HORRORS OF MALFORMED MEN (1969) – The Dungeon Review!

BANNED!! I’m not sure there is anything that gets horror fans more curious about a film than it being banned in its country of origin. Horrors Of Malformed Men falls under the unique sub-genre “erotic-grotesque” (Ero guro), a tag that certainly evokes all manner of strange, sexual and horrifying images. It is certainly a quirky film that does indeed touch on a number of taboo topics like incest, torture and bestiality and there are more than a few bizarre and occasionally disturbing visuals but I doubt fans of eclectic cinema would be terribly shocked by the images and themes in this film. I had never heard of Teruo Ishii before a few months ago. After reading a review for this film over at Japan Cinema I became instantly intrigued and attempted to rent the film which was considerably more difficult to find than I thought it would be. I did trip over a couple other Ishii titles along the way including Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture and Shogun’s Joy of Torture (review pending), both of which I quite enjoyed! Horrors Of Malformed Men definitely did not disappoint! Once again, Teruo Ishii creates a flick that is a unique, weird, mesmerizing and violent trip worth taking.

Usually I would include a brief plot summary before diving in, but it just seemed like too daunting a task to try to explain Horrors Of Malformed Men. I try to avoid comparisons to other films in my reviews, but it is difficult not to compare Horrors Of Malformed Men’s second half to H.G. Well’s Island of Dr. Moreau. The film is actually based on the writing of Edogawa Rampo and borrows from several different stories. This probably explains why the film is so disjointed and downright illogical at times. At its heart Horrors Of Malformed Men is a family drama and it’s got a complete madman named Jogoro who inhabits an island where he has surrounded himself with deformed men, women, and creatures, deformed by his own hand. Now that’s my kind of family drama! Jogoro is completely insane but he is an intelligent, passionate psycho. The films central character is medical student Hirosuke. Hirosuke escapes a placement in a mental institute and assumes the identity of his twin brother, eventually traveling to the island in pursuit of his father. There are plenty of strange and interesting twists and oddities among its wandering plot. The films story does come together in the end and is tied up with an absolutely perfect finale. The film is a bit of a slow-boil and the pace won’t be to everyone’s taste but it definitely adds to the films dream-like mood.

If you ever thought, “I just don’t see enough Butoh dancing in horror films” than Horrors Of Malformed Men is for you! I actually thought the use of the dance style was extremely effective here. Particularly the scenes with the mad doc scurrying about the rocks looking much like some human-crab hybrid against a backdrop of roaring waves. Jogoro’s long black hair hanging in his face almost completely obscuring his crazed eyes and wearing some manner of peculiar looking frock as he moves erratically about. The makeup and effects are simplistic but decent and there is a lot of creativity used in the various “malformitites”. Ishii includes some pretty twisted little bits that will certainly get your attention such as a woman eating the crabs feeding off of her dead lover’s body. There isn’t much in the way of graphic violence here as there just isn’t much of a body count. There is however some truly bizarre and original visuals that nonetheless deserves to be celebrated!

Horrors Of Malformed Men is a little oddity that is both grotesque and beautiful. It has a dream-like feel that cast a spell over me with its strange and horrible images. It’s a circus side-show, full of perversity, a disturbing family drama and a completely unique experience. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Teruo Ishii

Starring: Teruo Yoshida, Yukie Kagawa, Teruko Yumi, Mitsuko Aoi, Michiko Kobata, Kei Kiyam, Michi Tanaka

4 Responses to “HORRORS OF MALFORMED MEN (1969) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. The Film Reel Says:

    I gotta say, I’m always intrigued by the pics you carry in your posts Goregirl. Just the crazy looking photos are probably enough to entice me into this one!

  2. Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmarked it for later!

  3. […] superb! In fact, three of my favourite discoveries since starting this blog have been Blind Beast, Horrors of Malformed Men and today’s subject review Rampo Noir (this is my third viewing of Rampo Noir). The tales of […]

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