Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Foreign Films Worth Watching

Audition (1999) Japan

Let me give you a brief reason why I squealed like a girl when this film came up on the Netflix choices. In 2005, I was burned out by music in general. After 90's grunge, I just didn't like anything I saw (I didn't look very hard either). But we got a new satellite system and I saw Fuse, which back then actually played music videos (now they're just like the rest). Every morning they played the Top Ten Countdown, and of course I didn't know a single song on it. There was one video though that mesmerized me. I watched it every morning for about two weeks, my hubby asking each morning, "Didn't you just see that yesterday?" Well duh, but I loved it, I had no idea why - if it was the song, the group or the video. Finally he said, "Why don't you just buy the CD?" Oh if he only knew... seven years later and so huge a collection I have absolutely nowhere to put it all, I still consider My Chemical Romance to be my favorite group.

The lead singer is, in fact, the picture I use for my profile, although he has gone back to his normal black hair and mine is now - different too. Okay that wasn't very brief but an early video from their first album was just - cool and creepy at the same time. Watched that one a LOT. Years later and Facebook's here with lots of pages for horror movie buffs. I see a picture that's right out of their video. I beg the site to tell me the name of the movie and it's this one. I couldn't find it anywhere.

But this morning, YES! Now this movie is a bit long, but has a great story and is extremely creepy. But if you don't want to spend almost 2 hours watching it, check out the 3 1/2 minute video Honey This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us (they were into long titles back then) by My Chemical Romance and you'll get a taste of what this movie is about. And my girl-crushing is done and this is the movie:

A widower of seven years is urged to think about remarriage. His son is now 17 and soon to leave the house, and a new wife seems to be what he needs. Now of course he wants someone young and beautiful, preferably with a job, and talents like piano, dancing and singing. Doesn't want much, does he? Not having ever dated he has no idea what to do, and doesn't want a bunch of dates with women trying to decide who is best for him. His friend, a film producer has this great idea: They'll pretend to 'cast' an upcoming film and have auditions. Surely among the many to apply he should find someone he likes. This sounds pretty sneaky and underhanded, but Aoyama, the widower, seems honest and likeable enough, and he's not looking just for a fling, but a life partner.

Looking through tons of files, he accidentally spills tea on one and while wiping it off, discovers a true beauty. Her name is Asami Yamazaki. In her audition, Asami says that she was a ballerina but had to give up dancing after an injury. She compares losing her dream to accepting death. Aoyama is attracted to her maturity, even though she's only 24. His producer friend says that he has a bad feeling about Asami. He cannot reach any of the references on her resume or her supposed employer. The music producer she claimed to work for has been missing for over a year. Aoyama doesn't care. Now we start getting the creepy crawlies.

Asami lives in an empty apartment, containing only a sack and a telephone. For four days after the audition, she sits perfectly still in the middle of the floor next to the telephone, waiting for it to ring. When it finally does, she lets it ring for a while, and you see a smile very slowly creep across her face. I tell you I got goose bumps just from that. Suddenly, the sack lurches across the room and makes gurgling sounds. What the hell? 

After several dates, she agrees to accompany Aoyama to a seaside hotel. Asami reveals that she was abused as a child by her uncle and shows burn scars on her body. A deeply moved Aoyama pledges his love, and they have sex after she makes him promise that she will be the ONLY one he loves. In the morning, Aoyama is awakened by a telephone call. It is the front desk inquiring if he will be checking out since his companion has left. Asami is nowhere to be found. Aoyama tries to track her down - nothing. At the dance studio where she claimed to have trained, he finds only a man with prosthetic feet who is probably her uncle. The bar where she claimed to work closed a year ago following the murder and dismemberment of the owner. A passer-by tells Aoyama that the police found three extra fingers, an extra ear, and an extra tongue when they recovered the body. Where did they come from? Ah yes, that is the question...

Meanwhile, Asami goes to Aoyama's house. She finds a photo of his late wife and finds out he has a son. So she thinks the wife is alive and he loves others, not only her. Enraged, she drugs his liquor. After Aoyama drinks, he passes out. We then kind of get into the 'what is real and what is dream' kind of stuff that usually drives me nuts, but this is an engrossing story so I didn't mind so much, even if you tend to get a little confused. He somehow 'sees' that the sack in Asami's apartment is a man missing - say it with me - three fingers, an ear and his tongue. Asami vomits into a dog dish and has him eat it. Flinch factor is now on maximum. And she's just getting started.

And we're back with Aoyama on the floor. Asami injects Aoyama with a paralysis agent that leaves his nerves alert. She tortures him with needles since he can still acutely feel everything, just can't do anything about it. She claims she is teaching him the meaning of needing someone. Then out comes the wire. She tells him with glee that the wire works great at cutting through flesh AND bone. She then pins down his left foot somehow and, working the wire back and forth (wincing is beginning to hurt my head now) she eventually saws through it and casually throws it off to the side. 

She starts on the other foot - and we get another 'is it a dream' sequence as Aoyama is back at the seaside hotel and frantically feels for his left foot - it's there and everything's fine. Asami says yes to his marriage proposal. But, you guessed it, he's still on the floor, about to lose his other foot. 

His son Shigehiko comes home unexpectedly - he was staying the night at a friend's house but that friend got sick. He finds his dad on the floor and doesn't see or hear Asami sneaking up on him. Thankfully Shigehiko is 17 and a strong kid, he fights her off, runs up the stairs, and when she tries to subdue him, manages to kick her hard enough that she lands at the base of the stairs, dying.

She starts muttering, as if she had memorized everything for this persona she was trying to be for Aoyama, some of the things she had shared with him in previous conversations. The son calls for an ambulance and police, and the last we hear is Aoyama's words (in his head) that he told his intended bride when she expressed her sorrow at not being able to dance, "It's hard to forget about, but someday you'll feel that life is wonderful."

This is a brutal but very well made film, much worth a peek - if you can stomach it. If not, just watch the MCR video - they kind of portray the man as a sleazeball, but other than that it's pretty close. And not as hard to watch.