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By Emily Booth, Monday 11th January 2016
I was shocked and incredibly saddened to read from fellow horror fan and friend Duncan Jones’ twitter feed that his father, the one and definitely only David Bowie had lost his battle with cancer aged only 69. Bloggers and journalists, in fact the world’s media will now be recollecting this iconic figure, desperately trying to ‘sum up’ this unique man. Words that come to mind are alien, zeitgeist, punk, Changeling, Earthling, Starman, Goblin King, in fact all that is other worldly and wonderful.
His contribution to music, film and the arts was stellar, so much that Queenie herself offered to bestow upon him that most coveted of British titles; a Knighthood. He was too cool for that and in 2003 turned this down rather controversially saying, “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for.”
For my purposes I just wanted to take my own personal perspective as a film fan remembering him and perhaps share with other fans his somewhat lesser known contributions to the arts.
Where did you fall in love with Bowie? I think for me it was of course listening to Hunky Dory (1971) and his tragic epic Life On Mars but then I was really bitten by the Bowie bug when I also fell in love with (as many of you know!) horror flick Cat People (1982) complete with an amazing title track from Bowie, Putting Out Fire, a tune Tarantino lifted for Inglorious Bastards (damn that man for his cult movie referencing!)
Many remember him most for his rock characters: The flame haired alien Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and of course my other personal favourite The Goblin King from the movie Labyrinth. I STILL watch this film (seriously) and feel I am secretly in love with the Goblin King! But some people possibly forget he crossed over into cult movies very early on, simultaneously juggling both movies and music. And with each choice he made, he consciously ventured further into whatever was underground, cool. With his distinctive voice, his wonderfully disconcerting eyes, his supremely strange sexiness, he became almost God-like to me, he simply was not like anyone else. He was not an ordinary human. Which is why he fell so perfectly into roles of an inhuman nature. The Hunger (1983) with Catherine Deneuve saw him as a vampire in this revisionist film that brought a sense of cool back to a pretty cheesy sub genre with ‘of the moment’ 80’s punk rock band Bauhaus singing Bela Lugosi’s Dead as the title track.
A film I’m finding has a rather tragically fitting title now is The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) (pictured) one that we regularly show here on Horror Channel being a firm favourite of ours. Here he plays a beautiful, fragile (flame haired) alien sent to Earth to collect water for his home planet. With advanced technology on his side he creates many inventions that earn him his fortune, but as he learns about love, loss and indescribable cruelty, it becomes apparent there’s not much hope for this lost being. Directed by Nicholas Roeg, this was the first respected director whom David wanted to work for; he’d been offered countless film roles before but turned them all down. This however, he was made for, practically just playing himself in the film.
Luckily, unlike our tragic alien David Bowie lived an amazing creative life to the full, his last album, Black Star (his 25th studio album or 27th if you count Tin Machine not forgetting countless collaborations and soundtrack recordings) being released just two days before his death. A swan song he carefully orchestrated according to the album’s producer in order to say goodbye to his fans with one of the songs opening with the words, “Look up here I’m in heaven.”
So let’s all look to the stars and remember this true one off.
Join us on Tuesday 19th January at 12.35am for a special screening of The Man Who Fell To Earth.
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