Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Burn Witch, Burn

Burn Witch, Burn
Original Title: Night of the Eagle

Directed by: Sidney Hayers

UK, 1962Horror/ Occult, 90min.

Distributed by: MGM MoD.


There’s something about old English movies with occult themes that make me think of my late grandmother. She was a true, believing Catholic who went to church on any given occasion and she used to read Dennis Wheatly pulp novels. I find it to be no coincidence that she read Wheatley novels as he frequently dabbled with occult and satanic themed stories. Needless to say, these were stories where good won over evil – which is most likely one reason why she read them. I’m quite sure that she rarely watched movies that used the same good fighting evil with occult themes, but I’m sure she would have got the same thrill from them if she had seen one.

Which brings me to Burn Witch, Burn, a good old fashioned English horror movie that almost naïvely tells it’s story of good vs. evil, deception amongst friends, and how mankind once again is forced to open their eyes to a wider picture.

Burn Witch, Burn starts with a warning of an black magic read over a black screen… a warning of tampering with evil… and then a delightful chanting as the narrator dispels the evil powers that may spill forth from the movie about to start. This goes on for almost three minutes before the movie actually starts going. It’s an effective opening, and definitely something you never would see in today’s genre cinema. Today it’s all about wham bam thank you monster man, and, get the adrenaline pumping.

Scottish director, Sidney Hayers, also directed the somewhat classic Circus of Horrors 1960, and had a lengthy career as director of TV serials such as The Avengers, The Professionals, Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and later Knightrider where Paul Frees supplied the voice of supercar Kitt… this is of course only interesting as Paul Frees also read the narrative introduction to Hayers Burn Witch, Burn decades earlier.

The Quick fix for this movie is that it tells the tale of Peter Wyngarde [Norman Taylor], a university professor who one night after the customary game of bridge with his colleague Lindsay Carr [Colin Gordon] and wife Flora [Margret Johnston] has the shocking revelation – after a lengthy snooping around his wife’s unmentionables drawers – that his wife Tansy [Janet Blair] is Witch, seriously into Black Magic.Being the man of logic and science that he is, he has her throw all her artefacts on the fire, even the small photograph that she has of him in her locket…Yeah, you guessed it, the next day accidents start to happen around him, a female student who previously loved him, accuses him of violating her, his life is threatened, Tansy falls into some odd trancelike state – and back again.Slowly but surely dark forces close in on Norman, and pretty soon he finds himself face to face with the sinister forces he initially proclaimed don’t exist. And he’s had more of a change in character than you’ll find in a lot of today’s genre movies.

Burn Witch, Burn is more of a drama with occult themes, than a straight forward horror flick, which in all honesty is how genre films where in the sixties, early Hammer Horror, and Psycho, 1960, shifted the way these movies where made, Amicus where just getting started and it took a few years for the penny to drop all the way and horror return to the screen as the man theme in the narratives.But the framework is there, an opening in the ordinary world. Establishing shit, and what life there is like. Bridge nights, colleagues, the family unit and their relations to each other and their friends… The shift in balance as Norman’s world starts to change, and he has to move from unbeliever to believer.

Norman the Sceptic! One of the most effective tricks in horror film. Have someone be completely the opposite of what the story will be and gently shake this person into believing. “ I Do Not Believe!” are the first words spoken in the movie and very much the anti thesis of where Norman will be when the movie ends. It makes the unnatural horror of the movie more acceptable for the audience as we naturally identify with the non-believing character. We too know there’s no such thing as black magic and can easily identify with Norman… or do we? This is how you gently move an audience into the world of horror unleashed, because if he has to believe, so do we. And despite the somewhat shoddy Deus Ex Machina ending, the movie does serve justice and end with the question Do YOU believe? most likely propelling uncomfortable questions into the heads of patrons to ponder as they left the cinemas back in 1962.

Being based on a short story by Fritz Lieber Jr. – Conjure Wife, which had been adapted previously as the Lon Chaney Jr. vehicle Weird Woman 1944, an episode of Moment of Fear 1960, this one, the comedic approach as Witches’ Brew 1980 and it’s rumoured that an adaptation is in development now with a 2012 release planned – although Burn Witch, Burn is the one to stand out as it has a screenplay co-written by the legendary Richard Matheson.

Burn Witch, Burn is an enjoyable movie, overall good performances, and a satisfying plot. I have had the movie poster in my possession for a very long time – a poster which obviously is far more tantalizing and suggestive than the movie - but I bought it in a spontaneous moment thinking that it was a movie version of A. Merrill’s fantastic pulp fiction horror Burn Witch, Burn. Obviously it isn’t an adaptation of that story, but still a decent, entertaining piece that just goes to show that special effects – even though this one does have an eagle attack effect where wires are painfully visible – are not everything and just how far a little really can go.


Image:

16x9 aspect Ratio.


Audio:

Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0, English dialogue, no subtitles.

Extras:

Theatrical trailer.


Here's a few minutes of Janet Blair in action for your entertainment...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.
Directed by: Kevin Munroe
USA 2010
Horror, 108min
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

With myself as a reference point I’d say that genre fans are conformists and pessimists. We do not want anyone fucking around with our classic movies, we do not want updated adaptations of our favourite novels and books, and we most certainly do not want our favourite comics brought to life on the silver screen. Yeah, we will receive the announcements of most of the above with open arms and possibly even do a little happy jig when we first read about this or that being made – or remade – for the big screen… but before it’s out there we will turn sour and put up out guard, preparing ourselves for disappointment. That optimistic flams slowly simmers down to a pessimistic grudge… and it’s quite understandable too as most of “the above” do end up being bad movies, lifeless adaptations or complete changes of the content that drew us to the source to start with.

Kevin Munroe’s Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is a movie that does – and will -separate the fans. On one side those who think it’s one of the worst movies ever made, and on the other’s those who take it for what it is. Then there are the fans in the camp I find myself… I want it the “project” to be good, but I’ve been let down so many times before that I kinda want to stay away from it… temptation – the bastard torture of all genre fans. Anyhow after sitting on my shelf for a few weeks, I finally popped the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night into the machine and I actually found it to be rather entertaining flick… heck even the wife stayed and watched it.
In response to the review I read just before watching the movie – well more of a rambling of non-topic words and bollocks, claiming, “We didn’t need another remake of Cemetery Man!” I’d really suggest that you get your head out of your megalomaniac ass and do some research instead. You are getting your characters mixed up, because there’s never been an adaptation of Tiziano Sclavi’s Dylan Dog previously… Francesco Dellamorte in Michele Soavi’s Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) 1994 is a completely different character just like Federico in Giancarlo Soldi’s Nero 1992, even if they all inhabit the same universe.

Although I would challenge anyone familiar with the comic to watch Dellamorte Dellamore and not think of Rupert Everett as Dylan Dog, being that he was the main inspiration for the cartoon characters look. For a long time this was the only “Dylan Dog-ish” movie we had, and therefore I can see why one would think of it as a Dylan Dog flick, hell even I do that. But now we have Kevin Munroe’s take on Sclavi’s source material and we have to move on from there… really we need to mates, it’s almost twenty years since that flick came out.

The movie takes a step away from the familiar world of the Sclavi comics – instead of living in London, Dylan Dog [Brandon Routh] lives in New Orleans, and a logic reason for this is given in the narrative, Groucho is missing, instead Dylan is assisted by a young geezer called Marcus [Sam Huntington] as the rights to Groucho Marx likeness. If you know the comics then this will not come as a surprise as even in the comic Groucho in between two issues shaved off his characteristic moustache and became Felix instead. Inspector Bloch is gone – although references to bonds to the police force “in a previous life” are given now and again, and even Dylan’s archenemy Dr. Xabaras is omitted from the movie. – although the two are seemingly tied into one character as Werewolf Clan leader Gabriel [Swede Peter Stormare making the usual weird performance one expects from him]. Instead we are introduced to a Dylan long after he’s resigned from being a “nightmare detective” and a plain old private dick sneaking around the bushes taking incriminating photographs to bust unfaithful husbands. When Elizabeth [Icelandic elf Anita Briem] approaches Dylan with a request to take on her case - the movies initial attack, which leaves her father slayed by werewolves – he declines at first and proclaims that he’s done with that part of his life. This is all motivated by a delicate subplot that runs through the movie and concerns Dylan’s past love Cassandra – and if you know your Dylan Dog, you know that he never ever get’s to keep the women of his life.
Things take a turn for the worse and Dylan’s mate, soon to be partner in the company Marcus, is also mutilated by a huge beast thing which becomes the incident that forces Dylan to accept the call, don the red shirt, black jacket and get back in the game. The fun and games can now begin, and the undead can crawl out of their secret lairs to fight the last battle of the world, as mankind knows it.

People I work with get uptight when they hear the word “voice over”. At some point in time someone has read, or heard most likely, that using voice over is a sign of failing with your storytelling, and this information has seeped down the line without any point of reference… so people avoid voiceover, under some pretentious banner, and then end up making programs that are even more incomprehensible. Sure, storytelling guru and Hollywood script Doctor Robert McKee says that you should avoid voice over as that is a sign of bad storytelling and poorly written script, but it’s not a law, it’s not a rule, and it’s definitely not a truth. How would you otherwise know who’s who in those introductions of characters and personalities in early Martin Scorsese movies - Mean Streets 1973, Taxi Driver 1976 and Goodfellas 1990], how would you know what was going on deep in the mind of Captain Benjamin L. Willard [Martin Sheen] in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now 1979, and how the hell would you know who William Holden’s Joe Gillis was and why he was face down in Nora Desmond’s [Gloria Swanson’s] swimming pool in the opening of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard 1950? Any tool is to your advantage if you use it in the right way!
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night uses voice over and it uses it in a playful way that is very reminiscent of the way Sclavi uses caption boxes – and thought bubbles - in the source material. At times they even tell of the events to come in the next scene, which gives a pretty interesting driving force to the action ahead. I liked this style and it works for the movie, and it also brings a modern film noir tone to the film. It’s also an effective way of skipping corners and rapidly building expectation.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is a good enough movie, a fun and entertaining popcorn flick in the vain of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer - True Blood - Underworld serials and even something reminiscent of Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro’s horror fantasy flicks – you will know what I mean when you see the film. There’s a dark tone to the movie – Dylan Dog is a melancholic bastard in the comics and even so in the movie despite a few laughs here and there along the way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horror/comedy, Routh plays Dylan straight and stern, and Huntington’s Marcus brings the comedic relief as the quirky sidekick, but apart from that it’s horror all the way. The movie may lack the surrealism and brooding tone of the comics, but it holds a dark film noir style with a certain familiarity from the comics.

All in all I can’t really see why fans of Dellamorte Dellamore wouldn’t enjoy this outing. It’s certainly riddled with the same dark humour of that movie, and it’s filled with referents to the source – like the Groucho disguise photographs on Dylan’s wall, or the Marx Bros poster that hides his safe, Dylan’s clarinet and even the toy models that he’s building, also found in Dellamorte Dellamore. If you’d had put a young pre-plastic surgery Rupert Everett in the place of Brandon Routh, and had one of the Italian genre directors helm the movie I’m sure we would have praised it as a brilliant follow up to Dellamorte Dellamore… Perhaps Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is why Michele Soavi supposedly decided to have Francesco Dellamorte once again pick up his shovel and get back to work in what is rumoured to be a sequel to that nineties masterpiece of Italian genre cinema. Time will tell, and until then, I suggest you check out Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.

Kevin Munroe obviously know the source, respectfully making his own movie and going his own way. Which is a good thing, it may not be the most original movie, but Dylan Dog does come to life in a good way, the story is… well comic bookish, the effects are good, there’s a few decent scares in there and the movie does what it’s supposed to do. The movie looks top notch, the narrative rolls forth splendidly, it’s light on the gore, easy on the scares, never complicated, just fun and setting Dylan Dog against vampires, werewolves and zombies… well, what more could you ask for.

Image:
Widescreen 2.35:1

Audio:
English dialogue, optional English for heard of hearing or Spanish subtitles

Extras:
None, (bastards…)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Kidnapped


Kidnapped
Original title: Secuestrados
Directed by: Miguel Ángel Vivas
Spain, 2011
Horror / Drama, 85 min

I think I just saw what might be this years “punch to the head” movie… Spanish flick Kidnapped is a right nasty bastard. Violent, raw, stylish and definitely one hell of rough ride.

Kidnapped tells the dark tale of a family who move into their new house only to have it invaded by three hooded men who take them hostage. There’s really no need to say much more about the plot than that simple line, as Kidnapped takes a home invasion flick, brings sadism and realism to the table and slowly builds towards a violent crescendo. It is a disturbing movie and it does affect its audience.

I really liked Kidnapped and it will undoubtedly be in my head with each noise I hear tonight. I like intelligent movies that work their way into my head and stay there for a while. Stuff that you don’t just shrug off like much of the popcorn horror that we spend time watching too. There’s nothing really wrong with popcorn horror I really like that too, but it never really gets to me in the same way as these kind of movies do. Home invasion flicks mirror my biggest fears. I once had an unknown woman standing in my living room some twenty years ago and that really freaked the hell out of me. Staying calm as I could – my girlfriend at the time, actually hid in our closet - until I got the strange woman out of the flat, called the cops and had a locksmith change the locks, I really never worked out the shock and horror I felt at the time. Deep emotions that always surface whenever I watch this kind of movie…

Several reviewers have pointed out that this movie simply is, that meaning there are no moral pointers or judgement stories baked into the movie. It just shows the impact of the assault in the most realistic way possible. Yes, this is true, but at the same time there are a lot of storytelling details that I find make this an interesting film.

There is an initial attack. The first scene is an initial attack; an attack that set’s the tone for the film. It set’s an external threat, and it can also work as a trigger for anticipation. When we meet the family, we may have this scene ahead of us… or not. It creates a subtle disorientation, which genre movies thrive off.

Scene two, where we are introduced to the family of Jamie [Fernando Cayo], Marta [Ana Wagener] and their daughter Isa [Manuela Vellés], introduces us to their world. It not only establishes their relationships – how their family triangle works – but it also explores the house as the camera moves from Jamie, to Marta to Isa and back again. Scene two along with scene three are the important scenes that create empathy for the characters. Marta and Jamie discuss how they should relate to their daughter, how they should relate to each other, everyday concerns are aired and we learn how Isa interacts differently with mother compared to father. We know them slightly the everyday discussions, concerns and thoughts they have creates an emotional recognition that helps us as an audience to empathise with them.

Scene three also delivers the unexpected shock of the invasion. It’s fast, it’s ferocious and it comes from out of nowhere and had me jumping high off my chair. The observing linear approach is seriously much more frightening than a non-linear discourse with edited shots of the three hooded men approaching the house would have been. From this moment on we are in the nightmare realm. No answers are given, and no remorse is shown. This is all about enduring psychic torture and the fight for survival.

There are still some interesting questions set to the characters… Scene eight poses the question of what action Jaime will take to stop the kidnappers, when the leader of the pack [Dritan Biba] offers him a loaded gun. Jamie is a man of high morale, and he obviously can’t use the gun. This will return to punish him later. Also there’s an interesting rift within the group of kidnappers as they bicker who gives who orders and show little respect for each other within the band. It’s an interesting trait that later will come back to punish the intruders, and obviously something that Biba has concerns for as he reacts pretty harsh when the two kidnappers still in the house don’t answer the phone when he calls them. It’s almost as he’s terribly aware of the rift, which will shatter their constellation later on.

Technically Kidnapped is a artistic wet dream. Handheld camera to give an documentary authenticity – a classic trick like writing “based on a true story” at the start… luring the audience into a certain mind-set. Long scenes - only twelve of them all in all - which also add to that realism, as there’s no cut aways to effects or reactions. What you see in frame is what you get. The cinematography of Pedro J. Márquez is stunning; dark and haunting, often relying more on the dark than the light. Twice split screens are used to drive the narrative forth, once – in scene 7 to show what happens both within and outside a closed room, and in scene 11 which culminates in an awesome moment when the two feed’s meet. The meeting of feeds leads to a crescendo of strong emotions that lifts the movie high on euphoric release before crashing down into the dark depths of the devastatingly grim ending.

Kidnapped is an impressive and haunting film,  but I have a small problem with the ending. Not really the movie ending in its self, but the almost mandatory ending that these films are winding up having. The endings of movies within this little niche are turning into traits. Traits, which unfortunately are making these movies somewhat predictable. I knew before watching that Kidnapped would have a dark, nihilistic ending, but these grim endings are beginning to become something of a norm which takes something from the movies and makes that last punch lack somewhat in sting. It's becoming convention and trait. But then, they almost always slap on the quirky music as the last body falls to the ground and the end-credits roll... Please. Don’t spoil a hauntingly dark moment with a silly pop song as this comes off as ironic, or even as a laugh because "it was only a movie" or worse that the movie never was intended to be quite this dark. It disappoints me. Especially when there’s been no comic release what so ever throughout the rest of the flick.

Never the less Kidnapped is an intelligent movie. A dark and haunting masterpiece to say the least. A horror movie for adults, and one of the most disturbing genre flicks this year! Place it along the lines of David Moreau & Xavier Palud’s Il’s (Them) 2006, Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury’s À l’intérieur (Inside) 2007 - with which Kidnapped shares producers, Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers 2008, or even James Watkin's Eden Lake, 2008 and Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs 2008. That's the kind of raw punch to the head this movie brings. It’s a nauseating rollercoaster that shatters the safety of nuclear family and all the values we hold sacred there in, and although it may be predictable at certain moments Miguel Ángel Vivas has taken it in the right direction, and the space between hope and despair are perfectly balanced before peaking on either side of the scales. It is a rough movie; a movie that certainly doesn’t take any prisoners and it will get into your head.

Here's a trailer, but you really should stay away from trailers for this movie as they all expose way too much. Just see it.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Resident

The Resident
Directed by: Anti Jokinen
USA/UK, 2011
Horror/Thriller/Hammer, 87 min
Distributed by: Nordisk Film

I, like many others, did a little happy jig as I learned the infamous Hammer Studios was rising up from the dead. Then the concern that they wouldn’t manage to keep that atmosphere, vibe and style that was Hammer started to set in and it suddenly felt like it may have been a real crap idea after all.

Rumours flourished, movies where announced, facts stated and only time would tell if Hammer would rise from the flames or simply poop out a few turds and sink like a brick to the bottom of the sea of shame.

After seeing a couple of their still quite small output, I’m going to go on record and claim that this is a Hammer which in some ways equals what they had going for them forty years ago, when they took the world with storm and became the stuff of legends.

The first movie to be released by the resurrected company was Finnish born Anti Jokinen's The Resident, starring Hillary Swank and Jeffery Dean Morgan. Then there’s the big hook, which should appeal to all fans of Hammer Horror, the grandmaster of the all, Screen Icon Sir Christopher Lee also holds a part in the movie. It’s an ingenious move of Hammer to bring Lee on-board, because there are almost no words to explain the signals this sends to fans. If Lee is there, then it’s for real.

The Resident sees Swank – who I don’t really like at all, which was my main problem with the film – as young nurse Juliette. She works long, late shifts and within the first few minutes we see her save the day as she get’s in there and saves a patient with a heart condition – full with open heart surgery like moment and stapling together the injury. This obviously starts to create the character Juliette, she’s a no bull shit girl and she has no fear of getting her hands dirty to do her job.

She’s also in the midst of searching for her own apartment – which we later learn is s due to moving to N.Y. to live with her boyfriend Jack [Lee Pace], only to have him be unfaithful to her in their bed – which brings her to Max [Jeffery Dean Morgan] and his beautiful large building where there is an apartment available… This is a huge old style apartment which definitely makes an avid genre fan think of movies like Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby 1968, The Tenant 1976 and even Michael Winner’s The Sentinel 1977. Although this movie goes a completely different way in the later half, it does hold a great gothic vibe with trick doors, peepholes, two-way glass and secret rooms behind the walls of the apartments.

Half an hour in, act two presents a rush of insight that will run shivers down your spine. What we have thought be a chance meeting that will lead to a stalking ex-boy friend – or some satanic cult preparation, with Lee as cult leader which I was hoping for – ends up being a stalker story of a complete different style. And a damned fine one too as this movie does go pretty far – as per usual for Hammer it never get’s too graphic, but it goes far enough to create that awesome buzzing vibe that comes with Hammer flicks. Needless to say, when all is revealed the movie kicks in on all pistons and the thriller turns to survival horror, and a damned tough fight to settle the score and bring balance back to the world breaks loose.

Obviously one could have requested more Christopher Lee, but the simple fact that he’s in it is good enough for me. The flick could have been more horror oriented, but being one of three flicks released by Hammer this year where all three use horror elements in three completely different stories them it’s still a pretty good movie, and has some pretty disturbing scenes packed in there.

One thing I really couldn’t stop smiling about afterwards – and yeah, it’s a real geeky thing, but for me as an old Hammer fan, it’s a very obvious nod to the older movies – and that was that the movie clocks in just over 85 minutes… and if you know your Hammer time, you know that the majority of classic Hammer flicks all clock in just over 85 minutes.

To sum it all up folks, Hammer are back kicking and screaming stronger than ever. To date the three movies released, Let Me In, Wake Wood and The Resident, have all been impressive in their own rights. Yes I was appalled by the idea that anyone remake Let the Right One In, but then I saw the movie, talked to John Ajvide Lindqvist about it and accepted it as the damned fine movie it is. But the atmosphere, vibe and quality of those movies have been top-notch, and the only ingredient that I feel may be missing is the cosiness of the old flicks. There’s something safe with the old Hammer flicks that I love. They are perfect late, late night movies to which one can drift in and out of sleep to as the movie plays on and on and on…

Hollywood better watch it’s back once again, because there’s a new kid in town and this one already has three contemporary classics under it’s belt. Long live Hammer the future is bright as the Phoenix lights up the sky!

Image:
16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

Audio:
Dolby Digital 5.1, English dialogue, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish subtitles are optional

Extras:
TBA

The Woman


People are already freaking out over the Lucky McKee / Jack Ketchum flick The Woman...



Well I'm gonna catch this baby as soon as I can, because Lucky McKee makes damned good movies and Jack Ketchum writes some damned disturbing stuff... and for fuck's sake, people have been fainting in cinemas and finding content to provocative since the Lumiere brothers filmed a goddamned train moving towards the camera, and a gardener got squirted in the face.

And I'll laugh out loud each time someone cringes, or throws a hissy fit about sick movies like this and others... yeah you know which ones I'm thinking of, because in the words of Jack Ketchum himself...

"If I didn't offend somebody, then I wouldn't be doing my job... this is about violence right?"

Although it's been way to long since we worked together, here's a link to a damned fine interview my mate Steve did with Ketchum back when we where running ConstructingHorror on a daily basis.


Enjoy and check out Aylmer's Unflinching Eye, as his latest post inspired me to make a European rip off of that post. :D

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Re-Wind

Re-Wind
(Aka Celluloid Nightmares)
Original title: Abunômaru Ingyaku
Directed by: Hisayasu Satō
Japan 1988
Pinku/Horror, 64 Min
Distributed by: ShinToho (VHS) Oop, (Japan Eiga)

Static frizzles on a monitor… industrial post punk music plays on a repetitive loop… a fuzzy image almost shows a woman being assaulted by a masked man… a close up of an eye… an extreme close-up of skin… then a stylish, almost commercial, shot of a digital film camera spinning round ever so slowly…finally the camera rides a dolly past a metal wire fence, up to an abandoned refrigerator, where a severed arm holds onto a video tape.

The opening montage to Hisayasu Satō's weirdly disturbing Pinku Re-Wind is an unsettling but effective introduction into the sick, violent and gory world he takes us to this time. Following the montage, time is spent with a detective and his girlfriend Kiyomi Ito - who starred in several Satō films, such as the acclaimed Uwakizuma: Chijokuzeme (Unfaithful Wife: Shameful Torture) 1992, aka The Bedroom which I actually remember hitting art-house cinemas here in Sweden, and Kurutta Butokai (Kitami) 1989 -… Ito turns out to be a self proclaimed “crime hunter”, and takes up an amateur sleuth role in the movie as soon as the main characters are introduced. The detective and Ito discuss the tape and finally get it off as she’s declares being turned on by the “snuff-tape” he borrowed from the evidence room for the night.

She becomes obsessed with the tape and starts her own investigation into the identity and origins of the contents… well at least that’s what we are led to believe to start with.

On the other side of town Akira works at VideoBox - a smut parlour where tapes are rented in the locale and taken to the booth of customers choice. For some reason the “UVT – underground video tape” has become one of the favoured tapes at VideoBox and even Akira has become obsessed with the woman on the tape. His lolita-ish sister taunts him for being obsessed with the tape, but being a Pinku movie, that doesn’t stop them from engaging in some taboo shattering incest together.

I have an idea that goes along the lines that the Japanese are so steered by tradition, respect and heritage which outwards, in public, makes them such a stiff and stern country that they let it all go wild in their escapisms, which may be why they have some of the most fantastic sub-genres of film, music, literature, comics etc.…

Kiyomi and Akira’s paths cross, and together they take up a joint venture to solve the mystery of the videotape. This mission takes them to Cross – a sinister TV producer who’s connections to the female clerk at VideoBox are soon to disclose a shocking revelation.

For each of his movies I see, I find that I’m becoming more and more obsessed with the films of Hisayasu Satō myself. I find them fascinating and addictive. There’s a darkness, perversion and cynicism, which almost comes out in a concentrated form throughout the average one-hour playtime. But there’s also a dedication to telling a story in there, which I find rather fascinating with the Pinku genre. The narrative and plot are just as important as the scenes of carnal content.

Being something of sexually depraved take on Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom 1960, Schumacher’s 8mm 1999, and the cult of the Hideshi Hino’s Guinea Pig movies, Shirô Yumeno’s Script is one of the darkest Satō ever put on film. After two lengthy segments of intimacy in the best Satō style, the movie practically wanders away from Pinku and into Nippon Noir as Kiyomi continues to investigate the tape. At the same time, an unseen antagonist is introduced when someone starts stalking her. I really liked the fact that instead of simply connecting random scenes of eroticism, Satō (or perhaps I should say Yumeno) weaves those few scenes together with the use of an investigation plot that completely draws me in – Satō movies usually do have some sort of investigation plot at their core to balance against the voyeuristic themes.

I become totally engaged in Kiyomi and Akira’s quest for answers, and the climax that ties all characters and arcs together is truly satisfying. There’s a dedication to the storytelling that I rarely find in eurotrash, which often feels like it uses the plot to randomly get to the next flesh wrestling session. Satō uses it the other way around, and at times the scenes of sexual activity gets in the way of the narrative – but with out the intimacy, it wouldn’t be Pinku, and then I most likely wouldn’t be watching it.

Re-Wind, like so many other Satō movies, delivers an interesting rush of insight at the end, which at least explains Kiyomi’s obsession with the tape. This is a moment that also establishes her as part of the Satō universe. Many of his characters are people who have been violated, abused or had some form of wrong done to them – like having your god damned arm cut of during a heavy session of underpants licking - and now are out for revenge, yearning for re-connecting with the violator, such as Kitami or Hitozuma Korekutâ (Wife Collector) to give you a few other suggestions.

There’s always an enjoyable level of perversity in Satō's movies, and thanks to an interesting paradox, Satō's inventiveness came up with some truly weird moments of kinkiness. Laws prohibiting graphic genitalia generated, what I’d definitely call a Satō trait, the weird practice of undergarment licking. Yeah, the licking of underpants and knickers is apparent in most of Satō's movies and in a certain way it more or less disqualifies the movie from being anything else than heavy petting. I must confess that it does almost become kinkier than graphic nudity and at the same time brings a strange comedic tone to the movies.

Undoubtedly one of Satō's most violent films, Re-Wind is dark, seductive and captivating. This one comes with my highest recommendation, and I know that this is a movie I will be returning to, and possibly even judging the rest of Satō's canon by.


Image:
4:3 Full frame, Video Source.

Audio:
Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0

Extras:
None.