The cult section of the literary world

Day 28: Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)

By Sam Reeve

Horrors of Malformed Men (aka Horror of a Deformed Man) is a mystery horror directed by Teruo Ishii. It includes the ero guro element found in many Japanese horror films. Ero guro (erotic-grotesque) combines sexuality and eroticism with the deformed or abnormal. A modern example of ero guro would be the tentacle rape stuff, which started out through ero guro films. H.R. Giger‘s work is also considered ero guro.

The plot is a bit convoluted and you don’t find out what’s going on until the very end (like most mysteries), but here it goes: Hirosuke wakes up in a cell, not remembering anything. The jail/crazy house is mostly populated by half naked crazy bitches. He escapes and meets a girl from a circus who sings a song he thinks he knows, and finds out it’s a unique song that came from near the coast of Japan. The girl also mysteriously doesn’t know where she came from but was told she might be from there.

Hirosuke heads there, finds out information from a masseur about the rich Komoda family in the area and that their son Genzaburo had a scar on his foot exactly like his. The son was recently deceased, so like any normal guy who wants to get close to the family, he digs up the body, sees that it looks just like him, and then pretends to be Genzaburo who’s come back from the dead.

From there things get crazier as Hirosuke balances trying to keep up the appearance that he’s Genzaburo, and also deal with his “wife” and mistress. Eventually he gets to the mysterious island near the family’s estate that is apparently being turned into a “fantasy land”.

By fantasy land they really mean an island non unlike the Island of Dr. Moreau, where the insane father of Genzaburo has turned normal people into deformed monsters, and raised ugly messed up kids to be his evil slaves. I won’t continue to describe the plot, since it would give away the ending and it gets more confusing from there, but wackiness ensues.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: I can say that you probably won’t be able to predict the ending of this movie. The plot takes many turns, which kept it fairly interesting, though sometimes it seemed to get a bit lost in itself. The second half has a very circusy feel to it with all the freaks on display, parading around and even spinning fire.

It’s very bizarre and beautifully shot, often reminding me of Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain.

Not convinced? Here’s a trailer. If you’ve seen this classic film, or do end up seeking it out, let us know what you thought about it in a comment below!

3 responses

  1. By a strange coincidence I borrowed a ton of asian films for the run up to Halloween and this was one of them. I actually really enjoyed it, I thought the Butoh and general oddness of the aesthetic was quite interesting. I also enjoyed The Attack of the Mushroom People, they made quite a welcome (bizarre) change to girls with hair hanging over their faces

    October 29, 2012 at 3:11 am

    • Yes! The Japanese seem to be terrified by little girls.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

      • You know I thought that> There’s some serious issues with angry women

        October 31, 2012 at 1:55 am

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