Rampo Noir (2005) film thoughts… I tend to gravitate towards anthology films since I love the short film in itself. I haven’t seen too many Japanese Horror anthologies in my time, so I was ready to check out Rampo Noir. The 4 stories included within are based on the work of Taro Hirai a.k.a. Edogawa Rampo, a writer I do not know much about except for the fact he wrote dark fiction. So let’s look at the stories/films within Rampo Noir…

Mars Canal: In this mostly silent film, a nude man finds himself on an barren alien landscape. He seems to be fixated on a large pool of water. It is then where he begins to relive a sexual experience that ended in severe violence and the death of his partner. This gets repeated over and over and he begins to see his reflection as the woman…is this hell?

Mirror Hell: An interesting story where a group of women each connected to a mirror maker, ends up with their faces being burned off when they look into one of his creations. Is it supernatural or is there a rational explanation? A group of investigators try to solve the puzzle before death strikes again. (I found this one interesting just for the fact that every scene has large groupings of mirrors. I wonder how they filmed this thing…)

Caterpillar: An extremely creepy and extreme look into the relationship of a woman and her severely wounded husband, who had just come back from a war (Think Johnny Get Your Gun for reference). She is torn by the love she has for the man and the disgust of his now immobile and useless self. Out of the 4 films here, Caterpillar is the most graphic, gruesome and sadistic.

Crawling Bugs: Very weird film, done mostly in flashbacks and possible unreality. A limousine driver for a singing star, becomes obsessed with her in the most possessive manner. This leads to all sorts horrifying results.

Overall, while this started out slow for me, as the stories pass and get more and more extreme in nature, I found myself all in. Each tales is filmed exceptionally and the acting is strong all around and the effects were very well done. I did like Caterpillar the most as the story was very deeply involving and so bleak. An absolute nightmare. This is a keeper and should be added to your film collection for sure.

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