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
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
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!