Tag Archives: Alice

Re-Cycle: The New Face of Horror

Strange Spanish text...

Now I gave this review “The New Face of Horror” for a reason. This movie may be 5 years old, but this movie packs a whole lot of suspense, shock, and plot into one film. With a simple plot inside of a psychological mess of meaning, this movie entertains the mind on so many levels. The Pang Brothers, directors of Bangkok Dangerous (surprisingly the original and the remake), The Eye, and The Messengers, these bros do a whole lot more with this film. I did find The Eye to be terrifying (the original, mind you) and full of disturbing images, it was coming from an honest place in the horror genre that speaks to exactly what horror is. The idea of seeing just what frightens you and not being able to stop it. And, I would like to argue, Re-Cycle does the same with its intent.

The movie starts out like any Ring-like/Grudge like plot device. Ting-Yin (Angelica Lee) is a successful author of romance novels, drawing on her own heartbreaking life experiences with her lovers. When her agent announces that the book she will be currently working on is one of a supernatural nature. Delving into a world of literature and life she is unfamiliar with, Ting-Yin finds difficulty in this topic. After her ex-lover of long ago returns from divorcing his wife, Ting-Yin finds she must reexamine just what love means to her. And then that’s when things get weird.

Ting-Yin and the girl.

Ting-Yin, after writing a bit of her novel, finds that the supernatural events she is writing about… are happening to her. After scenes of suspense and danger, Ting-Yin escapes into a world not her own. She wanders through this world, encountering those who would wish her harm and others who provide help. Will she discover the meaning of this world and the characters she encounters? What exactly is the meaning of Re-Cycle? You’ll have to check out this wonderful film to discover its secrets.

The chilling ghost town of Ting-Yin's mind.

What really blew me away about this movie was the Guillermo del Toro special effects. Who I consider to be the greatest creature/effects creator of all time sets the bar for me when it comes to comparison on fantasy effects. And this movie ranks highly on the del Toro scale. The hanging forest chills me, and the mask that the little girl wears is terrifying. In an almost Silent Hill (again, there’s a review on this movie on my blog), the world that Ting-Yin encounters rivals that of the decayed town in which the main character of Silent Hill finds herself in. In an almost eerily similar way, at times in the film, Ting-Yin finds herself in a section of her world that begins to decay (or recycle, as it were) underneath her feet. And there’s one section of the world that will leave you in shock.

Known as the aborted fetus room (I’ll call it that, thanks), this place of horror and its demented baby fetuses is classically considered to be a comment on the issue of pro-life. I found it to be interesting in that, in a Chinese film, a woman encounters this house of horrors in what is truly a reality for many Chinese people. Due to the regulations on population size and number of children allowed, many women would have to face this trial for themselves. But, as the Pang Brothers divulge, “That just happens to be one of the topics in the movie. We are not out to say if abortion is right or wrong.” (That was said by Oxide Pang. What a badass name.)

Quite surreal...

But this movie really rolls a lot of fantasy worlds I find endearing into one. For one, Silent Hill. The idea of a demented ghost town is always a creepy thing. Then, there’s the elements of a “Fall” type realm. In another strain, The Fall is a movie I cherish close to my heart. Tarsem Singh brings an amazingly visual movie to light with a wonderfully tragic story. Not that this movie had that, but it came so damn close I cried regardless at the end. And, as always, my personal favorite, Alice in Wonderland. As if Ting-Yin herself was the Alice down the rabbit hole, this author turned experiencer of her own mind effectively symbolizes Alice and Lewis Carroll all at once.

I actually liked this cover better.

There were only a few drawbacks to this film. The biggest one I would say is the love interest. Well, former love interest. The few parts he had were entirely dubbed over by another Chinese actor. This jarring experience really ruined one of the more emotional scenes that was meant to show you the anguish between Ting-Yin and her lover. The other was the few slightly below average demons in the world in which Ting-Yin traversed. If only a bit of special effects work had been done instead of makeup, it may have looked a bit more demonic and devious. But, all-in-all, this movie delivered on all levels. With a move from the suspenseful and shocking to the macabre and surreal, this movie ends with an emotional bang, in a good way. So definitely check this out. If I had seen this movie earlier, I would’ve given this one of the more enjoyable and engrossing movie watching experiences of 2006. 9.8 out of 10.

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Deadman Wonderland: This Ain’t Your Average Alice…

This show was ridiculous. Not exactly a fall through the rabbit hole, but this was a wonderland all its own. Ganta Igarashi is not your typical Alice and there’s no white rabbit to lead him along his way. With a endless repertoire of  metal instrumentals and scenes of excruciating death, this show comes almost as close as Metalocalypse does with its protagonists, Dethklok. In some ways it almost goes farther. Pretty scary, right?

This show is sparked all by one little middle school massacre. A mysterious Red Man (if you remember way back when in my reviews, kinda looks like Skull Man) comes bursting through the window of Ganta’s school and kills all of his classmates. And you know who gets blamed? Ganta. Put on a trial and given the death sentence, Ganta must attempt to survive the Hell on Earth that is Deadman Wonderland.

And I would venture to guess that Deadman Wonderland is worse than Hell. There are dog races in which any participating runners have to dodge death in all forms and only one can survive to win cast points. Cast points are the

The Deadman Wonderland Prison. Fun, huh?

currency in which an inmate can buy and survive in Deadman Wonderland. It is especially important to gain cast points (not magically nerdy, mind you) so you can buy Candy. Candy are capsules of disgusting sweets that counteract the poison in your metallic neck leash. So despite being on death row to be executed, Ganta has to attempt to survive, every day.

Are we all really just prisoners of life? (Joke)

Inmates, other than being subordinate to the guard staff, are given free reign to destroy each other. Ganta is constantly in fear for his life, being a scrawny middle school midget with quite a rap of offenses that would piss most guys off. And it’s not only that. The Red Man Ganta encountered bestowed some strange crystal upon his chest that allows Ganta to use what are later referred to as Branches of Sin. This use of the blood as a weapon become quite helpful with Ganta’s “body type,” but the fallback (as there always is) is that Ganta has to fight in Carnival of Corpses (pronounced by the Japanese as Cannibal Corpse. Coincidentally, songs similar to the huge body of work Cannibal Corpse has created play during these fights) which could kill him at any moment. It just looks so promising for Ganta doesn’t it? You’ll have to watch to find out.

The voices of some of the characters are fantastic. Romi Park, famous voice actor of the Japanese version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric, is a bit whiny, but gets the job done as Ganta. Tsunenaga Tamaki is wonderfully twisted and done by Junichi Suwabe. And finally, Senji, the badass, ripped Branches of Sin fighter Crow, is admirably done by Masayuki Katou. I was overall impressed.

Now let’s talk about that animation quality. It’s dark and bloody. Very

Pretty sick, right? Good old Red Man

reminiscent of  Metalocalypse. I guess that’s why I liked it so much (look for this review in the coming months). The fluidity of the blood coursed throughout the veins of this sadistic fighting sci-fi anime in every scene. With more swearing than I’ve ever read in any subbed anime, I gotta say it was ridiculous to hear bleeps in Japanese. With other problems that probably cut this show short to 12 episodes, its unfortunate that the show was cut so abruptly short. But it ended in a way I didn’t expect either.

The realest.

Azuma Genkaku (Toshiyuki Morikawa) was a fantastic way to end it. Tying the whole metal music themed anime together, Azuma wields an axed guitar that allows him to supersonically bend the Branches of Sin wielders to their knees. His tragic past is explored and brought to the forefront to end the show (an unfortunate end, both for the show and Azuma) although I found him to be one of the most compelling and interesting  characters in the show. With nothing certain and a future in Deadman Wonderland ahead, what will happen to little “Alice” Ganta? Check out this show, it’s definitely worth the horrific watch. A solid 9.7 out of 10.

What will happen "down the rabbit hole?"