Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Play with Fire (1980)

Tsui Hark might be some legend inside the fanboy-community of Hong Kong movie-nerds, but most (not all) of Hark's work has left me cold and uninterested to see more. I really love We're Going To Eat You and Twin Dragons with Jackie Chan is a great action-comedy, but all of his historical stuff - except Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame - is boring and on autopilot. But I'm willing to change my mind if there's something that attracts me with the project, and Don't Play With Fire seemed like something in my taste, mostly because it's early Hark and also belonged in that dirty, gritty crime genre that always looks so good when shot in Hong Kong.

Three nerds, trying to be cool, is out one night and accidentally runs over a man. He dies directly and the boys flees the scene. But a weird young woman, Pearl (Chen Chi Lin) witnesses their crime and forces them to help her in her crazy ideas, involving bombs and scams. One day they steal Japanese bank papers belonging to some foreign criminals. Soon the Triads knows about the valuable papers and after trying to take out the cash the police takes interest in the boys. But it's also Pearl's older brother Tan (the brilliant Lieh Lo) is the police leading the investigation. An innocent night out just turned even uglier...

Don't Play With Fire is a sensational movie. It feels as fresh today as it must have felt in 1980. The ONLY bad thing with the movie is the two scenes of very, very, very unnecessary animal cruelty - first towards a mouse and then a cat (even if I think the cat-scene seem fake, just clever editing - but what the hell do I know?). So skip those scenes when you see them coming. My pathetic retelling of the story up here just doesn't make the movie justice. This is such a complex study is characters and fuck-up's that it deserves every fucking prize every made just because it shows a world so bleak, cynical and brutal - without hesitating. Don't expect any happy endings here boys and girls, this is it.

Hark and his crew shows the backstreets and rougher neighbourhoods like I never seen it before. The directing is filled with energy and creativity, far from the soul-less spectacles he directed later on. This is human, this is funny and very black. It makes a quite good double bill together with Chatrichalerm Yukol's Gunman, another ultra-realistic crime-drama from Thailand starring Sorapong Chatree (read my review here), but Hark's movie is way more darker and nastier.

Even if the story aims more at drama and some black comedy, it has a lot of graphic violence and action - but not the spectacular Hong Kong action of course, but realistic and bloody. Never trying to make it beautiful or seem harmless. If you get a beating in this movie your face swells up like a blood-filled balloon and a shot in the belly makes you suffer. The final, on some kind of graveyard, is among the best I've seen with fantastic cinematography, edgy action and nasty surprises. I also likes how the filmmakers just fucks the idea of who's gonna die first. This is very far from traditional filmmaking-conventions.

Don't Play With Fire is a friggin' masterpiece, and this time I really mean it. Close your eyes during those animal-scenes, but watch the rest and be stunned how effective and well-made this movie is. From now on it's up there among the ten best movies ever made in Hong Kong

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Bloody Judge (1970)

It's hard to beat a classic like The Witchfinder General, and maybe somewhere The BloodyJudge was planned to be a rip-off of Michael Reeves near perfect classic, but in the end it's a very different movie that focuses more on the politics and characters around the actually witch-hunt and comes out as a fairly interesting drama with a few scenes here and there of graphic nudity. It's a serious Franco, maybe too serious for some, but I kinda liked it.

Most of the story tells us about "The Bloody Judge" himself, Judge Jeffries (Christopher Lee) who's clearly a coward. He judges innocent men and women to torture and death but never witnesses the violence himself. Instead he acts like the hand of god and being the perfect puppet master of the stupid peasants around him. After ordering the execution of Alicia Gray (Margaret Lee) Jeffries more or less signs his faith, because her sister Mary (Maria Rohm) has no plans to let Jeffries go free and he must stop her before she becomes to much trouble...

The Bloody Judge is a slow movie, slow for being Franco - which means it's extra slow. I would say it's even to long for it's own good, and it would have been a much more powerful movie if it lost 20 or so minutes of talking and walking. I'm not saying it's a bad movie, it's actually very well-made and presents a whole bunch of interesting characters, specially Jeffries, but never live up to the directors legendary sleazy-factor. Sure, there's nudity and blood and a good battle scene with some nice stunts and pyrotechnics, but too much of the time is spent with talking heads and "suggestive eye movements" (to quote that famous religious movie site).

In a few scenes the true Franco comes alive, most notably the short sequences when Mary stands looking at the forest, hears the battle in the distance and sees the smoke slowly coming at her through the trees. It's a quite moment and once again shows the visual poetry Franco loves to treats us viewers. He surely know how to put the camera, and the whole movie look gorgeous and is very stylish. It reminds me of a Hammer-drama with less budget and more nudity.

For the you have problems with slow movies, the cast is well worth watching the movie for. Sir Lee is of course great, but watch out for the wonderful trio of Maria Rohm, Margaret Lee and Maria Schell, all excellent. Howard Vernon drops his suits and good manner and gives us a wonderful, almost cartoonish, hangman with a huge belt and a black hood. Leo Genn has an advanced supporting part and also do a nice job.

The Bloody Judge is a good movie with slow pacing. Franco is a pro and gives the best movie I could have directed during these circumstances, but it's also a movie far away from his favourite themes and lacking his usual acting ensemble. But it's worth watching, just don't expect something out of the ordinary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966)

Me watching a Jess Franco movie often ends in a huge amount of superlatives. I always seen Franco has a master storyteller and depending on the budget the visual style of the movie differs from century to century. The sixties was a fantastic period on Franco's career. He churned out semi-gothic classics, kitchy spy adventures and sleazy dramas like there was no tomorrow. The Diabolical Dr. Z very effectively follows his adventures with Dr Orloff and Baron Von Klaus, feels like a spin-off to Orloff - the character is mentioned and his scientific work as a surgeon is used in one of the twists.  But Franco pulls off a great and original twist, worthy of Hitch - and beware of spoilers - Dr Z is just a MacGuffin, it's his daughter that we should focus on.

Yes, the Diabolical Doctor Zimmerman (Antonio Jiménez Escribano in a deliciously over-the-top yet sensitive performance) dies quite fast, just after showing us one brutal human experiment. His daughter Irma (Mabel Karr) decides to take revenge on the people responsible for his death and fakes her death and uses his technology to take control over her maid and a serial killer the good doctor earlier took control of. But the final masterpiece is Miss Muerte (Estella Blain), an exotic dancer with long sharp nails who can lure the stupid men into Irma's trap!!!

There's absolutely nothing bad with this movie. I've said it before, way too many times, but when Franco had the resources he created something very similar to perfection, without getting pretentious and boring like Kubrick. He mixed his favourite exploitation themes (female revenge, surgery gone bad, Orloff) with a stunningly beautiful and arty thriller. The set-pieces is nothing short of spectacular and the kills are similar to what the Italians did in the seventies, but not as gory of course. Shadows and light, rapid editing and a clever use of music makes this one stand out from the rest of the bunch. The most impressive sequence is the fist-fight between Philippe (Fernando Montes) and Hans Bergen (Guy Mairesse), which stats in the basement in a fantastic one-take fight through a long corridor, and then cuts and goes up into the mansion. If I ever make a movie again I will steal that idea, and it will make be rich sooner or later.

I often hear complains about the acting talent of Franco. As usual, because I'm Fred and I'm Ninja Dixon at the same time, I can't agree on this. Here Franco has a quite big part, as one of the polices trying to solve the murders and makes a great team together with composer Daniel White as Inspector Green. Boy, they seem to have a lot of fun and it shows - both on them and the resulting movie and wonderful jazzy score.

Masterpiece is a word I use all to often, and I'm gonna use it again here. Because The Diabolical Dr. Z IS a masterpiece, (another) one of Franco's fantastic movies from the years that some people claim was his best. I can't agree on that either - that the sixties was his best - but this is a masterpiece.

See, I used "masterpiece" no less than three times in that last paragraph. It's worth it, believe me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Horror Show (1989)

The HorrorShow was, in some parts of the world, released as House III - which is extremely stupid. Expect the producer Sean S. Cunningham they have nothing in common, except genre movies of course. What this movie is could be described as a better, for the time, film in the Nightmare on Elm Street-franchise. Like Shocker, this also managed to much more interesting and violent than the lazy sequels churned out from New Line Cinema.

Lance "The Man" Henriksen is Detective Lucas McCarthy who finally, finally after many years manages to catch the brutal serial killer Max Jenke (Brion James). Many lives has been lost and now's the time for Jenke to go to hell with the help of the electric chair. But Jenke has been a good boy and learned black magic - and suddenly he comes back as a demon killing everyone in his path to take revenge on McCarthy and his adorable all-American family!

The Horror Show is so much darker and violent than the Elm Street-movies from the same time, and maybe that plus the stupid title-change to House 3 scared away the horror-starving audience. I watched the R-rated version, and even this one is really violent and graphic with some fantastic and gory special effects that outdoes Mr Krueger in every way possible. It would have been very easy to make this a horror comedy, or include pointless one-liners, but The Horror Show is a nasty treat and much of the nastiness comes from the intensive performance by Brion James as Jenke.

Another fine reason to watch The Horror Show is the stellar performance by Lance Henriksen. First of all, he's a god damn powerhouse of acting and gives everything, at least at this time, in the parts he's playing. Here he's taking over the screen, from softer family moments to action and horror. It also strikes me what a body he has - up there with Charles Bronson, carved in stone and loaded with a very manly, but without being macho, energy. Watch out for the excellent Terry Alexander (Day of the Dead) in a smaller part as Henriksen's partner. But he's afro-American, shows up in the beginning and bites the dust faster than you can say "stereotypical ending for a black character". A pity.

The gore and Freddy Krueger-esque (for example the chicken/dinner-sequence) effects is very fine, but they are clearly shortened for this R-rated version (because obviously MPAA think us grown-up's can't handle rubbery effects and fantasy violence). The DVD I have is the Scandinavian release, but I'm gonna get myself the cheap Hollywood DVD release from the UK, still available and more complete.

The Horror Show is an underrated horror flick from the last trembling moments of the eighties, well worth seeking up for you who actually can ignore the incompetent review-ramblings of people who have no clue what they're doing. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mr Bond (1992)

Akshay Kumar is Mr Bond, the best detective in India! He's more than a detective of course, he's a one man army, a Schwarznegger-wannabe without the muscles and with a sillier hair cut. He's here to save India from yet another master criminal, the dangerous Red Dragon (Pankaj Dheer) who kidnaps little children and forces them to work for him in his palace outside Bangkok! If they make one single mistake - they die!!!! He also has an army of Ninjas on motocrosses, which make this movie slightly better than it deserves to be.

Ninjas can make a movie stand up proud, and Mr Bond proudly showcases a whole bunch of incompetent Ninjas for Mr Bond to kill, one after another. Do you notice something? Yeah, I'm trying to avoid going into more details in the story because the DVD didn't include any English subtitles! So I had to guess most of the stuff in-between the action and sometimes even the action itself. Mr Bond is not a masterpiece and it's more of typical eighties action flick than a typical James Bond-rip off. Sure, it has the super agent, a evil villain, lots of action - but the atmosphere is more Michael Dudikoff than Roger Moore.

The story is simple and quite naive, and it's truly not involving enough for Mr Bond to save a dozen kids in Thailand from the white-haired, evil mastermind. We the audience doesn't care enough about this adventure. Give me a "I'm gonna take over the world" or something more Bondish and it would have worked better. Now we're mostly treated to Kumar looking "sexy" - including a hilarious dance number in a gym, almost more graphic than if they shot a real sex scene. Think "Perfect" with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis, but even less sexy. Most of the music sounds like something banging it out quickly on a cheap keyboard and the action sequences is slow and not especially good choreographed.

I was hoping for more excitement when story moved to Bangkok, but all we get is a fun - but badly done - final battle between Mr Bond and the Ninjas plus a hysterical chase inside a recreation park which ends with Mr Bond and Red Dragon compete with each other on two separate water slides!!! Yeah, it's silly and anticlimactic.

If you wanna see a Bollywood movie with that eighties action vibe, watch the 1988 Bollywood classic Commando instead. It delivers action and also has Ninjas plus the whole ending is stolen scene for scene from Where Eagles Dare! That's a masterpiece in trashy action!

Yeah, it might sound that I hated Mr Bond. No, I didn't. But I expected more, especially after the first scene that reminded me a lot about the villa-sequence in Mark Lester's Commando. Lots of shooting, throwing knifes and Mr Bond in camouflage outfit. This was just OK entertainment for the moment and something only fans of cheap action could appreciate to the fullest. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Few indie filmmakers stop me from doing what I'm suppose to do and makes me gets stuck in front of the computer. Alex Bakshaev is one of those. Earlier I reviewed is excellent feature from Naked Trip, and now I just had the honour to watch his latest production, ZÄRTLICHKEIT, a short movie shot with a cheap consumer digital camera and with natural sound taken with the camera's internal microphone. It's fifteen minutes long and it's gay drama. Not the usual stuff I review here at Ninja Dixon, but I never say no to a great movie. ZÄRTLICHKEIT is a very Fassbinder-esque drama about a German man coming to Russia to find his mother, a woman he hasn't seen for many years. But he never dares to meet her. Instead he wanders around in this unknown city, clutching her letter. He get picked up by a guy at one of the cruising areas and they talk, have sex and talk again...

That's about it, but as usual with Alex work it's a fantastic atmosphere with sensitive acting and excellent writing. The pacing is slow, but never boring (which very few people handle, right now I can only say Franco and Rollin except Bakshaev). The dialogue is stylish and simple - but tells more about life and the characters than a lot of the unnecessary words that filmmakers have a tendency to force upon us, the viewers.

It's a mature piece of work, and I could easily follow these people in a ninety minute long movie. The only complains I have is the sound in the first scene, where the quality took away my concentration from the acting and dialogue. Maybe it's possible to clean up?

ZÄRTLICHKEIT is not out yet, but if you're interested in short movies who dares to make something more in the no-budget area of filmmaking this is a movie for you. Alex Bakshaev shows us that filmmaking is easy and relaxed and that a good story can be told with the simplest means possible. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff (1973)

Probably shot over a weekend, The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff is one of the cheapest productions I've seen from Franco from this period. I'm pretty sure there's other movies on the same budget level, but this is more or less a couple of persons walking around a nice villa in daylight, in the night and some driving around in a car as a bonus in-between. Personally I think this is a good sign, because Franco always do good stuff when he has a small cast and crew and don't need to move away from the set so much.

Young Melissa Comfort (Montserrat Prous) is haunted by nightmares where she's killing people. In real life she's paralyzed since childhood and can't move around without the help from her sisters (I think). Thank heavens Dr Orloff (William Berger) arrives and starts to take care of her, but because he's Orloff he also has something sinister in his... eyes and that's greed! He can make Melissa, with mind control, walk around killing those that Orloff wants dead, and this time he wants revenge for past love-related injustices!

The Sinister Eyes of Dr Orloff is a pretty simple movie. No real twists, but as usual a very interesting dreamlike quality. Much of Franco's work is based on mood and atmosphere, and here he makes a fine job with not much money at all. Like a lot of his movies it boarders to something arty, like an arthouse movie mixed with some gentle sleaze (but this movie actually has very little nudity and sex) and violence. It's all about the feeling that Franco creates, and this movie is all about that.

While her sisters are the usual dangerous broads, Montserrat Prous makes a sensitive and edgy performance as Melissa, easily the highlight of the movie. William Berger - and Edmund Purdom in a very small and quite pointless part - is good, but Berger can't live up to the fascinating character Howard Vernon once created and continued to do until his death. His cameo as Orloff in Faceless still makes me get goose bumps. Another weird cameo is Franco himself, playing something I thought was a rapist/child molester in the beginning, but now I can't honestly understand the inclusion of that character. Probably a line I missed that explained his presence, or maybe some of my readers can make it more clear?

When Franco is doing fine he's creating masterpieces. When he's slumming he's doing the worst movies ever made. And then we have this, when he's doing a job and having friends around for a couple of days without to much trouble, he makes good movies like The Sinister Eyes of Dr Orloff.

It's out on DVD from InterVision. Pick it up.

Why don't watch an exotic Friday the 13th movie?

Today is Friday the 13th and that means that legions of horror nerds sits down with their friends (and some maybe alone...) and watches one or two or three or more Friday the 13th movies. Nothing wrong with that, I'm a big fan myself and have them all in my collection. Why don't surprise your fellow nerd friends and watch the Bollywood Friday the 13th or the Indonesian "remake"? Yes, the first movie actually exists in more exotic and bizarre versions, none of them including a Jason - but are more or less identical regarding plot and murders! Check out my reviews and thank me later for making your friends disappointed for watching a treasure hunt and singing dancing instead of the typical plot devices of Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jigar (1992)

To take care of Ninja Dixon also means I need to suffer through a lot of movies that many of you never gonna way anyway. Jigar is one of them. Not that it's especially terrible, not more than usual, but an almost three hour long Bollywood remake of Kickboxer takes its toll. It took me three days to finish it, but that does not mean it's bad... just very lengthy.

Ajay Devgan is Raju, a young man who's brother is a famous martial arts fighter. When he's crippled after a very unfair match Raju swears he'll take revenge. When his sister also is sexually abused by the same people, and takes suicide, he goes over the edge and is almost killed himself. When he wakes up he focuses more on the training, and becomes a pupil of a famous "karate instructor", who teaches him a lot of Kung Fu-related moves and to fight without being able to see. Yeah, something like that.

Yeah, I'll confess. It's hard to keep up the concentration when the movie almost clocks in on three hours and most of it just is people dancing and singing. I have nothing against either of these details, the basis of a Bollywood-movie, but here it often disturbs the story, the suspense and it makes you just sit and wish for non-stop Thai action instead. Most of the storyline is borrowed from Kickboxer, but I can swear I've seen some scenes in Hong Kong movies - for example the training scene with Raju and the "karate instructor". He learns who to catch eggs without breaking them and shit like that.

It also took me until I started writing this review that Ajay Devgan is the same guy playing Singham. They sure had a similar face, but when the Singham-Devgan is muscular killer-machine, Jigar-Devgan mostly looks like a wimp who needs a haircut. But he can fight, nothing wrong with that ability. The action scenes, quite few, a are well-made and violent - and quite bloody. It's a lot of slow-motion and round-kicks, exaggerated sound effects and melodrama that lasts long after the movie has ended. When the action sets in, this is a very entertaining and cool movie. It also boasts a couple of nice motocross stunts, always a welcome sight in any kind of movie.

It's just a pity the boring songs and uninspired dance numbers destroys the feeling of a solid movie. They effectively stops the flow and it has a hard time starting over after each time a song- and dance-number finishes. Except the action, the movie is saved by brilliant and over-the-top bad guys with big moustaches. The evil Evil EVIL martial arts-baddie also looks like Gene Simmons in a mullet, which makes every scene with him even better.

Jigar is an unimportant film, but a must for us avid collectors of odd fighting movies from all over the world. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cyclops (2008)

This blog needs more reviews of SyFy Originals, ain't that true? So why don't kickstart this year with yet another classic from the masters of TV-movies! Cyclops is one of the better productions to come from this controversial channel, and it's mostly because it's produced by Roger and Julie Corman, written by his long-time collaborator Frances Doel and made with using left-over sets from a cancelled TV-series about ancient Rome. A classic Corman-idea, use something old to make something new. Cheap and dirty, and very effective.

Kevin Stapleton is Marcus, a soldier for the Roman Empire. He's given the mission by emperor Tiberius Caesar (Eric Roberts) to catch the violent and man-eating Cyclops who just eaten one merchant to much in the forests surrounding Rome. He do so, but when he's back he quickly falls into disfavour from the emperor and is sentence to be... a GLADIATOR! Hooray, because we all love gladiators! (Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?). Anyway, of course the Cyclops is involved in the fun and happy gladiator games and this is also the chance for Marcus to make revolt against the tyrannical Tiberius Caesar and his hordes of sleazy henchmen!

To be fair, it's not much of a story, but Doel certainly fills the story with action and violence and a few corny dialogues here and there. Not bad and it works, because you never get a chance to be bored. The direction by Declan O'Brien is slick and professional, which is surprising because I was very disappointed by his other works in the same genre, Savage Planet and Monster Ark. Cyclops seem to have a slightly, but very slightly, bigger budget - but that could also seem so because they had the chance to use the sets of another production (with a lot bigger budget). Like every other movie shot in Sofia, Bulgaria, this also features the local talents of Velizar Binev and Raicho Vasilev. Good actors and nice familiar exploitation faces.

I also love good actors slumming in low-budget movies, and Eric Roberts is no exception. He look a bit tired and yes, even bored, but do his classic bad guy routine and gives the cast some extra weight. A fun detail is that the Bulgarian cast mostly is dubbed with voices of some heavy English accents, which is nice because of tradition a lot of English actors has acted in big historical epics, often has Romans.

Cyclops is also one of the gorier movies to first be released on the SyFy Channel. We're not talking advanced stuff, but quite well-made and blood spurting decapitations, ripped of legs, chopped of heads + some violent bites from the Cyclops himself (who by the way looks ridiculous,  in a very uneven CG animated version). But it has enough of the red stuff to make me happy.

For fans of TV-movies, Corman-productions and Eric Roberts sleeping through his paycheck. Don't we all love stuff like that? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shikari (1963)

One of my many goals in life is to collect every single King Kong-related ever made. It can be official Kong's or just good old rip-off's from all over the world. I haven't succeeded yet, but I'm getting damn close. The latest movie in my collection is Shikari, a 1963-hit that manages to combines King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Dr Cyclops and the atmosphere of the old poverty row cinema but in colour and with lots of singing and dancing. Shikari means big game hunter, and this is also the central theme of the movie: to catch King Kong!

A greedy circus owner decides to go to some faraway country (Singapore is mentioned, but I'm not sure that's where they're going) to catch King Kong. They actually use that name, until they're there and the natives instead calls the big ape for Ottangu. They meet up with their guide, a famous hunter with - as usual - a beautiful daughter, who lives in the jungle. They find a totally destroyed village and our heroes wants to get the police and doctors there, but the greedy circus owner shoots the messenger and wants to catch Ottangu first! Some scenes in the print is missing, but a while later they're discovering that the famous Dr Cyclops has a secret lab in the jungle. It's he who created the big ape and now he's - in the name of peace - continuing the experiments. He can shrink people, transform to gorillas or just throw them down in his snake pit! What will happen to the good part of the circus crew? Will they survive... or will the wrath of Ottangu punish them?!?!?!?

Shikari, who clocks in at 130 minutes, could be a considered a bit talky for an un-experienced viewer of Bollywood cinema, but the fact is that it doesn't feel boring at all. There's a lot of musical numbers, but they are easy on the eyes and never too long. The biggest charm is the shameless atmosphere of matinee. It's just a very unpretentious movie. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. The monsters are monsters and it has jungle, hut-destruction, a very uncalled for ice-skating number and all the men are a bit to chubby to action heroes. Just the way I want my Bollywood-adventure.

It's hard not to dig the fine combination between not less than three of Ernest B. Schoedsack's classics. The mad doctor in Shikari even calls himself Dr Cyclops. Shikari more feels like a homage to Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper than a simple rip-off or a "Bollywood remake". Like Spielberg and Lucas did with the Indiana Jones franchise, this movie is rooted in the nostalgia of older American adventure movies.

King Kong, or Ottangu himself is a fun creature. One of the more creepier giant apes out there. Mostly because the actor inside the suit choose use a very spastic, weird, almost zombie/monster-style of moving around. There's not smooth movements here, and it just looks wicked! Like Ottangu is a fucked-up robot-ape! The bad thing is that there's only one destruction scenes, when Ottangu attacks a village in the end. This is well-made and looks cool, but it would have been nice with more ape-action. As a bonus, under Dr Cyclops lair, we also meet a very odd monster. It's some kind of mutant, played by a man in suit, who's gigantic and chained to the wall. Pity we didn't see him fight with Ottangu!

Shikari is a fun adventure-romp that entertained me. Don't be fooled by the monsterless cover, this is way more cool than you might think. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Clouds (1984)

When the new year just arrived and poured myself a Whisky and sat down to watch Alapaap, aka Clouds, a Filipino horror movie from 1984. And I watched it all through, which is some kind of record, because I rarely can keep my eyes open after 23:00 in the evening! I never heard about it before, but when I found a bootleg and read the description I felt it could be something for me, which doesn't mean shit - because my taste in movies are crap anyway.

A guy is waking up after a serious overdose. His friends are waiting for me, with love and support. A short while after they're going out in the countryside to shoot a short movie, but when they arrive they found out that the house they wanted to rent room in is not available anymore. After some discussions with the owner they can rent rooms, but something is wrong in there. The old man still mourns his daughter that was killed and raped some months before nearby and something seem to lurk in the shadows. Soon they find themselves under siege with the ghost of the raped daughter hunting them down, taking over their bodies and killing them!

Clouds is actually a good movie, even if the few online comments I found say the opposite. In parts it feels like an arty version of Evil Dead, but with a lot more sex. Yeah, the sex-part is so prominent that it was shown in seedy cinemas the years after, and there's enough female breasts and male asses for everyone. But I can't say it's sleazy or shallow, the sex and nudity feels natural and the whole erotic atmosphere reminded me of Silip - Daughters of Eve. The movie starts of very corny, and it felt to be one of those wacky, crazy eighties horrors with the tongue firmly placed in the cheek, but thanks to the talent of director Tata Esteban and screenwriter Rei Nicandro it never goes in that direction after the crazy beginning. The script is low-key for being a Filipino horror movie and gives us a couple of impressive ghostly set-pieces.

During a few scenes it also gets creepy and the atmosphere makes up for the slightly thin script. Don't expect much gore, even if it has some juicy make-up effects and violent deaths - but I can guarantee you that death by hairdryer isn't as spectacular as you might believe. The ghost effects - moving furniture, a weird statue following one of the characters etc are nicely done and works good with the slick cinematography. I have to say that the acting generally is very fine also, with an interesting realistic touch to it.

The only bad thing is the ending, which belongs to those endings I hate the most. Sure, it tries to make it a little bit better - but it's still shit and takes away the power of the story. I think we can blame it on lazy writing. But the rest, not bad at all. If I knew who owned the rights I would try to buy 'em and release it on a legit DVD!