Suicide Club (2001)
Sion Sono is my favorite director. I have not covered his movies yet because I don’t feel like I will do a good job. Even though I have made writing my living, I don’t feel like I will ever use the right words when speaking of this film, or any of his others. That said, I guess I have to try.
54 school girls join hands and jump in front of an on-coming train. From that point, more and more suicides occur throughout Tokyo and are connected to a website that shows each death as a colored circle. Rolls of rectangular skin pieces sewn together are dropped off at various suicide scenes, each piece thought to be from a suicide victim. A cult is thought to be behind the rash of deaths. One girl is almost killed by a friend as he plummets to his death from a building. She follows clues from a music icon group called Dessart and is kidnapped by another group claiming responsibility for the Suicide Club. Eventually she meets with a group of small children who ask her if she is one with herself. Satisfied with her answer, they lead her away. A piece of her skin is found in another roll, and as the police try to stop her from jumping in front of a train, she simply pulls away from them, boards the train, and leaves.
Each Sono film takes this idea and places it inside a little box, then surrounds the idea with the most absurd and graphic content imaginable. He takes the farthest extremes to explain the smallest of ideas. This type of storytelling will resonate with some and alienate others. If you view this film as a horror movie and nothing more, then there will be intense disappointment in your future. If you catch a glimpse below the surface and start peeling back layers, I believe you are in for a treat that you won’t forget.
I know, I really got preachy on this one, but everyone has that thing they are passionate about, right? Everyone has a theme that really gets them. Sono’s movies do it for me. Please sign up for the newsletter if you liked what you read, and check out our Facebook group here. We love talking all things horror.
If you get a chance, and are feeling a little horny, go on over to Adam & Eve with the link below and get yourself something special. Nothing like masturbation to truly connect with yourself. See what I did there? Until next time, cheers!
The Descent (2005)
Neil Marshall, Dog Soldiers, Doomsday
I believe that The Descent is the finest horror film in the last 20 years.
That is a line I say fairly often, though my moods shift. Still, it is definitely up there towards the top. Neil Marshall is a fantastic director who has made woefully few movies. Though he has made some great episodes of Game of Thrones, Hannibal, and Westworld.
What makes this movie so frightening is the juxtaposition of the killer creatures with the very real fear that most of us have of going cave diving. The claustrophobia of it is palpable. Most of us would never think to put ourselves in the situations that these women are willfully trying out for fun. On top of that, the subtle drama that plays out between the characters truly made me feel for them. It is rare that a horror movie can make be genuinely care about anyone’s personal life, but this movie pulls it off.
The American version of the film has an ending that is dreadful. In the end, the main character gets out of the cave and drives off, alive and well. In the actual ending, that turns out to be a hallucination, and she is really still in the cave with no hope of escape. America decided that the movie needed a happy ending because America is stupid. Yeah, I said it. Call up Donald Trump and report me, I’m sure he’ll take time out of his busy golf schedule to tell me why happy endings are the bread and butter of America.
Why did I just get political? Ignore that shit.
Anyway, from the first crazy unexpected death to the bloody end, The Descent is a textbook example of how horror should be. This film, along with some others, should be given credit for the current horror renaissance. This was an early example of what these movies would become. A change from the 80’s and 90’s into something different, more mature, and far more frightening for the modern world.
It took me awhile to watch the second season of Stranger Things and now that I’m through, I feel numb. When I saw the first season, like many people I was thrilled. Each episode built the tension and suspense. The upside down was an awesome looking place. The kids were all lovable to realistic. Even Winona Ryder was doing a good job in her manic, schizoid sort of way.
The 80’s vibe that was pulled off fairly well in the first season is practically gone now. Sure, there are still the clothes, cars, and decor – but that’s the extent of it. It doesn’t feel like the 80’s, it actually just feels like a film set. I’ve been thinking about why that might be and have come up with two reasons. First, I think having a whole bunch of CGI monsters everywhere ruins that vibe. If they were all done practically, it would have been far better. Second, was casting choices. Seeing old versions of Paul Reiser and Sean Astin, combined with the already present Winona Ryder, really reminds me that we aren’t in the 80’s anymore, if that makes sense.
Editor’s Note: There is also a black smoke monster, and absolutely fuck black smoke monsters!
I hope they take a step back for season 3 and really look at what made the show good in the first place. It wasn't more monsters that the show needed, especially with the loss of all the heart that it once had.
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