tisdag 29 juni 2010

Autumn (2009)

A zombiemovie without gore? What the hell were they thinking? Well, it isnt half as bad as it sounds because the filmmakers actually has a story to tell, one of the more interesting ones in the genre so far. The only problem is, willy ou have the patience for it?

Autumn is an adaption of David Moodys horror novel with the same name where a plague of some sorts very quickly kills off 99.9 percent of the earths population. The few survivors try to decide what to do and we follow five people as they head into the lesser populated areas where the corpses arent as many, to set up a living of sorts. They soon realize that the dead arent actually dead, as they soon rise up as decaying walking corpses. But they work only on some sort of instinct, walking about as drones, bumping into anything in their paths. As time goes by they start to be susceptible to light and sounds, turning more and more agressive.

And that is what this movie is about, the survivors trying to set up an existence while coping with the loss of their loved ones as the walking corpses slowly starts to rise. This is not a gore movie, barely even a horror movie and the pace is really slow. Instead we are treated to lots and lots of dialogue about life after death and whatever. The first instance of violence doesnt appear until about 50 minutes into the movie and then its a little dog that makes too much noise and is torn to bits by the corpses. Actually, that is about the only violence this movie has. But then again, this is a movie with a story to tell and the major issue is: does it tell its story well? Yes and no. The script isnt half bad, telling its story at a deliberately slow pace and I really like the whole thing about the walking corpses slowly awakening to some sort of new existence based entirely upon showing some sort of recognition towards light and sound. But, the movie is let down by its meager production values. The zombiemakeup is fairly good on a low budget as the zombies turn more and more rotten and disgusting throughout the movie. Everything is shot on digital video with a decent look, but the audio seems to have been recorded on location and is somewhat tinny at times and hard to follow when the proceedings are drenched with a rather mediocre ambient soundtrack. They actually manage to pull off a few decent scenes of an abandoned world but for the most time the movie is set in a room where the characters just talk. The dialogue is decent but the acting is very uneven. The movie gains a hell of a lot from the presence of Dexter Fletcher who is an excellent actor but the rest of the cast ranges from dull to just ok.

I havent read the book the movie is based on so I cant really tell if its a good adaption but the story is interesting enough for me to be wanting to go out and get me some reading. The movie isnt really I would recommend that easily, it has a good story but is excruciatingly slow at times and there isnt really any gore. A good effort but not for everyone.

tisdag 22 juni 2010

Alien hunter (2003)

Worst. Title. Ever.

I assume it was chosen for a purely commercial reason, but this doesnt do the movie any favours. It makes a fairly serious scifimovie sound like Alienclone of the week, which is too bad since this is a well made, fairly serious scifimovie. Especially since we count in the fact that it was made by then infamous Nu Image who had produced a schlocky movie or two by the time this was released. James Spader plays a former SETI-employee who nowadays works at a California university when he is called to the Antarctica for a mysterious reason. It seems they found an alien object frozen in the ice and since he is an expert in cryptology he is wanted on the scene to interpret any alien languages. The object is thawed but releases some sort of disease that kills about half of the crew instantly. The survivors realize that they are immune but still carriers and the army isnt too pleased with this. Then there is the fact that the alien in the object is still alive...

No, this isnt an alienclone at all and I imagine a lot of people have been turned of by the fact that they either thought it was one, or saw the movie in hopes of it being one. Alien hunter is instead a somewhat serious movie about the first encounter with alien life and the fact that it isnt really compatible with our earth. The budget seems to have been decent, even though there are a couple of scenes of stockfootage and the cg is barely average but the setdesigns of the arctic base are excellent and there are some really fun flesheating sfx where the victims are reduced to a gory goop. Which is always fun. James Spader and John Lynch lends the production a bit of class and the movie is well shot and paced, which means that Alien hunter is much better than expected. Unexpected bonus: Footage from the original The Thing from another world, the exact same footage that appeared in John Carpenters remake as footage of the dead norwegians. All in all, a movie better than expected and a fun watch.

The Package (1989)

The Package is:

A thriller with Gene Hackman discovering a conspiracy within the army.

The Package isnt:

Particulary exciting.

måndag 21 juni 2010

Wolfman (2010)

This should have been so good, and for the first 15-20 minutes I really thought that it would be. But then everything peters out into a jumbled mess of a movie, the epitome of a bad Hollywoodproduct. And part of me cant really tell what's really wrong with it. For starters, it is one hell of a good looking movie. The environements are superbly realized, the photography good enough to eat and the special effects good enough to make it hard to tell the difference between cgi and practical. The actors are doing an ok job, hamming it up a bit (especially Anthony Hopkins) but it suits the movie. The problem is that the story is just too predictable and uninteresting. There are really no characters to root for and once you see the plot coming together you already know how it is going to end. You can do worse but as werewolfmovies go, this one doesnt have much of a bite.

Horror rises from the tomb (1973)

I've started to notice a pattern in my reviews - mostly the fact that I tend to judge a movie by the amounts of gratitious nudity and violence they contain. Since this might be a bad thing based on someone elses morals I thought I would do a review where I am not focusing on just that. What movie would be better to practice this than with the Paul Naschy vehicle Horror rises from the tomb?

Back in the old days the black magician Alaric De Marnac (Played by Naschy)and his mistress Mabille De Lancre were executed for their horrible deeds, with De Marnacs head separated from his body so that he never would return to have revenge. A couple of hundred years later his descendant Hugo De Marnac (Naschy again) and a couple of friends travel to his old estate where Alaric used to rumble. Yes, before we can say Exploitation, Alaric De Marnac is reunited with his mistress (The lovely Helga Line) and since they are evil, they roam the countryside to kill nude people for their blood while Hugo and his friends succumb to their powers one by one.

What Naschy and his fellow filmmakers are trying to say with this piece of celluloid is that you should stay away from the powers of darkness, and let Christ into your hearts. Only your devotion to him can stop the... Ok,. who am I kidding? Horror rises from the tomb is a slapdash horrormovie with great amounts of nudity and gore. Just about every woman in the movie has several nudescenes which in this case is a very good thing since we are talking about women like Helga Line and Emma Cohen, two of european exploitations finest females. The gorescenes come at regular intervals and are graphic and very satisfying. The problem with the movie is the script with basically jumps from scene to scene, without a particularily strong narrative. The scenes in between are mostly well shot and fun to watch, especially the sequence with the zombies and all the attacks on innocent people by the villains. Lots of sex and violence. As a bonus we get a weird organscore which seems highly inappropriate but works just fine in that odd Eurogore way.

And that is what movie is about. Paul Naschy and his fellow actors do a decent job with the patchwork story and the gore/sex quota is high. Any movie with Emma Cohens boobs is a good movie. Not the best Naschymovie out there but Carlos Aured did a good job shooting it and it is one of the most entertaining.

The lovely Emma Cohen. I want one of those warningpages that the cool people have.

Species 4 - The Awakening (2007)

The Species series is series of movies that has gotten a pretty bad rep. Most of the reviews I've read have been negative and I must say that I do not agree with them whatsoever. All of them are fun little scifihorrors with a lot of violence, a lot of nudity and a very interesting creature (designed by Giger to add to the entertainment). Species 4 is no exception. This time its swedish damsel Helena Mattsson who is part human - part gigeresque alien, although she has been brought up as a human. But when she goes out on a date her libido starts to take over, resulting in a lot of deaths and a flight to Mexico as her "uncle/creator" tries to find an estranged colleague who may be the only hope to stop the transformation into deadly alien. But when they arrive in Mexico it doesnt take long before tey are attacked by alien hybrids and find out that the former colleague is performing some rather unorthodox experiments for money.

This is the worst Species movie so far, but that only means that this is just an ok movie, it is entertaining throughout but suffers a bit from being made for tv. I did watch the unrated version that has a bit of nudity and violence but it is a bit toned down generally. Helena Mattsson is an ok actress, looks very good in the nude but her swedish accent shines through fairly often which on the other hand might be easier for me to hear, being swedish and all. Ben Cross, on the other hand, is a great actor who makes the sometimes fairly silly dialogue sound ok. The story is ok, is greatly helped that it actually is shot in Mexico instead of a redressed Bulgaria but the low budget unfortunately keeps the monsterbits somewhat low scale. But these flaws are only minor really. We get a decently shot monstermovie with a bit of digital violence and good makeupeffects. If you liked the other Speciesmovies you will probably like this one too.

Skjult (2009)

Once again the Norwegians prove that they are a force to reckon with when it comes to horrormovies. Skjult, it's english title Hidden, is an excellent horrormovie that takes influences from all over the place and mixes them into a little movie full of shocks, dread and atmosphere thicker than a lot of other movies in the same genre.

When the movie starts we follow a young boy running through the forest, obviously fleeing from someone/something. He runs out onto a road and causes a truck to slam right into a car, causing it to burst into flames, killing the people in it and making another young boy orphan. Now we jump forward 18 years where the little boy, now grown up and all moody, returns to his little hometown in the middle of nowhere after his mother has passed away. He returns to his old home, a suitably dark and foreboding rundown house in the woods to settle his affairs and we slowly get to realize that his mother wasnt really a very nice person which means there are some pretty nasty skeletons in his closet. Add to all of this the fact that there seems to be someone or something that remains in the house...

Pål Øie truly shows great potential as a director, handling the suspense expertly. He even manages to reuse the old balltrick from the movie The Changeling, without it ever feeling like a cliché. The cinematography by Sjur Aarthun is another one of the movies assets, capturing the dark woods perfectly and turning into an amusementpark of constant dread. Add to this some excellent acting, especially Kristoffer Joner in the lead, and a fine script by the director. The best thing about the script is that not only is it about the strange events that is going on in the present day, there is also the (actually faarly obvious but still compelling) mystery of what happened 19 years earlier and it opens up several options about what is happening. Is there a supernatural cause for all of this, or is it just in the lead characters mind or is there a completely different explanation? In short, one of the best movies to come out of Scandinavia in the last few years and the best thing about it, like last years masterpiece Sauna, it feels genuinely Scandinavian without being overwelmingly dreary and depressing. A must see.

fredag 18 juni 2010

La Horde (2009)

Style over substance, eh? A classic expression that french zombiemovie La Horde exemplifies perfectly. We have a plot, something that I guess would suffice for an actual story and a situation where a number of shallow characters try to survive the advances of a flesheating horde of zombies. A group of policemen are going into a rundown building on the outskirts of a large city to do something that we never really know much about other than that it involves a number of black gangsters. A confrontation ensues, people are killed but all of a sudden they are attacked by the living dead, flee up to the roof and begin an not very stable truce while trying to get out of the building.

And that is all there is plotwise. The characters are weak, but fairly wellplayed. The reason for all of this is never known but actually rather atmospheric as the heroes stand on the roof of the building watching bombs go off all over the entire city, assumingly in a conflict similar to theirs. Which, on the other hand, makes everything pretty futile as you know that everything out there is the same. What are they fleeing to? Another zombiehorde most likely. But, we still want the ride.

And it is one hell of a ride. Fastpaced and gory, there is never any chance to be bored by this spectacle. The filmmakers were probably fully aware the the story was weak and concentrated instead on providing us with great actionscenes, a shitload of over the top violence and a really silly but fun sequence set in a sea of zombies. You'll know what I mean when you see it. The whole thing never lets up a second until the end, which on the other hand really isnt much of an ending. A very watchable movie which outlives its klichés. Ecellent viewing when you are hungover.

The Innocents (1961)

I am truly a sucker for a nice haunted house movie. Horrormovies in general havent scared me since I was 15, except for the odd evil house movie or two and it is nice to find a movie like this that I havent seen. The Innocents is a prime example of a good scary movie with a brain, very similar to The Haunting and is truly recommended.
Deborah Kerr (in a superior performance) plays a middleaged woman that gets a job of being a nanny to two young orphans who live in a large house out in the country. Her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances and when she starts looking around mysterious things start to happen and she suspects that the children might be possessed by the previous tenants. I dont want to go into the plot anymore, this is something that should be experienced on your own. Just be prepared for one hell of a ride, in a movie that was and still is a bit controversial. Higly recommended.

Robo-Geisha (2009)

There has been quite a burst of fun goremovies from Japan lately, all of them made tongue in cheek but still in a way that is very japanese and all of them very watchable. My favorite is the slightly perverse Samurai princess, a movie about a vindictive girl who is made up of bodyparts from her dead friends and features a scene where she throws one of her breasts through the head of an enemy. The movie we have all been waiting for, since the release of the trailer a year ago, is Robo-Geisha, a movie about Geishacyborgs used for assassination. The plot is flimsy and tacky, about a young girl who becomes a Robo-Geisha just to spite her sister but realizes that the company that made her is evil and wants to destroy the entire country. The script is just an excuse to throw in lots of cool stuff, like the buttswords (dont ask. You'll have to see it for yourself), the geishatank, the tengugirls and more. All done on the cheap with a lot of digital effects I wouldnt exactly call good, but servicable in the same vein as the movie. Goofy. If you like to watch cute girls fight in strange costumes, this is the movie for you.

Yes, this is good entertainment, but I must admit that I was slightly dissapointed. Why? The gore. For some reason the filmmakers have decided to lower the gorequota significantly and this only works to the movies disadvantage. There are a few violent scenes, especially the one where a couple of bikinininjas are supposed to kill a Yakuza and we get to see a girl get a sword up her snatch, but other than that it is strangely goreless. Where are all the arterial sprays that we all love?

But that is the only gripe I have. If you've seen Tokyo Gore police, Machine girl or Samurai princess, you will know what to expect and if you will like it. Great fun for the whole family. And you gotta love the Geishatank.

13 Game of death (2007)

This is a movie I've heard a lot about, that it is supposed to be really disgusting and violent and gets progressively worse the further to the end of the movie we get. Yes, I admit, there are a couple of gross scenes but in the end this is mostly hype. It is still well made hype and the story is interesting enough to keep watching.

13 game of death tells the story of a geeky guy who first loses his girlfriend, then his car and job in the same day. At that moment he gets a phonecall from an unknown person who claims to call from some sort of gameshow and offers him a lot of money if he performs 13 different challenges. It starts out easy by killing a fly (And establishing that they are watching him) but challenge number two is eating the very same fly. The following challenges consists of robbing homeless people, making children cry and eating a plate full of shit. Then it gets much, much worse.

13 game of death isnt really that stomachchurning movie that the filmmakers want it to be, but it still is a fun flick that moves at a good pace. The direction is stable and the movie has a very competent and stylized look about it. The actors are great, especially Krissada Terrence as the lead and this helps the movie immensly-. The only thing I dont really like is the ending, some sort of twist that the filmmakers want to be clever but is just silly. Other than that, 13 game of death is a well made movie that is very watchable, but just dont expect any major sickness. I've seen much worse.

måndag 14 juni 2010

American gangster (2007)

Here is another movie that doesnt really fit on this blog, but it is too good to ignore. Ridley Scott has created an excellent and violent gangstermovie set in the 70:s and when the theme from Across 100th street popped up during a montage showing the drugs spreading on the streets, I was in heaven. Awesome.

Hitman (2007)

In one way, Hitman is a groundbreaking movie. It's not a masterpiece in any way, nor is it the best videogame movie adaption I have ever seen. It is what it is, a decent, well shot and violent actionmovie with a decent pace. There is never any time to be bored and even though the plot is really weak, it does what a decent actionmovie should do - entertain. It serves up large amounts of bloody gunshotwounds and nudity (if you watch the unrated version of course. Dont even bother to go near the R-rated one) and Timothy Olyphant makes a great nr 47, the ultimate hitman who is doublecrossed and spends the movie finding out why, while killing lots of people in satisfyingly bloody ways. I thank Xavier Gens for not letting the movieproducers make this into a PG13 movie.

So, why is it a groundbreaking movie? What exactly does Hitman do so right that I have to commend it for it? The answer:

Good digital blood. This is the first movie to date where I couldnt not tell that a lot of the blood was digitally added, but from looking at the comparision between the R-rated version and the unrated you can see that there is quite a lot of extra. Of course, the actionscenes could have been shot twice but I sincerely doubt that. That is why this is an important movie.

Or I could be very wrong, I am not basing this on fact, most of it is pure assumption which would mean that Hitman is just another violent actionmovie and this review is pointless. Come to think of it, as I am finishing up this piece of writing, I really dont know where I got the idea of this. It just seemed like a good idea for a review and I just might've gotten your attention. Oh well, very, very watchable pointlessness though. So sue me.

Here is the comparision between the different version. Highly recommendable site, porn for us gorehounds, I mean valuable information for us moviebuffs.

söndag 13 juni 2010

Bohachi Bushido: Code Of The Forgotten Eight (1973)

Japan, I love you! I bow down to the glory that is Bohachi Bushido aka Porno jidaigeki. It's like there is a heaven and I've been given a glimpse of the wonderful light and its warmth that still glows within me!

No, I have not gone religious, I've just watched Teruo Ishiis supreme blend of boobs and violence that is Bohachi Bushido: Code of the forgotten eight. Movies like this always try to balance on a small thread but they either rely too much on violence (eh. as if there can be too much violence in a movie) or too much sex, which frankly tends to be a bit boring after a while. This movie, however, is truly the perfect mix of nipples and sliced off ears that exists in this day. Based on a manga by the creators of Lone Wolf and Cub (which most likely is even more sick and violent than the movie. Thank you Japan.), the movie stars Tetsuro Tanba (You've all seen him as Tiger Tanaka in the Bondmovie You only live twice) as Shino, the coldest Ronin ever, a guy that makes Itto Ogami seem like Jim Carrey. After slaughtering a number of officers in a stylized fight on a bridge, he is taken in by the Clan of the forgotten eight, a group that takes its name from the fact that they've lost the way to feel basic emotions like shame, guilt and conscience. They run a prostitution racket and want Shino to clean out the other groups while under their protection. Of course, all of this is a diabolical plot by the leader of the clan who intends to dispose of Shino as soon as he no longer is needed but Shino does not really care. He is a badass whose motto is "To die is Hell, but to live is also hell" who has a bodyguard consisting of five naked women. Ah, dont we all want to be just like Shino.

Yes, this is Entertainment with a capital E. Sure, the plot is mainly an excuse to show nudity and graphic violence but it is still treated 100 percent seriously by Teruo Ishii, a director whose output is not like anything else in the same period. Every shot is treated like a a painting, stylish and beautiful and this is what makes the movie unique and keeps it from being just another Pinky violence piece. The 81 minutes run by faster than llightning and you kind of wish that the movie was several hours longer. There is so much fun stuff to watch, tons of nudity and sliced of bodyparts. If you have any interest in the japanese version of exploitation, you must own this. Worship it.

Beneath (2007)

When a movie really is too generic for it's own good but you still enjoy it, is that a sign of decent craftsmanship or just that I was very bored at the moment? Beneath is such a movie. It has an ok plot, but is fairly bloodless, has an main character that has a annoying rating that is leaning towards high and screams "Shot in Vancouver". I have really nothing against shooting movies in Canada, but this looks more like an x-files episode than anything else. The fact that it is produced by MTV studios didnt exactly help. But then again, I actually found myself fairly entertained and you can do a lot worse than this. A young girl accidentally causes her older sister to be horribly damaged in an exploding car and when the sister dies, this causes her to break down mentally and is confined to a mental institution for a number of years. Some time later a friend of the family dies and she returns to the old family home. People starts to die and our heroine suspects her sisters husband to be covering up for the murder of her sister. But on the other hand, she also starts to have these blackouts and weird visions. What is real and what is true?

The keyword is not bad. Beneath is well shot, decently acted and although the plot is fairly predictable and nothing new, it still has a twist ending which actually surprised me. Not in the M Shamalamalaynaningan way where you are supposed to be looking for clues all throughout the movie, but an ending which made you say: Did they actually just do that? I've seen a lot worse. Dont go in expecting the reinventing of the wheel and you'll do just fine.

torsdag 10 juni 2010

Fun stuff of the internet

I had a little shoppingspree on ebay a few weeks ago and here are the fun results:

An original Phase IV poster. nicely hysterical poster which really tries to make the movie look entirely different from what it is.

Perfect reading for the summer. I'm gonna read these on the balcony with a gintonic or two.... nice. I also bought the novelization of John Frankenheimers great mutant bearmovie, but it hasnt arrived yet.

An Australian Galaxy of terror poster.

A Mexican lobbycard of William Malones fun Alienclone Creature aka Titan find

An original Japanese program of William Malones Creature aka Titan find. I love that movie.

söndag 6 juni 2010

Van Diemens Land (2009)

Here is a fun little flick about men eating other men. No, it's not a Jeff Stryker movie and there's actually nothing fun about it whatsoever. What we have here is a supposedly true story about a group of English and Irish convicts in Australia in the early 1800s that escape into the Tasmanian rainforest, a really nasty place with no wildlife and nothing to eat. No one knows what really happened, the movie is based on the the only survivors confession that the authorities at the time thought was just something to cover for the rest of the escaped prisoners.

This is just depressing stuff. In short, this movie features a group of eight men walking through a truly awesome landscape (if it werent for the subject, the movie would be a perfect commercial for tourism in Tasmania. It is that beatiful.) while killing each other off one by one, eating the remains. They are all dirty, hungry and ruthless which unfortunately means that there are no characters to care for. Actually, there are no characters to speak of at all. The actors do an exellent job but the problem is that the only means of characterization is just who is hostile to who within the group. At the end of the day it is fairly hard to keep track of all of them and their motivations, especially halfway into the movie when everyone is covered in filth and wet from rain. This makes it a bit harder to feel any major anguish when the brutal violence starts,when you are having a hard time realizing who just got killed, it all feels a bit wasted. The various different accents and the fact that the dvd I watched has no subtitles other than when some of the characters speak Gaelic doesnt really help.

But, make no mistake, this is not a bad movie, just a slightly flawed one. As I mentioned earlier Van Diemens Land looks incredibly good especially since it was made on a fairly low budget and the locations are truly spectacular. The story in itself is a very interesting one and I suspect that part of my initial dissapointment lie in the fact that this is not a horrormovie. This is not a goremovie, most of the violence is implied (except for the first murder, a really nasty and brutal piece of execution) which does make it all the more harrowing than if it had been shown in graphic detail. Van Diemens Land is a brutal drama about people who are willing to do _anything_ to survive and if you are able to stomach its brutality (for once I actually believe the stories about people walking out of screenings) it is quite a journey. Yes, these characters are sentenced criminals but you never find out for what. Are these acts of ruthlessness or of desperation? The movie never even tries to give an answer to that question. It just shows you the nasty details and lets you decide for yourself. A lingering experience that isnt for everyone.