Pop Culture Gadabout
Friday, October 13, 2006
      ( 10/13/2006 01:44:00 PM ) Bill S.  


"WHAT IS DONE HERE IS BEST DONE IN THE DARK" – The banner atop its Anchor Bay DVD release trumpets the fact that it was "Banned from Cable Broadcast," the only entry in the first season of Showtime's Masters of Horror to be unceremoniously slashed from the cable series' schedule – and after viewing Takashi Miike's "Imprint," I can definitely see why the cable network got cold feet. As most of Miike's admirers would expect, the hour-long adaptation of a grisly horror tale by Shimaho Iwaio steadfastly refuses to back away – even when it ventures into story areas guaranteed to make network types squeamish.

Set in 19th Century Japan, "Imprint" focuses on an American journalist (a far-too intense Billy Drago) who is looking for a woman sold by her foster parents into an island brothel. The island is itself a misty and ominous setting; as one character explains early in the story, "This island is not in the human world. Demons and whores are the only ones who live here." Christopher, the journalist, is unable to find his long-lost love Komomo (Michie) in the brothel, so he spends the night with a deformed, unnamed prostitute (Youki Kudoh). Turns out that his companion for the night knew Christopher's lover, and she first tells him Komomo hung herself out of despair that she would never be rescued from a life of brothel servitude. "Being a Daughter of Joy is a living hell," Drago's companion says, and it doesn't take long for us to agree with her. She tells the journalist the story of her life and Komomo's death three times, peeling back to more of the truth each time.

The resultant "final" retelling – which involves incest, 19th century abortions, floating fetuses, a prolonged torture scene and the most absurdly chilling conjoined sib puppet since Frank Henenlotter's Belial – proves plenty over-the-top. And, as with Powers Boothe's F.B.I. agent in Frailty, the telling of the story proves his undoing. (Like Boothe's appearance in that horror flick, the first reaction to seeing Drago in an ostensibly non-villain role is to go, "He can't be the good guy!") Much of the line readings from the predominately Japanese cast are fairly stiff, though Kudoh's storyteller does a memorable job growing progressively more disturbing looking as the night passes.

Miike and cinematographer Toyomichi Kurita pile on the sumptuously gloomy atmosphere in spades: their brothel of caged prostitutes is awash in red hues – an ideal setting for "demons and whores" or a combination thereof – and when we later are shown a blood-painted tapestry depicting the afterlife in hell, we don't need any dialog to make the comparison. Miike's handling of the young girl Komomo's interrogation under the guidance of the brothel's madam is especially unflinching. While many of MoH’s first season entries trafficked in both explicit and implicit torture sequences, none of 'em depicted it as relentlessly or effectively as "Imprint." As a movie man, Miike is like Robert Rodriquez in his ability to handle a range of genres (even kidflicks) – and in his willingness to go as far as possible when the material calls for it.

Head and shoulders above most of the Masters of Horror's first season offerings, think I – even if most of the story's effects looked as rubbery as any in the series' other entries. I notice that Showtime hasn't invited Miike back for a second season entry. No surprise there . . .
# |



Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:



A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page







Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Attentiondeficitdisorderly
Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

BeaucoupKevin
Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Bookgasm
Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Comics.212
Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine

Egon

Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery

Estoreal
RAB

Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section
Hal

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures
Pata

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Journalista
Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett

Metrokitty
Kitty

Michael's Movie Palace
Michael

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag

Neilalien

News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

PeterDavid.net
Peter David

(postmodernbarney.com)
Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Rhinoplastique
Marc Bernardin

Scrubbles
Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren
Campaspe

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby

TangognaT

The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter



A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.




My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Alicublog
Roy Edroso

Eschaton
Atrios

Firedoglake
Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman

Modulator
Steve

Pandagon
Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends



Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed



Powered by Blogger



Twittering:
    follow me on Twitter