Jigoku: Hell or Gameshow . . . .

Good day all,

It’s been a while since a cracker wriggled free and I would like to say that I did so to tell you all about a real beauty, sadly that is not the case. I really wanted to like this thing, especially with my illustrious captor squawking about its importance to the genre, but it really just confused me. The hell stuff was pretty cool, but the sins of the damned were pretty lame by modern standards. I’ve seen worse in a Red Deer titty bar (with better strippers for that fact) and I’m still not certain if there even was a story before everyone went to Hell. Honestly, I’m not sure the lady didn’t tape a Japanese game show and program in new subtitles just for psychological torture. She’s crafty like that, my cinephile, so I can’t be sure this isn’t a trap (she was extra careful with the bindings in the last few weeks). The best I can do is break it down and see how the parts hold up.

First and foremost, as always, is chicks. Are there sexy women and do they, at some point, get at least, mostly, naked? The answer is yes, but it isn’t that awesome. I understand this flick is from 1960, and that the nudity was badass for the time, but it looked to me (and as an oilfield worker, before capture, I am an expert) like the strippers weren’t even trying. I’ve seen lethargic dancers, like Frisky Dingo-whoring spurs lethargic, but these girls just didn’t seem to care. This brings up an interesting, unanswerable question for all you Zen types, is sad boob better than no boob? Marinate on that one for awhile. Beyond the nudity of the women there was nothing that attractive about them. None were smart enough to challenge, or funny enough to endear, and none of them looked like the type to attack a zombie when you’d really need them to. Yeah, boobs without substance.

Second and penultimate, gore. The movie gets much more interesting when we get to Hell, in that that’s when it starts to make some sense. It is a problem when the most logical part of the film is random scenes of torture on random sinners, and I swear I see the inspiration for the conclusion of the Simpsons in Japan (Lava that looks like cheesy soup). Truth be told the gore, supposedly the first in film, is very well done. The ribcage scene was especially cool and impressive for the time it was made. I must gripe that there is no point to the violence beyond “Hey! We got hell ova’ here”, but I liked it. Booyah!

Third and pretty important, music. If a movie has two corners of this triangle (chicks, gore and music) it can stand in my mind. We have good gore, sad (but naked) chicks and some of the worst music I have ever heard. With no lie, no joke, the entire soundtrack is Japanese opera with the odd cut of tortured screams (see Japanese opera). I don’t want to offend any Japanese readers, I dig your culture, but your opera sucks to an extent that makes my ears cry uncle. It reminded me of cat rape, or at least what I would imagine cat rape to sound like (think Cat Orgy on South Park). I think it was this powerfully symbolic choice of music that killed me on this one. If the chicks are dancing to some hot hip-hop and the people are being tortured to some Slayer (and the story made some sort of logical sense) this would be an awesome movie. If the King of Hell came out and it was Guitarwolf ripping a juicy chord before decapitating unsuspecting sinners this would have ruled. Instead we get the yowling of berobed transvestites with too much make-up.

The only other complaint I have is that I would be damned, so I don’t like this depiction of Hell. My belief is that any version of Hell that would include me, that isn’t awesome like South Park Hell, is wrong and unacceptable. This guy catches a ride with his friend, his friend hits someone, he tries to stop his friend and pauses for a couple of hours before going to the police. His punishment for that couple hours delay is that his girlfriend dies. Seriously, she has a premonition of bad juju and she dies on the way to report the crime. Does that seem fair to the crime? Sure he starts drinking after she dies, but so would I if God killed my girlfriend over a moment’s hesitation in reporting a friend. I’d be doomed to burn for the actions of a single trip to a strip club for my twentieth birthday (long story, nobody died) by this world’s rules. Why isn’t the evil friend punished, is the friend the devil (he keeps popping up), who are these other people, what’s happening? I’m sure there is a moral lesson I should be learning, and the old transvestites are singing about it, but I can’t figure it out and it looks strict so fuck it! The movie was what it was, but could have been so much more. It’s amazing what some badass metal music and happier strippers can do for a flick.

Until the next time I can Riggs my way out of the straight jacket,

The Hostage

~ by stew37 on January 24, 2011.

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