View Single Post
Old 17th December 2013, 11:00 PM
Frankie Teardrop's Avatar
Frankie Teardrop Frankie Teardrop is offline
Cultist on the Rampage
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Leeds, UK

THANATOMORPHOSE - I should've learned by now not to let my expectations run away with me. It only ever ends in needless disppointment. And so with 'Thanatomorphose', a film I was sure I would rave about, I found myself left with the haunting feeling of having eaten a bunch of ghostly quavers instead of the big f*ck-off pie I thought I might get. The wrong attitude from the start will get you nowhere tsk. Anyway, 'Thanato...' is actually a fairly brave indie horror which leaves us stranded in the bleak apartment of a mostly naked failed artist, who, possibly by way of finding the ultimate metaphor for her existential depression, begins to rot for no narrative reason. Some things happen, a couple of annoying people get stabbed, but mostly she kind of hangs out not doing much. I actually think this is a sound basis for the kind of thing I'd really love to see, a sort of Beckett-meet-Buttgereit endurance test with the emphasis on sickly nothingness rather than shocks. But I didn't quite get that vibe. Not quite enough 'nothingness', and not quite enough 'sickly', despite its reputedly gore laden status according to some reviews. I did think it was good though, and the kind of film a community of fans needs to support ie. a risk taking indie. Also, kudos to Monster Pictures for continuing to release contemporary numbers which would otherwise never make it onto high street UK. I must watch it again to find out whether 'good' might teeter towards 'great'.

ALL NIGHT LONG 2 : ATROCITY - Another flick whose reputation definitely preceded it, one which I hadn't seen despite reading various accounts of its bleak brutality. I was in a kind of washed out mood when I put it on, and didn't really care whether it lived up to my expectations or not. Probably a bit of a dumb idea to watch 'Atrocity' in a less than robust state of mind, as it certainly takes a scouring pad to the twitching underside of the psyche. Or sort of does, because, as with 'Thanato...', I couldn't help but feel it undermined itself in some way. The first thirty minutes really manage to build a heavy, oppressive atmosphere and evoke a world of numbing cruelty, the nadir of which might be forced naked go-going to a Japanese version of DK's 'Too Drunk To F*ck'. But that might be the problem - a certain over-the-topness, a hysteria even. Everything is hopeless, lost to an endless labyrinth of pain and savagery. Everyone is a cruel, horrible prick. It takes real poetic vision to get that atmosphere across. Dunno about 'Atrocity' on that score - it's well put together for nineties J-SOV but, in addition to being overt, is kind of flat. Brave move to feature characters no-one could give a toss about, though - and somewhat interesting, as 'Atrocity' turns out to be at heart a revenge flick driven by the bullied central character, whose self absorbed meekness and clunkily telegraphed creepy obsessions elicit no empathy at all. Anyway, despite these misgivings (which also include arguable homophobia unless I've misread things), I liked 'Atrocity', it's a strong example of extreme Japanese cinema.

ALL NIGHT LONG 3: THE FINAL CHAPTER - It's not the final chapter, there are at least two others (which I haven't seen). I felt it worked a little better than 'Atrocity' in some ways, being more measured in its bleakness but with an offensive over-the-topness which somehow worked. Maybe I thought it was better because it was less concerned with setting up really obvious power dynamics for a big revenge crescendo, more focussed on a pervasive, depressing degradation. It's about a withdrawn young man who collects bodily detritus from rubbish tips and the sex-hotel where he works as a cleaner. Along the way is a trash-collecting serial killer and a bullied schoolgirl. There are loads of gratuitously repugnant bits and, yeah, it might leave you a bit hollow, but then you marvel at the places cinema can go sometimes.

THE CARETAKER - The recent Australian vampire movie. I actually really liked it. I don't quite know why... it has this slow paced, autumnal drama feel to it which grates against the occasional outbursts of vampiric special effects. Quite a unique approach. There's something off-kilter about the music as well, it's really screechy and omnipresent. Somehow, a doom laden atmosphere is conjured out of all this. The focus is on interpersonal dynamics in a survival-type situation rather than action and all the characters are quite weird and unlikeable but still involving. I can see a lot of people not really getting along with it, but I thought it was at least interesting.

CAMP BLOOD 2 - I'm a diehard fan of microbudgeted horror, or at least the idea of it. 'Camp Blood 2' (and, I imagine, 'Camp Blood' itself, which I haven't seen... sort of) feels like the archetype of the late nineties / early noughties shot on video horror... really lame camera, unspeakably cheap effects (and everything), total fag ash minimalism which, in this case, has a weird verve and a gleam in its eye. I hate broad comedy horror, but CB2 made me laugh out loud at least four or five times, which is something I almost never do, esp when watching horror. There's a cleverness and a liveliness to it which revels in cheapness but never becomes obnoxiously knowing. I loved the utter callousness of reprising great swathes of the original (hence the "...sort of" above) to pad out the footage and for once enjoyed the tongue in cheek horror history nerd nods (ie. a trashy starlet undresses in her bedroom which for no reason whatsoever is done out like a cheap Bava-esque nightmare scene with dummies and purple lighting). A lot of these films are a bit rubbish, but I keep going hoping that I'll find something particularly weird or transgressive, or maybe just gratuitous - 'Camp Blood 2' might not be any of the above, but it is a cool romp.
Reply With Quote