Saturday, July 31, 2010
“Be it a grain of sand or rock, in water they sink as the same.”
It‘s a rare moment, indeed, when a writer stumbles across something that completely defies expectation. A film which I’d expected to be something of a Korean gore-fest turned out to be truly one of the most heartbreaking films that I’ve seen in the past five or six years. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to write a review for the film Oldboy, a gem of a film that actually had me grabbing at my eyes, not for the fear of gratuitous gore, but because I was attempting to keep the brimming tears from falling from my eyes.
The film opens with an eye-opening sequence (a man being executed by being leaned ever so slowly over the ledge of a balcony) and then leads into the titles where we meet the compulsively drunken Oh-Daesu. He’s been pulled into a police station, yet again, for being drunken and disorderly in the streets. What the audience sees is an overweight man with a happy disposition, but who’s a crazy, screaming, stripping freak who in the same instance that he swears at the police officers wants to be their friend. All of this on his three year old daughter’s birthday. He’s clutching a package in which he’s protecting his daughter’s birthday gift –a pair of angel wings. His friend, Joo hwan, decides enough is enough and takes him out of the station. They stop at a phone booth in the pouring rain so that Daesu can call his family to let them know that, as usual, there’s nothing to be alarmed about and that he’s on his way home. He assures “his little Sweet Pea” that everything’s alright and that he’s coming home soon with her birthday gift.
He walks away from the phone and that’s the last anyone sees of him for 15 long years.
I won’t go into detail about what our protagonist goes through in those 15 years (from 1989 tot 2004). What matters is what drove him to survive. Through two failed suicide attempts, an unrequited love affair with a television pop star, and ritualistic hypnosis, Oh-Daesu has only one goal in mind: absolute revenge. Counting down the years by etching hash marks into his right hand (using a notebook coil as a makeshift tattoo needle), he’s finally released (new suit, new mobile, new hair cut). This is where the story takes a turn for the unfortunate and relentlessly mindboggling.
I’m not going to divulge the full details of the film. I leave that to a discerning reading audience to figure out for themselves; however, the plot twists are as radical as the forms of torture Daesu employs upon all those involved in his kidnapping, ultimately ripping him away from his family and his “little Sweat Pea”. We are introduced to Mi-do, a young woman who used to work at a sushi restaurant but has fallen in love with Oh-Daesu, despite the jarring difference in age (Daesu has her by at least 25 years).
And that’s what gets the film under your skin. More so than the freakish ways in which people are punished for their wickedness, the story evolves into something that’s so incredibly intense, you can’t help but feel as though you’re involved in each and every scene. The infamous hammer-and-teeth scene lives up to its reputation. The epic battle between Daesu and a mob of gangsters protecting the fortress that once held Daesu captive is both genius and hilarious; however, very few people actually tout the film for its marvelous sense of story. Convoluted, somewhat. Twisted, most definitely. However, it grabs you so much that anyone ready to cast a judging eye in the script’s direction have only scraped at the surface of the film for fear of being sucked completely into a depressing vortex of familial agony.
From the atmospheric cinematography to the ingratiatingly innocent explosiveness of the soundtrack, this film blitzes the audience for about 90 minutes full of the most unrelenting feeling of anxiety. The climax, of course, being the final showdown between Oh-Daesu and his captor, Woo-jin, whose story is just as complex and even more twisted than the life to which he’s subjected Daesu, is probably the most haunting, yet beautiful, scene in the entire film. The darkness of the atmosphere coupled with the splicing of images from past and future makes for a challenging manner of cinematography that audiences will either love or hate. The story also attacks the audience, forcing it to become painfully intimate with the main characters and their stories –which, despite the objections of quite a few viewers, are brilliantly intermingled.
It’s a tricky task for a director and his cast as the story tellers of the people to produce a work that from the moment the camera is turned on repulses the audience. How, essentially, can a film be repulsive and gorgeous, brutal yet brilliant? It’s a conundrum that not only changes the idea of horror cinema, but totally messes with the idea of acceptable drama. Luckily for me, Park Chan-wook and his cast of brilliant actors (Choi Min-sik as Oh-Daesu, Yu Ji-tae as the maniaclly genius Lee Woo-jin, and Kang Hye-jeong as Daesu’s love interest, Mi-do) succeeded in bringing to life a film that, for all intents and purposes, should’ve failed the moment it hit theatres.
Of course, I can’t divulge the details of the last 20 minutes of the film, which are both incredibly scored and visually stunning (in the most brutal sense of the word). However, I can tell you this: you’ll better understand and appreciate the value of silence and keeping to your own affairs.
All in all, Oldboy is one of the most challenging and most engaging films I’ve watched in the last five years, hands down. I’ve never been so moved by a film that I couldn’t help but turn away only to find myself forced back to the screen –again, the push and pull of intrigue and repulsion. Brilliantly directed, acted, and the story is so convoluted that audiences will either applaud its balls are just walk away shaking their heads –this film is so accidentally brilliant that I can’t stand it. You want a rating, 4.5 out of 5 stars. You want a grade, A-. A must see for anyone who has a heart that wants to be broken over and over again.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for OLDBOY
Editors note: The reviews and opinions expressed by our guest reviewers are not associated with or necessarily shared with those of Hayes Hudson's House of Horror. If you would like to be a guest reviewer on the 4H blog, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest reviewers are not compensated for their reviews, but will get promotion for their website or business.
Friday, July 30, 2010
If you like the films mentioned in the plot above, as well as films like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and THRILLER (aka. THEY CALL HER ONE EYE), then you are sure to like this film. It has an old school feel to it...with an intentionally grainy look that makes you feel like you are watching a classic rape/revenge flick from the 1970's.
The main difference in this film and the classic exploitation rape/revenge films that it is being compared to, is that this film is much more brutal and bloody than those other films.
The acting in this film is very good and the writing and directing are excellent. Breaking Glass Pictures is known for releasing some very brutal, controversial films, and this one is no different. This film is an instant classic and is highly recommended to fans of the exploitation genre of films.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
CLICK HERE to view the official CORNERED! movie site
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Enter Stalag 69, where torture is just the Beginning for this bloody band of Nazi Butchers! Germany, 1945. Stalag 69, a POW camp ruled by the sadistic SS commandant Helmet Schultz, is nothing but a blood-soaked playground for this perverse Nazi monster who uses his American, Russian, and British prisoners in cruel and ghastly biochemical weapons experiments. When a group of young, wanton USO girls are captured and fall into the hands of Schultz and his battalion of butchers, the brutality is turned up and the unsuspecting girls are gored, gouged and ground up - all for the pleasure of Schultz and his SS brothers and sisters. Now it's up to the rag-tag survivors of the camp to strike back against their captors and Escape from Stalag 69, alive or on a slab!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
One other thing to mention is the inclusion a short film titled, THE DAVID LONG STORY. It is an excellent complimentary film to go along with BUTCHERED. This short film tells the story of a guy who thinks he is meeting a filmmaker out in the woods to shoot a horror film. Little does he know, he will actually be starring in it...as the victim!! This is a great short film and is almost worth the price of the DVD alone!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Chased out of the old world, the dark vampire lord Giovanni flees to the American southwest where he sets up a new brood. Longshank, Brittan's premier vampire slayer follows him here, and in a final confrontation in the Arizona desert both are killed. A hundred years later Melissa, a gorgeous, goth, lesbian college student, is obsessed with becoming a vampire and escaping her terrible home life. Along with her four friends, Ted, Liz, Mona, and Kent, she regularly conducts ceremonies where she tries to commune with dark forces. When she buys an old, evil book at a creepy garage sale she finally has the key she has been searching for. Following her dreams of Giovanni and a map in the book the five friends hike out to "Massacre Lane" and finally summon up some real vampires.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
(Click on a title to see a trailer for that film)
* 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS
* BEING HUMAN Season 1 (TV) [DVD & Blu-ray]
* EVIL ALIENS [Blu-ray]
* FORBIDDEN WORLD (ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS) [DVD & Blu-ray]
* GALAXY OF TERROR (ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS) [DVD & Blu-ray]
I think the must buy this week is Tim Sullivan's 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS!
If you liked 2001 MANIACS (based on Herschel Gordon Lewis' TWO THOUSAND MANIACS), then I think you will love this sequel. I had a chance to talk to Mr. Sullivan a few months ago at the Texas Frightmare Weekend and he said they really went all out on this film and it is even wilder and crazier than the first one! I have this on my must buy list for sure!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Hosted by Nancy herself, Heather Langenkamp, this documentary interviews almost everyone involved with this film series, from main stars, like Robert Englund (Freddy) to director Wes Craven, down to all the minor cast and crew members. There are even interviews with all the people behind New Line Cinema at the time the film was released. One very interesting topic that is discussed in the differences that New Line founder, Robert Shaye, and director Craven had when it came to the making of the first film. They obviously locked horns over many different ideas and shots, but in the end they worked throughout it, both compromising over some aspects, and ended up making one of the best slasher films of all time.
Another great aspect of this documentary is the rare photos and clips that I had never seen before. For instance, did you know when they started making A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, they decided to use another actor for Freddy Kruger? Robert Englund's agent was asking too much money for his return, and they thought they would just have another actor play Freddy. They figured they could put anyone in the Freddy make up and be just fine. Well, that was a failed experiment, as the new Freddy was absolutely horrible. You will actually see some test footage of this "other" Freddy and you can tell within seconds that he was just not going to work out. Luckily, they worked out the money issue and brought back Robert Englund, and the rest is history.
The production of the DVD itself is amazing. Worth the cost of the DVD alone is the opening re-imaging of the film done entirely in stop-motion claymation. I literally had a huge smile on my face as I watched this new creation of something I loved so much. The menus and overall design of this new documentary is breathtaking.
The feature documentary times in right at 4 hours! That does not include all the extras on the 2nd disc, which include:
*First Look: Heather Langenkamp's "I Am Nancy"
*For the Love of the Glove
*Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans
*Horror's Hallowed Grounds: Return To Elm Street
*Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd
*Expanding the Elm Street Universe: Freddy in Comic Books & Novels
*The Music of the Nightmare: Conversations with Composers & Songwriters
*Elm Street's Poster Boy: The Art of Matthew Joseph Peak
*A Nightmare On Elm Street in 10 Minutes
Overall you are looking at almost 8 hours of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET info. This is a must have for Horror movie collectors and fans of the ELM STREET series.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for NEVER SLEEP AGAIN
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD!
CLICK HERE to visit the official website of CAV Distribution, the distributor of NEVER SLEEP AGAIN
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Filmmaker Ed Wood was controversial and critically maligned, even labeled "the worst director of all time," yet he achieved cult status and remains of great interest today. This book frames Wood’s work, such as the cross-dressing themed Glen or Glenda? and the haphazard Bride of the Monster, as reflections of the culture of their era. Wood invariably worked with infinitesimal budgets, shooting at breakneck speed, incorporating plot twists that defied all logic. Yet there was a tangible if unfocused thematic thrust to Wood’s films, which meditate fitfully on gender, religion and society, revealing a "holy trinity" of fixations--sex, death and resurrection. Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space encapsulates the fixations and flaws that were his hallmarks, and with 22 other films, is explored here. A filmography and 47 photographs are included.
Most everyone with interest in the Horror genre knows about Ed Wood, or at least, knows the name. Dubbed "the worst director of all time", Ed Wood's films have obtained a cult following and are now considered cult classics. This book is a very comprehensive look at every film of Ed Wood's including not only the films he directed, but even a section about all the films that Ed Wood wrote, but didn't direct.
Each Chapter in the book discusses one of Ed Wood's main films, from his first film GLEN OR GLENDA, to his "masterpiece", PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, all the way to his final film...a film a lot of people might not be too familiar with called NECROMANIA--A TALE OF WEIRD LOVE from 1971, a film that mixed his usual Horror elements with a hardcore adult film! Crazy stuff! You can read all about this film and all the rest of his films in this great book. You will get in-depth descriptions of the films, as well as quotes, and behind the scenes info and trivia about each of Mr. Wood's films.
Once again, McFarland Publishers has put out a superb book pertaining to Horror films, and it is one you will definitely need to add to your Horror library.
You can call McFarland's toll free order line at 1-800-253-2187 to purchase this book or order directly from McFarland's website by CLICKING HERE.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
In the meantime, I tried to make up a few posts before I left, thinking I could just log on from the laptop once a day and publish a pre-made post for you, but I made them last Thursday and Friday night, 7/8 and 7/9 so when I go to publish a new one like I did tonight, it showed up under last Thursday's date.
So scroll down to 7/8 and 7/9 and you will see the newest posts. Sorry for the inconvenience, and all will be back to normal soon!! Thanks!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
* FEEDING THE MASSES HORROR COLLECTION (CREATURE FROM THE HILLBILLY LAGOON, FEEDING THE MASSES, NECROVILLE, SPLATTER DISCO)
* SCREAM GIRLS
Thursday, July 8, 2010
And somewhere a janitor mops the halls of a university... A drunk sits at a lonely bar while his faithful bartender serves him mug after mug of pity beer... A police officer makes an arrest... A student security guard sits diligently at her desk... And a science professor conducts a dangerous experiment with unimaginable consequences.
United by terrifying and bizarre circumstances, the janitor, the drunk, the bartender, the cop, his perp, and the student security guard must fight to undo the professor's work. A dark force is at work in the cadaver lab this Christmas and this unconventional band of heroes are the only hope the world has against an army of living corpses that are quickly recruiting new members. The undead have been given the gift of life and it's up to the janitor to take it back.
Unsure if this is the sign of a terrorist attack, or something much worse, one local mother finds it in herself to desperately fight to save her estranged daughter stranded across the street. However, with growing dread, the residents soon discover that the threat is more monstrous than any of them could possibly imagine, and survival is no longer a guarantee.
So, we have a lot of stuff going on in this film. Beth fighting with her daughter and trying to get to her to make sure she is safe, Beth and the neighbors battling with the military personal, and finally, Beth battling with whatever it is that the military personnel are there to protect the citizens from. I will let you be the judge of exactly what that is, though.
CLICK HERE to visit the films official website and watch the trailer
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
After a gastrointestinal mishap with their map, three twenty-somethings on a road-trip accidentally wander into Fate, Texas, only to find the town populated by bloodthirsty, dimwitted vampires. A brutal run-in with two carnivorous convenience store clerks leads the three to take refuge with the town's only surviving humans and prepare for battle with an army of the undead.
I can tell you now that this is a must buy! The film is the perfect Horror/Comedy film. That genre is hard to get right, as some films focus too much on the comedy and skimp on the Horror, or they focus too much on the Horror to where the little comedy that is in the film feels out of place. BLOOD ON THE HIGHWAY gets it just right. A perfect combination of gross out gore gags and laugh out loud hilarious comedy.
The acting in this film is great, much better than I expected based on the low budget look of the film. Every actor in this film does a great job, but I have to point out the comedic styling of Nate Rubin. He has great timing and was extremely fun to watch as the character of Sam. All of the supporting actors in the film were amazing as well, especially Tony Medlin who plays the stereotypical "crazy guy that warns the kids that they are doomed" role. Tony's role is a hilarious one and one that had me literally laughing out load. In fact, I found myself laughing out loud many times during this film.
The special make up effects and gore is remarkable as well. Expect to see tons of the red stuff, as the vampires are stabbed with anything our heroes can get their hands on and sharpen into stakes.
This is one you will definitely want to add to your DVD collection!