TV Terror for Christmas – Kazuo Umezu’s THE PRESENT

 

Happy Holidays Horror Fiends! with all the Killer santa films out there. it can be hard choosing one to watch this yuletide season. So i am here to suggest a offbeat, fun and gruesome Killer santa film…FROM JAPAN. yep…There is a Japanese Killer Santa film out there folks. Watch the vid and dont forget to subscribe.

 

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HIDDEN HORROR – Guinea Pig series – Mermaid in a Manhole

Mermaid in a Manhole I have been a horror fan since about 5 years old due to showings of the classic monster movies and episodes of Tales from the Crypt for about as far as i can remember. So normally the more disturbing horrors that the genre has to offer does not really disturb me because i have become as you say “Jaded” but recently are very obscure and very rare Japanese horror movie from the late 80s that was apart of the notorious Guinea Pig franchise actually did something that hasnt happened to me in a good while. I was genuinely disturbed and grossed out by a horror film…it was Horror manga artists Hideshi Hino’s ” Mermaid in a Manhole”.

Now in my defense this was my first time seeing a Guinea Pig movie, and what i have heard about the Guinea Pig movies were quite notorious so my expectations were high and it did not disappoint. Now granted I have seen Last House on the Left, Cannibal Holocaust, Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer and a few other notoriously disturbing horror films, but there was something about this little obscure gem from Japan that truly did it for me.

This hour long gem is about a lonely painter who just lost his wife and who gets inspiration for his paintings by visiting the sewers below his street finds a Mermaid trapped in the sewers down below, he rescues her but discovers that from living in the sewers for so long that she is sick and is developing sores and boils all over her body that begin to bleed pus and pulsate. The painter is grief stricken yet again and tries to help the poor mermaid but the mermaid instructs the painter to use the different colors of pus coming from her boils to use as paint for his painting of her. As her sickness gets worse and worse, a variety of different things start to pulsate from her boils like a variety of pus, guts and even worms! as the mermaid is dying in agonizing pain the painter slowly loses his mind and begins to dismember her with a cleaver!

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Now right in the first few frames of Mermaid in a Manhole you are treated to atmospheric yet very unsettling shots of the sewer and the many different debris that is in there including a dead baby floating in the sewage. From that beginning you know you are in for a unsettling and disturbing right and it only gets worse from there. The painter we are introduced to is a lonely man whom we feel sorry for and even reminiscences about when he was a boy and the sewer was once a beautiful river (more on that later) but when he finally takes the mermaid back to his home and discovers the boils is when the true gross out really begins.

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A variety of different pus oozes from her boils as she screams, the body horror only gets worse from there as the pus gets worse with gross close up shots of it and even one scene that almost started to make myself gag! it is when worms start to pulsate out of the poor mermaids boils and the lonely painter has to pull out those worms! now even with all the gross out horror happening director Hidishi Hino gives the viewer some breather time when the mermaids sickness stops and theres a bit of calmness, the sounds of the painter painting from the mermaids pus or even a clock ticking. These moments for the audience to breath still manages to let you register what you saw and yet still be a bit unsettled.

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Finally during the end the painters mind breaks down and he begins to hack up the mermaid with a cleaver, it is during this moment that a shocking twist is revealed and then even furthered by the painter reaching into the bloody mangled corpse and pulling “something” out of it. This truly disturbing ending actually left me heavy breathing from being unsettled. It is truly a dark and extremely grim film that strikes right at the heart and yet stays in your head for a good while.

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Horror manga artist Hideshi Hino’s Mermaid in a Manhole (which is also is adapted from his own manga of the same name) is truly a obscure piece of Japanese horror cinema that is truly disturbing and grossly unsettling. 1980s Japanese horror cinema was the stuff of uncomfortable, disturbing and nightmarish visions of hell and this film is no exception to it. Watching this film will truly make you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards and put on some Disney movies to get your mind off of it. It is a damn shame that Hideshi Hino did not go on to direct more Japanese horror cinema (he also did one other Guinea Pig film before Mermaid) for if he did he would of have a filmography of some of the most disturbing and nightmarish horror movies ever made and would of been a household name to the horror community the world over. And it is an even bigger shame that the american dvd for Mermaid in a manhole which was put out by Unearthed films is long LONG out of print with copies ranging up to $100 !

Watching this japanese horror gem is in a emotional way like looking into hell. I dont usually say that watching a particular horror movie should come with a warning but for the Guinea Pig movie “Mermaid in a Manhole” i have to say…

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

– James J. Coker

 

HIDDEN HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN – Corpse Party Tortured Souls – 4 part OVA

Corpse PartyFor every Halloween viewing schedule i always try to throw in a Japanese horror film into the mix just to add some diversity and foreign flavors to the Halloween mix, Halloween season 2013 i watched Entrails of a Beautiful woman, Halloween season 2014 i watched the original Ring and so this Halloween season i decided to watch a Horror anime instead of the usual live action Japaneses Horror. Now i did not feel like anything too action packed (so no Hellsing) and nothing too sexual (im looking at you Legend of the Overfiend) luckily i discovered a 4 part OVA based on a popular Japanese horror game series called “Corpse Party” and after i read the synopsis for the franchise and I had to seek out this anime immediately…and oh what beautiful, ghoulish, ghostly and damn ghastly viewing pleasures awaited me when i popped in that rare Region 1 dvd of this hidden gem.

Now the synopsis of Corpse Party… The story is set in Heavenly Host Elementary School, an elementary school that was torn down following the murders and disappearances of several of its staff and students. By the start of the story, another school called Kisaragi Academy has been built over the elementary school site. One night, a group of students from Kisaragi are telling ghost stories when a sudden earthquake transports them to another dimension where Heavenly Host Elementary still exists and is haunted by the ghosts of the school’s murdered children. The students of Kisaragi Academy students try to find their way home and survive from the Ghost children who are out to murder them in gruesome ways with pairs of scissors!!!

Now with a synopsis like that you would think “oh typical ghost bullshit from Japan..YAWN” well…NO! not exactly yes the main baddies are ghosts but believe me this sucker is incredibly gruesome and gory, these ghosts do not play nice! but before i get into the red stuff, each episode has a mystery aspect to it where our characters are stitching together the pieces of where they are, what happened and how all these murderous ghost children came to be in this creepy otherworldly abandoned elementary school. Also it is noted that the first episode is a little rocky. It suffers from the usual anime “Bullshit” just a little and a few lines of dialogue that come out of nowhere that had me going “what the fuck!” and not in a good way. But just hold through horror fans because after the first death scene happens its one hell of a ghoulish and gruesome ride after that.

Now the real strength of this 4 part Horror anime lies in the creepy atmosphere of the abandoned other dimensional Heavenly Host elementary school and its incredibly fucked up and gruesome death scenes. Guts are spilled open numerous times, eyeballs are stabbed numerous times to the point it would make Fulci proud, and tongues are sliced off numerous times too, Seriously folks you can make a fucking drinking game out of how many times this anime spills guts, stabs eyeballs or slices off tongues. Along with all that we are also treated to gruesome stabbings, hangings, faces being skinned off, a mans body being skinned in half and a quick surprise decapitation all gruesome unrelenting fashion… believe me horror fiends the splatter is high in this one. But the most grueling scene involves a small girl being mutilated with a pair of scissors BUT you dont see most of it…you hear it and see a grizzly aftermath of it.

A noteworthy thing to add about Corpse Party Tortured Souls is that is also kills off children with reckless abandon. Seriously this fucker brutally kills off children in a mean spirited fashion like it is delighting in disturbing you. Just imagine if Lucio Fulci got to make a horror anime about murderous ghost children and was given permission to kill off child characters in it…and thats Corpse Party Tortured Souls. But believe me horrorfiends finding this sucker is a little hard to come by, Amazon.com and Ebay only have the japanese import and it is pricey, luckily i found a cheap region 1 english subtitled UNCUT version on a special anime website right here

http://www.shopanimedvd.com/product_info.php?products_id=781242

Now horror fiends if you want to add some rare horror anime to your Halloween movie mix then seek out this ghoulish and mean little fucker soon! It is perfect for a October viewing.

Oh and P. S. there is a surprise end credits scene that is mean-spirited in a psychological and emotional way and it is completely unnecessary but it is just there to make the thing that much more fucked up…youve been warned MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  – James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORRORS YOU MUST HEAR ! the very first Hidden Horrors podcast

11200819_679325005529699_94293480074322722_nHello Horror Fiends, James J. Coker here letting you all know this is the very first podcast for the hidden horrors you must see blog. Sterling Anno and mysefl discuss a wide range of topics within the horror genre including what makes a horror movie a “Hidden Gem”. Two hidden horror films that we both love to death one being a super scary Japanese found footage film and the other being a batshit crazy Bigfoot film. Two other films we both find very underrated and cant understand why fans shit all over them. Then we spew nothing but love for a little indie film called IT FOLLOWS and finish it off with some new horror directors who we have started to follow there work and the Horror films coming out here most excited for. So have the time fly by with Sterling “the SporkGuy” and myself talking passionately about the Hidden Gems we love. Link down below. you can either listen or Download by clicking the downward pointing arrow icon on the corner of the link.

HIDDEN HORROR AND TERROR TV FOR CHRISTMAS – KAZUO UMEZU’S HORROR THEATER – The Present

kazz 3Now we start off our Christmas horror season with one that may confuse our western readers. You see in the mid 2000’s when the horror anthology show “Masters of Horror” was airing the country of Japan decided to have there own version of that show. The show was called “Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater” and it feature notable Japanese horror directors each directing a episode based on a manga story by famed Japanese horror manga artist Kazuo Umezu. And this particular episode “the Present” is based on his christmas time horror story about rowdy partying young people being killed off in wonderfully gory ways by you guessed it…Santa Claus!!

The plot for this one is simple. a little girl named Yuko is staying up on christmas eve hoping to see santa but her parents tell her to go to bed and that Santa also punishes bad girls and boys. Cut to a number of years later and now Yuko is a young adult and is meeting some friends for partying at a rather empty hotel on Christmas Eve. So Santa Claus himself is hunting down and killing each one in surprisingly gory ways but is all these really happening or is Yuko’s imagination and childhood fears getting the best of her.

Now at first i was rather skeptical about going into this one because I always have been wearing about watching a Japanese horror film because i get tired of all the ghost shit and seeing how this one was practically Japanese horror trying to do a Christmas slasher film I actually thought they would fail and not make a entertaining tale of Mayhem for slasher and horror fans…BOY WAS I WRONG!!!! “The Present” is one hell of a entertaining and damn gory time for both slasher movie fans and horror movie fans as well. Where to begin…though the characters are rather mundane the Atmosphere director Yudai Yamaguchi brings to this strong echoes that of 80s horror films and even that of the film CREEPSHOW with attention to setting and lighting, particularly a eerie set of colored lighting and many establishing location shots that bring in the atmosphere to the point it feels like a lost Creepshow segment. now along with the 80s creepshow-like atmosphere the kills and gore in this sucker is what really surprised me. We get bodies chopped in half with guts hanging out, amputated arms and legs, stabbings in the head, bodies covered in blood and maggots, fingernails ripped off and even a scene where dear old saint nick rips a girls brains out and feeds it to his reindeer in graphic detail! this santa does not play nice with his victims and even has a cool weapon that is a bladed star attached to a chain that he whips around! this is one killer santa that is both cool and damn mean-spirited!.

Now the ending to it all gets just as gruesome with a character discovering a hole in the back of her head with maggots coming out (Kazuo Umezu stories are always this gruesome) and starts digging into that hole with her hand! but suddenly the whole episode switches back to the very beginning and it leaves the viewer scratching there head. An amigous ending that i really loved.

So if you want something a little different with your killer santa flicks this yuletide season but dont want it to skip on the gore and gruesomeness then seek out little known Japanese christmas horror episode “the Present” of Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater. Youll have a fun time with this “Slayride” because it fucking rocks! – James J. Coker

Hidden Horror- “Mantango: Attack of the Mushroom People”

Matango_1963_posterWhen it comes to legendary Japanese movie company Toho your mind instantly goes to Godzilla, however Toho made several other great films that are often overlooked. “Mantango Attack of the Mushroom People” is the perfect example, gaining a reputation and became a cult classic, though nowhere as popular as the Godzilla franchise.

The film opens on a guy going to a mental hospital to see a psychiatrist who may be crazy, but his story is even crazier. The psychiatrist tells the man what happened to him and it plays out on screen. Some people aboard a yacht run into a bad storm. The storm ends eventually and the people aboard it venture onto an island that seems to have no inhabitants. Their ship is damaged from the storm so they have no choice but to look on the island to search for some food. They discover a huge forest full of large mushrooms. They decide not to eat them as they may be poisonous, although they have no other source of food. They also find that no animals are on the island at all either. And to make matters worse they find the remains of another ship that appears to have crashed there. Eventually the people aboard the ship give into starvation and begin eating the mushrooms and the results are hideous…

Despite the weird title and concept this film is a great flick. Even if the plot sounds kind if campy, it is not as if this film isn’t a dark movie with a serious tone. It is also directed by legendary Toho monster/ Godzilla director Ishiro Honda and it features special effects by Eiji Tsubraya, who was behind all the visual effects of Toho’s classic films from the mid ’50s to late ’60s.

This film is an adaption of a story called “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hogdson. The story has been adapted a few times and this film is by far the best adaption of it. This film gets pretty tense at some moments as the characters begin to get paranoid and angry at each other, and they eventually break down as the film progresses and give into the temptation of the mushrooms.

Lately this film has became hard to find at a reasonable price, but if you do buy this film it is worth the price. It is not very often a film can take a campy/cheesy sounding subject matter like mushroom people and make it a dark and serious film. And this film is just a pretty unique and cool movie. If you want an outside of the box horror film this is for you, or if you love Toho or Godzilla films you will defines love this film.

-Dakota Bailey