I regularly expose friends to diverse films and cinematography, that has the direct result of their 1) going into fits of epilepsy, projectile vomiting, and violence directed towards me; or 2) endear me to my friends by exposing them to diverse films and cinematography. I’m polarizing like that!
Enter the greatest director in the history of
cinema the world, Takeshi Miike!
Imprint is an excellent film because it pulls a surreal world directly from Miikes mind, and puts it on display, in all of its horrific glory for us.
Let’s start with a gateway drug, his short film Imprint. I call it a “gateway drug” to Miike because it’s only an hour-long and it’s in English, low investment/high reward! If you enjoy it, or the gut-wrenching need to carve out your eyes after seeing such visceral horror, you can go on to watch the films he’s done that I linked below.
Imprint is the story of Christopher, a man searching for the woman he loves and lost to the skin trade. He promises to find her and rescue her from the life of prostitution that he knows will be her ruin. His travels take him to a place that some call “the floating world”. The world of prostitutes, courtesans, and those who undertake the most repugnant and vile forms of self-expression! He acquires a personal tour guide through the islands of hell he’s sought out, islands that a native warned him about in one of the classic lines of the film, “There is nothing on this island but demons and whores.” The true extent of this truth becomes readily apparent as he learns, and relearns the fate of his lover.
A great description I read of his work:
“Miike has garnered international notoriety for depicting shocking scenes of extreme violence and bizarre sexual perversions.” Mick Garris, creator and executive producer of the “Masters Of Horror” series, described the episode as “amazing, but hard even for me to watch… definitely the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen.”
Having said that, I will be downloading all of his movies in the months to come.
Miike also directed one of my favorite movies, Ichi, The killer.
I instantly became a fan of his work when I lived in Tokyo. My Japanese friends decided to see exactly how tough my American skin is by inviting me to watch one of his most controversial, and arguably best films. Ichi, The Killer.
Ichi, The Killer is a masterpiece, but not because it portrays an elite, methodical, cold-blooded killer. Ichi is as far from the French assassin Leon, as portrayed in The Professional, as my blacksmithing technique is from Ogun, the Yoruba god of blacksmithing and iron work (among other things). Ichi is a bumbling killer who might just be what happens to the kid that [STOP! I ALMOST GAVE AWAY A SPOILER!]
Ichi is a killer, but not by choice. He doesn’t even enjoy what he does, he thinks, because even those that he tries to help, end up screaming in terror and pain. One thing he can’t tolerate is seeing a woman abused! Ichi is a genuinely psychologically damaged man, being manipulated by his friend. His savage work is set against a backdrop of the Japanese Yakuza (Mafia), painted with a palette consisting solely of blood, entrails, and the moans of those being eviscerated.
To complete our descent into madness, insanity, and chaos I’ll wrap up our Tour de Force with my thoughts on the only other film that can hold a candle to Ichi, The Killer. That film is Audition.
Audition begins as we see the life of Shigeharu Aoyama, a man who’s wife died seven years ago and who has a son that sincerely wants his father to begin to live life again instead of burying himself in his work as a film director.
This is where it gets sticky…
Instead of browsing the internet or asking his friends to introduce him to a woman that he may have common interests with, he decides that the smartest way to find out what kind of woman he can fall in love with is to hold an audition for the role of his wife. Unfortunately for the women who audition for the “role”, they think it’s just for a movie. Shigeharu is not the pinnacle of ethical behavior.
Remember that sticky feeling I described earlier? Let’s add the coppery smell/taste of blood and the fouls stench of rot to that feeling.
Still with me? Good!
Enter Ms. Asami Yamazaki, the woman who he can clearly see is meant to be his new wife! We see her sitting patiently in her Spartan apartment waiting for him to call. An apartment bereft of anything besides a telephone and a simple sack. After Ms. Asami tells him her life story complete with neglect and abuse, he falls madly in love with her and proceeds to make the same mistake that men wiser than he has made. He
made sweet, sweet love to her slept with her without knowing anything more about her than she’d told him herself.
Getting back to the sticky, coppery, and foul sensation we felt earlier. Add to that the feeling you’d get if you looked down and realized that you had been laid open by a savage wound that had festered days ago. The vile and repugnant assault on your senses were coming from your own body!
That’s the way tension is built up in Audition. Watch this movie! I could go on but trust me; you don’t want me to feed you a regurgitation of the plot.
…and don’t forget that plain sack in the corner.
The films I just described to you are not for kids, adults, or anyone with any semblance of a balanced psyche for that matter. Miike has a complete disregard for social norms, that’s exactly why so many of my friends and I enjoy his work so much.
Anyone have any other graphic horror to recommend?
Ichi, The Killer!
Be sure to click the “CC” button to activate Closed Captioning so you can read what they say in English.
BONUS: Be sure to join the Takashi Miike Fan Club on Facebook -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/1461546170802677/
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