Tag Archives: Hikari Mitsushima


Rabitto Horâ 3D 

DIRECTED BY: Takashi Shimizu

FEATURING: , Takeru Shibuya, 

PLOT: A young boy has nightmares about a giant bunny after he euthanizes a wounded rabbit on the playground; his mute older sister tries to keep him from being sucked into another world.

Still from Tormented (2011)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Tormented is a strange little psychologically twisted J-horror, but it doesn’t exceed the limits of its genre quite enough to rank as one of the weirdest of all time.

COMMENTS: Leporiphobes beware: Tormented (literal title: Rabbit Horror) features the creepiest extra-dimensional cuddly-wuddly bunny since Frank from Donnie Darko. Two of them, actually, since there is the life-sized theme park rodent, and the identical miniaturized ragdoll bunny that floats off the screen of another movie and into young Daigo’s backpack. Mute Kiriko, Daigo’s protective older sister and mother figure, can’t get rid of that second floppy bunny, even when she tries to throw it in the incinerator; it just keeps haunting the pair, dragging both of them down a rabbit hole into a nightmare world of carousels, hospital corridors, spiral staircases, and people dressed as animals performing disturbing acts. Meanwhile, Kiriko and Daigo’s father, a bereaved children’s book illustrator, is trapped in a fantasy world of his own, appearing indifferent to his offspring’s torment. Even though there is little question of what is happening in the dream world and what is going on in reality, the multiple hallucinations and rabbit-initiated flashbacks are disorienting. The movie is also confusing in ways that may not have been  intended; it can be hard to keep track of what’s happening to which character—and sometimes characters even seem to disappear from the action, sometimes even during the same scene. For the patient and observant, however, the basics eventually sort themselves out. There is a consistent psychological symbology running through the delusions—we figure out what both the giant rabbit and the little bunny doll represent—and it all leads to an effective twist two-thirds of the way through the movie. The problem with that is that most twists are revealed at the end of the movie; here, the story seems to end on a satisfactory note, yet there’s still a half an hour to go. The entire third act feels like a wrong turn, an unnecessary coda that ditches the psychological angles in favor of horror movie clichés about super-resilient supernatural adversaries. Still, the movie arguably ends on a further twist, although this one is so ambiguous that you might think you dreamed it. In the end, however, Tormented sports more pluses than minuses, with creepy atmosphere, psychological depth, and spooky bunny suits making up for the occasional storytelling misstep.

As you might guess thanks to scenes of dandelion fluff that conspicuously floats in front of the wide-eyed marveling characters, Tormented was originally shot in 3-D. Less obvious is the fact that it was lensed by celebrated cinematographer . The movie that Kiriko and Daigo watch in the theater is Shimizu’s previous effort, Shock Labyrinth.


“…a psychedelic meta-J-horror that is part ghost story, part Freudian merry-go-round, and utterly in your face.”–Anton Bitel, Little White Lies (festival screening)

129. LOVE EXPOSURE (2008)

Ai no Mukidashi

“Nothing is more important than love.”–Shion Sono on the theme of Love Exposure

Must See


FEATURING: Takahiro Nishijima, , Sakura Andô, Atsurô Watabe, Makiko Watanabe

PLOT: Yu Honda, the son of a Catholic priest, falls in with a gang of upskirt photographers in an attempt to generate sins he can confess to his father. One day, while dressed in drag after losing a bet, he falls in love with Yoko, a man-hating schoolgirl who believes him to be a woman. He strives to woo her despite the mistaken identity, but a mysterious girl named Koike and a brainwashing cult seem intent on preventing Yu from ever winning Yoko’s heart.

Still from Love Exposure (2008)


  • Sono’s original cut of the film was six hours long. At the request of producers he cut it down to two hours but felt the result was incoherent; the current four-hour run time is a compromise.
  • Sono reportedly wrote the part of upskirt photography guru “Master Lloyd” with Lloyd Kaufman in mind.
  • “Miss Scorpion” was a recurring character from a 1970s Japanese women-in-prison film series.
  • Despite winning awards at multiple Asian film festivals as well as a FIRPESCI international film critics awards, Love Exposure‘s long running time made it anathema to theatrical distributors. The movie finally saw a very limited run in U.S. and Canadian theaters in 2011.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Some will doubtlessly be impressed by the bloody castration scene, but a less shocking image marks the centerpiece of Love Exposure: “the miracle,” the moment when the wind blows up Yoko’s skirt and reveals her alabaster underthings, giving Yu the first erection of his life. White panties—a symbol of sex masked in the color of purity—are the most important recurring image in Love Exposure, even more so than crosses and hard-ons. As Master Lloyd explains while pointing to a bronze relief image of a spreadeagled woman with a swatch of white silk covering her nether portions, “Anything you seek can be found here, in the groin.”

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Although there is some crazy stylization—slo-mo bullets following a schoolgirl through Tokyo and a dysfunctional family posing with a giant cross in the desert—what makes Love Exposure‘s mad heart tick is the plot that piles crazy on top of crazy. Any story that incorporates Catholic guilt, ninja panty-peeking photographers, kung fu and samurai sequences, mistaken identity subplots, and teenage cult kingpins, plays it all as a romantic comedy, and has to run for twice the length of an average movie just to fit in everything the director wants to say, is bound to be a little weird.

Trailer for Love Exposure

COMMENTS:  For four hours Love Exposure bounces back and forth between poles of purity and perversion, suggesting both the fetishistic Continue reading 129. LOVE EXPOSURE (2008)