Thursday, August 22, 2013

Three Films Make A Post: When You're Cornered Like An Animal It's Kill Or Be Killed.

Vampire's Breakfast (1987): A very dead looking Western style vampire haunts the Hong Kong nights. Intrepid reporter Kent Cheng Jak-Si is on the case, when he's not taking fake vampire pictures or romancing Emily Chu Bo-Yee. For a Hong Kong horror film, this one's rather atypical, for there's neither an attempt to be as outrageous as possible nor lots and lots of mean-spirited humour (in fact, what there is of humour in the movie is of a rather good-natured kind). Unfortunately, there's also nothing to take the place of these more typical HK horror tricks, so there's really not much to talk about here, particularly since director Wong Chung isn't exactly exploding with imagination, visual or otherwise.

What's left is a mildly diverting movie that's entertaining enough for the ninety minutes of one's time it takes, but nothing more.

Apartment 1303 3D (2012): Look, I've got as much patience for shitty horror movies as the next guy, but there are certain things I find non-negotiable in a theoretically subtle horror movie about ghosts like this one. Unfortunately, this one, directed by Michael Taverna, is all kinds of dreadful, with no opportunity to be clever or just effective that isn't missed, numerous failures of timing and imagination, utterly dreadful dialogue, and a certain actress so bad, the script has her talking to herself instead of emoting. Well, that, or the script doesn't realize it doesn't need its actors to tell the audience what they are supposed to be feeling when they could, you know, act. It's difficult to decide which alternative is worse, and I don't really want to think about this one anymore than I already have, for life's too short for certain movies.

Shadow of Illusion aka Ombre Roventi (1970): Mario Caiano's film is what happens when you replace the satanic cult in your typical occult conspiracy horror film with an Egyptian-themed cult attempting to attain the power of Osiris by sacrificing a woman they take for Isis (Daniela Giordano), and let the resulting film take place in Egypt. It's a decent little flick with a bit too much Egypt tourism, and a rather meandering middle, but there's a lot of interesting temporal and local colour too gawk at. From time to time, Caiano even manages to stage a moment of inspired strangeness and surreality or two. It's a bit unfortunate that Shadow of Illusion is lacking in the tension department, or it could be a minor classic. As it stands, it's a peculiar sort of time capsule for fashion, fears and fascinations of its age.

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