Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Made only a year after DEADLY OUTLAW: RIKKA, YAKUZA DEMON is very similar in story: Foot soldier Seiji (Riki Takeuchi) looks to the boss, Mr. Muto, of his small yakuza family as a father.  So when Mr. Muto owes the larger Date Family money, he agrees to personally kill an executive of the rival Tendo Family in payment for his debt. Seiji knows Mr. Muto will be killed so he calls the cops and they arrest him on minor gun charges. The Date Family believes Mr. Muto chickened out and called the cops himself. Seiji is angered by this insult...things escalate and before long Seiji and his faithful yakuza brother begin attacking the heads of the Tendo themselves. He has become a "stray dog", a "demon".

Despite the colorful title there's nothing excessively bizarre going on like in some other Miike films.  That said, there are a few moments that did stick out for that unique Miike touch: the Date Family bosses are having a meeting and the one boss (Kazuya Nakayama from DETECTIVE STORY) doesn't move at all for 100 seconds!  He just sits there completely motionless, like he's frozen.  Another clever bit was when a yakuza guy goes to eat with his girlfriend.  They're sitting outside under a umbrella and rain (a lot of rain) splashes up on the camera lens, then some dramatic stuff starts happening and suddenly the action is being filmed from a camera shooting the action on a computer monitor!!!  At one moment it even shows the top of the video player!  I don't think I've ever seen that before: a camera recording a monitor displaying the movie we're currently watching and the original camera lens is covered in rain.  When the one guy fires his gun the muzzle flash reflects on the water on the camera lens!  Absolutely brilliant.

Amazing cast, quick pace, brilliant editing, a Miike cameo(?), cinematography that should be studied in film school and, of course, great direction.  Highly recommended.  Double feature with DEADLY OUTLAW REKKA.

Also make sure to watch the extremely funny alternate ending which is a play on the insane ending from DEAD OR ALIVE.  I liked it even better than the real ending.


Say whaaat?  A Takashi Miike musical!  How strange is that?

Four generations of the Katakuri family have opened a bed and breakfast out in the countryside with expectations that a major road will be built nearby.  Until then, they're pretty low on customers...and for some reason quite a few of the customers that they do get end up dead!  Scared that all of these deaths will ruin their new business the Katakuri family simply bury them out back.  Yeah, this is not your normal musical.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS definitely gets points for imagination, but it should have been trimmed down some to speed up the pace.  Slow pace aside I did enjoy the film.  Tetsuro Tanba's yelling and Kiyoshiro Imawano's performance were the highlights of the movie for me.  Dancing zombies, great camerawork, wonderful direction by Miike, good acting, crazy claymation skillfully used to cover up the low budget.  THOTK might not be up everybody's alley, but in the right state of mind it can be very enjoyable.