A Serbian Film (2010)

423886_256287824454811_242018563_nA Serbian Film.
Where do I begin?
Let’s start with the basics. A Serbian Film (2010) was directed by Srdjan Spasojevic whom also contributed to the letter R for The ABCS of Death (2012).
Unapologetically showcasing and reveling in the grotesque and perverse, A Serbian Film is censored in 8 countries for its acts of violence, rape, and other socially unacceptable behaviors.

A-Serbian-Film-Movie-Poster-horror-movies-26582629-1200-1690The film is based around the story of aging porn star Milos, played by Srdjan Todorovic, who has taken a break from the porn scene to live the married life with his wife and their son. Milos comes to the realization that money is tight and begins to miss his old lifestyle. An old friend of his appears, to offer him a job. A job that is a secret, but will pay well for him and his family.

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Milos meets with the man who is organizing individuals for this secret job, which he soon finds out is some sort of snuff film. A snuff film that is paid by investors who invest in scenes they want carried out in the film.
After weighing the rewards against the risks, Milos agrees to do the film. To his dismay, it’s not what he expected. From this point on, he experiences sexual scenarios that he would have never imagined.
While drugged and in some sort of trance, Milos is put into situations of rape, murder, torture, necrophilia, child rape and many more inhumane acts of sexual degradation. There are some strange and completely shocking twists to the story which will leave some viewers reaching for the stop button while gagging in disgust. Srdjan Spasojevic has definitely captured society’s attention with this over the edge film that is filled with exploitation and gore.

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I will admit that I watched this film in its entirety, uncut.
One of my long-time friends suggested that I check it out since I was looking for a new horror film to see. I had no idea what to expect. Although I was interested in the story line, (an aging porn star) I did not expect to see some of the scenes in this film.

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While I have seen plenty of other films with rape and torture, including children was way beyond my boundaries. Director Srdjan Spasojevic has said, “my shocking ‘A Serbian Film’ denounces the fascism of political correctness.”
Although I understand why Mr. Spasojevic would create a film of this nature, I can’t see myself watching it again. I think if I had the edited version, it might be much easier to handle. I did enjoy the soundtrack a lot and the graphically gory scenes were executed excellently. The acting was superb and believable and the story itself kept you on the edge of your seat. Overall, it’s an excellent quality movie with an extreme story-line that will never escape your mind.
It’s a must see for those that love gore with a little “realness” thrown in there.


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Grotesque (2009)

375915_351783771571882_1900819451_nThis time on Watch Your Language!, Mistress Misery takes a look at a gory foreign masterpiece, aptly titled “Grotesque”.
Stay tuned right here for more recommendations from the rest of the world!

grotesque-movie-poster-2009-1020506122If you have a strong stomach and aren’t bothered by sadistic acts of rape and torture, then Grotesque (2009) is right up your alley.

Grotesque is a Japanese oriented film written and directed by Kôji Shiraishi. It has been banned in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification because, according to the BBFC, ‘the film featured sexual sadism for its own sake’. This is hard to argue, given the horrendous amount of torture and brutality that is featured in the movie but definitely fits into that genre of horror that is never forgotten.

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The film begins by briefly introducing a young couple, Aki and Kazuo, who are on a date. Shortly after leaving a restaurant, they are kidnapped. The kidnapper seems to be some sort of doctor who has everything in life and you will eventually find out, loves to torture people in the worst ways possible.

Using his medical expertise, the Doctor ‘heals’ his captive prisoners and has them believe they will be able to live and go free. Well, not so much. He resumes his torture in the most brutal ways possible, making his captives do unimaginable acts to prove their love for either the other or themselves, in order to stay alive.

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I must say, after seeing this movie it was like stepping into my worst nightmare. The acting is pretty good and the special effects are excellent. Everything looked real and I could feel myself relating to the character’s pain and anguish. A must see for those who love the obscenity and brutality that comes from Japanese horror.

Kôji Shiraishi  has written and directed several films such as, The Curse (2005), A Slit-Mouthed Woman (2007), the Occult (2009) and most recently, Cult (2013) which was released in April.

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Thirst (2009)

Do you like vampire romances?
Doesn’t everyone?

I thought so.
In 2009, Old Boy director Park Chan-Wook went a little wild playing with the ubiquitous vampire love story in his great Korean-language film, Thirst.
The result is a beautifully-shot fascinating look at the effects of addiction and manipulation, all wrapped up in a creatively gory misguided love story.

In the film, Sang-hyun is a Catholic priest who volunteers at the local hospital, providing ministry to the patients. He is well respected for his unwavering faith and dedicated service, but he secretly suffers from overwhelming feelings of doubt and sadness. He  volunteers to participate in an experiment to find a vaccine for a deadly virus.
The experiment fails disastrously and Sang-hyun is infected with the seemingly fatal disease, he makes a complete and rapid recovery after receiving a blood transfusion.
As the only survivor of the insane experiment, suddenly people begin to look at Sag-hyun as some kind of miracle worker and flock to him for his “healing” powers.

What has healed him, however, was the blood transfusion, which has turned him into a vampire, and he learns that he must drink blood to keep the “virus” at bay. It has also awakened the dark desires of this faithful priest, and he finds himself lusting after the sullen wife of his old friend who has invited him into their home. Tae-ju is an intriguing character, and tells Sag-hyun sad tales of abuse and mistreatment, and eventually convinces him to kill her husband.

The young girl that the disgraced priest has fallen for claims to have been raised as a pet by the abusive adoptive family, and she pleads with Sag-hyun to help her get back at him. She is a fascinating, manipulative character, and begins to lead him down an even darker path…

After some interesting conflicts, Sang-hyun turns young Tae-ju into a vampire by feeding her some of his blood, and she awakens with a new fire. San-hyun was feeding shamefully in secret ; she embraces her new-found bloodlust and reveals herself to be a remorseless monster, killing indiscriminately to feed.
The results of her fearless killing spree result in obvious persecution and danger, and the pair must finally face what they have done, and what they must do.

The climax of this film is incredible, and very creative, and the journey is well worth taking!
Check out this great foreign film and others by this excellent director (and more) linked below, and come back here for future editions of Watch Your Language! for more subtitled treats.
And don’t forget to leave your question for Park Chan-Wook on this post from The Rotting Apple for the NYC premiere of Stoker this weekend!

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Rare Exports : A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a fantastic Christmas horror film produced in Finland in 2010. Written and directed by Jalmari Hedlander, and loosely drawing from the German legends of Krampus, the film is a sub-titled treat for all of us horror fans sick of seeing the same old Santa slashers over and over again.
Based on an original short film called “Rare Exports Inc.”, conceived by Mr. Hedlander in 2003, this fantastic feature takes a great twist on the tale of Santa Claus filled with dark humor and clever characters.

The film opens with scenes of a team of workers directed by a scientist, drilling into the center of a huge mountain on the Finnish/Russian border. Upon the strange discovery of sawdust deep in the mountain, the scientist gives an inspiring speech, describing to the blue-collar diggers that they are in fact standing on a “sacred burial ground”. He orders them to wash behind the ears, watch their language, and ready the dynamite to rob this grave.
They are ordered to keep digging and adhere to a strict set of rules.

Young Pietari and his friend Jusso witness this after sneaking into the restricted area where the diggers are working over-time. Pietari is a precocious and tough young motherless lad, who thinks nothing of wandering around pants-less in the snow toting a rifle.
He still believes in the legend of Santa Claus, but his research has dug up more sinister stories of Saint Nicholas…

Pietari tells Jusso that the real Santa Claus tears naughty kids to pieces, until not even their skeletons are left. Through his research, Pietari has learned that the Sami people got angry with his grinch-like behavior and lured ancient Santa out onto the ice. When it broke beneath him, trapping him in the frozen lake, the villagers waited until summer then dug out the huge block of ice and buried it under a huge pile of rocks.
That pile of rocks eventually became the Korvatunturi Mountain, the very same mountain being dynamited and pick-axed.

Soon, strange things begin to happen.
Local children start disappearing, and household items like hair-dryers and are coming up missing all over the village.
Pietari’s family business revolves around the herding and butchering of reindeer, and the seasons crop turns up slaughtered and mutilated.
Footprints appear outside Pietari’s window.
An illegal wolf-trap outside of Peitari’s fathers house springs and catches a strange trespasser…

The film goes wild from here on out, turning into an oddball mix of comedy, slow dread, and gleeful weirdness. Pietari’s father and his blue-collar buddies are tough and resourceful men, and only want what is owed to them, so they of course concoct a scheme to make back the money they lost from the reindeer.
Things do not go according to plan.
I really don’t want to spoil the interesting twists and turns of the second half of the story, so here is a quick look

I had a great time with this film. It strikes a precarious balance between goofy goodness and serious storytelling. The cinematography is great, especially in the climactic scenes where young Pietari takes charge and becomes the man with the plan.
The only small gripe I might have is with the uneven tone of the film as a whole. The first third has a whimsical fantasy tone with a touch of underlying darkness that Tim Burton’s films used to have.  The second half goes pretty dark, as the main characters decide their course of action in a working-class way, and the creepy “Santas” are a pretty disturbing image. Then the climactic scenes feel like they were shot by Steven Spielberg (with a lot more old man cock involved), complete with a swelling orchestral score. Finally, we are left with the great punchline of the film, which is lifted directly from the original short films you can watch below.
All in all, this is a great foreign flick to watch this time of year, maybe in a dark holiday marathon sandwiched between Gremlins and the original Black Christmas.
Check in here to Watch Your Language in the future for more features on great foreign films you should look into, if you are not afraid to read a little…
Grade : B+

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the film was inspired by the director’s own short film, Rare Exports Inc. However, the feature film kind of works in reverse of the shorts, building up to what you see in the great short films embedded below.
If you have not yet seen the actual film, I would recommend checking that out first, then coming back here to dig in to the shorts. Watching the shorts first may lessen your appreciation of the “punchline” of the actual movie, in my opinion. The choice is yours!
Check it out right here :

And, for your further enjoyment, the very awesome 2005 sequel short, “Safety Instructions”. What you are about to see now may traumatize you for life, but the story must be told…

 

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Five French Horror Films

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Some of the most original, interesting horror films in recent years have come from France.
Themes of civil unrest, turmoil and threats of revolution run through most of these films. Questions of authority and a general rule-breaking attitude permeates these modern French masterpieces. They tend to feature strong female characters that take a LOT of punishment and come out transformed.

Here is a look at five of my favorite horror films from France over the last decade :

 

Frontier(s): Unrated Director’s Cut (After Dark Horrorfest)
(2007)

My name is Yasmine. I’m three months pregnant. One day, someone said “Men are born free with equal rights”. The world in which I live is the opposite. Who would want to be born to grow up in the chaos and the hate? I’ve decided to spare him the worst.

Riots in Paris are  the back-drop of this film as Yasmine and three other young small-time criminals escape the city with their loot, only to take refuge with a group of neo-Nazi cannibals who want to create a new Aryan race.
Full of gore and shocking moments, this one is a must-see!
Grade : B+

 

 

Inside (Unrated)
(2007)

One of the most intense movie experiences in recent memory, Inside never even flinches through 90 minutes of pure horror. You don’t even need the subtitles on this one.

Sarah is a young pregnant woman involved in a horrible car accident where she lost her husband. Months later, she is very heavy with child alone on Christmas Eve, when a deranged woman breaks in and terrorizes her for the whole night.
It is relentlessly gory and shocking, and you cannot look away.
One of my favorites!
Grade : A

 

 

Haute Tension (aka: Switchblade Romance)
(2003)

This is one of the most effective and creepy films for the first hour or so, until they inexplicably ruin it with an infuriating twist.
Great film, up to a point, but the ending ruins it for me.
Grade : C

 

Mutants
(2009)

 

Shot in dim blue-washed tones, this one is a simpler story of survival. It begins with a pretty standard “zombie movie” set-up in a dreary desperate world.
Marco and Sonia are paramedics trying to find a mysterious military base called NOAH. Sonia has been bitten but seems to be immune to the mutating effects of the ambiguous outbreak. Marco is not, though, and after he gets bitten the focus of the film is on his truly disgusting degeneration. The effects and gore are great, but after a while it gets boring waiting for Marco to go “full-mutant”, as the other “characters” serve as a body-count while looking for fuel and bickering over keys and blah blah blah, all your standard zombie story cliches.
The mutant effects are cool, and it is well-shot and worth a watch, but nothing too spectacular.

Grade : C

 

 

Martyrs
(2008)

My original review for this was short and sweet :
“The best movie I have ever seen, that I will never watch again.”

I have seen it twice since then, and it still makes my toes curl up. An inventive twist on the wholly-American “torture-porn” sub-genre, this film is intended to make you squirm and think.
As director Pascal Laugier says in his introduction (or apology) for the film, “It is a very free, very raw, and very experimental film. Feel free to hate me, I will understand.”

This film is a masterpiece. A gruesome and mind-bending experience, to be sure, but an unforgettable one. One of the best ever.
Grade : A

Be sure and check out these freaky French flicks, the titles link directly to Amazon for your ordering convenience. Do your Homework!




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