During the late 70s into the early 80s, I spent a good number of my preadolescent life on the weekends in Chinese theatres of Chinatown, SF. I’ve watched a lot of Jackie Chan movies, Bruce Lee reruns, the entire Aces Go Places series (plus other Sam Hui flicks), and a large number of HK horror flicks. (Unfortunately, all these these theatres no longer exists. They’ve become remnants of an era before VHS home videos replaced visual entertainment.)
Of Asian horror movies… to this day, are eerily “foreign” to me in contrast to the American horror genre (which I’ve become jaded to), where the emotional invocation of a stilted melodramatic “dread” creeps into the memory part of my cranium. And it stays there. As examples, I remember having watched moving images of infanticide, disembowelment, animal cruelty, jumping vampires, and talking pig heads. Do you even feel good trying to visualize this stuff? And even to this day, mostly Korean and Japanese flicks (esp. Takashi Miike – who, no doubt, influenced Saw and Hostel torture flicks), continue to portray images I can not forget.
Where am I going with all this? Well, a particular trailer I had viewed back in my historic days of Chinese theatres was entitled We’re Going To Eat You!. And Asian film trailers had (or still have) a reputation of being liberal in what they show in their trailers because there are no MPAA ratings boards, nor are there green screen emphasizing approval for viewing by a “general audience” or for “restricted viewing only” accompanying these trailers. They are true grind house experiences. (I’ve even seen erotic Asian trailers that looked like those free 30 second sample clips that you can download off porn sites on the Internet. *giggle, giggle, hehe, blush*) Therefore, this particular trailer consisted of nothing but gory dismemberments of humans beings carved up for human consumption. Yes, cannibalism, which I’m sure you surmized from the title of the movie. And, I haven’t even had the opportunity to watch the film at the time, only the trailer. But because of this trailer, as my memory continues to serve me right, I was an impressionable child watching scenes that have hauntd me for over two decades and a half until…
Now, in the 21st century, thanks to the resourcefulness of the Internet as a researching tool, I was able to indentify the movie online, and locate the DVD on Netflix, and attend to my need to exorcise this movie from my mind.
What a shock though, to find out that the movie was a comedy. About 20% of the movie involved the severe removal of limbs, while the rest was a campy, slapstick kung-fu flick. Although, I felt nauseaus during the first half-hour of the movie with cannabalistic acts by inbred, deformed villagers, the slapstick comedy (no doubt, influenced by European sensibilities) kept me balanced (and cracking up) from having nightmares by the end of the night. Half-way into the movie, there were various scenes involving a large, horny transvestite (played by a male) that resembles an Asian, giant (but skinnier) Divine, whose famous of John Waters’s flicks, which turned the movie into more of a “geek freak” show. And, one noticeable characteristic was the constant replaying of the manical screams of Goblin music that was blantantly lifted from Dario Argento’s Suspira. I didn’t know if this made the movie any more scarier, than making it more of a comedy than it already was. But, this roller coaster ride has ended for me, and I have been able to sleep well again… although, I won’t be having too much meat in my diet for awhile.
But that’s not the end of cannibalism flicks I wish to speak upon…
Have you seen Claire Denis’s TROUBLE EVERY DAY?
Paris, the City of (anything but) Light (eating!) is the setting for this cannibalistic story about a woman and man who like to dine out… frequently. Core (Beatrice Dalle) is an insatiable sexpot who seduces men into her sexual net and then devours them — literally. Shane (Vincent Gallo) is a honeymooning American who pops a funky kind of Viagra that piques his hunger for raw meat, too.
A large part of me wants to say this movie was a masterpiece. (Pun on the word “piece”?) And a part of me is still mentally cleansing the tainted imagery of love-making mixed in with flesh gnawing – pure animalistic sex transformed into cannibalistic sex. You see the cover of this video to your right? That takes place about half-way into the film, after one of the sex rituals aforementioned. It’s a scene more eerie than the “ghost” of Samara walking out of the TV set in the Ring flicks. This was another mind fuck movie. The majority of the film consists of subtle, quiet scenes of minor characters (with sparse dialogue in both English & French) that make you wonder why they are necessary to the plot, as they don’t play much into the “action” flow of the story. But, like Takashi Miike’s Audition, the monotony sets up the mood to experience the shock with impact. Although, I felt the sex scenes were mostly close-up bores, zombie filmmakers should take note of the scenes in this film of how to realistically frame a human being being devoured and consumed. And, excuse my vulgarity, there’s even a scene involving a guy literally eating out a girl (I wouldn’t know how else to put this in words). This was a true, tragic romance flick (no comedy in this one).
Although, I doubt I will watch Trouble Every Day ever again. It succeeded – I will never forget this movie.
Salon review of Trouble Every Day