Gangster Land (2017)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.

Starring: Milo Gibson, Sean Faris, Jason Patric, Mark Rolston, Peter Facinelli, Jamie-Lynn Sigler USA 1h 28m

Every now and again we have a revival of the glorification of the prohibition era, usually involving Al Capone and other characters popular because if his notoriety, 2018 kicked off with Gangster Land, an underpowered translation of the induction of “Machine Gun” Jack McGrun a one time amateur boxer who quickly climbed the ranks as Capone’s second in command. Continue reading Gangster Land (2017)

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New French Extremity Vol 1.

I’m sure there are book written about this subject and I’m not claiming to be an authority on it but here’s an easy and slightly obvious guide to the new wave of French bizarre and disturbing films.

The term was originally coined by James Quandt to summarise a collection of transgressive films by French directors. Despite this list claiming to be French a couple of these films are Belgique or even Canadian but are just French in language.. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

So in no particular order at all, here are 10 easy to find and probably most talked about French Extreme Movies, Vol 2 will be a little more obscure.. or at least I hope so.

01. Proie /Prey (2010)

This movie is probably the most recent that I’ve watched and it’s the only reason why it’s in this top position. It’s a disgusting buckets of gore body shocker that highlights the dangers of chemical waste being released into the nature and breeding mutant creatures. A family who are spending time in a remote cabin fancy a bit of hunting are soon have their weekend turned into a nightmare when they become the prey of a large mutated bore.  A delightful step up from Razorback (1984) and Pighunt (2008), this film fixates on the pungent rotting mess that the abandoned pesticide has created, and if the stronger stomachs can sit through this it has a lot of gory and disturbing action scenes to top it off. It’s all kinda their own fault as it is the patriarch of the family who authorised the dumping of the waste in the first place..  8/10

02.Frontière(s) /Frontier(s) (2007)

Released by After Dark Films  who are famed for their low budget and often poorly received movies, this stand out film is quite ingenious it’s set like a backwater American film but with a strong  European dark bizarreness about it. A few youngsters are fleeing the race riots in Paris and end up at a strange motel that is run by a family with ties from the third reich. Race plays a huge part in this dark story, as the Muslim girl is seen as  a potential new incubator for family and it’s an opportune time as the girl herself is pregnant. The other deformed children run around the site like ghoulish freaks. There’s a Lot of blood and lot of gore and bodies are sliced in half and hung on hooks, people are just mere flesh. While the film revolves around motherhood and racial tensions, it speaks volumes for the strength French women and for dangers of keeping your inbred children couped up in the basement  9/10

03.Martyrs (2008)

Famed to being one of the most gruesome and complicated of the new style of film. A young girl escapes a cult bruised and battered she is taken into care, making friends with another orphan she returns to wipe out the cult who abducted her as kid, the cult who’s main objective is to torture women as they are able to reach a state of Nirvana (?) and are able to communicate directly with God, dispatch her and captures her best friend to be the next one to be inducted into the programme, the final half of the movie is just layers and layers of torture both mental and physical, they literally have a schedule and team who’s round the clock duties are to break this girl down into the next Martyr very bloody, and sometimes a little hard to watch but definitely one of my ultimate favourite French Canadian films.. 10/10

04.A. L’interirur / Inside (2007)

A slow burner this time, and a more sentimental(?) deranged killer. A young couple experience a terrible traffic accident, leaving the patriarch dead, his distraught pregnant girlfriend tries to get on with her life but decides to move after a series of disturbing phone calls from a woman demanding repayment from her.  On one terrifying Christmas eve while heavily pregnant the stalker decides to up their game with a giant pair of scissors to claim her inside payment. Julien Maury proves that he can deliver a seriously anxious noir horror and co-star Beatrice Dalle is spectacular.  8/10

05.Les 7 jours du talion / 7 Days (2010)

Probably a film I can identify with, it’s title translates as 7  days of retaliation. A young girl is kidnaped, molested and murdered; the killer is a massive jerk and is almost proud for what he did, so the father, a talented surgeon sets out for revenge. He apprehends the killer on his way to prison, hiding out in his hunting cabin he spends a week torturing the man in unspeakable fashion, at first they are at loggerheads but his anger and depravity increases, he seeks solace in another victim’s parent and slowly unravels. It’s very dark both in atmosphere and nature. But a lot of parents especially those who’ve had children abused or killed have probably dreamt of getting their hands on the culprit.  9/10

06.Haute Tension / Switchblade Romance (2003)

A romantic nightmare with buckets of blood.  A young girl is stalked by a mysterious psychotic killer while visiting her friend’s family in rural France. The killer remains hot on the trail of the girl as she witnesses him killing her hosts family and then kidnapping her friend, while travelling across country the killing spree finally sparks the interest of the local police but it’s up to the young lonely frightened girl to fight off this blood thirsty pest but all is not as it seems. A stunning movie with an blistering soundtrack that really took my by surprise, the twisted blood soaked ending it violent and the film will always remain a prized possession in my collection. Love never hurt so much…   10/10

 

07.C’est arrivé près de chez vous / Man Bites Dog (1992)

The original title translates as It happened near your home(?) Everything about this film touches on a subject that people often find really annoying about cinema, it’s found footage, it’s black and white, it has subtitles and it’s about a psychotic racist maniac.. (for me these are the best attributes of cinema.. ) but it’s truly outstanding! It’s so realistic and the killer is a pro, often killing on a whim to show off his techniques. There are graphic scenes of strangulation chasing down kills to be slaughtered, bludgeoning you name it, he goes through it all as a intriguing fill crew follows him about often getting involved in his drunken binges and cleaning up after the murders. It has a stark and cold ending that really closes off a mad chapter of Beligan cinema. 10/10

08.Baise Moi / Fuck/Rape Me (2000)

One of those highly talked about movies between teen boys, naughty enough to intrigue but really it’s a couple of posies on a kill spree, for the time it was shocking enough to be banned, now it’s a bit tamer but still worth a mention as it held it’s head high a modern video nasty for a while. A couple of girls have enough of being treated as meat and go on a Thelma and Louise kill spree it’s graphic over sexed but the acting is a bit dull. It sparked a lot of good things and has earned my respect but the re watch ability isn’t great, maybe Tommy Wiesau can do a remake? 4/10

09.Seithan / Satan  (2006)

I was left wondering what the hell had gone on after watching this for the first time. Vincent Cassell co-stars (twice) in this obscure dark drama a group of kids head into the backwater French countryside to make out and hang out, they find the locals are a bit strange but that’s just scratching the surface of this cult like freakish village who are looking for certain items from the new comers, at first the signs are just slightly odd, but soon they are all running for their lives or at least they are trying to save their body parts from being assimilated into something for the antichrist.  8/10

10.Irréversible / Irreversible (2002)

Vincent Cassell co-stars in this ad libbed jerky camera movie that plays in reverse starting with a violent ending slowing down to a peaceful ending. The director;  Gaspar Noé just gave the actors a treatment as a guide and let them lose, some scenes  are tripped up with people trying to get Vincent attention and end up calling him by his real name but it’s a very minor blip in comparison with the marvellous film with the longest sexual assault scene that made it onto the big screen, this led to the films popularity and many comments and fans. The techniques are all very strange and make for some wonderful cinema, starting off in club rectum the camera spins wildly and the dizzying effect is off putting but  it begins to slow down and it can take a while to realise that everything is running backwards, but it’s intense and sharp. 8/10

Personally I hate when someone writes a top 10 list and then lists about 30 items afterwards but I feel this needs to be added as an honourable mention, not only is a superb film which fits into this category and I feel it should be mentioned now.. 

Honorable Mention ..

Calvaire /The Ordeal (2004)

Marc Stevens is a entertainer spending his days travelling around old folks homes with his casio keyboard and shiny cape entertaining the old dears who adore him and throw themselves at him.. while travelling home for Christmas he gets lost, his van breaks down and he seeks a bed and meal at a lonely inn run by a lonely man.. Bartel.. the biggest mistake of his life. He finds out just how bat-schit-crazy the inbreeds in the Ardennes area can be,  but alas it’s too late, Bartel wants to make him into his wife and a rival lover is determined to take him by force, meanwhile a local guy is searching for Bella, his dog, that turns out to be a cow.. it’s a very gloomy and irregular film with some scenes which don’t make sense but add some unreal fear into the movie, and this makes it one of my all time favourites, especially for the penguin dance scene in the local bar.. it’s pure genius!  10/10

Le Temps Du Loup / Time of the Wolf (2003)

Director:Michael Haneke
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Duval, Béatrice Dalle, Patrice Chéreau France/Austria. 1h 53m

Every Michael Haneke film brings something new and settling to the cinematic world. For this round he embarks on a contemporary rendition of the quiet before Ragnarok, where the film get it title from the epic Norse poem Völuspá.

Set in France, in an undisclosed post apocalyptic era, a family are on the run from Paris inner city and decide to trek out to their summer house in the country to try and scratch out an existence, the end of the world is never really disclosed but it’s evident that finding uncontaminated water. Continue reading Le Temps Du Loup / Time of the Wolf (2003)

Leatherface (2017)

Director:Alexandre Bustillo – Julien Maury

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen, Vanessa Grasse. USA. 1h 30m

Finally a modern prequel that actually has some substance and a wild dark nature!! The sequels and remakes tried to pick leatherface from the rest of the family and turn him into another serial slasher such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and while this new prequel again singles him out it gives a larger insight into his family, hopefully next we’ll be able to see what turned Grampa into the hammer wielding nutter as I feel that’s the most interesting character (fan fiction anyone)? Continue reading Leatherface (2017)

Land of the Lost  (2009)

Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: WIll Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma, Taccone. USA 1h 32m

This turned out to be a slightly psychotronic and fairly deranged movie. Having an air about it similar to the legendary Buckaroo Banzai while tossed into the Twilight Zone with the Flintstones.
A space-time vortex sucks scientist Rick Marshall (Ferrell), his assistant Holly (Friel) and a survivam nut Will (McBride) into a world populated by dinosaurs and painfully slow creatures called Sleestaks. With few resources at their disposal, Rick, Holly and Will must rely on their only ally, a primate named Chaka (Taccone), to try to survive long enough to figure out a way back home. Continue reading Land of the Lost  (2009)

Man Walking around the corner (1887)

 

This is the first ever film, 16 frames made by the LPCC Type-16 camera by the godfather of film, Louis Le Prince before his mysterious disappearance in 1890. You can find out more about the great man here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Le_Prince#Man_Walking_Around_a_Corner_(LPCC_Type-16). The film has been amaturely put together and if you’ll blink you’ll miss it! But it shows a man walking around the corner as advertised in the title.

It’s amazing just how far we’ve come…

 

Crucifixion (2017)

Director: Xavier Gens
Starring: Sophie Cookson, Brittany Ashworth, Corneliu Ulici Romania/USA. 1h 30m

If there ever was a contender for worst film of 2017 this should be in the shot list.  Supposedly based on a true story the film follows an american journalist with a bunch of personal problems and a hated of religion is on a bender to use any story to help sway the minds of the masses against following religion. When a priest is arrested for the murder of a woman he was trying to exorcise she travels halfway across the planet to maximise on the story and help prove his guilt but gets pulled into the age old battle of good vs evil and had to subjectively look at both sides of the story, are demonic possessions real or does it all boil down to mental health issues poorly educated doctors. Continue reading Crucifixion (2017)

Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker.
Starring. Richard Brake, Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Michael Smiley, Julian Rivett, Enoch Frost,  UK. 1h 30m.

Military horrors and bunker films have been a unique niche market for some time, when done right they offer a healthy lashing of terror, there hadn’t been much to hit the big screen since Deathwatch, where a team are tormented by supernatural forces in the trenches of WWII, add an element of the occult and science fiction and voila.. Outpost. In this murky horror a team of weary mercenaries are hired to travel into war torn Eastern Europe where they have found a well-hidden and abandoned bunker with a very unusual machine.  The wealthy businessman who picks up these seasoned troops, keeps his secrets close to his chest and while he thinks he knows the ins and outs even he’s surprised by depravity that was carried out by the deranged nazi scientists in the depths. Continue reading Outpost (2008)

Psychotronic Cinema