The Matrimony – Tartan Asia Not-So-Extreme

The Matrimony is the first film from the recently resurrected Tartan Asia Extreme imprint. For the unfamiliar, Tartan Asia Extreme is the video company that brought the western world such Asian classics as A Tale Of Two Sisters, Spider Forest, and Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance trilogy (Oldboy, etc). Unfortunately, The Matrimony doesn’t quite live up to Tartan’s past catalog.

Set in 1930s Shanghai, The Matrimony is the story of cinematographer Junchu (Leon Lai) who watches the love of his life Manli (Fan Bing Bing, one of the greatest names ever) die in a horrible car accident (the accident not being as horrible as the cgi, however).  Junchu goes on moping in his attic with Manli’s possessions surrounding him being miserable until his mother arranges for him to marry Sansan. Junchu isn’t exactly receptive to the idea but goes along with it to make his mother happy. Sansan tries and tries to make her new husband happy but it isn’t until she has a run in with Manli’s ghost that things start to turn around.

So Manli agrees to help Sansan get closer to Junchu in exchange for the chance to possess her body and be able to touch him one last time. All goes according to plan at first, as Junchu starts to warm up to Sansan. He starts to ask about her life and becomes interested in his wife for the first time. Women get crazy jealous even when they’re ghost apparently, and Manli isn’t about to sit by and watch Sansan get closer and closer to her love.

For a ghost movie The Matrimony moves at a painfully slow pace for the first two-thirds of the film. The pacing is almost, ALMOST, made up for by the cinematography and sets, which are both truly lovely, but ultimately I still found myself getting bored. Also, for a ghost movie, the amount of actual ghost screen time in the first two-thirds is pretty low. And what we do get is pretty watered down. I never thought I’d say it, but I really wanted the stereotypical J-horror black-hair-in-the-face ghost girl to pop out just to shake things up a bit. The Matrimony really is more of a love triangle/supernatural drama than a proper ghost or horror film, that’s for sure.

Things do get somewhat exciting for the final fifteen minutes of the film, but by then it feels too little too late. If you’re a fan of J-horror style ghost movies or what you would normally expect from the Asia Extreme label, I don’t recommend this one for you. If you dig snail-paced pseudo-supernatural dramas, then The Matrimony might be the film for you. Let’s hope the next Asia Extreme release is a little bit more… I don’t know… extreme.

The Matrimony gets a rating of two out of five Screaming Jamies

Contest – Synapse Sex and Violence Giveaway! Win Wide Open and Frat House Massacre DVDs!

As I posted last week, Synapse has two new releases coming to DVD on August 9th. They are Wide Open starring Swedish sex symbol and Thriller: A Cruel Picture star,  Christina Lindberg in her final starring role, and Frat House Massacre, from the creators of Camp Slaughter. Well the fine folks over at Synapse have supplied us with a copy of each to give away to two lucky readers. All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is leave a comment on this post with your email address and which DVD you would prefer to win, and do one of the following:

Either Sign up for the Basement Screams email list here or Follow Basement Screams on Twitter. Now how easy is that? Winners will be picked randomly and notified by email on Friday August 12th. Good luck!

Clown On Clown Crime – The Last Circus Trailer Is Here!

First off, you don’t even need to see the trailer for Alex de la Iglesia’s The Last Circus. You want to see it based off the poster alone, right??? Well if the whole clown/pope/bandolero hybrid doesn’t have you sold check out the absolutely batshit crazy red band trailer below.

Holy shit, did your head just explode? Mine did… Blood, sex, guns, clowns! What more do you need? Personally, that combo does it for me!

from the press release:

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A “Happy” circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. This absurd and disturbing scenario raises the curtain on a twisted tale of love, revenge, and psychopathic clowns that could only spring from the mind of filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia

Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime.  Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father’s career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life – he’s simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment.

It is here that he meets Natalia, a gorgeous acrobat, and abused wife of Sergio. Javier falls deeply in love with Natalia and tries to rescue her from her cruel and violent husband, unleashing Sergio’s jealousy. But Natalia is torn between her affection towards Javier and her lust for Sergio.

With neither man willing to back down, this twisted love triangle evolves into a ferocious battle between Sad Clown and Happy Clown, escalating to unbelievable heights in this absurd, shocking, irreverent and unforgettable film.

The Dead and The Damned – Zombies In The Wild Wild West

“When a group of gold miners unearth a dangerous meteorite, they unleash an intergalactic plague that ravages their town and turns the population into blood-thirsty mutants. It’s up to a high plains drifter and his arch-enemy, an Indian warrior, to battle the zombies and save the Old West from the horrors of The Dead and The Damned.”

Sounds good on paper, right? I went into The Dead and The Damned with high hopes of it making good on its “Eastwood meets Romero” promise. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case. The film starts out with a lackluster shoot out in an old western town between a bounty hunter, our hero to be Mortimer, and a wanted man and his gang. The idea of starting the film out this way isn’t necessarily a bad one, but the scene itself lacks the action a good shoot out needs and drags on a bit long. Afterwards, Mort sets out to capture an Indian named Brother Wolf who is wanted for the rape and murder of a white woman. This particular Indian, according to various people in town, is near impossible to catch, as many have tried and  none have returned. He’s a man on a mission though, so before embarking into the woods to catch his man, Mort says goodbye to his horse, and purchases a woman for the trip.

The woman, Rhiannon, lets him know upfront that she’s no whore and she’s not interested in being a wife either. Not a problem for our man Mort though, because all he wants her for is bait. Which is exactly what she becomes as he hog ties her to a post and waits up in a tree for the Injun to come get him some white meat! When Brother Wolf appears he flips the script on old Mort and frees Rhiannon which leads into a fight scene that resembles two drama students playing cowboys and indians. Meanwhile,back in town two hick prospectors find a meteorite and bring it into town to show everyone what they found. Being familiar with he zombie movie subgenre, I’m sure you know at this leads to. Yep, the townsfolk gather around the mysterious glowing rock, commence to beat on it and unleash the toxic fumes that zombify the whole town.

This is where the movie should pick up pace and get going, right? Not so much. The film carries on a fairly sluggish pace throughout, making it difficult to maintain interest in parts. As our trio heads into town they are forced to unite together to fight off the recently transformed undead. They decide to lock Rhiannon inside an empty saloon to keep her safe until morning, while Mort and Brother Wolf take on the zombies and create a way out-of-town. One of the most effective scenes in the film, and also the best looking zombie effects, takes place in the “empty” saloon. Turns out she’s not alone after all and is forced to play a game of cat and mouse with a blind zombie woman who is hunting her down by her scent. This scene is very effective being both creepy, yet remaining humourous, and the blind zombie is fucking bad ass looking. Easily the best zombie make up in the film.

The film does pick up a little bit in the last act, where our heroes must confront the legions of the undead in the daylight hours to try to get out-of-town. This is where the majority of the zombie action takes place. In fact the middle portion of the film really focuses more on Mort and Brother Wolf letting go of their initial prejudices and animosity and doing the whole buddy movie getting to know you thing. This is where we get the scoop on why Mort is collecting all the bounties he can and why Wolf is a wanted man. Unfortunately, the script and the slow pace of most of the film kind of make you say, “who gives a fuck, where are the zombies??”

Pacing and script issues aside, the actual concept of the film is a good one, and the cinematography makes it a nice film to look at. I would say three-fourths of the zombie effects are really cool looking, with the blind zombie being my personal favorite. I’d say this one is for the hordes of hardcore zombie fans, but someone who’s looking for a western/horror hybrid might want to keep looking.

The Dead and The Damned is the first film to be rated with our new rating system and gets two out of five Screaming Jamie’s


Summer Of Sex & Violence Courtesy Of Synapse

Synapse Films and Impulse Pictures are guaranteed to please genre fans on August 9th with the release of Wide Open and Frat House Massacre on DVD! From the press release –

Double your late summer fun with two new releases from Synapse Films and Impulse Pictures!

Featuring the gorgeous Christina Lindberg in her final screen role in Wide Open. Taxi driver Paul and his beautiful journalist girlfriend Marianne already have a strained relationship when things get crazier by Paul bringing his drunken father back to their apartment. As tensions rise, they decide to chill out at a wild movie party and things go from bad to worse (for Marianne anyway) when they both wake up in bed together with Marianne’s sister, Beryl!

Marianne leaves, so Paul decides to spend some time watching strippers and taking Beryl along for some nighttime fun. Everything is going great, until Beryl gets picked up by the evil Mr. X and things turn dangerous. A stolen mink coat, drugs, and violent sex games lead Paul and Beryl to confront Mr. X during the film’s perverse stag party climax!

Special Features:

  • Video Interviews with Actress Christina Lindberg and Director Gustav Wiklund
  • Christina Lindberg Motion Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Reversible Nude Cover Artwork
  • All Regions

Synapse Films adds to your summer glee with Frat House Massacre, a new film from the creators of Camp Slaughter. Sean and his little brother Bobby thought joining the Delta Iota Epsilon fraternity would be the best time of their lives with parties, freedom, girls and sex. The fraternity president Mark (Jon Fleming of TVs Will & Grace and Dante’s Cove), however, is a little strange. His twisted hazing rituals include extreme physical and mental torture that lead the boys down a horrific path of destruction and death. But death may be just the beginning, as this gritty twisted film unfolds. Inspired by actual events and set in the year 1979, Frat House Massacre is a disturbing journey through the twisted world of fraternity boys, pledges and the not-so-innocent sorority sisters swept up in their madness. Loaded with violence, gore, nudity and a fantastic music score by Goblin’s Claudio Simonetti, this is the full-length director’s cut containing over twenty minutes of additional footage

Special Features:

  • Commentary with Director Alex Pucci
  • Crew Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making of Featurette
  • All Regions

 

 

 


Nerd Out With Team Unicorn’s Alien Beach Crashers

The super sexy geek girl quartet Team Unicorn is back with their latest piece of video nerdness, Alien Beach Crashers. A take on the beach party flicks of the sixties, Alien Beach Crashers is part Annette Funnicello worship, part sci-fi schlock, and all pure ridiculousness, and I mean that as a compliment! The video stars the Team Unicorn girls along with guests Zachary Levi (Chuck), Abraham Benrubi (Robot Chicken), Magda Apanowicz (Caprica) and the homo from Fall Out Boy. Check the video out below and while you’re at it, check out the Team Unicorn website for their previous videos, A Very Zombie Holiday, superHarmony, and G33K & G4M3R Girls.

bloody beach nerd... yum

Congrats To The Good Doctor

We recently got word from our zombie fighting friend from the U.K. Ben Muir that his stage show/survival seminar, How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, won the Best International Show award at The Hollywood Fringe Festival last month! Congrats to him and the whole cast. For the uninitiated, Ben oversees the seminar under his zombie fighting alias Dr. Dale and is also the author of Dr Dale’s Zombie Dictionary: The A-Z Guide To Staying Alive.

The book is a comedic guide that covers everything (seriously, everything) you could possibly need to know to survive the ever impending rising of the undead, all in a handy-dandy alphabetical dictionary. The first entry, for example, is Aardvark, which concludes “A better use for an aardvark, given its average weight of 80-150 lb and length up to 7 feet, is to freeze it solid and use it as a bludgeoning weapon.” Seriously, you really can’t fuck with advice like that!

You can get the book from Amazon, and you can read more about the seminar’s recent accolades and it’s upcoming final performances in Edinburgh in the press release below. Cheers, Dr Dale!

Dr Dale - a hybrid of Mary Poppins and James Bond in the zombie uprising

The Cult Hit Seminar from After Dark Entertainment has done it again by scooping the prestigious Best International Show award at the recent Hollywood Fringe Festival. (16th – 26th June)

Nominated alongside fellow Brits Mahalo Theatre Collective and Australian Illusionist Simon Coronel, The School of Survival received their coveted ‘Freak’ award at the closing ceremony on the 26th June which was voted on by fellow Fringe Participants, Critics and Fringe audience members through the Hollywood Fringe Website.

‘When we decided to go and visit LA our main concern was whether US audiences would get our off the wall slightly crazy seminar’ says Ben Muir who plays School of Survival Guru Dr Dale, ‘but the response to the show was phenominal  – we were completely blown away by how enthusiastic our audiences were to get involved and stay alive (even though we had one of the worst survival rates ever!) and we got great reviews from the press too’

‘The overall response to HTSAZA almost makes me wish that we weren’t ending it all this year’ continues Ben, but they are! This year the School of Survival will be presenting the very last of their Zombie Survival seminars ‘How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse : THE END IS NIGH’ at the Edinburgh Fringe at Zoo Southside and then the characters will be no more. ‘We haven’t decided yet if we’re going to kill them all at the end of the show but we’re definitely not doing any more live shows with the characters after this year’s Edinburgh Fringe – that’s not to say we won’t resurrect them to return to Hollywood in 2012 – but bear in mind, that is when the world is supposed to end so we may actually need the School of Survival’s help when that happens!’

For info on How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse visit www.howtosurviveazombieapocalypse.co.uk

Insidious L.A. Screening and Live Streamed Q&A On Facebook

Fangoria will be hosting an exclusive screening of Insidious on July 11th at the Silent Theater in Los Angeles. For those not in the area there will also be a Q&A with director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell immediately following the screening to be streamed live on the Insidious Facebook page.

Cooler still, all fans who tune in to the Q&A and comment on the Ustream tab using #InsidiousLIVE will be entered in a contest to win a copy of the Insidious DVD which hits shelves on July 12th.

mods vs. rockers on the set of Insidious