Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween Horror Challenge Oct 6th: THE SLIT-MOUTH WOMAN

D. Takaaki Hashiguchi
Full Frame (Streaming on Netflix)

This popular Japanese urban legend has been made into several films, but this one takes an unusual track in that it is primarily a sexploitation film with at least five full on soft-core sex scenes on display with bouncing breasts and tentacle like tongues probing around. The filmmakers seem to be far less concerned with delivering a scary movie then displaying hard nipples and those god awful snake like tongues of the cast. Yet for all the humping on display the movie is at heart a MESSAGE movie about, body image and how the media manipulates people's perceptions to a negative degree!

The story deals with a haunted cosmetic surgery hospital where a ghost of a woman with a split mouth haunts. For reasons that are not particularly clear the place seems to be a bit of a hang out for people to go to get busy. In the opening scene we get a huge breasted nurse and doctor taking a break from their job to play doctor only to get interrupted by the ghost. Jump forward to the place after being closed down and a spunky female reporter has been assigned to find out about this “Split Mouth Women” legend.

At home her husband is eyeballing her younger step sister in rather leering manner so we just know they will be making the beast with two backs before the movie is over. Meanwhile her little sister's boyfriend is creeping around the closed hospital with a young cutie that he seduces in front of a mirror, only to incur the wrath of the red dress wearing, huge smile ghost.

Eventually the ghost haunts pretty much every cast member in the film (but only actually kills one) and our reporter figures out who she and her tragic backs story which deals with a disfigurement and plastic surgery gone wrong. 

The movie is very strange in that it has a very sincere theme of people, women in general, needing to be happy in their own skin and not feeling they are not beautiful as they naturally are. There is a clear indictment of plastic surgery, fashion magazines and even mean fathers and boyfriends who push women to fit in and change to please them. YET, the movie fills the running time with soft core sex, with is in the end ALL about aesthetic pleasure and watching beautiful women, so it is sort of hard to rectify the message with the delivery...

The movie's biggest problem though is that it picks the wrong areas to be extreme. The sex is pretty graphic (though not by western standards) with the near constant tongue action becoming literally like watching a squid trying to climb into people's mouths. Yet when it comes to the horror scenes, the movie pulls back, every single time. When it comes time to present the “shock” climax it is the prefect set up for a character to have their tongue bitten out since that is ALL we have seen is tongues exploring everywhere. But alas it doesn't happen. The movie avoids graphic horror in exchange for subdued and it doesn't work.

The ghost is pretty scary with all her backwards cranked footage and creepy hair, but even that is something we have seen before. If you want Japanese sex and gore horror I just say check out the ENTRAILS OF A VIRGIN/WHORE movies instead.

Review © Andrew Copp

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