Here at Stealth Evolution we felt it was necessary that we provide everyone with our little taste of Halloween... with a specialized Asian influence. But we don't want to recommend the same old shit that you'll see on the typical website. Only the weirdest, dirtiest, most inappropriate horror themed films fall under our recommendations. They may not necessarily frighten you for their scaryness, but rather alarm you for their disrespect for all things humane and decent.
My Country 'Tis of Thee!
Studio: Omega Project
Written by: Face
Our first recommendation falls under the direct-to-video category, which in Japan is referred to as V-cinema. This industry has come a long way since the emergence of such directors as Takashi Miike and Takashi Shimizu. In large part, the boost in popularity of Japanese direct-to-video, in America, is due to the achievements of these two maniacal men. And it's hard to say whether Crazy Lips has or will ever have any long term affect on the popularity of this genre, but there is one thing we can be sure of: this is one fucking weird movie.
Instead of describing this frankenfuck of a film, I think it would be more beneficial to go down the Japanese horror film checklist:
Exte: Hair Extensions
What if your hair... KILLED YOU!?
Studio: Toei Company
Written by: Face
First there was mass suicide in the delightfully gloomy Suicide Circle; then there was warped, monstrous and downright kinky incestual child abuse in the infinitely bizarre Strange Circus... and now... there is killer hair on the loose! From the avant-garde poet laureate filmmaker/raving lunatic, otherwise known as Sion Sono, comes his latest foray into the mainstream j-horror arena with Exte: Hair Extensions.
Deliberately set in conventional stomping grounds, the movie begins with a dead body being found in a shipping container filled to the brim with human hair. Her unusual circumstances immediately catch the interest of the hair fetishist mortuary Ren Osugi (his performance is the most amazingly off-the-wall display since Ittoku Kishibe in Survive Style 5+). After kidnapping the corpse to his shanty-house, he begins to give out hair extensions from the body... and before he knows it... unusual things begin to happen.
I was lucky enough to see this movie during its Austin, Texas premiere not too long ago while attending the Fantastic Film Festival. One of the festival organizers, Tim League, introduced the movie by pointing out how such a seemingly absurd and idiotic premise almost made him avoid the movie completely--shame on you Tim for doubting the non compos himself. But in actuality Exte is basically a re-establishment of every hackneyed j-horror motif; it's every bit as incongruous, hair-raising, and light-hearted as I was hoping for.
If you're sick and tired of the evil grudges and the killer phones, it's about time you watched a damn cool movie about killer hair.
Never Belongs to Me
I will have sex with every being!
Studio: Digikaon, Media Film Intl.
Written by: Face
The Korean film industry is currently in an extended period of swank blockbuster success, but a Machiavellian man by the name of Nam Ki-Woong seems to be trying his very best to soft-pedal that image. His first two entries into the business include Teenage Hooker Became Killing Machine in Daehakroh and Chow Yun-Fat Boy Meets Brownie Girl, and his third and latest is by no means less bizarre--not to mention no less commercially antithetical. But nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, despite my better judgment I am pleased to support this iconoclast's latest endeavor, entitled Never Belongs to Me.
While this movie is by no means a fully themed horror onslaught, I felt it was worthy of this recommendation for one simple reason: I can personally gaurantee you will not see a more nonstandard and extraordinary horror fantasy for perhaps the rest of your days. I'm still not entirely sure how to characterize this film, but I can tell you it does involve a woman who has been raped by a tiger, spawning a Ripley's Tiger Man looking son of a bitch who happens to live in a junkyard. After abandoning his life long dream of having "sex with every being on the planet", he has an unexpected reunion with his family. In order to gain favor with their tyrannical and very manic mother, he and his half brother, Gun-Tae, decide to embark on a life of crime. Throughout their journey they touch shoulders with a recently deceased cyborg hooker out for revenge; more horny bastards than you can shake a stick at; and Dr. Hell himself, who decides to give Gun-Tae a penis gun that happens to shoot bullets when he sees ballerinas.
To sum this up: even in an industry where insanity often times is synonymous with profit, Nam Ki-Woong is like Miike on a perpetual acid trip, and his movies follow along that mindset. This guy is nuts. Plain and simple.
You never know... maybe you're a murderer
Studio: Avex Entertainment/Xanadeux Company
Written by: Face
Kiyoshi Kurosawa is and has always been an anomaly: almost all of his films follow the exact same narrative structure with nearly all of the same actors, and yet each and every one of his projects have been successful. It would seem that after all of these years people would be sick and God damn tired of his recurring motifs--however, that is not the case, not at all. The secret to his success is the precision and deftness with which he delivers his craft. In fact, you could call him the neurosurgeon of J-horror: he delivers with the perception and veracity of one, and you can be damn sure he'll leave you feeling as though you just woke up from a labotomy.
As usual, Koji Yakusho stars in the lead role as (you guessed it) a high strung detective. The story begins with his investigation into the murder of a young woman wearing a red dress. She is found on the embankment of a shipping harbor lying headfirst in muddy water. Lab reports indicate that despite the situation she was recovered from, her stomach is full of seawater. As the search for the suspect begins, the investigative team starts to notice that all of the clues point to Koji himself. Unsure of how to react, he launches his own investigation determined to prove that he is not the perpetrator.
Similar to his 1997 hit, Kairo, Retribution claws its way into your soul for an experience that is truly scary. While Kiyoshi's latest endeavor is by no means his piece de resistance, it is without question one of the most compelling J-horror projects within recent years, and it proves that even a worn-down genre can be revived with just the right palpation from just the right practitioner.
Can you resist the madness?
Studio: CN Film
Written by: Face
Four years before Bong Joon-Ho catapulted international audiences onto tenterhooks with his mesmerizing Memories of Murder, writer Su-chang Kong helped kickstart the Korean wave by dishing out a bloodbath of madness with the hardcore 1999 crime thriller Tell Me Something. While his contribution to the film may be limited to a writing credit, based on a simple comparison of his subsequent work, his influence is palpable. Apparently, enough so to warrant earning his first time sitting in the director's chair on this 2004 horror monstrosity, R-Point. I have to admit, I have not been this disturbed by a movie since my virgin viewing of Audition years ago. Kong brutally breaks away from the mold, ignores the archetypes, discards the evil black-haired, doublejointed, vengeful girls, and constructs a war-themed horror fest that should enthrall even the most passionate of horror schizoids.
The film is set towards the end of the Vietnam War. The story begins with a Korean radio station in Nah Trang receiving a desperate and disturbing radio transmission from a unit of soldiers sent to an area referred to as R-Point over six months ago (officials had lost contact with the unit months prior). Determined to rescue or identify the desperate soldiers, an additional unit of less than a dozen men are dispatched. They have just seven days to find any traces of the troops. In charge of the mission is an officer by the name of Choi Tae-In, notorious for losing men in combat. If the unit is not found within the allotted time, they are instructed to abandon the mission and return to base; the problem is there's much more to this land than anyone could have ever expected.
In the end, this movie is a friendly yet disturbing reminder that war is not typically fun times. Since I am wary to give away any crucial details, consider this thought instead: If Stanley Kubrick spawned an inconceivable love child with Francis Coppola and Hideo Nakata, it would probably resemble R-Point--in spirit, of course.