SHOCK! FEAR! BIZARRE HAPPENINGS! True to the sensational headlines on the marquis, this year's Kanazawa Film Festival, subtitled "The International Horror Convention", promises to send a chill down your spine during the hot summer nights with creepy flicks from Japan, America, and Asia.
The home team has a strong showing from a bevy of genre legends, including Ringu director Nakada Hideo's freshmen outing that set the stage for Sadako's takeover, Jyoyuurei (Women Ghost), Jyaganrei (Vengeful Spirit) with art direction from Konaka Chiyaki of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and Kourei (Seance) by Kurosawa Kiyoshi of Sweet Home, Kairo, and CURE fame.
While it's well and good to recognize these innovators of the suburban ghost story, the real gem of the Japanese block is Goke, the Body Snatcher from Hell. Released by the Shochiku Company, who, as the film's title would suggest, served was 60's Japan's number one source of campy sci-fi, churning out hits like Living Skeleton, Genocide, and The X From Outer Space.
I can't expect any of you to be bothered to haul yourselves up and into the sunlight for films you can pirate for zero effort on Youtube, but there's something to be said about being able to see not one, but TWO of Carpenter's classics, They Live and Prince of Darkness, on the big screen and with an energized crowd that would welcome Roddy Piper to their next company picnic. They've even got the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society in on the ploy with their showing of The Call of Cthulhu, filmed in sanity-blasting Mythoscope.
This year's festival travels to the darkest depths of the orient to bring you a sampling of the best of the worst. Laugh at the Hong Kong horror-comedy Mr Vampire! Shake your head at the incredulous creature feature from Korea starring a mutant man-eating boar, Chaw. And have your lawyers at the ready for Song at Midnight, the Chinese Phantom of the Oprah.
Aside from the eclectic lineup of films, you can also look forward to discussion panels and special events, including the unveiling of previously unreleased footage from haunted sites deemed too disturbing for the light of day, a talk with Japan's foremost ghost hunter Koike Takehiko, and as always, a knock-down white knuckle brawl of pop culture brawn between rapper Utamaru (AKA the Cinema Hustler), likely baby-eater and exploitation maniac Takahashi Yoshiki, and up-and-coming mystery/horror author Hirayama Yumeaki.
This is merely a sampling of this year's goods so check out the official homepage if you haven't already. Be there and be warned: Don't DARE take the trip... alone!