The New York Asian Film Festival is set to light the tiny island of Manhattan aflame with a hefty selection of mind blowing Asian films you won’t see anywhere else this June 25th to July 8th, and we’ve got the skinny on what to expect!
This year’s schedule is jam packed with insane offerings you won’t want to miss so we’ve taken the liberty of pulling out our top picks for the horror inclined, aka fans of the fucked up, grindhouse, and blood-splattering sort. Dive right in! Once you’ve spotted the films you want to catch, the full schedule can be found RIGHT HERE!
Dig on the breakdown of what’s to come after the official festival video below! Bring a poncho and a mop. Things are bound to get really messy.
Alien vs. Ninja – In medieval Japan no one can hear you scream. And no one can prepare you for the arrival of a great big, honking rubber alien who wants to party space-invader-style, which means tearing off heads and ripping out intestines. This sick extraterrestrial freak even wants to impregnate our species with its hideous jelloid babies. It is unstoppable. It is unkillable. It is unbeatable. But it’s not ninja-proof.
Blades of Blood – It’s a powerhouse team-up. Lee Joon-Ik, director of King & Clown, the top-grossing Korean movie of all time. Hwang Jung-Min, an actor who was originally told he was too ugly to be in movies but has gone on to take home eight “Best Actor” awards in nine years. The result? A muscular swashbuckler about a blind swordsman trying to stop his friend from leading a bloody coup, it’s a classy epic full of ringing steel and nail-biting showdowns. Director Lee Joon-Ik will be at the screening!
Bodyguards & Assassins – Set in turn-of-the-century Hong Kong, B&A is an old school, all-star extravaganza the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades. A ragtag bunch of volunteer bodyguards sign up to protect Dr. Sun Yat-Sen from assassination on his trip to Hong Kong. Chance of survival: low. Nominated for more Hong Kong Film Awards than any other movie in history, it broke the bank in Hong Kong and busted the box office wide open in China. More importantly, Donnie Yen fights a horse.
Chaw – Just when you thought it was safe to go back to eating pork, here comes Chaw. A bacon-flavored version of The Host, this flick is a riff on Jaws only with a giant killer pig instead of a giant killer shark and, probably, a lot more pot got smoked while the script was being written. If you’re looking for straight-up horror, you won’t find it here because this is far more like a black comedy from Joe Dante (i.e., Gremlins) than a serious monster movie from Steven Spielberg.
Death Kappa – The Internet, cell phones, satellites. True. But also the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra. Science, but also monsters. Progress, but also monsters. We can destroy the germs that cause bad breath, yes, but still: monsters. A double-barreled blast of 80’s VHS nostalgia, Death Kappa is the ultimate in ridonkulous, lo-fi giant monster mayhem! The kappa is a frisky folk spirit, but a fight with weaponized fishmen turns this kappa into a kaiju and soon Tokyo is nothing more than toe jam. Brought to you by an over-qualified cast and crew who really should know better, Death Kappa is adorable and horrible, all at the same time.
Doman Seman – Imagine A Hard Day’s Night if it was about Aleister Crowley instead of The Beatles, and you’ve got an idea of what director Go Shibata is up to in his hard-rocking occult film. Yakuza Magicians! Armies of psychic children! Zombie swarms in Kyoto! Hot Boys vs. the Homeless! The Human Enslavement Project! Doman Seman will kick down your doors of perception like a psychedelic SWAT team. Director Go Shibata will be at the screenings!
Kung Fu Chefs – Sammo Hung likes to do two things: cook food and kick ass. Fortunately for audiences, there’s finally a movie that lets him do both. Whether he’s butchering an entire pig in one chop, slicing ginger, cooking fish, or beating up Bruce Leung, Sammo is right in his wheelhouse, dishing out kitchen tips and iron fists in equal measure. Made in China for about $1.95, Kung Fu Chefs is the kind of cracked exploitation classic that the Hong Kong film industry used to turn out in its sleep back in the early 90’s. Come hungry. Star Sammo Hung will be at the 10:15 pm screening on Saturday, June 26!
Merantau – Indonesia’s first martial arts movie in fifteen years, this is a slab of B-movie genius rooted in the traditions of Indonesia’s martial art, the very spiritual style called silat. In Merantau silat expert Iko Uwais leaves his family to go to the big city where he discovers a bunch of Eurotrash running a human trafficking ring. How does he handle it? By putting them in body casts, jumping off buildings, and beating them with pipes. Merantau has come to New York to elevate your consciousness and kick your ass. Should you resist one, it will accept the other.
Mutant Girls Squad – At 2009’s New York Asian Film Festival, action choreographer and director Tak Sakaguchi (Be a Man! Samurai School), director and special-effects genius Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) and cherubic pervert Noboru Iguchi (Robogeisha) got drunk and vowed to make a movie together. One year later it’s here. A bizarre take on the X-Men, it comes at you fast and furious, and if something crosses the line between good and bad taste, don’t worry; five minutes later you’ll see something new that makes the previous transgression seem downright quaint. Presented with Japan Cuts: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema. Directors Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura will be at the screening!
Raging Phoenix – Jeeja Yanin, Thailand’s only female action star, burst onto the scene with Chocolate, and now she’s back! In Raging Phoenix she learns how to combine Muay Thai beatdowns with sick B-boy moves. Truly jaw-dropping and completely weird (the plot centers on a gang of kidnappers who steal women for their scent), it’s full of high-impact kicks, lethal breakdancing, and the discovery that the greatest martial art of all is “Drunken Muay Thai.” Come drunk, leave happy!
The Storm Warriors – This is the closest cinema has ever come to putting Chinese martial arts comic books, with all of their surreal techniques and freaky superpowers, on the big screen. From the very first frame the choirs are wailing like a death-metal concept album times infinity, and every shot is a blast-beat drum solo, every edit is a power chord, and when the characters fight, it’s like two planets smashing into one another. It’s a special-effects extravaganza where swords are so powerful they cut the weather in half and ultimate weapons are made from the spinal columns of dead gods. Actor Simon Yam will be at the 12:00 noon screening on Sunday, June 27!
Yatterman – Takashi Miike is Japan’s most outrageous director, and this is his biggest box office hit of all time. A slyly hilarious send-up of kiddie show, Yatterman is like a self-aware, satirical update of “Scooby-Doo” only with giant robots, leather-bondage-clad femme fatales, and a pile of all the schoolgirls in Japan. Hilariously stupid, but insanely smart, it’s exactly the giant robot movie you thought Miike would make. Cool enough for the kids but messed up enough for their parents.
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