Archive for kaneto shindo

Anti-Film School’s 3rd Annual Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular: Cinq Monstres Féminins

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by goregirl

Antifilm School 3rd Annual Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular

When Steve from Anti-Film School asked me if I wanted to contribute a list of my five favourite movie monsters the first thought that came to mind was Toho. I did a month-long feature on the Japanese production company Toho and covered a few of the studios monster flicks. It would be pretty simple to compile a list of five of my favourite Toho monsters. Godzilla was the first horror film I ever loved. If it is easy it isn’t worth doing, right? Who the hell said that anyway? I thought I should challenge myself and at the same time come up with five titles that were lesser known. What variety of monster seems to get less love? By Georgette; I’ve got it! Female monsters! I am bringing the “girl” in Goregirl to the table for my favourite movie monster list; Cinq Monstres Féminins (Five Female Monsters).

**********

Cinq Monstres Féminins

Delphine Seyrig as COUNTESS BATHORY in Harry Kümel’s 1971 film DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.

Daughters of Darkness

A newly married couple’s lives are forever changed after meeting a countess while staying at a beautiful old hotel.

…THE SEDUCTIVE MONSTER…

I could have easily filled this list with five female vampires. There are countless brilliant performances in the sub-genre by women. The sexy, smart, seductive female vampire. Both men and women fall under her spell and oh, what a way to go! One of the absolute sexiest, smartest and most seductive of them all is the immensely talented Delphine Seyrig’s Countess Bathory. The infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory who allegedly tortured and killed hundreds of women and bathed in their blood to maintain her youth. The Countess arrives with her assistant as the sun is setting at the nearly abandoned hotel; only the newlyweds to keep her company. She quickly acquaints herself with the couple and sweet sadism soon follows. Daughters Of Darkness is a sexy, stylish and psychological trip where violence and eroticism reign. The beautiful locations adds an old world charm to the contemporary setting as does its Countess. Countess Bathory seems to have come from another time, another century perhaps. As sophisticated as she is nasty; a chic, sexual, hungry beast. Delphine Seyrig is outstanding as the sophisticated, powerful and brutal creature. One of the most elegant movie monsters of all time; Seyrig is a class act.

**********

Aurora Bautista as MARTA and Esperanza Roy as VERONICA in Eugenio Martín’s 1973 film A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL.

A Candle for the Devil

Marta and Veronica run an inn in a tiny Spanish village where sexy, young female guests check in but don’t check out.

…THE RELIGIOUS MONSTER…

Marta and Veronica are two sisters with repressive attitudes guided by religious principles who believe they are doing god’s work. At least that is what Marta, the more dominant of the two believes. Marta takes the accidental death of a female tourist tanning topless on their rooftop as a sign that they are to punish women of loose morals. Veronica is the subservient sister and goes along with Marta regardless of her comfort level. Veronica is having an affair with a young man who works for them and is twenty years her junior. She refuses to get completely undressed during these trysts for moral reasons. Marta has no such outlet for her sexual frustrations and was once engaged to be married until her fiancée ran off with a younger woman. Marta is a severe woman who is not easy to like. Is she a monster though? Blinded by her jealousy and hatred for other women she uses religion as an excuse to murder. Despite Veronica also being blinded by her religion (and an accomplice to her sister’s crimes) it is clear she is not comfortable with Marta’s decisions. The sisters are a fascinating pair and their escapades are complimented by all manner of religious imagery and expression. In one of my favourite scenes, Marta is spying on some young men swimming and runs guilty through thorny bushes arriving home lashed, bleeding and breathless; frantically she washes and scrubs the sin from her flesh. Aurora Bautista and Esperanza Roy who plays Marta and Veronica do one hell of a job! Although these are two huge personalities they are played with a great deal of restraint. A Candle for the Devil is stylishly filmed with gorgeous scenery but it is all about the sisters who use their religion as an excuse to murder nubile young beauties who are unfortunate enough to end up as guests in their inn.

**********

Meredyth Herold as DAUGHTER and Michele Valley as MOTHER in Nikos Nikolaidis’ 1990 film SINGAPORE SLING.

Singapore Sling

A private eye is searching for a woman named Laura, and follows the trail to the home of an incestuous, sadomasochistic mother and daughter team.

…THE SEXUALLY DEPRAVED MONSTER…

If ever a film deserved the tag of polarizing it is Nikos Nikolaidis’ 1990 film Singapore Sling. There is more unsavory sex acts in this thing than you can shake a stick at. The comedy and the black and white photography do take some of the edge off, but I doubt this film is going to be palatable for most people. The women are killers, but they are far more interested in exploring the lines between pain and pleasure. Prepare yourself for shock therapy, water torture, golden showers, vomit orgasms and excessive amounts of masturbation. Mother looks like a silent movie star and has a flare for dramatics. She speaks her dialog in French and translates herself in English. Despite Daughter’s actions she comes off as slightly naive and is in a constant state of pre-orgasm. Singapore Sling is partially narrated and Mother and Daughter often speak directly to the camera. Mother and Daughter are pleasure monsters. They will do anything in the name of sating themselves regardless of the results. They torture each other and the male guests who end up in their home. Mother and Daughter are definitely the most sexually depraved monsters on this list. Mother played by Michele Valley and Daughter played by Meredyth Herold both give bold and fascinating performances. They are monsters of a different variety; a delightful mix of degenerate and class. You’ll be glad the film is black and white (it is a really great looking film also) as there is stuff on display here that you would not want to see in color.

**********

Béatrice Dalle as LA FEMME in Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s 2007 film INSIDE.

Inside

A woman about to give birth is terrorized in her home by a mysterious psychotic woman.

…THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS MONSTER…

Béatrice Dalle is the mysterious psychotic woman. Her intentions are simple; to take by force the baby inside of her victims stomach. La Femme as she is noted in the credits, is just straight up nuts. She kills a lot of people and barely breaks a sweat over it. Sarah the woman due to give birth unsurprisingly receives some visitors and La Femme barely seems phased by it. Oh well, more people to kill. She doesn’t care who she kills and she doesn’t care how many. She doesn’t really even go to any trouble to be careful about the whole business. She is tough, relentless, brutal and extremely sober for a woman who is completely and utterly psychotic. Béatrice Dalle is a talented and appealing actress who is a fascination to watch. Dalle’s performance is easily one of the most driven and brutal portraits of a psycho I’ve seen in a film from the past 20 years. Watching a very pregnant woman being terrorized is nasty business but the audacity of showing the action from the fetus point of view wins it a whole lot of extra respect. This however is Dalle’s movies, she owns it like she owns that adorable little fetus in Sarah’s belly.

**********

Nobuko Otowa as YONE and Kiwako Taichi as SHIGE in Kaneto Shindô’s 1968 film KURONEKO.

Kuroneko

Yone and her daughter-in-law Shige are gang raped, murdered and their home set ablaze by a group of samurai. The women return from the dead as vengeful spirits whose sole purpose is to kill and drink the blood of every last samurai.

…THE VENGEANCE MONSTER…

Kuroneko takes place during wartime and its opening scene illustrates the brutality of the period. The way the samurai swarm the women’s home was like wild animals stalking their prey. Once inside they raid the home of food and then each one takes their turn raping the women. The horrific scene is a strong argument for the women’s revenge but negotiating with the spirit world comes with a high price. The women are the focus of every shot. Their light ethereal appearance made everything around them appear darker. Kuroneko’s dream-like visuals are enhanced by beautiful and subtle touches like Yone’s slow rhythmic dance and Shige’s cat-like attacks. Kiwako Taichi is bewitching as Shige. Bound by her pact, Shige is a seductive and vicious spirit but the woman she once was lingers inside. Nobuko Otowa is superb as Yone. Yone is a strong, serious spirit who methodically goes about her rituals. Her unusual eye makeup gave her an appropriately menacing appearance. Yone seems to have considerably less connection to who she was and is more the vicious for it. Revenge is rarely sweet. Kaneto Shindô directed another film focusing on a pair of women during wartime called Onibaba which I highly recommend you check out if you enjoy Kuroneko; the two are great companion pieces.

**********

DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on July 10, 2012 by goregirl

Two From Japan, One From France, One from the U.S.A. and One from Canada!! The Dungeon Director Project continues…

My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

**********

#40. Guy Maddin

What I’ve Seen: Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1989), Archangel (1991), Careful (1992), Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002), Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003), The Saddest Music in the World (2003), Brand Upon the Brain! (2006), My Winnipeg (2007),

Canadian director Guy Maddin has made 10 full length feature films and a ton of short films! I’ve seen 8 of 10 of his features and every last one has been a unique treat. I enthusiastically await seeing Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) and Keyhole (2011)! Maddin is definitely a strange cat. His black and white masterpieces of weirdness are quite unlike anything you are likely to see. Tales from Gimli Hospital, Cowards Bend the Knee and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary are pure gold! The early film making techniques borrowed from silent cinema and early talkies make an oddly effective partner for his bizarre stories. Like arsenic and old lace! Often set in his home province of Winnipeg, Manitoba (which we Canadians affectionately call Winter Pig) his films are funny, surreal, disturbing and psychosexual. Maddin is one of our finest exports!

**********

#39. Shion Sono

What I’ve Seen: Suicide Club (2001), Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005), Strange Circus (2005), Hazard (2005), Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010), Guilty of Romance (2011)

Yesterday I posted a link to the Shion Sono Appreciation Society Podcast, where I chat with fellow film fanatic Jason about the director’s work. Sono is one of the most interesting and talented of the new wave of Japanese filmmakers in this gals humble opinion. Just a few days ago I re-watched Cold Fish which I had not seen since the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2010. What a fantastic film! I found even more to love about Cold Fish the second time and I think I would have to give the film a perfect score. Suicide Club also garnered a perfect score from me. I also had a chance to see Guilty of Romance recently and despite mixed reviews I thought it was fantastic! Shion Sono has yet to make a film I didn’t like! Sono has made 23 full length feature films and I have seen seven. I am psyched to see his newest entry The Land of Hope, which with any luck will turn up at VIFF this October. Sono forces ordinary people into extraordinary situations tackling subjects from incest, abuse and rape to suicide, peer pressure and abandonment. Sono’s genre-defying films prove there are still original ideas out there and filmmakers with the balls and talent to make them!

**********

#38. Kaneto Shindo

What I’ve Seen: Children of Hiroshima (1952), The Naked Island (1960), Onibaba (1964), Kuroneko (1968),

Japanese director Kaneto Shindo made 45 full length feature films (2 are documentaries) and I have seen only 4! I have had no luck finding any other Shindo films on DVD. I gave Onibaba, The Naked Island and Kuroneko 5/5 and Onibaba and Kuroneko are on my top 100 favourite horror films of all time list. Be warned, The Naked Island, is incredible but unlike the two aforementioned it is not a horror film. Wonderful, moody, atmospheric tales that are perfect in every way. Visuals, sounds, intriguing stories and fantastic characters; it’s all here! I could not give this small list of films higher kudos! I will continue my quest for Shindo’s films. Evidently the director died this year, May 29 at the age of 100! Freaking 100 ya’ll!!

**********

#37. Jean-Luc Godard

What I’ve Seen: Breathless (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), My Life to Live (1962), Contempt (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965), Pierrot le fou (1965), Masculin Féminin (1966),

French director Jean-Luc Godard is part of the 60s new wave of directors which ignited my imagination when I was younger. After discovering foreign films in college I couldn’t get enough, and Jean-Luc Godard was one of my earliest discoveries. I love the 60s style and no two women wore it better than Godard muses Jean Seberg and Anna Karina. Seberg and Karina were the epitome of cool and damn talented actresses too! Godard raged against the mainstream with his inventive camerawork, a hearty helping of his brand of politics and philosophy and a goodly amount of nods to other filmmakers. I have seen 8 of his 34 full length feature films and would be hard pressed to pick just one favourite. It would be a toss up between Breathless, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville or Masculin Féminin. Godard has inspired countless directors, many of which will appear on this list or have already! I have so much more to explore in Godard’s world! Vive La France!

**********

#36. John Carpenter

What I’ve Seen: Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Escape from L.A. (1996), Vampires (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), The Ward (2010)

I have seen all 18 of American director John Carpenter’s full length feature films. Carpenter was a God of the 80s! Sadly, with the exception of In the Mouth of Madness and to a lesser extent Vampires; Carpenter’s post 80s films have been a bummer. That said, the man has made some epic contributions! The Thing and Halloween are two of the best horror films ever made! They Live, Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York are also brilliant! Dark Star, The Fog, Christine, Prince of Darkness and Big Trouble in Little China aren’t chopped liver either. Carpenter’s films have entertained me immensely over the years! Carpenter’s great characters have freaked me out and made me laugh; the man can do action, comedy, Sci-fi and horror and he did em all so very well. Halloween was one of North America’s first successful slashers and would inspire a flurry of copy cats. It also set a bar in the sub-genre, one few other directors would achieve. The Thing was also a real game changer. The Thing has intensity to spare, a perfect chemistry among its cast and some of the best gore effects ever caught on celluloid. Mind-blowing effects from back in the day that few have topped. John fucking Carpenter…I salute you!

**********

KURONEKO (1968) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by goregirl

I do not know how or why it took me this long to see Kaneto Shindô’s Kuroneko. Shindo’s Onibaba is one of my favourite horror films of all time! During my Toho March feature I discovered the production company had many masterpieces that weren’t monster movies. I added Kuroneko to my library queue for the feature but alas, it only recently became available. Kuroneko can definitely be added to the list of Toho-produced masterpieces! Kuroneko is one of the most beautiful and haunting films I have ever seen! Like Onibaba, Kuroneko focuses on two female characters during war time. The two films are perfect companion pieces; each unique but sharing a similar pace and feel. I think I need to re-watch and review Onibaba soon! But today I review Kuroneko, which is a whole lot of awesomeness.

Yone and her daughter-in-law Shige are gang raped and murdered and their home is burned to the ground by a group of samurai. A black cat watches over the women’s corpses and cleans their wounds. The women become vengeful spirits whose sole purpose is to kill and drink the blood of every last samurai. The women live in a home near the Gates of Rajomon among a forest of bamboo trees. Each evening the beautiful Shige persuades a samurai to escort her home. The samurai are plied with sake, killed and left in the forest. Gintoki, a samurai whom has recently returned from battle is sent by the lord to rid the region of this samurai-killing menace. The daunting task is complicated by the fact that Gintoki is the son of Yone and husband of Shige.

Kuroneko takes place during wartime and its opening scene illustrates the brutality of the period. The way the samurai swarm the women’s home was like wild animals stalking their prey. Once inside they raid the home of food and than each one takes their turn raping the women. A pretty ugly and stark picture of the inhumanity we humans are capable of. The horrific scene is a strong argument for the women’s revenge. But when you are negotiating with the spirit underworld vengeance can have a high price. Kuroneko is also a love story. Gintoki was a farmer before he was taken by force to join the war. Some years have passed since Yone and Shige seen Gintoki who is now a samurai. I do not want to spoil this haunting tale so I will state only that its story is enthralling.

Kuroneko is filmed in beautiful black and white with a fantastic other-worldly atmosphere. Lighting is used to great effect; casting shadows and making inanimate objects appear as though they are moving. The eerie silence and the creative sound effects are also extremely well done. I loved the way the women were the focus of every shot. Their light ethereal appearance made everything around them appear darker. Kuroneko’s dream-like visuals are greatly enhanced by wonderful touches like Yone’s slow rhythmic death dances, Shige’s cat-like attacks and the way Shige floats over a puddle as she walks a samurai towards his doom. The close-ups of the black cat that lurks about the women’s bodies, licking their wounds, hint this is no ordinary cat. Even simple little things like a billowing curtain do not go unnoticed. Visually Kuroneko is flawless.

Kiwako Taichi is bewitching as Shige. Bound by her pact, Shige is a seductive and vicious spirit. But the woman shige once was lingers inside, making her incredibly empathetic. Nobuko Otowa is superb as Yone. Yone is a strong, serious spirit who methodically goes about her rituals. Her unusual eye makeup gave her an appropriately menacing appearance. Yone seems to have considerably less connection to who she was. Although she is not unaffected by the appearance of her son. Handsome Kichiemon Nakamura is excellent as the conflicted Gintoki; son, husband and samurai. In short, intriguing characters and perfectly cast.

Kuroneko is an absolute work of freaking art! I loved it! Kuroneko is stunning, haunting and hypnotic, and gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Kaneto Shindô

Starring: Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kiwako Taichi, Kei Satô, Taiji Tonoyama, Rokko Toura, Hideo Kanze