A Bloodbuzz: The Psychedelic Art of Takashi Miike
By Ash Lomen
In my dreams there are visions of conjoined twins and severed tongues, of doomed SWAT teams and Yakuza thugs hellbent on body modification with an Uzi, love letters written in sperm and mirthless Kappa demons cackling in the tall grass, robots engaging in the homoerotic power of friendship, chi blasts, rusty blades, men with guns, men with swords, men with wings, and the island of Japan in the enduring eye of a storm that is born both from a skin-based rocket and the mind of a madman. Money shots, gods misdirected from distant stairways, and pools of liquid shit. I don’t mind any of this.
What I mind is that I had to pick just five films when in my heart I love twenty… and no “Gozu” or “Audition” either, because everyone always mentions those.
Lets get started.
# 5 “IZO”
Izo is catharsis. Perfect catharsis. I see his blade as the blade of every man and every woman. A sharp iron cockhead, stiff and ready for blood like a notched bedpost. IZO is the avatar of evolution before whom all gods must kneel. This is a nonstop action film unlike anything you have ever seen, and one with a purpose that I will leave it up to you to define. Expect blood and surrealism, expect blurred visions of Dali, expect all of this… because you probably won’t expect the subtext moving in on you like a loose tentacle.
#4 “ViSITOR Q”
Milky angels and casual rape mixed with family drama and bad intentions. This is an underrated masterpiece of a thriller. It is hard to watch too, and that is the way it should be. Intimacy is not always a pretty thing. Sometimes it is downright disgusting.
#3 “AS THE GODS WILL”
One of these things is not like the others. The blood is there. There are hints of perversion. Kagome Kagome games that end in impossible splits, schoolchildren that die screaming in the mouths of animated cats, and polar-bear-lie-detector tests… but nothing too weird. This is mostly a story about a group of high school kids coming face to face with the tough decisions and strangeness that amounts to growing up. Or something like that.
#2 “SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO”
Sukiyaki Western Django exists in an a strange parallel world where swords are more than a match for guns, the east was the west, and Quentin Tarantino still loved doing cameos. This might be the funniest film on my list and next to Ichi it is easily the most stylish, but if I’m being completely honest here, and I try to be… the reason this one is REALLY on my list is all just for three beautiful minutes out in the snow at the very end. When you see those three minutes for yourself I hope you will agree.
#1 ICHI THE KILLER
My favorite film of all time. A Bizarro gangster story with a villain that makes Heath Ledger’s joker look like Cesar Romero. Kakihari is an unstoppable force of sadism willing to turn Japan’s underground into his own personal inferno all to find the man responsible for the disappearance of his beloved boss. The orgy of gore, body modification, and skin stretched to the very breaking point of pleasure that follows is truly something to behold, as is what happens when the mad Yakuza finally tracks down his quarry. I just hope you like the color red.
Ash Lomen is a writer of short fiction from Southern Louisiana. He is the author of the collection “Swallowed By The Horizon” and co-wrote the horror novella “Blow Up the Outside World” with Jordan Krall. He has had other verse and prose published in Bizarro anthologies both online and off. He lives with a pig, a dog, and a cat.