Friday, October 13, 2006

Extreme Cinema

So what movie was so offensive that even Showtime, the pay cable channel that provided funding for the project, refused to air it? Check out IMPRINT, a "Masters Of Horror" episode that's just been released on DVD by the good people at Anchor Bay. Directed by Takashi Miike, whose credits include the creepy AUDITION and the over-the-top ICHI THE KILLER, IMPRINT defies convention, good taste and just about everything else... and it's also pretty good. The "story" as such is simple; an American journalist (Billy Drago), looking for his missing Japanese lover in 18th century Japan, visits a brothel where a scarred prostitute tells a rather disturbing story...

So what troubled Showtime? I suspect it was the cumulative effect of taboo-bashing sequenses. Forget Miike's old standby, torture with needles, which he uses to distressing effect here... when you've got characters tossing dead fetuses around, we're definitely entering the world of transgressive cinema. That said, unlike a lot of horror that equates in-your-face gore with horror, Miike also creates a dismal, unsettling atmosphere of dread and tension around the bloody set pieces. IMPRINT isn't just another brainless gorefest, it really wants to disturb the viewer on a visceral level, and in that it succeeds. On a one to four scale, I give it three and a half needles through the gums...

2 Comments:

Blogger John Goins said...

I guess I'm an old fart, cuz I'm really turned off by the "Saw" type flicks. Gimme a good old Universal monster movie any old time. I still think the scariest movies are the orginal versions of "The Haunting" and "The Exorcist". And "The Shinning" somehow gets scarier everytime I see it. The genius of Kubrick, I guess.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

I liked both HAUNTING (only the original) and EXORCIST, and Kubrick's SHINING is growing on me over time. But I liked the first SAW movie, too. Other all time faves include the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and even though it's more of a thriller, WAIT UNTIL DARK has one of the greatest scares ever.

8:48 PM  

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