Grimm Up North Asian Extreme Night Thurs 21st June 2012.
Written by Sharon Davies
OK so who out there wishes they had been there on the opening night of Alien? Or Evil Dead? Who would love to relive the pulse-racing scenes of old classic horrors on the big screen? I know I would.
Shame there isn’t a production company who could serve the North West of England with cinema screenings of cult horror films and an eye watering kick-ass festival where horror fans can sharpen their proverbial viewing knives…
…tut silly me of course there is!
Grimm Up North, one of the UK’s answers to premium horror channels, recently opened its bloodstained creaky doors to me in the form of one of their monthly screenings and boy, was it a corker!
I was treated to an Asian Extreme double bill consisting of the classic 2000’s Battle Royale and Yoshihiro Nishimura’s 2008 Tokyo Gore Police. Now can you keep a secret? I hope you can… I had never seen either of these films before. Shhhh! I don’t want HTO (Horrortalk Overlords) to strip me of my horrorfan badge and to throw me in the pit of RomComs.
So, on this night I was welcomed into one of Grimm’s venues ‘The Dancehouse’, set in the heart of Manchester’s city centre on Oxford Road. One thing undeniable about this particular venue is its sense of class. Its original grandiose fixtures and fittings almost made me feel like I was in a hidden room in the Overlook Hotel and using the traditional fold down red suede chairs I settled into my evening ahead. Being surrounded with a small group of mutual horror fans I spied more than three tribute t-shirts which almost made me feel like I was in a home away from home, and during our introduction by Grimm’s finest hosts I eagerly watched away.
Battle Royale opened proceedings as Shuya, the main character, showed me a new Japan: One where the young population defies the old and in an effort to teach all a lesson “Battle Royale” commences, a game where a school class is nominated to be taken to a remote island where they must fight to the death until one victor is left. The Hunger Games is an obvious shadow of this storyline however with Asia’s ability to push the bar higher in terms of blood, guts and brutality I saw a reality I never wish to live in.
After Battle Royale, Grimm kept up the atmosphere by giving a quick bar / toilet break plus a chance for the crowd to win prizes from the raffle tickets handed out on entry to the event. (I did secretly wish I had won the t-shirt, however upon seeing its XL size I wished the winner well.)
The finale gushed onto my retinas in the guise of Tokyo Gore Police, a film shot and completed in just two weeks and with enough blood, guts, gore and utter ravings from the creator to make me wonder if I had finally gone mad. Set again in a future Japan, a mad scientist has created a key shaped virus which can mutate people into “engineers”, bloodthirsty troublesome fiends who will muck your poop up. Think you can handle them? Guess again, if you wound them they simply grow weapons from these wounds (just you wait until someone’s Johnson gets cut off, now THAT made me go cross-eyed). Cue sword-wielding policewoman Ruka, one of the few members on the force who is skilled enough to take care of the problem. Of course things aren’t always as simple as good versus evil and with some of the most bizarre but creative effects I have ever seen (the chair scene has literally burned its image into my brain) I was intrigued right to the end.
Two very different films, one with a dark and original genius and the other bursting with lunacy made me eagerly await the next event.
Put simply I feel these monthly screenings allow a diverse and yet unique entry into our horror platform and an opportunity for us fans to bond. The informal scene gave us all chance to laugh, applaud and create our own sense of atmosphere while watching classic and much loved films and for that I thank Grimm for an awesome night had by all.
Next on the list is Vampire Sunday on the 22nd July which sandwiches four vampire flicks in-between gothic writer Sam Stone, who will be reading her latest work, and a chance to continue the party with Grimm Social. I am really looking forward to Harsh Light of Day also attended by its talented Director and Writer Oliver Milburn and the classically handsome Dan Richardson – my co-host Ilan having met them assures me I’m in for a treat and with that in mind, roll on the 22nd.