Viy

My odyssey through the strange world of Russian fantasy films began in earnest many years ago, when I moved to a prominently Russian and Ukrainian neighborhood and started prowling around the DVD stores of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Up until then, I’d caught glimpses of this strange and wonderful looking avenue of cinema in the form…

Night of the Lepus

In the end, we’ll probably never know how this movie ever got made, and I suppose that, even though I would love to have my curiosity regarding the matter satiated, all that really matters is that it was made.

Ghost With Hole

I wish there was a better way to describe the late, Javanese-born actress Suzzanna than as “the Queen of Indonesian Horror”, but that title is as accurate as it is shopworn. Over a career that spanned more than three decades, Suzzanna — born Suzanna Martha Frederika van Osch — starred in dozens of features, most…

Enchanting Shadow

After a stormy start, the two become closer, eventually even falling in love — which would be sweet if Hsiao-Chien didn’t turn out to be a ghost, her well-appointed villa an illusion covering a decrepit haunted house, and her mistress a demanding old ghoul with a taste for souls.

Vampire vs. Vampire

Lam Ching-Ying made a whole slew of vampire comedies. The most interesting aspect of Vampire vs. Vampire is the fact that it pits Lam’s character against a Western style vampire

Mr. Vampire

Old Hong Kong movies use the presence of a Taoist priest as a license to print crazy, despite the real world practice of Taoism’s emphasis on quiet contemplation and equilibrium with nature.

Vampire Doll

Japan’s occasional flirtations with an interest in vampires are, like most things having to do with Japan and Western pop culture, a bizarre mix of revulsion and fascination with the foreign — a dichotomy that is almost certainly (in my eyes) born of the interests of the young simply not lining up with the prejudice…

Dracula, Sovereign of the Damned

Drac’s dialogue was choice, and the comic was full of half-naked vampire chicks, crossbows, cane swords, reanimated corpses, and bikers in furry lambswool vests and droopy mustaches

Brutal Story at the End of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Samurai films have a curious knack for expressing compassionate, humanist ideals via soul-crushing bleakness and violence. One would be hard-pressed to find a bleaker, more violent indictment of the romance of the samurai — and the culture of violence in general — than director Tai Kato’s blood-drenched and aptly named Brutal Story at the End…

Ghost Stories of Wanderer at Honjo

Researching the history of Japanese yokai in cinema is a difficult task. At least, it’s a difficult task if, like me, you don’t read Japanese and are kind of lazy. Almost all of the English language writing about movies involving these bizarre and multitudinous creatures from Japanese folklore focuses on the three loosely related yokai…

Godzilla’s Revenge

If more Godzilla fans could get the broom out of their ass and actually enjoy the films rather than nitpick and dissect them under an electron microscope, they’d see that in its own way, for its own audience, Minya and Godzilla’s Revenge are as effective and important to the series as the original.

Death is Nimble, Death is Quick

Austrian writer and director Rudolf Zehetgruber had two shots at the Kommissar X franchise, and Death is Nimble, Death is Quick, the second entry in the seven film Eurospy series, was the first of them. It’s a commendable, if not especially controversial effort on his part, although, thanks to a particular directorial quirk it revealed,…