[This news courtesy of Japanese Horror’s Twitter.]
The UK’s MovieMuser.com reports that a new Japanese movie called Grotesque (Gurotesuku) has been banned by the British Board Of Film Classification for violence. Here’s the MovieMuser’s summary of the film:
“A girl, Aki (Tsugumi Nagasawa), and her new boyfriend, Kazuo (Hiroaki Kawatsure), are mugged, knocked unconscious and kidnapped by an unknown assailant. They wake up to find themselves bound and gagged in a torture chamber-style basement at the mercy of a man armed with a mind-boggling array of kitchen implements and power tools whose only pleasure is gained from the suffering of others. So begins a slow and sustained assault during which the couple is gradually hacked, mutilated and degraded to the point where death becomes a more desirable option to living. Or is it? When one captive is offered the chance to die in order to save the life of the other, the question of how far one would go for a loved one is answered in the most unpleasant of ways.”
My first reaction to reading this plot synopsis was “sounds pretty…boring.” I don’t think I’m alone.
Power tools: cheap. One room location: cheap. Degradation: the coin of the realm in movieland. I only half-jokingly wonder if the BBFC members fell asleep during this one and simply decided it was far better for the British economy if its population remained awake.
Done to death
I really hate this judging it before I see it impulse that I have over this one. I detest it in others, and I really detest it in myself. Japan has some really exciting directors (Shion Sono, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Shinya Tsukamoto all come to mind), and it could well be that director Koji Shiraishi has the goods. The only movie I’ve seen of his was 2004’s Ju-Rei: The Uncanny, one of those me-too jumpscare extravaganzas that came out after the English-speaking world discovered Ring. (Come to think of it, I might’ve rented it thinking it was Ju-on….)
After researching The New Horror Handbook, I find myself a little more judgmental when it comes to those movies that seek to cash in on the torture porn vibe. It’s just been done. Somebody says “one-room Japanese torture movie” to you, and if you’re a longtime horror fan, you instantly think of the Guinea Pig films. Done, done and done.
Now one movie that doesn’t sound too far removed from this premise, yet one that I’m actually interested in learning more about is Human Centipede (First Sequence). This Dutch treat from director Tom Six (yeah, I know) tells the tale… Actually, I’ll just let you read the FrightFest description:
“Internationally respected Siamese twin surgeon Dr. Josef Heiter has a demented vision for mankind’s future existence. He wants to remove human beings’ kneecaps so they have to exist on all fours and then surgically graft them mouth-to-anus to form a centipede chain. When two stranded female Americans arrive at his luxury home-cum-hospital looking for help, his long-gestating plan swiftly moves into chilling action with a shocking force. Kidnapping a third Japanese male tourist he begins the tissue matches, teeth removal and buttock moulding to create his triplet creature…”
OK, first reaction “Ewww!” But definitely not boring, and hand-on-heart I can safely say I’ve never seen THAT before.
Back to the BBFC. Should the British film board be in the business of banning movies. Of course not. Its earlier incarnation made Great Britain a laughingstock in the ’80s with its infamous “video nasties” witch hunt.
That said, if we must go through this ridiculous movie-banning phase that the British find themselves in every few decades, let it ban, be kicked in the ass in return, and go back to its job of warning parents about nipples and F-bombs in multiplex fare, before it gets its hands on movies that have something more to offer than the status quo.