Don’t Look Up (1996) 女優霊 Dir: Hideo Nakata

Happy Halloween! This is the time of year when people celebrate the supernatural and ghoulish aspects of popular culture and national myths. I do my part by highlighting horror movies on Halloween night. So far I have reviewed Nightmare DetectiveStrange CircusShokuzaiPOV: A Cursed Film and Charisma. This is the fifth year of this strand
and I am doing it in Tokyo, Japan. The last two weeks has seen the city go into img_1496Halloween overdrive and I am told it is a recent phenomenon. For my part I have viewed things from afar (such as from on top of Roppongi Hills and down onto a parade) rather than get stuck in what looks like a proper melee in jam-packed crowds (boring, I know, but I want to eat my ghost cakes and pumpkin Kitkats and drink my Halloween juice).

Anyway, this year’s film is from the ‘90s and it came from a young director who is now a familiar name thanks to a scary person who curses people via VHS. This isn’t Ringu, it’s an earlier film…

Don’t Look Up   jyoyurei poster

女優霊Joyu-rei

Release Date: March 02nd, 1996

Running Time: 75 mins.

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Hiroshi Takahashi (Screenplay), Hideo Nakata (Original Story)

Starring: Yurei Yanagi, Yasuyo Shirashima, Kei Ishibashi, Ren Osugi, SABU, Daisuke Iijima, Naomi Kojima, Reita Serizawa,

IMDB

We are in Japan in the ‘90s. A promising young director, Toshio Murai (Yurei Yanagi), and his beautiful lead actors Hitomi Kurokawa (Yasuyo Shirashima) and Saori Murakami (Kei Ishibashi) and the crew are working hard on a film in a studio that has been around since the Second World War. It’s a huge place with a set that is built like a traditional house from the 1940s, props and scenery and other feature both modern and from the time of the studios construction as well as a lot of film canisters containing rolls of films from forgotten television shows and movies. It is an ideal location for the war drama being filmed and also place with a lot of memories. There is nothing so out of the ordinary at first glance and with so many people on set it looks like a lot of fun. Unless one looks up.

jyourei-2

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Charisma カリスマ (2000)

Charisma

カリスマKarisuma

Release Date: Feburary 26th, 2000 (Japan)

Running Time: 99 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer:  Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Jun Fubuki, Yoriko Doguchi, Ren Osugi, Yutaka Matsushige, Akira Otaka,

IMDB

Happy Halloween! This is the fourth year where I highlight horror movies on Halloween night. So far I have reviewed Nightmare DetectiveStrange CircusShokuzai, and POV: A Cursed Film. This year I take on Charisma!

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is my favourite director and for much of his career he has focussed on horror movies. Post Tokyo Sonata (2009) Kurosawa has become more conventional and mainstream as he slides into making dramas and adaptations of novels so it is great to revisit one of his horror films for Halloween 2015!

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POV ~A Cursed Film~ / POV~呪われたフィルム~ (2012)

Genkinahito is back once again to present a film to give you some Halloween chills. As part of my annual celebration of the night, I have chosen a great horror title that I heartily recommend for some twisted fright filled fun. Previous years have featured Nightmare Detective, Strange Circus, and Shokuzai… This year I give you…

POV ~A Cursed Film~  POV Norowareta Film Poster

Japanese Title: POV~呪われたフィルム~

Romaji: POV ~Norowareta Film~

Release Date: 18th February 2012

Running Time: N/A

Director: Norio Tsuruta

Writer: Norio Tsuruta (Screenplay)

Starring: Mirai Shida, Haruna Kawaguchi, Yasuyuki Hirano

Due to his insistence on staying in the genre he helped popularise Norio Tsuruta, famous for Ring 0: Birthday (2000), is one of J-horror’s better and more committed directors and has a filmography made up of titles that range across types. Much like fellow horror director Koji Shiraishi, Tsuruta mixes modern media with yurei and urban folktales.

POV ~A Cursed Film~ opens in a similar fashion to Shiraishi’s best known work, Noroi: The Curse (2005), with on-screen text warning the viewer of the horrors to be seen before entering the first sequence which involves a lengthy set-up that effectively establishes character and situation.

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Penance Shokuzai 贖罪 (2012)

Penance Eiko Koike Banner

Penance                   Shokuzai Drama Poster

Romaji: Shokuzai

Japanese Title: 贖罪

Running Time: 300 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Script), Kanae Minato (Original Novel)

Starring: Kyoko Koizumi, Eiko Koike, Sakura Ando, Chizuru Ikewaki, Yu Aoi, Mirai Moriyama, Ryo Kase, Teruyuki Kagawa, Hirofumi Arai

For the last few years I have reviewed a J-horror film or something twisted for this blog for Halloween. Well, I was reviewing lots of J-horror anyway but I would only write about something really good, usually from my favourite directors like Nightmare Detective (Shinya Tsukamoto) and Strange Circus (Sion Sono). This year I will review Penance directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

kurosawa-penance

It was originally broadcast on the Japanese TV station WOWOW in five parts. A shorter version running at 270 minutes toured western film festivals like Venice and the East End Film Festival so it could be watched in one go. It has picked up for distribution by Music Box Films for release in the UK/Canada and US some time next year. I have watched the original episodes made for Japanese TV.

Penance is a five-episode TV drama based on Kanae Minato’s 317 page novel of the same name (Minato also wrote the novel which the film Confessions is based on) and is Kurosawa’s follow-up to the magnificent Tokyo Sonata.

Penance Emiri in School

Emiri Aachi is an elementary school student whose family have moved from urban Tokyo to sleepy Ueda due to her father’s work. She makes friends with four girls named Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuka. Emiri is the fashionable one who has all of the latest things and she brings some excitement into the lives of the girls but strange things are going on including the theft of French dolls. One day when the five girls are playing volleyball at school they are approached by a man dressed in work-clothes. He has been watching them intently and asks for their help in repairing the ventilation system in the school gym.

Penance Inciting Incident  Continue reading “Penance Shokuzai 贖罪 (2012)”

Strange Circus 奇妙なサーカス (2003)

Strange Circus Mitsuko Genki Banner

Strange Circus                                                           Strange Circus Japanese Film Poster

Japanese Title: 奇妙なサーカス

Romaji: Kimyou na Sa-kasu

Japanese Release Date: 24th May, 2003

Running Time: 83 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono

Starring: Masumi Miyazaki, Issei Ishida, Rie Kuwana, Mai Takahashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Hiroshi Oguchi

I love all of Sono’s films. Not equally though. As powerful as I find his dramas like Himizu and Noriko’s Dinner Table, I really loooooove his horror films like Suicide Circle and Cold Fish. This is the first time that I have watched Strange Circus, having only read a great review for it on Goregirl’s blog but I can safely say that this is one of Sono’s best.

Mitsuko Ozawa (Kuwana) is a young girl whose father Gozo (Oguchi) is the principal of the school she attends. Her existence is one of fear as her father is a sexual predator. At first she is forced to see her father having sex with her mother Sayuri (Miyazaki) but is soon sexually abused herself. This causes an insane jealousy to develop in her mother which leads to a deadly accident… Or does it? The above nightmare Mitsuko suffers is part of novel written by successful author Taeko (Miyazaki). She has taken on a new assistant named Yuji Tamiya (Ishida) who will expose dark secrets.

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Halloween Viewing

It’s the week of Halloween and to get in the spirit of things, I’m colour coding stuff, replaying Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly and there’s a new (somewhat messy) background for my blog which will be revealed on the day (no new header because I like this one). But what is there on television for the horror fan? A lot, thanks to the BBC.

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