Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hair Extensions Special Edition|
Actor: Chiaki Kuriyama
Director: Sion Sono
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Customs agents discover a huge amount of human hair along with the bald corpse of a young girl. This arouses the curiosity of Yamazaki, a mortuary employee with a hair fetish, particularly since the girl's hair continues t... more »
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Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 07/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"EXTE HAIR EXTENSIONS (aka. Ekusete) is the latest offering from director Sion Sono; whose most successful works include the cult classic "Suicide Club"(winner of "Most Groundbreaking film"), and "Strange Circus"(Grand Jury Prize winner and Best Actress). "Exte: Hair Extensions" was featured in the "Fantasia Film Fest" and expectations were very high for Sono's latest film. Sion Sono is a poetic director, and while this film captures a lot of established formulas that have been reminiscent in Asian Horror films, it doesn't make it any less effective as a Horror-Dark Fantasy hybrid.
Synopsis partly derived from dvd back cover:
Yamazaki (Ren Osugi) is a morgue janitor obsessed with beautiful hair. One evening, a female victim of illegal organ harvesting was transferred to the morgue. Obsessed with the body's hair, he stole the corpse for his own personal amusement. Surprisingly, the hair continues to grow from the dead body and occupied Yamazaki's house...
Meanwhile, a young aspiring hair stylish named Yuko (Chiaki Kuriyama, Kill Bill) is training at a local salon called "Gilles De Rais" under its head stylist (Yamamoto Mirai). Her world is about to be turned upside down when her sister, Tsugumi (Kiyomi Mizushima) leaves her daughter Mami (Sato Miku) under her care. Mami is a victim of child abuse, Tsugumi is an uncaring mother more concerned about getting drunk and spending time with her lover. Yuko, her decision supported by her roommate, Yuki (Megumi Sato) become adamant to keep Mami away from her abusive birth mother.
One day, Yamazaki shows up at Yuko's salon and gives the workers samples of natural hair extensions. Although, the hair is lovely and very enchanting, the hair is cursed by an evil spirit. The vengeful force bedevils anyone who wears them by manipulating the hair follicles in every part of the human body--the hair will grow...
The screenplay by Sono (Strange Circus, Noriko's Dinner Table) and co-writer Adachi Masaki (co-director of Ju-On) may seem to be a rethread of other movies concerning possessed body parts such as "The Hand", the K-horror: "The Wig" and "The Eye". It may be a ridiculously contrived plot at first impression, but if you know this director, you'll understand his motivations. Asian horror has been plagued by the vengeful long-haired ghost so the director decides to "extend" its concept to the extreme. Sono expresses the idea of killer hair extensions to a frightening concept and pushes its limits, that delivers an uneasy feeling. The film is also a subtle way of ridiculing the usual trappings that J-horror has fallen into, in a humorously twisted way.
There are some graphically creepy sequences as the possessed hair takes over one's body. Hair would grow from all parts of the body, eyelids, eyeballs, tongues and fingertips; body parts are decapitated with razor-sharp precision. The ways of hair torture are on display as Sono manipulates our senses with visual manipulation that borders on being absurdly twisted and at times, cartoonish. Blood and some gore is omnipresent, as the killer hair extensions move on their own accord, killing people who are full of vanity, but not that much that it would turn off viewers. However, if you want honesty, the abused child subplot is actually the film's most effective asset. Tsugumi is truly a mother from "hades", played by Kiyomi Mizushima with convincing fervor, you can't help but have a lot of hatred for her character. Mima's mother is the true monster in this film, she is cold, heartless and selfish. Tsugumi's character makes Yamazaki's over-the-top eccentric, campy villainy look like he's Uncle Scrooge.
The dead girl in the container may lack (ahem) character development. We see her past in the form of flashbacks, as seen by the hair's victims but the film never does provide any solid explanation as to who she is or why she could hold such unholy supernatural power. Glimpses of Yamazaki's past is on display as to why he is so obsessed with hair but his character is a bit too comical to generate any interest. Chiaki Kuriyama pulls off a decent performance for the most part, but the most stellar performance falls to Miku Sato who plays Mami, the abused child. Miku Sato is so convincing with her role as Mami that the audience would definitely feel her ordeal. Mami is a child very afraid, and Sato gives her character a lot of life, the child actress bears her soul to portray her character.
Overall, "Exte Hair Extensions" may not be as good as "Ringu" or "Ju-On". The film leaves a lot of questions unanswered that left me asking for more. This film is Sono's most commercial film outing and too mainstream for my tastes, but it is a decent thriller. The director presents all the trappings reminiscent to other Japanese horror formulas, and puts them all together for his purpose. There isn't a lot of emotional strength in this latest film when compared with Sono's awesome "Strange Circus" and the climax may leave you with a lack of closure. The film is very "viewer-friendly" and easier to grasp than his other movies. Sono undoubtedly just wants to make a film that is for mainstream audiences as Takashi Miike did with "One Missed Call". "Exte Hair Extensions" is creepy, sometimes goofy and comical, but definitely cool as ice.
Not your average J-horror!.
Puzzle box | Kuwait | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hair Extensions or Exte was definitely more than a Japanese horror parody, it was made by Sion Sono who also made Suicide Circle and Noriko's Dinner. Now we know that the concept of having killer hair is quite ridiculous and cannot be taken seriously, so the director ended up with something quite different and somehow his natural sense of creativity and knowledgeable approach of the genre resulted in a very entertaining horror/parody film. The film was more lighthearted and not as disturbing as Suicide Circle, it was about a young hair dresser named Yoko played by Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill vol.1, Battle Royale) she is a typical Japanese teenage girl with a bubbly personality and always seems happy. While studying to become a professional hairdresser, she also has to take care of her niece as her cousin has been anything but nice to her. One day a strange man walks into the hair studio that Yoko works at and gives them a bunch of hair extensions. Everyone is eager to put them on, unaware of the fact that the hair has been cursed by the dead girl that the man got them from. The hair is from a dead woman and that everyone who comes in contact with it is almost certain to die. Meanwhile, Yoko is struggling to balance between her career and taking
care of her niece who was abused by her deranged cousin. Will Yoko be able to stop the cursed hair from growing before her niece becomes the next victim?.
Say what you will about the quality of recent Japanese horror flicks, but if there's one director who stands out in Asian horror business it's Sion Sono. This man doesn't care at all about horror movie trends or making his movies mainstream. He takes his visions and turns them into bizarre horror flicks that no one else would ever have even considered making, and for most of the time it just works. Exte pretty much ridicules the current inflated trend with long-haired ghost girls, and it does so with style and humour. Not only is Exte funny, but it's also packed with great special effects, some stunning visuals and even a couple of scares (O.K. so it's not really that scary). Exte was a really great film even though it does take it's time during the beginning it however establishes each of these characters and has a nice buildup, and also the Hair Song was freakin' hilarious and the main villain was very odd but memorable. there's no real ghost girl in Exte, but there does happen to be a whole lot of hair that's gone on a killing rampage. Sion Sono has also mixed in some elements of torture porn in here, and even if there's close to no gore in the movie, he manages to make the torture scene quite emotional due to his impressive directing skills.
The acting is also top-notch and Chiaki Kuriyama gives us her best performance since Battle Royale. Her character develops and grows in harmony with the story and you instantly root for her. Overall I would have to say that this was a very impressive and highly entertaining Japanese horror flick, even though the first half was kind of slow the second half was great and was a total blast. If you you're a fan of J-horror or like Sion Sono or Takashi Miike's films then you should definitely check it out, this is something you haven't seen before. You don't want to miss this one trust me.
Goofy but Fun
Scripzing | Flagstaff, AZ | 01/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Basically a Japanese B-Movie, a horror movie with hair as a key element. Low budget, done serious but not too much so. Chiaki Kuriyama is cute, fans of the genre will like it but don't spend too much money to get it."
So bizarre it's loveable and for all the wrong reasons... it
Jacob Lawrence | Seattle, WA : USA | 08/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just because it's commercial does not mean it is conventional :)
I bought this film after seeing the first two installments of the Suicide Club Trilogy and Strange Circus, not really on impulse, rather, the idea that Sion Sono is my new idol, at least before going into this one... and then after, he cemented his standing! This is a new style compared to the others, and while it has a different look, a different feel, it still hits home with some of the original mind games as well as the killer story telling.
Initially, I was a bit turned away from this movie by both the premise and the reviews/previews, but loving both horror films and Sion Sono's work, I decided to give it a try, and I'll be the first to admit, there is some misleading stuff out there.
As you can probably guess, this isn't strictly one genre or another, but where most films that travel between genres fall astray and feel awkward, Ekusute floats gracefully though being a Thriller, Horror, Comedy, and Drama, all at the same time, which is probably a large part of its loss for appeal based upon descriptions... it's hard to capture it completely.
The story itself is quirky... expect an assortment of characters that are very unique, some personable, some bizarre, some distasteful, but all well rounded and enjoyable. The story itself is offbeat, but draws you in and keeps you there. There are several stories running at the same time, all separate and connected in their own way, but blended masterfully. There are several disturbing scenes, many comical moments, dramatic segments, touching times, a flow of suspense, and in the end... you'll have to see :) It does not disappoint, though I'd be reluctant to label it a horror film, because, you'll laugh through a great portion, maybe when you shouldn't be, but it's inevitable!
The actors all did a great job too, pulling off their roles to an off-beat tee. Chiaki Kuriyama, the lead, does a good job, this being the first role I've seen her as pleasant and charming all the way through; it was a nice change, and good to see her smiling! Miku Sato plays the abused daughter-in-law/sister-of-sorts and does great! . Kiyomi Mizushima, who you'll recognize as Kumiko from "Noriko's Dinner Table", is truly despicable; playing the sister that looks charming but has a sinister personality. Ren Osugi plays Yamazaki, and is so wildly out of his mind, he sets a new precedent for hair-fetish movie psychos, and many other psychos, too!!! You'll probably spot several other familiar faces, so keep your eyes peeled!
The DVDs themselves are great in this package. You get Disk One with the Movie, film trailer, and a couple other trailers for other films, the basics of any Disk One, but then in Disk Two there is a "Music Video" (which, by the way, would make the set worth it by itself), TV Spots (basically a bunch [no joke, a lot] of short commercials), Deleted Scenes, a Behind The Scenes, and a Q&A with Sion Sono himself. The film itself comes with 4 Audio Tracks: 2 English and 2 Japanese, and while the English Dub is par with any English Dubbing, the Japanese track is really what you should be listening to...
All and all, it's a great, crazy film with a nice release, and you can't ask for more, despite the fact that you'll be left wanting a lot more! We'll have to see where Sion Sono goes in the future, hopefully, very, very far!"