DANGER AFTER DARK 2006
It’s turned into a yearly tradition that I’ve posted early notice of the Philadelphia Film Festival’s “Danger After Dark” program. Programmed by Filmmaker contributor Travis Crawford, the program is inevitably an excellent primer for the past year’s best in cutting edge genre fare. This year, Crawford’s descriptions are briefer than usual — he promises to send more detailed copy soon — but it is good to hear that his catalog proofreader labelled this the “sickest Danger after Dark ever.”
The Philadelphia Film Festival runs from March 30 until April 11.
A BITTERSWEET LIFE (South Korea): This visually stunning tale of gangland revenge from the director of Tale of Two Sisters has style to burn and shootouts that make vintage John Woo look like romantic comedies by comparison. (East Coast Premiere)
THE DESCENT (U.K., pictured above right: Whether it’s the best horror film of the year (as manyclaim), or simply the scariest, this British chiller about young women fighting monsters in a cave has becomean instant genre classic. (East Coast Premiere)
DISTRICT 13 (France): Action movie as pure, stripped-down adrenaline rush, this Luc Besson-produced futuristic fight-fest has enough acrobatic spills and thrills to make you reel and squeal. (East Coast Premiere)
EVIL (Greece): Greece’s first zombie movie, this apocalyptic bloodbath – a veritable low-budget epic – puts its tremendous energy towards creating a crowd-pleasing “splat-stick” gore comedy. (North American Premiere)
EVIL ALIENS (U.K.): This riotous, comic British science-fiction/horror bloodbath about extraterrestrial visitors with a taste for dismemberment, decapitation, alien impregnation and anal probes, has become a recent international film fest favorite. (East Coast Premiere)
FEED (Australia): The Danger After Dark gross-out film to end them all, this Aussie thriller about a cop hunting a cybercrime cult devoted to force-feeding obese women to death requires you to have a, er, strong stomach. (North American Premiere)
THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI (Japan): The only Japanese sex film that manages to combine explicit sequences of carnal lust with discourses on existentialism and a satire on the Bush administration, this movie is an absolute riot.
HELL (Thailand): Like a Bosch canvas come to grotesque life, this grisly Thai horror film bumps off its entire fresh-faced cast and has them spend the rest of the film in the deepest bowels of the landscape of eternal suffering. Enjoy! (North American Premiere)
ISOLATION (Ireland): Genetically mutated cow fetuses terrorize a small farm – a concept which this Irish horror film treats surprisingly seriously, delivering a genuinely scary old-school monster movie.
LADY VENGEANCE (South Korea): The final chapter in director Park Chan-wook’s remarkable “Vengeance” trilogy, this grim tale of a woman seeking revenge for wrongful imprisonment is the most complex and challenging of the trio.
MEATBALL MACHINE (Japan): Full-throttle splatter-ific Japanese cyberpunk science-fiction/horror at its most aggressive, this mind-blower about alien parasites that turn their human hosts into slave “Necroborgs” will leave you dizzy and drained – in a good way. (North American Premiere)
REINCARNATION (Japan): Japan’s foremost cinematic master of the macabre, Takashi Shimizu (the Ju-on/Grudge films, Marebito), returns to Danger After Dark with this Shining-like tale of a hotel haunted by its violent history. (North American Premiere)
STRANGE CIRCUS (Japan, pictured at left): Suicide Club director Sion Sono is back in Danger After Dark, with this disturbing, visually electrifying shocker about a sexually abused young woman and her hallucinatory hold on a constantly shifting reality. (North American Premiere) NOTE: Director Sion Sono’s sequel to SUICIDE CLUB, the film NORIKO’S DINNER TABLE, is also screening in this year’s festival, albeit not in Danger After Dark.
TOKYO ZOMBIE (Japan): Japanese horror-comedy at its most outlandish, this hilarious parody of zombie movies features Tadanobu Asano (with an afro!) battling a very funny invasion of the undead. Destined to be a Danger After Dark favorite. (North American Premiere)
WILD COUNTRY (Scotland): A Scottish horror film about a werewolf stalking a group of camping teens, this is a fine example of low-budget independent genre moviemaking from a country not often known for its cinematic shockers. (East Coast Premiere)