måndag 30 maj 2011

Mission Mars (1968)

There is a certain expectation when you look at a castlist and it includes Darren McGavin and Nick Adams, at least in my book. When you start watching the movie and it has a surfrock soundtrack and more stock footage than you've ever seen in a movie before, you know you are in for a ride. Darren McGavin and Nick Adams play astronauts about to go on a journey to Mars, both of them having some trouble with women, their ladies not wanting them to go into outer space. Especially Nick Adams ladyfriend who knows that Nick is a daredevil wanting to always go places that no one has gone before (a rather obvious plotpoint that inevitably will make Nick sacrifice himself for the greater good.). After about 45 minutes of the same stock footage repeated over and over ad over again (one scene repeated in reverse to simulate docking) they land on Mars and encounter a frozen Russian astronaut and some rather strange and hostile creatures (one of them a sphere that opens up looking a bit like a vagina).

That the budget was low on this one is an understatement, at least a fourth of the movie consists of stock footage and repeated scenes. The spacesuits are motorcyclehelmets with antennas on the top and the martian landscape is mostly a miniature. Not much happens on the journey to Mars and it drags a bit, consisting mostly of our actors doing really low budget spaceship things like being strapped on benches and swaying around pretending to be in a meteor swarm. But as soon as they arrive on the red planet, a bit of fun starts. The special effects are low budget but imaginative, and the creatures encountered more fun than usual. These arent your average martians, they're actually rather alien and no explanation is given for their behaviour, appropriate for their.. uhm.. "alien-ness?". The martian landscape is suitably atmospheric even though the miniatures very rarely match with the studiobased set but who cares? You dont go into a movie like this without expecting something like that and Darren McGavin and Nick Adams are both fun actors to watch and they do a decent job with the little resources they have.

Your average monsterscififlick then. If you like setups like this there is a good chance you might enjoy this movie, in spite of it's slow first half. I sure did.

söndag 29 maj 2011

Automatons (2006)

In this odd little scifimovie we follow The Girl living in a small hidden underground base somewhere in a wasteland. She spends her days sending out battledroids to combat some sort of enemy and repairing the robots who make it back. Her free time is spent repelling radiosignals from the enemy that tries to take control over her robots day and night, although the concept of time doesnt really seem to exist as we know it anymore. While not fighting or repelling the enemy she listens to old messages from her mentor trying to describe why the world went to hell in the first place. The enemy signals are coming in faster and harder and it is just a matter of time before they find the right frequency...

Automatons is clearly a movie that you either love or hate, at least if you look at reviews and comments on imdb. The difference between this movie and all the other robotapocalypseflicks is that this is an ultra lowbudget movie that has a love for all the serials of the thirties and forties, where the robots are basically big tincans. The battlesequences are amateurish and silly but wholly on purpose and are full of really cheap landscapes and special effects. To add on the fun, Automatons is shot on b/w super 8 and processed to make it look even more cheap and ugly, sometimes it looks like they filmed a tv showing the movie. Arthouseish, yes, but it still works. The whole thing is slow and meandering but the concept is awesome. The atmosphere and the droning electronic score makes this a really pleasant experience. The acting and dubbing is poor, again on purpose with the exception of the taped messages from the mentor played by Angus Scrimm, an actor very suited for this type of role. If you find the concept interesting there is a chance that you will like it, but most people will probably ignore it due to the DIY feel of it. Too bad, it is a fine little moodpiece with an added bonus of some really nice gorescenes towards the end. Recommended.

tisdag 24 maj 2011

Mutant girl squad (2009)

So, the wave of insane Japanese goremovies continues in full strength. This swede loves silly gore and although the special effects arent top notch and somewhat overusing low end cgi, they are still nicely over the top and very rarely boring. There is truly something special when blood is shooting out of a body six meters into the air because of a small nick in the skin.

Mutant girl squad, on the other hand, isnt exactly the best of the new gore wave, far from it. I would even go so far to say that it is probably the worst. This does not mean that it is a bad movie, just that it isnt as crazy and weird as Samurai Princess or Vampire girl vs Frankenstein girl. The movie is a collaboration between Noboru Iguchi (Machine girl, Robogeisha), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore police) and Tak Sakaguchi (the lead in Versus, director of Samurai Zombie) who thought up the story while drinking and each directed a section of the movie. This means that the story feels somewhat fragmented, but seriously. Who cares? It's a movie about japanese school girls with superpowers that never would appear in a movie outside japan, and it is still way cooler than any fucking X-men movie. How about a chainsaw coming out of the ass of a young girl? That image alone makes the movie worth watching. The first part is the coolest when our heroine discovers her mutant powers, gets the entire neighbourhood after her and we get to see her dispatch them all in gloriously gory ways. I'll admit that some of the digital effects are rather cheap but I think that they are actually supposed to be that way.

If you liked the other movies I mentioned you will like this, it's as simple as that. It feels a little slapdash at times, but since there are three directors I can accept that and just enjoy. Still, if you are new to the genre I would recommend that you start out with Tokyo Gore police, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein girl or perhaps Hard revenge Milly, movies that are a bit wilder and/or more accessible. Now, bring me more japanese gore please!

lördag 7 maj 2011

Gong tau (2007)

Needle Gong Tau is some nasty shit.

Jack J of Backyard Asia will probably agree with me that some movies need to be dirty and nasty to achieve maximum effect. Check out the movies he writes about, most of them are very low budget trash made to revolt and arent available on any media other than some out of print vcd either dubbed to hell or with poorly translated subtitles that are only partly readable because the pan and scan transfer sucks ass. A part of me likes that, it takes me back to my youth when I first discovered gore and horrormovies, watching stuff like Devil fetus in the basement at night. As long as it's watchable it is fine by me.

That is why Herman Yaus Gong tau is such a strange experience. Here is a slick, decently budgeted movie with excellent cinematography and a plot full of gore, boobs and flying heads. I'm not used to this, where are the crummy subtitles and cheap gore-effects? The story is an excellent throwback to the seventies complete with the expected centipedevomiting, with tough cop Rockman (Yes, that is his name) unfaithful to his wife only to discover that someone put a curse on her. People start to die, fat is cut out of bodies and semen is used as a component in black magic. What else can you ask for?

Vile, gory and supremely entertaining, Gong Tau is a great nasty revamping of the black magic movies of old.

måndag 2 maj 2011

A couple of short ones.

Cry of the Banshee (1969)
Not bad, Vincent Price as a sadistic witchhunter is always worth watching but somehow the movie could have better with LESS sleaze (A sentence I thought I never would write down).

Captain Kronos - Vampire hunter (1972)
Fun and fastpaced odd little vampiremovie suffers some from feeling more like a tv-series than a movie, but still good entertainment.

Quatermass Xperiment (1958)
One of the best british scifimovies of the fifties, great monster and surprisingly violent. A must see.

Fear no evil (1981)
Decent entry in the Satan vs the world genre. Not that exciting but ok-ish.

Law abiding citizen (2009)
Violent mainstream Saw-wannabe with one of the more worthless last acts in years. The explanation of what is going on is dumb to say the least. Too bad, the first half is quite thrilling.

Outrage (2010)

Beat Takeshi goes back to his roots, eh? Outrage is truly a "classic" Yakuzatale, featuring several groups of gangsters being played out against each other by the top dog, and sadly, that is about it. The first 30-40 minutes of this movie arent exactly what I would describe as entertaining, it is just a collection of scenes featuring Yakuza screaming, beating each other up and so forth. Not that heavy violence is a bad thing, but when Outrage has no characters whatsoever it gets kind of... dull actually. They can shout how much they want but, beat up innocent people just for the fun of it but when there really isnt anything separating the characters other than the fact that one of them is played by Takeshi Kitano and the others arent, it doesnt make great viewing. The actors are all good, except for the fact that Kitano himself does one of those roles that he can sleepwalk through, good or bad you decide. I was even considering turning it off and "watching the rest of it another day". You know the drill.

But then the movie started to get a bit more interesting. All hell breaks loose. Our "heroes" all of a sudden are persona non grata (not that you didnt see it coming). Everyone gets killed in messy, bloody ways and you feel strangely drawn to the inevitable events as everyone dies, one by one. You dont really care about the people dying but it still fascinates you. Takeshi Kitano might have failed while writing the characters but he sure as hell knows how do get the feeling of doom.

And that is what the movie is all about. Outrage is a good looking, stylish crimemovie with a script that feels more like a Discovery channel reenactment of a crime, only with huge amounts of violence. The final massacre is strangely hypnotic and makes the movie worth watching, but it somehow feels like a missed opportunity. Worth watching, but somewhat flawed.

Kamui gaiden (2009)

This movie has ninjas. It has ninjas killing sharks. What more could you ask for? More scenes of ninjas killing sharks I suppose. Instead, it fills the rest of the movie with ninjas talking, ninjas killing people and some ropey but fitting cgi. Fun stuff, based on a manga. The last sentence should let you know what you are in for.