I HONESTLY THINK September 2014 - Page 69

FILM

JAPANESE HORROR FILMS AS AN ULTIMATE ART FORM

Japan has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world. It's no surprise to anyone that the majority of American mainstream horror films are remakes of Japanese not-so-mainstream films.

So-called J-horror has risen to the scene in western cinema during the last fifteen years or so. This is no surprise as the thing that makes it so different from European and American horror cinema is the massive amount of emotions, gore and brutality used without any sign of holding back; utterly insane things can happen on screen.

silence through a dark landscape whilst reminiscing about his last encounter with his former lover.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” - Banksy

A really good example is Exte: Hair Extensions (2007) directed by Shion Sono. I postponed watching this film for a long time because the plot sounded completely ridiculous to me despite the fact that its ratings were quite high. This masterpiece is a mix of fantasy, science fiction and horror. As the title suggests, it's about hair extensions which attack the women that wear them. There is a lot of hair during the whole film. After a while you won't see it as a horror film but instead as a strange fantasy of a hair fetishist.

However, Exte: Hair Extensions (2007) is a just a small example of how far J-Horror can go. What's important to note is how art is present in some of the horror films and how it's often overlooked behind the buckets of blood, hair and disturbing scenery.

Ranpo jigoku (2005), Rampo Noir or occasionally translated as Hell by Rampo, is an anthology of four short films based on stories by Edogawa Rampo. Edogawa Rampo was a Japanese author who played a massive role in development of Japanese mystery and horror fiction. His stories were used in a lot of films by many directors, however, Rampo Noir stands out from a lot of them as it's a really good example of art-house horror genre.

The film consists of four stories: "Mars Canals" directed by Suguru Takeuchi is about a man wandering in absolute

The second story is called "Mirror Hell" and is directed by Akio Jissoji. It is the most complex story out of them all. It's about a detective investigating a

series of murders of women, only to discover a unique hand mirror to be present at the crime scene.

The third story, "Caterpillar" is directed by Hisayasu Sato and is about a disabled war hero who returns home to his wife with no limbs and only his eyesight left. His wife grows tired of taking care of him and starts torturing him for her amusement.

The last story, called "Crawling Bugs", is directed by Atsushi Kaneko. Crawling Bugs is about a beautiful actress coming home after a successful performance, only to be kidnapped by her limousine driver.

Julia Vedeshina