I watched a couple of horror movies lately, but I haven’t had a lot of time to write proper reviews for them. I’ve got quite a few films I want to see in my queue, but thanks to work I’ve not really had enough time to watch many of them. For the few I’ve seen in the last couple of months, here’s a few mini-mini-reviews.
- Marebito (A Stranger from Afar) is a 2004 film by Takashi Shimizu (director of Ju-On) starring none other than whacko director and actor Shinya Tsukamoto (director of Tetsuo The Iron Man, among others). It’s an intensely strange film about a man who is either losing his mind or has become one of the few who realize that there are many horrible things dwelling below the surface of Tokyo. Depending on what you believe, he either brings a strange naked girl back from the depths below the city or he’s a lunatic who is is treating his own daughter like an animal. Either way, the film is interesting but sort of nonsensical. It leaves plenty of little clues around for you to think about, but it never really reaches a meaningful conclusion. I’d say watch it if you are a fan of movies that might have some hidden inner meaning or might just be really poorly told.
- Picnic at Hanging Rock is another cryptic film. Directed by Peter Weir in 1975, this film is about the disappearance of several girls and one of their teachers at a vaguely threatening volcanic rock in Australia. The girls are part of a much larger group, and they seem to vanish without a trace among the boulders and rubble. The circumstance of their disappearance is made even more confusing by a few eye witness reports. But even though the film is centered around the site of the rock, the bulk of the content concerns how the remaining classmates and teachers react to the disappearance. It’s complicated and doesn’t really ever reveal its hand, but I enjoyed it quite a bit for the shear creepiness factor that the film is able to impart to a bunch of rocks.
- Equinox (or The Equinox, depending on which version you see) is a 1970 horror classic. By today’s standards it is simplistic and campy to the extreme, but it’s an important film in the modern history of American horror cinema. It was created entirely by high school students, including a young Dennis Muren, who went on to be the special effects wizard behind Star Wars, The Abyss, and pretty much every other great effects movie. Though it is sort of hilarious to watch now, you can see elements of the film that clearly influenced later movies like Evil Dead.
- Imprint is a film created by Takashi Miike (director of approximately 3 – 5 films a year, including Ichi the Killer and Audition) as part of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series. As the story goes, Miike was asked by Showtime to make a movie and to go all out, since Showtime can run its own films without any censorship. Miike was probably the wrong person for them to go to, because Imprint plays out like a gauntlet of gore, with each scene doing its very best to one-up the previous in depravity and suffering. It was far too much for the Showtime execs, and was never shown in America. I don’t know why they were surprised, however, as it’s pretty true-to-form for Miike. The problem with it is, despite all the gore and bloodshed, the movie still isn’t very good.
There you have it. What have you guys been watching?