HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire It's The Frame Game
Year: 1985
Director: Alan Clarke
Stars: Phil Daniels, Alun Armstrong, Bruce Payne, Louise Gold, Eve Ferrett, Richard Ridings, Don Henderson, Zoot Money, Neil McCaul, Johnny Dennis, David Foxxe, Danny Webb, Trevor Laird, Kevin Lloyd, Caroline Quentin, Nick Revell, George Rossi
Genre: Musical, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Billy Kidd (Phil Daniels) is the brash new kid on the block with regards to snooker, and is planning a bright career in the sport but one man is less than impressed with his antics and bravado. He is Maxwell Randall (Alun Armstrong), and as the sharp fangs indicate he is the Green Baize Vampire, a snooker player of the old guard who has been World Champion for the past few years, although Billy has something to say about that. But what he doesn't know is what his manager T.O. (Bruce Payne) is up to behind closed doors...

Yes, it happened, there really was a horror musical about snooker, and of course it happened in the nineteen-eighties courtesy of one of British television's great innovators, Alan Clarke. He made three films for the cinema, one of them the remake of Scum, and this was his last but not much of a hit, so those who recall it at all more probably caught it on television when Channel 4 showed it occasionally. Therefore it was one of those movies relegated to the twilight world of "Did I really see this or was it a dream?" that some exist in, a sort of limbo where few make journeys to.

Other than in their half-recalled memories, that was, but this was indeed a real film, and Trevor Preston's script was apparently designed to cash in on the most popular TV sport of the decade in the UK, no, not football as the string of hoolganism and disaster-related shame was putting that in entertainment's bad books, but snooker. What this looks to have been inspired by is the fact that one of the stars of the game was Ray Reardon, who was commonly perceived to look like Dracula, or the Bela Lugosi version of the character, and as these activities need their personalities, Reardon was only too happy to play along.

Of course, Ray did release his own record, but that was not a success and did not signal a change of career, although judging by the vocal non-talents of Daniels and Armstrong maybe Clarke might have been advised to give him a call. As to those songs, co-written by George Fenton, they were unmistakably of this era, but operated as a curious mishmash of Kurt Weill, Anthony Newley, opera, jazz funk, football terrace chants and a few other influences as well, though nothing sounding like Snooker Loopy. There were better singers in the cast than the two leads, but with them carrying the weightier part of the tunes this was not quite as easy on the ear as it could have been.

Even stranger was that this might have been fertile ground for a wacky comedy, except that everyone involved was approaching it with utmost gravity. Completely filmed on indoor sets, the chief visual motif was that of gloom, as the characters made their way through darkened corridors into the equally Stygian shadows colouring the rooms. The vampire aspect was not so emphasised that Randall went around sucking blood, but he did have sharp teeth (as did his wife) and kept the Count Dracula-esque preserved body of his father in a clear coffin-turned-snooker table, among other fantastical elements. The story climaxes in the match where the stakes are not only that the loser gives up the sport forever, but T.O. has made a deal to fix it so that Billy loses, so there is some suspense as to how this will turn out, as neither competitor are especially sympathetic though we're supposed to back Billy because he has youth on his side. One of kind, then, and worth tracking down for its downright peculiarity.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3266 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: