Monday, January 19, 2009

GHOST OF GUTS EATER (Thailand, 1973)

[click scan for a bigger size]

Original Thai title: KRASUE SAO
produced by Banlue Utsahajit
directed by S. NAOWARATCH
starring Sombat Metanee, Pitsamai Wilaisak.

I finally got around to watching this VERY obscure and VERY rare film via a dvd-r off a VERY rare Swedish video release (thanks to Lars Jacobsson).

I'll try and do a proper review in the not too distant future but just quickly: GHOST OF GUTS EATER is one of the many "flying head with intestines dangling underneath" films that have come out from Thailand (and they continue to make these films!). Ironically, the by far most well known flying head movie is MYSTICS IN BALI which isn't a Thailand movie at all but from Indonesia (and released on a spiffy dvd from Mondo Macabro). Also, and again ironically, the Indo movie is head and shoulders better than any of the Thai movies I've seen not least due to the fact that it keeps the slapstick humour out. Some of the Thai horror movies are excruciatingly painful to sit thru due to their lame (very lame!) humour.

However, just like with MYSTICS IN BALI the people who made GHOST OF GUTS EATER left out the humour and thank you for that! What we're left with is a straight played horror movie about a young girl whose grandmother dealt with dark forces and became a flying head vampire(they are referred to in the film as "vampires")!! When the grandmother dies at the beginning of the film she makes her niece promise always to wear the ring. The crooked grandma just leaves out that she will live on thru the ring and make the niece do stuff at night as a flying head.

GHOST OF GUTS EATER is fairly long and doesn't clock in till the 100 minute mark but that's okay as it's pretty good, well played, and has a few twists and turns you don't expect. Like towards the end where...


...her little son is just gunned down by some crooks but the film still manages to have a good ending where the husband forgives her and they kinda just forget about their little son's dead body lying around somewhere in the bushes.

*end of spoiler*

Now, being a collector of world-weird horror movies it means I've bought my fare share of Thai horror and unfortunately most of the time the ONLY way of watching these movies is via video-cd's from Thailand. This means terrible fullscreen formats, pixelation galore, no subtitles, and if that wasn't enough the prints are often taken from old video tapes with tape rolls and all.

And with that in mind the Swedish video tape is a revelation!!!

The picture is crisp clear and fully letterboxed!!! And the credits are "translated" to western characters as well as written in Thai. The film is presented in its original Thai language and being a Swedish video release it has Swedish subtitles and, whoah!! This is the first time I've had the chance of watching one of these old Thai horror movies and actually be able to fully understand what the hell is going on.

One weird thing tho is that the print has TWO sets of Swedish subtitles! One set is burnt-in on the print (so I assume the film ran at some stage in the Swedish cinemas. What a treat to have seen this at the cinema!). The second set is ordinary video subtitles. As if all this wasn't weird enough there is even differences between the two sets. Sometimes alternative words are used and in a few places different spellings are used. In one place I noticed the Swedish word for "you" was spelt "dej" in the cinema print subs and "dig" in the video subs! (???). I have no idea as to why (and although I read Swedish I don't have enough knowledge about the damn language to tell if both spellings are valid or not).

One more thing is there is a very good chance this Swedish tape is the ONLY time the film has been released anywhere other than on Thai vcd! Obviously I don't know for sure (and it seems I can't ask the one person who might know about it; Jean-Claude from this forum, as he seems to have disappeared). The only person I'm aware of who has this tape is Lars so this is truly a collectors item!

All in all a fairly good horror movie. By no means nail-bitingly scary or on par with MYSTICS IN BALI but as I said: pretty good and the good print is a joy to watch.

If you wanna read a bit more about FLYING HEAD WITH INTESTINES DANGELING UNDERNEATH movies then go to this thread where Jean-Claude posted a list of no less than 25 movies in the genre!

Big thank yous go out to Lars Jacobsson for the copy and scan.

Lars making sure no one gets the tape! (LOL)

Island of the crappy living dead Bruno Mattei zombie movies, part 2

I watched ZOMBIES THE BEGINNING, the sequel to ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD which I wrote about yesterday. I must say it's quite a bit better than the other one. The first one is from 2006 and this one from 2007 but whether they went back home to Italy and then returned to the Philippines the year after to make the sequel or they made them back to back I don't know. But the second one is certainly better than the first one! When I say better I hope you understand that what I'm really saying is "the better one out of two crappy ones", haha.

Anyway, I was quite entertained and had a pleasant hour and a half. As Jocke mentioned in a comment to my first post BEGINNING is almost a zombie remake of ALIENS!! Just much cheaper and crappier and the actors have about as little acting skills as the ones in the first one. The gore scenes and zombies are quite alright though. I mentioned yesterday that it's not dubbed but shot in English. That's not quite right, it was shot in English alright, but it's still dubbed (just in the same language as they spoke during filming!).

Anyway, if you like trashy horror flicks then you can certainly find much worse films than these two. No, waitasecond... actually you can't, haha. But watch them anyway, they're fun, crappy entertainment and Bruno Mattei's swansong. There's a dedication to him at the end by the way; a brief segment where he says "Not until the end" (or something like that, I'm so much not gonna go and check!). Well, this became the end for him. Thanks for all the crap you gave us, Bruno.