THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS
KATAKURI-KE NO KÔFUKU
2001, 113 min, Japan, Dir: Takashi Miike

Whimsical musical numbers, grotesque horror and Claymation all come together in this wildly surreal film by one of the world’s greatest masters of blending genre. The Katakuri family open a bed-and-breakfast in the remote countryside but are met with misfortune when their guests start dying in spectacular fashion. Determined to prevent negative publicity from spoiling their new business, the Katakuris pile corpse after corpse in the backyard to keep up appearances.


RAWHEAD REX
1986, Kino Lorber, 89 min, Ireland/UK/USA, Dir: George Pavlou

Bursting from beneath thunderstruck Earth, Rawhead Rex shares more with the rubber-suit monster movies of yore than his much darker cousins, the Cenobites from HELLRAISER, though both were spawned from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. Director George Pavlou took the ancient pagan God from Barker’s script and transformed him into a 9-foot-tall, punk-rock ogre moving at full ramming speed across the Irish countryside - no man, no child, no trailer park and especially no priest can withstand his unholy rampage.


PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


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