10 July 2010

Bernard Rose

British director Bernard Rose began making films at an early age, and in 1975 won a BBC amateur film competition which allowed his three minute film to air. He began working on the final season of The Muppet Show, where he took the part of a small gopher, and on The Dark Crystal in 1981. Following this, he attended the National Film And Television School where he achieved a Master's degree in Filmmaking. A number of MTV music videos followed, for artists such as UB40, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Roger Waters and Roy Orbison, along with a little more work on television. An eclectic mix, one may note...

Paperhouse, his 1988 full length film, was what first brought him to my attention, however. I count it as a guilty pleasure now, for while it hasn't dated particularly badly, the film treads a strange line between fantasy and horror, and the ambiguity of its characters is eclipsed only by the desire to give the little girl a good talking to about children being seen and not heard. That's an understatement, actually: if it were socially acceptable I'd confess to wanting to slap her. 1992's Candyman, a film adaptation of Clive Barker's story 'The Forbidden', almost fulfils my personal description of heaven, bringing together not only Bernard Rose and Clive Barker, but Philip Glass and Virginia Madsen as well - Glass composed the film's wonderful score, and Madsen stars.

Rose has produced other films since, and I must confess to liking none of them so far. I thought Snuff-Movie, his 2005 effort, had promise, but ultimately found it unwatchable. Perhaps you'll have better luck, or perhaps you'd be better off sticking to Paperhouse and Candyman, waiting around for Bernard to get back to his roots and produce the terrifying, bastard child of these two masterpieces.

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