Director: Yoshihiko Matsui
Starring: Naomi Hagio, Takahiro Hattori, Toshihiko Hino .Japan. 1h 31m
Like a rare and obscure borja wine, the history of Yoshihiko Matsui’s film making is sporadic but filled with really unusual gems, with themes of suicide, the understanding of love blended with cannibalism and genuine strange behavior you’ll always know who you”re watching and often question why you’re still watching. For me this unreal expression is one of the blessings of cinema, seeing something genuinely new that is al altered, heightened sense of the world around you. At times you’ll almost be able to feel Matsui’s message through the combination of imagery, a feeling of an idea that doesn’t need language for expression, or you might be left scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on.
Continue reading Tonkei shinjû – Pig Chicken Suicide (1981)
Director: Tom Gliserman
Starring: David Bunce, Rob Dalton, Susan Cicarelli-Caputo, Ron Komora, .UK. 1h 29m
For a long time, a majority of Lovecraft’s cinematic works were so underground that the biggest films were fan made efforts like this, although despite it’s challenges I personally found the aesthetic approach and storytelling to be exactly what the story calls for.
Based on a short story of the same title by American Mythos writer H. P. Lovecraft, The thing on the doorstep is part of the Cthulhu universe but has heavy undertones of a PI film Noir. Originally written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Now captured by Tom Gliserman in a fan funded effort, and commonly found quite cheaply on a number of streaming services, so there’s no excuse, give it a shot, and see if you’ll join the numerous fans who still revel in the heady atmosphere.
Continue reading The thing on the doorstep (2012)
Director: Kazuto Kodama
Starring:?.Japan. 1h 4m
This collection of unrelated creepy tales seems to have been a for runner for the popular V/H/S series (despite them being released in the same year) This Japanese collection just feels like a raw pre runner to the more polished American effort, but as per usual the raw unabridged versions always have that curious edge to them, and like time and time before, Japan finds a new way to creep out the cinematic world.
A team has painstakingly recovered and viewed a number of home\hand made movies accidentally capturing spooky events, but they don’t leave it there, they track down the stories behind each video trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Continue reading Tokyo Horror Movies (2012)
Director: Carlo Ledesma
Starring: Bel Delia, Luike Arnold, Andy Rodoreda, Goran D Kleut . Australia. 1h 34m
One of the popular and more believable sub genres within the found footage style is the bold and daring mockumentary, a no brainer really as there’s a perfect set up for a found footage project, but one which can really push the boundaries of faking scary adventures, after all there’s a dedicated team of professionals filming, usually with a decent budget and scope for a story and their drive to tell the truth is pretty powerful, almost forcing them to push beyond normal boundaries, but what makes The Tunnel such a winner is it’s connection with real life concerns, ie tackling homeless people driven into underground networks, and how it keeps its feet firmly on the ground without going into the extreme bizarre in order to scare the audience.
Filmed after the event, the movie cuts between timelines before, during and after the underground expedition, and the recordings quite seamlessly blend with each other, various CCTV footage and one chilling phone call. Continue reading The Tunnel (2011)
Director: Chigozie Oduah
Starring: Yul Edochie, Uju Okoli, Nobert Waski Oguegbu, Ngozi Evuka, Joseph Daniels, Rita Arum, Mike Oscar Isamede .Nigeria. 4h +
Nollywood always comes across as being quite different when it starts to mix mythology and special effects battles which is how this epic opens, with what appears to be an angry prince dueling evil entity however as the film kicks into gear we start to learn that this prince isn’t as violent as he first appears, switching back and forth through time we learn about this doomed royal family with a king is laying in a coma to which his traditional African doctor cannot wake him and in the meantime his son spends his time throwing his weight around and persuading people to do whatever he wishes. His girlfriend is belittled in front of the servants and ordered to kiss his feet when he’s angry with her, on top of this a further insult is that any women in the village has to be made availabel to him Continue reading The Tyrant Prince (2020)
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kullich, Dennis Storhoi, Omar Sharif, Richard Bremmer, Tony Curran, Clive Russell, Sven Wollter .USA. 1h 43m
Based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton
John McTiernan’s fantasy romp from the middle east to the icy hills of Scandanaiva is a bit of a guilty pleasure, the 1999 action adventure often falls apart with random acts but plot holes it’s still something to switch off and allow it to entertain you, then you’ll get on just fine, if you’re a thinker or armchair historian then this might just drive you nuts with its playful manipulation and I just can’t get over someone learning a language fluently in a couple of days.. Continue reading 13th Warrior (1999)
Director: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Starring: Klaus Tange, Ursula Bedena, Joe Koener .France / Belgium / Luxembourg. 1h 42m
This deeply surreal and lavish bizarre movie from French duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani take a step further into dreamy symbolic realms than their previous Giallo Esque romp, Amer, a project which excited cult-movie fans a few years back, both share an experimental blend of imagery with heavy Giallo tones eroitic vingnettes commenting on gender and sexuality with it’s withed dialogue and richly opulent architectural decadence that hides the identity of a killer. On returning home Dan (Tange) finds his girlfriend missing, assuming that she’s met a terrible fate he searches for clues as the world around him begins to flourish with fragmented images of horror and fear. Continue reading L’étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps \ The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013)
Director: Sylas Dall
Starring: Mary Madaline Roe, Morgan Chandler, Eden Campbell .USA. 1h 27m
For a first time full length feature, there’s a lot of potential here, great believable character creation and development, an interesting narrative and some sterling cinematography, however there’s just something amiss with Dall’s creepy drama. Firstly it can’t make up its mind if it’s a horror movie with kids, or for kids…
Dall has a gorgeous set up as he hurls his cast back into the early 1970’s, opening with a father an son who are on the road to attend an alleged possession case, while recording their findings they are convinced something demonic is going on, and attempt an exorcism using an arcane tomb, as with any credible horror, things go terribly wrong but the tape catches it all including the demonic forces and seems to hold on to them.
Continue reading They Reach (2020)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Starring: Marguerite Chapman, Douglas Kennedy, James Griffith, Ivan Triesault, Carmel Daniel, Boyd “Red” Morgan .USA. 58m
Even if you’re a criminal on death row there’s always someone out there who’s worse than you, but while the moral compass spins around and around in this balsy film noir sci fi thriller there’s a poignant message that you have to do the right thing once in a while especially when faced with a evil tyrant.
Ulmer was a prolific director, hailing from the Czech republic and claiming to have worked on a number of classics like M and Metropolis, but without much evidence of this, however there is solid proof that he did work on Der Golem. Never really giving up his horror histories, he went on to direct a number of sci-fi, horror and film noir movies, while this adventure came near the end of his career he combined all that he learnt over the years. Continue reading The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)
Director: Victor Halperin.
Starring: Lyle Talbot, Charleton Young, Irving Pichel, Shelia Bromley, Skelton Knaggs . USA. 49m
Based on: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London.
The notable short story from the creative and imaginative Jack London in 1899 saw a mad scientist experiment with death, finding new ways to kill and revive the protagonist with crazed experiments that lead to yet another more deadly invention to aid escape once the experiments get more depraved! This compelling sci fi story inspired the 1932 White Zombie director, Victor Halperin; to develop his rendition, not just based on any ship, but the mysterious Torture Ship.
Halperin speeds through through his story in record timing, and in under an hour he’s arranged a few twists and turns, alongside a whirlwind romance as a group of cons try to go about their daily lives on board a cruise while not giving away their criminal backgrounds but not realising that’s why they have been forced together on this particular ship by a crazed scientist with a fever dream. Continue reading Torture Ship (1939)