Blood on Satan’s Claw: Folk Horror #4

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Blood on Satan's Claw

Happy Halloween, everyone. This time round, a 1970s chiller usually considered as one of the ‘unholy trinity’ of folk horror films, along with Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man.
Late 17th century England.

A ploughman Ralph (Barry Andrews) is startled when, in the course of his work, he churns up a skull with a gigantic intact eyeball, across which a worm wriggles. It’s hard to tell what kind of animal the skull once belonged to. It resembles a human in some ways and a livestock animal in others.

According to Ralph: ‘It was more like a fiend.’


He feels the need to report on his find to a visiting bigwig – that’s bigwig as in an important person locally, who also wears a big wig as bigwigs did back then. Actually that’s where the term bigwig comes from, isn’t it? I digress. This is a man known as the Judge, after his profession, and he’s played by Patrick Wymark in his final screen appearance. Sceptical, he tells Ralph: ‘Witchcraft is dead and discredited,’ but he is persuaded to take a look, although the skull is gone by the time Ralph shows him the furrow where he’d found it.

The setting here may look as idyllic as a Constable painting but soon it is engulfed in wyrd goings on. Very wyrd goings on.

A young woman suddenly goes mad without any rational explanation, and her hand becomes a disfigured claw . A child, Mark Vespers, disappears and is found dead. Mysterious fur patches begin sprouting on the bodies of some young villagers – ‘the devil’s skin’ as this phenomenon is known as.

Something disturbing is affecting most of the area’s schoolchildren. As their teacher Reverend Fallowfield puts it: ‘There is growing amongst you all an insolent ungodliness which I will not tolerate!’

This warning does little good. Most of them stop attending his classes and take to gathering around an old church in ruins next to the local woods.

Blood on Satan's Claw - Pagan Tribe

Angel Blake, his most rebellious pupil, pays him a midnight visit and attempts to seduce him although he rejects her advances.

Afterwards, at the funeral of Mark, she insists to her father that Fallowfield molested her and attempts to implicate him in the murder of Mark.

Her eyebrows also grow in size and change colour, although I’m still not sure why. Is this to do with the devil’s skin or does she just think it makes her look more fiendishly foxy?

It’s not long before a satanic panic has gripped the village, leading to a clash of the generations. The older folks tend to support the church and law and order, while Angel and her mainly teenage followers take part in pagan rituals and run wild in the country. In fact, by this point Angel does look like she could have just returned from a visit to the first Glastonbury Festival in 1971, the year the film was made.


Blood on Satan’s Claw is very much a product of its time. Pushing the boundaries of sex and violence was in the air, with Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange and Get Carter being only three examples of British movies that courted controversy around the same time.

Inevitably, and I rarely say this, Blood on Satan’s Claw was deservedly given an X-certificate. This was mainly down to a ceremonial rape scene where Cathy, a servant girl who isn’t one of Angel’s cult, is scourged and then gang-raped by members of the new satanic tribe while others leer as they watch on.

As Brian Senn pointed out in his book Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills! screenplay writer Robert Wynne-Simmons was inspired by equal parts Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the case of Mary Bell, an eleven year old from Newcastle who had recently murdered two boys aged three and four, showing no remorse afterwards. I doubt rivals Hammer would have ventured into such dark territory for inspiration and this does make the film an even more distinctly queasy watch, even almost fifty years after it was shot.

This is another movie made by Tigon British Film Productions, an independent production and distribution company, that deserves far more than just a footnote in the annals of horror. Founded by Tony Tenser, a man dubbed ‘the Godfather of British Exploitation’, Tigon’s output aimed at a more realistic portrayal of horror then their competitors and Blood on Satan’s Claw is certainly more gruesome than any Hammer movie I can think of. Just try and avoid wincing when a doctor flays a circle of hairy flesh from a female’s thigh, let alone the aforementioned rape scene.

The Blood on Satans Claw still

Director Piers Haggard completed the film on a budget of only £82,000, which even at the dawn of the 1970s was inexpensive by just about any standard. ‘If you stay on budget’ Tony Tenser liked to declare, ‘you stay in business.’

As Hammer floundered financially and artistically as the 1970s progressed, Tenser considered buying the company. A fascinating what-if scenario.

I digress again.

Tigon will be best remembered for Witchfinder General but much of their output is worth seeking out, and Blood on Satan’s Claw is right up there with their best.

Despite this, it wasn’t initially successful although the New York Times did heap praise on it. In Britain and the States, it was teamed up on a double bill with another Tigon horror, The Beast in the Cellar, playing everywhere from drive-ins in New Jersey to Glasgow’s art house cinema, the Cosmo.

Blood on Satan's Claw Glasgow Screening

Over the years its reputation has grown, especially after Mark Gatiss – in his BBC4 A History of Horror series – enthused about it, calling it a ‘folk horror’ – a term originally coined by Haggard.

Okay, some suspension of disbelief may come in useful as the story progresses but there is much to enjoy over the course of its 93 minute run time.

Piers Haggard is an underrated director. He began his career in theatre and worked at the Royal Court, Glasgow Citizens and the National, and was a TV veteran by the time he began work on his cinematic debut, 1970’s Wedding Night.

Here he brings out the best in his cast, no mean feat as many were so young. Linda Hayden is particularly good.

From the very first scene, there’s some inventive camerawork on display. Few films have ever utilised so many low shots, some even being shot by cameras placed in large holes dug up by the crew. A devil’s eye view you could say.

Cinematographer Dick Bush really excels here and would later go on to work on Ken Russell’s Tommy (1975) and Lair of the White Worm (1988).
The film also boasts an exceptional score by Marc Wilkinson, which incorporates the ondes martenot, an early electronic instrument that sounds similar to a theremin, and the cimbalom, which for more than a hundred years has been associated with the Devil.

Footnote: Maybe by coincidence, the decaying church that we see at various points (St. James in Bix, South Oxfordshire) was to be desecrated in 1974, with presumably a number of young people taking part in some black magic rituals and breaking into coffins.

On a happier note, a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015 has helped preserve the Norman church.


Kiki’s Delivery Service & Belladonna of Sadness: An Anime Double Bill

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Kiki's Delivery Service & Belladonna of Sadness

There may be those out there that think Japanese anime begins and ends with Studio Ghibli.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of the favourites in their catalogue and it’s easy to see why so many young people adore this gem.

Kiki is a young wannabe witch, who aged thirteen moves on the night of a full moon to the picturesque seaside town of Korico. There, as part of an age-old tradition, she must spend a year alone as she trains to become a fully fledged witch – and learn to become independent and think for herself. Okay, I say alone but luckily she is able to take her talking black cat Jiji with her.

A budding young entrepreneur, Kiki sets up in business, offering a courier service for food deliveries. And she becomes adept at her job, flying across the sky on her broomstick, which handily means no traffic delays, albeit the weather can be a problem.


Kiki’s Delivery Service is timeless – made in 1989 it evokes the 1950s – and it’s charming as hell and without Hollywood animation’s usual tendency towards sickly sentimentality.

It’s one of the few animated films that turn me into a big softie as I watch and it left me, well, it left me bewitched.

Belladonna of Sadness is also an animated movie about a witch but there the similarities end. This was aimed at adults. There’s rape, corruption, famine, plague and death. If you thought Korico might be the perfect environment to live, the village where Belladonna of Sadness is set will strike you as a living nightmare.

While Kiki’s Delivery Service was a box-office smash in Japan and hugely popular around the planet, Belladonna of Sadness helped bankrupt its production company Mushi and was hardly seen outside Japan and certain parts of Europe.

Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto and inspired by Jules Michelet’s 1863 book Satanism and Witchcraft (which has often been debunked over the years), this anime has been called ‘disturbing animated feminist porn’, ‘an experimental rape-revenge jazz musical anime’ and ‘a glorious mindfuck.’

You’re sold, aren’t you?


The plot?

‘Once upon a time… a kind young man and beautiful young woman were joined in love,’ as the song that opens the film puts it. ‘Jean and Jeanette dancing in the shy of bliss. Smiled upon by God. Drunk on happiness.’

Needless to say, their loved-up honeymoon bliss isn’t going to last long.

As is the local tradition, the couple make an offering to a man who appears to be the feudal lord of the village. They gift him their only cow. He demands ten.


The animation here might strike modern viewers as rather antiquated, with the camera panning up, down and across large artworks. Aubrey Beardsley is definitely an influence, as is the art of Austrian expressionists such as Egon Schiele. Most of the images are created by thin washes of watercolour paint accompanied by gorgeous, sinewy lines, although in places the lines became blotchy like early Andy Warhol illustrations.

The imagery is often pretty psychedelic too – although released in 1973, the film was six years in the making, work starting as psych-rock was being taken up by a new breed of Japanese musicians.

Belladonna of Sadness still

In many ways, this is sometimes a tough watch but it is always a fascinating one and if you know of a better experimental rape-revenge jazz musical anime, please let me know.

After falling largely into obscurity, it was recently given a 4K digital restoration, and even gained a small scale theatrical release in 2016. It’s available to buy on Blu-ray.

Multiple Maniacs: American Indie #7

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You have never, and I mean never, seen any movie remotely like Multiple Maniacs.

LA Free Press

During the late sixties I felt like a fish out of water. As the rest of my generation babbled about peace and love, I stood back, puzzled, and fantasized about the beginning of the “hate generation.” Woodstock was the last straw. Sitting in the mud with a bunch of naked hippies and their illegitimate children and listening to Joan Baez was hardly my idea of a good time.

John Waters: Shock Value (1981)

Multiple Maniacs

A couple of years ago, I got my hands on a copy of John Waters’ second feature length film on blu-ray. Released by Criterion, it was pricey but a great package – even though the music originally utilised by Waters had disappeared, due to copyright issues. The release boasted an impressive set of extras, including new interviews with Waters regulars like Mink Stole and George Figgs; a video essay by Gary Needham and a booklet with liner notes by Linda Yablonsky. Best of all was a new audio commentary featuring Waters.

The strange thing is I think I preferred this to watching the film ‘straight’.
Waters is clever and funny, a natural raconteur with a genuine subversive streak. Interviews with modern directors can often bore me rigid, as they constantly try to be complimentary about their cast and crew and desperately attempt not offend anyone who might just possibly stump up some cash and pay to see their films, but Waters is always a delight to listen to, even when I disagree with what he’s saying.

As a young director, he embraced bad taste and embarked on a mission to wind up absolutely everybody from conservatives to leftists and liberals and everyone in between. Most of his ire in Multiple Maniacs, though, is directed against Catholicism, the religion he was indoctrinated in to as a child but I’m sure other branches of Christianity might find themselves similarly infuriated if they bothered to watch.

Waters made the movie on a laughably low budget in his beloved Baltimore. As in all his early work, he adopted guerilla filmmaking techniques before that phrase was in common use and drafted in his Dreamlander regulars such as Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey and of course Divine, who is in his fat Elizabeth Taylor phase here.

Divine looking into mirror

In Multiple Maniacs, a master of ceremonies known as Mr David (David Lochary), lures in suburban passers-by by promising they will see all manner of depravities should they enter ‘the sleaziest show on earth’ – Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions.

Mr. David’s warning that the show is full of ‘acts that would make any decent person recoil in disgust’ is no idle patter. There is a woman seemingly sexually attracted to a bicycle saddle, a man who eats his own vomit and a drug addict going through cold turkey.

The audience are dully disgusted, but they’re about to experience something far worse. Lady Divine is about to reveal the true purpose of the cavalcade. The whole travelling freakshow is a subterfuge, as onlookers at points across the country are only invited in so they can to be robbed – and murdered if they fail to co-operate.

Now, if you spend a moment analysing this, you will conclude that while this ruse might work once, the fact is that the police would interview witnesses afterwards, making it easy for them to track down the uber-eccentric misfits that comprise the crime gang, a true band of outsiders if ever there was one. Let’s face it, in the early 1970s, a grossly overweight transvestite would hardly be the most difficult suspect to track down.


Safe to say that realism is not the aim of Waters. Fun and shock are.

Lady Divine is Mr David’s girlfriend but Mr David – and he is only ever referred to this way – is tiring of Lady Divine’s out of control killing sprees. What’s almost as bad is that she also rejects the idea of letting ‘copraphrasiac and a gerontophiliac’ Bonnie (Mary Vivian Pierce) join the show.

Unknown to Lady Divine, Bonnie is Mr David’s secret girlfriend, and in the aftermath of her rejection, the pair hatch a plot to murder the serial murderess.

David Lochary in Multiple Maniacs

She is meanwhile getting fed up with Mr David and his attitude. When she receives a phone call from a blabbermouth bar worker (Edith Massey), she explodes in anger and heads out with payback on her mind.

Raging, she meets up with two glue sniffing men, one with a beard who wears a dress. They rape her.

Miraculously, Lady Divine then encounters a biblical figure, the Infant of Prague, who leads her to a nearby church. As she contemplates recent events, a young lesbian (Mink Stole) approaches her. She tells Lady Divine that she is known as the Religious Whore and seduces her, finding a use for a set of a rosary beads that the Catholic Church is never going to endorse.

Paul Swift, the actor who earlier portrayed the drug addict reappears, this time playing Jesus. This is followed by some graphic cannibalism.

And then things get really outrageous!


On the Trashometer, Multiple Maniacs is undoubtedly a ten but as a film it wouldn’t merit top marks.

The acting? It’s like a bunch of LSD casualties had taken over an am-dram group. The movie goes on too long and a middle section where Lady Divine imagines her version of the Stations of the Cross, it would have to be said, is frankly a drag.

Sometimes it just tries too hard to offend – such as the mentions of the Manson murders. It was shot before those awful events had led to any arrests and it’s occasionally hinted that one cavalcade member was heavily involved.

It isn’t nearly as good as many of his later works like Polyester, Hairspray, and Cry-Baby. Watching this in the 1970s, few would have predicted that Waters would go on to enjoy anything resembling the mainstream success that he managed later in his career with that trio of movies.

On the plus side, Multiple Maniacs is certainly original, and only one man could possibly have made it. As that quote at the top of the post says, if you haven’t already seen it, then you will never have seen any movie remotely like Multiple Maniacs.

Unless that is, you’ve already seen his follow up, Pink Flamingos, but that is maybe for another time.

Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind (New Waves #13)

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Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind

And now for a nihilistic movie released at the dawn of the 1980s, just as Hong Kong’s new wave was beginning to establish itself as a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

Also known as Dai yat lai aau him, Don’t Play With Fire and Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind, this was the third film directed by Tsui Hark, who would later be described as the ‘Hong Kong Steven Spielberg’. Spielberg might have made the similarly titled Close Encounters of the Third Kind but he certainly has never got remotely close to making anything like Dangerous Encounters.

If you’re wondering about the naming of Hark’s bleak – and then some – drama, yes, it consciously attempts to evoke Speilberg’s major box-office hit – and just look at that version of the original poster on the right hand side above. More specifically it refers to a 1956 Hong Kong law that decreed that explosives should be classified as ‘dangerous objects of the first kind’.

And there’s going to be many dangerous objects of the first kind in this movie.

Pearl in Dangerous Encounters - First Kind

It opens in a rain soaked maze of overcrowded apartments. We see an even more overcrowded cage, filled with white mice. A hand takes one out, then extracts a long sharp needle from a nearby candle with dozens of similar needles pierced into its wax. This is pressed into the mouse’s head, squizelling through its brain. This disorientates the poor creature, which is returned to the cage.

It’s a sickening way to start a film as the action does look like it might have been real. We’re then transported to some boys standing on the roof of a nearby building. They drop some kind of crude bomb which explodes next to an innocent bystander.

In an era when kung fu movies made by The Shaw Brothers and others ruled the roost, with chivalrous heroes as leads and happy endings, Hark’s ‘shock of the new’ vision would have made for, ahem, explosive viewing.

It was banned, though, by the Film Censorship Unit. This made headline news in Hong Kong in 1980, and Hark was forced to re-edit some of the more controversial scenes. Sadly, many were left on the cutting room floor.

Pearl (Chen Chi Lin), is a sadistic teenage sociopath – she was the one torturing the mouse. We see her at work where she pours a bucket of thick printer’s ink over a young girl for daring to criticise her, point her cop brother’s gun at neighbours and do something truly unspeakable to a cat.

After witnessing the three geeky young bombmakers (Ko, Loong and Paul) detonating a small bomb in a cinema, she blackmails them, forcing them to join her in the mayhem she has planned for society.

So is born our alienated and angry brigade or Gang of Four (the movie’s originally envisaged title) if you prefer.

Gang of Four - Dangerous Encounters 1st Kind

Events spirals out of control when, in the aftermath of a pointless confrontation with an American driver, Pearl finds a wad of Japanese bank orders worth millions of yen.

These cannot be cashed legally outside Japan, so Pearl and the boys seek out some local Triads, who might be able to launder them. The Triads offer a deal, but they’re not to be trusted. And the American and his friends, presumably Vietnam vets who enjoyed some leave in Hong Kong and decided to stay, desperately attempt to recover their treasure trove, no matter how many lives they have to end in the process.

The final section of the film is set in a vast and hilly graveyard and resembles the kind of violent climax of a spaghetti western. Even today the film is rated Category III in Hong Kong, their equivalent of an 18 in Britain.

Dangerous Encounters of the First Time still

Its nihilism also reminded me of two bleak North American dramas made around the same time, Jonathan Kaplan’s Over the Edge (1979) and Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue (1980).

Hark wasn’t in a good place when he shot the film. According to Pak Tong Cheuk’s book Hong Kong New Wave Cinema 1978-2000, he ‘transferred his discontent, accumulated over many years, to the images of this movie, producing scenes of blind, cruel massacres. The film is an intense, unrestrained expression of the film-maker.’

Despite this, it’s been called his ‘greatest contribution to the Hong Kong New Wave’ and over the years it’s picked up more and more of a cult following. But its commercial failure on release played a big part in persuading Hark to seek more mainstream friendly material.

It’s not a film for everyone – especially animal lovers – but it did lodge in my mind. Chen Chi Lin is excellent as Pearl, and repugnant as her character is, I did begin to root for her as the film progressed, albeit in a lesser of three evils way. The action sequences are handled expertly, and it’s never predictable.

I also generally liked the patchwork soundtrack. This includes a burst of Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene (Part 4), extracts from Goblin’s work on Dawn of the Dead, and even the theme from The Warriors. No copyright infringements, I’m sure. Or maybe not.

If you like Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind then you might also like 1991’s Once Upon a Time In China, which was directed, produced and co-written by Hark.

The story of Cantonese folk hero and martial arts master Wong Fei-hung (Jet Li), this franchise inspiring epic is essential viewing for kung fu fans. Li is at the peak of his powers and is involved in some of the most sensationally kinetic action sequences that you could ever wish to come across, including an audacious and extended fight on bamboo ladders that has to be seen to be believed.

A major box-office hit locally, this is one of the very few classics that spawned an equally good, arguably even better follow-up. This was also directed, produced and co-written by Hark, who since his early new wave days has established himself as one of the most important names in South East Asian filmmaking with his genre-spanning movies. He’s collaborated with John Woo, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Ringo Lam, to name only a handful of Hong Kong cinematic legends.

The Return of Tracy Hyde: The Orchard End Murder

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Tracy Hyde in Orchard End Murder 1980

Previously on For Malcontents Only, I featured the movie Melody (alternatively known as S.W.A.L.K), a British film from 1971 that Wes Anderson took as inspiration for Moonrise Kingdom. The titular Melody was played by Tracy Hyde and the post gave me the chance to reference The Wondermints’ gorgeous tribute track Tracy Hide (yes, that’s the correct spelling), more on which later. In the course of the post, I mentioned that I hadn’t yet seen 1981’s The Orchard End Murder which Tracy starred in, but intended to seek it out.

And now I have.

This is a drama that clocks in at an awkward length, too long to be a short and too short to be a feature. It lasts just under fifty minutes and so the best it could hope for was to find distribution as a B-film in Britain.

GTO Films, an offshoot of GTO Records, which started out by financing a couple of glam rock related cheapies, Never Too Young to Rock and Side by Side picked up on it. They successfully managed to place it on the bill with several longer movies, namely Dead and Buried, a 1981 chiller, crime film The Hit and even Nightmare on Elm Street.

The film kicks off with a crane shot of a cricket match being played on an idyllic village green bordered by an apple orchard. The camera slowly drifts across a road towards a zippy wee red sports car parked in the middle of the orchard and onto a young couple kissing on the grass. And then onto a creep spying on them.

This was shot by Peter Jessop, who collaborated frequently with Pete Walker on movies like Frightmare and House of Whipcord, and also even joined the crew of Jamaica’s first ever full length film in 1972, midnight movie favourite The Harder They Come.

His camerawork is very impressive throughout The Orchard End Murder and might just be the best thing about it.

It definitely isn’t the script.

The Orchard End Murder X

Okay, Pauline Cox (Tracy Hyde) is a 22 year old from Sidcup who takes up the offer of watching her potential new boyfriend Michael (Mark Hardy) play cricket in the Kent countryside. Believe me, I would have definitely have suggested something more exciting myself.

It’s 1966, though apart from Pauline’s leyline dress and Mary Quant hair, director Christian Marnham does little to evoke the period.

Unlike Ray Davies, Pauline doesn’t remotely love the village green. Bored senseless with men aiming balls at wickets – and I can relate to that – she wanders off, coming across the cottage of an eccentric stationmaster (Bill Wallis) whose garden is decorated by garden gnomes, one of which bears a striking resemblance to him.

He invites her in for some tea, and she agrees to join him.


The garden gnome lookalike talks in cliches and the pair engage in some small talk. Their little tête-à-tête comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of hulking and dim-witted Ewen (played by Clive Mantle in his first screen role). He certainly knows how to make an entrance. With a manic glint in his eyes, he stands holding a large white rabbit, which Pauline takes a fancy to.

Suddenly, he slams the poor creature’s head down onto the table, killing it in an instant. He produces a scary looking knife. Outside he skins the dead animal and Pauline finally shows some sense by making her excuses and leaving. Maybe watching cricket wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

And wasn’t Ewen the one spying on Pauline and Mark earlier?

Distraught, she rushes through the orchard, comes across an unseen angry dog, and then bumps into an apologetic Ewen, who in the meantime has filled a fancy basket with apples for her. Quick work.

Clive Mantle and Tracy Hyde

The pair begin picking more apples and soon they’re kissing, a scenario that is just plain dumb to the point of absolute unbelievability. This is a shame as before too long there’s a very disturbing scene set against piles of rotting apples with both actors performing admirably.

In an accompanying feature on the BFI release, Marnham claims the film is a black comedy. ‘It’s intended to be amusing.’

I can’t say I thought of it in this way as I watched. At no time did I remotely feel like laughing. Yes, the station master’s character could be seen as having something in common with some of the League of Gentlemen regulars but the whole harrowing murder sequence was filmed too realistically for the rest of the story to hold any comedic value for me.

As the credits roll, the usual disclaimer proclaims ‘The story, events and persons portrayed in this production are fictitious, and any similarity between anyone living or dead is purely coincidental’. Yeah sure, the characters may be invented, but the story is based on a real-life murder of a young woman in the South of England some years earlier. A fact that makes the idea of comedy in connection with it even more distasteful.

In conclusion, this isn’t one that I’d recommend, albeit it’s an interesting enough watch if you’re keen on obscure British dramas of the time.

As for Tracy Hyde, I get the feeling she never desperately attempted to pursue a long and sustained career in acting. She did appear in a number of TV series in the 1980s like Dempsey and Makepeace and The Bill, but she dropped out of acting before the dawn of the 1990s and apparently now runs her own business.

She’s interviewed in the BFI Orchard End Murder release but the only time in recent years that she has appeared publically – as far as I can tell – was at a celebrity autograph convention in Blackpool in 2015.

Tracy Hyde Orchard End Murder photo

For more on the film click here.

I’ve only belatedly found out about the death of Nicky Wonder (Nick Walusko), a founding member of The Wondermints, an act who also frequently acted as part of Brian Wilson’s backing band. Wonder died on the sixth of August and Wilson praised him as ‘my favourite guitar player ever’.

He formed The Wondermints with Darian Sahanaja in 1992, after they’d bonded over their love of Smile and Brian Wilson in general. As John M. Borack puts it in his book Shake Some Action: ‘The [Wondermints’] Beach Boys influence is particularly up-front on Tracy Hide, a comely, almost ethereal ballad whose evocative lyrics and sweet, sweet melody are both kissed with longing; it’s sure to make any fan of wispy ’60s pop smiley smile.’

The song first appeared on their eponymous debut album of 1996 although I reckon this (cover) version – which appears on Wonderful World of The Wondermints – is even more hauntingly beautiful. See what you think.

Finally, a recent release from Japanese band For Tracy Hyde, who claim to have taken their name from The Wondermints’ song rather then the actress, despite the spelling of their name.

This is 櫻の園, and just as Tracy Hide evokes The Beach Boys at their baroque best, this recently released song displays a distinct late period Cocteau Twins feel.