4.05.2013

SAMURAI ZOMBIE (2008) Review


Directed by: Tak Sakaguchi
Starring: Mitsuro Fukukoshi, Issei Ishida, Tak Sakaguchi

A lot of Japanese zombie films such as BIG TITS ZOMBIE, ONECHANBARA, WILD ZERO and a whole host of others tend to be in that really over the top goofy, cartoony style that the Japanese seem to love so much. As such they really present themselves as almost parodies rather than actual horror flicks. And when you look at the filmography of actor / director Tak Sakaguchi and see such films as DEADBALL, BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL and TOKYO GORE POLICE it would be easy to assume that SAMURAI ZOMBIE is going to be just another wacky Japanese zombie flick with gallons of blood. I was however surprised to find that it takes a much darker and more serious approach to the genre and as much as I love a batshit crazy splatterfest I found this to be a refreshing change.


A man and his family are on a road trip through the quaint countryside when out of nowhere a man appears in the middle of the road pointing a gun. Unable to stop, the driver ploughs through the gunman before skidding to a halt. Far from dead the man with the gun rises and takes aim once again when suddenly a volley of gunshots rings out and bullets rip through his back. A second gunman appears along with his female partner and they take the family hostage, forcing them to drive through the cursed countryside where the dead never really die.


The rest of the film is basically a siege with the handful of people trapped and being stalked by deadly Samurai zombies. The main zombie in full Samurai armor looks totally badass and acts as almost a Japanese Jason Voorhees, constantly getting up after being knocked down. He decapitates his victims and uses the blood from their severed heads to raise more zombies. All of the zombie effects here are surprisingly good and a far cry from the simply greenish grey facepaint I'm used to seeing in Japanese zombie flicks. And the zombies are only really zombies in the sense that they are resurrected corpses. They're not the usual shambling, neck chomping sort but a more aggressive and even intelligent type. In fact in a way the film plays out more like a ghost story.


The story which follows the main group of people is pretty weak and very confusing as not a lot is ever really explained. There is what I assume is supposed to be a twist at the film's end but it just made things even more confusing and felt tacked on in my opinion. There is also a bit of subplot involving two police officers which adds a little humor to the movie but not much else. The acting is not exactly what you'd call award-winning but it is a lot better than I expected and everybody does a decent job. Even though I mentioned this isn't as bizarre or over the top as something like TOKYO GORE POLICE or THE MACHINE GIRL you can see a bit of that Japanese trademark creep in during the decapitation scenes which are followed by an impossibly huge fountain of blood spurting from people's neck-holes. All in all though I actually thought that SAMURAI ZOMBIE was a decent effort if a little bland and quite confusing. But if you're expecting another Japanese splatterfest you will be disappointed.



4.03.2013

BIG TITS ZOMBIE (2010) Review


Directed by: Takao Nakano
Starring: Sola Aoi, Risa Kasumi, Mari Sakurai

BIG TITS ZOMBIE. The title alone is probably enough for anybody to decide whether or not they really want to watch it. Alternative titles include BIG TITS DRAGON (which confused me because there isn't a single dragon in the entire film) and OSEN ZOMBIE VS. STRIPPER 5 (still confusing because I'm certain there aren't four previous flicks). Further investigation shows that director Takao Nakano is responsible for straight-to-video films with titles such as SEXUAL PARASITE: KILLER PUSSY and SUMO VIXENS. Still can't make up your mind? Well what if I told you that more than one of the female stars also work in the Japanese adult film business? In fact I remember reading the press release for this film and it went out of its way to promote Sola Aoi, pointing out her bust, waist and hip measurements and even her nickname "Baby Face Big Tits". I swear I'm not making this shit up. Oh and to top it all off the movie was filmed in 'tittylicious 3D' which turns out to be regular old anaglyphic 3D.


I'm sure by now you've realized that what passes for plot in a film like this is pretty much irrelevant but I'll run through it anyway. A troupe of strippers discover a hidden door which leads to a secret passage which in turn leads them to find an ancient tome which just so happens to be the Book of the Dead. Maria (Sakurai) is the only person who believes in the book's power and to prove it she reads aloud a few passages which are supposed to raise the dead. At first nothing happens but soon they find themselves surrounded by zombies. Cue a lot of titties, chainsaws, katanas and digital blood. Oh and a fire-breathing vagina (see below).


Now obviously this film is aimed at the male population and the big drawcard here is the three words which comprise the title. These three words bring up three questions. How many tits do we get to see? Just how big are they? And what's the zombie quotient?
As memory serves there are only two pair of tits which probably get a couple of minutes of screen time and at one point a thick drenching of blood. They're not considerably big I suppose but you won't hear me arguing that point. The camera does like to zoom in for lots of close-up crotch and ass shots but keeping with Japanese tradition we don't see any genitals. As for the zombies there is quite a substantial number and they range from geisha zombies to samurai zombies, nurse zombies and even a dried fish zombie and some fresh sushi zombies.


The main cast may be pretty damn hot but as you would imagine the acting is dreadful. At one point these strippers put on a stage show which is incredibly boring (strippers boring?) and all of the girls look extremely uninterested. The zombie effects are pretty amateur and the film is rife with CGI blood sprays. The silver lining here is that the movie is only 73 minutes long and a lot of that time is spent showing scantily clad women shaking their sexy bodies about. BIG TITS ZOMBIE is everything you would expect it to be but in a way it may be less than what you would expect. It's not nearly as perverted or bizarre as it could be but it does deliver on the title's promise and if that's good enough for you then that's all that matters. As for me I found it to be an entertaining way to spend 73 minutes but nothing special or worth revisiting. Four big tits out of ten.







HORNY HOUSE OF HORROR (2010) Review


Directed by: Jun Tsugita
Starring: Asami, Saori Hara, Yûya Ishikawa

Jun Tsugita is better known for being a writer. He worked on MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD, DEAD SUSHI and TOMIE: UNLIMITED among others. As a director this is his first real feature and since I loved MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD I thought I'd check it out. Much like the last film I reviewed (BIG TITS ZOMBIE) this movie's title gives you a good idea of what you should expect to see over its 75 minute running time.


As you may expect the plot isn't exactly the film's strong point but I'll lay it out for you anyway. Three friends spot a new massage parlor / brothel and upon seeing just how cheap it is they decide to give it a try. One of the trio Nakatsu (Ishikawa) is reluctant because he is about to get married but eventually his pals talk him into it. Upon entering the trio are presented with three female asses pushed through some cut-out holes in a wall. After giving the asses a good poke and prod they get to choose which one they want. While his two friends are taken to their rooms Nakatsu is left waiting for his girl to fetch him. But instead of moans of pleasure coming from his friends he hears bloodcurdling screams and realizes that this brothel isn't what it seems.


So yeah it's about a brothel where the girls brutally tear off their clients' penises. There's some pretty pointless subplot about one of the girls Nagisa (Hara) who is 'sick of the taste of blood' and Nakatsu's friends who accuse him of quitting the baseball team because he's completely pussy-whipped but more importantly there are boobs and blood. The three working girls are all sexy and aggressive and they all strip down and give the camera plenty of flesh to film before they rid their clients of their man-bits.


The effects supervisor here is Yoshihiro Nishimura (TOKYO GORE POLICE, THE MACHINE GIRL) so of course there is a lot of blood spraying all over the place although in terms of other digital effects he seems to have toned it down from his usual way over the top style. And this is the film's trademark. Despite the fact that it's about prostitutes who mutilate mens' genitals the movie really doesn't push the envelope or break any new ground when it comes to perversion and bad taste. If you've seen any other films Nishimura has worked on or Tsugita has scripted then you will probably be disappointed with this effort. But I won't deny that the film is entertaining and there are actually a few laugh out loud moments to be had here. It's not a film I think I'd watch again any time soon though. Four disembodied penises out of ten.





BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL (2003) Review


Directed by: Yumai Yamaguchi
Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Atsushi Itô, Hideo Sakaki

I have to admit that I have a bit of a man crush on Tak Sakaguchi. Every movie I've seen him in he plays an absolutely cool-as-ice badass. The kind of guy who will be confronted with ten other guys who want to kick his ass and with no problem at all he'll kick all their asses without even breaking a sweat. He's like a Japanese Clint Eastwood or something.


Like a lot of Japanese films this is an adaptation of a manga which unfortunately I have not read so therefore I can't say how close it is to the source material. What I can say however is that it shares more than a few similarities to the 2011 flick DEADBALL, and with good reason. Both films were directed by Yudai Yamaguchi, both star Tak Sakaguchi as the lead character Jubei, both have a character named Four Eyes and both are about a deadly variation on the popular sport of baseball. DEADBALL however is not a sequel but more of a re-imagining.


Principal of Sudei High School and manager of the school's baseball team has a star team and is ready to take them to the next level. Unfortunately he finds out that their first game is against the brutal Gedo High team who will literally destroy his team. The only hope he has of winning is recruiting transfer student Jubei (Takaguchi). But Jubei has pledged never to play baseball again after his amazingly powerful pitch killed his father. Obviously he is convinced to join the team but will that be enough to defeat the deadly Gedo High team?


Even though I haven't read the manga it's easy enough to see the influence. BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL is full of that kind of over the top cartoon violence, slapstick humor and cheesy sentimental scenes that you see in a lot of Japanese cinema. And the way it resurrects characters so matter of factly is both absurd and hilarious. Take this line for example:
 - "Head Teacher! You're alive!"
 - "Yes I've returned as a cyborg, thanks to advanced technology!"

That's what this movie is like. Completely absurd.
Contrary to the title there is little actual baseball played here. Most of the 'game' consists of the competitors brutally beating each other or playing 'fighting baseball' There's plenty of red stuff splashed around and some of the action scenes and fight choreography are pretty neat, but DEADBALL does all of this a lot better and it also has Nazis in it so if you have a choice go for that. Or you could just watch both. I'm giving this five bloodstained baseballs out of ten.




Indie Spotlight: TRUTH OR DARE


Thanks to Horror-movies.ca I've just come across a neat looking indie flick from scream queen-turned-director Jessica Cameron. TRUTH OR DARE gives a violent twist to the classic game. Read on for the press release, teaser trailer and artwork. And don't forget to go 'like' the film's Facebook page if you like what you see. The film is running an Indiegogo campaign at the moment too so feel free to pledge some money and get some neat rewards in return.

Press Release: Jessica Cameron’s directorial debut “Truth or Dare” has some exciting updates! Their IndieGoGo campaign has launched, their teaser trailer has been released, and the production has announced 5 of their 7 leads in this ensemble cast. Indie Scream Queens Devanny Pinn & Heather Dorff will be joining Jessica as the three leading ladies.
Jessica has worked with Devanny and Heather but this will be the first project where all three ladies will be sharing the screen together. Brandon Van Vliet and Ryan Kiser have been announced along with Jared Degado and Marv Blauvelt from Muscle Wolf Productions.
“Truth or Dare” is about 6 college kids who find internet stardom when they make “Truth or Dare” videos with a violent twist. It is all fun and games until their number one fan decides he wants to play…
Jessica comment regarding the trailer:
“We chose to do a teaser to show fans the tone and type of film that we are going to create with their help. This film is inspired from all the conversations I’ve had with fans about what they want and also from my love of the horror genre. One of my favorite things about this project is that it goes to so many of the dark places that people fear. We tried to capture that with our teaser.”
Actress Devanny Pinn is known for roles in such films as the award-winning “The Black Dahlia Haunting,” “ViViD,” and the sci-fi thriller “Area 51 Confidential” (available now at Wal-Mart) which she also co-wrote.
Heather Dorff is a Chicago-based actress who got her start with the award winning “What They Say” which she starred in, narrated, produced, and wrote. She is also known for the John Wesley Norton film “Drifted” as well as Brian Troxell’s “Intrusive Behavior” which she co-starred in with fellow actress Jessica Cameron.
Heather had this to say about “Truth or Dare:”
“I am extremely excited to be a part of “Truth or Dare.” I had the pleasure of working with Jessica on a film recently and saw that she is an amazing actress. I’m sure she is going to be an amazing director as well. This film is one of the most gruesome scripts I’ve ever read and I’m excited for the new challenges it will present to me as an actress!”




4.01.2013

Latest Clip From ÎNGLODA


Brian Targett's dark psychological thriller ÎNGLODA seems to be moving along nicely and we have the latest clip to share with you all today. Read on for the new clip and make sure you check out the new and improved website.

Synopsis: “Kelly is your everyday young woman just trying to get by in life with her two best friends Kacy and Nikki. Kelly carries scars from her past with her father passing away at a very young age and her mother leaving her. Kelly now at age twenty-four is coming to terms with her past. After finding out her father didn't die the way she thought, she tips over the edge. She begins to experience out of body hallucinations and begins to spiral down to a dark depression. Kacy and Nikki try their hardest to help her while Kelly begins to realize that “The most frightening things in life are buried deep inside us”. Will Kelly pull herself out or will she slowly slip into Îngloda?”



3.31.2013

BIOSHOCK INFINITE (PS3) Review


I DON'T THINK WE'RE IN RAPTURE ANYMORE...

When the original BIOSHOCK was released way back in 2007 it was a critical and commercial success, winning a slew of awards and with good reason. It was a truly atmospheric and immersive FPS which incorporated influences from authors such as Ayn Rand and George Orwell. It also had a unique setting in the underwater metropolis Rapture. The sequel offered more of the same and while it was still a good game it  wasn't anywhere near as impressive as its predecessor. Enter BIOSHOCK INFINITE which while still retaining a whole host of similarities to the previous games, takes the franchise in a completely new direction.
Rapture was a dying city buried deep beneath the waves and overrun by plasmid junkies and fearsome Big Daddies. It was dark, dank and claustrophobic in the best possible way. INFINITE'S Columbia is about as far from Rapture as you could get.

Floating high above the clouds Columbus is a bustling city filled with people working, playing, shopping, picnicking and generally just going about their daily lives. But even though at first the city may seem like a nice place it soon becomes apparent that it is just as much of a dystopia as Rapture, with strong themes like racism and religious fanaticism.
As Booker DeWitt you've been sent to this city to find and retrieve a woman named Elizabeth in order to wipe a personal debt. That's about as much information as you're given to start with. As for who has sent you or what the debt is, well everything is revealed eventually. Elizabeth is locked away in a tower and after rescuing her you find yourself pursued by religious 'prophet' Father Comstock and one of the games two factions, the Founders. There's so much more to talk about as far as plot goes but this is a game that I wouldn't want to spoil for anyone so I'll just leave it at that for now.


TOOLS OF THE TRADE

BIOSHOCK INFINITE is a First Person Shooter like it's predecessors and the combat system is much the same as well. A combination of firearms and Vigors (The INFINITE version of Plasmids) is essential for fighting off hostiles and traversing the sprawling city of Columbia. The guns are modelled on conventional weapons and range from pistols to machine-guns and RPGs, all of which can be upgraded to increase attributes such as damage and ammunition capacity. The Vigors are quite an eclectic mix compared to the previous games and range from the Devil's Kiss (a simple fire based attack) to the Murder of Crows (which sends a swarm of crows to tear up the flesh of your enemies. Even better is the fact that these Vigors can be combines. For example if you follow Murder of Crows with a quick blast of Devil's Kiss you get a flock of flaming crows which cause extra damage. I'll let you find out about the rest of the Vigors on your own but I will add that there are select few that I used a lot and a few which seemed a bit novel and didn't get much use after a while.
A brand new addition to the franchise is the Skyhook which is part weapon, part tool, all awesome. It's the first weapon you receive after arriving in Columbia and it becomes a valuable and essential item for the rest of the game. Apart from being quite a brutal melee weapon it is also a unique mode of transport.


ROADS? WHERE WE'RE GOING WE DON'T NEED ROADS

All across Columbus you will notice rails twisting and turning through the sky, connecting sections of the city together. Normally these Skylines are used for cargo transport and personal transport via carriages and gondolas. But with the help of his trusty Skyhook, Booker can use these rails to get where he needs to go quickly and easily. But what starts of as a convenience eventually becomes an essential part of the gameplay and combat. The controls are surprisingly intuitive and soon you'll find yourself in action-packed, fast-paced combat scenarios as you fly along the Skylines, firing at enemies before leaping down to perform a devastating Skyline strike. It is mountains of fun and nowhere near as gimmicky as I imagined it might be.
Oh and did I mention that your enemies can also ride these rails? It definitely makes for some exciting and interesting combat.


OFF THE BEATEN PATH

INFINITE follows a linear path but most areas are quite sizeable and there is a lot of exploring to do. While you're collecting Silver Eagles (the in-game currency) and salt (which powers your Vigors) from trash-cans, desks, wallets, cabinets and just about every other nook and cranny you could possibly imagine, you also need to keep an eye out for other special items. Lockpicks are important tools which Elizabeth can use to access secret areas which usually house Infusions (which allow you to upgrade your health, shield and salt capacity) or Gear. Gear is a nice addition to the game and affords you special perks depending on which items you are using. You can have a total of four pieces of Gear (hat, shirt, pants & boots) at any one time and they will give you temporary invulnerability, extra melee damage and a whole other host of abilities. There is a lot of Gear to find and you will probably find it worthwhile to take the extra time for a thorough search.


NO HOLDING HANDS

Elizabeth is your companion for almost the entire game. Your AI companion. I know that term might not excite a lot of gamers and for good reason, but rest assured that you'll have no problems here. Rather than this game being one long escort mission Elizabeth is perfectly capable of fending for herself. You do not need to help her out at all. You can breathe a sigh of relief now.
In fact it gets even better because Elizabeth actually helps you out. She'll pick locks to access secret areas, she'll point out special objects such as lockpicks you may have missed in a particular room and she'll even provide you with salt, health and ammo during combat. And then there's her extra special ability.
Elizabeth can open up 'tears' which are holes in time and space which lead to other worlds or realities. Through these tears she can pull items from those worlds to help you out. During combat these tears can provide you with turrets, allies, cover, weapons and healing supplies and they are a very valuable thing to utilize when you find yourself heavily outnumbered. I never thought I'd say this but I loved having an AI companion in this game.


THE VERDICT

I could go on about this game for hours but I think it's about time to sum up. Everything I've heard from people who have played INFINITE has been positive and I don't want to seem like I'm just jumping on the bandwagon but I honestly enjoyed this game. A lot. It actually has a deep story and strong characterization and even touches on the subject of morality and consequences. Between the Skyline combat, the eclectic range of Vigors, the amazing visuals and the evil Gatling-gun-toting George Washington robots I could not find a single thing that was lacking. The game is only around 15 hours or so but what an excellent 15 hours it is. This game frustrated the hell out of me but only because I wanted to keep playing while simultaneously not wanting the game to actually end. And when the game finally does end it might just blow your tiny little mind. I know we're only a quarter of the way through 2013 but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that BIOSHOCK INFINITE is my game of the year.




3.30.2013

Indiegogo: WATERBORNE - You Had Me At 'Zombie Kangaroo'


What Is Indiegogo?

Zombie kangaroo. If those two words together like that don't get you excited then you may as well leave right now. Do it. Just go.
For those of you still reading; congratulations! And not only because you have good taste. If you're anything like me then you have always wanted to see a zombie kangaroo and the good news is that now you finally have that chance. WATERBORNE is an upcoming Australian short film set in a small rural town ravaged by a zombie outbreak that affects not only humans but animals too. Read on for the details from the Indiegogo page -



"'Waterborne' is a short Australian horror/zombie film; the lovechild of a bunch of filmmakers from Melbourne, Australia. We all love zombies, and we all love making films. We've been developing this one for a while now, and we're planning to shoot in April 2013.
It's a very Australian story set in a small country town, where Todd, the local ranger, is pretty sure that years of environmental disasters are wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem.  His suspicions are confirmed when contaminants in the water supply lead to the outbreak of a zombie-like virus that affects not only humans – but animals too.
The key scene in this short film revolves around an infected zombie kangaroo trying to smash its way into the ranger’s pickup truck.
Yes, you heard right - a ZOMBIE KANGAROO. 
Not only are we confident that 'Waterborne' will amazing short film (which we'll be entering into film festivals around the world), but it will also act as a prequel for a feature film that we've got up our sleeve. So by supporting this project, you're also helping to get the ball rolling on a much bigger film (with even more zombie animals)!"

So if you want to help build the world's first zombie kangaroo (and who doesn't?) make sure you check out the film's Indiegogo campaign and donate as little or as much as you want. And don't forget to head over and give the official Facebook page a 'like' while you're at it.

Kickstart My Art: THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG


What is Kickstarter?

Got too much money and not sure what to do with it? Don't you just hate that? Well then maybe you should stop being such a selfish bastard and use some of it to help somebody else realize their dream while getting some sweet rewards in return. THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG is a feature documentary from Aussie filmmaker Andrew Leavold exploring the history of Filipino B-films and uncovering the facts behind the 2'9" Filipino phenomenon known as Weng Weng. I'll let the Kickstarter campaign explain in its own words -

"The Search For Weng Weng" is the unbelievable true story of the real-life 2'9" Filipino James Bond and the latest Feature Documentary from Australian Guerrilla Film maker Andrew Leavold. Shot over 6 years in Manila, it's the ultimate history of Philipino B-Films and chronicles Leavold's obsessive quest to find the truth behind what really happened Weng Weng. We already have over 100 hours of footage, a distributor in place and are looking to raise funds to complete post production for an international release"

"I wanted to know Weng’s story. His real name, for starters. Was he still alive? How many movies did he make? Other than unbelievably small, what kind of person was he? He’s listed in the Guinness Book of Records as, at just 83 cm (2 ft 9 in) tall, the shortest ever lead actor in a motion picture. That’s as far as the official story went - it seemed like the Cone of Silence has well and truly fallen over Weng. I remember ringing the Manila Film Resource Centre in the mid 90s, and they pretended to have never heard of him. Was he truly a national disgrace? Had political correctness finally caught up with a country whose comedy venerates freaks, fatties and the less-fortunate? Or was he small enough to have slipped between the cracks of film history"

So if unraveling the facts around this Filipino midget sounds right down you're alley, make sure you head on over to the official Kickstarter campaign page to make a donation and choose you're reward. And while you're at it check out the official Facebook page and don't forget to share it with all of your friends.

Now Showing: CONQUEST


Although Lucio Fulci may be known best for his gore films such as ZOMBIE and THE BEYOND he dabbled in genres as diverse as giallo, western and comedy. And in 1983 during the sword and sorcery craze (inspired by the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN) he tried his hand at crafting his own unique version. Although CONQUEST has all of the trademarks of the genre; namely muscled warriors, masked villains and a primeval setting, it also features Fulci's personal trademarks; gore and nudity. There are even some neat ZOMBIE-esque undead creatures. This is one of Fulci's more underappreciated films and personally I'd pick this over CONAN any day.

CONQUEST: "Italian sword and sorcery epic from splatter director Lucio Fulci loosely inspired from the Hercules mythos about two warriors on a quest and a vengeful demon who throws all kinds of nasty creatures along the way to fill scenes of gory violence"

3.28.2013

Official YOU'RE NEXT Trailer Is Ready To Invade Your Home


By the looks of things Adam Wingard's upcoming home invasion thriller is shaping up to be a great flick and after watching the trailer I'll definitely be lining up to see the film when it arrives later this year. YOU'RE NEXT promises a unique twist on the well-trodden path of the home invasion sub-genre so let's just hope that it delivers. Check out the brand new trailer below along with some creepy artwork for the film.

Synopsis: "One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, You're Next reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion horror. When a gang of masked, axe-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped...until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all"




Indie Spotlight: TIME TO KILL


TIME TO KILL is an upcoming exploitation / horror film from director Brian Williams and Mostly Harmless Pictures. Written and directed by Williams it stars Ellie Church as Sarah, a young woman seeking bloody revenge after finding that she has only 24 hours left to live. Also starring is prolific genre favorite Debbie Rochon alongside Christine Carollo, Cassandra Baun, Brigid Macaulay and Jason Hignite.
A new trailer has just been released and between the tits and blood I'm gonna go ahead and say that it's definitely NSFW. You can check it out below along with some artwork and make sure you head over and give the film's official Facebook page a 'like'.
There is also an Indiegogo campaign running at the moment so if you like what you see be sure to check it out and chip in whatever you can.

Synopsis: "Follow good girl Sara, who upon finding out she only has 24 hours left to live spends those hours living life to the fullest, taking revenge on those that have done her wrong, and exploring her every desire. For Sara there's no time to waste, no time to lose, there's only....TIME TO KILL..."




3.25.2013

DEAD LEAVES (2004) Review


Directed by: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Starring (voices): Kappei Yamaguchi, Takako Honda, Yuko Mizutani

I really had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch DEAD LEAVES and even after letting it all soak into my brain for a couple of days I still don't have a clear idea of what the hell just happened. I'm not the biggest anime fan in the world but I've seen my fair share and I can say without hesitation that I've never seen anything quite like DEAD LEAVES, both in terms of what goes down on screen and it's animation style.


Pandy (a young woman with a bad case of Heterochromia) and Retro (a dude with a television head) awaken completely naked with absolutely no idea of who the are, where they are or what they are doing there. So naturally they team up, go steal some clothes and a car and start shooting up the city before robbing a bank and then leading approximately a billion cops on a high speed chase, destroying as much as they can in the process. But their crime spree soon comes to an end and they find themselves on route to a prison on the Moon where they are suited up in straight-jackets and thrown in a cell. Pandy and Retro soon free themselves from their shackles by having sex (yes you read that right; sex!) and gather all of the prisoners in a frenetic, fast paced escape attempt. Along the way Pandy and Retro unlock the secret behind their mysterious past and the reason why the prison seems so familiar to them.


It's clear to see that the filmmakers didn't waste any time on a deep story or characterization, which is made most apparent when their mysterious past is explained in a ridiculous 15 second monologue. Normally this kind of seemingly lazy, throwaway explanation would get negative points from me but I was too busy trying not to have an epileptic seizure to really notice any of the weak plot points. Besides a strong story is definitely not the film's strong point, nor is it meant to be.

I always hear people talking about how good certain movies are to watch when you're high. Well DEAD LEAVES is the kind of film that will leave you feeling like you're on an acid trip no matter how sober you are. It's hard not to imagine the writers and animators producing this after a particularly strong batch of shrooms. It's pretty darn difficult to describe the animation style here but if I was pushed I guess I would say that it's like what I'd imagine if Spongebob and Patrick went on a crazy, violent, drug-fuelled crime spree. There are so many bright colors and the scenes chop and change so quickly it almost makes your head spin.


DEAD LEAVES is very entertaining with its unique animations style and its vast menagerie of weird and wonderful characters including a certain prisoner with a drill for a penis. A drill. For a penis. It does however venture into crude territory with the aforementioned drill penis guy and a scene in the prison involving poop extraction. but that's almost forgivable when a film is this fun. It's completely over the top and ridiculous but I couldn't help falling in love with it. it is however a little short at around 45 - 50 minutes and could have been longer, although I doubt my eyeballs and brain could have taken much more. Anime fans will want to see this if only for the animation and pure insanity on display. But DEAD LEAVES is also very violent with the screen sometimes being overwhelmed by explosions, blood and bullets. Not suitable for kids. Highly recommended for anime fans and people who love seeing something a little different.




3.24.2013

THE CEMETERY (2013) Review


Directed by: Adam Ahlbrandt
Starring: J.D. Brown, Natalie Jean, Adam Huss, Tim Cronin, Tabetha Ray

Last month I had the opportunity to check Adam Ahlbrandt's take on the slasher genre; CROSS BEARER which was a bloody, gritty, gory affair filled with sex, drugs and violence. In other words it was awesome.
And while THE CEMETERY trades in the masked killer for more of a demonic possession tale it still keeps all of the aforementioned goodies intact while throwing in a brutal soundtrack to top it all off.



To provide us with some background the film begins by taking us all the way back to 1671 where a group of priests try in vain to exorcise demons from their unwitting hosts. Brutally tortured and eventually killed, these victims are buried in a secret cemetery, the location of which is hidden to all but the church.Cut to the present and we meet a team of paranormal investigators who host their own reality show Ghost Seekers. After investigating abandoned prisons, haunted houses and the like they are yet to find any substantial evidence of ghosts or ghouls. This with the help of a stolen church document their next destination is that very same cemetery where the demonically possessed were buried after being tortured and killed. But what will the Ghost Seekers do when their faced with a real demonic threat?


After enjoying CROSS BEARER so much I was a little worried that this follow up would fall short, but it turns out that I didn't need to be so worried because THE CEMETERY rocks. It has a great ensemble cast with some familiar faces returning from CROSS BEARER like J.D. Brown who plays the likeable Bill, Natalie Jean who spends most of her on screen time covered in blood and gore, and Tim Cronin who plays a bit of a douchebag. Then there's Adam Huss in the role of Tim; the horny, pot smoking comic relief and Tabetha Ray the bitchy medium. And a special mention to Burning Angel's Draven Star whose only job was to look smoking hot and she did it well indeed.
Everything that made CROSS BEARER so good is also on display here, from the masses of blood and gore to the tits and ass and a fittingly dark and foreboding atmosphere. And once again the make-up and effects are all practical and that in itself always score big points with me.


Another point worth mentioning is the film's soundtrack which is comprised mostly of heavy metal, which I personally love but it certainly won't fit everybody's taste. If you don't like the prospect of a soundtrack featuring band names like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Circle of Dead Children or Squash Bowels then this may not be for you. On the other hand if that sounds right up your alley then you're bound to have a great time.

I may have sad this before but Adam Ahlbrandt is definitely a filmmaker to look out for. He makes movies that horror fans want to see. Films packed with blood, guts, tits and ass; this is the stuff that reminds me why I started watching horror flicks in the first place. It's not without its imperfections but even the minor criticisms I may have about THE CEMETERY are far outweighed by all of the positives and the film's overall entertainment quality. And as much as I loved CROSS BEARER I think I probably enjoyed this a little more so it's getting an extra half a star.