FREAKSHOW Blind Beast
Join us every Monday as we look at a cult movie. Our film of this week this time sees a young model kidnapped by a deranged sculptor
Director: Yasuzo Masumara
Cast: Eiji Funakoshi, Mako Midori, Noriko Sengoku
Available on region one and region two DVD
Watch the trailer here
“Desirable artist’s studio, located in converted warehouse. Decorated in avant garde style: walls decorated with giant sculptures of breasts, eyes, noses and legs. Eighty foot-long statue of reclining female nude makes provocative talking point. No double glazing.”
An estate agent would have a job flogging that – although they’d soon fill the diary with viewings by men in long macs – but it makes a fascinating setting for this film, in which a blind sculptor (Michio) kidnaps a beautiful model (Aki), holding her in this perverse playpen and forcing her to model for him (he works by feeling his subject’s body). This disturbed artist is both loathsome and pitiable; he’s still firmly tied to the apron strings of his mother, who, weirdly, acts as his accomplice (well, what mother wouldn’t do anything to make her little boy happy?). Mako Midori is beguiling as the victim, psychoanalysing her infantilised oppressor, exploiting this fantasist’s naivety, and cunningly driving a wedge between mother and son.
Tonally, Blind Beast is supremely fantastical – even if you ignore the surreal decor. As the film progresses, the relationship between captive and captor progresses way beyond mere Stockholm Syndrome. She, too, goes blind as this pair of sensation junkies tumble into a fevered erotomania that’s practically cannibalistic in its intensity: a “descent into a non-human abyss”. The last vestige of any sense that this all takes place in a rational universe disintegrates as a strange link forms between Aki’s body and that of her statue…
Based on a short story by Japanese writer Edogawa Rampo (pen name of Hirai Tar?), Blind Beast is often uncomfortable viewing – particularly when Michio tries to force his attentions on Aki – but she’s fiercely resourceful, and you don’t come away feeling that it denigrates women; rather, that it shines a flashlight on some murky corners of human sexuality. It’s a continually astonishing piece of work, and by the end you may feel somewhat dazed and bewildered.
Ian Berriman, reviews editor of SFX and cult movie nut, has watched Rat Pfink A Boo Boo four or five times, but never seen On The Waterfront. The nutter.
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