A disenfranchised med student finds her very own get-rich-quick scheme in the underground world of illegal surgeries. After agreeing to help out a friend in need, Mary soon finds her life becoming more entangled with body modification. As she tumbles further down the rabbit hole, the question soon arises as to whether or not Mary will ever find her moral footing again. Written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, this innovative film brings up a realistic concept that most know very little about. The fear of the unknown, combined with the questioning of right and wrong, introduces a wicked new American dream, and gives horror fans everywhere a new, strong, scary, female icon to idolize.
Park Chan-wook, director of Oldboy, Thirst, Lady Vengeance, and more, creates a new classic for English-speaking audiences. In this coming of age story, a young woman named India has recently lost her father. Oddly enough, she learns about the existence of her Uncle Charlie upon the day of the funeral. India soon finds that this epiphany is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Charlie’s secrets. With beautiful visuals, uncanny acting, and of course, superior directing from Park, Stoker tells a beautifully morbid tale of growing up, and learning to accept who you are.
The Lords of Salem
Say what you want about Rob Zombie’s previous films, but you can’t deny that Lords is his most advanced piece of work yet. Rob’s insight into the Salem Witch Trials depicted an imagery of witchcraft that had long been forgotten after the sweet, wholesome Harry Potter glazed over any remnants of satanic mischief. Not only is his illustration of witchery bothersome, but his accounts of the horrific events in Salem prove to be extremely accurate, making the shocking, disgusting moments in the film much more terrifying. His camera work is also noteworthy, as he opts to forego the usual shaky cam, and instead uses a more slow-paced, widely shot, Kubrick-stylized method of filmmaking, with bright, beautiful colors, and dark, demonic imagery. Argento and Jodorowsky’s influences are clearly apparent as well, creating a twisted, yet visually stunning masterpiece, that undoubtedly proves to be Zombie’s best feature to date.
An easy-going birthday party turns tragic when the hired clown, Stitches, experiences a freak, fatal accident in front of all of the young attendees. Years later, Stitches returns to the scene of the crime to seek revenge on those whose torment led to his untimely death. What follows is a demented, clever, side-splittingly hilarious account of clown jokes, mixed with brutal murders so bizarre, even the most grotesque moments are comical. Ross Noble is terrific as Stitches, the clown so bent on finishing his final show, he’ll kill for it. Despite the fact that this film is categorized as horror, it’s so funny, any fan of film can enjoy the humor, even if it is permeated with blood.
In this remake of the 1980 cult film, Elijah Wood plays Frank, a mannequin shop owner. Although remakes have a reputation for coming nowhere near the standard set by the original, Alexandre Aja’s Maniac is so astounding, it is arguably better than the first. Shot almost entirely in POV style, Wood’s face rarely appears on the screen at all, with the exception of a few mirror shots and flashbacks. This bold move, along with the location change, beautifully ominous score, and superb acting by Wood, sets Aja’s version completely apart from the original, while still holding on to key elements that made the 1980 film so eerie and definitive. The updated version turns a gritty, abrasive, cult classic into high art that demands respect, and several viewings.