The Abbott 8r Costello Monster Collection

The last truly successful combination of the genres of horror and comedy

Now, I don't know about you, but I grew up on Abbott and Costello’s films. They were invariably shown on Saturday afternoon TV as family shows, and there’s something about these little pearls of slapstick that smell of toast and carpet and comfort to this very day. The particular treats were the ones dealing with horror themes, and even in retrospect, one can see why.

These films were among the last to truly successfully combine the genres of horror and comedy. Though we've had the odd success in this genre since, Scream being one example, such films remain isolated cases. compared to the innocent sense of suspense generated by Bud and Lou. Perhaps part of this was the absolute confidence created that nothing nasty was ever really going to happen. For this reason too, much of the slapstick between the star pair is violent, but always lightly amusing.

Of this series, filmed between 1951 and 1955, surely the best is Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (it 1: 1k *), which respectfully parodies the Universal horror classics of the decade before, complete with Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi reprising their Wolfman and Dracula roles. No Karloff in this one, but he appears in both the . . . Killer (1k * t) and . . . Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (* *) episodes. There's a kind of sadness about the latter part of the series, where in . . . The Mummy (1955) the routines and wordplay begin to tire, and Abbott and Costello look as if they're beginning to lose their quite separate battles with the bottle and the taxman, respectively. But even this poignant reflection seems to add to the nostalgic feel of the film.

(Steve Cramer)

I Available now to buy on video through Universal, f 9.99 each.

RENTAL i _ Bleeder (18) 109 mins at t tr t

Another trip to Copenhagen’s darktown from the director of Pusher, Nicolas Winding Refn. This time a yOung couple fall out over an accidental pregnancy, the girl's Na2i brother intervenes With dire consequences and a shy Video shop owner tries to find love. Working With the same cast from Pusher, Refn once again proves himself the impressive flagbearer of Northern European underclass drama. Visually breathtaking, this is as raw as it gets, it also contains the finest Cinema homage name-dropping scene ever. (Metrodome) (Paul Dale)

Broken Vessels

(18) 92 mins fr it fr it

In this impressive low budget version of Bringing Out The Dead a small town medical student (Jason London) moves to Los Angeles to become a paramedic and is partnered With a madcap Junkie

medic (Todd Field). Great fun for at least two thirds of the boy’s Journey to hell, but budget and mingided ideas of film closure Jeopardise the final section. Superb performances and a strong script carry it for the most part, though. Director Scott Ziehl is definitely a talent to watch. (Metrodome)

(Paul Dale)

The Talented Mr Ripley

(15) 139 mins it it it it Anthony Minghella follows the multiple

Oscar-Winning The English Patient with this extremely accomplished adaptation of PatriCia Highsmith's thriller. Minghella’s really on to a Winner setting the film in picturesque 505 Italy and casting a quartet of superb and attractive young actors: Matt Damon as the nerdy chameleon killer, Jude Law as the dilettante whose life he’s obsessed With, Gwyneth Paltrow as Law’s lover and Cate Blanchett as a fellow socralite. And look out for some great against type-casting in Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dickie’s awful, Wily friend. (Buena Vista) (Miles Fielder)

brought to you by House On Haunted Hill

(18) 92 mins H *

Fun but flawed re-make of the gimmicky 1958 horror movie starring Vincent Price. Geoffrey Rush proves an appropriately hammy stand in for Price as the eccentric entertainment industry tycoon who lures his hated and hateful Wife the equally enjoyany hammy Famke Janssen plus guests to the eponymous house for a night of murderous thrills. But the house was formerly an asylum for the criminally insane and its ghosts appear to walk the corridors, so the joke’s on Geoffrey. (Warner) (Miles Fielder)

The Wood (12) 106 mins * i ii

A young man’s pals rally round him on the day of his wedding When he gets cold feet. Together, they reminisce Over their past lives, growing up together, first lovers at school that sort of thing. Easy-gomg drama with some lightweight comic moments, The Wood doesn't strive to achieve an awful lot, but makes for satisfying Viewing nevertheless. And, for once, it's good to see an all-African American cast not cast as either murderers, drug dealers or police captains. (CIC)

(Miles Fielder)

Body Shots (18)105 mins * 1t

Four gals and fours fellas go out on the town in Los Angeles, get absolutely hammered after a night of crazy, inebriated antics, after which one of their number is accused of rape. The night on the town with drugs thing has been done well enough on both Side of the Atlantic with Human Traffick and Go; Body Shots just doesn't compete. The critical error lies in creating a group of twentysomethings the audience is likely to feel nothing but irritation for. (Entertainment) (Miles Fielder)


Beefcake (18) 90 mins * 3k *

Camp, kitsch and comical, Beefcake relates the story of physique photographer Bob Mizer. Mizer created Physique Pictorial, ostensibly a catalogue for artists' models, Which featured photographs of buff, Oiled and semi-naked men. Needless to say, in the political climate of 50s America, his work was seen less as art than pornography, and he was eventually prosecuted. Combining archive film footage and stills With recent interviews and dramatic reconstruction, this blend of fact and fiction is stylishly and originally realised. (Millivres £15.99) (Kirsty Knaggs)

Boys On The Beach

(15) 86 mins * t t Four high school buddies from Paris

make a hard-hitting film about an ex- drug dealer turned Junkie. Their creation nabs them an award for reportage which enables the ramshackle quartet to go on a lad‘s

reviews VIDEO/ DVD


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holiday to Biarritz. What ensues constitutes a catalogue of their ham- fisted attempts to snare some ’babes’. Naturally, With a substantial amount of hormones involved there are clashing egos, shouting and the odd dash of humour. Unfortunately, the plot is far from gripping and there's not a lot to like about the central characters. (Tartan £15.99) (Dawn Kofie)


*tttt Unmissable

* i ‘k * Very ood

a: t * Wort a shot

i * Below average

* You've been warned

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