Thursday, July 16, 2015

My BiFan Schedule for Day 10: Sunday, July 26

Again, I need to wait until Friday night's film award announcements before making my decisions about Sunday's game plan, but in case I have already seen all of the award winners earlier in the week, or in case I'm not interested in the winners that I haven't seen, I have a few options on deck.

I couldn't find a trailer for Japanese suspense thriller Prophecy so I have provided a link with plot information and a poster below. I saw director Nakamura Yoshihiro's impressive The Snow White Murder Case at BiFan last year and expect this to be a solid follow-up.

I semi-promised myself that I would do my best to avoid zombie films this year because there has been such a glut of them during the past several years, but I may make an exception for Israel's JeruZalem, which seems to have more to offer than the average shambling dead tropes.

Egyptian shocker Warda takes a shaky-cam, video-blogging, pseudodocumentary approach to its tale of possession involving a family in the countryside. (Note: it my take longer than usual for the trailer to load at the link below.)

I had mentioned in earlier posts that I plan to watch some films in the press screening room. Most of these will be films that I had to choose between during loaded time slots, but at least one doesn't fit anywhere into my screening schedule, so it is high on my list for a make-up viewing in the press room. New Zealand horror comedies hit it out of the park at last year's BiFan with two of my favorite films of 2014, What We Do in the Shadows and Housebound. This year, besides Turbo Kid (see my Saturday, July 18 schedule post), New Zealanders also offer I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, in which a crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie encounter real members of the living, walking dead on hand.

There are about 200 short-length and full-length films showing at BiFan that I haven't mentioned. If you haven't yet watched We Are Still Here (my favorite fright flick of the year so far) and Spring (my second favorite), both are available on VOD formats and sometimes they show on the big screen like they do here at BiFan, so keep an eye out for those two. If you feel like falling into a rabbit hole of information about new and classic genre films from around the world, have at BiFan's English website,

Three-and-a-half more hours and I'm off to my first BiFan film of 2015! Keep checking back here for updates!

My BiFan Schedule for Day 9: Saturday, July 25

I will see five films today, but I won't know what two of them are until BiFan announces its award winners on Friday night. The festival schedules its award winners for encore screenings on its final Saturday and Sunday. If I have already seen the winners, I will opt for other titles. If I haven't, I'll see what all the hubbub is about. I'll update here when things shake out.

One of the three films that I will definitely see on this day is the Japanese suspense thriller Nowhere Girl, from Ghost in the Shell director Mamuro Oshii. An art school student with a troubled past lets loose with martial arts and machine guns in this trailer, and I'm itching to find out why!

I'm also headed for Sweet Home, a stylish Spanish/Polish horror film that looks to have home invasion and slasher elements. Why the protagonist would want to have a romantic surprise birthday dinner in an abandoned building is beyond me, but hey, it's a fine set-up for a fright flick.

Oh my, I am pumped for Belgian horror movie Cub! I have been waiting for this one since I first heard about it a few months ago. I don't want to know anything more about it going in than this fantastic trailer shows!

My BiFan Schedule for Day 8: Friday, July 24

I will start the morning with possibly my lightest fare of the festival, the Danish/German family superhero comedy Antboy: Revenge of the Red Fury. This sequel to last year's Antboy, which I haven't seen yet, sees the alter ego of the titular character thwarted by the new boy at school, while his heroic half faces a new costumed menace.

For my first afternoon matinee, I'm torn between two films screening at the same time. The first option is Why Horror?, a Canadian documentary that explores the psychology and popularity of horror films in many different countries.

The other option is director Sono (Cold Fish; Suicide Club) Sion's Japanese action horror movie Tag, in which murderous ghosts attack schoolgirls with high-powered weaponry. Sion will make a few guest appearances at the festival to introduce a mini-retrospective of his films.

For the second afternoon feature, I will watch Blood Moon,  a UK production set in Colorado of the wild west in the late 1800s that pits gunslingers on both sides of the law against skinwalkers --- shape-shifting monsters spoken of in Native American legends. This looks to be an interesting practical effects creature feature.

My evening offering is Takashi Miike's Japanese action/fantasy/yakuza/vampire mash-up Yakuza Apocalypse. If that sentence doesn't sell you on the movie, I'm not sure what will. Well, perhaps this trailer . . .

My BiFan Schedule for Day 7: Thursday, July 23

After another morning press room screening, it's time for a Taiwanese mash-up of crime thriller and supernatural suspense with The Laundryman, in which a contract killer haunted by the ghosts of his victims seeks the counsel of a psychic.

I absolutely love the haunted house chiller We Are Still Here, one of my favorite spooky films so far this year, which is also screening at BiFan. The trailer for House of Shadows has me hopeful that this Italian/Irish coproduction might be another creepy contender for top fright flick of 2015.

I couldn't find a trailer for the Canadian horror film There Are Monsters, but I did find director Jay Dahl's 2009 short film of the same name.

My BiFan Schedule for Day 6: Wednesday, July 22

I will probably start the day with a viewing in the press room (more on those potential choices in a future post), and then settle into some comfy cinema seats for the following three movies.

Bruce (Pontypool) McDonald brings a Halloween-set horror offering to the table, the Canadian feature Hellions, in which a teenager is terrorized by malevolent trick-or-treaters.

Fair warning: I think this trailer contains major spoilers, though I hope I'm wrong. Watch it at your own risk.

Up next is a promising U.S. thriller about a psycho babysitter, Emelie.

Talent from Luxembourg, the United States, Spain, and Belgium all pitched in to create Extraordinary Tales, an animated anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories. The credit "With the voices of Christopher Lee, Roger Corman, and Bela Lugosi" has me quite intrigued!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My BiFan Schedule for Day 5: Tuesday, July 21

I have two films this day, because summer vacation starts and I finish work around noon . . . hooray! So after my 2-hour commute, I will start off with The Santiso Report, an Argentinian suspenser about a reporter searching for his missing daughter. It's difficult to find information about this one, but it seems to be a mystery/sci-fi/thriller hybrid, possibly with supernatural elements.

I'm still undecided for my second Tuesday feature. One option is the Vietnamese ghost movie Hollow, which looks to have more blood than the average specter flick.

My other option is the nutty-looking (in a good way) The Ninja War of Torakage, directed by Nishimura Yoshihiro of Tokyo Gore Police and Helldriver fame.

My BiFan Schedule for Day 4: Monday, July 20

My summer vacation is almost here, but on this day I still teach a full load of classes, so I will take the subway for almost two hours each way to catch dinner and a movie with my son in Bucheon. Well worth it! On tap tonight is Local God from Uraguay, a horror film in which a three-piece rock band films a music video at an abandoned mine and unwittingly unleash the spirit of a sleeping . . . well, we'll have to wait and see.

My BiFan Schedule for Day 3: Sunday, July 19

I only have 2 films on Sunday because . . . my son arrives in Korea in the evening! After his long flight from the States and a decent night's sleep to help ward off jet lag, we'll start hitting the festival together the next day and working on our second VideoScope magazine article together. I am one excited dad!

Sunday morning starts early with another anthology horror film, this time from Singapore. In Afterimages, five artists burn paper effigy cameras as offerings to the deceased and receive film reels with terrifying contents in return.

French shocker Night Fare promises to show viewers why they should never stiff a taxi driver.

My BiFan Schedule for Day 2: Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 2 kicks into high gear as I have a full plate of 5 films starting at 10:30 a.m.

I'll start the day off with a newly restored version of director Kinji Fukasaku's 1973 yakuza classic, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, which debuted at Cannes this year. This trailer doesn't have English subtitles but it's a fun watch nevertheless.

The crime wave continues with Swedish caper film The Master Plan. BiFan's website description is, "When the uncle of mastermind Charles Ingvar-Johnson gets murdered, [Charles] brings together a league consisting of Sweden's best impostor, an explosives expert, and a burglary specialist to finalize his plan for revenge and perform a complicated heist."

New Zealand/Canada coproduction Turbo Kid looks absolutely nuts! Set in a postapocalyptic 1997, this film looks to combine Mad Max-style visuals with comic book elements and more than a little humor. I have high hopes for this one!

There's an embarrassment of riches for my fourth Saturday slot; I'm still working on putting some puzzle pieces in place so that I can eventually see all of the following three films during my BiFan visit. The contenders follow.

Tales from the Dark #1 is a Hong Kong portmanteau horror film directed by Simon Yam --- who will make special guest appearance at the festival --- Lee Chi-ngai, and Fruit Chan. The emphasis here is on ghosts, and all three tales are based on short stories written by Lilian Lee.

The UK psychological mystery drama The Falling concerns an epidemic of fainting spells at a girls' school in 1969.

French horror offering Horsehead looks to be chock full of surreal imagery as a young girl experiments with lucid dreaming in the bedroom next to her dying grandmother.

Saturday finishes with one of my most anticipated films, American creature feature Harbinger Down, starring Lance Henriksen. According to the filmmakers, this fan-funded production pays homage to Alien and John Carpenter's The Thing using only practical effects for the creatures. I had a blast watching Blood Glacier at BiFan last year, and as a lifelong monster kid, I can't wait to see this one on the big screen.

South Korea's BiFan Film Festival Offers Plenty of Monsters, Murders, and Mayhem

Each year since I moved from Oregon to South Korea in 2008, I have attended the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan;, which asserts itself to be Asia's largest showcase of genre films. With more than 200 feature-length and short films on offer each July, the fest certainly makes a good case for its claim. Movies range from cutting-edge titles making their world premiere to beloved classics from around the world. There's something for almost everyone as the festival focuses on horror, science fiction, fantasy, dark comedy, thrillers, crime, action and martial arts, and other genres.

This year will be my eighth visit to BiFan but, most importantly, it is my fourth visit to BiFan with my son Cohen and our second time to write an article together about the festival for The Phantom of the Movies' VideoScope magazine (, with our debut as a father-and-son writing team appearing in the publication's Fall 2013 (#88) edition.

The festival opens this coming Thursday, July 16, and I will attend every day beginning the following evening. Besides this being my fourth year of BiFan coverage for VideoScope, it will also be my second year of providing audio reports as the foreign correspondent for the excellent Horror News Radio (HNR) podcast ( and as a writer for (HNN).

I will post trailers here for the films I plan to see. Expect to see many trailers, because I hope to check out at least 25 films at BiFan! I will also post links to HNR and HNN when podcasts with my reviews and my online reviews are published, respectively. 

This is my favorite cinematic time of the year, so I thought now would be the perfect time to kick off my blog. After all of the festival coverage, I will publish links to previous podcast appearances and articles, as well as reviews of films that are exclusive to this blog, trailers and news, and other fun tidbits. Please join me!

BiFan: Friday, July 17

My first film for this year's festival will be the Hong Kong crime thriller Port of Call, written and directed by Philip Yung and starring Aaron Kwok.

Note: the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan) was formerly named the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). The festival changed the spelling this year to reflect the revised English spelling of the city's name.