Blind Beast

The Blind Beast

Director: Yasuzo Masumura

Cast: Eiji Funakoshi, Mako Midori, Noriko Sengoku

     
 

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Never before released (legitimately) in America until this DVD, Blind Beast has long been a cause of rumor, speculation, and mystery among serious fans of horror and outré cinema. Most of the mystery stemmed from the fact that the film had never been widely available or even seen in this country. Gray market videotapes were known to be circulating, but only in

Overview

Never before released (legitimately) in America until this DVD, Blind Beast has long been a cause of rumor, speculation, and mystery among serious fans of horror and outré cinema. Most of the mystery stemmed from the fact that the film had never been widely available or even seen in this country. Gray market videotapes were known to be circulating, but only in horrible transfers in the original Japanese language sans English subtitles. The frustration grew even worse when Jennifer Lynch released Boxing Helena, a film which suspiciously dealt with a lot of the central themes that Blind Beast also focused on, namely the deranged psychodrama that plays out between the obsessed artist and the model he has kidnapped (or in Helena's case, between a doctor and his kidnapped patient). For awhile, it looked like Yasuzo Masumura's film would never see the light of day on these shores. Thankfully, the folks at Fantoma have released Blind Beast onto disc, finally allowing this bizarre, oddly poetic and disturbing film to be judged on its own merits. The film is available in its proper DaieiScope aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (enhanced) and the disc is available in its original Japanese language with optional English subtitles. The picture looks superb, with colors appropriately desaturated and generally soft (like the majority of Japanese films from this period), but always clear and sharp. The mono soundtrack is excellent as well, containing very little or no audible hiss or crackle. The overall presentation is top-notch. The disc also contains the original theatrical trailer (which includes a few scenes not contained in the final cut of the film), a director's biography and filmography, and a photo and stills gallery. Informative liner notes have also been included inside the keep-case.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The works of Yasuzo Masumura have not enjoyed the broad U.S. success of such Japanese cinematic titans as Akira Kurosawa, Shohei Imamura, and Nagisa Oshima. But his 1969 effort, Blind Beast, proves that Masumura, who died in 1986, was their worthy peer. Based on a novella by Edogawa Rampo -- Japan's answer to Edgar Allen Poe -- Blind Beast is a stunning erotic, grotesque, hyper-stylized rumination on art and madness that makes its U.S. video debut in an appropriately resplendent DVD transfer. A jaded young fashion model named Aki (Mako Midori) is abducted by Michio (Eiji Funakoshi), a blind, mad sculptor on a quest to create the ultimate work of tactile sculpture, using Aki as the unwilling model. In a surreal warehouse/studio full of oversize body parts and enormous nude female figures, the duo knock heads, debate art, and eventually draw blood while Michio's doting but disapproving mother (Noriko Sengoku) keeps her hawk's eye on all possible escape routes. Although the film's tone certainly gets morbid and intense, there's also enough humor and curiosity about human nature, not to mention some simply stunning art direction, to ultimately make Blind Beast an illuminating trip into the dark. Volk Lindsay
All Movie Guide
Japanese cult director Yasuzo Masumura's feverish adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's novel bears a passing resemblance to The Collector and other portraits of obsessed perverts kidnapping women, but its outrageousness sets it apart. Throwing all seriousness to the wind in the very first scene, it begins with the blind sculptor Michio (Eiji Funakoshi) lasciviously groping a sculpture of a nude woman in a gallery. Becoming obsessed with Aki (Mako Midori), the model who posed for it, he masquerades as a masseur in order to give her a real-life groping in her apartment. He then drags her back to an abandoned warehouse with the help of his sinister mother. (Like everything else in this film, the oedipal themes are anything but subtle). His warehouse lair alone is worth the price of admission. The walls are covered with sculpted oversized female body parts, and in the middle of the room recline two huge nude sculptures. What begins as a standard psycho kidnapping becomes more and more outrageous as Michio and Aki descend into a world of mutual madness, becoming, against all laws of medical science, almost completely subhuman in the course of maybe a couple of weeks. Masumura, a master of dark humor and macabre psychodrama, strikes an odd balance between silliness and horror throughout the film. One of the nuttier entries in his oeuvre, Blind Beast is a delicious guilty pleasure.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
UPC:
0695026702122
Original Release:
1969
Rating:
NR
Source:
Fantoma
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:24:00

Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Yasuzo Masumura biography and filmography; Photo and still gallery

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Art Gallery [4:26]
2. Kidnapped [6:15]
3. The Warehouse [8:48]
4. The Art of Touching [8:36]
5. Escape Attempt [7:50]
6. A Baby's Perspective [4:14]
7. Back to Work [8:11]
8. Get Rid of Her [7:33]
9. The Beast [7:08]
10. Touch Replaces Sight [7:52]
11. Exquisite Pain [5:10]
12. An Ecstatic Death [7:54]

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