About to enter his fourth decade of filmmaking and with over 100 movies to his name, Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific filmmakers working today. With such a huge output (averaging four films per year) his work can vary in genre and in quality. Some of Miike’s crime features can be humorless and gory, but his latest feature First Love, sees him at his most anarchically playful, his trademark ultra-violence is present, but here it is tempered by black comedy and a touch of romance. First Love is the kind of film that is a treat for genre fans who are familiar with Asian gangster tropes.
In 1985, Macoto Tezka (son of the great manga artist Osamu Tezuka) met musician and TV personality Haruo Chicada, who had made a soundtrack to a movie which didn’t actually exist: The Legend of the Stardust Brothers. At the time Macoto was just 22 years old, a film-student with many short experimental films under his belt, but yet to make a feature-debut. With Chicada as producer, Tezka then adapted this “fake soundtrack” into the real movie story of The Stardust Brothers.
“Now you are reunited, your natural talent has awakened.”
I have watched a lot of shite during the past decade, and whilst I can appreciate schlock, the following movies really got under my skin. This is my own personal purge; from 2010 to 2014.
“You have a darkness that rivals my own… It will be a very special pleasure to rip you apart.”
Inspired by a real-life race that is still held annually in Japan, Samurai Marathon is an epic sword slasher from director Bernard Rose and the team behind 13 Assassins and The Last Emperor.
Visionary director Takashi Miike also returns to the big screen with the wildly entertaining Tarantino-esque crime thriller First Love.
“For 260 years, Japan cut itself off from the world.”
Liverpool Horror Club’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man screening is part of this year’s Scalarama which is held across the United Kingdom during the entire month of September. This year’s theme is Identity.
“Together, we can turn this fucking world to rust!”
Reaching the milestone of fifteen years, Fantastic Fest blasts off with the widest selection of weird and wonderful genre films gathered from across the world to screen in Austin, TX, from September 19-26, 2019, bringing a diverse array of global filmmakers for a highly-controlled explosion of curated cinematic mayhem.
“Our fifteenth year is a one-of-a-kind of celebration of the cinema we champion: brilliant and out-there.”
Japanese wannabe actress Mayumi is abducted by an absolute nut-job called Vendenski and his hysterically seedy cult – Capital Messiah. They’re feared throughout the criminal community for reasons that are beyond me, but nobody seems to be able to touch them, until Mayumi’s brother, Kenji, travels over in search of his missing sister. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Kenji is a Karate Master, wouldn’t you just know it? This now sets the wheels in motion for Kenji to stroll around L.A. all brooding and a fish out of water, but cracking skulls as he’s doing it.
“He is no Mr. Miyagi.”
The word ‘Epic’ has recently been devalued and just used to mean something that is striking or enjoyable, but the correct meaning of the word indicated narratives in the ‘Epic’ mould – those which surpass the ordinary in scale and reach heroic proportions – this applies to films too. I’m taking a look at some of the truly Epic movies from the early 1980s that showed extraordinary ambition in their story and spectacle.
“Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.”
In March 2019 Arrow Video is re-releasing Hideo Nakata’s Ringu in celebration of its 20th anniversary; restored from the original negative in vivid high definition.
Ringu is based on a novel by Koji Suzuki, (known as the ‘Japanese Stephen King’) and for any western viewer this film is the starting point for any exploration of modern Asian horror.
“How did the rumours about the video even start in the first place? This kind of thing… It doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own.”
Written and directed by Shinichiro Ueda, One Cut of the Dead begins with an impressive 37 minute long take set in an abandoned Japanese water filtration plant. “It’s just an urban legend… On record, this place was built for water filtration. But the Japanese army used here for some sort of experimentation… Human experimentation. Like…bringing the dead back to life.” Shinichiro Ueda’s movie injects the zombie trope with new life; thus reanimating the sub-genre. This is not Dawn of the Dead, nor is it Shaun of the Dead. Instead, One Cut of the Dead celebrates low-budget filmmaking.
“Making a zombie movie, on a live broadcast, in one take?”
One Cut of the Dead opens in a run-down, abandoned warehouse where a film crew are making a zombie film… Yet, this is no ordinary warehouse. It’s been said that this warehouse is the site where military experiments once took place…
“Don’t stop shooting!”
“We need an exterminator, one that would drive away King Ghidorah.” Comet TV and Attack from Planet B want everyone to enjoy their summer, catch some rays and protect themselves from an atomic-breathing beast, by giving one randomly chosen person the firepower to win Monster Summer merchandise. “Are you serious?”