Wednesday, September 29, 2010

VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (2009)

Set in a world where every human has at least 666 gallons of bright red, high-pressure blood in them, VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL tells the story of Monami, a new transfer student to Tokyo High School who just happens to also be a vampire!  She has a crush on Mizushima, who is the kinda-boyfriend of  fellow student Keiko.  Keiko's father is the vice principal and secretly a mad scientist who, in cahoots with the sexy school nurse, is killing students and experimenting on reanimation.  Things happen and Keiko is soon transformed into Frankenstein Girl.  
 
That story sounds silly as hell (and it is), but for whatever reason, I honestly found moments of this film to be emotionally beautiful.  Blood spraying 30 feet in the arm, suicidal girl slicing their wrists to the bone (literally, on camera), non-stop dismemberment and cartoonish violence...but yet, the story was very sad and left me sitting in an introspective daze more than once.
 
I'm normally not a big fan of the wacky-Japanese-over-the-top genre, but VGVFG really connected with me. Imaginative story, quick pace that never lets up for a minute, beautiful girls (especially Yukie Kawamura), high school setting, excellent music that fit very well with the action onscreen (that simple Oasis-style tune that played when Monami was falling was magnificent), insane creatures, masterful direction, a delightful take on the vampire and Frankenstein stories, over exaggerated high school cliques, sexy school uniforms.  I could go about this movie for a long time, but you'd be better suited just leaving this shitty review and watching it for yourself.

Also, there's some fun extras on the blu-ray, including over an hour of footage filmed during the making of the movie! Great stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2010

KAMERADSCHAFT (1931)

[Update 01/31/2021: need to rewatch this film and update it. Also, need to delete the shitty screenshots from my old disc and replace with stuff from the Criterion release.] 

Even though this German/French production is loosely based on the famous 1906 Courrieres mine disaster in which 1,099 miners died, the film also reminded me a lot of Emile Zola's novel "Germinal".

The large mine in this film is divided by the border of Germany and France. They even have a brick wall underneath to mark the divide. Early one morning there's a massive explosion on the French side and an unknown number of miners are trapped or dying down in the rubble. After hearing this news, the German miners ignore all political and national differences and race across the border to help their fallen brothers. Some of the miners that are already in the pit on the German side break through the border wall to go help with the rescue efforts. 

The peace and love message of the film might be overly simplistic, but the technical aspect of this early sound film is very impressive. Especially the realism of the explosion and the misery the survivors went through.  Recommended.

FRIGHT NIGHT 2 (1988)


[Update 6/3/19: I really need to redo this review and replace those shitty screenshots. Ugh!]

Life's been pretty swell for Charley Brewster in the three years since the original FRIGHT NIGHT. He's in college, he's still friends with Peter Vincent, he's got a cool PREDATOR poster, he's still got that cool 80's hair and best of all his new girlfriend is a gigantic improvement over that diseased sea donkey he was banging in the first movie. Yuck! Now for the bad news: the vampires are back and even worse is it's the sister of the dude he killed in part 1. Yikes!

Good sequel. I enjoyed it, but it lacks that certain something to make it an 80's vampire classic like the original or THE LOST BOYS. The wall climbing werewolf and the roller skating vampire did help though.

More blood and ooze than I expected, hot girlfriend (she never got even close to naked though), not as much Roddy McDowall screen time as I had hoped for, the vampire gang was not scary, the "sexy" female vampire was ugly, great 80's clothes.

Part 1 - Fright Night (1985)
Remake - Fright Night (2011)
Sequel to remake - Fight Night 2 (2013)