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Book & Film Reviews

IMPRINT 2006 Masters of Horror TV Episode

Takashi Miike's Masters of Horror episode actually looks more like a film than a TV show but that is due to the prolific nature of the director and the fact that he can direct a feature in a week if he wants to.

Based on a traditional story by Shimako Iwai called Bokkee Kyotee (filmed in English) Billy Drago plays a Victorian era American journalist who travels to Japan to find a long lost girlfriend he had promised to rescue from protitution and bring back to America. Drago listens to a girl who presents a story about how she knew the missing girl. This includes a sequence that got the show banned from American TV and recalls a moment from Miike's own Audition (1999) but here the shock factor is delivered halfway through the story, instead of at the finale. Then Miike hits you with the real theme of the piece, in the second variation of the backstory - a prime slice of sociological horror which is both melancholic and disturbing. The third part is almost a put on a - David Cronenberg/ Larry Cohen/ Frank Henenlotter conceit that is totally absurd and emotionally exasperating.

The production design is stunning, an arthouse backdrop to the grand guignol on display and Michiko Kitamura's costume design is the most vibrant use of colour you'll ever see on a TV show. Koji Endo's ( a Miike regular) delivers an eerie, chiming, melancholic score that sounds like the work of the Icelandic trio Amiina, good luck finding his work on CD.

If you want something different this Halloween - go Japanese, you just might need to cover your eyes a few times.......
4/5

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