Film Gutter Come on in, the water's repetitive... Martyrs (2015) Dir. Kevin Goetz and Michael Goetz, USA, 86 mins
So obviously it's taken me a while to get to this one, because a big part of me didn't really want to get involved in this one. I've never been the biggest fan of remakes, especially when the remake is of a movie that is all but perfect in the first instance. The French original of Martyrs scored maximum points, 10/10 here at Film Gutter back in our March Madness month, and deservedly so. Well, let's just get this bit out of the way first of all. No, it's not as good as the original. And, let's be honest, it couldn't really hope to be. However while I was watching this I did my very best to cast aside any thoughts of the French masterpiece and simply judge this movie in its own right. In that respect, the US take on Martyrs doesn't fare too badly.
FILM GUTTER Come on in, the water's confining... Scrapbook (2000) Dir. Eric Stanze, USA, 95 mins
Running a weekly review here at Film Gutter is a really interesting thing for me on many levels, and one things that often occupies my mind is getting the right mix of material. It's good to cover some great new movies, as well as to head all over the world to check out some obscure films and cult favourites. And then there are those well-known, dare I say notorious, movies that are such prime Film Gutter territory that I do genuinely try and space out. We've yet to look at Salo, or Melancholie Der Engel, or Cannibal Holocaust, or the August Underground trilogy... but these are treats (??) I am portioning out. They'll get a feature here in due time, don't worry.
Now don't get me wrong – I love doing Film Gutter. It's kind of the most awesome hobby ever – watch great films that push boundaries, say my two pennies worth about them, and get some really cool interviews to boot. But... But there are times I wonder why I do this to myself. And watching Contracted was one of those occasions. It's probably not the most disturbing film we've watched here, or the most graphic. But it has driven home to me that – since enduring the filmic nightmare that was Thanatomorphose – I've become very sensitive to the whole idea and area of body horror. It's never a patch of the genre I've been terribly keen on – the idea of the body rebelling against you and you being helpless against it is pretty scary stuff. But Contracted has more than a little in common with Thanatomorphose, my most disturbing movie of 2015, so that didn't help a jot. That's not to say this is a bad movie at all – but there's a lot I saw I could have lived without.
Come on in, the water's vibrant... TABLOID VIVANT Dir. Kyle Broom, 2015, USA, 105 mins
So... yeah. That was a film. Or at least, I think it was. It was certainly film-shaped. But where to begin actually describing it? Tabloid Vivant is certainly unlike anything I've ever seen before, and bearing in mind we have a little corner of the website here specialising in the weird that's no mean feat in and of itself. It's, in a sense, a rumination on the power of art and the strong statement it can make about the human condition. It's also a completely out there psycho-thriller shot with a knowing and wry style that does little to take away from the darker undertones it presents. It's uncomfortable to watch in many places, for all manner of reasons, but equally it's kind of hard to look away....
One of the things that has been fascinating about Film Gutter is the number of movies it has enabled me to come back to. Some of these – such as A Serbian Film – don't quite do themselves justice a second time around. Others – like Excision – are as much of a pleasure to rewatch as they were to watch initially. And on that I had certainly been looking forward to coming back to was The Woman, which I remember making a distinct impact on me first time around. So let's dive back into this one, shall we?...
If there was ever a movie we were going to review at some stage, particularly one from recent years, then this was going to be it. Eli Roth's homage to the Italian cannibal movie was remarkably made as far back as 2013, but financial difficulties for the distributors delayed a wider release until 2015, with the DVD only hitting this year. But what did happen in this time was a great deal of controversy and notoriety around the movie, developing what might have been a beneficial buzz as hardcore horror fans waited and waited for Roth's latest offering. I became aware of the film long before it came out – with a trailer that I thought was pretty effective – and finally got to watch the movie on demand. I must admit, I was pretty excited – to see something this extreme eventually land a mainstream release I took as an encouraging sign for my chosen subgenre of horror. Roth is a director whose work has never completely won me over, in all honesty, but I was more than willing to put that behind me given what I hoped this movie would be.
FILM GUTTER Come on in, the water's savage... Martyrs (2008)
Dir. Pascal Laugier, France, 95 mINS
Well, we're about at the end of March Madness and that means that we're coming to the end of our audience-selected movies for the month. A huge thanks to all who voted, and gave me a chance to watch The Bunny Game and Antichrist for the first time as well as the opportunity to rewatch the wonderful Excision and today's choice, Martyrs. This one barely snuck in enough votes to take fourth, but I was glad to have another chance to see this French cult favourite. Almost universally acclaimed, this brutal offering is one that I saw shortly after its release but haven't revisited since then. And how to sum up the experience? Holy crap. Let's try that.
FILM GUTTER Come on in, the water's disturbed... Excision (2012) Dir. Richard Bates Jr., USA, 81 mins
So, now the time has come for the third of our movies as chosen by you in our March Madness vote, and I must admit it was one I was really pleased to see come up. Excision was a feature I saw pretty soon after its release in 2012, and remembered really fondly. Honestly I was pretty surprised to see it was so popular in the voting – sneaking home in fourth place – so let's get into it, shall we?
Antichrist (2009) Dir. Lars Von Trier, Denmark/France/Germany/Italy/Poland/Sweden
I've always watched a fair bit of edgy horror, and that quantity has certainly increased over the last 18 months writing for Film Gutter. However there do remain a few notable gaps in my viewing history – for example, I've yet to watch movies such as Salo, Melancholie Der Engel or Cannibal Holocaust. Gasp, right? Of course those are all matters that I will be rectifying, and today I'll be filling in another one of those notable blanks by watching Lars Von Trier's Antichrist. Von Trier is a director I've long been aware of, and have skirted with a few of his movies in the past, but the one that seems to stand out as having the strongest reputation in terms of pure shock value is his 2009 opus, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Stellar casting, no doubts, but how does the movie itself stand up?
FILM GUTTER Come on in, the water’s disturbed... THE BUNNY GAME (2010) Dir. Adam Rehmeier, USA, 76 minutes
So, the results of our March Madness Poll are in, and today’s we’re looking at the winning movie. I was pretty surprised at the result, in fact – The Bunny Game landed almost 20% of the vote, running nicely clear of the other placed contenders in Antichrist, Martyrs and Excision, which we'll also be looking at in the near future. There were many better known movies in the list than the underground cult hit that is The Bunny Game, so it was genuinely pleasing to see this one come out on top. Kudos, and thanks to all of you that voted. And in the winner you’ve selected what might just be one of the most disturbing movies we've watched yet.