HIDDEN HORROR- Half Human (Plus a Bonus)

Jujin_Yuki_Otoko_posterWhen people think of Toho films or Japanese monster films Godzilla instantly comes to mind. However, people seem to forget that Toho has made more then just Godzilla films. Toho’s produced several other monster films, including the 1955 film Half Human. You could say that this is a cousin film to the Godzilla franchise since it is from Toho, was directed by Ishiro Honda, and featured special effects by Eiji tsubraya. These two were responsible for many of classic kaiju films of the ‘50s and ‘60s, however out of all of Toho’s other monster films, this one is the most overlooked. In 1958 it was released in America in a dubbed and Americanized version, featuring added scenes starring John Carradine. The Japanese version of the film has not been released in America so I will obviously be taking a look at the American version.

The film tells the story of an anthropologist (John Carradine) and is presented in a series of flashbacks as he tells a couple of his colleagues about three skiers in the Alps that have an encounter with the Abominable Snowman. The Abominable Snowman has an offspring as well, but one man tries to capture it, accidentally shooting and killing it. The father becomes enraged at the death of his offspring and goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path.

Half Human has some elements that make it similar to King Kong and even Cannibal Holocaust. This film is the epitome of hidden horror. Finding a copy of it on VHS or DVD is extremely difficult. I actually own a copy of it and I can tell you that if you do manage get your hands on it you will not be disappointed. It’s a great movie. The American version of the film is probably all you will be able to find, and unfortunately the American version cuts a lot of the Japanese footage out. The Japanese version can’t be found, but some say that the original unadulterated film exists somewhere out there. This is a hard to find horror and thus a totally underrated film that will probably never have its place in horror cinema history but if you can find it you will not be disappointed.

BONUS MUSIC REVIEW- “Slayer: Undisputed Attitude”

72_logoWhen it comes to legendary heavy metal band Slayer classic albums like “Reign in Blood,” “Hell Awaits,” or “Seasons in the Abyss” come to mind. However people forget that Slayer actually did a cover album, one that is extremely underrated to say the least. In 1996 Slayer recorded “Undisputed Attitude,” a follow up to their 1994 album “Divine Intervention,” deciding to do a cover album. At first they were going to cover Judas Priest and other classic bands, but instead decided to cover punk songs instead. Slayer’s a band that was born of heavy metal and punk and they were one of the first bands to combine the speed of punk music with heavy metal.

“Undisputed Attitude” features Slayer covering bands like Minor Threat, D.R.I. and more. They also take the Stooges song “I Want to be Your Dog,” make it heavy, add vulgarity to the lyrics and change the title to “I Want to be Your God” The highlight of the album, however, is the only original Slayer song on the album known as “Gemini.” It is a powerful song that features incredible drum work and musicianship, as well as mood and lyrics that will appeal to any horror movie fan. While not every Slayer album can be a “Reign in Blood” or “Hell Awaits” you can still bet that you are going to get real heavy metal and great musicianship with each of their releases. As long as Slayer is around, you can also bet that heavy metal will be alive. So give “Undisputed Attitude” a shot, it’s a fun listen and entertaining to say the least.

-Dakota Bailey

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HIDDEN HORROR-Shocking Asia

MV5BMTM0MTgxNTM1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDMxNTMzMQ@@__V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_If you are in the mood for a non-traditional horror film, I would recommend Rolf Olsen’s 1974 Mondo film ”Shocking Asia.”  This is a film so hidden that very little information on it can be found online. If you are a fan of “Cannibal Holocaust,” shockumentries, or you just want to be shocked, watch this film.  While not as brutal as ”Cannibal Holocaust””, or other Mondo films, it still has the same gritty exploitation vibe to it. Also, this film serves as a great introduction to the Mondo genre.

The film is about Asian culture. From the snake meat markets to religious ceremonies this film showcases it all, the shocking rituals and practices that, while normal to Asian culture are shocking to Americans.

On the National Geographic channel there is a television show called “Taboo,” which shows you how different cultures live. Imagine an uncut version of that show and you have “Shocking Asia.” In the ’70s these films provided audiences a glimpse into other countries and were quite shocking for the time. Some of the stuff from this film is still shocking, I can’t imagine how this would play to an audience in the 1970’s.

While some of the stuff featured in this film may be exaggerated, this film is enjoyable and a  fun watch. It is especially great if you want to take a break from horror films but watch something extreme. Don’t watch this film if you are easily offended. If you are a veteran viewer of ”Cannibal Holocaust” this will be a cake walk for you .

Bonus Music Review: Pantera’s “The Great Southern Trendkill

The_Great_Southern_TrendkillPerhaps one of the heaviest and brutal albums in heavy metal history is Pantera’s 1996 release “The Great Southern Trendkill.” It’s Pantera’s darkest and most experimental album as well. It was also around this time that Metallica disappointed metal fans with ”Load” because it wasn’t a very heavy album. Fortunately  Pantera were prepared with an album that was so heavy some of the songs did not even sound like Pantera.  Pantera only made one more album after this and disbanded, and guitarist Dimebag Darrel was murdered a few years later.

If you want a great heavy metal album that is very heavy and extreme this is for you. On a personal level, it is one of my favorites. This album has been around for 18 years plus, it does not sound old or outdated either- it is still heavier then most metal bands today, and that alone makes it unique and worth its reputation. A lot of classic metal albums out there you can say are not heavy by today’s standards, but this one is an exception. The guitar work from Dimebag Darrel is extremely heavy. As a matter of fact Dimebag’s guitar solo on ”Floods” is considered to be his greatest guitar solo ever! Drummer Vinnie Paul and bass player Rex Brown create a brutal rhythm section to go along with it Dimebag Darrel’s heavy guitar work. The production on this album sounds so good that it sounds as if it were recorded yesterday.

There was a lot of tension going on within the band at the time, and it was around this time that vocalist Phil Anselmo became addicted to heroin. As a matter of fact he overdosed and died touring for this album, but was revived with a shot of adrenaline. That would probably explain the dark mood that this album has, even the album booklet has a mysterious, dark vibe to it. There are also a lot of mysterious elements to this album as well. Such as that it was not well documented like the band’s other albums such as ”Far Beyond Driven” or ”Vulgar Display of Power”. Not much information can be found about this album online. Also, Pantera did not do very many interviews with the press in the era of this album. Also not many songs from this album were played live. The only songs Pantera played live in the 96/97 era from this album were ‘Suicide Note Pt. 2’, ‘War Nerve’, ”Sandblasted Skin’ and occasionally ’13 Steps to Nowhere’. They also only made one music video for this whole album. However just because they did not play very much material from this album live does not mean the songs were not good. The songs on this album are incredible, such as ”Drag the Waters”, ”Floods”, and ”Suicide Note Part 1” is a haunting acoustic ballad. Pantera had a reputation of never selling out and being the heaviest band around, and this album serves as a testament of that.

-Dakota Bailey

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.7th – HIDDEN HORROR – Evil Dead Trap

223912_481856415166219_909824565_nOur Halloween countdown just would not be complete without at least one Asian horror film and what better Asian horror film then one that is obscure even to horror fans. I give you 1988’s “Evil Dead Trap”…NO relation to the “Evil Dead” franchise.

Nami hosts a late night home video program. She receives a tape that appears to be a real snuff film shot at a nearby factory. She and her crew investigate the location where she meets a man looking for his brother and who warns her to stay away. As she gets closer to the truth she and her crew are subjected to a brutal nightmare.

Right off the bat what can be soo loved about “Evil Dead Trap” is that it came out at a time when Japanese horror films (in the 80’s and early 90’s) were not all “ghosty” like there are now. They were sick, gruesome, nasty and made you want to take a shower right after watching them. “Evil Dead Trap” is one of the classics of those J-Horrors of the more gruesome kind. The movie is practically a slasher film that shockingly turns into a body horror film near the end. One of the best aspects of the film is director Toshiharu Ikeda’s visual style. It’s very reminiscent of Dario Argento with Argento like lighting, atmosphere and many stylized shots. Imagine if Dario Argento, Sam Raimi and David Cronenberg all came together to direct a 80’s slasher film…but make it Japanese and boom! You’ve got “Evil Dead Trap”

So if you’re in the mood for some J-Horror but tired of all the dopey ghost girls with long black hair (believe me I sure am) then get a little nasty and gruesome with “Evil Dead Trap.”

-James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR – Suicide Club

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Obscure even to horror fans. I’m not too big on Japanese horror but this one…DAMN! So surreal, creepy, damn bloody and just plain weird! A Japanese horror film that leaves you confused and guessing yourself. There are so many possibilities and interpretations that one could be kept awake all night thinking. Once you think you have some idea of its meaning something else crazy happens, causing you to second guess yourself. Then once you second guess yourself—baby chicks appear, yellow raincoats and weird japanese pop songs appear. Your head explodes.

 

-James J. Coker