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Hell (1999)
"Jigoku" (original title)

4.8
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Ratings: 4.8/10 from 196 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 14 critic

A frenzied cult classic by Teruo Ishii, the Japanese master of all thing taboo. 16 year old Rika wants to leave a murderous cult but she is sent to Hell where she meets demons and souls who... See full summary »

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Title: Hell (1999)

Hell (1999) on IMDb 4.8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mutsumi Fujita ...
Akiko
Hisayoshi Hirayama ...
Tsutomu Miyajima
Michiko Maeda ...
Enma Daiô
Yôko Satomi ...
Miyako Tazawa
Kenpachirô Satsuma ...
Ao oni (Blue Ogre)
Kinako Satô ...
Rika (as Miki Satô)
Ryûji Takasaki ...
Aka oni (Red Ogre)
Tetsurô Tanba ...
Asu Shino
Toshimichi Tasaki
Masato Tsujioka
Chiho Yoshida ...
Satomi
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Storyline

A frenzied cult classic by Teruo Ishii, the Japanese master of all thing taboo. 16 year old Rika wants to leave a murderous cult but she is sent to Hell where she meets demons and souls who have committed heinous and outrageous crimes. (Japanese with English subtitles). Written by Anonymous

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cult | hell | demon | torture | terrorism | See more »

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Horror

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Japanese Hell  »

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Trivia

This film marked the return of 1950s sex symbol, Michiko Maeda after an unofficial exile from the Japanese film industry of over four decades. See more »

Connections

Featured in Malformed Memories (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't mind the spoilers, not much plot anyway
21 May 2005 | by (Jigoku West, a.k.a. Las Vegas) – See all my reviews

I like amateurish, crowd-pleasing weirdness, so take that into consideration when contemplating the 7 "stars" I'm granting.

Contrary to what other reviewers have stated, none of the three "Jigoku" films in IMDb have anything to do with the others. None are remakes, they just all happen to be called Jigoku, or "Hell." I'm also taken aback by someone else's description of this film as "pornographic." Okay, so the gate to hell looks like a vagina, but it's hardly prurient; otherwise, a few bared breasts linger before the cameras at regular intervals. Not what I'd call porn, though the lengthy view of a very young girl's underpants is in highly questionable taste, especially since the girl is a child molester's target.

(Those familiar with Japanese comics, cartoons and movies will know that underage pantie shots are a staple in Japanese exploitation; some strange schizophrenia allows the Japanese to both exploit and condemn child sexuality. Here, the molester is punished with an eternity of repeated dismemberment. But I guess there's nothing wrong with the camera lingering on an 8-year-old's white cotton briefs.)

The "old lady" other reviewers refer to is Enma, the Queen of Hell (King Enma is, in Buddhist tradition, the judge who determines where the wheel of karma will take your soul). Enma's decision to grant young Rika a glimpse of hell is reminiscent of the Roman Catholic myth of the young girls who were granted a vision of hell by "Our Lady of Fatima," and certainly Dante's Inferno has had an influence here (sinners sinking into their own excrement is a direct lift).

Hell is quite the fun place; Enma's bestial minions (actors wearing bizarre masks, fright wigs and boar-tusk dental appliances) detest the sins of their charges, and take great delight in executing divine justice.

The movie shifts gears considerably when, about a third of the way through, it becomes a soap-operatic docudrama about life within the Aum Shinriku cult, the religious conspiracy responsible for the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. It helps here to know that Jigoku is the combination of two films that were begun before financing collapsed, combined through a bit of extra filming and a lot of creative editing. The tone here is much like the exploitation gem "The Ebola Syndrome," exaggerating a true-life evil to play upon the fears of the audience. This is nowhere near the gross-out fest that "Ebola" is, but is similarly preposterous in the extremes of demonization it uses to amuse.

For the third act we return to hell, and Enma helps young Rika realize that to pray to an eternal being with a pure mind will bring about her salvation. She and a bunch of other girls then have a naked prayer session.

I think both of these movies would be quite enjoyable had they been finished. 80 year old director Teruo Ishii has been amusing international audiences for half a century; his best known film in the states is probably "Attack of the Flying Saucers" in 1964. The old guy probably doesn't have a lot of films left in him, but I do hope his next backers let him finish one.


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