Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jason goes to Dead Channels--Day 5

A couple more movies last Tuesday night, starting with an absolutely gorgeous Korean film, and ending with a retro classic bloody violent western.

That Korean film is "Epitaph". Not only is it beautiful, but like most Asian horror films, it's a puzzle film. In this case, several puzzles, all centered in a hospital in 1942 Japan-occupied Korea. There's a medical student who falls in love with a corpse (or is supernaturally seduced by the corpse). There's a little girl, the only survivor of a car accident that claimed the life of her mom and stepfather. She has no physical injuries, but horrible nightmares where she blames herself. And there's a married couple of doctors who try to solve a mysterious series of murders. The stories flow easily between the two, but as I said it's a puzzle movie so you have to pay close attention. Which is not all that hard--given how gorgeous each frame of this film is, I never wanted to blink. Even creeping snails and oozing corpses are beautifully shot. And snow falling, there is something very classically beautiful about snow falling on film.

And snow falling on film continues with the second film, the retro shock western, "Cut Throats Nine". It's billed as the most violent western of all time. Of course, this was in 1972 so 26 years's still pretty damn bloody. A gang of the most vicious convicts are being transported by wagon to prison. A bandit stops the coach, thinking there's gold from a nearby mine on board. In the ensuing chaos, there's only one lawman left--Sgt. Brown--to transport the convicts, now on foot, but all chained together. They're short on rations, and Sgt. Brown's beautiful daughter is along for the ride. Just to add to the drama, Brown knows that one of the men killed his wife, but he doesn't know who. It's a tight, vicious story, as the criminals will kill their own just to lighten their load or for petty revenge, not to mention the tortures they have in mind for Brown and his daughter (chain gang rape, anyone?) Other than one glaring metallurgical plot whole (regarding the malleability of gold), it's a good story, well told, and while modern horror might amp up the blood, it's still worthy of the notice it gets for its violence.

And that was Tuesday at Dead Channels.

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