Categories
Live Action Series Television

Hellbound (Jiok)

Director – Yeon Sang-ho – 2021 – South Korea – 6 x 50m

*****

Angels state the time of death then demons come and cart people off to hell, generating a circus of fundamentalist, religious activity – series airs on Netflix from November 19th – reviewed for All The Anime

The new Netflix series Hellbound (2021) from South Korea’s Yeon Sang-ho, creator of zombie outings Seoul Station (2016) and Train To Busan (2016), began life as a webtoon some 11 minutes in length back in 2002. The first three x 50-minute episodes (out of six) have played a number of international film festivals.

Those first three episodes – screened at the London Film Festival where this writer saw them – explore notions of sin, eternal punishment and damnation. As in Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael’s hilarious and highly inventive comic, religious satire The Brand New Testament (2015), people are sent the date and time of their death then dazedly watch the moment approach on their mobile phones. After its announcement, when the time comes, three black and white, Hulk-like demons turn up to pound the person into a pulp, suck out their life force and burn the corpse… [Read more]

I review Hellbound (eps 1-3) for All The Anime.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Censor

Director – Prano Bailey-Bond – 2021 – UK – Cert. – 84m

****

In the 1980s so-called ‘video nasties’ era, a BBFC examiner increasingly confuses horror films with reality – on MUBI from Sunday, October 31st

A peculiarly British film in that it pertains to the way so-called ‘video nasties’ were dealt with by the UK censor in the 1980s. With the rise of video technology, a legal loophole meant that while cinema films were given a certificate by the UK censor, films released straight to video were not. A number of horror films far more violent and bloody than the censor would allow for cinema exhibition thus found their way onto VHS videotape, into video stores and onto the nation’s home TV screens via the video player.

Sections of the UK press ran stories of ‘video nasties’ suggesting that seeing such videos would corrupt children and impressionable members of society. One or two Tory MPs campaigned for changes to the law, resulting in the 1984 Video Recordings Act. Now videos came under the BBFC’s remit (it changed its name from the British Board Of Film Censors to the British Board Of Film Classification) and video titles were examined then passed, passed with cuts or banned.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

Hot Flash

Director – Thea Hollatz – 2019 – Canada – 10m

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

Suffering from a hot flash just before she’s due to go on air, weatherwoman Ace Naismith (voice: Christine Horne) desperately employs the cooling fan in her dressing room to blow cool air on her face, under her boobs and up her dress in a desperate attempt to cool down. A moment of embarrassment ensues as she’s interrupted by P.A. Natalie Van Damme (Grace Glowicki) who tells her, Don wants you to talk about paragliders.

In the studio, under the lights against greenscreen, Ace is visibly suffering. Don (Tony Nappo) enters, but she can’t talk to him about the paraglider thing because he’s jugging three conversations on three different devices, one of which could be with his wife. So she delivers the report to camera on the incoming ice storm and then, paragliders, a reminder of warmer weather which she, in her current hot state, could well do without.

Her quest to cool down continues – sitting in the car park with the car door open while a male colleague walks past, warmly wrapped against the freezing cold. She drives home, rushes upstairs, rips of her clothes opens the window, cools down.… Read the rest

Categories
Live Action Movies

Resolution

Directors – Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead – 2012 – US – Cert. 15– 93m

****

First time lucky? Benson & Moorhead’s ultra-low budget debut feature both anticipates and ties in with The Endless – out now as a second disc on the UK Blu-ray & DVD of The Endless

Michael (Peter Cilella) drops in on his old friend Chris (Vinny Curran) who has become a crack addict and is living in an abandoned house in the middle of some scrub wasteland. Chris thinks Mike wants to join him but Mike has another idea in mind. He wants to force Chris to go cold turkey so he cuffs his friend to some wall piping and gets rid of the drug.

Now the long wait beings. And a series of messages recorded on all manner of media begin arriving: an LP, a VHS videotape, wall carvings and more. Someone – or something – is recording them. But who. Or what? And why?

Resolution is the auspicious debut feature of independents Benson & Moorhead who went on to make Spring (2014) and The Endless (2017). Boasting a wickedly clever script by Benson and shot by Moorhead, it’s not only a textbook example of how to make a low budget feature and launch a film career but also a terrific little movie.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Videodrome

Director – David Cronenberg – 1983 – Canada – Cert. 18 – 87m

*****

This review originally appeared in What’s On In London during the film’s revival at the ICA. See also my review for London Calling Internet.

In a career-defining performance from 1983, the young James Woods is Max Renn, glutted on the diet of video porn he watches as buyer for a Cable TV station. Everything he sees is “too soft”. “I’m looking for something tough,” he proclaims, “something to break through the market.”

In the station’s basement, his technician assistant Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) finds the very thing. Videodrome. Women strung up and beaten to death. No cuts. One locked off camera. Nil production values. Here, indeed, is something tough.

Welcome to a world of media personalities like Brian O’Blivion (Jack Creley), a man who no longer exists as flesh but merely as viewable video images. Like Nikki Brand (Debbie Harry), who agrees with Renn on a TV chat show slot that her red dress is a come on, later vanishing after declaring she should audition for the Videodrome show.

A world where hands mutate into guns, men literally bury their heads in eroticised television screens and one person loads a videocassette into another’s stomach to programme him.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Videodrome (Director’s Cut)

Director – David Cronenberg – 1983 – Canada – Cert. 18 – 85m

*****

UK PAL laserdisc review.

Originally appeared in London Calling Internet. See also my review for What’s On In London during the film’s revival at the ICA.

Distributor Pioneer LDCE

Cat No: PFLEB 36041

£19.99

BBFC Certificate 18

Director David Cronenberg (1982)

Starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, Debbie Harry

Running Time 85 min

Mono

Widescreen: 1.85:1

Chaptered? Yes

CLV (Side 1)/CAV (Side 2)

2 Sides

A decade and a half on and still retaining its incredible power to shock, this is the film in which David Cronenberg first coined his battle cry, “Long Live the New Flesh.” If a clear lineage can be traced in his films from Shivers’ aphrodisiac turds through to Crash‘s orgasmic collision of swingers and twisted metal, Videodrome remains unique in Cronenberg’s oeuvre – a black joke, a come on to the censor.

Just suppose, runs the pitch, violent porno (television signals) directly affected people causing them to hallucinate. This is the fate which befalls sleazoid Channel 83 cable television executive Max Renn (a young Woods in his best – and edgiest – role to date) who tells porno programme sales agents their merchandise is “too SOFT…I’m looking for something TOUGH.”… Read the rest