Rambo Noir… Here’s shooting at you kid
Rampo Noir (Ranpo jigoku): 4 out of 10: My first thought was Zardoz that wacky beyond belief Sean Connery sci-fi film. My second thought was Yoko Ono. Both thoughts along with Johnny Got His Gun and Sherlock Holmes flooded me during the four short stories that make up this J-horror anthology.
First the good news this J-horror is one-hundred percent pasty white ghost free. Yup not an insect screeching wet haired concubine of the damned to be found in any of the pictures. The bad news?. Well, let’s look at the four films.
Mars Canal: 1 out of 10: Naked man in our arty entrée flashes back at a violent rape while a rare static fills the otherwise mute soundtrack. Yup, this was the Yoko picture. Fortunately, it’s only for seven minutes.
Mirror Hell: 6 out of 10: Think Sherlock Holmes, but Watson is a dominatrix. Very straight forward narrative and is easily the most accessible of the bunch.
The Caterpillar: 5 out of 10: is the Johnny Got His Gun picture. War hero suffers a domineering bride with an over the top acrotomophilia. Not as bad as I just made it sound but close.
Crawling Bugs: 6 out of 10: If a Hollywood studio ever remakes this film I have two words for the main lead in this segment. Crispin Glover. This tale of obsession over both an actress and the bugs crawling on her skin would make a nifty Showtime Masters of Horror segment. Very arty I could see this both written, directed and starring Mr. Glover who certainly shares the films over the top weirdness.
The whole Rampo Noir movie feels a little like a made for cable anthology series except for the first film that defiantly has NEA grant written all over it. Different but often a little slow and not all that good.
The films have virtually nothing to do with each other in tone and are not strong enough to stand on their own. They do remind me of Zardoz. A film to show your jaded friends who think they have seen everything.