Arthouse Film

MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

Rampo Noir (2005) is a Japanese arthouse, horror film, based on the works Kagami-jigoku (The Hell of Mirrors) (1926), Mushi (Insect) (1929), Imomushi (The Caterpillar) (1929), and Kasei no Unga (The Martian Canals) (1926) by Edogawa Rampo. It’s sort of like a modern-day Kwaidan. Although it does deal with some extreme themes and has horror elements, I wouldn’t classify it as either. It’s a bizarre, slow-moving arthouse through and through. The film is an anthology and features four segments by four different directors.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The first segment is entitled “Mars Canal” by Takeuchi Suguru. This segment has no dialogue and actually almost no audio at all other than one brief period of loud shrieking sound. The entire segment is only about 7 minutes long in total making it the shortest of the four. It’s a lot of violent, silent, nudity. The silence somehow heightens the beauty of the imagery and although it was short, I really enjoyed this one.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The next segment is called ”Mirror Hell” by Akio Jissoji. This one was probably my least favorite out of the four. It combines the stories of a bunch of women attending a tea ceremony school a traditional Japanese mirror maker and a group of detectives. Many of the women in the school fall in love with the mirror maker and they are killed one by one in a bizarre manner. The story is about jealousy, betrayal and becoming our own god. Lots of beautiful imagery and a great idea for a story but it ended up being painfully slow and fell flat for me.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The third segment is called ”Caterpillar” by Hisayu Sato and is probably the most extreme of the three. It’s about a soldier who comes back from war a hero but horribly disfigured. He’s missing his limbs and can really only wiggle and drool. His wife still loves and cares for him calling him her “caterpillar”. It watches like Japanese fetish porn and has some unconventional sex scenes… that’s all I’ll say about that.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The final segment is called ”Crawling Bugs” by Atsushi Kaneko was my favorite of the bunch. After the dull lighting of the first three, the color enthusiast in me rejoiced at the vivid pallet in this one. However, while the color and style in this one pop it’s quite boring to watch beyond that. Basically, we follow a fashion model and her relationship with an artist who is obsessed with germs. He ends up killing her and dismembering her corps and turning her into a human corpse doll. It sounds far more interesting than it actually was.

I recommend this to arthouse film buffs and the seekers of the strange/obscure, but if like me you’re seeking out extreme or fast-paced art this won’t be for you.

2.5/5 shocks for this film Rampo Noir

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

By Travis Love

Flowers

Directed by Phil Stevens and released on October 27, 2015, by Unearthed Films, Flowers is an Arthouse horror film that delves into the grim tale of six women who awaken disoriented and unaware of how they've arrived in this state of surreal, dream-esque purgatory, until they discover they've all suffered the same grisly fate at the hands of the same demented aggressor. Abandon all hope ye who awaken under a porch surrounded by body filled Glad trash bags.

Watching Flowers and trying to convey to someone what it is, is the equivalent of trying to explain how Pornhub works to a blind man. He really doesn't understand what you mean because he's never experienced it before for himself (unfortunately braille Pornhub never caught on...sorry Stevie Wonder). The film is as dark and depressing as it is morbidly fascinating and eerily beautiful, with equal aspects macabre and performance art combing to create one of the most truly genuinely unique cinema experiences you could ever hope for.

The fact that there is no dialog in the film allows you to immerse yourself fully in the imagery, taking in every minute detail of the scenery. The scenes piece together almost like Dante Alighieri's Inferno, with each character feeling like they're in their own circle of hell. Each character transitions to a different person and tale as they crawl from underneath the porch, to under the house, to the bathroom through a hole in the floor and so on. Past events with the victims are tied to Polaroids that they either awaken with, or discover during their venturing through the house. Each picture triggers a memory for each character that holds some barring on their life before and their personal encounter with the antagonist.

As far as gore goes, Flowers even delivers artistically in that regard as well, with scenes that run the gamut of twisted and perverted (fondling the intestines of a disemboweled victim before warming up her dead body like a gas station burrito necrophilia style) to ethereal and metaphorical (a victim discovering she's hollow on the inside and begins stuffing what she believes are her internal organs inside the open cavity, but to the outside perspective she's only stuffing her gaping hole with earth and worms). Morbid imagery has never looked so enthralling and engaging.

In conclusion, Flowers achieves what so many films set out to do, it establishes its originality and individuality proudly in leaps and bounds and sets a precedent that films can be artistically beautiful and engaging while at the same time brooding and aberrant. Do yourself a favor and let Flowers put something hauntingly beautiful inside you...and possibly some fingers as well.

Rating: 8/10

-Travis

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments