Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Infamous and still falling short, "Grotesque" is a gross waste of time
The Japanese have been riding the torture porn pony since way before it was (briefly) fashionable, so another plot less entry into the crowded "strangers get cut up" genre really isn't all that noteworthy. Aside from Takeshi Miike's chilling "Audition," most of these Japanese gore films are just too sadistic and one dimensional to bother watching. So why bother with "Grotesque," the self-described king of Japanese gore? Honestly, had the BBFC not banned "Grotesque" in the U.K., calling the film "little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism," this nasty movie wouldn't have even popped up on anyone's radar. But alas, banning a film only makes people want to see it even more, so in light of the BBFC's decision I had to see, is "Grotesque" worth watching? That depends. Do you get a sadistic thrill out of watching someone get humiliated and tortured to death? Have you seen the "Guinea Pig" series and still want more? Did you find yourself wishing there was less plot and more bloody chainsaws in the "Hostel" movies? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you'll enjoy "Grotesque." The film is exactly why this particular breed of exploitation cinema was branded torture porn. In "Grotesque" you've got zero narrative, no character development and no idea why any of this is happening. Instead, you've got an adult film actress, buckets of bodily fluids (we're talking everything from vomit to semen here) and a sound effects reel that makes every severed finger and oozing wound squish and glop.
If any of this sounds like a good night, then you'll love "Grotesque." You should probably also make an appointment to see a psychiatrist, because brother, you've got issues.
For the rest of us, this film is pure, unadulterated trash. "Grotesque" is a movie with absolutely no redeeming value. It is nothing more than a series of sadistic scenes of torture and humiliation. Where "Hostel" took some time setting up the carnage, "Grotesque" gets right down to business, meaning that a) there is little in the film's scant hour and fifteen minute running time but torture and b) viewers have absolutely no attachment to any of the characters.
Which brings us the meat of the film itself, the torture scenes. For a film that so prides itself on the levels of depravity which it is willing to sink, there is little in "Grotesque" that hasn't been seen before. Sure, the film keeps the camera close during the most awful bits, but it's the same dismemberment theatrics that have been done a thousand times over. It's a tired exercise that tries to thrill by showing "shocking" footage that has been seen a thousand times over. It's cutting up the corpse of a long dead horse, hoping that even more graphic violence will revive a genre made for the desensitized. Problem is numb is numb and this kind of mean-spirited schlock does little for an audience that has already seen it all.
If your curiosity just needs to be satiated, then by all means, check out "Grotesque." Everyone else take my advice and stay far, far away.
Taken from http://www.midnighttrash.net/?p=704 MidnightTrash.net Your guide to everything under the radar.
The trouble with being big in Japan
Hitoshi Matsumoto's wonderfully deadpan "Big Man Japan" ("Dai-Nihonjin) is a brilliantly hilarious send up of Japan's giant monster movies of yesteryear. A postmodernist at heart, Matsumoto flips the genre conventions, grounding the beautifully weird world of "Big Man Japan" in reality through a dry mocumentary style that mixes interviews, archival footage and computer animated fight scenes with a razor's wit.
Masaru Daisato is the latest in a long legacy of men who grow to mammoth proportions when juiced with electricity. Masaru spends most of his time as a normal-sized human being, surviving on a meager government stipend in a grimy suburb of Tokyo. But when strange monsters attack (and believe me they are strange), Masaru is hooked up to a power plant and juiced with enough electricity to grow into a purple underweared giant.
Not that any of this endears Masaru to the citizens of Japan. The road to the power plant is plastered with signs critical of Masaru's actions and abilities. His house is covered in threatening graffiti and vandalized on a daily basis. Masaru is an outsider in a country of insiders, a colorful anachronism in increasingly bland times.
Perspective is a central theme in "Big Man Japan"'s giant monster weirdness. Does having the ability to turn into a giant and save the country from destructive building-stomping monsters make you a hero or a freak? It all depends on who you ask.
There's no doubt that Masaru is a loser. When not attacking giant monsters with a large pipe, Masaru sits in his graffiti-covered home eating dehydrated seaweed ("It only grows big when you need it.") while neighbors throw bricks through his windows. Masaru's wife and daughter have left him, photos are all that remains of his profession's illustrious past and his show routinely earns less ratings than the weather report. No one ever said it was easy being big.
And perhaps this is the biggest joke in Matsumoto's wonderfully awkward film. Godzilla eventually became a friend of the children, saving Japan from countless invading monsters, but he was always a foreigner. Godzilla called Monster Island home, not the gray slums of Tokyo. Ultraman was from outer space not Osaka. This is an important difference. Forced to live among the very people he fights to protect, Masaru became the biggest oddity in a hegemonic society based on Confucian values.
The world of "Big Man Japan" is one of dashed hopes and squandered potential, a world where Masaru's senile grandfather, made so by repeated exposure to high levels of electricity, zaps himself giant and wanders through the city. And the monsters, as outrageously weird as they may be, never actually seem threatening in any way.
Instead, the creatures, with their comb-overs, phallic eyes and sexual perversions seem as oblivious as children that their actions do any harm. Masaru dispatches the beasts by clubbing them once in the head, not through a long drawn out fight, and their souls ascend to heaven in a campy 8-bit video game fashion.
And by the end, when Matsumoto drops the mocumentary cameras and the computer animation for a ridiculous symbolism-heavy homage to cheesy rubber suits and miniature sets fare like "Ultraman" it hardly makes sense but is hilarious nonetheless. I would've preferred "Big Man Japan" didn't end with an allegory about Japan-China relations and the reliance on the American military for protection filtered through campy 1970s kaiju sensibilities but what the hell, it was one crazy ride.
Taken from http://www.midnighttrash.net/?p=677 MidnightTrash.net: Your guide to everything under the radar.