Archive for Hisayasu Sato

RAMPO NOIR (2005) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by goregirl

Rampo Noir is a four story anthology based on the work of Edogawa Rampo. The handful of films I’ve seen based on Rampo’s stuff has been 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 Edogawa Rampo must have been scandalous when they were originally published; and then again Rampo’s work is the kind of twisted that never goes out of style. Rampo Noir has a slow but steady pace and little dialog through most of its runtime; all the stories focus heavily on their visuals. Fantastic set pieces and imaginative camerawork compliment the deliciously gruesome images. The cherry on top is Tadanobu Asano who is featured in three of the four segments. I could watch a three hour documentary on how paper bags are made if Asano was in it. Rampo Noir is a strange, surreal, sick little collection of Rampo’s work. The filmmakers might take liberties with the stories, but the visuals give off a perfect Rampo glow.

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MARS CANAL
Directed By: Suguru Takeuchi (Shiritsu tantei Hama Maiku -Japanese TV)

The first story in the quartet is Mars Canal. The film is only a couple minutes long and is silent for most of its runtime. Tadanobu Asano plays a man naked and alone in some barren landscape that may or may not be mars. He has flashbacks of his last violent moments with a lover. Mars Canal’s visuals are extraordinary and the second half left me tripping balls.

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MIRROR HELL
Directed By: Akio Jissoji (Mujo, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis)

The second story in the set is called Mirror Hell. Several women have been found with their faces melted off; a beautiful and unique hand mirror is found at the scene of each death. The mirrors are traced back to artisan Toru who is carrying on his long family tradition of mirror making. The visuals are simply amazing in Mirror Hell, with a generous array of mirrors used at every second in a variety of unique ways. Another visual stunner with a nice bit of kinky exploitative goodness thrown in to the mix. The violence is not graphic but is certainly creative; I was rather impressed with how the director chose to represent the melting of the women’s faces. Tadanobu Asano stars as the detective working on the case and Hiroki Narimiya is Toru the mirror maker and both are perfect in their roles. Mirror Hell is a beautiful, twisted and intriguing story with visuals that will leave you avoiding your own reflection.

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CATERPILLAR
Directed By: Hisayasu Sato (Splatter: Naked Blood, Rafureshia)

The third story in the collection is Caterpillar. Oh bloody hell is this a nasty one! I loved it! Caterpillar is without a doubt the gnarliest and most graphic of the anthology. A lieutenant returns from the war and his wife in desperation does what she must in order to keep her hubby from returning to the battlefield. She essentially transforms him into a caterpillar cutting off his arms and legs; her actions become more perverted, disturbing and brutal as each day passes. The psychedelic sequence shot from the perspective of a caterpillar is just brilliant! The less I say about Caterpillar the better, but it is gruesome and its finale is a perfect payoff. I am torn on whether this one or the final segment Crawling Bugs is my ultimate favourite of the lot.

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CRAWLING BUGS
Directed By: Atsushi Kaneko (his other director credit is for a TV Series called Soil but he is a successful manga artist…some might even say manga god)

The final film in the anthology is Crawling Bugs; manga artist Atsuchi Kaneko’s debut film. Again, Tadanobu Asano stars this time as a limousine driver with a bad case of germaphobia and a serious crush on his celebrity passenger. As hallucinogenic as each of these entries are Crawling Bugs is the mother of them. Have you ever wanted to be with someone so badly that you would be willing to kill them to do so? The imagination of the obsessive limo driver is a weird, blue-skyed, flowery, sun-shiny, rainbowy sparkly ass-kicking head trip! Crawling Bugs is bizarre, charming and hilariously fucking sick!

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Love, torture, revenge, obsession and Tabanobu Asano; what more could a person want? Rampo Noir is a sense titillating and grotesque vision that bleeds the lines between fantasy and reality. Love it or hate it Rampo Noir’s images leave a mark. Despite being a touch more style than substance it is such a hypnotic trip that the stories themselves seemed secondary. This is my third viewing of Rampo Noir and it will not be my last. Rampo Noir gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Akio Jissoji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Sato, Suguru Takeuchi

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Yûko Daike, Chisako Hara, Masami Horiuchi, Mikako Ichikawa, Hanae Kan, Ryûhei Matsuda, Kaiji Moriyama, Tomoya Nakamura, Hiroki Narimiya, Tamaki Ogawa, Nao Ohmori, Yukiko Okamoto, Minori Terada, Susumu Terajima, Yumi Yoshiyuki

SPLATTER: NAKED BLOOD (1996) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2013 by goregirl

Are you familiar with the term Pinku? According to Wikipedia “Pink film (Pinku eiga or Pink eiga) is a broad cinematic term used to categorize a wide variety of Japanese films with adult content. This encompasses everything from dramas to action thrillers and exploitation films (a.k.a. pinky violence), and softcore pornographic (romance pornography or roman poruno) features. The term is often mistakenly used to apply only to sex films. However, the so-called pink movie is part of an ongoing (and evolving) cycle of films rather than a specific genre”. You would think going on this long tangent about Pinku films that I was going to review one; but I am not. I watched two films from director Hisayasu Sato this weekend and the one I will not be reviewing was classified as Pinku. This director seems to be primarily a Pinku director. Here are just a few of his other titles; Rape: For Real, Naked Action: College Girl Rape Edition, Serial Rape: Perverted Experiment, Rapist with Handcuff: Defile!, Office Lady Rape: Devouring the Giant Tits. I’m sensing a trend there. I really can not bring myself to review his 1995 film Rafureshia as that would involve thinking about it. Rafureshia opens with a father eating his daughter out. She swims across the sea to the city and is than raped by three men. Than she is “saved” by a man who rapes her. The parallel story sees a married couple eating a meal with the hubby’s mother. Mom is attempting to jerk her son off, the daughter is relaying a fantasy while masturbating and the son is completely disinterested. Apparently Rafureshia was intended to be a comedy. Hilarious?! No more Pinku for me unless it is of the 60s or 70s variety. Now for our feature presentation; Splatter: Naked Blood the little film with the bad reputation. But is it warranted? Could be. *Some spoilers ahead.

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Three young women volunteer to be guinea pigs for a chemical contraceptive. The doctor Yuki Kure is conducting the experiment. Yuki Kure is a widow with a seventeen year old named Eiji. Eiji plans to conduct his own experiment on the trio of women. He has concocted a potion he calls My Son that turns pain into happiness. He just wants the world to be all sunshine and lollipops. He injects My Son into his mother’s contraceptive solution. Madness and gore ensue!

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Splatter: Naked Blood starts out fairly innocently and has a simple storyline. The girls have lunch together after the experiment and discuss the things that give them the most pleasure. For one woman it is eating, for another it is vanity and for Rika Mikami an insomniac and introvert it is a life of solitude without human interaction. Eiji begins to follow the girls around with his camera. He first follows Rika who notices him immediately and calls him on it. The two become friends. The girl who hates people becomes Eiji’s love interest. Eiji’s father died before he was born; more accurately he disappeared before he was born. Since you will be treated to the odd little scene in which dad disappears I will not divulge. Eiji is an awkward kid who has no friends that we meet; besides his new friend Rika. He is a bit of a sad sack really, but I guess that is why he wants to create a pharmaceutical that turns pain into happiness. It does not quite work like he expects although pain does in fact become happiness but happiness also becomes painful. Very, very, very painful!!

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Splatter: Naked Blood takes a decidedly nasty turn once the effects of My Son kick in. It is the woman who starts eating herself that is the real humdinger. A scene where our little glutton sticks a fork in her eye pulls it out and than eats it was pretty brutal and very graphic; it was not the worst of it in my opinion. There are two other body parts eaten that were far more difficult to stomach. My bologna has a first name it’s L-A-B-I-A. I won’t spoil what happens to vanity girl or any of the other characters as I thought the other violent business would be pretty tolerable for most horror fans. I will add that there is a pretty nice opened stomach effect that a grown man crawls into. Splatter: Naked Blood has a nasty reputation which is not unjustified. There is not a non-stop barrage of violent images by any means, but the moments included will not be easy to erase from the mind. As ridiculous as the scenes might be they are pretty hard to watch. I actually thought the gore effects were quite well done.

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There is nothing particularly spiffy about the visuals in Splatter: Naked Blood other than the gore. It is a pretty plain film really. Rika’s apartment has no trinkets, knickknacks, pictures or anything else one would expect in the apartment of a 20ish year old woman. She has one cushy reclining chair, a cactus and a kitchen table that has just one chair at it. She doesn’t even have stuff on her kitchen counter. Rika has a sleeping device that is pretty far out. She has goggles she puts on and a second set that she puts on her cactus. Rika seems to be at one with the cactus?! There is one bizarre psychedelic sex and cactus scene that is totally far out man! It is pretty hilarious too, very lava lamp-esque. Eiji’s room is almost as bare as Rika’s. His computer is on the floor and he has a small selection of sciencey stuff sitting around. Of course there is the ever so important picture of his father he keeps on his bedside table. They show the picture often; hence his reasoning for calling his happy potion My Son. How exactly did he come up with his My Son concoction? Sadly, we don’t get to see him in mad scientist mode. I thought the cast were good especially Yumika Hayashi who played the gluttonous girl. Hayashi really throws herself into the whole passion thing. I completely believed she was rapturously enjoying eating herself.

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What a shame more of Sato’s stuff isn’t like Splatter: Naked Blood; I quite enjoyed this film. I should add that I did dig his segment in Rampo Noir (Imomushi). Splatter: Naked Blood doesn’t overstay its welcome At 76 minutes; it has some nasty gore, weirdness, nudity, sex, laughs, nifty sound effects and a neato soundtrack. Be warned, the gore is nasty, but if that is your thing Splatter: Naked Blood is highly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Hisayasu Sato

Starring: Misa Aika, Yumika Hayashi, Mika Kirihara, Sadao Abe, Masumi Nakao, Tadashi Shiraishi, Seiya Hiramatsu