Grimm up North – Asian Extreme Night Review
Tom attended Grimm Up North’s most recent event, an Asian extreme night, to witness the carnage of Battle Royale followed by Tokyo Gore Police. Here are his thoughts on the evening…
Released at the turn of the millenium, Kinji Fukasaku’s controversial thriller Battle Royale is based on the graphic novel of the same name which portrays an alternate future where the Japanese economy is near to collapse and children are forced to fight to the death under the government approved Battle Royale act. One class is chosen at random and transported to a secret island location where they are each given a weapon and basic supplies, tagged with explosive necklaces that prevent escape and informed that the only way to return to the outside world is to be the last remaining survivor after three days.
Not to be confused with the recently released Hunger Games, Battle Royale is a different beast entirely; with its graphic depictions of schoolkids murdering each other that troubled the censors on its initial release, and the juxtaposition of extreme violence with beautiful classical music that elevate Battle Royale to a cult status which few films have been able to reach since. Whilst the violence may be too much for some, it is an integral part of the story and serves to highlight the desperate situation which faces the unfortunate teens as they are forced to shoulder the blame for the rest of their disobedient generation
Ever since i recorded Battle Royale on VHS almost ten years ago (although I have since upgraded to the DVD!) it has been a firm favourite of mine which I constantly return to and never get tired of, each viewing enhancing my love for a film that some dismiss as one long bloodbath of wanton violence. In the hands of most director’s such a difficult topic could easily become farcical but whereas there are elements of black humour, Fukasaku’s serious approach to the story adds to the intensity of the macabre events that unfold at the hands of the more zealous students amongst the class.
Seeing this cult classic on the big screen was a joy to behold and an experience I cannot recommend enough to anyone who has the chance to view Battle Royale in the environment it was made for. Those who have never seen it should rectify this as soon as possible, and with a fantastic Blu-ray transfer to get your hands on, now is the perfect time to invest in a film that is likely to spend far more time in your Blu-ray player than on your shelf.
Tokyo Gore Police
After the immaculately shot violence of Battle Royale, nothing could prepare me for the frenetic canage of Tokyo Gore Police, the perfect film to be shown on an Asian Extreme night, and one to turn the stomachs of any unsuspecting audience. Thankfully, the film’s title contains a very big clue, and I think anyone suspecting anything less than the depraved violence contained within probably needs to think long and hard the next time they choose to watch a film with the word gore in the title.
The story was, well, let’s say fairly irrelevant, as it became very clear from the start we were in for a blood-spattered ride through some of the most bizarre and inventive dismemberments ever committed to celluloid, courtesy of a special effects team that refrain from holding back and let loose with all they have. What plot there was concerned a dangerous breed of mutants known as engineers who harness the ability to mutate wounds into weaponry, with such bizarre concoctions as a woman’s mutilated legs transforming into the disfigured jaws of a crocodile causing all kinds of problems for the privatized police force tasked with eradicating the problem.
A samurai-sword wielding daughter of a murdered police office is determined to track down the people responsible for his death and comes face to face with these engineers as she fights not only for vengeance but to keep Tokyo safe. Much like with recent hit The Raid, just when you think Tokyo Gore Police can’t get any more extreme it pushes the envelope and delivers something entirely unexpected. Unlike The Raid though, there are times when the film does tend to drag, as two hours of constant gore is quite a lot to take in, even for an ardent horror fan such as myself.
The perfect end to an enjoyable night, although not a film I will be returning to in a hurry, Tokyo Gore Police is a brave movie that succeeds in pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. There are a number of stunning set pieces but it doesn’t quite transcend the boundary between schlock horror and cult classic, although it is a very entertaining film that fans of extreme cinema will definitely appreciate.
For the next Grimm up North Event, the team are bringing us yet another fantastic line up for their Vampire themed day on Sunday the 22nd July. You can find out more about tickets and the line-up on the Grimm website http://grimmfest.com/grimmupnorth/ but here is a brief summary of the event:
’2012 is the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death and so we pay our respects. The day will start mid afternoon and run through to 10.30pm, with a cheap bar open till midnight so hardened vamps can party on after the show.’
CRONOS by Guillermo Del Toro
DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS starring Christopher Lee
THE VAMPIRE LOVERS
THE HARSH LIGHT OF DAY preview screening plus Q+A with cast and crew
With four films, special guests, a cheap bar open till midnight and optional fancy dress, this is a day where vampires will be very disappointed they can’t leave their coffins. Make sure you don’t miss out on what is set to be an unforgettable day.
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Do you fancy coming along to the next Grimm event? Are you a fan of Battle Royale or Tokyo Gore Police?Let us know your thoughts below…