Thursday, April 7, 2011

Short Movie Reviews: All Horror Edition

RoboGeisha is another comedy/horror/sci-fi mash-up from Japan. This time we have an evil corporation bent on world domination through the use of Geisha fem-bot assassins. Seems reasonable enough. Problem is, one of the girls they transform decides she doesn't like what is going on and turns against her captors. This one is very tongue-in-cheek, and makes fun of the genre, while fulfilling every aspect to be part of it. I think I actually liked this more than Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, but they are very close. This one is like an insane, racy, Sid & Marty Krofft version of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and I am all for that. Streams on Netfix.

Verdict: If you only see one film about cyborg Geisha assassins, make it RoboGeisha.

After.Life is a really awesome, creepy thriller starring Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci. Ricci is killed in a car accident and finds herself at a funeral home where the director, Neeson, can speak to the dead. Or can he? Is Ricci really dead? Is he some kind of serial killer? They do an excellent job of keeping you guessing. That "I'm a Mac" guy is in it, but fortunately not too much. Torontonians will recognize Casa Loma as the house used as the funeral home. This one streams on Netflix.

Verdict: Well worth your time. Interesting and classically creepy.

Santa Sangre is a bizarre, wonderful, surreal horror love story. It is the story of a young boy, raised in the circus, whose father is the womanizing ring-master and mother is a religious nut-job devoted to an heretical saint. He finds himself in an insane asylum, only to escape and have his old life rush back at him. It is a smartly made film, that is exciting, and funny at times. It reminds me, in certain ways, of Dead Ringers... don't ask how, it is just a feeling. Streams on Netflix from an awesome Severin Films transfer. Recommended by NGoN Darla Crane.

Verdict: Wow. It is very good, if you like the weird stuff.

Kinky Killers (aka Polycarp) is a nicely shot and directed B-Movie with some script problems; mostly where the dialogue is concerned. The story is interesting. It revolves around several murders, the victims of which can be traced to a psychiatrist who has some controversial methods. As a thriller, it is nicely done. It was not easy for me to figure out early on who was the killer. Stars Michael Paré (Eddie & the Cruisers) who gets some awfully clunky dialogue, but is effective. Also features acting legend Charles Durning (Dog Day Afternoon) and Scream Queen Brooke Lewis (iMurders). Streams on Netflix.

Verdict: Interesting. Not great, but a nice effort. B-Movie fans will appreciate its heart.

Onibaba is a story of feudal Japan, wracked by war. There is a schism in the empire and all the men have been taken off to fight. A dead man, Kichi, is survived by his mother and wife, who make their living by murdering samurai and selling their armaments. When a neighbor, Hachi, returns to let them know Kichi is dead the wife becomes enamored by him. The mother is jealous and wants the relationship to end. When a lone samurai general arrives, and the mother kills him, she hatches a plot to finally put an end to the relationship. This is a supernatural thriller that relies on character development. Streams on Netflix.

Verdict: Very interesting, and well worth checking out. Like all Criterion films, it is subtitled.

Samurai Princess is a sci-fi horror splatterfest. It is the story of a mecha that has the souls of eleven girls who were attacked and killed in inside it, who is out for revenge. The story is ok. The mecha meets up with another partial-mecha, and some mecha hunters (in a semi Blade Runner fashion, mechas are illegal). The hunters join her to defeat the bigger threat; the mad scientist responsible for them all. It is full of bloody fountains and rubber organs, plus some video game style imagery. Streams on Netflix.

Verdict: Meh. I have seen worse, but definitely seen better of the Japanese gross-out genre.


Vulnavia Morbius said...

It's worth noting that Criterion titles will not be streaming on Netflix for very much longer. Criterion inked a deal with Hulu and is slowly pulling their titles from Netflix Instant. So get em while you can.

Onibaba is, unaccountably, my very favorite Japanese movie. It's what you would get if you crossed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with I Walked with a Zombie.

Darius Whiteplume said...

It sucks that the streaming companies are going to start splitting up content. I am sure we'll see more of that in the future.

I liked Onibaba, though it took a little while to get into it. Once the samurai general arrived it was "game on!" :-)

Brooke Lewis said...


Thank you for reviewing Kinky Killers and a special thanks for your kind mention!

Love & Horror,

Brooke Lewis

Darius Whiteplume said...

Not a problem. Thanks for checking out my little corner of the web :-D

Ty said...

Great site you have here! Happy i found it! Kinky Killers looked interesting. Will have to watch it.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Thanks Ty. I liked iMurders better, which also has Brooke Lewis. I did still like Kinky Killers, even though Brooke says it has some problems. :-)

Ty said...

Still have to check out iMurders. That has a great cast in it.

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