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Second trailer for Kenta Fukasaku’s BLACK RAT

Even stranger than the first clip, we’ve just had a second trailer for “Battle Royale 2” director Kenta Fukasaku’s latest oddball (with a high school theme) horror Black Rat turn up at our door, with an added surprise bonus, its English subtitled! A word of warning, this latest version is chock full of spoilers. One by one we’re introduced to Black Rats victims, and let’s just say most of those intros give away more than a hint as to how each of them is going to bite the big one. Catch it at the link.

 

 

Black Rat trailer no2 

Black Rat official site

First trailer for Korean horror anthology GHOST

Summers approaching fast and in Korea that means one thing in particular for local film production, new horror movies! Details on some of the upcoming local scare flicks are starting to crop up, and first in the offing is a new anthology horror aptly titled Ghost. There are four directors credited, so we’re assuming that means four separate tales (all of which seem school themed) of creepy goodness. No word yet on the storylines, but they do say a picture speaks a thousands words, so take a gander at the teaser trailer. Ghost opens in Korea on June 10th.

 

 

Ghost teaser trailer

POWER KIDS: R1 DVD Review

Director: Krissanapong Rachata. Review: Adam Wing.

From the team behind Ong Bak, Raging Phoenix and Chocolate comes Power Kids (5 huajai hero), the latest Muay Thai action extravaganza from first time director Krissanapong Rachata. Lek is well versed in the art of Muay Thai, as are the five street children he treats as his own. The youngest of these kids has a heart condition, and when an incident leaves him in critical condition, it’s up to the four remaining children to save his life. The day arrives when the transplant can take place, but what do you know, an international terrorist group have taken over the hospital and there’s only four hours left to steal the heart, defeat the terrorists and save the day. Goes without saying really.

Power Kids is a curious beast because on paper it reads very much like a family film, within minutes however, assault weapons are being fired and civilians are dropping like flies. There’s a lot of swearing too, and all this takes place in the opening stampede. Then the film slips into family movie mode and we meet our young protagonists for the first time. In much the same style as Ong Bak and Raging Phoenix, Krissanapong Rachata takes his time to set up the characters and story. The premise is quite neat, not that it actually matters at the end of the day. Production values are relatively low but the characters are endearing enough, I’ve always found Thai comedy to be incredibly refreshing and some of the early scenes are immensely entertaining...Continue reading review here.

Power Kids trailer

Two new posters for Jiang Wen’s LET THE BULLETS FLY

We've got two new posters for Jiang Wen's upcoming action-comedy, Let The Bullets Fly. The posters were unveiled at Cannes for pre-sales. The film, still in post production, stars Chow Yun Fat alongside Ge You (The Banquet, If You Are The One) as a "cruel but visionary" gang leader in the early days after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Full size:

Poster 1

Poster 2

So let's see. We've got Chow Yun Fat playing a gang boss in a movie with a title that implies lots of gunfire. A poster of someone wielding a sword with blood all over their shirt. And the director of "The Sun Also Rises" behind the camera? 

Can't think of any reason not to be excited about this one.

Thanks to Xinhua.

THE TOURNAMENT UK release date set!

Well it’s about damn time. Scott Mann’s hard core British action movie The Tournament has finally been given a UK release and unlike its U.S debut - where it was shortsightedly dumped straight onto DVD - it will be getting a limited theatrical release. Tournament stars Robert Carlyle, Sebastien Foucan, Kelly Hu, Liam Cunningham, Ving Rhames and Ian Somerhalder in an icky red battle to the death, between some of the world’s best assassins.

Yes its very violent, yes it’s morally ambiguous, and yes it has plot holes you could drive a double-decker Bus through, but all that still doesn’t detract from the fact its one of the best looking, most action packed, bloody, and enjoyably over-the-top popcorn thrillers to come out of the UK in many a year. Definitely one for all you action junkies. The Tournament opens in selected UK Cinemas July 9th.

Synopsis: Every seven years in an unsuspecting town, ‘The Tournament’ takes place - a secret hitman competition between 30 of the world’s deadliest assassins; with the last man standing receiving a $10m cash prize. The Tournament is set up by a syndicate of high stake billionaire gamblers, watching the mayhem unfold via CCTV cameras, betting on its outcome. Only one will survive…

The Tournament UK trailer

Criterion to release Kurosawa’s first films

Criterion has announced that they'll be releasing Akira Kurosawa's first four films on August 3rd as an Eclipse Series box set. Those of us unable to afford their huge AK 100 anniversary set can now rejoice at the opportunity to finally complete our Kurosawa collections! The films included in the set are: Sanshiro Sugata, The Most Beautiful, Sanshiro Sugata Part 2 and The Men Who Tread On The Tiger's Tail.

Make sure and check out Criterion.com for full details.

And the U.S title for Aussie horror ROAD TRAIN is….....

Aha! The question of just how they’ll be marketing Dean Francis’s Australian supernatural horror Road Train to a U.S audience (most of which probably would'nt recognise what a “Road Train” is) the has been answered, with the appearance of some early promo art for the American release. The flick is to get a - minimal but quite effective, and for once sympathetic - name change to Road Kill. Starring Xavier Samuel, Bob Morley Georgina Haig and Sophie Lowe, the movie is set to open later this year. Links to a trailer, plus a new making of video below.

Synopsis: Four young friends on a camping adventure in outback Australia are run off the road by a mystery road train - a massive three-trailer truck. With their own 4x4 wrecked and the road train stopped, the friends march off to remonstrate with the driver. But there is no one to be found. Suddenly, the silence is broken by the sound of gunshots. A distant figure screams and runs towards them. Are they witnesses to a murder? There’s no time to discuss it. The friends commandeer the road train. The next town is only three hours away. But the next town is somewhere they will never reach. What they discover inside the vehicle’s trailers proves more terrifying than anything out there on that lonely road.

Road Train trailer

Road Train making of

BLOOD: DVD review

Director: Ten Shimoyama. Review: Adam Wing.

Everybody loves vampires, right? Over the last few years we have had to contend with more bloodsucking parasites than a Mosquito Rally. Everybody loves sex, right? Well not your partner, that goes without saying. But most of us like a little flesh from time to time, especially when it covers the inner workings of a beautiful Asian actress. Everybody loves martial arts movies, right? Again, perhaps not everybody, but chances are you’re the kind of person that likes to kick back with a sprinkling of kick-ass every now and then. Vampires, sex and martial arts, sounds like a fan(g)tastic night in to me (I’m not proud of that one). Ten Shimoyama calls the shots, and being a big fan of his previous martial arts fantasy Shinobi I was really looking forward to this. The question is however, will an evening with Blood leave you feeling cold, or is it a bite worth taking? Sounded a bit like Anne Robinson for a moment there…Continue review here.

 

Blood trailer

High school murder in Kenta Fukasaku’s BLACK RAT

He last entertained us with oddball action in “Yo-Yo Girl Cop" and the flawed but highly enjoyable fright fest ‘X-Cross,’ now Japanese director Kenta Fukasaku is back with another nut-job weird horror creation Black Rat, featuring high school students in a battle for survival against a Rat masked maniac killer.

Don’t let the saccharin sweet home page of the official site fool you, there’s a bloody trailer featuring teens being bumped off in all sorts of suitably gruesome ways, to be seen (centre button) within. Black Rat opens in Japan at the end on the month, and here’s hoping we get to see it English subbed very soon!

Synopsis: Six classmates received an e-mail from Asuka who should have committed suicide, when they were to get together in a classroom that night. At 1 a.m., a person wearing a bloody rat-mask appears, ferociously attacking them, saying "I'm going to avenge Aska!" Will this be the end of them all!? And who is the rat-masked person!?

 

Black Rat official site

 

UK trailer for Vincenzo Natali’s SPLICE

The title says it all. The UK trailer has just dropped for Vincenzo Natali’s much anticipated (and much delayed) sci-fi thriller Splice. Still looking fantastic and it hits UK theatres August 6th, whilst all you folk in U.S land are getting to see it a full two months earlier, starting June 4th. Lucky ##@~#! Trailer at the link.

Synopsis: Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are young, brilliant and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered have made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment. The result is something that is greater than the sum of its parts: a female animal-human hybrid that may be a step up on the evolutionary ladder. Clive and Elsa think they may have designed the perfect organism, until she makes a final shocking metamorphosis that could destroy them... into a deadly creature.

 

 

Splice UK trailer

Tranquility Valley turns YELLOW

Spanish movie house Filmax are at it again. Much like their recent name change for new frightener Excorcismus, now its Xavi Giménez’s upcoming (horror) thriller Tranquillity Valley that’s up for a name change. Considering the films topic of a brutal re-education centre for troublesome youths we can perhaps see why they decided to drop the old handle, but the new title of “Yellow” doesn’t exactly pack that much of a punch. The new poster on the other hand is a far better proportion. Nothing says re-education better than having your face slammed into the floor!? Stills from the film at the link.

Synopsis: Luis is the single father of sixteen year old Fran. Father and son are both going through a rough patch. In a desperate attempt to salvage their relationship Luis has taken a dramatic decision: to enrol his son in an “education” centre. Although Luis believes he is doing the right thing, the truth is he doesn’t know everything he should about the school’s methodology. Outraged by his father’s betrayal, Fran will do his best to show everyone at the school that he is not about to give in. But the school’s specialty is precisely to fight that kind of behaviour. Outside, Luis can’t help but wondering if he’s done the right thing; inside, Fran is going through a horrific experience….Because life in the centre, can be torture.

Yellow stills

Earlier Tranquillity Valley coverage here and here

Action filled UK trailer for BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS

While the number of new Asia cinema titles appearing in the U.S continues to bump along the bottom of the tracks, The UK continues to power along with release after release of classic (and increasingly, more recent) titles. The latest big name movie that’s been announced to hit their shores - on DVD and Blu-ray - is Teddy Chan’s multi award winning historical action fest Bodyguards and Assassins, and yep you guessed it....Its trailer time. Bodyguards and Assassins goes on sale May 31st.

Synopsis: On October 15th 1906, the man destined to become the Father of Modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, is due to arrive in the British Colony of Hong Kong to discuss plans to overthrow the corrupt Qing Dynasty with a group of leading anti-Qing revolutionaries. Aware of Sun’s intentions, the Qing Court dispatches an elite army of assassins to the port where Sun is due to arrive, with orders to see to it that he never makes it to his appointment and does not leave the colony alive. Receiving news of the proposed assassination, a newspaper editor and a local tycoon, both sympathetic supporters of the revolution, take it upon themselves to protect Dr. Sun at any cost. To help ensure his safety they recruit a motley band of fellow sympathisers, friends and acquaintances, all skilled in martial arts combat to act as Sun’s bodyguards. Additionally, they devise a risky plan to secretly replace the assassins’ target with a human decoy in an attempt to lead the killers away from their quarry.

Earlier Bodyguards and Assassins coverage

Our review of Bodyguards and Assassins

 

 

Korean murder mystery MOSS teases

Its teaser time for Veteran producer/director Kang Woo-seok’s screen version of Moss (a popular web cartoon thriller by Yoon Tae-ho) starring Park Hae-il and Jung Jae-young. Moss follows the story of a man who returns to the remote village where his parents lived to attend his father's funeral. There he tries to figure out the mystery of his father's strange and untimely death, whilst all the time the oddly strange villagers watch his every move. It all looks great so far, but reveals little as to whether this will be a straight up murder mystery, or is there something more horror tinged in store? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Moss opens in Korean in July.

 

 

Moss teaser trailer

THE GRUDGE: WHITE GHOST/BLACK GHOST review

Director: Miyake Ryuta/Asato Mari. Review: Adam Wing.

Ju-on first crept under the bed covers in the year 2000 as a straight-to-video movie developed by Shimizu Takashi, over the next ten years it spawned multiple movies in both Japan and Hollywood. The two Japanese films are well worth your time, with part two actually improving upon the original in every way. The original Hollywood version, once again directed by Shimizu Takashi and featuring some of the original players, is one of the more successful American remakes, and not just because it starred everybody’s favourite vampire slayer. Parts 2 and 3 were rubbish, but then, Buffy did die in part 2 and for obvious reasons, well, the less we say about part 3 the better. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the series, two new Japanese Ju-on films were released in 2009, White Ghost and Black Ghost (also known as Old Lady in White and Girl in Black), offering fresh takes on the grudge curse...Continue reading review here.

 

White Ghost/Back Ghost English subtitled trailer

New poster for Spanish horror EXCORCISMUS

New artwork has appeared for Manuel Carballo’s upcoming Spanish (but with English dialog) possession horror Exorcismus, and as last teaser poster made leading lady Sophie Vavasseur look more like the bride of Chucky, we’re liking this new one sheet a hell of lot better. The same can’t be said for its new U.S title which Bloody Disgusting has revealed will be the painfully generic and dull “The Possession of Emma Evans”….Yuck. Still in post, we’re tipping the movie will hit release in the autumn. See the poster larger, plus some stills from the movie, at the link. 

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Emma Hawkins is like any other teenage girl; she thinks that her parents don’t understand her. She longs for independence and a life free of family ties and responsibilities and she is prepared to do anything to achieve it. But one day she will be forced to face up to the consequences of her actions. Life seems to be carrying on as normal, until one day Emma starts experiencing frightening fits. Her parents are convinced that her problems are either medical or psychological, but when doctors´ tests are unable to draw any conclusions, the family is forced to look elsewhere for answers. It all started off as a bit of fun, Emma never really believed it, but the truth is there is something dark and sinister within her, and it won’t take long to surface.

Exorcismus stills (bottom of the page)

Official site for Christopher Smith’s BLACK DEATH

Just in from New York and somewhat jet lagged, I’ve just got time to post news that the official site for Christopher Smith’s (‘Severance,’ ‘Triangle’) latest work - the gothic horror Black Death - is now live. As well as an updated version of the synopsis, there’s also more interestingly a clips (that plural hopefully suggest we can look forward to more vids) section with a high quality version of the teaser trailer, that’s recently been doing the rounds online. Black Death opens in the UK on May 28th, but still no word on a U.S bow. Keep em peeled for more updates.

Synopsis: Plague-ridden medieval England: Bodies lie scattered in their hundreds, the country is in turmoil. One hope remains, rumours of a village that is unaffected by the deadly disease. As God’s ambassador, young monk Osmund is tasked in leading the fearsome knight Ulrich (Sean Bean) and his group of mercenaries to the remote village. Their quest is to hunt down a necromancer - someone able to bring the dead back to life. Their journey is treacherous and filled with danger; encountering deadly bandits and vicious witch-burnings that will put their faith to the ultimate test. Though it’s upon entering the village that their true horror begins...

Black Death official site

Behold  the UK face of Tak sakaguchi’s SAMURAI ZOMBIE

From screenwriter Ryuhei Kitamura (director of ‘The Midnight Meat Train’ ) and director Tak Sakaguchi (star of ‘Versus’ ), Samurai Zombie - a splatter-filled, genre blending, horror-comedy that delivers precisely what its title promises - is heading for DVD release in the UK, and we’ve grabbed a first look at the great looking artwork for the release. We’ve yet to see if there will be a UK trailer, but luckily the original Japanese site is still alive (or undead) and kicking. Check it out for some gore filled fun. Samurai Zombie goes on sale July 5th.

Synopsis: A vacationing family’s drive through the tranquil woods surrounding Eight Spears Village takes an unfortunate turn when their car hits a gun-toting man standing in the middle of the road. Suddenly, a young man and woman emerge from the woods and, after shooting the accident victim, proceed to car-jack the family taking them hostage in the process. The situation immediately goes from bad to worse when the car suffers a blowout and dad is sent off in search of a spare tyre or an alternative means of transport while his wife and two kids remain in the hands to the two apparent psychopaths. Unfortunately, any sign of deliverance for dad, his family or their captors is a long way off. Before he can find help, a mysterious encounter with a rather large blade leaves the head of the family headless, precipitating a bloody rainfall and the resurrection of a long-dead samurai warrior with a mean streak and a score to settle. Meanwhile, back at the car, a derelict old hag appears before the stranded group with a dire but frighteningly convincing warning: “You’re all going to die!” Confirmation of this stark proclamation soon comes in the form of the undead warrior looking to add to his newly-begun collection of severed heads.

Samurai Zombie official site

MERANTAU WARRIOR: DVD review

Director: Gareth Evans. Review: Adam Wing.

Have you heard the one about the Welsh director and the Indonesian martial arts movie? Welcome to Gareth Evans adrenaline-fuelled action picture Merantau, not as it turns out, a remake of Allun Lam’s The Black Sheep Affair. No, merantau refers to a centuries-old Sumatran custom where young men leave their villages behind, in the hope of proving themselves worthy of adulthood. Yuda (Iko Uwais) has travelled to the big city of Jakarta but finds trouble when he helps a young stripper escape the clutches of a human trafficker. Fortunately Yuda comes highly skilled in the martial art of silat, which means there’ll be plenty of high-kicking action before the night is out. There’s no point trying to avoid the subject, Merantau wants to be Indonesia’s Ong Bak so much it hurts. Whether or not the movie achieves its goal is debatable, but make no mistake about it, Iko Uwais is most definitely Indonesia’s answer to Tony Jaa. Martial arts movie fans never had it so good.

Merantau tells the story of Yuda (Iko Uwais), a young Indonesian man who looks like he’s fallen fresh out the womb. He’s so polite and compassionate that you wouldn’t imagine him pulling the wings off a dragonfly, let alone beating down on a horde of angry martial arts enthusiasts. He sets off on his journey, hoping to prove himself by surviving against the odds and gaining valuable life points along the way. Yuda’s dream is to set up a school in the art of Silat; it soon becomes apparent that the city of Jakarta has other ideas. Not long after he arrives a young pickpocket called Adit fleeces Yuda, and fate lays a devilish hand when it introduces him to his sister, a reluctant yet easy-on-the-eye stripper named Astri (Sisca Jessica). Yuda intervenes when she gets herself into trouble and before you know it, we’re back in the loving arms of action city central...Continue reading review here.

Merantau Warrior official site

LEGEND OF THE TSUNAMI WARRIOR on R1 DVD

Nonzee Nimibutr’s big budget Thai action adventure ‘The Queens of Langkasuka’ is heading for a US DVD release under its new and “improved” title Legend of the Tsunami Warrior. We’ll let the dreadfull (Tsunami!?) re-tag slide, as it does mean we finally get to see it English subtitled, but come on Magnet try harder next time. Tsunami Warrior streets on May 11th.

Synopsis: War rages on ... Princes of neighbouring dynasties have formed a coalition with rebel pirates, plotting to seize the powerful cannon from the Land of Langkasuka. The mass destruction juggernaut, capable of obliterating foes in a matter of seconds, is much coveted by any party seeking to tip the balance of power to their advantage. The three princesses of the land of Langkasuka must at all costs protect their realm from the evil clutches of the ongoing wave of invaders - even if it means putting their own lives on the line.

 

Queens of Langkasuka trailer

 

Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL: Review

Director: Ti West. Review: Adam Wing.

There’s only one way to approach Ti West’s (Cabin Fever 2) latest horror movie, because The House of the Devil comes on like a forgotten classic, a product of the 70s in all but its creation. You wont believe for a second that it was made last year, the 80s setting certainly helps, and everything about the film takes us back to a time when The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby haunted our very souls. There’s no Hollywood teen sheen to be found here, there’s precious little blood for your buck, this is old school horror epitomized. If you were to watch it back to back with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Shining, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference; so similar are the style and tone. Old school horror is back in fashion, and The House of the Devil is a great place to start.

Sam (Jocelin Donahue) is a pretty college sophomore; she accepts a babysitting job in order to raise cash for an apartment that she’s interested in. Mr. and Mrs. Ulman aren’t your typical happily married couple, and the baby she’s supposed to be sitting turns out to be nothing of the sort, but not even the creepy Victorian mansion deep in the woods is enough to put Sam off. Even her best friend Megan has doubts, not enough to stay with her through the night of course, that would defy genre convention. One more thing, just in case the local convenience store is all out of ‘Do Not Stop Here’ signs, a lunar eclipse is about to take place as well, why do I get the feeling that Sam is going to regret taking this job? Continue reading review here.

House of the Devil trailer