By Sam Reeve
I thought Uzumaki would be perfect for Halloween’s Japanese Horror Month entry. It has a perfect blend of truly bizarre horror and comical carnivalesque visuals and sounds which, to me, are what make up Halloween.
Uzumaki (aka Spiral) is connected to other films from Japanese Horror Month in a couple different ways: One of the screen writers also worked on the screenplay for Tokyo Gore Police, and Uzumaki is based on a manga by the amazing Junji Ito, whose work also inspired Kakashi (and numerous other horror shows and films).
Here’s the basic plot:
The story concerns the inhabitants of the small Japanese town of Kurôzu-cho that seems to be cursed by supernatural events surrounding spirals. Many people become obsessed or paranoid about spiral shapes, which starts resulting in several gruesome deaths. Eventually people start transforming into something other than human, such as snails and twisted forms.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: First, it’s very bizarre, not your average horror in any sense. The visuals are great, sometimes genuinely creepy, other times pretty funny. Second, the story isn’t bad. I have no idea what the manga is like, so I can’t compare, but I liked what the film did. Uzumaki is definitely something I could see myself viewing a few more times.
Below you can find a low-qualitycopy of Uzumaki on Youtube, with English subtitles. If you can find this film elsewhere, I highly recommend it (I was too lazy).
By Sam Reeve
In Demon City Shinjuku the evil dude, Rebi Ra, defeats Genichirou and causes an earthquake that destroys the Shinjuku part of Tokyo. The area is invaded by demons and becomes a post apocalyptic hell for the inhabitants. 10 years later is when Rebi Ra plans to finally resurrect the rest of the demons to turn the entire world into hell.
After a decade of chaos in Shinjuku, Rebi Ra is back, kidnapping President Kozumi (who had ushered in world peace). Some floaty ghost-like guy who seems to be Kozumi’s protector asks Kyoya for help in defeating Rebi Ra. Kyoya also happens to be Genichirou’s son, and he teams up with the President’s daughter Sayaka.
They enter the demon city, fight off bad guys on the way, are joined by a child side-kick and then finally get to battling with Rebi Ra.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Demon City Shinjuku is a good anime for the Halloween season. It’s filled with demons, angry spirits, and bloody battles. I found the art to be better than most of the anime I’ve watched this month, and the story wasn’t terrible (although after watching Wicked City I see they have lots of similarities).
The best part was probably the setting. I love post apocalyptic stuff, and the demon city was pretty cool. You never knew what would pop out next!
Here is a trailer for the movie that’s set to some mildly annoying metal music.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The final battle was a total let-down. Very boring and brief, which sucked pretty bad since I was expecting something epic like at the end of Akira.
Below you can find the full movie with English subtitles. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
When I watched Ju-on for Japanese Horror Month, I thought I would be watching what had inspired the American remake (which I still haven’t seen). Turns out there are two movies called Ju-on: one which was made in 2000, and one made in 2002 called Ju-on: The Grudge, which has a totally different plot and a very confusingly similar title. Ju-on actually translates to “grudge”, so you can see how this might not make the most sense. Click here for a full break-down of the Ju-on series.
The plot isn’t so much there, honestly, but here it goes: Jumping around to different characters and different times even, it tells us about the people affected by the curse of a house and those who’ve inhabited it. The curse started with a husband who murdered his wife and son because he was jealous (but that’s also not super clear in the film). The son has missed school so his teacher, Kobayashi, goes to investigate. We also see a family living in the house, and due to the curse a tutor and girlfriend are both killed. The last part of the film is fairly uneventful, just the real estate agent enlisting the help of his psychic sister to check out the place.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: If this series wasn’t famous and possibly worthy of viewing just to check it off your list, I would say to steer clear. It was a little creepy at some parts, most certainly in the way you would always think more would happen than what did, but that was all. The famous “crawling down the stairs” scene was pretty freaky at least.
The low-budget quality of the film could appeal to some people, since it did make it seem like you were watching a creepy home video at points.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The plot was just all over the place and left really unfinished in the worst way. If it had had more substance in that sense, I could have easily gotten past the lack of scariness.
Below you’ll find the famous staircase scene, and below that is the full movie with English subtitles. Enjoy!
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!
By Sam Reeve
Today for Japanese Horror Month we have the anime short film Blood: The Last Vampire. It was directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo, who also was a key animator of Akira. In 2009 a live-action version of this movie was made, but I can’t comment on that one since I haven’t seen it. This movie is doubly appropriate for this month because it takes place just before Halloween!
It’s 1966 and Saya, the last true vampire, is handled by some American suits. They use her to destroy bat-like demons that can take on human form. It’s suspected that one of these creatures has infiltrated an American air base, so they send Saya undercover at a school next to the base to find them. She does, which of course leads to some awesome demon fights.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: I was most impressed by the animation, but the story itself wasn’t bad. It’s by no means original, but at 48 minutes long, it’s just an entertaining, well-animated ride with plenty of monster action.
Still not sure? Watch this trailer!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s film for Japanese Horror Month is The Haunted Apartments from the Tales of Terror series. It’s a paranormal j-horror that I found to be surprisingly good.
Aimi and her father move into a new apartment complex a few years after her mother died. The other tenants seem overly friendly and helpful when they arrive – the first tip-off that something is awry. Aimi starts seeing a girl her age around the place, but there’s supposedly only a boy her age living there. Things get stranger when she’s told there’s a curfew – everyone must cross a string that’s tied up between two rocks at the entrance of the complex by midnight. If they don’t make it in time, they’ll die.
Aimi learns from a past tenant that only those who’ve been there the longest can leave, but they must find new people to move in first. If anyone violates this, the ghost of the young girl kills them.
Meanwhile, Aimi’s dad is an alcoholic piece of shit who tries to publish an article about the hauntings, thus jeopardizing everyone’s chance at finding replacement tenants. The others try to attack him, leading to an unexpected ending of a lifted curse and [SPOILER] Aimi’s dad getting killed.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Though it wasn’t the most horrifying of movies, there were a number of parts that were unnerving and a little freaky. What I loved most about Haunted Apartments were the array of colourfully characters that populated the apartment complex. They seemed to all be like a big weird family in the way they all cheered each other on and looked out for one another if they hadn’t made it back as midnight approached. I actually gave a shit about most of them and usually I hate all the characters in your average horror flick.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: There’s some stuff you find out at the VERY end which was surprising, and though I may feel differently upon a second viewing, I felt there hadn’t been enough hints towards what was going on. It seemed so random and almost like the writers themselves hadn’t known how to properly end the story.
Despite that, it’s worth a viewing if you’re looking for a decent j-horror to ring in Halloween. You can find the full movie below with English subtitles.
By Sam Reeve
Today’s film for Japanese Horror Month is another Takashi Miike masterpiece. The Happiness of the Katakuris is a farcical horror-comedy-musical that is both live-action and claymation.
A family has moved out to a house in the country to start a bed and breakfast near where a highway is proposed to be built. They’re discouraged at first because no guests are coming, but eventually a few start coming in. Unfortunately they all die in their rooms in bizarre ways, which leads the family to bury them in order to save the reputation of the inn. The highway plans change, which means they have to move the bodies, and lots of craziness ensues.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: This movie is sure to make you laugh, and it’s always entertaining and surprising. Besides an already ridiculous plot, there are insanely cheesy and hilarious song and dance sequences (including one with DANCING ZOMBIES), a compulsive liar love-interest who regales us with tales of his links to the British monarchy, and an explosive volcano!
But don’t just take my word for it, watch this trailer!
By Sam Reeve
Carved, aka The Slit-Mouthed Woman, is today’s film for Japanese Horror Month. I first came across this when reading about Koji Shiraishi, who directed Noroi, another film to appear this month that I quite enjoyed. Unfortunately Carved is not as good, but still not an utter failure.
Carved is a paranormal slasher flick with child abuse being one of the major themes, as every main character is either a current or past abuser or victim. An evil ghost, the slit-mouthed woman, possesses women’s bodies and kidnaps children so she can abuse and murder them. Two teachers are solving the mystery so they may save the children, but are put in danger themselves.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Mostly I found Carved to be pretty average and not very spooky or jumpy. What I did find disturbing was the scenes of child abuse (there are quite a few), and the one brutal flashback scene where a little boy has to kill his own mom. The makeup and special effects were a bit creepy, but nothing to swoon over.
The film was most definitely watchable, so if you’re looking for something just average, not terribly gory, or just want to see more j-horror, give Carved a try.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: What annoyed me the most were things that are apparent in pretty much all slasher flicks – the characters in peril don’t seem to understand the concepts of “go out the way you came in” and “be quiet when the killer is near”. Of course, maybe slasher flicks just couldn’t exist without that kind of crap, but one can dream.
Below you can find the full movie with English subtitles. One more week until Halloween!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s film for Japanese Horror Month was another one that has been misleadingly titled by many as a horror film. Hausu (House) is about 10% horror and 90% surreal comedy, but still one of my favourites from this month and one I’m sure you bizarros can get into.
Gorgeous (yes, that’s her name, they ALL have retarded names) was supposed to go on vacation with her father, but upon learning he would bring his new fiance, she decides to go to her estranged auntie’s house with a bunch of her girlfriends. In classic horror fashion, the girls are picked off one by one by the house and the aunt (who’s actually a hungry ghost).
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: This is campy, hilarious and surreal with a very heavy dose of 70′s style. It won’t scare you one bit and probably won’t even creep you out, but it will make you laugh and say “what the fuck” about every five minutes.
Instead of describing one of my favourite scenes, I’ll show it to you:
What’s not shown here, but a bit later at the end of the film, is this:
If you’re still not clear on what Hausu is all about, I suggest you watch this trailer (which shows many of the best parts) or check out the film itself. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s film for Japanese Horror Month is the ugly child that would be produced if the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had sex with Conan the Barbarian. Kibakichi, also known in English as Werewolf Warrior, was made in 2004, though you’d never know it with the terrible special effects and big hair.
Kibakichi is a werewolf samurai who wanders around looking like a caveman with a silly hat. He ends up in a village of yokai, monsters that take on human form. Being a yokai himself, but one who thinks he should trust humans, he’s not too pleased at first.
Yakuza men with an old machine gun decide to take out the yokai people in the end, and that’s about all there is to this tale.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: If you like schlocky 80′s horror, then step right up. The yokai in this are totally ridiculous, the fights include plenty of slow-mo and exaggerated kung-fu moves, and there’s a rad scene where geishas turn into evil bee/spider monsters.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The only thing that got consistently on my nerves but also made me laugh and enjoy it just as much was the dubbing. It was the worst, silliest shit I’ve heard all week. The mouths kept moving for up to two seconds after they stopped talking, but that’s not even the worst part. The voices were silly, like bad guy voices from Saturday morning cartoons, except for every single character.
Follow this link to watch a trailer, or watch the full movie below dubbed in English. Cheers!
By Sam Reeve
Today for Japanese Horror Month we have Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which is based on the third novel in Hideyuki Kikuchi‘s Vampire Hunter D series. Kikuchi also wrote the novel on which Wicked City was based.
The setting for this is a bit confusing: Apparently it takes place far into the future, which would explain all the fancy technology like super fast motorcycles, fancy weapons and space-age suits and rockets, and it also accounts for the general post-apocalyptic state of things. What it doesn’t account for is the Victorian and wild West aesthetics that clash with the futuristic stuff. ANYWAY…
I’m lazy and don’t feel like coming up with a description for the film, so here’s a good one that I found somewhere else:
It is many thousand years in the future. Vampires once ruled the night but have seen their numbers reduced by fearless bounty hunters. One such hunter is D, the half-breed son of a human mother and vampire father. When a girl from a rich family is taken from her home by the vampire Meier Link, her father contracts both D and the Markus brothers (a rival group of hunters) to race to retrieve her. As the heroes fight their way through Meier’s hired guards, they begin to suspect that the girl may have gone with him willingly.
Besides that, I would add that D has a little sidekick who provides a fair bit of comic relief: He’s a parasitic demon-growth on his left hand who helps him out by sucking up evil spells, seeing through walls, etc.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: There are lots of monsters, vampires, ghost-like things and fights between all those wacky creatures – meaning it’s a great movie to watch during the Halloween season. The story itself was alright, though some of the dialogue and romantic bits got a bit lame near the end.
The only thing I disliked was the clashing aesthetics that couldn’t be explained, and of course the whole vampire romance thing is really played out (especially for those of us who have viewed this after having endured the Twilight craze).
Below you can watch the full movie, dubbed in English. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
Japanese Horror Month is all about diversity and contrast, so after a very tame black and white horror film yesterday, today’s post would naturally be something totally insane and gory. Meatball Machine is linked to several of the other movies that we’ve seen this month: The director, Yudai Yamaguchi, also wrote Day 1′s Versus, and the special effects and makeup were done by the same guy who did Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl.
Meatball Machine features necroborgs, disgustingly mutated people that are controlled by tiny little aliens that infest humans for sport. The necroborgs can only survive by fighting and eating each other.
Yoji is a shy, lonely guy who works at some kind of machinist shop. He always eats his lunch outside while watching a neighbour hanging her laundry. One night he gets beat up by a tranny outside a porno theatre, and while whimpering in the trash next to the building, he finds a weird pod thing. He takes it home and leaves it in his closet.
As fate would have it, he later saves the girl he likes from being raped by one of his co-workers and they both end up back at his place, where the pod awakens and takes over the girl’s body.
From there on it’s just a bunch of monster necroborg fighting with a hint of romance.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: If you like ridiculous movies like Tokyo Gore Police, you’re sure to like this too. It’s just entertaining and is the perfect thing to share with friends. The gore and costumes are all great, very detailed and imaginative.
The scene where he gets beat up by a horny tranny is also pretty hilarious.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The plot was a bit weak I thought, and the necroborg fights were great, but went on for way too long. The last half of the movie was just one long necroborg fight and after a while it wasn’t interesting for me anymore.
Here is a trailer for the film, and below that is the full movie with English subtitles. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s film for Japanese Horror Month is more of a historical drama than a horror movie, but a decent one nonetheless. Onibaba (Demon Hag) was directed by Kaneto Shindo. Interesting fact: Shindo directed his last movie at the incredibly old age of 98!
Set in the 14th century during a civil war, Onibaba tells of a mother and her daughter-in-law who live in a hut situated in the middle of a reed field. They kill soldiers who wander into the field, taking their weapons and armor to sell for food. Hachi, a friend and fellow soldier of the woman’s son, returns from war with news of the son’s death. Despite how much of a pig Hachi seems to be, the widowed girl starts hooking up with him, much to the dismay of the old woman. To punish the girl, she wears a demon mask she took from a dead samurai and scares her. The mask, it seems, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, which inevitably punishes more than just the girl.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Although it’s really not scary at any point in the movie, I can appreciate that it was made a long time ago and was perhaps a lot more shocking back then. I found it interesting to see the amount of nudity and sexual content in such an old film, but then again the Japanese don’t seem as prudish as Western Christian cultures.
The story was alright, and I enjoyed it most for the cultural aspect of it. If you like Japanese folklore than this modified tale will interest you.
The last scene was pretty awesome at least, when the [SPOILER] mask gets stuck on the woman’s face and then rips her skin off.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The guy the girl hooked up with was seriously douchy and gross, so it seemed only right for the older woman (whose son the girl had been married to) would meddle with the affaire. It annoyed me that she was the one who got punished in the end and not the girl, who seemed kind of slutty and immature. But maybe that’s just me.
If you want to watch Onibaba, you’ll probably have to source a dvd or torrent it. Good luck!
By Sam Reeve
Sorry this post is coming so late today. First wordpress wasn’t letting me post or edit things, and now the servers are down and being wacky when I can post it. BOOO. anyhow…
Audition, brought to us by the legendary Takashi Miike, is what’s on the dinner plate for this evening. It’s based on a novel of the same name by Ryu Murakami and stars Eihi Shiina (starred in Tokyo Gore Police).
As the title would suggest, there’s an audition. Ryo’s wife died many years before and his son has been urging him to remarry. Ryo’s producer friend decides to set up a fake audition for a film so that he can meet a bunch of women and learn about them. Only one girl catches his eye: Asami, a quiet and bizarre woman.
They go on dates and things seem very odd but ok from Ryo’s point of view, but we know very well that she’s a bit of a messed up girl.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: It’s pretty fucked up, so there’s that. I was expecting this movie to be much more brutal both psychologically and in terms of gore, so I was underwhelmed in a way. I read about it prior to watching and multiple sites reported that when it was first shown at festivals, people walked out or fainted because it was so extreme.
Don’t be fooled. If you watch a lot of horror movies this may not shock you. I loved it, so don’t get me wrong, but just don’t pay attention to the hype.
It was a beautiful movie and well acted. The last scenes with Asami torturing Ryo were a bit hard to watch, but mostly because of the joy she showed while doing it. I really think the characters were the saving grace for this movie (for those like me who just weren’t frightened by it). They were interesting, there was just enough back story (more in Asami’s case), and some were very fucked up in the interesting sense.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The “it was all a dream” thing is used heavily near the end of the movie, which annoyed me. That’s my only real complaint about Audition, and I’m sure it would bother me less during a second viewing.
Below I’ve posted the full movie with English subtitles. If you’ve seen Audition already or end up watching it, let us know what you think in a comment below!
By Sam Reeve
For today’s Japanese Horror Month we have Wicked City, an anime film directed by the same guy who wrote Bio Hunter (featured four days ago). Wicked City is a neo-noir horror about the worlds of mortals and “black” supernatural beings. These beings can cross over into our normal world, but often do so to eat us or destroy shit.
A peace treaty is being signed by the two worlds and an “important” man, Giuseppi Mayart, is coming to town to oversee it. Of course the radicals from the black world keep trying to kill him, so he has two guards: Taki (a man from the Black Guard), and Makie (a woman of the black world who wants peace). I out “important” in quotations because although you think at first Giuseppi will be a wise old important dude like yoda, he’s actually a rude, stupid pervert who just wants to bang girls and look at porn. He also wears a track suit.
There’s quite a bit of sexual content in this movie, and Wikipedia aptly describes it like this:
The film is a sexual thriller in which sex is portrayed mainly as a weapon (sex with monsters, rape and torture), and only briefly used as a form of romantic expression, though in such a way as to not consider the film hentai. The film portrays demons as beings that can walk in human form and seduce their prey much like a Siren, instilling castration anxiety in the viewer through use of demons with vagina dentata.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: There are lots of demons, melting tits, succubi and even tentacle rape. If you liked Akira, you could probably get into this movie too. The ending wasn’t one I saw coming, and though it kind of annoyed me for being too perfect, it wasn’t totally predictable (or maybe I’m just dumb).
Wicked City starts off pretty exciting too. Just like Bio Hunter, within the first five minutes a couple is having sex. She didn’t turn into a demon during the sex like the woman had in Bio Hunter, so I was a little disappointed. BUT THEN, right after they do the deed, she turns into a spider monster with a vagina-mouth. YES. These people delivered.
Here is a clip of the spider woman scene I just described, and below I’ve posted the full movie which can be watched on Youtube in English.
By Sam Reeve
Halfway through Japanese Horror Month, and thank goodness, because I got my obsession with Japan out of my system about a week ago. Lordy lordy…
Today’s featured film is Noroi (The Curse), directed by Koji Shiraishi. It’s a “found footage” film that reminded me a lot of The Poughkeepsie Tapes, so if you enjoyed that style, you’ll dig this too.
Noroi starts off with a narrator telling us about Mr. Kobayashi, a documentary filmmaker who follows stories of paranormal activity. The narrator tells us that Mr. Kobayashi has finished making a documentary called Noroi, but that several days after its completion his house was burnt down. His wife’s body was found inside, but Mr. Kobayashi himself was missing.
The “found footage” part of it that consisted of Mr. Kobayashi’s own film starts with him helping a woman who hears terrible noises coming from her neighbour’s house each night. The neighbour, a crazy woman with a young son, screams at Mr. Kobayashi when he attempts to interview her. The crazy woman moves away shortly after, but two days after the move the normal woman and her daughter die in a car crash.
Mr. Kobayashi follows up on more strange cases, and finds that they’re all linked, often because of this crazy lady. Everything leads back to a small village where sorcerers had performed rituals to summon the demon Kagutaba.
As the filmmaker and his cameraman get deeper and deeper into the history of this curse and those it affects, things get creepier and more dangerous for them. People start dying, go missing or randomly commit suicide, all due to some curse that has touched their lives. Of course because this movie starts with telling us how things ended for Mr. Kobayashi, we know it doesn’t go anywhere good for anyone.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: I found this movie to be pretty damn good. I don’t always like the “found footage” movies, since a few well-known bad ones have really soured it for me (I’m looking at you, Blair With Project), but Noroi was surprisingly good. Noroi was incredibly suspenseful despite being fairly low on the visuals of creepy stuff. It made you think creepy ghosts or demons were gunna pop up on the video more often than it really did, and I was on edge for much of its duration. This movie had me drawn in and creeped enough that I couldn’t even get out of bed to answer my phone or pee until it was over.
The twists and turns the complicated plot takes you on are pretty damn interesting, as were the multitude of characters we met throughout. Mr. Kobayashi was a character who really didn’t tell us much about himself, but through his actions you can see he’s a pretty normal, good guy who wants to help out these terrified people. He was actually pretty admirable I thought.
Below I’ve posted the full movie, which you can watch on Youtube with English subtitles. I recommend viewing it in HD since it’s already such a poor-quality video, and would likely look insanely grainy otherwise. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
If just seeing the title Executive Koala (aka Koara Kacho) doesn’t automatically make you want to see this, you might want to get out now. This has instantly become one of my favourite “so bad it’s good” movies. The director Minoru Kawasaki has made tons of other low-budget absurdist movies, and with titles like Calamari Wrestler, The World Sinks Except Japan, and Crab Goalkeeper, I’m quite smitten.
As the title goes, there’s a koala named Tamura who works as the executive of a pickle factory. He has memory problems, and years prior his wife “disappeared”, but was presumed murdered. Tamura has problems blacking out as well, which is when he turns into the glowing-eyed killer you see to your left.
His newest girlfriend is also murdered, which arouses the suspicions of a detective. The cop is convinced that Tamura committed the crimes, but digs deeper and finds out a ton of crazy information that even the koala isn’t aware of. I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say Mr. Koala’s latest girlfriend isn’t who you thought, and that Korean kimchi businessman is a tricky dude.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: There isn’t too much gore or violence, and little suspense, so this really isn’t quite the horror film you would want if you’re in search of a scare. It is, however, a laugh-out-loud jackpot for those who can appreciate bad films.
Multiple characters, both important and minor, are animal-people. This seems to be something the director really loves doing. You think to yourself “doesn’t anyone notice?”, and the answer is yes, some random people will point out the oddness of having a frog cashier or a koala in a suit, but those closest to the characters don’t seem to mind.
The acting is terrible, there are major plot holes and shit that doesn’t make any sense, but you really won’t get a film like this without that. And this movie just kept surprising me the whole time, like with the random dance number that you can view here:
If you’re still debating if this movie is worth watching, ask yourself why you love bizarro fiction. If you do, you’re probably going to get a kick out of Executive Koala.
Click this link to watch the movie online (can’t embed it, sorry), with Engrishy subtitles. When you follow the link just click on “continue as free user” and it’ll all work out. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
I’m growing ever-thankful for my decision to run Japanese Horror Month, as it has lead me to some pretty amazing movies. Today’s film Cure is right up at the top of the list. Written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a notable Japanese horror director.
A series of murders in Tokyo have left Detective Takabe and psychologist Sakuma baffled: Each murder is the same, with the victim having an X carved into their neck, but the murderer is always found nearby and is a different person. Each person admits to having committed the murder, but seems confused about their motivation.
Eventually they find a strange, wandering amnesiac who was with one of the latest murderers. They are able to conect him to the other crimes, and start to realize that this man has a strange effect on all who meet him…
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: This is an absolutely fantastic movie, filled with a lot of eerie moments and one that leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards. It builds very slowly, and the pacing of the movie overall is slow, but it suits the content perfectly well: the strange man Mamiya is so calm and seemingly peaceful, yet also threatening.
I won’t give away why exactly Mamiya is linked to the murders, but it’s creepy, and though the ending was very slightly predictable, it was nevertheless satisfying.
Cure reminded me a bit of Se7en, and was just as good, so if that’s a film you enjoyed I would highly recommend a viewing of this one.
Below I’ve posted the full movie with English subtitles. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
Today for Japanese Horror Month we’ve got Bio Hunter, an hour-long anime film from the 90′s. The original manga was authored by Fujihiko Hosono, and the animated adaptation was directed by the guy who brought us Ninja Scroll.
The eponymous bio hunters Komada and Koshigaya are biology teachers by day, but the rest of the time they hunt down people who’ve succumbed to the demon virus. The virus slowly turns people into crazy demons, which at first they can control, but eventually they stop being human completely.
Komada is infected, and though he can choose when to turn into a demon, it gets harder for him as time progresses. He meets a girl who was being chased by thugs, and as all movies go, he helps her and the two bio hunters get involved. The girl’s grandfather is a famous fortune-teller who’s on the run from a politician infected with the virus.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: This movie won me over in the first couple minutes. It opens with a young couple having sex, which wasn’t very interesting, but all of a sudden the girl starts moaning about being really hungry. She keeps complaining that she’s starving to death, then transforms into a monster human. The man, who had been in the process of fondling her tits, gets a hand bitten off. You see it from behind and think “she bit it off with her crazy monster mouth”. NOPE. Her left breast had turned into a gross toothy mouth. SOLD.
The story is decent, and you’re never far away from some demon monster action, and if you top that off with some tentacle fellatio at the end, it’s a pretty good ride and definitely worth a viewing. The fortune-teller also looks like yoda, so there’s that.
The style and quality of the animation also brought me back (90′s kid here), so that was great too.
Below is the English-dubbed full movie. If you’ve seen Bio Hunter or end up watching it, let us know in a comment below what you think! Enjoy.
By Sam Reeve
Katakata (Rattle Rattle) is one of three shorts that make up the anthology film Unholy Women. I happened to come across it by its lonesome in Youtubeland, so I haven’t seen the other ones. This one wasn’t a total waste of 30 minutes so it’s worth checking out the whole movie.
Katakata is about a young woman, Kanako, who returns from a date with her fiance, only to be struck on the head by something falling outside her apartment building. She wakes up and continues on, but while getting ready for bed she hears a creepy voice in her apartment, then promptly receives a call from her fiance saying his ex-wife tried to kill him. A knife-wielding woman in red attacks Kanako and chases her around the apartment complex. At first you think she’s human and the ex-wife of her fiance, but that theory is quickly dashed to pieces when she starts moving her body in inhuman ways, crawls around on ceilings, and is able to appear out of nowhere.
Oh, and she also reveals her true form. Pretty fetching, if I do say so myself.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Besides the fact that you get to watch this hottie (pictured above) chase around an innocent girl, I got nothing. But really, it had its freaky parts: the rattling sound you heard each time the monster lady appeared was like their own version of Jason’s weird hushing noise in Friday the 13th, and they don’t really let up for very long on the horror, so it’s an intense ride.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The ending was pretty cliche. I won’t give it away, because it’ll ruin the first 80% of the movie, which was pretty good. Actually there was kind of a double whammy of cliche at the end, so that was a bummer.
You should still give Katakata a shot, it’s worth the time and good for a quick dose of j-horror. I would also recommend watching all of Unholy Women. I haven’t yet, but the premise for the second one seems hilarious (man must go on date with boss’s sister, who wears a burlap sack during the entire evening out, then shit gets weirder).
Below is Katakata with subtitles in English. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
If you’ve been paying attention to Japanese Horror Month, you may have noticed the post about Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl. Today’s film, Tokyo Gore Police, was done by the same guy. His name is Yoshihiro Nishimura and when I
picture fantasize about him he’s wearing a crown that sprays blood and probably drinking some kind of eyeball cocktail.
Tokyo Gore Police is not for the squeamish – you will see gross shit, strange things that leave you speechless, and an insane amount of blood. This is the kind of movie Elizabeth Bathory would masturbate to.
Set in a very chaotic Japan, Tokyo Gore Police is essentially a story of vengeance. A young girl witnesses her policeman father’s assassination. This girl grows up into Ruka, the awesomely hot and incredibly lethal Engineer hunter. Engineers are mutants who, when injured, sprout crazy new weapons from their wounds. I won’t give away the rest, but I can assure you it’s rather satisfying.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: If you’re a regular here on Bizarro Central it could mean one of two things: One, you keep accidentally ending up here while searching for porn, or two, you like weird shit. If it’s the latter, I’m guessing you’ve either seen this, want to see it, or have been unfortunately kept in the dark.
Well, guess what? I’m here to enlighten you with a few pictures of what’s in store.
If you’re unconvinced so far and still need my soothing words to convince you to see this, I guess you should read on…JUST KIDDING. I have nothing more to say other and am tired and want to go to bed. This is a great movie to share with others – don’t be lame and watch it alone! Bring it to a party or a family gathering.
And watch this trailer if you still need convincing or if you already love TGP and need a refresher. Cheers!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s featured film is something pretty special, though not as much a horror film as IMDb’s genre classifications will lead you to believe. There’s plenty of disturbing imagery and lots of vomit, so it still made the cut for Japanese Horror Month, but at no point did I think it was spooky.
√964 Pinocchio is an ultra-weird, low-budget cyberpunk film directed by Shozin Fukui. Some of you may be familiar with Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man (I’m not), which is another Japanese cyberpunk film with a cult following. Shozin worked on the crew for that film, and apparently there are a lot of similarities between his style and that of Tsukamoto’s.
Because I’m lazy and have a wrist injury, I’m going to steal Wikipedia’s plot description, which is pretty good:
Pinocchio 964 is a memory-wiped sex slave who is thrown out by his owners for failure to maintain an erection. It is unclear in what ways he has been modified beyond having no memory and being unable to communicate. He is discovered by Himiko while wandering aimlessly through the city. Himiko has also been memory-wiped, possibly by the same company that produced Pinocchio, but she is fully functional. Himiko spends her days drawing maps of the city, to aid other memory-wiped people.
Himiko takes Pinocchio home and tries to teach him to speak. After much effort he has a breakthrough and finally becomes aware of his situation. At this point his body erupts in an inexplicable metamorphosis and it becomes clear that his modifications were much more involved and esoteric than simple memory loss. Himiko also begins to transform, though in a much more subtle manner.
I think what the Wiki writer is trying to say by “subtle manner” is that Himiko turns on Pinocchio and tries to make him eat shitty dumpster salad and then the rest of the plot really made no sense to me except that people from the sexy corporation who wiped his memory are chasing them both down. Anyway…
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: There’s a lot going on that is a must-see if you just like weird shit. I’m going to employ some visual aids to help get my point across.
There’s quite a bit of stuff in this that you might not see anywhere else. Then again, maybe everything in this movie was just par for the course in the world of Japanese cyberpunk. I know nothing.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: I loved this movie, but I found a lot of scenes dragging on and just being a lot of confused babbling on the part of Pinocchio. I feel like if I had seen this with another person, someone I could’ve interacted with during the slow or repetitive bits, it would have made for an easier watch.
√964 Pinocchio was also just a bit confusing, though maybe I didn’t quite get the last half of the film because that’s also when I got hungry and stopped paying as much attention. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not, I’m very pleased to have seen this film.
Fukui’s other films (most of which are shorts), also promise to be just as wild, though I’ve not delved into them just yet.
Below I’ve posted the full movie with English subtitles. If any of you have seen this or end up watching it, let us know what you thought in a comment below. Cheers!
By Sam Reeve
Today’s feature is something that really annoyed me from the first episode, but could appeal to some of you, so I’m going to share it anyway and hope that I’m the sole person who got grumpy after watching it. Highschool of the Dead, like so much anime, was originally a manga series. It tells of a small group of high school students trying to survive the recent zombie outbreak.
I’m going to smoosh my WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT and WHAT DIDN’T WORK sections all into one, mostly because I was so disappointed by this show that I have little to be said for the former. I thought, hey, zombies attacking kids, sounds fun! The first seconds of the show jumped right into it, showing the crazies zombies chasing them down. Awesome. We’re off to a great start.
I’ll start with what I did like, which was how the zombies were portrayed: They were fast, vicious and just as they should be. That wasn’t enough to make this show in any way frightening though.
Unfortunately this show was (maybe) created by and (definitely) for the bracket of folks who probably masturbate to hentai and also happen to like stuff with zombies in it. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, to make a short rant longer, almost every scene, if not every fucking shot, contained tits that made Pam Anderson’s’ look like golf balls, or school girls’ exposed panties. Even when a girl would fight off a zombie, half of the focus would be up the skirt. Ugh.
In researching further, I found out there’s a term for this kind of anime. It’s called ecchi, and it basically means it’s got a lot of innuendos and sexual content thrown in. I wish I had known this prior to watching.
Now I said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’ve never been into anime. That means I really don’t watch it and can’t say whether something is par for the course or not. It could very well be that insane amounts of tits and ass are what makes anime anime, so if I’m just being an ignorant straight female, forgive me, but this thinly veiled porn for pre-adolescents was still not great.
The art seemed standard, nothing special and nothing I would really want to call art, and unfortunately there was too much relationship drama for my liking.
For those wanting some pure zombie action, for the sake of all that is Romero, please steer clear.
For those hoping to ring in Halloween with a half-boner in hand, please enjoy and may Toxie bless your existence, because the world would be pretty boring if we were all the same.
By Sam Reeve
Like many of the movies and shows I’ve been watching for Japanese Horror Month, I found Kakashi on my magical travels through Youtubeland whilst sleep deprived. I went into this film knowing nothing about it and without having read the video description below it. The movie, though not super awesome, did manage to be pretty creepy at times. When I read in the description beneath the video that it was based on a manga by Junji Ito (known for Uzumaki and Tomie), it made sense. That dude creates some unnerving shit.
If you’re not familiar with Ito’s work and still thinking “should I really click that blue link to find out who he is?“, just look at a few of these pictures from his mangas.
Kakashi reminded me of both Twin Peaks and Pet Sematery. It starts off with Kaoru checking her missing brother’s apartment for clues. She finds an envelope with a letter from his ex-girlfriend, asking for help. Assuming her brother has gone to the village from where the letter originated, Kaoru heads there too.
Spooky shit happens as soon as she gets there. While driving through the tunnel that leads to the village, her car stalls. She meets lots of creepy villagers on her way in who don’t respond to her or have vacant stares. All of them are preparing kakashi (scarecrows) for the upcoming kakashi festival.
Kaoru finds the house of Izumi, her brother’s ex, and doesn’t get a warm welcome, but is allowed to stay the night. From here, shit gets weirder with Kaoru having dreams that skirt reality, more ominously silent locals, and hints throughout the film that the scarecrows aren’t what they seem.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Kakashi was actually a bit creepy. It’s obvious from the moment Kaoru steps into the village that 1) she shouldn’t be there and 2) no one wants her there. That’s a pretty unnerving feeling, at least for most normal people, and I found it getting to me. There are plenty of ghost appearances, plot twists and creepy Japanese hicks to make you curl up just a little closer to your mom’s shitty cat that keeps you up all night.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: Maybe it’s because I’m tired, maybe I’m retarded, or maybe some of it was lost in translation, but there was some confusing stuff in this movie. Like how I couldn’t figure out until almost half-way through the movie that Izumi was actually someone who Kaoru knew (she was apparently her roommate in school) and not just some random pen pal girl of her brother’s. She does mention knowing Izumi to the girl’s parents, but she made it seem like she was a mere acquaintance from school.
The villagers creeping on the girl was great and all, but it would have been nice to understand their motivations. At first it seems like they don’t want her there so she can’t interfere (they tell her to leave, try to drive her away by saying her brother isn’t in their village), but then they try their best to keep her stuck there (lie about her car being fixed before jumping her). I don’t feel it quite added up, but hey, what do I know?
Below is the full movie Japanese with English subtitles. Happy Thanksgiving!