Killer viruses in “King of Thorn (2009)”

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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.

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Lesbian STDs in “Contracted!”

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Directed by Eric England

Stars: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Katie Stegemen, Alice McDonald, and Matt Mercer

Another lesbian horror movie, yay! And for once the lesbian relationship wasn’t just “hinted” at. There’s full blown lesbianism and STDs, ha! “Contracted” (2013) is about a girl who develops unusual symptoms after a one-night stand at a party. She has drunken sex with a dude. Or at least I think he’s a dude. More than likely the guy was an alien or a monster…but that’s beside the point.

She goes to the doctor but he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her. Panic starts to set in as her symptoms get worse. At the same time, her social life is crumbling, which causes her to fuck up at work. There are two persistent suitors in her life, one male, one female, which further complicates things. Her girlfriend refuses to give her the time of day, even going so far as to doubt her sexuality. The crazier her symptoms, the more her friends and family turn their backs on her. They blame her behavior on drugs and her (abusive?) lesbian relationship.  Things come to a head when her eye turns into…whatever it turns into, and her teeth and nails fall out. This is a body horror movie, and so of course her transformation is gruesome and unsettling.

I was impressed with the horror make-up. It’s simple but effective. Trailer below:

Overall, I liked this movie. I don’t know if the writer/director has paranoia about lesbians, bisexuals, or women in general…but he clearly doesn’t want them to have sex. C+

Gory Diseases in “Helix”

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http://alienbee.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/helix-1.jpg

Although I worked in a lab for only a semester I understand the tedious work that goes into these studies. So I think that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to this show. That and the idea of an apocalyptic disease spreading in a super secret base where everyone has secrets. Here. We. Go!

Helix is about a group of from the CDC and the military who travel to a research facility in the Arctic called Arctic Biosystems to help contain a deadly virus. Dr. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell) is the head of the CDC team while Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the head of the Arctic Biosystems facility. Dr. Farragut’s main interest in the case is his brother, Peter (Neil Napier), is the main “Vector” spreading the disease throughout the facility through an insanely black goopy mouth-to-mouth regurgitation.

So far I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen. The first reason: I love the characters! Everyone of them has a secret, but you don’t know what it is. So far Sanada’s character is my favorite, he’s a little creepy and very mysterious. During the scenes with Dr. Julia Walker(Kyra Zagorsky), I wasn’t sure if he was going to kill her or kiss her! Dr. Farragut is really annoying. He’s more of the do-gooder who wouldn’t kill a patient even if said patient trying to kill them. I kinda foresee a “Team Rick” vs “Team Shane” scenario in upcoming episodes.

The second thing I really enjoy is the virus. It’s not a zombie virus, where you die then come back as a feeding machine. It’s something else that mutates you into this violent super-intelligent disease spreading monster. For those who aren’t on of the “Vectors” (the disease spreaders) you get the disease and die….then your body decays into a pool of black goop. Bring on the gore!!!

The third thing that I’m really going to enjoy is the talk about ethics. Remember when a said there will be a “Team Rick” vs “Team Shane” scenario? It’s going to be “Team Farragut” vs “Team Hatake” fighting over how to save lives. For example, in one scene an infected person was making their way toward a non-infected group. She was warned not to come closer and when she ignored them the security officer shot her, but didn’t kill her. Farragut was already preaching about not shooting sick people. Save one or save the whole base…I choose save the whole base.

There are so many things going on and questions that need answers. For example, who does Dr. Hatake and Major Balleseros(Mark Ghanimé) really work for? Why does Hatake have a photo album of Dr. Julia Walker? Why are Hatake’s eyes a weird glimmering silver? And what is up with the happy Sims music in the background? Seriously, to me that adds to the horror.

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