Sep 27, 2012

Review: Chekist - 1992

Director: Aleksandr Rogozhkin

Cheka – pre KGB, is the Russian secret police. They arrest, prosecute and execute enemies of the state in a matter of minutes. This is part of everyday life and it’s the same thing over and over again. A few officers decide in a rapid manner if the prisoners will face the firing squad or not. Well, they always meet the same fate in the basement. They are put five at a time against wooden doors in the basement and shot in the back of the head. Then the next five takes their place and so on. The bodies are then hauled out through the roof and soon forgotten. It’s the same business every day, enough to drive anyone mad!

First of all I had to admit that I never heard of this until Film Bizarro Releasing released it a few days ago. I was lucky enough to get one of the copies which are limited to just 50 and probably already sold out. But enough of that, onward to the movie!

It’s presented in 4:3 which is kind of annoying but watchable. I have no idea what the correct aspect ratio of the film is (I never even heard if it remember) but I’m so used to widescreen these days that it’s strange watching to TV screen with black vertical blacks at the left and right. The picture quality itself is ok I guess, beggars can’t be choosers and you have to take what you can get. Ok, that sounded like a complaint about the picture quality but I didn’t mean it that way at all. The picture looks fine, but compared to Hollywood blockbusters it’s a bit blurry of course.

As I never heard of the movie before (I keep repeating myself) I had few clues to what it was about. The Secret police executing criminals isn’t that much information really. But then I read something about the main character descending into madness. That’s very interesting! Did that mean that he would go berserk on the victims and sadistically torment then even more before their executions? Well… eh… no! On the contrary actually!

The executions are everyday business and it’s more or less portrayed as going to work, doing the job and going home again. I think that this is the main point, day in and day out of executing people must take its toll eventually. No human can live with that and rationalize the actions of being just, even if you can convince yourself that the good of the state itself is the most important thing and that the people of it is nothing more than secondary. That’s kind of the political aspect of it as I see it, sort of anticommunism.

Obviously there is the psychological view of it. To paraphrase Bob Dylan: How many times can you turn you head, pretending you just don’t see? In the end many of the Cheka looses it in one way or the other. One of them tries to hang himself, another almost gets himself shot. The truth is that it’s the dysfunctional society is to blame not the individuals that carries out the dirty work.

The film is an unsettling disturbing experience that’s not very entertaining. And that’s also the point with it. The executions are not glamorized in any way; they are dirty and in your face and should affect you. The point is to let the film get to you and dare to watch it in a serious state of mind.


Sep 25, 2012

Review: My Monster - 2009

I was very impressed by Ronny Carlssons first film in this trilogy - Video Geisteskrank (well, there’s really two movies, not three) and my hope were sky high for this one. But I’m afraid it’s a little bit too odd for my tastes, it’s very well made as an art film and the visual stuff is amazing. There’s no holds barred there what so ever! If you have seen the cult film Begotten or I Never Left the White Room a film that I know to be one of Ronnys main influences you know what I’m talking about! There are strange colours or just something that looks plain odd. Unfortunately I feel this ruins the film a bit, there are too much form but on the other hand, it wouldn’t work at all without this visual excellence. The story is very shallow and the visuals are needed to give it a special boost so to speak.

It’s a very loose connection between this and Video Geisteskrank but this movie has some of that gruesomeness that made Video Geisteskrank so scary too! I don’t feel it in my marrow in the same manner but it’s there. I think it’s a bit more “difficult” to understand and that’s why it doesn’t appeal to me as much as it’s predecessor. However, it can be found on the anthology DVD Experimental Films Through the Lens of a Shitty Camcorder.


Sep 24, 2012

Review: Alive or Dead – 2008

The film starts out quite different to what I’m used to; a woman driving a car and having phone sex by cell phone at the same time. She soon reaches an open area though and she stops playing with herself when she finds a bus with the words “Help me” written in blood. She does not seem to scare easily and explores the area and eventually gets trapped in the bus together with a redneck and a captured and chained girl.

Sounds interesting don’t you think? That’s what I thought but I never got the hang of it. The bus driver takes the bus into a dessert castle or something like that and nothing is what it seems to be anymore. I don’t know who’s the victim or the perpetrator. Well, most of it makes sense in the end but it’s not very clear. I feel like it’s a bit sloppy script where there are twists and turns just for the hell of it. There’s no real logic to what happens and why.

There are som nice acting and gore though. I don’t mean to say that’s it’s a real gore- or splatter film, but there are blood and it looks pretty decent! In the end this doesn’t carry the movie as a whole though. It gets quite boring and hard to understand. I can live with that if there’s a point made out of making it hard to understand but here I feel like its just plain bad storytelling.


Sep 23, 2012

Review: Video Geisteskrank - 2008

As soon as Ronny Carlsson has made a new film I know I just have to have it as soon as possible. I like the innovative ideas and the ambition this you Swedish filmmaker! So when he released Video Geisteskrank on VHS I knew that I needed it! The general interest of this release (on the ancient format) was very low but I’m very proud over my limited numbered copy “1”. The film itself is also available on the anthology-DVD Experimental Films Through the Lens of a Shitty Camcorder (which I believe has been sold out!).

But regardless of the availability of the film I’m very impressed by the director’s competence when it comes to creating spellbinding sound/image combinations. All the music and sounds in the movie are just perfect to the graphic imagery. The style of the film seems to be inspired from the silent movie era and it’s just superb. I get the feeling that Ronny’s had a lot of fun making this and I really think that rubs off on the viewer. Apart from the silent films there’s obviously also inspiration from the infamous August Underground movies and there are bits and pieces here and there that manifests this quite clearly I think.

But if I’ll be completely honest with you I think this is more interesting than it´s more known inspirational sources! There’s a lot of suspense and horror when the films main character put starts to violate an innocent woman. The story is very simple but yet kind of genius. The main character (portrayed but Ronny himself) has this list where he needs to checks out one thing at the time, sort of a bucket list. First thing out is something “innocent” like killing a hitchhiker, after that he aims to vomit on two girls, which finally leads up to where the movie takes place – violating the innocent woman…

The killers mask, because the killer is mask, is another stroke of genius! It´s a pig head which might not be the most common mask in the business. It looks very original and horrifying, even real and that’s something I for one don’t take for granted when it comes to movies like this!


Sep 19, 2012

Review: Slaughtered Vomit Dolls - 2006

I first wrote this review during the summer of 2006 and put it up on my – then – new website. I then never got around moving it to the newer site/design and now it’s time again… I have decided to translate what I wrote back then and put it up on this blog since this is where it seems to belong best!

Slaughtered Vomit Dolls
Director: Lucifer Valentine 666

Angela Aberdeen (Amerara Lavey) is a nineteen year old bulimic and prostituted stripper. She’s on the verge of descending into a world of emotional pain of gigantic proportions. She suffers from massive nightmares and hallucinations and is made to witness endless maiming, sadistic torture and emetophilia.

I’ll have to admit that I looked up the word emetophilia in a dictionary. The meaning of the word is multiple but the common factor is sexual arousal of vomit. There are some forms in which this can manifest it self:

  1. To watch someone else vomit in front of you.
  2. To make yourself vomit.
  3. To vomit on you partner during sex.
  4. To be vomited on by your partner during sex.
  5. To force someone else to vomit.

As a viewer of the movie it’s obvious that the first example stated above is the most frequent one. There’s not anyone that will jump out of your TV-set just to vomit on you – of course you can feel free to vomit yourself during the Watch! I nearly did but not out of arousal. This is a pretty disgusting film for most of us but I needed to see it for myself.

For the characters it’s more about making themselves vomit. It seems that they just can’t get enough of it sometimes and I fail to see what the films (shallow) plot has to do with anything. The hallucinations are more of an excuse to put as much vomit in there as possible. I mean, how lame doesn’t “a bulimic strippers hallucinations” sound? There are some things worth thinking about though! I just can’t figure out if there are intentional or if I just HAVE to find some saving grace beyond all the vomiting.

But enough of that. There are other scenes than vomiting too! Lots of sadistic maiming goes on and there’s a lot of torture. All of this is very realistic and I commend these efforts. I think it may be because of the films cinematography with a camera that’s NEVER still. There is also a lot of amateur feel to it which also may contribute to the realism. It’s kind of an oxymoron, the negative aspects makes it more realistic but less aesthetic to watch.

Something that may be of interest is the contract the director apparently sign for the Devil. He promises his soul to Hell and swears to raise his children as Satan’s offspring among other things. This seems to make a lot of people angry and not only deeply Christian believers as you might think but even the regular film viewer. I wonder how regular you are as a film viewer if you watch stuff like this. My own opinion of the subject is quite clear; it’s a way to create a mystic around himself and to make himself interesting. I think this sell merely as good as sex does really. I’ve seen similarities before and that it would be a totally serious pact with Satan sound a bit too improbable!

Finally I would like to warn all of you for this film. It’s the most disturbing and disgusting film I’ve ever seen but if that’s all that you’re after just go ahead. I didn’t get the point with it; I want something more that just disgust!


Sep 17, 2012

Review: Scary or Die – 2012

We get to follow a computer screen where someone visits a site called Scary or Die. The hand on the user is all that’s visible to us and it’s a hand full of scarred tissue. It’s obvious once the anthology themes are established that the final segment will explain what the hell is going on. I, myself had no idea what kind of film this was; I just though the cover looked cool and didn’t expect an anthology at all. I was into it just for the clown on the cover!

And the clown does have its own story; you just have to wait a bit for it. I think the film contains about 5 or 6 episodes but who’s counting? In either case, there’s varies quality aspects as far as entertainment value is concerned. The film as total has quite nice acting and cinematography and doesn’t feel amateurish at all. I don’t mind a little amateur feel from time to time but I’m very sparse on what I really enjoy.

Same thing goes with anthologies. Most of the times I think these are a waste of time and the build-up is always too short to get it really interesting. This is so-so in that department and a couple of the stories are really good! A couple of them are way too boring though so I guess that evens it out a bit. The finishing story which is supposed to connect them all and explain what’s going on is a big disappointment and as a whole the film can’t withstand a second viewing. I’m sorry to say that this is one of those movies where the cover is actually more interesting than the flick itself. There are some great moments but not enough to make it really enjoyable.


Sep 15, 2012

Asian Monster Flick Week: Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris - 1999

Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris
Director: Shûsuke Kaneko

The Gyaos has returned in greater numbers than before and once again they threaten all life in Japan. But this time they’re not alone. Iris, an old mythological monster – a legend, is awoken as a young girl discovers an egg in an ancient cave. The Egg hatches and brings the baby Iris to life. Soon however it has grown into gigantic size and threatens the world as we know is. Once again Gamera comes to the rescue although the government still hasn’t decided which side he is on. But even when attacked by Japanese self defense forces he keeps fighting the other creatures. To the death if necessary!

Once again the mythological feel is present and I welcome that! It’s not necessarily important that the myth is based in true myths either; I’m satisfied with myths created for the purpose of the movie. On the bad side, the Iris monster looks ridiculous at least at times and especially as a baby. I don’t think we needed that cute moment at all! Still, there is not the kind of rubber glory which I liked so much in the first film. Too bad!

That is to say that this is a film where the monster models aren’t as obvious as before. You can still tell that many shots are tricked and combined to make the monsters seem larger but not as much as in the first cardboard city scenes. It might seem as a self contradiction but it is quite more entertaining when it looks more faked! That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the turkey qualities I’m after here but it is good fun to see the tacky environments.

But if we leave the psychical aspects of the monsters and how it’s made for a moment I think that there are plenty more philosophical aspects than before here. I did write about it on the previous movie and claimed it wasn’t a necessary thing for a monster movie, but here it turns out quite well. Gamera refuses to give up and keeps fighting no matter what and that’s an obvious metaphor for dedication in general. Dedication and the ambition to follow through!

This is a worthy final to the trilogy even if the end makes you wonder if more there originally were more movies to come. I don’t need more at this time, there are other monster movies to be seen but who knows, I might explore the original films from the sixties someday!


Sep 13, 2012

Asian Monster Flick Week - Goliathon - 1977

Aka: The Mighty Peking Man, Xing Xing Wang
Director: Meng Hua Ho

There are rumors about a giant ape living in the jungle. It’s supposed to be as tall as a ten stories building. Such a discovery cannot be left alone since there could be loads of money to make on displaying such an ape! A expedition goes out to find it but quickly give up and return to Hong Kong. One man stays behind however and he finds bother the giant ape and a beautiful blonde who was raised by it. Soon the ape is chained on a transport ship going to Hong Kong. But what will happen once there? Will the ape behave just like it’s predicted?

First of all, of course this is a King Kong Rip off. There’s not much dividing the two films from each other. Of course this is Asian and the original King Kong was stop motioned by Willis O’Brien but in essence it’s the same. I believe that Fred Andersson mentioned the movie in his article about Kongsploitation in the Swedish fanzine Gory-Glory Magazine but just in a passing sentence of so. But I agree what’s said in that sentence – it’s a cheesy film!

But the cheezyness is part of the fun. Who cares if the miniatures looks fake or that the ape looks phony. Nobody’s interesting in that anyway, nobody would have thought anything different anyway. The most important thing about the movie is the beautiful Evelyne Kraft who plays the blonde Tarzan like woman. Her parents were killed in a plane accident and she was the sole survivor. Her best friends in the jungle, apart from the ape, are wild cats with which she can communicate. They protect her and she can pet them with no fear. In fact, these scenes are very impressive, I don’t know how it was made since it doesn’t seem to be tricked in any way. There’s a possible use of trained animals but it’s still impressive the way they can be treated while maintaining the actor’s safety. Oh, and there’s an elephant too!

Nothing is convincing in this movie but it’s still a lot of fun. The bad effects are surely a part of the entertainment and there are definite turkey qualities here. There’s city destruction and that’s one of the important things. Buildings are shattered and the giant ape is attacked by choppers on top of a tall building. Recognize it?

I won’t try to grade it since it wouldn’t be just anyway I could do it, but I can say that I got a blast out of this rip off – cheezyness and all!

Sep 12, 2012

News: Film Bizarro Releasing up for buisiness!

I know I planned to dedicate this week to asian monster flicks but I just can't help myself. My friends over att Film Bizarro just published the title of their first release! I ordered it of course! :-D

Click to go to the order page!

Asian Monster Flick Week: Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion

Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion
Director: Shûsuke Kaneko

This time the threat comes from outer space, a gigantic insect like alien which in turn is built up by smaller units. The government tries to fight it of but stands helpless (of course). Their only hope is Gamera even if he’s still not considered an ally. Nevertheless, Gamera takes on the fight with the gigantic creature from outer space.

The bible basis is obvious and is even mentioned in the movie “we are legion because we are many”. But I still wouldn’t consider this a biblical film or something like that. The monster isn’t some kind of metaphor for something else. Unless the whole story about the attacking monsters and the defending Gamera is a metaphor for attacking Japan in any form, by monsters of by military force. I know I always interpreted the Godzilla movies in that way. Why shouldn’t this be the same?

But even if there’s a hidden message in these movies the most important thing for me in entertainment value. I don’t really care if Japan or any other country is defeated by a monster or saved by one. The main thing is the fighting and how good the special effects are. Here, they are somewhat better than in the previous movie Guardian of the Universe. But that also makes it a less entertaining film. I find it very amusing to watch rubber monsters fight each other and I don’t really get that feeling here. The monster is kind of weak in displaying personality and charisma and that ruins it a bit for me.  There are more drama and less monsters in this one than the previous and I’m not too fond of that.

What I liked with the first one was that they tried to explain origins and such which isn’t necessary here. Gamera simply exist and there’s nothing more to it. But I guess it would be to repeat everything by going through it again. There was however a touch of legend and mythology to it which is not present in the same way here.

I found this slightly less entertaining than the first but still interesting enough to go forward with more Asian monster movies!


Sep 10, 2012

Asian Monster Flick Week - Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
Director: Shûsuke Kaneko

An atoll is discovered in a place where there shouldn’t be one. Further more, it moves. Scientists are astonished by the discovery but can’t really figure it out. At the same time gigantic birds with wingspreads of 10 meter or more are discovered. No one knows where they came from or why they have appeared now but they seem to be man made. No creature has such a prefect DNA strain! Finally a prophecy is discovered on the floating island along with some strange metal, unknown to man. The prophecy speaks about the birds called Gyaos and the protector – Gamera. Soon they realize that the floating island really hides the giant turtle Gamera. But can he save mankind from the birds or is he seen as an equal threat?

First of all, I have not seen any of the old movies about Gamera but I don’t think that’s necessary to appreciate this one. Its great fun and I think it’s about that. If you’re looking for a fright fest with horrifying monster you should look elsewhere. But these rubber monsters are quite charming and the script is kind of cartoonish. Nothing wrong with that since it’s obviously intended to be so.

The effects might not be top notch of what can be done but there’s no CGI and I like these old school effects. The also bring charm to the movie. I would have liked to get some more background information, there’s an explanation of where Gamera and the Gyaos are coming from but it could be les vague and more exposed in my opinion. As usual the government representatives are quite stupid. They treat Gamera as the fiercest enemy and try to capture one of the birds alive, just for studying. Even if this might be the esthetical way it’s very VERY stupid in a monster flick. You see how it went in Alien didn’t you?

There are no surprises throughout the film. Everything happens according to the rules for this kind of movie. And again, if you’re after suspense and tension you need to look elsewhere. I liked it quite a bit since it doesn’t claim to be anything more than it is. It’s a fun and entertaining movie, nothing more and nothing less. You could say it has the entertainment values of a real turkey but I don’t care. This is entertainment!


Sep 5, 2012

Review: Torched - 2004

Director: Ryan Nicholson

Deanna is a Nurse. One day she gets attacked in the elevator when she’s going to work and brutally raped. From this moment on she only has one thought in her mind – revenge! She plans the most cruel revenge scenarios of all, kidnaps the guy she is convinced is the perpetrator and gets to it! She will get her revenge – with a blow torch…

This was Ryan Nicholson’s first film with some length to it. It’s not very long anyway but if you compare it to a general short it’s still a bit longer. It’s about 44-45 minutes and there’s no time for character development. We get a rape scene almost immediately and that’s that. It’s not really an exploiting kind of scene but the theme itself is obviously revolting.

There is more focus on the actual revenge than on anything else. It’s rather monstrous executed and I would like to meet the guy who can watch some penis mutilation without quivering just a bit. If I would place this film in a genre, except for horror of course, I should be splatter. It’s a fine example of that, but there’s not really any humor as we’re used to. Maybe the blood splats a little too much for my taste and the effect of that might me more ridicules than anything else. As usually less is often more!

But you have to take into consideration that this is a flick that was made to learn a thing or two on how to make movies. Neither Ryan Nicholson nor the others are really master filmmakers yet. That is if you ever can master the art of making films? Like in everything else there are always thing to learn I’d say. However, I’d like to see this film as an interesting landmark when it comes to early career achievements. I can’t that That I recognize Ryan’s style so much in it but there are close ups of male genitals in it, faked of course!

But it gets a bit thin, the actors are hideous most of the time ‘and the whole production stinks of amateurism when it comes to editing and locations. And the fact is that even if the film starts right away, it still moves onward in a painfully slow pace. I would much rather have seen Ryan Nicholson’s original script, which is mentioned in the extras, if I’m going to completely honest with you.

But even if the film doesn’t attract me so much I still like the release! It’s a film that might be somewhat difficult to find on the market and it shouldn’t even have been released if I get it correctly. There was another version of the film in circulation on the net though and it’s been out there for a long time, maybe even since 2004. But this is the extended version with extra torture, new music and stuff like that. It looks great and if you’re a collector you must have this!

Sep 4, 2012

Review: Famine - 2011

Director: Ryan Nicholson

This is kind of a slasher flick, but it’s not. It’s also kind of a splatter movie, but it’s not. You might compare it to a rape/revenge fcli but there’s no rape. I guess you could say it’s something right in between. The actors are quite bad, but that’s to be expected. The story is ok I guess and the script does what it’s supposed to do – except… There are sexual tensions throughout the entire movie, actresses with huge tits and low angel camera shots but there´s not enough real sleaze! I feel that we get fooled out of our rightful share of skin and compared to what Ryan did in Hanger and Gutterballs this is a bit lame in that sense.

The gore is nice though! It’s not overdone and it mostly looks realistic. I like when it’s like that. When there are too much intestines the comic effect is more disturbing than anything else. Here is just one scene (that I can remember) where guts are spilled in that manner and even then it looks fine! The makeup effects are also quite good and serve the movie well. Especially when we get to see the acid burned teacher Balszak which might or might not be behind the entire smorgasbord of killing in the movie. He’s definite a suspect!

But it’s not very important who’s exposed as the killer in the end. We should be more interesting in the way there than the final solution of things. There are a few entertaining murders on the way and that’s where the entertaining lies. The killer is masked as the school’s mascot by the way, a very cool mask for the murderer I would say!

And even though the actors are really bad and we get fooled out of the nudity (there’s only one short topless scene) I still like it. I don’t quiver with joy over it but it’s good fun and cool murders!


Sep 3, 2012

Review: 666: Demon Child – 2004

Cover art can be very misleading from time to time and here is a fine example of that! If you look at the DVD cover you might not get an idea of a multilevel working picture but not of a total disaster either I think. It’s a turkey using the bad sense of the word and there’s not much to make up for it either. What happens (and it’s not much) is that a mystical egg hatches and a blood thirsty demon baby comes out, which then kills all the archaeology students one by one.

Everyone is overacting quite bad and I can’t say that the monster is very well made either and now I’m being extremely kind in my judgement! Further more, the story is so uninteresting that it’s more rewarding to think about other movies or stuff you’re going to buy soon. Until the end, that we get some thing to make it worth our while. We get some background to the mythology of the film, something that we should have to wait for in the first place. But it does not last for long and soon the disappointment comes back tenfold. And then the film is… over!

There’s really not much else to say than to use the old cliché – I want one and a half hour of my life back!


News: Upcoming on this blogg!

In a couple of days I plan to have a review of this new film by Ryan Nicholson up for you!

Sep 1, 2012

Review: Yakuza Hunters: The Ultimate Battle Royale - 2010

Yakuza Hunters: The Ultimate Battle Royale
Director: Kazushi Nakadaira

Asami, leader of the Girl Gang, is found several years after she’s thought to be dead and brought back to her peers. She’s in poor condition but she hasn’t forgotten who sis it to her. In fact it’s a former member of the gang which once was her friend – Junko. She’s betrayed them all and gone to work with the Yakuza and seems to be totally without empathy for the victims her actions has reaped. Her plan to kill the girls one by one and use their bodies as vessels for smuggling drugs was a heartless one. But she secured her position in the Yakuza and even taken control of the leader by performing sexual favors of a quite perverse kind to him.

At first I thought this reminded me of one of my all time favorite cult movies – Golden Queens Commando. It was certainly the women fighting in the way that they do that gave me this feeling. The two pictures really has anything in common, it was just a quick thought. There’s no prison here and there’s no escape from it. But there is a search after the bad guy and there is a connection in the Girl Gang similar to that of The Three Musketeers – All for one and one for all just like in Golden Queens Commando. They’re also both quite violent movies but this, being the newer and most modern of the two contains more blood, guts and intestines without any doubt.

This is the kind of movie where you invite your friends over, pop some popcorn and drink a few beers. You watch the film and have a few laughs. I don’t think it’s really intended to be taken serious. There are too many silly scenes in it for that. It’s intentionally funny I think. For my own personal preferences I think there’s a bit too much of the splatter effects but I know that there are a lot of people out there who likes them. I feel it’s a little bit silly…

But despite that, this is really a cool flick at least on a sexual level. There are loads of low angel shots almost showing what girls got between their legs. And the girls are hot, they’re beautiful and they’re sexy. They’re dressed in sexy clothes like leather skirts, suspenders and stockings even if it’s far from silk. These are tough girl that’ll stop at nothing when it comes to reaching their goal.

As this is a Yakuza film of sorts there’s plenty of cutting of finger scenes in it. They’re off camera but I still think they’re uncomfortable. There are a few body parts I have trouble seeing getting molested and eyes, feet and hands are among them. Although I cannot help being a bit impressed by strength of will it must take to mutilate your own body. Just the thought of cutting my own fingers off… yuck!

Images: © 2012 Cine du Monde (UK Licence)