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Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

"Ken Russell is having as much fun as he's had in years, at least since 1988's The Lair of the White Worm. The lurid tale is told in equally grotesque visuals with effects of particular note...This is, to me, the most fun of the segments"  (Julius Kassendorf, The Other Films, 27 Jan 2014, click here)

 

Trapped Ashes: The Girl With the Golden Breasts.  Ken is one of the directors who contributed to a horror anthology, Trapped Ashes in 2006.  It is "a horror-supernatural anthology, where four people who are stuck in a room each tell a creepy story."  Russell's segment, the first in the series, is called The Girl with Golden Breasts.  Other directors are Sean S Cunningham (of Friday the 13th fame), Monte Hellman and John Gaeta (visual effects on The Matrix).  Joe Dante directs the outline story.  Tobe Hooper was to direct a segment but dropped out.  Thanks to Steve and Joseph for the information.

Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

The image above, not by Ken, of a deadly staircase is quite good but this is an exception in the film.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts   Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Richard Ian Cox left as Doug and Rachel Veltri right as his girlfriend a struggling actress who doesn't win the roles...

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

 ... so she thinks breast implants will improve her chances. 

Winston Rekert in Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Winston Rekert as Doctor Larry selling his procedures.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

But in surgery he smokes his cigar and has little regard for hygiene as he rushes the operation because he has other operations to complete ("stich her up, get her out of here, get the next one in").

This plastic surgery uses material processed from dead bodies, and in true Frankenstein style this gives problems- her breasts seem to bite.  She discovers the surgery was part of an experiment and the breasts need human blood to survive.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts 

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

The mummified surgeon (with cigar).

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

The three transvestite doctors, in the middle Ken Russell.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Special effects (from the DVD extras).

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Ken directing (from the making-of film).

Trapped Ashes follows the pattern of British Amicus Film horror stories, strangers trapped together in a mysterious house, with a strange host, and each has to tell a horror tale.  As a twist in the tale, each story has a coda predicting the gruesome future.  Finally it appears the strangers are trapped in the house forever, doomed to repeat the experience, though this does make the coda predicting the future a plot hole as they will never have a future outside the house.  The film is quite tedious.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts


 


People

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

As well as directing Ken (heavily made up) plays Dr. Lucy in drag, one of the three transvestite doctors who appear at the end of the segment.  Actress Rachel Veltri says  in the DVD making-of film that he was in drag for the role when she first met him.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Ken's wife has an uncredited cameo, and is also credited as Assistant to Ken Russell (imdb does not mention this).

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts- Elize Russell

The film has 22 producers, so guaranteed not to produce a good film.  One of the producers, Dennis Bartok, also wrote the stories  (his first film length script), and his brother Jayce Bartok also has a role in the film.

Rachel Veltri and Richard Ian Cox star.  In the making-of film Ken says Veltri has the potential to be another Glenda Jackson or Marilyn Monroe but this is part of the talking-up to sell the film, and she doesn't have the room to demonstrate any exceptional talent in this film.

Cinematography is by Zoran Popovic and film editing by Marcus Manton.  Ken was paid $50,000 and he filmed his 24 minute segment in four and a third days (from DVD making of film).

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts
 

 


Best Image

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts 

Even if  a film is lower than Ken's usual standard, he still comes up with good shots.  This is a typical Ken Russell image, the character in silhouette at the end of a corridor or stairs.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

The shadows on Rachel Veltri's face are neat.

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts

Good composition at the entrance of the facility.

 

 

Best Scene

Ken Russell Trapped Ashes- The Girl with the Golden Breasts Pauline Boty

Not many best scenes, but one of Veltri running in panic down the winding corridor (left) was also used in Ken's monitor film Pop Goes the Easel from 1962 (right).
 

 

Themes

Sexuality (transvestite doctors).

Gothic breasts as eyes

Freudian images of breasts with teeth.  In Ken's Gothic (above) from 1986 there were breasts with eyes.


 

 


Films

Other films released in 2006 include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Casino Royale, Scorsese's The Departed (Oscar) and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.
 

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest  Casino Royale  The Departed Scorsese  Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro

 

More films

Click title for film French Dressing * Billion Dollar Brain * Women in Love * The Music Lovers* The Devils * The Boy Friend * Savage Messiah * Mahler * Tommy * Lisztomania * Valentino * Altered States * Crimes of Passion * Gothic * Aria * The Lair of the White Worm * Salome's Last Dance * The Rainbow * Whore * Mindbender * Trapped Ashes/ The Girl with the Golden Breasts

 

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