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Fifteen Years of Fantastic Fest: celebrating the Weird and Wonderful Genre Films from Across the World!

Fantastic Fest 2019

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.”

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Karate Kill (2016, Japan / USA) Review

Karate Kill (2016)

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.”

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Epic Movies of the 1980s: Aiming for the Extraordinary

Epic Movies of the 1980s: Aiming for the Extraordinary

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.”

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Revisiting Hideo Nakata’s Chilling Tale of Technological Dread: Ringu リング

Revisiting Hideo Nakata's Chilling Tale of Technological Dread: Ringu リング

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.”

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One Cut of the Dead (2017, Japan) Review

One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな!) (2017)

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?”

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ONE CUT OF THE DEAD Limited UK Theatrical Release from 4th January 2019 Courtesy of Third Window Films

ONE CUT OF THE DEAD Limited UK Theatrical Release from 4th January 2019 Courtesy of Third Window Films

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!”

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COMET TV: Monster Summer Giveaway

COMET TV: Monster Summer Giveaway

“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?”

Competition ends Friday, June 15th 2018

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5 Essential Female Directed Horror Films from the 1980s and 1990s

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

It may be International Women’s Day, but there are numerous female filmmakers, writers, actresses and artists that are making history every single day.

“The light that’s leaving that star right now will take a billion years to get down here. You want to know why you’ve never met a girl like me before? Because I’ll still be here when the light from that star gets down here to Earth in a billion years.”

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Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980, Japan)

Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980)

I heard of this anime film years ago but heard such bad things it put me off, then last week I found a good review on it that mentioned the plot and I thought I’d give it a go. Firstly like many other reviewers I must admit this is probably the craziest Dracula plot ever. It’s based of Tomb of Dracula issues 40-75 and as such there’s a lot going on…

Overall this film is very true to the comic and has a good storyline but it’s too rushed. The visuals in part are faithful to the comic but frequently seem low budget. If you liked Tomb of Dracula I’d definitely recommend this. If you’re looking for a different Dracula film you should enjoy it.

“Darling, I want to tell you about the man I used to be before I became the cursed slave of Satan.”

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Shin Godzilla (2016, Japan)

Shin Godzilla (2016) Theatrical Poster

Once I heard the news that the new Japanese Godzilla film was going to be playing in my city, I was overjoyed. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Godzilla. I went into Shin Godzilla very excited to see how my favorite giant monster was going to be reimagined.

Shin Godzilla (also Godzilla Resurgence) is the latest installment and 31st film in the Godzilla franchise. Produced by Toho, this film is a reboot in which Godzilla’s origin story is retold in modern Japan. The film was written and directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.

“A god incarnate. A city doomed.”

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Ringu and Hausu Japanese Horror Double Bill at Liverpool Small Cinema

Small Cinema Liverpool - Ringu + Hausu - Japanese Horror Double Bill

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.”

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Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 (1987, Japan)

Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 (1987) Promotional Poster

Animated by Hideaki Anno, Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01’s plot centers on Koji, an engineering student who accidentally discovers the Madox-01; a heavy mechanised, armoured exoskeleton. This military weapon, successor to the Madox-00, is equipped with a large array of weaponry and was designed to fight against heavy armoured vehicles. Glancing through the conveniently included instruction manual, Koji climbs into the Madox-01 exoskeleton.

“I…I’m not ready yet!”

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