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Se7en, Zodiac, The Collector, I Saw the Devil, and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 237
Serial Killer Week!
We’ve got five movies this week:
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We’ll start with the 1986 film, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” then move on to 1995’s “Se7en.” Then we’ll watch a fictionalized version of the real-life “Zodiac” and go insane with “The Collector” and “I Saw the Devil.” Crazy stuff!
On our newsletter site, horrorbulletin.com we discuss all the above, PLUS:
“Hollywood in the Atomic Age - Monsters! Martians! Mad Scientists!” (2021)
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Here. We. Go!
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Directed by John McNaughton
Written by Richard Fire, John McNaughton
Stars Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles
Run Time: 1 Hour, 23 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
It’s based on a real guy, and it feels like we spend the time just watching him do what he does. It has the feel of a documentary more than a story, but it was interesting getting a glimpse of what such a prolific killer might have been like in real life.
We open on a dead body, naked and dumped in the weeds. We cut to Henry, who just finished his breakfast at the diner. We get glimpses, possibly a flashback, of a store robbery and dead shopkeepers. We cut to a woman tied up in a bathroom with a glass bottle stuck through her face. We then cut to a dead woman floating face-down in a pond.
Henry parks at the mall and scopes out people in his car mirror. He picks one and starts following her. When he sees the woman has a husband, he moves on. He picks up a hitchhiker, and it ends poorly for the guy.
Otis picks up his sister Becky at the airport, and he says she looks terrible; her husband left her. She wants to get a job, make some money, and maybe bring her baby to town. Henry comes in and gives Otis a guitar; we saw the guitar with the hitchhiker earlier.
Henry works as an exterminator, and he uses the sprayer to gain access into women’s houses. We soon see a woman let him in, and she ends up strangled offscreen.
Becky asks Otis where he met Henry: Van Dalia prison. “He killed his mama with a baseball bat.” She later talks to Henry about his family. She admits that she was abused growing up. She asks Henry about killing his mother, and he admits it. She was a whore, and sometimes she’d make him wear a dress. He tells the story, but some of the details are inconsistent, so he’s probably lying about it.
Otis tries to take advantage of his sister, but Henry stops him. The two men then go out for some fun and pick up a pair of hookers. Henry kills them both, and oh, does Otis ever look surprised! Henry says nothing’s going to happen when they find the bodies, but Otis is clearly upset. “You telling me you never killed anybody before?” Nope.
Otis kicks out the TV screen in anger, so the two decide to “go shopping.” They go see a fence for a new TV. The fence gives them a hard time, so they kill him and take what they want– a color TV and a camcorder.
Otis and Henry go out again, and this time, Henry gives Otis a gun. They flag down a passing driver, and Otis kills him. Henry asks, “Feel better?” Henry narrates the life of a serial killer as Otis records on the camcorder. He explains the “rules” about not getting caught.
They break into a family home and kill the husband, wife, and son as they record the whole thing. Otis gets frisky with the dead woman, but Henry gets angry and makes him stop. Otis breaks the camera and throws it out the car window.
Becky thinks it’s time to go back home to her daughter, and Henry isn’t happy to hear it. She invites him to go along, and he says he’ll think about it. She takes her shirt off, and Henry doesn’t quite know what to do, but then Otis interrupts.
Henry goes out for a walk, and when he returns, he finds Otis raping Becky. Henry comes in, and Becky stabs Otis in the eye. Henry then finishes him off. He then cuts up Otis into little pieces and puts him in luggage; the luggage soon finds its way into the river.
Henry and Becky drive away. They stop at a motel, and in the morning, Henry drives away. He drops off Becky’s bloody luggage on the side of the road. What happened to Becky? I think we can guess.
It’s a fictionalized biography of a real-life serial killer. The four early shots of crime scenes were based on four of Henry Lee Lucas’s real-life murders. He was convicted of eleven murders but claimed to have done more than 600.
It’s surprisingly non-violent compared to a lot more standard horror films; it’s also missing a lot of the usual horror tropes, which is what caused a lot of controversy when it was released. It’s filmed more like a documentary than a horror film. There’s very little blood or gore. Yes, lots of people die, but they’re usually very clean deaths. There are no police shown at any point in the film, and there aren’t really any “good guys” in the movies. It feels like we’re just watching Henry do what he does, and he doesn’t get caught at the end.
Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
Stars Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow
Run Time: 2 Hours, 7 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
This is very dark and atmospheric throughout. The casting is perfect. The script is amazing. It’s creepy, unsettling, and chilling. It’s a damn fine film that you should see if you haven’t already.
Detective Somerset puts on his tie and gets ready for work. He gets called to a murder investigation, where Detective Taylor is a jerk. Detective Mills reports to Somerset; he’s new in town. Mills fought to get transferred here, and Somerset can’t imagine why. Mills will shadow Somerset for the next seven days until Somerset’s retirement. Credits roll.
Monday. The pair gets called to a crime scene. The officer responding says the crime scene is a mess. They find a hugely obese man face-down in food. They immediately assume it was a coronary, but then they find the man's arms and legs are tied; someone force-fed him.
The medical examiner says the man has been dead for a long time. The man ate until he burst, though a kick in the stomach from someone helped. Somerset thinks the process has some kind of meaning; murder should be a lot less complicated than this. He predicts that this is just the start.
Tuesday. Mills is reassigned, and this is another murder case. A defense attorney has been found murdered. The word “Greed” is written in blood on the floor.
The chief tells Somerset about it; he doesn’t believe Somerset will really retire, being a cop is in his blood. He also gives Somerset some bits of plastic that were removed from the fat man’s stomach. The plastic prompts Somerset to move the refrigerator; “Gluttony” is written back there in grease. There are seven deadly sins, and here are two of them; five more are coming. Somerset goes to the library to research the case. Mills reads the case files. Research montage!
Wednesday. Mills reads the Cliff’s Notes versions (literally) of Somerset’s research. Tracy, Mills’s wife, asks Somerset over for dinner tonight. They have a nice apartment right next to the subway, which everyone finds hilarious. The “Greed” man’s wife looks at the crime photos and points out that one of the paintings is upside-down. Behind the painting, they find fingerprints. The prints don’t match anyone, but they spell out “Help Me.”
Thursday. The fingerprints finally come back for a man named Victor who has a long criminal history. The “Greed” man was Victor’s lawyer. All the cops arrive at Victor’s home. The whole place has a thousand hanging air fresheners and one man in a bed. They uncover him; Victor is a mummy. “Sloth” is written on the wall. There are a series of photos beginning one year ago today, and each following photo is him starving a little more. Victor starts moving, which gives the movie’s only jump scare– he’s not dead yet. The doctor says the man chewed off his own tongue long ago, and his brain has turned to mush.
Friday. Tracy calls Somerset and wants to meet him to talk. She’s not happy about relocating to the big city. She’s pregnant, hates the city, and doesn’t know what to do. He gives her some advice.
Somerset talks to an FBI friend who tips him off to a man who checked out all the wrong books. Somebody shoots at them and runs off. Mills pursues the guy, firing several shots, but he gets away.
Inside the man’s apartment, they find all kinds of weird religious stuff and souvenirs from the previous crimes. There are no fingerprints anywhere in the place. The killer calls and says he’ll be adjusting his timetable because of all this.
Saturday. They follow up on a receipt from Wild Bill’s leather shop. He made something for “John Doe,” and it was a very special piece. Then they get called to another murder. “Lust” is on the wall. It’s a brothel, and there’s a hysterical man there. The man says someone put a gun to his head and made him kill the prostitute by having sex with her with a strap-on knife.
The two cops talk about mental illness and how real people “are.” Somerset laughs at Mills’s idealism. Mills refuses to give up his idealistic ways, and he shames Somerset a little bit.
Sunday. The killer calls and turns in the case himself. “Pride,” this time. A model had her face cut up and her nose cut off, but she chose suicide rather than live like that.
Joe Doe comes to the police station and turns himself in. He cuts the tips off his own fingers to avoid leaving prints anywhere. They can’t trace much about the man.
Mills and Somerset don’t see why Doe would turn himself in. They both know he’s not done– there are two more murders (Envy and Wrath) still waiting. Doe’s lawyer offers up two more bodies if they give him a deal. And only to the two detectives. If they don’t agree to the deal, Doe will plead insanity and probably get off. Mills and Somerset accept Doe’s deal to reveal the last two victims personally.
The two cops get wired for sound and escort John Doe to the unknown location of the final two bodies. John Doe talks as if his entire plan is a masterpiece of art. “I turn the sin against the sinner.” He makes quite a speech about how awful the world really is. He says all of them will be remembered for a long time for this, especially Mills.
They stop the car out in the desert beneath a bunch of high-voltage wires. The wires are in the way, so the helicopter following overhead cannot land. As they walk through the desert, a delivery truck approaches, and Somerset intercepts it. There’s a package inside for Mills. Doe talks to Mills about the life he’s made for himself and that he should be proud. “I wish I could have lived like you with your pretty wife, Tracy.”
The helicopter people want to call the bomb squad, but Somerset decides to open the box first.
Doe admits that he went to Mills’s apartment and “played” with Tracy. Then he took her head. Somerset returns to the duo and demands Mills’s gun. Doe says he “Envies” Mills, and that’s the sin he must die for. “Become Wrath, David,” says Mills.
“David, if you kill him, he will win,” says Somerset.
Mills shoots Doe repeatedly. He’s definitely got some “Wrath” issues.
It rains a lot in this dark, depressing city. The whole thing is slow-moving, but the creepy factor builds and builds throughout. It’s a very atmospheric movie. All the acting is just perfect– The two main characters, Somerset and Mills, are very clearly defined and very unique characters.
The ending is super creative, and everything plays right into John Doe’s plan.
Directed by David Fincher
Written by James Vanderbilt, Robert Graysmith
Stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. , Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards
Run Time: 2 Hours, 37 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
The horror from this comes from it being spun from real murders. But it’s more of a mystery and crime drama. The movie is long, and the real investigation was longer, but they kept it interesting throughout. There’s a large cast of talented folks, and it’s very well-directed.
We start off on July 4, 1969, in the suburbs. A young couple goes to the burger place, but it’s too crowded. Instead, they go “parking.” A creepy black park stops behind them but soon drives off. Then he comes back, and the two kids think they’re going to be robbed; instead, they’re both shot full of holes. We don’t see who did it. The killer calls the police and reports the crime himself. Credits roll.
Four weeks later, Robert Graysmith takes his son to school. He’s a cartoonist for the Chronicle. His editor calls his work mostly “horrid” at the editorial meeting. Then the editor gets a letter from the murderer. The letter-writer knows things that the police hadn’t published. He also has included a cipher that he wants to be printed in the paper ASAP.
Paul Avery is the crime reporter, and he starts verifying the letter. It’s all true, so they decide to print the cipher on page four. Within a few hours, the FBI, CIA, and everyone else are working on decoding the cipher. Within a few days, someone decodes the message. The man sounds like a lunatic. Then another letter appears, and this time, he calls himself the Zodiac.
Six weeks later, another couple is out near the lake, and the Zodiac appears. He’s wearing black and has a crosshair symbol on his chest. He makes the girl tie up the man and then the Zodiac ties her up as well. This time, he stabs them both. The man survives and describes the killer; Robert draws him.
A few weeks later, someone shoots a cabbie. Inspector David Tosch is called to investigate the botched robbery. The Zodiac soon sends a letter claiming the crime. Paul and Robert talk about the crime at the newspaper. The killer continues to send letters. He wants to call into a TV show to publicly talk with Melvin Belli, a famous attorney. The Zodiac calls in and says to call him “Sam.” The man definitely sounds like he has mental issues; it turns out to be a guy calling from a mental institution.
Robert does research and tells Paul what he learned; the code is called the “Zodiac Alphabet,” and it’s really old. A few more months pass, and Belli gets a letter from the Zodiac again. Several months after that, the Zodiac picks up a woman and baby alongside the road. “Before I kill you, I’m going to throw your baby out the window.” She jumps from the car with the baby, and they both survive. More murders happen over a period of time.
Paul Avery comes to the conclusion that the Zodiac may not have killed all the people he’s claimed. Maybe he’s lied about claiming a few random crimes. Four months pass with no more crimes. Paul gets a threatening card sent to him in the mail, and then he goes out to buy a gun. Everyone starts wearing buttons that say “I am not Avery,” including Avery.
Avery finds a murder from way back in 1966 that may be the Zodiac’s first murder. Or maybe not. Who can tell?
More and more evidence mounts against a former teacher who can write with either hand. He’s supposed to have revealed everything to a friend a few years before all this started. Arthur Leigh Allen has a very weak story about his alibi for the first few killings. He wears a “Zodiac” brand watch. The handwriting expert rules him out.
One year later, Paul Avery isn’t looking good; he thinks he’s a marked man, so he’s an alcoholic now. Leigh Allen has moved to a different district, so now Tasche thinks he can get a search warrant in the new district. They make a good case, and the judge finally gives them a warrant. Allen’s place is a mess and infested with squirrels, some in cages and some not. They find guns and clothing similar to that of the Zodiac. Allen drives up, and they arrest him. Again, the handwriting doesn’t match.
It’s been long enough that movies are being made with ciphers with a killer named “Scorpio” (“Dirty Harry”). Robert talks to Tasche and says he knows he’s going to catch the killer eventually.
Four years later, Jennings replaces Avery, who’s been fired. Tasche’s partner, Armstrong, has put in for a transfer. He visits Paul and suggests that he write a book about the Zodiac. Paul is rude, so Robert leaves and goes to the library himself.
It’s now 1977, and Robert goes to see Tasche. It’s still an open case, but Tasche is the only one working the case; the Zodiac hasn’t been heard of in three years. He travels around and enlists the help of the police who worked on the case. Cue the research montage. He comes up with the theory that the Zodiac knew his first victim.
Robert goes to talk to Melvin Belli, and Belli’s maid says she talked to the Zodiac on the phone. The Zodiac told her it was his birthday. An article in the newspaper says that Robert is shopping around his book. He gets an anonymous phone call telling him the name of the Zodiac and the name of one of his friends. He also gets a call with heavy breathing, something the Zodiac was known for.
It’s now 1978, and a new Zodiac letter comes to the Chronicle, and this one mentions Tasche. The press claims that it’s a forgery written by Tasche himself. Tasche is removed from the homicide department in retaliation. Robert’s wife yells at him about his obsession; she’s afraid of the publicity.
Robert meets Bob Vaughn, a friend of the reported killer, Rick Martin. Rick left a sealed film canister with Vaughn but came and took it back later. The scene suddenly gets very creepy when Robert starts figuring out that he might be in the same room as the killer. By the time he gets home, his wife has taken the kids. She demands that he finish this.
Next, Robert goes to talk to Linda in prison. She was another friend of the first victim. She swears the guy she knew wasn’t named Rick; it was Leigh. There’s a connection between Leigh Allen and the first victim. Allen’s birthday turns out to be the same day as when Belli’s maid said. Robert tells all this to David Tasche, and they compare notes.
1983. Robert tracks down and talks to Leigh Allen.
1991. Robert’s book “Zodiac” is on the shelves. One of the survivors comes in for questioning and is shown a series of photos for identification. He picks out Leigh Allen’s photo as the killer.
We are told that after this identification, police went after Arthur Leigh Allen, but he died of a heart attack before he could be questioned again. Even though Allen was the only suspect, the case is still technically open.
There’s lots and lots of explanation and exposition, but it’s all done very entertainingly with multiple cuts of different conversations between characters. It’s very long, but not as long as the original investigation, fortunately.
To make the film more honest, they didn’t recreate any of the murders where there were no survivors; only the ones where someone survived or witnessed were reproduced.
It’s got an amazing, huge cast, and everyone here is excellent. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Robert, but he seems creepy enough to play a serial killer himself. Was this a prequel to “Nightcrawler?”
It’s definitely more of a crime-mystery thriller than horror, but there are a few very tense moments and lots of blood and gore. Plus, it’s mostly true, so that part is scary.
It’s very long, but I was entertained throughout. I’m also wondering how much of this is factual and how much is fictionalized.
The Collector (2009)
Directed by Marcus Dunstan
Written by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Stars Josh Stewart, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernandez
Run Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
It is bloody and brutal, but too many elements don’t make sense when you ponder them too deeply. Those elements somewhat take the viewer out of the moment, which lessens the impact of the suffering and drama. At least it did for us. It’s well made for what it is, but we didn’t love it.
A couple arrives back at their big house after what looks like a night out. Larry tries to turn on the lights, but they don’t work. Gena calls him upstairs, as there’s a strange box in their room. He opens the box and screams as the credits roll.
We return with Michael and Victoria Chase, who are renovating their new house. Arkin is there doing much of the work and notices all the pictures on the wall. The daughter, Hannah, makes him play “tea party” with her. Arkin is here to install the security system and seems obsessed with bugs. He flirts with the other daughter, Jill. Jill and Victoria argue about going on a family vacation– they’re all leaving for a trip.
Arkin goes to see his ex, Lisa, and daughter, Cindy. Lisa owes money to loan sharks, and he doesn’t have enough money for her. He promises to get her the cash. He calls Roy, a criminal acquaintance, and offers to split half the take if he can get paid tonight. They’ve done this before, but Arkin wants to rush the job, which doesn’t please Roy. Arkin is an experienced safecracker, and Michael Chase, the victim, is a jewel broker.
Night falls, and Arkin puts on a black ski mask and walks through the woods to the empty house. He picks the lock and lets himself in. He goes straight to the safe and gets to work– until someone else comes into the house. Arkin tries to run away, but there are a bunch of locks on the door.
Suddenly, Arkin hears screaming from somewhere upstairs. Then he finds Michael badly beaten. Michael thinks Arkin is involved in all this. Then Michael sets off some kind of elaborate wire snare trap that drags him all over the house. Arkin soon runs into a few less-than-lethal booby traps of his own. There are a ridiculous number of wires and traps in the place.
As Arkin explores for a way out, we see another man with a mask and a knife following him. Arkin finds Michael, who tells him Jill left before all this started, but Victoria and Hannah are still in the house somewhere. He finds Victoria, who tells him to get Hannah out. Arkin has her scream as a diversion so he can get back upstairs. The Collector then arrives and threatens to cut her tongue out.
Arkin finds Michael’s gun and takes the jewels while he’s in the safe. There are no bullets. He also finds a box like the one we saw in the pre-credit sequence. Inside is Larry, also from the pre-credit sequence. “He collects people. He only kills people that he doesn’t want. He only takes one.” Arkin pushes him back into the box and moves on. He goes back for Vicky, but that doesn't end well for her.
Arkin looks out the window and sees that Jill and her boyfriend have returned. They come in, but they’re too wound up with each other to notice anything. Chad soon learns how bear traps work. Jill finds a wall of spikes.
Arkin finally breaks a window and gets out of the house, but then he looks back and sees that Hannah is inside with the Collector. Arkin grabs Hannah, and they hide in her bedroom.
The Collector knocks out Arkin, and we get a montage of suffering. Arkin soon finds himself strung up by fish hooks. The Collector knocks out one of his teeth. Then he slices Arkin open and pours bugs into the hole.
The police arrive. Turns out, Jill dialed 911 before she died. The Collector and his dog soon deal with them.
Meanwhile, Arkin pulls loose from the fish hooks (ow!). Arkin and the Collector fight, and it all looks very painful. Eventually, they use one of the traps against the Collector and run outside, where Arkin is run over by a police car.
As the paramedics load Arkin into the ambulance, the house explodes. Will anyone believe his story? Arkin tells the cops it was the exterminator that was working on the house, so they go check that out.
The ambulance runs off the road. The Collector opens the door and kills the paramedic. The Collector forces Arkin into one of his boxes and drives off in his exterminator truck.
Ow. It’s surprising how effective fish hooks can be.
How many hours would it have taken to set up all those traps? Some of those traps, like the hot glue, would have taken a while to create. Arkin didn’t arrive at the house until around 10:30 p.m. The Collector already had the family tied up, so why bother with all the traps– who was he expecting?
A weird, frantic, screaming-crying sound plays when the Collector is active, but he’s not making that sound; it’s just a movie sound effect. He wouldn’t be anywhere nearly as effective without his sound effect.
There’s lots of gore and a few very creative traps, but most of this makes no logical sense. Why do any of this?
I have mixed opinions on this one. It was bloody and brutal but made no real sense.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Directed by Jee-Woon Kim
Written by Park Hoon-Jung, Jee Woon Kim
Stars Lee Byung-Hun, Choi Min-Sik, Jeon Gook-Hwan
Run Time: 2 Hours, 24 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
The movie reaches a sort of resolution much sooner than we expected. And then it keeps going much further than that. It’s very well made, gory, violent, surprising, and very entertaining.
We start with someone driving through the snowy countryside as credits roll. A woman phones her boyfriend and says that she visited the orphanage today; children are so cute. Someone walks up to her car in the snow. She’s stopped for a flat tire, and the man offers to take a look. Her boyfriend is working some kind of security job, and it’s her birthday, but they both seem nice about it. She tells the man outside that she’ll just wait for the tow truck; he goes back to his truck but doesn’t leave. He then breaks in through the window and beats her with a hammer. He drags her body off through the bloody snow as credits continue to roll.
She wakes up later, naked and chained to a pole in a barn. He has a wide selection of knives and comments on how soft her skin is. She begs him not to kill her because she’s pregnant. He doesn’t care; soon she’s a pile of dismembered parts. He drops her ring and leaves it behind after his cleanup.
A little boy finds a shopping bag with an ear in it, and there’s soon a massive search. Squad Chief Jang arrives, upset; his daughter is the one who’s gone missing. Soo-Hyeon also arrives; he’s the boyfriend we saw earlier. The girl’s head is found, and things get crazy,
The next day, Chief Jang and Soo-Hyeon meet to talk. Jang was a police chief for 30 years before retiring. Joo-Yeon has a big funeral, and Soo-hyeon swears, “I will make him pay for your pain.” He takes a few weeks off work. Soo-Hyeon is some kind of secret agent, and he decides to take care of this himself.
Soo-Hyeon narrows things down to four suspects. Soo-Hyeon soon tracks down and mutilates one until he confesses to the police about kidnapping and killing a girl several months ago– but not Joo-Yeon. He does something similar to the second suspect as well.
We cut to another woman, alone at a bus stop. The same work truck pulls up next to her, and the killer from before, Jang Kyung-Chol, offers her a ride. He whacks her with an old pipe. This time, he uses a guillotine to behead her in his barn.
Soo-Hyeon talks to Kyung-Chol’s parents, and they think their son is a deadbeat who abandoned them and his own son. He does get an address for the man. Soo-Hyeon breaks into the man’s house and finds purses, shoes, and bras - it looks like he keeps souvenirs. Then the agent finds the “barn” with a bloody floor and various torture implements. He also finds his fiancé’s engagement ring.
We see that Kyung-chol really is a school bus driver who now has a tracking device on his bus. The police come looking for him, but he’s out on the road. Kyung-chol takes a girl from the bus to a greenhouse and does his thing with her. Soo-Hyeon, using the tracker, approaches from outside.
Kyung-chol senses that there’s someone there, and the two men face each other. They have a brutal knife fight in the greenhouse, which ends with Kyung-chol being beaten unconscious pretty badly. Soo-Hyeon feeds the killer a GPS tracker capsule that he took from work– and leaves him.
Kyung-chol wakes up some time later and finds an envelope full of money. Why? He flags down a cab and shares the ride with two passengers, one of whom already has a knife out to rob the cabbie. The following scene between the three men is… epic.
Kyung-Chol goes to the doctor to get patched up, and he bullies the doctor and nurse. He’s about to rape the nurse when Soo-Hyeon comes in and beats him up again before slicing his Achilles tendon. He’s not walking away from that! Soo-Hyeon has the nurse bandage up Kyung-chol and releases him again. We soon see that not only can Soo-Hyeon track the killer, but he can hear everything that’s going on around him.
Squad Chief Jang calls Soo-Hyeon and says the police think he’s the one pursuing and tormenting Kyung-chol. Jang knows what’s really up and says maybe it’s time to stop. The old man’s other daughter, Se-Jung, wants to know what Soo-Hyeon is up to. She wants him to stop as well. “Whatever you do to punish him won’t help anything. Revenge is for movies.”
Kyung-chol gets picked up by a farmer who eats human flesh himself. He tells them who he is, and they’re OK with that - they’ve worked together. They talk about the “hunter” who is playing with Kyung-chol. The farmer’s out of fresh meat, so he opens up the cell and pulls out a chained-up woman. She’s the actual owner of the farm, and he just finished eating her sister. Soo-Hyeon interrupts the proceedings until Kyung-chol shows up with a shotgun. Things go badly for the cannibals. Soo-Hyeon drives off with the unconscious killer in the car.
The next day, the police are on the scene, and they ask the old chief about Soo-Hyeon. They know who’d been doing the revenge crimes and want the old man to get him to stop.
Soo-Hyeon’s work friend tells him he should give up the killer, but Soo-Hyeon says he’s a long way from finished. He asks how the tracker bug is working, and we know that it’s inside Kyung-Chol, who eventually wakes up, released in an isolated tunnel somewhere. Kyung-Chol now realizes that Soo-Hyeon can hear and follow him and starts taunting him over the radio. Maybe the torment can go both ways.
Kyung-chol takes a bunch of laxatives and gets the tracker out. He force-feeds it to a random man that he knocks out. Now, Soo-Hyeon has no idea where the killer is but soon comes to the conclusion that he’ll go after Chief Jang and Se-Jung.
Kyung-chol calls the police and says he’ll turn himself in later today, but he has something to do first. Chief Jang answers the door, and guess who’s there? Kyung-chol beats up old Jang pretty severely, and then Se-Jung comes home; he kills her too.
Kyung-chol calls and sets up a meeting, saying he’s won. He gets out of the car, covered in blood, and there are about a hundred cops watching. He raises his arms to surrender to the cops, but Soo-Hyeon swoops in and grabs him first.
Soo-Hyeon drives to Kyung-Chol’s original house, where the baddie killed Soo-Hyeon’s fiance. Kyung-chol begs for him to just hurry up and kill him, but Soo-Hyeon takes his time. “I’ll kill you at your most painful moment.” Kyung-chol isn’t going to give him the satisfaction of crying or saying he’s afraid. Soo-Hyeon then leaves him tied up, in the guillotine, with the blade connected to the door. Sooner or later, someone’s going to open that door. Until then, Kyung-Chol’s going to have to wait.
Then, Kyung-Chol’s family arrives; Soo-Hyeon called them. Much screaming ensues…
I wonder if Soo-Hyeon plans to go back to work on Monday?
It’s got torture, gore, excessive murders, and a lot of suspense. It’s all beautifully filmed, even at night, and there’s never any doubt as to what’s going on or who is who. The fight scenes are really well done, and a couple of them are quite unique. Some of it’s a little too over-the-top to be realistic, but it’s definitely entertaining and brutal.
It may be the most over-the-top, elaborate revenge film of all time. We liked it!
Hollywood in the Atomic Age - Monsters! Martians! Mad Scientists! (2021)
Directed by Mark Gilman Jr.
Written by Tom DeMichael, Mark Gilman Jr.
Stars Various archive footage
Run Time: 2 Hours
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
It’s a documentary, so there’s not a plot to spoil. It’s well put-together talking about movie history, stories of the people, how things were made, and so forth. There are lots of interviews of actors and relatives, trailer clips, and old photos. It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of older science fiction from the scary atomic age.
We start off by talking about the atomic bomb, the Red Scare, and the Cold War. Hollywood films reflected those fears. Several old movie stars and their relatives talk about “duck and cover” and other silly things from the 50s. They describe the hopelessness that the time period brought about. Movies were an outlet for some of that.
We begin looking at the 1947 alien crash in Roswell, which brought about a zillion alien invasion films in the 1950s. “The Thing From Another World,” “Destination: Moon,” and many other similar films are discussed. There were science fiction films before that, but not people from other worlds. “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “The Man from Planet X,” “War of the Worlds,” and others have clips.
Around 1951, 3D movies came to pass in order to help ticket sales against the growth of TVs. There were numerous 3D films that year. The film clearly explains the limitations of 3D projection technology at the time and goes into why people often got headaches from it.
Next up, “Them!” and giant-monster movies. Other atomic-age monsters, such as “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” are included here. We go back to space with “Forbidden Planet” and stay home with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
We then move on to the movies aimed at teenagers, such as “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.” Mad scientists were a thing with “The Fly.”
There’s a segment on the “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine from 1958 to 1978 as well as its imitators.
It then moves into the not-so-great films, such as “The Killer Shrews,” and gimmicky films like “The Tingler.”
Eventually, the Atomic Age became the Space Age, and films became a lot more honestly scientific and realistic, leaving the science-fantasy behind.
It’s primarily interviews, with movie clips and trailers stitched in as appropriate. All the actors who were interviewed were either child stars or really, really young in the 1950s. There are some interviews with the children of some of the stars as well. Although the interviews are interesting and informative, the documentary is awfully heavy with the full-length movie trailers, and these seem to take up a lot of time.
We were entertained for two hours, and we did learn a thing or two, but it could have been a bit shorter.
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