is a letter I still cherish, for it gave me a sense of what can be made of a life – for Derek Marlowe was more than just a novelist, he was a successful playwright, a screenwriter, and an award-winning writer for television.   In the letter he explained about his life and career, how he had started after being sent down from University:

“I was thrown out of Queen Mary College, London, for editing and writing an article in the college magazine.  The article was a parody of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ reflecting the boredom of college seminars.  Not very funny or special but times were odd then. Besides, I hated University and I think I’d made that rather too clear.

“I began writing plays since I had started a play for the College which took a surprising course.  Continued with plays for about four years, went to Berlin, came back and then I realised, after writing DANDY (I was then a clerk) that I preferred prose to theatre. Besides, the person I was sharing the flat with and had done for six years, seemed better at theatre than me.  He was and is Tom Stoppard.”

‘A Dandy in Aspic’ was Marlowe‘s first novel, and the one that launched him onto his successful career.  It was the story of a double-agent, Eberlin, sent on a mission to assassinate his alter ego.  ‘Dandy’ was made into a a so-so film starring Laurence Harvey, Mia Farrow and Peter Cook, of which he wrote:

“Regarding the film DANDY.  The director, ANTHONY MANN died during the filming (a superb man and great director) and it was taken over by Laurence Harvey, the badly cast Eberlin.  He directed his own mis-talent, changed it and the script – which is rather like Mona Lisa touching up he portrait while Leonardo is out of the room.”

Rather than follow the expected path of genre-writing, Marlowe followed up his debut novel, with ‘Memoirs of a Venus Lackey’, the disturbing tale of a roue, who examined the sins of his life from Hell.

Next, an historical novel ‘A Single Summer with L.B.’, which focussed on the fateful meeting in 1816, when Mary and Percy Shelley spent a summer with Lord Byron and his doctor, Polidori, a gathering that inspired the writing of ‘Frankenstein’.  In the book, Marlowe gave thanks to Ken Russell (amongst others), who would later make his own particular version of these events in ‘Gothic’.

Marlowe returned to thrillers with ‘Echoes of Celandine’, which dealt with the loves, infidelities and obsessions of a melancholic hitman.  Of this he wrote:

“ECHOES OF CELANDINE has just been filmed, starring Donald Sutherland and John Hurt (as Atkinson), David Warner (as Burbage) etc.  It’s very good but held up by squabbling producers.”

The film wasn’t what I had expected, its location moved from Britain to Canada, and I found it too ponderous, and filled with an imposed alienation. Yet, there was still something of Marlowe in the film.

“About the novels.  All characters are close or have been observed in some element of truth.  One book went too far and I was sued for libel – but I shan’t reveal which one it was.  Loner and anti-hero?  Loner, certainly – even though I am married with four stepchildren and one son of my own – but not anti-hero.  I’m for heroes, though if not Lancelot or Tristan, heroes appear out of the mould of the time.”

He followed ‘Echoes’ with ‘Do You Remember England?’ – a haunting novel about a doomed love affair.  Reading it, I thought this book closest to who Marlowe was.  The character of Dowson had the mix of his parentage – a Greek Mother, a Cockney father -and I sensed that like Dowson, in some way, Marlowe was a man who belonged to a different century. For Marlowe seemed a true Romantic, and to an extent a dandy, but I doubt he would have agreed with that.  Yet, it should be noted that one of his heroes was Beau Brummell, whose biography he penned for the Dictionary of National Biography.

Another hero was Raymond Chandler, and it was Chandler who inspired Marlowe’s 1974 homage ‘Somebody’s Sister’, about a washed up PI, Walter Brackett.  Then the haunting ‘Nightshade’ in 1976, about a mis-matched couple on a dark and disturbing holiday to Haiti.  Of the central character, Marlowe wrote:

“Edward in NIGHTSHADE is an aberration in my character.  I was going through stage of mysoginism (sic) and even misanthropy.”

At the time of writing he had just completed ‘The Rich Boy From Chicago’ and a 9-part series on Nancy Astor for the BBC:

“My next novel to be published in the winter in hardback, is called THE RICH BOY FROM CHICAGO – a five hundred pager, I’m afraid – but I think in this novel you will see the quintessence of all I have written.

“If you read RICH BOY FROM CHICAGO, you might detect in the charcater of Freddie, the protagonist and the life of Bax, a combination that could be me, good or bad.”

‘The Great Gatsby’ was Marlowe’s favourite book, and Fitzgerald’s influence can be seen in ‘Rich Boy’ and, more importantly, throughout Marlowe’s work.  Both writers were incredible stylists, both were Catholics and both captured the time they lived in perfectly.

After his divorce, Marlowe moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote for TV (series and films as diverse as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Jamaica Inn’).  His final work for TV was an episode of ‘Murder, She Wrote’ – ‘South by South-West’.  Tired with LALAland, Marlowe planned to return to England to finish his tenth novel, ‘Black and White’, but he contracted leukemia and tragically died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 58, in 1996.

Sadly, Marlowe’s genius as a writer has been nearly lost, as none of his novels have remained in print.  But through the internet, it is easy to find second-hand copies of his work, and I urge you to do so.

I kept in touch with Marlowe for the next five years, eventually meeting him for an interview in 1984.  The cliche is never meet your heroes, but I am glad I did, for Marlowe was more than any fan could have expected – kind in his attentions, generous in his support, and always funny.

In his advice to a teenage wannabe writer, he wrote:

“Remember books last longer than reviews and the most boring part is typing the damn thing afterwards and planning beforehand.  Never think too hard about what you are going to write – just jump in.  I’ve never known the end of my book, nor even the middle until after I am halfwat through.  And ignore anyone who says you can’t make a living out of writing.  You can if you don’t limit yourself to novels in England alone and don’t want a Rolls immediately.  I have never known a writer over thirty who has got the stamina to be poor.  Talent doesn’t make for success.  Courage does first.  But above all, if you want to survive, heed Nabokov’s remark: I write for myself – but I publish for money.”

Derek Marlowe 1938-1996

I was quite a serious little fellow when I was twelve, with a head full of questions and a liking for Spiderman, peanut brittle, horror films, Sherlock Holmes, H. G. Wells, Alistair MacLean and a girl with bobbed hair called Alison (who I knew was secretly a goddess and lived at the end of our street).

It was amid all of these distractions that I first saw Roger Corman‘s ‘The Man With X-Ray Eyes‘, late, one Monday night on TV.  The film blew me away with its mix of beauty and horror and made me realise science-fiction, horror films and even Spiderman comics contained hidden meanings, useful directions, like a compass for our lives. ‘The Man With X-Ray Eyes’ was more than just a low budget sci-fi flick, filmed over three weeks on a budget of $300,000, it was a morality tale, which captured much of what I was thinking and feeling.

Here was the story of a slightly faded, but distinguished scientist, Dr. Xavier, (Ray Milland) who experiments with eye-drops that he has developed to help him see beyond the visible spectrum, towards ultra violet and X-rays.  Having decided that to test his formula on animals or patients would lead to biased data, Xavier tests the formula on himself.  At first, he thinks he is able to control the dosage and its effects, believing he has found a short-cut to understanding existence, claiming he is “blind to all but one tenth of the universe,” and that he is “closing in on the gods”.  His enthusiasm doesn’t last, as the eye-drops dramatically alter his perspective of the world, and his role in it.

As that serious, little 12-year-old kid, I suddenly understood that the consequences of Ray Milland’s desperate ambition were akin to growing-up, and the knowledge I was soon to gain from the experience, from the impending physical and psychological change, would remove me forever from the world I had so easily and happily inhabited for the past eleven summers.

I also saw how Xavier was like H. G. Wells’ Griffin – ‘The Invisible Man’, driven mad by the changes he has wrought on himself.  For the knowledge Xavier sought only reveals the terrible horror of existence, and worse, the “great darknesses. Farther than time itself. And beyond the darkness… a light that glows, changes… and in the centre of the universe… the eye that sees us all.”

As I watched and listened, I thought this wasn’t just an “eye” but “I”.  The “I” that sees all.  The “I” of self that fails to comprehend or respond to what it sees, and blindly and relentlessly consumes – without examination, without reflection, and worse, without accepting the responsibility at the heart of all knowledge.

That night, as I lay in bed thinking about Xavier’s black X-ray eyes, I knew I had uncovered something profound, something that changed me forever, and like Dr. Xavier, I could see through the present and into the future, and sadly knew Alison, with-the-bob, wasn’t a goddess after all.


Happy Birthday Ken Russell

Happy Birthday Ken Russell.

Few British directors have been as successful or as controversial as Ken Russell.

With the exception of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, few directors have managed to produce a body of work that has appealed to mass audiences across such diverse genres as science-fiction (‘Altered States‘), espionage (‘The Billion Dollar Brain‘), musicals (‘The Boyfriend‘,’Tommy‘, ‘Listzomania‘), biography (‘The Music Lovers‘, ‘Savage Messiah‘, ‘Mahler‘, ‘Valentino‘), drama (‘Whore‘), comedy (‘French Dressing‘), horror (‘Lair of the White Worm‘, ‘Gothic‘), historical drama (‘The Devils‘), and literary (‘Women in Love‘, ‘The Rainbow‘, ‘Salome’s Last Dance‘).

Like the greatest of cinematic auteurs, Russell has created his own distinctive visual language that makes his work instantly recognisable, unforgettable and artistically important.

If this weren’t enough, Russell produced an outstanding body of television films, which has yet to be equalled for their intelligence (‘Delius – The Song of Summer‘), artistry (‘The Debussy Film‘) and controversy (‘Dance of the Seven Veils‘). Indeed it was Russell who devised the bio-pic or drama doc with his BBC film ‘Elgar‘, a form that has been relentlessly copied since.

Today Russell turns 83, and as we wish him a very Happy Birthday, we hope that he is encouraged and supported to produce more of his wonderful, inspiring and idiosyncratic films.

Rob Spence, a Toronto based film-maker lost his eye in a shooting accident when he was a teenager.  Nearly twenty years later, Spence has replaced his eye with a miniature camera that records all that he sees.

The protoype eye was named by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2009.  Spence calls himself ‘Eyeborg Guy‘ and blogs about his experiences.

Spence uses the electronic eye not for sight, but to record and document what he sees.

This brings to mind Bertrand Tavernier‘s superior, 1980 film ‘Death Watch’ (‘La Mort en Direct’) based on the novel ‘The Unsleeping Eye‘ by David G Compton.

In the film, Harvey Keitel played Roddy, a man who has a camera implanted in his eye, in order that he may film a documentary about a terminally ill woman, Romy Schneider, who he follows, for a top rated TV show called ‘Death Watch’, in her day-to-day existence as she prepares to die.

Shot on location in a grim and foreboding Glasgow, ‘Death Watch‘ has withstood its initial poor reviews to remain a highly relevant and important film for our age. Long before Ob Docs and Reality TV, this darkly moving and disturbing movie, has proved itself far more prescient in its criticism of media intrusion into our lives than any contemporary film.

Although Peter Cushing was born in 1913, the world famous actor preferred to see his birth year as 1942 – the year he met Violet Helen Beck.

Peter and Helen married in 1943, and the former actress became the centre of Cushing’s life: encouraging him, and supporting him throughout the early, lean years of his career.

As Cushing later said, “I owe it all to Helen.  She was an actress and gave up her career for me.  She made me what I am. She gave me a confidence, I could never have found on my own.”

In many of Cushing’s movies, a small silver framed portrait of Helen can be seen as a prop used by the likes of Baron Victor Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing.

Cushing’s life with Helen was lived more on a mental plane than a physical one, as he told ‘New Reveille’ in 1974.

“We didn’t consider the physical aspect of marriage very important,” he explained.

Yet, their love was so great that Cushing claimed his life ended the day Helen died in 1971.

On that fateful night, Cushing repeatedly ran up and down stairs to induce a heart attack.  He failed and later said his actions had been caused by the trauma of his wife’s death.

“I had always hoped that we would depart this life together, but it was not to be,’ he said.

Thereafter, Cushing had a death wish, and claimed that death was the only happy ending to his love affair with Helen.

“I am not a religious man, but I try to live by Christian ethics.  Helen has passed on but she is with me still.  She is all around.

“What I am doing is merely existing – longing for the day when I shall die and join her for ever.  We will be together again but time does not heal.”

Before she died, Helen wrote Peter a poem telling him “not to be hasty to leave” until he had lived the life he had been given.

“I could not take away my life, because that would be letting Helen down.  But I would be so happy if I could die tomorrow.”

But death did not come quickly for the Gentleman of Horror.  Cushing lived for a further 23 years, performing in some of his most memorable films, which highlighted the very fine talents of this very great actor.

As World Cup fever grips the planet (or at least a snivelling cold in some areas – Scotland), I wonder why there has never been a quality football (soccer) movie?

Okay, there is ‘Bend It Like Beckham‘, ‘Gregory’s Girl‘ and ‘Mike Basset England Manager‘, but these are hardly in the same league of Classic Sports Movies as John Frankenheimer‘s ‘Grand Prix‘, Martin Scorsese‘s ‘Raging Bull‘ or even Lindsay Anderson‘s ‘This Sporting Life‘.

It has been suggested that football movies can’t deliver “the one-man-battling-the-odds” as it is a team sport; but surely multiple narratives, from ‘Grand Prix‘ to more recently the social drama ‘Crash‘, can and do deliver an audience.

So, why are football films the equivalent of the novelty Christmas single?Why are there no great football movies?

For example, what was Hollywood thinking when they hedged their bets with a preposterous World War II, football, khaki and POW romp ‘Escape to Victory’?

On paper ‘Escape to Victory‘ sounds like it should have been the greatest football film ever made.  Think of it, a war movie that follows the adventures of a bunch of plucky POWs who plan to escape during a must-win game in Paris, against the German national team in 1942.  What’s not to like?

Even better, it was directed by John Huston, with a cast that included Michael Caine, Max von Sydow, er, Sylvetser Stallone, playing footie alongside legends Pele, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles and..er, Scotland’s bewhiskered, John Wark.

It sounds perfect.  Sadly, it wasn’t.

But like the runt of the litter, ‘Escape to Victory‘ has its good points in a ‘Roy of the Rovers‘ kind of way, which, as the years pass, make it just that little bit more enjoyable and an obvious target for a possible remake.

It will never be ‘The Great Escape‘ or ‘Stalag 17‘ or even a ‘Chariots of Fire‘, but what it does do is give a startling insight into the the minds and excesses of Hollywood producers prior to the death of John Belushi.

Michael Reeves was just 23 when he wrote and directed ‘Witchfinder General‘.  It would prove to be his most critically acclaimed film. It would also be his last.  Reeves died from an accidental overdose months later.  It was a tragic end for a director of such immense talent and originality, who had reinvented the horror genre in three distinct films – ‘Revenge of the Blood Beast‘, ‘The Sorcerers‘ and ‘Witchfinder General‘.

Reeves was a precocious talent, making his first short film at 8.  At school he was introduced to the young actor Ian Ogilvy, who would become Reeves close friend and star of all his films.  Reeves travelled to Hollywood at 16 to meet director Don Siegel.  He became Siegel’s assistant and proved himself to be a natural talent.  From here, he raised the money for his first film ‘Revenge of the Blood Beast’, which starred Ogilvy and horror queen Barbara Steele. The film was highly successful and alerted critics to a young, homegrown talent, who they soon dubbed the Orson Welles of his generation.

Two years later, in 1967, Reeves made the first of his important horror films, ‘The Sorcerers‘, starring horror legend, Boris Karloff. The film’s subtext examined the role of voyeurism and cinema and the obsession with youth. The movie, and especially Karloff’s association with it, propelled Reeves into the top rank of horror film directors – he was just 22.

But it was ‘Witchfinder General’, which was Reeves most important, and original horror film. The film starred Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Dwyer and Patrick Wymark.

Based on the true events of Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General who carried out the torture and execution of alleged sorcerers in the 1640s, during the Civil War.  Hopkins was a notorious figure who made a fortune out of his activities, being paid £1 for every soul he saved by hanging, burning or drowning.

Vincent Price was brilliant as Matthew Hopkins, with Reeves coaxing a more measured performance from the usually ‘hammy’ Price.  Annoyed by Reeves continual directions to underplay, Price turned on Reeves and said, ‘I have made 84 movies, how many have you made?’  Reeves replied, ‘Two good ones.’

‘Witchfinder General’ captured the public’s imagination with many viewers seeing the film’s barbarism as a comment on the Vietnam War. Despite criticisms of the film’s brutality, Witchfinder proved to be Reeves biggest commercial success.

Yet after this success, Reeves seemed to lose his way.  He started to drink heavily, and suffered from depression.  In February 1969, Reeves returned home after a night drinking, and swallowed a handful of anti-depressants.  Whether this was intentional or not is open to conjecture.

Reeves died in the early hours of February 11.  His death robbed British film, and the horror world, of one of its most brilliant and original talents.

Dennis Hopper was 13, when he first sniffed gasoline and watched the clouds turn into clowns and goblins. There was little else to do in Dodge City, where he had been born and lived. Catch lightning bugs, fly his kite, burn newspapers, swim. Hopper was, by his own words, “desperate”.   A sensitive child without the stimulation to keep his fevered imagination in check.

He went to movies and watched Abbott and Costello and Errol Flynn. Hopper o.d.ed on gasoline fumes and became Abbott and Costello and Errol Flynn. He wrecked his grandfather’s truck with a baseball bat. It was a hint of what was to come.

Signed at 18 on contract to Warner Bros, Hopper identified with Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, and James Dean, but found he was expected to conform to the studio’s whims. Hopper was too sensitive to conform, and his vulnerability saw him bullied and picked on by old time studio director Henry Hathaway, who had him black-balled from Hollywood.

For the next few years, Hopper did little work. Instead, he picked up a camera and documented the social and cultural changes that were happening across America, and to himself, during the 1960s.

Towards the end of that decade, Hopper channelled his knowledge and experiences when he directed and starred in ‘Easy Rider‘, the film that announced the birth of a new generation of film-makers.

From this success, Hopper moved on to his next project ‘The Last Movie’, but drink and drugs unfocussed his vision and the studios destroyed his film.

It seemed the pattern set out in childhood was to continue.  Yet Hopper could still make his presence felt, as he did in ‘Apocalypse Now‘ but once again the truck got smashed, when his improvised scenes with Marlon Brando were heavily cut from the film.

By the mid-1980s, he had given up drink and drugs and had accepted his lot making B-list films. That was, until ‘River’s Edge’ and ‘Blue Velvet‘ confirmed what should have been apparent all along – Dennis Hopper was an incredible and unique talent. A talent that should have been given more respect and opportunity to fulfill his vision as an actor and as a director.

But sadly he wasn’t, as one of his last films as director ‘Catchfire’ (aka ‘Backtrack’) was taken out of his hands and hacked form a 180 minute cut to 98 minutes.  Hopper disowned it and had his name removed.

Thereafter, Hopper mainly stuck to acting, and though always watchable and still able to deliver film-stealing performances, as evident in ‘True Romance‘ and ‘Speed’, he made 20-odd forgettable movies.

Even so, Hopper appealed because his performances revealed the depth of his life-experience and a resonance of his emotional hurt that made each role he acted in real for the audience.

Hopper never faked it, and it was this talent which made Hopper more than just an actor, but a great and genuine artist.

There’s an oft quoted line about Scotlands football team how they manage to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s a line that does in many ways reflect the Scottish character, as we can often appear a nation of heroic failures, rather than an empire building super power.

Yet, this failure comes with considerable cultural ramifications, something that can be seen in Donald Cammell‘s film ‘Demon Seed‘.

Cammell was the son of the poet and writer Charles Richard Cammell, who had written the biography of Aleister Crowley. Born in Castlehill, and not Edinburgh Castle as he would later claim, the young Cammell was considered a child prodigy and by the 1960s had established himself with London’s Chelsea set as an artist, illustrator and portrait painter. By luck and connections he started writing movie scripts and soon co-directed his first, and most legendary film ‘Performance‘.

Performance‘, which starred Mick Jagger and James Fox, should have made Cammell a major star but the film was quickly disowned by its production company, was considered obscene, violent pornography and described by one critic as “the most completely worthless film I have seen since I began reviewing.” What should have been a victory, was an unmitigated disaster.

It took Cammell seven years to make his next movie, the sci-fi thriller, ‘Demon Seed’ – a highly provocative and intelligent film. Again, it should have established Cammell as one of the world’s great cinematic auteurs, but Fate was to play a damning role.

Based on the best-selling novel by Dean Koontz, ‘Demon Seed‘ speculated on a computer, Proteus IV, impregnating a woman to create a living hybrid of man and machine. A bit like ‘Rosemary’s Baby‘ except with a computer. Cammell had major studio backing and his star was Julie Christie, was at the height of her fame, with a series of film hits including, ‘Shampoo‘, ‘Don’t Look Now‘ and her Oscar nominated performance in ‘McCabe and Mrs Miller‘. He even had Robert Vaughn as the voice of Proteus. With such talent on board, it seemed Cammell  was destined to make a brilliant film and at last achieve the success he deserved.

But no. After years of preparation, and  just as the film was released in 1977, a new sensation swept all before it, which made ‘Demon Seed’ look cheap, dull and boring. George Lucas‘ ‘Star Wars‘ changed film, cinema, TV and the way an audience responded to entertainment for ever. As Cammell’s film disappeared, ‘Star Wars‘ conquered the world.

The failure of ‘Demon Seed‘ marked a cultural shift in cinema, the end of an era if you like, for Cammell’s movie was the last of the great, intelligent speculative science fiction films. True, there would be the occasional movie like Ridley Scott‘s ‘Bladerunner‘ or, David Cronenberg‘s ‘Videodrome‘, but cinema and its audiences demanded the sensations that ‘Star Wars’ delivered, and the sound and fury of the summer blockbuster was born.

For this reason, ‘Demon Seed‘s’ failure has been cinema’s and our loss. ‘Sex in the City 2‘ anyone?