Man, keep me out of the comic shop! The wife and I went on a little shopping spree the other day and we found ourselves at Green Shift Music & Comics once again. There were lovely guitars (a Burns Bison in particular was making me sweat), amps, and pedals but I was able to contain myself. This was not a “let’s blow $500″ shopping spree so I focused on the horror manga and other various goodies. I grabbed the first volume of Reiko the Zombie Shop and three volumes of MPD Psycho. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t keep my grubby little hands out of the $0.25 comics where I found a couple issues of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine as well as a 4 issue miniseries of Cloak and Dagger which I probably already own but grabbed them anyway to fill in any possible gaps I might have. Did I mention that I’m a dang nerd?
Archive for February, 2009
After IFC played Hausu back in November, I’ve been a better person. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that my rose tinted glasses have been permanently melted onto my eyes. Actually, I’m just a little obsessed with this fantastical film and decided to write about it. Have a wonderful day!
This fantastic concept album by The Who- Wait, what?
It’s pronounced “Toe-Me-Ay”, duder!
Junji Ito, Japanese horror manga genius, gave the world Tomie and now his sassy creation just won’t die! Tomie is a demon who makes every man she meets fall madly in love with her. Unfortunately, the love she inspires is violently possessive and murderously jealous. Tomie’s curse also inspires at least one of her suitors to kill her. (Oh, it gets better.) But our vile little vixen can come back. Tomie’s regenerative powers are unstoppable (which explains all the sequels) and if even so much as a drop of blood or a single hair is left behind, watch out! An evil woman in a Japanese horror story? No way!!
The thing that I love about the stories is how infectious Tomie’s evil is both mentally and physically. Her insanity is ingrained in every molecule of her being and no one is immune. Even the women around her are driven into a frenzy as all the guys’ attention turn to this inhuman creature. I had watched the first 5 Tomie films before I ever got my hands on the excellent manga and now there is no escape. The films are all over the place in terms of quality as the character is passed from director to director but surprisingly, there is more good than bad in store for the adventurous viewer.
Directed by Ataru Oikawa
Tomie played by Miho Kanno
The first Tomie film is dark and depressing and stayed with me for days after my first viewing. The brutish violence and banal evil that the men in Tomie’s life succumb to in order to make her their own really freaked me out. Much like viewing the cursed videotape in Ringu, a little Tomie goes a long way and you’re pretty much damned from the beginning. Miho Kanno (The Hypnotist) really gets into her portrayal of Tomie and her creepy giggle is just perfect. The first film is quite good (if just a little overlong) and a nice surprise from the director of the awful Tokyo Psycho.
Tomie: Another Face (1999)
Directed by Toshirô Inomata
Tomie played by Runa Nagai
This shot-on-video anthology is pretty much a complete waste of time and nearly ruins the series all by itself. While the sexy Runa Nagai makes for a gorgeous Tomie, I found it damn near impossible to get into this cheapie. I highly un-recommend Another Face.
Tomie: Replay (2000)
Directed by Tomijiro Mitsuishi
Tomie played by Mai Hosho
While not the best of the series, this is absolutely my favorite Tomie film. After a woman gives birth to Tomie’s head, a doctor throws it into a tank in the basement of the hospital and some complete ridiculous insanity ensues. Take a creepy character like Tomie and stick her in a freaky, mostly deserted hospital and you’ve got cinema gold, my friend. Okay, Replay is kind of a clunker but it is just so bizarre and atmospheric that I love it.
Tomie: Re-birth (2001)
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Tomie played by Miki Sakai
Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge) directs what is easily the best of all the Tomie films. This has the most effective scares and unforgettably chilling moments in the series and this flick just really gets under your skin. As with many of Shimizu’s films, there’s a creepy hair sequence. The quality of this film is propelled to even greater heights by the lovely Miki Sakai’s superb portrayal of Tomie.
Tomie: Forbidden Fruit (2002)
Directed by Shun Nakahara
Tomie played by Nozomi Andô
Lesbian overtones? Well it’s about damn time! Several of the Tomie films have some little hints of gay but Forbidden Fruit has pomegranates. POMEGRANATES! Nozomi Andô is as cute as a button and plays the evil Tomie while the also cute as a button, Aoi Miyazaki, plays the good Tomie. Two Tomies? How can that be? It’s pretty simple: father (Jun Kunimura) and daughter (named after the Tomie from her dad’s childhood) compete for the affections of everyone’s favorite reincarnating love demon.
Tomie: Beginning (2005)
Directed by Ataru Oikawa
Tomie played by Rio Matsumoto
The director of the first film returns with his attempt to adapt the first story from Junji Ito’s manga. This works as a prequel for director Oikawa’s 1999 film with Tomie showing up as a new student and causing a complete meltdown. The smaller budget of this film doesn’t affect the decent performances of the cast or the well written story making Beginning a worthy addition to the world of Tomie.
Tomie: Revenge (2005)
Directed by Ataru Oikawa
Tomie played by Anri Ban
Another Face is still the worst but this one is a close second. Revenge takes elements from one of the weakest stories in the manga and pairs them with an even lower budget than Beginning. Not surprisingly, the results just don’t click. This is almost my least favorite in the series made even more disappointing since director Ataru Oikawa is back on hand for this one.
Though it hasn’t been released in the US yet, the eighth film: Tomie vs Tomie (released in Japan in November 2007) looks pretty promising despite that friggin’ awful poster (posted above). Here’s the trailer:
And last but not least, don’t forget to check out everything by Junji Ito. This guy is one seriously disturbed manga artist. Run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore and buy both Uzumaki and Gyo. You will not be disappointed.
100 European Horror Films (BFI Screen Guide) is an excellent little collection of reviews and critical interpretations on some seriously essential films. From The Golem to Eyes Without a Face to Suspiria to Funny Games, this book covers some excellent titles. It’s another book I’ve run across lately that is tough not to sit and read all in one sitting. My only complaint so far is that one of the contributors, author/critic Kim Newman, refers to the great Umberto Lenzi as a hack. Ha ha! I call bullshit on THAT!
While I’m putting together the playlist for what I’m calling “The Last Dang Moviethon” (which is a misnomer since there will never be a final moviethon (until I croak, that is)), I keep running into films like The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (AKA Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel, Castle of the Walking Dead, etc.). I caught this magnificent horror film on TV one night when I was around 10 years old and it changed me forever. The scene (shown in the clip below) where the lovely Karin Dor is forced to walk the plank above a pit of spikes, rotting corpses, and various poisonous snakes helped to twist my young mind and turn me into the sick creature you see before you. This film took me years to track down and once I did, it actually turned out to be better than I remembered it.
Here is my review.
The German trailer:
And here’s the clip where the magic happens (skip to 1:30):
So I was watching the original Amityville Horror again this weekend and I realized my favorite part (BIG SPOILER!!) is after all the spooky craziness and after the family finally escapes the big nasty house. Though narrowly getting away with their lives (and their souls), the family patriarch, George Lutz (played by James Brolin), goes back to save Harry, the family dog. He goes back for the dang dog!
While nearly drowning in primordial Satanic ectoplasm, George is first attacked and then rescued by Harry who drags him to safety. He and the dog then join up with the rest of the family where George (who has been batshit crazy throughout the rest of the picture) is totally redeemed in the eyes of his family. So much of this film is so over the top and unintentionally funny that this sequence is, for me, really sweet and amusing.
Saturday night, I witnessed the “magic” of Nothing But the Night. Director Peter Sasdy is best known for his contributions to Hammer Films with Taste the Blood of Dracula and Hands of the Ripper. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch those. Instead, I sat through this extraordinarily awful mess with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. You can check out my review here to see the results. While it is as bad as The Devil Within Her, another Sasdy mess, Nothing But the Night is nowhere near as trashy or as fun.