|Fame at last: Edgar Alan Poe gets screenwriting credits in Ken Russell's final feature film.|
It brought a smile to my face when I read the reviews that some so called film critics had written on the release of Ken Russell’s last feature film made in 2001 The Fall of the Louse of Usher. Did they really think that he had made this tantalising piece of nonsense for any other purpose than to please himself? Not a bad way for the great man to end his feature film making days surrounded by semi-naked nuns and a rather sexy looking young lady in a nurses uniform that was probably purchased via a mail order magazine rather than the NHS. He didn’t even have to leave the confines of his own property in Hampshire performing most of the filming on a camcorder in his back garden, his shed/studio and probably his own ‘front room’. The cast, it is alleged, was made up of friends, family and neighbours.
|Dr Calahari and his able bodied assistant Nurse ABC Smith.|
Surprisingly as it may seem Russell got his inspiration from the Edgar Allan Poe story The Fall of the House of Usher and the pre-credits inform an observant viewer that this 21st century gothic tale was written jointly by Poe and Russell. The film opens as you may expect with lashings of blood and gore, a fair daffy of the afore mentioned nuns and whole bus load of rubber dolly’s engaging in fornication with a rubber Godzilla. Nothing out of the ordinary so far I can hear you say!!
|The NHS is not what it was!!|
Right on with the story: supposedly set in Orange County USA, Roderick Usher, played by James Johnston, who also appears in the film with his band Gallon Drunk, is found guilty of the brutal murder of his wife, classified as insane he is sent to the county lunatic asylum where Herr Dr Calahari, played with manic lunacy and a German accent by the film director himself, administers a series of mind blowing shock therapy with the help of the able young Nurse ABC Smith (Marie Findley), gradually unravelling the horrible truth of the Louse of Usher. (Que creepy music)
|Japanese super star Godzilla shows his worth.|
To put it bluntly I don’t think Ken gave a ‘monkeys’ about the mainstream film industry or what they thought of him. He was unable to gain finance for any project at this point in his career, so to prove to him self he could still make a movie, no matter how flamboyant, not only did he direct and act but he designed, photographed, edited, produced and wrote this wonderful piece of hokum. Russell fans will love it.