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Showing posts from May, 2012

The House

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2012
Dir. Monthon Arayangkoon

While Thai horror cinema doesn’t quite wield the legacy or prolific output as its other Asian counterparts, such as Korean or Japanese horror (or J-Horror as it has been dubbed), a recent emergence of fright flicks from the burgeoning film industry has included a number of memorable titles such as Shutter, 4bia, Meat Grinder, Sick Nurses and The Victim – not forgetting of course the moody The Eye films. The House is the latest edition to this strikingly eclectic fold and it boasts the same unique tone and idiosyncrasies as its creepy peers. The serpentine story coils around investigative journalist Shalinee (Inthira Chaloenpura) who is commissioned to make a documentary about several doctors who brutally murdered their wives. As her snooping continues, she uncovers some odd connections and similarities between the killings, including the sinister fact that throughout the years, all the murderous doctors had at one time or another lived in the same house …

Embodiment of Evil

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2008
Dir. José Mojica Marins

At the end of This Night I Shall Possess Your Corpse, the second Coffin Joe film, Joe (Mojica Marins) was cornered in a spooky swamp by torch-bearing villagers who’d had enough of his violent shenanigans. Denouncing God while laughing in their faces, Joe sank into the swamp and apparently drowned. Didn't he? Not so! As a flashback explains, he was pulled up out of the water again and imprisoned for his heinous crimes. 40 years later and he is eventually released from jail, and greeted on the outside by his faithful manservant Bruno. How does Joe celebrate his freedom? Why, he goes in search of a woman worthy of bearing his child of course! Cue much torture, bloodshed, nightmarish visions and a few familiar faces from the past, as José Mojica Marins finally closes the long-awaited last chapter of his Coffin Joe Trilogy.

Embodiment perfectly concludes At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul and This Night in terms of its contextual linearity. There is a rea…

This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse

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1967
Dir. José Mojica Marins

After the success of Coffin Joe’s first outing, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, his creator José Mojica Marins (who also portrays him onscreen) decided to resurrect him for further misadventures. This Night picks up straight after the events of At Midnight, as it is revealed that Joe didn’t actually die in the crypt, though he was severely wounded and traumatised by his ordeal. Soon after he is released from hospital and acquitted of his crimes due to lack of evidence, and he’s up to his old tricks again, kidnapping a slew of beautiful women and subjecting them to horrific tortures in order to find a woman worthy of bearing his child.

Made four years after At Midnight, what is immediately obvious about This Night is how much Mojica Marins has honed his skills as a filmmaker. Technically speaking, this film is more accomplished than its predecessor, the script is tighter, the pace more fluid and it is much more visually appealing - moody lighting and blac…

At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul

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1964
Dir. José Mojica Marins

Zé do Caixão (that’s Coffin Joe to you and me) is something of a cult figure both in his native Brazil, and in the wider horror community. The creation of filmmaker José Mojica Marins, who also portrays him onscreen, Coffin Joe has appeared in various TV anthologies, comics and sequels, as well as countless appearances in other films by the director. A nightmarishly striking figure - sporting long black cloak, top hat and grotesquely long fingernails - Joe first appeared in At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, which was also the first Brazilian horror film.

A curious and carnivalesque oddity of a film, At Midnight follows the increasingly crazed exploits of undertaker Joe, as he attempts to find a woman worthy of bearing him a child - and thus helping him obtain immortality by extending his bloodline. Addressing concepts such as faith, free will, social responsibility and politics, Marins’ film is an existential horror that unfolds with impish glee. While fai…

Audiodrome#8: Fire Walk With Me

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It’s that time of the month again to head over to Paracinema.net and check out the latest instalment of Audiodrome. This month I take a look at Angelo Badalamenti’s evocative and moody score for Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch’s dark and disturbing prequel to his cult TV show, Twin Peaks.

The film follows the harrowing last seven days in the life of high school home coming queen Laura Palmer, as she descends into a nightmarish abyss of drugs, prostitution and abuse. Fire Walk With Me marked a drastic shift in tone from the beloved series: gone are the cherry pies and damn fine coffees, and all that remains is an unsettling tale of domestic abuse, incest and filicide. Badalamenti’s jazz-based score perfectly immerses us in this strange world, which while dangerous and dark, is not without its moments of abstract beauty.

While you’re over at Paracinema’s online lair, why not pick up the latest issue? It’s really rather good and all the articles address the theme of revenge in genre cine…

Shadow

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2009
Dir. Federico Zampaglione

Throughout the 60s and 70s, Italy was responsible for producing some of the most unique, striking and disturbing horror films in the history of the genre. Italian cinema was even bigger than its US counterpart in terms of exports. Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Sergio Martino, Riccardo Freda, Lucio Fulci and Ruggero Deodato are just a few of the filmmakers responsible for creating some of the most lurid, bizarre, searingly brutal and unforgettable imagery to ever bleed across the silver screen. Italians were churning out all sorts of genre gold dust; from spaghetti westerns, stylishly violent giallo films, blistering detective movies, to comedies, erotic dramas and explosive action flicks. This Golden Age of Italian cinema began to fade during the Eighties however, when the government introduced funding legislation that meant films of ‘cultural and national’ interest were given priority over films that were regarded as entertainment. Nowadays television rul…

RIP James Isaac

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Director James Isaac, best known for Jason X, werewolf flick Skinwalkers and his special effects work with David Cronenberg, has passed away at the age of 52 after battling a rare blood cancer.

Isaac began his career in 1983 as a ‘creature technician’ on Return of the Jedi and Gremlins before moving on to work with Cronenberg on the likes of The Fly, Naked Lunch and eXistenZ. His feature directorial debut came in 1983 with The Horror Show aka House III.

In 2002 Isaac directed the tenth instalment of the Friday the 13th series. Jason X's winning sense of humour and genuine adoration of Jason (and his fans) gave the series a much needed jolt of originality and devilish playfulness. Isaac’s work on the vastly underrated film is often overlooked due to its problematic shoot caused by interference from producers, constant re-writes and a delayed release. Isaac was always very candid about his feelings on the film, and was very generous in communicating with fans of the franchise on m…

Interview with Ryan Haysom, Director of Neo-Giallo Short, 'Yellow'

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Italian giallo films are renowned for their brutal violence, dazzling style and convoluted ‘whodunit’ narratives. The combination of grind-house exploitation, art house aesthetics and bizarre fetishisation of violence, render the giallo a highly distinctive and unnerving cycle of films. The giallo is exclusively Italian and was initially popularized by Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The films began to lose their commercial appeal in the late Seventies, but recent films such as Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s Amer, Guillem Morales’ Julia’s Eyes and Federico Zampaglione’s forthcoming Tulpa, to name but a few, highlight the overwhelming influence of the giallo on a new slew of international filmmakers. These ‘neo-gialli’ have sparked a resurgence of interest in the film cycle that looks set to continue with a new short film by Berlin-based filmmaker Ryan Haysom. Yellow is currently in production and looks set to draw heavily from the gialli of yesteryear, with its …

Interview with Sean Keller, Author of Underneath the Bed & Other Nightmares

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As a fan of horror, you most likely have fond memories of being terrified by creepy stories as a child. You maybe weren’t so fond of feeling those sensations at the time, but looking back, it forms a sort of rites of passage many horror fans now reflect upon quite nostalgically. Children are drawn to scary stories; they possess the same morbid curiosity about such dark subject matter as adult fans of horror. Indeed, many children’s stories and fairytales unravel as dark morality tales in much the same way as horror films do. Fairytales, ghost stories and horror films work on a subconscious level to teach us about the dangers inherent in our world. They are saturated with cautionary morality; warning and preparing young listeners and readers for the trials and tribulations they will face, and ultimately strive to overcome.

By hearing about life-threatening problems and potential threats, such as those featured in fairytales and scary stories, children are given vital information that …