An android babysitter starts malfunctioning, which causes it to become dangerous. The mother has no other choice than to replace it…but the android is intent on staying with the family.
“Ghost Machine” is a Korean horror short, which is one of the installments in “Horror Stories III”. It’s a science-fiction horror story dealing with the subject of how robots and artificial intelligence may turn dangerous if they stop working as intended…
A young woman Skyping with her long distance boyfriend late one night, realizes that an ancient evil presence may have been unleashed upon her.
“Wicken” is a horror short film by Faisal Hashmi, who also made “Sleight“. While “Wicken” could have benefited from more playtime to delve deeper into the mythology and story behind the curse, and thus bring the character’s emotions more into focus upon making their decisions, it’s still an effective albeit simple short.
Two girls are moving out after Sarah’s mother has passed away. In the clearing they exploit an old Polaroid camera possessed by a dark past.
“Polaroid” is a Norwegian horror short, directed by Lars Klevberg (who recently made a name for himself with the remake of “Child’s Play“). “Polaroid” was actually made into a full-feature film which was originally set to be released in 2017, but was delayed due to the Weinstein Company bankruptcy. Thus it was released in 2019 instead. This horror short, however, was made in 2015.
At first glance, you might think this is some kind of sequel to “Deathgasm”, but sorry, it’s not. But it easily could have been. We are in the 80’s, in the cold and conservative Nordic land of Norway where “La Det Swinge” by Bobbysocks is the most metal you can hear on the radio. We are introduced to the teenager Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth who starts the small and obscure extreme metal band called Mayhem, together with Jørn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud, and eventually get their permanent drummer Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg. They get a vocalist from Sweden who calls himself Dead, a severely depressed, twisted and suicidal skinny guy who mostly spends his time collecting dead animals, chasing cats with a shotgun and keeps fantasizing about death. Dead immediately shows up to take his stage name quite literally, by almost cutting himself to death while screaming Freezing Moon on stage wearing corpse-makeup and dirty clothes that have been a whole night underground to get the right smell of decay. However, it doesn’t take long before Dead takes his persona too literal by killing himself, blowing his brains to pieces with a shotgun. Upon finding him, Euronymous takes a picture of his body in which he used as the cover of one of their bootlegs. A disgraceful act that Necrobutcher didn’t want to be a part of, and then quits.
Now without a bass player and vocalist, Mayhem is in limbo. Euronymous starts his own record label Death Like Silence Productions and the record shop Helvete in Oslo, a hangout place in the black metal-circle where he more or less becomes an evil incarnate-cult leader, where everyone else are just posers. And in comes Varg Vikernes, a lonely, angry, insecure young man from Bergen with his one-man-band Burzum, who also speaks English. And yeah, we’re still in Norway where everyone speaks fluently English, but read Norwegian newspapers. Anyway, he’s really hungry and desperate for recognition, status and respect in the extreme metal circle. And he want’s it now! And to show how extreme and Dr. Prime Evil he is, he removes his Scorpions patch from his jacket, since that’s not “true metal” according to Euronymous, and sets fire to a church or two. Impressed by Varg’s actions and his commitment to practice what he preaches, Euronymous signs him on his record label. Varg also appears to play bass, and becomes a session-player on the recording of the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas record. But it shows that the relatively tiny black metal circle isn’t big enough for the two of them. The more respect Varg gets after the church burnings, the more Euronymous fades into the shadows, which makes their relationship crack and escalates into a huge battle between two poisonous, fragile and fucked-up egos. And as Euronymous tells the audience in the short voice-over prologue at the beginning, it doesn’t end well.
Ignoring all the inaccuracy and how Euronymous is painted as a saint with angel wings and Varg as the most evil creature in the universe, Lords of Chaos was better than I expected. I didn’t know what to expect, really, but at least I got entertained during the two hours it lasted, and that’s good enough for me. The most known segments, that has already been covered in books and documentaries, is included here. Everything from the small-legendary concert where the corpse-paint and pig heads got introduced, the homicide on the gay man in the Olympic Park, church burnings, up to the brutal climax. There’s a lot of shit to cover, but I wish the film focused more on Mayhem as a band and their struggle to survive on their chaotic zero-budget tours around Europe on Interrail which ends in them getting handcuffed by the Police. I didn’t get the Home Alone vibes from Rory Culkin as I expected, and there is some level of energy and enthusiasm behind his big, crazy eyes. He appears more like a younger Fenriz from Darkthrone. Emory Cohen, however, does a rather sloppy and lazy performance in which I can’t tell if it’s just bad acting or if he is in a role he really didn’t want to play. I just don’t buy him as Varg for a single second he’s on screen. But awesome that at least they got Attilla’s son, Arion, playing a thirty-year younger version of his dad.
The film has a great look with great use of the Norwegian landscapes, and the set of the Helvete record shop was spot on. And of course the churches that were built to be burned down was a stunning and beautiful sight to watch. And if there’s not any plans of a biopic GG Allin in the dark horizon, this will be the bloodiest and most graphic in the genre, as far as I know.
And if you haven’t already, also watch the documentaries “Once Upon a Time in Norway” (2007), “Pure Fucking Mayhem” (2008), “Until the Light Takes Us (2008) and “Satan Rides the Media” (1998)
Director: Jonas Åkerlund Country & year: UK | Sweden | Norway, 2018 Actors: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Valter Skarsgård, Anthony De La Torre, Jonathan Barnwell, Sam Coleman, Wilson Gonzalez, Lucian Charles Collier, Andrew Lavelle, James Edwyn, Gustaf Hammarsten, Jon Øigarden, Arion Csihar IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4669296/
A couple (Elin and Tobias) is on a vacation with their young daughter (Maja), when a serious case of food-poisoning causes the mother to become very ill. She is rushed to the hospital, and the whole family is spending the night in the hospital room, awaiting the mother’s recovery. When the next day arrives, which is also Maja’s birthday, they discover that she has died overnight due to a delayed response to the food poisoning. A few years later, the couple is going on a trip in order to find their way back to each other, but eventually find themselves trapped in a never-ending loop of terror when they are attacked by a trio of terrifying characters resembling the cartoons on their dead daughter’s music box.
“Koki-di Koko-da” by Johannes Nyholm is told like a nihilistic fable about loss and grief. The title is based on a French nursery rhyme, “Le coq est mort” (The rooster is dead, or “Vår tupp är dö” which is the Swedish version of the song). This song is sung by the only vocal character among the villains, and is also heard several other places throughout the movie. The atmosphere in the entire movie is somewhat tense already from the get-go, showing us that the death of their daughter has put such a strain on their relationship that they bicker at each other for every little trivial thing (like buying an ice cream with a different flavor). Setting up their tent in the woods at night, the couple is then attacked by the strange trio who also bring with them an aggressive dog. Elin goes out to take a pee, and sees a white cat (the cat having a different role in their story than the trio of weirdos, which is revealed later). When she is attacked, her husband Tobias just watches what unfolds from the tent, until it’s his turn to face their tormentors. And so it keeps repeating in a cycle of death and despair.
While we have had a couple of “Groundhog Day” type of horror movies recently (Happy Death Day, In The Tall Grass), this movie differs in how the time-loop never seem to make the characters any wiser or more prepared to face their fate. They get jumpier and more scared, but there is no “a-ha” moment in any of them, and Tobias is constantly cowering while his wife keeps getting brutalized and killed. The cartoony villains add to the bizarre and helpless atmosphere, giving it both a gloomy and weirdly funny tone. The animated sequences in the movie, consisting of shadow puppets which are moved along the screen with strings, are also a great element which ties together the rest. They show a “bunny family” representing the grieving parents and how they (ultimately) end up dealing with the loss of their daughter in ways that inevitably keeps them from progressing any further from their self-loathing and depression.
“Koki-di Koko-da” is an artistic horror movie which centers around grief and loss, and it’s definitely not aimed to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s not very straight-forward, and is not providing any clear goal for our protagonists (although there’s symbolism and metaphors all over the place). It’s like a twisted and dark fairytale that isn’t made with the intentions of tucking you off to bed with a good feeling.
Director: Johannes Nyholm Country & year: Sweden | Denmark, 2019 Actors: Peter Belli, Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon, Katarina Jakobson, Morad Baloo Khatchadorian, Brandy Litmanen IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9355200/
It’s a foggy night in London, where the prostitute Sally is on her way home from Cabaret Pike’s Hole. After some walking through narrow, dark alleys, she stumbles right into the hands of Jack the Ripper (Klaus Kinski) who rips her clothes off and kills her (off screen). He then carries her home over his shoulders like a dead deer, and brings her to his psychotic and slightly retarded wife Flora, who looks at the bodies he brings home with him as dolls, or whatever. The next day, Dr. Jack and Flora are rowing out into the Thames River (here filmed in the Schanzengraben Canal in Zürich) to dump the body. Jack, who is working as a doctor, is then going to work as usual to take care of today’s patients, and perhaps snatch a new victim. At the same time Scotland Yard, led by Inspector Miller, is on the case.
Written and directed by the Spanish Jess Franco who was most famous (or rather more infamous) for his uncompromising and sleazy low budget exploitation- reels, often filled with tits, hairy pussies and pretty much the normal stuff that either cinema or TV in Spain usually refused to show. It never slowed down his creativity however, and made his films so quick and simple that he could pull out ten films in one year. Well, take that, Takashi Miike. A hardcore workaholic who obviously nearly worked himself to death, until he was hit by a deadly stroke in 2013. The 82-year-old left behind a track record of over 200 films. So it was pretty evident that I had to check out some of his work sooner or later.
The first impression here is not bad, the production value is up there with some great atmosphere. The rest, however, is nothing much to be impressed by. It clearly has nothing to do with Jack the Ripper whatsoever and the mystery/mythology, so God knows what this movie really was supposed to be. The acting goes from wooden, bad to so-bad-it’s-funny, and was originally performed by German actors. It later got rather sloppily dubbed in post-production, in German, Spanish and English. The gore effects, which is a minimal aspect here, is nothing but a joke, and this is supposed to be the uncut version. Sorry, but I’m still not impressed. There’s one scene where Jack chops off one of the victims titties in which the effect looks like a burger with red paint on it. Uhm.. okay. That really sucked. Someone give Tom Savini a call, please.
And when it comes to the ending.. it’s actually so lame, anticlimactic and lazy that not even an ending credit or a simple “The End” is shown. It just ends. Which is good. I’m glad it at least ended..
Director: Jess Franco Country & year: Switzerland | West Germany | Spain, 1976 Actors: Klaus Kinski, Josephine Chaplin, Andreas Mannkopff, Herbert Fux, Lina Romay, Hans Gaugler, Nikola Weisse IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074408/
Jenn lives in an underground bunker, protected from the monsters that now ravage the world. This is the day that she goes outside…
“Monsters” by Steve Desmond is an atmospheric and tense horror/thriller short, that isn’t what you probably think it will be…
Director: Steve Desmond Country & year: USA, 2015 Actors: Caitlin Carmichael, Ione Skye, Christopher Wiehl, Joey Luthman, Eva-Marie Fredric, Paul Hickman, Brooklyn Robinson, Benjamin Waters IMDb:https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4433106/
A sister (Becky) and brother (Cal) is driving close by a vast field area of tall grass in the middle of Kansas. She is pregnant, and they stop by a deserted church because she’s gotten a bit carsick. There, they hear a young boy’s cry for help from the tall grass, claiming he’s lost and cannot find his way out. They both go in there to save him, but ends up finding themselves lost as well. Something is not right about that vast field of tall grass…and something evil is lurking within.
“In The Tall Grass” is based on a novella by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. A father & son collaboration, in other words. The director is Vincenzo Natali (director of “Cube” from 1997, “Splice” from 2009, and among many other things he’s also been directing some of the episodes in the “Locke & Key” TV Series). This movie is available on Netflix, and was released on October 4th. This makes it the third Stephen King original on Netflix (the other two includes “1922” and “Gerald’s Game”).
The film starts off pretty interesting. and for those familiar with more of Stephen King’s work, “Children of The Corn” is easily coming to mind. This story has nothing to do with that, however, and instead throws the characters into a never-ending green maze. There they meet the boy and his parents (the father played by Patrick Wilson), and they all find themselves stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time-loop, in an ever expanding maze of tall grass.
There’s no denying that the first part of the movie is the best, and there’s especially one scene in particular that comes to mind when the movie is building the atmosphere and tension: where Becky and Cal tries jumping in the tall grass to see each other’s arms reaching above it, in order to try locating each other. Upon their second jump, just a few seconds later, they see the distance between them has grown considerably…despite none of them having moved an inch. This tells us early on that there’s something totally wrong with the maze of tall grass, and that there’s no easy way out of there.
“In The Tall Grass” is pretty far from a flawless movie, where there’s very little of an actual plot which makes it feel a bit shallow. There isn’t much of an explanation either…there’s some hints as to what the area is, but nothing properly explained or delved into. The area around the church is filled with other cars, giving us a hint that a lot of people have gone missing there for quite a while…but not much of anything is really revealed. It’s prone to confuse you more than scare you…and it’s definitely not a movie for everyone. That being said, it is still entertaining, atmospheric and visually strong. Hopefully it won’t be the last Netflix original featuring Stephen King / Joe Hill based movies.
Director: Vincenzo Natali Country & year: Canada, 2019 Actors: Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr., Harrison Gilbertson, Tiffany Helm, Rachel Wilson IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4687108/