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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


The Screen At Kamchanod 
(Pee Chang Nang) (2007) Thailand

I am just not a big fan of Eastern horror. Not because they don't make good movies, I've seen several I've actually liked. Maybe it's because I don't understand the culture, the movie isn't translated well, or I just don't have the brain power to pay close enough attention to what the movie is trying to say. This is definitely a movie that will require your full attention and even then you probably will get very confused.

This movie starts with what I consider a death knell to horror movies - 'Based On Real Events'. That immediately turns me off and I hope like crazy I haven't run into another hand-held 'found footage' type of garbage. Thankfully this is not like that, but whether any of it could be real is highly doubtful due to the story itself. A major plus is that this film has more spook and scares than all of the Paranormal Activity movies put together which makes for a steady stream of a really unsettling movie. A minus is whomever translated the movie into English did a crappy job, misspelling most of the names (I had to look up the Thai site for the real spelling) and I highly doubt that the dialogue was accurate. However it's still pretty good.

It begins with the statement that in 1987, organizers of a movie screening in the forest of Kamchanod in Thailand discovered that no one showed. But when the film was almost over, a group of people appeared out of nowhere and stood in front of the screen. When the movie ended, they disappeared. Skip ahead 18 years and we have a doctor named Yuth and his wife Orn. Yuth has decided to either debunk this story or prove it - again because of the translation it's not totally clear. What is clear is that he deserves to have his manhood chopped up with a rusty knife. 

Throughout the film it is shown that he has been beating Orn for wanting to leave him and constantly checks on her and threatens her. She even tries to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train but is saved at the last instant. So we're not dealing with a hero of a protagonist. In fact, there's something sinister about nearly everyone involved in Yuth's project.

They find the film and a group of six (including the projectionist) decide to watch it. It is a pretty neat part of the movie - the film itself is in bad shape and we get flashing scenes of a forest and shaky images that cannot be clearly seen. As they watch however in the theater, one by one the other seats fold down as if someone were sitting on them, and hands, faces and hair appear and disappear around them. Much spookier than any slamming door or moving objects in a PA movie. One of the viewers does as I've seen in another Thai horror movie, putting his feet on his seat so no ghosts can grab him.

Seeing the movie just makes Dr. Yuth want to do the 'experiment' all the more, even though now all are being bothered by specters, some really grotesque - some great makeup was used here. Although Dr. Yuth also is affected, he is a jackass and doesn't care what it's doing to the people who he's supposed to love or care about. Even when his 'friend' who watched the movie kills his wife to 'spare' her from the spectres and then kills himself he goes on. 

He tells his wife to take a ripped up document and have it repaired. This was an interesting part of the movie too. I didn't know this kind of thing could be done but watching the process was fascinating. There's also a pretty good scene where Yuth is accosted by an old woman who wants him to 'die in place' of her - after which he is run down by a truck - but not. Again, kind of confusing but good effects. He is unhurt but there is blood all over the street and blood smeared tire tracks lead away from him.

Unfortunately this is where things start to get very confusing. From what I understood, if they recreate what happened 18 years ago, the ghosts are supposed to then leave them alone - but only if they are there. Dr. Yuth, great guy that he is has decided to keep anyone but himself from being there. We get a plot point of an old man who is the only survivor of the first screening who has an amulet that protects him for some reason, and one of the group, a young stoner named Roj steals it from him as Yuth is taking him to the screening - but for his own reasons.

What is real and what is uh, I guess fantasized gets blurred together. In the end Roj, who Yuth planned to kill as he suspects he and his wife are going to run off together, lives because he holds the amulet, the others who are not there are tortured more by ghosts I think - and Yuth finds that he and the others ARE the audience and along with all the others they disappear and the characters are seen fainter and fainter and the film of their life skips and eventually rips. 

The film starts again, but the ending is just as ambiguous and you don't really know quite what they're trying to say and the film rips again and it's over.

Those with more brain power would probably understand this much better than me. Maybe I've been 'ruined' by the dozens of horrible American horror I've been watching. But this is still a very unsettling movie with some really good effects and worth a look.