j-horror

“Death Note” is a manga series that spawned a mega-franchise in Japan including an anime, two live-action films, a spin-off focusing on a fan-favorite character, three video games, seven soundtrack albums and enough licensed merchandise to make George Lucas salivate. In the US, however, the franchise remains fairly obscure for those who aren’t anime fans or Nipponophiles even as a big budget Hollywood remake of the film looms. Is “Death Note” an irresistible fantasy of power, intrigue and murder or just a kiddie tale dressed up in goth clothes?

If director Rob Marshall's 2005 endeavor "Memoirs of a Geisha" was too frilly for your liking, may I boldly suggest an alternative. Noboru Iguchi's "RoboGeisha," powered by the team responsible for "The Machine Girl" and "Tokyo Gore Police," looks positively insane, even by my standards Flesh-eating breast milk, deadly fried shrimp, breast cannons, hip swords, and a plethora of other visual insanities await those brave enough to dive face-first into this remarkably silly picture.

The closer it's release date gets, the more excited I am to check out "Kiss of the Dragon" director Chris Nahon's upcoming Japanese schoolgirl samurai flick "Blood: The Last Vampire." There's a very good possibility that I'll be able to catch this stylish action/horror hybrid during its limited theatrical run starting on July 10th, so be sure to pop around the site to see if the film is as good as all of these recently-released clips make it out to be. Monsters, swordplay, martial arts, over-the-top choreography -- how could it go wrong?

Don't answer that.

Although initial reviews aren't exactly what you'd call overwhelmingly positive and its Stateside release date is looming somewhere on the proverbial horizon, I'm still pretty pumped about "Blood: The Last Vampire." Yes, some of the action sequences seem a little stale and, yes, we've seen the "hot girl battling otherworldly creatures" scenario more times than any of us care to admit. That said, the film looks like great fun, and I'm anxious to get my grubby little mitts on a copy of it.

At first glance, the charming 2005 child-like Japanese fantasy flick “The Great Yokai War” (aka “The Great Spook War”) doesn't seem like a Takashi Miike film. Nary a painful nipple piercing, arterial spray, or cocky yakuza thug with a closet full of depraved sexual perversions can be found anywhere throughout the picture.

These days, it would appear that maverick Japanese director Takashi Miike's cinematic output is geared more towards the mainstream. And, really, who could blame him? The man has worked exceptionally hard to achieve the cult status he's attained, so why not put it to good use? His latest film, a live-action adaptation of the popular television series "Yatterman," appears to have been crafted in the same vein as his grossly underrated 2004 superhero comedy "Zebraman," a surprisingly effective feature that proves Miike is capable of more than just shock and awe.

I case you weren't privy to such information, I am what you might call a Shinya Tsukamoto fan-boy. I've yet to encounter one of the legendary director's productions that I haven't been completely enthralled with.

In this increasingly jaded era of cinematic history, the mere utterance of the phrase "video game adaptation" is sure to send waves of nausea and/or furious anger through the veins of even the most laid-back of horror fans. This, of course, is due in part to the questionable films directed by the legendary Uwe Boll, a man whose name has become synonymous with subpar big-screen versions of video games great and small.