directed by Naoki Yoshimoto

starring Masaya Adachi and Ayumi Kakizawa

Stavros Films and MVD Visual

In 2011, there is still room in cinema for the Avant Garde. Director Naoki Yoshimoto offers us an Eastern take on the classic Romanian vampire freak fest of tainted blood spoiling an otherwise wonderful romance. A young man (Masaya Adachi) attempt to scare his girlfriend (Ayumi Kakizawa) with a story as old as count Vlad. She seems ill; he seems like a guy messing with his girl’s head just to be a jerk. But does infected blood flow in the Nipponese veins? The narrative fades from gritty realism to pure visual horror as Kakizawa transforms into a low res television image and Adachi is tied to a chair, helplessly watching his demise build in ever stranger visuals. Is there a denouement? That would be telling, but if I had to pick a western equivalent to this film it would be Lynch’s “Erasrehead” minus the Peter Ivers soundtrack. Bits of camp flirt along the outside of the screen, but plastic fangs and chocolate syrup blood don’t disturb the sense of foreboding, the black and white look of the creep scenes fails to disconnect you from the couple’s undead journey.

Here we retreat from the explicit gore of late 20th century disgust-o-rama horror to the early days of stylized menace: over exposed black and white imagery, death as a metaphor for sex, and nods to The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari and Nosferatu coalesce in one bloodletting vessel. Man submits to Woman, Woman seduces Man, they achieve a symbolic yet sexual death and their remaining humanity is incised in the scars and tattoos of his body. “I must protect my purity!” she exclaims, yet there her body lies – bloody and ugly in an abattoir of a bathtub. This is horror as opera, and the ghosts of the Far East show us their real inner beauty: they may command us to “Go Away!” yet in subtext they coo “Come to me!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • AFI Fest 2021
    AFI Fest 2021

    The 2021 edition of the American Film Institute’s Festival, was a total success. After mounting a small virtual festival in 2020, AFI Fest came roaring back this year with a slate of 115 films representing over fifty countries. Lily and Generoso rank their favorite features from this year’s festival which include new offerings from Céline Sciamma, Miguel Gomes, and Jacques Audiard.

  • Comet Of Any Substance
    Comet Of Any Substance

    Full Of Seeds, Bursting With Its Own Corrections (COAS). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

From the Archives