Sunday, 15 November 2009

Night Visions & Hurme This Season

Let's take a look at the horror film festivals we had this autumn. The Biggest and oldest in Finland is of course Night Visions, which I attended for the main night. I would've liked to see many more but at least Hurme festival helps me out with that.

The Box
Directed by: Richard Kelly
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
There might be something interesting coming from Richard Kelly yet. This one overstays its premise for a bit too long. Also I would've liked more mysteries left unsolved like in the original Donnie Darko. Nevertheless, the athmosphere is creepy and the mind games get ugly. Kind of like God playing Saw with people.
Best part: Freaky half-face telling Diaz the offer.

Count Dracula (Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht, Verenhimoinen Dracula)
Directed by: Jesus Franco
Starring: Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski
At times a serious, athmospheric vampire horror. And at better times, a hilarious camp classic. The extremely awkward finnish subtitles (placed in the middle of the screen) help this to fall more into the latter one. Features a weird action sequence where stuffed animals are supposed to come alive (according the dramatic music and the faces of the actors) and just wobble around a bit.
*** 1/2
Best bit: The marveloussly anti-climatic ending where a horse gets hit in the head by a giant boulder and doesn't mind, the heroes teleport from the road to the castle to the top of the castle, and Dracula is dropped down burning.

Jesus Christus Erlöser
Directed by: Peter Geyer
Starring Klaus Kinski
Maniac movie star Klaus Kinski tries to shout some teachings of Jesus, but gets irritated and stopped by some heckling hippies that don't agree with him. Hilarity ensues as Kinski gets mad and stops the show for hours and then begins again at the very beginning. Fascinating footage that tells a lot about its time, about Kinski's mentality and about how we actually treat religion. I don't believe Kinski has any better idea about Jesus as anyone, and he certainly doesn't act the way Christ suggest you should. The cameraman isn't always filming the action, so that takes away a whole star.
Best bit: Kinski refuses a hippie to speak by whisking the microphone away from him.

The Human Centipede
Directed by: Tom Six
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlyn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Fucked-up and silly exploitation. Doesn't play it too rough or too camp. Dieter Laser as the mad doctor is my new hero. For a movie this rude it wastes too much time on the crying victims, though.
*** 1/2
Best bit: The mad doctor explains his plans to his helpless victims.

Hanuman, the White Monkey Warrior (Hanuman klook foon)
Directed by:
Sakchai Sribonnam
Starring: Shothanya Chitmanlee, Selina Lo, Dean Alexandrou, Sornram Theppitak
For the first half this is unbelievably boring and bad. But when they brutally murder the comical sidekicks (fat guy and retarded guy) at the end of act 2, this gains some heat. The end scenes are superstupid and jaw-dropping. Not very good as a whole, but has some great scenes.
** 1/2
Best bit: I was hoping for the sidekicks to die whenever they were on screen, so when it happened, I rejoiced.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (Kyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken)
Directed by: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Starring: Takumi Saito, Yukie Kawamura, Eri Otoguro
Has some suitably nasty remarks about japansee youth culture but in the end this is a predictably lame high school comedy. The massive amounts of gore are always fun, but this is nowhere near as inventive or funny as Tokyo Gore Police.

Best bit: The wannabe-black gangur girls with their unbelievably racist amsks and zulu-props.

Super Typhoon (Chao quiang tai feng)
Directed by: Xiaoning Feng
Starring: Gang Wu, Xiaowei Liu, Xiaoying Song
Now we're talking! One of the cheesiest things I've ever seen! A Chinese catastrophe film that is bigger and more patriotic and emotional than everything Roland Emmerich has ever done put together. Also very trusting towards authorities. If a city mayor can't solve something, then it's not worth solving. Also the military provides people with much needed muscle, help and blood. All in the name of the Great China! Battling against a supermassive typhoon, flying cars and boats and even sharks, the mayor's nobility brings tears to the eyes of the common people. All while the special effect scenes are repeated over and over again and a super-cheesy soundtrack plays its two different songs. Hilarious, non-stop laughs.
* or *****
Best bit: A shark flies in from a hole in the wall. The mayor shouts: Let me take care of this! I was in the special forces! And proceeds to battle with it.

Night Visions was as much fun as always, but Hurme proved to be... not as much fun.

Tetsuo the Bullet man
Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto
Starring: Eric Bossick, Akiko Monou, Shinya Tsukamoto
The first Tetsuo was a nightmarish surrealistic film with little sense but lots of memorable scenes. The decisions in this third one include bringing a useless plot to the picture and changing the language into english. A bad move, since many of the main actors barely speak the language. And the rest are just bad actors. Has not even any great new visuals, everything is just badly remade from the first one.
Best bit: The end credits

Dead Snow
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Fredriksen, Charlotte Fregner
The beginning in this is just awful as they try to flesh out characters nobody cares about. But from the stupid stupid sex scene onwards it's a real rollercoaster ride with plenty of yuks. The fact that we are dealing with NAZI zombies is not properly utilized, though. But it would be a crime to dismiss this film just because everything here is already made much better.
Best bit: Dangling from zombie guts over a cliff while fighting another

Skeleton Crew
Directed by: Tommi Lepola, Tero Molin
Starring: Rita Suomalainen, Steve Porter, Jonathan Rankle
I'm a bit ashamed that I enjoyed this finnish amateur pic more than it deserves. I found it cool that they managed to surprise me a couple of times and when they annoyingly flirted with the meta level at first, at last they took the baton and ran with it. Still, the acting is horrendous even though you reference at it in your movies, and the main point about all these seems to be missing. But one day maybe these guys will get it right.
** 1/2
Best bit: Finding the film they're in a'la Spaceballs

Directed by: Romano Scavolini
Starring: Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cooke, Mik Cribben
A Halloween copy is a Halloween copy however you cut it. I was annoyed that the annoying kid didn't get his comeuppance but turned into a Death Wish vigilante. Mostly dull, but has a few highlights. Still, it's not even anywhere near anything psychological in case someone told you otherwise.
** 1/2
Best bit: The opening scene is pretty cool.

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