Tuesday, July 01, 2008

REC 90%: Karaoke Terror / The complete Showa Era Songbook [Shôwa kayô daizenshû - 2003]

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Director: Tetsuo Shinohara (Heaven's Bookstore)

"One of a gang of karaoke loving middle aged women is murdered by a young man. Her friends track him down and kill him. His friends track them down and kill the killer ..... and it escalates!

The story comes from a novel by Ryu Nurakami, the writer of Audition, Happiness of the Katakuris, Ecstasy, Coin locker babies. Like that film, this one is a quite literal battle of the sexes that does have something to say when you strip away the black comedy, with commentary about both sides: The young men have no sense of purpose, finding profundity in pop songs because they've got no sense of it from anywhere else; indeed, murder is the first substantial thing any of them have ever done. Meanwhile, the women initially have little self-esteem, since they're treated like they should be grateful for any notice or attention given them, no matter how crude and self-serving it is. It's only when they unite to seek their revenge that they recognize that they are not failures for being divorced; they contribute to society and deserve some respect and support. When they lay in wait for the boys, only to see them emerge in lipstick, leather, heels, and sheer body stockings, a substantial part of the audience is going to be with them - these young punks don't have any conception of how good they've got it, so it's time to strike back."

Karaoke Terror in my opinion is a closer sister of Yukihiko Tsutsumi's 2LDK, as they're both in the same genre of black comedy and insane killing until there's no man standing. I don't remember laughing this much at the whole absurdity of situation not even in any comedy genre movie. The songs of the Japanese Showa and the whole karaoke theme will make you probably think of Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat!Kill!Kill! as much as the behavior of the not so innocent women, as I for one took the side of men the entire time of the movie (and yes, I'm a woman) as their primitive ways of dealing with the women bought pity out of me.

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