Friday, October 23, 2009


Sure, you could watch the same old, same old creepy horror classics you watch year after year this October, but here's a novel idea. How about something that will actually scare you? Or,at the very least, disturb the crap out of you.
I am, of course referring to the plethora of releases coming out of Palisades Tartan Video this month.
Let's start off with the coolest and probably weirdest of the bunch.
I am referring to PRINCESS. A Danish film directed by Anders Morgenthaler, this film is more than a little off center. It concerns a missionary by the name of August who comes home after years of work out of the country because his sister has died from drug abuse. But his sister was no ordinary junkie. She was the porn star referred to as The Princess. She left her five year old daughter Mia with a prostitute so, August claims his niece.
Burdened with guilt, sadness and an unspeakable rage, August takes it upon himself to avenge the death of his sister. The violence continues to escalate as August realizes that the world of drugs, pornography and prostitution is more than a single man can handle.
While this sounds like a pretty straightforward storyline, here's the kicker;
Most of the film is animated. Sure, there are flashbacks that are in grainy video, but this is a beautifully animated film.
I've heard people refer to it as THE LITTLE MERMAID meets TAXI DRIVER. I really don't see THE LITTLE MERMAID in this. More of a dark Hayao Miyazaki film. The animation is gorgeous and the storytelling is magnificent.
My favorite scene, which won't really ruin the storyline for anyone, is during a shoot out. Everytime August puts a bullet in someone it shows the results of the death. Whether it's a coffin going into the crematorium or a widening red stain on the bed of the person's lover, this is amazing stuff.

Next up is THE BUTCHER. Forget SAW. Forget HOSTEL. This movie is brutal with a capital B. There is no setup or explanation. The flick throws you into the center of a handful of people who have been selected to be in a snuff film. Shot entirely with two POV cameras, THE BUTCHER revels in it's ability to shock the Hell out of you. And really shock you. You will not believe what you are seeing in a film that was actually too gruesome to be released in its country of origin.
To be honest, it's not my cup of tea, but there are a lot of people who will probably like it. I did appreciate the fact that the film makers limited themselves to using POV cameras and still managed to pull off a cohesive narrative.

Then we have P.
Dau is a young orphan girl who is taught magic by her grandmother. When grandmother gets ill, Dau is forced to go to nearby Bangkok to find work so she can buy her grandmother medicine. She ends up working in a go-go bar where her innocence doesn't last too long. She decides to use her magic to give her an advantage over the other people who work in the bar. This gives her a few enemies and problems as the darker aspects of her magic start to reveal themselves.
P is a really good flick that does a nice slow build up of tension and horror as you realize what is happening. And, for the gore hounds out there. There's even something for you. An all around creepfest.

Finally, we have the crown of the group. Palisades Tartan has released three of it's horror flicks in what they are calling...
With three great films from around the globe.
First there is SHEITAN with Vincent Cassel. It's your warm, Christmas story, but not really as a group of youngsters realize that the creepy guy with the pregnant wife has made a pact with the devil and it's about to come to a head.
Then there is CARVED. A beautiful woman gets her face disfigured by her jealous husband and her spirit haunts the town where it happened. But it's been thirty years. She couldn't come back again, could she? Well, if she didn't then we wouldn't have a movie, would we?
Finally from the Dutch we have SLAUGHTER NIGHT. Seems that young Kristel is on a mission to a museum to retrieve the final manuscript from her departed dad. She takes along some friends. This can't go well at all, can it?

I, for one, am glad that Tartan is back in its new incarnation of Palisades Tartan. They are renowned for bringing us cinema from around the globe and this October they have become determined to scare the Hell out of us as well.

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