Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Il était une fois le diable - Devil Story (1985)

From Sheep Tapes comes Devil Story, which probably is the weirdest and stranges horror movie ever to come from France. Or horror, it's hardly scary. Just filled with odd scenes directed by Bernard "One Take" Launois, bound together with the thinnest red thread I've ever seen. It's pure insanity and the best way is describe this movie is to use that word and make everything so much clearer:

Incredible strange.
Not enough gore, but still OK.
Shabby editing.
A man shooting at a horse for half the movie?
Not especially smart story.
I never got bored.
Total madness.
You need this movie!

Yeah, you need it. Buy it here or barf blood for three minutes! And if you want to barf blood for three minutes and still don't want to buy the movie, I predict your thumbs will jump to the wrong side of the hand. Like in the movie.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing But the Night (1973)

I love finding horror movies that surprises me and that somehow stayed out of my life after all these years. Nothing But the Night is a smart and original horror-thriller produced by Christopher Lee's own company and directed by one of the best, Peter Sasdy. Why I love Sasdy's work so much is because his will to over and over again visit the really dark subjects about humanity, and Nothing But the Night is no different from that path. It was a big flop, I heard, when it was released and not be honest, I don't understand why. Maybe it just took the twisted ending to far in combination with a very grey, typical British beginning on the verge on social realism - but hey, that's what's so unique with this movie and makes it even more surprising.

Christopher Lee is Colonel Bingham, a good old chap who investigates a couple of very odd suicides and accidents. This leads him to a girl, Mary Valley (Gwyneth Strong) who have strange violent dreams - and who lives at an orphanage connected to the people who died. Her real mother, played intense by Diana Dors, is a disturbing ex-prostitute with a taste for black magic and who wants her back. So after committing a crime at the hospital where her daughter stayed after an accident, she now goes after her to the secluded orphanage to bring her home. Bingham brings his friend, Sir Mark Ashley (Peter Cushing), with him in the investigation and... well, let me say there will be some surprises along the way!

I watched the movie for the first time today and before now I had NO clue what it was about. I never read about it, didn't check the reviews (except facts about quality), and didn't ask around for options from friends. This probably helped me love this movie even more, but it's hard not to love a movie with such a clever build-up anyway. I mean, this movie is almost to normal until the last half hour. It has some murders, some social commentary about the media, very good acting, very grey and realistic - but then shit hits the fan and everything turns around - and it's one of the finer twists I've seen. Maybe it's been done before, but here it's just so well-done. It even made the hair on my arms stand up because I like these kinda surprising twists that completely takes another dramatic turn than I expected from the beginning.

Like always, the relationship between Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is the highlight of the movie. They where friends, and together their connection as actor comes close to perfection. It might not be as fantastic as Horror Express, but this is a very different story with a even more different atmosphere. The whole thing is built around a slightly boring case of a mad mother wanting her daughter back, but this was obviously the plan - and if you have no problem with a slow start you will be treated with some fine shocks towards the end. I'm not the first or last that will compare this movie to The Wicker Man, but this is a movie that stands on it's own legs and delivers the quality we wants from a seventies UK production.

The whole movie is filled with good British quality actors, but Diana Dors has always been a favourite of mine and here she's both scary and excellent as Anna Harb - mother, whore and fortune teller. If you think about it afterwards, she's a quite smart character - maybe someone who really can "read" other people. Diana was also quite an original character herself, and to really experience this weirdness, watch Who Got Diana Dors' Millions from 2003, a documentary trying to solve her last riddle...

Another nice part of the movie is the soundtrack by Malcolm Williamson, compositions that almost imitates the work of Basil Kirchin. The same almost dreamy jazz-influenced pieces that Basil did for the Dr Phibes movies and 1974's The Mutations. Good stuff.

I'm sure most of you would appreciate this thriller, so buy it now!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf (2009)

I first heard of Kurando Mitsutake's indie-production Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf a couple of years ago. I remember I saw a teaser trailer and some artwork, but then I kinda lost track of it and didn't think about it until I found a massive luxury BD/DVD release at the Weekend of Horrors in Bottrop. So I bought it and a couple of weeks later I finally got time to sit down and watch it. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect because I never got a chance follow the production and the purchase was just because of pure luck. It's a good way to watch a movie, and in this case I would say the absence of hype just was perfect.

Before Blind Wolf (Kurando Mitsutake) became Blind Wolf he was a normal, nerdy, Japanese man who witnessed his whole family get slaughtered - or at least he heard it, because the bad guys gave him a choice: poke out your eyes and we're not gonna kill your wife and daughter. Guess what happens? Anyway, Blind Wolf sets out for revenge and as a Japanese man with no name he takes his sword and goes after the sleazy baddie, Nathan Flesher (a brilliant Domiziano Arcangeli) who's responsible for it all. But Flesher knows he's being hunted and sends out seven assassins to stop Blind Wolf. During his trip, Blind Wolf meets The Drifter (Jeffrey James Lippold), another man out for revenge...

There's a danger with making modern Grindhouse films. A danger of making fun of classic cinema and somehow claiming that the movies they are inspired by are bad movies, tacky and corny productions. It's a very fine line between just being silly and making a serious tribute to the films of yesterday. Samurai Avenger manages to stay on the right side of filmmaking with a serious approach both to the story itself and the references to numerous samurai and western movies. Like with a good parody the fun comes from respecting the original productions. Mel Brooks once made brilliant parodies of movies and genres that he loved, but once he started to make fun of Star Wars and Robin Hood - productions he never cared for - his productions became cold and stiff.

Kurando Mitsutake, like the true indie-director he is, stars as the main character Blind Wolf, directs and writes the movie - and amazingly enough he carries the story and seem to take his acting as serious as the directing. Even if Samurai Avenger has an episodic feeling, which often happens with movies that could be considered road movies, this is far from a bunch of weird scenes put together to make a cult movie. Storytelling is no. 1 and everything hangs together. Our hero is meeting seven assassins, but something that could have been repetitive becomes interesting and have it's place in the story. Even more absurd stuff like the Zombie Mistress and her three zombies fits so well into the surrealistic atmosphere. This movie could be set in another dimension, an alternative reality, where the prison is a small shack out in the wilderness and people are bleeding liter after liter of ultra-red blood. There's not one second of realism in the story, but a lot of depth within the characters.

There's a lot of gags referring to the Grindhouse-aspect of Samurai Avenger. Blind Wolf is dubbed by a much manlier voice, there's a few sequences that looks to been taken from a more worn out print and from time to time a narrator tells us about details in the story, mostly related to samurai traditions. This could have been forced and stilted, but works very fine.

Like all good samurai movies the blood flows in huge amounts. Most of the gore and effects is well-done and echoes both the Japanese cinema from the seventies, but never becomes to realistic either. This is a fun movie and the gore is mostly there to entertain than to disgust someone.
Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf was a nice surprise and I hope that Kurando Mitsutake and his team will bring us more stories in the future. I, for one, welcomes more of this kind.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To quit or not to quit?

I have no idea. To quit or not to quit? To stop blogging about movies or continue? Everytime I watch a movie it feels more and more meaningless to write about it. Everyone has written everything about every movie. And the rest just don't care.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blood Tracks (1985)

"From the makers of A Nightmare on Elm Street" said the advertising material belong to Blood Tracks when it was sold in Cannes in the middle of the eighties! This came from the fact that it was distributed by New Line Cinema, who also distributed Mats Helges earlier hit movie The Ninja Mission and with the money from that one produced the first movie with legendary horror icon Freddy Krueger. But Blood Tracks is very far from the glitter and glam of Hollywood. Shot in the south of Sweden and a few scenes in Funäsdalen, this is a small but interesting piece of trash from the annals of Swedish trash cinema.

Easy Action arrives to a small village up in the mountains. They're gonna shoot a new music video there, as publicity for their new upcoming hit album! The director quickly finds an abandoned factory and the team decides to do some location scouting there. But an avalanche stops them from going back to civilisation and soon they're hunted by a murderous inbred tribe of crazies, the left-over's from a family that fled up there after a murder and never looked back! Now they want to protect what's theirs and they're very, very bloodthirsty!

Blood Tracks is basically a Swedish version of The Hills Have Eyes, but with more snow and more gore. I've seen this many times on tape and I never seen it as bloody and graphic as this version. Legendary for being hard to find in a complete version, this DVD from CMV Laservision could be the longest ever. It's far from perfect, but the full frame presentation is decent, but has a few cropping issues that blocks out nudity (not all, just one scene - I think the rest is complete). The Japanese version has always been considered the longest and a few alternative scenes, just based on the cropping, is included on this DVD and sourced from the Japanese tape. But the rest, yeah dammit, this could the best most uncut version so far.

The added gore really boosts the entertainment value of the movie. Mats Helge uses buckets of blood for a graphic impaling, stabbings, a burning, a ripped out eye and other nasty surprises. We're not talking Tom Savini quality here, but still - it's not bad at all. The most infamous scene, mostly because it's been cut everywhere, is when a woman is ripped apart (just like in Ruggero Deodato's Cut and Run and Fulci's Conquest). In every version I've seen you just see blood on her face and then cut to another character watching, but here you actually see her get ripped apart. The effect is primitive, but it's there and it's bloody. Other effects is also more visible, for example the cut of arm and another shot of a woman laying on the ground with a pipe through her chest.

Blood Tracks is very cheesy, cheap and silly, but finally it lives up to it's promise as a real, bloody and nasty slasher. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece, because it's not - Mats Helge was most of his career a very incompetent storyteller - but this ranks as his best together with The Ninja Mission.

The German (or Austrian?) DVD is released under the name Shocking Heavy Metal and it's a must for collectors of Swedish cult and gory slashers!

And because I'm so nice I'm sharing the uncut body ripping-scene (in German language, by mistake) with you, enjoy! I see now that she's not getting ripped apart, she's cut in two pieces by the rope!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Killer Elephants in stock again!

After reading yet another fine review, this time at Mondo Digital, I hope you all feel inspired to go to Diabolik DVD (the only solution for you who don't live in Scandinavia) and buy a copy of Attackafant Entertainment's release of The Killer Elephants! Here's the direct link!

Attackafant Entertainment is a small company, very small. Every sold DVD means that we can get closer to release even more DVDs in the future. The next will already arrive in January, the fantastic monster movie Thunder of Gigantic Serpent. Our focus is at movies that's hard to get and even of many of them are lost we try to dig up the best possible version - in these cases we used digibetas directly from the rights holder in Hong Kong.

If you live in Sweden you can buy The Killer Elephants at, for example, Discshop, Ginza, Webhallen, Megastore and many other places. If your store don't have it, ask them to order it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Supernaturals (1986)

My relationship with director Armand Mastroianni is odd. I'm trying to find every horror/thriller movie he made and every time I find one I realize that it's not really that good. Sometimes even boring, or just lacking "it". But why the hell do I continue to seek up his work? There must be something in what he does that attracts me. Maybe he has good ideas that never reach their full potential? I have no idea. The Supernaturals is a zombie movie made when horror movies started to fade out from mainstream culture, which means it's low on gore and terror, but has a childish approach to it's themes that's more connected to movies like The Gooniss and The Monster Squad, but still not suitable for kids.

Nichelle Nicolas, the female afro-american version of Cameron Mitchell (just look at those eyebrows!) leads a troup of soldiers for an exercise out in the deep southern forests (I have no idea if it's the south, but it sounded good!). What they don't know - as usual with these horror romps - is that the area is cursed and underneath the ground awaits a small army of civil war zombies to kill them and take revenge on their deaths!

That's it. And it takes some time to get going. My reaction to the first half was that it was flat and uninspired. Like Mastroianni just didn't care for either the flashbacks or the normal life of the soldiers. I can agree, because that's the least interesting in the whole movie - and it never works as a good set-up either. But when the night finally falls and the zombies awake and becomes more active I would say that this becomes a good little zombie movie. I love how the zombies has tunnels underground and sets out traps for the soldiers, which also generates a couple of the very few bloody scenes in the whole movie. I'm not sure if it was edited for violence, but it could have used some more to really make up for the boring first part.

Maybe it would have worked better with more defined characters. Right now I can't remember any of them, except Nichelle Nichols - but that's because she's famous from Star Trek and it's fun that she of all people plays the officer in charge. The characters seem to melt together, and in the end it's the nice zombies who takes the lead. Yeah, almost forgot, Maxwell Caulfield plays one of the main characters and he's good. Weird that he didn't became a more popular mainstream hunk, instead of slumming in DTV movies and soap operas after this.

I can understand all the negative stuff I've heard about The Supernaturals, but it a few fun scenes here and there and the zombies and night-time locations was nice enough for me. Watch it on your own risk!

X-Ray (1982)

I'm sure the distributors never knew what hit them. It was suppose to be an ordinary slasher, and it turned out to be the almost surreal cheese-fest X-Ray. No, I'm not negative at all, this is prime cheese with a storyline so simple even Andreas Schnaas couldn't have failed with telling the story. Directed by legendary Boaz Davidson under the protective shield of Cannon's even more legendary Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan. In front of the camera they trusted Barbi Benton, the former Playboy model and ex-wife of Hugh Hefner (and also a productive recording artist) and the result is the silliest slasher ever made.

Susan Jeremy (Barbi Benton) goes to the hospital for a routine check, but something is not right and soon they're are keeping her there much longer than needed. At the same time a man, dressed in a surgeons outfit, starts killing the staff of the hospital one by one! Could it be the crazy boy that killed Susan's best friend by impaling him on a coat-hanger 16 years earlier? How the hell should Susan know that? She's still waiting for the doctor, not realizing that someone is fucking with her files to make her stay longer at the hospital...

This must be the first and only time a story is built around long waiting times at the hospital! I can imagine how the screenwriter experienced something similar, short visit that ended up four hours later and with less answers than before. It's basically Halloween 2 mixed with My Bloody Valentine with a couple of splashes of very soft porn and a slasher parody like Wacko or Student Bodies - but unintentional. It's like the filmmakers didn't even try to make it scary, they just had a big hospital set and a couple of actors walking around without any real purpose and decided to toss together the next slasher hit.

I guess it didn't became a hit and the silly plot and absurd twist probably helped. But I'm not saying this is a bad movie. It's flawed and silly and stupid and retarded and more stupid, but it's also entertaining and has a nice body count and Barbi Benton being quite effective in the lead. And she show's her tits in one long and gratuitous sequence, for those who like that. Barbi looks like a TV-actress, and the visual style of the movie echoes any soap opera set in a hospital, but that's a neat combination - especially with bloody (not gory) murders happening around every corner.

X-Ray is out on DVD in Germany. I have no idea if it's a bootleg or not, but it looks OK in it's fullscreen presentation, probably taken from a Betacam SP master (just a guess, because I think the terrible quality a VHS would offer) and seem to be uncut.

A nice addition to the slasher-collection!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't Wake the Dead (2008)

Because I have nothing intelligent to write about Andreas Schnaas Don't Wake the Dead I'll just share my comments on Facebook, who I wrote while watching the movie. Please don't hurt me, Mr Schnaas!

Ok, let's talk about Don't Wake The Dead...

First of, Schnaas has a career in movies. I don't. So that gives me full right to hate his movies.

Is this a porn movie or a daytime soap?

A movie always becomes better if you use the camera microphone to record the sound - NOT!

Of lord! And people complain about the digital effects in The Asylum's movies.

Nice location. Can't whine about that! But I would like to!

Aha, the hired a dwarf with an oversized hat. Or maybe he's just a short German guy?

They couldn't even put energy on a decent painting of Hitler. Oh, it's not Hitler. Just a random Nazi.

For being a famous gore-director he's totally incompetent in filming effective gore-scenes!

Oh no. The band. And the act like a bunch of catholic priests at a summer camp for girls: not at all.

A woman is talking loud to herself while stumbling around outside the castle.

Is she being raped by the zombie monks? No, just by the dialogue.

‎"Hello! I'm 38 and pretend to be 19!"

Yeah, to speed up footage to make something look faster is always a brilliant idea.

But seriously, I would give a lot to be able to have a career like Schnaas. The difference is that I would make better movies.

The composer obviously just fed his cat with Chili and locked it in the closet together with his synthesizer.

"This is totally ridiculous!" - both a line from the movie and my opinion about it.

Why do people taking all the time, telling us EVERYTHING they do?!????

An actress tries to act shocked. That or she's having a minor attack of epilepsy.

I guess the zombies can't get in the house because they didn't have permission splash blood inside?

There's no furniture in this castle.

I hope someone mercy-killed the cast and crew afterwards.

A headless body suddenly has a head, and the only thing the camera man had to do was to turn the camera one inch.

It would be more powerful if the woman playing a leather-zombie could stop smiling.

On the positive side, I'm not bored! Which according to my rules means this is a good movie. But rules needs to be broken from time to time.

WTF! A fucking concert!

I guess the members must be from one of those classes for "special kids". They act like that anyway.

Andreas Schnaas gives eurocult a bad name.

The singer of the band sounds like a twelve year old boyscout who needs to take a dump.

Modern Talking is better than this band and Dieter Bohlen and Thomas Anders even look like real zombies, but with more surgery.

Accidentally killed by a broken wine bottle... She fell on it. Just like that.

Another thing I like: the zombies as dry powder blood and the humans as wet blood.

One nice kill now, with realistic prosthetics. First time in this movie.

I'm starting to get bored now. To much talking.

Most of the gore is quite fun, but badly filmed.

God, I HATE this concert scene!!!!!!

It's over!!!! I can tell ya one thing, if Schnaas called me now and said how much he hated me but at the same time told me to come down to Germany and do small role in his next movie to see how fun it is, I would do it without hesitation!

That's it folks!

Zombie Apocalypse (2011)

Between 2-9 of November American Film Market had it's annual convention where a lot of movie deals are done. I would love to go there someday, just for window shopping and getting free candy and pens from the booths belonging to every hopeful distributor on the planet. Anyway, I heard somewhere - and I don't know if it's true or not - that around 250 zombie movies was for sale this year! Seems like the market is a bit over-saturated with the living dead. I'm not saying it's 250 BAD zombie movies, but I'm sure the majority of these are utter trash. Therefore I decided to check out what TV had to offer, and I felt SyFy's Zombie Apocalypse was the way to go. Produced by controversial company The Asylum, a gang of people who proudly make professional low budget versions of big budget blockbusters. Zombie Apocalypse was probably, somewhere along the road, inspired by the success of The Walking Dead, but that's about it. This is it's own universe, and believe me or not, but it works quite good.

A couple of months after the zombie epidemic wiped out 90 percent of the earths population, and the governments - trying to stop the spreading of the virus - bombed us all to hell with electromagnetic pulse bombs, we're completely fucked. We join a couple of old friends, wandering aimlessly outside on the countryside. After one of them bites the dust by the hands of zombies, another gang of more professional zombie-hunters saves them and together they continue a city where a boat will meet them and take the to the Catalina Island. But the road there is dangerous and the zombies are slowly getting smarter and more vicious. There's several kind of zombies to look out for, both running and walking - and then we have the animals... Will they make it?! I won't tell you of course, but come on, this is a SyFy movie!

I've seen more than a few zombie flicks during the last years, or related - like mutated people, people with an aggressive illness etc. I guess this one falls in-between, because the zombies (which they are called) both shows signs of being dead and having a virus of some kind. I guess they die fast and then become living deadheads! Some have been stinkers, some have been good and some a little bit of both. UK-African co-production The Dead was a disappointment and I can't recommend it at all, Serbian Apocalypse of the Dead was trashy fun, the Mattei-flicks was cheap and great, I dig the Resident Evil-franchise... and even if some people says the opposite, I would say that Nick Lyon's Zombie Apocalypse belongs with the good one's. But this is still a TV-movie, made on a fairly low budget and extremely generic. If you can handle those facts, you're in for a treat.

The script is pretty straight forward, which could have been a failure - because no one likes a boring zombie movie. But the story is built up with a good amount of tension and likable characters. You have zombie attacks every ten minute or so, but they never get repetitive. There's a point with every attack, from killing of a character to introduce the characters to a new adventure. It helps that the zombie make-up is good (I was a bit worried when I saw the behind the scenes-stills at The Asylum's homepage, but you can't compared unprocessed stills with the finished product) and the dialogue is down to a minimum. Because I HATE when people talk just for the sake of talking, and in low budget movies that means that the script isn't good enough. Here they talk when they need to, and usually say good stuff. Most importantly they made the world, or the US, look deserted and post-apocalyptic, which is very impressive considering the budget, and adds to the atmosphere.

Gore? Well, this is a movie made for the SyFy Channel, but it could be the bloodiest SyFy production I've seen. True to The Asylum's traditions the gore is digital, but it's used in such a frenzy that it works fine. A lot of heads is being chopped off, body parts and blood spurting and a high body count - and an even higher zombie count. I'm not sure if the SyFy version was edited for violence, it usually happens on that channel, but if so I hope there will be an even bloodier version on BD as soon as possible!

The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971)

Riccardo Freda, the man who started it all, always had a hard time with the newer fans of eurocult. Maybe the productions he made later in his career wasn't as polished as the work of Dario Argento and Mario Bava and the script's was a bit sloppier. But isn't that part of the grindhouse-tradition that we love so much? Should a movie be perfect to be considered as a good movie? I consider both Tragic Ceremony and Murder Obsession flawed but very interesting pieces of eurocult and well worth re-evaluating for those who once upon a time decided they where inferior works of a very talented man. I been wanting to see The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire for a long time now, and after picking it up at Weekend of Horrors in Bottrop I finally got the chance to see it.

I really don't want to go into the story, which is a complex mess of a lot of characters and red herrings, and even in the end I wasn't totally sure WHY the killer attacked all those people, but it works good as a fairly bloody and nicely acted giallo. Much of it evolves around an ambassador and his family, all of them are suspects in the case of the mysterious killer slicing the throats of beautiful young women. But the main story, and the best, is that of ex-cop John Norton (the great Luigi Pistilli), who can't stay away from the police-business. Both because he's a highly original character but also because his former colleagues understands that he's too good to be ignored. He lives together with his slightly confused, and crime-interested mother, and his teenager daughter. These scenes are great, filled with a fine chemistry and somehow it feels like Freda invested a lot more in this storyline than all the others trying to find their place in the script. It's understandable, because it's best written part of the movie.

Iguana gets a bit to talky and convoluted for its own best, but it's a pleasure seeing all the great actors and colourful characters trying to take over every scene. From Pistilli, of course, to genre stalwarts like Werner Pochath, Dagmar Lassander, Renato Romano and Anton Diffring doing excellent work. Also watch out for a cameo from legendary laundry facility The Swastika Laundry, with a nice juicy swastika as the logotype. It was located in Dublin from 1912 to 1987, and it's name and symbol of course referenced the ancient culture of India and nothing else. But it's a fun detail.

Freda is handling the direction very well, and he uses the Dublin and Irish locations very well. The look of the movie is a lot more interesting than many of those based in Rome. Sure, everything in the production is rough around the edges, but for me that just adds to the charm and grittiness of the story. Because, even if it's giallo with beautiful ladies and a complex plot, it's also a surprisingly violent and cynical story. The gore, while not in any huge amounts, are very bloody and sadistic - mostly graphic throat-slits and the killer throwing acid in the faces of his/hers victims. The attack on one characters family is also very cruel and violent. Plenty of nudity for those who likes that, and more red herrings than you can count.

The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is not perfect, but still an entertaining and violent giallo set in a great location and with a solid cast. I liked it, which of course doesn't mean anything if you look at the history of my taste in movies.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roaring Fire (1982)

Last day at Weekend of Horrors in Germany. Tired, broke and just wishing I could be back home in my own bed and with a less aggressive native language around me. On the second floor, just inside the "No one under 18 years"-section, I looked down and saw... a cheap Josefine Mutzenbacher-box and thought of Jocke directly. But that's not the point with this story, the point is that not far away, maybe a meter away, I saw a small "hartbox" with the title Diamentenauge, starring Hiroyuki Sanada and Sonny Chiba. I froze. "I need this!". Sonny is one of the coolest actors ever and Hiroyuki is quite a hottie. That's how I came to own ROARING FIRE!

This might be a bit confusing: as a baby Joji (Sanada) was kidnapped, without reason, by a man and moved with him to Texas. There he grew up to be a phenomenal cowboy and a friend of the nice native Americans. On his deathbed, the man he thought was his father, tells him that he has a twin brother in Japan! BUT what none of them knows is that his twin brother, Toru, became a Hong Kong gangster and just days before got shot to death, in a very bloody way!!! Joji goes back to Japan and goes directly to his family's house where he finds a small army of half-naked women swimming in the pool. Some of them topless! But here's the deal: his uncle is really evil, he's a Nazi and has an American boxer in his basement to torture people! He also has an army of evil Chinese henchmen (something I never seen: Japanese actors with make-up to look Chinese!) and I think all of them are out to kill Joji (and his blind sister, which I forgot to mention) and also find the legendary diamond that's hidden somewhere...argh, something like this. Anyway, this is one FANTASTIC flick! Really!

Oh yeah, Sonny Chiba shows up in an extended cameo as Mr Magic, an undercover cop who works as a magician at a cabaret in the evenings. Wattya say about that?

Roaring Fire is pure insanity. I had no idea what to expect from the movie when I bought it, but it exceeded every expectation I had. From the colours and wacky music, to the bloody squibs, the presence of veteran wrester Abdullah the Butcher (playing a character named Spartacus!) and the non-stop action. Ok, there's a few scenes with comedy and talk, but then Hiroyuki kicks a lot of ass - and it's even better when Sonny show what he's made off! Someone on the net compared the final reel to a video game, and that's not far from the truth. Wave after wave of bad guys for our heroes to fight!

The light mood of the movie reminded me of the Lucky Stars-movies, but it's much more violent and has more deaths and some nudity. The stunts are really well done, especially one scene when Hiroyuki is fighting baddies on top of a double-decker.

Roaring Fire almost gets surreal in places, with absurd comedy and a bizarre scene when ten samurai killers on bicycles chase Joji and his friends all over Kyoto (I think it is), including a spectacular stunt sequence when everyone is squeezing themselves up between two tall buildings standing very close to each other. Hard to explain, so see this movie please.

The Germany DVD looks absolutely stunning. It has English subtitles and a crystal clear Japanese audio track.

I'm hyping it now, but Roaring Fire is an extremely entertaining movie, and from now one one of my top ten movies from Japan!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inbred (2011)

After many hours at Weekend of Horrors in Bottrop we sat down outside, Jocke lit a cigarette and the only thing on our minds was to lay down in our soft hotel beds and sleep the eternal sleep. Thanks heavens Jason woke us up and with the last powers we had we decided to watch Inbred, a new horror movie from Alex Chandon. Alex, armed with a fresh version - only four days old - introduced us to a truly demented piece of horror cinema, and I can say that no one of us in the screening room regretted watching this superb movie!

It began like so many other movies (almost, I refuse to spoil everything): a bunch of people in a minivan going out on the countryside for a weekend of learning to cooperate and maybe even be friends for life. Lead by two social workers, having responsibility over four troubled youths. They arrive to a small village, where they rented a house, and starts to clean up the place. But something is of course terrible wrong with this charming place, and it starts with the colorful clientele at The Dirty Hole, the local pub...

Oh boy. Inbred is clearly one of the best, funniest and goriest black comedies I've seen it a very long time. No, I won't compare it with Shaun of the Dead or Tucker & Dale, because Inbred are in it's own brilliant league. It's darker, gorier and has a Monty Python-esque Grand Guignol atmosphere. I'm of course to young to have experienced real Grand Guignol, but I'm sure Inbred is pretty close to that once was the hottest entertainment in Le Gay Paris.

Every good movie lives its life because of good characters, and Inbred has a phenomenal cast. I'm writing this now without the luxury of Internet, but just google the movie and check out the cast! Our heroes has truly depth, with enough personality to make us care when they finally bites the dust. Even the antagonists are written with love and they are so superior to similar "inbred rednecks" that it would be any problem to write another story only focusing on them.

The gore is just stunning! It's, according to Alex, 99,9 % practical effects with a final digital touch. We're treated to a couple of ultra-gory scenes of extreme carnage, lots of violence against heads, stabbings, body-slicing! Inbred has every kind of kill you can imagine, and it never takes away the focus from the story! I'm surprised how such - at the first glance - generic story can offer something more, but Inbred actually manages to do this.

Currently looking for distribution, but Inbred is a must in your DVD or Blu-ray collection when it's out. Personally I can't fucking wait!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Off to Weekend of Horrors in ze Germany!

I haven't written so much lately, mostly because I've a new job for the moment and it's a lot of stuff to take care of regarding Attackafant Entertaiment and Oddbooks. Today I will leave Sweden and go to Weekend of Horrors, together with this bloke and this dude. Gonna be fun! We're staying there all three days, so if you see me/us, say hello!

If I'm not too lazy I will bring a few copies of The Killer Elephants on DVD, if someone wants to buy directly from me - or if I find someone at the conventions who want to sell it for me.

Watch for photos and nerd-stuff after the weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Night of the Demon (1980)

Together with Ryan Schifrin's Abominable, Night of the Demon could be the best Bigfoot movie (or Sasquatch Schamsquatch) ever made. No kidding, it's a promise. I'm not sure you would agree with him, but remember that a Bigfoot movie must be entertaining and not even close to pretending to be some crappy, overrated wannabe-nature show with someone filming firs for ninety minutes. Night of the Demon is good old exploitation, close to be a slasher - but with a grotesque monkey-man instead of masked serial killer.

The story is as simple as my mother's taste in men (she likes them bald with a beard): a team of students go out in the forest to examine a Bigfoot-sighting, and during the way they are telling stories about the attacks - who show in graphic details - and then finally meets a satanic sect and the monster itself in the end. It's very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very simple writing, but believe it or not, it's competent made and with some interesting visual solutions.

First of the all, the title sequence is awesome in it's simplicity: if I ever make a creature feature myself I WILL steal the blood-runs-into-bigfoots-footstep, which both is a stroke of genius and a great mood-setter for the rest of the movie. Night of the Demon is a gritty, cheap and cheap (did I mention cheap?) movie, made just to show the gore, blood and shocks. It has tits, gore and blood - and a monster. What more to expect from a good movie?

Even if the story is very episodic it's also effective, and the constant flashbacks makes the movie fly by like a Catholic priest on his way to a Justin Bieber concert. Sure, some of the actors can't act themselves out of a wet paperbag - like the sheriff in the beginning and end of the movie - he looks like a scared rabbit in front of the camera, and some of the female talents probably never even thought the same morning that they would appear the in a movie. My favourite being the lady in the van who seem to go through all the screams in her meager acting-register.

The effects are very cheap and very bloody, so just don't expect any fancy schmancy Tom Savini-style effects. This is down and dirty, bottom-of-the-barrel effects which works very good and fits the movie perfectly. I love how the filmmakers focus on the effects and lets the camera linger on the prosthetics or pumping blood long as possible.

The DVD from Code Red is probably the best the movie ever looked, and I'm quite sure it will from no one be the best version ever released. Not perfect by any means, but people who actually complain about a movie like this not looking perfect has a special room in hell next to people whining about 3D movies and still paying to see them every time and those who actually claims "the only movies being made today are remakes".