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On 7/30/2021 at 4:16 PM, Mr. Gorman said:

ALLIGATOR (1980)

Omigod! I LOVE THAT CLIP!! Never heard of it, now I'll have to find it. That clip was awesome-that giant alligator prop was hilarious, plus the constant loop of the lady high pitched scream! I spit my coffee when the guy locked his car door then watched the festivities through the window, haha. Was it mechanical or a giant Chinese Dragon style puppet?

I'm a closet survivalist and watching this kind of silliness hones my escape/avoidance skills like a flight simulator. Crawling under the car would have been my choice. Wild animals don't single out victims. When presented with a smorgasbord, they seek easiest prey.

If buying the DVD, how will I know if I am getting the "full" version? Or was it only TV that showed an "edited" version? There's cheap Korean copies easily available.

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Omigod! I LOVE THAT CLIP!! Never heard of it, now I'll have to find it. That clip was awesome-that giant alligator prop was hilarious, plus the constant loop of the lady high pitched scream! I spit my coffee when the guy locked his car door then watched the festivities through the window, haha. Was it mechanical or a giant Chinese Dragon style puppet?

I'm a closet survivalist and watching this kind of silliness hones my escape/avoidance skills like a flight simulator. Crawling under the car would have been my choice. Wild animals don't single out victims. When presented with a smorgasbord, they seek easiest prey.

If buying the DVD, how will I know if I am getting the "full" version? Or was it only TV that showed an "edited" version? There's cheap Korean copies easily available.

I'm glad...frankly, I felt slightly guilty for not attaching a "not safe for work/may offend those with delicate sensibilities" DISCLAIMER to the video [but then of course, I remembered what this thread is all about)

MR. GORMAN can maybe answer your DVD question, I am not personally sure.

In all honesty, I have seen ALLIGATOR in its entirety and really, it's not bad and the special effects are pretty good.

BTW, that was OSCAR WINNER DEAN JAGGER in his FINAL ROLE getting CRUSHED TO DEATH in the Limo!!!!!!

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15 hours ago, mr6666 said:

How about more international ANIMATION ? ........

A Wide World of Animated Shorts-

https://variety.com/2019/artisans/news/wide-world-animated-shorts-1203424904/

;)

not necessarily underground, but if we're talking MESSED UP, WEIRDASSED ANIMATION, may I present the 1974 Japanese animated version of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK????

 

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@TikiSoo:  In regards to ALLIGATOR (1980) . . .

CATALINA HOME VIDEO, a short-lived homevideo company in business from 1983-84, released Alligator on VHS . . . and somehow got hold of a TV print instead of the 'regular' [R]-rated theatrical version.  The TV version of "Alligator" runs 8 minutes longer than the theatrical 'cut' and there's only about 30 seconds missing due to some gory content involving the hungry 'gator.  (What few cuss words there are in the theatrical version are all overdubbed with non-cuss words in the Tv print, btw).  

LIGHTNING VIDEO, an offshoot of the parent company "Vestron Video", released the regular theatrical version of "Alligator" on VHS in 1985.  → I would think those cheap Korean DVD's of "Alligator" are the theatrical print instead of the television version.  That said, I don't actually own a DVD release of "Alligator"; I just have the different video versions on VHS.

ALLIGATOR.  🐊🐊

(P.S.  ***Here be a small spoiler***:  In the Cadillac car-crushing scene where Dean Jagger gets what's coming to him the filmmakers used two different Cadillacs to do it.  If you know anything about the model years of '60s and '70s Caddy's you'll notice there are 2 different model-year cars used).  

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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

not necessarily underground, but if we're talking MESSED UP, WEIRDASSED ANIMATION,

 

Never seen anything quite as trippy as MGM's Gene Deitch cartoons of the 60's. Dickie Moe creeped me out as a kid.

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This film looks like a good candidate for TCM underground -   Don't think I've every seen it at a theater or - given the subject matter- certainly not on TV !!

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210802-why-x-rated-masterpiece-the-devils-is-still-being-censored

Why X-rated masterpiece The Devils is still being censored

(Credit: Alamy)
By Adam Scovell2nd August 2021
 
Fifty years ago, Ken Russell's historical drama shocked the world with raw violence and mass ****. But it is a tour de force that deserves to be seen in full, writes Adam Scovell.
T

The late film director Ken Russell was the embodiment of outrageous cinema. From his early documentaries and biopics about famous composers for the BBC to feature films such as Women in Love (1969), The Music Lovers (1971) and Tommy (1975), Russell became one of Britain's most unique screen artists.

More like this:

–      The history of 'shock' cinema

–      The most outrageous film ever made?

–      What makes a cult film?

Today, one film of his above all others is still considered controversial: 1971's The Devils. Based on real events that occurred in a 17th-Century French town, it caused more than a few sleepless nights for the censors.

 
 

The Devils centres on 17th Century French priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), who was accused of possessing nuns in the town of Loudun (Credit: Alamy)

The Devils centres on 17th Century French priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), who was accused of possessing nuns in the town of Loudun (Credit: Alamy)

The Devils follows the fate of Loudun, a self-governing town under the temporary protection of the debonair, womanising priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed). Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Logue) plots with King Louis XIII (Graham Armitage) to take control, but their men, led by Baron De Laubardemont (Dudley Sutton), face strong opposition from Grandier.

However, the obsessive lust for Grandier held by the town's abbess Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) leads to the nun making a false accusation that he has possessed her, which the establishment exploit in order to oust him. Hysteria then unfolds among Loudun's Ursuline nuns, leading to a mass ****, a chaos for which Grandier is blamed. Charged with heresy and cavorting with devils, he undergoes a show trial which will only ever go one way.

Russell became aware of the filmic potential of the story of the so-called "Loudon Possessions" through a 1960 play by John Whiting based on the same historical events. "He first saw it when it was on the London stage," Russell's partner Lisi Tribble Russell tells BBC Culture. "It inspired him to immediately research the text that the play was based on: Aldous Huxley's [novel] The Devils of Loudun." Impressed with Huxley's detailed interpretation, Russell started work on his script. Writing to the soundtrack of Krzysztof Penderecki's opera, based on the same events (as well as Sergei Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel, another work about religious hysteria) he adapted the story with equally fiery aplomb.

Reminders of certain reviews would make Ken bitterly wince for the rest of his life – Lisi Tribble Russell

Fifty years on from its release, The Devils is a film rightly celebrated for its artistry. Its startling array of performances, in particular Reed and Redgrave's, are some of the best British cinema has to offer. The film's score by British composer Peter Maxwell Davies is unique and haunting, and especially great considering it was his first. The visual style of the film is also stunning, in particular the sets designed by a young Derek Jarman, inspired by the Huxley line about Sister Jeanne's exorcism being akin to a "rape in a public lavatory". The Devils is a white-walled nightmare of a film with a horrifying wipe-clean aesthetic.

Yet it was the theological, political and sexual content that landed Russell in hot water. The film's mixture of demented sexuality, raw violence and religious imagery was a heady mix, even by Russell's standards. Scenes of torture and death linger long after viewing, as does the pervading nihilistic atmosphere. Sex and death become so intertwined with the film's theological imagery that they feel inseparable by the end. And this is before considering the film's portrayal of the allegiance between the state and the church in achieving their violent, greedy aims. Fifty years on, the film still shocks, such that the Warner Bros studio has never released the full director's cut.

Even in its censored state, the London Evening Standard critic Alexander Walker famously decried the film, as looking like the "masturbatory fantasies of a Roman Catholic Schoolboy." Such was the vitriol of Walker's review that he ended up on the BBC alongside Russell to discuss the film, only for the director to roll up a copy of Walker's own review and hit him over the head with it.

 

One of the film's most stunning elements is the nightmarish white-walled sets designed by a young Derek Jarman (Credit: Alamy)

One of the film's most stunning elements is the nightmarish white-walled sets designed by a young Derek Jarman (Credit: Alamy)

As in the UK, The Devils was panned in the US. Roger Ebert wrote one of his most sarcastic reviews, giving the film zero stars. "Ken Russell has really done it this time", he sneered. Pauline Kael, another critic of Russell's work, was equally scathing in the New Yorker. Lisi remembers Russell's reaction. "He was stoic (with effort) in accepting that the critics attacked it, but reminders of certain reviews would make him bitterly wince for the rest of his life."

A profound political statement

Russell's frustration is understandable. Beyond the controversy, the film is a profound piece of work. The Devils is about many things but is chiefly a critique of power. Russell described the film as a conscious political statement. Its political zeal is also what saved it from an outright ban, the censors in the UK at least recognising the creative and intellectual aspects of the film. Darren Arnold, author of the monograph Devil's Advocate: The Devils, agrees that it is a work of real intellectual value. "Russell liked a bit of mischief and wasn't afraid to push a few buttons," he tells BBC Culture, "but, amidst the mayhem, The Devils contains a powerful and sincere message." The message is that outrage and heresy can be easily weaponised by the powerful. The film, however, ironically became a meta-comment on its own hysterical treatment as a blasphemous piece of work.

The threat of violence towards any who disagree with the state authorities leads to many characters' collusion, pretending Grandier deserves his subsequent torture and public execution. It is a story of the gullible descending into a mob. "You have seduced the people in order to destroy them," shouts Grandier to the court when facing his charges. Truth is a scarce commodity in times of strife.

As the film shows, death was already normalised in the town at the time of these events: Loudun was weakened by plague, inoculating people to the suffering of others. "There was death in the air, death, decadence and destruction," as Russell suggested in a 2012 DVD commentary on the film. It laid the way for a more organised political violence.

Grandier's biggest mistake is to admit his imperfections, especially regarding his marriage to Madeleine (Gemma Jones). In breaking his vows of chastity, such an act of undiluted love is deemed just as blasphemous as the admittance of simpler carnalities. Flaws are utilised by those who cynically claim evangelical purity. The braying mob merely strengthens as he admits his human fallacy. Only an ultimate act of destruction will satiate their mania. It is a theme which feels depressingly timeless, from the countless historical scandals generated by art and culture in centuries gone by, to modern-day, social media-driven outrage.

Thankfully Russell's sincerity wasn't lost on the British Board of Film Censors, else we may not have seen the film at all – Darren Arnold

Another factor to consider in the narrative is sexual repression. Sister Jeanne's lust deranges her to such an extent that her playacting at possession may as well be genuine. Her desire is distorted into a destructive power. She responds easily to the lies she is fed, in particular those of Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a proto-hippy shaman deployed by Laubardemont to exorcise the nuns. He gains his own pleasure from the spread of deranged untruths and is a dark cipher of the hang-ups from the period of the film's production; a predatory cult leader akin to Charles Manson or Jim Jones.

The momentum of violence grows beyond the control of those who stoked it. In the climactic scene, having been found guilty, Grandier is put on a pyre and refuses to confess his decreed sins to Father Mignon (Murray Melvin), in spite of the merciless destruction of his body. The virtue of the establishment figures, professing a desire to save his soul, collapses with the walls of the city which are destroyed on Laubardemont's orders. As we, the audience, knew, Grandier's damnation was all a ruse to destroy Loudun's independence. Malice succeeds by veiling itself in piety and social sanctity. Only ruins are left, as the film's stunning final shot shows, with Madeleine stumbling through the debris of what little remains.

 

Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a shaman deployed to exorcise the nuns, bears a resemblance to the predatory cult leaders at the time of the film's production (Credit: Alamy)

Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a shaman deployed to exorcise the nuns, bears a resemblance to the predatory cult leaders at the time of the film's production (Credit: Alamy)

The ultimate testament to The Devils' power is the fact that Russell and his collaborators were to face an equally gruelling inquisition that exemplified exactly what the film was trying to explore. In telling Grandier's story, Russell caused as sensational a furore as the priest did with his defiance.

Indeed, throughout the editing of The Devils, a strange parallel grew between Grandier and Russell. It seemed that their heresy became one and only their final paths differed. Where Grandier's body was the required sacrifice to appease the outraged on screen, Russell's control of the film was the victim.

The censorship nightmare

Even before The Devils found its way onto screens, its various edits were already raising concerns. Russell had an array of people to satisfy and editing it was a huge and tortuous undertaking considering the button-pushing nature of his filmmaking. The director had to keep the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) and the American producers at Warner Bros content. It would be an impossible task.

Russell found an unlikely ally in John Trevelyan, the outgoing secretary of the BBFC. Along with the BBFC president, Lord Harlech, Trevelyan was shown rough edits at Russell's request in the hope of it being passed with their amendments. Though uncertain about several of the film's more extreme segments, Trevelyan saw the earnest aims of Russell's project. "Thankfully Russell's sincerity wasn't lost on Harlech and Trevelyan – else we may not have seen the film at all," says Arnold.

Russell reluctantly agreed to their suggested cuts in order to achieve the X certificate for British distribution. This made the film just possible to release in the censorious climate in the UK at the time, created in part by evangelical groups such as Mary Whitehouse's National Viewers' and Listeners' Association. Whitehouse had already caused Russell trouble around his BBC play Dance of the Seven Veils (1970) which was subsequently banned for its satirical portrayal of Richard Strauss' association with Nazism, thanks also to pressure put on BBC by the composer's estate.

Ken was devastated by America's decision to release a butchered version of the film – Lisi Tribble Russell

Another of Whitehouse's projects, the anti-permissive group The Festival of Light, quickly objected to the passing of The Devils by the BBFC and protested its screenings, organising an effective letter writing campaign to the new chief censor Stephen Murphy who had taken over from Trevelyan. The campaign succeeded, with several local authorities banning screenings in spite of the BBFC’s approved rating. "The thing I thought about The Devils is that, at the higher quality it was, the worse the blasphemy could have been," Whitehouse suggested in the 1995 documentary Empire of the Censors, "High quality doesn’t excuse blasphemy. Blasphemy is blasphemy full stop."

The Motion Picture Association of America cut further still for its US release. The 111 minute British cut became the 108 minute US cut, in particular removing any imagery showing **** hair. Such was the severity of the editing that Russell called the US release "disjointed and incomprehensible". The cuts were haphazard and in particular broke the tempo of the film's **** centrepiece, the crescendo of heresy falling flat. "He was devastated by America's decision to release a butchered version of the film," Lisi recalls. "He felt their truncated version heightened the hysteria and destroyed much of the essential rhythm of the film."

 

In the climactic scene, Grandier is put on a pyre and burnt to death as the final step in the King's ruse to destroy Loudun's independence (Credit: Alamy)

In the climactic scene, Grandier is put on a pyre and burnt to death as the final step in the King's ruse to destroy Loudun's independence (Credit: Alamy)

One scene that escaped neither British nor American intervention is the "Rape of Christ" sequence, the finale to the ****, which sees a large statue of Christ assaulted by a variety of rampaging naked nuns. On top of that, a sequence in which Sister Jeanne **** with the charred femur of Grandier after his death was also removed in both US and UK versions.

It was thanks to critic Mark Kermode, along with director Paul Joyce, that these two scenes, thought to be missing, were unearthed from an archive and reinstated by the film's original editor Michael Bradsell. However, in spite of renewed pressure for this full director's cut to be released, it remains unavailable. That's despite the fact that when members of the BBFC attended a special screening of the cut in 2002, they had no issue with the reinstated scenes. Various petitions for Warner Bros to release it are ongoing. According to Kermode, in a 2014 episode of his video blog Kermode Uncut, their last response suggested the film's "distasteful tonality" to be the barrier to its future re-release. Instead, audiences have to make do with the truncated versions: in the UK, the British cut can be viewed thanks to the 2012 BFI DVD release, while in the US, the 108 minute cut Russell was so unhappy with is available to stream on iTunes America.

Despite its mistreatment by Warner Bros and, over the years, being difficult to access, The Devils continues to endure in the cinematic canon. This is largely thanks to the passion of its fans, from critics such as Kermode to filmmakers such as Alex Cox and Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro. In 2014, del Toro called the continued treatment of the film a "true act of censorship."

"Ken made his peace with it," Lisi concludes. "I imagine that from his greater vantage point in the cosmos, he undoubtedly hopes against hope that it will someday be declared acceptable as a significant contribution to world cinema and an example of his, Reed's and Redgrave's unique insight, talents and bravura." The only real outrage today regarding Ken Russell's The Devils is that this unparalleled British masterpiece is still unavailable to see as its director intended, even 50 years on.

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9 hours ago, cinecrazydc said:

This film looks like a good candidate for TCM underground -   Don't think I've every seen it at a theater or - given the subject matter- certainly not on TV !!

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210802-why-x-rated-masterpiece-the-devils-is-still-being-censored

Why X-rated masterpiece The Devils is still being censored

(Credit: Alamy)
By Adam Scovell2nd August 2021
 
Fifty years ago, Ken Russell's historical drama shocked the world with raw violence and mass ****. But it is a tour de force that deserves to be seen in full, writes Adam Scovell.
T

The late film director Ken Russell was the embodiment of outrageous cinema. From his early documentaries and biopics about famous composers for the BBC to feature films such as Women in Love (1969), The Music Lovers (1971) and Tommy (1975), Russell became one of Britain's most unique screen artists.

More like this:

–      The history of 'shock' cinema

–      The most outrageous film ever made?

–      What makes a cult film?

Today, one film of his above all others is still considered controversial: 1971's The Devils. Based on real events that occurred in a 17th-Century French town, it caused more than a few sleepless nights for the censors.

 
 

The Devils centres on 17th Century French priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), who was accused of possessing nuns in the town of Loudun (Credit: Alamy)

The Devils centres on 17th Century French priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), who was accused of possessing nuns in the town of Loudun (Credit: Alamy)

The Devils follows the fate of Loudun, a self-governing town under the temporary protection of the debonair, womanising priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed). Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Logue) plots with King Louis XIII (Graham Armitage) to take control, but their men, led by Baron De Laubardemont (Dudley Sutton), face strong opposition from Grandier.

However, the obsessive lust for Grandier held by the town's abbess Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) leads to the nun making a false accusation that he has possessed her, which the establishment exploit in order to oust him. Hysteria then unfolds among Loudun's Ursuline nuns, leading to a mass ****, a chaos for which Grandier is blamed. Charged with heresy and cavorting with devils, he undergoes a show trial which will only ever go one way.

Russell became aware of the filmic potential of the story of the so-called "Loudon Possessions" through a 1960 play by John Whiting based on the same historical events. "He first saw it when it was on the London stage," Russell's partner Lisi Tribble Russell tells BBC Culture. "It inspired him to immediately research the text that the play was based on: Aldous Huxley's [novel] The Devils of Loudun." Impressed with Huxley's detailed interpretation, Russell started work on his script. Writing to the soundtrack of Krzysztof Penderecki's opera, based on the same events (as well as Sergei Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel, another work about religious hysteria) he adapted the story with equally fiery aplomb.

Reminders of certain reviews would make Ken bitterly wince for the rest of his life – Lisi Tribble Russell

Fifty years on from its release, The Devils is a film rightly celebrated for its artistry. Its startling array of performances, in particular Reed and Redgrave's, are some of the best British cinema has to offer. The film's score by British composer Peter Maxwell Davies is unique and haunting, and especially great considering it was his first. The visual style of the film is also stunning, in particular the sets designed by a young Derek Jarman, inspired by the Huxley line about Sister Jeanne's exorcism being akin to a "rape in a public lavatory". The Devils is a white-walled nightmare of a film with a horrifying wipe-clean aesthetic.

Yet it was the theological, political and sexual content that landed Russell in hot water. The film's mixture of demented sexuality, raw violence and religious imagery was a heady mix, even by Russell's standards. Scenes of torture and death linger long after viewing, as does the pervading nihilistic atmosphere. Sex and death become so intertwined with the film's theological imagery that they feel inseparable by the end. And this is before considering the film's portrayal of the allegiance between the state and the church in achieving their violent, greedy aims. Fifty years on, the film still shocks, such that the Warner Bros studio has never released the full director's cut.

Even in its censored state, the London Evening Standard critic Alexander Walker famously decried the film, as looking like the "masturbatory fantasies of a Roman Catholic Schoolboy." Such was the vitriol of Walker's review that he ended up on the BBC alongside Russell to discuss the film, only for the director to roll up a copy of Walker's own review and hit him over the head with it.

 

One of the film's most stunning elements is the nightmarish white-walled sets designed by a young Derek Jarman (Credit: Alamy)

One of the film's most stunning elements is the nightmarish white-walled sets designed by a young Derek Jarman (Credit: Alamy)

As in the UK, The Devils was panned in the US. Roger Ebert wrote one of his most sarcastic reviews, giving the film zero stars. "Ken Russell has really done it this time", he sneered. Pauline Kael, another critic of Russell's work, was equally scathing in the New Yorker. Lisi remembers Russell's reaction. "He was stoic (with effort) in accepting that the critics attacked it, but reminders of certain reviews would make him bitterly wince for the rest of his life."

A profound political statement

Russell's frustration is understandable. Beyond the controversy, the film is a profound piece of work. The Devils is about many things but is chiefly a critique of power. Russell described the film as a conscious political statement. Its political zeal is also what saved it from an outright ban, the censors in the UK at least recognising the creative and intellectual aspects of the film. Darren Arnold, author of the monograph Devil's Advocate: The Devils, agrees that it is a work of real intellectual value. "Russell liked a bit of mischief and wasn't afraid to push a few buttons," he tells BBC Culture, "but, amidst the mayhem, The Devils contains a powerful and sincere message." The message is that outrage and heresy can be easily weaponised by the powerful. The film, however, ironically became a meta-comment on its own hysterical treatment as a blasphemous piece of work.

The threat of violence towards any who disagree with the state authorities leads to many characters' collusion, pretending Grandier deserves his subsequent torture and public execution. It is a story of the gullible descending into a mob. "You have seduced the people in order to destroy them," shouts Grandier to the court when facing his charges. Truth is a scarce commodity in times of strife.

As the film shows, death was already normalised in the town at the time of these events: Loudun was weakened by plague, inoculating people to the suffering of others. "There was death in the air, death, decadence and destruction," as Russell suggested in a 2012 DVD commentary on the film. It laid the way for a more organised political violence.

Grandier's biggest mistake is to admit his imperfections, especially regarding his marriage to Madeleine (Gemma Jones). In breaking his vows of chastity, such an act of undiluted love is deemed just as blasphemous as the admittance of simpler carnalities. Flaws are utilised by those who cynically claim evangelical purity. The braying mob merely strengthens as he admits his human fallacy. Only an ultimate act of destruction will satiate their mania. It is a theme which feels depressingly timeless, from the countless historical scandals generated by art and culture in centuries gone by, to modern-day, social media-driven outrage.

Thankfully Russell's sincerity wasn't lost on the British Board of Film Censors, else we may not have seen the film at all – Darren Arnold

Another factor to consider in the narrative is sexual repression. Sister Jeanne's lust deranges her to such an extent that her playacting at possession may as well be genuine. Her desire is distorted into a destructive power. She responds easily to the lies she is fed, in particular those of Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a proto-hippy shaman deployed by Laubardemont to exorcise the nuns. He gains his own pleasure from the spread of deranged untruths and is a dark cipher of the hang-ups from the period of the film's production; a predatory cult leader akin to Charles Manson or Jim Jones.

The momentum of violence grows beyond the control of those who stoked it. In the climactic scene, having been found guilty, Grandier is put on a pyre and refuses to confess his decreed sins to Father Mignon (Murray Melvin), in spite of the merciless destruction of his body. The virtue of the establishment figures, professing a desire to save his soul, collapses with the walls of the city which are destroyed on Laubardemont's orders. As we, the audience, knew, Grandier's damnation was all a ruse to destroy Loudun's independence. Malice succeeds by veiling itself in piety and social sanctity. Only ruins are left, as the film's stunning final shot shows, with Madeleine stumbling through the debris of what little remains.

 

Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a shaman deployed to exorcise the nuns, bears a resemblance to the predatory cult leaders at the time of the film's production (Credit: Alamy)

Father Barre (Michael Gothard), a shaman deployed to exorcise the nuns, bears a resemblance to the predatory cult leaders at the time of the film's production (Credit: Alamy)

The ultimate testament to The Devils' power is the fact that Russell and his collaborators were to face an equally gruelling inquisition that exemplified exactly what the film was trying to explore. In telling Grandier's story, Russell caused as sensational a furore as the priest did with his defiance.

Indeed, throughout the editing of The Devils, a strange parallel grew between Grandier and Russell. It seemed that their heresy became one and only their final paths differed. Where Grandier's body was the required sacrifice to appease the outraged on screen, Russell's control of the film was the victim.

The censorship nightmare

Even before The Devils found its way onto screens, its various edits were already raising concerns. Russell had an array of people to satisfy and editing it was a huge and tortuous undertaking considering the button-pushing nature of his filmmaking. The director had to keep the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) and the American producers at Warner Bros content. It would be an impossible task.

Russell found an unlikely ally in John Trevelyan, the outgoing secretary of the BBFC. Along with the BBFC president, Lord Harlech, Trevelyan was shown rough edits at Russell's request in the hope of it being passed with their amendments. Though uncertain about several of the film's more extreme segments, Trevelyan saw the earnest aims of Russell's project. "Thankfully Russell's sincerity wasn't lost on Harlech and Trevelyan – else we may not have seen the film at all," says Arnold.

Russell reluctantly agreed to their suggested cuts in order to achieve the X certificate for British distribution. This made the film just possible to release in the censorious climate in the UK at the time, created in part by evangelical groups such as Mary Whitehouse's National Viewers' and Listeners' Association. Whitehouse had already caused Russell trouble around his BBC play Dance of the Seven Veils (1970) which was subsequently banned for its satirical portrayal of Richard Strauss' association with Nazism, thanks also to pressure put on BBC by the composer's estate.

Ken was devastated by America's decision to release a butchered version of the film – Lisi Tribble Russell

Another of Whitehouse's projects, the anti-permissive group The Festival of Light, quickly objected to the passing of The Devils by the BBFC and protested its screenings, organising an effective letter writing campaign to the new chief censor Stephen Murphy who had taken over from Trevelyan. The campaign succeeded, with several local authorities banning screenings in spite of the BBFC’s approved rating. "The thing I thought about The Devils is that, at the higher quality it was, the worse the blasphemy could have been," Whitehouse suggested in the 1995 documentary Empire of the Censors, "High quality doesn’t excuse blasphemy. Blasphemy is blasphemy full stop."

The Motion Picture Association of America cut further still for its US release. The 111 minute British cut became the 108 minute US cut, in particular removing any imagery showing **** hair. Such was the severity of the editing that Russell called the US release "disjointed and incomprehensible". The cuts were haphazard and in particular broke the tempo of the film's **** centrepiece, the crescendo of heresy falling flat. "He was devastated by America's decision to release a butchered version of the film," Lisi recalls. "He felt their truncated version heightened the hysteria and destroyed much of the essential rhythm of the film."

 

In the climactic scene, Grandier is put on a pyre and burnt to death as the final step in the King's ruse to destroy Loudun's independence (Credit: Alamy)

In the climactic scene, Grandier is put on a pyre and burnt to death as the final step in the King's ruse to destroy Loudun's independence (Credit: Alamy)

One scene that escaped neither British nor American intervention is the "Rape of Christ" sequence, the finale to the ****, which sees a large statue of Christ assaulted by a variety of rampaging naked nuns. On top of that, a sequence in which Sister Jeanne **** with the charred femur of Grandier after his death was also removed in both US and UK versions.

It was thanks to critic Mark Kermode, along with director Paul Joyce, that these two scenes, thought to be missing, were unearthed from an archive and reinstated by the film's original editor Michael Bradsell. However, in spite of renewed pressure for this full director's cut to be released, it remains unavailable. That's despite the fact that when members of the BBFC attended a special screening of the cut in 2002, they had no issue with the reinstated scenes. Various petitions for Warner Bros to release it are ongoing. According to Kermode, in a 2014 episode of his video blog Kermode Uncut, their last response suggested the film's "distasteful tonality" to be the barrier to its future re-release. Instead, audiences have to make do with the truncated versions: in the UK, the British cut can be viewed thanks to the 2012 BFI DVD release, while in the US, the 108 minute cut Russell was so unhappy with is available to stream on iTunes America.

Despite its mistreatment by Warner Bros and, over the years, being difficult to access, The Devils continues to endure in the cinematic canon. This is largely thanks to the passion of its fans, from critics such as Kermode to filmmakers such as Alex Cox and Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro. In 2014, del Toro called the continued treatment of the film a "true act of censorship."

"Ken made his peace with it," Lisi concludes. "I imagine that from his greater vantage point in the cosmos, he undoubtedly hopes against hope that it will someday be declared acceptable as a significant contribution to world cinema and an example of his, Reed's and Redgrave's unique insight, talents and bravura." The only real outrage today regarding Ken Russell's The Devils is that this unparalleled British masterpiece is still unavailable to see as its director intended, even 50 years on.

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I have been having quite a ball, having a bit of a Ken Russell summer.  He's such an original and his films are so visually stunning.   The Devils - wow. I just saw it for the first time a few months ago. I have to admire any film that I can say is one of the most disturbing I have ever seen.  One always gets his money's worth with Oliver Reed and how cool that Vanessa Redgrave would take a bold chance with this film.  I watched Tommy (which I've seen many times) and also Lisztomania and The Devils in one week, and then I had to take a break from visual overstimulation. 

I was just about to be annoyed that I had spent two hours on Lisztomania, and then the preposterous ending occurred, and all was forgiven with this viewer!  Trying to review a Ken Russell film is sort of beside the point. Either you're in the mood for the ride or not. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

IT'S A QUIET DAY, so I am going to note that this week's underground offering could be worse...

HELL NIGHT (never heard of it, so, fine)

and EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, a film about which I am now going to make three statements, two of which will likely be CONTROVERSIAL:

1. It's not an UNDERGROUND FILM

2. It's not THAT bad.

3. I like it better than THE EXORCIST.

Discuss. Or not. I don't make any money either way....

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On 8/3/2021 at 8:10 AM, -noiramour- said:

I have been having quite a ball, having a bit of a Ken Russell summer.  He's such an original and his films are so visually stunning.   The Devils - wow. I just saw it for the first time a few months ago. I have to admire any film that I can say is one of the most disturbing I have ever seen.  One always gets his money's worth with Oliver Reed and how cool that Vanessa Redgrave would take a bold chance with this film.  I watched Tommy (which I've seen many times) and also Lisztomania and The Devils in one week, and then I had to take a break from visual overstimulation. 

I was just about to be annoyed that I had spent two hours on Lisztomania, and then the preposterous ending occurred, and all was forgiven with this viewer!  Trying to review a Ken Russell film is sort of beside the point. Either you're in the mood for the ride or not. 

 

The Devils is indeed an outrageous film. I haven't seen it since it came out, but that one scene of Vanessa's -- wow!

I love Women in Love and some of the others, although a few of the more campy films don't quite reach the heights of campiness that I think he's going for. 

One of my favorite Ken Russell films is The Lair of the White Worm, (1988) with Hugh Grant, Amanda Donohoe, and Peter Capaldi.

Lair-of-the-White-Worm_WEB-4.jpg

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7 minutes ago, Swithin said:

The Devils is indeed an outrageous film. I haven't seen it since it came out, but that one scene of Vanessa's -- wow!

One of my favorite Ken Russell films is The Lair of the White Worm, (1988) with Hugh Grant, Amanda Donohoe, and Peter Capaldi.

Lair-of-the-White-Worm_WEB-4.jpg

LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM is available on a lot of streaming services at the present- as I recall, it's on TUBI, ROKU CHANNEL and AMAZON PRIME (for free)

THE DEVILS is sadly only available as a Region 2 DVD

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PETER BARTON made "Hell Night" just before he starred in the short-lived series with Louis Gossett, Jr. called THE POWERS OF MATTHEW STAR.

Speaking of HELL NIGHT . . .

I used to own a nice early '80s MEDIA Home Entertainment VHS release of "Hell Night".  Good box; not worn or faded.  Clean tape with a clean label.  Aces!  But then . . . a few years ago I played the tape and screwed it up.  When the movie ended instead of hitting the "REW" button on the VCR I accidentally hit "FF" and darned if the mylar didn't end up snapping loose from the spool at the end.  That really ticked me off . . . 😤

Of all the VHS videocassettes I've played over the past 3 decades that's only the second time that's happened where the mylar got loose at the end. 

Prior to HELL NIGHT, the first time was a Warner tape of DRACULA A.D. 1972, a movie TCM aired recently.  I had a groovy UK Warner clamshell of DRAC '72 and it snapped.  There are those video collectors I know who dig the opportunity to re-thread the mylar on snap/ped tapes, but I am not one of those people . . . I just can't do it.  I have since replaced that UK tape of "Dracula 1972 A.D.", but not "Hell Night" as of yet.  I'll only buy the MEDIA release and it's gotta be clean!  No mould and not covered in dust and dead bugs!

Speaking of dead bugs . . . I found a dead cockroach stuck to the videocassette label of a UK tape I bought many moons ago.  THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (1973-UK) on Warner had a small, deceased cocka-roach 'stuck' to the top label.  I didn't complain to the seller because I only paid £1 for it + shipping to the U.S.  Back in 2010/2011 I could still get some nice bargains on PAL tapes from England.  The tape itself was playable so I scratched off the deceased  🦂🦂  iNsEcTuS and the world was a happier place.  😛 

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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

IT'S A QUIET DAY, so I am going to note that this week's underground offering could be worse...

HELL NIGHT (never heard of it, so, fine)

and EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, a film about which I am now going to make three statements, two of which will likely be CONTROVERSIAL:

1. It's not an UNDERGROUND FILM

2. It's not THAT bad.

3. I like it better than THE EXORCIST.

Discuss. Or not. I don't make any money either way....

1- Agreed!

2- My doctor said the same thing right before the prostate exam.

3- ...Jaws 3 AND this???  You're just messing with me ain't ya?

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13 hours ago, Citizen Ed said:

1- Agreed!

2- My doctor said the same thing right before the prostate exam.

3- ...Jaws 3 AND this???  You're just messing with me ain't ya?

Re: THE EXORCIST 

I was extremely bored at work yesterday and was avoiding doing some things that I ought to be doing, so I brought up this topic, but in retrospect I’m kind of surprised I did...

I’ve been posting here for a long time I have discovered there are very few films that it’s just not entirely safe to discuss on the boards, because they have very passionate devotees or in some cases detractors.

THE EXORCIST is one of those films...

I really do not like it at all, but there are many people who do, and I find they are very passionate about it.

But I just think it’s awfully silly. 

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Re: THE EXORCIST 

I was extremely bored at work yesterday and was avoiding doing some things that I ought to be doing, so I brought up this topic, but in retrospect I’m kind of surprised I did...

I’ve been posting here for a long time I have discovered there are very few films that it’s just not entirely safe to discuss on the boards, because they have very passionate devotees or in some cases detractors.

THE EXORCIST is one of those films...

I really do not like it at all, but there are many people who do, and I find they are very passionate about it.

But I just think it’s awfully silly. 

I'm actually kinda meh about it myself.  It's okay but not the greatest horror movie of all time like an extraordinarily large segment of horror fans proclaim. I think it was more a product of its time.

I was just yanking your chain though. I'm not sure if it was II or the third one that had tie-ins to the Zodiac Killer but I found it to be a much more interesting premise than the first.

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I prefer various EXORCIST rip-offs than I do the actual "Exorcist" movie. 

There's just sooooo many fun 'copies' of THE EXORCIST floating around that are chock full of amazing amounts of entertaining sleaze. 

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I find both "Exorcist" movies intriguing -- but for different reasons.  As far as the first one is concerned, I wouldn't claim to be bivouac'd in either pro- or con- camp.  I've seen it a few times, and I'll just put it like this:  I am Catholic, and I acknowledge that there are diabolical things that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  "The Exorcist," I think comes close to treating the struggle between Good and Evil in a serious and bone-chilling manner.  And yet, I can stipulate that it is a product of its time and can seem somewhat silly.  But as I grow older, I have less and less desire to watch the movie anymore.

"The Heretic," on the other hand is just plain out-and-out wacko.  My friend and I saw it when it first came out in theaters, and we sat through the entire thing with a blank stare on our faces.  When it was over, my friend turned to me and asked, "Did you understand any of that?"  "Nope," I replied, "Did you?"  "Nope.  Me neither."   So there was nothing left to do at that point but to go to Burger King for something to eat. 

I have watched "The Heretic" again  a few times, and I can follow well enough what's going on now.  I don't care what he's in, but I'll go along with Richard Burton  just for the h*e*l*l of it -- and that's what  I get with this one.  It's plain grand to be swept up in this movie with locusts and God knows what all.  So I'll give this another go when it comes around again.

I agree that there are so many fun copies of the genre.  Is it "Zapped" where Scott Baio's mother calls in a priest to exorcise her son?  I could be wrong on this.  But, yes, lots of other examples.

 

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Yes, it's ZAPPED.  In fact, there's even flying vomit in slow-motion when the exorcists trying and 'purify' Scott Baio. 

In the 1974 West German "Exorcist" ripoff Magdalena, vom Teufel Besessen, Magdalena done gets herself *possessed* by the spirit of a dead relative.  Ostensibly her grandfather . . . but was he? 

Hmm . . . it isn't long after "Grandpa" dies before Magdalena is having a fit on the floor and foaming at the mouth.  What can be done to save poor Magdalena from the clutches of Po-Zession?  Well, not much!  Oh, dear. 

THE EVILS PERPETRATED BY PO-ZESHUN!  😈

But can Maggie finally be •Saved• from her snake-vomiting fate?  TUNE IN AND FIND OUT!  😜

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Didn't search this entire thread, so I apologize if this post is repetitive,  but I'd love to see WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? and WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH.  I remember the latter showing up fairly regularly on the late movie on the ABC affiliates in Philadelphia (Channel 6) and New York City (Channel 7).  It was also one of the first films released on home video, as part of that package released by Magnetic Video all the way back at the dawn of the VCR age.

WKTB? has become available in recent years, but WTAB has been MIA for years.  Warners distributed WTAB, so I'm thinking that it is within the realm of possibility for TCM.  I wonder if there are legal issues keeping it out of circulation.

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WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH (1974) was released by the Magnetic Video Corporation in 1979.  I have an aging MAG videocassette of "Arrow Beach".  It's never been legally released on DVD or Blu-Ray that I know of. 

The good thing is the U.S. Magnetic release is the full-length version running 99 minutes.  There are overseas PAL-format VHS releases of "Welcome to Arrow Beach" that are all the short version running approx. 84 minutes where the "cannibalism" angle was nixed.  The only full-length homevideo release I know of for "Arrow Beach" is that Magnetic tape.  

Lou Rawls sings a charming little tune called "Who Can Tell Us Why" and reminds us that "We're all born to die".  Can you dig it? 

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