Thursday, 20 October 2011

Halloween-o-rama (part 2)

Here’s part two of my Halloween-o-rama! If you missed part one (music), check it out here

Today the focus is on film!  I ended up with a lot of films to recommend, so I won’t go into as much depth with all of them.

First up is a film lent to me by a friend a few years ago.

The Hunger is a vampire film starring Catherine Deneuve as ancient vampire Miriam Baylock, David Bowie as her lover, John, and Susan Sarandon as Dr. Sarah Roberts.
Miriam tries to keep her lovers young and beautiful with her blood, but all of them have aged and become stuck in an eternal withered, vegetative state.
When current lover John begins to age rapidly, they seek out the help of Dr. Sarah Roberts...
This is a tale of love, darkness and bloodlust, a must for any vampire fan. 

Nosferatu is another vampire film, hailing from the early 1920’s. This film is actually pretty lucky to exist--it's essentially a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with the names changed. A court battle ensued after its release, resulting in an order for all copies of the film to be destroyed. A few survived, and now the film is available for all to see! Yay!
Being from the 20’s, it’s a silent movie with titles. The tale revolves around Hutter (rather than Dracula’s Harker) and the vampire character, Count Orlok.
I don’t feel I need to write much about the storyline here, as it is a rip-off of Dracula!

Linked to the previous film is Shadow of the Vampire. This is a modern film, the storyline being set around the filming of Nosferatu. Strange things are befalling the cast and crew of the film and the actor playing Count Orlok is so in character that he’s displaying some rather unusual behaviour...

A great film for vampire fans; this one has a bit of a ‘black comedy’ aspect to it.

The next film I want to talk about is Bara no Konrei, or Bridal of Rose.
This is another retelling of the Dracula story, by Japanese band Malice Mizer, who were active in the nineties to early noughties.
There is no real language barrier problem with this film--as with Nosferatu it features old-fashioned titles, these ones being bilingual. Although the English is a little off (and amusing) sometimes, it’s easy to follow.
In place of spoken dialogue is music from the band’s last album, Bara no Seidou. It’s the kind of music perfect for listening to on a dark, stormy night: brilliant for a vampire film!

On a visual (okay, shallow) level, the imagery is gorgeous and they are all really, really pretty. ;)

Some scenes in the film are more amusing than they probably should be! Luckily these guys don’t take themselves too seriously, though they all worked hard! They are all fans of the horror genre and their image and music contained an aspect of a vampire theme throughout their activity.

Sharp-eyed vampire fans will spot references to other works of vampire film and literature in this film, such as Interview with the Vampire.

The Orphanage is a fully-subtitled Spanish-language film set in, my gosh, an orphanage! Former orphan Lara brings her family back to her childhood home where she plans to open an orphanage for handicapped children. Her adopted son tells her he has five new friends, who she believes to be imaginary--until Lara sees a mysterious masked boy, and her son disappears. As the story progresses, Lara brings in parapsychologists to try and unravel the mystery, becoming increasingly aware of spirits in the house.
Guillermo Del Toro yet again put his magic touch on this beautiful, chilling film. Definitely one to watch.

The Happiness of the Katakuris
My awesome friend Lianne gave me this film for my birthday. The tagline on the DVD cover reads, ‘The Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead’ which is an utterly perfect summary!

The film focuses around the Katakuri family. The father has lost his job and spent his redundancy pay on a large house situated at the foot of Mount Fuji. His intention is to turn it into a guesthouse. But things go wrong from the start--all their guests die, whether through suicide, accident or murder. The Katakuris decide to hide the deaths to protect their ailing business, and the bodies start piling up. Soon enough, along comes the new boyfriend of the daughter (an escaped convict and con-man). He uncovers a clue that might lead to the truth being revealed, but then the volcano starts to rumble...

This film is hilarious and definitely compulsive viewing, the fact the characters burst into song so often only aids the humour behind this foreign film.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is a film some of you may have already heard of. This is another musical horror (why does this work so well?!) starring the likes of Sarah Brightman and Anthony Stewart Head.
The film is set in the future, where an epidemic of organ failures has put the world in chaos. A biotech firm, GeneCo, offer replacement organs, for a price--but you have to keep up the payments, or else the Repo Men will come and get you.

Some might think the storyline sounds like the Jude Law film Repo is similar, and Repo Men grossed a lot higher in the box office, but Repo! The Genetic Opera is an earlier film. I’ve not seen Repo Men so can’t compare them!

This is a gory film, filled with great music. Not one for the faint hearted but great for Halloween.

Breifly, here are five more films I’d recommend, ranging from family-friendly to adult.

Mirrormask. 15 year old Helena finds herself in the Dark Lands and has to find the legendary Mirror Mask in order to save the kingdom and return home. As the DVD case says, ‘from the creative minds of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean and the Jim Henson Company.’ Therefore it has to be good! 

Blood: The Last Vampire is a beautifully made anime set in 60’s Japan. Saya, part of a secret demon-extermination team, is sent undercover to an American air-base, where vampires are proving a serious problem.

The Brain that Wouldn’t Die. I bought this in Poundland last Halloween! It’s a little Frankenstein-esque, the story revolving around a doctor who is experimenting with transplant techniques. When his girlfriend is decapitated in a car crash, he keeps her head alive and starts hunting for a replacement body.

The Grudge (also known as Ju-On) is a creepy Japanese horror about two vengeful spirits that pursue everyone that sets foot into the house where they reside. All of them ending up dead, or disappeared.

Phantom of the Opera is a tale I don’t need to write much of a summary on, since the original tale is infamous! This is Dario Argento’s version: basically Phantom with a lot more gore.

Tomorrow I’ll continue into the category of comics, touching on a little more animation for good measure. Why am I putting animation in the comics category? Come back tomorrow and find out! :)

For now though, I’d love to hear what your favourite films are for the Halloween season!

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