Japanese horror films

What is horror? Its a genre of fiction that aims to scare, induce feelings of horror and terror to the audience. It gives us a sense of repulsion or disgust by creating a strange and terrifying atmosphere. But, this genre can be considered a broad term. This so happens because fear is subjective.  Maybe a “slasher” movie doesn’t scare you but you tremble when you’re watching ghost movies. The horror genre is always developing and this is due to the constant changes in the culture. Therefore, western horror will not be the same as in Japanese horror films. 

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The Tales of Ugetsu (1953)

In order to understand the Japanese horror a bit, we must mention the two major influences: Kaidan and Japanese theater. Kaidan is a literary genre that focuses on Japanese folklore. Telling ghosts or Yōkai (creatures half human and animal) stories. However,  Japanese theater is divided into two subgenres: Kabuki and Noh. But regardless, both focus on samurai, ghosts (Yūrei), demons (Akuma) and monsters stories. In 1953  they released what was considered the first Japanese horror movie; The Tales of Ugetsu. Based on two Kaidan stories and explores themes of gothic cinema; mixing Japanese culture with supernatural elements.

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Matango is a film about is about a group of castaways on an island who are unwittingly altered by a local species of mutagenic mushrooms.

Throughout the years, Japanese horror cinema developed subgenres from the same category.   The Edo Gothic was a subgenre that lasted a decade. (1950 – 60). Touching themes of how humans interact with the spiritual world. At the same time, another subgenre was born and that was based on the fear of people; focusing on the nuclear bomb. Creating monster movies such as 1954 Godzilla or films about the effects of nuclear poisoning (Matango 1963). In the same year, the subgenre called “Pink films” was born and this happens because of the censorship laws of Japan.

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Daydreams tell a story of a student that has sexual fantasies about vampires while she’s sedated in the dentist office.

Mixing sexuality with violence and horror (Daydreams 1964). Many of these women were victimized and the plot was mostly developed in schools and prisons. This subgenre kept growing until the year 80; where it became more popular by mixing the genre “slasher” and thus creating a new subgenre called “splatter eros”. 

Over the years the horror genre underwent unforgettable changes. However, in 1998 the movie Ringu was released, returning to the roots of Japanese horror cinema and defining the concept of J-horror (Japanese horror). Directed by Hideo Tanaka, this film tells the story about a family that was cursed by a videotape and how they are being followed by a vengeful ghost called Sadako. This film sparked an interested in  Japanese cinema abroad, especially to the western audiences. Resulting in a big market of American movie adaptations or Japanese films. Bringing popular movies to America like such as One Missed Call and Ju-On.

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Ringu (1998)

Films like Ringu is a good example of the difference between Japanese horror cinema and western horror. Unlike western horror, J- horror tends to focus more on developing a complete story that causes terror to the audience. They don’t use the old  “jumpscare”  formula or loud sounds to cause fear rather, they use eerie environments and minimal sound to frighten the audience. For this reason, movies such as Ringu have fascinated and contributed to the horror genre. Giving us a story that will make you tremble and not be able to sleep at night.


Us: movie review

After Jordan Peele’s success with 2017 thriller Get out and winning best screenplay for this such movie; he’s back at it again with another film. This time, as he intentionally said, a horror film. US  focuses on the Wilson family. A year later after the death of Adelaide’s mom, they come back to her childhood home in California to take some time off. One day,  they decide to go to the beach, the youngest son Jason had a strange encounter. That same night, four mysterious people break into Adelaide’s home just to out they that all of them look alike.


One of the many things that stand out in this movie are the performances. All of them were great. Winston Duke character gave us the perfect balance of comedy and horror. Not forced but natural reactions in a comedic way. The performance that we have to give the ultimate credit is Lupita Nyong’o with her mesmerizing acting.  Giving that the movie they had to play your “evil doppelgänger” you had to see multiple performances from the actors.  Both of her characters were amazing. Leaving you gripping from your seats.

us-movie-3-1546275853Jordan Peele was serious when he said his movie was horror. Giving us gory scenes but yet not scary. The story and the character are what makes this film unsettling. The movie is accompanied by a chilling score and amazing cinematography. Who wouldn’t appreciate those astonishing extreme closeup shots? One of the things that I would have liked the movie to leave out are the explanations as to why this event is happening. Why so? well, because I believe ambiguity can be scary. Nevertheless, it’s a solid story.

US is a film that after you see it for the first time it leaves you thinking and with a second viewing, it could change your whole perspective of the film. The director Jordan Peele has been creating these whole new worlds and contributing to the horror industry . Breaking the mold of traditional storytelling and giving us something new and innovative. US is a film that has amazing performances and the perfect balance of horror and comedy. It’s a movie that cinephiles and horror fans would certainly appreciate and enjoy.

I give this movie 4 / 5 bloody scissors.

Us movie trailer : 

Alita Battle Angel (Movie Review)

When it comes to transforming anime or manga into live action films, it can lean in two ways: being an actually good movie or go horribly wrong. Every couple of years or so, we’ve been getting live actions adaptations that have gone wrong such as Netflix’s Death Note and thus being completely disappointed. Alita Battle Angel is an adaptation of the cyberpunk manga created by Yukito Kishiro. Ever since the trailer came out I had this small hope that this movie can be one of these adaptations that could actually be good and please the anime community.


 Alita Battle Angel is a film directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron. In 2563, planet Earth has survived a war known as “The Fall.” There is a city floating above the earth in the sky, called Zalem, but beneath it, there is a city called Iron City. The story is about Alita (Rosa Zalasar) a cyborg that has been saved by the doctor Ido (Christopher Waltz) but she doesn’t recall who she is. Alita starts to uncover clues to her past but also finding out the secrets of Zalem and a mysterious scientist called Nova.

From the start of the movie, it looks like they put a lot of time and effort into creating this cyberpunk world. Giving us an aesthetically pleasing experience accompanied by good use of CGI. James Cameron had the rights for this film for a long time now and it certainly looks how much passion and love he had for this story by how the film was made. Paying homage to the main style of the manga with all the details that have been passed into the movie.

screen-shot-2018-05-07-at-2-53-55-pmRosa Zalasar has the main spotlight in the movie by giving us a good performance throughout the movie. Christopher Waltz also stands out with his role as Ido. But, they hired good actors such as Mahershala Ali by giving them small roles that were just there to move the plot of the story. Left me wishing they could have used him more in the film.

The movie certainly had some cheesy and cliche moments. The romance between Alita and the love interest Huge felt forced.  I just wasn’t invested in their relationship and when they had their tragic moments I just didn’t feel moved by it. Sure, it does make Alita more human but their love story didn’t work out for me.

Alita Battle Angel is a passion project that’s been transcribed into film. Even doe every adaptation suffer from minor changes, this movie sticks with the main story. Giving us a visual Syfy experience that anime fans would certainly enjoy.

I give this movie 3 / 5 cyborgs.

Alita Battle Angel trailer:

Happy Death Day 2U: Movie Review

Happy Death Day 2U  is the sequel of 2017 thriller movie of the same name. After the events of the first film, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) finds herself once again, re-entering the time loop. But things have changed.  She is stuck in a new in a new parallel universe.  Carter, Ryan and his group of friends are involved this time. There’s a new killer in the loose. Now, Tree must find a new way to get out of the loop and catch the killer.happy-death-day-2u-release-date.jpg

When I heard there was going to be a sequel for this movie,  I was a little lost. The first one was entertaining enough even if I had small problems with it. But I knew exactly that they were going to play with the same  Groundhog Day formula. Never the less, I was also quite curious how they were gonna pull the sequel off.

This sequel gives us the explanation as to how she’s in the loop the first place. Mixing element of SyFy into the story. On this movie, they really double up the comedy and left the slasher genre as a subplot. Giving us rather dark humor montages and clips.  In which I think it was a smart move because it went with the theme of the story. When it came to the horror aspect of it; it gives us the old formula of creepy hallways and the killer creeping in with jump scares. Leaving me asking myself: “Remember when this was a horror movie?”.

2507_T1_00059ARV2.0.jpgJessica Rothe performance keeps the movie interesting. She’s funny when she needs to but can also give us emotional scenes.  The last act gave us serious undertones with just a small touch of comedy. But, they were some serious cringey moment such as awkward kissing in slow motion. Obviously keeping in mind that this is no longer a horror/slasher but a comedy.

Happy Death Day 2U is one of those cases that the sequel is better than the first one.  The first one for me kinda fell off because it didn’t know how to distinguish itself. This time they doubled the comedy and it became an enjoyable experience for me. If you wanna have a laugh or have a good time watching a movie with your friends; I recommend Happy Death Day 2U. 

I give this movie 3/5 baby masks.


TRIGGER WARNING and small spoiler  : 

Y’all the movie has a suicide montage with Hard Times by Paramore in the background… I’m speechless…

Happy Death Day 2U trailer: 



“The Perfect Dictatorship” y el uso de la distracción mediática

Escrita y dirigida por el director mexicano Luis Estrada, The Perfect Dictatorship se trata dictadurasobre la historia del joven productor de las noticias TV MX, Carlos Rojos. Este productor es contratado por políticos corruptos para limpiar su imagen en los medios. El productor es llamado para que arreglara la imagen del presidente de la repúblicadespués de un comentario racista. Para desviar su escandalo, él lanza el video del Gobernador Vargas negociando con la mafia. Al igual que el presidente de la república, el Gobernador Vargas contrata a Carlos Rojos para una vez mas limpiar la imagen de otro político.

Para un comunicador de los medios ya sea el periodista o reportero tienen el trabajo de cubrir noticias y darle la información con su toda honestidad. Pero, a largo plazo esta ética se esta perdiendo o simplemente es ignorada para poder tener una buena imagen. En los medios, este termino se llama distracción mediática. Esto consiste en crea la atención del publico de los problemas ya sea desviándolos con otras noticias o simplemente creando una para distraernos de la realidad que nos rodea.

El director Luis Estrada nos enseña en una forma satírica, con un toque de humor negro como en la película usan este método con la analogía de la caja china. Para poder desviar el escándalodel presidente de la república;ellos lanzaron otras noticias tales como la inundación, la balacera en la discoteca y, para terminar, publicaron el video del Gobernador Vargas. Es por esto que usan la analogía de la caja china; al abrirla encuentras otra y otra. Igual que la analogía; ellos publicaban malas noticia detrás de la otra para distraerla la audiencia del comentario racista del presidente. Además, nos muestra como los políticos manipula los medios para su propia campaña política. Esto lo podemos ver cuando el Gobernador Vargas hizo el video en vivo para el noticiero. Vendiéndole al pueblo que el hará lo posible para encontrar a las gemelas raptadas. Pero, en realidad lo hace para su propio beneficio para poder desviarlos del video de él negociando con la mafia. Tratando de crear una imagen positiva de él en los medios.

The Perfect Dictatorshipes una película que con su sátira nos enseña la realidad que no tan solo México vive, sino que también nos podemos relacionar. Como el gobierno y los medios colaboran para crear una realidad alternativa usando técnicas de distracción mediática. distrayéndonos de la verdad y lo que en realidad importa.


Velvet Buzzsaw(Movie Review)

After the success of  2014 film Nightcrawler, the perfect combo, Dan Gilroy and Jake Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 2.29.35 PMGyllenhaal teams up again for Netflix original film Velvet Buzzsaw. This psychological thriller tells the story of different people in the art world. Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) a well-known art critic.Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo) former punk rock girl who established her own art gallery and who’s losing her most adored client Piers (John Malkovich). Gretchen (Toni Collette) and ex-museum curator that’s trying her hands on private art buying. At last, Josephina (Zawe Ashton) Rhodora’s protegee who find a bunch of cursed paintings from an unknown artist. Captivating her colleges and taking the art world by storm.

As you can see the director ensemble a great cast with amazing actors, but the small problem was the film had too many characters. Actors, such as Natalia Dyer( stranger things), John Malkovich and miss Toni Collete played small roles. They had soo little to do compared to the other ones. Making the characters not well developed .wishing they had more screentime throughout the film. As always,  Jake Gyllenhaal immerses himself into his role by embodying a pretentious art critic. Being that one memorable character that stands out on the movie.

velvet-buzzsawThe film itself is a strange one. Writing some of the characters in a cartoonish way. Basically satirizing the stereotypical art hipster person you see in these kinds of environments. From the first until the half of the second act of the movie is filled with exposition. But, the delivery is mixed with some humor. Making it very entertaining along the way. When it came down to the last act, things get a little crazy by adding small specs of horror on the film such how the paintings take their revenge on these money hungry artists. Making the thriller scenes stand out and becoming my favorite parts of the movie.

Velvet Buzzsaw is Dan Gilroy’s take on the art world. Criticizing the commercialization of art and how dark it. Using satire and small horror elements to engage the viewers.  Is the film a bit messy? yes. Is this film for everyone? no. But the movie sure does bring good performances such as Jake Gyllenhaal and that for me, makes a solid and kinda fun movie worth watching.

I give this movie 3 / 5 Ventril Dease paintings.

 Trailer for Netflix original Velvet Buzzsaw :