Monday, 20 February 2012

Ex Drummer

I haven't put much on the page the past few months as you may have noticed. I'm trying to rectify that by putting up more posts on the page (possibly every couple of days), a few may be a bit shorter between bigger posts as well. Plus I've started a facebook page which you can like on the right in addition to my twitter. I've been talking and posting trailers and short films on my facebook a lot over the past couple of days so join in if you're interested (please haha!).

I kept picking up "Ex Drummer" in my local dvd store for a while without buying it but I finally gave in when the price became too good to refuse. "Ex Drummer" is a 2007 Belgian release directed by Koen Mortier. It is an adaptation of a book written by Herman Brusselmans of the same name.

The film begins with three disabled musicians who are looking for a drummer (who must also have a disability) so they can play a gig for one show only at a local music competition. They ask a famous, rich writer called Dries to play drums for them. His disability is that he can't play the drums (which he can play quite well), and this suits their bands punk sensibilities to a tee.

Koen is the lead singer. His disability is that  he has a speech impediment. He also hates women, whom he is  partial to raping and beating. The walls in his flat are usually smeared in someones blood and he's usually filmed upside down when he's in his home for some reason.

Ivan plays guitar. His disability is that he is slightly deaf. He is constantly under the influence of drugs and lives with his addict wife and badly neglected child in squalor.

Jan is the bass player. His disability is that he is unable to bend his right arm. He is gay, has some serious mother issues, and his dad is insane and is locked in a room in a straitjacket to stop him causing any harm.

Dries is pretty much bored with his life, and decides to join their band as a diversion and as inspiration for a new book. He is of the idea that he can get his amusement by hanging out with these degenerates and get away with doing things he would never imagine doing in civilised society, safe in the knowledge that he can go back to his plush apartment and his beautiful wife at the end of the day. Dries names the band "The Feminists", and watches and manipulates these dysfunctional characters purely for his own entertainment. He pretty much pushes everyone to breaking point knowing there is nothing they can do to get out of their mess while he simply goes home and forgets all about them.

This is a bleak, though at times, darkly comic film. With such themes as drug use, murder, rape, child abuse, racism, and many more, and the poverty these characters live in, can sometimes make for a tough watch. But, like such films as "Trainspotting", it has a degree of humour running through it too.

This is director Koen Mortier's first film, though he has previously worked on music videos and advertisements. There is an interesting 30 minute making of featurette on the dvd which shows how troubled the production of this film was. Rejection letter after rejection letter to get financing for the film, and the actors and crew really didn't like working with Mortier, who tries to liken himself to famous directors like Scorcese which is a bit hard to stomach.

This is a film that has split opinion down the middle with people either loving it or hating it. I thought it was a strange, slightly baffling film, but I have seen worse made films. Also I have to give kudos to the ending, which I did think was great and totally unexpected!

I once again thank everyone for reading, please feel free to leave a comment below if you have time. Also please like my facebook page, as I talk a lot on there!


Friday, 17 February 2012

House (Hausu)

It's been a while since I last wrote a post on the page and for that I apologise. Anyway, I'll try to get back on track and get more films on the page. I've recently been trying to get a bit more interaction with whoever is reading the blog, this film post being one of them. I have also joined the Horror Blogger Alliance, which has helped me find readers and find some great new pages myself. Check it out if you're interested in reading more pages like this one!

I had a competition a few days ago to name a film that that people would like to see on the page. I had a lot of great suggestions but I picked a film called "House" (thanks Trina) as I felt it sounded appropriately insane enough to tie in with the blog.

I had never seen the film before. I just had my copy delivered this morning in the post and have literally just watched it. Now I'm a bit lost on what to say!

"House" (Hausu) is a 1977 Japanese film (I can't really pidgeonhole it into a particular genre) directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi. This was his debut feature film although he was already well known for his avant-garde experimental short films and his TV commercials made for Japan, starring Hollywood stars such as Kirk Douglas and Charles Bronson.

Before I talk about the film, I should talk a bit about how the film came to be made.

In the beginning, Obayashi and a small group of individuals were interested in making short experimental movies using 8mm and 16mm film. After a while the profile of this group increased, and they started to show their films at makeshift venues. At one of these venues was a producer of one of Japan's leading advertisers, who proposed that they use their experimental techniques to make advertisements.

Obayashi took up this proposal. Instead of commercials, he likes to call them avant-garde and experimental amateur films, except the themes are for products. He was also attracted to the professional equipment that he had at his disposal in a studio environment.He became well known as an innovator in advertising, using all his technical and experimental expertise.

In the seventies, the Japanese film studios were having a difficult period and found it hard to compete with commercial Hollywood films. At that time in Japan, to be a film director you had to be an employee at one of the studios and work your way up to assistant director before becoming a director yourself if you were lucky. Obayashi wasn't an employee of a studio so thought his chances of making a feature film were non existant.

Studios weren't making a lot of money so they hired out their studios to advertisement companies. Obayashi hired the biggest studio at Toho to make his commercials. One day a Toho producer visited his studio and asked if he had seen the film "Jaws"? The producer said that he'd like to see such an exciting film made in Japan but can't work out how to make such a film. He then said that Spielberg was an amateur 8mm filmmaker who got a part-time job in Hollywood in TV work and then created "Jaws". He then said that sounded a lot like Obayashi and did he think that he could make a film like that at Toho? Obayashi said yes, and the producer asked if he could come up with a film proposal.

Obayashi thought of what story he could come up with that was similar to "Jaws". They all came down to man eating animals of all forms which he thought was tired as everyone was trying to make these films. He went home and asked his young daughter, Chigumi, what she thought was scary. She was brushing her hair at the mirror and said, "If my reflection could jump out and eat me, that would be scary." That's how "House" was concieved. After the film was green lit, it was put on hold for two years as no director wanted to make the film. This opened the door for Obayashi to direct.

Onto the film. "House" is about a group of schoolgirls only known by nicknames. Gorgeous (the pretty one), Fantasy (day dreamer), Mac (the chubby one), Prof (smart), Kung Fu (good fighter), Melody (accomplished musician), and Sweet (the nice one). All the girls apart from Gorgeous plan on going on a camping trip with their teacher for the summer holidays, which then gets cancelled. Gorgeous plans on going on holiday with her father who is a successful film scorer. Her father comes back from Italy and introduces Gorgeous to her soon-to-be stepmother who will be joining them on holiday.This upsets Gorgeous who then goes to her room and writes a letter to her aunt asking if she and her friends can come and stay? Soon after, a cat comes to the house, along with a reply saying they can all go to visit.

They make their way to where the aunt lives in the countryside, and have a bit of difficulty finding the house, but they finally arrive and are greeted by Gorgeous' aunt. After a brief tour of the house, the girls are left to their own devices. They soon start disappearing one by one, the other girls start looking for them only to be taken out in some imaginative ways!

As per usual, I only like to give a brief synopsis of the film so I don't spoil it for anyone. All I can say is, this is a really strange film. Part horror, dark fairytale, very sugary teen melodrama, surreal comedy and bad acid trip. Some of it was maybe a bit hard even for me to stomach, I thought there were some really bad but still highly surreal attempts at slapstick comedy which were groan worthy. But the film was entertaining enough, I don't think I'll see anything like it again!

If you like surrealism and almost incomprehensible images this film is one you should look out for. If you want to see someone being eaten by a grand piano or a man turn into bananas for no reason check it out! I liked it to an extent but found a lot of the first half of the film too sugary and sweet for my liking. I like it a little darker!

The whole backstory of how the film came to be made is very interesting and I once again thank Trina for choosing the film. Although I liked about 60% of it, it 100% belongs on this page!

I thank everyone for giving the page a look, feel free to let your thoughts be known in the comments section below!



Sunday, 12 February 2012


As you can see, I've been on a bit of a hiatus for a while now. It's been quite hard to write anything because I've really been struggling to get anyone to actually read anything on here. I'm probably not the best writer and I don't claim to be, and I always said I'm just doing this for myself, but it has been dragging me downg a bit even though I try not to let it. 

Anyway, enough whining. I've been trying to get things back on track now and a couple of days ago I put a competition on twitter and facebook for people to pick a film they'd like to see up on the page and the winner would win a film from my personal collection, not just any old shit that I don't want but one that goes in line with what I write.

Unfortunately, no one read that competition either (only one reply so far) so I'm posting up on the page to see if I get a better response! If successful, there will be more stuff like this up on the page. If not, I guess I'll just call it a day I suppose haha!

If anyone thinks they have something good, let me know in the comments and if all goes well, I'll pick a winner! 

Thanks to all that have read this page!