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The Critic Inside Me

June 6, 2010

I’m going on holiday in a couple of days, so I won’t be blogging for the next few weeks. One of the reasons I’m grateful to get away for a while is that it gives me an excuse not to go see Michael Winterbottom’s film adaptation of The Killer Inside Me. Okay,  it’s based on a seminal 1952 Jim Thompson novel, but the extremely graphic violence that is depicted in the movie is enough to persuade me not to go. One reviewer even likened it to Torture Porn. Besides, I’ve never watched a film directed by Michael Winterbottom that has engaged me on any emotional level. They may be cleverly structured and well acted but they are usually joyless affairs (such as 24 Hour Party People (2002)). I doubt he can capture the essence of Jim Thompson’s work.

Clifton Webb as the acerbic critic Waldo Lydecker in Laura (1944)

Rereading my last paragraph makes me realise how much I enjoy slating a book or a film rather than praising it — which in turn makes me feel old! I was amused to read that crime writer Philip Kerr has apologised to Allan Massie for writing a scathing review of Massie’s latest book on its Amazon page. I reported last week that Kerr did this as revenge for Massie writing bad reviews of Kerr’s last two books. Perhaps Kerr could find comfort in watching a little known Vincent Price horror movie called Theatre of Blood (1973). The film is every critic’s worst nightmare. Price plays a hammy Shakespearean actor named Edward Lionheart who has spent his life receiving bad notices and being denied a coveted acting award from a group of reviewers known as the Critic’s Circle. Lionheart fakes his own death and then comes back to take his revenge on his critics by murdering them by gruesomely ingenious methods taken from the plays of Shakespeare. The film is on one level a comment on Price’s acting career and is remarkably good fun.

The entire film is available to watch on YouTube. Here’s the opening scene. Enjoy:

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