Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I. Presage Flower (2017) Dir: Tomonori Sudo [Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2019]

The traditional Halloween movie review is back and I wanted to try something different with an action anime I had seen at the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival earlier this month.

Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I. Presage Flower   gekijouban fate stay night heaven's feel ii lost butterfly film poster

劇場版 Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower Gekijouban Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I. lost butterfly

Duration: 120 mins.

Release Date: October 14th, 2017

Director: Tomonori Sudo

Writer: Akira Hiyama (Screenplay), Kinoko Nasu, TYPE-MOON (Original Creator),

Starring: Ayako Kawasumi (Saber), Noriaki Sugiyama (Shirou Emiya), Jouji Nakata (Kirei Kotomine), Noriko Shitaya (Sakura Matou), Kana Ueda (Rin Toosaka), Mai Kadowaki (Illyasviel von Einzbern),

Animation Production: ufotable

ANN MAL Website

Fate/Stay Night is a venerable series for those who know of it. Originally starting in 2004 as a visual novel from indie video game company Type-Moon, it is an operatic story where the protagonist can join three heroines offering different routes to the finish – Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, Heaven’s Feel. What was an underground game won hardcore fans and became esoteric with every addition to the franchise over the years. This includes the many anime adaptations courtesy of animation production powerhouse ufotable (Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack). Close collaborators of Type-Moon, they have attempted to try and be faithful to the game’s story and pack in everything into a short running time. Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I. Presage Flower is a fateful adaptation that takes on the same-titled, lesser-explored route.

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The Snow Woman 怪談雪女郎 Tokuzo Tanaka (1968)

The traditional Halloween movie review is back and there’s a continuation from last year as we look at another film incarnation of the legendary Yuki Onna, only this time it’s from an older interpretation of the film.

The Snow Woman   Yuki Onna 1968 Film Poster

怪談雪女郎 「Kaidan yukijorô

Running Time: 79 mins.

Release Date: April 20th, 1968

Director:  Tokuzo Tanaka

Writer: Fuji Yahiro (Screenplay), Lafcadio Hearn (Novel)

Starring: Shiho Fujimura, Akira Ishihama, Machiko Hasegawa, Tatsuo Hanabu, Sen Hara, Yoshiro Kitahara,

IMDB

Yuki Onna has been a famous legend around Japan for centuries and has become a part of Japanese popular culture thanks to seminal works such as Lafcadio Hearn’s collection of folk-tales, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904), a book which went on to inspire Masaki Kobayashi’s omnibus horror film Kwaidan (1965).  Yuki Onna has had many film incarnations, some of which focus on her monstrousness while others look at her humanity and relation to nature like Kiki Sugino’s 2016 film of the same name. Here we get the mysterious and somewhat scary take as well as a rumination on the supernatural world and its relation on the world of people.

Long ago, on the border between Mino and Hida, where there is much snow, there circulated among the people who lived there, the legend of Yuki Onna…”

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The Conjuring

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The Conjuring                                                The Conjuring Film Poster

UK Release Date: August 02nd, 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: James Wan

Writer: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lilie Taylor, Ron Livingston, Joey King, Stanley Casewell, Hayley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Sterling Jerins,

Apparently, just like Amityville Horror, this is based on a true story about a real life Perron family who endured the haunting until the Warrens, a real life paranormal investigators intervened which I guess makes it even more scary because this stuff actually happened. Really? Whatever the case, The Conjuring is a pretty interesting choice of title. Conjuring is a word that may make one think of summoning demons or of magicians fooling audiences into believing in magic with sleights of hand. A curse and ghosts are conjured up but the performance aspect of the word is pretty apt here since Wan tells the story with grotesque glee proving that he is one of the best modern horror directors working.

The Conjuring The Warrens (Wilson and Farmiga)

Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) Warren are paranormal investigators based in New England. In the basement of their house in Monroe Connecticut they keep cursed objects like samurai armour and a haunted doll named Annabelle locked up. Over the course of their career they have investigated many different cases and gained much arcade knowledge but after a traumatic exorcism that leaves Lorraine debilitated they shelve their careers in favour of academic tours and raising their daughter.

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Insidious Chapter 2

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Insidious Chapter 2                                               Insidious 2 Film Poster

UK Release Date: September 13th, 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 105 mins.

Director: James Wan

Writer: Leigh Wannell, James Wan

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Leigh Whannell, Andrew Astor, Angus Sampson, Jocelin Donahue, Danielle Bisutti, Lindsay Seim, Steve Coulter

1986, psychic mediums Carl (Coulter) and Elise Reiner (Seim) are helping Lorrain Lambert’s (Donahue) son Josh suppress his astral projection abilities to keep him safe from the evil spirit of a woman in white who stalks him…

 Insidious 2 A Young and Haunted Josh Lambert

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You’re Next

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You’re Next  You're Next Film Poster

UK Release Date: August 28th, 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett

Starring: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Barbara Crampton, Rob Moran, Simon Barret, Lane Hughes, L.C. Holt, Margaret Laney, Larry Fessenden, Kate Lyn Sheil

“It should be interesting. You’ll see.”

The film opens on a student (Lyn Sheil) and her older professor (Fessenden) having sex. The professor rolls off the girl and heads to the shower while the girl, evidently unsatisfied, heads over to the stereo and plays the song “Looking for the Magic.” She peers into the garden seeming to sense that someone is observing her…

The song is on repeat for a while but the professor doesn’t twig that something is wrong. He heads out to the kitchen where he sees the girl’s blood is used to write “You’re Next” on a glass door and then sees her mutilated body before he is killed by a man wearing a Lamb Mask (Holt). 

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Bedevilled

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Bedevilled                                                                       Bedevilled Poster

Release Date: 02nd September 2010 (South Korea)

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Jang Cheol-Su

Writer: Choi Kwan-Young

Starring: Seo Young-Hee, Ji Sung-Won, Park Jung-Hak, Baek Su-Ryeon, Lee Ji-Eun, Je-Min, Bae Sung-Woo, Jo Duk-Je

When I picked up Bedevilled I expected a slasher film. The cover has a blood-spattered glowering young woman holding a scythe in a forest. What I got was a horror film but one similar to Eden Lake and Straw Dogs. People pushed to the brink and forced into savagery.  

Hye-Won (Ji Sung-Won) lives and works in Seoul. She is a cold and focussed individual and these character traits lead her into a fight with a co-worker. As a result of this her boss tells her to take a vacation. Stumped for ideas Hye-Won eventually goes to Moo-do island, a place where her grandfather lived and a place where she made friends with an island girl named Kim Bok-Nam. When Hye-Won arrives, Kim Bok-Nam (Seo Young-Hee) is overjoyed to see her. It is clear the locals are behind the times. Rather worryingly Kim Bok-Nam is treated like a serf by them but this mistreatment will have disastrous consequences for all involved.

Kim Bok-Nam (Seo Young-Hee) in BedevilledWhen I was watching Bedevilled I felt the spectre of Kim Ki-Duk emerge on screen. He and the director of Bedevilled, Jang Cheol-Su, share concrete connections since Jang Cheol-Su was assistant-director on Kim Ki-Duk’s films Samaritan Girl and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…  and Spring. Critics have accused Kim Ki-Duk in displaying misogyny in his films, especially Bad Guy and Samaritan Girl with their mix of sex and violence. What about Bedevilled?

Kim Ki-Duk’s influence is seen in the subject matter in Bedevilled as it features many, many uncomfortable moments of sexual abuse, violence, and hatred, a lot of it directed at women. However unlike Kim Ki-Duk’s films where I get the impression that the director is putting his mental anguish on the screen, Bedevilled is addressing issues and the cumulative effect of the action builds up to a bitter diatribe against misogyny and gender roles while offering a warning to women about how self-preservation risks making victims of others.

There are many moments when women are subjected to violence. The violence is graphic and brutal. That is bad in itself but what is worse is the sense that the violence is culturally accepted or at least easily ignored for many of the characters.

You’re an adult you should take care of yourself

Hye-Won (Ji Sung-Won) at Work in Bedevilled

The first character we are introduced to is Hye-Won. We do not see her for a while and instead we see the world of from her perspective as she is driving her car. The opening of the film takes place in night time Seoul and amidst the bright lights and bumper-to-bumper traffic. We witness two men being physically aggressive to a Street Scene in Seoul in Bedevilledwoman. The camera breaks off for a long shot as we see the woman pushed, prodded, and punched while passers-by try to avoid her. The camera cuts back to Hye-Won’s perspective as the woman leans into the open passenger side window begging for refuge. Hye-Won hears her pleas for help and rolls up the window leaving the woman to face the men abusing her.

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Revenge: A Love Story UK DVD Release

Terracotta’s horror imprint, Terror-Cotta is following up Death Bell with Wong Ching Po’s  Revenge: A Love Story.

Revenge: A Love Story Terror-Cotta DVD Case

DVD release of ‘REVENGE: A LOVE STORY’ (CERT 18) on 9th January 2012

A film by Wong Ching Po

Extras:

·         Making Of,

·         Director Interview,

·         Producer Interview,

·         Trailers,

·         “What is Terracotta Festival?” Featurette.

This Hong Kong thriller is a dark and bloody serial killer film telling the killer’s side of the story. It has garnered some excellent reviews . Check the trailer to see more!

 

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Death Bell

“You will be taking another test. If you don’t answer students will die one by one. You must solve all questions.”

Death Bell Puzzle Solving Banner Death Bell InformationDeath Bell, the first release from Terracotta’s new horror imprint Terror-Cotta, is a mash-up of The Whispering Corridors, Battle Royale and Saw with nods to Carrie and Scream. The final result is a film that fails to synthesise any original or shocking horror but remains largely enjoyable due to strong visuals and performances.

A group of students at an elite high school, preparing for mid-term exams (goas) are held captive and forced into a series of sadistic games. The students find themselves plunged into a deadly test where they are picked off one by one and held in impenetrable traps where they must rely on the amazing intellects of their classmates to be released, every time a question is answered incorrectly, a classmate meets their torturous, grizzly death. When it emerges that the students are being picked off according to a pattern, pupil Kang Yi-na (Nam Gyu-Ri) discovers how much time she has to stay alive, and solve the puzzles to unmask their vicious killer, before the Death Bell rings for her.

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Cure キュア (1997)

Cure the Power of Suggestion

Cure Basic InformationI dislike serial killer films and the few I do find watchable are pretentious (Seven) or have great pantomime performances (Silence of the Lambs). Cure is the first I love. It is because of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s interest and deployment of urban decay and malaise, and most importantly the supernatural and psychological.

Detective Takabe (Koji Yakusho) and psychiatrist Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) are called to a crime-scene where a man named Kuwano has murdered a prostitute by slicing her open with a knife from throat to chest, carving a large cross and severing the carotid arteries. The police think that Kuwano has fled but Takabe finds him hiding nearby. The crime is one of three similar cases in two months where the culprits have no motive, are unrelated and are totally rational, hiding nearby and shell-shocked. Takabe is troubled at the emergence of a trend. Cut to Shirasoto Beach in Chiba where a teacher encounters a guy in the trench coat (Masato Hagiwara) who asks, “Do you know who I am?” He seems to have amnesia so the teacher takes the drifter home to alert the authorities and discovers Mamiya written on the drifter’s coat. Mamiya insists that the authorities shouldn’t be alerted and produces a lighter and starts asking the teacher the same questions over and over, “Who are you?”, “What do you do?” trying to pin down psychology. While this is happening Takabe is at home taking care of his wife who is mentally ill. The next morning Takabe interrogates the teacher who has murdered his wife. Takabe senses that there is a supernatural element, possibly hypnosis but Sakuma refuses to budge from his conventional theories until they encounter Mamiya themselves and realise he is connected with each of the killings. Takabe, increasingly distressed and angry with the crimes and having to take care of his wife struggles to get his theory of hypnosis accepted but while he is digging around in Mamiya’s past he discovers chilling evidence stretching back further in time than he could ever have imagined.

Gripping Viewing in Cure Continue reading “Cure キュア (1997)”

Dead Waves 死霊波 (2005)

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Dead Waves Basic InformationWith a title like that I was expecting spooks on the high seas but this is about ghosts spreading their malign influence over the airwaves. It doesn’t quite make the grade as horror and ultimately feels like another average low-budget digitally shot film meant to cash in on the Ringu phenomena where ghosts use technology to get us.

At a TV network board meeting, Hiroshi Usui (Toshihiro Wada) is asked to boost ratings for his show ‘Akie Doma’s Exorcism’. The show draws people who love the supernatural as well as the mentally disturbed. It also draws the ire of a psychiatrist named Kawamura (Meikyo Yamada) who accuses Usui of exploiting the mentally unbalanced. Usui visits the house of an overzealous fan named Tsuyoshi Nagao (Masaki Miura) who lives with his sister Runa (Shihori Kanjiya) who he believes is possessed. Despite Runa’s protestations that the ghosts will be angry with an exorcism, Tsuyoshi and Usui make a deal allowing the filming of Runa’s exorcism.  Akie Doma (Asuka Kurosawa) performs the exorcism. Strangely it is Tsuyoshi who has a violent physical reaction whilst Runa’s gaze is locked on something invisible that she apologises to. Later Usui is approached by Kawamura who reveals the phenomena of “Dead Waves”, radio waves that harbour vengeful spirits who use TV broadcasts to draw people into the world of death. Despite scepticism, Hiroshi is uneasy because he discovers disturbing information surrounding the Nagao’s and a revelation about his ex-girlfriend. The show with the Nagao’s is due to broadcast soon, could Dead Waves exist? Are the Nagao’s cursed by ghosts or is there something more mundane but just as deadly.

Dead Waves Runa's Exorcism with Akie Doma

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