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Tag Archives: gore

I Spit on Your Grave (1978): A Woman’s Revenge

I Spit on Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, 1978)

[originally posted 18Jun2001]

Camille Keaton walks away on the movie poster. She's not wearing much.

Keep your eyes on the machete and everything will be okay.
photo credit: horroronscreen.com

Meir Zarchi took Craven’s idea (with Last House on the Left) and paid homage with a film that, while not all that good, is a sight better than Last House. It’s also become something of a cult classic for reasons that I’m not sure I understand (nor want to). Again, the plot is simple and savage: Jennifer Hill (Camille Keaton, who actually HAS managed to find a few other roles, mostly in what seem to be Italian giallo flicks given the titles) has rented a secluded house on a lake to get out of the big evil city and runs afoul of three of the local miscreants and their toady, a twentysomething seemingly retarded virgin. The miscreants develop a plan to get the toady laid, and, as is to be expected, a bloodbath ensues, starting with an almost forty minute long scene punctuated by three different rapes. I mean, we’re talking nasty here (but by the time Miz Hill gets around to stalking her attackers, I have to say, the viewer is definitely rooting for her).
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Last House on the Left (1972): Fortunately, not Last Job in Hollywood

The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972)

[originally posted 18Jun2001]

The infamous "it's only a movie" line superimposed over a still from the film adorns the movie's poster.

Keep repeating to yourself, it’s only a pile of crap… it’s only a pile of crap… it’s only a pile of crap…
photo credit: wrong side of the art

When was the last time you saw a movie that was the very definition of the word “pointless?” If you need to shut your brain off for an hour and a half, this is a good way to do it. I’m amazed anyone in Hollywood managed to let Craven direct another film after this ninety-minute waste of celluloid. And yet, somehow (probably because “hey, it’s the guy who directed Scream!”), it was re-released with new box art and everything last year. It should have faded into much-deserved obscurity, instead.
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American Psycho (2000): The Sharpest Image Catalog

American Psycho (Mary Herron, 2000)

[originally posted 27Mar2001]

Christian Bale's face reflected in a butcher's knife adorns the movie poster.

It’s so… pretty.
photo credit: mubi.com

Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho is the nadir of eighties fiction; it reads, roughly, like a three hundred page Sharper Image catalog, an endless listing of brand names and prices with nothing even remotely resembling a soul. When the film was released, the critics quickly came to the same conclusion about it. After a few months, however, better reviews of the film began to surface from independent critics and the like, calling it a brilliant satire, wickedly funny, you know, that sort of thing. So I had to rent it. My constant repeating thought was “it can’t be as bad as the book.”

I was right. That’s not saying much.
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Mermaid in a Sewer (1988): The Creative Urge

Ginî Piggu: Manhôru no Naka no Ningyo (Guinea Pig IV: Mermaid in a Sewer) (Hideshi Hino, 1988)

[originally posted 7Jul2000]

An artist's rendition of the decaying titular character graces the DVD cover.

Under many names…
photo credit: IMDB

Mermaid in a Sewer, one of the four Guinea Pig films directed by Hino, is the only one that rivals The Flower of Flesh and Blood in notoriety and popularity. Unlike its more graphic and brutal cousin, Mermaid in a Sewer (often translated as Mermaid in a Manhole, Mermaid in the Bathtub, or any other number of similar titles) actually has a plot to it. An artist, obviously modeled on Hino himself (Hino’s style is unmistakable), draws his inspiration from things he sees and finds in his local sewer system. One day, what he finds among the muck and stench is… a mermaid . Yes, a mermaid. A very attractive one at that (and one is forced to wonder what, exactly, would motivate an actress to play a part like this…). We find out, after the two have conversed a bit and he’s done a preliminary sketch, that she is wounded. He takes her home (how he gets her there without anyone noticing is beyond me) and installs her in his bathtub in order to take care of her.
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Guinea Pig II: The Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985): Every Person Is a Book of Blood

photo credit: Oregon State University

Gîni Piggu 2: Chiniku no Hana (Guinea Pig II: The Flower of Flesh and Blood) (Hideshi Hino, 1985)

[originally posted 7Jul2000]

The DVD cover depicts actress Kirara Yûgao, from the breasts up, arms in the process of being dismembered.

At the time of its release, it was arguably the most extreme gore film ever made.
photo credit: thevaultofhorror.blogspot.com

Hideshi Hino is, simply, one of Japan’s finest exports. Writer, graphic artist, rabid media critic, all-around fun guy, but for as long as civilization exists he will be best remembered as the guy who drove Charlie Sheen to the FBI.
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Zombi Holocaust (1979): Dr. Butchered, MD

Zombi Holocaust (Marino Girolami, 1979)

[originally posted 19Jan2001]

Very stylized zombies loom over the title of the film on this poster.

I’m not sure what you would call this style of art…but I like it, in a weird, offbeat way.
photo credit: 42ndstreetcinema.blogspot.com

Another film known by many names (eight, to be precise, that IMDB has been able to track down), Zombi Holocaust is probably best known by American cult-film devotees as Dr. Butcher, MD. I ended up picking this one up because there are a rather large number of crossovers with Lucio Fulci’s brilliant splatterfest Zombi 2—writer Fabrizio DeAngelis was one of the producers of Fulci’s film, male lead Ian McCulloch was the lead in Zombi 2, character actor Dakkar plays a native guide in both, etc. (Most interesting, one of the film’s actors, Walter Patriarca, was Zombi 2‘s costume designer. Go figger.)
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Hei Tei Yang 731 (Men Behind the Sun) (1987): Philosophy of a Knife

Hei Tei Yang 731 (Men Behind the Sun) (T. F. Mous, 1987)

[originally posted 19Jan2001]

A montage of actors from the film centers around one of its infamous gore scenes in the original theatrical poster.

The original theatrical release poster, according to Wikipedia. You couldn’t get away with that today.
photo credit: Wikipedia

On November 17, 2000, a small, unassuming man in a grey pinstriped suit took the stand in District Court 103 in Tokyo, and for two hours he stunned a courtroom with details of atrocities that made the testimony at Nuremberg seem like a description of a Sunday picnic. In the days between the Sino-Japanese war and World War II, this man, Yoshio Shinozuka, was a member of the Junior Youth Corps of Unit 731, the Japanese chemical and biological warfare division headquartered in a Japanese-occupied section of northern China. Until then, many had considered the T. F. Mous/Godfrey Ho-directed trilogy of films based on the actions of Unit 731 to be equal parts sick fantasy, documentary, and pure saidsm. As it turns out, the opposite was true; even Mous and Ho hadn’t shown it all.
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