Kryptic Army Mission: July 2021 – Reading is Fundamental!

One of the things that I’m always preaching here is to open up your comfort zone to different types of movies. I know to most of you reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but there are newer fans to the genre, or film in general that don’t care for subtitles. “I want to watch a movie, not read it!” is the best response that I’ve gotten over the years. But the funny thing is that the more subtitled movies you watch, the faster you read them, to the point where you’re not even reading them but just glancing at the words at the bottom of the screen and your brain does the rest. True story. Well, at least I believe it. But it will get easier.

Another reason this is something horror fans should do is because it allows you see films from different countries, different cultures, beliefs, and so many other things that could affect the way they are telling a story. It opens your eyes to a lot of incredible cinema by doing that.

So for this month, our mission is pretty easy: Find 2 horror films that you’ve never seen before that have subtitles. You need to find and watch them and report back here by 11:59pm, on July 31st. Simple enough, right?

I supposed I have to point out the movie has to be in a foreign language and you just can’t watch an American film with the subtitles on. Sorry folks, just had to throw that clarification out there for the soldier who thought he could be sneaky. That guy is going to end up cleaning the latrine with a toothbrush. The point of this mission is to help you experience the genre from a different point of view, a different style, and hopefully be entertained!

Good Luck and can’t want to hear your reports!

28 thoughts on “Kryptic Army Mission: July 2021 – Reading is Fundamental!

  1. Darn, you caught my loophole! Just kidding. I actually love foreign horror and don’t mind subtitles at all. Looking forward to this one!

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  2. Aha, hoho! In my country ALL movies are subtitled. Even our domestic ones, given some of our dialects.

    So, Jon, since American English is a foreign language to me, that technically means I can watch US movies, with the subtitles turned on in my native language?

    Just kidding. As this would sort of defy this mission’s purpose, no? To share some non-American movies on here, right? No worries, I’ll come up with some titles…

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    • The funny this is Gert I knew since I think you’re the only soldier not from here in the US, I figured you would have the easiest with this mission!

      But yes, technically an English film with subtitles would work for you, but I do appreciate you going the extra mile. Shows that you completely understand what I’m doing. Granted, I would think you are more than well versed in cinema from out the world already!

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  3. Normally I’d write something after I watched both movies. However, last night I watched Dream Home (2010) and I’m not sure I’m in a state of mind to watch another horror film for about, oh, three more years or so. Wow.

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  4. Foreign Wars Assignment

    1. Lake of Dracula (1971-Japan)
    SYNOPSIS: A Young girl has a vison/experience with a golden eyed vampire only to encounter the same vampire 20 years later when she is an adult.

    REVIEW: Japan does Gothic horror, and does it quite well. The movie is clearly inspired by early hammer horror movies with a touch of universal horror and Japanese style thrown in. The movie, like many of this style drags a little at times with minimal action, but overall is a good watch with some nice creepy visuals and the typical gothic ambiance. I was pleasantly surprised and would suggest to this movie to anyone who likes gothic horror, foreign films, or likes their movies to be heavy on atmosphere (and low on gore).

    2. R-Point (2004-Korea)
    SYNOPSIS: A platoon of soldiers is sent in to a “safe” area to find a platoon that had gone missing there earlier after phantom calls from them are being received via radio.

    REVIEW: Another movie I liked. I have to admit I did get a bit lost from time to time; losing track of who was who and how we got to certain points, but the confusion was minimal and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment. The scenery and mood were quite good and there were some nice creepy moments. One scene was particularly well done creating goosebumps even though it took place in broad daylight. Overall the way they revealed the concept behind the land they were searching was well thought out and done in a way that kept you intrigued. I would recommend it, especially to those who like foreign movies, those who like war horror, and those who like a good “ghost” movie.

    3. The Funeral Home (2020-Argentina)
    SYNOPSIS: A dysfunctional family of 3 lives in a home they share with the spirits of the dead from the old funeral home on the property. However, one of the spirits becomes aggressive.

    REVIEW: This movie was a disappointment. The cinematography was quite good and the scenery and setting ominous and dreary. There were a lot of good ideas here. Too many in fact, many of which seemed to be left hanging and unexplored. I think the movie would have been better had it stuck with the initial premise, and focused on the family trying to make peace with the ghosts around them, especially their own family members that have been lost. Instead we quickly lose that focus and eventually move to a worn out plot of a malevolent spirit threating a family, causing them to seek the help of a “professional.” Often the writers seem to change their mind on a dime creating strange plot points or story gaps that were hard to understand. For instance the “professional” draws a circle and spends time and effort explaining to the family they must not leave the circle even if tempted because she can’t protect them if they do. Within a few moments the young girl is lured out by a ghost and the woman than says that it’s okay that she will be fine let her go. Huh? There are many moments like that throughout the film. In addition to ADD feel of the writing, the film tries but fails to capture many scary moments even when the scene is set up to do so. It just seems to miss the mark (for me anyway). So while a nicely shot film, I didn’t find it to be a movie I would really recommend to anyone.

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    • After reading about that trilogy of Japanese vampire films in Phil Hardy’s books, it took me some time to find them and I really enjoyed them. It was so strange seeing a gothic style horror film from Japan, but thought they were really well made. I would recommend seeking out the other two, Evil of Dracula and The Vampire Doll.

      I think I’ve seen R-Point, actually a recommendation from a different mission entry, but can’t find my notes about it! But I do remember liking it.

      I did enjoy The Funeral Home, even though it was a bit quirky. But like you said, the cinematography and atmosphere was pretty good.

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  5. Finally, a mission that I will not be stressing about all month! Heck, I watched 13 subtitled movies for the first time last month alone! I may just drop in from time to time as the month progresses with additional reports.

    The Resurrection Of Amanda Morales (2007 / Mexico)

    Amanda Morales is described as “a wood nymph” who was accused by women in the village of sleeping with their husbands. (Spoiler alert – she didn’t). She was hanged anyway by the mob of women. Since then, her spirit has been , supposedly, searching for a new body so she can exact her revenge. Now a small crew of a reality show, and 3 couples out for a weekend in the woods are her targets. Because, to Amanda’s spirit, “revenge” obviously means indiscriminately killing anyone within reach. One man with “the power” may be able to exorcise the vengeful spirit of Amanda. But can he do it before everyone dies? Will you care?

    More to follow…

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  6. Okay, Jon, I also had a Mexican film (Honeymoon, aka Luna De Miel, 2015) and a Japanese one (Mutant Girls Squad, 2010) in mind for this mission, but July’s schedule had me spending less time behind a screen, so I opted to stick to the two European films I had planned for this month’s ‘subtitled feature foursome’. One from this century, a contemporary Spanish-Portugese production, and one from previous century, a classic Italian-French co-production…

    WHEN THE BELL CHIMED 13 (2002)
    aka Trece Campanadas [ES]

    This is one fine and, I reckon, somewhat overlooked Spanish psychological mystery horror drama that flirts with the supernatural and boosts some valid artistic merits. A young man, Jacobo, returns to his home town of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where he gets the opportunity to finish the final sculpture works of his father, Mateo, a famous regional artist. However, his father died when Jacobo was still a little boy, and his mother currently resides in a mental hospital. Naturally, the intrigue involves unsolved matters, and the plot thickens when his dead father appears not willing to shuffle off this mortal coil yet.

    The mystery behind the story, and the whole film for that matter, is well-constructed. Some secrets are kept hidden (long enough) and revealed with great (surprise) timing. The cast is good and all characters play their part in the overall intrigue. The cinematography and locations are appropriate; at times gorgeous, yet never unaware of the film’s underlying depressive dramatic tension. It’s not the kind of film that aims to horrify its audience, nor does it inject much action and thrills. But there’s enough going on to keep and increase the viewer’s interest, and the little twists and turns towards the climax are satisfactory.

    By all means, a good and well-made film, and not the only Spanish film from the early 2000s that still deserves a bit more exposure and/or recognition. Some more titles? Hipnos (2004), The Art of Dying (aka El Arte De Morir, 2000), They Are Watching Us (aka Nos Miran, 2002), Second Name (aka El Segundo Nombre, 2002), The Uninvited Guest (aka El Habitante Incierto, 2004).

    MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (1960)
    aka Il Mulino Delle Donne Di Pietra [IT]
    aka Le Moulin Des Supplices [FR]
    aka De Molen Van De Versteende Vrouwen [NL]

    This is a marvellous European Gothic Horror addition from a time when Italians like Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda and The British Hammer Studios were making the genre flourish. Based on an original Flemish (Belgian) story, and shot partly on location in The Netherlands and Belgium, with most of the interior scenes filmed in Rome (Cinecittà Studios), it’s conceptually akin to House of Wax (1953) and Eyes Without A Face (1960), but nonetheless the film possesses its own unique qualities. Notably Giorgio Ferroni’s directing, Pier Ludovico Pavoni’s cinematography and Carlo Gentili’s set decorations lend a great deal to the film’s unique qualities. The mystery isn’t too complex but holds up fine, the whole setting is atmospheric, the score is appropriate and the practical, photographic & make-up effects are well done for its time. For all of the above, it’s well worth watching.

    The only problem the film may pose to some, if not to others, is its (dated) portrayal of characters. Granted, of course, this film was made 60 years ago, but still.

    These Kryptic Army missions might perhaps not be the place to express my opinions on this, but when comparing the different language versions (and cuts, as the French version runs shorter than the Italian and English versions), I discovered something I had a major issue with. So, for those of you interested, read on…

    First off, the obvious thing to expect: It took 5 men to write and meddle with this screenplay (not counting Pieter van Weigen, who wrote the original short story) and all women in this film are either victims soon to be dead, or need to be saved by men. Only one female character has only one memorable line of dialogue that stands out, portraying a keen sense of perception, but unfortunately her words hint at a jealous and mildly sexist remark. Go figure.

    Secondly, the most questionable thing about (and my main issue with) the English dubbed version of this film: for some reason or another, American (?) distributors decided the film needed an introductory voice-over narration during the opening scene. When main character Hans arrives on a little boat at the Amsterdam countryside, the narration goes as follows:

    “Trouble began with a woman. […] You are about to meet a young man, a writer, who would deny that, obviously. For he is naïve, he respects, he loves women. He is about to change his mind.”

    The intonation in the voice-over is remarkable; it expresses so much contempt when speaking the line “For he is naïve, he respects, he loves women.” … Both the Italian and French language versions do NOT have this added narration dialogue. Why? Seriously, why did this have to be added in the English version? It’s not even what the film is about (and the protagonist also doesn’t change his mind, for that matter). The tone is inappropriate and sets the film off on a different, misleading note. It simply adds an unnecessary layer, out of spite, against women and against the woman-friendly protagonist. A message that the filmmakers of the original version never incorporated or intended (as the original dialogues were written and spoken in French).

    Oh, yes, we’re living in 2021 now. I shouldn’t be bothered by this in a 1960 film, right? Or maybe it’s because of the now, I’m actually bothered by it. Go figure.

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    • Hey Gert –

      Not only am I going to have to look into When the Bell Chimed 13, but some of the other titles you mentioned either, since I had never seen most of those! Bell Chimed sounds pretty good and can’t to dig into these.

      As for Mill of Stone Women, I haven’t seen this since back in the VHS days. And now after reading your comments, I definitely want to re-watch this one again. I’m not sure which version I have on DVD but will have to do a little investigating before sitting down with it. As for why the added narration, god only knows. The US was known for having to do that because they figured audiences were too stupid to figure out things on their own, or they those it needed to be added to help the story alone. Makes me shake my head sometimes.

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      • Haha, well, I can’t comment on the general intelligence level of American audiences, Jon. All I know is that the ones I converse with, indeed, would not need additional narration to understand the plot of a foreign movie.

        But, as you might have figured, that introductory voice-over being there, of itself, wasn’t really the problem. I had an issue with the way it conveyed this (unecessary & uncalled for) additional message, like a belittling comment towards the protagonist, basically saying: Women always cause trouble, and this guy is just too young and naive to know that. Made me also think that the people in charge of the EN dubbing (producers or distributors) were a bunch of grumpy old men (to use a euphemism) who didn’t think too highly of women either (and they conveniently managed to spread their opinions about it among native English-speaking audiences who usually don’t read sutbtitles).

        About the different versions of the film (on PAL DVD, not NTSC): both the English and Italian language versions run 91 minutes. The French version runs 86 minutes, has different opening credits (but well-done, using the same footage, only with different titles & lettering fonts on it) and I noticed it (at least) cuts out the one scene, early on in the film, where Hans enters the mill for the first time. In the EN and IT versions he actually gets to see the “moving mannequin attraction” first, before meeting the professor. In the FR version, once he enters and has seen a glimpse of the woman behind the curtain, he gets introduced to the professor almost right away.

        In my opinion it works better, in the EN and IT versions, also to startle the viewers, with him stumbling upon the creepy mannequin attraction first (before the professor shows up).

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  7. I got my two movies in with almost a week to spare! Not bad, really, for me. Especially when one of them was a total accident!

    The Frenchman’s Garden (1978) – this was considered a lost Paul Naschy film up until a couple of years ago when a print was discovered and restored. I just got the new Blu-ray from Mondo Macabre and sat down to watch it because, well, its a rare Naschy film that I hadn’t seen before. But then once I was finished realized that since it was subtitled, it counted for the mission!

    Naschy plays a guy that is killing guests at his little establishment, which is part bar/part brothel, stealing their money and burying them in his garden out front. His wife’s parents are rich and he despises the fact that they look down on him so this is way to show his father-in-law he can be successful. Granted, they don’t know the depths of what he is going to do to succeed. Plus the fact that he’s sleeping around makes this character even more unlikeable.

    Based on a real life criminal, Naschy plays it straight and shows a true horror tale of a murder out just to make money.

    What the Waters Left Behind (2017) – Brothers Luciano and Nicolás Onetti created a couple of incredible films inspired by the ’60s & ’70s Italian giallo genre and have done it incredible well, with very low budgets, with titles like Francesca (2015) and Abrakadabra (2018). This film is so different than what they have given us before. Way different. This is a combination of Texas Chainsaw and any number of Rob Zombie’s films. Dark and brutal, with plenty of gruesomeness and gore.

    A group of documentary filmmakers travel to a small town in Argentina that was completely covered by water some time ago. Now what is left is basically a ghost town, but it still hides plenty of secrets. Dark ones. As they arrive and start filming, bad things start to happen and they are picked off one by one.

    I do admire that the Onetti Brothers were trying to do something different and they definitely did, as well as making a decent movie. The only problem I had is this storyline and what we see pretty much has been done over and over again, so any originality was gone.

    It’s worth the watch, but fair warning…it is pretty brutal.

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    • I like that both of us got a Naschy flick in this month that we hadn’t seen before. Granted, that’s a lot tougher for you than it is for me, but nevertheless…. Sounds like this one has some hints of Sweeney Todd in it, in that he is killing off his clientele, although having just re-watched Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, I’m reminded once again that burying corpses on your property is never a good idea.

      When I saw that Unearthed Films was the distributor that picked up What the Waters Left Behind, I figured it would definitely be catering to the gorehounds in the crowd. Sounds like I wasn’t wrong. I’m still curious to check it out at some point, based on the Onettis’ previous work (even though it sounds like this is quite the departure for them).

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  8. PEE MAK (2013), Thailand

    A band of bros heads to one’s home after the war to meet his wife, but find she is a ghost. Or he is. Or one of them is.

    I didn’t like the humour in this movie but I’m sure there are a lot of people it appeals to. (If you are watching and find the movie too silly, it does transition to scary partway through.) I didn’t know who to believe when the accusations about who was a ghost started going around, backed up with credible evidence and Sixth-Sense style flashbacks. Eventually we find out who the ghost is and the romantic ending warmed my frozen little heart. Key take away: to find out if someone is a ghost, bend over and look at them from between your legs.

    WEREWOLF (2018), Poland

    A group of children are left to their own devices as the security of a concentration camp falls apart in the waning days of WWII. They find an abandoned orphanage complete with house mother but not a lot of food (no this does not where it might under these circumstances). The torn-apart bodies of prisoners and guards are found in the woods, and so is house mother. The starving children are trapped in the orphanage by starving camp guard dogs and this goes as well as can be expected until the kids figure out they can command the dogs (and again it doesn’t go where it might).

    No werewolves, just a lot of desperate dogs and people, but this does not disappoint. You can’t tell if the kids are a bit dead inside because they are traumatised or just horrible people. I was reminded a bit of Guillermo Del Toro’s civil war movies, but faster-paced because those dogs are speedy.

    ***CUE MALICIOUS COMPLIANCE
    So I could have just posted about my two movies and left, but where’s the fun in that? Gotta keep Jon on his toes.

    After carefully reading the instructions, it appears that I can watch a domestic film in a non-foreign language, as long as it is French with English subtitles and not English with French subtitles.

    RAVENOUS (2017), Canada (French)

    Rural survivors of a zombie plague form alliances and try to stay ahead of the infected (who build weird edifices in the middle of fields) but are ultimately overrun.

    Pretty good film, nice gory effects, sympathetic characters who show empathy, sadness, and sacrifice. Except for that one guy who keeps popping up to scare people and then laugh his ass off. He gets accidentally shot but he deserved it more than anyone. Just don’t be that guy during a zombie apocalypse (think of this not as a spoiler, but as something to look forward to). I recommend this one, we’ve seen so many zombie films where people become hard and hateful, and this is very refreshing.

    Okay, so how about a domestic film (partially) in a non-official language that is definitely NOT a foreign language in Canada OR the US?

    BLOOD QUANTUM (2019), Canada (English and Mi’kmaq)

    More zombies, but this time it turns out Indigenous people are immune. However, they are not immune from the effects the outbreak has on the world around them, as they put themselves in danger by creating a space on their reserve to protect Settlers from their infected kin.

    Powerful social commentary packed with gristly, dramatic zombie kills. For example, people must cross a bridge to enter the reserve from the nearby community and they take full advantage by funneling zombies into an industrial grinder. It’s beautiful. Highly recommended.

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    • Hey Cate –

      Back when I was watching a bunch of Asian stuff, both horror and action titles, I was also amazed at some of the humor that was thrown in during some of the darker themed stories. Really seemed out of place and definitely broke the mood. But I think that is somewhat normal for those style of films back then.

      You do have me intrigued though with Pee Mak. I’m a sucker for a good ghost story.

      Also going to have to look into Werewolf as well!

      And I love your reasoning for watching and reporting on more movies! Glad to be kept on my toes! Between you and Gert, you just might be a special star for this one!

      I still need to see Blood Quantum since I had heard before some very good things.

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    • Great to see the Polish ‘Wilkolak’ mentioned here, Cate. It’s a solid, harsh film. I like the fact that the movie title is used metaphorically.

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  9. Continuing this month’s report —

    Ang Panday (The Blacksmith) (1980 / Philippines)

    I had never heard of this before reading about it a few days ago on the ‘net – which is amazing because of the fact that there have been at least 9 movies dealing with this character, and an animated TV show in the intervening 40 years! This was a huge hit in The Philippines in comic books, and it spawned all these movies, et cetera. Set in an ambiguous time (but the villains have what look like conventional guns) in what seems to be a poor jungle village. The people are slaves to the will of Lizardo, the Evil Overlord ™. Our titular hero has the job of branding the children to show that they belong to Lizardo. But there is a prophesy that a light in the sky will portend the blacksmith being able to smite the tyrant. Sure enough, in the very next scene, a meteor lands in their back yard (literally!), and it is forged into a knife that has the power to enable the blacksmith to defeat Lizardo. Before he can do that, he meets and defeats a wizard – some “hound men” who are like fast zombies (their favorite snack are entrails) and look like knock-offs of the chlorophyll monster from Beast Of Blood – some standard zombies – and a very creepy floating female vampire. After defeating Lizardo’s ninja army, the final battle with Lizardo himself is rather anti-climactic. The first hour is a tad slow, but then it gets going, and ends up being quite the fun ride. And it’s on You Tube!

    The Nuptials Of Dracula (2018/ Brazil)

    Starts off with “Swan Lake” over the opening credits, and… you can stop there. The only reason to continue is to see how someone can make a 72 minute adaptation of Dracula seem like it lasts for 5 ½ hours. One of the most wretched pieces of film I’ve endured in a long time. I’ve (just recently, as a matter of fact) had a root canal, and Yes!, it would place higher of a list of things to do than watching this ever again. These filmmaker’s artistic licenses should all be permanently revoked!

    One Thousand Year Old Fox (1969 / South Korea)

    In flashback, we learn of a Fox Spirit that had terrorized the local village, but had been defeated, and her spirit exiled in the local lake. Now, a general’s wife, who was beset by bandits, and nearly dead, gets to safety in the lake. She is found, and taken home to recuperate. As it turns out, when she was in the lake she was possessed by the Fox Spirit, and every night for a few hours becomes the Fox Spirit. She (the Fox Spirit) wants revenge on the rulers who are descendants of the King that exiled her to the lake. The general has the enviable position of trying to protect his wife and protect the rulers from his wife who is trying to kill them when possessed by the Fox Spirit. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well for pretty much everyone. Also on You Tube!

    An Angel For Satan (1966 / Italy)

    Full disclosure – I have seen this movie previously, but without subtitles. But now, I can fully understand what is going on. It’s an interesting tale of a statue, a curse, and greed. The movie benefits immensely from Barbara Steele’s presence, playing essentially a dual role (which she did in many of her movies). The ending is not wholly unexpected, but it’s a fun ride getting there. Worth a watch.

    Journey To The Beginning Of Time (1955 / Czechoslovakia)

    Four boys take a trip back in time through the various eras. This combines live action with stop motion animation for the prehistoric animals which the boys encounter along their journey. It was directed by Karel Zeman, and if you are unfamiliar with his name, you should rectify that as soon as possible. This is also on You Tube in a very nice print.

    More to come if I can get my lazy ass to do the write-ups…

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    • I guess Bob will be getting a special star too for all the titles he went through, including that version of Dracula!

      I have seen the last 3 you mentioned, and am thrilled to hear someone else speak highly of Karel Zeman. Blows my mind the stuff he was doing. I would check out his other films as well. Just amazing. And I watched Angel for Satan earlier this year and really enjoyed getting to see another Steele movie that had escaped me for quite some time!

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  10. #1) Onibaba – Had thought I had seen this before, but turns out what I had watched previously was Kuroneko. Similar but different. Beautiful black and white film, but we can discuss that later.

    #2) Diabolical Dr. Z – Had thought I had seen this before, but turns out what I had watched previously was The Awful Dr. Orloff. Similar but different. A far cry from how some of Franco’s later movies turned up. Outside of a few tracdemark shots, Howard Vernon and a jazz score you may not even suspect Franco filmed this.

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  11. Movie #1 Pee Mak (2013)
    I read recently that this is the comedic version of Nang Nak (1999), so now I have added that one to my list of movies to check out. This movie was fun and entertaining. It had a nice balance of romance, horror, and comedy. I thought the acting was well done, but some of the comedy was a little too much for me. This was a great story with some twists. I thought it was funny that if you want to know if someone is a ghost, just look at them from between your legs.

    Movie #2 The Wailing (2016)
    This movie hooked me in right away. I love the fact that the audience goes on a mystery investigation with the main character. The actors in this one did an amazing job. An extra shout out goes to Hwan-hee Kim who played the little girl. Also,the gore was well done. I have no complaints in that area. I really enjoyed both of these movies this month.

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  12. Movie 1: Cub

    Very interestingly paced and had a very mysterious tone to the feature. I liked the ending the most as it was a complete surprise to me. Actually, it garnered two surprises. But overall was very encapsulating.

    Movie 2: Werewolf: Survive the Dogs of War

    To be completely honest I was, at some point, expecting a werewolf to be in here. Although the title is a bit misleading in this respect (I can only assume “Survive the Dogs of War” was the original title and werewolf was added simply to grab an audience, but I think the possible original title was more fair in retrospect.) So, even without a werewolf; I would still consider this a horror movie in as much as “Jaws” or “Silence of the Lambs” would be simply in it’s intensity. I liked the progression of the characters and story, but when we get the final frame of the film, I kinda wanted more because of how well it was done.

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  13. I had several more films, but as I sat down to write them up, I was disheartened that many of them were not worth the effort to review. They were just average, bland and/or dumb. So I settled for the ones that I felt were worth mentioning.

    The Siamese Twins (1984 / Hong Kong)

    Bonnie is coming home after being away in Canada for many years (having just finished college). She is a (formerly) conjoined Siamese twin. Her sister, Bei Erh, did not survive the surgery, and is now an angry and vengeful ghost. No, this is not Spoiler Alert! Territory – just look at the damned title of the movie! And yet, the film spends an inordinate amount of time teasing this, as if there is some mystery. Once we get through that nonsense, the film gets down to the nitty gritty of ghostly revenge. The last half-hour or so, is a fun ride as Bei Erh, whittles down the cast, and we head to a less than happy ending.

    D@bbe – Bir Cin Vakasi (2012 / Turkey)

    The third entry in this Turkish horror franchise is focused on a woman who seems to be suffering from a sleepwalking disorder. As the movie progresses, we find out that she is instead suffering from a Jinn curse. The Islamic Jinns are the equivalent of Christian demons. This movie does a good job of explaining the mythology of The Jinn within the story, without bogging down the pace of the film. The director makes good use of lighting, and there are several creepy scenes in abandoned/run down buildings. The story is a slow burn, but you should have a good case of anxiety by the time things reach the conclusion. I highly recommend seeking out this franchise!

    Great Decisive Battle! The Super 8 Ultra Brothers! (2008 / Japan)

    Eight (8) Ultramen! Giant Monsters! Big fights! I’m 10 years old again, and all’s right with the world!

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  14. Screeching in at the last second as usual!

    #1
    HUMAN BEASTS (1980)
    d. Paul Naschy (Spain/Japan)

    Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a Spanish/Japanese co-production written, directed, and starring Paul Naschy, and as per usual, the horror icon puts his trademark tough guy/vulnerable loverboy mojo to work as a double-crossing mercenary named Bruno who stiffs his Asian partners even though one of them, Meiko (Eiko Nagashima), has his bun in her oven. Whatta guy! After Bruno blows her brother Taro away in a gunfight, Meiko nearly brings her former paramour down in a hail of bullets, but he escapes into the mountains where he collapses from lack of blood. He is rescued by the seemingly benevolent farmer Don Simon and his gorgeous daughters Monica and Alicia, both of whom have their eyes on the rakish galoot. Meanwhile, Meiko continues to track her quarry, enlisting the help of Don Simon’s veterinarian. It’s a wacky tangled web that only gets more so once the bodies start piling up, with red herrings galore.

    Having just watched Naschy’s 1974 giallo The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (which he also wrote and starred in), it’s impossible not to recognize a few similarities. Both feature a criminal on the run who ends up taking shelter at a secluded family residence, with two female siblings falling all over themselves to get into bed with him. (It’s good to be the king.) Both feature scenes of livestock slaughter (although this one stops short of seeing the blade actually slide in), both have a murder spree kick off upon the criminal’s arrival, and both showcase a third sister whose untold secret triggers the twist ending. None of this, by the way, is an actual complaint, since I enjoyed the film enormously. I just thought it merited a mention.

    #2
    WRATH OF DAIMAJIN (1966)
    d. Kazuo Mori (Japan)

    Originally conceived as a foe for Gamera, Japanese studio Daei came up with a giant stone statue that comes to life and proceeded to make (and release) three films featuring the titular kaiju in the same year! I had seen the first two a few years back but had not gotten around to watching the “concluding” chapter (there is really no connective narrative tissue to be factored in) until now.

    Like its predecessors, the first hour is comprised of a whoooooooooooooooooooooole lot of talky human action while we wait impatiently for the monster action to start (although the story does kick off with some impressive natural disaster miniature work, with flood waters flowing and glimpses of the statue’s hands and feet, blizzards and earthquakes). Here, we’re following a quartet of Japanese lads who seek to free their fathers from bondage under an evil warlord reigning mercilessly over the sulfur mines of Hell’s Valley. (As you might imagine, it stinks working there.)

    While the scenery-destroying finale – when it shows up – is enjoyable enough, the real fun is in the film’s backstory. Apparently, the developing lab ruined about 45 minutes of completed footage (of the 87 minute total running time), forcing lightning-quick one-take reshoots that would have made Ed Wood blush. The amazing thing is that a viewer would never notice, so skillfully handled is the storytelling within the minimal coverage, with bonus points for Akira Ikufube’s rousing score.

    Unsurprisingly, however, being the third Daimajin feature released in 1966, it was given little fanfare in its own country and actually never made it Stateside until the 1990s. While no lost gem in my book, if you liked the first two, you’ll probably dig this one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had always remembered Human Beasts as a lesser quality title in the Naschy cannon until I watched the recent release I realized I thought it was much better than I remembered. But now you got me wanting to revisit it AGAIN!

      Not to mention needing to revisit those Daimajin films again.

      Like

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