Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tell Me Something (1999) - Film Review

I was pretty impressed with this Korean horror crime/thriller. It mines much of the same ground as Se7en and other high profile thrillers, but it's decidedly more gory and grisly (which I certainly appreciate). There seems to be a slight "giallo" influence as well (especially one of the killings, which had an Argento-esque feel to it). The story involves a serial killer terrorizing Seoul and leaving his victims' body parts in garbage bags throughout various public locations in the city. The garbage bags contain different parts from different male victims; and the special investigators task force, led by Detective Cho must piece together the human puzzles to determine the victims' identities.

Once the identities are discovered, the task force manages to link all the victims to a former lover, Su-Yeon Chae. Is she a suspect? Or is she the killer's next target? Watch and find out. It's a little slow in places but it does manage to build suspense; and the thriller aspect holds your attention to the end. The cinematography and look of the film is exceptional, and the soundtrack was also memorable. The acting is capable with no real stand-out performances. I only recognized one actor that I've seen in other films, Jung-ah Yum. She played the stepmother in A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, another exceptional Korean film. She also played a small part as the "vampire woman" in the opening scene of Park-Chan Wook's segment of THREE...EXTREMES.

Tell Me Something (1999) Rating:
3 and a half out of 5 Tombstones3 and a half out of 5 Tombstones
"Capable Korean Crime Thriller"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Love Object (2003) - Film Review

I just watched this film again a couple days ago. I bought the DVD when it came out back in 2004, and I thought it was a very well done horror/thriller. What made me watch it again recently is because I just saw the movie LARS AND THE REAL GIRL. Both films have similar set-ups - a lonely introverted man buys a life-like sex doll for companionship. The introverts in both films are also attracted to a female co-worker. But this is where the similarity ends. LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is a decent, touching and lighthearted comedy/drama (and as such, it's not really my type of film). LOVE OBJECT on the other hand travels a much darker and more twisted path. The said introvert Kenneth (played by Desmond Harrington), becomes infatuated with female co-worker Lisa (played by Melissa Sagemiller). He orders a life-like sex doll from a website that lets you customize the doll. He of course endows it with all of Lisa's physical attributes. He also finds out personal information about Lisa (like what kind of music she likes, etc). When he finds out that she likes waltz, he goes so far as to buy a bondage harness from a sex shop so he can dance with the doll!

Love Object

If this sounds pretty creepy and disturbing don't worry - it gets even more twisted from here. I'm not going into the plot any further, because I don't like giving away too much. Those looking for gore won't find much here, and the sleaze-factor is held in check by the R-rating; but it's still an effective horror/thriller with some decent performances by all the actors involved. Speaking of the actors, Desmond Harrington will be familiar to horror fans as the male lead in the hillbilly splatter-fest WRONG TURN. There are also some great supporting roles, like Udo Kier as Kenneth's nosy apartment manager; and Rip Torn as Kenneth's boss. So if you've seen LARS AND THE REAL GIRL but thought that it could really benefit from some kink, sleaze, creepiness and dark humor then LOVE OBJECT is the movie for you.

Love Object (2003) - Trailer

Love Object (2003) Rating:
3 and a half out of 5 Tombstones3 and a half out of 5 Tombstones

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Der Golem (1920) - Film Review

An excellent silent film made in Germany and making great use of the expressionist style of filmmaking from that era. Made by the same studio that produced THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI that same year. It could be considered one of the first "monster" movies as well. This movie was a huge influence on James Whale when he made FRANKENSTEIN in 1931. It involves a Jewish community being persecuted by Christians. The Jewish rabbi uses "black magic" to bring a clay statue to life in order to protect them from the Christian emperor. The cinematographer, Karl Freund, would go on to lens Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS in 1927 and Tod Browning's DRACULA in 1931; and in the 50's he was the director of photography for the "I Love Lucy" show.

Der Golem (1920) Rating:
4 out of 5 Tombstones: A Bone-A-Fide Crypt-Licker
"Influential German expressionism"

Destroyer 666 (In Concert/Charlotte, NC-9/30/09)

Australian thrash/black metal band Destroyer 666 are on tour and will be playing live in Charlotte, NC on September 30, 2009. I'll more than likely be at this show. Here's all the info:

Destroyer 666 w/
Rapheumets Well
Shadow of the Destroyer

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Charlotte, NC

at Charlotte's Underground
4205 Monroe Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Doors open: 8:PM
Show starts: 9:PM

$20 in advance
$25 at the door
18 and over

To purchase tickets online

Destroyer 666 - I Am the Wargod

Doormouse / Venetian Snares - Skelechairs (Hexenkult's Edit)

This is a breakcore track by Doormouse entitled "Skelechairs". It was remixed by Venetian Snares. I tampered with it further and the full title should be Doormouse / Venetian Snares - Skelechairs (Hexenkult's Sample Massacre Edit). The video was (painstakingly) edited using still shots from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Catacombs (2007) - Film Review

It could have been (and should have been) so much better. Set among the underground catacombs of France, it should have at least been able to create a creepy claustrophobic atmosphere (like THE DESCENT), but it fails to generate any suspense or scares. And the twist ending just came off as ridiculous to me. In fact most of these types of horror films with the tacked on twist endings are just becoming too cliched now. Oh yeah, this was made by the producers of the SAW films. Blah! That's really all I have to say about this one. Just skip it. It's not even worth an in-depth review. For much more effective excursions into claustrophobic creepiness, check out the afforementioned THE DESCENT and Christopher Smith's 2004 film CREEP, set in the tunnels of a London subway station.

Catacombs (2007) - Trailer
Just watch the trailer, then you don't need to waste your time on the movie

Catacombs (2007) Rating:
1 and a half out of 5 Tombstones: No Meat on These Dry Bones
"A Wasted Opportunity"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales / Emperor's Return (1984/1985) - Music Review

Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return CD Cover

The "Morbid Tales" EP (1984) was the first release of pioneering first wave black metal band Celtic Frost, following the split up of Hellhammer. The line-up was Tom G. Warrior (guitar/vocals), Martin Eric Ain (bass), and Stephen Priestly (drums). In 1985 their second release was an EP called "Emperor's Return". Stephen Priestly was replaced on drums by Reed St. Mark.

Emperor's Return EP (1985)

The excellent cover art on "Emperor's Return" was done by Phil Lawvere. Like Ed Repka, he did artwork for various album covers, mostly metal bands, including Kreator's "Endless Pain", "Terrible Certainty", and "Pleasure to Kill", as well as Vendetta's "Go and Live...Stay and Die". This CD I'm reviewing combines both the "Morbid Tales" and "Emperor's Return" EPs. It includes such classic songs as "Into the Crypts of Rays" (with lyrics based on the deeds of the infamous French aristocrat Gilles de Rais), the doom-laden metal masterpiece that is "Procreation (of the Wicked)", and the eerie horror movie atmospherics of "Danse Macabre" (the twisted-sounding lullaby voices in this track remind me of something out of a Dario Argento film). And of course you can't forget tracks like "Circle of the Tyrants" and "Dethroned Emperor". Whether you like doom metal, black metal, thrash metal, or death metal, Celtic Frost was a huge influence on all these emerging genres; and for those not familiar with them, this is the best place to start. An essential addition to any metal collection.

Celtic Frost

Celtic Frost - Into the Crypts of Rays (Live 1985)

Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return (1984/1985) Rating:
5 out of 5 Tombstones: An Absolute Ghoul-Feast
"Influential Metal Classic"