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Demon Wind (1990)
8/10
Dark, Brooding, Low-Budget Horror- Pretty Entertaining
24 March 2010
Demon Wind is a low budget creepfest from the very early 1990s which is surprisingly well made, for the most part.

It deals with a guy named Corey who is seeking out his mysterious ancestral past. Corey's father and several other members of his family met with horrible fates in an old farmhouse where they lived. Guided by visions and a burning curiosity, Corey decides to go to the abandoned farm along with a pack of friends to investigate. Upon arrival, an old man, who says that he was a witness to very gruesome happenings at the old farmhouse, tells them that the place is cursed and that the Devil himself is said to possess the land. The old man advises turning back and forgetting the whole thing, but Corey insists that his fate lies within the old house.

Of course, things get bad from there onward. Without spoiling too much, they encounter demon hordes, magic spells, phantom fog, and a lot of them die very horrible deaths. The film's atmosphere is very dark and chilling, especially the first half. The make-up and gore effects are really great and bring to mind movies like Night of the Demons and The Evil Dead. The film is not without its flaws, though. The special camera effects are really cheap and schlocky. The script is pretty stupid at times, more so in the second half. And there are plot holes aplenty.

I had a great time with it, though. Taken at face value, this cheap flick is pretty entertaining. If you are a fan of stuff like the Evil Dead movies or Hellraiser, I would recommend you check it out.
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4/10
Great Premise But A Lot Of Wasted Potential
4 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Get this... the movie is like a cross between The Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the Jersey Devil myth thrown in for good measure. It stars horror veterans Felissa Rose, Edwin Neal, and Ellen Sandweiss. Sounds like the recipe for a really superb horror flick, right?...WRONG!!!!! Satan's Playground proves that a great premise and good cast will only take a movie so far and not save it, in any way, from being a stinker. Absolutely brimming with horror cliché's and cheap thrills, this movie took a lot of good potential and tossed it out the window.

The film is about a couple who are headed out into the woods for a nice little camping trip with their mentally-challenged son and the wife's sister in tote. While on the road they, OF COURSE, have car trouble. After getting stuck in the mud, the man goes for help and finds an old, creepy house out in the woods. The house, OF COURSE, belongs to a family of bloodthirsty devil-worshiping killers.

Do I really need to continue further?

About the only good thing this movie had going for it was the atmosphere and cinematography. It was genuinely creepy and evil. The set-pieces were great, too. The director could have taken that and run with it a lot further. It was prevented by bad writing, bad acting, and all those annoying stereotypical situations. It reminded me of a cheap horror movie that would be made around the early-mid 90s before horror started to self-realize a lot.

Overall, it's a very trite and lackluster effort.
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10/10
A Deeply Atmospheric yet Shamefully Forgotten Film
3 September 2008
Unsettling... surreal... otherworldly... those are just a few words one can use to describe this picture. Engrossing... unforgettable... a few more. This movie is worth a thousand words only because no one word will suffice.

Messiah of Evil is the story of a woman who goes looking for her father after he mysteriously stops correspondence with her. When she arrives at his seaside home, she finds that the whole town has gone quite batty. She is joined by a far out new-age couple who were curiously attracted to the strange town. Together, the trio find out that the town has become one big, evil, flesh and blood craving, moon worshiping zombie cult.

This movie is filled to the brim with creepy atmosphere, chilling scenes, very strange and memorable characters, and plenty of genuine w.t.f. moments. Watching this film it, at times, felt like it was shot in another dimension. A world of its own creation.

Don't hesitate to seek out this hidden piece of 70s surrealism and fright. Just sit back and let it catch you off guard.
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7/10
Forgotten Gem of Italian Gothic Horror
29 July 2007
If there is one thing that even the most low-budget of Spaghetti horrors excel in, it has got to be atmosphere. That is one thing that Terror in the Crypt does extremely well. It exudes a flair of picturesque horror and mystique enhanced all the more by its superb cinematography and eerie score.

Apart from it's great atmosphere, the film is very well crafted and entertaining. I would put it in the vein of other great EuroGoth gems like Terror Creatures From the Grave and The Blancheville Monster. Plus, the immortal Christopher Lee adds plenty to the picture as he always tends to do. But, like many of the other fans of this picture, I would have loved to have seen Lee chew the scenery with genre queen Barbara Steele as this is the type of film that was right up her alley.

Like so many other Gothic efforts, the story revolves around a generations-old family curse. Christopher Lee's character is a Count who fears that a witch's curse is starting to come to fruition as members of his extended family are dying one by one. A great cast of characters makes this story even more interesting. There's Laura, the Count's daughter and prime suspect in carrying out the witch's hex during her nightmare-wrought sleep. There is Laura's sultry friend Lyuba (I must note that the two starlets have great chemistry together and always look like they are on the verge of releasing years of bottled up sexual frustration on each other). A wise old crone who tries to help Laura decipher her nightmares. And there is a young historian who is brought in to try and find out as much of the family's dark history as he can in an effort to thwart the curse.

Terror in the Crypt (recently released as Crypt of the Vampire) is definitely worth the time and money for any fan of EuroGoth films or even just for those wanting to get a glimpse at Christopher Lee's Italian ventures.
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8/10
Excellent Summer Creature Feature
17 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A group of wild, hepcat college kids head down with a friend to her father's house in sunny Florida for Spring Break. The man is a marine biologist and is currently studying jellyfish in his lab on premises. Apparently, the kids are there to learn a thing or two while helping out the doc in return for his hospitable welcome. However, being rowdy young college kids, they waste no time hazing and poking fun at the good doctors deformed and Igor-like assistant, Egon. But, Egon sticks around anyway. Mainly because he has got the hots for the Doctor's rather shapely daughter. Egon does have a breaking point, though. Beneath his mild facade lies the heart of a hateful, vindictive, and bitter man. And having vast knowledge of science himself, Egon has built himself a laboratory out in the middle of the swamp. It is from that secret lab that emerges a killer jellyfish man with revenge and murder on his mind.

From the mid 1960s through the early 1970s, director William Grefe' filmed a number of movies in and around the Florida Everglades. One of his best, and most popular, is Sting of Death. It's a low-budget cult favorite and exudes a flair of b-grade campiness and absurdity which will easily grab the attention of any connoisseur of cinematic oddities. It is also worthy to note that Sting of Death contains two musical contributions from Neil Sedaka, including Do the Jellyfish which makes for plenty of go-go gyrating fun. This freaky summer creature feature is actually a pretty impressive piece of 60s schlock.
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8/10
Unique and entertaining Spaghetti Western
17 July 2007
Captain Apache is the story of an Apache Indian (Lee Van Cleef) who is a captain in the Union Army hired to find the man responsible for the killing of an Indian commissioner. He fights his way from town to town in Arizona and Mexico trying to find the meaning of "April morning", the last words of the murdered man. All roads lead to Griffin(Stuart Whitman), a wealthy and mysterious gun smuggler. The Captain gets to know Griffin,but remains suspicious as to whether he is friend or foe. As he gets closer to finding out the meaning of "April morning", he smells a conspiracy as all those so eager to give him answers start getting killed. With April fast approaching, he is running out of time.

This unique and fun Spaghetti Western is full of smart (albeit cheesy)dialogue, great action, and a groovy 60's soundtrack to boot. Memorable scenes include a shootout in a Mexican saloon overtaken by a witch, and the Captain's drug induced trip through old west ruins. Also worthy of mention is that two songs in the film are belted out by Mr. Lee Van Cleef, himself. Fans of this genre will find this one to be a real treat worthy of watching once or again and again.
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Maniac Cop (1988)
8/10
Great Blend of Horror, Action, and Crime Thriller
30 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Maniac Cop works on many different levels. It can be viewed from various standpoints as a horror film, an action movie, or an inner city crime thriller. However you take it though, it surely doesn't disappoint. It's a gritty stew of high octane excitement and suspense.

When a crazed New York City police officer starts brutally murdering innocent people, the citizens start to fear and hate the cops. The department and the mayor seek to gain control of the situation but, with each new death, the city becomes more and more hostile. When an innocent cop is shot and killed out of fright by a scared citizen, the police force resorts to drastic measures. They arrest officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) as a patsy to pin the blame on. But certain other people, including detective Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) and Officer Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) suspect otherwise and investigate on their own. Officer Mallory is sure Jack is not the killer because she was having an affair with him at the time some of the murders were committed. After finding some clues, they fear they know the identity of the real killer; and now only have a short time to prove Officer Forrest is innocent. However, when Maniac Cop finds out that he's been discovered, all three become his main targets.

Directed by William Lustig, Maniac Cop is not as brutal as his earlier horror venture, Maniac. However, like I mentioned before, the film lends itself very well to genres other that horror. It is, in some ways, well representative of its producer and writer Larry Cohen's work. The film has a slight similarity in story and substance to Cohen's movie God Told Me To. Overall, Maniac Cop is quite entertaining and worthy of much praise and attention. Ignoring this flick would be a crime!
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Demons (1985)
10/10
Awesomely Superb Horror Flick!
29 December 2006
Demons is a straight-forward, in-your-face horror film. Period. It wastes no time in establishing that fact early and keeps it going until the very end. No boring sub plots, long character developments, or tedious misdirection. Just blood, gore, violence, and Hellish hordes of gut munching monsters. Perfect for a Friday night fear fest with friends and fiends alike.

A mysterious masked man walks the streets of Berlin handing out movie tickets to passers by. Later that night during the film at the Metropol, it becomes clear what masked dude's motive was. The movie they watch mirrors the impending fate of the unsuspecting theater goers. It's about an ancient evil unleashed upon mankind which turns them all into evil, flesh feeding demons. A small gash on the face of a hooker trying on a strange mask disguised as movie memorabilia in the theater lobby plants the seed for the demonic invasion. Stuck with nowhere to run, all hell breaks loose once the attack begins. With each dead body resurrected as a demon, the chance of escape for the few survivors is not very good. Nor will the Metropol theater contain such an outbreak very long.

There are plenty of memorable and colorful characters in Demons, including a pimp and his ladies, a crabby old couple, a group of coked-out punks, and the stars of the film, two girls and two guys who meet for the first time that night. The plot and the action are terrific; the effects are superb; and the soundtrack if filled with killer 80s heavy metal sounds by the likes of Motley Crue, Saxon, and Accept.

Produced by horror maestro Dario Argento and directed by Lamberto Bava (whose father, Mario, was the grand daddy of Italian horror, by the way), Demons is a total work of brilliance. It's a no-holds-barred fright flick of the highest caliber. If you're looking for great Euro horror, do not pass up the chance to watch Demons. You won't regret it, nor soon forget it.
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Blood Song (1982)
6/10
Somewhat Fair Slasher Flick
28 December 2006
Bloodsong (a.k.a. Dream Slayer) is a rare and almost totally forgotten horror trash flick made during the 1980s' boom of slasher films. Don't get me wrong, though. I say trash in a good way; defining the genre rather than the quality. Because, in quality this movie is quite mediocre and, actually, not at all that bad as some would make it out to be. It's sleazy, but by no means a sleaze flick. It's violent only to and extent. It's bloody, but not too much. And, although it was not a t.v. movie, it sometimes has the feel of one. On top of all this mediocrity, there are some assets to Bloodsong. The acting and storyline are pretty good, there's plenty of cheap 80s style and substance, and it's the only film in which you can see former teen heart throb Frankie Avalon play a hatchet wielding psycho.

Yes, you heard right. Frankie stars as Paul Foley, an escaped and homicidal mental patient, who prior to his liberation, supplied blood to a critically injured teenage girl brought to his hospital after a car wreck. The girl, Marion (played by Donna Wilkes), crippled but on her way to recovery at home, starts to have horrible visions of death both in dreams and awake. In other words, Paul's blood seems to have connected his mind to hers, making Marion an unwilling mental witness to his killing spree in which the murders always start off with him hauntingly playing a flute (hence, the title Bloodsong). Needless to say, it is inevitable that their paths will cross and it won't be nice.

Although far from a classic, Bloodsong is pretty entertaining and not a complete waste of time. The killings are semi-graphic but, otherwise, fully slasher film certified. Avalon surprisingly creates a creepy and menacing character. Another plus is that the plot is embellished by the fact that poor disabled Marion has a father who is an abusive alcoholic who makes her out to be a slut and gives her hell every chance he gets. That sub-story is worthy of the trashiest Lifetime movie of the week. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say this film is a mix between John Carpenter's Halloween (only much cheaper and not on Halloween) and William Lustig's Maniac (only toned down and a lot less bloody). So, mediocrity aside, Bloodsong is worth at least one view by all 80s slasher aficionados. Frankie would appreciate it.
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9/10
Booze, Babes, and Black Magic
24 December 2006
The premise is tried and true. A group of young people break into an old and spooky abandoned house looking for nothing less than a good time. Just a night of booze, babes, boom box, and, of course, black magic. They, naturally, end up waking a dormant evil force which proceeds to terrorize and kill anyone drinking, fornicating, or trespassing in its lair.

Sound familiar yet? It should. It's been the plot to countless other horror films including Night of the Demons, The Evil Dead, and Hell Night. Now add Cemetery of Terror to the list.

I think this movie ranks up their with its contemporaries, though. It utilizes all the best techniques of a certified 80s horror gem. It's got plenty of blood and carnage, good plot, great atmosphere, and takes place on that wonderful horror movie time of the year: Halloween. The evil antagonist in this film is a superbly terrifying super-human Satanic slasher named Devlon who could easily give Michael Myers a run for his money. I don't recall Mikey selling his should to Satan, after all. And, as if Devlon wasn't enough for you, throw in a Necronomicon-type book which summons an army of zombies into the mix. Because what good is a spooky old cemetery in a horror film if you're not going to use it?

Made for Mexican audiences and filmed in Texas,this movie is definitely worth looking into if you are a fan of all-out 80s slasher gore fun. It effortlessly compares with a lot of great American horror trash cinema classics. So bring on the booze, babes, boom box, and black magic and let's party!
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9/10
One of the best and lesser known of the Mexican wrestler film genre.
21 December 2006
Masked Mexican wrestlers fight the living dead! Nah! Really? But, as odd and absurd as it seems, premises like this were quite the norm during Mexico's heyday of "luchador" (wrestler) films led by the likes of El Santo and Blue Demon. Whether solo or as a team, these in-cognito warriors would fight crime, monsters, aliens, and even the supernatural in their never-ending battle to protect the common men and the helpless victims of the world. As if by righteous code or obligation, these men of steel are there to save the day.

El Castillo de las Momias de Guanajuato (The Castle of the Guanajuato Mummies) is somewhat of a lesser known Mexican wrestler horror film. Three wrestlers, Superzan, Blue Angel, and Tinieblas, take a jaunt to Guanajuato to exhibit their talents in the ring. Meanwhile, a Satanic mad scientist and his band of evil dwarfs hatch a scheme to raise a horde of living dead for the purposes of kidnapping all the townspeople. The evil doctor is paralyzed from the waist down and finds that he needs to consume the life forces of many people in order to recuperate and, eventually, even become immortal. When the undead strike the town and begin their raid, the three masked heroes get word and jump into action. However, they soon find that fighting an army of re-animated corpses isn't as easy as it seems. Especially when they find the doctor's plan is already at work and he is increasing in strength and power.

This film works on a lot of levels. First off, the zombies are unique in comparison to others like Romero's or Fulci's. Being that it is Guanajuato, world famous for its soil conditions which are perfect for preserving bodies, the mummy-like quality makes for an extra ghastly look. Another great feature are the scenes of torture. Its scream-o-rama-on all sorts of weird medieval contraptions used to drain people of life. Plus, all the action isn't carried out without at least a smidgen of humor. There are some memorable moments of tongue-in-cheek laughter.

So, if you enjoy Mexican masked wrestler movies, this one is not to be missed. If you want an unconventional take on classic horror formulae, this one is not to be missed. If you just want a great horror film that surely won't disappoint, this one is not to be missed.
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Satan's Slave (1987)
8/10
A Notable Eastern Horror Flick
14 December 2006
This little known cinema rarity from Indonesia offers up a real treat for western horror buffs. Claiming to be an Eastern take on Don Coscarelli's Phantasm, it transposes Christian-based horror themes to the Muslim culture. Although, it lacks a bit of luster when compared to Phantasm, those able to look past that will find a very solid and intriguing blend of zombie horror, haunted house tale, and psychological thriller.

Satan's Slave tells the story of a family who, upon the loss of the mother, alienate themselves from religion. Of course, this leaves an open door for evil to come into their lives. It first comes in the form of the mother's nightly spectral appearances (mostly centering around the two youngsters of the household). When a terrorized servant commits suicide, he too makes a return. Then, a newly appointed housekeeper seems to work black magic and have secret diabolical intentions toward the family. After suspecting witchcraft, the children persuade the father to hire a shaman. However, that makes the haunting even worse and the wrath of the evil woman increases ten fold. With more lives claimed in the name of Satan, the evil forces at work get more and more powerful. It is up to the family to band together and accept God into their lives if they want to survive.

Yes, at the heart, this film is like an Islamic morality tale. But, that does not keep it from being an all-around good horror picture. This unique venture is worth a look by any fan of horror from around the world.
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6/10
Nothing More Than a Cult Oddity
2 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Similar to Bela Lugosi acting in Ed Wood's Z-grade cult pictures toward the end of his life, Boris Karloff took one last stand (in failing health) in front of cameras to shoot four films that are today considered less than sub-par, to say the least. Snake People, or La Muerte Viviente, was one of them. It is also the most accessible of these rarities which were all first released in Mexico.

This film was co-directed by Jack Hill (along with Juan Ibanez) who would later go on to make blaxploitation history with Foxy Brown and Coffy. Hill is also part of what could be considered the Roger Corman school, as he is one of many directors apprenticed by the cult cinema legend.

The film begins with Capt. Pierre Labesch and Anabella Vanderberg arriving together on a small Caribbean island. Labesch is there to assume control of the local police force and Vanderberg to help spread the temperance movement. They are greeted by stories of voodoo and zombies being rampant on the island. Captain Labesch makes it somewhat of a crusade to stop what he believes to be hogwash. They later pay a visit to Mr. van Molder (Karloff), a plantation owner who is Ms. Vanderberg's uncle and also an amateur scientist conducting experiments with voodoo and telekinesis. From him, they learn that the voodoo practitioners await the coming of Baron Samedi, a voodoo deity to be summoned by the high priest Damballah. Of course, the voodoo turns out not to be hogwash and the characters find themselves trapped within the web of occult and sacrifice. The plot is paper thin, and it is not long before you realize that van Molder is Damballah. The final revelation makes for a very anticlimactic ending.

However, this film does have its good moments. Notable parts include various haunting voodoo rituals involving a creepy midget (credited as "midget" mind you) killing chickens, and an eerie encounter between Vanderberg and her evil doppleganger. Overall, I'd say this flick is best left to cult aficionados and collectors of rare cinema oddities.
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8/10
A Noble Nunsploit Effort
27 July 2006
One of the most faithful nuns in her convent, Sister Maria finds herself obsessed by the Devil. Obsessed, not possessed, because Satan is an external force in this film. A strapping and vampiric lad, the Devil brings out Sister Maria's inner desires for both sex and blood. Plagued also by her devotion to God, she tries to fight these forbidden desires and lusts with prayer and penitence only to have them come back ten fold. Sister Maria is suddenly caught between Satanic submission or death.

Satanico Pandemonium is a good nunsploitation effort in the vein of, the more celebrated, Juan Lopez Moctezuma'a Alucarda. It has sex, nudity, lesbianism, child seduction, self mutilation, blood, and death(not necessarily in that order, of course). The ending is clever and surprising following a bloody and ravenous climax. If you're a fan of nunsploitation and offbeat cinema, do yourself a favor and check out Satanico Pandemonium. You won't regret it.
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8/10
Awesome Early Splatterfest
27 July 2006
Two Thousand Maniacs! is the second installment in the sleazy classic "Blood Trilogy" by Herschell Gordon Lewis. It is a superb film and very important to the gore genre. This early splatter fest features enough carnage(and very realistic-looking blood for its time) to compete with any of today's modern gross-outs.

The premise is simple enough. Travelers are lured to a small southern town full of blood-thirsty Confederates seeking revenge on Yankees upon the centennial of the end of the Civil War. Fooled into thinking that they are the guests of honor at the town's centennial celebration, the travelers soon find themselves in the middle of barbaric blood rituals with seemingly no means of escape.

While the acting is a little sub-par and exaggerated at times, it does not detract from the film but, rather, adds to the sleaze factor. The action slows down a little toward the end, however, the ultimate conclusion is unique and quite chilling. Overall, Two Thousand Maniacs! is a very worthy watch and a great addition to any gore hound's collection.
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10/10
A Cult Curiosity
24 July 2006
Often called "the worst movie ever made", Manos: the Hands of Fate is a surreal excursion through the depths of underground cult cinema. Filmed on a less-than-shoestring budget in my hometown of El Paso, Texas, I've had more than one run-in with this picture and I even finally acquired it on DVD. Over the years, this has been a piece that I go back to as a foundation for low-budget film anomalies.

Shot in what looks like my grandfather's super 8 camera, Manos is the story of a family of three lost in a desert maze in search of a vacationing area. They end up shacking down for the night with a strange cult that worships hands or "manos". Memorable characters include Torgo, a spastic underling of "the Master"(the ashen, mustached leader of the cult), Michael,the father/husband of the family who may well be the worst actor in history aside from being the director of the film. Some highlights include a dead dog, a fight amongst chicks in togas, a crazy 1960's bebop jazz soundtrack, and a strange but smart ending.

Most people who regard this movie at all have only experienced it on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. However, I find that it is also very fun to watch on it's own. Fans of extremely cheesy cinema (ala' Ed Wood) should not miss out on this cult curiosity.
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10/10
Surprisingly Good Cult Picture
22 July 2006
Chase Winstead is a good ol' American small town boy. He's into hot rods and rock n' roll, he has a steady job at a garage, he's in good with the local sheriff. His bombshell-of-a-girlfriend was nice enough to buy his polio-stricken sister leg braces. Why, he's even got a record deal for having such a beautiful Elvis-like voice. What could possibly go wrong? How about (of all things on Earth) A GIANT GILA MONSTER ATTACK!

This campy classic is the cousin to another cult cinema gem, The Killer Shrews. It is not to be missed by fans of Roger Corman, Ed Wood and the like. It's got fast cars, rock music, cheesy effects, but, quite a good script and above par acting. Great to watch by itself or, as it was once featured, on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It's not too long, not too short, and there's never a dull moment.
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10/10
A Miike Masterpiece
20 July 2006
Ichi the Killer is a landmark picture in Japanese Cinema. It is an audio and visual attack on the senses (and gag reflex) which adopts a unique style of movie/comic book- hybrid film making. A real Miike masterpiece!

Kakihara is not your typical Yakuza gangster. He is sadistic, masochistic, depraved, has a hair trigger for violence, and is really really upset that someone has kidnapped his boss, Anjo and taken off with 100 million yen. So, torturing his way through the underworld, he manages to get kicked out of the Yakuza and finds out, too late, that it was a man called Ichi that killed his boss and is now after him. Kakihara then sets out for revenge and vindication in the name of Anjo.

Ichi, on the other hand, seems to be a more simple kind of guy who works for an ex-cop who loves to wreak havoc on the Yakuza. Ichi's work is thought to be that of a brutally insane and blood thirsty maniac. But, upon meeting him, one can't help but notice his peculiar innocence and naiveté. However, it is this very feature that makes him so deadly.

When these two forces collide, it's endless violence, torture, rape, murder, blood, gore, and underworld danger and depravity. Ichi the Killer is a movie that directors like Quentin Tarantino only dream of making. If films were people, his Kill Bills would only watch and drool at Ichi the Killer!
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