Billy Chainsaw

Film editor, Bizarre magazine

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Apocalypse Now

1979

Francis Ford Coppola

Bande à part

1964

Jean-Luc Godard

Blue Velvet

1986

David Lynch

Devils, The

1971

Ken Russell

Irreversible

2002

Gaspar Noé

Natural Born Killers

1994

Oliver Stone

Night of the Demon

1957

Jacques Tourneur

Performance

1970

Donald Cammell/Nicolas Roeg

Repulsion

1965

Roman Polanski

Touch of Evil

1958

Orson Welles

Comments

My M.O. is films that I have watched countless times and a) never tire of doong so and b) that I usually discover something new in them with every repeat viewing. Seeing Irreversible was one of the very few moments in my life when I have exited the cinema and though I’d just experienced a pivotal moment in filmmaking, something so visually and emotively innovative that it would remain with me forever. Touch of Evil is the greatest noir movie ever made: period. Forget Citizen Kane, this is Orson Welles defining moment – as both a director and a performer. Apocalypse Now was the first time I had ever been sucked into a war film. I had yet to experience LSD, but felt I knew what to expect – a notion that soon thereafter proved correct. The juxtaposition of styles in Natural Born Killers is an unforgettable explosion of eye candy, and its narrative a derisive sign of the times. There isn’t a superfluous frame throughout Bande à part, an example of why GODard is a cinematic genius. Few films have given me nightmares. Night of the Demon is one of them. There have been many movies that have attempted to anatomise human madness, but Repulsion manages to be skin-crawlingly magnificent without ever being gratuitous. The visual and narrative nature of Performance is truly demonic. Few Brits have pushed the envelope with the unfettered vigour of Mr Russell, the man behind The Devils. He is greatly missed. As for Blue Velvet, nightmares are made of this… it’s understandable that Lynch became the hight-priest of weird.

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top