R.L. Stine rules, ok? Goosebumps were more than just a bestselling series of novellas; they served as a gateway into horror for a new generation of bookworms. Now all grown up, ’90s kids like myself can get nostalgic for Fright-Rags’ Goosebumps Collection.
In 1992 Albert Pyun directed his 14th feature length film since debuting in 1982 with the sword & sorcery fantasy, The Sword and the Sorcerer. At the time of writing this review, Pyun has directed over 50 movies, so to say that Pyun, as a director, was (and still is) prolific is an understatement… He is a fucking machine!
From the moment the title appears, until the end-credits roll, Nemesis is a sequence of non-stop, over-the-top action set pieces woven together by a myriad of influences.
“In the future… it pays to be more than human.”
Also known under the name The Devil’s Daughter, Michele Soavi’s The Sect (1991) is an intricately stitched, cult masterpiece; from a decade not well regarded for its genre output. Soavi himself had already cemented his career as a director of the macabre, with his feature length debut StageFright (1987) and Dèmoni sequel-turned-standalone horror The Church (1989). Indeed, The Sect would also be branded a Dèmoni sequel upon its home video release.
“Satan has chosen his victims. The battle with evil has begun.”
During the videotape format war of the late 1970s and early 1980s, JVC’s VHS would compete for market share against Sony’s Betamax. Betamax was, in theory, the superior recording format but VHS would ultimately emerge as the preeminent home video format in 1986. Consumers could not justify the extra cost of a Betamax VCR, which was often more expensive that the VHS equivalent due to the higher quality construction of Betamax recorders.
“Decadence is their fate.”
In the United Kingdom, Liverpool Small Cinema presents an iconic Japanese horror double bill: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977).
“To try and narrow down a selection of Japanese horror films, which cover all things psychological, supernatural, explicit and mythological, is no easy task however, so we felt that the programme would need to reflect the full scale of myths, folk and ghost tales that have dominated Japanese culture for centuries.”
Whereas retro zombie video games were the “Next Big Thing” in their days, this is not the case anymore since more stylistic and graphically-rich games have emerged. As a result, gaming enthusiasts across the globe have been forced to forget blasting through corpses in favor of the most current, action-intense games like like those from the Forza Horizon, Mafia and Gears of War series.
“The zombies are coming!”
Of all the bad films I have had the guilty pleasure (and at times displeasure) to watch, none have be as sentimentally close to me as Steve Wang’s live action take on the Japanese Manga; Guyver. A sequel to 1991’s The Guyver (itself a mediocre Americanized take on the source material), Guyver: Dark Hero was everything its predecessor should have been. Granted many might think this is just Power Rangers with blood and gore, but for its minuscule budget it contains impressive practical effects and brilliantly choreographed wirework.
“The Zoanoids weren’t the failed experiment. The Guyvers were. The aliens created the Guyvers to fight their wars for them. The humans rebeled. Out of control. The Guyver is nothing more than a weapon…”
Japanese anime has become a global worldwide culture for many reasons. Becoming popular in Japan after the second world war, anime provided an alternative format for storytelling. The common misconception in the west is that animation is primarily aimed towards the children, but this is not the case in Japan.
“For most Japanese consumers of anime, their culture is no longer a purely Japanese one (and indeed it probably hasn’t been for over a century and a half). At least in terms of entertainment, they are as equally interested by Western cultural influences as they are by specifically Japanese ones.”
Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali, Cube is a Canadian science fiction horror released in 1997. Significant for being the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) first feature film, and Natali’s feature length directional debut, Cube has polarised audiences since release due in part to it’s ‘kafkaesque’ setting; a surreal, industrial cube-shaped design.
Cube is one of the greatest, and unfortunately most underrated horror movies from the 1990s.
“The only way out lies within your own mind.”
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): From its eerie opening credits – indistinct ripples ebbing over green wallpaper – to the plot twists and revelations at its climax, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is worthy of admission to the ranks of the best psychological horrors with greats such as ‘The Innocents’ or ‘The Others’.
“Do you know what’s really scary? You want to forget something. Totally wipe it off your mind. But you never can. It can’t go away, you see. And it follows you around like a ghost.”
Battle Royale (2000): Enforcing the terms of the new ‘Battle Royale Act’ one class of ninth-grade students is selected annually by lottery and relocated to an isolated island, fitted with explosive collars, given random weapons and forced to participate in a 3-day survival competition in which the last student left alive is the winner.
“There’s a way out of this game. Kill yourselves together…here…now. If you can’t do that, then don’t trust anyone… just run.”
When a new era of Asian horror films entered mainstream Western cinema with Hideo Nakata’s ‘The Ring’, Asian horror movies were soon perceived to be chasing Hollywood’s more hackneyed horror efforts into the shadows.