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Rampo Noir (2005)
"Ranpo jigoku" (original title)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 777 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 15 critic

Mars Canal - Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover... See full synopsis »

Directors:

(as Akio Jissôji) , , 2 more credits »

Writers:

(short stories), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Private Detective Kogorô Akechi / Man / Masaki (segments "Imomushi" - "Kagami jigoku" - "Kasei no unga" - "Mushi")
...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Chisako Hara ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Masami Horiuchi ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Mikako Ichikawa ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Hanae Kan ...
(story "Imomushi")
Ryûhei Matsuda ...
Tarô Hirai (story "Imomushi") (as Ryuuhei Matsuda)
Kaiji Moriyama ...
(story "Kasei no unga")
Tomoya Nakamura ...
(story "Kagami jigoku")
Hiroki Narimiya ...
Tooru (story "Kagami jigoku")
Tamaki Ogawa ...
Fuyu Kinoshita (segment "Mushi")
Yukiko Okamoto ...
Tokiko Sunaga (story "Imomushi")
Hiromasa Taguchi ...
(segment "Mushi")
Minori Terada ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Susumu Terajima ...
(segment "Kagami jigoku")
Edit

Storyline

Mars Canal - Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

5 November 2005 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Rampo Noir  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Connections

References Ginî piggu 2: Chiniku no hana (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Air du miroir 'Dis-moi que je suis belle' from 'Thais'
Written by Jules Massenet and Louis Gallet
Performed by Usuki Ai and Motosugi Mio
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User Reviews

A Mixed Bag
27 August 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Rampo Noir is a collection of 4 short films based on stories by Edogawa Rampo, the so-called "Japanese Edgar Allen Poe". Rampo Noir is widely uneven, painfully pretentious and at least half an hour too long. Despite these shortcomings, the film does offer its fair share of pleasures - stunning visuals, black comedy and a large dose of Japanese weirdness. Rampo Noir is not a great film but it is an interesting addition to the very small genre of "arthouse horror".

The first of the four films sums up everything that is wrong with the project. A naked man running towards a lake is inter-cut with a naked couple wrestling. The film is silent and partly shown in slow motion. I'm sure there was a deep philosophical reason behind this but I was basically too bored to bother considering what it might be. Even the French would be embarrassed by this exercise in pretension. The next segment, Mirror Hell, is an improvement. For starters, it has sound and a narrative. Mirror Hell is a mystery about a mirror that has the nasty habit of burning off faces. The film is not particularly riveting and some of the special effects are clumsy and not very convincing. The segment is saved by some arresting photography and a wonderfully kinky sex scene between Azusa and Toru, which involves a lot of rope and candle wax.

Caterpillar is the third and, in many ways, most successful of the films at pushing the envelope. This film has an edge that the first two segments are sorely missing. The basic premise of the film is a wife who appears to have amputated her husband's arms and legs in order to save him from going to war. This film explores domestic violence and domination from the unusual angle of a female perpetrator. Caterpillar is an interesting thesis about love in one of its most warped incarnations but instead of shedding light on the issues it puts forward, the film is happy to be a kind of Japanese "Boxing Helena", with its focus firmly directed at shock value and titillation. And it is exceedingly successful at meeting these goals. The scenes where the wife makes her limbless husband eat from a dog bowl and then beats him with a riding crop certainly leave an impression, as does a gruesome scene where she cuts off his nipple. The film also offers a large dose of kinky, limbless sex which is portrayed as vilely erotic. Caterpillar is a nasty little film and Rampo Noir is all the better for it.

Crawling Bugs is the fourth and final segment of Rampo Noir. This film once again explores the idea of how the illusion of love can be the catalyst for the most abhorrent situations. Crawling Bugs tells the story of Masaki, a man who can not bear to be touched by other human beings. This obviously affects his chances with Fuyo, so he kills her and takes her home to be his bride. Despite the multitude of possibilities that this scenario offers, Crawling Bugs avoids the explicitness of "Nekromantik" or even "Kissed", and is happy to be blackly comedic. This is ultimately a smart move as Masaki's vain attempts to keep Fuyo from rotting inject Rampo Noir with some much needed humour and offer some pleasant respite from the sometimes overwhelming level of pretension. Crawling Bugs is visually stunning and very well directed. The gore effects are convincing and the film walks the fine line between the surreal and the plain disgusting with great skill.

Rampo Noir desperately tries to push the boundaries of mainstream cinema but never quite succeeds. In comparison to many of the films emerging from Asia, Rampo Noir is actually rather quaint - with the exception of the large quantity of kinky sex. However, the concept is an interesting one and it offers the opportunity to explore the work of four promising Japanese directors. Rampo Noir is no "Three Extremes" but is worth watching, particularly for the crazy woman with a riding crop.


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