Murton-san Minute of Movies

October 16, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

The Japanese do a lot of things better than we do: cars, electronics, eating utensils, and yes, horror films. Think about it for a minute. How could a culture that produced ritual suicide, eating raw fish, and 4-wheel drive hatchbacks NOT generate some truly twisted and horrifying films? Once you take the dive into the world of J-horror, American "don't go in there girl!" slasher flicks just won't do it for you anymore. Here are a few good ones to get you started:

Infection (Kansen)

Infection is what Grey's Anatomy would be if it were a horror film...or set in Japan...or actually worth watching. The film takes place in a dark, underfunded, understaffed hospital on the verge of being shut down. One night, things go wrong and a simple mistake results in the death of a patient. Worried that reporting the incident will be the final straw and get them shut down, the doctors and nurses involved conspire to cover the cause of death up.

Meanwhile, the paramedics have a man en route that needs urgent attention. Dr. Akiba tells them they can't take anymore patients and goes to attend to the grizzly cover-up, but what he doesn't know is that the paramedics have left the sick man in the hallway. Whats happening to him? Well, he's liquifying.

When Akiba finds out the patient is turning to liquid shit, he wants to call the health department. Not so fast says the freaky Dr. Akai. He wants to study the disease and has the rest of the staff's asses in a sling because he was in a nearby room when the accidental death took place.

Is the infection contagious? If it wasn't, there wouldn't be much of a story here. The infection spreads and the staff starts exhibiting bizarre behavior before they begin to liquify.

The ending probably won't make much sense, but get used to that. J-horror rarely produces a coherent Hollywood ending. Just roll with it and enjoy.

Audition (Ôdishon)

Audition seems to be the film that gets almost everyong going down the J-horror road and I'm no exception. I think we all watched that same countdown on Bravo that named it one of the freakiest movies ever made.

A lonely widower who works at a talent agency (played by the ubiquitous Ryo Ishibashi) is talked into a weird scheme to find a new lady: bring girls in for auditions. They'll think they're auditioning for an acting job, but in reality they're auditioning for the role of this guy's girlfriend. How could this possibly go wrong?

One girl in particular captures his attention. She's very proper, demure, and sweet. Little does he know, she's also riddled with baggage and completely batshit insane.

Why can't anyone find out about her past? Why is she lying all the time? Just what the hell is in that burlap sack in her apartment? All this and more is waiting for you as Audition unfolds. Its a little slow to start, but when you begin to see whats going on its is worth the wait.

Suicide Club (Jisatsu saakuru)

I saved the best for last. Suicide Club is one of my favorite films in any genre.

To get things rolling, 54 high school girls join hands and jump in front of a Tokyo subway train. While police investigate why, more and more suicides are occuring throughout the city. They find the most disgusting clue in the history of cinema, but it doesn't seem to be much help.

Ryo Ishibashi is back, this time playing Detective Kuroda. The guy is like the Michael Caine of Japan.

The suicides just keep piling up. Who is behind it all? Is it the transvestite rockstar? (Think of a Japanese Dr. Frank-N-Furter) Is it that pop band comprised of 12 year olds? Or maybe that creepy ass kid who calls Kuroda and clears his throat constantly while asking weird philosophical questions like If you die will you lose the connection to yourself? Christ kid, I don't know. Please stop calling me...

Suicide Club starts out normal enough (normal in that it makes sense, not normal normal) but gradually takes about 10 really bizarre turns that ultimately lead to a room full of baby chicks. I'm deadly serious about that and couldn't be happier with the results.