The Shrieking Flesh

Chapter Six

Ken Preston

30 April 2024

A German expressionist illustration of a dark angel with frayed wings.

Film Critic Sylvester Erasmus-Barrett Dies

A Report by Guardian Film Reviewer Philip Spence

The last time I encountered my friend Sylvester Erasmus-Barrett, he was bristling with an energy that belied his seventy-four years, and raging about Hollywood’s dominance of the film industry. I had hoped that he might start reviewing films again, but yesterday he was found dead of an apparent heart attack whilst attending a private screening of, ironically, a Goldie Hawn romantic comedy.

Erasmus-Barrett was as well known for his short-tempered outbursts as he was for his scathing film reviews, and it was a rare review screening that passed without a foul-mouthed shout of disdain from this critic feared by directors and actors around the world.

The truth of the matter was that Sylvester could be so utterly scathing of the films he reviewed because he loved film so much. And nobody had a deeper knowledge and appreciation of film history than he did.

Unfortunately, anyone who knows the name of Sylvester Erasmus-Barrett will remember him mainly for his war of words with German director Max Jakel.

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