Saturday, October 29, 2016

Shocktober '16 #3

Nightmare Detective

Fashioning a narrative around dream logic allows one to play by their own rules, inserting visuals and modes of storytelling that are counter-intuitive and surreal. So is the case of Shinya Tsukamato's "Nightmare Detective" in which a killer communicates with (and kills) people in their dreams. The ultimate J-horror spin on "Nightmare on Elm Street", the drawback of this unique dream logic is that the portions of the film that take place outside the dream setpieces rarely make much better sense. Filmed on DV and featuring the very basic paradigms of J-horror filmmaking (i.e. herky jerky cinematography and a confused backstory of childhood trauma), "Nightmare Detective" starts out promisingly before deteriorating into a jumbled mess.

Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell

"Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell" is a delirious carousel of fantasy/horror film tropes. Touching on oozing slime, vampirism, alien invasion and the simple deceptive tragedies the human race perpetrates upon one another, it also takes a stance against the Vietnam War! After a plane crash, a group of survivors has to deal with all of this in a pop colored universe of blood red skies, dancing camera filters and sandy dunes. It can be eye-rollingly bad at times and indicative of the easy potswings of late 60's Japanese cinema, but its fun and ends on a perfectly great image.

The Theatre Bizarre

The good thing about anthology films is each new episode can swerve in a different direction, exploring the depths of humor, drama, surrealism or grotesqueness. The great thing about anthology films is the length of each episode. If it sucks, it'll be over soon. This template is followed in "The Theatre Bizarre" in which 6 short films dart between the above mentioned motifs and offer a bevy of ideas and emotions. Featuring somewhat famous directors (Richard Stanley and Buddy Giovinazzo) mixed with relatively unknowns, the stories are just as varied. The best, including one called "Vision Stains" in which a killer finds a way to transfer the victim's final sights into her own eyes, explores an idea that could be extended to feature length form with perverse intelligence. The worst- including the bumper episode with Udo Kier as some sort of mannequin controlling the stories, probably belong in 20 minute versions only. I can say this film is at least better than recent anthologies like the disingenuous "Southbound" or lackluster "ABC's of Death". 

No comments: