Horror Favourites – Tim van Dammen

Out now from Arrow Mega Time Squad is an 80s-throwback supernatural crime caper, in which a brilliant ensemble works with sharp dialogue to deliver an endearingly odd and endlessly entertaining slice of Kiwi life.

Directed by Tim van Dammen the movie is set in Thames, New Zealand. Population: 7,518 – and falling. Unless of course you’re Johnny (Anton Tennet), the new member of a local gang led by Shelton (Jonathan Brugh, What We Do in the Shadows). He’s multiplying.

After Johnny is foiled in an effort to double-cross Shelton at his own game of masterminding the sleepy town’s unsurprisingly tame criminal underbelly, he inadvertently steals an ancient bracelet with which he can turn back time – and in the process create multiple clones of himself. This gives Johnny the ability to literally form his own gang against Shelton’s. The only problem is: how can you learn to live your best life, when you’re also having to figure out which one of you exactly that is? Oh, that and there’s a demon after him for bending the rules of time, physics and just general common sense.

Mega Time Squad is out now and you can buy it HERE. We where lucky enough to get Tim van Dammen to tell us all about his favourite horror film which might not be the sort of movie you would expect:

“When asked to choose my favourite horror film, I think of The Exorcist, Jaws, The Evil Dead series, Ils, Audition, and many others. But today I choose Onibaba.

A dark psycho-sexual period mood piece, Onibaba reflects the loss of humanity that a civil war can

Told as a hyper-sexualized three-hander, Onibaba explores the dynamic between a stepmother and her stepdaughter, during the Japanese civil war. Japan is at war, and a stepmother and her stepdaughter have been left to fend for themselves. They are forced to hide in a field of eight-foot-tall grass,the only features of which are a huge hole, a large tree trunk, and a river (Read pubes, vagina, cock, and sexual fluids).

To survive, the stepmother and stepdaughter ambush wayward samurai, murder them and sell their armour to a sleazy trader who lives in a cave. But their co-dependence is challenged when a friend of the girl’s husband, who was also the older woman’s son, returns from the war alone and tells them that the husband/son is dead.

This severs the familial bond between the two women. Soon the husband’s friend sets his sights on sex with the young widow, but the stepmother, aware that if her stepdaughter leaves she will likely not survive in this harsh environment, does everything in her power to discourage and sabotage the brewing, lustful relationship.

Drawing a link between nature and sexual energy, as the sexual tension rises, the landscape becomes more violent, and the winds whip the long grass into a frenzy. The stepmother experiences deep sexual longing alongside the stepdaughter and hugs the large tree trunk, moaning and gyrating in a jealous horny rage. The stepdaughter pounds her clothes in a bowl between her legs imitating masturbation, sexualizing her from the perspective of the male invader.

This doesn’t sound like a horror film, Tim.

Soon the stepdaughter and the young man are sneaking around at night and having sex, much to the stepmother’s dismay. The stepmother tells the daughter of a demon that hunts adulterers, but while fear of the demon initially prevents the girl from sneaking out, her lust is too strong, and soon she reunites with the soldier.

After trying several ways to come between the lovers, including offering herself to the man, the stepmother encounters a wayward samurai who has a mask adhered to his face that cannot be removed. I see this as the loss of identity and humanity that war brings as a result of the inhumane actions one is forced to take to survive. The stepmother kills the samurai, pries the mask off and keeps it for herself. Then, donning the mask, she begins to imitate the demon in an effort to scare the stepdaughter away from the man.

But again, this measure is only temporarily effective, and eventually, the man and the stepdaughter are reunited. And in the meantime, the mask has become permanently adhered to the stepmother’s face. She loses her humanity and plummets into a deep hole where she used to discard the other dead bodies.

This film isn’t full of jump scares, gore, or any of the things we, like it or not, have come to expect from modern horror. Instead, it focuses on the terror of isolation, the power of sexuality, the hopelessness that war brings and the terrible things people will do to survive.

It is a near perfect amalgamation of soundtrack, photography, and performance. It’s paced beautifully and has such a unique tone. It’s one I go back to time and time again.”

Mega Time Squad is out now and you can buy it HERE. Check out the The Arrow Video Story below:


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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