Movie poster for Futureworld

With going through the numerous anime from last season that I watched, I have ended up being somewhat behind in my other horror film reviews for the year. So, I need to make up for lost time – with Futureworld, the sequel to a horror film I watched a couple of years ago, Westworld.

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When I heard about the upcoming release of Gundam NT (or Gundam Narrative) the thought I had coming in was that the film was going to be the kickoff point for the next chapter of the saga of the Universal Century. That, after the conclusion of Gundam Unicorn set up something of a new status quo, this would start a series of films that would basically lay the groundwork for eventually reaching F91, Crossbone Gundam, and Victory Gundam.

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When it comes to horror and documentaries, in the sense of horror films that are deliberately planned to be documentaries, you have two main stripes represented by two big names. On one hand, you have Legend of Boggy Creek, a historical reenactment heavy documentary about a Texarkana cryptid that effectively recounts a variety of local myths and legends in an uncritical manner. On the other hand, there’s Haxan, the film I’m covering today, which is not only a very early work in the documentary genre, it’s also a work that is also very critical of historical accounts of witchcraft.

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Roger Corman is widely recognized as a producer who launched the careers of numerous writers, actors, and future directors. He’s also widely recognized as a producer who churned out numerous exploitation films of a wide variety of stripes almost like clockwork, on the cheap, and without much concern about the craft.

This leads to the problems with Humanoids from the Deep. Part of this film is a very well done horror creature feature, with incredibly suspensefully shot sequences, and is a film that is willing to straight up kill off a kid and several dogs very early in the film. It’s also a film where Roger Corman decided to fire the film’s original director, Barbara Peeters, because he wanted the film’s rape scenes to be more explicit – so he handed those sequences off to the second unit director, and the film is lesser because of this. (more…)

It’s been a while since I watched what I’d call a “Weird Japan” movie – a Japanese film with a degree of creativity and un-reality that is uncommon in Western cinema – and indeed is generally rejected outright in Western independent cinema (see Dogme ’95 and Ethan Hawke’s comments about superhero films). Instead, these films openly embrace science fiction, fantasy, and horror concepts in a way that Western independent cinema (outside of horror) fails to do.

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The Visitor is a very different animal where Italian horror films are concerned. It’s not a giallo or an offshoot of giallo like The Black Cat or Argento’s Three Mothers series. It’s not a zombie film at the least. I’d describe it as fitting closer to Italian Satanic horror films – films inspired by or seeking to mimic Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, and other similar films. These films rely less on plot cohesion and more on mood and tone. It doesn’t quite matter if the motivations of the characters are clearly spelled out or the narrative beats are coherent so long as the emotional beats are. (more…)

Almost 20 years after Dario Argento released the middle installment of his “Three Mothers Trilogy” he made the final installment of the series – Mother of Tears. As with most series that take this long between installments, there is a sense that what you’ll get with the final installment can never live up to what expectations you’ve set for it. However, even then, Mother of Tears is particularly disappointing. (more…)

One of the issues with modern horror films, particularly those with a human antagonist, is the filmmakers feel the need to give a grounding to their villain’s methods that they feel believable, and they have the same need to make the protagonists just unlikeable enough that when bad things happen to them, things don’t feel overly cruel. The problem is that when this goes wrong it comes across to a degree like victim-blaming – and leads to a toxic message like the one put forward in your standard ’80s slasher film. Don’t Breathe manages to avoid that – barely. This review will contain a few spoilers. (more…)

Live music is theater. Yes, live music is often seen in a theater, but they the act of performing music publically is, in some manner or another, theatrical. It’s a performance that seeks to tell a story or convey an emotion through music. Some genres of music try to lean away from this, like folk or punk (though arguably punk leans so far away from theatricality that it ends up accidentally leaning into theatricality). Others, like metal, prog, and some parts of pop lean into it, either through telling a deliberate story or through the presentation. Stop Making Sense definitely fits into the latter category. (more…)

Stray Dog is one of the earlier film noir styled films from Akira Kurosawa. It’s an interesting example of the genre, and it also makes for an interesting snapshot of post-war Japan. The premise has Toshiro Mifune playing a rookie homicide op whose weapon is stolen by a pickpocket while on the bus. The detective ends up being partnered with a veteran detective as they make their way through Tokyo’s underworld to find the gun. (more…)

I never really watched many western films with plots based around Native Americans when I was a kid. Not even The Searchers. I kinda knew, at a fundamental level, that most of those films had something of a simmering undercurrent of racism that would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Even after I got older, and started hearing people talking about The Searchers in particular as one of the best Westerns, if not one of the best films of all time, I couldn’t quite quell those lingering doubts. However, after much deliberation, this year I decided to get around to watching this movie. (more…)

It is important to say this out of the gate, even more so than with Fate/Apocrypha – this is a film for people who have been watching Fate/Stay Night from the beginning. This, to a large degree, has to do with the structure of the original game. Heaven’s Feel is the third route of the game, played after (in order) the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works routes. Consequently, the story of the route has a lot less focus on explaining the Holy Grail War, Servants, or mages, because you’ve played through the game twice already. (more…)