The Big Bird Cage, 1972
If you only see one “women in prison” movie, make it this one. It was written and directed by Jack Hill, the fellow behind many, many exploitation classics like Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters, and Foxy Brown. The movie stars a very young and very hot Pam Grier herself, Sid Haig (awesome here, and seen later in life in a number of Tarantino and Rob Zombie movies), and Anitra Ford, star of Invasion of the Bee Girls.
If you like exploitation flicks, this has it all: hot girls with raging libidos, death and dismemberment, and of course some pretty dubious sexual politics. Unlike some other exploitation flicks, though, The Big Bird Cage is upbeat and fun as hell to watch. Grier and Haig are charming, and although you’re not quite sure what you’re watching you can’t wait to see what happens next.
It’s not for everyone, of course, but this quickly became one of my favorite exploitation movies ever and that’s strong praise from me.

The Big Bird Cage, 1972

If you only see one “women in prison” movie, make it this one. It was written and directed by Jack Hill, the fellow behind many, many exploitation classics like Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters, and Foxy Brown. The movie stars a very young and very hot Pam Grier herself, Sid Haig (awesome here, and seen later in life in a number of Tarantino and Rob Zombie movies), and Anitra Ford, star of Invasion of the Bee Girls.

If you like exploitation flicks, this has it all: hot girls with raging libidos, death and dismemberment, and of course some pretty dubious sexual politics. Unlike some other exploitation flicks, though, The Big Bird Cage is upbeat and fun as hell to watch. Grier and Haig are charming, and although you’re not quite sure what you’re watching you can’t wait to see what happens next.

It’s not for everyone, of course, but this quickly became one of my favorite exploitation movies ever and that’s strong praise from me.

Intacto, 2001
This is the first feature-length directorial effort by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who went on to direct 28 Weeks Later and the ill-fated Bioshock movie. You can see why he moved on to Hollywood — this is a great movie.
Intacto a rare type of movie: magical realism. To quote Wikipedia, magical realism “explains magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the “real” and the “fantastic” in the same stream of thought”. Essentially what you end up with is a serious drama that addresses real human failings in the real world, only with a hint of fantasy. It’s a rarely seen genre, which makes Intacto quite refreshing right from the start.
Without giving too much away, the movie is focused on the concept of luck. What if you could trade luck, or steal it? What if you could have “luck battles” with other lucky people? It’s a fascinating concept and there is more than one set piece that I have genuinely never encountered before in a movie.
In short, Intacto is truly unique and thought-provoking. It is a little dark, and a little sad, but hey.. isn’t that life?

Intacto, 2001

This is the first feature-length directorial effort by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who went on to direct 28 Weeks Later and the ill-fated Bioshock movie. You can see why he moved on to Hollywood — this is a great movie.

Intacto a rare type of movie: magical realism. To quote Wikipedia, magical realism “explains magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the “real” and the “fantastic” in the same stream of thought”. Essentially what you end up with is a serious drama that addresses real human failings in the real world, only with a hint of fantasy. It’s a rarely seen genre, which makes Intacto quite refreshing right from the start.

Without giving too much away, the movie is focused on the concept of luck. What if you could trade luck, or steal it? What if you could have “luck battles” with other lucky people? It’s a fascinating concept and there is more than one set piece that I have genuinely never encountered before in a movie.

In short, Intacto is truly unique and thought-provoking. It is a little dark, and a little sad, but hey.. isn’t that life?

RoboGeisha, 2009
Evil Chicks: “Maybe it’s time you see [our] hidden weapon: The AssSword!”Heroine: “You fools! Now I have no choice but to answer in kind! I, too, have an AssSword!”Evil Chicks: “Ohhhhhhh. How embarrassing.” 
That pretty much sums up RoboGeisha. As with most Japanese exploitation flicks there is gore, bad special effects, killer breast milk, and genetically altered women with swords in unlikely places. It’s definitely not a good movie and it’s probably not quite art, but RoboGeisha is silly fun.
Also, I was really drunk.

RoboGeisha, 2009

Evil Chicks: “Maybe it’s time you see [our] hidden weapon: The AssSword!”
Heroine: “You fools! Now I have no choice but to answer in kind! I, too, have an AssSword!”
Evil Chicks: “Ohhhhhhh. How embarrassing.” 

That pretty much sums up RoboGeisha. As with most Japanese exploitation flicks there is gore, bad special effects, killer breast milk, and genetically altered women with swords in unlikely places. It’s definitely not a good movie and it’s probably not quite art, but RoboGeisha is silly fun.

Also, I was really drunk.

Quarantine 2, 2011
This movie could be also known as “Zombies on a Plane”. 
Two of my biggest phobias ever are zombies and plane crashes, and yet I went through this entire movie virtually unmoved. Yes, zombies jumped out and people got eaten, but I didn’t care. The characters were cardboard cutouts, essentially, created expressly for the purpose of being eaten and I simply watched them fulfil their destiny. Meh.
I mean, it wasn’t the worst zombie movie I’ve ever seen but it was completely shallow and disposable and inoffensive. 

Quarantine 2, 2011

This movie could be also known as “Zombies on a Plane”. 

Two of my biggest phobias ever are zombies and plane crashes, and yet I went through this entire movie virtually unmoved. Yes, zombies jumped out and people got eaten, but I didn’t care. The characters were cardboard cutouts, essentially, created expressly for the purpose of being eaten and I simply watched them fulfil their destiny. Meh.

I mean, it wasn’t the worst zombie movie I’ve ever seen but it was completely shallow and disposable and inoffensive. 

Party Girl, 1995
This was the movie that broke Parker Posey (eee, I love you Parker Posey!) into the big-name acting biz. I knew that this was an “art house” film and thus expected it to be a lot .. deeper? darker? than it actually is. Instead, Party Girl is a sweet, funny, light-hearted movie about a young woman who tries to figure out what she is going to do with her life.
Party Girl is full of proto-hipsters and over the top fashion and youthful angst. It’s also cute, thoughtful, and makes you feel good when it’s all over. Highly recommended!

Party Girl, 1995

This was the movie that broke Parker Posey (eee, I love you Parker Posey!) into the big-name acting biz. I knew that this was an “art house” film and thus expected it to be a lot .. deeper? darker? than it actually is. Instead, Party Girl is a sweet, funny, light-hearted movie about a young woman who tries to figure out what she is going to do with her life.

Party Girl is full of proto-hipsters and over the top fashion and youthful angst. It’s also cute, thoughtful, and makes you feel good when it’s all over. Highly recommended!

Dylan Dog, 2011
About 10 minutes in to this movie, I turned to my viewing companion and said, “This has GOT to be adapted from a comic book.” And indeed, it’s based on an Italian comic series with the same name. I haven’t read the comic myself, but I can only imagine its better than this movie.
The movie tries, really. The idea of putting a hard boiled noir-style detective in a world with vampires and werewolves and zombies is pretty awesome. Unfortunately for Dylan Dog the movie, the script is terrible and the directing is amateur. 
Also, this poster is terrible. (It’s the one used on Netflix, too.) It’s a movie with demons and murder and mystery and hot chicks in knife fights. Nothing against Brandon Routh, but an entire poster dedicated to him standing there looking curious sells exactly zero of these features.
In conclusion, Dylan Dog had great source material and pretty much everything else was mucked up. Skip the movie and read the comics.

Dylan Dog, 2011

About 10 minutes in to this movie, I turned to my viewing companion and said, “This has GOT to be adapted from a comic book.” And indeed, it’s based on an Italian comic series with the same name. I haven’t read the comic myself, but I can only imagine its better than this movie.

The movie tries, really. The idea of putting a hard boiled noir-style detective in a world with vampires and werewolves and zombies is pretty awesome. Unfortunately for Dylan Dog the movie, the script is terrible and the directing is amateur. 

Also, this poster is terrible. (It’s the one used on Netflix, too.) It’s a movie with demons and murder and mystery and hot chicks in knife fights. Nothing against Brandon Routh, but an entire poster dedicated to him standing there looking curious sells exactly zero of these features.

In conclusion, Dylan Dog had great source material and pretty much everything else was mucked up. Skip the movie and read the comics.

Atrocious, 2010
Another solid recommendation from Bloody Disgusting! Despite being another Spanish found footage movie with a scared looking woman on the front, Atrocious is nothing like the classic [REC]. To be honest, I actually didn’t watch most of this movie, but not because it was bad — it was because I had my hands over my eyes. There may also have been whimpering noises.
The movie is slightly too long, and the gimmick of running around in dark woods with nothing but a camera is ever-so-slightly overdone to the point where the viewer starts to lose their tension. That being said, though, the characters are interesting, the surprises are.. surprising, and I enjoy the rural Catholic feeling of most Spanish terror flicks. 
It’s not flashy, but Atrocious is a solid movie and I’d recommend it to fans of the genre!

Atrocious, 2010

Another solid recommendation from Bloody Disgusting! Despite being another Spanish found footage movie with a scared looking woman on the front, Atrocious is nothing like the classic [REC]. To be honest, I actually didn’t watch most of this movie, but not because it was bad — it was because I had my hands over my eyes. There may also have been whimpering noises.

The movie is slightly too long, and the gimmick of running around in dark woods with nothing but a camera is ever-so-slightly overdone to the point where the viewer starts to lose their tension. That being said, though, the characters are interesting, the surprises are.. surprising, and I enjoy the rural Catholic feeling of most Spanish terror flicks. 

It’s not flashy, but Atrocious is a solid movie and I’d recommend it to fans of the genre!

Arang, 2006
Ehhhhh. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a bunch of dudes did something bad in their past, and are subsequently haunted by a black-haired woman in retaliation.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Arang, really, except I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a story of people getting what they deserve from a black-haired ghost I would recommend the original Thai version of Shutter over this one.

Arang, 2006

Ehhhhh. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a bunch of dudes did something bad in their past, and are subsequently haunted by a black-haired woman in retaliation.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Arang, really, except I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a story of people getting what they deserve from a black-haired ghost I would recommend the original Thai version of Shutter over this one.

Grave Encounters, 2011
I watched this movie because I was in the mood for something creepy, and it was filmed entirely at an abandoned institution that I lived by a few years back. The institution was incredibly creepy in real life, so I figured it would be pretty creepy on film. 
And, to be fair, it IS creepy on film and Grave Encounters has some legit scares. The creators, The Vicious Brothers (really?), did a good job of establishing a sense of claustrophobia and panic. The movie overall is kind of mediocre, though. The characters are flat and unsympathetic and really kind of dumb (hey everyone STOP SHOUTING WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO HIDE), there really isn’t a plot, and although the found footage style does fit into the minimal story I thought that the movie used the gimmick poorly.
That all being said, it was tense and had some solid jump scares, even making my usually hardened viewing companion cry out at one point. Grave Encounters would be the perfect movie for a late night half-drunk showing with friends, but is a little flimsy for sober viewing.

Grave Encounters, 2011

I watched this movie because I was in the mood for something creepy, and it was filmed entirely at an abandoned institution that I lived by a few years back. The institution was incredibly creepy in real life, so I figured it would be pretty creepy on film. 

And, to be fair, it IS creepy on film and Grave Encounters has some legit scares. The creators, The Vicious Brothers (really?), did a good job of establishing a sense of claustrophobia and panic. The movie overall is kind of mediocre, though. The characters are flat and unsympathetic and really kind of dumb (hey everyone STOP SHOUTING WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO HIDE), there really isn’t a plot, and although the found footage style does fit into the minimal story I thought that the movie used the gimmick poorly.

That all being said, it was tense and had some solid jump scares, even making my usually hardened viewing companion cry out at one point. Grave Encounters would be the perfect movie for a late night half-drunk showing with friends, but is a little flimsy for sober viewing.

Epitaph, 2007
This is the movie that finally pushed me to start learning Korean. 
It is a horror anthology with three stories that all take place in a Korean hospital in the 1940s. It is definitely more creepy and “gothic” than scary, but all three are pretty solid little ghost stories and there were a few twists I didn’t see coming.
However, I think you’d get the most out of this movie if you understood Korean or at least Korean history. I got the feeling that much of the movie was making reference to the Japanese occupation of Korea, but I am admittedly ignorant of most of the intricacies of Asian history (my schooling focused on North America and Europe) and when the credits started to roll I really felt like I was missing a critical piece of Epitaph. 
That is my fault, clearly, and not the responsibility of directors the Jung Brothers, but the final result is that I just wasn’t that in to Epitaph.

Epitaph, 2007

This is the movie that finally pushed me to start learning Korean. 

It is a horror anthology with three stories that all take place in a Korean hospital in the 1940s. It is definitely more creepy and “gothic” than scary, but all three are pretty solid little ghost stories and there were a few twists I didn’t see coming.

However, I think you’d get the most out of this movie if you understood Korean or at least Korean history. I got the feeling that much of the movie was making reference to the Japanese occupation of Korea, but I am admittedly ignorant of most of the intricacies of Asian history (my schooling focused on North America and Europe) and when the credits started to roll I really felt like I was missing a critical piece of Epitaph. 

That is my fault, clearly, and not the responsibility of directors the Jung Brothers, but the final result is that I just wasn’t that in to Epitaph.