Japanese Films at Abertoir Horror Festival 2017 in Aberystwyth, Wales’ International Horror Festival 14-19th November

The 2017 edition of Abertoir, The International Horror Festival of Wales, takes place from November 14th to the 19th. It is an annual horror and horror film festival held in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Ceredigion, Wales, and it has a history of screening great Japanese horror movies as well as attracting guests from around the world. It’s great to see Aberystwyth hosting so many Japanese films (especially since they support anime in the form of Kotatsu – the 2017 run is here, 2016, and 2015 and 2014) and it’s great that the people who run Abertoir pick a diverse selection of films including these ones!

Here are the Japanese films programmed!

Tokyo Ghoul Rize

Tokyo Ghoul   Tokyo Ghoul Film Poster

東京喰種Tokyo Guru

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director:  Kentaro Hagiwara

Writer: Ichiro Kusuno (Screenplay), Sui Ishida (Original Manga)

Starring: Masataka Kubota, Fumika Shimizu, Nobuyuki Suzuki, Yo Oizumi, Yu Aoi, Kai Ogasawara, Shunya Shiraishi, Shoko Aida, Hiyori Sakurada,

Website IMDB

Back when I used to write about anime regularly, Tokyo Ghoul was one of my stand-out titles and I’m pleased to read that the live-action adaptation does justice to the anime/manga it comes from.

This live-action adaptation of Sui Ishida’s famous manga about flesh-eating monsters is likely to please fans, despite some technical imperfections.” Richard Kuipers  (Variety)

Synopsis: The story takes place in an alternate reality where ghouls, people who eat human flesh to survive, live amongst humans and are hunted by the government. Ken Kaneki is a normal college student who goes on a date with the beautiful and sophisticated Rize. Turns out his potential girlfriend is a ghoul-friend and he finds that out firsthand when she brutally attacks Ken with the intention of devouring him. He escapes due to a freak accident but his injuries are life-threatening. After being taken to a hospital, discovers that he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul thanks to doctors transferring Rize’s organs into his body, and now, like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive. It’s a struggle to adapt to his new life as he is taken into ghoul society but tries to keep contact with his human friends… 

Vampire Clay   Vampire Clay Film Poster

血を吸う粘土Chi wo su nendo

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director:  Soichi Umezawa

Writer: Soichi Umezawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Asuka Kurosawa, Kanji Tsuda, Ena Fujita, Ryo Shinoda, Kyoka Takeda, Yuyu Makihara, Momoka Sugimoto,

Website IMDB

Vampire Clay is the feature-length film debut of writer/director Soichi Umezawa, a man who has had a long career as a special make-up effects artist on many doramas and films like those of the Tomie franchise, low-budget horror like the truly awful Alien vs Ninja and Dead Waves and the rather excellent Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Bright Future. This one looks more in line with his horror films and the special effects look pretty good – gooey and creepy dolls made from clay and some even creepier paintings!!! It was at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The trailer I found is a compilation one for a horror film festival with films like Jeepers Creepers and The Fog and a couple of other titles. The third film featured is Vampire Clay.

Synopsis: The students of a rural, run-down art school find that painting pretty pictures and sculpting pots is the least of their worries as they start disappearing one-by-one and it seems connected to some horrific looking clay statues… Could there be something in the clay itself?

The next one is an Australian-Japanese co-production:

Top Knot Detective  Top Knot Detective Film Poster

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director:  Aaron McCann, Dominic Pearce

Writers: Aaron McCann, Dominic Pearce

Starring: Toshi Okuzaki, Masa Yamaguchi, Mayu Iwasaki, Kuni Hashimoto, Izumi Woods, Yoji Tatsuta, Guitar Wolf,


Synopsis: Some time in the 90’s there was once a samurai detective series with a main character who kills monsters while trying to avenge his dead mother. It was monumentally bad in all the ways it matters – acting, editing, cinematography, subtitling, translating. It proved to be a cult hit in Australia. Now, a documentary film team investigates what happened to the people behind it including the lead actor who ended up in jail…

Meatball Machine Kodoku 

蠱毒 ミートボールマシン 「Kodoku: Mi-tobo-ru MashinMeatball Machine Kodoku Film Poster

Running Time: 84 mins.

Director:  Yoshihiro Nishimura

Writer: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Sakichi Sato (Screenplay),

Starring: Yoji Tanaka, Miyuki Torii, Yuri Kijima, Goki, Yota Kawase, Riri Koda, Takumi Saito, Eihi Shiina,

IMDB Website

Yoshihiro Nishimura… Get ready for some gore from the master of blood and guts!

I did a summer of splatter films a couple of years back and found his films with their extreme effects were initially fun but so full-on with goopy special effects and action that they became exhausting. That written, his body of work as a director is still impressive: Tokyo Gore Police (2008), Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009), Mutant Girls Squad (2010), Helldriver (2010). His body of work as a special effects/make-up artist is even more impressive Attack on Titan (live-action) and Cold Fish are just two titles he has worked on and he is in demand internationally.

This one is a sequel to Meatball Machine (2005) so it will be interesting to see what those evil little aliens get up to in this new film. Nishimura brings back his favourite actors such as Takumi Saito (For Love’s Sake) and Eihi Shiina (Audition). Yoji Tanaka takes the lead and he has been in so many films, one of which, Getting Any? Is released in the UK in a month’s time. What about the trailer?

Yep, just as insane as his other works but with even better special effects!!! Watching this was like a shot of nostalgia from a time when I first started writing about his works. Also, Miyuki Torii was in Fine, Totally Fine (2008) which is more nostalgia.

Synopsis: On the day a debt collector hears he has terminal cancer, aliens attack Tokyo. With death approaching whatever he does, he takes his life into his own hands and fights back!


3 thoughts on “Japanese Films at Abertoir Horror Festival 2017 in Aberystwyth, Wales’ International Horror Festival 14-19th November

  1. Eihi Shiina has one of the oddest career trajectories of recent times, in my opinion. After “Audition” she should have been on her way to becoming a major star but instead she somehow got stuck in the splatter genre. :/

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