Director Ken Russell Dies at Age 84

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My parents are sound sleepers, which is why I was able to get away with watching some seriously mind-warping cinema at a very young age. While they snoozed blissfully in back bedroom, their nerdy little son was partaking in all sorts of inappropriate nonsense on Showtime and Cinema. Never mind the empty-headed erotic thrillers and brainless adult comedies — I was more interested in the darker, more disturbing fare, though nothing I’d see had really introduced me to things I didn’t already know. Sex, drugs, and violence? Been there, done that.

And then I happened upon Ken Russell’s “Whore”.

It was the first NC-17 movie I’d ever seen, and it blew my tender young mind all over the living room wall. Theresa Russell stars as Liz, an unscrupulous and extremely foul-mouthed prostitute with absolutely no morals whatsoever. To a virginal suburban nerd, the film — which is presented in mock-documentary fashion — was ugly, strange, hideously sexual, and, of course, thoroughly engaging. I vividly remember telling my friends about the movie, though some of them honestly felt I was full of shit. Why they’d think I’d make up something so outrageous is beyond me, but I am flattered that they believed I was capable of imagining such twisted scenarios.

Although Russell’s more popular offerings will rightfully take center stage as fans, friends, and colleagues mourn his recent passing, I do hope that there are others out there who will take a moment to fondly remember “Whore”. This revoltingly bizarre motion picture played a very large role in defining my taste in cinema. Thank you for that, good sir.

Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at)