Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last visit to Monkey Beach in 2009

My plan was to visit Larry's Corner for the first time, and according to his website he planned to have the store open... but no. So I went to Monkey Beach instead and wished Micke a happy new year and bought some dvds (it's hard to go there and not buy movies). I also took some photos.

A special treat (again) for my readers!

(This was published a while ago, but since then I gotten a lot more readers and I just want to share this old vinyl single with you all again. It's OOP since long, so here you go!)

I don't usually do stuff like this, but the soundtrack for "Faceless", a single with the theme-song, has been OOP for many years now. I got this directly from France and though it's not my favorite song from this fantastic Jess Franco-movie, it's worth listening to. 

The artist is Vincent Thoma (aka Vincenzo Thoma) and the composer is Romano Musumarra and "C. Welsman" (according to IMDB). There's the main theme with Vincent on song, and a more ambient instrumental version of it.

Today is a special day for me, two years since I met my boyfriend and photographic genius Gregory (you can see our photos here) and I thought this was good way to celebrate it :)

Thanks to Anneli who helped me rip the vinyl and thanks to Kit Gavin who found it for me (and guided me through that french site!). Kram to you both!

You can "listen" to it here, and if you think this is great, go get yourself your own copy of this rare single!

The boy from Mannen på Taket...

I always find this to be a very entertaining detail. Do you remember the boy in Bo Widerbergs "Mannen på Taket"? He's trying to get away from the crashing helicopter during the fantastic ending at S:t Eriksplan. Here he is:

He later grew up and became Carolas boyfriend for a while, and most important, became action-star A.R. Hellquist (aka Anders Hellqvist) in a couple of Swedish action classics:

Fatal Secret (1988) .... John Mitchell
Animal Protector (1988) .... John Santino
The Mad Bunch (1989) .... Eddie
The Forgotten Wells (1990) .... Peter Savage

He also had a cameo on a lousy movie I produced, Farligt Förflutet, where he was one of several actors from the Swedish lowbudget action movie history to make an appearance. He also starred as the bad guy in Ninja Mission 2000, another movie we made - but never released.

During later years he's been involved in some stunt school, been doing smaller roles in TV-series and commercials (he plays the Ninja in one of the first IF Hemförsäkring-commercials for example) and doing guard-work at Stureplan. Just google his name and you will find dozens of new photos from nightclubs and so on.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)

Okey, come on! Really! I read so many bad reviews of this movie, so I sat down with no expectations at all - and surprise, it's so far one of my favorite Naschy-movies ever! Once, on a Swedish forum, some retard started a petition to erase me from the earth, only because of my bad taste in movies (because I'm one of those that don't think that Kubricks The Shining is the best movie ever made). Maybe I have bad taste, but really... I don't give a fuck. So that's why I'm not ashamed to say that Vengeance of the Zombies is one of the best Naschy-movies I've seen - in it's own weird way.

The script is much more coherent than some people claim, though of course there's some big jumps in logic. Naschy plays Krisna, an indian guru with his base in London. There he have a little sect and lives a good life. But there's evil in the air, and a masked killer with a black cape and black gloves is killing people all over London! Sometime together with the resurrected body of a woman! Everytime he kills a woman, he makes zombies of them and uses them in his attacks.

Romy plays Elvire Irving, who's father and butler (?) get's murdered. She want's to calm down after this terrible incident and travels to the English countryside where Krisna has bought a house. But the murders continues, and something is lurking in the basement of the house... maybe a satanic sect worshipping the devil? Or the unknown killer? Or is Krisna hiding something?

Here we have 100 % entertainment. The script is a bit unfocused, but there's no problem understanding the storyline. A massive jazz score fits very good into the crazy story, and the use of slow-mo when the zombies arrives works very fine. There's more gore and blood in the latest couple of Naschy-movies I've seen and my favorite is a cool head-falling-of-body-scene that is a lot more effective than most of those I've seen so far.

What I love with Vengeance of the Zombies is the surreal and trippy feeling. There's slow-mo, dream-sequences, weird jazz, a truly strange scene where Naschy plays the devil, some quite not so surprising twists, the indian mumbojumbo, the blood and a stunning blu-ray release from BCI. I guess some people are missing the gothic feeling, but I felt this was a refreshing movie among the more slow-moving (but excellent) horror movies Naschy made before and after. The London-setting (which of course most of the time are stock footage) is nice and Naschy seem to have a lot of fun in three different roles.

Fantastic eurocult and something everybody should have in their collection!

A special treat for my readers: The theme from Jess Franco's Faceless!

I don't usually do stuff like this, but the soundtrack for "Faceless", a single with the theme-song, has been OOP for many years now. I got this directly from France and though it's not my favorite song from this fantastic Jess Franco-movie, it's worth listening to. 

The artist is Vincent Thoma (aka Vincenzo Thoma) and the composer is Romano Musumarra and "C. Welsman" (according to IMDB). There's the main theme with Vincent on song, and a more ambient instrumental version of it.

Today is a special day for me, two years since I met my boyfriend and photographic genius Gregory (you can see our photos here) and I thought this was good way to celebrate it :)

Thanks to Anneli who helped me rip the vinyl and thanks to Kit Gavin who found it for me (and guided me through that french site!). Kram to you both!

You can "listen" to it here, and if you think this is great, go get yourself your own copy of this rare single!

A new upcoming classic from The Asylum!

Sherlock Holmes, a giant octopus, a dragon AND a T-Rex. Sign me up for this one!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Night of the Werewolf (1981)

What is it with Paul Naschy, cars stopping on a forest road and someone trying to rob the passengers? It's probably only my imagination, but it seems like that happen in at least fifty percent of all Naschy-movies I've seen! And yes, that also happens in Night of the Werewolf - directed, written and starring Naschy himself.

Countess Elisabeth Bathory (a brilliant Julia Saly) is standing in front of the judge. She's being sentence to life in prison, her friends and co-workers, among them Waldemar Daninsky, is executed. Many many years later a woman decides to wake them all up from the dead with black magic! Together with a couple of friends, she's going up the mountains to visit the old castle ruins where everyone is buried.

Daninsky is already awake actually, saves the girls from some evil robbers, and then invites them to his castle. But what he don't know is that Elisabeth Bathory is getting stronger and stronger, and after a human sacrifice and some nice black magic she's resurrected and plans to once again make Daninsky her slave...

First of all, Paul Naschy is magnificent. He has a screen presence like few other actors in his field. The script, written by the man himself, is good - but very similar to Naschy's other movies. Nothing original, but there's a lot of atmosphere and the Bathory-character is always cool to use in a horror movie. But have you seen one Naschy-movie you've seen this one too.

The first hour is a bit to generic. People walk around, Naschy looking macho, some nudity, Naschy transforms into a werewolf and not much blood. But then, when it's around 30-40 minutes left something happens. Bathory finally wakes upp and starts to attack the castle with her female vampire-friends, there's a nice zombie and even some blood! It also looks gorgeous, with wonderful sets and atmospheric lightning. There's some truly stunning images during this grand finale.

What I love about Naschy's Daninsky-character is that the werewolf-make up is sooooo cool. It's old-fashioned, but very effective. And when he growls in the darkness, with blood-drenched teeth... it's quite creepy and disturbing. He also has the physics to play a brutal werewolf, which of course helps.

Of course I own the blu-ray and Night of the Werewolf looks fantastic. Like many eurocult-movies the visuals and sound are rough, but this still can't take away the powerful bloodthirsty rage of Daninsky!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best Horror Movies Of The Decade!

But wait a sec. It’s hard thing to point out a pure horror movie. Ya know, something that scare the shit out of you. So I’ve been lazy and included horror comedies, some thriller, some half-scifi’s… yes, everything that I consider a genre movie leaning towards horror or a close subject.

This is just my opinion and I just don’t care if anyone agrees with me. You will find some odd choices, but this is movies I’ve seen several times and I feel they’re getting better and better. Even if they are low budget bigfoot-movies or mainstream-thrillers about a smart cannibal. It saddens me that I’ve decided to leave out David Fincher’s Zodiac, because that’s THE best movie during the decade – but it borders to drama (the same thing with the equally brilliant Memories of Murder) and is not pure genre cinema.

You will also notice that I left out Asia completely, and that’s why I haven’t been THAT impressed by the horror movies from that area. There’s a lot good ones, even great ones… but no, they really never felt connected to me. I preferred their dramas, scifi’s, action flicks… but maybe I’m just tired of all these asian ghosts?

Okey, here it is, in chronological order:

Hannibal (Ridley Scott)
- I’m not kidding you, but this is one of the most underrated movies of the decade. I’ve seen it so many times I just can’t count it anymore.
From Hell (The Hughes Brothers)
- Also criminally underrated. I don’t give a shit how brilliant Alan Moore’s original graphic novel is, I won’t read it anyway.

Darkness (Jaume Balagueró)
- Forgotten, but still scary and creepy. And with a fabulous cast!
Bubba Ho-Tep (Don Coscarelli)
- Not even close to a horror movie, but the ingredienses are there. One of the warmest movies I’ve seen actually.

Wrong Turn (Rob Schmidt)
- One of the real throwbacks to the "good old days", and it still works really good. Lovely backwood-slasher!

Eyes of Crystal (Eros Puglielli)
- Brilliant and violent neo-giallo, one of the best giallos I’ve seen in many years!
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)
- The best horror comedy every made. I like it so much, I have a copy signed by the director and the two stars!
Dawn of the Dead (Zack Snyder)
- Yes, fantastic movie. Not so deep, but a helluva zombie-flick with tons of gore and very well made. A classic.

The Descent (Neil Marshall)
- A list without this movie is not a list. You all know why.
Hostel (Eli Roth)
- Don’t get me started on stupid idiots calling this movie “torture porn” (and nowdays they, the same idiots, call every movie with blood “torture porn”). Still a very good movie.
Land of the Dead (George A. Romero)
- One of Romeros biggest hits, and a wonderful zombie-movie which seems a bit to static sometime, but Romero is Romero and he’s the zombie-master.
Isolation (Billy O'Brien)
- This is a movie that should be more talked about. Nothing special really, but a fine production with fine actors and a mutant cow. It can’t go wrong.
House of Wax (Jaume Collet-Serra)
- You are correct. This is a slasher-remake with Paris Hilton. But to be honest, it’s still a very entertaining, very violent and very handsome piece of shit. And I love it.
Cigarette Burns (John Carpenter)
- I updated the list with this masterwork of television. One of Carpenters best work ever, and it should be in the list.

Abominable (Ryan Schifrin)
- A fantastic little creature feature with amazing gore and a cool script.
Mulberry Street (Jim Mickle)
- I consider this a masterpiece. Low low budget, smart, well acted and cool as hell. Everyone has to see it.
Slither (James Gunn)
- A big flop, but also a big movie with a big heart. And lot’s of slime.
Altered (Eduardo Sánchez)
- DTV can be wonderful, and here we have a very competent and smart little movie.
The Hills Have Eyes (Alexandre Aja)
- One of the best remakes ever made. To be honest, I even think the sequel is kinda fun ;)

End of the Line (Maurice Devereaux)
- Another sleeper. Brutal and original, but never let’s you go. Great indie!
[Rec] (Jaume Balagueró)
- One more spanish masterpiece, this time one of the most intensive zombie/mutant movies ever made.
28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo)
- Sorry, this could probably be the most intensive zombie/mutant movie ever made. Also directed by a Spaniard!
Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero)
- Come on, this is fucking great. Clearly an experiment, but it get’s more impressive for every time I see it.
Hostel 2 (Eli Roth)
- Yes. I loved the sequel. If you don’t accept it, go and… do something else.
Planet Terror (Robert Rodriguez)
- This was one of the most enjoyable cinema experiences I’ve ever had.
The Mist (Frank Darabont)
- Could be the best King-adaptation so far. And a perfect ending to.
Mother of Tears (Dario Argento)
- Everybody with good taste hate it. I think it’s a tasteless, marvellous piece of Italian splatter.

Mirrors (Alexandre Aja)
- Surprised? This is a good horror movie, and it’s never boring. That’s enough for me.
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier)
- Heaven. Pure heaven.

Infestation (Kyle Rankin)
- Funny and charming, cool insects and a good story. One of the surprises of 2009.

Yes, folks. That’s all. I liked Paranormal Activity, but I’ve only seen in once. I’m still waiting for my blu-ray of Ink, and I just didn’t have time yet to see Seventh Moon yet. But I will. And I might regret that they never got on my 2009-list.

So, any comments?

Murder Rock (1984)

It is time to put down down all the facts and once and for all get people to understand that Murder Rock is one of Fulci's strongest and best-looking films from the eighties. In an era when American slasher and Italian giallo became more mainstream, Fulci used every new visual idea and put it all together into an incredibly stylish and complex thriller. And bloodless. Which will scare away fanboys. 

In a New York-based dance school (imagine Fame and similar ideas) a bunch of young girls tries to get a professional dancer-career in the tough world of the shallow showbiz. And yes, they're trying... but not for long...

One night a girl is murdered by a killer in black gloves! Slowly and bloodless, a long needle through the heart. After a very brief period of sorrow the girls are back in competition mode again, ready to be number one!

Inspector Borges (an excellent Cosimo Cinieri) begins to unravel the case and dig up more and more strange circumstances under the seemingly nice and handsome facade. But the killer continues to kill off competition and the question is who it is: the dirty old principal, the bitter dance coach, the lame sound technician, the jealous boyfriend, another student or just the one you least expect it to be?

Of course, Murder Rock is a giallo by the numbers. But the story is, after all, unusually complex, in all cases for be such a late contribution to the genre. It presents more than one suspected murderer, many clues and a camera following every strange thing the characters to. Everything is a red herring! Fulci always knew how to tell the story with the camera, then with dialogue. With smart tracking shots and talented actors, he creates a couple of interesting layers of intrigue and human perversion.

For some reason, the Murder Rock has the reputation of being an orgy of eighties kitch. Which of course is not true. Not more than other films from that time anyway. I guess most of this rumour comes from the clumsy pre-credits with some breakdance-guys showing their skills on a disco floor. Bad editing in this sequence and even worser music by Keith Emerson probably made people think that the rest of the movie was the same, and turned it off. But otherwise it is an unusually restrained thriller with incredibly stylish murder scenes (largely bloodless) and good tension. There are a lot of material shot in New York, and the winter-wet look works great of the movie. 

Olga Karlatos make the role of her life. Ray Lovelock is excellent as the possible killer. Al Cliver and Lucio Fulci himself shows up in cameos. Claudio Cassinelli makes one of his last roles before the helicopter crash that took his life during the shooting of Sergio Martino's Hands Of Steel, and is very good in a role that feels different to what he usually plays.

A great little movie that is worth revisiting - especially on the DVD where the movie looks nothing short of incredibly good. Silly disco and bloodless murders, but it's still a clear evidence that Fulci really was a master when it came to tell a story in a visual and intelligent way.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Psychic (1977)

The Psychic has been a film that I've heard about for many years, but I was patient and waited until there was a good release out. Severin finally released it, and I wasn't disappointed.

Jennifer O'Neill plays Virginia Ducci, a British woman who recently married an Italian, Emilio Rospini (Gabriele Ferzetti). She moves to Italy and decides to renovate her new family's house, a house that stood abandoned for many years. On the way there, she suddenly gets a vision - something she has been plagued by throughout her life. When she arrives at the house she realizes that the visions belongs to that place, and that it might also be a clue to murder - and murderer!

The police are skeptical of her visions, but everything points toward that her husband is the killer. He had had an affair with the victim and was also the one who had access to the house. Virginia is forced to take on the mystery, along with friends and family - including her husband's sister Gloria (Ida Galli) and a nice police, Luca Fattori (Marc Porel), and figuring out what the visions means, and who the killer is...

Perhaps the most complex Fulci film I've seen, and incredibly beautiful. The cinematography is by master Sergio Salvati and the music is composed by Fabio Frizzi. This, combined with a very sophisticated and thoughtful script, echoes the classic giallo - but also travels far away from the typical giallo clichés. This is more a psychological thriller, a pusselbox of clues and interpretations.

What struck me was that Fulci got some great acting from his actor this time, something like a more recognized director Argento never succeed in (and he probably is not even interested in it either). Although the classic Italian style of acting sometimes shines through, it feels as if everyone has become infected by Jennifer O'Neill's low-key approach to her character. 

As usual Fulci focus on eyes, faces, small body movements ... and of course blood and shocks! Not that the film is particularly bloody, but there is no room for such a thing in this story. Not very much anyway, even if the blood flows in at least two sequences. It is also worth mentioning that the English dubbing is a lot better than usual. For example, the Italian characters has an Italian accent and Jennifer dubs her own voice. It feels realistic and never breaks the illusion - even if bad dubbing hardly is disturbing for someone who is familiar with it. 

The Psychic is a original, beautiful and unique thriller. The original title, directly translated is "Seven Notes in Black is also a logic in itself that you do not understand if you do not think after a while. Subtle and good. 

See it.

What if Laird Cregar didn't die so young?

I was watching Hangover Square last night and was, as usual, impressed by Laird Cregar. I wonder what career he would have if he didn't die so young....

After recovering from a heart attack in 1944, Cregar decided to watch more carefully over his health and career. Sure, "Hangover Square" was a big success, but he didn't want to get trapped just playing brutal killers. Actually, he did one more role similar to "The Lodger" and "Hangover Square", that was in James Whale's sensational comeback (just for one movie though): "The Barber of Fleet Street", the black comedy about Sweeney Todd, in 1947. It wasn't such a big hit, more of a sleeper and finally both earned it's money and respect. But the most important thing, it gave Cregar his first and only Oscar. 

During the fifties he made a string of thrillers, and even starred in Jack Arnolds lowbudget masterpiece chiller "Golem of the Desert", where he still could play the young lead - though he by that time gained most of his weight again. Listening to his doctors orders he slowed down, said no to play one of the bad guys in "North by Northwest" (Martin Landau later got that role) and found himself still being a successful character actor. When television became more and more popular, he over twenty minor roles in two years, ending in 1961 with another heart attack. Laird Cregar loved acting, it was like a drug, and now he got an ultimate: stop acting or die.

Cregar couldn't stop acting, but learned how to say now and always had his wife - who he met six year earlier during a guest role on "The Colgate Comedy Hour". She was the script girl, and it was love at first sight. After his latest heartattack he had to give up whiskey and fat food, but indulged in wine tasting (he later wrote two books about it) and getting not one, but six dobermanns! In 1963 he finally got a chance to work with old friend Vincent Price! With Roger Corman behind the camera, they shot a slapstick-version of one of the most famous crime cases in history, "Burke and Hare" - which also was the title of the movie. But this time there was a happy ending, where Burke and Hare escapes to Asia to continue their work there!

As many other stars, Cregars stardom faded during the sixties, but he kept going in television, low budget movies and even two European westerns (one of them was Antonio Margheritis never released cold war-western "Revolver uomo che venne dal freddo"! - later stock footage from it showed up in Alfonso Brescias "La guerra dei robot" by the way) But at the age of 61 he got his big, big television break. After Simon Oakland, another good friend of him, said no to play Darren McGavin's angry boss in the TV-show version of Kolchak, he recommended Cregar who stayed with the show until it finally ended in 1982! One of the biggest succssess in TV-history, and even had a remake in 1998 (Billy Zane played Kolchak, and R. Lee Ermey played Tony Vincenzo) where also Cregar made his final appearance in a cameo, 85 years old and better than ever.

Only three months after the movie was released (it flopped by the way) Laird Cregar died in his sleep in his home. He was survived by wife, one daughter and two sons.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tycus (1998)

Alrighty then! Don't we all like a good disaster movie? Everybody just says yes! But what we don't like is a bad disaster movie, and Tycus is a bad one. It's not the worst movie I've seen, but it's very uninspired and have the most moronic script I've seen since 2012! And when I mention 2012, Tycus is about a failed writer in a fucked up marriage discovers that the world will end - and that there's secret project, "ArcAngel", which is a modern Noahs ark where very rich people can buy themselves a room or two. So it's basically the same story, but shot with one tenth of the catering budget for 2012, and more than ten years earlier.

That was the story. Peter Onorati plays the hero, Jake Lowe, is quite good. He has a sense of humor and is not a bad actor. But the script is so terrible, with extremely stupid lines and character developments. I mean, Dennis Hopper plays a rich dude who reveals that the world will end because of a huge comet, Tycus, will hit the moon. No one believes him, and because he don't want to die he builds this underground complex and tries to save the world. To do this he get rich people to pay for the underground city. Fair enough. No one believed him, it's a private project and there's not enough room for the whole world anyway. But people still blames him to "play God", or being selfish and yadayadayada! He might be bit crazy, but he's been fair all the way - and the script have problems with letting him just be a nice guy trying to save the world and some people. Stupid.

But disaster movies is all about disasters, yeah? Well, here you'll have a stock footage-marathon of meteorites hitting earth, some earthquakes, volcanoes and shit - everything taken from Dantes Peak, some TV-movies that everyone forgotten about, the secret base in GoldenEye and so on. I have nothing against this, but it needs to be some original effects at least. Not just only stock footage.

Tycus is crap, but kinda entertaining crap. If you buy it on dvd, don't sue me.

Dark Breed (1996)

PM Entertainment Group produced hundreds of movies over the years, and one of the best and the silliest is Dark Breed. A shameless combination of Aliens, Predator, Species 2 and Lifeforce - but with car chases, BIG explosions and Jack Scalia doing what he can best: stare. I'm really serious, this is one of heck of an entertaining movie. It's so filled with fun stuff that it's impossible to even count the great things about it. Story? Yeah, something about some astronauts crashing down to earth, but now their bodies is hosts to some evil, evil aliens that wants to rule the world. Jack Scalia had some experience with evil aliens before and is sent out to take them down. But guess what? There's a conspiracy behind it all, and soon Scalia is hunted himself by the government!

As usual with the productions from the brilliant exploitative minds of Richard Pepkin and Joseph Merhi the story is just an excuse for setting up spectacular action sequences. The highlight here is a car chase, which has some very big mistakes (if you see the movie, you will notice them yourself), but is fantastic and very well shot. It's basically a van with a big antenna hanging in a wire after it, being chased by evil military - but with the hero hanging on the antenna at the same time! There's fragments of this scene in the trailer down below, but the trailer is quite crappy and don't do the movie justice. There's also a bloody shoot-out at a hospital with a lot of glass breaking, some cheap and nice gore, okey digital effects and a nice finale with lots of explosions and a sequence where a couple of soldiers are killed to the sound of some fifties love song. 

But at the same time it's very sloppy, with clearly visible wires pulling people up in the air, super-duper high-technology weapons falling apart like it was made of balsa wood, a very important thing disappearing and reappearing in the car chase and much more. But do I really care? No. Maybe the first time I saw it hundreds of years ago, but nowadays it's just part of the charm.

Fuck, I feel I just need to collect every PM Entertainment-movie after watching this movie again. I know there's few that will come up in the same standard of popcorntainment, but at least I will get my daily dose of explosions somehow!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Morianerna - A beautiful christmas gift

I got this beautiful BIG original german poster for Arne Mattssons Morianerna, a swedish mystery-thriller from the late sixties as a christmas gift. It was Micke at my regular dvd-store Monkey Beach who gave to me. Thanks Micke! :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slashers (2001)

Maurice Devereaux directed one of my favorite horror movies during the last years, End of the Line, the brilliant and violent movie set in a subway during the end of days. What I didn't know then was that I owned one of his first movies, the crazy one-shot movie Slashers! Yes, the amazing idea here was to create a splatter-movie, a full feature, with the illusion that it was one single take. Like Hitchcock's Rope, but with gore and set during a Japanese TV-show.

Slashers, the biggest TV-show in Japan, has an international special. Six participants from the US are welcome to be able to win 18 million dollars. The only thing they have to do is to stay alive being chased by three typical slasher-killers: Preacherman, Chainsaw Charlie and Doctor Ripper! They are in a big indoor arena, with several floors, basements, different environments and of course places to hide, have sex or just to attack the killers themselves. 

At first the six participants keep together, but soon the start to fight inside the group, and greed shows it's ugly, ugly face...

The big thing with this movie is the one-take-concept. When the participants first runs into the arena until the last one comes out at the end, the camera never stops. A Japanese cameraman is running together with the team, trying to film the gory murders and intrigues. Like Rope this is made with hidden cuts, for example when the camera pans fast or the camera man runs into someone by mistake. Because it's gonna resemble a horror movie the light is flickering all the time, and this is also a way to hide cuts. It works quite well, but of course some cuts are very visible. But I can understand that. The first version of the movie was two hours long, and I guess they wanted to cut it down - and it's hard to cut something that's gonna be one single take. It works fine though.

Acting? Yes. A lot. And over the top. Some people chews the scenery like madmen, and some just overacts a little bit. So overall I can't say that the acting impressed, and some of the dialogue where also very clumsy and should have worked better with a lot of editing before they started to shoot the movie. The slashers is the best actors, but the point with them is also to be very extreme and with forced oneliners to throw around in every scene.

What make Slashers so fantastic is the splatter. Everything is in one single take, and the effects are spectacular. You see people get cut in half, chop their own head of, get killed by chainsaw, getting sticks into their eyes and ears and a lot more. Everything with practical and VERY gory effects. The effects team must have worked very fast sometime, because when the camera turns away for a few seconds to film reation shots the (invisible) team switch bodyparts, people to lifesize dummies, insert hoses with blood and a lot more. Even if you don't like the acting, you will love the splatter.

Slashers is a big gimmick-movie. But it's very ambitious, has great effects and even if the budget was low there's some fun sets, a cool Japanese TV-studio with a full audience (even if some of them of course look like Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and so on - I guess the amount of japanese extras isn't that big in Canada?) and it's never boring. With a camera on the move all the time, it's easy to forget bad dialogue and some even worser acting - because you know that someone will get killed in the most spectacular way the minute after.

It feels like a modern Grand Guignol, which could have been the title of this movie to. The Fangoria DVD is the only good DVD to get. It's out of print, but it's unrated and completely uncut, has tons of extras and is in the correct ratio. I hope someone else will release it again so you also can have some fun.

My collection of Jack the Ripper-movies is growing!

I noticed that I have a bunch of Jack the Ripper-movies in my collection, which isn't suprising because I love good old Jack ;)

UPDATED 11-01-11

Here's my Ripper-filmography so far, not including the movies above:

(movies with Jack the Ripper... or very close)

The Lodger (1944) - A masterpiece, without a doubt.

Man in the Attic (1953) - Haven't seen it yet, but Jack Palance is Jack!

Jack the Ripper (1959) - Haven't seen it before, so this could be fun!

A Study in Terror (1965) - Love this one, quite bloody too and good atmosphere.

Hands of the Ripper (1971) - Okey, okey! this is about his daughter, but I still sees it like a "real" Ripper-movie)

Jack the Ripper (1976) - Klaus Kinski and Jess Franco, nothing to do with reality - but fun!

Murder by Decree (1979) - Wonderful and classy movie by Bob Clark.

Time After Time (1979) - I love this! Very entertaining time-traveling movie!

Jack the Ripper (1988) - Great mini-series with Michael Caine.

The Ripper (1997) - Ripper-story with Patrick Bergin.

From Hell (2001) - Underrated and gory.

(Inspired by)

Das Ungeheuer von London City (1964) - A Bryan Edgar Wallace-story about a copycat in London. Not bad.

Jack el destripador de Londres (1971) - Sleazy favorite, also about a copycat in London. With Paul Naschy!

Jack's Back (1988) - Great thriller with some minor connections to the Ripper-case.

Ripper (2001) - I'm probably the only one who likes this slasher!

Whitechapel (2009) - Wondeful UK mini-series with Ripper-style killings in modern day London.

The Lodger (2009) - Another remake of the old story, quite good.


Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), "The Ripper" - Maybe not the best episode, but still good.

Friday the 13th: The Series (1987), "Doctor Jack" - Nice episode and a little favorite of mine.

I'm also wondering if I should dare watching David Hasselhoffs Terror at London Bridge or the Tom Savini-turkey The Ripper from 1985. I actually would like to, if they where out on dvd so I could own them.

Maybe one day...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deep Red: The Musical

I'm not so sure about this.

The Films of Martin Schmidt

It's quite strange that he's not that well known outside Denmark, because Martin Schmidt is one of the few directors in Scandinavia that returns to horror over and over again. Sure, in between there's some comedy, some TV, some drama - but when you least expect it there's a new horror movie for an unsuspecting audience. I first learned about him when I saw Sidste Time, a stylish slasher set in a school after closing. It begins very typical with the pupils getting stuck in the school with no way of getting out, a brutal killer arrives and starts to kill them of one by one. The ending is extremely cryptic, and I'm not sure what's going on during the last part of the movie - except the bloody deaths of course.

Sidste Time is a very dark slasher, both visually and in theme. The kills are quite violent, but mostly off screen - but there's always some nice aftermath to look at anyway. It lacks in pace during the middle, but picks up fast again until and ending that I still have no idea what it really means. His next movie was Mørkeleg, another slasher, which don't reach the same heights as Sidste Time, but still offers some good thrills and a few bloody murders. This movie feels much smaller, and is set in much smaller building than in the school. An ordinary house, a bit to "set-like" for my taste. This time a bunch of youths are gathered to play a game of Murder, with fake knifes and radio devices to keep in contact, show when you're dead and stuff like that. But someone starts to kill them for real!

Both these movies are rooted in the classic Scandinavian realism, or what Scandinavian film makers think is realism. People act "naturally", there's more humanity in the characters and the clichés is more local than Hollywood. This is of course both good and bad, and a well known problem in Swedish cinema is the "theatrical acting" that is spreading into the movies and have done that for many years.

There's problems like that more in Mørkeleg than in Sidste Time, but Mørkeleg has also better pacing than Sidste Time - and fewer murders. I'm not saying anyone of them is a masterpiece or a bad movie, but Sidste Time is the better one of them, much because of the nice setting and more murders. But anyone who can explain the ending is welcome to explain it to me.

In 2001 Schmidt directed a lesser known movie, but a personal favourite for me: Kat (yes, it means "Cat") about a séance that goes wrong and releases a big cat-like animal that kills it's way through Copenhagen at night. I guess this is one of the first times that a Scandinavian movie uses a CG-animal in a big part, not to shabby actually, and throws in a couple of nice and bloody killings to. I haven't heard much about Kat and how the critical and audience reception was, but I guess it wasn't so good because it never flew the way it should be. I like it because it mixes two horror-genres: occultism and creature feature quite good, and it's not ashamed about it either. Right now it seems hard to find on DVD, which is a pity. I will continue my search to upgrade my old tape.
In 2005 Schmidt directed his last official horror movie so far, Bag det stille ydre (Restless Souls was the English title). I saw it at Fantastic Film Festival in Lund the same year (I think, I was there with a feature movie of my own) and had some contact with Schmidt before. But he couldn't come, which was a pity because I would love to have discussed his horror movies with him in person. Bag det stille ydre is a typical ghost story with involves a crime from the past and a mystery that has to be solved. Though it wasn't graphic like his earlier movies or maybe not as shocking, I would say it's a very competent horror movie (or "Gyser" as the Danish translation is) that both becomes effective because it imitates US and Japanese horrors of the same kind, and also grows because of that. Because who says that a certain style belongs in a certain country?

In Sweden we always say about Swedish movies, "Good to be Swedish", because we never can make movies that has that international quality - not many at least. In Denmark I hope they don't use that expression, because Danish movies are international movies without loosing that special quality.

Check out Martin Schmidt. I like him, which don't mean anything when it comes to my taste, but what can I do? :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Haeundae (2009)

There's a difference between Asian and (for example) American movies. When something terrible is gonna happen, happening and has happen people actually cry, scream, show fear, cry more and screams like they were dying. Because they are. This is of course a natural thing, but the "Asians" has a tendency to show it in movies without any problems. Haeundae, the new big budget disaster movie from South Korea, is a good example of this. 

Haeundae refers to Haeundae Beach, a big tourist area where it seem like it's more people than sand. Like a luxury version of... Pattaya or Pukhet maybe? I don't know, because I've only seen Haeundae in this movie. We follow, as usual, a couple of characters. Man-Sik (Kyung-gu Sol), who works down by the beach, the girl he's in love with, Kim Hwi (Joong-Hoon Park) is a scientist that think that South Korea is gonna be struck by a tsunami, his ex-wife and their daughter, a couple of teenagers, a lazy harbor-worker and his loving mother and so on. It's quite a big cast. When the tsunami finally hits Haeundae many of the people we learned to like and hate during the movies first hour dies, or goes through terrible ordeals... 

As I wrote above, the first hour is mainly drama. Pure classic South Korean drama with a lot of excellent actors and good dialogue. The humor is black, but people are never cynical and behaving like bastards. When disaster strikes they try to help each other, sometimes with failure as the result. Emmerich, the ruling disaster-king, always put his disasters in the beginning - probably to catch the audience before the go to sleep. The problem is that the rest of the movies becomes terrible boring, and together with a weak script it's a real movie-disaster. Director and writer Je-gyun Yun never falls into same trap. He uses his first hour well, and we get to know the characters almost to close - even if some stuff i presented to easy and written on our noses. But the good stuff more than the bad stuff.

I never seen really good visual effects in a movie from Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea - but the last country has always been the best. The monsters in Dragon Wars is fantastic, and so are the mutation in The Host. Here they almost, but only almost, comes close to Hollywood's CG-effects. There's some amazing stuff here, which includes both computer generated water crushing the city, overturns skyscrapers like toys, sweeps hundreds, thousands of people away - to cool and realistic physical effects with waterfilled streets and a cool sequence when a girl is rescued from being flushed out through her bedroom window half the way up in a skyscraper. Another wonderful and funny sequence is bordering to big slapstick when a man tries to escape huge falling debris from a bridge he's on, ending with him lightning and cigarette and... well, you have to see it!

I've so far seen three of the last years water-related disaster movies from Asia: the crappy Thai-movie Tsunami 2022, the okey propaganda movie Super Typhoon from mainland China and now South Korea's Haeundae - and the last one is also the best with great acting, spectacular disaster-scenes, lots of strong emotions and a form of realism that none of the above movies even comes close to.

At last, I ordered the Bronx Warriors Trilogy!

I don't like to do my shopping at unknown "streets", and HMV was new to me. But they had this silly exlusive tin box of The Bronx Warriors 1 and 2 (and also New Barbarians) and I need it desperately!

It was ages since I saw part 1, and then it was on a swedish x-rental. Part 2 is a brilliant action movie, but I've only seen the swedish CUT version missing a lot of fantastic violence. So this will be a very nice box for me.

But of course, New Barbarians isn't the third movie at all. It's the same producer and director. Castellari was planning to do a real part 3 during the eighties, but it never happen - which is very sad. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recension: Hemoglobin (1997)

I have a weakness for films set in small towns near water, such as Dagon, Messiah Of Evil and Dead & Buried. Hemoglobin is almost a painfully underrated little Canadian shocker which manage to be truly macabre ... and cozy.

Roy Dupuis plays John Strauss, who with his wife Kathleen (Kristin Lehman) arrives to a small island to see if they can find traces of the rare and unusual blood disease that he suffers from. Once on the island they find a doctor (Rutger Hauer) who sit and drinks in his cottage and feeling sorry that he ended up on this shitty island.

But of course, going there also means unpleasant things, not only alcoholic doctors. Byrde Gordon is a nasty, mean bitch who terrorizes her own family... and everybody else that she sees. She's the owner of the local funeral service, and has mismanaged it so much that the authorities has ordered that the graves should be moved. But many of the coffins are empty, and that's not only the result of Gordon's habit of stealing from the graves. There's something else lurking on the island...

It turns out that 300 years ago a Dutch family of smugglers moved to the island, the Van Daam's. Very rich, but also with a tendency to inbreeding - so one day they got burned to death by the rest of the islanders. But what no one really knew is that during all these years, Van Daam family has mutated, evolved and inbred themselves to a magnificent bunch of grossly deformed, almost legless monsters. Trolls as I call them. Moreover, they're also hermaphrodites, cannibals and living in a sophisticated tunnel system under the island.

And when the corpses is gone from the island they just need fresh meat...

Many people hate this movie, and I really can not understand why. It is certainly not bad. It's is no masterpiece either, but the cozy factor is good, the actors and the script is competent (of course, because Dan O'Bannon was involved in it) and it is still has plenty of blood, gore and nudity to satisfy horror fans. The monsters/trolls are quite unpleasant when they drag themselves around, but still there's some kind of "humanity" over them. Or maybe I'm just reading in to much in the storyline.

The screenplay is written by, among other people, Dan O'Bannon. A screenwriter I love. It's easy to see that he was involved in the story and characters, because there are those little touches that only O'Bannon could come up with. And a movie that dares to kill of some children and mix incest in the storyline is always fun ;)

The violence is quite graphic and effects are well done, so why complain? Come on! Here we have some legless killer trolls eating children! It's a dream come true!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Faceless (1987)

Among Jess Franco's eighties movies, Faceless is probably his most stylish production. Bloody Moon is quite close, but with a Paris-setting in 1987 with big shoulder pads, soft-pop-disco, massive gore and a perfect casting-touchdown consisting of Helmut Berger, Telly Savalas, Chris Mitchum, Caroline Munro, Howard Vernon, Brigitte Lahaie, it's hard to fail.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Flamand (Helmut Berger) lives in a strange incestuous relationship with his beloved sister Ingrid (Christiane Jean) and his medical colleague, the blonde psychopath Nathalie (Brigitte Lahaie). One evening Frank becomes the victim of an attack from an unhappy client, but his sister is the one who gets her face destroyed by acid! Frank and Nathalie starts to kidnap and murder young beautiful women to take their faces and transplanting them on Ingrid.

But one day photo model Barbara Hallen (Caroline Munro) is kidnapped and her father, Terry (Telly Savalas) sends private detective Sam Morgan (Chris Mitchum) to Paris to save his daughter. At the same time Frank begins to panic and decides to consult his old friend Dr. Orloff (Howard Vernon), the only who can perform a truly successful facial transplant. His answer is the old Nazi Dr. Karl Heinz Moser (Anton Diffring) who are still active. Now they need new fresh faces for the final operation ...

Faceless is as good as it can be. It also feels like and ending of a great career, which kinda is sad, but still proves the quality of our favorite director. Jess Franco weaves together his tale about Orloff, who was also the character that launched his career, together with new characters, but on a higher budget than normal. There's a dry sense of humor that feels very much like Uncle Jess. Faceless is also really brutal and bloody, and the effects works quite well, despite being a bit plastic. But what does it matter when the blood spurts in every direction? The story has a touch of the bizarre. Fetish-scenes and some soft-sex, but is never tasteless, just very stylish.

The end is cool and breaks the norm, rather strong, too. For who are the main characters anyway? Is Chris Mitchum we're rooting for? Hardly, it's instead the sadistic doctors and nurses! Franco directs with steady hands and most of the time the movie feels well thought out and the story works well even between the gore and splatter scenes. It's is also beautiful to see Howard Vernon in his last Franco film, in his classic role as Orloff. Here we have a genius at work, and he never lost touch of the characters he played, even if the movies somes was quite bad (Command Mengele anyone?).

I can not recommend this highly enough! Sleaze, blood, trash and... life is perfect!

Gunman (1983)

Thailand is so much more than martial arts, silly spy-movies, countryside-dramas and musicals. The man who started a new direction of Thai cinema is Chatrichalerm Yukol (a prince by the way). Focusing on gritty reality rather than fantasies he turned the Thai culture up-side-down. Sometimes with pure propaganda, but sometime with a gripping and intelligent crime-drama as Gunman (aka Mue Puen) from 1983. Starring is his favorite actor, Sorapong Chatree, and I think both of them are doing brilliant stuff in this movie.

Gunman begins with a long single take. Someone is sitting at the back of a motorbike, stops, walks into a restaurant, shots an man point blank and walks out again. What follows is a slightly comedic montage over witnesses trying to describe the man. Everyone has a different opinion about his look, but one thing is fore sure: he has a limp.

Ron Rittichai is Inspector Thanu Adharn, an attention seeking police officer who rather kills than ask questions. His life is a mess though, but he tries to play it cool. In another part of Bangkok is Sergeant Sommai Moungthup (Chatree) working as a hairdresser. His son is getting sicker, maybe from epilepsy and now we're starting to realise that behind this kind face is a killer, a gunman. Because the only thing Sommai can do is to kill. He does it without any hesitation.

His dream is to open a small shop outside of Bangkok, far away from the streets and the crime, and start a new life with his son. But the organization that gives him job encourages him to do more jobs, and soon the police is getting very close. Inspector Adharn isn't interested in pursuing Sommai, because Sommai saved his life in Laos once, but his colleagues, wife and press is forcing him to be more and more involved...

The storyline is classic, maybe basic, a gunman wanting to stop and get a new life. But this is so much better than I expected. The style is gritty and raw, but with beautiful cinematography and sharp editing. The Thai dvd is in 2.35:1 and the visuals, the lights and production reminds me of those cool New York-based thrillers that came from the US during the seventies. There's nothing really nice in this movie. Everyone is assholes, except Sommai's sick son. I mean, Sommai might be nice but he's still a cold blooded killer. It's a shit-world and director Chatrichalerm Yukol is eager to show us that. This is not an action movie, but it's still filled with very brutal violence - mostly gun violence - and very crude dialogue.

Yukol gives us the whorehouses, the sleazy bars, the back streets, the illness and disturbed relationships. Far from the typical happy Thai drama. This is raw film making and I'm very impressed. The acting is always a bit uneven and over-the-top in Thai movies, but this flick gives us some excellent performances. Sorapong Chatree is making the performance of his career, and is eerily convincing.

The Thai dvd has English subtitles, has the correct aspect ratio and is a good choice (and probably) to see this movie. The print is a bit beaten up, and it's taken from a video master of some kind - but it's still very acceptable. Buy it from for example.

Dan O'Bannon R.I.P!

This was sad news. Dan O´Bannons was one of the best screenwriters out there, and when he didn't get the full credit he at least contributed with some marvelous ideas and concepts. He was involved in many of the best screenplays I know, and some cheesy but great ones. All these are favorites of mine and I think all of them bear typical O'Bannon trademarks like good dialogue, interesting characters and truly shocking moments:

Dark Star
Dead & Buried
The Return of the Living Dead
Total Recall

I know the last two isn't the most loved movies out there, but they are two favorites of mine. Hemoglobin is a daring and provocative horror/monster movie about incest and inbreeding and Screamers is a VERY underrated sci-fi movie with great violence, actors and storyline.

The genre movie-industry just got a bit more boring...

The Mutants of Nightmare City - part 9

I'm happy when I see mutants that's not ashamed of themselves. It took a few years, but finally this mutant was prepared to step out of the closet and be proud over that he's a transvestite. Notice the strict dress and not to shabby wig. This is a mutant with style and taste.

Oh dear, some mutants just needs to do some nasty sucking. Not directly on the body, but from a good old bottle. Maybe he's scared of bacterias, or just don't want to get blood on his well-manicured hands.

This guy escaped from a Lucio Fulci-movie and managed to scare Hugo Stiglitz and the audience in at least one scene! Bravo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Hanging Woman (1973)

There's something special with spanish horror from the seventies. They are never stylish in the same way as the italian horror, but still brings the same feeling of dread, darkness and thick atmosphere. The Hanging Woman is a very competent horror-hybrid that mixes mystery, zombie, murder and gothic in a beautiful way. Stelvio Rosi, who have a nice seventies-brit look, plays Serge Chekov who arrives to the small depressing village in the mountains where his uncle has his house. But now the uncle is dead, and left in the house is his strange young wife and a scientist and his daughter. Just when Serge arrives to the village, he finds a hanged woman in the cementary. She was scared to death, and then hanged to make it look like a suicide. More strange things starts to happen in the village and his the house, and the gravedigger, Igor (Paul Naschy of course) seem to be involved in a lot of the occurances. And the fact that he's a necrophile don't help him when he's accused for what's happening...

I heard some bad things about this movie, but I can't agree on the negative things. This is a slow moving story, but it also have an amazing atmosphere and directing that keeps the story going without the audience getting bored. I love directors that can tell a story with the camera, and together with the editor knows the timing to makes everything work with not so much fancy editing. This is very basic craftmanship, but sometime that's just what a story need. Somehow this way of filming makes the stronger scenes even more powerful, and even if the physical decapitation in the movie is off screen, it still looks amazing when the head falls to the ground. The same thing with the zombies that appears in the end. Creepy stuff, and very intense.

But this is also a movie with quite a good script, and the twists and turns works very fine. Even I got surprised sometimes, and the mix of genres made the movie unpredictable. As you understand by now, Paul Naschy is not the lead actor, but his small character is good and Naschy knows how to make a good show even when he's not first in line in front of the camera. He looks like a brute, but he also was a skilled actor who could work without lines and effects. His charisma is enough in a part like this. Over all the acting in this movie was even and no one was bad. I don't have much experience with lead actor Stelvio Rosi, but his job here wants me to see more of his work. The ladies are good to, especially Maria Pia Conte as the weird widow of Chekovs uncle, who probably has the best written and fun female character in this movie.

Gory? Not really, but the decaptitation is lovely and there's also the typical no-budget autopsy where they use the carcass of a pig to imitate human flesh and skin. But the zombie-make up is eerie and cool and the production values are perfect for this kinda movie. Half the fun of the story is the cool location, the small dirty village with the mountains around it it. And it's raining or snowing almost all the time, so the feeling of cold dread is evident all the time.

What about the dvd? Much better than I expected. The print is made from two sources, one lesser tape-version which shows up in the beginning and in the end, and the rest is a good-looking fullscreen movie-print with nice saturated colors and good sound to. I guess the movie was shot wider, but you don't notice any direct cropping except during the pre-credits. The dvd is also loaded with extras, but I haven't had time to check them yet. But if Naschy is involved I'm sure it's good.

I'm very happy to own this movie and finally got a chance to see it, because this was a movie that I connected with directly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hanuman: White Monkey Warrior (2008)

My life has so far been great. It's been wonderful. I've seen so many wonderful, fun, entertaining and cool movies over the years. From all over the world. Thailand is a favorite movie-country of mine, and even though many movies are far from masterpieces they still have that naive charm, "it" you can call it. Today I lost my virginity to a mega-turd of a thai-movie: Hanuman: White Monkey Warrior. Obviously a try to cash-in on Tony Jaa/Panna Rittikrai/Prachya Pinkaew/any other talented personality from Thailand. And what a shitty movie this was.

Crap-actor Sornram Theppitak plays Yod, an ex-policeman that walks around doing nothing. He's in love with a woman who has some kind of home for... children/fat kids/retards/anyone that seem to be around in the countryside. But Yod is a troubled man. His father and family where killed by some evil foreigners and he wants revenge. He knows to much, of course, and the baddies wants to kill him... and yeah, I have no idea whats going on. They run a around a lot anyway. Fight a little bit. Bad digital explosions. More fight and the most funny scene I've seen in a long time, except it should be the opposite.

I don't know what to begin with. Director Sakchai Sribonnam clearly don't know what he's doing. I've never seen a movie with such a lack of energy as this one. Hello! Is there anybody out there? No one hears you because no one listen to each other, actors, camera crew, director, editor. Everybody made their own little shit-movie. Man, it's actually has some budget. Maybe more than the first Ong Bak! But where's the production value? The biggest location is also the best: a shoot-out on a freeway. It's okey, but I've seen better in PM Entertainment Groups movies. And they made twenty movies every year.

The actors are unbelievable bad. No, sorry. Two of the actors are unbelievable bad, and I'm afraid it's the hero and the main fighter-villian. Sornram Theppitak thinks he's in a thai daytime-soap and has watery eyes and half-open mouth in every scene without fighting. When it comes to the fights he can't fight at all and all the scenes where you see it's him he just runs around trying not to be kicked, and fuck yeah.. I could do it better! The rest is done with a mediocre stuntman, or at least with a mediocre choreographer. The bad guy has a tattoo and look that makes you want to hide your face of shame. I don't want to talk about it. Forget everything.

In he last twenty minutes we have some okey stuff, but it don't save the movie at all. There's a fight in some kind of illegal fighting club which has some nice moves and some good stunts. But not much at all. The final fight, in and outside a factory, is pure shit - but has two tasteless gore-scenes which don't fit into the rest of the movie. The most disturbing one is when our brave hero impales a bad guy with a iron rod through his ass and out from throat!

I will never see it again, but I will always remember once scene, more fun than the rest: twenty children (+ the "happy retard" and the "funny fat" kid) has died in a fire, Yod discovers this and try to wake these barbecued bodies with shaking them and screaming their names! One after another... and then there's an extra flashback together with each body that shows something funny/cute that the dead person did earlier in the movie. Yes, it's very, very, very funny. The burned bodies, not the flashbacks.

I'm not gonna say that you should avoid this movie, because that's just silly. Try it if you want to, but write a note before you kill yourself and let your family know that you did it on your on free will and that I can't be blamed for your death.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Mutants of Nightmare City - part 8

Wow, this guy drank way to much before he became a mutant! Or was it the "mutantism" that made him an old wino? Actually, during christmas he always wear those silly reindeer-horns on his head to show that has some sense of humor and can joke about it.

A legend in his own time! Professor Hagenbeck is the source of every mutant (I guess, because he was the expert and therefor he must mutate first). It's a pity that he just makes this appearance and then just leaves us alone for the rest of the movie...

The priest-mutant has always been a mystery because it's obvious that our heroes see his deformations first, because the nice part of the face is in our direction. But that's just a small detail. Even if I'm a devoted atheist, I admire that he's still praying even when he's a mutant. Probably one of those god damn liberal priests!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finally Iron King

I've been thinking for a long while to buy Iron King - The Complete Series, but it wasn't until last week when Jocke mention to me how cheap the collection was at Amazon (from private sellers of course), and quickly decided to buy it. I chose the wrong shipping and was expecting it in like eight weeks, but it arrived today.

I'm pretty sure I will love it. Ultraman is the best thing to watch a boring day, Message From Space: Galactic Battle is FANTASTIC and as soon as Mill Creek re-releases Super Robot Red Baron I will get that one to. 

The japanese sure could produce fun sci-fi shows for the whole family, even a swedish nerd like me.

Spirited Killer 2: Awakened Zombie Battles (199?)

Okey, first of all, Spirited Killer 2: Awakened Zombie Battles is not the correct title. It's just the titles that Mill Creek has given this unknown thai-movie. It has nothing to do with Spirited Killer (who actually was part 4 in that series) and dosen't feature Tony Jaa. But for me it's of great interested, because this is another of Panna Rittikrais early movies.

For you who don't know about Rittikrai, he's the man behind Tony Jaa and I consider him to be one of the best movie-fighters EVER. In his early movies he had bigger parts in these ultra-lowbudget countryside-actionflicks, but later focused more on choreography and smaller parts, often as a bad guy. Not everything is good of course, and movies like this could probably only have been made in the north of Thailand for a penny or two. This is also one of the huge amount of Rittikrai-movies which have the following story: some people have some business in the jungle and discover that they have a zombie after them, a martial arts-zombie! In this movie it's more complicated: our heroes is out in the forest to do some magic ritual for their dead grandfather. Nothing special with that, but at the same time, not far away, is a bunch of gangster trying to move the spirit from their dead leader to a new leader... and not far away from from them is a couple treasure hunters who finds a chinese dead guy with a treasure under him.

So of course the worst happens. All magic rituals in the area is waking up the dead gangster AND the dead chinese guy and they start hunting down everybody that happens to be in the forest! After a while Panna Rittikrai shows up and uses black magic to take the power from the zombies to transform himself to a super-fighter!

This is wonderful Thai-trash. The story is zero and everything is filled with cheesy fighting (some of it is quite good, but nothing unique), a splash of silly gore and a lot of slapstick! We have fart-jokes, we have speeding-up-footage-jokes and "crazy" voices on some of the characters. I like the rituals and the visual effects is primitive. During one fight an instrumental version of Europe's The Final Countdown starts, but the rest of the soundtrack is stolen from John Carpenters Prince of Darkness!

I guess it's not many people who actually can stand these movies, but I do. It's not a good movie by any means, but it's okey entertainment for idiots like me. The Mill Creek-release is not bad at all. You can find the movie in the Spirited Killer Trilogy and the quality is better than I ever thought they would be. Miles better than any crappy thai vcd's, and the aspect ratio is correct - but you have to maybe squeeze the TV-screen a bit, change from 16:9 to letterbox or something like that. Try it and you will get it right sooner or later.

After BCI went down the drain Mill Creek took over some titles. and it's great that they released this trio of movies. Spirited Killer is also out on single release from BCI, but it's a crappy movie anyway, so get this box if you're interested in getting it cheap.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scared (2005)

I'm not sure what to write about Scared, but it's an entertaining piece of thai-cinema with a paper-thin script, all young actors look the same and easily to understand even without subtitles. A school class is celebrating end of school (I guess... maybe it's just summer vacation or something), so they're going out on a bus trip. After crashing with the bus - and the driver gets his face impaled by a big piece of wood - they try to get back to civilization. But something or someone don't want them to leave the countryside, and one by one they died en bizarre and bloody accidents or get hunted down by a very violent killer!

The story isn't much more than that, but except the silly ending, this is a fun and competent splatter movie with a decent budget and actors more cute than good. This project must have been planned to be a summer blockbuster and create poster-stars of most of the cast. I'm not sure that happen, I'm not even sure it became a big success, but still - I like it a lot and I'm surprised that it's not out DVD in the US or Europe. Shot on HD it looks very good without probably costing to much to produce. The actors are all around their twenties and are there to get killed and nothing more. And look cute I guess.

What makes this movie extra special is the generous amount of gore. Most of the killings is very graphic. I think that at least five or six of the victims have their heads impaled, crushed or something else. The head, or at least the top of the head, is sacred in Thailand so I think this makes it even more powerful. But then we have a lot of other nasty killings and the body count is very, very high. But all this is made with a tongue-in-cheek approach and even if I don't understand everything, I realize that the beginning of the movie is a parody of asian ghost-movies. Which is quite funny.

But the big problem is the ending. It's not that bad (like everything is a dream or something stupid like that) and it's possible to accept, but it's also a cheap way to end a very advanced set-up. It's been done before and I hope it will never happen again. But don't that scare you, this is a gory and over-the-top splatter movie which makes the last Final Destination to look like a piece of... crap.

Curse of Snakes Valley (1987)

Holy Batarang, baby! I've seen a lot from Poland, Soviet and the rest of these fantastic ex-communist countries, but I never thought I would see a Indiana Jones-rip off shot in Vietnam starring the manly hero from swedish action-classic The Ninja Mission, Krzysztof Kolberger! The original title is more catchy, Klatwa Doliny Wezy, but I will stick to Klatwa whenever I reference the title in the reviews. So you all know.

Krzysztof Kolberger plays Jan Tarnas, a professor in ancient asian writing. He works and teaches in Paris. One day the old ex-military Tarnas (Roman Wilhelmi) contacts him and shows a very rare document that he found in Vietnam in the fifties. The document hides another document, a treasure map, and together they go to Vietnam (I guess it's Vietnam, but in the end they also mention Thailand... so I have no idea)... followed by the curious female journalist Christine (Ewa Salacka, who died way to early in 2006 by a wasp-sting!), to find the cursed snake valley where the treasure is hidden. The problem is that the ancient document warns them of four dangers that will kill them if they don't do everything right...

This is really an amazing little movie, at least for us that like obscure european genre cinema. It's a almost to perfect combination between classic polish sci-fi and mystery and with a real Indiana Jones-movie. Kolbergers character is part Robert Langdon and part Henry Jones Jr, but most of the most dangerous stuff is left to the character Tarnas. The locations are glorious, and I would love to get some more info where they shot Klatwa. The hidden temple is under an old ancient temple up on a hill, with jungle all around it, which looks beautiful. In Europe the setting of Paris looks very fine, but Vietnam steals everything. The underground temple itself is a lovely set, right from an Indy-movie - with traps and all! One character even throws his hat and sets of a trap! We have laser-shooting statues, a big monster-snake and a cool surprise in the end of the trip.

The twist is actually quite original, though I don't understand everything of it. I can see the danger of this fourth thing... but it can also be a good thing for those that put it there. You'll have to see it yourself. Sure, the budget isn't that big, and some effects looks a bit hokey even by the standard of that time. But the overfall feeling of the story and quality of the production makes this a very nice little adventure-movie. It's also quite violent with some bloody squibs, rotting corpses (of course, this is a Indy-rip off!) and a buddhist monk with lethal throwing stars!

A movie I recommend, but try to get a good version of it. I had to watch a downloaded TV-rip, but I heard there's a DVD-release from Ruscico - but only with russian dub and no subtitles! So Let's all hope it will arrive in better, more english-friendly version soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Please, can someone translate Thai titles for me?

These are two movies starring Panna Rittikrai, but the english titles are to bad to be true, and I want to identify them and give them the correct titles. Both phonetical thai and an english translation. Just for the sake of it and that I hate that there's wrong information out here. 

I am grateful for all the help I can get!

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Easily one of the most loathed Stephen King-movies out there, but what can I say? Sleepwalkers is a good movie, with an original build-up and probably a bit to uncommercial for the big audience out there. Brian Krause and Alice Krige plays Charles and Mary, son and mother on the run. They are some kind of creatures called Sleepwalkers. They kill humans and such the energy from them, and the only thing that can hurt them is... cats! After coming to a new little town Charles get interested in Tanya (Mädchen Amick), and feels that she's the best food for him and his mother...

The best part with Sleepwalkers is the (incestuous) relationship between Charles and Mary. They live for each other, and even if we all think that Charles might be interested in Tanya for real... he's not. An plot twist like that would very boring. Charles just want to eat and make his mother stronger. The movie also focuses on this relationship, which makes a movie without a real hero. Sure, Tanya could be a heroine, but she's never that important. Other characters are just killed off quickly, and those we root to is this slightly dysfunctional monster/alien family.

I totally forgot that it was Mick Garris that was the director, and it's a pity that this is one of his most forgotten movies. The script isn't perfect, and a little bit more work on the other characters would have been great. But on the other side, they're only there to be food anyway. There's a lot of cameos and guest roles all over the movie: Mark Hamill, Clive Barker, John Landis, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, Ron Perlman and Stephen King himself in his normal hillbilly-part. A nice surprise is the gory killings, which is more graphic than I could remember. The cat-scenes are also very well made, and might not be for those that can't stand getting a lot of cats getting their necks twisted! Digital effects is good, but a bit primitive compared what we can see today. Monster-make up is cool and a bit eerie.

Maybe I'm reading to much into this movie, with it's dark and bizarre incest-twist between mother and son, but I actually think that part is very, very good. It's more arty, with long takes and always with good dialogue - which is strange, because the rest is more of a normal monster-of-the-week feature. Nothing bad with that, I like it, but it's an odd combination.