Featuring: Noriko Nakagoshi (“Rattle Rattle”) ; Tasuku Emoto (“Hagane”) ; Maki Meguro (“The Inheritance”)
Directors: Keita Amemiya (“Rattle Rattle”) ; Takuji Sizuki (“Hagane”) ; Keisuke Toyoshima (“The Inheritance”)
Writers: Keita Amemiya (“Rattle Rattle”) ; Takuji Suzuki & Naoki Yamamoto (“Hagane”) ; Keisuke Toyoshima & Takashi Shimizu (“The Inheritance”)
When I was a pup, I applied for a summer job as a merchant’s apprentice at The Mentally-Unfit-to-Sell-Wares Vizier tent in the Cairo Bazaar. The owner handed me a broom, said nothing, and left for his presumed lunch break and/or climactic toilet battle with his “inner demons”. He returned to find me still standing there, leaning on the broom, without having lifted a talon to tidy up the place. He told me that I had failed his test, as a good employee would have shown initiative and swept up the market stall without having to be told. I responded by telling him that a) sweeping with a broom isn’t a sign of “initiative”, it’s using the fucking thing for the sole purpose it was made for, and b) a good manager tells their worker what to do instead or just sitting back and hoping everything works out for the best. He patted me on the shoulder, said I’m perfect management material, then told me he needs a subservient, not a partner, and sent me on my way. I went back the next day to rob him blind, but the tent was gone…
Turns out he burned it down and faked his own death, then moved to Boca Raton with his wife once the insurance check cleared. The moral of the story? There is no moral. And isn’t that the real moral? No. What does this have to do with today’s movie? Nothing. Carry on.
Though its title may sound like a Saudi Arabian re-naming for Sex and the City 2, Unholy Women is actually a horror anthology consisting of three unrelated stories. Well, they are related, but only tangentially. Each surreal story involves a supernatural female character in an antagonistic role. Whether these stories are considered sexist and immediate grounds for dismissal from your watch list is a case-by-case case for any would-be viewer, but either way this review is happening, so read it or don’t. It’s your funeral.
Rattle Rattle – The first fleeting feature follows a female figure fondly facing forward to forming a fellowship with her fiance, Franklin. His name is actually Akira (Kôsuke Toyohara), but I fell into a bout of alliterative tunnel vision of which “Akira” would have furiously fudged the finish of. Fuck it.
Our lady protagonist is Kanako (Noriko Nagagoshi), who’s just a few short weeks away from a hopeful happily-ever-after with her husband-to-be. Kana isn’t Akira’s first traveling companion to the altar, as his ex-wife appears to be fairly active in his life. This distresses the salary man, as seen when an unwanted text kills his happiness penis while he’s saying goodnight to Kana and gifting her a pair of pearl earrings. I usually give my female ass-quaintances the full pearl necklace treatment, but only if there’s a towel nearby… *rimshot* Anyway, the presence of the former Mrs. Akira could contribute to complications further into the runtime. Speaking of complications, while perambulating the sidewalk to her apartment building, our heroine stops to pick up what looks like one of the very same earrings she just received off of the sidewalk before her head’s nearly caved-in by a falling object! Was it earthbound debris loosened from the building’s facade by a passing kaiju or rampaging robot? Perhaps someone’s anime character body pillow, thrown from a window following a particularly heated domestic disagreement with its owner? Time will tell.
When she comes to, Kana sees a young girl nearby and inquires as to the little lady’s lack of adult accompaniment so late at night. Distracted by a strange chattering sound (not unlike a pair of novelty wind-up teeth), Kana looks away briefly only for the mystery youth to disappear faster than my interest in a Zack Snyder movie. Despite some blood on the back of her head, Kanako retreats to her apartment and takes a long phone call with her friend during which she comments that she won’t be bathing tonight… So she’s just gonna go to bed with blood caked in her hair?! You manky broad! Uggh! In agreement with me, a disembodied voice from within her apartment calls to Kana and tells her that her bath is ready. Well, if the blood in her hair weren’t enough to convince her she needs to hose off, whatever bodily waste she likely expelled into her yoga pants after spooky stuff like that no doubt did the trick!
She’s jolted from her abject terror by a phone call from Akira, warn her that his ex-wife has flipped the proverbial wig and is on the way there right now to go full Stabby McGee on her ass! Their call cannot be completed as dialed though and Akira’s cut off (no pun intended). With her heart practically pounding out of her chest now, Kan (“Kaaaaaaaaaaan!”) investigates steam pouring from her water closet. After turning the bath off, she runs into a creepy looking woman in a red dress waiting for her in her hallway, wielding a carving knife and without a single succulent slab of Kobe Beef in sight to use it on! Well, I guess she’ll have to settle for slicing up some long pig instead…
Kana runs for her life to escape the crimson garbed pursuer, whose lack of humanity becomes more apparent by her twisted face, (Mister) fantastically contorting limbs, spider-like wall climbing, and accompanying soundtrack of rattling and clicking sounds that comes standard with pretty much every make and model of Japanese apparition. Whether this spookshow is actually Akira’s vengeful ex is questionable, but Kana is helped in her escape by the barely-there little girl from before and a host of helpful ghosts who look like they were members of the Tim Burton Appreciation Society that died on their way to a Bauhaus concert when their goth charter bus drove off of a particularly depressing cliff. Presumably, these phantoms are former victims of the dead lady in red, but if that’s the case then why isn’t the little girl also decked out in Hot Topic overstock?
The game of freaky freeze tag concludes in an otherworldly limbo room that I can only hypothesize is either the phantom’s lair or the Black Lodge’s employee daycare center. As the hellborne hose beast closes in on our heroine, Kana escapes through a window ex machina (deus ex window?) and Louganises herself on the sidewalk below! As Thales so memorably postulated, “It ain’t the fall that’ll soil your toga, it’s the sudden stop at the end.”
K awakens in a hospital bed where
Tetsuo Kaneda Akira gets her up to speed on her situation. It seems the object that initially fell on her head was, in fact, a human being! It shouldn’t really surprise anyone though, given how suicide happy the Japanese are. I don’t know if it’s a direct result of it being a frequent topic of their pop culture or if it’s a sanity corroding side effect of the strict, individuality crushing restraints of their social structure, but you can’t hurl a suicidal person’s dead body in that damn country without hitting… well… another suicidal person’s dead body.
The kamikaze citizen’s hands collided so hard with Kana’s skull that the digits fused with our lady’s bone dome! She’s been comatose ever since while the white masks hack ‘n slashed the excess calcium outta her cabeza. Thus, her whole horror movie ordeal was all an exercise in subconscious self-abuse? Did we just get Dorothy Gale’d?!
After checking out of the hospital, Kana returns to the apartment complex to follow up on some perverse curiosity of hers. She assumes that the person whose fingerprints she’ll now have permanently etched on her frontal lobe must’ve been the mother of the little girl who pizza-ed herself on the curb previously. While perched at the railing over which the mother-daughter duo did themselves in, a neighbor Shamalayans that, while the mournful mommy did kill herself, she actually hung herself at her family’s place in the country a year earlier and thus was not the balcony belly flopper!
Japan’s answer to Gladys Kravitz does tell Kana that someone else jumped from the spot recently, a revelation that sends our heroine into an emotional tailspin for no apparent reason. If it wasn’t the mother who gave her the ultimate facepalm swan dive of doom, then who? Turned off by this morbid scene, Helen Roeper exits stage left, leaving K alone to be visited by the ghost girl AND her ghost mom, whom Kan now realizes was one of the phantoms playing road sign wraith for her during her “dream”. The inaudible pair are immediately Thanos Snaptured out of existence in a dissipation of pixelation though, leaving our protagonista helpless when the crimson clad spectral harasser emerges from the shadows, engulfing her with a wave of ghostly grabby hands! When asked why she did this, the ghastly gal goes all Bride of Beasty Boyd (or Semi Colin, depending on your pack) and simply states, “I’m a monster!” before cackling and sending Kana over the railing. Instead of french kissing the concrete though, she falls face first into… her face? Yep. Somehow Kana was thrown through space and time and SHE was the one who fell on herself in some David Lynchian scented potpourri of mental bullshit. You know; Japan stuff.
”Rattle Rattle” is a strong start for Unholy Women. It’s ending will likely turn off ¾ or more of its viewers, but that “Japan Stuff” comment was the best way to sum it up. From personal experience, if a movie’s ending makes no sense and has even less explanation behind it, it’s either Japanese or Japanese “influenced”. Especially when it comes to supernatural/horror flicks. What I do like about the finish is the evil spirit’s simple motivation of “I’m a monster”. One of the things I always enjoyed about Japan’s culture has been its lack of god characters, opting instead for the Shinto belief that everything has a spirit. As a result, there are all manner of these Yokai spirits whose entire existence is just to fuck with people. Don’t want your kids screwing around down by the river? Warn them about the hungry Kappa living in it who will turn their innards into dinnards! Want to scare your kids straight before they start a life of crime? Tell them that stealing things will cause them to turn into a Dodomeki! Don’t want your children out late and alone after dark? Kuchisake-Onna and her freaky Kakihari mouth has got you covered! There’s a rich and beautiful tapestry of boogeymen and boogeywomen in that nation’s history, and plenty of the superstitious citizenry continue to perpetuate them as truth rather than urban legend. And if you think that’s weird coming from one of the most advanced first world societies on the planet, keep in mind that, depending on the source, anywhere from 40-80% of Americans believe in angels. Fucking. Angels. BLART!
I couldn’t find an exact spook that the red dress donned demon dame would have been based on. I spent about an hour dicking around on the worldwide wasteland in search of yokai and ghosts and bears (oh my!) and the best I could come up with is that she’s a Shinigami – reaper style monsters popularized in recent years by the ”Death Note” manga (comic book) series. However, those freaks are jacks of all trades in terms of mortal murder, not specialist assassins like Red and her whole “tossing people over rails into their past selves” gimmick. I may not know her origin, but with all those railing deaths, I bet her favorite movie is Space Mutiny!
Hagane – Our second short subject is best described as what would happen if David Cronenberg made a Japanese rom-com. It follows mildly handsome young garage mechanic Sekiguchi (Tasuku Emoto), who is too young to drink and, thus, too young to be too drunk to fuck…*crickets*
Dead Kennedys reference shoehorned in dry aside, Guchi’s boss Takahashi (Teruyuki Kugawa) asks the promising young car tinkerer to take his younger sister Hagane (played by the singularly named Nahane) out on a date as a favor to him. The picture he shows the lad brings with it the potential for whoopie pie, but the boss’s offer (i.e. bribe) to let his employee drive a client’s incredibly expensive sports car for the outing seals the deal. I’d make a joke about the owner’s implied lack of penile mass and its relation to a nation whose male population is stereotyped to already be on the short end of the global average in terms of tube steak girth, but I’m not using this review as an attachment to my application for an “additional dialogue” job on a Michael Bay movie, so it would just reflect poorly on me to write it. Holy run-on sentence, Batman!
When Guchi arrives to pick Hagane up, he finds Boss T in the living room, hand pumping an unknown substance into a human shaped burlap sack sitting in the corner. The confusion and subtle terror currently creeping up your butt after seeing this? Yeah, it’s just the beginning.
Care to guess what’s in the sack? It’s Hagane. Yes, Sakiguchi’s date is in the sack (saving him the effort of getting her there later, hi-o!), and her body is only uncovered from the waist down. As she fervently mashes a foot-peddle powered sewing machine (presumably out of pure amusement since she’s not using her hands to actually sew anything), Sak Boy stands in what I can only describe as “polite terror” while Taka tells him about how their mother died while giving birth to his sister, leaving him to raise her on his own while COMPLETELY NO-SELLING THE FACT THAT SHE’S WEARING A RAGGED SACK OVER HER UPPER BODY AND HE WAS USING A HOSE TO PUMP MYSTERY SAUCE INTO HER!
Hag puts on her, uhm, “face” for the outing with her escort, showing off her best (and only) assets with a short black leather skirt and Whorothy Gale ruby red pumps. Were I a leg man-dog myself, I might have taken a shot at showing the bag lady a good time too, given how attractive her gussied up gams were! However, as is written in the ancient scrolls of our mythology, it’s well documented that I’ve always been and shall forever be an ass man. Speaking of, Billy Gunn does not represent us as a collective, so please keep the vids of his entrance music to your bookmarks and not my inbox. Gracias.
The pair’s resultant romance-less rendezvous is the most awkward since that time I took a co-worker’s friend to see The Thirteenth Floor in an empty theater, where we sat two seats away from each other, not talking the entire time, nor ever again after it was over. First dates are the worst. After several very painful attempts at communicating with her and chasing the lady around a park (mostly so she doesn’t hurt herself and get our boy killed by her brother), Hagane falls into a stream and both end up soaking wet once Saki fishes her out. Taking her back to his place to get her a change of clothes, she doesn’t appreciate it when all he has to offer are some plastic garbage bags and a pair of his underwear… smooth operator, Gooch. Though it’s usually not a good move to offer your other a pair of your drawers until the third date, at least Don Juan here’s tighties were, in fact, whiteys, so good on him for not offering her a pair of fudgies from his hamper.
Hagane takes great offense to the lad’s half-assed attempt at chivalry and responds by pushing him to the floor, mashing her foot into his face, and violently trying to dry herself off on him by grinding her ass and hip against his head. Not one for the rough stuff, Guchi retaliates and pushes her backwards onto his bed. Like any first date that involves one or both participants falling across someone’s bed/futon/floor mattress/pile of unattended clothing, the awkward levels go right the fuck off of the meter as Hag dips her toe in Sak’s nostril crimson and uses it to write “MORE” on a window before giving him the ol’ “time to slap meats” thigh squeeze signal with her size 9s.
Remember kids, barring asexual types, everybody wants sexy attention sometimes. Even the weirdos? Especially the weirdos, damn it! How else did you think baby weirdos are made?!
In testament to the priorities of teenage boys, Guchi wastes no time considering whether or not to have sex with a mysterious bag of who-knows-what with legs, going from zero to “all you can eat taco buffet” before you can say “I hope that smell is the river water”. Turns out Gooch knows his way around a cooch and after getting positive feedback from his oral presentation, he works up the confidence to ask Kagane if he can untie her knot. Quite literally in this instance, where as in high school we used that as an allusion to initiating butt stuff. Untying her causes some less-than-fresh looking red organ-like meat thing to slous out, flipping Kag’s dial to berserker mode (like speeding truck or ticking clock) and causing her to trash the guy’s tiny studio apartment! Sack monster menstruation confirmed.
Pissed as punch at her would-be beau for ruining the mood, Hagane storms out, crashing through the front door and somehow soloing the incredible journey homeward bound. Taka calls a traumatized Guch later to let him know that Haga took a real shine to the lad though, going so far as to joke that his employee may be calling him “big brother” someday soon?! That, or he was just inviting Gu for the season premiere of ”Big Brother” tonight. Or he’s just really excited to invite him to his book club, where they’ll be discussing ‘1984’ this week? I wasn’t paying attention… OH SHIT! MY HOT POCKETS!
… Well, that’s $3 straight into the latrine.
If you thought these crazy kids’ date comedy of the bizarre couldn’t get creepier, you’ve clearly never met Japan, as the Japan-ing only intensifies when we’re subjected to the bathing scene. Yes, that’s not a tpyo. Well, that was a typo, but not the bathing thing. Who’s bathing? Taka is bathing… with his sister… and, since she has no functional arms of which to speak, it’s Brother T’s responsibility to scrub out her “nooks and crannies”… That’s right, as if this weren’t already enough of an assault on the senses, a grown (naked) man describes his sister’s private regions as if she were a sleazy english muffin. *BLART!*
In case your stomach still somehow has a grasp on any remnants of your prior meal, while Taka washes both blood and mud in equal measure from Hagane’s nethers, creepy girl starts making insectoid-bird sounds like the ambient stock backing track from a swamp scene in a movie. These noises understandably unsettle Takahashi (keeping in mind that this is the same perv who was just playfully dredging his sister’s crotch marsh), so he wacks her sack with a back scrubber to make her stop… WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING!!??
Tak goes into the office the next day only to find his solitary employee’s resignation/apology letter waiting for him. Poor Guchi isn’t out of the proverbial sex monster woods (I went there once. Second worst vacation of my life.) yet though, as Hagane tracks him down and attacks him in broad daylight with a dart gun! He fights back, repeatedly pinata-ing her with a lead pipe, but is cut open by her retractable, jagged metal defense blades… because why wouldn’t she have those! Then again, maybe if those things came standard on all models of female there wouldn’t be a need for the #MeToo Movement and we’d be able to tell all of the fetid slimy shitbags out there by their lack of fingers/arms.
Once again, Hag declares her love of the rough stuff by scrawling “More” in her dream weaver’s spilled sauce on a nearby car, but this time Guch rejects her invitation into more head games (eat your heart out, Foreigner) and just drops a big rock on her (presumed) head, then throttles her twitching, squealing body bag into oblivion. And so, having disposed of the monster, exit our hero through the front door, stage right, none the worse for wear from his harrowing experience.
Until he finds himself returning home later that night following an after-murder run for the border, and finds none other that his War of the (Bags of) Roses antagonist stumbling in the street! Seemingly out of pity for the abomination, Guch does the good guy thing and helps her up, only to push her through a gap in the guardrail at the side of the street, sending her over a cliff-side into a nebulous oblivion the likes of which even Boba Fett and Wile E. Coyote couldn’t possibly return from. So, having redisposed of the monster, exit our hero through the front door, stage right.
…And she immediately returns from the nothingness to chase him down like a runaway train of raging rabid ravenous revenge! Sakaguchi’s escape is neither great nor, uhm, grape as he dead ends himself and is left begging his disfigured pursuer for mercy. Rather than tear him asunder with whatever Lovecraftian nightmare hides under her bag, Hagane instead extends a perfectly normal (if a little dirty) hand and helps her runaway lover boy up. Guch embraces her and apologizes and everybody lives happily ever after!
Except they don’t, because Haga tears open her burlap finery, pulls Guch inside, and does him nasty, praying mantis style. Though we never get to see the monstrosity that is our titular estrogenical horror show, given the way she’s able to entirely consume her unwilling suitor (while uttering lusty grunts of presumed sexual satisfaction) within her unflattering unfashionable receptacle, my mind’s eye can only imagine her true form resembling one of those “Haunted Humans” characters from the Real Ghostbusters action figure line in the late-80s. Mail Fraud, Tombstone Tackle, Granny Gross, either one works.
Free advice: never search “Granny Gross” if your filter isn’t set to “grade school” first, unless you’ve ever wondered what your nana and her bridge club look like reverse gangbanging Ron Jeremy…
Taka finds his misshapen sibling, burns Guchi’s clothing that she regurgitates post-coitus while seemingly mourning her love, lost to her own hunger. The pair then head home and go on with their lives like nothing happened. The end. For real this time.
If you wanted to take the “movies are art” approach to this body horror rom-com, it can easily be broken down into a series of metaphors for human courtship, with a seemingly misogynistic bent about how women/relationships ultimately destroy men and blah blah blah. However, I’m not a fucking art critic, I’m just a guy pretending to be a Death God who likes riffing on horror flicks. In that regard, I really liked Hagane for the weird-ass half hour of off-kilter guano that it is. If you like your horror with some dark-yet-kinda-sweet humor, more than a few nausea-inducing moments, and some of that Evil Dead ambiguity of not seeing the monster, then Takuji Suzuki & Naoki Yamamoto have got your very specific niche covered!
The Inheritance – And from the dizzying highs of all-out insanity, we crash land into the tame and tepid waters of Can’t Muster Even A Single Fuck Lake. Fortunately, since the rest of this review has gone on longer than an anglerfish mating session, my recap of the last (and certainly least) part of this triple-feature will be much shorter. The less I need to type about it, the better.
Young mother Saeko (Maki Meguro) divorces her husbando for reasons we don’t need to be privy to, so long as we’re made aware that she’s now a freshly single momma with drama. Sae is fiscally forced to flee big city Tokyo for her mom’s place out in the boonies with young son Michio (Kenta Suga) in tow. Grandma (Tokie Hidari)’s none-too-pleased with the intrusion, insert joke here about how thousands of American parents whose kids racked up massive student loan debt earning useless pieces of parchment paper (with their names misspelled no less) can sympathize. She does seem genuinely happy to see her grandson, but even that modicum of merriment shits the bed when Mich asks granny if his mom will basically become an old haggard loony like she is. Kids say the darnedest things!
Until an adult teaches them the folly of disrespecting their elders by backhanding them hard enough to leave an approximation of the Australian continent throbbing on the side of their face.
The awkward air polluting the place only intensifies when we learn that Saeko’s brother Masahiko disappeared without a trace while the two were just kids, and the mysterious circumstances revolving around the incident has something to do with the weird stone shed in the side yard that granny keeps locked up. I don’t mean a simple deadbolt either, I mean she has that door chained and padlocked tighter than the chastity cage on a cuck’s cock!
No sooner do mother and son make themselves at home, Sae uncovers a mysterious body length scroll while poking around in the attic. We don’t get to see what’s on it (I’m presuming it’s not a door-size Jason Takes Manhattan video store promotional poster like Krix and I have on the ceiling above the bed in our guestroom), but it clearly upsets her enough that momma-san needs to go out on the town and get soundly soused with her childhood friend Kaji (Shunsuke Matsuoka). Returning home that night (no walk of shame for this mateless matriarch), she heads back to the top-basement to engage in some weird drunken witchcraft nonsense, the type of which is usually reserved for red wine stay-at-home drunkards after their daily rerun of ‘Charmed’.
Her nosy offspring witnesses the hexing hokum (better than walking in on mom getting fingercuffed by dad and “Uncle Kyle”) and confronts her about her housewife sorcery at breakfast. This leads to some bad Mommy Dearest parenting, thankfully off-screen for those of us not keen on seeing parents take their hangover out on their kids. As it just so happens though, Kaji’s not only the social worker responsible for checking in on Grandma, but also now has our little boy hero’s well-being on his docket. Unfortunately, when he discovers Sae’s hand marks on Mich’s throat, he refuses to believe that his childhood pal turned would-be booty call could ever do such a thing! Great fucking job, mister social worker! I’d say CPS should send his sorry ass to the unemployment line, but Kaj is probably the only counselor they have willing to trek out to the middle of fucking nowhere to look after these hicks.
Gram calls Michio’s dad in the hope that he’ll come reclaim his boy before mom’s new found darkness eclipses her entirely. Sae interrupts and ominously warns the old lady that no one will be taking Mich away. When Kaji confronts her about the alleged abuse, she uses her abuser powers to coax the lad into saying that he made the marks himself, leaving Kaj unable to investigate further. Damn, the longer this story goes on the more it qualifies for a retroactive trigger warning. Serious apologies to anyone with “overly physically disciplinary” parents I may have driven to weeping into a pillow right now as a result of that.
(If you or someone you know is suffering mental, physical, emotional or sexual abuse at the hands of a parent or guardian, please report to the local authorities IMMEDIATELY. You could be saving a life by doing so.)
That night, Sae punishes Mich further, ignoring his desperate screams of apology and locking him in granny’s ominous stone barn/crypt/garage thing. Once he stops banging on the door and his pleas for mercy die down (pun intended), he explores the likely edifice of his eradication, discovering a steamer trunk upstairs. Among other things, its contents includes a newspaper clipping of his junior uncle’s disappearance. The chest then goes all Poltergeist on him, inhaling the boy inside itself like Steve Bannon at a KKK hot dog sucking/eating contest! As for those “other things”? Mich reappears from the abyss-in-a-box gripping… his dead uncle’s mummified head! Lucky kid. I have an uncle whose decaying cabeza I wouldn’t mind finding in a trunk…
Note: that last line is not, I repeat NOT a confession by myself implicating me in the extermination of anyone’s uncle, mine or otherwise, and is NOT evidence of any wrong-doing. I know my rights, Callahan!
Mich is overcome by the disembodied head’s apparent Scanner powers as it mentally beams psychic imagery of uncle boy’s final moments, dying in Mich’s grandma’s arms. As all of this blatant foreshadowing plays out, back in the house mom torches the mysterious scroll (which we still have yet to be privy to), but doing so seems to induce major physical pain in her. Gram frees Mich from the tool shed/above ground bomb shelter and warns him that he must escape before his mom kills him, but he just barrels over the old lady (in a moment of hilarity, intentional or not) and rushes to the house to be by his mother’s side.
Didn’t I say something about shortening my play-by-play for this one? Fuck buckets. Oh well, we’re almost over to the other side, Carol Anne. Just keep walking toward the light.
What our minor minor hero finds in the house is the weird scroll, hanging on a wall and not even slightly singed by its immolation. What do we finally see upon its asbestos-like visage? An illustration of grandma killing Masahiko. A reveal that carries with it the impact of a wool sock being dropped onto shag carpeting. Not a pair of wool socks, mind you, but a solitary sock. Blart.
Mom pops up behind her boy, telling him that she now understands that her mom did what she did because she wanted to be with ‘Hiko forever. You’d imagine that would hurt Sae’s feelings, but with a child of her own to murder now, she’s got no time for jealousy. Rather than explain to Mich why this family’s maternal figures think that killing their sons is a good way to keep them forever “young” (don’t start with me, Rod Stewart!), mom instead chases the terrified boy around the house, stumbling around and beckoning for him like that time Isis got day wasted on boxed wine and did the same with me, slurring about how she was sorry for being a bad mother.
Sae finally corners her panicked spawn and…. apologizes to him before they share a loving embrace?! The fade to black that follows doesn’t fool us though, instead solidifying that Sae is going to fulfill her titular “Inheritance”. With the predictability of a Bruce Campbell cameo in whatever Sam Raimi’s doing right now (“I’m sleeping! How the hell did you get this number?!” – Sam Raimi), Kej comes by the next morning to take Mich to school, only to find gram chilling on her stoop while we in the audience are taken to the mausoleum garage building to discover mom casually rocking Michio’s corpse in her arms and singing to him… fuck you, movie. Your mother sews socks that smell!
So, was the “Inheritance” the scroll? This cursed object passed down through the family that can’t be destroyed by conventional means without it causing severe suffering for its assailant? If that’s the case, then a simple flashback explaining so at the finish would’ve been appreciated. Or, is the “Inheritance” a weird late-term postpartum depression sewn into the family’s genetics? Whatever the cause of this lethal act of motherly love, it’s clear that the local constabulary were seven deadly sins levels of lazy when it came to their search for the missing Masahiko! The dead kid was just packed away in a child corpse-sized trunk in a building on the property the whole time, for fuck sake! On top of that, what was with the psychic skull memory transference shit that happened to Mich? Now that he’s dead, will he too be able to project a recreation of his final moments into someone’s brain once his own remains have been discovered, or can it only be a member of the same bloodline? And speaking of bloodlines, does the fact that Sae just murdered her solitary spawn mean that the titular passable is over, having no one to pass it to now?!
If you’re wondering why I’m making such a stink tornado over this story’s “looser than a $2 prostitute” approach to its own gimmick without making such bitter demands over the previous tales, it’s because Toyoshima & Shimizu aren’t giving us a bizarre backhand in the bubble blower like “Rattle Rattle” and “Hagane” did. Their short instead comes off like a fully-scripted thriller-diller spook-a-roo (generic it may be) that was dismembered by editors under orders by bloodthirsty producers who wanted to fit it into a metaphorical suitcase. Those “leftovers” in this scenario end up being of importance and left me feeling as if my sandwich artist had left the meatballs off of my five dollar footlong.
Somewhere around the time he was singing about getting laid in his car and how his soul is blessed by “hot patootie”, rotund American rock and roll performer Meatloaf inspired a nation by telling us that “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”. Granted, he was actually singing this to a woman with which he shared a sexual, co-dependent relationship with and was explaining to her why he’ll never give her a Valentine’s Day card (he wants her, he needs her, but he’ll never love her), but the phrase fits Unholy Women better than any leather gimp suit would fit Meat
Anyway, this is already about 2000 more words than I was hoping to spend on this review. If I were that guy in that movie who only had a finite amount of words he could use in his lifetime, I’d be very pissed at myself right now. Speaking of, if you’re the type of person obsessed with their own mortality and thus make the most of every minute of life you have left and find that you REALLY want to watch Unholy Women, just sit through the first two stories and use the time you would’ve spent watching the third to, I don’t know, set a new personal record for the number of Hungry Man dinners you can eat in half-an-hour.
Now that I’ve abused my editor/wife’s generosity with needless pages of nonsense, let’s get to our new Joe Bob Briggs-inspired segment:
4 dead bodies
8 evaporated ghosts
1 Ghost child
1 Mummified head
Unsexy oral sex
Gratuitous brother-sister bathing sequence
Nose blood graffiti
Aggressive foot groping (with not of)
Bodily diffusion surgery
Ghostly ceiling crawling
Haunted flip phone
Haunted home décor
Random void of nothingness
Fatal makeup sex
Full body human osmosis
Gratuitous ghost chase sequence
Unexplained psychic ghost flashback
Time-Space altering headbutt-Fu
I hate it when people insist on showing me the footage from their colonoscopy. Thanks a ton, Katie Couric.
“Ewwww! Is that your childhood retainer?! Why are you giving it to me?!”
Hey! It’s former indy rock drumming sensation, Meg White!
It says “Not to be taken internally”.
The owners of that place hire her once-a-month to come in and clean the hard-to-reach spots.
“Prepare for newest superhero sensation, debuting a completely original character for the MCU! Phase 43 begins with Crimson Giraffe! Stick your neck out May 15th, 2099!”
I’d ask if she needs a hand, but clearly she’s got more than enough.
I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I like the Japanese knock-off version of The Dark Knight more than the original. The practical effects on Two-Face just look cooler!
“Don’t worry, I didn’t ‘pee pee’ in your Coke. That’s a strictly Chinese joke.”
The family that, uhm, pumps indeterminate sludge into each other together, uhhhhh, stays together?
She and the John Merrick both swiped right and tonight’s their big date. Don’t forget to use protection, you two!
Anytime there's an uptick in Yakuza activity, it's a boon season to be a black market organ dealer in Osaka!
“Do you know how hard it is to give yourself a pedicure when you’re a shapeless mass in a rice sack?! I almost broke my neck just so I could paint my nails up all cute for you, you bastard!”
“My big brothers had always told me a woman’s private parts smelled like fish, but I never expected them to taste like a California Roll! Do you douche with soy sauce?! This is delicious!”
The highway department really needs to stay on top of these endless black voids. Damn things keep popping up all over the place and not a single traffic cone or warning sign in sight!
Would it be inappropriate to make a “boy in the striped pajamas” joke here? Yeah. Never mind.
“So, kid, is your mom, like, fully divorced or are she and your dad on, like, one of those ‘trial separation’ things? I mean, I don’t wanna rub another man’s rhubarb, you know?”
I can relate, kid. I had to make a mummified head my first imaginary friend too. Growing up in the middle of the desert didn’t exactly leave a lot of options for neighborhood kids to pal around with.
He misunderstood when his boss declared Thursdays to be “wear your favorite X-Man shirt to work” day at the comic shop…
Anubis will return next time in
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