FAINT OF HEART BE WARNED, PRESENTING DEAD SUSHI!
FAINT OF HEART BE WARNED, PRESENTING DEAD SUSHI: Sex, Blood and Rock’n’Roll
By Marybel Gervais
(Translated by Adam Abouaccar)
For a little over a decade, Japanese gore has been in full swing on a global scale. A surprising infatuation for many and incomprehensible for some. Most fans will tell you that their love for these blood-spurting, guts-dripping films is impossible to share with their friends, much less their family. The disgusted look on my mom’s face while watching a few minutes of Sucide Club (Sion Sono, 2001) will forever hold a special place in my heart. In spite of this segregation (we either hate it or we love it), the consumption of these films and the revenue they bring in remain minimally profitable. It is mainly the word-of-mouth generated by festivals that allows Japanese gore to achieve any sort of recognition. This year, Fantasia presents the world premiere of one red hot opus, Dead Sushi (also known by its original Japanese title Deddo Sushi), the creation of renowned filmmaker, Noburu Iguchi (Karate-Robo Zabogar, Mutant Girls Squad, RoboGeisha, The Machine Girl). Don’t forget to pack your raincoat for the big show as there will be blood, intestines and runaway eyeballs in no short supply!
Keiko, a shy young woman, is following in the footsteps of her father, a chef and sushi restaurateur. He imparts his art upon her with immeasurable severity so as to give her the necessary tools to emulate the excellence he is known for. There is no room for error. The training is tough and exhausting, but Keiko strives to pursue her dream and to please her rather misogynistic dad. Still, the vehement reproaches of her father becoming increasingly too heavy to bear, she leaves the family home and takes a job as a waitress in a hotel. Her mishaps will put her at odds with her colleagues and on the black lists of her employers. She will however prove to be their only hope when a mad-as-a-hatter scientist launches an army of man-eating sushi on the hotel. Keiko’s skills at making sushi coupled with her martial arts abilities will allow her to give these sex-hungry (oh yes), bloodthirsty mutants a real piece of her mind.
Despite the multiple collaborations between Noboru Iguchi and the production company Sushi Typhoon (a new branch of the famous Nikkatsu Corporation), his latest is of no such association. The writer-director has instead turned to The Nishimura Motion Picture Model Makers Group, the company of his friend and colleague, Yoshihiro Nishimura (also often associated with Sushi Typhoon). The apple has ultimately not fallen that far from the tree.
Always true to himself, Noburu Iguchi confines himself in his genre, wading in it as a fish would water. He pushes the limits to the extreme. If you think the scene you’re currently watching surpasses anything you’ve ever seen in terms of grotesqueness, wait ‘til you see what’s next. By its very premise, the film is a parody in itself. We tend to enjoy a hearty laugh from these Asian films in which a ruthless martial arts master teaches his protégée his expertise with uncompromising hardness due to the fact that she is a woman, which is totally inconceivable. We take the misogynist patriarch and the despair of the female protagonist for granted. Keeping in line with the grotesque, every variation on the old “ball to the crotch” finds its way into the film, the gratuitous nudity of beautiful young women is constantly popping up and, evidently, any reason is a good one to show a little viscus. We’re laying it on thick here and that’s why it’s great! Everyone gets off, from the creators to the viewers.
According to Iguchi, cited in Rue Morgue no. 112, “The Japanese tend to accept the belief that horror movies aren’t entertainment, but symptomatic of some kind of mental disease”. It’s for this reason that the majority of his fans are not Japanese. The craze for Iguchi’s films, and the grotesque gore genre as a whole, is becoming more and more widespread in America and Europe. Fantasia encourages these craftsmen and presents fans with an opportunity to see these films in a room filled with like-minded enthusiasts. Dead Sushi is sure to please the many followers Iguchi has amassed over the years. When they find out that Iguchi himself will be in attendance, I think many will lose their heads.
DEAD SUSHI has its world premiere July 22nd at 7:10pm in the Concordia Hall Theater hosted by director Noboru Iguchi, actress Rina Takeda, executive producer Katsumi Otani, producer Mana Fukui and composer Yasuhiko Fukuda. More info on this film HERE.