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|23 reviews in total|
The vagina gets stuffed and gouged at regular intervals throughout
Female Yakuza Tale. But it's not just about vagina's it's also about
boobs. Japanese men are continually seen fondling and suckling at the
female teet. Director Teruo Ishii uses every possible opportunity to
show female nudity he can, even throwing some in while the opening
credits are running. Ochô is shown taking on several men in a downpour
and she loses pieces of her clothing eventually fighting completely
naked. There is considerably more nudity and sexuality than violence in
this film, at least up to the final outrageous battle. In the end, the
women do get a gratifying revenge. Ochô is a great character, she is
strong and confident and even when she is naked and bound she is
uttering threats. We spend time getting to know some of the secondary
players as Ochô crosses their paths which made for some entertaining
sub-plots. My major complaint about the film is its sleazy premise is
lightened considerably by slapstick comedy that sometimes fell flat.
The gags were pretty PG for a film that was otherwise rated R. I won't
deny there were a few moments that cracked me up. Most notably when a
character THROWS a bullet into another characters eye! I really think
the film would have benefited from a little less cheesy humour. Female
Yakuza Tale has some wildly perverse and even disturbing moments
despite the humour that give the film some exploitative bite. Visually,
the film is very watchable. Its colourful and cheery sets and strangely
buoyant music add a twisted flair that gave the film a unique vibe.
Of course it all comes down to those nasty Yakuza! Among the criminal underworld there is double-crossing and dirty dealings and it all centers around the new boss of the Ogi Clan. We learn through a flashback that Ochô feels a debt of gratitude to the old boss for saving her when she was very young from losing fingers. After Ochô is caught cheating while gambling, he allows his own finger to be severed instead. The bad ass that did the severing is coming to see the new boss to collect on a gambling debt. Ochô challenges him to a game of cards to erase the debt and to do some finger collecting of her own. Besides his drug interests and gambling problems the new boss of the Ogi Clan has been hiding the old boss' young daughter in a mental asylum. You'll have to see for yourself how this all unfolds! I'll tell you only this, it features what I can only guess is a mentally disturbed Kabuke theatre troop. Fighting naked would have some advantages. Regular street clothes wouldn't do much to protect you from a weapon anyway, why not distract your opponent with nudity?! The final battle set in a warehouse features a group of Yakuza about to battle amongst themselves only to find an army of women have collected on the upper floor with their own agenda. The women remove their clothing one by one and soon we have a whole lot of naked women killing the hell out of a bunch of Yakuza in an outrageous and bloody spectacle! It really must be seen to be appreciated. Its awkward mix of sleaze and humour doesn't always work but a strong lead and enough bizarre and memorable moments make Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture a trip worth taking. Recommended.
Betsy Connell's story starts simply enough with a job interview for a
nursing position. She successfully lands the job, which will take her
to St. Sebastian, an island in the Caribbean. She is charged with the
care of Jessica, the wife of wealthy plantation owner Paul Holland.
Betsy meets her new employer and they travel by ship to their
destination. Paul is cold and curt, but the man nonetheless intrigues
Betsy. After arriving at the well-appointed home she meets Paul's
brother Wesley, and it is quickly established that there is animosity
between the two brothers. She settles down for the evening but is
awaken in the middle of the night by the crying of a woman. She
investigates the source of the sound and follows it to another building
on the property and is frightened by the gaunt and silent Jessica. Not
the ideal first meeting with her new patient! Jessica is in a permanent
non-responsive trance that resembles something close to sleepwalking.
With only good intentions, Betsy sets out to care for Jessica any way
she can, but becomes entangled in the local customs as well as the
family's sordid past.
Jacques Tourneur directed a formidable trio of films for Val Lewton including Cat People and The Leopard Man. Due to the snug budgets; directors were expected to complete these projects in an efficient manner. If you're not able to do the job in the allotted time another director replaces you. Seems a bit harsh, but nobody said the film industry was all fun and games. Considering the time and money constraints it amazes me how polished these films are. There is not a minute of wasted celluloid. Although I Walked With A Zombie is only 69 minutes long, it doesn't feel like corners were cut. The character development is excellent and the simple, but engrossing story is very effective. I Walked With A Zombie is full to the brim with memorable scenes I couldn't possibly do justice, so I won't. But there is one particularly clever scene I loved, where we are given information about the Holland/Rand family history when a calypso singer plays a little number entitled Shame and Scandal In The Family, and it's pretty catchy too! The cherry on top is the superb surprise ending. It is also beautifully filmed. Black and white photography adds a great deal to mood and atmosphere but it is all the little flourishes that Tourneur adds that make this film special. The sound of ceremonial drums in the distance, wind rustling through fields, a dark shadow of a man passing over the wall as Betsy lies in bed and a late night voodoo ceremony. Imagery that is stunning, subtle and haunting. The sets, props, light and shadow are all used to great effect. Not to mention, I adore the fashion of the 40′s. The clothing was so elegant and chic, even their nightgowns are high fashion. I was completely hypnotized by I Walked With A Zombie from beginning to end.
The characters are interesting and the performances are top-notch. Particularly notable is the lovely Frances Dee who plays Betsy Connell and Tom Conway who plays Paul Holland. During their journey to the island Paul says to Besty "It's easy enough to read the thoughts of a newcomer. Everything seems beautiful because you don't understand. Those flying fish, they're not leaping for joy, they're jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water, it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence. There is no beauty here, only death and decay. Everything good dies here, even the stars." Okay, he might be stating fact, but freaking hell buddy, Cheer up! What a charmer! Regardless, the chemistry between these two works well. Even the films two "zombies" who remain in a silent trance throughout are perfect with their long lanky frames and gaunt faces.
This film was made in the 40′s so obviously a gorefest is unlikely. These zombies lack malice and have no hunger for human flesh. The horror elements are not shocking or grotesque, but work extremely well and add much to the films mystery and perfect mood. There is so much to admire here, in fact there really isn't anything I would change. I thoroughly enjoyed I Walked With A Zombie. Highly recommended!
Newspaper clipping about disappearances in the vicinity of the trailer
park leads us up to present day. Enter the victims in the form of
Pastor Lewis and his bus of teenage misfits. The group and the events
surrounding them are as cliché as they get; drug addict, jerk, slut,
etc. A storm comes, the bus crashes, no cell phone signal, you know the
drill. While the group of teens are irritating in varying degrees, the
inane dialog was more tolerable than most, and this chatter is kept at
reasonable levels. Stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing in
sight but the trailer park. They are greeted by the very hospitable
Norma who invites them in out of the rain. She serves refreshments,
shares some stories, and then shows the group to the seemingly
uninhabited trailers to spend the night. Doesn't exactly sound electric
at this point but that's because we're talking about the victims. When
night falls, the trailer park comes alive (in an undead sort of way)!
The real fun in this movie comes from the wonderfully warped residents of the trailer park. First and foremost, Norma played by Nichole Hiltz rocked! Sweet and endearing one moment and coo-coo crazy the next (when the crazy hits she reminded me of Joy from My Name Is Earl). It's by no fault of her own that Norma grew up with her prostitute mama in this trailer park of hideous men. But Norma is full of spunk making the best of her new undead situation and really embracing her redneck roots. Norma's creepy cohorts who once made her life a living hell are now her permanent undead companions. Marv is a bit of a thug but has a serious crush on Norma. Stank makes delicious jerky and is number one customer of Miss China. Miss China is the local "masseuse" who offers her "services" to the residents and truck drivers passing through. The gluttonous Larlene is Stank's best customer and can't get enough meat in any form. Finally we have rockabilly guitar playing drug addict Roach. A hideously fascinating and often hilarious group that had me mesmerized every second they were on screen!
The interaction between the trailer park residents is full of snappy and hilarious dialog, excellent visuals and great music! The rockabilly soundtrack is perfect. I loved the way they incorporate Roach's delightful guitar ditties into a scene and how he sorta resembles the dude on the cover of The Cramps album Bad Music For Bad People. The make-up effects used on all the residents are outstanding. It takes a lot of work to look as adorable as Norma when you're a rotting corpse! Watching her primping and preening was very entertaining! The effects in general are impressive and there is some really great gore and fun and creative deaths. I don't want to spoil all the fun of the jerky scene so let's just say you get a very informative and graphic demonstration of Stank's jerky making technique. The only complaint I really have is I would have liked one more really meaty gore scene. A couple of the teens die somewhat uneventfully and personally I would have really liked to see Larlene have a grandly graphic gourmet dinner. It's just business as usual in the old trailer park. Drag racin', drinkin', making sex films and delicious jerky!
Trailer Park of Terror is based on the Imperium Comics series of the same name. I know practically nothing about the world of comics and graphic novels and I never knew this one even existed, so needless to say I can't speak to how it compares. All I know is I thoroughly enjoyed Trailer Park Of Terror. It has great characters, excellent music and impressive effects that had me laughing and delightfully disgusted. Highly Recommended!
ZMD has one kick ass pre-credit opening scene that had me completely
psyched for the rest of the film. It boasts some impressive effects,
particularly for a film with a slim budget. I don't want to give away
any of the juicy, gory scenes, but I will tell you that there are some
glorious moments involving skin ripping, shooting, stabbing, and even
one shocking and hilarious hit and run.
Instead of the regular cookie cutter characters you see in most horror films, ZMD features a diverse group of individuals that are actually interesting. The local restaurant is run by an Iranian man, who's American born daughter Frida has returned home from Princeton. Frida is conflicted with her role in the world, not only because of her father, who begs her to embrace her Iranian heritage, but also an air headed boyfriend who keeps calling her an Iraqi. In a hilarious conversation between Frida and her boyfriend, the phrases "There is NORWAY, you are getting in these panties" and "Kuwait a second" are uttered. Oh yes, he goes there. Then there is the gay couple; Tom and Lance, who have come to Port Gamble so that Tom can finally "come out" to his mother. The two deliver some of the film's best lines. There is a mayor with serious old fashion attitudes, who's closest acquaintance is the local preacher who delivers fire and brimstone sermons. In direct contrast to the mayor is the local female high school teacher who is running against him in the upcoming election. Finally there is the proudly right-wing father with an alcoholic wife, and an awkward drama student son. There are more than a few small-minded people in the town of Port Gamble. Many of the locals are suspicious of foreigners and fear homosexuals. Even the local news suggests terrorists for the cause of the zombie outbreak.
So needless to say, there is a crapload of material to work with. The gay couple, played by Doug Fahl and Cooper Hopkins are outstanding and shine in every scene they are in. Janette Armand is also excellent as Frida. Ali Hamedani who plays Frida's father is perfect in his role, and is actually the father of the director. Russell Hodgkinson is delightfully amusing, and unlikable as the right-wing dad. Some of the acting from the more minor characters is iffy, but it doesn't hurt the overall feel of the film. ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction is well-paced, high energy, gory, clever, and funny as hell. It entertained me from beginning to end. Highly Recommended!
'THE RED SHOES' is a supernatural tale with its center revolving around
a pretty typical plot involving a mother alone with her daughter,
struggling in the world. The reoccurring images you see in far too many
Korean ghost stories are present here. There are pale faced girls with
long black hair hanging in their face and cursed artifacts that bring
misfortune to those that possess them. But there are enough unique
touches paired with an intriguing performance by the lead actress that
helps to elevate its status.
Sun-Jae unexpectedly goes home in the middle of the day to find her husband banging some other woman. She moves out on her own with her young daughter Han Tae-su to an inexpensive apartment near Goksung Station. She meets handsome young architect, In-cheol who is designing her eye clinic and the two embark on a relationship. On the subway on her way home Sun-Jae sees a seemingly abandoned pair of shoes she cannot resist picking up. The shoes bring the worst out in people, including her daughter who becomes obsessed with them on sight. When a friend is found dead and her daughters behavior becomes more severe, Sun-Jae and In-cheol will need to solve the mystery behind the cursed footwear before it's too late.
Bloody death scenes filmed in sterile white environments can be extremely effective. The opening scene of 'THE RED SHOES' is an outstanding example of this. There are some cherry props also. The main character is obsessed with shoes. The depth of the obsession is shown with a massive glass store display prop. The stacked glass boxes showcases each individual pair of shoes. The visuals are strong throughout. There are some respectable moments of suspense, but not nearly enough of them. Violence and gore is slim but I enjoyed what there was of it. The performances were strong and there is some interesting character development. I found the lead actress, Hye-su Kim fascinating. The love interest, In-cheol is very easy on the eyes. The problem is, that I liked the films individual pieces more than the completed work. I had a serious issue with certain "spooky" images. One in particular stood out because it is a carbon copy of something I've seen in at least two other films and seemed completely irrelevant to the story. Obviously added in for mood, it was totally ineffective. There are some predictable plot twists that also bog it down. The story is uneven and trips over its own feet, but ultimately for a ghost story it just isn't very scary. That said, I still think this is a really nice looking film with strong performances and enough special touches that it's worth a watch.
The action revolves around the Japanese garage punk band Guitar Wolf. A trio of coiffed, leather-bound super cool rockers. Ace, our main character is a wannabe rocker and number one fan of Guitar Wolf. One fateful night he finds himself in the middle of a gunfight between Guitar Wolf and an evil hot pant wearing wigged club owner. Guitar Wolf recognizes the lad as having a heart dedicated to the true spirit of rock and roll and makes him a blood brother and furnishes him with a "wolf whistle" to blow if he is ever in trouble. Trouble comes quickly in the form of UFO's and the living dead. Along the way we meet an adorable transsexual desperate for love and a bad ass female weapons dealer. Featuring guitar picks used like ninja throwing stars, a naked woman blasting zombies in the shower, slicing a UFO in half with a Samurai sword, more exploding zombie heads then you can shake a stick at, and of course, plenty of rock and roll, guitar punk sensibility. To enjoy "Wild Zero" you really have to throw out any misconceptions you might have that a film that suffers from bad editing, bad continuity, and a lack of coherent story could possibly be anything but awful. Wild Zero proves that a film can suffer these slings and arrows and still shine brilliantly. It's all about the Rock and Roll! The music in this film kicks some serious ass! It's just a whole bunch of awesomeness. For some additional fun the DVD includes a drinking game you can play while watching the film. A drinking symbol appears sporadically throughout the film like each time a character drinks, says Rock 'n Roll, or a head explodes. I can only imagine that the addition of alcohol would enhance the experience.
A group of young American tourists visit Ireland to experience magic mushrooms. Their Irish guide, Jake (I don't claim to be an expert on the Irish accent but was that an Irish accent?!) takes them deep into the woods to hunt for the psychedelic fungi and enjoy them as nature intended. Before they even make it to the camping spot their vehicle hits an animal and they run into two creepy redneck types. When they reach the intended spot, one of the first things their buddy Jake does is take away their cell phones. After regaling his group with some creepy local legend stories over some tasty mushroom tea they are off to do some hunting. Although warned to not consume the Death Head mushroom one of the female characters does exactly that. Each character has their own unique "trip". Some of these episodes are actually pretty entertaining. Meanwhile our death head shroom girl is freaking right out and having vividly horrific visions of her friend's deaths. Then we get into this whole dodgy is it real or isn't real scenario. In the end, which many will see before it comes, is a very lame and empty conclusion. The group spends a lot of time bickering, and don't seem as though they should eat dinner together never mind traveling half way across the freaking world to do mushrooms. The characters are disposable and you really don't care who dies next. The deaths are pretty unimaginative particularly considering the whole stoned aspect. They really could have gotten more creative here. And as I mentioned the ending is just so weak. The landscape is lovely, the production value is decent and there is some gore. It had some potential but it failed to deliver.
We start out in the evening with a farmer investigating the source of an unusual sound on his property. What he finds is a mad cow hungry for a snack. Our next shot is day time and an annoying couple are driving down a rural road and hit a man. Zombie madness ensues. The female in the relationship survives the zombie run-in and spends the rest of the film hiking about meeting other survivors and ineptly attempting to fight for her life. She is in the entire film and consistently did things that annoyed me. The support cast was decent however. The gravedigger is very likable, and the coach and his wife add some humor. The pacing is odd and some scenes go on forever. There is some dizzying film work in some early scenes. I thought it was actually interesting initially but it made me feel a little nauseous after a while. The worse thing about this film was the continuity. There are many scenes where they show a group of zombies descending and then when it goes to a tight battle shot there is only one zombie to contend with. There are also a couple strange moments involving zombies not acting like they should that I can only call plot holes, because they didn't share the joke with me. The gore is decent and is quite plentiful at times but they make use of a single weapon too often and these scenes begin feeling repetitive. They are a little stingy with the zombie make up also. Sounds like a lot of complaints, but there are a handful of brilliant moments. The scene where we first meet the coach is amusing and the introduction to his wife is hilarious. It is obvious the makers of this film are attempting to amuse and entertain as much as scare but they left a few too many holes for me to step in. Just squeezes in there for a passing mark. Rent at your own risk.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The opening scene is inside one of two cars involved in a fatal crash. A very pregnant woman looks over at her dead husband and speaks his name as blood gurgles from her mouth. The credits flow over graphic ultrasound images and we are introduced to Sarah, the survivor of the car crash four months later. It is the day before she is to give birth. What follows is complete and utter insanity. Not only is this film full of brooding and intensely suspenseful moments but the gore factor is through the roof. A perfect mix of tension, suspense and graphic gory death. Watching a very pregnant woman being terrorized is nasty enough but there are actually moments in the film where they have the audacity to show the action from the fetus point of view. I think that is wonderfully evil! It is not for the squeamish and certainly not for those who are not fans of the horror genre. But for those of us who have watched hours of obnoxiously bad tripe, when a film like this comes along it is a beautiful shiny beacon of Horror light! There is only one ever so brief scene between Sarah and a cop near the end that I just thought was out of place and didn't work. Pure, bloody brilliance!! HIGHLY Recommended!
The films opening scene explains that aliens know only war. Their goal is to learn about and understand the human emotion of love. In attempt to do just that, they send a sphere that lands on a deserted chicken farm. They take over the body of a farmers wife who reports to work as a grade six school teacher. Paprika Steen who plays the teacher is fantastic. She plays the wickedly nasty teacher with over the top enthusiasm and absolutely nails it. It is one of the most amusing and entertaining characters I have seen in a horror film in some time. The kids figure out almost immediately that there is something not quite right about their new teacher. She taunts and humiliates the children with insults and appears to have the answer to every question. The more they learn about their new teacher the more horrified they become. The first half of this film is rock solid. A real masterpiece. Unfortunately the films conclusion is a complete and utter crap-out. The ending seemed hurried and the finale was anti-climatic to say the least. It is intended to be more amusing than horrifying but it would have been appropriate to add a little more suspense, particularly for the final scene. There is no gore in this film and no scares at all. There are only a few isolated moments of suspense. This being said this film is still extremely watchable and I think that people who aren't generally fans of the horror genre will also enjoy it. More "PG" than our regular fair but some really good clean fun!
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