Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Send More Paramedics

November 1, 2007

A brief update on this chilly and haunted Halloween night. I’ve been busy over at Den of Geek the last week, and here’s a little update of what I’ve been doing yonder for those still in the Halloween spirit (and also fans of The Office).

The Office 4.05: Local Ad. Limitless paper in a paperless world.

My review of 30 Days of Night. I fucked up in the review, and nobody fixed it. Danny Huston as Marlowe is the lead vampire; Mark Boone Jr. played beefy loner Beau. Don’t tase me, bro.

My defense of Night of the Living Dead (1990) as an underappreciated horror film. No one agrees with me, but really; it’s not a bad movie and updates the original quite nicely in my opinion.

And, of course, Den of Geek Loves Bruce Campbell, just for Newscoma.

I also saw my second Christmas commercial today, this one featuring the characters from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, no less! In an advertising break from HALLOWEEN on AMC! What in the hell is going on here?!

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Triple-A blog no more

June 29, 2007

So, I have a quick bit of self-promotion to get out of the way before I go on about my evening.

First of all, my Hostel 2 review has been called up to the big leagues over at Den of Geek.  Strangely, it’s an Eli Roth movie I actually liked enough to praise.  Meanwhile, Eli’s future ex-wife Sarah absolutely hated the thing.  I suppose she and I will never agree on her coked-up Jewish director crush.

Second of all, thanks to the recent interview Sam Raimi did where he postulated the possible shitty villains for Spider-man 4,  the DoG Pound has decided that we needed to have a talk with him and offer up our favorite villains in hopes of avoiding a cluster of epic proportions (much like Spidey 3).  Since I had the idea minutes after watching Spider-man 3, I got to lead off with my pick for Spidey’s next foe, Kraven the Hunter.

Just stick Danny Trejo into the role and you’ve got yourself a serious movie going on.  Make sure you read the comments section.  I offer splatterpunk author and Ben Weasel fan Craig Lines tongue luck.  Robert McLaughlin’s idea for how the script should work out is eerily similar to my own.

I guess I have to start wearing the tin-foil hat again, before he steals my upcoming article about a certain bald, metrosexualized badass Englishman.

This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967) Film Review 5/5

May 21, 2006

Is it bad to watch a movie and really identify with the cold-blooded, heartless, misanthropic lead character who just so happens to get his kicks from torturing women and killing people? Is it bad to feel sympathy for someone who is only trying to cleanse humanity of all the bullshit and get people back to a higher state of cold logic where reason is the only God? Is it a bad sign that I agree with Coffin Joe AKA Zé do Caixão (José Mojica Marins) so much when he’s supposed to be the bad guy?

Maybe there’s something wrong with me. I blame this incredible acid trip of a movie for corrupting my innocent little mind. I always knew one day I’d completely lose it thanks to a movie. Thank you, Coffin Joe.

Zé do Caixão is a simple man with simple dreams. All he wants to do is work at his funeral parlor, hang out with his hunchback manservant, Truncador (Antonio Fracari), not cut his fingernails, wear cool top hats and capes, and smoke his pipe. Oh yeah, he also craves the immortality that can only come from the birth of a son. Don’t we all, brother.

Not just any cum dumpster will do. Not for Coffin Joe’s seed. He needs the most perfect woman he can find, someone worthy who will have the perfect child, a creature without the inherent faults of man, and it doesn’t matter how many nubile young Brazilian women he has to torture with spiders and splatter with acid in his quest.

While a sequel to the wildly-successful “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul,” you don’t really need to have seen the first one to get the second one. Not when you’ve got Technicolor nightmares involving devils whipping naked people, women thrown in pits full of poisonous snakes, poker-fu, and a faithful hunchback. That’s even before you throw in the love story that has nothing to do with love between Coffin Joe and his lovely bride Laura (Tina Wohlers), angry mobs, speeding motorcycles, and a swamp.

While there are plenty of horror aspects in the film, and while Coffin Joe is pretty evil, he’s also what makes the movie so damn interesting. It’s less a shocking series of events and more of a character study, allowing us inside the twisted world of Coffin Joe. His philosophies, his desires, his dreams, and even his nightmares are on display for us to revel in. The viewer is carried into the nightmarish, logical world of this well-dressed undertaker/monster with the well-cared-for nails.

This is not a movie for everyone. You have to have a pretty high level of weirdness tolerance to get into the world of Zé do Caixão, but I’m pretty confident if you’ve gotten this far then you can handle just about anything the country of Brazil can throw at you. So bring on the weirdness, bring on the surreal, and bring on the wine, ’cause it’s always a party at Coffin Joe’s, bitch!

Move over, Jesus! Take a step back, Ben Franklin! I have a new hero taking his place on my internal Mount Rushmore, and he is Coffin Joe.

Hostel (2006) Film Review 3/5

January 26, 2006

When it comes to a drive-in classic, or a movie that wishes it was around for the drive-in and B-theater circuit of the 1970’s, you can never let the plot get in the way of a good story. Fortunately for a movie like HOSTEL, there is no real plot, so you never have to worry about that. That is both its best and its worst point.

If you take a soft-core 70’s Europorn and shave all the women, then combine the first reel of that film with a 70’s European torture film, splice in a few frames of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and add gratuitous Takeshi Miike, you’ve got yourself HOSTEL. Once again Eli Roth wears his influences on his sleeve, as he did in CABIN FEVER. Of course, this film is better than CABIN FEVER, but really… it’s not hard to improve on that brainless frat boy love fest. The major differences are he casts his influences in this film, and doesn’t try as hard to make a deliberate cult classic.

This is a review of HOSTEL, not CABIN FEVER, so I’m moving on.

Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) are just two dumb Americans out to bang some foreign pussy and smoke a lot of pot on their way through Europe. All you need is a backpack and a Eurorail pass, and you’re home free for a summer of debauched whore-chasing. Throw in the comic relief foreigner (also the best character in the movie, my dudes) Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), who serves as their guide and buddy, and commence to fucking. Obviously these people missed the Europe videologue in THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, otherwise they’d know Europe will give you the clap.

Needless to say, the Dumb Americans are tipped off by some helpful foreigners that the bitches in Slovakia are all about the Americock, so they hop a train, meet some old creepy man (Jan Vlasák), and high-tail it to the Iron Curtain’s rusty jockstrap. From then on out, it’s nothing but discos and sex and the best boobs the Soviet Union has to offer (Barbara Nedeljakova and Jana Kaderabkova). At least until people start disappearing.

You know, sometimes people wander off. Sometimes movies meander off course and get boring and bland in the middle. Both of these things happen in “Hostel.” Maybe it was supposed to fill me with dread, but it didn’t quite work. When there weren’t boobs, sex, Oli, gore, obnoxious American businessmen (Rick Hoffman), or Takeshi Miike, my mind wandered off. Slovakia‘s a very pretty country. I wonder who I should invest my Roth IRA money with. I should probably go take a shower soon, since I’ve got work in the morning.

Sorry, my mind wandered. Again. Paxton just is incapable of holding my attention, though it’s not Jay Rodriguez’ fault.

While the third reel really picks up the pace, builds a good sense of tension, and adds some great torture and murder scenes to go along with a moderate car chase, it’s just not enough to save this movie from the second reel. It’s not a bad film, and I don’t mean to sound like it’s a bad film. It’s just an okay film, which is a bit sad considering it just needed more torturing and nudity to make it a more solid three-skull rating. As it is, the flick still gets three skulls, but it could have very easily attained four had it been smarter, gorier, tittier, or more interesting.

It doesn’t even have to add all three things, just one or two would’ve sufficed. Ah well. We review the movies we have, not the movies we wish we had. A movie that exists only to shock and titillate should’ve been more shocking and titillating. Otherwise, you’re just going to disappoint your core audience of jaded gore hounds, even if the tweenagers love it.

Jeepers Creepers (2001) Film Review

October 8, 2005

What is there to say about “Jeepers Creepers”? Well… it was supposed to be a horror movie, that’s for sure. It may not have been a horror, but it sure was fucking horrible.

A few years ago, when “Jeepers Creepers” came out on DVD, my moron friend from college, Fat Neck bought it despite not having his DVD player at school with him. Of all his friends, I was the only one that had a DVD player, so of course he comes to me and bothers me until I finally give into him and let him watch the movie at my place. It’s a decision I’ve regretted ever since.

Fat Neck, by and large, has horrible taste in women, movies, liquor, and well… everything. He hates beer, for God’s sake. He’s not a man! He owns “Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park.” He thinks Kiss is the best band on the face of the planet. Obviously this boy has problems, and me being the fucking saint that I am, I let him watch his movie on my TV.

My TV has never been the same.

I sit there and watch him watch the movie, and I spend the entire time ripping the movie to shit. I mock the horrible acting. I mock the horrible script. I mock the cheesy-as-fuck computer generated monster. I mock everything about the movie. I make it about halfway through the movie before my mockery engine runs out of gas.

The movie’s not very long, and I can barely make it to the 45 minute mark before I run out of good, funny, things to say, as well as run out of beer. Needless to say, the rest of the movie sucked even harder than the first half of the movie, because I didn’t have myself to entertain, uh, me. Even Fat Neck realized this movie sucked, which is saying something considering this is a kid who bought a WWF European Championship belt for $375.

I had one plum left, though. One I had saved throughout the entire movie, just waiting to unleash it on poor, helpless, didn’t-know-any-better Fat Neck. Now, I’m dusting this chestnut off for you, the loving reader.

“You know, you just purchased and watched a movie made by a guy who likes to fuck 11 year old boys.”

Let’s hope no one else out there has to go through this. Friends don’t let friends watch gay pedophile movies.

0/5

Sinners and Saints (2004) Film Review

August 13, 2005

In the business I’m involved with here; you see a lot of trailers. Every movie you see, buy, or rent is chock full of mini-advertisements for other films. Sometimes you watch them, most of the time you don’t. However, after discovering the film I’m about to review, I’ve made a conscious decision to watch every trailer on every movie I check out, regardless of how it may appear to me based on title alone.

Discovered initially on my first inspection of SV Bell’s “The Night They Returned” (click the banner on the top of the page to buy it!), I started marking out right away. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a trailer in my life. I mean, this trailer was probably one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen, targeted perfectly at a niche market of gore-loving perverts (AKA me), and to top it all off there’s the subject matter.

Father Carmichael Drake (Jason Cavalier, who wrote, produced, edited, filmed, and choreographed this puppy) is a priest with an axe to grind against the forces of evil. But not just any priest, mind you. Father Drake is an ass-kicking priest of action. None of that peace and love crapola they try to feed you on Sunday, no sir; this is a priest of kung-fu, gun-fu, and good-fu, taking the fight to evil on their terms, and beating the unholy tar out of them. Assisted by the combat nuns of Our Lady of the Righteous Fist Battleconvent, especially Sister Jordan Merrick (Liz Faure, who should’ve also gotten topless in “The Night They Returned”), Father Carmichael seeks to stop the disappearance of girls from the local Catholic school and finally find out the meaning of his strange dreams about a beautiful/monstrous woman.

How does Father Drake play into the war raging in hell? Why are virgin girls being sacrificed? Who is that hot-ass blonde? Where did Father Drake get that awesome leather priest outfit and bitching car? Why does this movie, made for spare change, have better acting, writing, kung-fu, special effects, and cooler outfits than“The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” put together?

This film melds the blackest of black comedy, social commentary, kung-fu, horror, burlesque, and science fiction in a way that should be impossible to do with this degree of ease. This film is less a roller coaster than a rocket stuck up your ass and aimed straight at a brick wall. I lost count of how many times I said, out loud, “Holy shit!” while watching this movie. There is literally something for everyone, and nothing for the squeamish, overly religious, or people without a sense of humor.

Not that the film is anti-religion, or even heretical. After all, they left out the obvious pedophile priest jokes that I would have stuck in (in favor of corrupt, perverted demons and a cockney demon milkman). It just takes a different slant on religious matters than most, while providing a pretty disgusting (and funny, and horrifying) look at what hell just might be, while providing an explanation of the demons, their presence on Earth, and just who Larry (Michael Brunet) is. However, I doubt the real Devil is anywhere near as hot as the disputed leader of Hell in this flick, Necrotia (Melantha Blackthorne, who also wrote, directed, produced, edited, filmed, and looked incredibly hot in this puppy).

This movie is about as close to flawless as a first time movie can ever get. While there is a little too much exposition towards the end, and while they do leave the door wide open for the sequel, I don’t care! This is a movie whose sequel I want… no, I have to see! Necrotia’s got me by the balls, gang. I’m helpless, and I really can’t wait to see how this kung-fu odyssey plays out.

Queen Necrotia’s made a believer out of me. Run, don’t walk, and get this movie (I wasn’t going to say anything, but you COULD use the exercise). I guarantee you every single one of you will love it instantly.

Cold Blonded Murder/Irish Whisky (2003) Film Review (4/5)

July 26, 2005

For a collection of short films, it’s a bit difficult to really lay out a definitive grading. Do you grade each short individually, or do you grade the shorts collectively, giving the disc itself a cumulative grade? As I am weak and spineless, I’ve decided to give you, the reader, the best of both worlds concerning SV Bell’s DVD of “Cold Blonded Murder” and “Irish Whisky,” with an additional review of the extra-special short film “Beavra!” thrown in for shits and giggles, since I went through and watched every segment of the DVD in its entirety.

Doing this by alphabetical order, we start with “Beavra!” When I tell you that this is probably the funniest thing in the history of things, you’d better believe me. Clocking in at ten minutes in length, this short packs more of the funny in a compact space than most sitcoms manage in a 10-year broadcast stint. That’s right, “Friends.” You always sucked.
I watched this originally whilst enjoying a sweet, sweet repast of beer and freshly-grilled burgers, and I laughed so hard I sprayed beer out of my nose. Seriously, that’s no exaggeration; I’ve got the nasal scarring to prove it. Man, that shit hurt, too.

Five skulls, “Beavra!” Even though you made me waste beer via nostril explosion. Bad, bad radioactive mutant beaver.

Speaking of hurting, it’s hurt like hell to get stabbed, wouldn’t it? It’d probably also hurt to be stabbed by your hot blonde neighbor who managed to both seduce you and your longtime French-Canadian girlfriend who Ron could barely understand. No fault of hers, though. I know how accents can be; I live in close proximity to the American South. (Whoo-hoo, offended two regions in one fell swoop!)

Set in Toronto, there’s a serial killer on the loose, with over 15 people dead so far in a murder-spree of epic proportions to Canada. Odd that 15 murders is a lot to a major city, but then again I live in America, where 15 murders is a slow night in the Motor City. That’s neither here nor there.

This short was hit or miss for me. There were some good hits: the performance of Suzi Lorraine (who looks like she’s having a blast stabbing people, and who wouldn’t?) as Isha, the EC-comics style red-tint murder scenes, Bath Boy (Steve Requin), and a few wicked one liners from Chad (Michael Gingold), and a nice tight close-up of Abby (Isabelle Stephen)’s eyes during a particularly gruesome murder scene. I think I was most impressed, though, by the fairly brisk pacing of the short. SV Bell’s shown a knack for not padding down his shorts with unnecessary filler, instead letting the short be a real short when the plot demands it. I like that.

However, when making the inevitable gore comparisons to “The Night They Returned,” I was less impressed this time around. While there are good scenes, especially at the end, the Halloween trick-knife just didn’t impress me at all. It was too obvious that it was a stage knife during the stabbing scenes. I also wasn’t too impressed with the performances of either Michael Gingold, who was hit or miss, or Isabelle Stephen, who aside from one or two good emotional breakdowns, was mostly miss for me.

All in all, “Cold Blonded Murder” was middle of the road for me, so three skulls.

This leave us, since I went by alphabet, with “Irish Whisky,” which is essentially a ghost story crossed with a parable, crossed with a crazy cult, crossed with heavy-drinking sailors, insurance fraud, and spiders. This, although it pales in comparison to “Beavra!”, is probably the standout main-event short of the disc. It’s not hard to pale in comparison to the sheer brilliance of “Beavra!,” though, so don’t feel bad SV.

The plot involves the recriminations of a man named Gilchrist (Marc Noel) who sinks his rickety old shipping boats for the insurance money, heedless of the fact that people routinely die in these little ‘accidents.’ Gilchrist, you see, is a greedy fucksack with absolutely no redeeming characteristics. He’s like Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol,” if Scrooge actually murdered people rather than just working them to death without heat or a chamber pot.

Eventually, thing go awry and Tom Wade (Uncle Costya)’s son is killed in a shipping accident that is merely another one of Gilchrist’s schemes. Needless to say, Tom’s pissed and he’s got a plan for revenge, but damn if God doesn’t do all the work for him.
Where “Cold Blonded Murder” fell short, “Irish Whisky” excels. The acting is about as good as you can get without paying for actors, and the makeup effects on Gilchrist’s metamorphosis into a zombie/ghost/monster thing are simply spectacular. Uncle Costya (whose last name is credited on the IMDB but which I won’t even attempt to spell because I’ll kill it with my ham-like fists) is excellently cast as the angry, bitter, and brooding Wade, and Marc Noel is sufficiently sleazy without being 21st Century Scrooge.

As with most film noir, the camera work, setting, and tone serve as major characters right alongside the actors. The camerawork in the interview scenes are particularly inventive in this piece, and the black and white filming really works well with the ghost story elements. A lot of the reviews I’ve read minimize this half of the DVD, but I feel it’s the standout of the titular films, brooding and more psychological where “Cold Blonded Murder” is flashy and splattery.

Not everyone gets it or appreciates the tougher aspects of film craft like I do. Four skulls for this half, with the cumulative grade for the DVD being a healthy, hearty, and highly recommended 4 skulls overall. Follow that little link at the top of the Living Corpse page and help a poor Canadian brother out.

Dracula 2000 (2000) Film Review 0/5

June 23, 2005

In the summer of 2000, inspired completely by the movie “Clerks” and seduced by the allure of free movie rentals, I took a job at the closest video store to my house that was hiring. Yes, sir. Hollywood Video and I have had a long and storied non-relationship, mostly with me traveling from store to store, getting new memberships everywhere I go so I can put off paying my late fees for as long as humanly possible; when tagged to pay up or not rent, my goal is simply to pay as little as possible on the back rent by maximizing my front rent. I am not a proud man.

Our store only had one real set in stone policy. Generally, most video store employees are too apathetic and underpaid to really fight the average consumer about the dumb crap he (or usually she, since women have terrible taste, regardless of how good-tasting they might be) wants to watch. We really, really want to, and we will make fun of you behind your back after you’ve left, but we don’t normally care enough to pick a losing fight with an idiot or five. However, one movie, or should I say crime against humanity, was so terrible and worthless that we just could not let it walk out of the store without stopping and making sure that, yes, the renter knows what he/she’s getting into.

I don’t know why I’m pretending a woman would rent “Dracula 2000.” We all know your average woman isn’t going anywhere near a movie like that unless she’s renting it to watch with her supplier of all-natural protein mouthwash, so forget about PC charades. This is a flick for dudes. Dudes with no taste.

Every time a customer came to the front of the store with a copy of this movie, every person on staff tried their best to talk that moron out of throwing their money away. There were better movies that we’d recommend, usually “Snatch.” If they really wanted a vampire movie, we’d point them in the direction of John Malkovich and “Shadow of the Vampire,” or any one of a number of other vampire-based films. Just not that one. “Dracula 2000,” by our low standards, was unrentable.

So, because I hate myself and always have, I ended up leaving the store with the galley copy one night, so as to keep that rental off my permanent record. A friend and I thought we’d be up to the challenge of drinking our way through the movie. Should be a cakewalk, right? Two battle-hardened B-movie veterans. How foolish I really am.

Halfway through he’s ready to throw in the towel. So am I, but I will not lose to a Wes Craven Presents movie. Ron doesn’t play around like that. I tell him to keep it playing. I make him keep it playing. This is my “The Crucible” Giles-Corey-pressed-to-death-by-stones moment. I cheerfully ask for more weight, even as my companion’s girlfriend passes out from a combination of bad movie and Goldschlager.

To call this film abysmal is to malign abysses throughout the country. To say this film sucks is an offense to every other film that’s ever sucked. This movie, even with the 0 skulls it earned, somehow manages to be offensive even to Living Corpse’s rank of terrible bombs. To say this film really is that bad is an understatement, but…

It really is THAT bad. I watched it for free without anyone else knowing that I did, and I still felt dirty, cheated, raped, and ripped off. I wanted back money I didn’t spend. Unfortunately, the most precious wasted commodity, my time, shall never be recovered. Vitamin C’s tits are wasted on this movie.

The Gate (1987) Film Review (4/5)

June 20, 2005

As a child of the 80’s, I can’t be helped for the things I’ve seen. Some of you kids, you lucky kids, don’t remember the Bill Cosby sweater, or the super-teased hair, or the neon headbands that some unfortunate characters in this movie wear. You can’t hold it against them, though it dates the whole film. They were probably the coolest cats in the crap-tank for their day. I know one day I’ll look back at my clothes and realize how dumb I looked, too.

This movie takes two of the most common themes in 80’s news hysteria, crams them together, and makes them into one spectacular horror movie that manages to both be legitimately funny and legitimately scary while still maintaining, for all intents and purposes, a solid PG-13 rating (dare I say it, had it been released now it would probably be PG, simply because there’s no tits). That’s right, the plot of this movie revolves around subliminal Satanic messages and album art buried into a metal record from evil, Godless Germany. When the world goes to hell and evil is running amuck, you can always blame ze Germans.

There’s also a geode. An eeeeevil geode that’s full of smoke and that writes things on your Etch-a-Sketch when you crack it open. If you have an evil geode (it’s a rock with crystals inside) like I do, you’ll already know not to read what it writes for you. Nobody told little Glen (Stephen Dorff, 18 years before you knew who the fuck he was).

Glen has a friend named Terry (Louis Tripp, who was never heard from again, mwahahaha!) who is one of those kinda weird kids. Apparently, because his mom died on him a year ago, he’s gotten really into lots of weird black metal bands from Europe, no thanks to his enabler father. Needless to say, this kid puts a lot of faith in his metal bands, so when a guy who sounds like Tim Curry reads an incantation that’s supposed to reawaken the demon king and bring hell on Earth, Terry stops headbanging long enough to read along. Turns out that the conditions are exactly right, and Terry starts the process of bringing hell on Earth. Thanks a lot, you little redheaded fuck.

To make matters worse, Glen’s parents go out of town, leaving him in the care of his big sister Al (Christa Denton) and her friends, the Lee sisters (Kelly Rowan and Jennifer Irwin, AKA Ug and Hideous Lee for those keeping score at home). So when weird shit goes down, Al doesn’t do what most kids would do and call their parents, because she knows if she fucks this up, she’ll never get a chance to throw 80’s parties and perform Wiccan parlor tricks with her weird-looking friends ever again.

Suffice it to say things get much worse before they get any better.

This movie is really one of the classics of the 1980’s, at least in my eyes, and it will probably be one of the horror films I’ll raise my creepy children on, simply because it has all the scary stuff you need at like age 6. The stop motion demons are really a major plus in my book, too, because I’m a fan of doing things the old-school way. The claymation melted phone just makes things even better. Add some spectacularly sloppy gore effects, a few shape-shifting demons, and an inter-wall zombie, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a classic movie.

I’m not doing it justice with this review, I know. I’m one of those people who has trouble expressing how awesome things are without using bullshit clichés like “awesome” and “sex-tacular.” Just give this flick another chance. It was great when you were a kid, and if you’re anything like me (you poor fucking bastard) it’s even better now that you can appreciate it more after having seen a thousand shitty digital effects.

Also, the Crucifyx demon-resurrection song? As soon as I find it, it’s going on the LC Album of Movie Soundtrack Greatness. The pre-rap spoken word breakdown in the middle just cements its place in greatness.

Old school, bitches. Always old school.

Audition (1999) Film Review 5/5

May 20, 2005

AUDITION is the sort of film that will divide an audience of splatter-hardened gorehounds like no other picture can. In reality, its two pictures in one; this makes it eminently more effective than just about every other horror movie of its ilk, and there aren’t many. However, it isn’t for everyone.

What will make or break this movie for everyone who sees it is whether or not you can get through the first hour or so of the film, because the third reel represents the mother of all changeups from the first two reels. The difference of opinion even on this website about the film is fairly surprising with a pretty fierce split down the middle. Some of us are this film’s biggest supporters and some of us are pretty big detractors (obviously you’ll figure out what side I’m on when you see my rating. And don’t you dare scroll down and spoil the surprise, damn it!). A lot of it depends on the individual person.

The philosophical bent it had about the nature of modern society, the subtle comedy with the father and son, the fact that his secretary totally wanted to wax his pole, and perhaps most importantly, the staggering sense of loneliness and, even, hopelessness that pervades the postmodern world really struck a chord with me. Even in a crowd, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) seems utterly haunted by his loneliness.

Many years before, his beloved wife Ryoko passed away, leaving the widower with only a few people in his world. One of them is Rie (Toshie Negishi), the housekeeper. The other is his son Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki). Many years later, an innocent comment from his son sets wheels turning in Shigeharu’s head and leading him to his only friend, and business partner, Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) for advice: Shigeharu, the married man turned terminal bachelor by a terminal illness, is finally ready to shake off the ghost of his deceased wife and move on with his life.

What follows is the brilliant plan of Yoshikawa; an audition for a movie, designed to lure pretty young actresses onto the casting couch. Yoshikawa, it seems, has done this several times. No doubt it’s a common ploy even in Hollywood. Shigeharu, however, does not play along for merely physical sensation. Shigeharu is nothing more than a man grappling for love in a heartless, mechanical society, and he give in to Yoshikawa’s sleazy method because he has no other choice.

In a sea of freaks, whores, and weirdoes (just an average walk down Hollywood Boulevard, no doubt), there is one person. A sweet, meek, and absolutely ravishing vision in white with whom Shigeharu had fallen hopelessly in love with simply after reading her biographical essay about why she was trying out for the part. A former ballerina named Asami (Ehi Shiina, a model making her starring debut in spectacular fashion). According to Yoshikawa’s plan, the chosen one can’t get the job, and Asami doesn’t.

She gets something much more important, to both herself, Shigeharu, and the plot: She tried out for a film and won the starring role of a lifetime. A weekend getaway, a proposal, and then the shit really splatters beautifully across the fan.

Maybe I was so drawn into the first hour because I find myself identifying a great deal with a 50-something Japanese widower and television executive. Maybe I’m just fucked up and looking for an outlet. Never can tell with me.

The first hour of the movie is slow. It’s too slow for some people, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in, and a lot of the statements made by the various characters are statements that I confess hit home pretty hard for me, if not at this point in my life, then at various other points in my life. I really identified with Shigeharu’s being alone in a sea full of uncaring people, because I know I’ve been there many times. I really identified with the sleazy methods Yoshikawa uses to help out a friend in need, because I’ve both been the sleazy friend trying to help his people out and the person sleazy friends tried to help out at various points in my life.

The courtship of Asami and Shigeharu is like all courtships, simultaneously beautiful, sweet, funny, awkward, and touching, and watching it unfold so honestly and unflinchingly on the screen, shot in such a direct, no bullshit manner, was practically breathtaking. If you’re not lonely, it definitely can make you feel lonely.

Like 99.9% of all relationships anyone will ever have in this world, there must inevitably be a cruel twist, and a shattering fall from grace. And boy, what a fall it is. I struggle to express it, honestly, because the last thing I want to do is give it away. When Takeshi Miike debuted the film, people came up to him on the street and called him a monster for how the film’s last act played out.

I really can’t say I blame them. The climax of the movie, messy, violent, brutal, and strangely poignant, hit me like a ton of bricks. People do sick, sad, twisted shit in their never-ending pursuit of love and acceptance, and hell hath no fury like a lover scorned, for Sega or otherwise.