Punishment Park

Punishment Park posterAt this point in time, when news about my books is thin on the ground (I am busy writing, honest!), I’d like to try and keep your interest by making regular book and film recommendations. So here’s another submission to my ‘Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club’ (click the link for previous films), and it’s one that’s a little more obscure than some of the others I’ve posted about.

Peter Watkins is a fascinating, controversial and, in my opinion, unfairly overlooked film-maker. Click here to be reminded of my thoughts on one of his earliest films – THE WAR GAME – a 1965, Oscar-winning BBC film which portrayed the effects of a nuclear attack on Kent and which, due to it’s unflinching treatment of the subject matter, remained largely unseen for over twenty years. Today I’d like to introduce you to another of his films, PUNISHMENT PARK. A movie made in 1971 which, at the time, was effectively buried and given only the most cursory of releases.

Here’s the trailer. Click the link below to find out more.

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The War Game

I thought it had only been a few weeks, but it’s actually several months since I last posted an entry in my ‘Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club’. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s an (increasingly) irregular look at some of the post-apocalyptic movies I’ve seen, particularly those which have gone on to have an impact on my work. You can read previous entries here. No in-depth analysis or anything heavy here, just a recommendation or two.

The War Game by Peter WatkinsToday I’m writing about Peter Watkins’ The War Game, a BBC drama made in 1965, but not shown until twenty years later, despite winning the Best Documentary Oscar in 1967.

The War Game depicts the build up, impact and after-effects of a global nuclear conflict, concentrating particularly on the people of Rochester, Kent, who are hit by an off-strike weapon originally aimed at Gatwick airport.

The film was commissioned by the BBC as part of a weekly drama series, but was withdrawn from transmission as it was adjudged to be “too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting”. I watched the film again several weeks back, and despite its age and having seen it several times before, it still shook me with its power. It’s little wonder that it wasn’t shown on British television until 1985. I can only imagine what audiences in the 1960’s would have made of it.

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Remain Indoors!

I’ve been doing a lot of press for DOG BLOOD recently and I’ve regularly been asked about my favourite movies. As you’ve probably guessed from my books (it doesn’t take a genius!), post-apocalyptic films are my thing.

My brain needs some serious recharging right now, and talking about all those classics has made me want to watch them again. So that’s what I’m planning to do. And I’ve decided I’ll write something about each of them for this site: what I liked about them, what I didn’t like, how they’ve been an influence etc. etc. etc.

There are many comprehensive lists around the internet (such as this one over at www.quietearth.us), but I was thinking – what are your favourite apocalyptic films? I’m always on the lookout for new films or ones that I’ve missed, so please leave a comment and recommend your top end of the world movies. As a starter, here are the first few I’ve got lined up:

And remember, as fans of BBC’s Mitchell and Webb know, Armageddon doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Just Remain Indoors!

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