Japan is filled with strange and creepy creatures and I’m not just talking about the sleep-deprived salary men floating through the streets of Tokyo like underpaid zombies. Deeply rooted in its own culture, Japan has a rich history of ghosts and ghouls that go hundreds of years back and even today, the country has managed to keep the tradition going with its urban legends. One such legend is Kuchisake Onna: The Slit Mouthed Woman. A beautiful woman who sports a stylish Glasgow smile, she is rumored to approach unsuspecting victims and slit them from ear to ear. Her success has led to appearances in movies, manga, and anime, but what is Kuchisake’s real story? Did she ever really exist or was she a fever dream of a million over-worked students?

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The love letter to Los Angeles that is La La Land is taking the world by storm and is a favorite for an Oscar nod. It’s dreamy, unreal and positive. It’s full of life and love and singing. The city of Los Angeles has played itself in cinema since the beginning. Like most cities, it’s many different things to the people who know it. Chad Ferrin’s Parasites, which is available today for digital HD download, takes a decidedly darker view of L.A. One that begins with an almost comical view of violence and ends up making a powerful commentary on class, power, society and institutionalized racism. The film meanders and stumbles a bit along the way, but stick with it. This is a truly bleak film, and an important one as well. Continue reading

I think it’s fair to say that director M. Night Shyamalan has had a variable track record to date. After his big break, The Sixth Sense, made a new sport out of guessing-the-twist, he seemed to have landed straight at the top and seemed likely to stay there – but subsequent films saw this influence wane, with offerings such as Lady in the Water dividing fans and more recent efforts, namely The Last Airbender, uniting them again – mostly in derision. (I’ll admit I haven’t seen The Last Airbender, though whenever faced with Shyamalan’s most twee efforts, I always feel like Michael Jackson’s Earth Song is about to break out.) So, this brings us to his new film, the recently-released Split (2016), which features no spooks, no mysterious realms and no crop circles. On paper, it certainly seems like a concerted effort has been made to head in a new direction – but just how complete, and successful, is this departure?

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I’ve always thought it’s a crying shame that we generally know very little about Russian cinema; although many fine examples have made it across to the West, we can be sure that many have not, and even those which have are often very under-appreciated. And so it is that it has taken me around a decade from the point of seeing some intriguing stills in print from Viy (1967) to actually seeing the film itself. However, this omission has meant that I’ve just been able to see a film, which is now a staggering half a century old, as one amongst the most innovative supernatural yarns I’ve ever enjoyed to date. That is the magic of cinema. The best of it not only doesn’t have a best-before date; it actively gathers extra appeal from the intervening years, adding the charm of the time capsule effect to its other merits. Add Russian folklore into the mix and you also get that strange, but not displeasing distance, too – where the tales are similar, yet different; the predominant religion is unique, but also recognisable – and the threat of the otherworldly is so very Russian (or Ukrainian) in many ways, yet feels as though it’s interlaced with themes and ideas akin to many European stories.

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There seems to have been something of a resurgence in print media – alongside many other pre-internet media – in recent years; titles which had quietly slipped off the radar are back, and the indie press, which many folk had anticipated would have disintegrated by now, is ticking along rather nicely. Even we (that is, our previous incarnation, Brutal as Hell) have been at it, and a very enjoyable thing it is to do. I have to admit, there is just something compelling about the physical product; it calls to mind the old excitement of ordering, awaiting and then enjoying a magazine or fanzine – an excitement which is simply missing in the immediacy of the online world. And this isn’t simply blithe nostalgia, believe me; these labours of love tend to bring together disparate, but interesting voices. Such is the case with the new print project, The Reprobate.

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With Deadpool being the undoubtable, crowned champion of superhero movies last year, there is no question that the sequel is building up a considerable buzz months before we’ll even see a trailer. Just recently, both Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead have been confirmed for at least a cameo appearance if not a bigger role, but there is bigger news in store! Cable has already been dropped in and Domino has been confirmed to be in the works with ten actresses competing for the role. Despite the crowded script, Deadpool is still promised to be front and center of his own movie. Continue reading

Something we’re hoping to keep you up to date on here at Warped Perspective is news of the most exciting upcoming home entertainment releases – we’re talking DVDs and Blu-rays, predominantly, of the hot new genre films and the best in cult classics. There are so many great specialist labels out there now that sometimes it can be hard to keep track (and I can’t promise I’ll manage to cover everything, so give me a shout if I’ve left out anything great!).

As it’s the start of the year here are some of the highlights of January’s upcoming releases, in case any have slipped under your radar, as well as a couple of exciting recent announcements.

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Texas, USA is a lot of things to a lot of people. To vacationers, it’s a land of pastures and steaks, to foreigners, it’s the crown of American civilization, and to writers, artists, and dreamers, it’s the last thundering vestige of the American southwest. But to locals, it’s simply God’s Country. A large and fantastical expanse of the spirit of the pioneers with dreams of a simple life wrought from the fruit of the land. Image Comics take that idea one step further and creates a literal representation of the states nickname. Focusing on a man who had been reborn as a god, the work goes beyond the fantasy angle and explores family, dedication, and the wretch of mental illness. Part Cormac McCarthy, part Roman mythology, God Country takes the strange and violent world of the border state and brings it to life with magic and mayhem.

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If there was one thing that didn’t suck horribly about 2016 it was the year’s selection of genre films. As ever, I’ve been immensely privileged to see a whole load of upcoming films as well as general releases, and so my favourites list is populated by a mix of films that were on general release and others that will be in UK cinemas and homes during 2017. I’ve broadly here stuck to films which are ‘genre’, with an emphasis on horror, but even so it was a struggle narrowing things down.

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An email was sent out recently by a well-established website who are seeking new writers to help them keep on top of the relentless flow of tidbits and news which fans might like to read. People applied to find out more, and received the following reply from the site in question – and I’m not going to play coy here, the site in question was HeyUGuys:

‘At the moment we’re looking for news writers to help us with the day to day running of the site. We don’t want to be churning out news to cover everything and anything but we are keen to get news to become a bit more prominent on the website. We don’t have huge amounts of cash to play with but we’re looking at paying around £1 per article. We hope that over the course of a month if we can do 2 or 3 per day it may add up to a tidy sum.’

Now, pick the bones out of that one. £1 per news item: two or three news items per day (probably around half an hour to an hour a pop, going on my own pace of writing) which could potentially lead to a whopping £20 or more per week. A tidy sum, indeed. Not only is the amount of money being offered here insulting and unliveable for anyone trying to sustain themselves professionally as a writer, I’m not even sure you could get away with it legally. Even if you were in the unfortunate position of having to supplement your existing wages in this way, it would hardly be worth the time and trouble. However, this email neatly encapsulates, for me, some of the issues facing fan writers in these times. Namely – should you write for free? Write for a pittance? Or hold out for better things?

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