Thursday, May 30, 2013


Edited by Julian Upton
(Headpress 2013)
Edited by Julian Upton (Fallen Stars), Headpress’ newest volume Offbeat is an entertaining and informative look at some of the lesser-known gems of British cinema – cult films in waiting, so to speak. While many tomes have been written exulting the worth of films like Get Carter, Peeping Tom, The Wicker Man and the Hammer horror classics, there have been many more British productions which have gone undervalued and, in many cases, virtually unnoticed for decades, and Offbeat aims to redress the balance, and does so most effectively.

Featuring contributions from the likes of David Kerekes, Martin Jones, Kim Newman, Jennifer Wallis, David Slater and others, Offbeat is broken up into brief chapters that look at certain themes and genres (swashbucklers, rock & roll, asylum horror, British sex flicks, the Children’s Film Foundation and the short supporting feature), interspersed with a selection of film reviews, which are presented in chronological order.

Some of the titles covered in Offbeat include Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959), Jigsaw (1962), some of the lesser-known Hammers (Never Take Sweets from a Stranger,Captain Clegg, The Abominable Snowman), Twisted Nerve, Permissive,The Black Panther, Jubilee, The Squeeze and many others (along with, of course, Cliff Owen’s 1961 crime film Offbeat).

Illustrated throughout with (B&W) stills and ad-mats, Offbeat is one of those great cinema books which you read and devour with a pen and paper by your side, eagerly jotting down title after title which you will feel compelled to track down (easier said than done, considering the scarce availability of many of the films covered).

One of the cinema books of the year so far…