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)
Continue reading New French Extremity Vol 1.
Day 8 – Carnival of Souls
Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.
A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.
A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river, where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)
Director: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, USA. 1h 48m
I regret not watching this at the cinema as I was so convinced that it was going to be yet another jump scare horror that I respectfully sat it out, but now that I’ve found some time to watch it, I found it quite an intriguing directorial debut from Joel Edgerton, based on a screenplay that his initially titled Weirdo which drew inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock and it’s hard not to see a stark alliance with the Vengeance Trilogy. Continue reading The Gift (2015)
Day 3 of 31
Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers : Yoshikazu Takeuchi, Lia Sargent
Starring: Junko Iwao Rica Matsumoto Shinpachi Tsuji Masaaki Ōkura . Japan. 1h 21m
Hitchcock meets Manga! At a time when Manga was hitting the UK in major ways it was seeming be a torrid landscapes of futuristic fighting, cybernetic hacking, blood violence and tits, a few unexpecting films managed to squeeze their way through the gaps, really defining that manga wasn’t going to be defined. Taking a leaf out of the book of Hitchcock it dabbles with a violent stalker as Mima struggles to keep her sanity.
Mima is a young and beautiful J-pop singer, who makes the life changing decision to go solo and shifts into the nerve racking world of sitcom acting, despite the anger and disappointment from her fans her loving agent stands by her side. Everything is going well for Mima despite her nerves and the alien environment, until the stalking starts, anonymous phone calls, soon turns into sinister dealing that reach a little closer to home and it’s all too much for the timid girl who’s already feeling out of her depth.
Creepy stalkers are in their hundreds as the ex pop idol was a no.1 commodity, but one in particular stands out, a deformed man who absolutely idolises Mima but is it too obvious to assume he’s the culprit. Mima herself slowly dissolves into the multiple possibilities that surround her as this Giallo action climaxes into a chase to the death.
Basically a Manga Noire really stands out from the crowd but sadly it didn’t inspire many other movies to made in this style. the astonishing factor that really stunned me was how cute and sunny the film remains despite all of the maiming starts, the breakdown of reality is also subtle and doesn’t follow those over dramatic hollywood steps so it does actually catch you off guard.Everything about the animation is perfect around the era when Manga was still blinding us with it’s brilliance and before computers took over the delicate art of animation, this really does break conjure up so many emotive scenes and with the fluid motion it’s like watching a film at times. The writing is complex and deep and the thrills build up until a slashing and dashing ending. It’s interesting how the film outlines the issues of teen idols and the pressures and dangers they have to endure also outlining various issues of how women are viewed and treated in Japan, it offers no suggestions on making things better but it does pinpoint where things are so totally fucked up.
Hitchcock may have been the influence of this intense thriller, the main character going through this hell ride not knowing what’s real or not, but the director most influenced by this film would be Darren Aronofsky, who admits that Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010) both pull great influence from this pioneering and daring animation.
Flirting around with the advancements of Japanese lifestyle while repulsing anyone from actually wanting to live there with the amount of psycho’s that are roaming free in the sunny pleasant atmosphere literally drawn on the screen but the darker aspects of the film are terrifying. The terror that is built up by this unknown vicious stalker are mindblowing. The chases are exhilarating and the penultimate ending is sublime. I don’t want to go into details but it’s trippy rush..
Rating – 8/10
R – Audition (1999), Opera (1987), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Memories of Murder (2003)
L- A-Z of Manga, Selected Japanese movies, A-Z of Japanese films,
A – When I got hit in the face by Manga
And here is a clue for tomorrow’s film.. More than just a cut..
Det Sgt Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) just wants to be like his father,a decent upstanding member of the community and a good cop but he’s got some anger management problems and isn’t afraid to go above and beyond to enforce his own personal justice which gets him into all sorts of trouble.
The intro is brilliant, very clever use of names written on the sidewalk while a pair of feet stroll around, The film starts out simple, Dixon is a hot head, goes after a criminal and fucks everything up by killing the suspect by one banging him in the head, he scapers and then has to investigate the crime while trying not to incriminate himself and while trying to seduce Morgan (Gene Tierney). Continue reading Where the sidewalks ends (1950)