Sunday, April 17, 2011

Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)


Hirosuke is an amnesiac fresh from the asylum. During his lamentable moments in his cell,
he is serenaded by an anonymous girl, who's youthful lullaby seeps through the stone walls.
The tune immediately reminds Hirosuke of his childhood, even if he has little
recollection of it. Chance would allow him the opportunity to meet the curious night owl,
Hatsuya while she strolls through the streets.

Hirosuke inquires about the song's origins, and Hatsuya agrees to do a little
investigating for him.The two agree to meet the following day in front of the traveling circus
tents, where Hatsuya happens to be employed. Only for the scenario to pan out violently
when the young girl is fatally stabbed in broad daylight by an unknown assailant.
A frenzy of panic stricken spectators accuse Hirosuke of Hatsuya's death.

Now a wanted man, he begins his quest to clear the perpetual fog blanketing the details
of his past. A twisted journey that begins once he discovers that he also has an
identical twin, Genzaburô, who has recently passed away. Hirosuke decides to fake his
own suicide, so he can begin a new life as his newly re-animated twin brother.
Although, pretending to be someone else proves to be an exhausting task.

While he tries his best to convince his family and wife, Hirosuke finds out about his
estranged father, Jôgorô. An eccentric man with disfigured hands who's taken up
residence on a deserted island. A refuge that allows him the chance to create his own ideal world.

Hirosuke decides to pay his old man a visit, but will be shocked to find what secrets
and abominations await him on the island of malformed men.


While this it not my first introduction to Edogawa Rampo. This film along with  
Blind Beast (1969) are perhaps my favorite cinematic incarnations of his writing.

The scene where Jôgorô dances by the water with dark hair, white kimono and
webbed fingers has to be one of the most beautiful and startling scenes I have witnessed.

The film is engaging. The visuals stunning, and the mystery that unfolds is quite memorable
considering that it is rife with betrayal, disfigured flesh.....and a little incest ;)

Highly recommended!

Availability: In print and available through a multitude of retailers.

Price: 12-19$

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)

1 comment:

Phantom of Pulp said...

A magnificent alternative to the bland offerings of the "polite" world. Ishii always presented more than a movie. He presented a world for us to step in to. A place to linger. A place to be free. A place to embrace. And, perhaps, one or two of us will remain there. I think often of Ishii's MALFORMED island, and what I feel for it is deep longing. That longing never weakens.