Takashi Miike and other Asian cult cinema coming to Sundance Asia Extreme

Nao Omori as Ichi in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer
Nao Omori as Ichi in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer

Sundance Channel is serving up steady helpings of gore, violence and supernatural mayhem as it launches a new season of destination Asia Extreme in August, showcasing the sharpest cutting-edge Asian genre fare every Saturday night at midnight. The season includes the U.S. television premiers of five films from South Korea including The Restless, Shadows in the Palace, Tazza: The High Rollers, Voice and The Wig.

In addition to their on-air presentations, the five premieres will be among the thirteen Asia Extreme titles available free from August 1- August 31 via an exclusive cable video-on-demand package. The other titles in the package include Bloody Ties, Bloody Reunion, Cadaver, The Chaser, Divergence, Ichi the Killer, One Missed Call and A World Without Thieves.

Sundance Channel’s Asia Extreme premieres offer an extended dip into South Korea’s thriving and diverse genre scene, where the production values are as high as the body counts. The season kicks off on August 7 with the crime thriller Tazza: The High Rollers, the second feature by rising director Dong-Hun Choi. Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Matt Zoller Seitz wrote, “‘Tazza’ is a Korean word referring to a gambler at the height of his powers. It could be applied to this film’s writer and director… Bet on Tazza to entertain; you can’t lose.”

The premieres continue with Ik-hwan Choi’s Voice (August 14), an erotically charged ghost story set in an all-girls’ high school; Mee-jeung Kim’s Shadows in the Palace (August 21), which focuses on the court women of Korea’s Joseun Dynasty to tell a tale of murder, clandestine sex and restless spirits; Dong-oh Cho’s The Restless (August 28), an over-the-top martial arts/fantasy epic about a 10th Century demon hunter; and Shin-Yeon Won’s The Wig (September 4), a supernatural drama about a mute artist, her cancer-stricken sister and one spectacularly malevolent hairpiece.

The new season of Asia Extreme premieres on August 7th at 12:00 midnight.

Below is the entire schedule for the new season of Asia Extreme.

August 7 at 12:00am
Tazza: The High Rollers (U.S. Television Premiere) – Directed by Dong-Hun Choi. An unsophisticated young man (Seung-woo Cho) is drawn into the dangerous world of underground gambling after he is swindled by a group of conniving card-sharps. Seeking recoupment and revenge, he apprentices himself to a master card player (Yun-shik Baek) and gains a second ally – and then some – in a seductive gambling pro (Hye-Suo Kim).

August 14 at 12:00am
Voice (U.S. Television Premiere) – Directed by Ik-hwan Choi. Promising singing student Yeong-eon (Ok-bin Kim) is mysteriously killed when she stays after school one night to practice her runs. Trapped as a ghost within the walls of her all-girl high school, Yeong-eon reaches out to her best friend Jee-myun (Ji-hye Seo) in hopes of solving the riddle of her death, and preventing future murders.

August 21 at 12:00am
Shadows in the Palace (U.S. Television Premiere) – Directed by Mee-jeung Kim. Palace intrigue, murder and ghosts combine in this tale set among the court women of the Joseun Dynasty. After a trusted maid to the royal concubine is found hanged to death, royal medic Chun-ryung (Jin-hie Park) is stunned to discover not a suicide but a murder, one that points to disturbing secrets.

August 28 at 12:00am
The Restless (U.S. Television Premiere) – Directed by Dong-oh Cho. In the 10th Century, Gawk Yi (Woo-sung Jung) fights underworld demons as one of the ruling dynasty’s official demon-slayers. Poisoned by duplicitous villagers, Gawk Yi unexpectedly finds himself in Midheaven, where dead souls await reincarnation – and where a furious battle is raging between demons and Midheaven’s protectors.

September 4 at 12:00am
The Wig (U.S. Television Premiere) – Directed by Shin-yeon Won. Leukemia-stricken Su-hyeon (Min-seo Chae) has lost her hair to chemotherapy, and her devoted older sister Ji-hyeon (Yu Seon) gives her a luxurious black wig to boost her spirits. Though initially unenthusiastic, Su-hyeon becomes utterly dependent on the wig, which proceeds to transform both sisters’ lives in bizarre and terrifying ways.

September 11 at 12:00am
One Missed Call – Directed by Takashi Miike. Beloved technology turns sinister as a group of schoolgirls begin receiving mysterious cell-phone calls from the near future. When it becomes apparent that the calls were made in the midst of extremely violent and deadly circumstances, the girls realize their days are numbered.

September 18 at 12:00am
Ichi the Killer – Directed by Takashi Miike. A scar-faced gangster (Tadanobu Asano) hunts down the mobsters who kidnapped his boss. Eventually, his quest ends in a showdown with the mysterious Ichi (Nao Omori), a troubled young man with razor-laced boots.

September 25 at 12:00am
Cadaver – Directed by Dunyasit Niyomkul. After dissecting the corpse of a beautiful young woman in anatomy class, six South Korean medical students begin to experience identical troubling nightmares. As some fall victim to gruesome fates, it’s clear that this is much more than standard first-year med-school trauma.

October 2 at 12:00am
The Chaser – Directed by Hong-jin Na. Jung-ho (Kim yun-Seok), a former police detective-turned-pimp, has a problem: his women are disappearing without a trace. However, when the disreputable Jung-ho collars the obvious psychopath and turns him over to the police, law enforcement laziness and ineptitude only make matters worse, endangering additional lives.

October 9 at 12:00am
Bloody Reunion – Directed by Dae-wung Lim. Sixteen years after graduation, a group of elementary school classmates reunite with their former teacher at her country cottage. But the happy reunion turns sour as old grudges and hidden truths surface, and one by one friends vanish in a series of unforgettably gruesome murders.

October 16 at 12:00am
Dororo – Directed by Akihiko Shiota. Based on a classic Japanese manga, this fantasy/horror epic follows a nameless samurai (Satoshi Tsumabuki) on a quest to reclaim his missing body parts from powerful demons and solve the riddle of his father’s betrayal. Along the way, he meets a callow but brave young female thief (pop singer Kou Shibasaki), who decides to take up his cause in hopes of achieving her own aims.

October 23 at 12:00am
Mad Detective – Directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai. An ex-detective (Lau Ching-Wan) with psychic abilities and a shaky grasp on reality emerges from seclusion to help solve the mystery of a cop’s disappearance. The prime suspect: the officer’s partner.

October 30 at 12:00am
Victim – Directed by Nicky Loi. A young actress, Ting (Pitchanart Sakakorn), gets a career boost when she begins portraying victims in police crime scene reenactments. But when Ting is hired to play a murdered beauty queen in movie, she finds herself suffering the same torments as the real-life victim.