From the Nightmares of 3 Horror Masters
When I woke up this morning I had a strong craving for something. Was it Frosted Flakes? Nope. A hot chick? Not today. A glass of JD? Just had one! Then it hit me, I was yearning for a bowl of potent Asian horror. So I went through my shite
and found the anthology
Three Extremes. What better way to start the day then with a varied dose of Asian loving
(3 tales directed by a Chinese, a Korean and a Japanese)! A sequel to the less successful "Three" (2002), Three Extremes dealt more with human horror (the scariest kind to me) as opposed to the supernatural type and thankfully, all three accounts came through in their own
-The first spoonful of vinegar jammed down my throat was the semi stylish DUMPLINGS by Fruit Chan (Made in Hong Kong) which had to do with an aging actress (well interpreted by Miriam Yeung) guzzling down on special dumplings at some oddball cook’s (Played by ta zany Ling Bai) place. Why? All in the name of retaining her babe-liscious appearance…what else? This segment was oddly occasionally sexy, made a light (yet thought provoking) statement on how far some people would go to retain their good looks and glimpsed its nastiness my way as my feeble mind gapped the rest for maximum whoopass.
The sucker punch was that, once the magic ingredient within the dumplings was revealed, the horror of the piece was let loose like a wild bull in search of a matador to ram. Result: mucho queasiness from yours truly.
What an ugly idea! I loved it (all about the chewing sounds…brrr)! Granted the
flick got a tad predictable at the halfway point as to where it was heading and it could’ve gone much further
with its themes (the possibilities were there) but as the cruel final frame filled my screen, I could say that I was a happy a-hole. Where can I get some of those dumplings?
-SECOND HELPING! The engagingly and kinetically directed CUT by stylist extraordinaire Chan-wook Park (of Oldboy fame) was then stuffed down my yapper. Talk about some harsh stuff! The story? An ace film director, his wife and some kid are taken hostage by a bitter “extra” (background performer) who was all about wielding an axe and cutting fingers. I dug this segment a lot where not only did the story find and play up the dark humor within the warped situation, but it also often interrupted my giggles with some hefty servings of viciousness and f*cked up scenarios. One element that grabbed me by the collar as well, was that the piece’s villain (played to a tilt by Won-hie Lim) reminded of a couple of people I know.
You know the type, they blame their messed up childhood for who they are today, project their own failure onto others and feel that the world owes them everything. I wanted to reach into the screen and punch that guy out while saying
“Who gives a shit what happened to you, once an adult, your life is in YOUR HANDS! BE A MAN!
Tag to that truly engaging performances and a fearless demeanor in terms of being “out of line” and you got a
keeper. My only peeve was the "blah" final frame. I felt cheated and I didn’t
buy the execution. Other than that, all was peachy!
-Last but not least the artsy BOX by Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) was force fed to me. BOX tells the anecdote….of…I’m not sure to be honest! All I know is that some “use to be side-show attraction” dame killed her sister when she was a kid, jealous that their pedophile Father was paying more attention to her sibling than her. The flick played out like an experimental reel more axed towards a disorderly and emotionally charged dream like narrative than a linear one. But that was all good!
Miike went hog-wild visually with striking imagery and symbolism galore. Furthermore the flick was such a treat audio wise! I’m talking an odd score and a poignant use of silence to accentuate some of the
heavier events. And if that wasn’t enough implied nastiness, a talented lead actress
,some creepiness and a handful of touching moments were also on display to make the ride a more impact heavy one. My only complaint about it was the left field final frame which went to confuse me more as to what I was watching and unfortunately for me lessened the strength of the whole.
And that was my freaking morning! Three Extremes was a tight anthology that put out three different types of tales when it came to tone, execution, themes and style. It started my day on the right stab that’s for sure! Will it do the same for you? Fix yourself up an Extreme Omelet and find out!