Variety Calls The Canal (2014) “Twisted” “Eerie”, and “Spine-Tingling” – Read Their Review Here!

With overt references to Jacques Tourneur’s “Cat People” and a clear appreciation for the atmospheric creepiness of other early horror classics, Kavanagh proceeds to escalate the tension, putting David’s young son Billy (Calum Heath), trusting nanny Sophie (Kelly Byrne) and over-concerned co-worker Claire (Antonia Campbell Hughes) in potential danger of whatever’s lurking around his home. Meanwhile, the hallucinations become more frequent, to the extent that we can’t always discern where reality ends and fantasy begins.

But Kavanagh hardly sees fit to rely on old-school techniques to generate suspense, amping up the tension via jump cuts, red-lit interiors and a meticulously engineered soundscape that makes sparing yet effective use of eerie tones and spine-tingling scratching noises (even to accompany the old silent footage). After shrewdly raising the possibility that something otherworldly is lurking behind the walls and beneath the manhole cover in David’s backyard, the camera finally descends into the sewer, crossing over from the old-fashioned realm of suggestion-driven horror to the far more explicit territory of directors like Takashi Miike (who surely would approve). The pic’s early coyness offers little preparation for its twisted climax, in which this subterranean tunnel of death doubles as a perverse birth canal of sorts — an image that won’t die anytime soon in the minds of any who witness it.

 

-From the accompanying Variety.com review by Peter Debruge

 

So!  We’re just about to sit down (in the dark) and watch Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal,  a move we are starting to re-think the wisdom of after reading this last review. We’ve also read quite a few others over the past few days, and all of the professional critics have admitted the movie was not just creepy, but surprisingly scary. Scary as hell, in fact! We’ll let you know… especially if we can’t sleep and have some time on our hands until the sun comes up.

Click “View original” in the lower left to read the entire review on Variety.com.

NOTE: we are aware of the annoying HTML tags that are automatically inserted every fucking time we re-blog a piece from Variety or EW.com. We have been trying to figure out how to correct this, and are getting really frustrated, but we did want to let you know we are aware that it not only looks sloppy but unprofessional as shit. We’re working on it. Thanks for your patience and for continuing to read Horror Boom!

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Horror Boom’s Ten Scariest Asian Horror Movies Ever Made – #8 – “Uzumaki” AKA “Spiral” (2000)

First up: Disturbing image warning.

We’re slowly but surely working our way up the list of our picks for the ten scariest Asian horror movies ever made. This is a good time to point out that Uzumaki (AKA Spiral) isn’t #8 on the list because it’s less scary of a film that any of the others.  They’re all scary as hell (though we would rate, say, Shutter over Three… Extremes; then again, Shutter is in the our Top Ten Scariest Movies ever made PERIOD, list), we’re just not listing them in order of importance/scariness.  This J-horror pick for the Top Ten list is based on a manga by one of the most popular and terrifying names in horror manga, Junji Ito (more on that later), so there’s a whole new type of media to augment and expand the fright generated by Uzumaki. I wrote this up for the IMDB in 2011 and to this day, I stand by my 9/10 stars rating. Watch the trailer below (it’s short, but long enough to give you a pretty good idea of how the movie ended up on this list):

If you had told me* fifteen years ago that I would be so frightened I would be on the verge of a panic attack merely by watching a horror movie whose plot centers on a small town being terrorized by a geometric concept, I probably would have laughed in your face. Well, that was before Fangoria magazine recommended a horror movie from Japan called Uzumaki (possibly in the same issue as Ringu) and I finally found a copy to rent. This one I unwisely made the decision to watch after dark (after deliberately watching several like A Tale of Two Sisters in the daytime), when I was the only one in the house still awake; all the lights on the whole upper floor of the house were off except the one from the TV. As disturbing and frightening as the manga of the same name that the movie is based on (and if you’ve read ANY of the three books that comprise the manga, you know that is no easy task) this one-of-a-kind J-horror flick also has images I still can’t quite get out of my head, and I watched the movie in 2008.

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 3.34.22 AM

I then watched Uzumaki again in Fall of 2011, this time making the equally stupid decision to watch it on a good-sized flatscreen. All the images I recalled were every bit as scary–just as much bang for your buck (or yen). Not only that, but there was one shot, a VERY disturbing, brief set-piece (and arguably the most bloody), that I only recalled about two seconds before it happened. The entire movie is so increasingly unnerving –not a lot of rests between scares, and little comic relief –that I suppose my brain wiped the scene out because it was just too much for my central nervous system to take in all at once.

Also, in between viewings, I read the complete manga– I’m not sure whether to recommend the movie or the graphic novels first. The series of graphic novels’ tone is even darker- WAY darker, and the movie’s not exactly happy-go-lucky to start with. I picked up the manga (which has won an impressive and lengthy list of notable awards and honors that were absolutely earned) after I saw the movie the first time–which at least warns you what you are in for–out of morbid curiosity. I was so blown away (and actively horrified, almost to the point of trauma; perhaps reading them all in a row beginning around midnight was not the smartest goddamned thing I’ve ever done) I went and rented the movie again to compare the two, and can report that other than excluding some storylines** that would’ve made the movie very hard to be released and marketed for all but adult audiences (and possibly too scary even for a J-horror movie, at least in 2000), the movie captures the tone and spirit of the graphic novels dead-on. Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 3.47.53 AMMany of the best-known, most fucking bloodcurdling haunting scenes from the manga are recreated perfectly, even when said scenes and setpieces in the manga would seem to be impossible to stay true to in a live-action format. if you do see the movie version –and don’t get so freaked out you have multiple borderline panic attacks like I did when I tried to sleep the next couple nights–and want more, buy or borrow the manga to get the full experience. If you do, that almost guarantees you’ll want another viewing of the movie. 

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 10.57.34 PM

 

By the way, there’s a really cool site out there called Mangashare.com. If you want to read Uzumaki  -Spiral Into Terror by Junji Ito online, free (and translated into English), you can begin scaring the shit out of yourself by starting the series using this link here. Reading these before bedtime isn’t advised, because here’s just a few images from the sheer nightmare of a manga written and drawn in vivid detail by Junji Ito:

Be glad they’re not in color.  So! After spending over an hour searching for and scanning the manga for the above handful of images, I’m not getting any sleep tonight! How about you guys?

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 5.07.00 AM

 

*Before I discovered Asian horror, that is; after that, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all to hear how disturbing the creators could make this. Especially based on a Junji Ito series.

**Here’s an interesting –and important– tidbit of trivia I found on IMDB when double-checking some facts for this re-write: “The movie was filmed before the manga had completed its run, and reveals a different ending and origins storyline than that featured in the manga.”  If they ever made a version of Uzumaki that follows the storyline and especially the original ending of the manga, it’d probably take me, oh, four or five fucking years to work up the nerve to see it.

This movie is not only a must-watch for fans of Asian horror; if you need your appetite killed for a few hours or more, this worked for me.

This movie is not only a must-watch for fans of Asian horror; if you’re trying to watch what you eat and need your appetite killed for a few hours or more, this worked for me.

 

 

 

 

Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week: Don’t Forget “The Promise” (Ghost Stories From Japan Series)

“When your name is called, you answer without fail. Just make sure you don’t forget this.”

 

This one is a slow-burn (if you’re a fan of J-horror, you’re probably already familiar with the slow, creepy pace), but it pays off. Big time. Check it out below… after dark.

When you’re in a supernatural-themed Asian horror film, if someone gives you instructions to follow while you’re staying somewhere alone, pay attention and do not fuck them up! 

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Yo! It’s the Horror Boom Found-Footage Drinking Game V.2 : Now With Aliens (Plus Movie Suggestions)!

Okay, so! We almost added “Alien-themed found footage” as a category last time, but didn’t think there were enough of them out there. Well, guess what… there are more than we figured. Bigfoot-themed movies were going to be on there, but honestly, there’s only two that we know of.

Oh, and Mrs. Horror Boom here watched the worst, shittiest found-footage movie I’ve ever seen (which is REALLY saying something): The Bell Witch Haunting. It was so sloppy, lazy, and boring (toss in some terrible, terrible acting) I ended up writing a short review on IMDB just to warn people away, in case anyone thought it might be a “so bad it’s good” or “guilty pleasure” type of bad. Nope, it was just wretched. TBWH gives all supernatural found-footage horror movies a bad name. It gives all found-footage horror movies a bad name. It gives all horror movies a bad name. It gives all movies a bad name. We’ll post a review soon, we can guarantee you will be more entertained reading what we thought of it than watching the actual movie (watching your lawn grow for the running time would also be more entertaining than watching TBWH).

Here we go!

Horror Boom Presents The Found-Footage Horror Movie Drinking Game!
Or, list of clichés – take your pick!

 

In fact, depending on what movie you watch, you might want to forgo the alcohol altogether (unless it’s something under 10 proof) and just make out some bingo cards. Now that I think of it, we’d do it if I had the energy technology* to construct an actual PDF of, say, 4 different bingo boards that had some of the clichés on them scrambled up, so all you would have to do is print it out and use easily obtained household items to assemble the game of “Found-Footage Bingo”.  I suggest if the movie in question has a 2-star or less Netflix or Amazon review average, or less than a 5 out of 10 star rating on the IMDB, don’t use hard liquor, and really pace yourself.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.12.56 AM

Pick a category below; we’ve included four common set-ups for found-footage horror movies, a “General” category that should work for just about any found footage movie, and a fifth group of things that have happened in good and bad found-footage horror.   Remember to drink responsibly,  and if you’re a minor, don’t drink anything with alcohol in it! I’m pretty sure that disclaimer is required! How’s milk sound? Try a glass of milk, we shouldn’t condone underage drinking.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.23.47 AM

1. General Plot: Involves some type of demonic possession that was intentionally or unintentionally documented (and seems to have been pieced together). Look for the word “Devil” or “Possession” in the title. Many found-footage horror movies involving possession are notorious for vague, inconclusive endings that actively piss the majority of the viewers off. Some examples to get you started: The Devil Inside, The Devil’s Due, The Last Exorcism.**

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Interview with priest or other theological expert (or more than one) shown
  • If a married couple are the main characters shown in the footage, and the possessed one ends up killing their spouse
  • If a child is possessed, and they kill one or both of their parents/caretakers
  • Grainy footage of a documented possession and/or exorcism that was filmed by the Catholic church or other organized religion is shown
  • Someone films the possessed character defying gravity by climbing up a wall, scuttering across the ceiling, or crouched in the upper corner of the room like a damn spider
  • Possessed character bends over backwards waaaay farther that is normal and/or “spider-walks”. Take an extra drink if you know that the actress or stunt person is double-jointed or a contortionist and actually did this, rather than employ a CGI effect (IMDB trivia or a detailed Wikipedia entry will usually include this information).
  • Possessed character snarls/shrieks, and leaps across the room right at the camera while being filmed. Take an extra drink if the movie ends this way (you earned it)
  • Camera-person stupidly approaches a previously possessed character who has their back to the camera and isn’t answering them; character turns around to the camera and their eyes are completely white (or completely black)
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.22.33 AM

 

 

2. General Plot: Some type of paranormal investigators visit a certain location where they’ve heard strange events are happening. If the title is “The [fill in the blank] Experiment”, there’s a good chance the plot will be similar. Examples: Grave Encounters (and Grave Encounters 2,  which is a good companion piece and while not quite as good as the original, works well for the game), Paranormal Entity, Apartment 143 (not recommended).

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.25.43 AM

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A door opens or closes by itself
  • Inanimate object moves or levitates by unseen supernatural force
  • Inanimate object suddenly tossed/flies at a character or smashes against a wall by something we can’t see
  • A character wants to bail out of the project because they have a feeling staying and filming could get them hurt or killed
  • Someone else yells at a character who wants to bail out, because “We signed on to document this, man!”, or “Nothing like this has ever been documented before!”
  • Character lifted off their feet by some unseen supernatural force (usually by their neck), then dropped to the floor, unconscious
  • Character suddenly flies across the room, away from the camera, tossed by some unseen supernatural force
  • Character is dragged along the floor out of camera range (trying to grab things to keep from being pulled, while yelling/screaming for help) by some unseen force
  • Dead or unconscious character is dragged across the floor and out of camera range (this will usually happen when the camera has been knocked to the floor but keeps running, or captured by automatic surveillance camera) by some unseen force
  • Treat yourself to an extra drink if the previous rule is the last shot of the movie. You didn’t deserve that. No-one does.Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.54.06 AM

3. General Plot:  Aliens show up, frequently they will intrude on a family vacation (as in Alien Abduction) or get-together.  Sometimes, documentary film crews will go to some location to film the activity (such as in Skinwalker Ranch). Advance Warning: if you use the segment “Alien Abduction Slumber Party” from V/H/S 2 for this, we strongly suggest you drink nothing stronger than wine (in a plastic cup, as once things go wrong all hell breaks loose and it can be pretty intense) unless you want the evening to end with you passed out drunk.  It’s only around 20 minutes or so long, thus you won’t really be able to pace your drinking out like you would over a feature-length movie. Examples: Alien Abduction, Skinwalker Ranch, and Alien Abduction Slumber Party from V/H/S 2.

  • Aliens look like a version the typical “Grays”
  • Aliens have an original creature design that clearly took a lot of work and craftsmanship was put into: drink twice (especially if they used practical effects)
  • When an alien suddenly crashes the party out of nowhere, everyone wisely sprints off in all directions
  • An unnatural-looking light beams down to focus on one person, they rise into the sky/are sucked up and out of camera range.
  • Unexplained set of lights in the distance being filmed are suspiciously flying saucer-shaped
  • Entrance of alien/s accompanied by an ear-splitting blast of sound
  • Extra-terrestrial lights flood the screen along with the ear-splitting blare or blast of sound
  • The entire fucking movie passes without you seeing one fucking shot of a fucking  alien, or all you see in a blurry limb yanking someone out of camera frame: go ahead and have a shot, you deserve it!
  • Someone with the camera strapped to them (or somehow held onto by them) is yanked up and abducted, then very shortly after is dropped back to the ground (things usually are rushing back up or zip by as they drop). The camera falls with them and cracks as the unlucky character dies on impact. (Yes, this actually happens in at least two alien-themed found-footage movies)*** For this one, take two sips and toast if it looked moderately realistic.
  • Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 6.23.00 AM

    Man, the poor, fairly small family dog doesn’t deserve to have a Go Pro strapped to his head, let alone have a pack of roaring, highly dangerous aliens chasing him around, for Chrissake!

 

4. General Plot:  Students collecting footage to document some project get more than they bargained for (they’ve usually travelled to do this). Potential titles that follow this plot will commonly either be the name of the place they are trekking off to, followed by the word “Project” or “Diaries”. Here’s some examples to start you off: The Blair Witch Project, Devil’s Pass, Atrocious, The Frankenstein Syndrome. Banshee Chapter might also work, although that one is actually better than average and has some genuine scares.

Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 8.03.16 AM

 

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A character that was key to the safety of the cast gets killed or injured, and they’re on their own
  • Person in charge of the project turns out to be a selfish asshole who doesn’t care if someone gets mangled or killed because “the project is more important”
  • Character snaps and starts screaming at the character in charge of the project for putting them in the situation
  • Someone says something to the character holding the camera along the lines of, “Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you still filming this! Put down the fucking camera, this is not cool to be recording!”
  • During interviews shown as part of the ‘found footage’ during the start of the movie –usually the characters/camera crew ‘talk to some of the locals’– said locals warn them away, tell them a creepy anecdote, are uncooperative and hostile, or clearly insane. None of this registers with any of the enthusiastic, genius main characters on the project as serious red flags.
  • A card at the end of the movie tells us viewers that to this day, whereabouts of the film crew are unknown… all that remains… is this footage.
  • blurryshotjustsobbinggraveencounters.jpg

 

General: These should work for any basic found-footage movie. Some examples to get you started: any of the Paranormal Activity series, Quarantine, Delivery: The Evil Within, V/H/S and V/H/S 2 (careful on those last two! You may want to skip the game for the entire movie and just do it every other segment), Cloverfield, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (that last one is not recommended unless you don’t care how stupid what you’re watching while you drink is)

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Cover art/poster for the movie is a shot of someone (usually young and female) being dragged away from the viewer and into the dark by something we can’t see as they try to dig their fingers into  the ground or floor for purchase.
  • Someone continues to film even though any sane person with working legs would say, “fuck this,” and drop the camera to run to safety/call 911
  • Person filming freaks out and runs while still holding the camera, treating us to an exciting montage of blurry, jerky movements where we can’t see shit (treat yourself to an extra drink if this continues for over a minute)
  • A soundtrack –or music stinger during “jump scene”– is added, even though this is supposed to be raw, unedited footage (at which point you are completely justified in turning off the movie and watching something else)
  • Such a cheap, shitty, obvious, lazy CGI effect is used that the entire movie screeches to a halt (you are also completely justified in watching something else in this case, especially if the effect was supposed to be the movie’s best part or “money shot”**).
  • Camera’s “night vision” is used during climactic scene (not necessarily a bad thing, it sure as hell worked in [REC] and Grave Encounters, for example)
  • Picture conveniently gets very bad or turns to static when we are about to see something that would have been expensive or required some creativity on the part of the film-makers to include
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.11.07 AM
  • Camera used as a weapon while filming
  • 911 call transcript
  • Cheap “false alarm” jump scare
  • Something so genuinely frightening and/or awesome happens that you’re pretty sure you’re going to have trouble sleeping: toast and take a celebratory drink (if you didn’t spill it, and after you calm down)
  • You literally cannot tell, or see, what the fuck is going on (other than hearing the characters freaking out) Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.40.52 AM

 

5.  General Things That Can Actually Work In A Found-Footage Movie

Why end this on a negative note?   I think I’ve seen more found footage movies in the last two years than I have all put together since both of us went to a midnight showing of The Blair Witch Project. Interesting trivia: while we walked to our car in the parking lot, Mr. Horror Boom actually said, “That was scary,” and meant it. If this has happened more than twice during our marriage–hell, entire relationship–I don’t remember it. Now, I’m not saying the ones I watched were all good. I’d say only about 25% of them kept my interest from straying to my iPad, most were mediocre, and I’ve seen some pretty terrible ones (not on purpose, though).

But ... over the years, I’ve discovered that one out of ten found footage movies turns out to be memorable enough for me to watch more than once and give a pretty high IMDB rating. And out of that 10%, one or two will be fucking gold, special enough to make wading through all the lazy ones– the ones that gave me approximately two minutes total (or less) of adequate entertainment– completely worth it. When found footage horror works–off the top of my head, Grave Encounters, [REC],  [REC2], and several of the short from both V/H/S movies–it works. It scares the shit out of the watcher, sometimes enough to forget it’s being presented as found footage, only knowing we are watching a rare horror movie gem. So here’s that last list. These are tropes that I’ve seen in some of the best out there… though they’ve popped up in the shitty movies too, they can actually work effectively.

OK, what is the absolute LAST thing you want to see when you switch on your night-vision setting? (from [REC])

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Whoever is filming uses something other than a camera( to lug around) or cell phone to record, such as glasses with a recording device, one of those button-cams, or a Go Pro strapped to a bike helmet
  • A character is alone with the camera and films themself to make a ‘confessional’ because there’s a good chance they won’t get out of this alive. They usually fall into two categories: A. the person barely keeping it together (sometimes weeping openly) and asking whoever finds this to tell their family they love them very much, oh God, they are so sorry and don’t want to die, etc. and B. the character saying, “I’m recording right now because I might not make it out of this. Whoever finds it, do everything you can to make sure this footage gets out… because the world needs to know.”
  • The camera operator starts swearing under their breath, “Holy fuck, you see that shit?” or panicking and yelling variations of “fuck” when all hell breaks loose, usually during the climax. Fairly believable reaction, as the below image from Grave Encounters is an example of:ohfucktonguegraveencounters.jpg
  • A character off-camera can be heard crying and heading towards a meltdown
  • Someone asks, “What… the fuck.. .just happened?”
  • We can see something horrible creeping into the background that the person facing the camera can’t see
  • Someone loses their shit and angrily curses at the camera, or person filming:
  • graveencountersfuckallyall1.jpg
  • Blood or gore splatters onto the camera lens
  • Someone turns to the camera and tells them to “record everything”, no matter what
  • Effective seat-jumping scare that you in no way saw coming (clean up your spilled drink first, then have two sips)

 

...and this is how it's done. (from [REC])

…and THIS is how it’s done (REC).

*actually, one of the two writers/staff that Horror Boom is composed of has the skills and even access to technology needed to do that, but not the time. Last year, a total genius out there (I can find the link if you ask me) made a carefully and cleverly crafted version of Monopoly called Breaking Bad-opoly (or maybe it was Heisenberg-opoly) that was composed of a detailed board, “Chance” cards, everything, all for free, though you needed access to a large-format printer and some decent backing-board to complete it. We really, really want to construct this and the other half of Horror Boom has the skills and tools, but we haven’t had time and that’s on the list first.

**No, this term is not confined to use within the porn industry.

***There’s actually a pretty decent one out there–better than the last three combined, at least it takes a different approach, gets a lot done for such a low-budget, and features a ton more gore (bonus points for nearly all of it being practical) than most found-footage movies–called Chasing the Devil. You can rent it on Amazon for a couple bucks and who knows, may even be on You Tube.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 7.51.40 AM

 

Godzilla 2014 VS. The Editing Room – Read The Abridged Script Here!

AARON gets free and makes himself busy realizing the monster is RIGHT BEHIND HIM, UH-OH! He spots BRYAN on a CATWALK just as the KAIJU DESTROYS IT! BRYAN plummets forty feet to the GROUND and despite it being a summer blockbuster, is actually MORTALLY WOUNDED!

BRYAN CRANSTON

(dying)

I know this sounds weird coming from me, son, but you gotta do whatever it takes… to protect your family.

AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON

Like fail to warn anyone, save anyone, or change anything from happening how it would have anyway?

BRYAN CRANSTON

Oh, fuck you.

(dies)

-From the Abridged Script By Alex W. (on Jun 12th, 2014)

OK, so The Editing Room didn’t like it as much as we did, but the script is hilarious (and we admit, makes some good points). Also, look for at least one other Breaking Bad reference besides the one above! Click below to check it out and get a good laugh.

Godzilla 2014: The Abridged Script | The Editing Room.

Theatrical Trailer for “Ju-on: The Beginning of the End (Ju-on: Owari No Hajimari)” Is Creepy As Hell

So, we STILL cannot find one with English subtitles for the dialogue. If you’re a Ju-on/Grudge fan, though, you don’t really need to know the translation; it’s still scary as hell:

Sadly, we can also find no evidence that Takako Fuji is in the movie (as Kayako). We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she at least shows up in a flashback. She pops up in this quick teaser, though, which also sends chills down our spines…

What is this Ju-On “reboot”, you ask? Well, it has to be better than the Grudge 3. Anyway….  take it away, general press release:

The film was first announced at a press conference held at Akagi Shrine in Tokyo on February 26, 2014, following a spirit cleansing ceremony at the shrine. Filming began soon thereafter on March 4, 2014. Beginning of the End is set to premiere on June 28, 2014 in Japan.

Unlike the previous two installments, White Ghost and Black Ghost, this film focuses on the deceased Saeki family and its curse. An elementary school teacher named Yui (Nozomi Sasaki) visits the home of a boy named Toshio Saeki (Kai Kobayashi) who’s been absent from school for a long period of time. When she arrives, she re-lives the horrifying events that occurred in the Saeki household 10 years earlier.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 5.18.49 AM

Again, no evidence of Fuji-san, and they even replaced the long-time veteran actor Takashi Matsuyama, who played shitty, homicidal jealous husband, Takeo. They even used him in Grudge 3 (insert my own croaking noise here), while they re-cast Kayako for that one. OK, I can see not using the same Toshio, for the obvious reasons that the actor is human and therefore doesn’t look like a little boy anymore. But Kayako and Takeo?

Tayako Fuji as Kayako Saeki

The One and Only Takako Fuji as Kayako Saeki

OK, don’t get me started. We’re still going to see it… but if they do a stair-crawl, they better use footage of Takako Fuji from… well, there’s at least 3 to choose from.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 6.33.56 AM

 

Horror Boom’s Ten Scariest Asian Horror Movies Ever Made: #9: “Three Extremes” (2004)

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 7.52.14 AM

Straight up: do not watch the first segment of this movie, Fruit Chan’s “Dumplings”  if you’re pregnant (this may even be a bad movie for men whose wives/girlfriends are pregnant—though there is beautiful Bai Ling to look at). In fact, if a list existed of terrible movie choices to watch when ‘expecting’, I’m pretty sure it’d be in the top 10, along with Inside. Don’t eat while you’re watching it unless you have a very strong stomach. Though if you DO decide to eat, just make sure you are not eating …dumplings.*

Here’s the trailer for Three… Extremes:

Here’s a scene from “Dumplings”, though it could be spoiler-ish and isn’t exactly crystal-clear quality…

There’s a clip of the disturbing final scene on You Tube, but not only will it spoil the movie, it’s not as disturbing out of context. Just watch the entire film, it’ll earn the pay off.

Don’t expect much from the Park Chan-Wook segment, which is the only piece of cinema he wrote and directed that wasn’t spellbindingly above-par. I guess even the most talented, skillful, and hard-working among us drop the ball once or twice in their careers. Most reviews—by fans and critics alike—point to “Cut” as the weakest of the three films.  The fake-out opening was great, there was a twist or two, but it became a little too torture porny-y for my tastes. I’ll have to check and see if his longtime DP collaborated with him on this one, as it didn’t have the usual beauty and composition nearly every shot of a Chan-Wook Park film has.

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 7.45.58 AM

The Miike segment (“Box”) managed to scare me the most -and there was barely any blood. Replacing gore (though there is some disturbing imagery, it’s nothing compared to Miike’s usual bloodbaths), is a creeping dread that builds and builds until you get to a scary mental place where, if you’re not covering your eyes, you’ll want to. I’ve had to cover my eyes in two other features directed by Miike, but for different reasons. During the intense torture scenes in Imprint (the “censored segment” from Showtime’s Masters of Horror series) and Audition,**  I was covering my eyes out of squeamishness. In “Box,” I was covering my eyes because I was actively frightened of what I *might* see. Just the goddamned screen cap below from the trailer makes me feel uneasy.

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 7.47.16 AM

*Especially ones that crunch delicately when you bite into them.

**it is worth noting that Imprint‘s torture scene is definitely harder to watch than the notorious torture scene in Audition, though the latter’s sequence did make me briefly wince and cover my eyes protectively. If there’s anyone out there that can watch Imprint and remain perfectly calm and composed inside and out through the entire running time… then I don’t think I want to meet that person at all, let alone in a dark alley.

 

Film Review: ‘Rigor Mortis’ (2013) – Justin Chang Wasn’t Impressed, But Other Critics Were

Exactly what happened to drive Yeung Fang mad is revealed, sort of, in one of many violent flashbacks — several of which also bedevil Chin, whose suicidal impulses likely stem from his separation from his wife and son. But Mak, who seems to have interpreted the concept of “hopping vampires” as an excuse to jump between subplots as haphazardly as possible, doesn’t seem especially interested in investigating his protagonist’s psychological wounds. The director appears far more taken with the two demonic twin sisters haunting Chin’s apartment, their long, face-masking hair and bloody tendrils showing the clear influence of one of Mak’s fellow producers, J-horror maven Takashi Shimizu (“The Grudge”).

-From Justin Chang’s review in Variety.com of “Rigor Mortis”.

Have you ever read a pretty unenthusiastic review for a movie you were really looking forward to seeing, and find your desire to see it has only lessened by about 5%? Well, that happened for us in the case of this pretty tepid review for Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis, which boasts an amazing trailer, clips, credentials, and set-up. We’re still going to see it (though hearing a scary movie described as ‘tedious’ usually is a buzz-kill). We maybe won’t go way out of our way to see it, just wait for the rental fee to go down (of course, we managed to miss it at SIFF, unintentionally).

You might want to check out this review at Beyond-Hollywood.com, which basically said it had the same problems but that the good outweighed the bad. So there.

Reviews For ‘Godzilla’ Are Coming In- Read Variety’s Snarky One Here (Along With Pissed-Off Fan Reactions)

Godzilla movies, like wrestling matches, are ultimately judged by the quality of the mayhem, and Edwards excels at blowing things up. Though some of the first visual effects we see onscreen (the Filipino mine, the Japanese nuclear plant) look phony, especially projected in post-converted 3D, the creature effects are terrific, using phosphorescent accents — glowing gold for the MUTOs, blue fire for Godzilla — to make the monsters look even more menacing after dark. And though the film banishes most of their fighting to the background, basing their movement on motion-captured performers represents an inspired way of updating the lo-fi, B-movie tradition in which audiences charitably forgot that they were cheering for a guy in a rubber suit stomping through a cardboard city.

-from the Variety review of Godzilla by Peter Debruge

You know, this is only the second ‘mixed’ review I’ve seen (Dread Central loved it–said it wasn’t perfect, but any flaws could be forgiven just for the sheer joy fans will get seeing this Godzilla actually breathe fire) but people responding to the reviewers who take jabs at the reboot are ANGRY.  Also, they make some good points. Other than the above quote, the tone of this review is snotty, and dripping with such disdain that I don’t think the reviewer really understands or knows how to enjoy a monster movie. Also, when it comes to insulting Bryan Cranston’s acting, my advice would be …to tread lightly.  If the reviewer was in a nuclear plant going into meltdown mode and was separated from his wife, I think he’d hyperventilate too. Bitch, please.

Click on “View original” in the lower left to read on– and check out the comments from readers (34 as of this writing).

Horror Boom’s Ten Scariest Asian Horror Movies Ever Made! – #10: “Coming Soon” (2008)

So, a couple of years ago I made a list for the IMDB of what I consider the ten scariest Asian horror films ever made. By the way, do you know how hard that was at the time,  to only pick ten?  If you think it would be easy, you either 1. have not watched as many Asian horror films as the average horror fan, or 2. you are made out of steel with ice-water instead of blood running through your veins, and no movie you have ever seen in your life has ever scared you, even as a kid.

Since I posted this list, I’ve seen more Asian horror movies than I have leading up to the years posting the list. So, there’ll probably be an addendum of an extra five (or ten) posted after this series of ten separate posts is complete.  I’m going to have to just cut and paste the goddamned list because the only way to save it that the IMDB has is as a MS table-spreadsheet, which doesn’t translate well (even if it didn’t delete all my copious notes on the movies. You may want to check back, because sometimes I can only post when it’s 3AM, all the lights are off except my laptop, and I’m the only one awake in the house (even the cats are asleep), and when I was scanning the entire list tonight, I felt my heartbeat speed up just reading my descriptions and flashing back to the most nightmarish, blood-curdling scenes and moments.  If you’re a restless sleeper that needs to sloooowly power down in order to relax enough to fall asleep, do you REALLY want to recall the big reveal in the last five minutes of Parkpoom Wongpoom‘s Shutter (2004) vividly when you’re trying to mellow out?  My point is,  I don’t want to do an image search for, say, Spiral unless it’s light out, so there’ll be more added to these posts later (plus trailers).

#10 – Coming Soon (2008, Thailand)

Fuck everything and run!

Fuck everything and run!

 I replaced Cinderella with this title–unfortunately, I hadn’t stumbled across it yet at the time. I saw the trailer for Coming Soon (the English title of this little gem) and I ended up watching it online, at night, on my laptop. Funny coincidence, I didn’t sleep too well that night! I almost did something I’ve only done with two other titles on this list, which was to reflect that perhaps I should quit while I still have a chance of calming down and watch the rest of the movie in daylight. This plot was so tight, though, and filled with surprises (not just giant jumps–it was excellent storytelling and a script with a simple, yet brilliant, idea) that I was glued to it. Thai horror movies do NOT fuck around, and this is a perfect example. From the second the action starts (in this case, a movie-within-a-movie) to the last sudden GOTCHA! right when you thought the movie was about to fade to credits, the makers succeed in their goal–scaring the living shit out of you. Those lucky enough to see it on the big screen in Thailand must have had a very memorable movie-going experience –most of the movie is set in a multiplex movie theater.

And here’s that trailer…