Features

Special Feature: Filmbar70 presents ‘And Soon the Darkness’

There are worse things one can do on a Thursday evening than see away a couple of pints, curled up on a sofa at London’s Roxy Bar & Screen, while going through Filmbar70’s Top Ten hilarious 70s thrillers. Combine that with a top bar selling good pub grub behind the curtain, a screening of Robert Fuest’s British thriller And Soon the Darkness (1970), and a post-film psychotronic soundtrack by El Diabolik, and there you have it.

Filmbar70 is a monthly cult cinema night, run by Justin Harries and Adam Schofield. Their premise is to screen ‘cool and unusual rarities from the golden age of exploitation, with a pint’. Previous evenings have included an H. P. Lovecraft double bill of cinematic versions of The Call of Cthulhu and The Dunwich Horror, and a screening of Ken Russell’s psychedelic Altered States (1980).

The evening’s events kicked off with a top ten presentation of the best 1970s British thrillers, presented by flamboyant, psychedelic shirt-clad night’s presenter, and one half of Filmbar70, Harries. Filmbar70 don’t shy away from teaching you a thing or two about what you’re watching, and the brief trailers are brought to life by Harries’ esoteric film knowledge. Some of the top ten included Deviation (1971), The Fiend (1972), twin incest thriller Goodbye Gemini (1970), starring lady of the evening Judy Geeson, and their number one Frightmare (1970). There are enough blood-curdling cries, pink miniskirts, and greying British skies to satisfy all your British sexploitation needs.

This month’s film was British thriller And Soon the Darkness, which tells the story of Jane (Pamela Franklin) and Cathy (Michele Dotrice), two pretty young nurses on a cycling holiday in France, who brush up against some problems when separated from each other. For such a stylistically understated film, there are plenty of moments of tension, and some top 70s sleaze courtesy of the two curvaceous teens, and Mr. Moped himself, the handsome yet untrustworthy Frenchman played by Sandor Elès. The way the French locals were presented – mainly as a bunch of black-clad throwbacks to the Medieval period, at best grumpy and at worst psychotic – was particularly hilarious, and was a nice reminder of mild British xenophobia in 1970.

For more info on upcoming Filmbar70 events, visit filmbar70.com.

Sophia Satchell Baeza