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Masters of Horror - Imprint

episode 1.13

USA 2006
produced by
Fumio Inoue, Stephen R. Brown (executive), Morris Berger (executive), John W.Hyde (executive), Mick Garris (executive), Keith Addis (executive), Andrew Deane (executive) for IDT Entertainment, Nice Guy Productions, Industry Entertainment, Kadokawa Eiga/Showtime
directed by Takashi Miike
starring Youki Kudoh, Billy Drago, Michie Ito, Toshie Negishi, Kumiko Imai, Houka Kinoshita, Suzuno Nomura, Seriyu Ichino, Shinichi Tanaka, Yasushi Tomobe, Shimako Iwai, Noriko Eguchi, Megumu Takada, Yuno, Miho Harita, Mame Yamada, Tokitoshi Shiota, Risa Uehara, Miho Ninagawa, Hiroshi Kuze, Miyuki Konno, Sachiko Matsuura, Min Dong Wook, Takumi Matsumoto
screenplay by Daisuke Tengan, based on the novel Bokke, Kyote by Shimako Iwai, music by Koji Endo, special effects make-up by Yuuchi Matsui

Masters of Horror

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The American Christopher (Billy Drago) returns to Japan sto look for Kumomo (Michie Ito) the woman he has once loved but left and now wants to get back ... only to end up in a filthy whorehouse following her trail, where nobody wants to even talk about her ... nobody but a disfigured prostitute (Youki Kudoh) who tells him that Kumomo has hanged herself when she gave up waiting for him - but Christopher, a journalist by profession, digs ever deeper and learns that his Kumomo, the most beautiful girl in the brothel and the hooker with a heart, has actually been accused of stealing a ring of the brothel's Madam (Toshie Negishi) and brutally (and quite graphically) tortured for that ... until she couldn't take it anymore and hanged herself.

Christopher is not content with this story yet, and he digs deeper, so the disfigured prostitute tells him more: That is was actually she who stole the ring and who accused Kumomo, her only friend among the prostitutes, and that it was also she who strangled Kumomo, to release her from her pain.

Shocking as the story is, Christopher is still convinced the disfigured woman is hiding something from him ... until she admits she actually does: Actually she is Siamese twins, with her other, evil self safely hidden under her hair (the other self is actually only a hand with a mouth and eyes), from where it commands the poor girl to do evil things.

In disgust, Christopher shoots the Siamese twins, and when doing so, he has the feeling he kills Kumomo as well ...

The last scenes show Christopher in a filthy prison cell awaiting the hangman, eating a fetus as his last meal (fetusses have played a big role earlier in the story, but not big enough for me to feature them in the synopsis ...).


Imprint starts out as a very atmospheric horror story Japanese style, in which Billy Drago seems to be a bit misplaced, but that doesn't matter much. Then though, Takashi Miike turns to gratuitous violence when Kumomo is brutally tortured ... which completely ruins the story. It's not that I am against gratuitous violence as such, and for example, in his masterpiece Audition, director Miike knew how to handle very violent torture, but in Imprint, the violence seems to be out of place, unprovoked, and actually it completely destroys teh stroy's buildup and atmosphere. The whole rest of the episode just seems a tad silly and even tedious, with Billy Drago more and more hamming it up while becoming less and less convincing. Rather a pity, this could have been good.


By the way, Imprint is the only episode of Masters of Horror's first season that Shotwime refused to air - allegedly.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD