31 July 2006

Robert Morgan's short films

The UK animator and creator Robert Morgan has been working since 1997. His short films are not known outside England due to lack of financial support. Unfortunately, short films suffer in general the same problem: very little distribution because they are economically not very profitable. So Robert Morgan's work remains practically unknown. But if you see his short The Separation (see photo) you'd be surprise of what he can do with silicon and clay dolls. He says his major influence is David Lynch, and you can tell by the background music and lighting in his movies. In The Separation, two twins are separated but feel lonely, they get pasted back together by a strange machine, but something goes wrong during the process, and the end result is grotesque. In The Cat with Hands, a small black cat takes parts of people's bodies and slowly turns into a normal person. He cathes birds with his hands and eats them alive. These are just some examples of Morgan's extraordinary talent.

26 July 2006

Reincarnation (Rinne / Japan, 2005)

This is your typical Japanese scary movie. The difference being that they are far more original than the American remakes. It tells the story of a film crew who is re-enacting the murders that took place in a creepy hotel. When the crew goes to the actual hotel to do some exploratory research, one of the actresses begins to be haunted by a strange little girl and her doll (the creepiest and scariest doll I have seen since Chucky!). The little girl and her whole family where killed in this hotel.

Director Takashi Shimizu is an expert in scaring its audience. Simple things like a distant noise, a small ball bouncing on the floor can scare the hell out of you if you leave it to Shimizu to create the appropriate atmosphere. Just like his previous film Ju-on, every murder scene develops slowly and ends with a gruesome killing. A very entertaining and above all, scary film worth watching.

25 July 2006

Pusher 3 (aka : I am the Angel of Death) (Denmark, 2005)

This third part has nothing to do with the other two, so you can watch it without worrying about not understanding. A middle-aged man, Milo, is involved in drug trafficking in Copenhague. It’s his 25-year-old daughter’s birthday and the movie takes place just in this fatal day. He gets involved in a strange drug deal where he gets screwed. While trying to solve the problem, he consumes ecstasy, speed and other drugs which provoke him to react violently. He also attends a drug recovery group, but just for 15 minutes because he is busy cooking for his daughter’s party. He is trying to get out of drugs and at the same time he is buying and selling the product. When one of his friends offers him coke, everything goes downhill for Milo. How he gets rid of the bodies of the two persons he kills is quite disturbing. You will get trapped in Milo’s world of drugs and violence without even noticing. A remarkable film from director Nicolas Winding Renf.

24 July 2006

Lunacy (Sileni, Czech Republic, 2005)

Director Jan Svankmajer brings us a story about a young man, Jean Berlot, who on the way to his mother’s funeral, meets a very strange character who resembles the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis invites him to his house and Jean soon finds out the Marquis’ bizarre traditions and blasphemous ceremonies. Following Svankmajer’s tradition, there is a combination of live action and stop motion. Jean finds out that the so-called Marquis is actually a patient of a madhouse who had escaped. When Jean rescues the real doctors, who were kept locked in the basement by the patients, his own descent into madness begins when he has to confront his own fears. In between takes we see stop-motion scenes of cuts of beef (yes, you read well, cuts of beef!) running around, hiding behind clothes, moving things of their own will; we seem to be looking at the mind of a real madman. This is an original film by one of the industry’s best stop-motion directors I have seen.

20 July 2006

The Kovak Box (El Laberinto de Kovak, Spain, 2006)

Director Daniel Monzon, who brought us the extraordinary film The Machinist, comes back with another thriller about a bizarre experiment done on human beings.

A sci-fi writer, David, is invited to give a conference in the island of Mallorca. His wife goes with him, and on the first night, she receives a mysterious call that makes her jump out of the window killing herself. At the same time, another guest at the hotel receives a call and jumps out the window too. What seems to be a suicide turns out to be something much worse, as David starts receiving clues as to what is really happening. Apparently, a Hungarian researcher, Robert Kovak, had been experimenting conditional behaviour on humans. David soon finds himself entangled in Mr. Kovak’s plan to write a book about his life. He wants of course David to write it, and thanks to his experiment, he is able to control people’s mind if they do not comply to his requests.

The plot will keep you at the edge of your seat until the end. We, as spectators, discover new facts in every scene, and just like the writer David, we are trying to understand and connect the dots. A few graphic killings complete this excellent movie.

19 July 2006

Blood Tea and Red String (USA, 2005)

This is a sci-fi animation tale for adults. It is about a group of mice who play cards and drink blood tea at the same time. That’s it? No, of course not. On the other hand, a group of squirrel-like animals called the Oak Dwellers, start a journey in order to recover a doll for which they all fell in love. This doll now belongs to the mice. During this journey, they get to taste the yellow fruit, which produces hallucinations. At one point, a strange butterfly comes out of the doll’s stomach and before this happens, the squirrel-like creatures hang the doll on a tree and make it look like Jesus Christ. Is this twisted enough for you? This is an interesting little animation that resembles the work of the Czech director Jan Svankmajer.

18 July 2006

Storm (Sweden, 2005)

Eric Ericson lives by himself in an appartment in downtown Stockholm. Suddenly, the city is menaced by a huge storm. In the meantime, Eric crosses road with a red-haired woman who is being chased by some very mysterious looking individuals. She is carrying a small silver box that she cannot open by herself. Things get more strange when the woman knocks on his door the same night, and the mysterious guys start chasing Eric too. Soon enough, he is involved in this chase without anyone explaining why. When the flashbacks to his childhood start, and when Eric discovers a copy of an old comic book he used to read when he was a kid, what appears as just a murderous chase becomes a personal quest and rediscovering of Eric's childhood misbehaviours. A very unique film that defies categorizing, this is another example of new Scandinavian cinema. A lot of action scenes and good editing, along with cool background music and a few scares (deadly ghosts appear now and then) will keep you alert throughout the whole movie.

12 July 2006


White of the Eye (USA, UK, 1987)

According to movie experts, this is director's Donald Cammell best movie. He is rarely known in the industry because he has had a rather cursed career. However, his films are visual masterpieces not to be missed. This movie has not been released for cinema; being shown only at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montréal. The film was kept in the shelves of the British Council of Censorship (or whatever the name is). For strange reasons and distribution complications, the movie was never released.

This is the story of Paul White, an audio and video equipment repairman. He has a strange hobby though: he kills rich and lonely women. When he commits his murders, he arranges the crime scene as a work of art, using the furniture (and body parts!) available to rearrange it all and create a new grotesque visual work of art, according to him. When his wife finds out and the local police start looking for him, all hell breaks loose. Paul White tries to stab his wife to death and shoot at his own little daughter.

The whole movie is very visual with a lot of opera and classical music playing in the background. The music sets the tone for several crime scenes and the ending is very well made. It reminds me somewhat of The Shining, but this movie might be a little bit more original.

10 July 2006


Art of the Devil 2 (Thailand, 2005)

This sequel has nothing to do with the original apparently. In up-town Thailand, a group of students decide to take revenge on a gym teacher who abused one of the students. They sollicit the help of a Cambodian witch doctor. He warns them, however, that whatever they do, karma will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Whatever bad you do, it will come back to you one way or another. In this case, everyone has a curse on everyone, and the fun begins when they are invited to their teachers house to spend some time with her. This teacher (see photo), who seems at first to be the nice and gentle, ends up killing the students in such a gruesome way that censors will have a hard time figuring out what scenes to cut. Lizzards come out of someone's back, one students gets burned alive with a fire torch provided by our dear teacher, hooks come out of the skin of another person, and terrifying ghosts appear at every corner to one of the students. This is clearly not for the faint of heart or stomach.