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Rampo Noir (2005)
"Ranpo jigoku" (original title)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 851 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 15 critic

Mars Canal - Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover... See full synopsis »

Writers:

(short stories) (as Edogawa Ranpo) , (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Private Detective Kogorô Akechi / Man / Masaki (segments "Imomushi" - "Kagami jigoku" - "Kasei no unga" - "Mushi")
...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Chisako Hara ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Masami Horiuchi ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Mikako Ichikawa ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Hanae Kan ...
(story "Imomushi")
Ryûhei Matsuda ...
Tarô Hirai (story "Imomushi") (as Ryuuhei Matsuda)
Kaiji Moriyama ...
(story "Kasei no unga")
Tomoya Nakamura ...
(story "Kagami jigoku")
Hiroki Narimiya ...
Tooru (story "Kagami jigoku")
Tamaki Ogawa ...
Fuyu Kinoshita (segment "Mushi")
Yukiko Okamoto ...
Tokiko Sunaga (story "Imomushi")
Hiromasa Taguchi ...
(segment "Mushi")
Minori Terada ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Susumu Terajima ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Edit

Storyline

Mars Canal - Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 2005 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Rampo Noir  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Did You Know?

Connections

References Ginî piggu 2: Chiniku no hana (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Air du miroir 'Dis-moi que je suis belle' from 'Thais'
Written by Jules Massenet and Louis Gallet
Performed by Usuki Ai and Motosugi Mio
See more »

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User Reviews

Not exactly Rampo, but very effective
20 October 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

"Rampo Noir" is a collection of 4 short films loosely (and I mean 'LOOSELY' like your mouth after a heavy dose of novocaine at the dentist) based on the 1950s short stories of Edogawa Rampo.

The pen name "Edogawa Rampo" is a Japanese katakana phonetic translation for "Edgar Allen Poe" (say them out loud), which shows the author made no attempt to hide the strong influence Mr. Poe had on him. And indeed, perhaps minus Poe's unique sarcastic wit, the two writers are similar in many ways. That is, Rampo was an excellent writer of Victorian surrealism.

Here we have a modern visual adaptation of Rampo's work which falls short of conveying the master's subtle, Victorian style, but as standalone works of 21st century erotica-horror, they are very effective. These films take the psychologically off-kilter imaginings of Rampo and convert them into outright physical, psychosexual nightmares. Rampo never wrote about steamy sex scenes, bondage & blatant perversion, but these adaptations rely heavily on them. Perhaps more noticeable is the way these adaptations are stripped of any morality that Rampo had originally conveyed. These ain't your grandfather's sort of literature. Characters here are unapologetically twisted, evil & sadistic, hardly recognizable as human beings.

If you can get past that, or if you've come here wanting to see some sick, twisted stuff, then read on. You'll probably enjoy these works.

#1 "Mars Canal" - We begin with the shortest one, a silent film showing a man stumbling through a strange landscape while having disturbing, sexual flashbacks. Most people are utterly confused by this one, and indeed the meaning (here as well as in Rampo's original story) is very abstract. The cinematography is gorgeous, making extreme use of vivid greens and light/dark contrast.

#2 "Hell of Mirrors" is so far from the original story that it's unrecognizable, but it has an interesting story nonetheless. The original story was about a man who was obsessed with mirrors to the point that he builds an experimental laboratory dedicated to the study of optical illusions, culminating in a fantastic & shocking experiment where he builds a spherical chamber of mirrors which he enters. The film is, instead, about a series of gruesome murders of women which all involve mirrors. Also stuck in there are some bizarre love triangles and a creepy scene of sadistic sex (none of which is in the original Rampo). I feel this piece's strength is its creepy mood and the mystery aspect of it, as we follow a detective trying to catch the killer.

#3 "Caterpillar" is the sickest of the lot. Be prepared, this one outshines any twisted story I've seen except for maybe "The Human Centipede" (a laughably gross movie about a German doctor who sews a bunch of people together, mouth-to-butt. Who comes up with this stuff??). The original "Caterpillar" by Rampo is about a war hero who comes home disfigured, deaf, mute & quadruplegic. His devoted wife cares for him but wrestles between tender love & her cruel impulses to torment her husband. In this film, the cruel impulses take center stage, are exaggerated and shown in shocking imagery along with sexual perversion. Seriously, this gets even sicker than the 1982 "Basket Case" or any of its twisted sequels. Nothing like the original Rampo except in the opening premise, this film's strength lies in its sheer perversity. Not for the faint of heart!

#4 "Crawling Bugs" is my favorite of the lot because, rather than bombard us nonstop with disturbing images, it breaks up the pace with some satirically bright, comedic scenes. It begins with a jolly, dreamlike scene of a grinning man and his less-than-grinning bride-to-be about to be married in a setting that can only be described as a set from Walt Disney's "Zip a dee doo dah". From there, we get fragmented flashbacks to a consideably darker tale unfolding about a man obsessed with a famous actress. It hops back & forth to the magical wonderland with some excellent dark comedy spicing things up all the way to the hilariously sick ending. Faithful to Rampo or not, "Crawling Bugs" is a real treat for the mildly depraved cinephiles amongst us.

These films have 1 thing in common, and that is an expert approach to cinema as an art form. The films are challenging, fragmented and gorgeously filmed while digging deep into the rancorous well of human depravity. Give 'em a watch, and then if your curiosity is piqued I highly recommend reading the original Rampo stories that spawned them. They're very hard to find, especially in English, so I may try to post a few in the discussion board. I'd love to hear what people think of these adaptations.


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