STARBURST was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of British film director Norman J. Warren.
Known for his horror and sci-fi films of the ‘70s and early ‘80s, Norman had been in the film business since 1960, when he worked on The Millionairess as a runner. He directed his first short, Fragment, in 1965, which led to Norman getting the chance to helm two sexploitation films, Her Private Hell (1968), and Loving Feeling (1969), the former later had the accolade of being released on Blu-ray as part of the BFI’s Flipside series.
The trio of horror films he made in the ‘70s have become cult classics, and still play all over the world: Satan’s Slave (1976), Prey (1977), and Terror (which went to the number one spot in the UK box office for a week in 1978) all have a devoted fan base who love their exploitative charms. As the decade was coming to a close, Norman turned his attention to sci-fi, directing a space sex comedy (thus melding two hit box office genres), Spaced Out (aka Outer Touch, 1979), and perhaps his best known film, Inseminoid (1981). For the latter, he teamed up with veteran US producer Richard Gordon and Hong Kong legends the Shaw Brothers, and despite being perceived as an Alien ‘knock-off’, the script was finished before the Ridley Scott film was released, and even 20th Century Fox agreed it wasn’t a clone.
UK boutique label Indicator released a collection of Norman’s genre films several years ago in the box set Bloody Terror: The Shocking Cinema of Norman J. Warren 1976 - 1987, which sold very well.
On a personal level, anyone who met and had spoken to Norman will agree that he was the most charming, open, and giving person. He would often appear at film festivals as a guest or even just as an attendee and would be happy to talk film with everyone. He will be greatly missed.
STARBURST sends its thoughts to Norman’s family and friends.