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Ichi the Killer

Ichi the Killer

Omega Project, Omega Micott Inc., Alpha Group, Spike Co. Ltd., Excellent Film, Japan, 2001
AKA: Koroshiya 1
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Sakichi Sato, Hideo Yamamoto
Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ohmori, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Tôru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Satoshi Niizuma, Suzuki Matsuo, Jun Kunimura, SABU, Moro Morooka, Hôka Kinoshita, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Mai Goto, Rio Aoki, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Setchin Kawaya, Yuki Kazamatsuri, Sakichi Sato, Kaori Sugawara, Hideo Sako, Mako Takeda, Masataka Haji, Manzô Shinra

It took some time before I got to see Ichi the Killer, and quite frankly, it wasn’t really what I expected at all. I’ve seen other work by Takashi Miike so I was expecting over the top weirdness. I’ve read some reviews so I was expecting an excess of gore. I was prepared for mixed feelings. What I wasn’t prepared for was the hilarious comedy it turned out to be. Sure, there is body parts sliced off, extreme torture, people split in half, women beaten and raped, blood and guts splashing all around but the story and the characters are so over the top it makes You laugh. I don’t thing I laughed so much to a movie since I saw Life of Brian forty years ago.

Some might find this comparison bisarre in it self but just as Life of Brian, Ichi the Killer was banned in Norway. In Stockholm and Toronto, barf bags was handed out at the film’s premiere. Of course this was a public relation stunt and nothing more, but Norwegian film censors fell for it and choose to ban it.

Ichi means One in Japanese so “Koroshiya 1” translates to “Number 1 killer” just as easy as to Ichi the Killer, and that’s exactly what Ichi appears to be. The number one killer with blades in his shoes so he can slice victims apart with his kicks. Heck, he even has his own cleaning team which tidy up his crime scenes, scrubs away all the blood and remove the left over body parts. One night he murders the sadistic Anjo, a Yakuza and leader of his own gang, and a prostitute (while Anjo is beating her up and raping her). When his cleaning team is done leaving no traces of the kill, everyone just assumes Anjo took off with the girl and 3 million missing yen. All except the extremely sadomasochistic Kakihara who suspects a rival gang is behind the disappearance.

Kakihara gets a tip from Gijiin, who used to be a Yakuza but was thrown out, that Suzuki, a rival gang leader is behind Anjo’s disappearance so Kakihara tortures Suzuki severely to make him talk. Since both gangs belong to the same Yakuza syndicate this stunt results in Kakihara getting expelled from the Yakuza. He takes over the Anjo gang, but now every other Yakuza is their enemy and rumour has it that Kakihara is Ichi’s next target. At first Kakihara is out to avenge his boss, but as Ichi is coming closer Kakihara is getting more and more fascinated by Ichi. Ichi scares him. Nobody has done that in a very long time, and his masochistic side is getting aroused by the thoughts of what pain Ichi could inflict upon him.

Ichi on the other hand turns out to be a mental case. He has nightmares about being bullied in school, and a girl, the only one who spoke up for him got gangraped in front of him as a reward. One would think he feels bad because he froze and couldn’t help her, but in reality he was turned on by watching and wanted to join in but wasn’t allowed. He is being controlled by means of brainwash and hypnotism by Gijiin who wants his revenge for being expelled from the syndicate. Kakihara sees Ichi as the “perfect pervert” and can’t wait to meet him for their final fight.

Despite the gore and the body parts is Ichi the Killer probably the most “mainstream” of the Takashi Miike films I have seen.

My verdict: 10 out of 10.

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Shark Night 3D

Shark Night

Incentive Filmed Entertainment, Next Films, Sierra / Affinity, Silverwood Films, USA, 2011
AKA:
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg
Cast: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Joel David Moore, Donal Logue, Joshua Leonard, Sinqua Walls, Alyssa Diaz, Chris Zylka, Jimmy Lee Jr., Damon Lipari, Christine Bently, Kelly Sry, Tyler Bryan, Stephanie Crow, Jessie Jalee, Nadiya Khan, David Speed, Michael Warren, Stephen Warren

Seven students (and a dog) of Tulane University heads off for a weekend at Sara’s private vacation home on an island in Lake Crosby. One of them looses one of his arms while waterskiing. At first they think it’s some sort of freak accident, but they soon realize it was a sharkattack. OC, phones don’t work on the island so some of them tries to take him to a hospital, but the boat is attacked by the shark, one of the girls ends up in the water and is killed. The boat crashes and explodes, so now we have six kids on an island without boat and one is seriously injured. Fortunately two locals turn up (one of them is Saras ex-boyfriend) and two of the kids go with them to call for an ambulance helicopter.

The dead girl was the injured guys girlfriend and when he hears the shark killed her he gets up, arms himself with a spear and goes into the water to avenge her. He is attacked but actually manages to kill the shark. Problem is it’s not the right shark. The dead shark is a Hammerhead and the shark that took his arm and killed his girlfriend was not. One shark in a lake would be unusual to say the least, but two or more of different species would be almost impossible unless someone for some reason put them there.

It turns out Lake Crosby is infested with sharks. There’s Hammerheads, Tigers, Cookie-cutters, Bulls and Great White’s and somebody did in fact put them there for a reason. Attached to the dead Hammerhead they find a video camera. Somebody is filming the shark attacks and making snuff movies of people being eaten by sharks.

The story is totally stupid. Even if there was a market for shark snuff movies, how did they get all these sharks into the lake? Where did they find them? Did they buy them or did they catch them themselves? How did they get them there? The only way I see is if they released little baby sharks into the lake. But if the sharks has been there for some time, why hasn’t anyone caught one or at least seen one. What do they eat apart from people? Is there really enough to feed so many sharks in such a confined space? How come they don’t turn on each other? Another thing, Nick is about to become a physician yet don’t now how to perform the “kiss of life”. The way he does it his patient would have died and there wouldn’t have been any regular kissing at the end of the film.

So is it bad? Nah, if You don’t hang yourself up on everything I just complained about it’s pretty entertaining. I liked it in a B-movie way if You get my drift. It was pretty obvious from the start which of the kids are shark food and which are not. It’s also rather easy to spot the bad guys. There is a little twist though, but since that was predictable to…

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

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Prey

Prey

Blumhouse Productions, Hyde Park Entertainment, Tremendum Pictures, USA, 2019
AKA: Solo
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Writer: David Coggeshall, Franck Khalfoun
Cast: Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth, Jolene Anderson, Jerrica Lai, Phodiso Dintwe, Anthony Jensen, Jody Mortara, Vela Cluff, Joey Adanalian, Nathan Healy

Young Toby Burns is full of guilt over his father’s death. His dad wanted him to help out in the garage, but instead he stayed inside surfing the internet on his phone, while his dad was murdered by carjackers outside.

He reluctantly join the Lost and Found program. This program involves two weeks on a sailboat at sea outside the coast of Malaysia leading up to a “solo”, where the members of the program is left on a deserted island each, all by themselves, for three days and three nights.

At first Toby isn’t doing to good. Monkeys steal his food, he steps on a shell and injure his foot and he gets ill and throw up all over the place after eating raw clams. He also believes someone or something is watching him from the dark of the jungle and he panics and uses up his only signal flare.

Next day things get a little better as he meets Madeleine. She is sixteen and lives on the island with her mother. She shows him plants that can be used to take the pain away from his injured foot, she hunts and cooks for him and teaches him how to spear fish. She also warns him about the snakes, but tells him he’ll be safe as long as he stays on his side of the island and keep close to the fire.

Madeleine has lived on the island since she was a little girl. She came there with her parents who were missionaries. The island was inhabited then but her father and everybody else died. She doesn’t really remember what happened but she thinks her mother killed them all. And she tells Toby her mother mustn’t know about him or he will be killed too.

Toby decides he can’t leave Madeleine on the island, but he has to keep out of her mother’s sight until the boat comes back for him and there is also some sort of creature lurking in the dark.

There are some obvious plot holes. No program in the world would leave teens alone on uninhabited snake infested islands without means to communicate. Toby is having nightmares about a man in a monkey suit stabbing his father to death. Yet he never saw the murderer since the carjackers raced from the scene before Toby got there. Madeleine is dressed much like any sixteen years old girl on a hot summers day. If she’s been isolated since she was a little kid, where does she buy her clothes?

Apart from this, and the fact that meeting Madeleine transforms Toby from a helpless victim to a full blown Rambo in just a couple of days, the film isn’t all bad. It’s a quite OK little horror movie and I did enjoy it.

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

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Virginia Leith dies at 94

R.I.P. Virginia Leith

Virginia Leith, the girl with “the brain that wouldn’t die” has left us. She met photographer Stanley Kubrick while modeling, and she debuted as an actress when he directed his first film, Fear and Desire, in 1953.

Between 1954 and 1960, when she got married to Donald Harron, she was working for 20th Century-Fox and had leading roles in films such as On the Threshold of Space, Toward the Unknown, Violent Saturday and A Kiss Before Dying.

Her most recognizable role, at least for horror buffs is probably that of the decapitated Jan Compton, or “Jan in the pan”, whose head is kept alive by her husband turned mad scientist in The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

The Asylum, USA, 2014
AKA: Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark
Director: Emile Edwin Smith
Writer: H. Perry Horton, Jose Prendes
Cast: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Röhm, Matt Lagan, Paul Anderson, Debbie Gibson, Fiona Hardingham, Hannah Levien, Emma Rose Maloney, Steve Hanks, Simon Barbaro, Marshall Dunn, Colin Flynn, David Salsa, Robert Sisko, Alain Gerard, Benjamin Ballarin, Phil Biedron, Luca Bello, Andrew Bongiorno, Beejan Land, Lance Buckner, Janet Cao, Vincent Cusimano, Delanie Fischer, Cameron Gordon, Brett Lorenzini, Kate Avery, David O’Donnell, Jill Hagara, Sylvia Panacione, Natalie Pellegrini, Jordan R Jackson, Jonez Jones, Bill Voorhees, Billy Walker, Matt Wool, Robert Daniels, Samantha Ketcherside, Steve Troublesome Castillo, Ozzie Devrish, Derek Easley, Patrice Gibbs, Hans Hernke, Steve Huang, Terry F. Smith

Well, Jack and Rosie is on a boat and there is this iceberg, which isn’t supposed to be there and… no it’s not Titanic. It’s the return of Mega Shark. After fighting a giant octopus in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (4/10) and a prehistoric 1500 foot long crocodile in Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (which I tried to watch on TV a couple of years back, but fell asleep to = no rating), it’s time for his third attempt at the titel. This time he’s up against Mecha Shark. A hyper modern mechanical shark/US Navy war machine. I don’t know if they got the idea from the Japanese navy, but if I’m not entirely mistaken the Japanese tried something similar once when they had a problem with a mutated dinosaur. Anyway, it’s not entirely correct to say Mega Shark is back, since it appears to be a new megalodon rather than the same one.

A tugboat is tugging (yup, that’s what they do) a big iceberg through the mediteranian but as they approach the port of Alexandria the iceberg cracks and reveals a Megalodon trapped inside it. The Shark hits the tugboat width it’s tail which makes the boat fly through the air and decapitate the sphinx. There is a sphinx in Alexandria but the one that is hit is the big and famous one by the pyramids at Giza. That’s 178 kilometers. Is that possible even for Mega Shark? I don’t think so. But on the other hand it can also redirect torpedoes with it’s tailfin and thus destroy submarines, body slam aircraft carriers so they sink, jump up and catch Boeing 7474s in the sky and eat entire fishing boats.

Mega Shark keeps turning up where You least expect him wreaking havoc and eventually all traffic on the seas are shut down, world trade is suspended and global economy sinks like a stone. Married couple Jack and Rosie is called in to try to stop it. Rosie is to pilot Mecha Shark and Jack is co-piloting from a computer room on Admiral Engleberg’s war ship. Admiral Engleberg is an important naval officer. He’s got a direct phoneline (via satellite) to the president and furthermore he knows people on every single ship that is sunk by Mega Shark. Two thirds of the film is Mecha looking for the Mega, bumping into it and loosing it again. Then Dr. Emma MacNeil, from Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus calls in and tell them she’s figured out where the Mega’s heading and why. Her part is small, basically explaining stuff we (and Jack, Rosie and the US Navy) need to understand, over the phone. Probably just so the filmmakers could put Debbie Gibson’s name on the poster. Mega Shark is heading for Sidney, Australia. This is probably where it was born millions of years ago and it’s going back to look for a mate. When he doesn’t find one they’re going to have one horny aggressive megalodon on their hands.

Mecha has an accident and when Rosie has been retrieved from it, it suddenly enters “Drone Mode”, and starts to act on it s own. It doesn’t respond to any commands and now on top of the Mega they have a fully armed rouge Mecha to worry about. The Mecha ends up on land crushing Sidney’s operahouse, but turns out to have an “amphibian mode” to, and starts moving on land trashing the center of Sidney. Rosie manages to get on to and into the Mecha to try to regain control while army and air force blast away at it. Jack picks up a dirt bike and goes after Mecha.

Don't You just hate it

The dirt bike Jack picks up is an Ahamay. I’ve never heard of that company, but it looks very much like a Yamaha only with kick-starter and exhaust on the “other” side. Don’t know why they mirrored those frames but maybe Jack was going in the wrong direction and they didn’t realize a bike isn’t exactly symmetrical. Everyone keep driving on the wrong side of the road to, since the filmmakers probably didn’t know (or just didn’t care) Australians drive to the left.

I thought Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus was boring but had it’s moment. This one is boring without moments. I guess it’s ok on a rainy Sunday afternoon if you’re hung-over and got nothing better to do, but don’t expect to much. Some of the CGI is terrible even if Mega actually looks better than in the first one, and acting is so-so. Most of the film is Rosie in the control seat of the Mecha and everyone else talking in the computer room. Maybe it would have been better if they’d cut down on the talking and gone for more action. The action scenes (even if they to are pretty stupid) is what saves this movie from a total disaster.

My verdict: 3 out of 10.

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The Shallows

The Shallows

Columbia Pictures, Weimaraner Republic Pictures, Ombra Films, USA, 2016
AKA: Lost Vacation, In the Deep
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Cast: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, Joseph Salas, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey, Ava Dean, Chelsea Moody, Sully Seagull

Nancy is in Mexico looking for a beach. It’s a secret beach so nobody will tell You where it is and if You find it anyway, nobody will tell You it’s name. It’s a bit like Fight Club. Nancy isn’t a fighter, but a surfer, and so was her mom. It was her mom who told her of this beach in the first place. She spent time her when she was young, but she fell seriously ill and the doctors couldn’t save her. That’s why Nancy dropped out of med school and went surfing on her moms old secret beach.

She hitches a ride to the beach with Carlos in his pick-up. She tells him she’s alone cause her friend met some guy the night before and was too hung over to come with her. She basicly tells him she’s on her way to somewhere nobody in the world knows about all by her self. That should be a big no-no, but Carlos is the decent Mexican. (I’m convinced most Mexicans are decent, but in Hollywood movies statistics are to their disadvantage). Carlos is a good guy though, which is obvious when he decline payment for the ride. He says he was going the same way anyway since he lives not far away. Nancy calls her younger sister and tells her she’s on moms beach. She talks to her father who tries to convince her to come home to Texas and finish school. Then she goes surfing.

But before all this (really?), before the credits a young boy is playing on the beach when he finds a helmet with a GoPro mounted on it washed ashore. He plays the film and see two surfers getting attacked by a shark. The boy runs from the beach and passes a washed up broken surf board. It’s a clue to the chronology but we don’t know that yet since we still haven’t seen Nancy’s board. Therefore there is no way for us to know that the boy is decent Carlos’ son and he runs to get his dad and by doing so the beginning of the story becomes the end, or maybe the other way around. Sorry for spoiling the film, but if You have something better to do than watch a girl and a seagull sharing a rock, You can stop watching now.

The rest of us watch Nancy surf. Out there she encounters two other surfers. One of them has a helmet with a GoPro mounted on it. What is it with Mexican surfers and GoPro’s? (nudge, nudge.) They appear to be friendly and invite Nancy to join them, but she want’s to do her own thing. Anyway, they give her some advice and warnings of the undercurrents, corals that burn, and some rocks that isn’t visible at high tide but becomes little islets at low tide.

It’s getting late and the two others are leaving. Nancy says she’s gonna stay and catch another wave. She watches a bit suspicious as they pack their stuff in the car but they too, are decent Mexicans and they leave her backpack and her valuables where they are. Nancy discovers a dead whale and paddles over to take a closer look. This is a bad idea since the whale already has been claimed by a great white. Nancy tries to get away but is attacked by the shark and badly bit in a leg, but she gets lose and climbs on top of the whale carcass. The shark tries to get to her but eventually she makes it to one of the islets together with a seagull with a wounded wing. She has to patch up her leg somehow and figure out a way to get off the islet before high tide returns. The beach is only 200 yards away but the shark is going back and forth between her and the dead whale.

After spending the night with the seagull she wakes up and see a man on the beach. She calls for help, but unfortunately he is the bad Mexican she’s more or less has been expecting all the time. Instead of helping her or calling for help he steals her things at the beach. Then he sees her surfboard a couple of feet from the beach and get greedy. He thinks it’s a good idea to go get it. It wasn’t. Later in the morning the two surfers from yesterday turn up. When they see the wounded Nancy on the islet they jump in to come get her. She tries to warn them but one of them replies “There are no sharks here”. Well, he was wrong.

The plot is very simple, really. Nancy is on a sinking islet (or rather the water is rising), she’s wounded pretty bad, and the shark won’t let her leave. He can’t get to her now but when the water rises… When the film premiered there was a lot of hype and then most viewers seemed to get rather disappointed. There isn’t much of a story and there are several plot holes and weird happenings, but I don’t think it’s bad. It doesn’t really make sense to me why the shark just doesn’t eat the whale. There’s plenty of food there and yet he or she has to kill and eat every single person that gets into the water. The shark patrolling and stalking Nancy doesn’t make sense either. Most predators give up. They don’t stalk a certain person for days when there is alternative food served. The filmmakers try to explain this width a big hook stuck in the sharks jaws. Somebody has hurt him and now he hates humans, sort of. I don’t really buy that, but what ever. A rather weird goof is the buoy Nancy tries to hold on to. when two of the three chains that hold it in place breaks it falls over. WTF? Buoys don’t work that way. The chains aren’t there to keep it upright, but to stop it from drifting away. It’s like a boat. It doesn’t fall over when you pull the anchor up. (Well there was this famous Swedish boat once back in 1628, but apart from that…)

So, did I hate it? No. I think it was quite entertaining. In fact, I have to say it was the best shark movie I’ve seen in a while. Several reviewers have complained about bad CGI, but I don’t think that’s fair. If You compare The Shallows width all the SyFy/Asylum shark films the CGI is extremely good. The Shallows has also been called a Jaws rip off, and [spoiler] the way Nancy finally kills the shark [/spoiler] has been both laughed at and criticized. I think, if The Shallows is a Spielberg rip off we have to go deeper than Jaws. Four years before Jaws, Spielberg directed a film for TV called Duel. It’s about a business man who is getting stalked by a psychotic truckdriver in the Californian desert. This truckdriver, for reasons unexplained is out to kill the businessman with his truck. In the end the businessman uses the same tactics as Nancy does in The Shallows. Same, same, but a great white instead of a truck.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

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Dead Season

Dead Season

USA, 2012
AKA: The Running Dead
Director: Adam Deyoe
Writer: Adam Deyoe, Joshua Klausner, Loren Semmens
Cast: Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns, Corsica Wilson, Marc L. Fusco, Todd Pritchett, Grant Beijon, Kevin O. Matta, Anna Vawser, Greg Weisman, Leishla M. Perez Figeroa, Sean McDonald, Dave Wilhoit, Barbara Kerford, Carmen Gloria, Matt Aidan, Sue Braden, Jeanette Caldera, Randall Carver, Tom Caster, Louis Chalif, Phil Connery, Amy Coughlin, Scott Deckert, Erica Delgado, Adam Deyoe, Douglas J. Eboch, Mia Eden, David Eshelman, Nancye Ferguson, Dawn Ferris, Randy Francis, Mariella Fredo, Daisy Galvis, Daniel Gavin, Jordan Graham, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Benny Harris, Jostel Hason, Jeb Heil, Alexis Hernandez, Dan Hicks, Jessica Houghton, Ben Idom. Stefan Ionesco, Derek Jacobsen, Danny J. Lee, Joel Michaely, Christian Mooney, Teresa R. Parker, Ava Peat, Matt Peat, Tonya Peat, Sara Raftery, Jeyson L. Robles, Natalie Smyka, Mr. Snake, Rachel Tamayo, Evelyn Vaccaro, Evelyn Osorio Vaccaro, Amanda Wigley, Collin Wigley, James Zimbardi

Prior to the zombie apocalypse Elvis was working as an EMT in Pittsburgh. Now, a year later, he has buried his family and walked from Pittsburgh to Florida, where he is trying his best to survive anyway he can. At night he talks to Tweeter on the radio. He has never met her but he tells her of his plan to get away from the zombie infested main lands. A guy he used to work with is living at a marina in Miami and is helping people get away by supplying boats and travel plans for them. One night Tweeter and a kid she met two months ago turns up at Elvis’ place. They’re actually there to try to steal food from him, but as they don’t get away with it instead they form sort of an alliance and follows him towards the coast.

When they arrive at the marina, Leach (Dan Hicks of Evil Dead II and Darkman fame) first reacts in a funny way when he see Tweeter and the kid. They trade Elvis’ food supplies for a boat and directions to this supposedly zombie free island. He warns them that the fish isn’t edible due to radiation from earlier nuclear testing on the island. The only way from Leach’s place to the boat is through a warehouse full of zombies. By the look on Leach’s face when they leave, and by his reaction when he saw Tweeter and the kid, I got he impression that he knew what was awaiting them on the island, or didn’t believe they would make it to the boat alive. Either way he didn’t care to much as it was business as usual to him. And behold – Leach turns up again later in found footage on a certain island.

The kid doesn’t make it, but Elvis and Tweeter has to abandon the boat when it runs out of fuel not far from the beaches of the island. They swim ashore and set out to explore it. It doesn’t take long before they run into both zombies and a group of people living in a gated community. Elvis is more than welcome since their previous doctor is dead, but Tweeter isn’t so sure about the group. She stumbles upon some home movies, and among them there are tapes of medical experiments on humans infected by zombie bites but not yet dead. By keeping them alive and shutting of blood flow body parts can be amputated and meat “harvested” before they turn into zombies. Why let good meat go to waste?

My first impression of Dead Season was that it was yet another generic zombie film. It felt like a rip off of The Walking Dead, and they even referred to the zombies as “walkers”, but according to the filmmakers the script for Dead Season predates TWD and filming was mostly done when TWD premiered. Since The Walking Dead is based on comic books, those could still be an inspiration. I first found the film average. Not really bad, but not really good either. But then it somehow got to me and the story sucked me in. It’s obvious the filmmakers are zombi enthusiasts as there are a number of references to other films and zombie lore. First of all the zombie apocalypse starts in Pittsburgh, which of course, as everybody knows, is the zombie capitol of the world ever since Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and it’s sequels. We have human experiments and zombies on islands in both Romero’s Day of the Dead and in Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Zombi 3. There is also a zombie stowaway on a boat in Zombi 2. At the compound they are speaking width someone on a military base just outside London on the radio, and he tells them England is practically taken over by the dead and that they are now running. This is probably a reference to the 28 Days Later franchise.

The title for the British DVD release is The Running Dead. I’ve never been a fan of running zombies and I figure this is why it took me so long to get around to watch Dead Season. Ironically there are no running zombies in it until the last part of the film, and then we get an explanation to why these running zombies don’t behave like they used to do. I’ve read several reviews where people apparently missed this explanation and are confused to why some zombies are fast while the rest is not, but to me it was like “WOW, so that’s why!”. To me this explanation makes Dead Season build a bridge between two separate zombie lines and actually changing the rulebook. An speaking of rulebooks, the book Leach is reading when Elvis knocks on his door is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, author of World War Z.

All those references made me reconsider and Dead Season went from average to above average. It was even better when re-watched.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

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Total Devastation

Total Devastation

Fauzi A. Mansur Cinematográfica, Virgínia Filmes, Brazil, 1986
AKA:Total Devastation Until the Last Orgasm, Devassidão Total, Devassidão Total até o Último Orgasmo
Director: Fauzi Mansur
Writer: Wilson Vaz
Cast: Neusa Dias, Márcia Ferro, Custódio Gomes, R. Martinele, Sheila Santos, Paulo Soares, Ronaldo Amaral, Francisco Viana

Four women are kept prisoners of a fifth sadistic woman. She keeps them naked in a cage most of the time, but they are sometimes allowed out to do washing and cleaning, and then they put on clothes.

The sadistic woman uses them for her own sexual gratification. She also has men come over and rape them and she even makes a captured gorilla have sex with one of them.

This Woman in Prison film from Brazil is a bit odd. I never got who this sadistic woman was, who her slaves were or why they were being kept in a cage in the first place. And what’s with the gorilla? I’d think chances are very small for a pet gorilla even in Africa and smaller yet anywhere else. The story is non-existing, special effects consists of a gorilla suit. The sex is explicit and not simulated but rather uninspired and sort of 70’s-ish.

My verdict: 3 out of 10.

Delinquent Girl: Alleycat in Heat

Nikkatsu, Japan, 1973
AKA: Furyô Shôjo: Noraneko No Seishun, Delinquent girl: Stray Cat in Heat
Director: Chûsei Sone
Writer: Norio Miyashita
Cast: Yûko Katagiri, Setsuko Ôyama, Eimei Esumi, Jôji Sawada, Hyôe Enoki, Hidetoshi Kageyama, Akira Takahashi, Michiko Komori

Hatoko is a farm girl from Osaka. She has a lover whom she meets for a “roll in the hay” on a regular basis. They decide to elope together to Tokyo. Hatoko lives with her single mother who is having an affair with the local pharmacist. He is flirting with Hatoko and trying to feel her up, and her mother doesn’t seem to care.

When Hatoki gets to the train station all dressed up and ready for the big city, her lover doesn’t show. She waits for a long time and then she tries to phone him, but he doesn’t answer. Eventually she has to board the train without him and go to Tokyo all by her self. At the station in Tokyo a man in a suit is watching her and when she leaves he follows her. When Hatoko is approached by another man he drags her away. He tells her the other man is dangerous, that she is to naive and goodhearted for her own good, but that he, Gomame, can take care of her. He takes her home and tries to rape her. He doesn’t have to as she likes him and agrees to have sex with him. While their at it two neighburs walks in and they have sex with her to when Gomame is done.

At night Gomame steals Hatokos money from her handbag. He’s a gambler betting on horses but he looses and he owes money to the yakuza. The yakuza tells him his debt is paid if they can have Hatoko. When home alone Hatoko peeps on the two neighbors having sex with girls and teaching them to strip and doing lesbian shows. When Gomame comes home he lies about trying to find a job. Hatoko offers to help and he gets her a jobb as a masseuse in a Turkish bath giving “happy endings”. Eventually Gomame gets impotent when thinking of her work and he agrees to sell her to the yakuza.

Hatoko is moved to the home of Gorô, a yakuza and a customer at the bath. He falls in love with her and asks the boss to give her to him, but the boss refuses. His decision is Hatoko will work as a whore for the yakuza.

This is a tragic story really, about a girl that is let down and used by everyone she trusts. However she doesn’t see it that way. When she runs into Gomame years later he apologies to her for selling her to the yakuza, but she says it’s OK. She’s doing fine and whatever has happened to her didn’t really matter.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

Mega Shark vs. Gigant Octupus

The Asylum, Giant Seafood, USA, 2009
AKA:
Director: Jack Perez
Writer: Jack Perez
Cast: Debbie Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao, Jonathan Nation, Mark Hengst, Michael Teh, Chris Haley, Sean Lawlor, Dustin Harnish, Dean Kreyling, Stephen Blackehart, Dana DiMatteo, Myles Cranford, Dana Healey, John Bolen, Larry Wang Parrish, Aki Hiro, Russ Kingston, Stephanie Gernhauser, Cooper Harris, Matt Lagan, Douglas N. Hachiya, Hunter Ives, Johnny Gilligan, Michael Allendorf, Colin Broussard, Mikos Zavros, Elijah Flores, Daniel Schachtel, Nathan Sikes, David Meador, Jay Beyers, Michael C. Parisi, Michael Drummond, Molly Drummond, Emily Lavigna, Michelle Hodnett, Silje Gruner, Joey Ruggles, Knayi Clement, Brandon Plemons, Conrad Lihilihi, Rebecca Helm, Chan Park, Chuck Willis, Craig Childress, Jay Cynik, Andrew Hamilton, Artem Shatokhin, Jason Covington, Alan Michael Woods, Angela Guerrero, James Rolls, Julia Torchine, Sharon Stockbridge, David William James Elliott, S. Henderson, Sergio Kato, Jack Perez, Dana Tomasko

Oceanographer Emma McNeil is in a experimental minisub off the Alaskan coast in an unsanctioned dive looking for whales. She didn’t technically steal the sub but she borrowed it without asking. She finds a big herd of whales but something happens. The whales seem to be disturbed by something and several of them seem to lose their ability to navigate, making them crash into an iceberg. There is some sort of secret testing of a LFAS (low frequency automatic sonar) going on and nobody was supposed to be in the area. The LFAS affects the subs instruments too, and Emma has a hard time trying to steer it in the middle of a stampede of whales. The iceberg cracks and two enormous shapes seem to leave after geting loose from being trapped in the ice.

In California a big whale carcass has been washed ashore and Emma is called there together with her boss to determine what has killed the whale. The beach is sealed off by “suits”. Emma want to examine the whale to see what caused it’s death, but her boss decides the wounds to be caused by a propeller. Emma sneaks back to the beach later that night and find something big and strange embedded in the whale’s flesh. The next day she is fired from her job over “borrowing” the experimental sub and causing severe damages to it. She contacts her old professor, Sanders, and he is sympathetic, since he once got fired from the navy for stealing a sub himself. After some research and some tests they determine the object Emma found in the whale to be a tooth. A humongous prehistoric tooth from a Megalodon.

Meanwhile an oilrig off the coast of Japan is destroyed. Authorities blame seismic activity, but the sole survivor claims it was a monster from the sea. Oceanographer Seiji Shimada is investigating the event and somehow he and Sanders gets in contact. Shimada travel to the US to meet Sanders and Emma. He is impressed by the Megalodon tooth, but a giant shark doesn’t fit in with what his witness from the oilrig described. Emma gets a DVD delivered with footage from the minisub’s cameras. Now they can see both a megalodon and a giant octopus leaving the iceberg. The shark and the octopus were both frozen in the ice and now there are two different prehistoric beasts out there.

All of a sudden armed men tear down Sanders’ door and haul the tre scientists off at gun point. They are taken to a secret facility where they learn that the two monsters have attacked both civilian and military vessels all over the world, taking down oil rigs and even airplanes. The navy has tried in vain to kill them but now they need help from Emma, Sanders and Shimada. The three agree to help, in exchange for the government trying to capture the creatures for study rather than destroy them.

Emma. Sanders and Shimoda works around the clock with mixing different colors in the secret lab. You know it’s a military laboratory since it’s patrolled by armed guards wearing camouflage and dark sunglasses indoors in the middle of the night. Emma and Shimada sneaks off and have sex in a broom cupboard and then at last, they find the exact color they need. It’s time to go fishing.

So how bad is it? Well, the title for one thing is not so bad. Apart from that it’s pretty bad. Unfortunately not in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way, but just plain bad. The CGI sucks and the script is dull. It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen (or even among the very worst), since it was still watchable. I’d say the big problem is it was boring. If You like the idea of two giant sea monsters coming alive and continuing a fight they started 10 (or 18, depending on who You believe in) billion years ago, of a shark jumping up in the air and snatching 747’s, of a giant octopus breaking warships in half and demolishing oil rigs, watch the trailer. All the cool stuff from the film is already there. The rest is just filling.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.