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Coisa Ruim (2006)
Subtle truly beguiling supernatural story, for those who don't mind slow paced buildup's to their films.
Plot is about biology professor Xavier Oliveira Monteiro (played by Adriano Luz think a Portuguese Kevin Spacey) who takes his family back to the village and home his ancestors are from. Only its not the lovely picturesque area it seems on the surface, there's a lot of old folk tales the locals are only more than happy to share with the Monteiro family. To prove himself right and the locals wrong Xavier and wife Helena agree to take part in a séance that ends in terror when a part of his childhood is brought up no one alive could possibly have known. This all happens at a point the oldest son returns home from studying, who as some kind of incestious hold on his sister who's got a baby child of her own to an unknown father. The films true beauty is that it lets the viewer fill in the gaps themself something which may be off putting to people who can't accept ambiguity in what they view.
First horror/supernatural/psychological/spiritual (call it what you want hehe even its genre is ambiguous) film I've seen in ages I've been totally captivated in. Everything works well, the music mostly light almost indie guitar based rolls along perfectly with the beautiful yet washed out look of the locations, just the way it blends with the fog rolling along a field or dust blowing during one of the period funerals.
A much deserved 9/10 from me, if I had to give a flaw it would be it was a little slow to get going but so hope Frederico Serra & Tiago Guedes choose to do more creepy films and not switch genres. Also if Portuguese cinema is this good, please distributors start subbing and releasing it so the rest of the world can see it.
El Mascarado Massacre (2006)
Mexican surprise with double cheese.
A group of teens go on a trip to film a porn film in Mexico, on the way they encounter a 'your doomed' style gas attendant who tells them the story of El Diablo Negro and warns them not to pull up till they get to the next gas station. Don't you know the pesky teens stop to shoot in a run down bar only to be hacked down by a psychopath in a wrestling mask.
Nobody watches films like this for plot which thankfully is a good job cause there's not one. Feels more Full Moon than Troma which isn't saying much. But that said its fun and well paced with nicely done action scenes, gore and the odd flashed top rack. All in all better than average 6/10 from me.
Akumu tantei (2006)
Suicide Club meets Nightmare on Elm Street by way of Radioheads How to Disappear Completely !
Rookie female police officer Keiko played by wonderful eye candy Hitomi as one tough 1st case, a suicide which is seemingly too brutal to be suicide, quickly followed by another savage suicide. The key to both (is the now well worn plot) of a phone call to a mysterious Mr O (wickedly played by Shinya Tsukamoto himself)whom helps the suicidie by saying he's going to join in and kill himself while they are. Only he goes that little bit further and actually goes into their sleep and does the gory work himself. The police turn to man who's talent is going into peoples dreams, ala the Nightmare Detective of the title played by the great Matsuda Ryuhei). First attempt goes badly and O manages to kill a male police officer. Not being able to live with this Keiko now tries aided by by the nightmare detective who goes into O's own dream, revealing the reason for his actions.
Plot is basically Suicide Club meets Nightmare on Elm St 3 Dream Warriors by way of Radioheads How to Disappear Completely, visually pleasing which we've come to expect by headf'ck cinema master Shinya Tsukamoto, and should have enough blood to please most gore hounds. Flaws really come in the script, pacing and that feeling you've seen it all before. Still gets a 7/10 by me as of yet the best Asian horror film I've seen in 2007.
Cemetery Gates (2006)
Reggie Bannister puts the B in B-movies with style.
Firstly I guess most people expected a zombie film with a title like Cemetery Gates, its not this is a fun retro slice of b-movie cheese. About a Tasmanian Devil. Basically its a blood and boobs, gore ridden mutant creature feature with enough throwaway dialogue to please the MST3K style so bad its good fans.
I mean sure this won't be in many top 10 Horror films of 2006/07 list/polls. But I bet out of the films that do take up those top 10 places, few are going to be as much fun as this one is.
Reggie Bannister is a bona fide cult hero period, for that alone horror/cult genre fans need to dig this out at some point or other.
Its been a pretty good 12 months for creature features. I gave this an above average 6/10.
The Thirst (2006)
Plot is about a terminal ill woman's last ditched attempt to keep alive, thanks to a late night visit from a vampiric nurse, only set back being she didn't tell her boyfriend her plans, so when he finds her months later dancing in a seedy nightclub after being supposedly dead, he gets roped into joining her new found vampire family. Then they decide to try kick the vampire urge by going cold turkey.
The "Requiem For A Dream Meets Near Dark" tagline for this was always going to be hard for it to live upto. And sadly though pretty obviously this doesn't come close to either.
But that said its a very entertaining horror film once it picks up, has bucket loads of blood, heaps of throw away laughs and enough twisted off the wall madness to keep even the most hard to please horror fan happy.
Great to see Fireflys Jayne aka Adam Baldwin turn up in a horror movie but even he's outdone by the thin white duke English vampire played by Neil Jackson (Duke is also in The Thirst (2006) by Tom Shell).
Director Jeremy Kasten is slowly but surely rising to the top tier of new American horror genre directors, hopefully this is a sign of things to come specially as his next feature is a remake of HG Lewis's Wizard Of Gore. One I'm sure horrorheads don't want to see messed up.
The Thirst gets a very respectful 7/10 from me, leaving me thirsty for more of the same.
A 6 Meter Creature Feature...
I'm forced into commenting on this purely due to the pittyfull marks its been getting (at the time of making this comment its on a user rating of 2.6/10 and is No.98 in the bottom 100).
Basic plot is a group of American journalists, a crocodile expert and a big game hunter travel to Africa to do a feature and hopefully capture a local legendary 6 meter giant man eating crocodile named Gustav. Only they come into as much trouble facing local war criminals, as much as they do when they face the beast itself.
It was never going to be in the running for Oscars or Cannes prizes but come on people take it for what it is, a fun slightly political creature feature about a giant African crocodile.
Personally they could of left the political side of the story out for me same can be said for the recent Korean creature feature The Host also.
But there's enough action set pieces in this to make it worth an hour and half of anybody's time. Nice to see Prison Breaks Dominic 'Linc' Purcell in a feature too.
On a final note the crocodile FX are handled really well considering its mostly cgi. So undeserving of its bottom 100 slot I gave it a better than average 6/10.
Big Bad Wolf (2006)
Most fun I've had with a werewolf film since Dog Soldiers.
He's hairy crude and he's a big bad wolf, and he'll be your monster for the duration of this movie.
Plots barely worth going over for this its your typical 'group of friends go to a cabin to spend a wild weekend blah blah...'
It's been done so many times but if you go into this film with the sole aim of being entertained, you'll easily get your moneys worth. Even though it's not got an original bone in its hairy body you'll laugh so much you'll forgive it that.
Its got a wicked sense of humour with lots of tits'n'ass and blood'n'gore a plenty, and a very retro 80s feel.
"Lets go to the cabin, and get in a little beastiality" a furtastic 7/10 from me. Would be awesome if the people involved came back quick with more comic/horror gold.
Put aside your love of hard hitting revenge actioners...this time Chan-wook Park is taking you on an inner journey and thats OK with me!!!
Pure treat of a film this, couldn't of come along at a better and flatter period in cinema and specially Asian cinema. Chan-wook Park bravely steps away from the formula that sent his name buzzing around the world movie scene and delivers for me one of the highlights film wise of the year.
Other comments unfairly mention this is boring, I beg to differ surely truly boring cinema is the 100s and 1000s of films that come out each year with the sole aim copying other films ideas. Namely the sequels and remakes and rip-off's we get a glut of.
This thankfully is a true unique feeling film sure One Flew Over A Cuckoo's Nest & 12 Monkeys spring to mind, but that's purely due to the setting. Closest in feel would be the films of Michael Gondry & Lindsay Anderson.
A whopping 8/10 from me, would of been 8.5 but IMDb doesn't like halves.
TURN OFF EXPECTATIONS AND SAVIOUR BRILLIANT FILM MAKING.
August Underground's Penance (2007)
The Brown Bunny of underground horror movies... or more fitting the Damp Squib of the trilogy.
Man uses video camera to shoot 2 underground snuff films August Underground Pt1 & Pt2.
Man meets girl and goes about making a 3rd only this time messes the formula up and spends the bulk of it filming himself in various redneck/trailer park trash pursuits. See as man acts like a gangster, as he feeds a gator & lion, as he rides a quad, as he does a few lines yawn yawn ...
Intercut all this with a few gore moments and yawn some more before the end credits roll. Fred and the toetag team have a way with fx this still can't be argued, but its all pointless unless its alongside narrative.
To sum it up I gave it a 3/10. If you want sex go rent a porno, if you want gore rent a slasher movie. If you want to feel like you've wasted your money or time rent this.
Watch this if you dare and you'll feel you've suffered as much as any of the victims...
1st time teeth cutting exercise the crew may of enjoyed, viewers I doubt will.
Painfully slow,amateurish and downright poorly acted first effort from a writer director who's clearly been renting Gaspar Noe/Toshiaki Toyoda style films out at blockbusters a long time. This as none of the wit originally or charm of other lower budget British directors like Simon Rumley or Chris Cooke. Save your time on this and go watch the likes of Red Road or This Is England.
Normally I'd be the 1st to give a first time writer/director a break, but its a shame we get sham reviewers building films up to be more than they are. In who's book honestly is this a 9 or 10 ? They are clearly insider comments/ratings, sad as I highly respect mandiapple having read her reviews for years, she's oddly been someone who's pointed me in the direction of the film makers who's style Footsteps is clearly trying to emulate.
For me I'd of most likely given this film a 4 for a nice first attempt but to balance the way off other ratings its getting a 2. I do hope you come back soon Gareth, hopefully you could learn one big lesson with this first feature and try make the people in front of the camera feel more comfortable, that way the viewer would feel more comfy and be able to enjoy the film.
Creepshow 3 (2006)
It may not be King or Romero, but cheesy 80's feeling fun all the same.
A straight to video/DVD instalment of Creepshow without any of the previous talents involved in the original 2 films.
But don't let that predefine your view on this, lest we not forget how many of our genres greatest talents have turned in substandard junk as recent episodes of Masters Of Horror. Before judging this on names alone.
If viewers take Creepshow 3 with an 'as it comes' approach, they'll find a fun 80's feeling horror anthology which isn't a bad thing as that was comic horrors heyday with films like Blood Diner and Street Trash seemingly coming out weekly.
Like all horror anthology's some story's work better than others. I liked how characters from previous story's turn up again. If you put these poor plots aside then there's gore and gags a plenty in this.
The sets are classy and the acting though not really Oscar worthy isn't so bad. Gore and visual FX are a touch tacky but done with its heart in the right place, the cgi I didn't like but was nice to see good old prosthetic effects used among them.
Gets a chees-a-tastic 5 out of 10 from me, I know most previous comments say its the worst turkey ever, but these people haven't seen the worst of troma or a Todd Sheets movie. Suitable to fans of trashy 80's horror and anyone looking for a no brainer and respects good old fashioned cheap thrills.
Down and dirty modern Greek gem, comes on like the Prodigys 'Smack my bitch up' video extended to a feature.
Wow spell binding is all I can say, Greek cinema doesn't break out to international crowds often, so when it does you can damned bet its special.
Plot is pretty bleak to say the least, revolving around two young 16-17 year old female prostitutes and their day to day struggle, and their dreams to get out of the grim life they've been living in not helped by their pimp. Along for part the ride they are joined by 2 fellow male prostitutes, then a client who falls for the youngest of the two girls.
Its not so much the plot that wins you over in this film, but the grand manner its filmed in. The film spins from darker music video gloss in the mould of Chris Cunningham or Gaspar Noe to comical Dennis Potter dream style montages.
The two central female leads do a stunning job in what must surely have been hard to film scenes. Slight warning is it won't be suitable for everyone has it has strong sexual content throughout. But then what do you expect from a film about this subject and with a title like Hardcore. [7.5 out of 10 would be my rating.]
Bosque de sombras (2006)
Slow burner in the mould of Straw Dogs. And a top notch feature debut,
Clichés aside this is a fine classy revenge film we've not seen since the revenge movie heydays of the 70's (well if you ignore Chan-wook Parks Vengeance trilogy that is). I mean sure this to a great degree as been done before, (we've all seen the strangers walk into a locals inn, and be greeted coldly setup a 100 times).
But give this a chance please, its a deftly directed 1st time feature by Koldo Serra (his previous shorts are both worth hunting down as well), with a fine cast.
Gary Oldman as Paul who needs no introduction is good like he always is, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Isabel playing the put upon wife of Paul. Virginie Ledoyen of 'The Beech' is fine playing the stunning but moody eyecandy Lucy. Best though is 'Dead Man's Shoes' Paddy Considine playing a much more reserved role this time round but still with heaps of charm and humanity.
And as for other comments here saying the acting of the Spanish locals, is substandard just ignore, as they unlike a lot of films with characters playing these roles, show depth and an almost sorry we didn't want to do this even without speaking.
Pace of the film is fine, slight let down is the character background with the young girl and Lucy's own loss of a child. But it earns a fine 7 out of 10 for the atmosphere Serra achieves with the rain & lightening scenes.
You can count on far more than two fingers :D the UK stand up to movie failures,this gladly breaks the trend !!!
Ed Burn plays John Davies a midlife crisis ridden OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) writer,who's partner Suki has left along with the bulk of his possessions.
With an horror film script rewrite to finish and new found job of writing plot lines for a prime time soap,this new found pressure makes him suffer even more neurosis than normal leading him to become even more compulsive over a lads magazine super model he wants to cast in his film as the token none speaking movie boob shot.
All this while he's to deal with his friends,psychiatrist and his two imaginary finger friends (played by comedy duo Vic & Bob).
I personally loved this film its small but there in lies its beauty,in some areas it felt a little too like a sitcom but never for long enough to become stale.Ed Burn (thankfully not wasting his talents on lame pointless advert/clips television shows) proves to come across charming even among all his neurosis and becomes one of the few British stand-ups to prove he can act and hold a film,which when alongside other stand-ups like Steve Coogan & Lee Evens who became big on TV but who have both made dire moves onto the bigger screen.
I gave this an 8 out of 10 would of been higher if the ending wasn't so clearly rushed.That said its worthy nights entertainment congrats to Ed on doing what so many before him have failed at.
Pee chong air (2004)
I see dead people,the twist this time is its a rock band who see it.
A quick sum up on the plot I watched it as The Sisters.
A prostitute is killed in an hotel room her head was chopped off and left in the air conditioning unit.some months later a rock band spend the night in the room,only to find the spirit of the woman still in the room.Each member of the band afterwards meet grisly ends.
Asian cinema as caught onto the US trend of teen horror recently this one being very Ju-on crossed with Evil Dead Trap feeling and is well enough made,but as all the other ghost j-horrors these days you'll not find anything new in it.That said its well worth a casual view probably best saved for a rainy night when you'd be stuck in watching poor TV anyway,a couple of nice set pieces will keep most horror fans happy enough.I loved the green tint used in the hotel Dario Argento used to use flushes of colour like this in his 70s thrillers.It coulda been a contender instead of a bargain bin buy I give it an average [5 out of 10] good effort but there's far better films like this around.
Le porno killers (1980)
You'll yawn,see some sex then yawn some more,repeat until The End
Having hoped this would of turned out to be a low grade trash gem along the lines of Giallo a Venezia.I was sadly let down as its barely even a thriller,its purely a shot on the road location skin flick with a few crimes thrown in our pair come across on their travels like a knife wielding guy.The plot as it is,vaguely resembles a cross between Mario Bava's Rabid Dogs and Thelma and Louise with a very slight Russ Meyer feel of lets just get naked because we've got a few ample sized lead actresses.
Its gotta be noted that this was directed by Roberto Mauri who made Le Notti della violenza/Night of Violence one of the very 1st Italian giallo films.Which makes it even more sad that he ended up making crude junk like this.That said there's lots of sex to keep exploitation fans happy just hope they wasn't expecting anything from the plot,A tiring travelogue of sex and crime,something that shouldn't be this boring but it is.I gave this a below average [3 out of 10]
Tanya's Island (1980)
!!! Show Us Your Monkey !!!
Tanya and her (surely old enough to be her father) lover Lobo live a free life on a tropical island,until Tanya meets an ape like creature Blue (which has a great for its day creature make up,from fx guru Rick Baker surely based on Jack Palances features).All is fine until Lobo gets jealous of his woman spending so much time with the beast,He captures it.Only for Tanya to release it in disgust.Leaving Lobo ("No Damned Animal Can Beat Me") to protect his camp site and partner from the angry beast.
The plot comes across like Beauty and Beast crossed with the Blue Lagoon,and contains a few sex scenes which could push it into the realm of adult cinema.My fave part is seeing Lobo at the camp turn more beast like while Blue becomes human like.The ending for me is the films flaw,having the beast rape Tanya with a purely crude looking blue tint effect on the picture.
I'm sure fans of traditional make-up FX will enjoy this most and maybe the beast rape will entertain exploitation fans enough to please them.I gave this one a [6 out of 10] sure it has its flaws but entertaining all the same.
The birth of Vader,Luke & Lea in one hell of a classic sci-fi series.
What can I say but stunning really bridged the gap between the original 77's Episode IV A New Hope to the new Episodes I & II so well,and boy is this outing dark from killing Jedi young-lings to a limbless burning Vader you know this ones gonna roll and roll on into cinema history,sure many will claim the new episodes are lesser films and maybe even a loyal star wars fan like me could almost agree with 'em,even though I thought episode II was good solid family fun.But this one tops even the originals for pure subject alone,from now on I doubt anyone could watch epIV,epV or epVI without 1st watching epIII.
I really feel Lucas this times made the film the fans wanted to see,hopefully this time pleasing both new and older fans alike.And it will be so nice to re-watch the old wars after the end of this knowing more of the history of the characters.
Slight let down on this is a few unresolved battle scenes namely the wookie battle was so under used.Maybe a special edition DVD could thread more light on this side of story.But all in all I'd say "The force is strong in this one it is" I voted [10 out of 10] probably more to sway the morons who will surely give it 1 without even watching it.easily a 9.5 anyway,Lucas as saved the best till last,and anyone who doesn't agree can't enjoy the simple pleasures of good solid entertainment,and forgets they were probably 10-11 when watching the originals.
Kiseichuu: kiraa pusshii (2004)
Imagine David Cronenberg's Shivers if directed by some Asian AV director
I watched this unsubbed so a few plot details could be slightly wrong,but what this basically is,is a rip-off of David Cronenberg's Shivers complete with bath scene but the sex is more hardcore,four back packers travel to the Amazon and end up picking up a parasite that lives inside woman's vagina's,this is going to be a sure fire hit among horror genre fans when a distributer picks it up for outside the Asian market.
Sex'n'gore galore and coming in at around the hour level,which is my only problem really with it,as you feel like you want more,and I guess some people won't like its low grade look,but proper fans will overlook that,body horror fans will lap this up,I gave this a sick and twisted, (7 out of 10)like old horror film critic chas balun used to say this film delivers the goods
I see dead people,the twist this time is its set on a train
I think you can tell by my summary that I'm a little tired of the current glut of Asian ghost films,which is a little unfair as I'm sure the more casual fan will highly enjoy this film as its got a lot of nice characters to help it chug along at a fair enough pace.
Basic idea is a train as well as its retiring driver are set to take their last journey,only snag is its got parts of a train that was in some old train crash,bring along on the journey the typical trolley girl new recruit,the handsome lead,a few punky teen passengers and spooky i see dead people kid who's riding alone to be greeted on the final stop by his mother.
What the film lacks in originality it makes up for in an almost nice feeling old school horror with a were all in this together plot,and some of the camera techniques and tricks are great like the way you know your in the spook world when the colour tints yellow,nothing your 13 year old wouldn't sit through but nice entertainment (I give a 7 out of 10)
And When She Was Bad... (1973)
A sleaze gem from the golden age of grind-house cinema
Films with plots like this are the reserve of the 70's when it seemed every film had to out sleaze the last.
This film's basic plot as an estranged stepfather Ken (John Alderman),10 years after splitting with his wife gets a visit from his attractive teenage step daughter Sharon (Lyllah Torena) only it turns out shes a raving nymphomaniac who plays games between him and his new partner Rita (Heather Vale),and we are not talking games of cards or scrabble here.
What really turns this from being just a standard soft-core porn film is the artsy direction from Gary Graver(some of the outdoor location shooting is awesome giving this such a fine of its time feel) and as well as the incestuous sleazy plot there's enough odd dialogue and warped peeping tom behaviour to hold most none porn viewers attention.
I don't wanna write about the sex scenes but I'd have to say that my favourite none porn section was when the new partner Rita describes a dream she had where she had no arms but learnt to do everything with her feet,odd warped exploitation fun all be it very questionable morals wise,I give (6 out of 10)
Dead Mate (1988)
Girls are dying in Newbury,,,and for every dead body there's an happy coroner
A seedy low grade little gem kinda like twin peaks crossed with necromantic,,also a film really of its time as its got an aids subplot where a coroner who believes the only safe sex is dead sex.
Without wanting to give too much away the basic plot is a woman who's set to get married to a man moves too his small town,,only to find a secret about his family undertakers.
"they do something with the bodies but it ain't embalming" highly recommended to guys who love this kind of cheesy sleaze,also some gore too for gore fans,,a great must see b-movie (I give 6 - a sure fire cult item)
Fantasy Island if made for swingers-minus a midget but plus a rottweiler
What can you say about this,,,its about the most sleazy film ever made,1st off don't forget its all simulated so don't be going all save the animals on it,,still I very much doubt it'll be coming to a videostore near you soon,the only directors who come close to this in the pure exploitation stakes are Renato Polselli and Andrea Bianchi.
The film starts in pure trashy 70's Italian sleaze top gear,with a woman being watched by her daughter having (I must say again thank heavens its simulated) sex with a rottweiler,she gets interrupted by her husband who ties the dog up and sets fire to the house with the dog inside,this all before the titles have finished,,move forward a bit in time,,,,and a set of mid life crises hit swingers move near said area and end up in a relationship with the daughter who's now a little bit older,,,from then on the sleaze really kicks in,,i don't wanna totally give away spoilers so I'll leave it at that,it all ends bloody which you can always be sure the Italian gaillo films will,fans of euro sleaze will i'm sure be happy with this film which I gave a 9-10 for sleaze content and a pretty fair 5 for the film itself,,,happy hunting folks
Shimotsuma monogatari (2004)
Comes on like a Japanese Ghostworld only 10 times more outrageous !!!
Watched this gem of a film just a week before xmas 2004,,,and mighty glad I did,,as apart from maybe Eternal Sunshine and 2046 nothing really as stood out in 2004 for me.
I'm not saying this film's perfect it does go way too dreamy and slips a lot into teen angst a little too much,but for a hugely entertaining wild ride you gotta see it as nothing for along time comes close to this on the fun scale.
Included are show stopping camera angles/tricks and odd moments of surreal nonsense all wrapped around story of a pair of female teens (Kyôko Fukada & Anna Tsuchiya who both look and act awesome) finding their own individual identities,add some great gags on modern life's consumerism and you've got a sure fire cult maybe even worldwide hit on your hands.I can hear teen girls ripping their posters of N-Sync and Westlife down from their walls and putting up Momoko & Ichigo one's.All in all hugely recommend to fans of Japanese culture i'd give this a super fun 8 maybe adding an half for the fun anime sections...
Peter Rottentail (2004)
!!! Don't Waste Your Time,You'll Regret It !!!
1st off I'd like to say I'm all for low budget films and wouldn't judge a film as being bad if it wasn't,but this is really in my top 10 worst films I've ever seen.
Sub Rosa's a company who you can split into two parts the fine Eric Stanze productions (he's groundbreaking now,just wait till he gets the budget he deserves) and this which wouldn't even work as a troma release.
I know your not meant to take these cult comic,grade-z films serious but this isn't good by a long shot bad video fx,bad unfunny dialog,bad plot & and most of all a bad idea to stretch what woulda made a lame skit on a comedy show,just hope they had fun making it cause I very much doubt anyone who wasn't involved in it would.
theNomad says go eleswere for this style of film done well,if you haven't you could check out street trash or brain damage..(1 out of 10 for the "nice carrot patch" line)