“Train to Busan” – Movie Review

South Korea's impressive zombie flick

Title: Train To Busan Hangul Title: 부산행 Literal Translation: For Busan Run Time: 118 minutes Distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment (USA) / Next Entertainment World (International) Director: Yeon Sang-Ho Writer: Park Joo-Suk, Yeon Sang-Ho Cinematographer: Lee Hyung-Duk Producers: Lee Dong-Ha, Kim Yeon-Ha Starring: Gong Yoo, Kim Soo-An, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-Mi, Kim Eui-Sung, Choi Woo-Sik,… Continue reading “Train to Busan” – Movie Review

South Korea's "The Wailing"
South Korea’s “The Wailing”

Title:  The Wailing

Hangul Title:  곡성

Literal Translation:  Gokseong

Run Time:  156 minutes

Distributor:  Well Go USA Entertainment (USA); 20th Century Fox (South Korea)

Director / Writer:  Na Hong-Jin

Cinematographer:  Hong Kyung-Pyo

Producers:  Lim Min-Sub, Seo Dong-Hyun, Kim Ho-Sung

Stars:  Kwak Do-Wan, Hwang Jung-Min, Jun Kunimura, Chun Woo-Hee, Kim Hwan-Hee


For anyone familiar with South Korean film and television, it is not an understatement to say that the industry centered in Seoul tends to be far more inventive than the American industry, the latter stuck in an endless cycle of rehashed ideas and average execution.  America beats a genre to death, preferring to regurgitate over and over that which has found even a modicum of success (see just about any found-footage film produced since the abysmal “The Blair Witch Project” or any James Wan film).  South Korea is certainly not free from guilt in that department Their rom-com series and movies can be just as formulaic as the American counterparts and much of what comes out of the country is mired in youth culture, just like in America.   But what sets the Korean industry apart from the American is their willingness to take huge risks on both the large and small screens on a fairly regular basis and thereby breathe new life into various genres far more regularly.

Hollywood, it seems, has taken notice.  20th Century Fox has made a sizable investment in Korean cinema of late, co-producing over a dozen films in exchange for certain distribution rights and, presumably, American remake rights.  And Fox has its hands in one of South Korea’s biggest theatrical hits, writer/director Na Hong-Jin’s The Wailing, an atmospheric, tense and immensely suspenseful horror film which takes just about every trope of the horror genre, throws them in a blender and in the process reinvigorates a genre that desperately needs shaking up.

Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival (in itself a testament to Fox’ faith in the film), The Wailing is set in the peaceful, rural village of Gokseong (the literal translation of the Hangul title 곡성), a town where everyone knows everyone and nothing untoward ever seems to happen.  Policeman Jong-Goo (the always reliable Kwak Do-Wan) is awakened one rainy morning to help investigate a brutal murder of a family…a murder, it seems,was perpetrated by the father of the family.  From the moment we meet Jong-Goo we expect him to be the head of the police, someone who will emerge as the hero and save his village from whatever we’re about to witness.  Instead, Na and Kwak give us a somewhat bumbling subordinate, a sergeant who is often late to work and seemingly disinterested in the dull routine in a town where nothing ever happens. The fact that he fucks around on his wife and isn’t even smart enough to hide the fact from his young daughter Hyo-Jin (the impressive Kim Hwan-Hee) is testament to the fact that this is a man utterly bored with his life.

Arriving at the crime scene, Jong-Goo is struck by the man in and handcuffs sitting on the porch. Covered in festering boils and with eyes glazed over, he seems a broken man, zombie-like.  The horror that awaits him in the main room of the house is beyond unbelievable, almost ritualistic:  an entire family slaughtered, blood covered walls, belongings strew about in heaps.  It clearly shakes Jong-Goo to his core…perhaps being the first time he has even seen any real crime although his career and he are both clearly in their middle age.  A co-worker tells Jong-Goo that the neighbors seemed to think the man had eaten poisoned mushrooms as his behavior had been strange for days.  A reason Jong-Goo is all too happy to accept.

Back at the station on night-shift, Jong-Goo and his partner are discussing the case.  Jong-Goo believes the poisoned mushroom story.  His partner, however, has heard other rumors spreading throughout the village…that strange things had never happened here until an older Japanese man (Japan’s ever impressive Jun Kunimura in an alternately sympathetic and frightening performance) moved into a remote house in the forest.  In fact, he says, one village saw the old man — wearing nothing but a fundoshi – in the forest tearing apart an animal with his bare teeth, devouring it. It’s a true ghost story moment in the police station as the storm rages outside.  Jong-Goo chides his partner for believing such nonsense, hinting at the underlying bigotry of it.  When the electricity suddenly goes out, the two cops are frightened out of their wits at the sight of a naked woman standing right outside the door; yet, when they go out to investigate, the entire neighborhood is dark and the woman has vanished.

The next night, Jong-Goo is late again responding to the scene of a house fire.  When he arrives, officers are trying to restrain what seems to be a distraught woman survivor flailing around like a madwoman, growling and grunting, biting officers to get loose.  Jong-Goo attempts to help restrain her but she breaks free and as one of the bodies the officers are clearing from the house seems to come back to life, both the woman and the victim attack Jong-Goo, shaking him to his core.  Especially so since the wild woman was the woman he had seen the night before, naked in the rain outside the station.  When he notices the Japanese man at the scene calmly watching the events, the rumors take hold in Jong-Goo’s psyche.

As deaths continue to mount, more and more outlandish rumors spread about the Japanese man, his possible involvement with the murderers.  Still, Jong-Goo looks for a more believable scenario.  As he guards the fire scene, Jong-Goo ruminates to his partner about the possible cause.  As they talk, a young woman in white who they have never seen, sits on her haunches just outside the scene and literally throws stones at the two cops.  As the woman is clearly crazy, they try to ignore her.  All the killers had festering boils, Jong-Goo surmises, so it must be some kind of infection; he instructs his partner to check with the local clinics as to any possible outbreaks.

Alone at the scene, Jong-Goo still tries to ignore the woman in white as stones gather at his feet.  Finally, the woman comes nearer, explaining that she witnessed the crime, saw the woman murder her family.  She states that the rumor is that the Japanese man is a ghost who sucks your blood and steals your soul.  And if one has seen him, one must beware…the ghost is stalking you.  Still mentally fighting against unfounded rumors, Jong-Goo seems to gloss over her warnings about the Japanese man; rather he excitedly calls his partner, stating that he has found an eyewitness. Problem is, when he turns to speak with her again, she has vanished.

Besieged by vivid nightmares of the Japanese man’s purported animalistic nature, Jong-Goo is starting to feel the toll the case is taking on him.  And when his daughter suddenly takes ill, displaying symptoms eerily similar to those of others who have gone on to become killers, he enlists his partner and a local villager –who claims to have witnessed the animal side of the man — to pay the Japanese man a visit.  On their way through the forest, the three stumble upon carcasses of dead animals.  “I told you,” the villager screams.  Then as if the spirits are conspiring to keep them from the house, the heavens open up and the three must rush back to the village due to a strange accident that falls upon the villager.

At the hospital, Jong-Goo witnesses the violent death of yet another man covered in boils. That night, he witnesses his daughter undergoing a similar fit during the throes of her illness and when his daughter’s behavior becomes more bizarre, Jong-Goo’s mother-in-law wants to call in a mudang, a shaman, to find out what is wrong with the girl.

With growing dread for his daughter, Jong-Goo decides that he and his partner will try again to visit the old Japanese man.  This time they enlist the help of a young Deacon from the local Catholic church (a nod to “The Exorcist”), ostensibly as a translator.  Finding the old man’s home vacant and knowing full well that they are breaking the law, the trio enter and is shocked at what they find in a hidden room: a makeshift altar, photographs of the victims taken both before and after their deaths, and, in the center of the room, a mound personal items belonging to the victims…and future victims. Amongst the belongings is the shoe of Jong-Goo’s daughter, Hyo-Jin.

Knowing full well that his daughter’s life is in peril, Jong-Goo finds himself spiraling further and further into the realm of uncertainty and panic.  Is the Japanese Man evil incarnate as others so strongly believe?  Is the mudang his family has called in legitimate?  Who is the mysterious woman in white?  Ultimately he’ll find himself torn by this trinity of bizarre outsiders and not only is the survival of the village at stake…but his own family’s fate hinges upon him discovering the true source of evil that has come to visit Gokseong.

If there sounds like there is a lot going on in The Wailing, you’re right…there is.  And in the hands of most directors, this would probably end up a god-awful mess.  But writer/director Na handles it all with the skill of a virtuoso conductor.  Na clearly knows all the tropes of horror films exceptionally well and is willing to misdirect you down the paths most often taken only to pull the rug out from under it all at a moment’s notice.  He expertly keeps the viewer off-balance and, therefore, on the edge of their seat.

In the beginning, one is certain one is going to get a zombie movie.  Clearly more influenced by the recent “infected” trend than Romero’s classic zombies, Na sets it up perfectly…the wild eyes, the biting which one is certain will spread the infection throughout the village, the boils and clouded eyes.  But even this, Na tempers, eschewing smash cuts and deafening sound effects standing in for true scares in favor of a tension and suspense that is truly unnerving.

That tension and suspense is incredibly reminiscent of Hitchcock and rarely in horror films do we see it utilized let alone done well…the last truly great example I can recall is Ridley Scott’s original Alien.  Na isn’t afraid to take his time with the set up; he knows he needs to slowly build that dread, that tension to keep the audience where he wants them, as unbalance as Jong-Goo. Now, Na could not have done this alone and credit must go to both Kwak, as Jong-Goo, and cinematographer Hong Kyung-Po (Snowpiercer).

In the case of the former, Kwak is a journeyman actor know for playing characters who are often conniving businessmen or overzealous military men as he does in the excellent “The Attorney,” (2013), where he brutally pursues the prosecution of student activists, bringing them up on trumped-up charges as the then-repressive South Korean government expects him to.  The Wailing is, for Kwak, is a bit of a departure.  Jong-Goo is not particularly smart or devoted to doing what is right.  He is just your average Joe – a bit inept and bumbling — trying to make sense of what is insensible.  He is not a hero, but an everyman.  With his doughy face and middle age paunch, he isn’t so different from you or me, and Kwak nails it as to how each of us would probably react in similar bizarre circumstances (as opposed to how we imagine ourselves reacting).  He brings levity to the piece as well and in the end…he just doesn’t know what the fuck to do…but he is going to try and do what he can as best he can despite being scared out of his mind.

If the case of the latter, cinematographer Hong Kyung-Po frames the film exceptionally well, adding much to the creepy atmosphere.  Hong knows that the scenery of South Jeolla and Gokseong County do much of his work for him. The remoteness, the seeming tranquility of lush green mountains, becomes a character in and of itself.  Hong doesn’t waste his time on fancy Hollywood lighting set-ups; he eschews that, opting instead for natural lighting for the vast majority of the picture.  This not only serves the locale well, but also the actors who are shot very naturally, supporting the everyman aspect of the characters.  Add in a lot (and I mean a lot) of rain, and the mood of the film naturally becomes creepy.  Hong also understands the benefits of long shots and stationary cameras.  He knows that what you can barely see is many times far more frightening that what runs up into your face.

So, just as we are settling into what we are fairly certain is going to be a zombie film, Na turns that on its head and begins to lead us down the path of prejudice.  This is going to be a story about unfounded fear of outsiders, about exacting vengeance on someone who has done nothing except be different.  This man has done nothing to warrant the suspicion around him except be Japanese.  Now, don’t get me wrong…Na does not beat us over the head with this.  It is done very subtly, aided in part by Jong-Goo’s desire not to jump to conclusions based on innuendo.  Anti-Japanese sentiment due to Japanese Colonial rule over South Korea lingers in the air in this film, but it is never once directly stated.  It is implied.  And what makes this all the more interesting and powerful is that nearly all of the characters in this film are middle-aged or younger…all of them far to young to have lived through Japanese rule.  The prejudice, therefore, is inherited, handed down from prior generations.  Again, none of this is blatant and it can go by almost completely unnoticed especially if one doesn’t know the historical background of the country.

Kunimura, as the Japanese Man, plays his role beautifully well with this respect.  He gives an understated performance that lends him an unrelentingly creepy air when needed and a brutal ferocity when it is called upon.  The problem with the latter for us the viewing audience is we’re never quite sure whether these animalistic adventures are real or if they are simply part of Jong-Goo’s nightmares, a symptom of his succumbing to an underlying prejudice exacerbated by fear and rumor.  Later in the film, Kunimura turns in a heartbreaking performance when we the audience are led to believe he is an innocent bystander of all of this.  Even this fear of the outsider direction Na takes us in, he also manages to turn on its head.

And just when we’re all getting comfortable with that, Na pulls the rug out from us again, referencing both “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” in short order.   As Jong-Goo and his partner set off for the second time to visit the Japanese man, they enlist the help of a young Deacon (Kim Do-Yun, a relative newcomer to Korean cinema) from the local Christian church to serve as their translator.  For those familiar with classic horror films, this gives us a bit of a chuckle.  Clearly, though Na has fashioned his victims to be somewhat zombie-like in a piece of misdirection, their convulsive behavior when close to death was clearly meant to evoke Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”  So when the Deacon shows up, we know where Na is headed.

When Jong-Goo, his partner and the Deacon arrive at the house in the woods (another nod to bygone horror), the Japanese man is not present, but the house is guarded by a chained, black Rottweiler (hello “The Omen”). Na builds the tension is this scene expertly with minimal camera movements and edits. There isn’t any overbearing, ominous music to help build the suspense either. We know the Japanese man could return at any second. The constant barking of the dog as he tries to break free and the utterly realistic performances of the actors gets us there, taking us almost to the breaking point.  And when the dog breaks free to attack (evoking yet another horror classic) and the Japanese man returns, we are unsettled by the utter quiet and simplicity of the ending of the scene.

The nod to “The Exorcist” transforms into much more than an homage when Jong-Goo’s daughter starts displaying animalistic behavior, convulsions and foul language.  We’re settled in for an exorcism movie.  But even here Na plays with us.  Is it really demonic possession or simply an illness?  Huge kudos must go to young actress Kim Hwan-Hee as Hyo-Jin, Jong-Goo’s daughter.  In a performance that rivals (and perhaps even surpasses) Linda Blair’s Oscar-nominated performance, Kim – without the aid of make-up or special effects – gives us an “illness” that is utterly believable no matter how you look at it…demonic possession or simple epilepsy. You buy either explanation…a tack that, again, helps the viewer empathize with the confusion coursing through Jong-Goo.  He desperately wants to cure her…but from what? A natural illness or an unnatural one?  And here is the tipping point for Jong-goo, that moment when he crosses from wanting to find the right answer to needing to find the quick answer.  And the quick answer is that the Japanese man is evil incarnate.

This transformation of both Hyo-Jin and Jong-Goo works because director Na has spent the time in his film to firmly establish their relationship.  Unlike American horror films which give us a whole 5 minutes of “family time” at the beginning and expect us to be emotionally invested in characters, Na carefully crafts the relationship between father and daughter, giving us meaningful scenes throughout a large chunk of the film.  Even after the murders start happening, we get to see real moments between parent and child (and, one wonders at times which is which) that are not throw aways.

When the family calls in the mudang Il Gwang (one of South Korea’s most popular actors, Hwang Jung-Min), yet another outsider enters the fray and we feel we are firmly ensconced in an exorcism film.  Hwang’s shaman is not at all what we expect.  He’s motivated by money, drives a very nice car, sports turtlenecks and a pretentious little ponytail.  In short, he comes off more like a discount Steve Jobs that a heralded shaman.  Yet, he comes with a sterling reputation.  We’re immediately off-put.  Is this guy a quack or the real deal?  Do we trust him or do we not?  After an all-too-brief exam of the girl and the environs, Il Gwang explains that Hyo-Jin is possessed by a powerful ghost that must be driven out else the whole village will perish…and then the ghost will move on to the next village.

Not sure what or who to believe, Jong-Goo reluctantly agrees…and he agrees not interrupt the proceedings or the consequences will be dire.  And in a stunningly orchestrated climax to the film (at just over the half way mark), Na gives us a cacophonous, riotous “exorcism” steeped in mysticism (nod to “The Serpent and the Rainbow”?) that is almost unbearable in its unrelenting tension.  Hwang as the mudang, Kim as daughter Hyo-Jin and Kunimura as the Japanese man give stunning performances enhanced by Na’s judicious editing and Hong’s gorgeous cinematography.  It’s beautiful and brutal and almost too painful to watch.  We know utterly how Jong-Goo feels when he stops it all.

After that, our final reference to “The Exorcist” occurs when Jong-Goo and the Deacon seek out the guidance of the church Pastor.  The Pastor explains he has heard many things about the Japanese man…that he is a university professor, a monk…many different things, and yet Jong-Goo chooses to believe the worst. With unrecognized irony, the Pastor asks, “This ghost?  Have you seen it?  How can you believe in it if you have not seen it?”  Ultimately he tells him that the Church can not offer any assistance.

After that, the film moves confidently toward its conclusion, losing none of the suspense or horror along the way despite still having nearly half of its running time to go.  Na expertly shifts the focus amongst all the different elements.  What is evil?  Who is evil?  Who do I trust?  Who do I believe?  Is evil merely a matter of perspective?  How do you recognize evil and if you can’t how do you fight it? Jong-Goo in paralyzed…by fear…by doubt…by the need to be rational…by his emotion…by who or what to believe in.  And we viewers share the depth of his despair.

In the end, Na delivers a stunning film full of depth and unbelievable amounts of suspense and tension.  He never once lets up, managing to create a film which is both an homage to some of the best horror films ever made and a steely deconstruction of them.  He takes the mythology of horror and reweaves it into a new pattern. He never resorts to gimmicks to illicit scares.  He doesn’t spoon feed his audience (that having been said, there is one moment where make-up effects are used in what seems to this reviewer as a minor attempt to satisfy western audiences).  The ending is purposefully ambiguous (a fact which seems to have caused some consternation to some western reviewers).  Na presents a lot of questions, but offers no easy answers…because ultimately, like in real life, there aren’t any.

If you like your horror films complex and nuanced, I urge you to seek out this movie when it arrives digitally or on disc (the film is available now on EST and Transactional video on demand, with disc distribution in early October).  There is a lot to see in The Wailing and you may walk away with more questions than answers, but it will stay in your mind long after the end titles have faded to black.  Rarely is cinematic horror this good.

REVIEW: Dark Passages: A Collection of Six Short Stories by MJ Preston

Short story collections are tricky. An anthology gives a reader variety. If a story doesn’t hit it, another author is right around the next turn of the page. A novel, although a single author, has length on its side. There’s time to lure readers down dark corridors to reveal… more darkness and shadows in the… Continue reading REVIEW: Dark Passages: A Collection of Six Short Stories by MJ Preston

REVIEW: Eulogies III edited by Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, Tony Tremblay

Eulogies III is a rare breed of horror anthology. Instead of the gathering of horror tropes, Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, and Tony Tremblay sought out tales of the worst kinds of fears—those in of the mind, soul, and psyche. The evil here is, as Robert Dunbar points out in his introduction, a “complex assortment” rather… Continue reading REVIEW: Eulogies III edited by Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, Tony Tremblay

Review: Hannahwhere by John M. McIlveen

John M. McIlveen’s latest novel, Hannahwhere, is a complex, haunting tale that straddles that fine line between the real and the supernatural. Social worker Debbie Gillan finds herself drawn to a child found abandoned and tossed in the street. As she’s lured further and further into Hannah’s strange existence, she discovers that the thin veil… Continue reading Review: Hannahwhere by John M. McIlveen

EVENT: “THE UNSEEN CINEMA OF HR GIGER” — May 2015, Memorial Day Weekend at the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC)

Coinciding with the recent Nameless Digest review of the documentary Dark Star: The World of H. R. Giger, a major cinematic event is happening at New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD): The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger, a film festival in three parts on FRIDAY, MAY 22nd and SATURDAY, MAY 23rd, 2015. This is a ticketed event… Continue reading EVENT: “THE UNSEEN CINEMA OF HR GIGER” — May 2015, Memorial Day Weekend at the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC)

A World Out of Darkness

Title: Dark Star: H. R. Giger’s World
Director: Belinda Sallin
Year Released: 2015
Country: Switzerland
Run time: 95 minutes
Rating: NR

 

Poster for DARK STAR: H. R. GIGER'S WORLD

 

When one conjures to mind the greatest artists of the 20th (and now the 21st) century, a few names bubble into our collective consciousness as being true geniuses, irrespective of their medium, nationality, or personality. Nearly to a person, these individuals have achieved such fame and renown that they are universally referenced by a single name: Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Dalí. I would add to this list the late master H. R. Giger, known throughout the world simply as “Giger” (pronounced  [/ˈɡiːɡər/ ghee-gur]). To be completely truthful, I would now estimate that Giger is possibly more famous than several of these creators are, and his work is, in many ways, more instantly recognizable (and imitated) by a broader swath of people than likely any artist now living, a trend that began in his lifetime.

In the past, visual artists were reliant on patrons to create. This system later evolved away from just the wealthiest in society commissioning a portrait in the pre-photography world, or relenting to the demands of the Catholic Church, and toward the modern conception of artistic patronage by way of corporations. Especially after the Second World War, this would come to include the employment of well-known and readily identifiable artists for promotion and cinema, the latter destined to become the dominant mode of artistic expression in the world (later displaced by television in modern Western culture). As has been the case with several of his contemporaries—Roger Dean, Robert Venosa, Ernst Fuchs, Robert Williams—Giger started his career with a profound interest in design and architecture, and was deeply influenced by the emergent popular cultural movements after WWII ended (especially the Sexual Revolution and the rise of Feminism, new musical expressions, and the revolt against authoritarian governance). Travel was an important (and easier to realize) part of this new aesthetic, which served to enrich an artist’s view of the world and their place in it. Additionally, as most of this new breed of visual explorers did, Giger dabbled in personal musical expression (playing instruments and working with obscure and prominent acts alike). It is, therefore, not surprising that his muse (and immense talent) would at some point lead to Hollywood, and his interest in film (which he had nurtured even as a young man) would springboard his greatest commercial success (screenwriter Dan O’Bannon’s creation of Alien [1979], and Giger’s Academy Award-winning creature designs), as well as bring him incredible recognition and acclaim worldwide for his visceral, singular vision.

Necronom IV, Giger's surrealist painting that ...
Necronom IV, Giger’s surrealist painting that formed the basis for the Alien’s design (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the documentary Dark Star: H. R. Giger’s World (the title of which also serves as an effective homage to Dan O’Bannon and John Carpenter’s film of the same name), filmmaker Belinda Sallin brings much of these insights to bear with respect to the brilliant artist’s output. Completed just before Giger’s untimely death due to injuries suffered in a fall at his home in 2014, the film is a thoughtful rumination on the day-to-day existence of this most existential and influential of all modern artists. Sallin presents Giger in a sympathetic and approachable light—surrounding him with friends, family, pets—and does a nice job of contrasting his apparent tranquility with the darkness of his output creatively, especially his earliest conceptions.

At times, the movie seems a bit slow, and the narrative too subtle, but this is a minor quibble: The subject more than makes up for any deficiencies in this aspect. The most fascinating parts of the film, aside from hearing Giger discuss his philosophies and his imagery itself—the beautiful grotesqueries of his biomechanoid, psychosexual nightmares—are the sections detailing his childhood and the relationships with his parents, especially his mother. Women always played a prominent role in his life, and seeing him with his mother—as well as the complex interactions with his former lovers and wives—was extremely informative and compelling, even wistful. These moments serve to humanize a man that many have deified—which is understandable in one sense, but unfair in so many others. Giger was not, after all, monolithic and easy to grasp; he was introspective, sensitive, and deserved to be understood and appreciated as an individual with dreams, hopes, and insecurities just like anyone else. The interviews with his widow Carmen Scheifele-Giger, and his longtime companions and friends such as Tom Gabriel Fischer (of Celtic Frost and Triptykon fame), Leslie Barany, and others, are also enjoyable and revealing. They each, in differing ways, provide deeper understanding of a virtuoso creator, one who has come not only to represent and encapsulate much of the post-modern angst and ethos of our troubled times, but who also captured a sublime wonder and magnificence in the decay of humanity. It is a tragedy that he was taken away so early, but a joy he lived at all.

Highly recommended.

 

(Dark Star: H. R. Giger’s World is in limited theatrical release beginning in May of 2015, and is available on DVD.)

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**UPDATE: 5/19/2015**

 

A major cinematic event is happening at New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD): The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger, a film festival in three parts on FRIDAY, MAY 22nd and SATURDAY, MAY 23rd, 2015. This is a ticketed event open to the public. Dark Star: The World of H. R. Giger will not be shown at the festival, as this is a series curated by friends, collaborators, and family of Giger. The entire program can be viewed on THIS NAMELESS DIGEST POST.

**From the MAD page about the series**

“Few artists have made a larger impact on the fantastical visions of cinema as the Swiss surrealist HR Giger. Most famous for his Oscar-winning design of the titular monster and scenery of the Alien film series, HR Giger’s vast output included paintings, prints, and sculpture, as well as industrial and interior design. Over a forty-five year career, Giger collaborated with an array of directors and artists to produce a body of work that continues to influence generations.

Marking the one-year anniversary of his passing, the Museum of Arts and Design in NEW YORK CITY presents The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger. Partnering with the HR Giger Museum and the HR Giger Documentary Film Festival, this weekend-long event presents rare and never before seen films made by and about HR Giger.

Opening up Giger’s personal archive for the first time, these films reveal the behind-the-scenes practice of this singular artist. The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger gives a rare glimpse into the personality, process, and vision of his indelible impact.”

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**More information about the series and the event, including the venue and tickets**

The first evening of screenings will be introduced by Blondie’s DEBBIE HARRY and CHRIS STEIN.

Facebook EVENTS PAGE
https://www.facebook.com/events/1573207859610076/

TRAILER about the film festival
https://vimeo.com/124737581

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PROGRAM OVERVIEW
http://madmuseum.org/series/unseen-cinema-h-r-giger

FIRST PROGRAM & TICKETS
http://madmuseum.org/events/collaborations-h-r-giger

SECOND PROGRAM & TICKETS
http://madmuseum.org/events/inside-hr-giger’s-sanctuaries

THIRD PROGRAM & TICKETS
http://madmuseum.org/events/behind-scenes-hr-giger’s-studio

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**Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) address**

2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
info@madmuseum.org
212-299-7777
http://madmuseum.org/

The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger is an event curated by Leslie Barany & Zev Deans

Special Thanks to Jake Yuzna at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) and Carmen Giger, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Jacqueline Castel and Madeline Quinn

REVIEW: Expiration Date edited by Nancy Kilpatrick

Like most dark fiction anthologies, Expiration Date is about death. Unlike most collections, however, editor Nancy Kilpatrick does not hand us page after page of brutality, horror, mutilation, and death that haunt our worst nightmares. The authors here explore the horrors of death, but through well-planned chapters, this anthology does, as Kilpatrick suggests in her… Continue reading REVIEW: Expiration Date edited by Nancy Kilpatrick

Author Spotlight: Wendy Rathbone

Continuing our Darke spotlight, we next find Wendy Rathbone. Her beautiful story, “I Keep the Dark That Is Your Pain”, begins:   Rumor had it the man in the old house at the edge of the woods was the greatest hunter the town had ever known. Stories told that he’d taken down rogue bears, the most rabid and fiercest of… Continue reading Author Spotlight: Wendy Rathbone