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So Much Blood
July 18, 2013 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Japan's gory horror comedies.

For the last decade, a small group of Japanese filmmakers have been turning out films that make Evil Dead 2 seem positively tame. Some credit the success of the 2000 film Versus directed by Ryûhei Kitamura and starring Tak Sagaguchi as the starting point. (The full movie). Kitamura and Sagaguchi later collaborated on alien invasion splatterfest Meatball Machine, paving the way for movies like former porn director Noboru Iguchi's Machine Girl and special effects master Yoshihiro Nishimura's absolutely bonkers Tokyo Gore Police. If you're still not sick to your stomach Kotaku has a list for you. (Let's call all of this NSFW).
posted by dortmunder (13 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm at work, so I can't check the list, but I really hope Stacy is on it.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:09 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Same here, hopefully Tsukamoto gets some credit for the first Tetsuo film from 1989. It balances on that precarious teeter-totter between esoteric art film and utter slapstick farce, and I'd argue that it should be considered well ahead of Versus in the horror-comedy timeline.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:19 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I do love these kind of films, but I do have a question around what appears to be a massively racist bit in Tokyo Gore Police. I don't know if I'm missing something? Mildly spoilerish:

Towards the end of the film, when the police are on the rampage, there's a short scene with 2 cops. One is, I think a caricature of a Chinese man, stating how much he loves to kill Japanese people, and his companion appears to be blacked up. Well, that is, he is blacked up, but he has a weird pointy head. What the fuck is going on there?
posted by spectrevsrector at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Tetsuo widely thought to be comic? I like it — in fact, I've seen it theatrically a couple of times — but I've certainly never thought of it that way.
posted by Mothlight at 11:54 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Tetsuo widely thought to be comic?

Don't get me wrong, it's not a flat-out horror comedy in the vein of Evil Dead 2 (which it does share a certain amount of cinematic DNA with), but it's by no means a 100% straight-faced film. IMHO, it's a very bleak/black sort of comedy along the lines of Eraserhead -- nothing happens that's ha-ha funny, but there's still a certain mode of humor in the costuming (esp. the Fetishist's track uniform), quirky music choices (the sax solo after the car crash), the herky-jerky pixelated chase animations, and the overall exaggerated performance style. Watch it again, and you'll see what I mean...
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2013


Same here, hopefully Tsukamoto gets some credit for the first Tetsuo film from 1989. It balances on that precarious teeter-totter between esoteric art film and utter slapstick farce, and I'd argue that it should be considered well ahead of Versus in the horror-comedy timeline.

I've always thought the Tetsuo films were closer to Cronenberg type body horror than to Raimi style horror comedy. (Not that Cronenberg and Tsukamoto don't include comedy in their films, but it's not a focus.)
posted by dortmunder at 12:23 PM on July 18, 2013


Not on any list, and especially not on that crap Kotaku list which eliminates all Miike movies (why in the name of jeebus would you even THINK of doing that?), is the wonderfully comic gore musical, The Happiness of the Katakuris. Think Dawn of the Dead meets The Sound of Music.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:55 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Grimace speaks the truth. An international horror-comedy list without Miike is like a pair of boots without wicked face-slicing blades that pop out of the soles.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:02 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always thought the Tetsuo films were closer to Cronenberg type body horror.

That's definitely the case with Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man, both of which attempt to explain the protagonist's human-to-machine mutations through occult pseudoscience, which jibes with Cronenberg's clinical, rationalist MO.

On the other hand, the original Tetsuo is just straight up wide-awake nightmare surrealism in the tradition of Bunuel and Lynch, where the images and events only start to make sense after you've watched it a few times and have started to piece together the symbolic grammar of the thing.

/threadjack

Meanwhile, I've finally gotten a chance to check out all the links. I just added Tokyo Gore Police to my Hulu queue! I'm not really a fan of Iguchi's films (they all look too cheap and fanservice-pandery for my taste), but Nishimura looks like he's exactly my kind of unhinged maniac, so thanks for the link to that!

I do agree with the Kotaku commenters that leaving out Wild Zero (full movie!) is an unpardonable sin against cult movie lovers.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:01 PM on July 18, 2013


IMHO, it's a very bleak/black sort of comedy along the lines of Eraserhead -- nothing happens that's ha-ha funny, but there's still a certain mode of humor in the costuming (esp. the Fetishist's track uniform), quirky music choices (the sax solo after the car crash), the herky-jerky pixelated chase animations, and the overall exaggerated performance style.

You're describing some of the freakiest stuff, yes, but I always thought of it as disturbing rather than comic. It's a fine line, though — I've sat in audiences that laughed all the way through Blue Velvet and I wasn't happy about it, though I think I sort of understand the impulse. Anyway, maybe that says more about me. But you have made me think about Tetsuo in relation to Miike, whom I find fucking hilarious in the best way, so it's possible I will see it differently if I go back to it. In other words, thanks for the tip!
posted by Mothlight at 7:28 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Versus is amazing and I highly recommend it.
posted by empath at 8:30 PM on July 18, 2013


Towards the end of the film, when the police are on the rampage, there's a short scene with 2 cops. One is, I think a caricature of a Chinese man, stating how much he loves to kill Japanese people, and his companion appears to be blacked up. Well, that is, he is blacked up, but he has a weird pointy head. What the fuck is going on there?

I found it equally baffling, and awkward, and stupid, and everything else, but I have a hard time taking it TOO seriously. Real, ignorant, and hateful racism would probably not be as over the top as that scene; the massively-hyperbolic racial stereotypes, the nonsensical stacking of body parts, and the fact that it fits in with the rest of the movie so casually, well, they all indicate that it's a mockery of racism similarly to how the rest of the movie is a mockery of violence. One of Nishimura's other movies, Gothic & Lolita Psycho (ゴスロリ処刑者)has a notable bit where an entirely foreign stunt crew is used for a fight scene; I don't think he'd bother hiring those guys if he had a genuine hate on for the furriners. If you want to consider the scene genuinely racist, consider it "stupid racist," not "hateful racist."

That's my take, at least.
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:33 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, yes, it did feel so over the top as to have some kind of ironic/mocking point. I would like to know the context though.

Back on topic, how about the third Guinea Pig film, He Never Dies?
posted by spectrevsrector at 8:44 AM on July 19, 2013


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