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HOUSE is a bad trip caught on film

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The 70′s…yeah, what else needs to be said? A decade filled with outstanding art, music, cinema and most importantly Horror. The Exorcist, Halloween, The Omen and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre carved an indelible mark into the psyche of the youngin’s brave enough to watch and some adults too. But during this Renaissance there was something far more sinister and down right trippy occurring in other parts of the world. A film, equally as dynamic and perhaps a little insane, nobuhiko-obayashi-vagabond-of-timewas destroying the screens in Japan and disturbing a lot of young minds.

House directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi and produced by TOHO, is a simple story about a girl and her friends, who visit’s her ailing aunt in the remote countryside of Japan, only to discover her aunt is a witch that allows her home to devour the girls one by one.

Seems simple enough, until you watch it.

The film’s pace and look is spastic and often times incoherent, but it makes for some good viewing…you will not be bored. Nobuhiko Obayashi incorporates techniques that were used by famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski. Fake skies, A B rolls, confusing soundtracks and crazy edits, gets served up every second in this film. House_115.psdKind of like  a cartoon, all the character’s are larger than life, with names that are as silly as some of the scenes. The lead girl’s name is Gorgeous  (the pretty one), which is probably just a translation issue. She’s followed by Prof (the smart one), Kung Fu (the bad ass), Mac (The fat one, but she isn’t fat at all), Melody (the piano player), Fantasy (Whatever) and Sweet (….). These seemingly naive girls, accompany Gorgeous to her aunts house for a summer getaway, but things get crazy when Mac suddenly disappears. How we find out what happened to Mac is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on film. One of the girls goes looking for her and decides to check the well…she begins pulling the rope expecting to see a watermelon, they had tethered to it earlier to keep it cool, since the house lacks a fridge, she instead finds Mac’s “still moving head”. The head, now an eerie blue color and clearly green screened, flies out of the girls hand and bites her on the ass. From that moment on, I knew I must watch this whole film. Thinking that that might be it for the “craziness”, I was met with an onslaught of images throughout the film that had me thinking that if I was on acid while watching this, this wouldn’t be good, but I was able to distance myself from the “not so disturbing as much as it was psychotic” story.

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Half way through the film it became a test of endurance. My mind struggled to figure out what was Nobuhiko Obayashi inspiration for some of these scenes. What did they mean? Were they metaphors or was he just trying to be as crazy as possible? If I had read this script, I probably would’ve ran from it, given the confusing pace. But for all my misgivings, it’s a thought out picture and although Obayashi never used a storyboard and there was apart of me that thought he could be making this shit up as he went along, it was perfect in it’s execution, but not everybody shared the same sentiment about Nobuhiko Obayashi vision including Obayashi.

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(via. Wiki)

Obayashi described the attitude on the set as very upbeat as he often skipped, sang and played quiz games with the younger actresses on the set. Despite having fun on the set, members of the Toho crew felt the film was nonsense.Obayashi found the acting of the seven girls to be poor while trying to direct them verbally. He began playing the film’s soundtrack on set, which changed the way the girls were acting in the film as they got into the spirit of the music.

In the end, the rawness and amateur nature of the film works to it’s benefit. You use what you have to create magic, and Obayashi used his skills in commercials to litter this film with intentionally cheesy effects to give the horror a child-like feel. Whether inspired or completely original, there’s no denying HOUSE’S creativity and ability to engage and to think we may not have ever seen it unless Janus Films decided to buy the rights to the film and redistribute it in 2010. Since then, HOUSE is popular amongst a whole new audience of crazies looking for a something from the heart.

(Via. Criterion.com)

How did Janus Films begin the process of bringing House to U.S. theaters for the first time?

House was originally brought into the Janus library as a possible Eclipse title, when Eclipse was conceived of as a possible subsidiary label for cult films. That changed, of course, and the film remained in limbo until we began to get a few screening requests from genre-savvy venues. It can be tough to convince theaters to book a repertory title that doesnt have an established critical reputation, so we hadnt originally thought of House as a theatrical release. It has developed a fair-size reputation on the gray market, where its been a staple for some time, but its such a blast to see with an audience that we did a small digital microtour in order to spread word of mouth. These screenings were successful beyond our expectations; we had two raucous, sold-out shows at the New York Asian Film Festival, and the film seems to have developed a cult-within-a-cult in every city it’s played.

You can purchase house now on DVD or Blu-Ray  through the Criterion Collection

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Video for One by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

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This morning I woke up to take my dog out, came back and decided that I wasn’t going back to sleep and started browsing music videos online and came across this amazing one called One by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. Needless to say, I was blown away visually and aurally, so I had to do some research on this group and here’s what I found.

As suspected they are from Canada and are art students. Yamantaka‘s founding members are two girls Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B, the rest sounds more like rock opera, you’ll understand what I’, saying in just a second

(taken from Wiki)

The supporting members are John Ancheta on bass and acoustic guitar, Ange Loft and Walter Scott on vocals, Shub Roy on guitar, Brendan Swanson on keyboards, Alana Ruth on lights, Daniel Ellis and Chase Lo as dancers and Aylwin Lo as a projectionist.

To answer your question, they are as much a performing troupe as they are, one hell of a rock band. The makeup they wear is worn to signify Ruby and Alaska’s “Asian/Canadian” heritage. I’m guessing Japanese heritage, to be more exact, since they call the style of music they do Noh-Punk, a term that blends the traditional Japanese Noh theater  with punk rock, but I’ve been wrong before.

I’ll admit, after seeing this video, that I thought they were First Nation. The Native American vibe runs strong through this track, bouncing of the skies like an ancient horn summoning the elders of their tribe. It’s  all too provocative, engaging and WHY AM I JUST FINDING OUT ABOUT THEM??!!

While writing this article, I’ve been listening to their self titled 2011 release and it’s nothing short of genius. Strangely enough, it reminds me of Genghis Tron, very complicated, but emotional. This could easily become one of my new favorite bands.

I couldn’t find this single anywhere, so this may just be a sneak peak on a new release, but there’s no info on …wait…I lied.

(via. http://www.ytstlabs.com)

YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN have just announced UZU, the highly anticipated followup to the self-titled debut, YT//ST. Out October 29th on Suicide Squeeze Records (US) and Paper Bag (Canada), UZU exhibits a diverse range of influences, from bands like Sleep and Boris to art and cultural references like classical Japanese drama and the “nihilistic art-punk scene of pre-Giuliani New York City.”

“One” is a way to pay tribute to the extended group’s indigenous upbringing and leads off with a traditional Iroquois song. The introductory chant is a social song calling people together and is traditionally performed by people of the Mohawk tribe.

YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN will be touring North America this fall. Dates will be announced soon.

So there you go, I found this band interesting, to say the least and well worth a listen or two. Let me know what you think.


Trailer for an amazing science fiction-fantasy film “DUST” arrives

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Quick shout out to Mercia Goia for posting this on Facebook. I don’t know when this all started, but I hope it never stops. A couple of weeks ago you heard me go on and on about my friends Kickstarter project The Ningyo, which is about 15k away from their goal by the way. This got me thinking about the role of the VFX artists in the new millennium and how many of them like The Ningyo’s Miguel Ortega, are beginning to take back the creative control that has been taken from them for so long. It’s a trend that is growing in numbers, especially after the Life of PI debacle, along with a slew of others.

I’m not certain as to whether the creator’s of DUST share the same sentiment, but one has to believe that when a VFX artist decides to take the helm, he or she must empathize with the plight of other VFX artists around the world, but especially those in the U.S.

 DUST is one, of what I hope will be many, midblowing Kickstarter films that made it’s goal, thus allowing them to complete all the visual effects for this piece. Director and Chief Creative Officer at Ember Lab Mike Grier  has created a movie that not only delivers  on emotion, but also cinematography. Before embarking on this amazing journey he spent a lot of time in and around the countrysides of Japan.

Seeing how the landscape of Japan has changed over the years helped inspire some of the themes in DUST. Having seen the trailer, there’s no doubt about the man’s eye. Some of the locations in this film are some of the most amazing images I’ve ever seen.This film reminds me in a strange way of Beast of the Southern Wild in that it blends science fiction with fantasy by utilizing the existing backdrop and the end result if breathtaking.

The money Ember Lab made from commercial gigs helped fund a lot of the set construction, but everyone who worked on the film, did so without compensation. La Vie Boheme! It’s a labor of love and the end result is something to behold. Shot on the RED Mysterium X, it’s a visual masterpiece and rivals anything I’ve seen a major studio release. This is why I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon. Who knows better than a seasoned VFX artists about what a shot needs and how it should be lit? Not taking anything away from cinematographers, but let’s be honest…when 89% of all the cinematography in recent films is being done in post production, who’s the real DP?

I for one hope these talented guys form something bigger than what Hollywood has done and become prosperous at it. It’s time to take it back.

To find out more about DUST please checkout their WEBSITE

DUST on Kickstarter

The World

Throughout history the role of Trackers was to study the shifts in the environment and teach people to live in harmony with the natural world as it changed. Regarded as spiritual guides, Trackers cultivated and protected the balance that existed between the land and its people. But slowly, people’s views began to shift—and the balance was lost. Emboldened by the advance of technology, humanity came to view nature as an element to be controlled and conquered. The rise of walled cities led many to flee the harsh environment of the countryside in search of an easier life. Now, Tracker cultures have all but died out. While Trackers are still needed for trade and travel outside of city walls, they are tolerated as outcasts. City-dwellers have come to view them as a necessary evil.

The Story

A deadly new plague linked to a mysterious dust is devastating the countryside around Kabé—the world’s oldest city.Irezúmi is a disgraced Tracker living in the abandoned outskirts of Kabé. Hired by a Merchant of the city’s underground medicine trade, he has yet to find a cure to the mysterious Dust that has begun falling on the city. Little is known about the Dust or the unusual sickness it causes but as it continues to consume the countryside, Kabé is preparing to shut its gates—denying refuge to anyone outside the walls.


Suspiria themed bar discovered in Tokyo, Japan

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Leave it to Japan to come up with a cool idea like this. FEAR.net came across some images of a bar in Japan that is meticulously designed like a set in Dario Argento‘s Susperia called Cambiare. The bar is located in Tokyo’sGolden Gai” district. An area of Japan where there are tons of hip clubs and bars like this. As you see from the pictures below the attention to detail is pretty scary. Absolutely no stone was left unturned in this fantastic tribute to the classic horror, which incidentally will be getting a reboot that’s directed by David Gordon Green and stars Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan, The Hunger Games). Sometimes it all comes to together without even trying.

Checkout the bars Facebook page for more details.

 

The Creators Project talks film, art and getting real with pop artist Takashi Murakami

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During my stay in New York I was fortunate enough to have gotten the chance to see Takashi Murakami‘s work at the Brooklyn Museum. I even ran into the Super Size guy Morgan Spurlock…whaaaa? Anyway, I can’t began to describe the feelings you get from looking at TM’s stuff, his work is Japan on acid. Erotic, visceral and fun, but that was kinda then and this is now. Takashi has taken a slight departure from fountains of sperm and poop to focus on something more serious like the effect the 2011 Tsunami inTakashi Murakami Private Preview And Dinner At Blum & Poe, Los Angeles Japan had on him. In this latest episode by The Creators Project he’s seems to have morphed that experience into his feelings on Japan as a whole and how that relates to his relationship with the U.S. or Western culture. It’s a real interesting video that sheds some light on the often times misunderstood phenomenon, that is his work. I’d often heard from my fellow Japanese friends that in Japan Takashi doesn’t receive nearly as much press as we give him in the states and that could be because they think his work is trite, but in my opinion there’s no denying the mastery involved in some of his more complex pieces. One could understand, with that level of animosity that one could become bitter about his home, a home which he explains has essentially lost it’s identity. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, I think Japan is rich beyond comprehension with history and identity, but what’s happen to TM is what happens to most who become easily bored a.k.a Artist, for the most part. You become fascinated by other things and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, you just can’t get to a point where you believe there’s no level of magic to be had at home and I think the recent disaster in Japan brought that realization home for him. I’m getting deep aren’t I? Sorry. Enjoy the video.

The Creators Project
Takashi Murakami
Brooklyn Museum

 

 

US trailer for Emperor starring Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox arrives

Giant sea creatures take on Los Angeles in this amusing short “Monster Roll”

Grimes channels her inner harajuku for “Genesis” video

M.I.T.N.G REVIEWS “ONWARDS TOWARDS OUR NOBLE DEATHS” WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY SHIGERU MIZUKI

THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS FROM GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S MEGA MONSTER FLICK “PACIFIC RIM”

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