Director: Marcel Sarmiento & Gadi Harel (2009)
A sweet romance about a couple of boys who find a zombie strapped to a table in a basement. Like Twilight, except from a lad’s perspective. The boys then proceed to rape their zombie from every possible angle. Because, as we all know, when girls meet a fantastical creature they fall in love and bat their eyelashes a lot. Boys, however, will apparently rape anything in sight. Even the seemingly nice ones. Lesson learned: men is bastards.
Deadgirl is one of those movies that gives horror (and, by implication, its fans) a bad name. It presents a nihilist vision of both maledom and the world as a whole, suggesting that men are, as a sex, incapable of keeping our cock sheathed, even if the lady says no. I resent that. I was sixteen once, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t go around raping zombies. Even the ones that were really, really hot and naked and strapped to a table. Maybe I’m a naïve optimist (I’m not) but I don’t think many blokes would find the vision of strapped-down zombie flesh particularly inviting. Sure, our hero (Fernandez) is reluctant to follow his friend’s (Segan) rapey ways, but loyalty can only take you so far - and he takes far too long to decide to do anything about it. Jeez, the dirty bastard’s raping a zombie. I think that pretty much exceeds the limit of loyalty, and then some.
It’s a good concept, but one that’s gone all cack-handed and is a little too nihilistic in its view of the male gender. To even have one character show a little proper revulsion wouldn’t have been so hard, would it? On a particularly sour note: the way it's been marketed as a "coming of age" movie. The tagline? 'You Never Forget your First Time'. Especially not if your first time's with the zombie you raped. It's a universal thing. 'Every generation has its story about the horror of
With all that distaste in mind, Deadgirl still manages to be compelling viewing, so I suppose it’s mostly intentional stuff. The acting is fine enough, and the direction is darn good. If only the script hadn’t spoiled by the man-hating agenda. The characterisation is sloppy and one-note, whilst the story is filled with too many unbelievable actions. It's supposed to be a moral dilemma, but it just doesn't work. Even worse, it's an apparently unclear message; so open to interpretation that idiots on youtube will very easily confuse the people who watch Deadgirl with the people in it.
Well done, Deadgirl. Now I'm never gonna get a girlfriend because I watched you. But wait... this is a bad review... so surely that statement doesn't apply to me...
As a result of the characters' unholy arseholeyness, the best parts of the movie are the ones in which Deadgirl's various bastards get their comeuppances. Behold, much penis munching (and not the good kind), gore and violence. And a particularly funny scene in which the lads try and kidnap themselves a new victim (a lot funnier than it sounds).
Do excuse me. Deadgirl seems to have awakened my inner Germaine Greer. It's a competent, well-made movie that rightfully (I suppose) gained itself a fair bit of controversy last year. It's no game-changer, and it certainly isn't as good as the hype suggests. Who is the audience supposed to be for this, anyway? Judging by the sexy poster and the lingering shots of nuddy Deadgirl, its target audience is the one Deadgirl is supposed to be critiquing. It's a self-perpetuating cycle that will further damage the reputation of horror fans and probably lead to me being put on a register of some sort, simply for having ever rented this movie. Silly, silly, silly men and our inability to resist raping zombies.
Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer is infamous amongst lovers of extreme cinema. Even the cut version (the only one available here in the UK) is pretty nasty stuff. It’s deliriously perverse and cruel, filled with as much intense, sexualised violence as one might expect from a Miike movie. But with works such as this – particularly where an auteur like Miike is involved – it’s easy to forget its inspiration. And in Ichi's case, Hideo Yamamoto's Manga deserves every bit as much credit as Miike’s seminal adaptation. Maybe even a little more credit on the nastiness front, simply because it has this:
Yes, that's a picture of exactly what you think it's a picture of.
It’s a fun little read, even if it does meander a bit much. The game of cat-and-mouse between Ichi and Kakihara is the movie and the manga’s strongest point, but eleven-odd books is taking it a bit far. It goes up to where the movie finishes, and then there’s a whole bunch of extra chapters on top of that. Miike streamlines the book, which is very much a good thing. It takes one character ten (and counting) pages to fall off a building. It takes so long for him to fall that a line of dialogue even reads “falling”.
With the movie, Miike has kept all the good stuff and got rid of much of the filler, making it more cinematic and streamlined. While Ichi throwing his shoes at a nekkid Kakihara is amusing in the books, it hardly makes for thrilling cinema. All the elements are there, but Mister Miike has amped things up by several notches and got rid of a number of pointless dialogue scenes. Still intact: every bit of gruesome violence you remember from the flick, and then some.
Director: Jamie Blanks (2001)
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US
My Bloody Valentine is probably the most obvious candidate. Last year’s one has already been reviewed here, but rest assured that the original version is up for review soon. For now (because it’s not Valentines’ Day just yet. We don’t wanna waste the main attraction) how about the shitty 2001 slasher flick starring David Boreanaz?
Director Jamie Blanks is most famous for the quite-similar Urban Legend, which should clue you in on how good Valentine isn’t. Actually, it’s not as good as Urban Legend, which should also clue you in on how good Valentine isn’t. It stars Angel from off’ve Buffy, although he looks utterly bored throughout (and, reportedly, spent as little time as he could filming the thing). Denise Richards and Lady Knocked Up from off’ve Knocked Up show up to no memorable effect.
Alumni from the Megan Fox school of acting show how it's done in Vacant Expressions of Vague Unease: The Movie.
Our killer’s vendetta starts in the 80s’. It’s the Valentines’ Day dance, and poor schmuck Jeremy just can’t seem to get a date. Rejected by all the hot girls in his school, he has little option but to make out with the class fatty. To add insult to injury, fatty claims that Jeremy assaulted her, and has him beaten up. As motives go, Jeremy’s is pretty pathetic, but hey, guys tend not to forget that sort of thing. Years later: a loon in a Cupid mask is stalking the girls, murdering them up one-by-one. But surely the movie wouldn’t be so dumb as to have the most obvious candidate end up being the killer…. Right?
If you like bloodless Scream rip-offs, you might just be able to tolerate Valentine. At least it’s forgettable enough to not really matter in the long term. Valentine is the equivalent of the sympathy Valentines’ card that your mother or your fucking cat sends every year. And all this seasonal-movie nonsense just raises a much bigger, far more important question: where the fuck is my Pancake Day horror movie?!?
We’re in nineteenth century Japan. American journalist Christopher (Drago) is touring the country’s brothels in search of his love, Komomo; who he hopes to buy back from her dwarfo syphilitic pimp. But alas, the course of true love never did run smooth – she’s dead.
He’s told this by a disabled-faced unnamed hooker (Kudoh), who plies him with Sake and begins telling him her life story. This being a Miike film – think of it as his version of Memoirs of a Geisha - things inevitably get a lot more disturbing. By the time we get to the Japanese rope bondage and the forcing of bamboo down fingernails, things are already horrible enough. But Miike’s nowhere near done. Oh look, rape. Oooh, lovely, dead foetuses. Some of the imagery Miike delivers is as beautifully haunting as it is horrible. Well, mostly horrible. Whoever made that episode about the stupid fucking ice cream clown should be ashamed – Miike proves himself a master of horror in the truest sense. Some of the scenes in Imprint easily equal his own Audition and Ichi the Killer in terms of cringe-inducing nastiness, whilst there's a bit of Gozu style surrealism to his island of "demons and whores" too. Most of the other Masters of Horror episodes could have been directed by anyone; even Dario Argento's sublime Jenifer wasn't particularly recognizeable as an Argento flick in of itself (and the less said about Tobe Hooper's Dance of the Dead the better). Imprint, however, is a Takashi Miike film through and through. Those familiar with Miike's work will be somewhat unsurprised by the extremes to which the film travels. Everyone else will be shocked, traumatised, sickened and [insert other such outraged emotions].
Sadly, there are a few things that let Imprint down. Most notably, the decision to have all the dialogue spoken in English. It’s understandable for the scenes with Drago, but for the most part, it seems like a silly and commercial idea. And, even worse, the Japanese actresses suck at English. It sounds quite comical where it shouldn't, and really takes you out of the story. Billy Drago's performance is by turns wooden and overly melodramatic (if such a combination is possible) but not completely terrible. Still, it's an impressive achievment that Imprint got made at all, especially when you consider that the director doesn't speak English. Other niggles: the final reveal is perhaps a bit stupid; some of the CGI and practical effects suck - the syphilitic dwarf's nose looks distractingly rubbish.
In association with women in horror month, and a follow up to my Top 10 villainesses list.
Dishonourable mention: Mary-Sue Swan (Kristen Stewart; Twi-shite/New Moan) Surprise surprise, Bella fucking Swan isn't on this list or even anywhere near it.
10. Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan; Planet Terror) - Okay, so the machine gun leg might be a bit of a rip off of Ash's chainsaw hand, but I'm still a big fan of Rose McGowan's brand of one-legged awesomeness. While we're on the whole Grindhouse thing, Tarantino's Death Proof girls deserve a mention too; if only for achieving the rather admirable feat* of making Kurt Russell cry like a baby girl.