‘Ebola Syndrome’ directed by Herman Yau (1993's 'The Untold Story') is an infamous Hong Kong Cat III entry. Since 1988 Category III has been Hong Kong’s most restrictive certificate - “No persons younger than 18 years of age are permitted to rent, purchase, or watch this film in the cinema.” - the equivalent of North America’s NC-17 and X-ratings. The movies are extremely graphic in nature with their gory depictions of violence and/or are sexually explicit.
Monday, 17 June 2013
Friday, 7 June 2013
‘Dead Mine’ is the debut production from HBO Asia Originals. This first effort is from British filmmaker Steven Sheil the writer and director of the critically acclaimed 2008 low-budget UK horror ‘Mum & Dad’ an horrifically effective take on the demented cannibal family premise harking back to Tobe Hooper’s ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974) and Wes Craven’s ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (1991). Here Sheil does not take writing duties and I think it is fair to say it is a director for hire job.
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
‘Aftershock’ is the yin to the yang of last year’s ‘The Impossible’. If you felt an overwhelming sense of hope with a newfound faith in humanity watching that emotional and harrowing depiction of the devastating tragedy of the 2004 South Asian Tsunami in the Thailand hit region you will feel none of that here. In this fictionalized account based on the true events of the 2010 Chile earthquake and the chaos and disorder that followed it rather than witness the kindness of humanitarianism as you did in that film this is an analysis of the darkness of humankind with a disturbing and shocking study of just how fucked up people can be.
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
‘Just Before Dawn’ did not make so much as a whimper during its theatrical release but since then has quite rightfully built a sturdy cult following on home video. Over the last 32 years at the time of writing, the film has been lauded among horror aficionados for being one of the very best backwoods set entries into the slasher sub-genre influenced by John Boorman’s masterful 1972 survival thriller ‘Deliverance’.
Friday, 17 May 2013
Rape and revenge films often strive for feminist empowerment over the male violators of the protagonists’ womanhood. The power coming to these wronged leading ladies after the perpetrators’ forced penetration on them. The female gaze is in full effect here in the Canadian production ‘American Mary’ as the title character Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle in a brilliant turn) finds her strength in her furious anger right in the aftermath of her heinous drug raped ordeal. This leads straight away to a brutal cold merciless drawn out revenge on the vile monster that has caused her pain as she makes him nothing more than a helpless object play toy of torture for her cruel vengeful wrath. Rendered powerless just as she was for his depraved pleasure.
Friday, 10 May 2013
This French/USA production of an updated version of Maniac results in four of the best things a fan of horror cinema could wish for in the hope of an invigorating viewing experience. For slasher enthusiasts it is a superior addition to the sub-genre, spoiled rotten are the gorehounds, it is one of the very finest remakes surpassing the much revered by genre aficionados 1980 original and the film is just simply one of the greatest entries into modern horror of the 21st century. Yes, it does deserve such lofty acclaim.
Friday, 3 May 2013
Rob Zombie does not strive to make films for the mainstream horror audience or any other kind of fan of the genre for that matter. His creative output is personal as his work is very much made for himself and as a result is a very acquired taste. He is the most polarizing modern horror filmmaker who has ripped open a divide so great that the middle ground falls deep through it. On one side, there are Zombie’s fiercely loyal fans that defend his work with every given word who see him as a great visualist, and on the other side, he is shown complete and utter contempt with venomous spit berated as nothing but a hack. Despite all the stinging criticism from that side of detractors though, the writer and director could not care less and has carried on undeterred making the movies he wants to that he would like to see on screen while catering to the tastes of the adoring other half of the split.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
I have seen many a bad film in my lifetime being a horror fan. Sure, every genre has its fair share of the spread of the shit but horror is the biggest dumping ground for below par filmmaking. Everything from ultra-low budget cheesy B movie trash, safe watered down for the masses mainstream fare with a PG-13 certificate slapped on, misconceived remakes, terminally ill straight to home video clunkers etc. I have wasted much viewing time having watched a God-awful amount of genre celluloid abortions over the last twenty-three years. I became a hardcore horrorhead at the tender age of 11 from having seen respectively Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984) and John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ (1978). From then on despite having discovered many other great horror movies such as these, I have had to sit through a helluva a lot of dross more so than any other of my favourite genres.
Friday, 19 April 2013
The Last House on the Beach (1978) - Past The Last House on the Left and at the End of The House on the Edge of the Park
Past The Last House on the Left and at the End of The House on the Edge of the Park
Wes Craven’s ‘The Last House on the Left’ really started something in 1972. The golden age of cinema in the 70s was the transition of the horror genre from the gothic to the modern. No longer were the villains primarily monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, The Wolf Man and The Mummy. It was now the dark side of humanity; human characters that were the real monsters showing what true evil people are capable of doing.
Friday, 12 April 2013
‘Gut’ opens with a sudden act of violence with a murder being committed. We hear the diegetic sound of difficult breathing and choking as someone’s life slips away from them playing over the opening credits against a black background. Fading in to a close-up shot, we see a man with blood splattered all over his shirt on the floor of a room leaning over this person strangling and/or suffocating them. The title card then comes up against the same black background after which we are introduced to this attacker who turns out to be one of the film’s protagonists as we get a look at his family life as he leaves for work in the morning. We the audience do not know when the opening shot takes place in the narrative.