Sunday, April 10, 2016

Entrails of a Virgin (1986)

"Entrails of a Virgin" is a movie that, for a while, was pretty notorious, though many had never seen it, joining the ranks of "Premutos", the "August Underground" series or more recently, "The Human Centipede" and "Serbian Film"* as something that was fucked up beyond belief. Therefore a must for fans of the most hardcore of horror. 

The plot really isn't much to talk about. A group of people involved in a soft core porno film end up hitting someone (or something), and end up having to take refuge in a warehouse. In between discomforting sex scenes and a bizarre wrestling match, a demonic creature (who is basically a dude covered in mud) begins to knock them off one by one-well, he kills the dudes, then rapes and kills the women.

Outside of the disappointing killer, I actually liked "Entrails of a Virgin." By that, I mean I liked the horror part of the movie. Director Kazuo "Gaira" Komizu** actually proves himself to be a pretty competent director, clearly inspired by both "Evil Dead" and Italian horror (creative cinematography and fog drenched landscapes and atmosphere) and the slasher genre (some pretty nasty death scenes, including one of the most depraved disembowelment scenes I have ever seen) whilst still managing to make it feel like it's own movie. Also, if you've seen Adam Wingard's directorial debut "Home Sick" and then see this, you will recognize that the character Tiffany Shepis plays that goes insane is clearly modeled after the woman who goes insane in this movie. 

What I don't like-everything else. I know it's a movie called 'Entrails of a Virgin." I'm not expecting anything politically correct from this. I don't even mind an abundance of sex scenes. However, I don't like an abundance of sex scenes that play out like rape scenes, and rape scenes that have women enjoying the act. That shit does not fly with me. Nor does the conclusion, which just-happens. Once we see why the killer is doing this, the viewer is still confused. There isn't any rhyme or reason for it other than the director wants to see women being raped and degraded.

It's not only gross-it's frustrating. There are actually things I really like about this movie. I just wish at the end of the day, it didn't make me want to bleach my eyes when it was over.

Rating: 5/10

* I still haven't seen that movie, and I doubt I ever will.

**Gaira has done other films of this ilk-including "Entrails of a Beautiful Woman", "Female Inquisitor" and "Guzoo: The Thing Forsaken By God." He also did the tamer zombie film "Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay", which I reviewed in the past.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Black Demons (1991)

"Black Demons", in spite of it's title, is an in name only sequel to Lamberto Bava's "Demons" movies. Nope, instead, you get a zombie movie instead of the sorta zombie movie those films were. It's also an Italian horror film from the late 80's/early 90's, so you can throw any hopes for it being good. Oh, and yes, it's as racist as it's title implies.

Here, three college kids, a couple and housekeeper are menaced by zombies. So, what are these zombies after? Well, they want revenge. You see, they were slaves that were killed, and after being resurrected via a voodoo curse, they decide to kill six white people. Also, they still have nooses around their necks, God, this movie is fucking racist. Like, even by the standards of exploitation movies, this shit is offensive, and I am a man who isn't offended easily.

So, it's offensive. How bad is it outside of that? Well, first of all, this was directed by Umberto Lenzi, who previously directed a prior movie I reviewed in "Nightmare Beach". To be fair, he directed some solid genre movies in the past, such as the giallo films "Seven Bloodstained Orchids" and "Spasmo", but he is mostly known as the man that created the Italian Cannibal genre with the film "Man From the Deep River" and later directing one of the most notorious entries of that sub-genre "Cannibal Ferox". At this point, his career had gone the way of any other Italian genre director not named Dario Argento or Michele Soavi-down the crapper.

So yeah, this movie sucks. There's some decent gore, but the direction is so bland and wooden. You can't help but wish that Lenzi was at least trying (apparently, even he hates this movie) but here the movie feels like it was directed by a man who no longer gave a shit about anything. It doesn't help that the cast is terrible, not to mention unlikable and hey-what do you know, casually racist too. What the hell were Lenzi and screenwriter Olga Pehar* thinking? Maybe this was originally meant to be an indictment of colonialist, racist attitudes, but that is more than likely giving this movie way too much credit.

There really isn't much of anything here. This is the kind of bottom of the barrel garbage that has no reason to exist, and actually makes you angry once it is over. Shit, "After Death" aka "Zombi 4" is a better Italian Zombie movie than this.

Rating: 1/10

*Pehar's is Lenzi's wife, and has helped write other movies of his-including "Ironmaster", "Hitcher in the Dark", "Hell's Gate" and other late period Lenzi films.

2LDK (2003)

The story behind "2LDK" is an interesting one, to say the least. Long story short: Two directors (Ryuhei Kitamura and in this case, Yukihiko Tsutsumi) ended up in a dare: make a movie with two actors, on one set, with only one week to make the thing. The end result here is...actually pretty damn good.

Two aspiring actresses (Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike) couldn't be more different. One is more reserved, the other more outgoing. One is a bit more neat, one isn't. They also are both competing for a role in a movie-a meaty role at that. So, what starts as disagreements turns into trickery and sabotage. Which in turn turns into a slap fight. Which then turns to the two literally at each other's throats, trying to kill one another.

Basically, take "The Odd Couple", "Heathers" and pre 9/11 black comedies like "Fight Club" and "American Psycho", and this is what you get-a darkly hilarious, all around violent (but not that gory) and surprisingly smart satire about the ambition for fame and the tendency for little things to blow out of proportion. The two leads are great, managing to capture their dueling personalities without overdoing it or hamming it up for the camera. They actually feel like real people. especially early on with their banter coming off as natural instead of forced.

As for the eventual fight-I'm not going to say much, except that it starts out small, and then involves everything from hair dryers to chainsaws. It's absolutely insane, like an ultra violent Tex Avery cartoon, topping it all off with a punch line that had me laughing hysterically. 

If you want a genre movie that manages to be naturally funny instead of beating you over the head with it's message, then this is a must. A real underrated gem.

Rating: 9/10