Six-pack of SIFF: The Cult Schlockologist’s Guide
SIFF 2011 offers an embarrassment (in more ways than one, ladies and gents) of cultish-schlocky riches. Looking for wild and woolly subversions of established exploitation genres? Or are you just seeking several industrial-strength shots of action, titillation, absurdity, violence, horror, and cheap thrills? Either way, this Dirty Half-Dozen represents what looks like the Fest’s most left-of-center and warped bag of cinema tricks.
Japanese exploitation auteur Noboru Iguchi scored one of the most enthusiastically-received entries of SIFF 2010 with RoboGeisha (go to ye olde SunBreak archives for a concise assessment). Karate Robo-Zaborgar loosely re-jiggers a joyfully-ridiculous old Japanese Ultraman knock-off, so it’s likely not to be as violence-laden as the director’s other action titles. Still, it’s got the outrageous primary colors, hyperkinetic action, and demented twists on cliche that’ve earned Iguchi a fervent cult following.
Revenge: A Love Story
South Korean action flick Yellow Sky’s generating the biggest action-film buzz of SIFF 2011, but this Hong Kong action/exploitation midnighter possesses a grittier, more brutal patina.
The Last Circus
It’s a Spanish Civil War allegory; bathed in blood; populated by two hideously-scarred, homicidally-jealous circus clowns; and it’s the recipient of two very public Quentin Tarantino thumbs up in the form of Venice Film Festival jury prizes. No-brainer.
We Are the Night
Ah, sexy female vampires doing sexy female vampire things; it’s a noble grindhouse tradition. The metaphoric torch gets passed from Ingrid Pitt to Daughters of Darkness to this Teutonic Lost Boys in drag.
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
This lavishly-appointed, Tsui Hark-helmed martial arts costume drama is ostensibly a mystery about a forensics genius (Andy Lau), solving murders on the eve of the ascension of China’s first female Emperor. But any movie sporting kung fu, log fu, disembodied-limb fu, and spontaneous combustion definitely edges into cult territory.
Like We Are the Night, The Intruder is descended from another beloved drive-in sub-genre: The Batshit-Crazy Killer Animal Movie. A band of disparate characters gets trapped in their apartment complex with a killer cobra or two; or four; or a thousand. Again, no-brainer.