Self-consciously arty, the Japanese horror flick Uzumaki(translated: Spiral, or Vortex), released in 2000, is, to the National Film Board of Ivanlandia, a failure.
The flick needed to be more exploitative— it needed more cheap thrills, whether more gore, mayhem or boobs.
The film was certainly weird enough; it’s just that it never got crazy enough: For me, Uzumaki never reached a crescendo or any sort of proper conclusion, it just petered out. Fizzled. Pfft!
Sure, the flick’s clever. But how’s that workin’ out for you these days? The biggest problem with Uzumaki is the female lead: For no apparent reason, she remains blithe and clueless (almost stupid; perhaps brain damaged, or mentally retarded) while everyone around her is mutating or committing suicide. Perhaps her behavior was meant to be unnerving, but without any explanation, she’s just annoying.
So this is another Ivanlandia entry into the Final Girl’s Film Club Blogorama; I bet most of the other entries will be more positive towards this flick—I can see why people might like Uzumaki. But it just never clicked for me. In my opinion, though, if you want some really TOP NOTCH Japanese weirdness/horror, I will say
Onibaba (1964) is utterly awesome: An old woman and her daughter-in-law (both widows) live in the reeds near a river that’s near a battlefield or war zone. The two women strip the dead and dying samurai of their armor and sell it on the black market.
A drifter enters their lives and romances the young woman, and the mother-in-law, frightened that she’ll be left alone to fend for herself, tries using the supernatural (I refuse to give away too much) to frighten him away.
An intense, almost raw film with some of the BEST black & white cinematography, Watch Onibaba!
Meanwhile, Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) is a Japanese Jodorowsky film. Nuff said. (But my review/comments on it are HERE, scroll to the end.)
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.