Last night I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic lost haunted house 80’s gem from Japan called ‘Sweet Home’! I only heard great things about this one recently online while looking for obscure horror movies and just had to check it out for myself. It was never released here in the USA but luckily there’s a great site called Twisted Anger that has some excellent lost cinema you can purchase if you’re not thrilled about watching movies on Youtube (it however is indeed on Youtube).
Sweet Home has some real sweet things going for it, right from the start of the movie it’s clear some love went into the production of this one. It’s beautifully shot and filled with some stunning locations and sets peices. Writer & director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who’s probably most well known for his 2001 horror film ‘Pulse’ does a great job here letting his spooky tale unfold on screen with tons of color and a great score to accompany it as well. We follow a TV production crew who’re making a documentary about the legendary, now deceased painter, Mamiya Ichiro. They trek out into the foggy countryside to his creepy abandoned mansion and begin exploring, discovering his strange paintings about the house. Soon they begin filming & are confronted by a deadly presence that intends to possess and destroy all who remain inside.
It’s a simplistic story that takes some nice twists and turns along the way and is filled with some colorful characters as well as some nice comedic moments thrown in for good measure. The real star of the show however is clearly the movies excellent special fx work from American master of trade Dick Smith. Smith’s got an impressive resume too as he’s well known for his work on movies like The Exorcist, Poltergeist 2, Scanners, Altered States, Taxi Driver, to name a few. The movie starts off with a quiet tone however when weird shit begins to go down Smith’s stunning fx work really pushes the movie into new territory and is a true glory to behold. The quiet little ghost story by the finale explodes into an action packed visual feast with one of the best onscreen ghostly monsters of the 1980’s. Creepy babies, melting men, monsters & with tons of that 80’s electricity I adore so much, it really contains some “why the fuck have I never seen this before” moments that if you’re a fan of that classic decade of horror you’ll truly appreciate and likely never forget.
From what I’ve read about this movie, it’s been said the director wasn’t happy with this or really most of his 80’s work. Like ‘Poltergeist’ where it’s rumored Steven Speilberg was actually the one on set with the megaphone rather than Tobe Hooper, Sweet Home’s producer was also rumored to be quite an imposing force to director Kurosawa’s final vision. Still the movie manages to be one helluva good time despite any behind the scenes squabbling and is must see for any fans of ghostly 80’s horror done right. The movie also spawned a rather hard to find Nintendo NES Capcom video game as well as being the main inspiration of ‘Resident Evil’. I recommend seeking this odd little lost treasure of flick out this halloween, the fx alone are worth the price of admission!
Here’s yet another entry for all you folks out there who STILL get dvds in the mail from Netflix! I know there aren’t all that many of us left these days, but I’m the type of guy who still thinks dvds are the bees knees! Yeah!! So what of it?!! Don’t get me wrong, I still stream stuff on the online Neflix site but let’s be honest most of that shit SUCKS – Hence why I’ve been combing the dvd Neflix library for lost gems!
Good news folks, I found another gem in their vast sea of aging dvds, this time we’re looking at a movie from Hong Kong from way back in 1987: EVIL CAT. I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon this cool ass little Chinese horror movie but I’m glad I did cuz it was a ton o’ fun! This crazy ass little movie is jam packed with quirk, 80’s electricity and frantic action sequences, basically everything I dig about the 80’s. Director Dennis Yu brings the fun and amps up some seriously ridiculous shit as we follow the exploits of an evil cat spirit (who’da thunk huh?) that’s released from it’s ancient sealed tomb by a construction crew & unleashed upon Hong Kong in the late 80’s.
The movie moves at brisk pace too, the evil cat spirit moves from body to body kinda like that Denzel Washington movie ‘Fallen’ if it was more of a spastic colorful horror romp. It’s actually pretty damn funny when the spirit possesses people, they start acting like wild feral cats growling and scratching like maniacs. It’s pretty cool to see these actors go for it and go pretty far over the top with their possessions.
The evil cat spirit however has problems of it’s own though as we learn over centuries one family has been hunting it and keeping it in check over generations. In the 1980’s there’s an old badass dude from that bloodline who’s dying from cancer who pulls out the old magic bow & arrows from storage to put a stop to the feline madness himself. There’s some sweet plot twists here, crazy characters & some surprising gore that pops in out of nowhere from time to time. The movie never really drags and wears it’s 80’s influences firmly on it’s sleeve. You get a pretty damn fine representation of what Hong Kong was like in the 1980’s, filled with neon and great 80’s fashion. It’s clear if you’re looking for more great crazy cinema from that era, there’s a treasure trove of movies waiting to be discovered from Hong Kong studios.
Evil Cat is definitely worth tracking down and the finale is pretty cool especially when the evil cat possesses a woman who’s nearly as unstoppable as the Terminator! The actual cat spirit is portrayed several times as cool hand drawn animation & then as basically a female cat “creature” pulled from the broadway musical “Cats”.
So while there were several aspects of the movie that could have been done better it was still an incredibly inspired 80’s effort to witness for the first time with no expectations. Also if you’re a fan of kung fu there’s some cool crazy showdowns and plenty of humor thrown into the mix. Some if it being likely being due to some shoddy subtitles and translations that just add more charm to the viewing experience. Track down EVIL CAT or if you still have a Netflix dvd account then throw it into you’re queue!!
I’ve been noticing more recently the increased interest in astral projection, sleep paralysis & the shadow people phenomenon (all three that often times go hand in hand) becoming quite popular subjects lately in pop culture. If you’re unsure of what the three of these things are let me briefly explain. First astral projection (also referred to as an out of body experience) is when your consciousness or “soul” separates from the physical body. Sleep paralysis is when someone “wakes” from sleep and finds their body paralyzed for a short period of time. Finally “the shadow people phenomenon” has been reported by countless people while in the state of sleep paralysis and involves coming in contact with shadowy beings who appear near you or around you. These encounters are often described as terrifying, with strange voices and sometimes feelings of being attacked or suffocated by these shadowy beings.
What many people don’t know is that sleep paralysis, despite how modern horror movies depict the phenomenon, is actually a state that people who attempt or practice astral projection strive to get to. So to some who might not understand what’s happening during sleep paralysis this is a frightening experience but to others this is the sweet spot needed to induce an out of body experience. You see, when someone attempts astral projection it involves a certain amount of concentration or meditation, basically you are trying to let your body completely fall asleep while keeping you mind awake. When doing so successfully you body once calmed enough will become paralyzed, we all experience sleep paralysis every night when we go to bed, it’s what keeps us from acting out our dreams physically. In some cases sleep walking occurs when the body isn’t paralyzed completely. If you can successfully keep conscious while the body falls in sleep paralysis you’re actually very close to astral projecting, which is an amazing thing. Sleep paralysis is considered in a way the gateway to another dimension. Most of the movies and such out there today portray the experience in a negative & frightening way when in reality it’s a direct step to an incredible, life changing experience. Continue reading
I’ve expressed my interest in lucid dreaming here at Universal Dork a couple times in the past and today I thought I’d take a moment to talk about ‘astral projection’. First though, if you’re not quite sure what lucid dreaming is let me make it simple, it’s when you have a very vivid dream and something within the dream triggers you to become aware that you are dreaming (movies like Inception & Dreamscape are good examples). In many of these cases often with a little practice and focus you can learn to have them quite regularly. To be honest it makes movies like ‘Inception’ feel pretty boring. It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve experienced and anyone can do it with a little effort.
There’s another practice that’s linked to lucid dreaming called ‘astral projection‘, also known as an ‘out of body experience’ or OBE. I’ve worked a ton on different methods to experience this phenomenon with various degrees of success. I can tell you with honesty that it’s lead to the most bizarre & unexplainable experiences of my existence. I’m to this day a bit uncertain exactly what astral projection really is at it’s core, some believe it’s just an elaborate lucid dream while others believe it’s the complete separation of consciousness from the physical body. I intend to find out for myself what the truth really is behind it. Thus far I’ve had several unexplainable experiences that have lead me to believe that perhaps there’s abilities humans have that involve being able to enter into different dimensions of existence that are not of our physical material world. It’s also made me question heavily my beliefs on life after death. Perhaps there’s more to us than just our bodies of flesh and bone? Continue reading
It’s December 2016 is a time for some serious holiday celebration! Sure I’ll be watching a ton of the usual classics like Santa Claus: The Movie, Elf, Rudolph, Gremlins etc etc. However I’m going to be busting out the Christmas horror movies again this of course and hopefully here I’ll be able to give you a few ideas of some movies to check out if you’re feeling like mixing it up a bit this year. We all know about the classics like Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, last years instant classic Krampus. Well here’s a few you may have never heard of but you should definitely seek out this season!
3615 code Pere Noel / AKA ‘Deadly Games’ (1989)
A true lost & forgotten gem of a movie. If you search the net for Christmas Horror movies, you for some crazy reason won’t find this one on any of the lists. However this french film, which I first saw last year, is easily one of the best Christmas horror movies of all time. It’s a rare one and finding a version of it with subtitles can be pretty difficult, I got a copy off of Ioffer.com.
Searching this one out is totally worth it though as it plays out like the ultimate 80’s Amblin style “Home Alone” hybrid of a film. It screams of the 1980’s and features a super cool kid obsessed with action movies who lives in a gigantic castle style mansion. During a snow storm on Christmas eve, he finds himself home alone with his grandfather where the house becomes under siege by a crazed maniac who is convinced he’s Santa Claus & is hell bent on punishing all those who’ve been naughty. This one deserves a proper release and then it rightly deserves to be a new addition on ALL Christmas horror lists.
The Christmas Tale (2005) Continue reading
So my first entry I did on the top ten “stranded on an island” movies has easily been my most popular post here at Universal Dork, sooooo naturally I am giving a sequel to it right here, today! I simply love the idea of being castaway to a remote island, far away from the bustle of everyday life. There’s something about this idea that has always captivated audiences and it remains to be a situation I often think about every damn time I get on an airplane. So let’s not waste any time and get right to one of the most romantic, exciting and frightening movie topics of all time. It’s time to take a look at the other movies that deserve to be on this epic list!
10. Swept Away, 2002
Yeah this list is going to have some cheezy ass movies on it and this one here is a guilty please to start it off. It’s also likely the most well known of the bunch. Of course this movie was a box office mega bomb and totally panned by the critics.
However if you’re looking for a fun time on a stranded island with the legendary icon Madonna then look no further!
9. The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark, 1980
Here’s an interesting Disney movie with Silver Spoons star Ricky Schroder – Bonus right there folks! It seems that Disney was all in on the whole desert island theme as this was just one of quite a few that follow a similar storyline.
While this movie isn’t bound to blow your mind it’s got a pretty cool premise of flipping a B-29 bomber over on it’s back and sailing it to civilization! Continue reading
Do you remember some of the movies that really scared you as a kid? Well for me ‘Curtains’ from 1983 was one of those that I remember only seeing one scene from on an episode of ‘At The Movies’ with Siskel and Ebert way back when. In fact this particular scene today is still pretty damn creepy, the whole movie however…..um…well let’s just say you can probably skip this one. When I was a little kid I was super frightened of old vintage baby dolls, I mean they’re legitimately creepy right? Well my mom had a few that she kept sitting in her room all on an old rocking chair and I’ll admit I really was scared shitless of em’! My older brother would often play pranks on me with them, putting them in my bed at night or having one jump around the corner at me at any given moment. It was after we saw this clip form the movie Curtains that really inspired him to take it to the next level of freaking me out. Ahhh..the good ol’ days of being a kid.
Well it just so happens that they decided to put the creepy ass baby doll (who’s really not in the movie much more than a minute) from the movie on the cover so that I can always be reminded of those freaky ass baby dolls of my youth. I’ll admit also this is a great VHS cover and it’s still likely to give me bad dreams. More recently I decided to face my fears and watch the movie for real and found that the movie itself is merely a third rate 80’s snooze of a slasher flick, however it does have that ONE scene that still to this day terrifies me! Of course Youtube has it all and here’s that exact fucking scene!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!