Saturday, 28 January 2012
Everybody loves games, be it on a board, on a show or even on the big screen, people love a good game when the stakes are high, especially when someones life is on the line. These movies explore the lengths that man will go to survive. Whether it be a futuristic setting, where a totalitarian government is using him for sport or in the day to day world, when bad investments, creditors and bad choices have brought you down to a point where you have no where else to turn.
Throughout the years, there have been tons of titles made but these are a few of my favourites.
5. The Running Man (1987) - Ben Richards is wrongly accused of massacring innocent civilians. He is sent to prison and escapes, only to handed back to the authorities by one his fellow escapees. The government hands him over to an execution style gauntlet game show called The Running Man. If Ben Richards can get through the gauntlet and elude his stalkers than freedom is once again his. I loved this movie when I was a kid because it had everything, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse "The Body" Venture and it even had Richard Dawson to host the game and be the main bad guy. In this film, Schwarzenegger did what he did best in the 80's, kicked ass and delivered some of the best one liners.
4. Death Race 2000 (1975) - David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone star in this Roger Corman classic about a government sanctioned cross country car race, where you need to kill pedestrians to earn points. This is such a fun movie to watch, Sylvester Stallone is awesome as the villianous "Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo trying to beat the people's champion Frankenstein (David Carradine). A lot of car explosions, tons of people getting run over and it's all done with a humour that is .
3. Battle Royal (200) - A Japanese class of 9th graders are taken to an island, each is given a weapon and told that after three days there will be one winner remaining. I love this movie and think it's brilliant for so many reasons. For instance, when each kid is issued a bag with rations and a weapon, some of these weapons are more useful, like the guns and knives, than the others, like a fork or a paper fan. It's exciting to watch the school clics turn on each other and see how fragile friendships really are during extreme situations. This has everything, great story, good acting and tons of violence. A must see for anybody.
2. 13 Tzameti (2005) - A young impoverished immigrant, steals an envelope from a dead client of his and follows the mysterious instructions that could lead him to a game that could win him a fortune. Unwittingly, it leads him to a world of rich men who gamble for high stakes in an underground Russian roulette game. Now, he must compete or die. This movie is so crazy, the tension during the roulette matches is almost unbearable.
1. Red Room (1999) - 4 people, an older couple, a young woman and a teenage girl have entered a contest to win a million dollars. They are given a set of 4 cards, 3 are numbered and one has a king on it. If you have the king card, it is your turn to tell the other people what to do and try to make them quit the game. The last person willing to play wins a million dollars. This movie is shot on video and it's only 68 minutes but, wow is it ever fucked up. They contestants start by playing these harmless games and then it degenerates into a sick, sick mess. I wouldn't watch this if I was faint of heart, definitely not one for the kids.
These films aren't for everybody and depict some extraordinary circumstances that hopefully you and I will never encounter. Some will make you wince and turn away at the stark reality of a no win situation while others are fun and you can see the director winking at you behind all the gore and carnage. Whatever the case may be, these films are great example of man struggling to survive.
P.S - I had to laugh when I heard there is a Battleship movie coming out, who knows it could be good, I still love watching Clue.
Saturday, 21 January 2012
All cannibal movies are the same right. Wrong, although the films share the same concept, people eating people, over the years filmmakers have found new and interesting ways to develop this idea.
After The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which introduced one of the first cannibal families, there seemed to be an explosion of cannibal films during the late 70's. The majority of these movies centered around missing people, who dared to venture into the primitive jungles of South America and their loved ones or colleagues who went searching to find them. There they found primitive tribes who sacrificed people to gods and ate their flesh. These films contained some of the most graphic shots of animal abuse, rape and torture. A lot of them were banned from different countries and put on nasties lists, never to be seen again, except through mail order and now the internet.
By the early 80's this trend had dwindled and horror movies moved on to slasher films but in the early 90's, a brief revival of the genre was brought by The Silence of the Lambs. Lector was not an out of the way country hillbilly or a primitive tribesman in some dense jungle but a sophisticated, charming killer who blended in with society. This revival was short lived and most horror movies seemed to put on the back burner during that time until Scream.
However, over the last ten years with horror movies gaining more mainstream acceptance again, there has been a number of films with excellent cannibal twists especially coming from the Asian film industry. In these films, a cannibal could be the lurking on the highways, the owner of a hostel or the family next door. The idea that they could be anywhere or anyone gives the genre that extra taste of terror.
Here are some great cannibal movies, each with a different take on the genre.
5. The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) - A young woman (Ursula Andress) and her brother enlist the help of Professor Edward Foster (Stacy Keach) to search for her husband, who was lost on an expedition in New Guinea. Once there, they face the perils of the jungle and find out that a cannibal tribe, that was once thought extinct, is hunting them down. This movie is truly a classic cannibal film and has the all the right touches. We see graphic animal mutilation by man and beast, tons of gore and castration, which seemed to have been the trademark of these films.
4. Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977) - After discovering a tattoo of an ancient tribe on a female inmate at a mental hospital, a young journalist, Emanuelle, convinces her editor to do a story on the cannibal tribe in the Amazon Jungle. Emanuelle and her friends travel to discover that the tribe does exist and they are not welcoming with new comers. Right off the bat, if you've watched any Bleu_Nuit as a teenager, then you would recognize Emanuelle. Laura Gemser did a series of Emanuelle titles in the late 70's and early 80's, so basically, it's soft core porn wrapped up in a cannibal movie, go figure. Sure, there is a lot of sex but it does meet the criteria mention above with minimal castration and a lot of gore.
3. Antropophagus (1980) - A group of friends wind up stuck on what seems to be a deserted island, only to find out that a madman has murdered and chased away the towns inhabitants. Now, this lunatic is after them. This movie for the most part is a typical Italian horror film. The pacing is slow, with very little blood at the beginning and but it has some pretty gross scenes at the end and it is more than worth the wait.
2. Cannibal the Musical (1993) - Alfred Packer leads a group of miners across America in the late 1800's to search for gold in California. Unfortunately, they never make it and Packer is charged with eating his party. Trey Parker and Matt Stone do an awesome job turning this true horror story into a musical. There is some gory scenes, catchy songs and some great laughs. It's the funniest cannibal movie, I've ever scene.
1. Frontier(s) (2007) - After a robbery goes wrong, a group of friends head for Holland to get away from the police. On the way they stop at a hostel, outside of France, to rest only discover that it's run by, you guessed it, cannibals. I thought this was a terrific movie, stuff always going on and it had a good look to it. It brings back the cannibal family theme and it is really gory.
Cannibal films are great fun and for the most part, pretty disgusting and worth watching when you have a hunger for horror.
P.S - I know you're probably wondering why Ruggero Deodato and Umberto Lenzi aren't on the list. Well, for two reasons;
1. Everybody already knows about "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Cannibal Ferrox", I thought it better to add some different titles to the list.
2. "Eaten Alive!" scenes were lifted from "The Mountain of the Cannibal God" and an earlier film of Lenzi's, "Man From Deep River"
These are great films and will probably make an upcoming list.
Saturday, 14 January 2012
I watched Shark Night 3D (in 2D) this week and this the second shark movie I've seen in less than a week. I think sharks are coming back, and this is partly due to the team at Asylum and SyFy network with there campy horror/sci-fi super creatures like Mega Shark and Crocosaurus. Shark Night 3D is a Rogue title and shares the same look and style, but with the exception, that it was not direct to video or TV and it's 3D release.
Shark Night 3D has a group of college kids off to their friend Sara's lake house in the Louisiana Gulf for a weekend of fun. Unfortunately, once arriving on the island, one of the friends is attacked by a shark and they learn that they need to make it through the shark infested waters to save him and themselves. The movie is pretty silly, with sharks attacking people in waist high water, pretty boy villains who were supposed to be hit in the face with a propeller and some pretty bad green screening for a 3D movie. This isn't really a good movie, but it's got some laughs and if you can make it through to the credits there is a rap video made by the cast.
With that in mind, here are some similar titles I found floating to the surface or just wouldn't go down, whichever way you want to look at it.
5. 2-Headed Shark Attack [Blu-ray] (2012) - A group of college kids end up stranded on an island, only to find out that there is a two headed shark out in the water waiting to devour them. Carmen Electra stars in this and the rest of the cast doesn't get any better. I've never seen a class of students, so top heavy and buffed out before, I guess I've been going to the wrong schools. This is from The Asylum and its what you would expect from The Asylum.
4. The Last Shark (1980) - In this Italian horror flick, an enormous great white shark attacks a coastal town during the summer season. A plucky sheriff and a grumpy old seaman must save the town for this devastating monster. Sound familiar, the guys at Jaws thought so too and sued them. Jaws people won and the film was taken out of the theaters. The film is pretty gory and worth a look. The mechanical shark is also very funny to watch and adds to the low budget atmosphere this movie projects.
3. Jaws 3D: High Bitrate Edition (1983) - Dennis Quaid stars as Mike Brody, the son of Police Chief Martin Brody(Roy Scheider), and must protect the people at the Sea World Theme Park after a very large shark gets trapped in the park. I remember seeing this in the theater when I was a kid and being scared, but seeing it as an adult its just bad. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr are just showing up and telling the same story for the 3rd time.
2. Deep Blue Sea [Blu-ray] (1999) - Working on a project to cure Alzheimer's, medical biologists enlarge the brains of sharks to farm out the enzymes needed for the cure. Surprise, surprise the sharks become super smart and start rebelling against the scientist, trying to escape to the sea. There are some bigger names in this, like Samuel Jackson and Thomas Jane, so it's more disappointing than anything else. The sharks look good.
1. Sharktopus [Blu-ray] (2010) - Eric Roberts plays Nathan Sands, who with his team of government scientists create the ultimate killing machine, Sharktopus! Unfortunately, the device that controls the sharktopus is damaged and it escapes. The sharktopus then attacks the unknowing coastal town (even after it attacks no one seems that concerned) and must be stopped by Sands daughter Nicole and her ex boyfriend, Andy. This movie is ridiculous on so many levels but it is fun to watch.
When Jaws was released in 76', who knew what kind of terror the shark would bring to our movie screens. People still tell me that when they first saw it back then they were afraid to go into the water, the only thing I'm afraid of after seeing Shark Night 3D is that there might be a sequel.
Saturday, 7 January 2012
I finally saw Human Centipede 2 last weekend and yes, it was pretty gross but I don't understand why everyone is so surprised by this? I saw the first film, I knew that he would be sowing peoples face to other peoples anuses, this isn't a surprise. I also know that sequels, need to be a little more over the top than the first one and that's kind of what I expected.
The story itself is simple, crazy guy after watching the first movie wants to create a Human Centipede except with more people. The character collects his victims, including one of the stars of the first film, Ashlynn Yennie, and puts together his human centipede. I'm not saying this isn't gross and disturbing, it is but it's not the grossest thing I've seen.
The following movies are the movies are the ones I warn people about watching or on my "never need to see that again" list.
5. Takashi Mike - I love Takashi Mike's work but the films I've seen that he's made are fucked up. I couldn't to narrow it down to one but Audition, Three Extremes, Ichi the Killer, and Imprint (which was supposed to be for the Masters of Horrors television show and was banned) are all just to messed up. With the exception of Ichi, the others films are so low key, that when he turns it up and you realize what's going on, it's too late. You've now seen one of the grossest things in your life.
4. Dumplings (2004) - Aunt Mei is famous for her age old recipe for dumplings. It has a special ingredient, and with it a magical effect and can bring youth back to people. A former TV personality, Mrs. Li comes to her for the special dumplings, so she can be attractive for her husband Mr. Li. While at these sessions, Mrs. Li finds out that Aunt Mei was once a doctor in China and performed a number of abortions. This movie, again, is very low key, and there are some really good twists but it gets seriously disturbing at the end.
3. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) - A professor finds the lost footage of a documentary film crew after finding their remains in the jungles of South America. He watches the film to find out how they came to meet their fate. Director Ruggero Deodato puts out some very disturbing images out in this film. The film crew grow more and more disrespectful of the tribe people and their enviroment. This movie has some crazy shit in it, murder, rape, penis mutilation and they even go after animals. This is no holds barred anything goes type of violence, be forewarned.
2. Last House on The Left (1972) - A pair of teenage girls are going to see a concert and stop to try and pick up some weed. They're ambushed by some escaped felons, raped and stuffed into the trunk. On they're way out of town, they have car trouble and stop at a house for assistance, unbeknownst to them, it's one of the girls home. This was Wes Craven's first film and it still rivals some of later work as being genuinely scary. The villian David Hess (RIP) was the epitome of evil in this film and every parents worse nightmare. This is a really ugly movie and I've only seen it once.
1. I Spit On Your Grave (1978) - A young writer is repeatedly attacked, humilated, raped and left to die by a group of guys. She survives and hunts them down and kills them one by one. What can I say, you're watching this poor women being raped for 45 minutes or more and you're elated to see her get her revenge. This is a really really ugly movie and I've only seen it once.
So yes, Human Centipede 2 is gross but it also lacks the imagination and the balls to really take it to the next level. There were scenes, where I thought Tom Six could really go for it and he didn't; sometimes when he did, it made me laugh and reminded me of early Peter Jackson films, like Bad Taste or Meet the Feebles but nothing truly shocking. The movies above, for good or bad went to that next level and either made me appreciate it more or made me want to turn it off and never watch it again. Would I watch Human Centipede 2 again, sure but I'd be hesitant because I know there are much more disturbing films out there to enjoy.