Sean Welsh


Voted for

A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
The Apartment1960Billy Wilder
The World's Greatest Sinner1962Timothy Carey
The Astrologer1976Craig Denney
HAUSU1977Nobuhiko Obayashi
Rumble Fish1983Francis Ford Coppola
Nothing Lasts Forever1984Tom Schiller
The Stuff1985Larry Cohen
Crime Wave1985John Paizs
Wild at Heart1990David Lynch


The World's Greatest Sinner

1962 USA

Never officially released, and sometimes dismissed in the words of its composer, Frank Zappa, as “the world’s worst movie”, there’s inevitably more to Carey’s magnum opus dei. “Produced, written, directed and distributed by the lead actor” has perhaps never been the most persuasive tag, but Carey’s metamorphosis from sacked salesman Clarence to the dictatorial God Hilliard resonates, as does his dogged determination to make his film, his way.

The Astrologer


This mostly lost and reportedly unreleasable curio, a cinematic ouroboros wherein the writer-director-producer-star, a self-made astrologer/radio host, tells the story of a self-made astrologer/gem thief/government advisor, who ultimately releases a blockbusting film-within-a-film, also called The Astrologer, charting his own tale. A concussion of a film; a perpetual motion machine of cinematic compulsion - endlessly fascinating, though there’s no way to satisfyingly explain what draws you to it and through it. This isn’t a film that could be made by anyone else, at any other time - an unrepeatable experience, pure cinema.


1977 Japan

No other film, certainly outside Japan, compares to House - kooky, kitsch, handmade horror that only sits still long enough to confuse you into sitting too, at which point it whips all the furniture out of the room and sets it, and you, on fire. Chilling like the scribbles of a deeply troubled child and as catchy as a kid’s TV theme, it’s both an unheralded response to Jaws and a challenge never fully met by western film-makers.

Rumble Fish

1983 USA

Often deemed the “B-side” to Coppola’s other SE Hinton adaptation, the Brat Pack-tastic The Outsiders, and “Camus for kids” in the director’s own estimation, Rumble Fish is quietly one of his very best films. Poised/preening performances, incredible score, beautifully photographed and choreographed. Experimental, pretentious, perfect.

Nothing Lasts Forever

1984 USA

A reminder that Warner Brothers have prior when it comes to arbitrarily shelving films. Starring a Gremlins-fresh Zach Galligan and a brace of starry cameos (most notably Bill Murray), this was the sole theatrical effort from its SNL-associated director. The lucky few who have experienced the droll reverie of Nothing Lasts Forever, the way it was intended, know that Schiller deserved a better shake.

The Stuff

1985 USA

Few directors could corral a lackadaisical Michael Moriarty, a sparking Garret Morris and Royal Wedding-inspired flaming ice-cream effects into a coherent form - and he doesn't! - but, from these pieces, Larry Cohen made his masterpiece. When Cohen filters an anti-consumerist message through his “jazz combo” film-making, it’s less smuggle than smorgasbord, text and sub-text bubbling together until the resulting smoosh is thickly-sickly drinkable. Paul Sorvino’s hawkish, froth-mouthed general is perched just like the cherry on top.

Crime Wave

1985 Canada

Barely released the same year as Sam Raimi’s Coen Brothers-scripted curio of the same name, now eternally google-resistant as a result, Paizs’ film was dealt a poor hand from the start. The recent rediscovery of his original, darker premiere cut only underlined what an achievement the theatrical cut is – the adrenalised climactic montage is a burst of (hilarious) DIY showboating, resting upon 70 mins of deadpan film-making élan. Audiences love it, always, and it should be much, much better known.

Wild at Heart

1990 USA

Much loved but maligned in equal measure, if I have a case to make for Wild At Heart, it’s just that its corniest, most cockeyed moments always hit me straight. I, for one, love the big, daft bones of it.