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Horrors of Malformed Men
Horrors of Malformed Men
Director: Teruo Ishii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2007     1hr 39min

SPECIAL FEATURES: — * New, fully restored, anamorphic widescreen transfer mastered in high-definition from Toei's original vault elements — * Japanese language with newly-translated, removable English subtitles — * Audio com...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Director: Teruo Ishii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Synapse Films
Format: DVD - Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1969
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1969
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese, Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

One of the most unique and bizarre films I've seen
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 12/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"And coming from Japan's long, unique, and often bizarre history of film, that is saying something. The fact that this film was produced in the sixties actually boggles my mind as does the amount of material pilfered from it over the years by both Western and Eastern filmmakers. The fact that it is still to this day banned in it's native Japan is another sticking point. Consider this a must for the film fan who's seen it all.

An insane asylum, psychadelic dancers in silver body paint, siamese twins, a pond full of beautiful naked women who are fed from a boat like so many koi, a bizarre family mystery, matching swastika scars on the feet of two different men -one alive and one dead, second-hand cannibalism via crustacean, women sewed to sheep, an island of custom made freaks, an murder scene that was ripped off wholesale for use in a James Bond film (You Only Live Twice), and a revenge plot so insanely convoluted that it must have influenced Oldboy are just some of the head-spinning madness "The Horrors of Malformed Men" has to offer.

The sensational cover of the DVD is extremely misleading, but it got me to watch the film so who's to argue? Fans of Takashi Miike are urged to buy this film ASAP and cult cinema/grindhouse afficianados should consider this a must-see as well. The gore is less than one would think, but there is plenty of sex, bizarre visuals, and insane and disturbing material here to make this a memorable experience for any exploitation fan. The only drawback is the poor makeup. But again, we are talking about a foreign film from the 1960's here so don't let that stop you from snapping this forgotten gem up."
Like a nightmare on film
Arch Stanton | Jupiter, FL United States | 10/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's too bad that "Captain Samba" doesn't know what he's talking about. It's fine if he didn't like this film, but his claim that "maybe one line in 30 is translated" is just plain wrong. Everything in the film is translated, and the subtitling is one of the better jobs I've seen of a classic Japanese title. Even written signs and songs are translated, which is uncommon for many DVD labels.


Rent the film yourself to judge - don't believe this clown's review."
Horrors of Malformed Men
Clinton Enlow | Kansas | 10/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is my second run in with director Teruo Ishii, a film that is as twisted as the previous film of his I had seen Blind Womans Curse. Horrors I hear has a reputation for being a banned cult classic. I'll admit that I walked into this expecting rampant nudity and gore and a take on some taboo subjects. The taboo bits come up in the end of the film that I won't explain here to spoil it, but as a whole compared to the films of Takashi Miike and the like its banned status is a little perplexing. But that doesn't make it bad. In fact the film is a perplexingly awesome mix of the surreal and the over the top. It mixes the stories of Edogawa Rampo to create a smorgasbord of absurdity. From the opening where the main character escapes from an asylum where women bear their breast and stab people with fake knives to the part where the hero pretends to be the resurected son of a wealthy family who he just happens to resemble. And this is before we even see the butoh dancing ruler of a dream island who kidnaps beautiful women to take to an island where he surgically altering men to take over the world. The movie takes it to level ten when it comes to giddy silliness. And this is before Rampo's Kogoro Akechi shows up at the end to reveal the plot. I've already revealed some plot details but that I'll keep secret to avoid spoiling it.
To me the whole thing feels like the predecessor to the films of Takashi Miike or Katsuhito Ishii. Unlike others I didn't find it a masterpiece of horror but at least Shinya Tsukamoto agrees that its goofy blast."
A Cabinet Of Perversities: Freudian 'Family Romance' As Gran
J. E. Barnes | Bayridge, Brooklyn, New York | 04/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Teruo Ishii's long-banned Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) is a genuinely nightmarish piece of Japanese horror cinema. Both highly disciplined and extremely excessive, its plot elements include deceitfully-assumed identities, doppelgangers, family secrets, murder, revenge, unrequited love, adultery, kidnapping, incest, bestiality, dismemberment, torture, cannibalism, human beings purposefully deformed through radical surgery, and almost every other known perversion.

The film's 'mad doctor,' Jogoro Komoda (Tatsumi Hijikata in a wonderfully bizarre film-stealing performance), who kidnaps and deforms innocent men and women so as to surround himself with literal reflections his own emotional scars and psychosis, is the maddest mad doctor in the long history of world cinema. Compared to Komoda, H.G. Wells' Dr. Moreau, as depicted in both the original novel and by Charles Laughton in the Island of Lost Souls film adaptation of 1933, is a paragon of virtue, benevolence, and rationality.

Komodo joins the very upper ranks of nefarious screen villains, such as Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury) in John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986).

The first half of Horrors of Malformed Men is a conservatively-produced drama concerned with the mysteries of identity and memory: Hirosuke Hitomi (Teruo Yoshida) awakens in an insane asylum, suffering from amnesia and surrounded by rioting female inmates. Escaping, Hirosuke discovers that a prominent citizen, who resembles him exactly, has just been murdered. Cautiously making his way to the dead man's family compound on a remote portion of the Japanese coast, Hirosuke begins to unravel the mysteries of his existence, which he learns are closely tied to a weird, isolated island barely visible from the shore.

From the moment Hirosuke and his entourage set foot on the island, Horrors of Malformed Men shifts into high surreal gear and never stops building momentum for a single frame.

Ishii is an extremely perceptive, sensitive, and talented director: despite its shocking carnage, spiritual squalor, and decadence, Horrors of Malformed Men, which was originally intended for general audiences, is also a physically beautiful and emotionally moving film: the climax is so deftly handled that viewers may come to sympathize, however briefly, with Komoda and the passions which has driven him to create an obscene Garden of Eden on Earth, with himself as both Father Creator and Serpent.

Despite the surgically-grafted horrors writhing through the second half of the film, one of the most powerfully repulsive scenes involves not the torments of the physically maimed, but a starving captive woman who voraciously eats handfuls of live crabs off the corpse of her lover (whose flesh has, in turn, just been devoured by the crustaceans).

That said, some--but only some--of the film's 'special effects' and 'monsters' are ludicrous as only monsters of 1960s Japanese cinema can be, and are seemingly intended to appear so: one 'monster,' for example, appears to be nothing more than a male actor amateurishly covered in standard-issue white marshmallows. Which will serve to remind viewers that earlier in his career, Ishii had directed the 'Super Giant' children's science fiction series, later compiled and released in the United States as Atomic Rulers of the World, Invaders from Space, and Attack from Space in 1964.

However, viewers looking for far more traditional monster, horror, and suspense fair such as Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Village of the Damned (1960), Halloween (1978), Aliens (1986), or Sleepy Hollow (1999) should probably avoid Horrors of Malformed Men, which they are likely to find obscure, 'arty,' and unnecessarily complicated.

Horrors of Malformed Men is an important but disturbing work of fantastic art in the centuries-long tradition of the visionary and the grotesque, which, in cinematic terms, also includes Freaks (1932), Eyes Without A Face (1959), The Birds (1963), El Topo (1970), Profondo Rosso (1975), Blue Velvet, The Devil's Backbone (2001), and Donnie Darko (2001)."