In our final episode of 2017 we watch Other Halves, a "dangerous love story" from novelist Sue McCauley and director John Laing. With McCauley adapting her own story for the screen and Laing having proved his directing chops with Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Other Halves looks like it has all the ingredients for a successful drama but commercial compromises threaten to send it off the rails. Hayden and L.J. sit down to discuss a movie that turns out to be more bizarre than either of them could have expected.
On this episode of Never Repeats we're joined for the very first time by some guest hosts! Our friends Sarah and Cara drop by to help us discuss Trial Run, a thriller about a photographer menaced by an unseen presence while working at a secluded cottage. We talk about feminism, penguins, and red herrings, and argue about the effectiveness of the film's bonkers twist ending.
In this special episode of Never Repeats we're watching three horror/thriller films that were shot in New Zealand during the '80s but aimed squarely at the American market. None of these are films we'd normally cover on this podcast, but we found an excuse to talk about them anyway! First up is Dead Kids, a tale of gruesome murders and shocking experiments in a small American town; next is Mesmerized, in which a young woman's unhappy marriage descends into hypnotism and murder; then comes Restless, about a bored, rich socialite who falls in love with the wrong man. We discuss horror conventions, bad accents, bonkers plot twists, and the perils of writing fiction with an historical setting.
Arriba! When two hapless con artists attempt to run a horse-racing scam in the small provicial town of Tainuia they end up in far more trouble than they bargained for. A fast-paced and raucous comedy, Ian Mune's Came A Hot Friday brings another Ronald Hugh Morrieson story to the screen with style and creates one of the most indelible New Zealand movie characters in the process. Hayden and L.J. hold back their giggling long enough to talk about the craft behind the film's comedic set-pieces, the way the adaptation streamlines (and sanitises) Morrieson's novel, and Billy T. James' iconic performance as The Tainuia Kid.
Do you enjoy puerile comedy, gratuitous nudity, and forced sentimentality? Oh boy do we have a film for you! When the Devil makes a bet with God that humanity would once again fall from grace if given a second chance, two college students find themselves propelled through history in the ultimate contest of Good vs. Evil. Designed to ride a wave of raunchy (and profitable) comedies produced in North America in the early '80s, Second Time Lucky imports an experienced British director and young American lead actors, and attempts to recreate the Garden of Eden near Thames.
What do you get when you mix together brainwashing, gory brain surgery, cryogenics, zombies, and motorbike chases? You get New Zealand's first horror film Death Warmed Up, a delirious tale of mad science and revenge. Hayden and L.J. dive in to discuss structure, influences, and Bruno Lawrence's exploding head.
There's no way to sugar-coat it: Wild Horses is an absolute trainwreck of a film. The story of how a man's dreams of wrangling horses are threatened by evil Government conservationists(?!), it's a baffling mess on almost every level. Hayden and L.J. break out their tools for an impromptu autopsy in an attempt to figure out how a production with so many talented people involved could go so horribly wrong.
Growing up isn't easy for young deaf-mute Jonasi (Telo Malese). Misunderstood and mistrusted by many in his isolated Pacific Island community, he finds companionship with a rare white turtle he encounters while fishing. But the turtle's presence will cause buried tensions to emerge within his small community as it struggles with a lengthy drought.
Adapted from a best-selling children's novel by Joy Cowley, The Silent One is an ambitious debut feature from director Yvonne Mackay. Hayden and L.J. dive in to discuss underwater photography, turtle wrangling, and how the film holds up today.
Never Repeats takes a trip back in time to post-WWII Auckland, a decidedly unglamorous place to live, unless you're Constance Elsworthy (Donogh Rees). A stylish and ambitious debut, Bruce Morrison's Constance is both a tribute to, and subversion of, the great Hollywood melodramas. Hayden and L.J. gather round their microphones to talk about the complex nature of the central character, the film's design, and whether it lives up to its ambitions.
What do you get when you make a movie based on a popular TV series, shuffle the main characters into supporting roles, and convince Patrick McGoohan to star in it? You end up with Peter Sharp's Trespasses, a psychological thriller about a young woman (Emma Piper) who runs off to join a commune to the consternation of her puritanical father (McGoohan). Spun-off from the TV cop drama Mortimer's Patch and co-written by Maurice Gee, it has all the ingredients of a fascinating film. So why does it remain obscure?