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S.F. Brownrigg (1937 - 1996)

Date of Birth: 30 September 1937
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 20 September 1996
Place of Death: Dallas, Texas, USA
Also Known As:

BIOGRAPHY

S.F. Brownrigg is one of the great forgotten men of exploitation cinema. Despite having directed only a handful of films, he showed a talent that was utterly lacking in so many of his contemporaries, and it's still a mystery why he isn't better know than he is - nor, indeed, why he wasn't more prolific.

Born 30 September 1937 in Eldorado, Arkansas, Brownrigg's early work in the film industry was with the notorious Larry Buchanan, working on several of his films in various behind-the-scenes roles. In 1973, he took to the director's chair with the excellent and much under-valued Don't Look in the Basement, an inventive and claustrophobic variant on the Old Dark House motif set in a psychiatric hospital. It marked Brownrigg as a talent to watch, one capable of breathing new life into a tired old formula and one who could make a miniscule budget go a very long way.

Scum of the Earth (aka: Poor White Trash Part 2) followed in 1974, another raw gem, one not much liked by the director's very few devotees, but one which still had much to offer, particularly it's coruscating take on another favourite horror theme of the 1970s, city slickers getting more than they bargained for in the great American outdoors.

Only two more horror films followed - Don't Open the Door! (1975) and Keep My Grave Open (1976) - before Brownrigg dropped off the radar, surfacing briefly in 1986 for the witless comedy Thinkin' Big then disappearing again. He died in September 1996, leaving behind a tiny body of work but one which contained at least two genuinely impressive efforts.

Maybe one day, Brownrigg will be rediscovered, though as his best film, Don't Look in the Basement is currently languishing in the bottom-of-the-barrel discount DVD ranges that seems to be unlikely to happen any time soon. No-one would ever claim him to be a lost cinematic genius, but he was certainly an ingenious and resourceful director whose work has a savage power that deserves to be explored further.
KEVIN LYONS

GENRE FILMOGRAPHY

1964
The Naked Witch (sound)

1965
The Eye Creatures (editor)
Attack of the the Eye Creatures - alternative title

1966
Zontar the Thing from Venus (sound supervisor)
Zontar: Invader from Venus - US video title

1973
Don't Look in the Basement (producer, director)
The Forgotten
Non guardare in cantina
- Italian title
De sinnssykes redselshus - Norwegian video title

1974
Scum of the Earth (producer, director)
Poor White Trash Part 2 - re-release title

1975
Don't Open the Door! (producer, director)

1976
Keep My Grave Open (producer, director)
The House Where Hell Froze Over

NON-GENRE FILMOGRAPHY

1960
The Seventh Commandment
(sound mixer)

1986
Thinkin' Big
(script, director)
Mysle, wiec jestem - Polish title
Obiettivo Bikini - Italian title

 


Last Updated: 1 January, 2009

 


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