Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grotesque (100th Review)

Grotesque (2009)
 Dir: Koji Shiraishi (Carved: The Slit Mouthed Woman/Death Tube)

So here it is my 100th Review and after some thought and deliberation on what film should be put to the Chopping block for this event I decided to go with one I knew nothing about other than the fact that it is deemed somewhat of a controversial film. So I decided to tackle a film recently banned in the U.K. and not available here in the states yet due to it's Over the top Violence and depictions of sadism, The uncut version of Grotesque. Let me start off by saying that this film actually lived up to all of the hype in my eyes for once because it is one of the most brutal films I have seen in quite sometime. The film focuses on a young couple on their first date who are attacked and kidnapped while on their way home by a unnamed madman with a pension for torture and humiliation. After the couple are knocked out by hammer blows from behind they wake up in a run down warehouse room made into a makeshift surgery / torture room. From here we learn that the killer is one of the sickest on screen villains seen in awhile and he promises to torture and kill the young couple unless they can do one thing, Turn him on. Seems easy enough , but you have no idea what gets this guy off. The unnamed killer immediately gets down to business by Stabbing the young man Kazuo through a hole in his gag ball with a piercing object right through to the back of his throat and then the gut while he forces Aki to watch, Then he asks if she is willing to die for her boyfriend to be and we have a flashback of moments before they are kidnapped where Kazuo says to Aki that he would indeed die for her if the situation presented itself and the madman aims to put this theory to the test in barbaric fashion. After some chilling conversation from the sicko he begins to molest Aki and finger - Fuck her to forced orgasm while Kazuo is helpless and commanded  to watch ... This scene is done rather graphically as we hear moisture sloshing around from her under parts as she writhes in agony, After that the killer decides to give Kazuo the same treatment and he is given a quick hand job to completion before they are both drugged and put down for the evening. Upon waking up the couple are now laid flat on tables side by side and this is where the situation turns from creepy to gory in no time. Kazuo has his fingers cut off and made into a nice necklace for Aki and she is forced to return the favor  shortly after .

After Amputating Her arm and cutting her nipples off we learn that our killer is a skilled surgeon as he seals all the wounds and stops the bleeding to keep his victims alive for more torture. Then we are treated to a obscenely vivid scene of Kazuo having nails driven into his scrotum and then being castrated. At this point the Psycho Doctor stops the punishment and exclaims that he has decided to free the couple since he has been aroused and after passing out the couple awakes in what appears to be a hospital room and the wounds are nicely bandaged and they have been cleaned up.
The doctor arrives shortly and informs the victims that he will nurse them back to health , Help them with rehabilitation and then release them, He has been moved by there will to live and that is what he was seeking from them in the first place. Everything seems to be on the up and up until they wake up the following morning back in the torture room. Apparently the rush from before was too much for the doctor and he wants one more , So he plans out a game of survival for the young couple as Aki is tied across the room from Kazuo he is told to free her but there is a catch. The doctor plans to remove Kazuo's Rectum and tie his intestine to a hook like a leash , kazuo is to reach a pair of scissors in the room cut his intestine and then free Aki before dying, If he succeeds she will be freed.

 After much struggling Kazuo fails to free Aki and dies before he can cut the last tether , After this the doctor is disappointed and prepares to off Aki with a chainsaw , when she decides to provide the doctor with a story of his mother being a whore she knows from town and their family trait of foul Body odor. After trying her best to humiliate the surgeon he goes berserk and saws her down then goes a step further and cuts her head off in splattery fashion with a Axe. At this point the film gets a bit far fetched as her head has the last laugh on the way down from it's skyrocket of her shoulders and we are left to believe that all three have died. Until the closing scene where we see the doctor sitting once again in his van stalking a victim but this time with deodorant in hand....
Leaving a opening for a sequel. As for story in this film it is pretty thin as we don't really learn much of the characters involved at all, So it is kind of hard to root for either one and the motives of the killer are pretty vague other than he is mad and truly a pervert, But The victims do come off as genuinely scared for their lives and The Mad Doctor does portray his role quite well and is very good as the cold emotionless psycho he is supposed to be. The film comes off as a Hostel rip off and could be considered just another cash in on the "Torture Porn" genre but this one is well shot and the effects are really nicely done. I can see why the U.K. would ban this and where the controversy stemmed from but I found the gore way less disturbing than the whole sexual portion of his torture , Because the scene where the doctor fondles the young couple is truly creepy and leaves the viewer pretty uncomfortable watching it. As far as the Faux snuff style exploitation film genre goes I would actually rank this one higher than Hostel as I found it more interesting but, It could have used a bit more back story and detail into the characters to help the viewer invest in each one. I mean a film with only three actors you would think you would get a pretty clear portrayal of what each one is about and this one doesn't even scratch the surface of any of the leads.I would like to see this film get a U.S. release and with the open end for a sequel I think it would be cool to see them follow up on the Mad doctor because maybe we could learn more about him if the story continues, As from what I saw in this one he has the makings of a truly iconic killer in the genre. Is this film anything new? Not really but what it does accomplish being shocking and it is entertaining. If you are a fan of films like  Saw and Hostel then you will like this one but if scenes of torture are not your cup of tea then skip this one because the shots are graphic and convincingly done , Other than the end kill between the Doctor and Aki, That is when the J-Horror camp kicks in. Good effects , Crazy gore and believable fear make this one a good watch but not for the faint of heart for sure.
Now for my first attempt at the new rating system......
Final Verdict: 7 out of 10

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Death Tube

Death Tube (2010)

Well in the tradition of Saw and the like we get this little J-Horror cash in on the popularity of the "Torture Porn" popularity. Death Tube is a Rare website that only functions for one week each year showcasing murders in  you tube format, This site garners quite a few loyal followers, Among these followers is a young man named Inoyue who after falling asleep watching the site wakes up in a emptied warehouse room with nothing but a Rubik cube and a laptop. Shortly realizing he has been taken in to play in the Death Tube games.He realizes he is not alone as there are seven other competitors showcased on separate screens on his laptop. The host Ponkichi is a cartoon bear who gives the victims their directions to survive and from there we are treated to a series of games similar to the Saw series yet not brutal traps like that series these games are of wits and skill and failure leads to death. On the surface this film could be seen as a typical rip off of the Saw franchise but, It can be taken as a social commentary on humanities craving to see the worst things they can and peoples lust and curiosities to watch death, Making one think if a site like this would be successful or not and in reality sadly I believe it would. Just look at how successful the faces of death series of films were and videos on tube sites that show executions and more recently the popularity of the 3 guys 1 hammer vid that has surfaced which is nothing but an actual snuff film three teens made in hopes of becoming famous through murder. This film is a bit goofy at times and the gore is pretty lackluster especially coming from a Japanese film of this ilk. The Children show like bear I thought was a nice touch as it makes the film a little more light hearted yet creepy at the same time, and the characters in the film do a good job drawing you in but to me it just seems like something was missing. Perhaps it was the payoff killings being so tame and uneventful, The film keeps you watching and is paced extremely well for a two hour film but it just doesn't seem like anything special and just kinda there. I was expecting allot more especially after hearing that the makers of this film had made "Grotesque" which is a rare J-Horror film that was banned recently after being deemed to brutal for distribution and the fact that there was no IMDB page for this one lead me to believe this would be just as brutal if not worse given the subject matter and it just fell short of my own sick expectations. So after viewing this one it does accomplish getting it's point across about the depravity of our human culture by showing text going across the screen of commenting viewers wanting to see more and rooting for  deaths of the contestants rather than wanting to see them survive  but I think a film like this , that is based on violence solely it should have had some gruesome payoffs in order to drive the point home. This becomes just a good story with strong overtones with no real reason to keep going after the weak killings. Is it a bad film ? No, But I think it could have easily been a classic and far better than Saw if they would have just done a little more with it . Also although the characters are interesting , there is really no reason why all of them were chosen and I believe that was an important sub plot that they completely ignored in this one. After viewing this one, I will say that I do have high expectations of  there banned film because I would like to see  what these guys could do if they amp the violence up a bit so, I will be checking that one out soon. In closing this film has a good premise , Decent acting, Some creepy scenarios and the meaning behind it is good as well but as I said before it just falls short of nailing it home with the lack of payoff's.
3 out of 5

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As 100 draws near.... Updates and Reader Appreciation

 So now that I rapidly approach my 100th review I've decided that I am gonna make a few changes to the reviews format like adding pictures/screenshots to the review showing some of the highlights/lowlights of the film. Also I think I am going to change my reviewing procedure, Currently I am writing the review immediately following the viewing as to keep the film fresh in my head but, now I think I am going to take a day or so to look over notes I have taken and also to let the film sit in my head for awhile before writing my opinions as sometimes through time they do often change . I also will be changing the ratings system from 1 out of 5 to 1 out of ten because I am finding that allot of these films have same or similar ratings although I may like one much more than another with the same rating, This will allow me to provide a better range of awfulness or greatness to said film.
I am also debating whether or not to break down the ratings system into different categories such as gore, nudity ,story etc.  But not completely sold on that idea as of yet. So with that said I have a few more to go before my 100th and I am looking for a film that I believe justly deserves the milestone of such and I also would like to take this time to thank all of my readers for their support, But please folks I would love some comments , critiquing and your own opinions on these films as well if you have seen them . I think it would bring allot of life to the sight and that is what I am setting out to do, Make thins a fun place to learn about odd cinema and exchange thoughts and banter. Again Thank you and Please keep reading.....
                                                                                                Editor: Nathaniel (Dick Swift) Guest

God Told Me To

God Told Me To (1976)
Dir: Larry Cohen (Black Cesar/Hell Up in Harlem/The Stuff/It's Alive)

New York is stricken by a series of horrendous unexplained murders all committed by seemingly upstanding citizens with no real connection other than that all of the suspects state that God told them to do it....The opening scene is a shocking sight as several innocent people are gunned down by a sniper on top of a water tower in the middle of rush hour in New York City. Due to all of the ruckus it takes a few hours for Police to finally reach the shooter and Detective Peter Nicholas arrives and decides to try and talk with the shooter. Upon making contact with the gunman he seems completely peaceful and calm and the two discuss there pasts and get to know each other while Peter tries to pry information on his motives and all he can say is "God told me to". Immediately after making that statement the gunman jumps off the water tower to his death. We then follow peter as he questions several other murder suspects all claiming the same higher power lead them to commit these heinous acts. We meet a man who killed his two children and wife in their home with a shotgun, A man who attacked people with a knife in a shopping mall and After the Police office receives a anonymous tip that it will happen again during a St. Patrick's day parade we see Andy Kaufman playing a cop open fire on several spectators. None of the killings detailed in this movie are shown other than the opening scene and the parade attack but this really does not take away from the all around eerie feel of the film because the acting is portrayed so well. Upon further investigation Peter finds one common link between all of the murders and that is a young man who no one seems to be able to describe other than that he has long hair and walks around barefoot , who all of the murderers seemed to have run ins with prior to the attacks. Peter does some research and finds it is a 24 year old man named Phillip who has seemingly no background and apparently was birthed to a virgin mother through a sort of immaculate conception.The film from here turns into more of a religious sci-fi if there is such a thing and takes a turn for the strange once we learn of the link between Peter and the young man.If I go any further into this sub plot it would truly spoil the ending so I will just say this, Apparently Phillip is not the only prophetic figure in this film as he has a relative close by at all times. Director Larry Cohen has quite a resume behind him and I have seen many of his films not knowing he was behind them and all of them I enjoyed, This film is one of his Lesser known earlier works and I believe his first take at the horror genre and it shines to his brilliance as a director. Before this film he was mainly a Blaxploitation film maker , Behind the camera of two of the greatest in the genre in Hell up in Harlem and Black Cesar. As I said before this film is not gory at all so if that is what you are looking for you will be disappointed in this one and I was honestly expecting allot more sense reading the description of the film but this film just goes to show that on screen violence does not always make a better horror film because there are parts of this film that are downright creepy just because of the scenery and you never quite know what to expect due to the randomness of the attacks, Much like George Romero's The Crazies where anyone could be out to get you at any given moment.I can see allot of horror fans being bored or disappointed with this one due to the lack of gore and strong foundation on story over body count but that is their loss because this one in my mind after viewing it is honestly a lost classic of the genre.If you want more splatter Cohen has some other offerings out there to enjoy in films like Maniac cop and others and he is the mind behind one of my childhood favorites The Stuff and The It's Alive series. So in my eyes Cohen scores big again with this one, I highly recommend people check this one out because it is highly slept on and I can't figure out why.
4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Abomination

The Abomination (1986)

A few years back I went on a bit of a hunt for old Horror VHS tapes Pillaging all the old local video stores I could find grabbing up whatever I could get my hands on , Just to build a collection of harder too find stuff not yet released on DVD. I found quite a few gems on my journeys but I never really realized how Rare a few of them were. So since I purchased them for the most part these tapes just sat on shelves in my room just for show until I had a few of the more rare ones transferred to DVD. So tonight I decided to check out the most rare one of all of them The Abomination. After a bit of online hunting I was only able to find one copy of this film available and that was on E-Bay for 20 bucks.I found damn near no information on this one so it peaked my curiosity and I finally decided to check it out and quite honestly I am puzzled as to why this one was never given the DVD treatment while so many other odd and worse films have resurfaced through the last few years. The  Abomination Starts off with a Nightmare sequence kind of spoiling all the stuff to come in the movie while a man narrarates his reoccurring dream to a psychiatrist I assume. Then the actual film opens with a Mother and son who live together and the mother is obsessed with a local television evangelist named Brother Fogg, The women is convinced that she has a tumor in her chest although she has been given a clean bill of health from her doctor and her son blames the preacher and his mothers gullableness on this. One night while her son Cody is out with friends the woman coughs up a large bloody chunk of meat she believes is the tumor and deems it a miracle. That night while her son sleeps the "tumor" comes alive and crawls into her son and the next day he begins coughing up blood and feeling ill.The son contacts the town doctor against his mothers wishes to see what is wrong with him while his mother believes faith in the pastor will help him . After a doctor visit he is suggested bed rest and he then coughs up this "tumor" like thing and for some reason hides it under his bed. One day Ike , Cody's friend comes to visit and he does not respond or want to be seen so he climbs out of his window and heads to Ike's girlfriends house seemingly possessed by this creature. He kills the woman slitting her throat and brings her body home to feed this thing which we find is The Abomination. From this point Cody becomes stranger and stranger by the day and the beast seems to be taking complete control of Cody forcing him to do it's bidding , killing and finding flesh to feed the monster. As the monster eats it gets larger and larger and the killings get more gruesome as the film goes on. The effects in this film are pretty bad but they certainly cover that up with emmence amounts of blood splatter and the only thing worse than the gore effects in this film is the acting which has to be some of the worst ever filmed. But this movie definitely falls into the so bad it's good category as you cant help but love this movie because it tries so hard.After Cody takes out pretty much every person seen in the film including his mother, his best friend, the T.V. Evangelist, His asshole boss at the mechanics shop and even a unknown girl at a cemetery, we get the closing scene when Cody is home preparing a feast for the beast and Cody's girlfriend shows up to find his house completely covered in blood and scattered remains of his victims and provides one of the funniest moments in the film with her horribly lame reaction to this discovery . The two struggle and Cody is taken out with a pitchfork before the beast grabs his girl and eats her , After this it leaves the viewer wondering how Cody had nararrated this whole ordeal if he in fact got killed , well apparently the whole thing was in fact a dream and he is being charged with the massacre of seven people and being put on trial but we learn this through audio over the closing credits and black screen. This whole movie is just one huge splatter fest and has got to be on par with Dead alive in the visceral carnage department as every set piece in this film is literally drenched in plasma although not too convincingly but it is a fun watch if you are into gore films. This one is never short on the gore but it doesn't leave the viewer uncomfortable since the movie is so silly no one could actually take it serious at all. The acting is awful the Monster or " Abomination" is a bad knock off of the creature from Evil Spawn, Or maybe that creature is a better upgraded version of this one , as I am not sure which film came out first but there is a strong resemblance between the two. After thinking about it , This movie is kind of like a more fucked up version of little shop of horrors with Texan accents and dumbed down dialog. after viewing this I think I will check out the other extremely rare ones in my collection just to see if I have been missing out because I really had fun with this one, As it truly epitomizes the term So Bad I'ts Good.
If you can find this one , I would suggest a watch but the only copy I found again was 20 bucks for a used VHS and unless you are a serious collector of rare horror of the 80's it is not worth that much but if you can luck out and find it for a dollar like I did definitely pick this one up because it certainly is worth it just for the laughs to be had with this one.
3 out of 5

Monday, November 15, 2010

Naked Blood a.k.a. PainKiller (1995)

Naked Blood a.k.a. PainKiller
Dir:Hisayasu Sato (Rampo Noir)

Well this is not gonna be an easy review to write for more than one reason. First being that this is a strange movie and second being is that apparently I had purchased a Japanese bootleg version of this film so the subtitles are not very accurate in translation and for some reason the text overlapped making the subs extremely hard to read at times. So the general story of this film follows Eji, A young scientist who has created a serum named MYSON that is supposed to create eternal bliss and happiness but of course in traditional Japanese horror fashion the side effects come with grim and gruesome results.Eji is the son of two scientists and while his father passed away seeking eternal life his mother is currently working on a new female contraceptive to help control Japan's growing over population problem.The story starts off with his mother and three test subjects being given the birth control serum and Eji takes it upon himself to tape the experiments from a nearby roof top and then goes as far as to follow the subjects afterwards, His strange obsession with this experiment is not unwarranted because he apparently secretly switched his mothers serum with his newly created MYSON concoction. We then meet the three test subjects which I am not sure are given names due to the shoddy subs in this version of the film except for the main girl who is named Rika Kamiri , each of these girls have very strange behaviors as one is a model who has a perfection complex and is constantly finding things wrong with herself and is in search of being flawless and beautiful, another is a foodie who is obsessed with cooking and gourmet cuisine and Rika is a insomniac who apparently blames her menstruation on her sleeping ailment and also has a deep hatred for all things living yet talks to her cactus and links her self up to it and a dream machine in order to help her sleep. Eji starts to have a thing for Rika and follows her everywhere she goes and once he is spotted Rika and Eji start a odd friendship where she opens up to him about all of her issues with hate and her obsession with plant life. One day the foodie is at home cooking tempura and this is where we start to see the ill side effects of the MYSON injection as after she cuts herself while preparing the dish she licks the wound and seems to get some sort of euphoric feel from eat and then decides to deep fry her hand and eat her fingers right off the bone. Shortly after that the model is at home after a workout and notices a hair growing in a undesirable place and as she plucks it she likes the feeling enough she decides to pierce her own ears with sewing needles and seems to get off while doing so. Rika though shows no effects of the shot other than she is opening up more and more to Eji and seems to be giving up her hatred of all people as she grows closer to Eji. Later we see that the pain obsession of the other girls continues to grow as the model has pierced everything imaginable on her body and sits in her room carving herself up with delight and the foodie provides a truly disturbing scene as she slices a piece of her "lady" parts and eats it while seemingly having an orgasm and after a nipple nip she shanks her eye out with a fork to dine on that. At this point in the film we see a pretty big mistake in shooting as her hand she ate before seems to be back intact for the carving and eating here and how the director let that one slide without edit is hard to understand.So we are treated to more gore and such and this is where the movie gets even stranger but its hard to explain what happens here without giving up the entire end of the film so I will just leave the synopsis at this point , Let's just say the MYSON serum effects Rika in a bit of a different way, but in all honesty I don't quite understand the ending anyway and maybe that has to do with the subs but it could just be shoddy writing by the film makers as well as the ending really doesn't make much sense along with the story . Not much makes this film stand out from the pack of other J- Gorror films although the plot is not bad , it comes off more like a amped up Twilight Zone episode more than anything else which could be considered a good thing. There are several WTF moments thrown about including a sequence towards the end involving the Eji's Mother and his deceased father crawling into a open wound...I didn't get that one at all, Maybe it was supposed to be artistic? If you are a fan of J-Gorror/Horror you will probably enjoy this one as it is an earlier film in the genre but there are allot better out there and in all honesty I don't see this one having much staying power in my brain to be mentioned if I was asked about Japanese horror anytime in the future. As far as older J-gore goes I  prefer The Untold Story (The Bunman) over this one and some of the guinea pig films. Actually that is what this film reminded me of was the Guinea Pig series, just a tad less gruesome but it would have fit right in with that series. This one was not bad but just doesn't really strike me as being memorable after awhile, But you could do much worse. If you wanna check this one out make sure you by the Naked Blood version because my DVD is Titled Painkiller and the subs really took away from the experience so much that I missed quite a bit of the dialog in the viewing and maybe upon a second watch with better subs I may have enjoyed this more because I really think I missed some important plot points in this one especially with the whole deal with Rika and her damn Cactus dream machine, but then again maybe not ...
so I am gonna give this one a more generous score just assuming that with better subs I would have enjoyed it
more. But from what I gathered is this is just your typical J-gorror with nothing really noteworthy in it's entirety .
3 out of 5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Night of the Demons (2010)

Night of the Demons (2010)

Starring" Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie/Thirteen Ghosts)
Edward Furlong (Terminator 2/ Pecker)

So here is another re-make that did not need to be made. You know I understand certain films being remade for younger audiences to cash in on licences but certain films just don't need this treatment , Like smaller films of the genre that have garnered their own small cult followings over the years, Films like I Spit on your Grave, Last House on the Left and this one Night of the Demons, But I guess this just goes to show that nothing is sacred these days and film makers will remake anything in order to save time on being original. Now The original NOTD had it's charm and the characters were campy and fun for the time but this one loses all of that and tries to cash in on the gore is more trend. In the original we followed Angela and a small group of friends who were out for scares on Halloween having a sleep over at a haunted Mansion and all the characters served purpose and fit right in with the stereotypical horror fodder of the day but in this one of course it is made Grander and less endearing. Angela now is a party promoter who is hosting a rave of sorts in the Broussard house where Years prior Evangeline Broussard killed herself after a Massacre took place , Of course this was  Due to witchcraft and demon possession. We meet our cast of characters that stick around after the party is busted and none of these people have any qualities that have you puling for them. Every single person in this film reeks of douchiness. Angela is annoying , the group of girls Maddie, Lilly and Suzanne are for the most part in  lack of all personality and are just empty sluts to feed to the body count, and Collin played by Edward Furlong is a shitty drug dealer who bares a strinking resemblance to Michael J. Fox. Once Angela is taken over by the demons the possessions spread at a rapid rate with one guy turning just because of a kiss while another is sodomised into demon hood. The film all togeteher is just weak and the transformation effects are just pittiful, and the fact that they try and reenact the famous Lipstick Scene from the orginal would have been a nice nod to the predecessor if the effects used were better or even on par with the original which they are not and the film maker felt it would make it better I guess by upping the ante and having the girl retrieve the lipstick from her heavily bleeding vagina.... It just makes the attempt look weak and pathetic in comparison. Honestly the only redeeaming feature of this film for me was the ten second cameo from Linnea Quigley as a woman in a tutu , the same one from the orginial..handing out candy to kids in the begining. I would go further into the story of this film but if you have seen the original you should know what to expect just dumbed down and stripped of all it's campiness, add a lot more blood and guts,  some shitty make up for the demons and this is what you get. I really wanted to just shut this film off about 1/3 through it but for the sake of forming a valid opinion I stuck it through. If you have a hankering for the NOTD franchise you are not missing anything by giving this one a pass , you are much better off just picking u the original , I mean even the sequels make this one look like shit and the sequels did not have near the greatness of the original. Don't waste your time on this one. But it's nice to see that Linnea is still hot after all these years. Sometimes it is better to leave things dead and I put this one in the category of Return To Sleepaway Camp that being just pointless cash in that hurts the series more than anything.
2 out of 5

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ticked Off Trannies With Knives

Ticked Off Trannies With Knives (2010)

So after watching such a dark movie with A Serbian Film I needed something a little lighter and tonight on my trip to the local Video store I stumbled across this little flick and I had to pick it up based on the title alone, And I am truly glad I did. In the tradition of old school rape/ revenge flicks and the more recent re emergence of all things Grindhouse comes This fresh take on the genre. Ticked-Off trannies is the story of a group of Transsexual nightclub performers who seek revenge on some scumbags that raped on of their clan. The film is shot in the faux old film stock style much like Tarantino's Gindhouse and is set up in "Chapters similar to Tarantino's Kill Bill. The first chapter is basically an introduction to the girls in the group and gives you a bit of insight on what each girl brings to the party. The group consists of Tipper Somore The busty blonde nightclub veteran, Emma Grashun A latin spitfire with men on the brain at all times, Rachel Slurr the ditzy yet street savy comedic relief, Bubbles Cliqout  The beautiful new comer and  main charater of the story and Pinky La' Trimm The Big Black Bad Mama and head of the pack for the girls. One night Bubbles arrives to work with a shiner and refuses to explain how she got it when Pinky and the girls try to offer some help and advice about abussive relationships. After a shift dancing Emma invites the girls to go out for drinks at a local club and while there Emma runs into her man Nacho and his friend Chuy which she tries to fix Rachel up with. Later the guys ask the girls to go back with them to their place but they have another friend there and they talk Emma into bringing Bubbles along. When they arrive at their destination it is a abandoned warehouse and Bubbles is understandably hesitant to go in but after so whining and pleading she finally gives in and while inside a Man wielding a bat, apparently this is Boner the man who gave Bubbles her Black eye after he drugged her in attempt to rape her and once he found she was a man he beat her, since he could not deal with the embarassment he decides to take these girls out by beating them to death with the bat. This leads to a pretty disturbing scene in which the girls are all viciously attacked and what is sad about this the most is that things like this happen to transgendered people quite often when straight males cannot get over the attraction to something they are not used to, or are not comfortable with themselves or their sexuality.Pinky and Tipper come to the save but eventually get the bat as well.the next chapter starts and we see Bubbles awaking from a coma and Pinky and Rachel come to retrieve her from the hospital where Nurse Connie Lingus and Dr. Phil Lattio give the girls an update on Bubbles condition.Sadly Emma and Tipper could not make this reunion as they were killed in the attack, So from this point on the girls train and plot their revenge on Boner and gang. the rest of this movie is much lighter and comedic with plenty of one liners slapstick and stereotypes of the grindhouse genre, Until the closing moments where the revenge plot unfolds with vicious knife fights and some truly inovative revenge techniques implemented by the girls involving the guys fear of anal intrusion. I have seen quite a few Trangender movies and this one is not as goofy as most like Drag Queens on dope and Starbooty but it is fun in it's own way and honestly I think this one would have done well in theatres if it were not for the fact it was centered around transsexuals , because as a film it is a nice nod to the genre of the past and the acting is really not bad. The girl Playing Bubbles is decent and she is really easy on the eyes and with her voice being as passable as it is she could honestly get some roles as a genetic female without anyone batting an eye. The lady who plays Rachel is my personal highlight of the film as I think she has great comedic timing and she is really good for her one liners and facial expressions and mannerisms, Also The Pinky La' Trimm character would be a much better choice for big  Momma's house than Martin Lawrence ever could be and she plays up the role of Blaxploitation queen bee quite well. I thoroughly enjoyed this film but then again I am extremely open minded when it comes to the roles of Transsexuals in our world and I hate to see funny entertaining movies like this getting pigeon holed to just GLBT movie goers because after all is said and done it is a fun watch regardless to if you are straight , Gay or whatever shade you choose, But I know that most straight males in particular will never give a movie like this the time of day just because of it's casting and the subject at hand which is Gender and what lines of sexuality are out there other than the outright Black and white . So if you are comfortable with yourself and can get passed the premise or you are in fact into the "scene" or just find drag funny you will enjoy this film , as it has it's moments of seriousness but never gets preachy or takes itself too seriously... Just know that you may find some of the girls in this film attractive and there is nothing wrong with that because in all honesty some of them make damn fine women.
3.5 out of 5

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Serbian Film

A Serbian Film (2010)
Dir: Srdjan Spasojevic

Well, I have seen some disturbing films in the past, Some of which I have reviewed here and I have to say that although this film is pretty good it really pushes the boundaries and some parts of this movie are shocking and downright sickening. Now I had heard that this one had some extremely questionable subject matter  and I knew going in that some scenes were shocking but I had no idea how far the director of this film was willing to take it. The term Torture Porn is often used when referring to films like Hostel and Saw and the like but let me tell you if any movie deserves to be coined by that phrase it would be this piece of cinematic perversion.
The premise is basic enough we follow Milos a retired porn star trying to make a living for his new family off the savings from his past career, Well money starts to run low and Milos is approached by a former co-star/ friend who informs him about a new director who really wants to enlist milos for his services. The friend tells Milos of Vukmir who is filming some new kind of adult film in Serbia , She insists that it is more of an art project then what films he is used to shooting. Milos agrees to meet with Vukmir who is extremely vague in detailing his projects but he make a handsome offer and Milos returns home to mull it over with his wife before signing any agreements. Upon finding how much money is offered Milos' Wife Marjia insists that he give it a shot , So shortly after Milos signs up, Still not knowing exactly what he will be shooting.From this point we see in graphic detail just what kind of movies Milos is taking part in and let me just say these are definitely not your run of the mill skin flicks.Milos begins to start getting weary of Vukmirs objective when a young girl starts showing up on set and all of the crew for Vukmirs shoots are armed guards so reasonably he starts to get uneasy about the whole thing, So much so that he enlists the help of his brother Marko who is a cop to do some background research on this eclectic director.I don't wanna give too much of this flick away but lets just say that this movie is not or the squeamish or starts as the gore in this film is intense and extremely convincing and in a few scenes it goes way beyond that. A Serbian film is a hard movie to sit through but the acting is good and the story is so twisted that once you are invested in it , It is hard to turn away although there are plenty of parts where it would be easily understood why one would turn this film off. In fact it is harder to explain why you would want to even continue watching after certain scenes. This movie makes films like 8mm and other films tackling similar subjects look like children's fare in comparison. I mean just when you think it cant go any further into dark territory it does and in extreme fashion. Not too spoil anything but I feel that this needs to be touched upon , One particular scene should be explained in order to warn those who want to watch this film and that scene involves Milos and Vukmir sitting in a boardroom shortly after milos says he is done working for him after a quite strenuous and mentally, emotionally  draining scene, this is when Vukmir shows Milos what he believes to be some of his greatest work and this is a New genre he is working on....That genre being NewBorn Porn. And yes it is exactly what it sounds like. Vukmir gives Milos a viewing of a scene he has shot involving a woman going into labor and a man helps deliver the baby then immediately has sex with the infant, And keep in mind this is all shown in great detail.. Honestly one of , if not the most disturbing scenes I have ever seen in my entire life of film watching. now that is not the only truly shocking moment in the movie but if you can get past that particular scene the rest of the film is a cake walk and in all honesty in a whole I found the film extremely entertaining and dark.  I did enjoy this movie much more than I expected to but I truly believe that in some cases the director is purposely just going too far , trying too hard to be shocking, and he definitely accomplishes being shocking, allot of the stuff that is shown would still be just as effective if it was not shown on screen in such vivid detail. I  mean there is allot of overkill in this flick, especially towards the end when the gore and sex is amped up, And when I say overkill I really mean overkill
, really was there any reason to show a guy getting skull fucked to death? or A woman Brutally beaten and then shot in the face with semen? They could have easily hinted at it and gotten the point across just as easy. It seems nowadays even with More mainstream movies like the latest remakes even that the trend is the more blood and guts the more money they will make, well if that is the case then this film would make more than any Hollywood blockbuster out there today. So now I feel that I may have given too much away but trust me there is plenty still to be seen and disbelieved that I have not mentioned, If you are not offended by cinema because it is fiction than you will find somethings to like in this film but, trust me you have to have a strong stomach to make it through this journey but I still think it is worth it.  Truthfully the story in itself is good, the acting is good, and the end although truly fucked up really closes the film in brilliant fashion. Oh and I forgot , now looking back at the movie there is a scene that I will not spoil here because it is key to the ending that is even more shocking and disgusting than the Newborn scene, If you cant believe that then check this one out or don't , I would not blame anyone who skips this one because it will change the way you look at film and what is allowed .....Call me sick but I liked it, So....
4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giallo (2009)

Giallo (2009)
Dir: Dario Argento
Starring: Adrien Brody

Legendary film maker Dario Argento returns to the genre in which made him famous in this nice little flick. In all honesty I was not expecting much when I heard about this film because some of Argento's more recent works have been somewhat lackluster but he really shines in this one, it's too bad that the people involved in this film reportedly did not get paid for it, sighting Adrien Brody slamming this flick due to these financial short comings because I think this one would have done quite well in theaters and would have finally put Argento's name in the eyes of mainstream Hollywood after years of making some great Italian films in his day. I would say that I rate this one right up there with some of my favorites of his like Opera , The bird with the Crystal Plumage and Deep Red ,  redeeming his name as king of the thriller genre . The budget is obviously decent in this one as it is filmed nicely and with Dario behind the camera and his eye for scenery just adds to the greatness that can be achieved. Now for those who do not know the term Giallo ( Yellow in Italian) refers to old crime novels published in Italy bound in yellow paperback covers which most were of the stalk and slash variety with a faceless Black Gloves killer  mixed with a crime noir feel to them, Years later the term was coined to films that became incredibly popular during the late 60's through the early 80's in Italy and to an extent the U.S. thanks to directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci in particular. This film though is not the typical Giallo as in this one we actually see the killer relatively early on in the film as opposed to just the black gloves that made the genre what it once was well known for. So the film takes place in Italy and focuses on the disappearance of several high fashion models , And we learn this quickly as within the first few opening moments we see a couple of Japanese fashion models visiting Italy for a runway show when they split from a Opera to hit the town for partying on their last night in the country, while at a nightclub one decides to head to her hotel early and hails a Cab...Big mistake. The Cab driver is a madman with a pension for destroying things of beauty and thats just what he does to this young women in slow , agonizing and graphic fashion. The next day when the model does not show, her replacement arrives and this is where the story starts to take off. Without spoiling too much of the film, the replacement is also kidnapped after the fashion show but she is on the phone with her visiting sister when the abduction by the cab driver takes place although the phone does cut out during their chat, so when the sister does not arrive as she planned Police are notified and now enters Inspector Enzo Avalfi played by Adrien Brody ... Brody plays a old school movie style detective complete with low voice and a habit of chain smoking.Apparently he was transfered to Italy where he was born from New York in order to take on the case of the missing Models. The film bares a slight resemblance to Seven in it's pacing and character development which is not a bad thing and the story is built nicely having no real dull moments although there is not much gore to be seen , but when it is it is done effectively especially in one particular scene involving his first victim a Russian model visiting for another Runway show . I really feel that this film would have done extremely well with modern thriller audiences while still garnering the love of admirers of the giallo genre as well. The only thing that truly makes this film not a true giallo is the fact that we see the killer early on in the film and the only reason it is called Giallo is because the Killer in the film has Yellow skin due to an illness that I will leave for the viewer to find out about .This one is definitely worth a watch as the characters are all played well and you really start to get into the characters of the killer and the detective in particular.If Dario's Name is not completely tarnished due to the financial problems  that have been reported I hope this means that we will see more from him in the future with bigger budgets and more well known actors because he did a great job with what he had at his disposal this time around and allot of newer film makers could really learn allot by watching his films and this one is no exception. For fans of Thriller films such as Seven and the first Saw and also Fans of Dario Argento's this is a must see , Though I would recommend this one to anyone as I thoroughly enjoyed it beginning to end. This would be a nice addition to a marathon with films like Deep Red, The New York Ripper, Lizard in womens Skin or any other Giallo films of yester year and is really a good jump on point for those looking to get into the genre since some younger fans find the older films too slow.... This one is not as graphic as some of the older ones but it is shot well looks , crisp and shiny and may grab the attention of the younger viewer and open their eyes to what once was. Dario really came through with this one I just wish it would have gotten a bigger engagement in theaters because it is nice to see something somewhat new in the Horror genre these days and this could have been just what is horror fiends needed to get our fix and maybe open some new doors to something other than the typical remakes flooding the genre these days.
4 out of 5

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vampire Girl V.S. Frankenstein Girl

Vampire Girl V.S. Frankenstein Girl
Dir: Yoshihiro Nishimara (Tokyo Gore Police/ Special F/X for Machine Girl/Tokyo Gore Police)

I truly am starting to believe that most Japanese Horror Film Makers want to make Dead Alive a Genre unto itself,because every time I finish watching a J-Horror/Gore film I feel Like I just watched a updated version of that film. Now I know these films are all completely different and all but the Over the top gore mixed with the sick humor and Odd ball cast of characters I cant help but feel that they are ripped straight from the mind of a young Peter Jackson. So Now onto this little gem of a film. Vampire Girl v.s. Frankenstein Girl is your typical Neo Tokyo Gore fest centered around the most common of places in J-cinema ...high school.Monami is a new transfer student and she takes a liking to Jyugon , The Love interest of Keiko a popular girl and daughter of the Vice Principle. Valentines day comes around and in Japan it is tradition for the girl to give the boy of her choosing chocolate. monami opts to give her treat to jyogun and he in turn it's eat , but there is something odd about her little gift as the main ingredient is her blood.Once he eats it he starts to feel strange and it turns out that by eating the candy he is turned into a Vampire by ingesting her Vamp Blood.While Keiko's jealousy of Monami's advances and Jyogun's transformation and growing exceptance of his situation develop we meet some of the other interesting groups of students. Including a wrist Cutter club , A group of emo girls who meet after school to compare blades and discuss the benefits and different techniques that go into cutting. This is a direct tie in  to the directors prior film Tokyo Gore Police in which we see a commercial for Wrist Cutter fashion. We also meet another interesting group of kids known as The Ganguro Club which is a small gathering of girls who imitate Black people or at least what they envision African Americans to be like but not to accurately as some of them have lip plates and spears and the leader of the group in complete face prosthetics and a huge afro wig  , and all of them are dawning extremely offensive Black face make up...this type of character would never fly in the U.S. as it is truly pretty tasteless but in all honesty quite funny in some instances but do to our sensitivity it just would not be allowed. We also meet The sexed up school nurse Midori, the Vice principle Kenji and the new school janitor a hunchback named Igor. We learn that Kenji is also a mad scientist who dawns Kabuki garb and admires Dr. Frankenstein and alongside Nurse Midori conducts experiments in reanimation to no success until later in the film when they find that monami's blood has a life of it's own and can bring anything to life weither once living or not.One day Keiko finds Monami and Jyugon on the roof together and she attacks Monami which leads to Keiko falling to her death . Her father decides this is perfect for his work due to his new discovery of the Vampire blood and he turns his daughter into a undead killing machine built out of the strongest parts of various students and alumni of the school. this of course leads us to our inevitable showdown between Vampire girl and Frankenstein Girl. There are allot of similarities between this film and Tokyo Gore police that shine through in the battle scenes of this movie such as the extreme gore and the damaged limbs becoming deadly weapons gimmick that seems to be a mainstay in this type of film.The two do battle on top of a giant tower in Tokyo and this makes for a interesting fight to end the film. This film was allot of fun to watch and has some pretty good comedic moments thrown in amongst the flying guts and spraying geysers of blood, I truly could believe that this film along with Machine Girl , Meatball Machine and Tokyo Gore Police are supposed to be some sort of unrelated series , because there are subtle nods to all of those films in this one and you can truly see the similarities in style that seems to sew these flick together effortlessly. If you enjoyed any of those fore mentioned films then you will love this one or if you have never seen any of them but liked Dead Alive than this film should be right up your alley. I have grown a soft spot for these kinds of films as I think they are allot of fun and they are in my eyes kind of a new age of Troma film , bringing me back to my childhood of wanting to find the grossest film I could but at the same time these ones can still make you laugh and not just set out to make you feel uncomfortable watching it like so many gore films can. I really hope that this director keeps pumping out these kind of movies because one thing they have going for them is that they are never boring , managing to be balanced between being just gory enough to hinder the squeamish but still being funny and entertaining enough for the casual watcher to stay tuned in and being amazingly well paced for a movie of this kind. throw this one in with Tokyo Gore Police and Machine Girl and you will have yourself one hell of a movie night to talk about for days after .
Final judgement on this strange piece of celluloid is 4 out of 5

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (2010)

A few years back (2005) 2001 Maniacs the sequel to H.G. Lewis' 2000 maniacs was released 41 years after the original film. The film surprisingly did somewhat well and garnered a nice small group of fans and also brought Lewis' back into popularity and introduced newer fans to his efforts. The 2005 sequel 2001 Maniacs pretty much followed the same formula as the original 41 years prior, Following a group of "undead" Confederates as they lure 'yankees" to there jamboree in order to kill and eat them as a celebration.Now five more years pass and the cannibal Confederates are back but this time they take they're show on the road. The film opens with a small town sheriff telling Col. Buckman (Bill Moseley) and his group that they can no longer continue the annual feast because the Feds are looking into all the missing peoples cases in that area and the officer can no longer cover up for the disappearances. This leads Buckman and tribe to kill the disloyal officer in a scene that pays homage to Lewis' original film, when they put the officer in a barrel and hammer nails into it before rolling him down a ramp killing him on the way down. The group of southern Psychos gather up in a bus and decide to take the south to the north since they cant stay settled in Georgia anymore. Now we meet Rome and Tina Sheraton two celebutaune sisters crafted after Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as they are on a road trip of their own while filming a reality show along with their Boyfriends douche bag one and two and the crew of the show.The girls r.V. breaks down and they now run into the maniacs who invite the group to their new traveling Jamboree. From this point on if you have sen the 2005 sequel you should know what to expect. lots of gratuitous nudity, low brow humor and the "Heroes" being seduced by the southern charm of our villains and then killed in various imaginative and extremely gory fashion. One girl is sawn in half from crotch up on a rotating saw table and guy has his head blown off by a dynamite cigar and one guy is snapped in half by a mans bare hands setting up a Broke back Mountain joke sine the victim was secretly homosexual. Allot of the jokes in this film were awfully dated which leads me to believe that this movie was written shortly after the first sequel and it just took awhile for the people behind this film to get finances to put this film out. Really there is not much to talk about in this one as it is pretty standard stuff and basically just a re-run of the first sequel except for replacing Robert Englund with Bill Moseley and you have the same film scene for scene with a few exceptions. I had heard allot of positive praise for this flick before seeing it and it came from allot of folk who disliked the first sequel installment and honestly I don't see how you could like this one and not the predecessor , As I enjoyed the first 2001 maniacs better after all is said and done. The'r is once again a lead for yet another sequel and hopefully if that does come to happen the writers try a bit harder to be more entertaining , because the gore in this one was just not enough on it's own to keep me interested in this one. I turned this film off three times prior to this viewing due to boredom until I finally just said fuck it and hoped for the nest, I was sadly let down. If you loved the first one you will like this one but if you are like me and just kinda enjoyed the first then there is really no reason to see this one at all...
2.5 out of 5