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Haute Tension / The Last Horror Movie / A Tale Of Two Sister

 
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Dr Giggles
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Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 84

PostPosted: 08.02.2004 1:31 am    Post subject: Haute Tension / The Last Horror Movie / A Tale Of Two Sister Reply with quote

Saw these three films at the Melbourne International Film Festival over the weekend, just wondering what y'all thought:



Haute Tension (2003) Alexandre Aja

Two female students, Marie and Alex, set off to Alex's parent's secluded homestead in the country to relax and study. Come nightfall, Hell pulls up at the front door. Alex is now bound and gagged, taken off, with Marie alluding the intruder. Can she save her friend's life in time? Or is everything all that it seems...



Gorey, funny, and some things in between. A 'fairly' straight forward slasher film, with plenty of spills and thrills.



The Last Horror Movie (2003) Julian Richards

A serial killer uses a horror video rental to lure his next victim. What begins as a teen slasher transforms into a disturbing journey through the mind of Max Parry, a mild mannered wedding photographer with a taste for human flesh.



Very similar to the French cult classic "Man Bites Dog", with a couple

of clever additions. You cant help but laught at some points.

For people looking for something different, with there gore.

I think this would be more effective viewed from home.

(you'll know why when you see it)

And yes, its a lame name for a horror movie, you'll appreciate the name,

when you see the flick.



A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) Ji-woon Kim

Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery.



A Korean thriller with a twist. If you like your Asian horror, you need to watch this movie, brilliantly done. Another one to add to the tally of Hollywood remakes. Do yourself a favour and watch this original first.
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HoRRoRFaN
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Joined: 06 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: 08.02.2004 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't see TALE OF TWO SISTERS yet, but I saw the other two and I liked them both very much. I'm trying to dig up my full thoughts on THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, but for now let's discuss HAUTE TENSION. Not many people have had a chance to see it yet, so it's great to see that another person saw it. I can't wait to see it again, mainly because it took me a while to sort out my thoughts on it because of how well it blindsided me, as I did not expect any of the intensity that is slowly built up. The score is perfect in quickly establishing a chilling tone, the visuals were amazing with the combination of lighting, framing, and colors. Gaspar Noe's actor Philippe Nahon as the killer was great, along with the rest of the cast. Although the ending was a huge let down, it's nevertheless grim, raw, haunting filmmaking.
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Dr Giggles
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Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 84

PostPosted: 08.02.2004 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*MAJOR SPOILERS*** (pardon the French)



Yeah Im with you on the ending, fairly dissapointing really changed what we thought we had seen before. I knew something fairly significant had to happen coz it was travelling down the path of cliches. I cracked up at one of the opening scenes, if you remember 'the head' scene. Only in a european horror.



Its hard to work out exactly what happened coz what we saw,

didnt actually happen, not in that way anyway.



I'd like to see it again too, regardless of what happened in the end though,

I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Have you seen "Man Bites Dog"? And what were your thoughts on Last horror movie? Apart from thinking that it was a clone of Man Bites Dog,

I thought it was a lot of fun, a good idea, and fairly convincing.

I was actually starting to get into the David Lynch-esque Diner scene at the start, and then...



I wished I had seen this at home on my own, the ending would've made me turn around and check the place out!!!!!



Im going to see Takashi Miikes "Graveyard of Honour" and "One Missed Call" this week, so Im very excited about seeing those.

And a Cheh Chang film called "Five Venoms".



Happy days.
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HoRRoRFaN
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PostPosted: 08.02.2004 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you brought it up, let's discuss MAN BITES DOG, too. While I don't think it is a particularly great film, in the way that a character like Benoit can make us laugh at times is rewarding in itself. Like others, I didn't want to laugh at what was on screen (the rape sequence and aftermath shuts everybody up), but there are so many examples of pitch black comedy in every one of these scenes. Again, the scenes with him disposing of bodies, the old lady, I love the old man whos in the hospital singing about how he loves to shit, Benoit's birthday party where he shoots his friend (seemingly accidently) and the people around him don't even acknowledge it, him reciting the poem drunk, and after they kill the black man, they talk about how ridiculously long their dick is. The sequence where Benoit and his crew run into yet another film crew following around a serial killer is great, too. That is probably my favorite of the bunch. It's too funny... That's precisely why I think some people hate the movie so much, because its a rare film about a serial killer where the viewer is drawn in just like the film crew is in the film. And even if you hate this film in any way for whatever reason, you gotta admit that it is unbelievably audacious and groundbreaking in the realm of serial killer flicks. It attempts to make social statements, one after the next, and even after I first saw it late one night on IFC, I had a lot of questions about it. That's what I like about it, it made me wonder such things as: Why the fuck would he want to followed around any way by a film crew? Maybe that is why he draws them into his world more and more very slowly -- most importantly, they're involved in the rape. (Something about this scene, why is it that the woman's husband just stands there and doesn't do a damn thing to help, or fight back? That always annoyed me.) Otherwise, Benoit would have killed the crew. If he ever realized that he was allowing the crew to record every one of his crimes, evidence against himself, then he would have killed them. But after the rape/murder, it isn't necessary to kill them. And you gotta realize that Benoit kills, not only because he is heartless and shows no remorse and that he clearly enjoys it, but because he kills for money! Also, why is it there are rarely any cops throughout the course of the film? I don't remember any exactly, but it brought me to the conclusion that there had to be cops because Benoit tries so hard to hide all of the bodies. I thought that this is kinda an accepting thing, to follow around a serial killer in the act and get it on tape since the the other film crew are following one and better yet, that crew is not filming on tape, they're actually using film. Remember back to the scene when Benoit asks them the question.



Why is it that Benoit's family is accepting of what he is doing for a living? They simply do not care and are okay with it. Making a reality show or documentary about a serial killer is the meaning of the title when you decipher it and interpret (in Beligian, I believe that it translates into something completely different), it speaks on the media and the glorifying of the serial killer, that we are normally are meant to hate. This film dares to show us the other side of the coin and the rape scene is the wake up call, the turning point of the film. If you didn't find any humor in the movie, then you obviously missed the point. Don't watch the edited version, as it ruins the movie. Also, after I watched it for a first time, I liked how the ending came out of nowhere...



THE LAST HORROR MOVIE is essentially about a wedding photographer/serial killer Max Perry in London, who rents a teen slasher flick from a videostore and tapes over it, then recording his own movie. After we watch the beginning of the movie that he rented, we soon witness a cut and him telling us (basically us meaning we are the person who rented the teen slasher flick) that this is the last horror movie that we will see. What Max does is follow the person who rented home and waits for them to view his movie even after they realize it is not the movie they rented. Before he brutally murders them, he wants to know why they actually viewed the contents. He is curious as to why people like them believe he is a madman even when they are taking part in the random murders by allowing themselves to keep watching. An interesting concept, and when this film is released on DVD, the concept will have even bigger rewards on the viewers watching at home (no spoiler: Max's comments at the end) as far as how much more terrifying of an experience it will be. It will allow us to play the role of Max's next victims because we just watched his movie, the "last" horror movie that we will see according to him; as I left the screening, I took the feeling with me, and that rarely happens to me nowadays.



The movie cannot compete with Fred Vogel's AUGUST UNDERGROUND series, but aside from the somewhat similar concept, there's otherwise no comparison. You can say that this movie does not exactly sound like the most original, which is the same I thought upon first reading about it, but as it goes along with its seriously hasty pace, there are many surprises that it packs. It may hint at certain films, but the focussed direction by Richards is fresh and updated. The only thing that is NOT updated of course is the idea that Max's victims are all renting videos, which is not popular or common at all nowadays, but as far as the concept is concerned, it works appropriately as it should. Anyway, the Austrian FUNNY GAMES is echoed: in the way that it wants to confront viewer by involving us in the pyschopath's actions and motivations, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE has many intriguing monologues or tirades -- the best IMO is when Max is explaining in biting detail about our TV's and donating to poor, suffering African American children -- where Max is talking to the camera, describing his lack of motive, and how he comes to manipulate us into trusting that he is doing the right thing. Remember how effective Michael Haneke made FUNNY GAMES without constant gore? He had a different approach than most by veering the camera away from violence, to another POV sometimes. Something similar happens in THE LAST HORROR MOVIE when Max visits the home of a married couple, where a brilliant choice is decided, to film the spouse's reaction. Reminiscent of the French MAN BITES DOG, there is a homeless man who is enlisted by Max to film him. Like Benoit's crew in the French film, the homeless man soon is involved in the action assisting Max -- his involvement also is a representation of the viewer. Max appears as charasmatic and handsome as well as being pyschopathic like Benoit was. Max wants to make sense to us with his speeches, he is some sort of philosopher in analyzing the concept of murder, and we view him as someone that we could know, possibly joke with, etc. That is the real strength of Kevin Howarth's performace, playing Max to perfection, far superior to Christian Bale's work in AMERICAN PYSCHO.



When I am watching a movie, especially one where it expects me to really emotionally invest in characters being victimized, I sometimes fail to connect with them. It is not because I am a sick fuck that enjoys watching them being beaten, humiliated, raped, tortured, killed, etc. It is because I am more affected by caring about the character than simply watching someone at random being killed. But in films such as this one and AUGUST UNDERGROUND, the tables are turned completely on us: the "movie" is being handled by the villians and we are not being subjected to the victims POV, the movie is not conventional in any way shape or form, so consequently, the experience is not unlike anything we are used to seeing. What I am trying to say goes back to a moment in THE LAST HORROR MOVIE where Max is watching the news report on a couple that he murdered. He tells us flat out that he doesn't care, not in the least bit. He even poses the question, if he doesn't care and has no remorse for what he recently done, then why shouldn't he keep doing it? If a performance like Howarth's could not engage me as thoroughly as it did, then I would probably have been bored by the character. Howarth gives his sadistic character every nuance and subtlety that he needs to function, supplementing wickedly dark humor that James Handell's screenplay emphasizes. There is a moment when Max says, "We are trying to make an intelligent film about murder." The mercilessly unsettling movie that Richards has crafted together is indeed an intelligent confrontation of murder and its implications. I found myself asking questions to myself about this character, analyzing his life. One of the best things about the film is how, amidst the brutal murders that Max commits, we have the opportunity to try to understand his personal life and demons within it, to no avail. Pondering on Max's own question, why the fuck are we watching anyway? Why was I watching snuff that a vicious serial killer has videotaped? I think it is because fortunately, there are talented directors that keep giving us reasons to with documentations of these mindsets and how far they keep venturing.
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