The home of cult movies and genre cinema: from grindhouse to schlock, sexploitation to blaxploitation, kung fu to samurai, manga to J-horror, monster movies, mondo, spaghetti westerns and space operas. With added Steven Seagal.
A winning mix of supernatural chiller, conspiracy thriller and police procedural, Ultraviolet ran for six episodes on Channel 4 back in 1997. Even 15 years on, it remains one of the best TV vampire shows ever: there's just some fang about it.
Bradley Scott Sullivan's debut feature starts strongly and messily, with a bloody corpse on the road, a confused and scared cop uncertain what to do, and a blinded girl wandering the woods, one of her eyeballs left behind on the end of a branch like a pickled onion on a cocktail stick. It's quite an opening, and it's all shot with a twitchy, grainy, grindhousey 70 feel.
In the 1980s, Howard Brenton made something of a habit of shocking the establishment. He did it on the stage of the National Theatre with his play The Romans in Britain, which featured scenes of male nudity and buggery, prompting a lawsuit from Mary Whitehouse. And he did it at the BBC with Dead Head (1986), a four-part serial which became front page news courtesy of a kinky naked-but-for-a-pair-of-wellies sex scene.
The second of Christian Duguay's Scanners sequels concerns brother and sister Alex (Steve Parrish) and Helena (Liliana Komorowska), two scanner orphans who have been adopted by the head honcho of a pharmaceutical company. After accidentally hurling his best friend over a penthouse balcony, Alex goes to a monastery in Thailand to learn to master his powers using the “long breath method”. Helena, meanwhile, is tortured by crippling headaches, and, desperate for relief, helps herself to a prototype skin patch, EPH-3, devised by her father. It works, but induces a radical personality change in the hitherto mild-mannered girl.
1991 saw the release of two belated direct-to-video sequels to David Cronenberg's Scanners, both helmed by the little-known Canadian director Christian Duguay. The first of these, Scanners II: The New Order, takes place some twenty years after the events of the first film. Country boy David (David Hewlett) moves to the city to attend veterinary college, only for the noisy and vibrant surroundings to trigger a disturbing upwelling of power within him. He, it transpires, is that rare thing, a functioning scanner – rare because most of his kind are either crazy (driven mad by their condition) or “dying drug addicts”, hooked on a narcotic called EPH-2.