Quick Recap: My Own Japanese Film Week

I was spending the last 7 days watching an array of hand-picked Japanese film with genres varied from gore to comedy. As a huge fan of Japanese cinema, this was a nice way to refresh my body and mind after a heavy semester. Plus, watching movie has always been a way for me to tick the creative thinking part of my brain.

Anyway, here are the 7 films that I ended up watching. Warning: most of them are rated MA, so please, do not watch them with your kids. I’ve warned you.

1. Naked Blood (1996)

What a way to kicked off the movie week. This gore/horror film involved seemingly random elements such as cyberpunk, emancipation, psychedelica and philosophy of life then packed them in such madness by employing body as a metaphor. At first this film looked like the normal run-of-the-mill gore film with blood splatters everywhere. However, further examination along with the progress of the story proved to be the exact opposite. The story is deep, with complex metaphors here and there. Me and my friends still discussed the film days after we saw it. Mark of a masterpiece. Easily excels as the pinnacle of all gore films I’ve ever seen.

Rating: 9/10.

Memorable scene: Lots! From the girl who eats her own body part (not gonna go into details here) to the psychedelic-cyberpunk-love scene. But for me the turning point was when the dead father returned to the womb of her wife. That’s deep!

2. Guinea Pig 5: Mermaid in A Manhole (1988)

Now we watched this straight after we finished Naked Blood. It proven to be costly, as this film was nowhere near Naked Blood. The story revolved around a crazy painter who painted a mermaid and ended up butchered her. If that wasn’t weird enough, the mermaid herself was sick, and ordered the painter to cut her where she felt the pain. Guess what was coming out from that cut? Oil paintings, with colors. For me that was the only interesting point of the film. How somebody actually perceived pain as something colorful. In the end, the film served a twist in the plot, asking me the question “who’s the mad man?”

Rating: 6/10

Memorable scene: The ending. No blood, no disgusting scene, only one big question.

3. Tokyo Zombie (2005)

After a day full of blood, we decided to started the next day with something light and cheerful. We chose Tokyo Zombie and boy we did not disappointed. The movie was quirky and funny in its own way. I imagined this movie as a hybrid between Napoleon Dynamite (which is my personal favorite) and zombies. No, I’m not gonna refer Shaun of the Dead or Fido here, as this movie was quite different from those two. There was a sense of drama here only to be layered by scenes of wackiness wonderfully acted by the main actors. Again, a plot twist was showed in the end of the film, which just added more comedy to the film. Not to mention the movie showcased some nice visual style. This movie should be on the list of any zombie movie lover.

Rating: 8/10

Memorable scene: every scenes with the guys from the electrical company. Only quick snippets here and there, but those were funny.

4. Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

As the second film of the Guinea Pig series, this one didn’t surprise me with its crude, raw and snuff-y feel. I thought the 5th one was sick, well this one was way more morbid, as it basically showed a maniac brutally mutilated his victim and that was it. The only addition was he somehow connected that vicious action with his own interpretation of art. The film then closed with a dark poem spoken in an equally terrifying tone by the maniac. I always thought that art shouldn’t be beautiful and this film served as a prime example of that opinion. Boldly. Just how far would you go with your art?

Rating: 7/10

Memorable scene: When the maniac gave a tour on his collection while reading his own hell poem. Even more terrifying than watching the blood splattered.

5. Versus (2000)

Now this one is a bit different. It was more of a gangster fight, again, with zombies appeared here and there. This movie did a magnificent job of combining the aforementioned elements with others, such as a back and forth storyline and even some black comedy. The storyline was simple, but the director managed to cleverly layered that simplicity with twists here and there. Even though halfway through the movie turned into your normal action movie, the journey to that point was something rewarding. One thing that shined from this movie was the expertly used camera works. Some good angles, with a quick move and long shot added tensions to otherwise flat fighting scenes. Obviously, this is a cult movie.

Rating: 8/10

Memorable scene: The final battle between the main protagonist and the main antagonist. Some cool fighting scene there. Plus, I think it was the only time where there was a fair fight throughout the film.

6. Crazy Lips (2000)

Let me started by stating that this is the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen. The plot and genre changed every 15-20 minutes. What started as a perfect platform of a post-Ring J-horror movie turned into something indescribable. Let me ask you one question: what kind of movie combined scenes of: headless ghosts, necrophilia rape, Bollywood singing, FBI agents, communication through live TV news programme, Godzilla-sized monster all in one film? Second question, how can you describe that film? The only solution for me was to sit down, relax and enjoy the film. Nuff said. This is madness at its finest. It was even hard for me to tell if this was a joke or not. One thing for sure, genre bending was not even the perfect word to describe it. CVLT! I’ll watch this over and over again.

Rating: 9/10

Memorable scene: where should I start? Everything was memorable. Hmm, gotta go with that scene where the reporters were murdered, but still, they insisted on reporting the crime scene. Satire at its best.

7. Sex and Fury (1970)

This one was a magnificent film to begin with. It was beautifully shot with heaps of great angle and melodramatic scenes. No matter how much violent in this one, it somehow managed to leave that impression of romance and poetry. The fighting scene was amazing, even by today’s standard. The story was linear but was beautifully and patiently told. The plot twist didn’t work for me as I already guessed it, but that didn’t stop me to enjoy the film from start to end. Too bad, apart from the main character, the other casts act didn’t convince me at all. But then again, I thought that this film was made solely for her. And I wouldn’t mind. A true peak of ’70s Japan exploitation film.

Rating: 8/10

Memorable scene: that nude fighting scene at the beginning of the film. That one was so original that nobody, even until now, has the bravery to ripped that scene off.

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