I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
By Damon Houx: Twitter
When I was first exposed to Takashi Miike, it was through Audition. It was 2001, and there was a midnight showing at the Cinema 21 in Portland for the film – a midnight showing. I had a 10 am screening of Monsters, Inc. the next day, but waking up early on a Saturday morning promised the first Attack of the Clones trailer. I was in for both. for what it’s worth.
I say that because – for me – some of the last words of Audition (“Kiri, kiri, kiri,”) bled into the morning’s viewings (“Kitty!”) and the two became inseparable in my mind. I remember my workplace got a tube of posters came from Adam Jahnke – who wrote for the Digital Bits and also worked for Troma – with the tube of posters. I kept one.
From there, finding out more about Takashi Miike required diligence, as the majority of his films hadn’t been released stateside. But I was able to get Region 3 copies of a number of films, and talked Movie Madness – my local video store to which I used to work – into getting more and more of his titles. I bought an R3 of Ichi The Killer. And I showed it to a number of friends on my first viewing while appropriately out of my gourd. It went over, from the sound design to the transgression, it worked us.
I also acquired Visitor Q. My good friend David Walker – who wrote about the film for the Willamette Week – panned the fuck out of the movie. He found it too far. I saw the film as the natural progression of John Waters films, and this seem to be of his sensibility. For those who haven’t seen it, the film features incest, milk squirting from he nipple of a mother, necrophilia, heroin use, and that may not be the worst of it. But what Miike understood was this was a familial unit, and it functioned – even whilst being fucked up – best when it took care of each other, for better or ill. This is brought about by a visitor, hence the title. Around that time I also saw The Happiness of the Katikuris which is also a family film – albeit one with zombies and musical numbers. I love those four films like nothing else in his filmography until 13 Assassins, which hits theaters this Friday.
But having seen those films at that point I moved to the the book Agitator by Tom Mes – which chewer The Hellboy aka Paul Prischman (RIP) sent to me because he wasn’t as interested in Miike (partly because he had kids). I found films like Full Metal Gokuda (his Robocop riff) and Fudoh: The Next Generation – many of which would later receive SD domestic release. I would dig and I dug. From the Dead or Alive series – which the first episode ends with an apocalyptic bang and then goes sideways – to The Bird People of China, to the mixed bag of The City of Lost Souls, to the interesting but barely connected thoughts of Gozu, to the more contained remake of Graveyard of Honor, it was hard to know where Miike would go next, and some films would be rough, at the same time he made a movie with a pop band for the film Andromeda. You never knew what or where he’d go.
But Miike’s curiosity and work patterns meant that he could put out five films a year, and if one out of six or seven was good, so be it. With Friday’s theatrical release of 13 Assassins – surely the best thing he’s done in nearly a decade – let me admit that not every title is a winner, and many of the films that looked like gold (Izo) turned out to be less than the sum of their parts. I liked his addition to the Masters of Horror entry, but it’s imprint was also – for me – half baked
But the man is a talent, and the release of 13 Assassins to the big screen this Friday suggests that you mother fuckers should see that shit. Serious. Serious as a heart attack.