fantomas

archive review originally posted on the losing today site c. 2001/2 ….

FANTOMAS
THE DIRECTORS CUT
(?)

Fantomas feature among their ranks various members of the Melvins and Slayer, enough really you’d think to have most wise people cower under their sofas from the impending shards and sparks that are sure to fly from the collective sonic firepower. In an age where the film world seems content to exploit and plunder rock, then what a cool sense of revenge it is then to turn the tables and have some classic silver screen montages under the surgeons knife to receive a spot of tuck implants and face lifting.
‘The Directors Cut’ feeds on your not so usual roll call of suspects, facing the bludgeoning hammer are scores from such notables that reads like an A list of celluloid composers: works by Mancini, Morricone, Goldsmith and Hermann to name but a few are rolled onto the amputation table and re-assembled lovingly to the kind of B movie pedestal that you’d never imagine hardcore grunge would ever receive. From the famous, ‘The Omen’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ to the obscure ‘Spider Baby’ and ‘Investigation of a citizen above suspicion’, displaying a misspent life watching late night movies the Fantomas meticulously brand their trademark. If you are carelessly thinking that this some horrific tomfoolery, think again, the Fantomas inject thoughtfully some much needed re-evaluation and updating to the ceremony. Okay admittedly ‘Cape of Fear’ does run wincingly close to tongue in cheek Spinal Tap idiocy, but it does manage to crawl from the wreckage with its dignity and as with all classic thrillers watch for the twist ending. Tracks like ‘Experiment in Terror’ and the Lubin scored ‘One Step Beyond’ also benefit from the eerie ear splitting ferocity of the Fantomas apocalyptic groove.

The Dennis Wheatley inspired ‘Devil Rides Out’ is given it’s deserved demonic despatch, here rendered to almost cranium pounding viciousness. An inspiring influx of atmospherics to ‘Fire Walk with me’ from Twin Peaks seemingly achieves what was initially thought impossible, bettering the original. On a related point when I was a kid my mother often commented that the theme from ‘Vendetta’ was the most inspiring piece of TV tuneage she’d ever heard, being one of John Barry’s more overlooked treasures, I suppose on reflection she was right. Courageously present here, a close run thing though lacking the originals sophistication but retaining the bullet shots, peerless. It sort of gets you thinking why can’t the cinema be this fun?

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