I love Lenzi's gialli offerings, or at least the one's I have experiences! I still need to see KNIFE OF ICE and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL. SPASMO and EYEBALL are some of my more favorite gialli viewings. Two very stylish yet, odd in nature but still very effective in the payoff!
It's been a long time since I first seen his SO SWEET... SO PERVERSE (1969), was that not just recently issued on DVD again??
I absolutely loved Freda's brilliant I VAMPRI! Now, what was the deal with Bava being uncredited for with this again? I know he had something to do with the overall direction, but what's the full story on that again?
Any opinions about this more recent giallo? I've heard some bad things but when I found it dirt cheap on eBay, I couldn't resist the temptation of picking it up. Figured I need to give some of the more recent horrer/thriller stuff a chance too. Still waiting for it to arrive and I'm not quite sure what to expect of it but at least it has a pretty good cast that includes famous transsexual Eva Robins from TENEBRAE (1982) and the good-looking Elisabetta Rocchietti, who has been cropping up in a lot of horror stuff like THE THREE FACES OF TERROR (2004), DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK? (2005) and THE LAST HOUSE IN THE WOODS (2006). Not to mention supporting roles by Florinda Bolkan and Franco Nero! Anyone here seen it?
Interesting looking film out of Italy with Irish/Spanish co-financiers. Directed by Italian SFX man Stefano Bessoni.
In the 1600s, long before the invention of photography, a scientist named Girolamo Fumagalli was obsessed with the idea of reproducing images. He discovered that by killing a victim and removing the victim's eyeballs, it was possible to reproduce on paper the last image imprinted on that person's retinas. He named this technique 'thanatography'. Today, the same kind of gruesome ritual and abominable crime recurs within the walls of an international school of cinema. -imdb.com
Also stars the daughter of Charlie Chapman, Geraldine Chaplin as well as her daughter Oona.
Well, it seems this is yet another Argento flick that is taking a beating in the review department. Even die hard fans are not too pleased with this outing. Anyhow, the PAL R2 DVD is now out via a Polish company that found it important to force the Polish subs!
Looks like this will be getting a UK release first via Arrow Films! I still haven't seen this, it was on my radar during last year's Midnight Madness during the Toronto Film Fest. The disc will be released March 15th..
Review By: Paul Cooke Director : Teruo Ishii Starring : Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda, Shiro Otsuji,Hideo Sunazuka, Makoto Sato, Sen Tsuchikata,Yoko Takagi & Yoski Kato Source : NTSC Region 1 DVD / Discotek / Aspect Ratio 2:35:1 /16:9 Anamorphic Enhanced / Japanese Language /English Subtitled / Theatrical Trailer / Photo Gallery /Audio Commentary / Film Notes
‘‘If you get on my wrong side you’ll lose your ability to walk’’
Yakuza lore and old school creepy horror come together in this blood spilling tale of vengeance. A Toho trippy take on the two most popular Japanese genres of the time. Sword severing Action with blood letting horror, spliced together by the bizarre genius of Director Teruo Ishii.
The seed of vengeance is planted during the opening ballet of brutal retribution as the Tachiban clan avenge the death of their leader at the hands of a rival Yakuza family. Cult starlet Meiko Kaji takes her first starring lead as the daughter of the fallen clan leader. She is Akemi Tachibana, second in line for the Tachibana clan, and her Katana blade is soon bloodied in battle. In a rain soaked opening exchange of Yakuza gang violence the scene is set to lay foundation for the eerie enactments to follow. A stylish scenario setter, laced with slow motion blood letting interspersed with the opening credits, playing out over the incredible rainbow of colours splashed upon the screen. An Action exchange that leads to Akemi being rightfully elevated to clan leader by killing the one responsible for taking her fathers life, but in so doing tragically scaring a helpless intervener. A young woman, caught across the eyes by the flailing blade of Akemi, falls to the rain drenched ground. Clasping her face in agony, the blood seeping through her fingers is lapped up by a sodden black cat. The image is potent and the silent soliloquy sparks a flame within that will curse the Tachibana clan leader to an inevitable time of reckoning !.
Imprisoned for several years, for her lethal act of revenge in her fathers name, Akemi is released and claims her position as leader of the Tachiban clan. Another Yakuza family wants free reign over the region, however, and her reappearance to harmonise the Tachiban house is soon beset by fateful and far reaching events. Akemi is also troubled by recurring nightmares about a black cat striking out at her face, its claws dripping with blood.
The opposing faction are the Dobashi clan and within the ranks of the Tachiban house there is a traitor who is conspiring with Dobashi, the male clan head. The Tachiban name is smeared with drugs being stashed amongst their market trading stalls, and a few of their members fall into pre set traps in which they are beaten and stabbed to death on enemy territory. Things take a real turn for the worst for the house of Tachiban when a mysterious blind woman appears on the scene and makes a pact with Dobashi.
Like a female Zatoichi this highly skilled blind woman has honed her other senses beyond that of any other, and her ability with a sword is seemingly second to none. Like a witch she has a black cat, its piercing eyes as sharp as its talons, and as intimidating as its scowl. Aligned at her side is a hunchbacked assistant, his appearance akin to a bearded Bette Davis dressed in character as Baby Jane Hudson from ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ?’ (1962). A psychotic circus freak with pigtails and a penchant for pain, whom the blind woman keeps in check as he has the hump all of the time !.
Director Teruo Ishii, ‘Horrors Of Malformed Men’ (1969), ‘The Executioner’ (1974), ‘Jigoku’ (1999), was making movies for six decades, and it is his unique visual interpretations on the most bizarre that brought him to critical and public notoriety. With ‘Blind Woman’s Curse’ his bizarre, garish gruel of accentuated colours and nightmarish visions lucidly highlight the horror aspects of the movie. Non more evident is his personal trademark than in a street bazaar scene. Freaks of humanity are abundant. Young children are uncomfortably squeezed into straw baskets like condiments waiting to be applied as a garnish to a main dish. Displayed to the public behind a malformed man cooking dishes from a cauldron of human body parts, frying up in an open pan. Ishii’s vision, not for the first time, is one of Hell on Earth.
Ensconced within the Dobashi clan the blind woman exacts her trade upon the Tachiban house and a swathe of brutality follows as clan members are picked off in various unpleasant ways. Most bizarrely of all those that are adorned with the family highest honoured reverence, that of a dragon tattoo etched upon the back of the wearer, are butchered of their engraving by way of being skinned of the tattoo !. Akemi has the dragon head tattoo, representing her leadership, and is thus the most prized acquisition on the list of mounting victims. The killings continue as bodies are discovered stabbed, impaled by sword and beheaded, all witnessed in bloody sprays of arterial vino, straight from the Ishii vintage label.
Dobashi becomes too confident in allowing the blind woman to go about her business to his benefit, not realising until too late that this Ronin has a personal code of ethic that goes beyond the contract she has entered into with the vile villain. He sits, over confident, lording over his den of iniquity. Gorging himself upon the revenues from his female trafficking, adorning the screen in nefarious displays of bare breasts, naked flesh and drug induced states arising from enslavement within an opium den. Akemi too has witnessed enough and it is time to rise up as the head of the Tachiban clan, and strike back at her aggressors. Cross and double cross plays out as the blind woman’s curse comes to a tangible crescendo.
Akemi’s fury is unleashed upon Dobashi and the movie ascends to a highly memorable set piece conclusion. A superb one on one showdown is highlighted by a stunning visual establishing shot, and proceeds to play out with brilliant aplomb. A lavish overture to classic samurai sword play stand offs of old.
Meiko Kaji sets the tone for her iconic character Nami Matsushima aka Scorpion, from the superb series of ‘Female Prisoner #701’ movies during the early Seventies. Early signs of her stoic lead and patiently vengeful spirit is evident in her performance here that is carried forward in later films.
The horror / Yakuza hybrid in ‘Blind Woman’s Curse’ works extremely well, and in Teruo Ishii the Toho Studio chose the perfect Director. A cult curio that is more than worthy of being sought out.