Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jigoku - 1960 - Dir. Nakagawa

I rented Jigoku because well... I'm not sure entirely how it ended up on my queue. I think part of it was just because it was supposed to be one of the earliest gory Japanese films. The film spends the first hour just setting up the life of a real puss, who is involved in a hit and run with a college friend, Tamura, who doesn't want to go to the cops. Tamura is a really strange character. In fact, this film is just full of Japanese wackiness that has endeared me to their cinema in the first place. Tamura is basically evil. He's a kind of doppleganger for our puss hero. But not. He's a demon but not. He's a type of figurehead. He's a theme. Damn it, I love the Japanese. Anyway, so the hit and run results in basically the death of TONS of people. Puss's world begins to spin with sinners. And they all end up killing each other resulting in an awesome orgy of death. Tons of people writhing on the ground. Then the last forty minutes is basically an examination of hell through the eyes of the Puss, who was a terribly moral person who just... well, made a series of terrible decisions. Certainly the last forty minutes is surreal as hell, a Japanese Inferno if you want to simplify it. But even the beginning of the film has its strange parts. I mentioned Tamura, but Puss's fiance is killed and he goes to his parents Inn finding a woman who looks just like her and is also all about her. There's small touches like this throughout that make it a terribly interesting viewing. Hell is pretty impressive. There's certainly some striking visuals (See picture below). A Needle hell. A crowd of people spiraling around and around in torment. Some flaying. A strange wheel with a baby on it. We get plenty of darkness and fog. Let me say the sound design is AWESOME in the film. From the baffling opening credits which is just a bunch of different kinds of noises every now and then to jaunting sound cues, my favorite part of the film might have been the sound. A ton of screams. Nakagawa can certainly edit together a vision of hell on a shoestring budget. Jigoku is not a terribly thought provoking piece but it is worth the view for fans of seeing a classic of Japanese horror or basically some trippy visuals and some sweet ass editing.

Hell is other people's hands.

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