Masters of Horror - Imprint
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
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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
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.