Archive for Satoshi Kon

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1997

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2013 by goregirl

Like every year of the 90s, 1997 had a handful of horror gems. I was optimistic when the first few titles I watched ended up being pretty entertaining, but my enthusiasm quickly waned. Oh boy did it wane! I watched 57 horror titles for 1997 and failed more than half of them. To be honest I am ready for this feature to be done. I am having serious 70s withdrawal! I slipped and watched A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin the other night and now I don’t want to watch any more fecking 90s crap. There is just one week left of this feature so now I find myself having to double up on the top ten lists. This list, as will be the case with the next two will be considerably more…um…efficient! I rated film number one 5/5, films two, three and four I rated 4.5/5, films five and six I rated 4/5, films seven and eight I rated 3.5/5 and films nine and ten earned a shaky 3/5. I gave one other film from 1997 a 3/5 which was Scream 2.

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#10 JACK FROST
Directed By: Michael Cooney

I did not think for a second that I would be including Jack Frost on a top ten list. Of the 57 films I saw from 1997 however it was a hell of a lot more fun than most. Jack Frost has swearing, nudity, graphic violence, rape and terribly bad one-liners. Sure, Jack Frost is a film about a serial killer-shape-shifting-icicle shooting-snowman with potty mouth, a tasteless sense of humour and a seriously bad attitude and what can I say? It made me laugh. To read the full review click here. “He’s chillin…and killin.”

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#9 MIMIC
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

I would rank Mimic fairly low among my favourite films of Guillermo del Toro. That said, the effects are neat, and I do love me some killer predatory insects. It starts out interesting enough but the second half gets a little hokey despite being the more action-packed section of the film. It’s okay. This is definitely a light recommend. If you want to check out some really brilliant Guillermo del Toro flicks check out Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth. “Evolution has a way of keeping things alive.”

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#8 NIGHTWATCH
Directed By: Ole Bornedal

When I saw this on the list for 97 I assumed this was the Russian horror film Night Watch but it turns out there are at least three titles under this name. Ole Bornedal remade his own Danish language 1994 film with English speaking actors. Chances are had I seen the original (which I have not) I would have been much harder on this remake. Being that I hadn’t I enjoyed Nightwatch despite the insanely blaring red herring and a couple overly coincidental plot twists. “He’s a full-time college student who just took the wrong part-time job. Now he’s the final piece in a brilliant serial killer’s puzzle.”

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#7 THE UGLY
Directed By: Scott Reynolds

A lot of mixed feelings out there about this New Zealand entry. I wouldn’t call The Ugly screamingly original but I dug it anyway. It is psychological, supernatural, sort of dreamy-nightmary and fairly brutal with the violence. We get a glimpse of the killer’s life through flashbacks and it isn’t pretty. In fact…it’s Ugly! “A subversive incursion into human mind perversions!”

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#6 CUBE
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali

A Canadian entry and this one is a doozy! Cube, the film about seven people plunked into a endless maze of deadly traps is an original, intense and suspenseful thrill ride with some decent performances. “Fear… Paranoia… Suspicion… Desperation.”

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#5 EVENT HORIZON
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

I wrote a long rambling review for this film with lots of pretty pictures so I am just going to say Event Horizon is a visually appealing, well cast and acted, action-packed, creepy and intense sci-fi horror flick. I love you Sam Neill you crazy bastard! To read the full review for Event Horizon click here. “Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see.”

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#4 PERFECT BLUE
Directed By: Satoshi Kon

I am just beginning to delve into the world of Japanese animated films and Perfect Blue has been one of my favourites so far. Perfect Blue is an excellent thriller-horror full of twists, turns and surprises complimented by an array of beautiful and violent images. To read the full review click here. “The color of illusion is Perfect Blue.”

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#3 PERDITA DURANGO
Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

This is director Álex de la Iglesia’s second entry on a top ten. Before starting this feature I had no idea who Mr. Iglesia was, now I look forward to checking out all his stuff! Perdita Durango is funny, violent, action-packed, sexy, salty and a crapload of energetic fun! To read the full review click here. “A scientist? No, you’re definitely a dentist. I could tell from the stupid smile on your face.”

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#2 STARSHIP TROOPERS
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

Starship Troopers is not a horror film; but hell it has more violence in it than a lot of titles I have included on these top ten lists. I have a huge soft spot for this film! I actually went to see it at the theatre three times when it came out. It is deliciously campy, action-packed, over-the-top, and has some really top notch and fun effects. Sure it is fluff, but it is freaking awesomely fun fluff! “Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?”

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#1 CURE
Directed By: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Cure is quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen with a serial killer theme. I really need to see more of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films!! It is beautifully filmed, intense, suspenseful, brilliantly acted, well-paced, nasty and well, just freaking perfect. I can’t recommend more highly seeking this one out. “With just one word, you will do anything.”

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PERFECT BLUE (1997) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2013 by goregirl

Jason over at Genkina Hito’s J-Film Review gave me a list of titles to check out in my continuing quest to watch more Japanese animation. I have barely scratched the surface of what is available! There is an unbelievably vast selection of genres covered in this medium. I have so much more to discover but I have managed to scratch at least a few of the horror titles from my list. One of my favourites thus far has been Perfect Blue. Perfect Blue is a suspense thriller with horror elements that is as solid as the best of its ilk in the non-animated world.

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Mima is a member of an all-girl pop trio called Cham. Cham have a legion of dedicated fans despite the group’s limited success. Pressured by her agency, Mima decides to leave Cham to pursue an acting career. Mima receives a fan letter that motivates her to check out a website created in her honor called Mima’s Room. Initially she is intrigued and flattered that a fan should know her so well. However, the intimate knowledge of this superfan begins to disturb her. The new Mima takes on mature acting roles and agrees to do a nude photo shoot. Mixed reactions from her fans, friends and the media has Mima questioning her choices which provokes the young celebrity to manifest her pop star alter-ego who chastises and taunts her. Mima’s real life begins to parallel her current acting project and the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred.

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Films that blur the lines between fantasy and reality are pretty standard fare in my rotation. Films with this modus operandi can be a convoluted mess or a stroke of brilliance. In the case of Perfect Blue it is the latter. Considering this is a film that balances between reality and fantasy you can of course expect a certain amount of mind fucking, but that is all part of the fun. Perfect Blue is a fascinating puzzle that explores a variety of themes; loss of innocence, adulthood, sexuality and the seediness of show business among them. The exploration of fame is seen from both the celebrity perspective and the publics and it is rarely pretty. Keeping in mind my limited exposure to Anime I can only judge the animation on what I have seen which I thought was pretty damn good. The animation however rather became a blur once I was lost in Perfect Blue’s excellent story. Perfect Blue would be a Giallo if it had been made in Italy in the 70s or 80s. It has all the elements of a great Giallo, the stalker, red herrings, multiple twists, elaborate and bloody deaths, nudity and sexuality. It is truly a delicious treat! I really loved the idea of Mima’s manifested pop idol self as opposed to the rape scene/posing nude self as her dark side. Pop music is evil.

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The pop music in the film got on my final nerve which I fully expected. J-Pop is no fecking better than the nonsense bubblegum pop shit that comes from North America. Fortunately the pop songs are limited. As much as I disliked the pop music it was obviously an important subtext to the action. The balance of the films music is a dark moody score that suited it perfectly. Perfect Blue was made when computers were still a brand-spanking new concept in most homes. Mima literally has to go out and buy a computer and learn how to use it before she can check out the Mima’s Room website. This gave me a chuckle! I was so ill prepared when I bought my first computer it was quite laughable. Of course the first few years I had dial up too which was plagued with its own problems not to mention horribly inefficient.

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Perfect Blue is almost a perfect film with the exception of its final moments. Although the ending is not unsatisfying it did leave me wishing for something a little edgier. Perfect Blue is an excellent thriller-horror full of twists, turns and surprises complimented by an array of beautiful and violent images. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Satoshi Kon

Starring: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura, Yôsuke Akimoto, Yoku Shioya, Hideyuki Hori, Emi Shinohara, Masashi Ebara, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Tôru Furusawa, Shiho Niiyama, Emiko Furukawa