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
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
Today’s featured movie for Japanese Horror Month is Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl. One of the directors, Yoshihiro Nishimura, is probably better known for having directed Tokyo Gore Police. If you’ve seen it then you’re familiar with the style of this movie.
If you aren’t familiar with these movies but are a fan of bizarro, I urge you to get into them. Blood showers, cyborg-franken-human-hybrids like you’ve never seen and always lots of adorable (but violent) Japanese girls – what more could you ask for?
It’s a pretty simple tale of rivalry: Monami, the Vampire Girl and new student at a Tokyo high school, steals (and converts) another girl’s boyfriend. Of course this leads to the girls fighting over this poor guy who seemed at first to want nothing to do with either of them. Monami’s rival, Keiko, ends up dying after falling off the school’s roof. Luckily her father, the vice principal, also moonlights as a mad scientist trying to re-animate corpses. You can guess who gets to become Frankenstein Girl. The fight over the boy continues on, though it’s not any real surprise who wins since the opening scene in the film is of the final fight between the opposing girls.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: This movie is the epitome of ridiculousness. First I’ll show you this clip of the intro, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Besides having a lot of bizarre gore and violence, they make fun of some of Japan’s subcultures in the most satisfying way. This is the perfect kind of movie to watch with a group of friends during the Halloween season. It’s a WTF goldmine!
Here I’ve posted one of my favourite scenes, and below that you’ll find an English subtitled copy of the full movie. If you’ve seen Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, let us know what you thought in a comment below!
By Sam Reeve
Today I bring you Ringu, the film directed by Hideo Nakata which inspired the American remake The Ring. Ringu was actually based on a novel of the same name written by Koji Suzuki. The film’s male lead Hiroyuki Sanada may be familiar to North American audiences for his roles in The Last Samurai, Sunshine, and LOST.
Now I haven’t seen the American one since it first came out, so my memory of it is a little fuzzy, but the plot for both seems mostly the same, but with enough differences that you don’t feel like you’ve watched the same movie twice.
The movie starts off with two teenage girls discussing the rumours surrounding a cursed video that, after watching it, kills you seven days later. One of them had actually watched it exactly a week prior, and you can guess what happens to her a few scenes later.
A female reporter (pictured above) has been interviewing people regarding the popularity of the rumours, who also just so happens to be the aunt of the girl who dies at the beginning of the film. She follows leads, ends up getting a hold of the movie, watches it and freaks out.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: I don’t remember the American one being particularly bad, but this is definitely better. Ringu really is quite creepy, and unlike the remake, it has far less violence and special effects, which works really well.
The acting is good, as is the story, and I really preferred the characters in this one compared to the remake. The way the lead characters’ son is portrayed is also a million times more effective in my opinion. I thought the American actor who played the son was creepy as hell, which honestly made me not care so much if something happened to him. Though the little Japanese boy in Ringu was a little weird in that he could communicate with ghosts, he was cute as fucking hell and a much more realistic child.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: There’s not too much I can say, honestly. See it!
Ringu has also spawned a couple of sequels and a prequel, none of which I’ve seen and which don’t sound as appealing as this one. If any of you have seen them, feel free to let us know in a comment below how they were.
Below I’ve posted the full movie that can be watched on Youtube with English subtitles. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
If you’ve been paying close attention to Bizarro Central lately you may have heard about my new obsession with weird Japanese stuff, brought on by my discovery of Chindogu. In the spirit of Halloween (and to get this out of my system), I’ll be featuring a different Japanese horror film or TV series each day in October.
There will be a wide variety of movies and shows, including old black & whites, over-the-top gory flicks, and even a hefty dose of anime horror. Just as I did for last December’s Month of Weird Art, I’ll try to include background information on the creators, plus clips, pictures and links to interviews.