Get infected in Hong Kong with SARS Zombies!

SARS Zombies posterBack in July, I had the opportunity of attending a press screening of a film that I had never heard of before: SARS Zombies. The debut film of director, producer, scriptwriter, action director, special makeup artist, and actor Samuel Leong, SARS Zombies is quite possibly the very first serious homegrown Hong Kong zombie flick (at least in the Romero sense of the term). I recently interview Sam for SCREAM magazine, and the issue is available now! For now, here is the synopsis from my article, a trailer, and info on the screenings in Hong Kong taking place this weekend!

“The story begins 10 years after the 2003 outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in Hong Kong. A gang of thieves has decided to raid a jewelry dealer situated in a large industrial building, and after a heated face-off between the gang leader (also played by director Sam Leong) and the security guards on duty, it seems that the felons have achieved their purpose. While they search the premises, however, they accidentally stumble into another flat inhabited by a man and his young daughter. It turns out that the man is a doctor who, driven to insanity by the loss of his wife to the first SARS outbreak, has been working ceaselessly to find a cure ever since. Engaging in increasingly questionable experiments, the man eventually resorted to testing on cadavers and even his own daughter, who became the host of a mutant strain of the SARS virus, this time standing for “Sudden Aggressive Reanimation Syndrome.”

Of course, it isn’t long before the girl bites one of the gangsters as he attempts to force her out of the flat. In the inevitable mayhem that ensues, the robbers and hostages are progressively infected, with the entire building eventually becoming a hive of the undead. The film climaxes in a high-kicking, bone-crunching, head-drilling last stand against the living dead, finally revealing a twist that drives home some of the more subtle commentary that director Sam Leong has attempted to infuse within his neoteric effort at zombie cinema.”

SHOW DATE: October 25, 26, and 27, 2013

SHOW TIME: 19:30 ~

VENUE: Causeway Bay (Windsor UA Cinema)

Humanless Operas and Aquatic Theaters – Tokyo’s Avant-Garde Theatre

Genet & John SkeletonThe right connections will take you into many strange new places, and the past few weeks have been no exception. What started as an appointment to interview the “Father of Goth in Japan,” Genet of the band AUTO-MOD (est. 1980), eventually allowed me to witness some of the most cutting-edge modern theater in Japan. When I first met with Genet, it just happened that he had tickets for what was being touted as the first humanless opera, “THE END,” starring the virtually omnipresent vocaloid character Hatsune Miku. The holographic electronic opera featured Shibuya Keiichirō, a slew of designers, musicians, and even fashion designs by Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, all collaborating to help Hatsune Miku to seek out the meanings of what it is to die and truly “end.” Unfortunately, the production suffered from a bout of overindulgence, and unless you’re a true fan, you can probably get roughly the same experience in truncated form by viewing the following trailer. The idea is promising, and we may see more mature efforts in the future…

Arakajime Ushinawareta Sekai HeWhat I never would have expected, however, was the next invite from Genet to see the Suizokukan Gekijō (Aquarium Theater) performance of a new work by playwright Momoyama Yū, “Arakajime Ushinawareta Sekai He” (To the Long-Lost World). The Suizokukan Gekijō troupe has been active since 1987, and is known for its spectacular use of colossal outdoor sets incorporating massive amounts of water, vehicles, and the natural environment. This time was no exception, as the troupe transformed the small tutelary shrine of Nishitaishidō Hachiman Jinja into a labyrinthine network of metal scaffolding and unbelievable sets ranging from the back alleys of a post-war Shōwa-period town to the decimated ruins of a doll museum.

 

 

Suizokukan GekijōThe story revolved around the lost souls who gathered around a place called Namidabashi (Bridge of Tears), each one on a quest for something in a world of memory, illusion, and madness. Between sets a massive deluge poured down from the ceiling, met by towering cascades from below, using literally tons of water to create a spectacle unmatched by what an indoor theater could provide. Moving street cars and elaborate buildings all attested to the true artistry of the troupe, and the acting of the performers also met up to the standards. Due to difficulties in securing locations, the troupe has not performed in Tokyo for several years, and may not be back for a while. If you have the chance to go out and see this underground troupe, be sure to jump at the chance! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Hold on to Your Sanity Points! Nyaruko is Back!

narukow_b2pYes, everyone’s favorite crawling chaos is back in a new series that has been airing since last month, and Akihabara is in full-on Nyaruko-mode! I recently made the journey to the otaku culture capital of the world to visit the Cure Maid Cafe, which is currently running a Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W campaign. I had to make a Sanity roll when I sampled the blasphemous and chaotic pasta-like thing  seen in the photo, topped off with the “Nyaruko” fizzy non-alcoholic cocktail. The show itself has currently been aired up to episode 6, and while it lacks some of the frenetic humor of the first series, it still manages to offer up a lot of laughs and more geek references than you can shake an unspeakable crowbar at. For those who are not so well-versed in the more esoteric aspects of Japanese culture and the Lovecraft mythos, I recently discovered the amazing and incredibly thorough NyaruReferences blog, which offers episode-by-episode rundowns of every reference in the anime and information on the original light novels as well! Check it out!Instant Sanity Loss! NyarlathotepNyaruko

Japanese Alternative Fashion Boutique NUDE N RUDE

Nude-n-RudeHaving made a trip to my old stomping grounds in Shinjuku, I was pleasantly surprised to find the scandalous clothing brand NUDE N RUDE now has a shop in the major department store MARUI. I was around for the opening of the head shop in Koenji, founded by talented designers Riria and Nana, and I even modeled in one of their early fashion shows, so I’m delighted to see that their manic brand of “bright despair” has grown to be so successful. The current lineup features various designs incorporating Eliphas Levi’s famous Sabbatic Goat (Baphomet)  and inverted crosses made of real bones. In the photo you might also notice that the bag features an image of Cthulhu, representative of the chimerical vichyssoise of occult and controversial symbols incorporated among the garish hues of their designs. Definitely worth a visit if you have the chance!

Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2 & 3!

Lust of the DeadI have arrived in Japan, and the first surprise of the day was finding Naoyuki Tomomatsu’s latest outré contributions to the burgeoning(?!) genre of rape/zombie films: Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2 & 3. For those who have read my previous post on the maiden title in this series, and those who are aware of the fact that Japan has practically built up a porn industry based on non-consensual intercourse, this should come as no surprise. For the rest of you…well, watch the trailers below and consider yourselves warned.

Goth in Japan Research Project

John SkeletonIt seems like only yesterday that I left the Land of the Rising Sun, and now I’m about to depart once more, this time for two months. During my stay in the Tokyo and Kansai areas I will be conducting ethnographic research on goth subculture in Japan from a cultural anthropological perspective. I am particularly interested in the meanings of goth for individual participants in goth’s Japanese localization in terms of formation of cultural identity. I hope to post brief updates regularly here at JohnSkeleton.com, and I look forward to hearing any comments or criticisms from anyone who happens to drop by! If happen to be in Japan and see me, please say hello and let me know your thoughts on all things goth and/or gothic!

Further details about the project will be posted on the Goth in Japan Project section of the web site.

Modeling for Dark Beauty Magazine with La Carmina!

La Carmina & John SkeletonWhile jet lag is certainly no excuse, I find I’ve been spending more time in my coffin, safely sequestered away from the light, since my return from my conference and research in Goth’s homeland and current mecca: the UK and Germany, respectively. But more to come on that front, for now, I’d like to post some extremely belated photos from a shoot that I did with my dear friend La Carmina in Hong Kong last September.523339_10200344529323634_1055202805_n

After some photo manipulations by our mutual comrade Kanae Hamatsuka, the series of dynamic shots feature the designs of what is perhaps HK’s finest Gothic clothing brand, Spider, against the frenetic energy and neon dynamism of the Pearl of the Orient. As it turns out, the photos have been a hit with several magazines, and even made the cover of Dark Beauty magazine. You can find more details and behind-the-scenes photos on La Carmina’s lovely blog here and here.

You can purchase print or digital copies of the magazine here.

Photographer: Ken Yuen
Assistant Photographer: Jacqueline Kwok (noircorner)
Photo manipulations: Kanae Hamatsuka
Hair: Emma Woodall of Toni & Guy Hong Kong
Wardrobe: Spider by Natalie Lam, Hong KongLa Carmina & John Skeleton