Tag Archives: surreal

Eraserhead (1977)

Director: David Lynch
Starring: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts. USA . 1h 49m

A cult classic surreal black and white masterpiece… to some.. But not for me! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ve never been really into Eraserhead, I adore black and white movies and I really love surreal art (something I paint myself) and films. I’ve never been heavily into Lynch and for me this film is creepy, unusual but nothing all that special. I feel that there are two types of surreal movies, the first is a movie which is all out surreal, no easy to follow story line and completely wacky, for argument sake Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), and there are other films which have a pretty liner storyline but just go about it in random ways.. Much like this one. Continue reading Eraserhead (1977)

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Naked Lunch (1991)

Director: David Cronenberg
Based on – Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
Starring: Peter Welller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider. Canada, Japan, UK. 1h 55m

This bold, Kafkaesque putrid remake of the legendary novel by William S Burroughs, is possibly as vivid and imaginative as the original book, but if you’ve read the book you’ll realise that no film could ever really be a true adaptation, so the screenplay is a metatextual adaption. Detailing characters and scenes from a complex novel and other works from Burroughs, both fictional and from his journal and the events which lead to the 1951 death of Joan Vollmer, Burroughs’s common law wife.  So while it’s not entirely Naked Lunch, it should at least FEEL like Naked lunch and at times it feels a lot like Burroughs but slightly more coherent.

As a surreal autobiographic piece the film follows the life of William Lee, who is basically Burroughs, a bug exterminator who discovers his wife is stealing his insecticide and using it to get high. Lee is arrested and starts hallucinating because of his exposure to the powder. Believing that he’s a secret agent  he beings a strange relationship with two handlers, one is a insect typewriter and an alien “Mugwump“. The typewriter assigns him a mission of killing Joan, she’s allegedly an agent of an organization called “Interzone”, Lee dismisses this notion but on returning home he finds Joan having sex with a friend and kills her, inadvertently carrying out the mission, he flees to interzone, a city in North Africa where he spends his time writing reports to his handlers, this slowly becomes the Naked Lunch book and after taking more mind altering drugs and getting a new typewriter, a Clark Nova, this insect  stresses that he needs to find Dr Benway by seducing Joan Frost who’s a doppelganger of his dead wife and then things get really weird, and with the addition of a drug that is made from a centipede. Continue reading Naked Lunch (1991)

Alps (2012)

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos.

Starring.  Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Ariane Labed, Maria Kirozi. Greece. 1h 33m.

After the amazing Dogtooth (2009) project, Lanthimos was a closely watched director, but his next project seemed like an amazing idea on paper but even with his surreal approach to film, personally I felt as if he missed his own target by being too realistic and not fantastical enough, or maybe the hype train mutated my anticipations to a level that not even a great director could reach.

ALPS is part is about a group of therapists who set up a business to allow families to get through the grieving process by supplying them with “trained” actors to play the roles of their loved ones, so they can have those precious last moments with them, say goodbye or to just have the feeling that they are still around for a few days. The drawbacks are that the actors don’t look like the people they are impersonating and they have to improvise on details the families give to them, hand written scripts and a few left over clothes but they make do, as method actors are especially adapted to do. Continue reading Alps (2012)

Hong Fen Bing Tuan / Golden Queen Commando (1982)

Director: Kevin Chu.
Starring. Brigitte Lin, Sally Yeh, Loretta Yang, Teresa Tsui, Sylvia Peng  Taiwan. 1h 30m.

I’m not sure which came first, Golden Queen or Pink Force as they were both made in 1982(?) but these explosive action adventure Commando movies often have each other’s scenes spliced into one another. Personally I found Pink Force to be way more thrilling with its stronger western themes and total kookiness, but that doesn’t mean that this prison based flick is worse, but it has very different themes with an almost identical cast.

Golden Queen Commando opens with some Visual Kei gang leader playing cards with some street gangster types when a fight breaks out despite her fast shooting the police crash the party and she’s sent to prison, other short vignettes for other criminal women (Black Fox, Clack Cat, Dynamite, Sugar Plum, Amazon, Brandy and Quick Silver (our stunning card shark)), each with their own special skill and extreme costume all end with them being sent to the same nazi war prison.

Things being to heat up when one of the women starts to antagonise the others while getting a feeling for their strengths and weaknesses. And they slowly hatch a plan to escape and to kill the vile fat nazi warden and his henchmen and then head out to destroy a WWII nazi chemical lab. But not before they being total chaos and mayhem with their unique fighting skills, and all looking totally beautiful within the prison walls..

Control of tone is essential to any film but this is kicked into the wind and blasted to pieces, the film had no formula and that’s what makes it a marvellous and highly entertaining bonkers exploitations flick. The final act is highlighted with a soundtrack from Ennio Morricone which makes this a hash up of the Dirty Dozen (1967) / Magnificent 7 (1960)a la psychotronic style. Obviously there is a stunning finale and the scene which sees a spy outed is straight out of an X-Japan music video. All round fun and frolics that’s hard to ever forget.

Rating 5/10

RPink Force Commando (1982), Love Massacre (1981),
L – A-Z of Taiwan Cinema Vol 1.
A – Pink Cinema
Vs –  Pink Force Commando Vs Golden Queen Commando.

Post Discussion

 

06 (Creepy) Stop Motion Short Films

01.You Could Sunbathe In This Storm

D: Alice Dunseath

A deep exploration os you and i and we and us. Using the poem The Old Men Admiring Themselves In The Water – Poem by William Butler Yeats. The film is a very unique blend of stop motion, mostly made from what looks like clay objects rather than a softer molding material, and at one point it turns into a crystal growing project. It’s touching and emotive.

Continue reading 06 (Creepy) Stop Motion Short Films

Dr Tarr’s Torture Dungeon (1973)

AKA The Mansion of Madness

Director:Juan López Moctezuma .
Starring.Claudio Brook, Arthur Hansel, Ellen Sherman. Marin LaSalle. Susana Kamini. Mexico. 1h 39m.

The concept of this darkly macabre path into insanity is simple, the inmates have taken over the asylum. This  vision of madness come from the king of the unusual, the film is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The System of Dr Tarr and the Professor Feather.  A reporter (Brook) and his entourage have been invited to 19th century asylum hidden deep in the woods, their guide promises easy access but they are confronted by two armed guards, eventually they are let in and split up, the reporter takes one route while his beloved is chased through the woods and abused. After meeting various groups of people acting out wildly in the forest he meets the megalomaniac who’s running the whole affair and soon realises that the inmates have taken over and the prisoners are the redundant staff. In the absence of medical care they are left to their own crazy devices and act out their basest fantasies and have incredibly surreal urges. Continue reading Dr Tarr’s Torture Dungeon (1973)

Borgman (2013)

borgman

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Stunning, imaginative, steeped in folklore with dark sadistic tendencies. This film blew me away and back again.It’s a little hard to explain the story but the film kicks off with the Borgman being evicted by some locals headed by a priest, he’s living in an underground house, along with some buddies he flees and strangely attaches himself to a family and instantly starts to prey upon the woman of the household slowly manipulating her to bend to his will, he sits on her chest at night giving her nightmares that influences her daily activities.

Soon after he arrives a few of his accomplices start their own terror spree and eventually ties up with his actions at the home, and after killing and sinking some people with concrete hats they soon join him to put on a show and finalise their operations on the children at the household.

Darkly surreal and sinister, it will creep you out and puzzle you for days.

So while all of this is going on the film itself is is littered with surreal clips, very gritty drama and close ties in European folklore and struggles with linking all of this in with modern social issues. There is nothing solid about how the character, the Borgman was developed, to me he seemed to be similar to a German entity called an Alp, but not in the way that I know.

It’s curious and attentive to details, with the surreal additions it makes it even more curious, it’s lavish with details and stunning scenery and drama, It’s just plain bizarre but it really draws you in with a slight slip of the story like a magician revealing and hiding the trick, once you think you know  what’s going on it changes but keeps you fully involved along the way.

I instantly fell in love with film, in the same way as Dogtooth (2014), it has a similar quality to it in both atmosphere and style. a real but unreal movie, that’s totally bizarre but masqueraded as a “normal” film.

10/10

Full review and Post discussion coming soon.. because there is so many questions to address.

30 Day Horror Movie Challenge!

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Day 1- your first horror movie- this would be Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), I was about 5 or 6 when i first saw it and it was an instant favourite (yes my mother was a bit oddball) but i handled it well BOYAKA!!

Day2- the last horror movie you saw in the theater – I think that would be Trollhunter (2010), certainly made me a bit icky. I absolutley love this film it really should be in my top 30.

 

Day 3- favorite classic horror movie – probably a hammer horror…Oh I dunno this will be a toughy how about Night of the Demon (1957). Night of the Demon

Day 4- a horror movie you thought you’d love and didn’t – most after dark movies….if I had to name and shame, maybe the Rite (2011). I made the fatal error of buying before I watched it, I thought with Anthony Hopkins, Exorcisms and a good supporting cast it couldn’t be bad.. *sigh*

Day5- favorite horror remake – is there such a thing? Oh yeah the Thing (1982)!

Day 6- favorite vampire movie – oh man! I really do detest vampire in general I’m much more of a werewolf kinda girl unless the vampire is Chris Lee. But there have been a few good Vamp flicks in the past.. and for this I’d have to choose the Lost Boys (1987) or Daybreakers (2009) for it’s alternative styling?!

Day 7- a horror movie you think no one has seenSkinned Deep (2004) and everyone should watch it. No I couldn’t recommend a movie, only give my opinion. I really did like the crazyness of it, like Killer X/Natural Selection/Monster Hunter(1999) it just tells a story and doesn’t care what anything thinks about the process.

rec spanish horror movie

Day 8- favorite foreign horror – I don’t like the term foreign movie, every movie is foreign to someone.. BUT I’ll go for non English speaking and side with Rec (2007).

Day 9- favorite super natural horror movie – I think I would have to choose Poltergeist (1982).

Day 10- horror movie every one loves but you don’t – this is hard because i love most horror.. or do I?

Dog Soldiers

Day 11- favorite horror/ comedy – I don’t do comedy.. but I do laugh a lot in horror movies, I gotta say House III/The Horror Show(1989) gives me the most giggles but it’s also quite annoying but my choice today goes to Dog Soldiers (2002).

BegottencoverDay 12- your most disturbing horror film– I know a lot of movies that are widely accepted as disturbing and there are some which personally disturb me, some un-nerve due to phobias, childhood experiences etc, but it took me a few attempts to watch this film and it really digs deep the Begotten (1990)

 

Day 13- favorite zombie movie – I used to adore zombie movies but they are all kinda the same now. We are starting to get some diversity so I’m going to go for a crazy zombie film but one I keep going back to Wild Zero (1999).

wildzero

Day 14- favorite indie horror movie – I adore Independent films, but I don’t know of many horror ones, it’s usually too expensive to use the effects that replace good story telling and acting (JK) I think I’ll watch the Decent (2005).

Day 15- favorite monster movie – I’d like to say Trolljegeren (2010) but I’ve mentioned that sooo.. Lets watch Rogue (2007), it’s not the most dramatic monster movie but it was consistently brutal and Sam Worthington didn’t save the day! thanks giant Croc!

Day 16- horror film with a great soundtrack – I was never a big fan of any of the Underworld (2003) franchise but I picked up the soundtrack due to hearing what I thought was Puscifer and low and behold the OST was better than the films and introduced me to Genghis Tron!

Day 17- favorite 80’s horror – I was a wee bearn in the 1980’s but was regulary exposed to horror movies, for a huge run down on 80’s horror check out this website  80shorrormovies.com! My choice this challenge will be cult classic Waxwork (1988).

notldDay 18- favorite horror movie filmed in black and white – I’m going to be really obvious here and go with something really popular… Night of the Living Dead (1968). I believe that being an independent movie is the reason why this was shot in black and white, but no matter how many remakes this movies has the original shots from this are always the most iconic.

 

Day 19- best use of gore – Oh man, what is a horror movie without gore!? One of the first movies that comes to mind when gore is mentioned is Braindead/Dead Alive(1992).It has to have some of the best gore and for me the best mass zombie killing scene.. Lawnmover death!braindead

Day 20- favorite horror character –  For me it’s Ashley ‘Ash’ J. Williams from Evil Dead (1981).

Day 21- best horror franchise – There are so many but so many now, a lot of them have a let down movie, I’d like to go with Alien as I adore all of the movies in every way but there are only 4, do you need more for a franchise? also it’s more sci fi than just horror.. Okay it’s going to be a long night.. Omen get’s my vote.

pyramidDay 22-best death scene – NO!!! don’t make me choose one! FINE I’ll go for this one.. brilliant, unexpected and such a timeless classic.. Mr Pyramid Head skinning technique from Silent hill (2006). The only thing missing was him raping the corpse.

Day 23- a great quote from a horror movie – A little quote here from Devil’s Rejects

“Boy, the next word that comes out of your mouth better be some brilliant fuckin’ Mark Twain shit. ‘Cause it’s definitely getting chiseled on your tombstone.”

babyDay 24- horror movie character that describes you – I asked around  I was told by several people i am as annoying as Baby Firefly from House of 1000 Corpses (2003).

Day 25- favorite Christmas/ holiday horror movie – I love how festive movies are all really terrible like Die Hard 2 (1990) but as this is HORROR!! my vote goes to Gremlins (1984)

Day 26- horror movie for a chicken – Any comedy horror movie is really a good place to start for horror pussies  I’m going to chuck in a more recent movie that had no scares what so ever.. Creepshow 3 (2006)

Day 27-your guilty pleasure horror movie – I’m going to get slated for this, but I own House of wax (2005).

Day 28- horror film you’d like to see remade/ rebooted – Now this has got to be quite a passionate request for me, I couldn’t simply ask for a movie to be remade when I don’t really agree with remakes, but I personally would like to see Silent hill (2006) remade and more accurately to the original game, I’d like to see Harry Mason battling things out in the surrealist supernatural psychological survival horror that silent hill should be.

Day 29- worst horror movie – Oh man there are so many of these, I know everyone would probably pick Anaconda (1997) because it was famously bad but I think I’m going to not ruin my night with that again but try Parasomnia (2008).

Day 30- your favorite all time horror movie (or one of 🙂 ) – phhh.. okay just on.. Howling (1981). I love watching this film, I never get bored of it 

howling