Jan 28

The Forbidden Kingdom

forbiddenkingdomGenre: Action / Fantasy
Year: 2008
Country: China / USA

aka: Dragon Kingdom, King of Kung Fu

Director: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Jet Li, Michael Angarano, Jackie Chan, Yifei Liu, Collin Chou

 

The path is unsafe. The place is unknown. The journey is unbelievable.

 

Jason Tripitikas is a young American teenager who is obsessed with martial arts films from the far East. He is a regular at a pawn store in Chinatown where he browses through used DVDs and other items that are related to the Chinese culture. On his way home after scoring some new films to add to his collection, a group of local thugs forces him to return with them to the pawn store so they can rob the old owner.

The owner gets shot and Jason runs away holding an ancient fighting staff and when he falls from the roof of the building he gets transported into another dimension that looks like the ancient China. He has to return this magical staff to its rightful owner in order to get back home and his help in doing so is by following the drunken immortal Lu Yan.

Jan 16

Texas Chainsaw 3D

texaschainsaw3dGenre: Horror
Year: 2013
Country: USA

aka: Texas Chainsaw

Director: John Luessenhop
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde

 

Evil wears many faces

 

Texas Chainsaw 3D is not a continuation of the Platinum Dunes remake and… prequel. This is instead a film that takes place directly after the original movie, but is yet set in modern times even if it is 40 years after the events of the original (are you able to keep up?). It is not uncommon that horror sequels take liberties with story times, but this is just a complete disregard for logic.

Anyway, the Mayor of Newt, Texas decide that the house where the Sawyer (yeah, their back to being Sawyers again) live should be burned down and they assume that every member of the cannibalistic family is now dead. There is however a baby that survived all of this, a young girl named Edith.

She is found by a local and is adopted to make sure she can grow up and have a normal life. Twenty (or forty?) years later she discovers that she was adopted when her grandmother dies, leaving her with an inheritance that she needs to go down in Texas to collect. She gets a few of her friends to join her, together with a hitchhiker they pick up on the way.

Jan 02

Among the Living

amongthelivingGenre. Horror
Year: 2014
Country: France

original title: Aux Yeux des Vivants

Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Starring: Anne Marivin, Theo Fernandez, Francis Renaud, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Damien Ferdel

 

Three young friends decide that they deserve an early summer break and skips the last day of school to rather spend some time together and have fun. They find an abandoned studio lot called the Blackwood Studios were they come across a man dragging a kidnapped woman out of a car.

The young boys try to find a way to rescue the woman, but they are spotted before they are able to do anything. They run away and to their dismay they are not believed by the authorities and are sent home instead, now in trouble themselves of being the target of the deranged kidnapper.

Among the Living is the newest project of the French duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Together they have delivered the highly praised Inside and the well received Livid. So expectations was quite high for this new film and sadly it didn’t live up to it.

Jan 02

The Horror of 2015 Wrap Up

itfollowsAnother year is soon to be over. Time sure flies fast huh? 2015 was a very interesting year for me personally and I didn’t have time to watch as many films as I would have liked to. I spent five months out of the year abroad due to work and have not had the time needed to keep myself updated on everything that has gone on in the genre. That being said, it doesn’t look like the worst year to take some time off as there hasn’t been a lot out there that has grabbed my attention anyway. This year followed the trend from last year with most of the interesting stuff coming from the independent market and not from the big studios. The supernatural franchises didn’t do as well as usual this year, critically and financially. Sinister 2, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Insidious: Chapter 3 did not bring new life into the supernatural franchises and it looks like there is room for new in the genre which hopefully someone will fill with something fresh and new. That being said though, I personally do believe there are room for another entry in both the Sinister and the Insidious sagas.

Dec 18

WolfCop

wolfcopGenre: Comedy / Horror
Year: 2014
Country: Canada

Director: Lowell Dean
Starring: Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, Sarah Lind, Aidan Devine

 

Dirty Harry… only hairier

 

Lou is an alcoholic and irresponsible cop working in a small town where people drink, fight and fuck. Lou couldn’t care less of anything that is going on around him as long as he has tequila to enjoy and no work to be done.

One night he gets a case where he has to go out to the nearby woods to investigate a potential satanic cult event. Something happens and he wakes up the day after with no memory of what happened, but what’s clear is that something strange has happened to him as he now transforms into a werewolf when a full moon pops up… turning him into a strong and deadly WolfCop!

WolfCop is a tribute to the b-movies of the past that wasn’t afraid to do stuff that no other movies had done, regardless of how crazy and insane it might be. These Canadian filmmakers wanted to bring that back and show their love for the lower respected side of cinema. And as a child of the 80’s, I’m all for that.

Dec 15

The House of the Devil

thehouseofthedevilGenre: Horror
Year: 2009
Country: USA

Director: Ti West
Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, AJ Bowen

 

Talk on the phone. Finish your homework. Watch T.V. DIE!

 

Samantha Hughes is a young college student looking to find a decent and quiet apartment to rent so she can focus on her studies. She takes on a strange babysitter job for an old fella named Mr. Ulman. When she arrives at Ulman’s old house, she gets a bad feeling. The situation doesn’t get any better when she gets informed that she is not being hired to babysit a child, but rather Mr. Ulman’s sick mother.

Because she is desperate in the need of money, and the fact that the job will pay her an incredible 400 bucks, Samantha agrees to do the job. She tries to make the night go fast by exploring the old house, but it is not about what she will find, but rather what will find her.

With The House of the Devil director Ti West tried to make an “old school” horror film that relies on tension and mood instead of guts and gore. Just like the classics of the genre, this film is built up slowly… but unlike the classics the build up does not deliver here. Instead it feels like the film is slow for the sake of being slow.

Dec 14

VHS: Viral

vhsviralGenre: Horror
Year: 2014
Country: USA

Directors: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Emilia Ares Zoryan, Justin Welborn, Gustavo Salmeron, Nick Blanco, Jayden Robinson

 

Mayhem goes viral

 

V/H/S: Viral is the third (and perhaps final?) entry to the found footage anthology saga. A franchise about found tapes (well, most are actually shot digitally and not on good old tapes) that have disturbing effects on those who watch them.

The wrap-around story this time around is about Kevin who is obsessed with filming his girlfriend Iris all the time on his digital camera. When they see a news report about a police chase that are coming close to their neighborhood, Kevin quickly decides to run out to film the events. The police are chasing an Ice Cream truck and when it goes past Kevin’s house Iris suddenly disappears. Kevin tries to hunt down the truck to find out what is going on and what’s happened to his girlfriend.

Dec 13

Shogun Assassin

shogunassassinGenre: Action
Year: 1980
Country: Japan / USA

Director: Robert Houston
Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Minoru Oki, Shogen Nitta, Shin Kishida

 

Sword & Sorcery… with a vengeance.

 

Shogun Assassin is a weird piece of cinema product that are actually an edited version of the two first films of a Japanese film series known as the Lone Wolf and Cub series. It uses mostly footage from the second film called Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx, while there’s supposed to only be about 12 minutes used from the very first film Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance.

The films was edited together, dubbed in English and given the new title of Shogun Assassin. The first question you might have is why not just watch the original films instead? Now that’s a good question that I myself can’t answer as I simply have not seen the original films. For me, this has been a “much watch” movie for some years as I always loved the good old VHS cover of it that Vipco had in their catalogue. One thing is for sure though, this edited version sure is a trippy and bloody fun experience.

Dec 04

Godzilla

godzillaGenre: Action / Sci-Fi
Year: 2014
Country: USA / Japan

Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, CJ Adams, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen

 

The king will rise

 

1998 was the last year that the world saw the King of Monsters, Godzilla cause havoc on the big screen. The American production wasn’t very well received and although it was a decent enough popcorn film, it reminded very little of the “real” Godzilla and was pretty much just a Jurassic Park in the big city type of movie.

Of course in Japan the big G was still doing his thing, keeping himself popular in his home country, but the rest of the world would have to wait for over 15 years before a new the creature would walk right back to the big silver screen… and the wait sure was worth it!

The story this time around starts off in 1999 when supervisor Joe Brody looses his wife in an accident at a nuclear plant in Japan. Brody is convinced that the accident is caused by something unknown that caused an unexpected earthquake which caused the nuclear reactor to crash.

Dec 03

The Sacrament

thesacramentGenre: Horror
Year: 2013
Country: USA

Director: Ti West
Starring: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley, Gene Jones, Amy Seimetz

 

Live as one. Die as one.

 

A fashion designer named Patrick received a letter from his sister Caroline inviting him down to a place down in South America that she calls Eden Parish. This place is supposed to be a community outside of society, where people actually work together and care for each other.

Together with his friend and news reporter Sam they head down there to find out if Caroline is ok. What they encounter is a society that at first seems peaceful, but when they meet the leader of the group, a man that the rest simply call “Father”, they begin to suspect that not everything is at it should be at Eden Parish.

The Sacrament is the latest effort by Ti West, a genre filmmaker that most people seem to be fond of. Although he seems like a guy that loves the genre and isn’t afraid to try new things, his movies so far has not worked for me. So if you loved The Innkeeper and The House of the Devil, then I’m probably not the one you should listen to when it comes to his movies as I didn’t care that much for either of them.

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