Thursday, March 25, 2010

Penda's Fen

When Andrew Male of Mojo magazine introduced us to the film Penda's Fen, it was unfamiliar to me but one image immediately connected to a haunting memory that had howled around in the back of my label colleague's mind since childhood.

As a (very young) kid in 1974 Julian House had crept down to peep in at the lounge door on the adults only world of post watershed TV. An image of a teenage boy waking from a nightmare only to be met by the malevolent gaze of a demon squatting on his chest seared into his mind and set him scurrying back to bed.

This sweaty seventies rendering of Fuseli's Nightmare is one of the more powerful images in the film but it shouldn't mislead you into thinking this was just another of the era's late night supernatural chillers. Written by David Rudkin and directed by Alan Clarke , it's partly the redemptive story of an awkward outsider coming to terms with his sexuality, but it also deals with the eternal struggle of Christianity and Paganism at the heart of English identity and landscape. Its a truly beautiful piece of visionary mysticism.

Read more at John Coulthart's excellent Feuilleton blog and if you're in Brimingham this Sunday (28th March), come along and see it at aound 6:30 pm at Vivid at The Belbury Youth Club Night.