Our favorite movie mogul turns the big one double-Oh-OH! today. And like all men who live past the age of ninety-five, he's become the spittin' image of George Burns.
So celebrate accordingly: watch some Shaw flicks, and check out this three-part, vintage Shaw's docu on youtube.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Hold on to your dicks, 'cause this one's a doozy.
Despite a box cover claiming “Available for the first time in North America”, we all know that this Mikadroid has been around the block, only under a different name: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla. One that Discotek has decided to tag on, you know, for ghetto nostalgia. A feeling I’m starting to get.
“The cyborg slashes away her clothes while viciously slicing her body”. Yep, that’s what got thirteen year-old me to scrawl that glorious title onto the lime green order form. Weeks later it arrived, via Miami, a fresh batch of yellow labeled tapes which may or may not have contained traces of Florida snow. I was ready for the Robokill.
What I wasn’t ready for was the unimaginably graphic contortionist porn I got instead. Phone calls were made to my friends, viewings were held. All that was missing was a circle jerk… and Robokill. More weeks pass, this time the real thing arrives.
While it didn’t make me as popular as The Twister, it still brings back memories, and not just ones of a blond with her ankles pulled behind her head. It represents early Japanese movie watching that didn’t involve Street Fighters or Baby Carts, but Evil Dead Traps and Sweet Homes. Late night video romps in the basement, where any thing with a cool box cover, or a lurid description, shot through my VCR faster than a thin-crust through my colon. Nowadays, while I lay off the Domino’s, a lurid synopsis can still do the trick. Kinda like this:
Showa year 20, the Japanese army is undergoing construction on a new breed of indestructible super soldier, the project’s codename: Jin’ra. Men turned into humanoids, one turned into 100% killing machine, the Mikadroid. The plans are halted, and the project buried deep underground, until…. 1991, the disco club Layla, where the preferred dress code for boogieing down is a large medallion, sports coat, and no shirt. Its dance magic gets the sparks flying down below, to the resting place of the ultimate killing machine; bringing it to life in the neon land of Mister Donut. When the club lets out, all paths lead to the underground garage. At midnight, the gates are locked, leaving those inside trapped with the Mikadroid.
It’s nice to be wrong. At thirteen, while I liked the Robokills of the faux-title, it just wasn’t all that impressive after seeing Ron Jeremy lick his own penis while exclaiming “Look what I can do!” No, it was worse than that: it was boring. I didn’t pay to see boring. Then again, I did pay to see Van Damme and Dennis Rodman in Double Team. Eight times.
This time I had fun, not viewing number three of Double Team fun, but fun all the same. Director Tomoo Haraguchi and his crew know their horror; as they visually quote everything from Deep Red to Maniac. Even blaxploitation-actioner Hell Up In Harlem gets a shout out. Though initially wanting to make a zombie epic titled Mikado Zombie, Haraguchi still delivers the goods with this Red Sun Tin-Man slasher, which boasts killer work from modern SFX ace Shinji Higuchi, and, like any hack n‘ slash worth it‘s weight in karyo syrup, loads of inventive kills. While the pacing issues are still present, it doesn’t diminish its position as a true relic of the rough and ready V-cinema days.
So maybe I’m a big nostalgic push over, or maybe I just like crap, but I say dance your heart out in that disco club called Layla; dance all night, then make your way underground to that dark, dank garage, and see what you find. Who knows, maybe ten years down the road it’ll give you some memories.
Posted by Wes at 4:33 PM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Anyone with access to a Netflix account should rent 10 to Midnight as soon as they can. I really want to say more, tell you all about the crazy shit that happens, but I won't. You just need to rent it, sit back, and ask yourself "Do you know what this is for?!"
Posted by Wes at 12:38 PM
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Continuing on with the liquidation of my review archives, here's a snappy little number about Teruo Ishii's Blind Woman's Curse. I thought this one turned out pretty good.
Blind Woman’s Curse (1970)
"When people refer to filmmaking as my job I'm always a bit embarrassed, because I don't consider what I do as anything more than having a great time."
- Teruo Ishii
With an unmatched consistency, the late Teruo Ishii delivered film after film that was, to quote the tagline for Pieces, “Exactly what you think it is.” I’ve seen the looks on your faces when the greatest Japanese cult film you’ve never seen turns out to be Noboru Ando smoking in a dingy bar for eighty-minutes. Hell, I’ve had that look, delivered right to my mug by the greats, but never, ever, by Ishii. With him, the real thing is always better. Which should excuse me from writing a synopsis for this movie, but since I get paid by the word, here we go:
Ishii opens the show with a synchronized, matching-tattoo sword-slashing rain-dance where our gal Meiko Kaji kills somebody’s big boss, and blinds his sister. Then after spending three years in a Technicolor prison cell (years before becoming #701), Kaji returns home to the ol‘ gang. She now must maintain her honor and control while caught in the middle of a twisting, back-stabbing, turn-coating gang war. Oh yeah, there’s also possessions, evil cats, opium den whippings, a dancing, drooling hunchback, an nudie avant-garde haunted house, kitty-cat wire-work (when they’re not yanking it by the tail), and a cane-carrying Ryuichi Uchida in a bowler and red loin-cloth. Anything to avert your eyes from the hairy ninkyo nether regions; something which Ishii admittedly had no taste for.
Likely looking to cash-in on Toei’s popular femme-ninkyo series Red Peony Gambler. the folks at Nikkatsu concocted their own twist to contend with the lady dice-rattler: Rising Dragon, Iron Flesh. The first two films follow the ho-hum ninkyo pattern, but when number three was ready to roll, those Nikkatsu cats asked for a little horror to be thrown in the mix. What they got was starlet Kaji taking a backseat to a mop-topped dandy driving yakuza spook-house ride at three hundred MPH. A mix-tape of madness that makes Seijun Suzuki’s transgressions in youth action seem not so transgressive. I like Suzuki, I swear I do, but people shitting their short-shorts because he floods the set with yellow lights won’t know how to handle Blind Woman’s Curse.
Here’s the real kicker: Ishii made better, and wilder, movies in his career, hell, Ishii made better movies than this that year, and they’re all out there for you to find. So tuck away your Yugi-Oh cards, and gasp at the horrors of a malformed man, scour the depths of hell, and discover the joys of torture. It may all sound too wild, and inconceivable, but don’t you worry, that mop-headed man in the sky will be by your side, holding your hand at every atrocity, and sharing a laugh at every off-color gag. After all, the only one enjoying it more than you or I is Ishii himself.
Posted by Wes at 11:23 AM
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Yes, I'm sticking with that blog title. Deal with it.
Here's one to get you wet, hard, or, if you're really freaky, both.
Meatball Machine (2006)
“Some came crawling from the ocean, others falling from the sky. They are here to do one thing: eat each other.”
A suicidal salary man is readying to hang it up when things go Predator-vision and he‘s tackled by a tentacled extra-terrestrial bent on bodily invasion. So begins The Tingler meets Tetsuo, as two spaceman-manned Necroborgs do a close encounter of the cannibalistic kind. Bionic-buzz saws slice and dice, but they’re interrupted by an amateur alien hunter and his pulsating-pus-ball packing daughter. Two down, who the hell knows how many to go; soon these alien-assholes spread across Japan. A kid gets run down by a truck, turning his limbs into blood-soaked mud-flaps, projectile vomit floods the frame, and tentacles reach out and touch everyone in a twisted marriage of Overfiend and Evil Dead.
Sadly, they can’t keep up this avalanche of atrocities, leaving the middle a scatter shot mess of sleepy-time inducing love story, sloppily intermixed with much-needed snippets of Necroborg annihilation. With any other flick, I would kick up a bitch-fit, but when the third act hits, it’s all the fun of a veiny penis-rocket emerging from your chest.
With things being so slap-dash, uneven, yet brilliantly imaginative, it’s no surprise to see Yudai Yamaguchi’s name in the credits. Hell, it’s titles like this that put him in a one man race to become Japan’s version of Lloyd “Troma” Kaufman. His influences range from the nonsensical, joke-a-second hijinks of Japanese television, to 80‘s chunk-blower gore-flicks, rounded out with a steady diet of tokusatsu TV and classic Konami arcaders.
All of which make their way into Meatball Machine.
But, it’s not all of Yamaguchi’s invention. Originally a late 90s cult short-film by Jun’ichi Yamamoto, the legend of the Meatball gained enough steam to get a remake, this time with Yamamoto as co-director to co-director/editor combo Yamaguchi. With this Meatball-redux, the Ya-Ya Brotherhood take the Japanese henshin-hero style, blend it with an 80’s splatter aesthetic, and wind up with the long lost Frank Hennonlotter directed GWAR video by way of Tetsuo. Helping things along the way are Keita Amemiya and his gnarly Necroborgs designs, and gross-out FX master, and Yamaguchi regular, Yoshihiro Nishimura, who keeps the impaling, eviscerations, decapitations, and all-around gooiness lookin’ puke-worthy.
Meatball Machine may come barreling at you with a hard-on, only to go limp midway through, but with a climax where the video game meets the video nasty, it’s just a few pumps away from becoming a modern late-night classic.
TLA/Danger After Dark
Posted by Wes at 4:19 PM
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
My body arrived back in Los Angeles early this week from Tokyo, but my brain is still floating somewhere over the Pacific, reeling from the effects of airplane fart-repellent-air and a microwaved dish of scrambled eggs. A typical day since coming home includes waking at 6 A.M, stumbling around, then passing out mid-afternoon, only to wake up at night in a pitch black room, confused and thinking I'd been riding the Ginza line. Oh, and eating left-over birffday cake for breakfast, which is only slightly less ghetto than smoking a vile of crack for breakfast. Now I'm going to watch The Entity, and then hopefully fall asleep at a decent hour.
The remainder of the Tokyo pics and tales coming soon.
Posted by Wes at 10:13 PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Too wiped to write much, but the past two days have featured: A disappointing trip to Video Market in Shinjuku, where I found that I already owned nearly everything there, a more fun than I thought it would be trip to Harajuku where I raided Kiddy Land, ate crepes, and nabbed a wide of Koike's Dummy Oscar and another Go Nagai H Manga Collection from Book Off. Also I must say, forget the Harajuku girls, it's all about the Harajuku Nigerians, you got that wicked style, I like the way that you are, I am your biggest fan.
Today was Daiba by day, and Akiba by night. Had a blast at the high-tech Sega Joypolis, and an even bigger one at the Nostalgia Mall at Decks. After dinner at Gonpachi we headed to Donki in Akiba, and raided it's five floors of madness before hitting the subway, where we were momentarilly stuck without power mid-tunnel in a packed car.
Tomorrow: Tokyo Disney, and maybe Tokyo Tower.
Posted by Wes at 7:31 AM
Monday, July 16, 2007
Today was a trip to the electric town, Akihabara, and I must say, I could never bring myself to travel elsewhere for my cheapo USB card and nazi big-tits splooge dojinshi soft needs. Seriously, the place is rad and has officially been taken over by the otaku elite, who apparently have found a away to stop cars from entering the surrounding streets.
I hit every floor of the super-smelly Tora no Anna, saw some busted-looking maids, nabbed some hotly priced, by Tokyo standards, DVDs from Liberty 1, dazzled the locals with my UFO catcher and shooting game skills, turned into a degenerate for about 30 minutes at a pachinko and slot joint, and then spotted some cat-ear-wearing otaku from the USA who seemed a little more than shocked and disturbed that their Eastern counterparts are less about anime and manga than they are discount computer gear and taking candid photos of underage girls.
After that we hit Ginza, where we were priced out, and under dressed for just about everything, grabbed some Korean food, then hit the hotel room for K-1 Heroes.
Tomorrow, pics, video, and possibly a trip to Shinjuku.
Posted by Wes at 7:56 AM
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Today was all about Nakano Broadway aka the big, savage nerd mall. Mandarake is all over the joint, and provided me with with: the Go Nagai H Manga Collection, Gataro Man manga, Hungry Man, and the long sought after Saru Hunter; a manga about apes taking over Japan, raping the the women, and the man out to stop them.
Besides Mandarake was the great movie memorabilia shop Trio, where I found a borderline homosexual Jackie Chan photo book, some killer okonomiyaki, and a plethora of other otaku related shops for all your famicon, replica rifle, and cosplay needs.
After that was a brief rest, then, still a tad jet-lagged, we headed to Tokyo Midtown and nabbed some grub before walking Roppongi and checking out the Nigerians offering "big tits man, you can feel them!".
Tomorrow will be either Akihibara or Shinjuku.
Posted by Wes at 6:48 AM
Friday, July 13, 2007
9:08 PM Tokyo time. I've been going since 9 AM Los Angeles time, no sleep. Been far too wired for a nap. Saw Rutger Hauer at the airport terminal before I left Cali, which I think means I'll have a good trip, but in exchange be doomed to writing straight-to-video movies.
For the 11 hour flight I had Richard Matheson, Warren Ellis, and Bernie Wrightson to keep me company. Them, and some fabulous airlines scrambled eggs and sausage.
Took the friendly neighborhood limousine bus (aka a bus) to Tokyo land from the far off land of Chiba, which was far from Sonny. Now I'm sitting in my hotel room, ready to pass out, while Tokyo Tower's wax museum beckons to me from across the street.
Photos and more tomorrow.
Posted by Wes at 5:08 AM
Friday, June 29, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Here's one straight from the pages of Otaku USA. This is what it looks like before all the fart jokes are removed, and it's edited into a semi-readable, cohesive piece.
The Sister Street Fighter Series
It’s late at night, and I need a fix; one of those thrilling, chilling, skull-splitting, brain-bashing extravaganzas presented, of course, in 3-Dimensions of DuoVision. One that can only be contained in not a double, but a double-double feature: the four films of fury that are Sister Street Fighter.
I pop in the first flick, the ground shakes, the sounds of belching, loving, and fighting surround me. I look around; rats scurry, hobos sleep, the homeboys from Harlem show up in their kung fu silks. I take a whiff; stale popcorn, over-relished hotdogs, chain-smokers. It’s 42nd street, New York, the year, 1974. How I got here: a mystery. Could be the power of cinema, more likely the noxious fumes I call farts have me hallucinating. A funky tune blares, I look up at the fifty-feet of tattered silver to see waves crash. That’s it, Toei’s got me in their grindhouse baby, and there’s no turning back.
The familiar sound of a raspy snake, ready to strike, takes over the soundtrack. Only this time it’s not a bush-browed nut-cracker, but a girl, cute too. Japan’s one and only female action icon, Etsuko “Sue” Shihomi, a chick so quick she can pierce a fly with a toothpick.
The set-up is rapid fire; ching-chong music lets us know we’re in Hong Kong. Koryu Lee (Shihomi) gets the 411 on her missing brother, an undercover drug agent working the beat in the Japan, and she‘s on the hunt. Backing her up is the sock-it-to-me Shorinji Kenpo school of bad asses, and the original Street Fighter himself, Sonny Chiba. He plays Hibiki, an ex-race car driver, ex-bodyguard, and current bad motherfucker with his own judo-chop to grind. Then it’s sickles to the eye, and karate kicking in the sky, with Muay Thai killers in polka dot dresses, bad dudes with wicker baskets on their heads, and a Mohawk sportin’ dart-blower with a penchant for African fashion. Director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi isn’t much at shooting karate, but he sure as shit can shoot crazy.
A brief intermission, the Harlem cats ape Chiba’s brutal body movin’. The second feature, Hanging on a Thread, begins and Koryu is doing anything but. She’s up against diamond smugglers movin’ the goods in high class hooker’s asses. Like “in” them, surgically implanted, no butthole stuffing. Running the operation is a master of whip-yo-ass-with-a-golf-club-jitsu, and his back-up: a parrot-parading doctor, his torch-toting tranny girlfriend, and an assortment of karate-killers who are, as Jim Kelley would say, “Straight out of a comic book, man.”
The end credits roll, but before you can say Sho’nuff, the doors crash open, and the Shogun of Harlem appears. But he isn’t looking for Bruce Leroy, he’s here for the return, The Return of Sister Street Fighter. This one’s about smuggling gold through pharmaceuticals, I think. What’s for sure is that Koryu is again up against an army of kung-fools who are less about karate, and more about crazy. This includes series regular Musashi Ishibashi as a cat whose style is apparently Flamenco, and even a screamin’ Zulu warrior.
The crowd thins out, but that’s alright, because Fifth Level Fist isn’t much of a killer anyways. A sequel in name only, O.G Street Fighter director Shigehiro Ozawa takes the reigns and brings in a light crane-kick, instead of the burning back-fist of films past. Even the Shogun of Harlem is snoozing in the aisles, and I might just do the same. Though, it’s been a fun trip, going to the grindhouse, the real one that is, with the big Toei logo and crashing waves to lure you in.
Sister Street Fighter
Sister Street Fighter: Hanging by a Thread
Sister Street Fighter Returns
Sister Street Fighter: Fifth-Level Fist
Posted by Wes at 4:49 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2007
And now, the epic conclusion to this scat-tastic tale.
I walked through the very locker room where it all began, then stepped out onto the court where one brave Detroit baller said what was on the minds of all in attendance: "You smell like shit nigga." It was time for gym class, the final period of the day. A period held in the perfect arena for this re-production of poopery: ground zero.
I grabbed a ball as a good dozen of my classmates, including our famed dump dropper, watched from the sidelines. I got warmed up, and began to gain speed. Few were prepared for what would come next.
Like a high-flying marriage of NBA Jam and Michael Jordan, I launched toward the net. My body tensed, my face contorted. A guttural war cry rose from my belly; a deafening, bassy trombone-blast bellowed from my anus. Boomshakalaka: the ball went swoosh, yet I couldn't help but think of Prince's When Doves Cry:
Sometimes I'm just like my father, too bold.Years earlier my dad, in an impressive display of gastrointestinal athleticism, spun wildly and performed a perfectly executed side-kick/fart combo. The result: a solid turd launching out the leg of his shorts, and into the wall.
You've heard the bathroom rhyme of sorrow: "Here I sit, broken hearted, thought I'd shit, but only farted" Well, there I dunked, thought I'd farted, but instead defecated all over myself like a filthy animal. I was brought back down to earth, in more ways than one; it's your lucky day Mike, there's a new brown boy in town to take the heath bar heat. The place sounded like a Def Comedy Jam show. Mike stormed out, which only amplified the howls. It soon became clear that no one really knew what had just happened. I was in the clear. The chances of "fallout" were slim; under my gym shorts I wore a pair of Lycra trunks, which mashed the turd up against my ass. I played along, "pretending" that I had shit my pants. I was soaked in sweat, putting on a big, fake laugh. I let several minutes go by before casually mumbling "I've gotta take a piss."
I darted to the school's rarely used "gross bathroom". But as nasty as those toilets were, it was nothing compared to wearing a fully-packed speedo-diaper. I rushed into a stall, locked the door, and pulled down my shorts; it was worse than I could have imagined. This was no wet squirty turdy, or a damp loosey goosey, it was a fresh baked brownie stamped to the back of my shorts and ass.
I scraped off what I could with the T.P, then shuffled to the sinks to wet some paper towels; praying that a fellow student or teacher wouldn't come in and find me naked from the waist down, my butt cheeks smeared brown. I scrubbed my ass until I felt slightly less disgusted with my self, then took a good look at the trunks; they were a lost chocolate covered cause. Even the gym shorts were a mess. I didn't bother to clean either, I just wrapped them up in a wad of paper towel, and then crammed them deep into the garbage can. But now a new challenge had arisen.
Heading pants less through the gym, and into the locker room to retrieve my school clothes wasn't an option. My only hope was the small towel around my neck, one of the few non-doodie covered possessions I had left.
Soon I was in the, thankfully, empty halls, and maneuvering to the exit closest to the bathroom. The double doors of salvation that lead to the parking lot.
The lot fell under the watchful eye of our Vice Principal, a dead-ringer for Al Gore, who sat in his office window, waiting to catch students smoking in their cars, or making a mid-day fast-food run. His rule was: once you pulled in, you didn't go back out until the final bell had rung. This mattered little to me, as I stood wrapped in a towel, the living embodiment of some long lost, scatological Baby Huey comic. I was a solid athlete, and had beaten members of the track team in both sprints and long distance runs. I knew I could make it. I waited, watching him sit in his office from a crack in the double doors that offered my best chance of escape.
Then the shot from the starter's pistol rang: he turned away from the window.
I was like Arnold and Yaphet in The Running Man. Only I don't have an Austrian accent, nor a black penis. And instead of one of those fancy skin-tight numbers, I was wearing a hand towel with my balls flopping around and my ass hanging out. The multiple criminal charges that could have been brought against me at that point didn't matter; a jail cell would have been a blessing compared to my "accident" being made public. At the time I was too afraid to look back, but I'd like to think that our vice-principal got a glimpse of my freshly wiped butt cheeks before I turned the corner and hopped into my truck.
The next day people asked what happened to me, or where I went off to during gym class. My response, even to my best of friends, was the same, a confused "Huh? Oh, uh, nowhere, I was here the whole time. Why?"
I never came forward with the full story until now, and to this day the incident remains the only known case of someone inadvertently shitting their pants, while making fun of someone who inadvertently shit their pants.
Posted by Wes at 8:49 AM
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The following is true.
A small Rochester Hills, Michigan based high school. The year: 1999. Basketball was in season, and to one Mike N. all that mattered was making the starting line-up. So when his dream came true, and the coach shouted for him to "hit the court", he squeezed his cheeks to hold in a ready-to-drop doodie. A doodie so ready-to-drop that it did just that; partially onto the locker room floor, but mostly into his shorts. There was a mad dash, he scooped up what hit the floor, threw it into a near-by garbage can, then darted out onto the court. The remains of the crapee still in his trunks.
How he managed to keep what was described as a "massive shit" in his shorts throughout the game is unknown. What is known, though, is that players on the opposing team could be heard saying "Stay the fuck away from me motherfucker" and "You smell like shit nigga." A fellow teammate would later describe Mike's spot on the bench as looking "Greasy, like he ate Popeye's, then wiped his dirty ass fingers off on his seat."
Comments about that "shit smell" were made, players dry-heaved, the stench reached the crowd, causing several to flee. Yet, after the game all things doo doo related were kept quiet. An unspoken code of silence was taken by the team. The story buried. That is until a juvenile scrawling on the back of a desk appeared. It was simple, yet poignant; it let you know all that had happened, with a few simple words: Mike shit his pants.
At first the witnesses were hesitant to speak, but soon details would arise. Once they did, word quickly spread. Insults were slung, practical jokes played. The pressure rose and became too much, the hot-tempered pants-shitter had to step forward. He blamed the incident on his Irritable Bowel Syndrome. "I'm sick you motherfuckers" he implored. But him revealing he had a "spastic colon" only made matters worse. A dramatic re-enactment was in order; one with me as the star.
To be continued....
Posted by Wes at 8:03 AM
Friday, June 08, 2007
Unpublished (unpublishable?) review time.
So, there’s this funny story about rape, incest, and social isolation, wanna hear it?
Poor Alisa (Kinkao) just wants to see what’s “on the other side of the ocean,” and who can blame her, she’s been trapped on an island all her life by her perverted papa. He tells her the outside world is a “boring place filled with boring people.” Fed up, she dives into the sea, and heads to the other side.
Meanwhile in this “boring place” one of these so-called “boring people,“ Harumi (Yumi Yoshiki), is partaking in a bout of mutual masturbation at the dinner table with her stone-cold mother-in-law (Kiyomi Ito) while aloof husband Yoshio (Koichi Imaizumi) casually chows down. Mom’s pissed that she doesn’t have a grandbaby yet, and wants to make sure Harumi’s what her son needs in the bedroom.
Later that night, Alisa washes ashore, and is greeted by a gaggle of grimy fishermen, looking for love… or gang rape; when you stink of rotting fish, you can’t be too choosey. After one stumbles out into the street and brags to a local yakuza that he just “fucked a mermaid,“ Alisa gets put to work as a chainsaw-wielding dominatrix at Harumi’s mother-in-law’s fetish club; where a prominent politician dons his finest bib and bonnet ensemble.
Then “boring” Harumi drops her drab-duds, puts on a little black number, and hits the red-light circuit for a little “play”, while Alisa ends up with a sack of cash and a new perspective of the world. Humping and hijinks ensue as these characters join in the night, looking for rafureshia, the “flower of illusion.”
Who would'a thunk it: a light-hearted comedy from Hisayasu Sato. Well, as light-hearted as something from the director of Lolita Vibrator Torture is going to get.
Hitting the pinku scene in the 80s with the impact of a brick to the dick, Sato established himself, along with directors Takahisa Zeze, Kazuhiro Sano, and Toshiki Sato, as one of the “Four Kings of Pink”. They were a group whose pinky pontifications looked less like the biker babe bonanzas of Toei, and more like the transgressive cinema of Nick Zedd and Richard Kern.
The Kings weren’t so interested in getting you hot n‘ heavy, as using the naughty action to reveal the often dark inner workings of their characters. Breakdowns, isolation, and extreme sadism filled their features, and Sato was arguably the most caustic of the bunch. In roughly ten years he created some sixty films, nearly all the stuff of sexual-nightmares, where rapists dwell in concrete blocks, and every character is a naïve or twisted social outcast.
Which makes this slap-stick sex-fest the odd bird in his filmography; with gags involving cross-dressers, katanas, and cutlery to the crotch replacing the vicious violence and emotional breakdowns. Still, there’s gang-rape, underground fetish clubs, and mental and sexual abuse, but it’s the kind that tickles your funny bone.
So leave the raincoat at home, and put away the K.Y. because this isn’t some pallid porno, this is pink, and the King is going to make sure you never make that mistake.
Posted by Wes at 10:49 AM
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Scary-Kate and Trashley, Tom Ooze, Hacked Hogan. This is the best thing in years. Seventy-two individual zombie cards, and ten special Mug Shot cards.
Don't forget to play Monster Mash-Up on their website. I mashed Wreck Nolte, Mike Die-Son, and Melt Gibson.
Posted by Wes at 2:17 PM
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
So the first issue of Otaku USA has hit the stands, and your's truly provided some so-so movie reviews (though compared to the Atragon review by Sir William Regal, mine look downright caustic), a solid interview (which you can read below), and a cool column with Coco (again, look below). Now, being an asshole, one of my favorite things to do when writing for a 'zine is to see what does and doesn't make it to print. An old favorite of mine is from the Animerica days when "boobs" was deemed too dirty, but "spreading their legs and flashin' the gash" was read by thousands of 12 year old anime dorks, dying to peep the latest on Puni Chibi Princess Neko. While there's nothing that memorable in issue one of Otaku USA, there's still a handful of notables.
Referring to a group of "bad asses" is right as rain, "whip-yo-ass" is just dandy, but you can't move the goods in "high class hooker’s asses" that kind of activity must be done in their "cabooses". "Butthole" remains unmentionable (maybe that's why my grandma called it your "unmentionable"), you can't talk about your "farts" and god forbid you liken them to "noxious fumes". In the context of Henshin Pimp we cannot have our "ding dongs flapping in the wind", nor expose our "tootsie roll heads like an igloo", our "vein like a Shepard's cane", or have our "balls in plain sight", but the "skin on our scrotums" can and will "set the hillside ablaze". A "sonofabitch" should be called a "sonofagun", you can be "sure as hell" but never, ever "sure as shit", a "wound" can be "bloody", but never a "tampon", and above all it's A-OK to have a "long dong" a "cock", and you are most certainly permitted to "drench" something in "semen".
Overall the 'zine looked good for an inaugural issue. Tomo Machiyama is a wild, ranting madman as usual, Joey Coco delivers the goods, and it's cool to see Jason Thompson (gotta grab his book) large and in charge of the manga section. I've got my gripes, but shit, I'd have my "gripes" if I were fucking a One Million Years B.C-era Raquel Welsh in the Playboy grotto while Ralph Macchio cheered me on from the sidelines, telling me I had the "eye of the tiger". Plus, they did make me look good by cutting down my very long, and very dry, Demon Spies review.
One thing though: Moms Mabley doing jumping jacks what is with that chick in the comic's tits? They look like upside mangoes.
Posted by Wes at 3:58 PM
Saturday, June 02, 2007
As seen in Otaku U.S.A issue #1:
Mamoru Hosoda, Boy of the Future
Miyazaki, Oshii, Tomino Anno, Hosoda… Hosoda? That’s what the less militant of the Otaku U.S.A forces may ask, but after Mamoru Hosoda’s latest work leaps onto these shores, you’ll be hard pressed not to place him above the rest.
Fresh from studying oil painting in college, Hosoda started at Toei Animation, and was soon directing shows like Himitsu no Akko-chan (1998) and Gegege no Gitaro (1997). After toiling in television, he used Revel's Bolero to back the near brilliant Digimon Adventure (1999), and followed it with the exciting, yet sweet, Digimon: Children‘s War Game (2000).
Wowing the industry with the double-Digimons, he was invited to Ghibli to helm an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Howl’s Moving Castle. After reportedly experiencing some high-tension he either quit, or was fired; depending on who tells the story. In the meantime he hit another creative high-note with the Takashi Murakami collaboration Superflat Monogram (2003). He soon returned to Toei, and released his frustrations on One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005), a rollicking adventure that doubles as a thinly veiled tell-all of his time at the house that Nausicaa built.
Now, with Madhouse, he’s taken Japanese meta-fiction king Yasutaka Tsutsui’s classic youth novel Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (2006), and created a modern masterpiece of animation, Japanese or otherwise. I sat down with Hosoda at the Korean and Japanese Animation Today event, where his film played in front of a packed house of animation lovers, and some newly christened fans.
Wes Black: Why did you choose to make a continuation, following (the original story’s lead) Kazuko's niece, rather than a direct adaptation of the original novel?
Mamoru Hosoda: I did it because I wanted to have the actions the main character takes seen from different angles, to create multiple layers. I thought a different view point was needed, because if I made the film directly from the original story, the point of view was going to be limited to just one girl, a really young girly girl. So I wanted to make it from various points of view, that way different age groups will be able to see the same problem from different angles.
WB: Now, in America, when you adapt someone else’s work, the fans can get angry if you change things around. With the book being such a classic was there any adverse reaction due to your new approach?
MH: At first, I was a little nervous about that, the problem you mentioned, but then I realized the audience I was focusing on were the teenagers of Japan, and they aren’t really familiar with Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, or its adaptations. So I decided not to worry too much about it, and just thought: “It’s okay for some people to get a little angry.” After that I just focused on the teens. And in the end everybody liked it, from the original's fans, to the teenagers; they were all very generous (Laughs).
WB: Did Mr. Tsutsui give his blessing on your fresh approach, what was his opinion of it?
MH: Mr. Watanabe, the producer, had to take the script to Tsutsui when it was complete, and while he realized that the older generation might not understand this new approach, he was still worried about Tsutsui thinking it was too different, but when Mr. Watanabe went to get the comments from Tsutsui, he said: “Oh, this is totally different from the original, but that’s why I like it.”
WB: What about Mr. Tsutsui's work, and this story in particular, appeals to you?
MH: I read the original book when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and when I read it, and this goes for all of Tsutsui's writings, I felt this expansion of the world. I thought there is something exciting somewhere I don't know about. With Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, it was about the future. I felt this excitement towards the future then. So I really wanted to express what I felt at that time in the film.
WB: This is your first film where you're not working with a commercial brand such as Digimon, or One Piece, how was it directing without the constraints that come with an established series?
MH: I had been making those program pictures for the Toei Manga Matsuri, but it wasn't like a stepping stone. They were for kids to enjoy, and I think that I did my best to accomplish that goal. I wanted to carry over this overall goal to make a film that is enjoyable to people even outside of the program pictures. So I didn't really feel different.
WB: After the success of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, do you see yourself going back to working with a studio like Toei on an established series, or do want to create original works, or possibly look to novels again?
MH: Well, I’ve left Toei, and not because I don't like them, but because the environment there just isn't a good one for making animation films. What I mean by that is that they’re too much into being business-like, so it’s not a very strong creative environment. Every year it was becoming harder and harder for me to be more creative. So in the future I'm going to be doing more original work, or adapting novels such as Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo.
WB: You've directed commercials, television, and films, do you approach each one with a separate mindset, or just as an animated storyteller, regardless of length or format?
MH: I've made commercials that run fifteen seconds, and features that run one hundred minutes, but my mindset when I’m getting into these projects is always that I’m making a film; no matter what the length or the medium is. There was one project I did for Louis Vutton, with Takashi Murakami, called Superflat Monogram. This played at twenty-six Louis Vutton stores throughout the world, so it's obviously nothing like a film, because it’s inside these stores, but even then I still set my mind onto making a film. So what I’m saying is that I always have a mindset for making a film.
WB: I wanted to talk about the film you made before this, the One Piece movie. Now, since I watched it I've wondered: did Ghibli invite you over, only to give you a small net to catch a big fish?
MH: You mean about making Howl’s? (Laughs)
WB: Yes, the movie is an allegory for your time at Ghibli, right?
MH: (In English) No comment.
Special thanks to: Yoshihiro Nihei of the Japan Foundation, Rumi Bunya, Madhouse Studios, and Mamoru Hosoda.
Posted by Wes at 5:38 PM