Stephen reviews: Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs. the Undead (2007)

Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs. the Undead [女子競泳反乱軍 Joshikyôei hanrangun] (2007)
AKA Undead Pool, Inglorious Zombie Hunters, The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers

Starring Sasa Handa, Yuria Hidaka, Ayumu Tokito, Hiromitsu Kiba, Kiyo Yoshizawa, Hidetomo Nishidia, Sakae Yamazaki

Directed by Koji Kawano


I approached this film with a bit of trepidation. Anything with a title like Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs. the Undead has to be either really awful or really fantastic. And things were looking pretty worrisome there at the start. But a few minutes in, a wonderfully awkward stabbing left me giggling and hopeful for the future of the film.

Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs. the Undead is pretty much what you would expect from the name. There are lots of zombies, gore, and naked ladies to go around. If you were expecting something thoughtful and enlightening, I think you need a better grasp of the English language. Or the Japanese language as the case may be. But even though the title is revealing as to the nature of the film, it’s not all that accurate to the content. The swim team doesn’t do much of anything in this film, and most of what they do do is a little underwhelming. Details are sparse, but maybe the translation of the title is a bit off as there are a variety of different titles for the film.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs. the Undead (2007) →

The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 15 – Twelve-Movie Super Show!

podcast_cat

Episode 15! I missed last week so this episode is an almost three-hour super show! Test your patience with some talk about Christmas Evil, New Year’s Evil, Zombie Nightmare, a pair of Sammo Hung movies and a bunch of other dope Hong Kong films! Happy New Year!

Music Notes

Intro:

  • Theme to the 1974 Shaw Brothers Film Heroes Two
    • Originally from the Japanese TV show “特別機動捜査隊” (which translates to Special Mobility Investigation Corps). English information on this show is nearly non-existent, but I found a YouTube video MIDI re-creation of the theme that lists it as the theme for the 1964 season. The show’s IMDB is here.

Outro:

  • Richard Pryor – Fire Exit
  • Juan Pablo Torres Y Algo Nuevo – Y Viva La Felicidad
    • Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats Of Revolutionary Cuba (iTunes, Amazon)

If you’ve got feedback, throw it into the comments below, or you can email it to me via the contact page, and I’ll include it in a future show!

The podcast is embedded directly below this, or you can go directly to Podbean (or use their app) to listen. If you want to subscribe, paste http://silveremulsion.podbean.com/feed/ into whatever reader you’re using, such as iTunes.

The Sky Has Fallen (2009)

skyhasfallenStarring Carey MacLaren, Laurel Kemper, Cory Knisely, Grant Anstine, Kevin Keppy, Nathan Shelton, Mickey Stone

Directed by Doug Roos

Expectations: None.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
onehalfstar


I’m sure many visitors to Silver Emulsion have wondered why I sometimes watch films so far outside the mainstream cinema experience. My answer is always that I desire to see something unique and raw that would never make it into a big-budget production, and The Sky Has Fallen is a great example of this. Did I enjoy the film? Not really, but I’m not sorry I watched it. I doubt I will forget it anytime soon actually; it’s such a strange, unique movie that I kept watching to see if I could uncover what I thought might be happening in the story. The Sky Has Fallen is ultimately ambiguous about the origins of the creatures it contains (or I missed something 🙂 ), and that’s for the best. Now I can theorize and wonder, and the hooded figures (that kind of resembled the angels in the Diablo series of video games) will forever remain mysterious.

The Sky Has Fallen is essentially a zombie film, with a pair of characters doing their best to survive in the forest while the walking dead assault them. It’s a basic premise we’re all familiar with by this point. But flashes of bloody claw-like, knife hands quickly inform us that this is not a traditional zombie world. These zombies are kind of like experiments gone wrong, with mutated faces and metal scraps jammed into their severed limbs. Everything is achieved through physical FX work, too, so it all looks nicely ooey and gooey.

Continue reading The Sky Has Fallen (2009) →

Maggie (2015)

maggieStarring Abigail Breslin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette, Denise Williamson, Raeden Greer, J.D. Evermore, Aiden Flowers, Taylor Murphy

Directed by Henry Hobson

Expectations: Moderate.

twohalfstar


Maggie was billed as a different kind of zombie movie, and in some ways that is true, but the things you know of zombies still hold true. The infection only spreads through a bite, although everyone in this movie is also scared of it being highly contagious (even though there’s no evidence of that from what we’re shown). The movie never goes into this, but for me this point speaks more to our dependence and willingness to believe whatever the media or someone in power is telling is, true or not. Anyway, the big difference here is that Maggie is not an apocalypse film, and that does inherently change the notion of what we know a zombie movie to be.

Without the apocalypse threat, there is no survival aspect to Maggie. Survival has always been one of the major hallmarks of any kind of zombie story, so it is interesting and novel to consider what a zombie uprising would be like if it was more like other outbreaks. It might seem like zombies and the apocalypse would go hand in hand, but if we believe that the government could get it together enough to create the quarantine zones every one in Maggie is always talking about, and that they’re going a great job containing everything, then it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Maggie could happen.

Continue reading Maggie (2015) →

Horror Block — February 2015 Unboxing Video!

Time for another Horror Block, the most marrow-quivering horror-themed subscription box out there! Horror Block runs $20 a month + shipping (with the shipping cost dependent on where you live). They also have multi-month packages, so if you want to sign up for one of those you can get each month’s box for as low as $15.99 + shipping.

Horror Block is based in Canada and ships their boxes internationally, so the whole world can enjoy them! If you’re thinking about ordering one, please click over to their website through one of the ads on the sidebar or the links on these posts and I’ll get a cut! How else will I retire in the Bahamas? Order now!

But don’t just order blindly; watch the video and find out if Horror Block is right for you! And as always, I always appreciate any feedback or suggestions about the videos, so let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Quick Takes: The Wolf of Wall Street, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Zombie

wolf_1The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
threehalfstar

Starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, P. J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Matthew McConaughey
Directed by Martin Scorsese

In my teenage years, when I getting serious about my film obsession, Martin Scorsese was one of my favorite directors. The years haven’t been too kind to our relationship, though, as Scorsese hasn’t made a single film since Kundun that I’ve flat-out loved. The Wolf of Wall Street still isn’t quite there for me, but it is a finely made film that is incredibly entertaining and watchable even at a full three hours. Most importantly, Scorsese successfully dredges up that exuberant energy that made his earlier films sparkle. Leonardo DiCaprio proves (once again) that he deserves one of those coveted Oscar statues, in one of his best performances yet. But honestly, it was Jonah Hill that surprised me the most. Hill is a surprisingly good actor, I guess “surprisingly” because I always wrote him off as “one of those dudes in modern comedies that I don’t like.” While most of the movie is best described as vapid exuberance, it does end up relating something insightful about the American psyche and the power of money. If you’ve been cold on the last few Scorsese films, The Wolf of Wall Street is the real deal.

Dawn_1Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
twohalfstar

Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer
Directed by Matt Reeves

I liked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but for me it was a big step down from the first one. A lot less emotionally engaging, and all the human characters were cardboard and boring. The story didn’t really grab me either, although I don’t know what else this movie could’ve been about. It’s a movie about the dawn of the war between apes and men, so you kinda have to show why they’re angry at one another, but I think it could have been far better executed. A good majority of the FX work is outstanding, but alongside the amazing stuff are chimps with faces that look flat and completely fake (such as Caesar’s son). I don’t understand why, because Caesar, Koba, Maurice and a good majority of the other apes all look near-real most of the time. Whatever… apes with machines guns made me smile. And they ride horses! The third movie will likely be a pretty hefty action film, but I’m not going in with great expectations after the so-so showing here by director Matt Reeves (who is also directing the third one).

Zombie_Flesh_eatersZombie [Zombi 2] (1979)
AKA Island of the Flesh-Eaters, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombie 2: The Dead are Among Us, Island of the Living Dead

twohalfstar

Starring Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Stefania D’Amario, Olga Karlatos
Directed by Lucio Fulci

Zombie is surprisingly dull for the most part, except when the zombies come around with their muddy, worm-ridden faces. The characters — if you can even call them that — do some really dumbass shit, and the “story” is like a vague premise with dialogue attached to it. It’s seriously not much more than: A woman searches for her father on a strange island where the dead rise from their graves. And the search for Daddy isn’t even that big of a deal, as it’s pretty clear from the first scene what happened to him. The last half hour or so is pure zombie killin’ entertainment, though, and the gore throughout is awesome. Lots of great flesh-rippin’ bites and other gruesome sights, especially the bit where a splintered wood beam pierces through a character’s eye!

Juan of the Dead (2011)

Juan of the Dead [Juan de los Muertos] (2011)

Starring Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorría, Jazz Vilá, Eliecer Ramírez, Antonio Dechent

Directed by Alejandro Brugués

Expectations: Moderate. I love the gimmick title, so I hope it has the horror (and/or comedy) to back it up.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


I’ve tried to bring a range of films to this year’s Horrific October, so when I found out about this one, I did what I could to acquire it in time. Juan of the Dead, beyond its gimmicky title, is Cuba’s first horror film, and while it’s not anything revolutionary, it is a lot of fun. I have a lot of problems with it, but I enjoyed the film and honestly, in a zombie movie, that’s about all you need.

Juan of the Dead is something of an homage movie to the zombie genre, taking cues from a host of films and Tarantino-ing them into one film. Did you enjoy the part in Dead Alive when the priest says, “I kick ass for the Lord”? Well, then prepare to hear one of the survivors say exactly that in a dank parking garage. Similarly, other scenes reference Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, [REC], etc. If you’re OK with this, and you just want to see the zombie apocalypse as scored by salsa music, then ignore everything else and just watch the movie. You might be disappointed, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be entertained.

Continue reading Juan of the Dead (2011) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 79 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages