Shimizu and Ichise At It Again

December 27, 2005 at 2:43 pm (J-Horror, J-Movies)

Dark Tales of Japan
(Japan – 2004)

Producer: Ichise Taka

“J-Horror Anthology done the amusing, highly watchable beer drinking movie way! Well worth a spot on your list of future rentals. ”

~ Gaijin Otaku Gundan

Ichise Taka – a name that commands respect from some J-Horror fans for his part in the ‘Ringu’ and ‘Ju-On’ franchises, while it rouses snorts of disdain from others who blame him for making Hollywood aware of the ‘Ringu’ and ‘Ju-On’ franchises. (That screwed up their private ‘cool kids only’ happy fun time club see.) Whatever your take on the guy, he’s done a lot of amazing work over the years and there’s no arguing the name lends authority to any project he produces.

Projects like ‘Dark Tales of Japan’ – a showcase of short films by 5 known and not so known J-Horror directors which hit US shelves recently. Easily holding its own against similarly themed ‘Kadokawa’ collections released around the same time as far as content goes, ‘Dark Tales of Japan’ gets an added boost right off the bat purely on the strength of attached names. Not only is Ichise Taka on board, acclaimed master of creepy little dead kids Shimizu Takashi gets tapped for ‘Blonde Kwaidan’ which oddly enough seems to have been shot here in L.A. as production on an Ichise brokered Hollywood remake of The Grudge got underway.

Interesting is indeed the operative word here folks, though nepotism might work just as well. Either way I was entertained enough by ‘Dark Tales of Japan’ to write half assed mini-reviews of each directors segment, so have a look and then go out and support them by buying a copy of the DVD for yourself!

‘The Spider Woman’ dir Nakamura Yoshihiro
This is exactly what it sounds like it will be. Overall it’s pretty well done, amusing and easy to watch which was nice since I wasn’t really sure what kinda horror to expect from a credited writer on ‘Quill.’

‘Crevices’ dir Tsurata Norio
Wow, this was the big surprise of the lot for me. Creeped me out more than I had imagined it would and kinda reminded me of Clive Barker’s short story The Yattering for some reason, but both are very good things! Can’t believe this was directed by the same guy who puked up ‘Kakashi’ and barely squeeked by with ‘Yogen’.

‘The Sacrifice’ dir Shiraishi Koji
Started out all right, then lost me, then got me back and finished by making me giggle at Mr. Big Fat Head. Funny, now that I think about it a lot of Miike’s movies do that to me too – so yeah, guess I really did kinda like this episode after all.

‘The Presentiment’ dir Ochiai Masayuki
One thing kept running through my head as I watched: ‘It’s A Wonderful Hellavator’
Had fun with it, a lot more than I would have allowed myself had I known ahead of time it was directed by the guy responsible for that abortion of a movie named ‘Kansen!!’ Despite the odds however, he did indeed turn out a decent enough 20 minutes of footage on this one – thank god.

‘Blonde Kwaidan’ dir Shimizu Takashi
See, there’s just a whole bunch of different reasons making it impossible for me to not name this my pick for Best ‘Dark Tale of Japan’ Ever but I will list only a few:

1) Like, I live where they made it – Hollywood
2) Horrible 80’s music always makes my day!
3) “Remakes!” That cab ride had me in stitches!
4) Mention that I’m a ravenous Shimizu fan?
But this last one truly sealed the deal:

The GOG-CD Bottom Line:

Even though this is far from a terrifying collection of spooky masterpieces, I wouldn’t have any problem recommending it for what it is:

A highly watchable, entertaining beer drinking movie featuring the baddest ass Honky Kayoko ever caught on film.


1 Comment

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