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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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.

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.

New “Stoker” Featurette/Music Video Is Beautiful Showcase For Director Park Chan-Wook and DP Chung Chung-hoon’s Work – Watch It Here!

The description on You Tube for this was “Stoker  Featurette,” but it has no dialogue or behind-the-scenes footage. We’re not complaining, though, since we’re devoted fans of both Park Chan-Wook and especially his collaboration with his longtime cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon.

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The featurette (I’d call it closer to a music video or even a really creative trailer) is breath-taking; one review I read referenced the shot of “India” brushing her mother’s read hair, and a close-up shows it slowly transforming into a thick field of waving, tall grass. You’ll know it when you see it. Check out the stylish piece below in HD (I recommend going full-screen if you can.

I actually think that between the two of them, Park and Chung are incapable of creating a boring-looking scene or even a shot. Here’s the synopsis again for Stoker  –

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After India’s father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.

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More on Stoker  coming soon! Until then, you can also check out the official site, http://www.donotdisturbthefamily.com .

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Park Chan-Wook’s “STOKER” Gets A Rave Review From Fangoria – Yet Another Reason We Cannot WAIT To See This! (Sundance Movie Review)

STOKER proves that the director’s unique brand of thrills and chills works in any language. For horror fans seeking something fresh and unique, look no further.

We put Park Chan-Wook‘s English-language début film, Stoker,  on out Ten Most Anticipated in Horror list for 2013. There’s plenty of reasons we can’t wait, but let’s start with one of  the many raves from the film’s premiere at Sundance.

…just because the film finds weight within its dramatic elements doesn’t mean horror fans will feel neglected. STOKER has several disturbing scenes, one in particular featuring explicit violence that leads to one of the film’s most jaw-dropping revelations. STOKER manages to be simultaneously beautiful, thrilling and frightening, and is different from most anything we’ve seen in recent time…

Here’s a couple of especially choice bits that made us grin with anticipation (the review itself, was written for Fangoria by ©Ken Hanley, so the block quotes in our post here belong to Hanley and Fangoria.©

Park pulls no punches, allowing the story to venture into dark places while always maintaining a level of class that elevates even the most shocking of scenes. STOKER never feels exploitative or even overtly horrific, but the atmosphere that Park and his cinematographer, Chung Chung-hoon, build through their awe-inspiring visuals inspires terror of the soul rather than of the senses.

Click the big red link below to read more on Stoker …and to read the Fangoria review!

 

“STOKER” (Sundance Movie Review by Ken Hanley).

 

Oh, MANY more reasons why we’re totally stoked psyched for the movie are coming, don’t worry, and if you have yet to be swayed (or haven’t heard much about the film), the review should piqué your interest… at the very least!

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Seven South Korean Crime/Revenge Dramas in Seven Days

 

Also known as “the reason I’ve gone, what, a week without posting anything”.  This did not go quite as planned.  Here’s the first thing I learned: don’t watch seven brutal revenge/crime thrillers from South Korea in  seven days! Especially if you’re feeling even just a little off-kilter. In my case, I blew off several facts I’m pretty well aware of, through years of experience with them, mainly:

  • I have Seasonal Winter Depression (also known as SAD , standing for Season Affective Disorder).** .
  • They don’t get less depressing on repeated viewings
  • I had PMS, which tends to make me ‘moody’, but more than moody: tense and VERY jumpy
  • and finally,  that even ONE well-made South Korean gritty crime/revenge thriller is enough to make you bummed out enough all day …let alone doing something really stupid like watching I Saw the Devil and No Mercy back-to-back (yep, I was that stupid).

So hey! it’s winter and I’m not getting enough sleep, so now would be a perfect time for an in-depth writing project consisting of an a series of reviews and general observations. Plus there’s that whole ‘7 in 7 days’ thing goin’ on! That sounds easy enough!

I’m organizing my articles now, and I can post the in-depth pieces in seven days in a row after. I actually  learned other things (besides  think twice before you watch seven of the most brutal Korean crime flicks ever made all in a short period of time). I learned other things that will actually be interesting, mostly cultural. Since I was too busy listening to and thinking about The Ramones when our classes covered it, I accidentally learned some history and culture along the way after I started seriously watching Asian horror/thrillers. I even learned cultural differences between mostly South Korea, Japan, and Thailand.

I’ll rattle off the movies I plan on covering, in no particular order of importance (or brutality):

  • Chaser
  • I Saw the Devil
  • No Mercy
  • The Unjust
  • The Man from Nowhere
  • Bedevilled
  • Memories of Murder

Why no Chan-Wook Park films? Because my  husband thoughtfully bought me, as a surprise gift,  the “Vengence Box Set” which I think has six discs (Rick, can I marry you AGAIN?), and I plan on doing a piece on all three. A  loooong  project there (or at least a very long series of articles).

Only one of the above does NOT have an exceptionally dark ending which ends up with multiple character’s lives being destroyed.  OK, possibly two, but by the end of the rest of these movies, there’s really no winners among the characters here. Though if the audience counts, then we win for getting to see some of the most brilliant, suspenseful crime movies ever made! Now here’s some cool dialogue I hope you enjoy. I know I did!

the Man from Nowhere

Tae-Sik Cha: You live only for tomorrow.
Man-seok: What?
Tae-Sik Cha: The ones that live for tomorrow, get fucked by the ones living for today.
Man-seok: What are you babbling about?
Tae-Sik Cha: I only live for today. I’ll show you just how fucked up that can be.

I Saw the Devil

Kim Soo-hyeon: I will kill you when you are in the most pain. When you’re in the most pain, shivering out of fear, then I will kill you. That’s a real revenge. A real complete revenge.

So, it turns out that most of the movies I listed above HAVE no quotes on the IMDB. Good thing I wrote them down!

And finally, here’s the best trailer for I Saw the Devil. This is the trailer that had me searching online for a work print. There was only one on you tube, and it only had English subtitles for the first 10 minutes. After that, it was all in Korean, and I’m hardly fluent. I still watched it online, though, because I was so psyched about this movie I couldn’t wait 5 months to rent it on DVD. It was worth it, and because of the excellent storytelling you still get the general idea. Also, I got to see a couple scenes that aren’t on the DVD release, because they had to be trimmed to get the movie released AT ALL in South Korea.

This isn’t a Red Band trailer, but it is pretty intense. If you’ve been on the fence about seeing this movie because you’re worried about it being too violent, then here’s a good way to find out; if the trailer disturbs you, I highly recommend that you skip the movie. Up to you, everyone has their own level of what crosses the line for them. I wouldn’t blame you for avoiding the movie due to this trailer. However, I can’t help saying too bad, because you’re not just missing a jaw-dropping, carefully crafted revenge flick  from South Korea, you’ve simply missing one of the best modern crime thrillers ever made.

After I watch a couple more cartoons featuring Yosemite Sam (and maybe a repeat watch of 30 Minutes of Less),  to lighten up after OD’ing on brutal South Korean revenge movies, I’ll start posting about them!

**Even when everything in my life couldn’t be going better, and I’ve got nice happy positive vibes, I get SAD to some degree. “You’re just not getting enough light,” is usually the advice I got. Makes sense, okay. In college, in fact, I recall a therapist urging me to go get a special UV light. Unfortunately,  no-one bothered to mention the fact that you can’t use it just any time of the day. Furthermore (and we’re talking about people with normal sleep cycles who have coffee to get them going in the morning), back then at least, you needed to set your alarm an hour early, turn on the BRIGHT light, then sit there trying to stay awake for an hour. Even back then, I really, really hated mornings. I tried to avoid registering for any class starting before 9:30 AM. “You only can use it before the sun comes up in the morning and if you do it after dark, there’s a 99% chance it’ll cause insomnia,” my doctor (who waited way too long to convey this info) patiently explained.  Oh, and it “doesn’t really kick in for 3 months”.  At that rate, it’ll be time to set the clocks forward an hour and I’d feel way better regardless. This year, I think right around the time Spartacus: Vengeance wraps up the season (sniffle) is when it’ll kick in. So, this year hasn’t been too bad. And update-Daylight Savings starts this weekend. Yay.