31 October 2014

Blind Beast (1969)
86 min.
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura.
With Eiji Funakoshi, Mako Midori, Noriko Sengoku.
This 1969 Japanese horror is a depraved potboiler which builds to dizzying heights of intensity. Michio (Funakoshi) is a blind sculptor who becomes obsessed with popular female fashion model Aki (Midori). He kidnaps her, and imprisons her in a dark warehouse that functions as his art studio. The place is filled, floor-to-ceiling, with huge sculptures of eyes, ears, lips, noses and limbs. (Weird!)

The poor girl tries to escape from her dank surroundings, but is held at bay by Michio and his domineering mother (Sengoku). It seems he wants to use Aki as a model for his latest project: a massive sculpture of her, done entirely by touch! Instead, Michio and Aki descend into a mindnumbing world of psycho-sexual terror, an unexplored realm from which neither of them will emerge alive.

Summarily, Blind Beast is the Japanese response to William Wyler's 1965 thriller The Collector. But that's too pat a comparison. For Blind Beast goes in an entirely different direction, detailing the bizarre personal relationship that develops between the 'collector' and his 'prize.'

The sadomasochistic connection that Michio and Aki share is a wholly uncomfortable one, a supremely creepy itch that gets under your skin and refuses to leave. Not for the squeamish, the nightmarish climax is particularly repugnant.

Also known as Moju.

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