Sunday, August 30, 2009

keychains and snowstorms.

Just back from a busy weekend at Collector-mania whilst laughing at the man trying to sell an uncut copy of the Dutch DVD of Burial Ground for £45.

Big hugs and apologies in advance for the blatant use of the various celebs there to endorse my work.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

banned on the run.

“Unlike other recent torture-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake. Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.” - BBFC director David Cooke.

I really have to question the mental well-being of anyone who makes or watches these movies. - Tokyojesusfist, Beyondhollywood website.

Gurotesuku (AKA Grotesque, 2009)
Dir: Kôji Shiraishi.
Cast: Hiroaki Kawatsure, Tsugumi Nagasawa and Shigeo Ôsako.

A young couple (AV star Tsugumi, last seen as the scary lizard arsed lady in Tokyo Gore Police and Hiroaki from OneChanbara and the classic Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman) are returning home after a first date when a scary moonfaced mentalist (rubber faced Shigeo from Funuke, Show Me Some Love looking like Takeshi Kitano's more troubled younger brother) wallops the pair over the head with a mallet, chucks them in the back of his van and drives them to his secret lair.

The bemused and battered couple awake to find themselves shackled in a basement and with no forthcoming explanation (as yet) at the mercy of their captor who, dispensing with pleasantries begins to torture, abuse and ultimately mutilate the (up until now) happy couple for the remainder of the films short running time.

"Just a trim madam?"

Luckily the scenes of endless violence, classical music, cream cakes and people wetting themselves are punctuated by
flashbacks revealing how the couple met (which is a relief) and before long their crazy captor has opened up to the poor pair and explained why he's being so bad.

It appears that he can only experience sexual stimulation when watching people fight to survive, yup the indomitable human spirit turns him on.

It's a pity then that he's never discovered any Robert Holmes penned Doctor Who stories as he'd probably just have stayed in wanking himself silly as Sir Tom of Baker gives a variety of rousing speeches to various groups of humans under siege rather than kidnapping strangers from underpasses.

"Eye hen!"

With this confession, Mr. demento has a proposition for the couple; if they have enough spirit to make him cum in his pants whilst sticking pins in them or chainsawing various body parts he'll let them go.

If not they'll both die (very slowly and very, very painfully) in his cellar.


I have no idea where to start when trying to sum up the experience that is Grotesque, whilst certainly not an enjoyable way to spend the evening it is definitely an unforgettable one.

None too surprisingly tho', it's not the characterless 'spectacle of (sexual) sadism' that the BBFC have accused it of being but is in fact, a startling and somewhat moving tale of true, uncorruptable love overcoming adversity and the evils of modern society.

Bandwagon jumping protectors of all we hold dear, alongside various newspapers have gleefully reported stories on how the film revels in a cesspool of misogynistic sexual violence, completely missing the fact that the mad as a lorry Shigeo is determined that neither victim should be favoured, splitting his time equally between both.

Which in this day and age is actually quite polite.

But whilst those who've seen it (and are intelligent enough to see past the violence on show, make a note of this Mr. Cooke and see me after class) can refute the charges of misogyny leveled at the film,they can't deny the fact that Grotesque is possibly the most nihilistic film about love to ever grace the screen, making it's closest relatives, David Lynch's Wild At Heart and Blue Velvet, appear positively anemic in comparison.

To our American cousins, not matter what Fox News
says our National Health Service is nothing like this.

And with a running time of a mere 73 minutes, Grotesque is the last word in cinematic shock, a bizarre and genuinely unnerving film dragged from the so-called 'torture porn' ghetto by it's impressive casting, simple premise and director Kôji Shiraishi's brave decision to make the viewer experience (in unflinching detail) every bit of pain, confusion and humiliation suffered by the unfortunate couple.

Watching for the first time is disorientating, with Shigeo's sick scheme as much of a mystery to us as it is to the people involved but we can only watch in horror, unable to interfere as we slowly become more and more involved in Shigeo's life and the fate of his victims as Shiraishi holds a mirror up to todays news and media's handling of violence in the real world.

Obviously due to Antichrist (bloody hell, I'm obsessed) being released uncut in the UK, the dear old BBFC had to be seen as protecting us from other (less arty) vile movies lest anyone complained about being able to see Charlotte Gainsbourg performing a circumcision on herself in 70mm Dolby surround at the local cineplex and, unfortunately Grotesque just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ironically just like the movies loved up couple.

But ain't that always the way?

Friday, August 21, 2009

people you fancy but shouldn't (part the 13).

Dot Matrix from Reboot.....

Admit it, you would too.

Feel free to make lewd comments about upgrading her software, plugging her USB port etc.

I know I have.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

weans world.

Ah dear old Blighty, land of warm beer, tea, toast and cricket.

And, once upon a time, a place that gave the world some pretty decent horror movies.

Well not any more it seems.

Ladies (I'm assuming at least one reads this) and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for one of the most annoyingly banal (and oh so slightly offensive - but more on that later) films ever made.

I give you....

The Children (2008).
Dir: Tom Shankland.
Cast: Eva Birthistle, Eva Sayer, Jake Hathaway, Jeremy Sheffield, Raffiella Brooks, Stephen Campbell Moore, William Howes, Rachel Shelley and Hannah Tointon.

Where? for lunch?

Smug middle class couple Elaine (square jawed Brit teevee stalwart Birthistle) , her pube bearded rat-like hubbie Jonah (Moore from Ashes To Ashes) and their (fresh out of stage school) children have just arrived at the huge country house owned by Elaine's even more (if that were possible) smug and middle class sister, the spiral permed baggy cardied Chloe (The 'L' Word's Shelley) and her instantly punchable brother-in-law Robbie (chisel of face and flaxen of hair ex Holby City star Sheffield) in order to celebrate New Year together.

But even as they unpack their luggage you can feel the tension in the air between the couples, from Elaine and Jonah obvious resent at not being as annoyingly self centred (or kickable) as Chloe and Robbie, to Elaine's oldest daughter, the Emo-lite Casey (Eve Myles alike Tointon, from the nations favourite Hollyoaks) bitching about having to be there in the first place, slagging off her wee sister Miranda (demon spawn Sayer from Eastenders) and blatantly (and slightly embarrassingly) flirting with 'uncle' Robbie you can tell it's going to be a long weekend.

But surely nothing else could happen to make things any worse could it?

Casey: Niece and easy does it.

Enter Elaine's Autistic son Paulie (Howes) who has no sooner gotten out of the car before he's vomiting melted cheese over the lawn and scaring Chloe's daughter Leah (Brooks) by sitting upright in his bed whilst staring into the middle distance and constantly banging a xylophone.

Because, as we all know that's what Autistic kids do obviously.

I must just point out (jusy in case director Shankland is even now foaming at the mouth as he types a reply) that nowhere in the script is Paulie actually referred to as Autistic, but there's quite a subtle (I'm being ironic) scene when he's brushing his teeth where Chloe asks Elaine if she's "received that article about the MMR jags I sent you?".

The one about AIDS being a gay plague must of gotten lost in the post.

In her defence (well, we all know she'll be dead soon anyway - if we're lucky) Chloe's one of those loud and annoying parents that are far too rich to work and boast about home tutoring their kids, lest they pick up any nasty germs off the commoners. "They're like sponges at this age," she declares, tho' from the looks Robbie has been giving Casey I reckon he's thinking about that phrase in a whole other light.

Dirty old sod.

Elaine, trying to keep everyone happy reckons it's just travel sickness and starts to tank into the wine and fags like nobodies business. The kids are sent to bed and nice uncle Robbie takes Casey into the woods to show her the best place to get a signal om her mobile phone.

Anyone hoping for a wee bit of bare arsed sleazy old man and schoolie goth action at this point will be sorely disappointed seeing as he actually is just showing her the best place to get a signal.


"I knew I shouldn't have shampooed
the dog whilst pregnant!"

It comes a no surprise to find that it isn't car-sickness that's affecting Paulie at all but a vomit/airbourne/utter bollocks Autism virus (obviously) that quickly spreads from child to child with alarming speed.

Soon Chloe's kids Leah and Nicky (the freaky Hathaway, who looks for all the world like a dwarf Robin Askwith) are sitting at the dinner table copying Paulie's every move whilst Miranda goes crazy apeshit and slashes Jonah's arm with a bread knife.

Pity it wasn't his throat.

Between the kids screaming, Paulie's xylophone tinkling, Elaine discovering that Casey has a (admittedly tasteful) tattoo of an abortion on her tummy and Jonah whimpering about his sore arm Chloe decides to skip dessert and sends Robbie and the children out to play so she can lord it over her sister.

Keeping his head down, Jonah takes the still nutty Miranda up to her room to calm her with a wee bit of Mandarin (the language not the fruit).

"Cor blimey! if I'm caught with me
trousers down again the boss'll kill me!"

Just as you're about to give up hope of anything remotely interesting happening the killing finally start.

And from there on in it's the same middle class bleating and whining as in the first half of the movie but now with sporadic bursts of violence as the children (hey! that's the films title! clever eh?) embark on an anarchistic Autistic killer rampage....

Will any of the adults survive?

And, if we're honest, does anyone (except the directors mum) really give a fuck?

If anyone in this movie
deserves a mooth shite-in...

Where do you start with a film as painfully awful, criminally lazy and downright annoying as The Children?

Well, you can begin with Shankland's press junket quote about how, although a horror film at heart it deals with 'the sort of problems that affect every family' if you want a laugh.

Yup, most families I know are mainly worried about investing in Chinese medicines whilst smoking hash in their giant greenhouses in the grounds of their huge mansions.

Oh and the ones I do know affected by Autism (well, the intelligent ones) would hit the roof if any started on about the old MMR lie, especially if it were a sibling or someone close.

Reviewers that have mentioned the films use of Autism has pointed out (as I did myself earlier) that it's never expressly stated that Paulie is indeed on the Spectrum and it shouldn't matter if he is or not.

If that's the case then why bother at all? Wouldn't it be better to just have him Neuro Typical rather than a sketchy, Daily Mail caricature of someone with ASD?

Rant over and back to the film in general.

Watch out watch out John Leslie's about!

The biggest problem tho' is beneath the God awful plotting, piss poor acting and choppy editing there appears to be a not too bad idea for a movie desperately trying to claw it's way out. The photography is top notch, making the best of the cold harshness of the winter landscapes and the minimalist score is perfect.

Just a pity the rest of it is so arse clenchingly abysmal, showing once and for all that the glory days of Frightmare, The Wicker Man and their ilk are far behind us. Hopefully one day we'll be able to produce a British horror movie to make us proud once more (cos let's be honest, we can't keep relying on Neil Marshall to keep the torch burning, we'll end up working him to death before he's 50).

But whilst shite like this is getting greenlit I doubt it somehow, I'm surprised that Pete Walker isn't spinning in his grave.

And he's not even dead.

But if he does kick the bucket over the next few months we all know who to blame.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

even more classic moments from comicdom.

Nuff said.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

can u dig it?

The Burrowers (2008).
Dir: J.T. Petty
Cast: William Mapother, Doug Hutchison, Sean Patrick Thomas, Laura Leighton, Karl Geary, Clancy Brown, Alexander Skarsgard, Stan Burd, Robert Richard and Galen Hutchison.


It's 1879, somewhere on the dusty plains of Dakota (that's in America for our European - and probably quite a few of our American - readers) nice but dim Irish immigrant Coffey (Mimic: Sentinel star Geary, a dead cert to play Cassidy in the Preacher movie I reckon) is skipping merrily toward the Stewart family homestead after finally building up enough courage to ask for their young, flaxen haired daughter Maryanne's hand (and the rest of her obviously) in marriage (and hoping her tough as nails dad will agree).

Expecting to see his beloved running thru' the wheat fields to meet him, he's surprised (to say the least) to find a destroyed and blood soaked cabin, the family gutted (literally) yet no sign of his missis to be.

As is the way with these cowboy types, the local tribe of badboy Injuns are automatically blamed for this vile case of white woman rustling and a rescue party, led by the smarmy Parcher (cousin of Scientology stooge Tom Cruise and star of Lost, Mapother) alongside his lady friends teenage son Dobie (Hutchison) and grizzled nice man John Clay (professional everyman and Santa-alike Brown) is hastily dispatched to find Maryanne before the wicked red skins do anything rude to her.

"Do you think they'll eat her whole?"
"No, I've heard they spit that bit out".
(This 'joke' only really works if you say it
out loud. Sorry).

Heading off into the brownly barren territories our motley crew soon come across the mad as a lorryful of spanners Cavalry officer Henry Victor (X-Files very own Victor Tooms himself Hutchinson) and his band of brothers, who happily drop everything to join in a wee bit of native bashing, starting with the first one that they find.

Yup, this Victor fella's a bad man and no mistaking.

And a rather sweaty one too.

When slicing his feet, cutting bits of him off and name calling fails to draw a confession from the poor guy, Parcher decides to offer him a nice cup of coffee and ask him nicely if he knows the whereabouts of the missing woman.

The Indian brave still denies having nothing to do with the abductions but begins to rant about a group of strange burrowers whom the Indians (especially the mentalist Ute tribe) have encountered years before.

Spoiling for a wee massacre, Victor assumes that these 'burrowers' must be an evil tribe and begins to prepare his lynching equipment and furiously sharpening his knives.

Parcher on the other hand isn't so sure, you see he's knows about stuff so reckons that if the Ute know anything at all it's probably best to go see them.

But not before an evening of manly chat, strong coffee, filter-less fags and much pissing in bushes.

It's during the night that things start to get a bit strange.

Soldiers keep falling into holes, there's a strange whistling in the air and a load of weird mini-crop circles with tunnels in the middle keep appearing from nowhere.

If that wasn't enough, when daybreak finally comes a few of Victors men appear to have run off during the night.

Or could something more sinister be afoot?

Frankly bored by Vile Vic's bonkers macho posturing (and no doubt disgusted by his stale man smell) Parcher and co. (now joined by disgruntled army chef Walnut Callaghan - Thomas from Teevee's The District) decide to go it alone.

Parcher's official Princess Diana novelty
table was always a big hit at parties.

As our merry band cautiously set off toward Ute territory, they rather unexpectedly find an abandoned wagon and stopping to see if there are any crisps and pop in the back stumble (quite literally) across a half buried (and three quarter dead) young girl in a bush.

Which is unusual (if not a little unnerving) for everyone involved.

Wanting to be the returning hero himself (and obviously not wanting to upset his missis), Parcher orders young Dobie to take the wagon to the nearest outpost whilst the real men continue on the quest.

Heading further and further in hostile territory, the group have to deal with not only random violent attacks from unfriendly locals resulting in a sudden and unexpected death, but the knowledge that the mysterious burrowers may be something more than just a mysterious native tribe but marginally less than human...

Fancy a Coffey?

As a native Squaw found nursing her dying husband after encountering the Burrowers explains to Coffey when he asks why they've never encountered these things before, she replies "...You white men killed all the now they have to feed on something else.”

Visibly shaken by this revelation but more determined that ever to find his true love, Coffey heads even deeper into the unknown....

"Aye hen".

After bursting onto the scene with one of the best debuts ever in the sublime Soft for Digging, JT Petty kind of fell off the radar somewhat, only resurfacing with the (fairly decent for straight to dvd) Mimic 3 and a dozen video games to his credit.

Luckily for us he hit back in recent (well, I say recent) months with the double whammy of S&man and The Burrowers, cementing his talent as one of the most thoughtful and lyrical directors working in the genre today.

Playing out like a stripped bare version of The Searchers as re-imagined by Joe R Lansdale, The Burrowers uses it's low budget to it's advantage, high on dialogue and characterization and builds uncomfortably toward it's climax like a slow moving dark behemoth whose shadow casts ominously across it's characters from the very moment they decide to discover the truth behind poor hapless Maryanne's disappearance, rewarding the viewer with an almost Brothers Grimm style climax in one of the best low budget horrors of the past ten years.

Oh and if that wasn't enough it does indeed have monsters in it!

What's not to love?

Pity then that Lion's Gate have chosen to unceremoniously dump it straight to DVD in the states, meaning we'll be lucky to find a copy for sale anywhere over here.


the gore the merrier.

Catching up on dozens of draft reviews here so stick with me as I unblock my B movie back passage.

It may get a wee bit messy.

Anyways, you've prolly all seen this gem by now but for those who haven't I'll not give too much away.

For a change.

Tōkyō Zankoku Keisatsu (AKA Tokyo Gore Police, 2008)
Dir: Yoshihiro Nishimura.
Cast: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny, Ikuko Sawada, Jiji Bū, Tak Sakaguchi, Keisuke Horibe, Shun Sugata and Cherry Kirishima.

Welcome to Tokyo of the near future where the police force has been privatized, turning your average copper into a Samurai style armoured-clad killing machine more interested in wholesale slaughter (and bizarre facial expressions) than old-styled policing.

Dixon of Dock Green it ain't.

If that wasn't scary enough the city streets are teeming with bizarre 'engineers', mad as spanners mutant killers who can grow bio-morphic weapons (and huge cocks) when attacked.

Such an unusual enemy needs a special kind of police officer (clad in tiny skirts, knee high boots and suspenders in some cases) to battle them, specially trained in the art of butchering big burley beast things.

The best of the bunch is the doll like Ruka (the yumsome Shiina from Takashi Miike’s Audition), sexy as hell (in a kinda mad bird way) with a dark, tragic past, a penchant for self harm and a love of sword fighting.

Plus she looks great in a kimono.

The perfect girl if I'm honest.


Being so successful at her job has made Ruka quite a few enemies, the most dangerous of which is the notorious Key Man ( Itao from The Great Yokai War and Death Note: The Last Name), the loopy scientist actually responsible for the creation of the engineers in the first place (accidentally I must add, you know how it is with these science types) who is intent on infecting the general population (well, ponytailed schoolgirl hookers and pube haired Yakuza types mainly) by inserting a fleshy 'key' into their arms.

Which is nice and kinda make sense of his name too.

As the Key Man’s reign of terror continues unabated, Ruka’s investigation's lead her to realize that her past and that of the Key Man are inexorably linked by a distant tragedy.

Oh, and lots of yucky bodily fluids obviously.

Your mum, sister and gran earlier today.

What can you say about TGP that hasn't been said a million times before (and in Japanese, natch)?

FX God Yoshihiro (Machine Girl, Meatball Machine) Nishimura certainly delivers the icky sticky goods when it comes to sick and twisted fun, whether your tastes lie with giant machine gun penises, living femi-chairs that rain gallons of piss over rapt audiences, schoolgirl mutants with acid spraying breasts or half (sexy) laydee/half crocodile women there's something for the whole family here.

But luckily for us, Nishimura manages to hold the whole thing together with some semblance of a plot.

And a very entertaining one to boot.

So wrong, yet strangely so very, very right.

Bit best of all are the random infoblips squeezed in between the heartbreaking storyline and copius nude scenes; fast, furious and funny as fuck fake adverts ranging from right wing police propaganda to ads for designer self harm knives and the best sword for committing hara kari.

Try to imagine, if you will, a well made Robocop or a wavy Davy Cronenberg film with a budget of twenty quid and a sense of humour to match and you're halfway there.

And at the centre of it all is the utterly yummylicious Eihi Shiina, all long legs, waif-like looks and carrying a big sword, spouting stilted videogame dialogue whilst fighting a quadraplegic bondage monster in a gimp mask.

What's not to love?