Ghost Stories (Late Night Work Club, 2013)

Next up, we offer a short film of short films – the indie-animated anthology Ghost Stories (2013). Containing 11 minimalist shorts, Ghost Stories is the product of various members of the Late Nite Work Club crafting these pieces between projects and classes. MMC! is particularly fond of Charles Huettner’s The Jump, Caleb Wood’s Rat Trap, and Alex Grigg’s Phantom Limb, although Ghost Stories is an impressively satisfying effort throughout. In fact, the omnibus format of Ghost Stories produces a convivial effect, expanding the regard for these shorts by placing them alongside one another and creating a whole greater than its parts.

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SFFF Day 4 Report – An Extended Trip Overseas

saskatoon_fantastic_film_festivalThe Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival closed with a massive final day that included five feature films, five shorts, and screenings of the films participating in the Festival’s 48 Hour Movie Making Challenge. SFFF closed the four day run with a trio of Asian films – the Mo Brothers’ Headshot (2015), Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan (2016), and Kôji Shiraishi’s Sadako vs. Kayako (2016) – that were collected to thrill audience members and get their communal adrenaline pumping. These efforts seemed to prove successful, but the best of Day 4 was found elsewhere and the final day offered some welcome surprises along the way.

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FUCKKKYOUUU (Eddie Alcazar, 2015)

FUCKKKYOUUU‘s artistic statement reads:

With the ability to travel in time, a lonely girl finds love and comfort by connecting with her past self. Eventually faced with rejection she struggles with her identity and gender, and as time unfolds onto itself only one of them can remain.

With that synopsis in mind, Eddie Alcazar’s short is a sensorial barrage that contrasts the sensual with the horrific and annihilates any comfortable, easily accessible relationship with the film’s concept. The sound design of Flying Lotus is chillingly ethereal and operates in brooding compliment to the film’s shadowy visuals and knife-cut inserts. FUCKKKYOUUU is a densely packed voyage into sci-fi horror with undeniable affect, one that gains depth and power with multiple viewings.

The Human Vapor (Ishiro Honda, 1960)

IS HE MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddSomething evil has drifted into Tokyo.  High security banks have been mysteriously robbed with only murdered staff left to mark the crime.  The police are baffled – no fingerprints, no weapons, no clues are found.  The culprit is THE HUMAN VAPOR, an atomic age nightmare spawned of science-gone-mad!  Once just a harmless librarian, a scientific experiment grants him the power to disintegrate into an indestructible gaseous thing.  With a city on edge and journalists keenly following this fantastic figure of modern terror, the police pursue their only clue – a beautiful dancer with an unknown sponsor financing her comeback.  Is she the key to stopping the Gas Man from ruthlessly killing again?

Following in the footsteps of their 1954 sci-fi classic Godzilla, director Ishiro Honda, special effects designer Eiji Tsuburaya, editor Kazuji Taira, and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka create a new story of irradiated horror, this time with a human face.  The Human Vapor is presented here, for the first time, in high definition presentations of both the original Japanese version and the recut American version that transforms Honda’s film from a science fiction mystery into a flashback tale told by the Gas Man himself.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer of the original Japanese cut of The Human Vapor and of the American version recut by Brenco Pictures
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Japanese and English mono audio soundtracks (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Japanese soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by actress Kaoru Yachigusa
  • Interview with special effects designer Koichi Kawakita
  • Half Man … Half Beast! – featurette on Eiji Tsuburaya’s special effects with special effects photographer Motoyoshi Tomioka
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by David Kalat, an essay by special effects designer Koichi Kawakita, behind the scenes photos, and poster art

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“We’ve Lost! Let’s Try the Kitchen!”

Hey kids, enjoy the fun of fleeing for your life and abandoning your spaceship to an unstoppable monster!

Were kids in 1979 clamouring for an 18-inch replica toy of a terrifying monster from an R-rated movie?  That’s hard too imagine (although that toy looks pretty great).  I love the idea that when some young boy wasn’t looking, that Alien doll was stolen by some little girl who put a bonnet on it and seated it at a tiny table as a guest at an imagined tea party.  “Would you like a biscuit, Mrs. Scaryskullface?”  “Yessssssssssss.”

Golden Bat (Hajime Sato, 1966)

WHERE, WHERE, WHERE DOES HE COME FROM, THE GOLDEN BAT?

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddThe strange alien menace Nazo has set the planetoid Icarus on a collision course with the Earth!  Only Doctor Yamatone (Sonny Chiba, The Street Fighter) and his team at the Pearl Research Institute can prevent humanity’s obliteration by destroying Icarus with their Super Destruction Beam Cannon, but they can’t defeat Nazo and his henchmen alone.  Thankfully they have the sworn protection of the Golden Bat, a skull-faced superhero awoken from a 10,000 year-long sleep.  With his Baton of Justice, Golden Bat laughs in the face of danger and leaps where others fear to tread, ready to save mankind from its extraterrestrial threat!

Originally created in 1931 by writer Ichiro Suzuki and illustrator Takeo Nagamatsu, Golden Bat is transported to the Space Age in this low-budget, science fiction masterpiece from Toei.  Director Hajime Sato (Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell) fills the screen with alien bad-guys, super-science laboratories, buzzing laser beams, and plenty of cool ’60s gadgetry.  This early example of tokusatsu entertainment and Toei’s prominent superhero productions is sure to please kids and adults alike!

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
  • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • New interview with actor Sonny Chiba
  • Golden Bat, the First Superhero, a video essay by Eric P. Nash on the origins of Golden Bat
  • Reversible sleeve with original and commissioned artwork
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Japanese film scholar Chris D., illustrated with historical artwork of Golden Bat

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