Tuesday, August 25, 2009

banned on the run.

“Unlike other recent torture-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake. Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.” - BBFC director David Cooke.

I really have to question the mental well-being of anyone who makes or watches these movies. - Tokyojesusfist, Beyondhollywood website.

Gurotesuku (AKA Grotesque, 2009)
Dir: Kôji Shiraishi.
Cast: Hiroaki Kawatsure, Tsugumi Nagasawa and Shigeo Ôsako.

A young couple (AV star Tsugumi, last seen as the scary lizard arsed lady in Tokyo Gore Police and Hiroaki from OneChanbara and the classic Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman) are returning home after a first date when a scary moonfaced mentalist (rubber faced Shigeo from Funuke, Show Me Some Love looking like Takeshi Kitano's more troubled younger brother) wallops the pair over the head with a mallet, chucks them in the back of his van and drives them to his secret lair.

The bemused and battered couple awake to find themselves shackled in a basement and with no forthcoming explanation (as yet) at the mercy of their captor who, dispensing with pleasantries begins to torture, abuse and ultimately mutilate the (up until now) happy couple for the remainder of the films short running time.

"Just a trim madam?"

Luckily the scenes of endless violence, classical music, cream cakes and people wetting themselves are punctuated by
flashbacks revealing how the couple met (which is a relief) and before long their crazy captor has opened up to the poor pair and explained why he's being so bad.

It appears that he can only experience sexual stimulation when watching people fight to survive, yup the indomitable human spirit turns him on.

It's a pity then that he's never discovered any Robert Holmes penned Doctor Who stories as he'd probably just have stayed in wanking himself silly as Sir Tom of Baker gives a variety of rousing speeches to various groups of humans under siege rather than kidnapping strangers from underpasses.

"Eye hen!"

With this confession, Mr. demento has a proposition for the couple; if they have enough spirit to make him cum in his pants whilst sticking pins in them or chainsawing various body parts he'll let them go.

If not they'll both die (very slowly and very, very painfully) in his cellar.


I have no idea where to start when trying to sum up the experience that is Grotesque, whilst certainly not an enjoyable way to spend the evening it is definitely an unforgettable one.

None too surprisingly tho', it's not the characterless 'spectacle of (sexual) sadism' that the BBFC have accused it of being but is in fact, a startling and somewhat moving tale of true, uncorruptable love overcoming adversity and the evils of modern society.

Bandwagon jumping protectors of all we hold dear, alongside various newspapers have gleefully reported stories on how the film revels in a cesspool of misogynistic sexual violence, completely missing the fact that the mad as a lorry Shigeo is determined that neither victim should be favoured, splitting his time equally between both.

Which in this day and age is actually quite polite.

But whilst those who've seen it (and are intelligent enough to see past the violence on show, make a note of this Mr. Cooke and see me after class) can refute the charges of misogyny leveled at the film,they can't deny the fact that Grotesque is possibly the most nihilistic film about love to ever grace the screen, making it's closest relatives, David Lynch's Wild At Heart and Blue Velvet, appear positively anemic in comparison.

To our American cousins, not matter what Fox News
says our National Health Service is nothing like this.

And with a running time of a mere 73 minutes, Grotesque is the last word in cinematic shock, a bizarre and genuinely unnerving film dragged from the so-called 'torture porn' ghetto by it's impressive casting, simple premise and director Kôji Shiraishi's brave decision to make the viewer experience (in unflinching detail) every bit of pain, confusion and humiliation suffered by the unfortunate couple.

Watching for the first time is disorientating, with Shigeo's sick scheme as much of a mystery to us as it is to the people involved but we can only watch in horror, unable to interfere as we slowly become more and more involved in Shigeo's life and the fate of his victims as Shiraishi holds a mirror up to todays news and media's handling of violence in the real world.

Obviously due to Antichrist (bloody hell, I'm obsessed) being released uncut in the UK, the dear old BBFC had to be seen as protecting us from other (less arty) vile movies lest anyone complained about being able to see Charlotte Gainsbourg performing a circumcision on herself in 70mm Dolby surround at the local cineplex and, unfortunately Grotesque just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ironically just like the movies loved up couple.

But ain't that always the way?

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