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Iconic and brilliant!
When there are tourists and travelers walking up and down the banks of the Han river in Seoul asking where the best place to see the 'Monster from the Han river' is, you know there is something big behind it all.
And that is 'The Host'. As exciting as it is iconic, this urban creature feature became the highest grossing Korean film in the history of the country, it's moody locations and grim tone (how many films dare turn a memorial service into a comedy?) creating an atmosphere around the monster that lasts even after it is revealed in all its slippery glory in a fantastic daylight attack near the start of the film.
For a film about a foul-smelling fish monster to feel as fresh as it does, especially after the American Godzilla seemingly destroyed the genre over a decade ago, is quite an achievement.
Bring on 'The Host II', and keep those tourists patrolling the Korean waterways for signs of the beast!
An excellent introduction to some 'fundamentally nasty' films. This documentary is a perfect way to get excited by the ORIGINAL slasher classics all over again.
Originally shown as part of a C4 season of slasher films, including the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare' and 'Scream', this documentary, presented by Mark "the-Exorcist-is-the-best-film-ever-made" Kermode is a very interesting and thorough journey through the films from which modern day horror icons such as Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface were born. With interviews from Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Sean S. Cunningham, Tom Savini, Gunner Hansen, and exploring the origins of their creations in real life cases such as that of the Wisconsin man Ed Gein, the film explored the fascination with the 'mad and macabre' and tries to shed light on why people enjoy being scared. With the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the bizarre celebrity status that the child-molester Freddy Kruger enjoyed (with even Freddy Pyjamas being available at one point)is touched upon, as is the in-depth look at the Friday 13th series of films. As Kermode walks around the filming locations for such iconic horror moments as the closing scenes at Camp Crystal Lake, and the suburban stillness of 'Haddonfield' it is very easy to become interested in these much forgotten films of the 70s and 80s. Even the lesser known entries into the genre such as 'Chopping Mall' 'Prom Night' and 'Graduation Day' get a mention. Noticing that Bob Clark's 'Black Christmas' was a forerunner to 'Halloween', and acknowledging Hitchcock's 'Psycho' and Mario Bava's 'Bay of Blood' deserves praise in itself, but credit must go to the makers for managing to compile an interesting and impressive collection of interviews with the masters of horror, talking even to John Carpenter. Whilst occasionally seeming apologetic for its own interest in the genre, the final tone of the documentary is that of defiant enjoyment. As Kermodes final summary at the end of the film clearly states. What with the embarrassingly never-ending torrent from Hollywood of the remakes of films such as 'Texas Chainsaw', 'The Hills Have Eyes', 'Black Christmas', 'Amityville' 'The Hitcher' 'When a Stranger Calls', and numerous others, watching this introductory documentary is a perfect way to get excited by the original masterpieces all over again.
Cult Classic - If you can get a hold of it.
I remember watching the Josh Kirby series one Chrismas. Each morning, one of the films was unceremoniously slipped into the early morning schedule, and so it was that every morning for one week of the Christmas period, before I got dressed and went downstairs to eat the food, and play with my new toys, I would be transported to god knows where by one of these awesome adventures. Unfortunately I haven't managed to find a copy since, so I can't vouch for how well they stand up if you watch them a decade later, but for what its worth, my memories of this series are very fond indeed. Believing that I was the only kid in the world who caught the films as they were shown, I was never able to talk about it with my friends... until a few years afterwards, a mate of mine casually asked if I remembered a program called 'Josh Kirby'. To which I was obviously very delighted! I must find a copy again to re-watch, as I think it must be quite special if I remember it so well. I think it was a great blend of comedy, sci-fi, and adventure - in much the same way that the 'Back to the Future' films were... only slightly more fantastical! So, if the opinion of me and my friend Michael is anything to go on, I would suggest this series for any children who are looking to be transported to interesting places for a few hours of each day, preferably if its the Christmas holidays!
Ngor fu (2006)
Good film, but seems a little unsure of itself!
I saw this film last week at a cinema in Guangzhou, and although I enjoyed it, I was wondering how to classify it. It has a lot of humour in it, but it is certainly more a film about organised crime than a comedy. I won't spoil any plot details by giving character names, but one death in the film is particularly sad, and the scene is rather well done. Also a rather amusing scene involving a minor car accident had the audience laughing too, and I must admit it made me laugh! This is an interesting film, but I think it will be difficult to find a print of this film that has English subtitles for a while yet. Still, check it out if you can!