Halloween movie special: Hong Kong's top 10 horror films | South China Morning Post
In a sequence that shows why the “Mad Max meets zombies” tag will follow sported by the wasteland army in “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Zombies, the horror sub-genre that just wont die, appear to be stronger than ever. But after a decade filled with "fast zombies," funny zombies. He was hoping to secure funding for Road of the Dead, a film that Birman describes the project as Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a Nascar.
Fast-moving only 85 minutes! Regardless, this is a competently crafted little drama thriller for the zombie completist, full of excellent performances from no-name actors and an intriguing take on the results of zombification. These aspects of the zombie plague are always hinted at, never extrapolated, but it enhances the profound feelings of loss and sadness present in Ravenous.
You could try playing that kind of story completely seriously, and it would probably be truly horrifying, but Teeth instead is presented almost like a teenage sex comedy gone horribly wrong, with beats that almost remind one of, say, American Pie, except for all of the severed sex organs.
The movie centers on a child murderer, Ray Pruitt Taylor Vinceescaping the house that Jesse Ethan Embryhis wife Astrid Shiri Appleby and his daughter Zooey Kiara Glasco subsequently move into, not fully aware of the extent of the supernatural horrors contained within.
And with Ray first seen playing loud chords on an electric guitar to drown out the voices in his head, and with Jesse characterized as a long-haired artist with a predilection for heavy metal, the film initially appears like it will play around with that connection between metal music and devil worship, with which many have often decried that particular musical genre. It is, in other words, the kind of horror film that transcends genre and reaches that rare but exalted sweet spot of touching on genuine human fears.
Luke Rafe Spall is the member of the group who shoulders the greatest burden of guilt, being the only one who was in the store at the time, paralyzed with indecision and cowardice while he watched his friend die. Where The Ritual excels is technically, in both its imagery and sound design. Tony Randel Hellbound is a somewhat divisive sequel among horror fans, but we can all at least agree on one thing: The lovely Ashley Laurence returns as the protagonist, along with a young, emotionally disturbed girl who is adept at solving puzzles, which almost gives it the feel of a Nightmare on Elm Street sequel such as Dream Warriors.
The Cenobites themselves get a little bit watered down from their nigh omnipotence in the original film, but the settings and effects are great for the meager budget and do as good a job as anyone could reasonably do of translating the twisted vision of Clive Barker to the screen. Low-budget but gory and stylish in spades, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a film whose final act diverges from the expected narrative in ways that may be shocking, to say the least, but throughout it maintains a rock-solid grasp on its fundamental themes of emotion, family and predestination.
Babak Anvari For most of the film, Babak Anvari is crafting a stifling period drama, a horror movie of a different sort that tangibly conveys the claustrophobia of Iran during its tumultuous post-revolution period. Shideh Narges Rashidi is cast as the tough heroine fighting back against greater hostile forces—a horror movie archetype that takes on even more potency in this setting. Seeing Shideh defy the Khomeini regime by watching a Jane Fonda workout video, banned by the state, is almost as stirring as seeing her overcome her personal demons by protecting her child from a more literal one.
Of those takes, few are inspired, a few more are watchable though workmanlike and most are dreck, whether in TV or movie form. Then Kay takes a zombie bite, forcing a change of plans and setting them down the path to ruin and tragedy. For a certain kind of horror purist, Cargo denies the expectations of the genre. It is, however, a moody, atmospheric movie, replacing scares with a nearly overwhelming sense of sadness.
Halloween movie special: Hong Kong's top 10 horror films
Here, zombies present as victims of debilitating illness: A waxen, carious fluid seeps from their eyes and mouths, which is suitably nauseating in the stead of workaday splatter. All the same, Cargo is never half as stomach-churning as it is simply devastating. The first half of the film demonstrates much more restraint, building tension as triangle-branded cultists isolate a mismatched group of mostly innocent people—led by Aaron Poole as an out-of-his-depth small-town cop—in a mostly vacant hospital.
Kotanski and Gillespie build in too many potentially conflicting twists—who, exactly, is impregnated with what? It Follows, The Babadook have wisely employed relatively narrow scopes.
Instead, The Void attempts to push audiences into another dimension, but manages at least a few successful frights along the way. Cruise, whose casting was initially criticized by Rice herself, nails it as a glib, undead dandy. A preteen Kirsten Dunst steals scenes as a spitfire orphan-turned-ageless bloodsucker, while Antonio Banderas and Stephen Rea terrify in their limited screen time.
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Director Neil Jordan, working with cinematographer Philippe Rousselot and production designer Dante Ferretti, captures their nocturnal existence in hedonistic hues and the light of lanterns strewn throughout the French Quarter, a universe that still stands frozen in time. Here, the gimmick is that the sole woman being menaced by a masked intruder outside her woodland home is in fact deaf and mute—i.
It all boils down into more or less exactly the type of cat-and-mouse game you would expect, but the film manages to elevate itself in a couple of ways. First is the performance of actress Kate Siegel as protagonist Maddie, who displays just the right level of both vulnerability and resolve, without making too many of the boneheaded slasher film character choices that encourage you to stand up and yell at the screen.
Second is the tangible sense of physicality the film manages in its scenes of violence, which are satisfyingly visceral. Young people trek out into the wilderness for fun and recreation, young people incur the wrath of hostile forces, young people get dead, easy as you please.
XX stands apart from other horror films because it invites its audience to feel a range of emotions aside from just fright. Vincent, in her filmmaking debut. XX is a horror movie spoken with the voices of women, a necessary notice that women are revolutionizing the genre as much as men.
Ted Geoghegan Where Geoghegan angles his focus inward in We Are Still Here, telling a story of a family struggling to recover from unspeakable loss, here he aims it toward extinction-level warfare.
Oak loses her mother early on. Holt loses his son. Those losses feed vengeful desires while humanizing these characters and validating their humanity. He represents a particular and sadly relevant kind of evil. This is true of slow-burn cinema of any stripe, but Kusama slow-burns to perfection. The key, it seems, to successful slow-burning in narrative fiction is the narrative rather than the actual slow-burn. In the case of The Invitation, that involves a tale of deep and intimate heartache, the kind that none of us hopes to ever have to endure in our own lives.
The film taps into a nightmare vein of real-life dread, of loss so profound and pervasive that it fundamentally changes who you are as a human being.
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Where we end is obviously best left unsaid, but The Invitation is remarkable neither for its ending nor for the direction we take to arrive at its ending. Instead, it is remarkable for its foundation, for all of the substantive storytelling infrastructure that Kusama builds the film upon in the first place. The result is a tense, effective thriller that goes out of its way to highlight two strong actors in an unfettered celebration of their craft.
This is nothing new for Flanagan, whose recent output in the horror genre has been commendable. Or is the director drawn to stories that reflect the struggle of women to claim independence in their lives by shedding old scars or ghosts, be they literal or figurative? She's been denied sight, but then is horrified by the realities of the world she must now witness as it comes into focus.
Army of Darkness () - IMDb
There's genius in the film's slow and sinister burn but a sadness, too, that this is as good as we have got so far from the brothers. Big Head Monster, Director: Soi Cheang Pou-soi The English title gives the game away, but the tease director Soi Cheang Pou-soi plays out is whether or not we'll ever get to properly meet the poor little blighter. Josie Ho Chiu-yi is a master when it comes to looking terrified - here we find her as a young woman obsessed with a videotape as a means by which her own demons can be revealed and, she hopes, exorcised.
She is haunted by her past and Soi draws the tension out in a manner sure to test even the sturdiest of nerves. It's a creepfest - and Ho has a scream to shake the rafters.
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, Directors: Roy Ward Baker, Chang Cheh A bizarre mash-up of genres that draws on the expertise of Britain's Hammer Studios and its long history of horror, and combines those with Shaw Brothers' stable of martial arts stars. The end result is a sometimes baffling production that goes wonderfully over the top, as Count Dracula here played by John Forbes-Roberston, not Christopher Lee as was the norm in a Hammer production finds out he needs to travel to China if he is to survive.
That's when the action kicks in and Chang Cheh obviously lent his hand. A slice of pure B-grade madness. Mr Vampire, Director: Ricky Lau Ricky Lau's smash hit set the template for the horror-comedy genre Hong Kong has championed ever since.
Leaning heavily on the jiangshi - "jumping vampires" - that have haunted the city's collective dreams for generations, Lau presents the great Lam Ching-ying as a Taoist priest who gets more than he bargains for when he opens up a coffin.
Seen now, it is at times both wonderfully camp and deliciously macabre, as the forces of darkness invade the everyday lives of the common folk. But the morals Lau mocks - greed included - make it timeless.
Rigor Mortis, Director: Juno Mak We always suspected there is more to Juno Mak than meets the eye, and the sometime singer's directorial debut reveals his smarts. Admittedly, this wasn't quite the success the trailers and concept promised, but it's a stylish and often unsettling homage to the vampire genre nonetheless.
Mak gathers the stars of those films - among them Chin Siu-hou as a down-at-heel actor who brushes up a little too close to the afterworld. There are enough individual moments of sinister style to cover over the cracks - and the evil twin sisters who stalk the story's fringes will keep you awake at night. Visible Secret, Director: Ann Hui On-wah For a director best-known for multilayered and socially aware character studies, Ann Hui On-wah makes a pretty decent fist of things here by simply playing to her strengths.
On the surface we meet a man Eason Chan Yick-shun who becomes obsessed with a woman Shu Qi - can't blame him who can see ghosts. Creepy enough on its own, but things go up a notch when he picks up the skill himself and all manner of nasty frights ensue.