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Horror

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Some of the biggest genre-oriented directors out of South Korea have, in addition to their signature features, dallied with segments in anthology films. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) did a part in the film Three…Extremes; Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host) did a segment for Tokyo!; and Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Stand) did a segment in 3 Extremes II.

Now Kim Jee-woon is going back to the anthology, as he is a producer and director on Doomsday Book, a three-part anthology about the end of the world. Yim Pil-sung (Hansel & Gretel) is his co-conspirator, with the directors each doing one segment solo and collaborating on the third. As his solo effort, Kim directs a segment about a robot that develops its own consciousness. (Pictured above.) An English-subbed trailer is now available; check it out below.

Frankly, a lot of this footage plays like parody — the cuts from dialogue like “the mysterious virus” to “you mean this robot thinks on its own?” to “the meteor is approaching” could be right out of a Saturday Night Live or late-night talk show comedy skit. But I have faith in Kim Jee-woon, and suspect there’s more going on here than suggested in this teaser.

There’s a bit of history to this one, as best I can tell the two solo segments were shot some time ago, with a third originally set to be done by director Han Jae-rim.  But Han’s story was never shot and the film went dormant for some time before Kim and Yim co-directed a third segment, allowing the film to be completed. (Twitch recounts some of that history.)

Here’s the official description of the film as it stands:

Two acclaimed Korean directors unfurl three unique stories of human self-destruction in the modern high-tech era. In a hope to restore the humane compassion in the insusceptible modern age, the film displays an alternative form of genuine humanity. And thus you are stepping into the world of future, where a series of unexpected stories awaits you. All these stories originate from the earth. From the very earth you live on.

The original reported plot descriptions for each of the three segments are below. Han’s segment is described as a musical, which should clue you in to the fact that the entire enterprise might not be quite as much a duplication of American sci-fi/disaster tentpoles as the footage above suggests. But we don’t know how much of that storyline survives in this version of the movie.

    • “Heaven’s Creation,” directed by Kim Jee-woon
      A story about a robot who gains consciousness and the absurdity that follows.
    • “The New Generation,” directed by Yim Pil-sung
      A clever action film told from the point of view of a boy who has become a zombie, this segment explores how humans lose control of planet Earth, becoming mere food for a different species.
    • “The Christmas Gift,” directed by Han Jae-rim (never shot)
      A musical movie that re-interprets the beautiful love story “The Christmas Gift” by O Henry, this project confronts the basic instincts of a woman and her last chance to survive after witnessing the end of the world.

 

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With Frightfest coming up in the next few couple of weeks, what better time to showcase some of the horror creeping towards the big screens in the second half of the year. First up is British horror with a big reputation Kill List, something from horror stalwart Melissa George with A Lonely Place to Die, Scandanavian hunting with Troll Hunter, and a reimagining of The Wicker Man with orginal director Robin Hardy's The Wicker Tree… Enjoy!

Kill List - Released 2nd September
Directed by Ben Wheatley

A Lonely Way to Die - Released 9th September
Directed by Julian Gilbey

Troll Hunter - Released 9th September
Directed by Andre Ovredal

The Wicker Tree - Released Late 2011
Directed by Robin Hardy


Previous Trailer Tuesdays.

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Artist and filmmaker Rafael Bonilla Jr. has directed a colourful and trippy claymation video for COOLRUNNINGS' new single "Chorus". The track comes from the album "Dracula Is Only The Beginning", which was released earlier this year. Watch below.

coolrunnings.bandcamp.com

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Starring: Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost
Director: Joe Cornish

Summary: A teenage gang in a South London estate find their night of weed smoking and mugging interrupted after they beat an alien invader to death and bring about a terrifying alien invasion on their turf…

Attack the Block begins with our "heroes" mugging a young nurse on her way home from a heavy shift. To say Joe Cornish (of Adam and Joe fame) has some brass balls on him is an understatement. Immediately the audience is on the back foot, sympathising with the victim and hoping these young thugs get their cumuppence any which way possible – be it via. alien or human hands.

With the gang played by largely unknowns, the film harks back to the days of low budget Carpenter or Casterrari. Anti-heroes – each with their own character trait – are thrown into a strange situation in which they have to prove themselves to be worthy of the hero mantle. By using this basic template with a British twist, Cornish gives himself the space to tap into that social fear of "feral" teens taking over our once safe streets – whilst also referencing the "hood" and sci-fi movies he loves so much. Importantly though, his mischievous and playful script doesn't become a fanboy love-in, rather it allows each character to develop their own language and style and doesn't allow them to fall into the trap of caricature.

Once the Basement Jaxx soundtrack is pumping and the glow-in-the-dark teeth possessing aliens are ascending the tower, the film hits the peak of the frenetic pace and it manages to keep it all the way to the finale. The gang are picked off in unflinchingly bloody ways as they fight off the outer space hordes in the claustrophobic corridors and elevators of the block. The ascension of lead member Moses (Treadaway) into defender of the community is warmly and delicately handled – with a performance to match – and Attack the Block relishes the 100-minute opportunity to change your opinion on these kids by placing them in this other wordly situation.

Comparisons to Shaun of the Dead are unfair. Whereas that was an out and out comedy with very little in the way of social comment – above the surface anyway – Attack the Block wears its heart on its sleeve from the off. It wants you to be uncomfortable as a viewer and wants you to make tough choices. Despite the stunt casting of Nick Frost (who struggles to get any laughs from his underdeveloped role), I can't see it's bloody imagery and social commentary being repeated on ITV2 every other night; but even though the laughs aren't thick and fast, that shouldn't take away from the fact that it's a surprisingly charming and brutal slice of British life told with its tongue firmly in its cheek.

Trailer

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frombeyond-thumb.jpg

Less a game and more a five minute study in gleefully malevolent omnipotence, From Beyond reminds us that that the all-powerful being residing outside our understanding of the universe might not be a very nice entity at all. Consisting of five rounds, From Beyond will have you flinging everything from black holes to extraterrestrial vehicles at an unsuspecting earth. It's short, slightly unnerving, likely to cause more than its fair share of sniggering and apparently was designed over the course of a weekend as part of the Global Game Jam 2011.

Curious as to what life as a comic horror might be like? If so, I invite you to check out the game over at their website here.

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