Okay, folks...there are
just two words to sum up this week's covered title.
Seriously, that's all
you need to know. "Three...Extremes" is going to be some
of, if not the best, Asian horror you've seen lately. The best Korean
horror I've ever seen is right here, as are excellent examples from
the Chinese and Japanese capabilities.
In fact, Takashi Miike
Now, for those of you
who haven't been keeping up, or just don't subscribe to Showtime,
the pay channel ran a series called "Masters of Horror",
currently at work on another season. It allowed some of the greats,
Stuart Gordon, John Carpenter and more, to make a short film and
Takashi Miike did one.
Showtime refused to air
Now, you've got to wonder...considering
what Cinemax can get away with at two in the morning, what kind
of monstrousity did Takashi Miike give birth to that gave Showtime
enough heebie-jeebies to prevent his airing?
Speculation aside, three
fantastic short films here that need the most attention.
First, the Chinese show
off the talents of their newest acquisition, Hong Kong, with "Dumplings".
It's all about a former television star seeking to recover her youth
by way of a special recipe dumpling from a shockingly old "Aunt
Mei". The secret ingredient shocks and amazes in this one.
It's been done before, and if you don't have some guess of the secret
ingredient before the halfway point, then you probably haven't seen
enough horror movies.
manages to get in most of its shock value by way of Mrs. Li, the
chronically ignored and cheated on age-phobic housewife, knowing
exactly what it is she's eating, and yet eating it anyway. And with
The Koreans, who normally
worry me every time they release a new horror movie, manage to stun
me by releasing something GOOD for a change with "Cut."
Normally, Korean horror
is chatty. A basic blueprint for a Korean horror movie could be
described as "People talking, people talking, ghost shows up,
people talking, ghost kills some people, people talking, people
talking, the movie's over. A lot of people in the audience look
But this time around,
the Koreans decide to ramp things up by a whole lot, and give us
a disgruntled extra dealing with his director and her wife in a
positively vicious fashion. There are loads of twists to this, including
the ending which is more twisted than pretty much anything I've
seen in a good long time.
"Cut" is, without
doubt or threat of hyperbole, the best Korean horror I've seen.
Lastly, we get a grand
finale from the man hisself, Takashi Miike. And what he's going
to give us will blow you away.
I'd tell you about the
plot, but frankly, the plot has so many surprises in it that I can't
without giving half of them away. Suffice it to say that, after
"Box", you will never again look the same way at twin
Japanese circus performing contortionist ten year olds and their
"relationship" with their father.
All the best Japanese
traditions are present--jump cuts, long suspense building moments,
and plenty of pure on freakiness are in attendance.
The special features,
at least on the disc I got, are limited to trailers for "In
the Mix", "A Good Woman", "Three...Extremes",
"Saw II", "Cerberus", "Buried Alive",
"Fear of Clowns", "Ultimate Avengers", and "Cake".
All in all, "Three...Extremes"
is extremely good stuff, no matter how you look at it. Every contributor
lays out their best stuff, creating a sampler platter of Asian horror
that won't be topped any time soon.
GRADE: Four stars
by Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike
by Haruko Fukushima, Lilian Lee, Park Chan-wook
Kyoko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe, Bai Ling, Pauline Lau
by Naoki Sato, Shun Shimizu, Fumio Inoue, Peter Ho-Sun Chan
Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check his
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