Terror-Cotta to Release “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” AKA “The Japanese Evil Dead” on April 24th

It looks like over-the-top splatter fun and it lasts 62 minutes so the balance sounds about right when compared to the overly-long and incredibly gory splatter-fests released by Sushi-Typhoon (some of which I reviewed during a Summer of Splatter – that burnt me out in terms of Japanese horror films…).

Reviews for this one from horror aficionados such as Ken Wynne over at Attack from Planet B, are glowing:

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell meshes the SFX style of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s cult horror Hausu (1977) with the comedy and splatter associated with Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead series.”

It’s well worth reading the rest of the review not least because it has more information on the director who runs his own movie site. Terror-cotta are really getting behind this one by including a lot of interesting extras such as two “behind-the-scenes” clips and a step-by-step look at the work of Graham Humphreys did in making the cover for this. He is a legendary horror movie poster/VHS cover illustrator (THE EVIL DEAD, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) and his work here hits the mark. There are also the original Japanese trailers, an extensive behind-the-scenes photo gallery and two ‘making of’ video clips.

The film will be released on April 24th and this will be the first time it is available on DVD with English subtitles.

Continue reading “Terror-Cotta to Release “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” AKA “The Japanese Evil Dead” on April 24th”

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Logo

The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival was revealed last week ahead of its run at The Institute of Contemporary Art and The Prince Charles Cinema in London between May 23rd and June 01st. I then wrote a preview for it at Anime UK News and now I’ve put together another, expanded view on the festival.

This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it still remains the best place to see a wide variety of releases from East Asian cinema. There are a number of different strands to the festival such as Current Asian Cinema where the latest titles from territories like Japan and Hong Kong are played. The Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter makes a welcome return with some great looking titles mixing ghosts and serial killers. The Spotlight On section uncovers the hottest titles that remain undiscovered. Last year’s festival saw Indonesia as the focus, this year the Philippines takes centre stage with six films released within the last year getting screened. The festival is made opens on May 23rd at The Institute of Contemporary Arts with the Spotlight On: Philippines. The festival will then move to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the festival will screen films from The Current Asian Cinema and Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter sections.

Enough of the intro, the next part has the films, dates and times. Click on the title to get taken to the festival page.

Continue reading “Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview”

5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

Genki Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013 Banner Header

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth edition of the annual Terracotta Far East Film Festival. Due to Japanese language studies this post is about two weeks late but there is still time to order tickets.

The festival this year looks genuinely impressive with many UK premieres and a selection of films that cover a wide variety of genres and countries. There is strength and depth in this selection and it is heartening to see that the UK is getting to see these films.

For my part I have got four tickets thanks to fellow blogger Alua. I’m pretty hyped up at the prospect of seeing three Japanese films (A Story of Yonosuke, See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Land of Hope) and one Korean one (The Berlin File). Without further ado here is a word from the organisers followed by the line-up with some comments on the films I am familiar with and a preview of the Japanese films I will watch. Click on the titles to head over to the festival site for more information on the film and to order tickets!

5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

Over the years the festival has seen the event go from strength to strength. This year is set to be the biggest yet, expanding to 27 films spread over 4 sections and 2 venues from 06 – 15 June 2013.

The core of the festival will remain a hand-picked selection of the best CURRENT ASIAN CINEMA at The Prince Charles Cinema. This all UK Premiere section reflects the vibrancy and energy in Asian filmmaking today. Ranging from realist dramas to romance, light comedies to spy action thrillers, swordfighting epics to gothic fairytales, the festival aims to balance the representation of Asian countries.

Terracotta Festival 2013 (TFEFF13) will open with Hong Kong action COLD WAR on Thursday 06 June 2013. 

This year’s edition will also see a return to last year’s Terror Cotta Horror night on Friday 07 June in association with Film 4 Frightfest. The triple bill has now extended to an all-night horror marathon.

The organisers also have added the “IN MEMORY OF” section to mark the tenth anniversary of two of Hong Kong’s best loved and most missed stars: Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui.

Terracotta Festival 2013 will close out at the ICA with “SPOTLIGHT ON: Indonesia”.  11 – 15 June will be an entire week dedicated to Indonesian cinema, from the country’s freshest emerging talent alongside work by established filmmakers. This new section will bring rare insight into one of Asia’s rising film powerhouses.

 

Terracotta Far East Film Festival full Programme:
IN MEMORY OF: Leslie Cheung & Anita Mui 

Both Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui were wonderful actors, two of the biggest stars in HK cinema, and they both died untimely deaths. It is pleasing to see that they will be remembered with this retrospective.

DAYS OF BEING WILD Dir: Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong – Wed 29 May 2013, 20:45

1994/ Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles/ 94 mins/ starring Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai

Days of Being Wild was one of Wong Kar Wai’s (WKW) earliest films and it contains all of WKW’s familiar from gorgeous cinematography to characters going trough deep existential self-questioning in a story about a man searching for his birth mother. It stars a whole gamut of HK stars.

ROUGE Dir: Stanley Kwan, Hong Kong – Thurs 06 June 2013, 17:50

1988/ Cantonese with English subtitles/ 96 mins/ starring Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung

Stanley Kwan’s film is described as Part Romeo & Juliet, part ghost story, an outstanding and timeless classic. It stars both Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung.

HAPPY TOGETHER Dir: Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong – Fri 07 June 2013, 12:30

1997/ Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles/ 96 mins/ starring Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chen Chang

I really like this film. I have watched it numerous times and I just love (and own) the soundtrack which is inspired by its Argentinian setting and don’t get me started about the ending.

 

The film follows the story of a gay love triangle slowly fragmenting and dislocating amidst the beautiful city of Buenos Aires.

CURRENT ASIAN CINEMA 

COLD WAR by Sunny Luk, Longman Leung, Hong Kong – Opening Film Thurs 06 June 2013, 19:50

UK Premiere/ 2012/ Cantonese with English subtitles/ 102 mins/ starring Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Andy Lau

This is a police thriller which reminds me a lot of Infernal Affairs and it looks to have similar impressive production values. It won big at the recent Hong Kong Film awards and UK film fans get to see it on the big screen with its premiere at the festival.

When police deal with a sophisticated hijacking of a police van they are outwitted at every turn and all the while the guys leading the police investigation are battling each other for positions of power in a tale of police corruption and politics.

Continue reading “5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP”

GYO: TOKYO FISH ATTACK Trailer and Release Date

Despite delays Gyo is about to be released and the lovely folks at the Terror-cotta label (the guys who gave us Revenge: A Love Story, and Death Bell) have sent me the UK trailer for the anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s weird fiction adventure Gyo. The release date is the 03rd of September.  Here are the rest of the details and the trailer:

GYO: TOKYO FISH ATTACK

Giant, killer fish attack Tokyo!

Release Date: 03rd September 2012

Synopsis

The story centres around Kaori who is visiting Okinawa and its beautiful beaches with friends when she find herself caught in the middle of a land invasion by bizarre and aggressive fish which scuttle on land with sharp metal legs. Things are about to get much worse for Kaori as she finds that the deadly fish are spreading from the island.

Fish Attack Salary Man in Gyo

Technical Specifications
Special features:
Interview with Manga master Junji Ito

Horror, 2012
Certificate 15
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese with English subtitles.
Running time: 71 min

I pretty much loved what I saw.  The action was exciting and the visceral reaction I had to the body horror showed me how involved I was in the film and how good the artistry is. I felt it was a good adaptation of a tricky source and I scored it pretty high. Gyo is out tomorrow on DVD and it can also be seen on the big screen at Scotland Loves Anime.

Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End

Genkina hito Desire to Kill Pictures Review Banner

Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End     Desire to Kill DVD Case

Korean Release Date: 26th of August, 2010

UK DVD Release Date: 20th August 2012 (Terror-cotta)

Running Time: 91 mins.

Directors: Owen Cho, Kim Sang-Hwa

Writers: Owen Cho, Kim Sang-Hwa

Starring: Cheon Ho-Jin, Yu Hae-Jin, Seo Hyo-Lim, Kim Seo-Hyung, Ra Mi-Ran, Ahn Eun-Jung, Lee Jeong-Heon,

Desire to Kill is the debut feature by Owen Cho and Kim Sang-Hwa but you would never know it because this thriller is so well put together with such flair and smart writing it makes many other films from more experienced directors look creatively barren.

After the death of his wife, Kim Min-Ho (Cheon Ho-Jin) repeatedly tries to commit suicide. His efforts leave him in hospital and paralysed from neck down. He is overwhelmed by his muddled memories and the desire to kill the murderer of his wife. When an unconscious man named Sang-Up (Yu Hae-Jin) is brought into Kim Min-Ho’s room he discovers that he is the murderer and is suffering amnesia and paralysis. The two are under the care of Nurse Ha (Seo Hyo-Rim) and Dr. Paik (Kim Seo-Hyung) who is performing brain surgery on Sang-Up whilst feeding the two an untested medicine named AAP. Kim Min-Ho finds himself in a race to recover before Sang-Up so he can exact his revenge.

The film begins on July 25th 1984 with Min-Ho stating “Weather clear. I plan to kill a man today but I can’t remember his face.” This is the start of a film which features a great thriller plot accompanied by black comedy all wrapped up in great visuals but what really impresses is the exploration of memory.

Memory can be a tricky thing. When we bring in different interpretations it can be the least reliable thing around. It is a subject regularly explored in films like Memento, The Bourne Identity and Retribution. If I had to make a comparison with another film it would be Oldboy as it gives us two characters defined by memory, or lack of it in one case, and pulls back their layers of memory as part of an intricately constructed plot tied to one character’s desire to kill.

Sang-Up and Min-Ho in Desire to Kill Continue reading “Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End”

Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack ギョ (2012)

Genkina Hitos Gyo Review Header

Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack                             Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack Cover

Romaji: Gyo 

Japanese Title:ギョ

Japanese Release Date: 15th February 2012

UK DVD Release Date: 03rd of September 2012 (Terror-cotta)

Running Time: 71 mins.

Director: Takayuki Hirao

Writer: Takayuki Hirao (script), Junji Ito (Original Manga)

Starring: Mirai Kataoka (Kaori), Hideki Abe (Shirakawa), Ami Taniguchi (Erika), Masami Saeki (Aki), Takuma Negishi (Tadashi)

Junji Ito occupies a very special place in my life. He makes my nightmares. I can think of few other manga-ka or filmmakers that have had the effect of leaving me genuinely unnerved. Gyo (Japanese for fish) is the first of his stories to get an anime adaptation. Does it work?

Kaori is visiting Okinawa with her friends Aki and Erika for a grad trip. They are staying at a beach house owned by Kaori’s fiancé Tadashi’s uncle and are enjoying Okinawa’s beautiful beaches when she finds herself caught in the middle of a land invasion by bizarre fish which scuttle on land with sharp metal legs and spread a “Death Stench”. These fish turn aggressive and soon spread across the island and spread further afield to Tokyo where Tadashi resides. Kaori decides to return to Tokyo and find Tadashi. She hooks up with a freelance cameraman named Shirakawa but things are about to get a whole lot weirder than she could have imagined.

Fish Invasion in Gyo

Anybody familiar with Ito’s weird fiction manga will know that his skill lies in taking something simple in an everyday situation like a physical feature or a desire and crafting something truly dreadful that twists relatable characters. Sometimes his stories become so unhinged that logic can fly out of the window but even then they are still affecting thanks to the mood, the ideas, and imagery which are so visceral. Movie adaptations struggle in conveying these stories and change things to make them more accessible as seen in the live-action Uzumaki and here.

The anime has been adapted by Takayuki Hirao who is the anime’s writer and director. He learned his craft under the guidance of Satashi Kon and even directed the first episode of the magnificent Paranoia Agent. Hirao has simplified Gyo’s story and turned it from pure psychological horror into a simple apocalypse movie that uses the brilliant animation to foreground the action and weirdness and the disgusting and brutal body horror. As a result Gyo has created a new nightmare for me… that of the sea and what lurks in it!

Kaori in Gyo

Have you ever stared out at an ocean and wondered what lies beneath the surface? Think about it. Oceans are large areas that have been barely explored and thousands of years of evolution have crafted so much life which is mostly undiscovered. This does not take into account the impact that humanity has had. The last few times I have looked out to sea I only thought about what was on the surface. What Gyo does is give vent to the sense of fear that surrounds the unknown and making the everyday crash against the monstrous.

Continue reading “Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack ギョ (2012)”

GYO: TOKYO FISH ATTACK Release Date

It may be the summer and the Olympics might be getting me all excited but last night while I was watching Japan vs Canada in the women’s doubles last night (thanks to the fantastic service of the BBC) I received some spine-chilling information that left me on edge… The recent anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s horror manga GYO which was acquired for UK distribution by the Terror-cotta label (the guys who gave us Revenge: A Love Story, and Death Bell) has been given a release date of the 03rd of September.  Here are the details:

GYO: TOKYO FISH ATTACK

Giant, killer fish attack Tokyo!

Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack Cover
Release Date: 03rd September 2012
Kaoru and Friend in Gyo

Synopsis

The story centres around Kaori who is visiting Okinawa and its beautiful beaches with friends when she find herself caught in the middle of a land invasion by bizarre and aggressive fish which scuttle on land with sharp metal legs. Things are about to get much worse for Kaori as she finds that the deadly fish are spreading from the island.

Fish Attack Salary Man in Gyo

Technical Specifications
Special features:
Interview with Manga master Junji Ito

Horror, 2012
Certificate 15
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese with English subtitles.
Running time: 71 min

Terror-cotta state that “Morbid manga master Junji Ito’s putrid and surreal story of mutant zombie fish that sprout legs and attack Japan is the most insane anime to come out of Japan since Urotsukidōji:  Legend of the Overfiend.”

While I’m not sure I would class it as the most insane anime since Overfiend, from what I have seen of it the anime is truly chilling and features a lot of body-horror and gory animation and I can assure you that all works of Junji Ito are really creepy – ruin summer days and leave me reeling from the existential and metaphysical terror creepy. That said I really liked the live-action adaptation of Uzumaki.

Gyo is one of the most well-known stories from legendary manga-ka Junji Ito who regularly has his weird fiction adapted for the big screen as the numerous Tomie live -action film show.

The anime is directed by Takayuki Hirao who learned his craft as an anime director under the guidance of one of the best anime directors ever, Satashi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue. While in his early twenties, Hirao was entrusted to direct the first episode of Kon’s first and only series, the critically acclaimed Paranoia Agent (which is one of the best anime I have watched). Hirao has carved out a name for himself in the past decade as one of the young anime directors to watch out for, becoming known for his over the top action scenes and intense camerawork most notably in massively successful Death Note animated series. The OVA was animated by Ufotable (Garden of Sinners, Coyote Ragtime Show). Get ready for some gruesomeness!

Mecha Shark in Gyo

Update (19th August): The official website has changed the release date of the DVD to the 03rd of September.

Revenge: A Love Story

Revenge: A Love Story DVD CoverWinner of multiple awards including Best Director and Direction at the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival and Best Actor for Juno Mak at 15th Puchon Film Festival, this dark and bloody Hong Kong thriller aims to tell the killer’s side of the story. While these awards are well deserved viewers who have seen recent South Korean serial killer films will find little new here however the film is less interested in forging new ground within the horror genre and more concerned with charting the all-consuming desire for revenge and this is where it succeeds.

Police are investigating a serial killer who targets pregnant women. The media have labelled him ‘The Dissector’ and are running sensationalist headlines such as “Pregnant woman dissected alive, husband put to death in 100 degrees boiling water”. After investigating the scene of a murder two detectives, Jeff (Chin Siu Ho) and Kwok Wah (Tony Ho) decide to comb the area and soon find a known suspect, Chan Kit (Juno Mak), and bring him in for questioning. Chan Kit remains silent throughout the physically brutal interrogation and is released without charge. If Chan Kit is not the killer, then who is? Jeff and Kwok Wah find themselves caught in a deadly investigation.

Jeff and Kwok Wah in Revenge: A Love Story To call this a horror film is a stretch. Although it utilises elements of the horror genre and never shrinks from offering brutality it feels tame compared to some of the recent offerings from other regions. Indeed what the film bears out is an investigation of revenge powered by a strong central performance from Juno Mak.

Continue reading “Revenge: A Love Story”

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!

 

Continue reading “Revenge: A Love Story UK DVD Release”

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.

Continue reading “Death Bell”