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STRAIGHT TO HELL + DEATH AND THE COMPASS
A film by Alex Cox
Straight to Hell
A team of inept hitmen (Sy Richardson, Joe Strummer and Dick Rude) oversleep on the day of their big job and find their target has already fled town. Fearing reprisals from their boss (Jim Jarmusch) they pull a bank job and escape into the desert with Richardson's pregnant girlfriend (Courtney Love). When their car breaks down they seek shelter in a ghost town inhabited by the McMahons (The Pogues, Biff Yeager), a murderous and incestuous clan of gun-crazy coffee addicts.
Filmed, and occasionally written, on location in Spain, Alex Cox's glorious anarchic homage to the Spaghetti Western is a surreal forerunner of Tarantino's films, and has all an all-star cast including Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello and Kathy Burke.
Back to Hell (interviews with cast and crew
Audio commentary by director Alex Cox and co-writer Dick Rude
Spain, UK | 1987 | colour | English language, optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 83 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.77:1 | Region 2 DVD
Death and the Compass
In a totalitarian metropolis of the future, Erik Lonnrot (Peter Boyle), a gifted detective, investigates a series of strange murders and disappearances that seem to implicate the insane crime lord Red Scarlach. Enlisting the help of Alonso Zunz (Christopher Eccleston), a principled journalist, Lonnrot believes that he has uncovered a labyrinthine occult conspiracy. However has the investigator's brilliance merely precipitated his own destruction
As narrated by the haunted and embittered Treviranus (Cox regular Miguel Sandoval), Death and the Compass is a deliciously dark adaptation of the short story by acclaimed Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Capturing the density of Borges writing, Cox eschews linearity, adopting a fascinating approach to time that replicates the investigative process. Using many of the cast and crew from Highway Patrolman, Cox and cinematographer Migual Garzon also make effective and malevolent use of an unrecognisable Mexico City. Originally commissioned as a teleplay by the BBC to mark the 500th anniversary of the Spanish Invasion of the New World, this surely ranks amongst Cox's most ambitious and inspired undertakings
Audio commentary by director Alex Cox and composer Dan Wool
Paul Miller's Spiderweb: short film of the same story
Japan, Mexico, UK | 1996 | colour | English language, optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 83 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.77:1 | Region 2 DVD