Posts Tagged ‘The Dead Zone.’

Blackpaint 679 – Lonnie, Des and the Dead Zone

September 30, 2020

Six Five Special

The brilliant Talking Pictures channel has been showing “Six Five” again (for those who don’t remember. this was a BBC TV showcase for popular music in the late 50s.  It featured bands like Don Lang’s Frantic Five and the John Barry Seven, who played a sort of hybrid, jazz- tinged rock n’ roll – Lang was a vocalist and trombonist, Barry the man who later became the distinguished composer and performer of the James Bond theme and much more film music.


This film, based on the TV prog, takes place mostly on board the “Six Five Special” to London, which happens to be packed with stars (Jim Dale, Petula Clark, the King Brothers) and the presenters Jo Douglas and Pete Murray.  Later, an episode of the show provides the setting for the rest,  Fantastic performances from Johnny Dankworth, Don Lang and above all, Lonnie Donegan.  Donegan starts with his- relatively- relaxed performance of the Woody Guthrie song “The Grand Coulee Dam” (yes, I have the 78) and follows up with “Jack O’Diamonds”.  It starts fast but quietly, but then builds to a climax in which Donegan seems just barely to be in control of himself.  In this respect, “Diamonds” is second only to his “Gamblin’ Man”, recorded at the London Palladium in 1957, was it? (yes, I’ve got that too – but with a crack, unfortunately).

Note the spelling of “Coolie” – I think Coulee is right,

Crack not visible.

Fantastic stuff.

“Des” & Killing for Company

Tennant on the right…

David Tennant playing Dennis Nilsen, whom he resembles very closely; murderer of young transient men in London, killed between 12 and 15 men in the late 70s-early 80s, kept their bodies in the flat with him for days, watching TV, chatting with the corpses – he was killing for company, not sex, he claimed and the phrase was used by Brian Masters as the title for his book on Nielson.

The police interviews with Nilsen and those with Masters reconstructed in the TV progs show Nilson to be articulate, manipulative and very chippy about perceived injustices and infringements of his rights in custody; he professed sympathy for his victims and claimed he was glad to have been caught – otherwise, he says, he would have carried on (true, no doubt).

Considering the circumstances of the arrest, he certainly asked for it.  He flushed human remains down the drain – and then called (or insisted that the landlord call) a plumber. who found bits of fingers.  The police found his flat to contain bodies and body parts, plastic bags full of innards and a human head in a large pan on the stove.

Apart from Tennant’s great job and that of Daniel Mays as the main investigating officer, the most noticeable feature was the smoking, incessant throughout, and carried on by all parties.  The most smoking I’ve seen on a screen since Fritz Lang’s “M” – another serial killer, portrayed by Peter Lorre and based partly on Peter Kurten, the “Vampire of Dusseldorf”.

The Dead Zone, dir David Cronenberg (1983)

After The Shining and Carrie, the best adaptation of a Stephen King book to date – some may argue for “Shawshank”, I suppose – but Christopher Walken has that intensity and capacity for sudden violence…  Martin Sheen’s mad dog populist candidate Greg Stillson is a great cartoon too.  The murders are low key but the scissors suicide of the cop murderer and the shoot out with his demented mother (shades of Carrie) are good shock value.

Next time, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch and Performance –  and other up-to-the-minute stuff….


Standing Woman Collage


Wild Turkey – old painting, new title