Monday, July 14, 2008

He Never Dies

The box said that the two movies were a double-feature and I need something to get Mermaid in a Manhole out of my head. That was nasty! One more today (for an explanation about what the heck is actually going on please scroll down to the 7/8 post).

He Never Dies (Senritsu! Shinanai otoko) 1986
Japanese with English subtitles
Director: Masayuki Kuzumi
Producer: Satoru Ogura
Story: Noritaka Okamato
Screenplay: Masayuki Kuzumi
Starring: Masahiro Sato, Keisuke Araki, and EVE
FX: Nobuaki Koga

These guys love frame stories. He Never Dies opens with a white, English speaking doctor listing the many unknown phenomena of the world. A Japanese language translator speaks over him and the English subtitles dutifully translate back to English. The explanation ends with the introduction of this story of a man who could not die. We are asked to watch the following video and think about what we see.

Hideshi is a whiney office worker with a one-room apartment and a death wish. His work is boring, he is a failure with women, and he wants to die. When we first see him he is unable to slit his own wrists because it hurts too much. At work the next day Hideshi is contrasted with the suave and self-assured Nakamura, the womanizer of the office. Hideshi apologizes while Nakamura gets the girl.

Hideshi decides to never go to work again, but his bosses don’t notice after nearly a week and he is not fired. In desperation, he tries to kill himself again, only to discover that he can no longer feel pain, and cutting his own wrists yields only a small amount of blood. Then comes the painful realization: Hideshi is such a failure he cannot even kill himself.

Eventually Nakamura ends up at the apartment as Hideshi demonstrates his newest failing. The formerly confident Nakamura is reduced to tears and begging as his friend hacks himself up, pulls out all of his own internal organs, and eventually chops his own head off. Soon Kyouto, Nakamura’s girlfriend becomes worried about the two, goes into the apartment and is horrified by the mess, not, mind you, the gore.

This short film uses the signature Guinea Pig gore to set up odd comical situations between pretty standard characters. The acting is intentionally overblown, Hideshi has some funny echo effects added to his voice during some scenes, and Kyouto’s final reaction is to clean up the apartment as the severed head of her friend decides that maybe he is finally ready to return to work.

I loved the scene where Hidoshi looks at his own severed hand and voices disappointment in his own various failures. He Never Dies is a cute little film that doesn’t try to do much beyond mixing stock comedy characters with gallons of blood and buckets of organs. It’s funny and a little intelligent at a few points. I’d have to say it was worth the 35 minutes.

Almost finished! Tomorrow’s foray: Devil Doctor Woman. Please, no more movies with “devil” in the title . . .

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