STUDIO: Vivendi Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 274 minutes
•Making of (Slaughter Night, Sheitan, Carved)
•Cast interviews (Carved)
•Outtakes (Slaughter Night)
•Original trailer (Slaughter Night, Sheitan, Carved)
•TV spots (Carved)
•English, Spanish subtitles (Slaughter Night, Sheitan, Carved)
Slaughter Night: Bring an Italian supernatural horror into an American slasher film.
Carved: Take a well known urban legend and give her a history.
Sheitan: It’s Tourist Trap meets Rosemary’s Baby with a healthy sense of humor.
Director: Frank van Geloven, Edwin Visser
Cast: Victoria Koblenko, Kurt Rogiers, Jop Joris, Linda van der Steen, Steve Hooi, Carolina Dijkhuizen, Lara Toorop, Emiel Sandtke, Robert Eleveld
Director: Koji Shiraishi
Cast: Eriko Sato, Harahiko Kato, Chiharu Kawai, Rie Kuwana, Kazuyuki Matsuzawa, Mizuno Miki
Director: Kim Chapiron
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Olivier Bartelemy, Nico Le Phat Tan, Ladj Ly, Roxanne Mesquida, Leila Bekhti, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Slaughter Night: After her father is killed, Kristel(Koblenko) discovers he was researching the history of a child killer who met his end in a mine explosion. Trying to put some closure on her fathers death, she and a group of friends go to the mine where the killer died. Her, her friends and another group of people on the tour are unsurprisingly subjected to a night of terror when the spirit of the killer begins collecting heads in an effort to be released from hell.
Carved: A Japanese urban legend comes to life after an earthquake. The slit mouthed woman(Miki) finds children and asks “Do you think I’m pretty?” before kidnapping them and eventually killing them. When a teacher has a child taken from her care by the slit mouthed woman she resolves to follow the legend and try to save the child while accompanied by a teacher who may have a connection to the spirit.
Sheitan: After a night of partying a group of young adults go to the one’s country home where they meet her home’s caretaker Joseph(Cassel). Hoping to make time with the two girls accompanying them, the three men stick around the place even as things seem to be getting weird with Joseph. Things get dangerous, though, as the hours close in on the birth of Joseph and his mysterious wife’s child.
It’s always nice to spend some time with some foreign horror films. When, as horror fans, we get burnt out on the current crop of cloned also rans, we need a foreign vacation. Tartan has offered up a steady stream of such items most notably with their Asia Extreme imprint. This set offers up three horror films from three separate countries. Slaughter Night is from the Netherlands and was a box office winner in its home country. Carved is Japanese film bringing to life the urban legend of the Kuchisake-onna or the slit mouthed woman. Sheitan, the final one, is the producing debut of famous French actor Vincent Cassel(who also co-stars) and the debut of short film director Kim Chapiron in a twisted story of fatherly love and the devil.
Slaughter Night was the first feature I watched. Based on what I’d heard about the film, I was hoping it would deliver a few scares and maybe a few new ideas. Unfortunately, it is the weakest entry in the set.
After a promising opening scene taking place in 1857 showing the capture of a child killer, we’re introduced to Kristel(Koblenko) and her friends in a club. A freak car accident kills Kristel’s father which sets her on a mission to find out about her fathers research into the serial killer, Andries Martiens(Eleveld), the same child killer. Before any one can question exactly why they’re doing it, Kristel and her friends are in the mine where Martiens met his and. The spirit of the Martiens possesses some people and and chops off a few heads in an effort to finish the ritual that he began in his previous life.
This movie is really just a dull retread of most American slasher films. The possessed members of the group turn into something similar to the monsters from the Lamberto Bava’s horror film Demons minus some of the creepier aspects of their appearance. God knows I wished I was watching that film instead of this one. Most of the actors acquit themselves nicely for such uninspired fare, and Koblenko is a very lovely survivor girl. It’s faint praise for a film I can barely muster enough enthusiasm to continue discussing. Easily the weakest member of the boxset.
Carved was the second movie I watched and while it wasn’t as bad as Slaughter Night, it didn’t give me much faith in the prospects of the last film in the set.
Carved starts with several people discussing the legend of the slit mouthed woman. An
earthquake brings her to life and she hits the ground running. Before anyone knows it several children are missing while the media tries its damnedest to deny her existence(*shakesfist* Media!). An abused girl is taken from a teachers care by the spirit which causes another teacher to reveal his connection to the woman in an effort to stop her from taking anymore children.
I didn’t hate this movie despite the fact that it mostly fails at being scary or terribly deep. They seem to be interested in discussing child abuse, but I never quite understood what they were getting at on this front, it almost seems as though they didn’t think it all the way through. One of the abused children is taken by the killer spirit only to be rescued in part by her abusive mother, while the teacher who loses the same child is guilty of alienating her child after abusing her, and *Spoiler* the slit mouthed woman only exists because of her abused sons inability to kill her in an appropriate manner. They try to comment of being forgiven, but never hit any sort of satisfactory conclusion or even manage to raise much in the way of discussion concerning the subject.
Some of the images in the movie are memorable. The appearance of the slit mouthed woman leaves an impression. They can’t quite figure out how to make her scary, though. She seems to exist on a pre-determined path for part of the time while at other moments she seems easily stymied. With no real purpose for her they never manage to make her a figure of tension. She appears and disappears with no direction.
There is a shocking amount of violence on children, which I’m usually all for, but it just felt out of place in what I felt should have been a lighter in tone ghost story. I understand the filmmakers had set out to make something with more substance but the film never rises up to that expectation. The music was pretty effective, though. This may have been the one aspect of the film that kept me from hating it. Effective music in a horror film is a well understood boon to the overall product. In the end it’s a movie you won’t remember very soon afterwards, but for horror fans that’s not new or noteworthy.
The final film in the set, Sheitan, turns out to be the best or at least the most original and fun of the boxset.
Three gigantic assholes of men(Bartelemy, Phat Tan, and Ly) and a couple of girls they picked up, after getting into a fight at a bar and stealing from a gas station, set off for the one companion, Eve’s(Mesquida), home in the French countryside. The home’s caretaker Joseph meets them there and before they get a chance to settle in he is already showing signs of madness. At an unceremonious Christmas dinner, Joseph tells them the story of a man who made a deal with the devil. As day turns into night they find out it is Joseph that needs them there for a sacrifice to save his soon to be born child.
Okay, well if the boxset has a winner this would be it. It’s just a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong, it is in no way some great hidden horror gem, but I doubt you’d be too unhappy if you happened to catch this one.
First and foremost, Vincent Cassel is glorious playing a country bred weirdo. Clearly he is enjoying himself quite a bit and it really works for the movie’s semi-humorous tone. From the opening scene it is obvious that the three male friend are paving themselves a road to hell. They play up the unlikability of the other three leads almost to cartoonish lengths, but in defense of the script it seems to be in keeping with the delirious nature of rest of the film.
If anything gets short shifted in the end product here it’s the scares. Don’t get me wrong, when the the danger becomes very real, Cassel oozes menace. In some ways that is my main issue with it. It manages to be sexy, funny, and creepy, but they tend to keep these parts segregated a little too much. That said, this is the sort of movie I’d introduce people to.
Overall the boxset is not very good. The movies themselves are all over the place in quality and originality. Being able to recommend only one of the films probably isn’t going to cut it. Tartan has released some very quality films on DVD in the past, and if you haven’t done so, I’d recommend checking those out before trying this.
The special features for Slaughter Night include trailers for other Tartan release such as H6, Hillside Strangler, Sheitan, Bloody Reunion, and Perth as well as an original theatrical trailer for the movie. There is a making of feature which is the usual 20+ minute promo piece, and a 4 minute outtakes reel. The cover features the all too common not-actually-in-the-movie mystery character.
Carved features much the same trailers as the Slaughter Night DVD, mainly just a collection of other Tartan releases along side an opriginal theatrical trailer for the movie. The behind the scenes featurette and cast interview amount to a total of about 25 minutes of on the set goofing off among the cast and some discussion of the central premise.
Finally, Sheitan has trailers for other Tartan releases and an orginal theatrical trailer. The behind the scenes documentary runs about 20+ minutes but has some of the more interesting info on the movie such as how Vincent Cassel originally met the director while making short films with him of which they include footage.
All of them have optional English and Spanish subtitles.