Crash! [1971]

“When Paul Haggis won the Best Picture Oscar in 2005 for a film called Crash, fellow Canadian David Cronenberg wasn’t among the well-wishers. In fact Cronenberg was positively livid, accusing Haggis of ‘functional stupidity’ for allegedly stealing the title of the Baron of Blood’s 1996 Ballard adaptation. But funnily enough Cronenberg wasn’t the first to direct a film called Crash. He wasn’t even the first to direct a Ballard adaptation called Crash. That’s a title claimed 25 years earlier (allowing for the presence of a rogue exclamation mark) by Harley Cokeliss (formerly known as ‘Harley Cokliss’), who made the 1971 short film ‘Crash!’ from fragments found in Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition (including the film’s title, punctuation and all, lifted from the title of an Atrocity chapter). Of course, Cokliss also pre-empted Jonathan Weiss’s feature-film version of Atrocity, released in 2000.”

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