Sick Horror Short “T is for Talk” Packs a HELL of a Wallop (From “The ABCs of Death” Contest)!

The stand-outs so far (according to several sources) were Xavier Gens (who made the brutal Frontier/s  and The Divide;  his name always gets dropped, and rightly so, when people mention ‘New French Extremist Horror’) and his segment called “X to XXL”, where a woman, “takes the ultimate action to reduce her body size”.

“T is for Talk” (2011), directed and co-written by Peter Haynes, was a top vote-getter in the “26th Director” ABCs of Death  contest. Of course, that was back when the voting window for the contest was still open, which I managed to totally miss, thus this series to share the best other shorts with a wider audience. I’m pretty sure you’ll see why; it packs a hell of a wallop into four minutes.  This is definitely one of the most intense entries, and isn’t something you should watch if you’re NOT in the mood for something dark, nasty…and very original. Oh, and if you have a pounding headache, I recommend waiting until your head’s back to normal (you’ll see why pretty fast).  Check out the very NSFW, intense “T is for Talk”, from New Zealand, below!

Damn!   A prequel to that short could be interesting in the right hands. Anyway, that’s eighteen down, seven to go (I think. I’ll do the math later). You can go back and read the first three posts, each with five picks either embedded or linked–some were only on Vimeo or the official voting contest page via the ‘related’ links below, or you can watch the first five entries (plus the introduction) here, the second batch of entries here, and the third bunch of five entries—which has one of the sickest entries in the series– here. I also went and posted a link (I couldn’t embed it) to one that I meant to post, but missed, a couple of weeks ago back in September, which you can check out here. Enjoy, and expect the last eight entries by the time of the full-length movie’s release, which should give me plenty of time since the release date got bumped way the fuck back to January 31st for VOD, and motherfucking March for a limited theatrical run (sigh). I read three reviews from sources I trust, and they said it was kind of a mixed bag; some were more toilet humor/gross-out* than scary or gory (or worth four minutes of your time).

Anyway, now that reviews are coming in, the reviewers said there were some great segments that made The ABCs of Death  worth sitting through. The stand-outs so far (according to several sources) were Xavier Gens (who made the brutal Frontier/s  and The Divide;  his name always gets dropped, and rightly so, when people mention ‘New French Extremist Horror’) and his segment called “X to XXL”, where a woman, “takes the ultimate action to reduce her body size”. My guess it she does a little whittling down at home, taking matters into her own hands by using a sharp blade.**  Another standout is supposed to be “L is for Libido,” dealing with (I am not making this up) a psychotic masturbation contest (worse than a biscuit party, I assume) –gee, how could THAT go horribly wrong in an unrated horror movie?–that ‘ends with sick and deadly results.’  I’m not proud of admitting this, but …SOLD!

Right now, I really  want to see what Banjong Pisathanakun (half the team from Shutter  and  Alone ) does with his four minutes …and with what letter of the alphabet and title. N is for Natre? S is for Siamese Twin

Well, that’s seventeen down and eight to go! More to come, definitely before the holidays (and probably sooner).


*I wonder if any of them had to (or needed to for the purpose of rating them, no-one held a gun to my head making me watch all of them, it was just too late in my project to back-pedal by then) sit through “T is for Testosterone Replacement Therapy”, “T is for Tentacle Rape“, or “T is for Tampon”? Those weren’t anywhere near scary, they didn’t have a plot, two out of the three were so misogynistic I felt like punching whoever was responsible for them in the teeth, and they didn’t even try to be entertaining –on any level. I got the feeling they only made the films because they had some serious issues and/or really filthy sexual fetishes to work through. Through the years, I’ve picked up on the fact that self-indulgence usually doesn’t make for an end product entertaining for anyone but the artist. Consider yourself warned if you’re somehow still compelled to watch them …especially if you’re eating at the time.

**For a while now, I actually have been fleshing out (no pun intended, I should get of my tired ass and take a stab  at grabbing the thesaurus before half my comments sound like The Cryptkeeper introducing a story, boils and ghouls ) an outline for a short horror story, where a woman with some serious issues hates her body  –and doesn’t have the money to go pay for lipo or another medical procedure. At the end, she really goes over the edge and tries the do-it-yourself approach with craving knives and maybe a vacuüm cleaner or other suction device. The scariest part? I’m afraid if I Googled or otherwise researched this, there will turn out to be not one but a ton of cases of people who already tried to do it. Self-surgery, not writing a short story about it, I mean. There’s no way that’s going to end well…

Chills to Beat Summer Heat – Shutter (2004) Gallery

I’ve accidentally discovered a way to temporarily beat the summer heat – using horror media to send cold chills up and down our spines.

A sequence  took place in a scalding-hot steam oven, still didn’t feel warm in the room to me at all, though; I’ll take a wild guess that it was the horror, shock, and intensity of the of the scene that cooled me down.  Oh, and the scene was also probably the reason I couldn’t fall asleep till the sun was up; that entire movie [Frontier/s] is deeply and brutally unsettling, and the second half of the movie steps it up higher.

So! In early July I watched survival drama The Grey, starring Liam Neeson. It was after dark and the temperature was in the mid-80s; we had the ceiling fan going and a large standing fan aimed at us, but I still didn’t feel like having a single sheet over me. Even though our two cats love rolling around in the sunshine so much it seems to make them higher than a healthy dose of catnip, they lay around on the floor, chins resting on their paws, looking  simultaneously content and deflated. About an hour into the movie, I noticed that at some point between the opening credits and then I’d pulled the sheet up around me. In this case, it wasn’t the fear the movie produced (not that the movie isn’t scary, it’s fucking terrifying, that’s just not my point) but the fact the movie took place in sub-zero temperatures as the men trudged through the merciless snowstorm and struggled not to freeze to death or be eaten alive by wolves. It was a testament to the film-making that the Jack London-esque freezing conditions the characters were fighting through felt so real and pervasive that the temperature in the room had seemed to drop down to normal.

Well, surprise; turns out you don’t need to have the movie take place in Alaska to get this effect.  When I recently re-watched Frontier(s), halfway through the movie the uncomfortable warm temperature didn’t really bother me. One of the scenes involved a character who makes the fatal mistake of hiding from his attackers in a giant steam-oven, an attacker sees this and bolts the door, turns the steam on full blast, and the poor character is scalded my the steam and until the flesh starts melting off of him, then when the attacker FINALLY opens the door (after what seems like four blood-curdling hours later), he falls out and tries to crawl away, steaming and barely looking human. His eyes and hair and most of his nose are gone. A sequence that took place in a scalding-hot steam oven, still didn’t feel warm in the room to me at all, though; it was the horror , shock, and intensity of the of the scene that cooled me down.  Oh, and the scene was also probably the reason I couldn’t fall asleep till the sun was up; that entire movie is deeply and brutally unsettling.

Since Frontier(s) is pretty extreme and only for those with strong stomachs, though, I found some other ways to possibly cause cold chills. I’ll try* to get ten of them up before Labor Day.  So maybe you can check these out and possibly even feel like cranking the air-conditioning down a bit. It won’t raise your electric bill. You may want to grab something cool to drink; I noticed I went through a bit more water than usual. Not so much because I was hot, but because my mouth suddenly went a little dry.

Oh, you’re going to be seeing a doctor, Ton…

First up? Part one of a two-part gallery from the Thai movie Shutter (I took an insane amount of photos… all creepy). Well, if I can’t fix this glitch in the “Gallery” editor, maybe it’ll be one REALLY gigantic gallery–in which case part 2 may not be needed.

Oh, and I couldn’t add captions to show up under the thumbnails in a way that didn’t look clumsy, so if you go through the little slideshow, I added any captions, etc down near the lower left under “comments”. Preferably I’ll split it up, however, because over 100 photos is kind of a lot to page through in one sitting,  no matter how cool they are. Anyway, this gallery may make you colder if you’ve seen the movie.  Then again, it’s pretty hard not to get slightly freaked out by the images in Shutter to some degree… these guys know exactly how to scare the shit out of you. Trust me.

Look out below…

*notice I say “try to” as opposed to “will achieve”…

Did I Watch Too Many Scary Movies Last Week?

Hell,  I don’t know. You know what, though? Either way, I probably wouldn’t change a thing, because I saw some got-damn AMAZING movies!

Last Sunday evening, I went to our pantry because I needed a decent flashlight to look for a spider that may or may not have been in my walk-in closet. Thinking– the second that I arrived in there and thumbed the ON switch– well, this is where I shine my flashlight on a Thai ghost’s hovering, dead feet or on a homicidal maniac’s face.

The day after that, I dropped a Vitamin D tablet on a hardwood floor, walked a few steps over to where it had skittered and bounced, bent down to pick it up, then right before I stood up, thought if this were a horror movie, when the camera follows me as I lean down then slowly straighten up again, there’d be a reveal right now where someone or some thing scary is now standing/hanging behind me for a cheap ‘jump scene’.

…the week of Friday May 25th to Friday June 1st, I had a little downtime. Headaches, temporary technical difficulties with my laptop, and insomnia –the kind where about all I could focus on was a movie. I ended up seeing seventeen entire genre movies in seven days.

Five minutes after I’d finished watching one of the last supernatural movies (I’m not saying which one, it’d be a huge spoiler), and was following my daily routine, I had a half-formed idea about my life being a version of ‘maybe I’m dead and don’t know it’. Uh, please note that I didn’t actually believe this or find this plausible at all for a second, but I felt like if I really focused, I could shake out an idea for a short horror story (which, if I write now, will have to be under a pen name, since anyone that reads it would probably be same ten or so that follow this blog).

So, yeah. This might not happen again for a while– I’d probably have to really apply myself– but the week of Friday May 25th to Friday June 1st, I had a little downtime. Headaches, temporary technical difficulties with my laptop, and insomnia* –the kind where about all I could focus on was a movie. Long story a little shorter, I ended up seeing 17 entire genre movies in seven days. At some point after I started watching, things picked up momentum, and I watched a couple back-to-back. Hey, they were there in the house, except for one case where my very thoughtful husband offered to look for one of three movies on my ‘want list’ while he stopped at Scarecrow Video while he was out,  I went for it and thanks to him, watched one of the 10/10-rated on my list, The Loved Ones. Some I (finally) found on You Tube for the first time, some had showed up from Netflix after a wait**, some were On Demand. I only actually purchased one, a $7.99 rental charge for the HD (and 2D) version of Piranha 3DD. Some blew me away enough that I watched them twice …especially one with the kind of twist/reveal ending that makes you want to see the entire movie again as soon as the credits roll.

Here they are, in no particular order, and I’ll write at the very least, a capsule (100-word) review. For now, I’m going with the IMDB grading scale of 1-10 stars, though I may change it to the Entertainment Weekly (A+ to F) grading system, and maybe a 1-10 star scare level, and gore level (because gory doesn’t always mean scary, does it, Saw: The Final Chapter)? I added will add links to the IMDB pages, in case anyone who knows it’ll take me more than a couple of weeks to get reviews posted for all of them and just has to know more. Plus, I’ll post trailers along the way for a few (trailers that don’t give too much away, because plenty of them did). My review for the creepy Korean movie on the list, Cinderella will probably be up first, so keep an eye out! An asterisk means I’d seen them before and had an urge for a re-watch, a possible exception being Natural Born Killers, since I hadn’t seen the Director’s Cut yet. I also put the year of release down if there’s been a remake, or more than one version of the movie, to clarify which one I watched last week…

Screen at Kamchanod 5/10
The Road  6.5/10
The Woman in Black (2011) 9/10
The Eye* (2002) 9/10
Rabies 9/10
The Unseeable 10/10
Devil 8.5/10
Phobia 2* 8/10 (Final segment is a rock-solid 10/10)
The Loved Ones 10/10
Shutter* (2004) 10/10
Piranha 3DD 5.5/10
Colic 6/10
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) 10/10
The Haunted Drum 5/10
Natural Born Killers – Extended Director’s Cut* 7.5/10
Cinderella* 7/10
Ghost Mother 5/10

Until I have more time (and before I forget) here’s a dozen random facts that I learned via watching the above movies:

  • No matter how many times you watch Shutter, it never gets any less scary. You may even notice subtle details you missed before that freak you out even more.
  • The animated version of the new Hammer Production logo before The Woman in Black* is one of the coolest goddamned logos I’ve ever seen (kind of like the Marvel logo, but with painted/comic-book images for horror fans)!
  • “Pee” in Thai  (with a special accent mark over the first “e” that is not available on my keyboard) means “spirit” or “ghost” in English
  • Tommy Lee Jones had to have a head cast made for the scene in Natural Born Killers when the rioting inmates put his head on a stick and wave it around like a trophy
  • M. Night Shyamalan did not write or direct Devil, only his production company was involved (and if I’d been clear on that, I wouldn’t have waited this long to see it)
  • A TV movie of The Woman in Black (from the 1980s) ended with a giant tree suddenly falling on a boat and killing all the surviving characters
  • Piranha 3DD has a listed running time of 82 minutes (theatrical/VOD release). The actual movie runs approximately 10 minutes less than the running time (possibly more than 10 minutes). The remaining time consists of what IMDB calls “crazy credits’.***
  • The male lead in Colic strongly resembles the male lead in Shutter, but they are in fact two different actors
  •  Rabies is a Israeli horror movie re-titled for the US release.  The title is actually  Kalalvet. It meansrage(and sometimes, “rabid)” in Hebrew. which would have been a more appropriate title, but I suppose they figured there’s already more than one US horror movie titled Rage, and Rabid is the (awesome) Cronenberg movie from the 70s.
  • The Unseeable takes place in Siam in the 1930s
  • A little of David Hasselhoff playing himself and winking at the audience goes a long, long way
  • One of the more seasoned, unflappable lead actors in the Aussie shocker/drama/horror movie The Loved Ones began to have nightmares during the shooting for the first time in his acting career.

So that’s seventeen total, sixteen if you don’t count the documentary in the list because it’s not fictional (though show me one person who doesn’t agree there are strong elements of horror in Paradise Lost, and I’ll show you either a liar, someone who was confused and thought you were discussing a different movie, or a stone-cold sociopath), and twelve if you also don’t count the ones that weren’t first viewings. I haven’t sat through the entire original version of the Pang brother’s The Eye since 2008, though, only re-watched a couple of clips –mainly to post here.

A whopping eight are from Thailand (even for me, that’s a lot of Thai ghost movies to see in a week). Hell, only five of them are officially US productions (four of them if you don’t count The Woman in Black, shot in the UK with a mainly UK cast, director, and writer).

Step right up!

Here’s the trailer for The Unseeable. It’s all in Thai, but trust me, you don’t need subtitles to be impressed or make the temperature in the room drop 20 degrees (which I swear on every pair of my go-go boots actually seemed to spontaneously occur the first time I watched this same trailer on You Tube in 2008.) . I don’t know what the hell they’re saying, but it could be spoiler-ish, so really, you’re better off this way. This one is definitely going on my upcoming ’10 More Trailers To Keep You Awake’ list. The sound alone is creepy. Oh, here go hell come!

The trailer might look as though it gives too much away. It doesn’t. I saw one that did, an international trailer, but I prefer this one. If you can find a copy of The Unseeable to watch online (which you may need to do because so far, no US Region Two hard copy seems to exist) I recommend it. To do it justice, though, make sure it’s got good picture quality; as I’m sure you can tell from the trailer, the period sets and warm color palette are drop-dead gorgeous (so to speak). I dream of seeing it in a theater with a big fun crowd one day. If you’re feeling brave and are watching it after dark, turn off the lights… yes, I really am daring you!

*The insomnia was not related to any of the movies. It was just that kind of week.

**If you do rent The Woman in Black (I think it’s worth a watch) and have the option for DVD or Blu Ray, go for the Blu Ray.  The production design, immaculate attention to detail, and rich color pallets are nothing short of beautiful, and the film-makers took pains to shoot on Yorkshire, Essex, Oxforshire, and even the Osea Island Causeway. It’s kind of sad when shooting on location and production scouts being used are the exception rather than the rule. When I listened to the commentary and found out that almost none of the exteriors are CGI, especially the long shot of the causeway (that had to be painstakingly timed with the tide), that bumped my grade up from an 8.5 to a 9. I’ll gush more when I write a piece on it.

…and this shot doesn’t even do the Causeway and the large surrounding marsh (to the fictional Eel Marsh house) justice. When the tide comes in, it seeps up through the marsh itself–not unlike quicksand– rather than roll in like a regular tide. Would YOU want to take that ride?

***I submitted a “Crazy Credits” description to IMDB for Piranha 3DD, which they are still deciding whether to post or not. My guess is not, because even though I tried to just list what the kar-razy kar-redits consisted of, I couldn’t resist adding that David Hasselhoff “appears to be inebriated.”.  I was still being tactful, he was fucking HAMMERED.   His lines really aren’t that complex and he flubs the repeated line, “Little moron ginger!”  Three words, and I swear there’s 10 takes of him saying, “Little ginger …moron?” (prompted from someone off camera, “It’s ‘little moron ginger’.”) “Oh. Little ginger moron.” (prompted: “Little moron ginger.”) DH: “Little ginger what, now?”  Also there’s some out-takes where he’s standing on a bed in his bathrobe with a drink in his hand (to be fair, I’m 99% sure that the drink and bathrobe were scripted, he didn’t just show up in his limo for shooting like that) and you can hear someone tiredly asking him, “Uh, can you come down now? Uh, David?” At first it’s funny, but after a couple of minutes it’s just kind of sad. He looks like he’s getting a big kick out himself, though. OK, here’s my submission, minus spoilers. I couldn’t really get creative, so don’t expect fireworks: The final 10 minutes of the running time consists of more “crazy credits” than actual traditional credits. They include a mock music video of David Hasselhoff on a beach in his red swim trunks singing, “Fish Hunter” a modified version of the song he is ‘composing’ during his first scene in the movie, while dancing around waving a plastic trident. The remaining credits are interspersed with bloopers, out-takes, ‘behind the scenes’ shots being set up, David Koechner improvising quite a bit of alternate dialogue for the water-park commercial scene early in the movie,  and black-and-white scenes of Gulager directing the final scene. Most of the blooper footage consists of Hasselhoff flubbing his lines and breaking character. He appears to be inebriated during these clips. Also included are some scenes of female nudity, as well as “gross-out moments” that didn’t make the final cut (as well as a couple of the ‘gross-out moments’ that were in the movie). They also show set-up and prep for some of the gorier scenes. Also included during ‘crazy credits’: when the film has a very gruesome, bloody (Deleted due to spoiler of one of the few really satisfying scenes) title cards come up, there’s quite a bit of black-and-white footage shot of (Deleted, blah spoiler blah-blah) still twitching slightly at intervals. The last ‘crazy credit’ is a short scene included in the TV spots/trailers, but not included of the final cut with Hasslehoff’s comment about “natural selection at its finest”).

Ten Trailers to Keep You Awake #2 – Alone

Hey, remember Shutter? Not the crappy 2008 American remake with Josh Jackson (they at least could get a “Well, At Least They Tried …Sorta” award, since I’ve seen way, way shittier remakes of Asian horror movies). Nope, the 2004 original from Thailand, which remains to this day one of the most frightening movies ever made;  I also doubt that I’d get much argument from anyone who has seen Shutter. The movie Alone (the trailer to follow) is the work of the same creative team responsible for Shutter.

I don’t recommend watching this trailer for Alone (or the movie either) if you’ve in a jumpy mood…

That trailer will be showing up on this list,  believe me. Also, probably on my top ten scariest movies ever made list later on. I bring up Alone as the next trailer for a couple of reasons.

• It’s about conjoined twins (sound creepy yet?) and hey, two conjoined sisters=Two out of Ten on the list (yes, you can say it, I’m a genius). Seriously though, this list of Ten Trailers To Keep You Awake is, BTW, not in any special order of scariness; all ten are great if you’re worried you might fall asleep too early.

I don’t recommend watching this trailer for Alone (or the movie either) if you’ve in a jumpy mood…

Couple things, including what triggered the memory of the creepy, creepy, very creepy trailer:

I’m trying to just split them up so all the J-Horror, K-Horror, and T-Horror aren’t clumped together, and try to vary them in the list, and at least alternate between supernatural horror and non-supernatural horror. I could easily comprise this entire list of creepy Asian horror trailers, but like I said, variety and bla-de-bla. Things to keep in mind as of this writing…

  • I saw on the pilot of the series Monster Man (which I am happy to have discovered and is much more up a horror fan’s alley than Face Off) that Sean Cunningham is doing a remake (SIGH) called “The Alone. The FX shop needed a certain shot of the twins separated in a messy way (not in the original, but I try to support practical over CGI effects in every way, not to mention they look WAY cooler). I did notice that SC cast Thai twin females, just like the original. I don’t think he’s going to keep their names “Pim” and Poy”, but I could be wrong. I’m such a fan of the original*, and this writing/directing team, that even though they gave very little info about the film/project (no title, nor the fact it was a re-make) I realized the second they showed the conceptual art, it had to be Alone. IMDB’d it and was right.
  • I want to point out I have nothing less than total love and admiration for  SOTA FX–you can find hours of awesome entertainment on their official website.  Check out the flash intro, then enter the site and start the fun. They have a kick-ass sizzle reel!
  • That in turn reminded me how the trailer (let alone the movie) scared the hell out of me.  After I saw the trailer I looked high and low for a (legal) copy to rent/buy, and ended up watching the movie a couple of days later on You Tube.
  • I watched this trailer on my laptop, after dark, only one still awake in the house and in a dark room. I was smart enough to mute the soundtrack because I wasn’t feeling especially relaxed, and I knew what the team behind Shutter was capable of. I also had the common sense to NOT continue and watch the movie that night and to hold off till the next day, when it was nice and bright out. Still creepy as hell.
  • The first trailer I posted for this suddenly stopped working. Then I put up a version of the trailer in Thai-no English subtitles (my rationale was that you do NOT need them to have the crap scared out of you …or know what’s going on). It’s not the dialogue that makes this trailer scary as shit. Then I found a working copy WITH English subtitles, ta-dah!

So, to sum up, a great, very unsettling (that’s an understatement) unique film. If this trailer scares you, the actual movie Alone will scare the snot out of you.

From the movie “Alone”.

Again, I don’t recommend watching this trailer (or the movie either) if you’ve in an anxious or stressed mood, and if you even feel like you *might* be on the verge of a panic attack, you may want to seriously consider holding off till daylight.

I’ll do the review/full piece later,  but until then, here’s the trailer for Alone.

*Alone, and Shutter too. Just trying to focus on Alone and not start raving about Shutter, partially because I need to get some sleep tonight.