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

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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.

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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.

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*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.

 

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Film Review: ‘Oldboy’

Given his ability to look by turns pathetically broken and totally badass (plus he can rock a buzz cut and what looks like a 10-year beard), Brolin is as ideal an actor as any to steer viewers through “Oldboy’s” grisly funhouse of horrors. Yet while he’s up to the role’s intense physical and emotional demands, the star seems to hint at demons seething beneath the surface without fully embracing them, never tapping into the raw, animal-like ferocity that made Choi Min-sik such a frighteningly human monster. In similar fashion, Lee and Protosevich have made a picture that, although several shades edgier than the average Hollywood thriller, feels content to shadow its predecessor’s every move while falling short of its unhinged, balls-out delirium.

-From Justin Chang’s Variety review of Spike Lee‘s Oldboy remake – hit the ‘Read More’ link to check out the entire thing. Almost all the reviews we’ve read are similar. Think we’ll wait… and in the meantime, watch the Park Chan-Wook original again.

 

‘The Simpsons’: Guillermo del Toro on creating the epic opening to ‘Treehouse of Horror XXIV’

If you’re getting the sense that del Toro is a big fan of The Simpsons, you’re right. Not only did he slip a few homages to The Simpsons in Hellboy (“Mmmm, nachos” “Why you little…!”), he has a room in his house that’s brimming with Simpsons memorabilia. “My favorite is a 30-inch tall Mr. Burns as Dracula that they only make in Germany,” he says. “It’s a really good sculpture. It’s going to run away eventually, but I think that’s very appropriate.”

-from the EW.com article by Dan Snierson

Don’t miss this! It is almost impossible to count the homages and references here. The classic Universal Studios monsters, artist Charles Burns, Brian DePalma‘s Phantom of Paradise, Lovecraft, Bong June Ho’s The Host, Ray Bradbury‘s The Illustrated Man (short story collection and the movie), Todd Browning’s Freaks (watch for the pinhead from the movie; I’d say it was an American Horror Story Asylum reference but it’s in a shot with a bunch of really old-school monsters and aliens, including the Ray Harryhausen skeletons)… they have to be into the triple-digits. Mrs. Horror Boom was going to be all clever and try and list them all, but that’s pretty time-consuming even without a nasty headache. Of course, special attention is paid to Guillermo Del Toro‘s movies (even ones that most moviegoers aren’t familiar with), especially Pan’s Labyrinth. Just check out the screen caps in the gallery link right here, and see how many you can spot… and enjoy this year’s Treehouse of Horror, which airs this Sunday, October 6th!

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Film Review: ‘Tales From the Dark Part 1’

Even though Fruit Chan‘s entry, “Jing Zhe,” is supposed to be the best segment (remember “Dumplings” from Three Extremes? If you don’t, you didn’t see the movie), we can’t wait to see the other two – the set-ups sound great to us. Hopefully we won’t have to wait more than, oh, a year (SIGH) to get a look at Tales From The Dark, Part 1 (let us know if you have any leads, because we can’t wait)!

 

Red Band Trailer For Spike Lee’s Oldboy Remake Is Here – How Original.

(I got so worked up in my first edit that I realized I forgot to include the actual trailer; so here it is, wheeeeee):

Call this a red band trailer? We’re not that impressed. It looks as though (other than the actors)  Spike Lee‘s only change was having it be 20 years, not fifteen. We’re supposed to buy he’s, what, 25 years old in that first clip? Also, that no blood would come out when… OK, deep breath… see how many shots in this gallery from the remake trailer look a little familiar (and still watered-down).

 

 

Surprised the honeycomb-style wallpaper didn’t get ripped off, too. Oh wait, that’s right– it’s not a rip-off if they call it an homage, I forgot. Hey, you know what? Let’s see Josh Brolin look at cool as Choi Min-sik did while wearing those goofy sunglasses he finds. Chan-Wook Park said on the commentary for the REAL, SOUTH KOREAN Oldboy  (I was lucky enough to get the Vengeance Trilogy Boxed Set as a gift from my thoughtful husband) that they tried to find the most girly, stupid-looking sunglasses for him to wear, but that the actor still looked bad-ass no matter what. Plus, good luck looking that cool holding a hammer.  Hey Brolin, let’s see you lose 20 lbs. training over six weeks and do almost all your own stunt work. Let’s see you do your first fight scene where you beat the shit out of several thugs without the cigarette coming out of your mouth once. Let’s see if you have the dedication as an actor to eat four entire live baby octopi for a movie and your director while keeping your game face on and not gagging or throwing up. OK, WAIT! HOLD UP! Please in fact don’t try it, no-one should ever do that and the one (big) problem I have with the original is that they couldn’t find away to do that ‘bit’ without actually eating the poor things. Even if they were already on the chopping block for dinner, that was unnecessary and I still have to avert my eyes every time I watch that scene.

 

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Anyone here with an AB blood type, raise your hand.

 

OK,  I’m not even sure who I was yelling at there;  probably Lee, or the whole goddamned Hollywood system for cashing in to make a shitty American remake of an amazing foreign movie instead of just re-releasing it.  Not really mad at Brolin, he’s just doing his job… it’s just that Min-sik is an impossible act to follow. And so is Chan-Wook Park.

OK, here’s the corridor fight scene for Oldboy (2003) to cheer you up. Yup, it really was only one take – it took seventeen takes over three days to get the right one.

*Trivia fact: Min-sik is a Shinto Buddhist and said a prayer for each and every one of the octopi.  He didn’t refuse to do the scene, but he felt really sorry for the creatures.

Note: I was going to look up what actor Spike Lee cast as the Woo-jin Lee character, but then I just suddenly got really depressed and tired just thinking about going to the IMDB page for the remake. Even the fact than Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie doesn’t perk me up any (no matter how many times he says “motherfucker”), and I love Jackson in almost everything he does.

Park Chan-Wook’s “Stoker” Opens Friday March 1st – Ten MORE Review Snippets That Make Us Wish It Opened Tonight!

When South Korean genre iconoclast Park Chan-wook decided to bring his peculiar gifts to a Stateside production, anything could have happened – and anything pretty much does in “Stoker,” a splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller, American Gothic fairy tale and a contemporary kink all Park’s own… (Variety)

SOLD! Where’s the ticket buyer’s line?

Several weeks ago, we published a piece that laid out ten juicy snippets from advance reviews for Stoker that made us want to see it RIGHT THAT MINUTE!  Well, we were holding back ten more. Already all hopped up to see Park Chan-Wook’s English-language début? When you read these, you’ll be looking for midnight showings so you can see it VERY early Friday AM!

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  • Even at this first glance, it’s a film that’s virtually impossible to get out of your head after watching it. It’s pure-undiluted Park Chan-wook, and one of the most unconventional Hollywood films you’re likely to see anytime soon. (JoBlo.com-  Movie News, reviewed here by Chris Bumbray)
  • All the visual flair and giddy, saturated colors inherent in Park’s films are on display here, from the warm greens and browns of the Stoker family grounds, lovingly massaged by the camera, to the privileged and manicured cleanliness of the immaculate Stoker home, in which we the viewer always remain somehow “outside.” A beautiful structure, as cold and heartless as the people within, is a physical reflection of the disenfranchised and cloistered, desperately grasping at the illusion of healthy normalcy, while the impossible-to-contain terrors of their dark family history threaten to erupt in an explosion of bloody truth and violence; a tragic inevitability. (From Sean Smithson for Twitchfilm.com; click here to read entire review)
  • [Park and Chung-hoon] modulate  the volatile family tensions which risk exploding in the house where Therese Deprez’s neatly handsome production design reflects the semblance of propriety — all the colors are right and each decorative object is in place.  (Click to read review by David D’Arcy for Screen Daily)
  • By the time behavior turns deadly and sexual, a pencil sharpener becomes one of the film’s most striking images. Style informs the behavior too; Park cuts to the next scene before India is finished talking, quickening the pace of exposition to a brisk clip. He photographs dinner conversation elegantly, and brushing hair becomes a field of grass in a seamless transition. It’s beautiful, and awesome that he even thought of that…an example of strong storytelling to which any mainstream film should aspire.   (Fred Topel from Crave Online – click here to read entire review)
  • When South Korean genre iconoclast Park Chan-wook decided to bring his peculiar gifts to a Stateside production, anything could have happened – and anything pretty much does in “Stoker,” a splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller, American Gothic fairy tale and a contemporary kink all Park’s own.  (Variety.com review, written by Guy Lodge)
  • …the cast is entirely game to bring this bloody, very nearly silly soap opera to life. Wasikowska’s gothic demeanor should replace Winona Ryder’s Lydia from “Beetlejuice” as the new ideal for brooding teens everywhere, and as her character is defined by retaliations and revelations, the complexity of her hunter/hunted relationship with the pretty, predatory Goode is fascinating to behold.  (reviewed by William Goss for Film.com)
  • the Oldboy auteur’s cool, cruel family mystery never falls into faceless homage: its queasy eroticism, black wit, arch nastiness and intensely loaded images couldn’t be anyone else’s doing… [Park]  Chan-wook diverts into coming-of-age turf, seen through the black gaze of 18-year-old  India (Mia Wasikowska), a Wednesday Addams-alike who wields a mean pencil.    (Fred Topel from Crave Online)
  • As Charlie becomes a weapon for her to hurt her mother, India’s resolute composure rises  …shrouding her real intentions. All the better for the vengeful girl when family history is exhumed to explain why Charlie was sent away from the Stokers’ home for years. (Review By David D’Arcy for Screen Daily )
  • As the story slowly unravels and Park begins to reveal just one piece of the puzzle at a time, [Park] keeps audiences completely engaged throughout Stoker, almost acknowledging that he’s screwing with your own perceptions of good and evil through his wonderful visual style and challenging characters that will undoubtedly leave you fascinated, frustrated, intrigued and completely mesmerized by from beginning to end…  longtime Park fans will undoubtedly delight in Stoker’s striking visuals and Park’s haunting exploration of how human monsters are made, making an unforgettable (albeit uneven) thriller by one of the finest modern filmmakers out there working today.— (Reviewed by The Horror Chick, Dreadcentral.com: click here to read the review in its entirety, which we highly recommend!)
  •  [There’s] plenty of mileage in Miller’s warped family melodrama, as the respective and inevitably linked uncertainties about Richard’s death and Charlie’s long absence are kept aloft, while Charlie’s gradual playing of India and Evelyn against each other adds queasy sexual tension to an already chilly mother-daughter relationship. Auds will either go with this festering hotbed of secrets, lies and severed heads… and debate whether Park, who otherwise oversees proceedings with amused precision, overplays his hand in the bizarre, bloody finale. (From Variety.com, written by Guy Lodge)

That last line sounds like a perfect topic of debate to us!  So, who wants to start? HOLD UP! What do you mean, it doesn’t open till Friday?  NOOOOOOO!

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Check Out This Awesome New “Stoker” Featurette, Focused On The Twisted Characters!

So!  They’re pumping up the publicity machine in anticipation of Stoker‘s upcoming March 1st release, and so we get cool new things to watch like the below! Check this out, it includes interviews with Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, and even Mr. Park himself (among others). Check it out below!

On a related note, I was watching a trailer for the ONE full-length Park Chan-Wook film I haven’t seen. Not sure why I keep putting it off, doubt it’s because it’s probably his ‘lightest’ film (if there is such a thing as a light Park Chan-Wook film; this is supposed to have a happy ending). I still can’t locate the short Night Fishing*, only a Korean-language featurette  and a trailer, mostly talked about because it was shot exclusively on an iPhone (but doesn’t look like it, you could have fooled us) and noticed a shot from the full-length film I’m A Cyborg But That’s OK** that is strangely similar to a shot (so to speak) that is prevalent in both Stoker trailers (and all the PR material). Here they are side by side; I don’t think you’ll need to have anyone point out which shot is from Stoker and which is from I’m a Cyborg.

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*If anyone CAN send a link to for the full feature Night Fishing (of decent quality), we’d REALLY appreciate it. Feel free to put it in the ‘Reply’ area, you don’t have to go to the trouble of sending us an email.

**I sleep all night and I work all day! I’m a cyborg but that’s OK…(Monty Python reference that pops into our heads whenever we type the title or say it out loud).

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See Both Stoker (2013) Trailers in HD… Which Both Contain Cool Footage Unseen In The Other Trailer!

Charlie: She’s of age.
Evelyn: Of age for what?

 

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And with that creepy/wholesome quote from the movie, we’d like to wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

So, we got a request (from a cool person) for the link to Stoker  trailer #1, mainly because a particular shot of a dead body isn’t in the second. I figured I’d just post both, since they went to the trouble to show alternate footage. If you want the link to either, just click on the You Tube in the embed and it’ll take you there to watch the trailer, add it to your favorites, etc.

Here’s the first full-length trailer for Park Chan-Wook‘s Stoker,  landing in theaters March 1st, 2013:

I doubt that I’m alone here when I tell you that everything I read, see, and hear makes me want to go see the movie even more!  The second trailer contains this line (it’s being quoted in plenty of reviews)-

India: We don’t need to be friends. We’re family.

Usually, when this line is quoted, the reviewer references it as a good example of the tone and themes of the movie.  Watch the second international trailer in HD:

And finally, here are some screen-grabs from the trailer in the form of a gallery (which I don’t own the rights to in any way, shape, or form). Some of them are hard to catch the first time around. Click to enlarge.