Killer viruses in “King of Thorn (2009)”


While I love manga/anime with a medical-thriller vibe (think Naoki Urasawa’s “Monster”) this killer virus flick, “King of Thorn” totally escaped my radar. In fact, I hadn’t heard of this anime or the manga until last night while dicking around on YouTube for something to review. If you’re familiar with the anime series, “Big O” (an adolescent favorite: mecha meets Batman) then you’ve already seen Kazuyoshi Katayama’s directorial style. That alone convinced me to give this movie a try. Although I sorta wished I hadn’t.

King of Thorn (2009)

Director and screenwriter: Kazuyoshi Katayama 

Original writer: Yuji Iwahara (Manga) 

Voice actors (Japanese — English dubs generally SUCK donkey balls) Kana Hanazawa, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Misaki Kuno, Akiko Yajima

The first one-third of the movie was what I expected (in a good way). To survive a pandemic virus, humankind’s last hope is to freeze a selected few for 100yrs until a cure is found. While asleep, mutant creatures attack the dreaming facility and those lucky not to have died while asleep, fight off crazy scientists, mutants, and other odd creatures through gory, pulptastic, action sequences. The animation isn’t terrible and I liked all the crazy characters. Even Kasumi. I wish the movie had stuck with its simple survival horror plot instead of veering left and getting lost in its metaphorical “Sleeping Beauty” message.

I thought the virus was a virus, but apparently the whole thing is just a dream, but the main character is also a figment of that dream, who is a clone of her twin and…yeah…what? Why couldn’t this just be a shoot’em up monster movie as advertised? “King of Thorn” tried way way way too hard to be philosophical and just sorta fell flat by the second-third of the movie. It’s so convoluted I can’t really tell you what the ending even means.

All in all, I’d give it a “C.” I’ll try to review other anime horror movies in the future. This one was just OK.

“Reincarnation” aka Damsel Cannibal’s Uncanny Valley Hell!


Director: Takashi Shimizu

Writers: Takashi Shimizu, Masaki Adachi

Starring: Yûka, Karina, Kippei Shîna, 

This one is going on my list of favorite Japanese horror movies!

This is about a Japanese actress who just received the role of a lifetime. The film she’ll be starring in is based on a horrific hotel murder where a renown scientist murdered everyone in the hotel as well as his own children. While preparing for the role she experiences visions and other paranormal activity. One of her friends suggest that the study of reincarnation might be the answer to these visions. Is she crazy or was she a victim of this mad scientist’s killing spree?

While I was visiting Damsel Cannibal, I recommended we watch this for the blog. We weren’t disappointed! One thing that I love about Japanese horror is that they don’t rely on CGI or heavy blood and guts. They’re more about the suspense and tricks in the light. Even making something as simple as a doll saying “Together Forever” will make you want to cry in terror. No seriously, there was a doll from one of the victims that kept popping up saying “We’ll stay together forever”. It wasn’t until the end where Damsel Cannibal buried her face in my neck and said, “No! I can’t! Ah!”. I thought the doll was cool but even I was like, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! The doll is moving!”

This leads to Damsel Cannibal’s post on Uncanny Valley. She basically told me that we humans freak out over things that look human but we know that aren’t. I guess our instincts tell us not to trust it because we know it’s not real. Anyway check out her post and see if you agree.

I really enjoyed this movie’s story as well. When people think of reincarnation they generally think of being something cool in their past lives like being a knight or a princess. No ever thinks of the possibility that they might be a murder victim or worse a murderer. Shimizu did a brilliant job in turning a romantic idea of previous lives into someone worst nightmare.

I give this movie an A.

Creepy Doll Scene:


50yr feud: Gamera Vs Godzilla


Oh, so you’re a fan of the Godzilla franchise, are you? Then you have no right to ask: “Who the fuck is Gamera?” without receiving the back of my hand across your face. If the only Godzilla movies you can name involve either Bryan Cranston or Matthew Broderick I get to slap you again.

Who is Gamera? Why, he’s the flying, atomic tortoise who can kick Godzilla’s ass. No, there was never a movie proving Gamera’s supremacy, but that’s only because the film companies were bitter rivals! Ultimately the fanbase followed the money, thus knocking Gamera out of the race, but in the process we lost Godzilla’s most promising adversary. Mothra doesn’t even come to a close second.  Gamera can also fly and he breathes fire. His impenetrable shell can resist most of Godzilla’s attacks and because he adores children (he always rescues the children after his rampages), humanity might aid Gamera in battle and tag-team Godzilla.

Godzilla and Gamera have been competing for ratings ever since the 60s. The first Gamera movie, Gamera (1965) was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which kicked off the Gamera vs. Godzilla feud in the west. The most recent movie, Gamera the Brave was released in Japan in 2006. And yet there has never been an American remake of any of the Gamera movies! Imagine what an American remake could do for the Gamera franchise? It would certainly get us closer to a possible Godzilla-Gamera showdown! With all the attention surrounding the newest Godzilla movie, I vote for the next one to feature Gamera. The fans have waited patiently on the sidelines for nearly 50 years. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind Godzilla vs. Mothra and Mothra’s Wife, but Gamera really needs his moment in the sun, too. I’m #TeamGamera on this. Let’s do this!

Uzumaki, a Japanese Classic (Review)


I fucking love Junji Ito! He is the master. The legend. If you love comics and weird, supernatural shit, he’s THE MANGAKA to read. Junji Ito is the only horror writer/artist whose work makes me physically ill and or gives me nightmares. Seriously, it takes A LOT to frighten me and Junji Ito’s drawings get under my skin each time. If I think about “Glyceride” too hard, I get sick all over again! Ugh! *shudders*

Newcomers to Ito’s work should read “The Enigma of Amigara Fault” or the celebrated “Tomie” series. Ito’s influences are H.P. Lovecraft, Kazuo Umezo (I’ll review his comics in another post), and Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of “Akira.”

I recently got my hands on the complete hardcover edition of Ito’s famous spiral horror, “Uzumaki.” I wanted something other than “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac,” and “The Walking Dead” in my horror comic book collection. “Uzumaki” looks so pretty on my shelf now. I’m fangirling, I know, but Jesus Christ, I love comic books in hardcover! Why aren’t all comic books published in hardcover? *drool* There are lush, color pages, too, which is nice. I’ve only ever read Ito’s work on scanlation sites. So it is nice to own a physical copy of the man’s brilliance.

“Uzumaki” is terrifying, gorgeous, hilarious, and weird all at once. Ito steers clear of blood and splatter and uses psychological mindfuckery to frighten his readers instead. The basic premise follows a schoolgirl and her town’s obsession with supernatural spirals. Ito has an incredible imagination–each chapter is more insane than the previous one. The distance between reality and fantasy is what drives the horror, here. Reading his comics is like tripping on literary-acid. The stories seep slowly into your subconscious, scrambling your disbelief, and then throwing your renewed perception together in haphazard, unrecognizable ways. It’s nothing short of genius. His art isn’t beautiful. In fact, it borders on the simplistic. And yet that’s why it works! If he drew elaborate dreamscapes, it would be too fantastical for the reader to accept. Ito’s straightforward approach adds to the story’s credibility. I always feel strange when I read Junji Ito’s comics. I hope you will, too. He really is one of my favorites. He’s right up there with Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, and other modern classics, I think.