Japanese Horror

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Brutal

Brutal

Brutal by Takashi Hirose is one of the latest releases by Unearthed Films and it’s you guessed it… brutal!

Brutal is a beautiful story of love and connection, encased in gore and torture. Imagine searching your whole life to find that special someone who understands you, only to be disappointed again and again. Until one day you find them and it’s a glorious blood-soaked affair.

Chapter 1: The Man
The movie starts with a man, the Japanese version of John Everyman, as basic as he is complex. A sexually frustrated man, choosing chastity and self-denial. He has a room full of kidnapped women and before murdering them he asks each one “do you understand what I’m doing?”. He savagely beats and stabs them to death in a misguided attempt to save them or possibly purify them through suffering.

Chapter 2: The Woman
A beautiful woman uses her sexuality to lure men into her arms before killing them. Her character reminded me of a combination of Aileen Wuornos (notorious serial killer) and Gogo Yubari (Kill Bill) After killing each victim she asks herself if it’s ok, reassuring herself that she has done the right thing.

Chapter 3: Man and Woman
The showdown. The two meet and end up going to his place, she immediately realizes her error and a knife fight ensues. During the fight her clothing is cut off and reveals to the man that she has sewn up her genitalia and removed her nipples. It’s at this point that he knows that she gets it and does understand what he’s been doing and in fact has been doing it herself. The two begin to sob and embrace. While making love they stab each other repeatedly in a cathartic spurt of blood and pain. He apologizes for not being able to ejaculate inside her, but she tells him she can feel it inside her. The next morning only she awakes, finding that he died from his stab wounds in the night. The final scene is her discovering that their love created a life and she is pregnant.

Here’s what I especially liked about this one:
I loved the chapters and how everything overlaps and forms a clear picture at the end. The two characters come across the same people, visit the same places and face the same struggles. It was inevitable that their paths would cross.
I really enjoyed how both of the characters had such a casual reaction to killing and gore, it was commonplace and a necessary evil. Both were comfortable cloaked in the blood of others.
For me the best part of this movie was the love story. I enjoyed the gore and torture, but my favourite type of film is one that shows there is someone out there for everyone no matter how fucked up you are. Love finds a way.

Buy the Blu-ray from Unearthed Films here


Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
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: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

964 Pinocchio (1991) is a Japanese cyberpunk film by Shozin Fukui. The experience is somewhat indescribable and it’s one of those films you just have to “go with” and not overthink.

The first 30 seconds or so of the film really reach out and grab you because a lot is happening… a three-way in a hospital to be precise. The male participant – Pinocchio is a memory-wiped sex slave that has been mentally and physically altered. He is thrown out of the facility after he fails to hold a lasting erection.

As he’s wandering aimlessly through town, he stumbles across Himiko, a homeless street artist. He indicates to her that he’s hungry (he can’t talk at this point), and she takes him under her wing. What we don’t know at this point is that Himiko has also been mind-wiped and altered.

The two begin to undergo a simultaneous transition. Pinocchio appears to be melting and convulsing. Himiko flees and vomits up everything she’s ever eaten. This is probably the longest puke scene in a movie I’ve ever watched. More just keeps coming up in large piles that are the consistency of wet house insulation. She lays on top of it, runs her fingers through it, and then rolls in it and eats it. When Himiko returns, Pinocchio is lying in the center of a circle of what I can only presume is his guts.

Himiko turns on Pinocchio and chains him up. She informs the sex company of his whereabouts. He breaks free and drags the cinder block he’s chained to through town until he reaches the lab. He kills his tormentors, and both he and Himiko evolve into weird, big, rubber-headed creatures. His last line is that everything all makes sense now. Maybe to him it does, but there are a lot of questions left unanswered to the audience.

I liked this movie a lot despite its flaws and its tendency to draw certain scenes out to the point of being annoying. It also doesn’t make a ton of sense, not just because it’s weird but because it establishes certainties and then goes against them without explanation or reason.

I give it 3/5 shocks. You can order a copy cheap from Unearthed or watch it free on Youtube.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

Shogun’s Sadism (1976) by Yuji Makiguchi is a really fun, Japanese, exploitation, period piece.

First, let me just tip my hat to the Japanese on their unparalleled ability to torture and cause human suffering, no one does it better than Japan.

Shogun’s Sadism starts with old stock footage of war atrocities and the first shot is of a girl being boiled alive… it doesn’t mess about. It’s scene after scene of intense torture with brief explanations of the “crimes” committed and the form of torture being used.

The film features two different stories that take place during the Edo period in Japan (between 1603-1868). Although the film is fictional it does mirror actual forms of torture and beliefs held during that time period.

The first story is of a young woman named Toyo who saves the life of Lori, a Samurai, by sucking the poison out of a snake bite for him. She brings him to her family home and cares for him, and the two fall in love. It’s later discovered that Toyo and her family are Christians and must be executed. During the Edo period, Christians were tortured until they confessed and often killed for choosing Jesus over the Shogunate (feudal military government). When Toyo is brought before the government for her crimes Lori does nothing as he watches her be raped and abused repeatedly and then kept as a personal concubine by his superior. Toyo suffers many horrible injustices and eventually Lori and her escape only to be brutally killed.

The second story, while still good, is definitely a bit more silly or comedic. It takes place in a brothel where a young man claiming to have a rich family turns out to be poor and unable to pay his bill. In order to pay off his debts, he has to stay and work at the brothel for a year. He falls in love with one of the girls and after witnessing a forced abortion and then the death of one of the other girls, he decides to escape with her. The two become petty criminals and are eventually caught. He’s killed, and she’s sold back into prostitution.

In case you aren’t convinced of the brutality here are some of the things you can expect to see:
SPOILERS!!!!

  • human branding
  • stake burnings and spearing
  • snake pit torture
  • rape, including double penetration gang rape
  • forced abortion
  • beheading
  • castration
  • And my personal favourite execution by bulls pulling a woman’s limbs off.

4/5 historically accurate shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)Ichi the Killer (2001) is one of Takeshi Miike’s best films. It’s a Yakuza gangster, extreme horror based on the Manga of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto. The movie watches like a manga book and some of the characters look as though they walked right off the pages and into the film. With fantastic, brightly colored costumes and bizarre quirks, the characters are what makes this one extra special. Ichi the Killer is an intelligent film unlike a lot of shock Japanese cinema, and you’ll need to pay attention to catch everything. Definitely check it out on the new 4K BD it’s worth every penny. The 4K really makes the costumes bling, the scars stand out, and the blood pop!

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Nao Ohmori, Tadanobu Asano, Paulyn Sun, and SABU in Ichi the Killer (2001)

The Plot: Well… there’s a lot of it in this one and I’m going to do my very best to make sure you know how great the film is while still keeping it spoiler free. It starts out with the leader of the Anjo gang going “missing” and then two rival gangs fighting over his absence. The new leader of Anjo’s gang, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) steps in to investigate the missing boss and goes on a bit of a rampage while trying to find him. The movie should really be called Kakihara the Killer since he’s the real hero in this, brutal as hell, unflinching, relishing every sadistic act — even his own mutilation and beatings. Kakihara is a beautiful character, well written, well acted, and impeccably dressed. I loved every minute he was on screen. His presence was palpable. His features are unforgettable, his face is scarred and sliced open across his cheeks (a Glasgow smile) and held closed with metal hoops, his hair is bleached blonde, and his outfits are gaudy and brilliant – each outdoing the last.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)While Kakihara is busy enforcing and investigating, Ichi (Nao Omori) is also killing but with a lot less style and a lot more crying. He’s been brainwashed to believe that he was badly bullied and believes that a high school girl who tried to save him was brutally gang-raped in front of him while he was unable to save her. He’s riddled with guilt and can be coaxed into killing anyone if he is told that person is a bully. He wears razor shoes and does some fancy footwork making the blood spray and the guts splatter. Ichi is controlled by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) a seemingly innocent bystander in the whole thing. The gang members even lovingly refer to him as the “old fart”. Jijii is far from innocent though and is pulling the strings on both sides to pit the rival gangs against one another for his own personal gain. He uses Ichi as his pawn and eventually has him target Kakihara. A final battle is, of course, inevitable, and there are many twists and turns along the way that I am purposely leaving out in order not to spoil things.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

I highly recommend you check out Ichi the Killer for yourself. It’s a flawless masterpiece that belongs in a museum. I personally loved it and give it a 5/5
Kakihara smoking in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer (2001)

Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

Tetsuo, the Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto is a gnarly cyberpunk fetish film. Filmed in black and white and employing very little dialogue… it’s not really needed because there’s enough going on without it Tetsuo, the Iron Man has a cool techno/industrial, pulsing, fast-paced vibe.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

The film starts out with “The Man” or “The Metal Fetishist” (Tsukamoto) inserting a metal pipe into his thigh, then losing his shit when it starts to fester and maggots show up. He runs out into the street where he is hit and presumably killed by “The Salaryman” (Tomorowo Taguchi) and his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara). They take his body and dump it into a ravine and then get it on in front of the corpse because nothing gets you as hot as killing someone… right?

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

Later that night, The Salaryman notices a piece of metal sticking out of his cheek that he can’t get rid of. He has a nightmare where his girlfriend has a metal pipe coming from her hoo-haw and she rapes him with it. This scene is actually pretty great, she does this weird ass interpretive dance and licks her pipe before slamming it into his.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

For some reason, everyone is super sweaty all the time. When he wakes up, The Salaryman and his girlfriend have sex and eat erotically, as in she licks a wiener. The whole time, however, The Salaryman hears metal scraping, and then he starts to transform. He runs into the bathroom afraid of what he’s becoming and tells his girlfriend to stay away. She says nothing bothers her and goes in anyway, and that’s when we see it… The drill dick!!! Yes, you read that right: his genitalia is now a large spinning metal drilldo. At first, the girlfriend is scared and starts stabbing him, but every time she stabs him, more metal sprouts out of his body. She then becomes turned on and rides the drill to death.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

We discover that The Metal Fetishist isn’t actually dead and the two have an epic metalman duel until they eventually meld together into one giant metal man tethered by a metal pipe umbilical cord. The Metal Fetishist vows to turn the whole world into metal and let it rust, scattering it into the dust of the universe. Game over.
4/5 cyberpunk rock shocks for Tetsuo, the Iron Man

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

No other creature is like a human being… Even wolves do not prey on each other, but humans will eat each other alive.

One of Takashi Miike’s most overlooked gems is probably Fudoh: The New Generation. It was a V movie — or straight to video movie —bmade in 1996. It’s a typical, not so typical Yakuza gangster film.

While the story of Fudoh is somewhat predictable, the method is not. We start out with two brothers, sons of the Yakuza boss Mr. Fudoh. The older son Ryu is murdered in front of the younger son Riki by their father. Riki doesn’t let on that he sees it happen and plots revenge. Years later, Riki has a trained group of youth assassins that essentially run his high school. I love the casual mix of children and violence in this film; it’s both bold and refreshing. He also has two young boys who are pretty handy with a gun and taser, not to mention two of the cutest kids you’ll ever see, which only adds to the disturbing factor.

While all of the assassins and assassinations in this film are top notch, Mika the girl with a vagina blow dart takes the cake. I wonder where one even buys custom zipper panties and vagina darts? I assume Walmart. Mika also has a secret reveal later on. Her dart through the ear kill is epic and something you won’t want to miss!

One by one, Riki’s friends begin to die in mysterious ways. The predictability comes in here when a surprise half-brother is revealed and, of course, an epic duel ensues. It obviously ends with a final revenge battle between Riki and his father but with a couple little tricks up its sleeve.

When I’m going into an extreme film I like a break down of the film’s highlights before I invest, so here are a few goodies you can expect to see:

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

  • Children playing soccer with a severed head
  • Lots and lots of spraying blood and beheadings, one really cool scene with a boss being poisoned inside a car and basically melting
  • Period vagina darts
  • Surprise hermaphrodite sex
  • An electrified vibrator in the bum
  • Prostitute acid bath

And some other great stuff that if you’re sick like me, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

For my Best of Takashi Miike series, I’m going to start with Gozu. I want to say it’s my favorite film of his, but I’m not sure that it’s even possible to have just one favorite with him. Every time I think I have it nailed down, I watch another one of his films and think, ‘no this is my favorite’. And then the next film I think the same thing.

Gozu’s original Japanese title Gokudo Kyofu dai-gekijo:Gozu translates to Yakuza Horror Theatre; Cows Head. There is no shortage of bizarre cow and milk-related scenarios in this one and as the cover of the film suggests, there is, in fact, a man in tightie whities with a gigantic cow head and a rather large and slimy tongue. I honestly could have watched an entire movie about the cow head dude but unfortunately, he only got about a minute of screen time. In that sense the film was misleading but it was bang on in the bizarre department.

Takasi Miike's Gozu (2003)

The film starts out by introducing us to Ozaki (Show Aikawa), a Yakuza member that has seemingly developed some sort of dementia, believing that small animals and inanimate objects etc. are trained Yakuza killers. Minami (Kimika Yoshino) is asked to take his Yakuza brother Ozaki on a little trip and kill him before he causes further embarrassment. During the trip, they hit a little bump in the road while driving and Ozaki is killed. A panicked Minami heads into a restaurant to seek help and when he returns to his car, Ozaki’s body is missing. After searching all day for the body and still coming up empty, Minami ends up at the Masakazu Inn, a sort of Japanese version of Motel Hell. The Inn is run by a brother and sister with a whole host of their own issues, and it’s from this point on that describing the film becomes an exercise in futility. The events that follow can’t be put into words. I will tell you that you can expect to see sexual misconduct involving a lactating old woman, a séance, a talking pussy, an awkward sex scene between brothers and the piece de resistance: the graphic birth of a grown man from a tiny 100-pound Japanese woman.

All of Miike’s films have an identifiable style and can tend to be on the slow side. Gozu is no exception, it requires patience and a love of film. Miike won’t be rushed while telling his story because perfection takes time.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi MiikeOver the upcoming weeks, I’m going to try and attempt to cover what I feel are the best films by Takashi Miiike. For those of you who don’t know his work, you’re in for a real treat and for those of you who do you can just follow along and smile knowingly. With over 100 films to his name, it’s hard to pick just one to cover.

Miike is a Japanese filmmaker that really covers every genre and has something to offer every film enthusiast. He does everything from heartwarming family films like Zebraman (I recommend this even if you don’t have a family) to extremely violent films like Ichi the Killer and Yakuza Apocolypse. I personally love his extreme stuff and that will be my main focus. I will try and cover all his bigger titles except for two: his latest release Blade of the Immortal and Audition. Our own Spencer Evatt has you covered there, so watch for those in the near future. I will also try and cover a few of his lesser-known works that I think are noteworthy and deserve some love.

Takashi MiikeMiike tends to have a lot of controversy surrounding his films and he receives a lot of criticism for some of the ultra-violent content, graphic gore, and sexual “perversions”. He’s known for his dark sense of humor and bizarre themes. He started his career in 1991 with mostly straight to video releases, his first theatrical release The Third Gangster didn’t generate much interest. In 1995, his third theatrical release Shinjuku Triad Society finally started to catch the public’s attention and at last, in 1999, his film Audition (based on Ryu Murakami’s book of the same name) got him recognized internationally. Audition probably still remains his most well-known work worldwide. No one else on the market does it quite like Miike, and I’m excited to introduce him to new fans and maybe help old ones discover a film they don’t already know about.
Takashi Miike

Posted by Candace Stone in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

Grotesque (2009) is a Japanese torture porn film directed by Koji Shiraishi.
First of all, I’d like to say I’m not a big fan of the term “torture porn” as it’s used in a derogatory fashion by film snobs to discredit an entire genre and I find it offensive, but when it comes to the movie Grotesque there is simply no better description. The antagonist, a “doctor”, kidnaps a young couple and tortures them for sexual arousal, promising their release if they succeed in making him excited, making this torture porn by definition.

The movie is honest about what it is and doesn’t pussyfoot around pretending to have a plot or trying to develop characters; it just dives right in.

Grotesque (2009)

****HERE THERE BE SPOILERS****

Our young couple wakes up gagged and tied to a table and is asked if they would die for each other. There is a brief little flashback to offer us some insight and let us know they were on a first date; that is as much backstory as the viewer will get.

From there it gets all molesty. I appreciate the fact that this movie advocates equality between the sexes because both are manhandled accordingly, and every torture is doled out evenly.

After the molestation, we proceed to chainsaw surgery, the removal of nipples, nails to the scrotum and a graphic penis removal, which succeeds in finally arousing our good doctor, and he woefully admits that they have won (curse them!) and will be released.

The two wake up in a sterile hospital room where all their parts (except one) have been reattached and they’re healing nicely. I was a tad confused at first in this scene and wasn’t sure if it was a dream – it’s not. Either way, it gives us a chance to catch our breath before the next onslaught.

Their tormentor reappears and promises to release them once they are healed. He then changes his mind and back to the racks they go.

The next scene was a real nail-biter. The male protagonist is given an intestine tether (his own) and has the chance to save the female… he almost makes it and you truly are rooting for him along with the doctor who is shouting encouragements at him.

The end of this movie is a bit silly and provides comic relief after the hard watch the viewer has just endured. The comedy paired with the fact that we have no attachment to the characters makes this movie a guilt-free pleasure allowing us to walk away with minimal psychological damage.

5/5  for Grotesque

Grotesque is not a fantastic movie, but it accomplished everything it set out to do.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments

Urban Legends: Kuchisake-onna

Urban Legends: Kuchisake-onna

By Margeaux DeMott

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This lovely urban legend comes from Japan. The Kuchisake-onna, Slit-mouthed Woman, legend comes from Japan’s Heian period (794-1185). It is a story of a violent man and a vain woman turned vengeful spirit. Kuchisake-onna translates to slit-mouthed woman in English.

Kuchisake-onna

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Kuchisake-onna was a beautiful, vain woman.  She was married to a violent and jealous samurai. The woman cheated on her husband and when he found out he was enraged. He violently attacked her and gave her a Glasgow smile. After doing so he said to her “Who will think you are beautiful now?”

The tale sounds like one to warn against infidelity, but in the late 1970s Kuchisake-onna reappears as a vengeful spirit.

Kuchisake-onna is said to wear a brown trench coat and wears a surgeon’s mask to hide her going, bloody Glasgow smile. Appearing to people traveling alone at night or on a foggy day she would ask the unfortunate person a seemingly innocent question. Do you think I’m beautiful? This simple question could land you in very hot water. When you tell her yes she proceeds to pull down the surgeon’s mask to show you her still gory wound. She will ask you How about now? If you answer no she reveals a pair of scissors and will kill you on the spot, but if you answer yes she will cut you with the scissors so you too can have a permanent smile. She was often seen lurking near children because their innocent answers would allow her to gain more victims.

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Do not fear dear reader for there are a couple of ways to avoid both of these fates.

  1. If you respond with You’re average, So-so or Am I beautiful? You will be able to confuse her for long enough to run away. And no, you cannot simply run away. If you do not confuse her she will be able to simply reappear in front of you and even follow you home.
  2. If you give her hard amber candy she will be pleased and simply let you go unharmed.
  3. If you tell her that you are late for an appointment she will apologize and let you go to your appointment without incident.

The sightings from the late 1970s may have an actual living, well formerly, culprit. A corner came across documents of a woman who was hit by a car while she was chasing a young child. This woman just so happened to have similar scars as Kuchisake-onna. It is highly likely that she was the cause of the terror and rekindling of an old urban legend.

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The legend of Kuchisake-onna has made its way onto the big screen. The films based off of this story are as follows: Carved aka A Slit-Mouthed Woman aka Kuchisake-onna (2007) and its prequel Carved 2 aka Kuchisake-Onna 2: The Scissors Massacre aka A Slit-Mouthed Woman 2 aka Kuchisake-onna 2 (2008).

Posted by Alan Smithee in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

SWEET HOME:
THE BEST SURVIVAL HORROR GAME YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED

By Nick Durham

Sweet_Home_Japanese_Famicom_box_art

Most people tend to think of the original Alone in the Dark as being the first survival horror video game that they can really remember. Resident Evil would end up being the series that would more famously expose the genre of survival horror to mainstream gamers, but did you know that the original Resident Evil was actually originally supposed to be a remake of a game called Sweet Home? Well, it was.

Now you may be asking yourself, what the fuck is Sweet Home? Well kids, sit down, listen up, and crack open a beer or two and I'll tell you a tale: Sweet Home was a game for the Famicom. The Famicom was basically the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. That beloved grey box that we all fondly remember was a bright red and white console (with a disc-based add-on) in its native Japan, and even featured a few bells and whistles (hardwired controllers, a microphone built into the second controller, etc.) that we never got. Anyway, the Famicom had a shitload of games that never made it on our side of the pond, with Sweet Home being one of them.

Sweet Home is a survival horror role-playing game (that in turn is based on a film of the same name), in which you control a party of five characters that must traverse a spooky-ass mansion. You encounter all kinds of nasty beasts and ghosts in random battles (this is an RPG after all), and there's some majorly creepy shit that happens in the process. The mansion itself is like a giant maze, and also features one of the earliest examples of perma-death in a game; i.e. once a member of your party dies, they stay deader than shit. Yes, this game can be totally unforgiving when it wants to be...and can also be super rewarding too.

Now because of its horror nature and mature subject matter, Sweet Home wasn't deemed fit for American NES players, mainly because a majority of them were super young and enjoying the exploits of a certain stereotypical Italian plumber. So yeah, we missed out on a classic game...at least until the internet became a thing. Various playable ROMs of Sweet Home have been all over the place, thankfully with English fan translations. There's also websites you can find that offer up NES reproduction cartridges that feature the English translation of the game, although these will cost you. So with all that in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend checking Sweet Home out however you can. It's an early classic of the genre, and is every bit as good now as it was back then.

 

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Detective Story (2007)

By Tracy Crockett

detective story

The man has done it again! It's no surprise to anyone who has seen his films that Japanese great Takashi Miike knows how to scare you, gross you out, and straight up tell a solid tale all in one film. He's notorious for exceeding the bar in the shock department without going overboard.Detective Story is such a tale.

Here's how this little gem breaks down. (Summary from IMDb.)

Raita, a Japanese businessman, just moved into an apartment building where his next-door neighbor is another guy named Raita. But as a private detective, what that other Raita does couldn't be more different from a humble businessman's way of life. One night, in the beginning of a bizarre series of murders, one of the private detective's clients is killed and has her liver removed. The next victim has her kidneys removed, and the third her lungs. The two Raitas follow the clues and meet an eccentric painter, one whose paints are rumored to be made with human blood and organs...

Detective Story is laden with plenty of blood , gore and maggots, but atop of that there is one hell of a good detective story, accompanied with just the right dash of comedy. Let me just make note that this isn't your typical Audition or Ichi the Killer, yet it does have the cojones that any Miike film would and, plain and simply, creeps you the F out. The ending is eerily surreal and gets pretty gory with fingers getting chopped off and a nicely bloody brutal stabbing.

All in all Detective Story is a solid film and well worth the watch. The man never ceases to appease. This is definitely a film you need to see!

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