What is P-Net? Who or what is Lucy Monostone? How can a virus cause people to get bar codes on their eyeballs? How come some bar codes are black and some are red? What exactly went on with the detective’s wife and why? When was the detective changing personalities and why did it matter? Why do iMac computers appear prominently in every episode? And what exactly is the deal with the eyepatched snuff-film collector and what cult is he in and what does it have to do with anything else?

These are just some of the things I never figured out about this movie.

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Our MPD detective (above center) is both Amamiya Kazuhiko and Kobayashi Yosuke, and sometimes (?) also Nishizono Shinji. Played by Naoki Hosaka from Salaryman Kintaro. Not exactly a Miike regular, and in the interviews he said Miike barely spoke to him.

The police chief in this town is Sasayama (below, reading the source comic), played by Ren Osugi of at least ten other Miike films, six Kiyoshi Kurosawas, six Takeshi Kitanos, Twilight Samurai, and Uzumaki (he’s the dad who eats the spiral-rolls). Wow. Accordingly, he was my favorite actor in MPD Psycho.

Then we’ve got evil psychologist Isono Machi (Tomoko Nakajima of Parasite Eve), hilarious model-crafting young cop Manabe (Sadaharu Shiota), the detective’s wife Chizuko (Rieko Miura), eyepatch-bearing video collector Toguchi (Yoshinari Anan) and Sasayama’s wife or mistress or both, Mami[ko] (Fujiko, the slutty daughter in Visitor Q).

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Each episode has its own bizarre series of deaths – from a religious cult schoolgirl machine-gun killing to pregnant women’s babies being surgically replaced by telephones, to the ol’ skull-saw flower-in-the-brain (above) to spontaneous combustion. Each is somehow caused by ghostly killer Nishizono Shinji, who can pass from one person to the next through touch, telephone or internet. Everyone’s girlfriends and wives get killed, Machi turns bad, the whole police force turn their back on the cases and pretend Sasayama and Manabe don’t exist, we learn the terrible truth about Shinji and trans-gender rock star Lu-C Monostone (the terrible truth is probably not terribly important, but it’s summarized 17 minutes into the last episode if you want a refresher course later), the Gakuso Group and P-Net are mentioned from time to time, and all along, Kobayashi is turning into Amamiya and vice-versa but lead actor Naoki Hosaka’s face remains so blank that I can never tell when. Besides the iMacs, we get recurring scenes on a giant ferris wheel, black-and-white snippets of animation, regular appearances by the eyepatch guy, cool totally fake rain (sometimes glowing green, as seen below), and Lucy Monostone’s hit song “same blue sky in a strange new world”.

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I didn’t love the movie… didn’t even like it as much as I thought I would… but definitely not bad, worth watching. Makes for good rainy-day viewing. Would maybe like to see again and figure out the MPD side of things. Cheap, made-for-TV looking video lots of times, but Miike always manages to make the best of his low production values. The non-MPD cops’ scenes have a lot of humor, and Chief Sasayama ends up as a really well-defined character by the end, more so than anyone else.

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Katy didn’t watch this one. Katy would not have liked it.

Pretty awful Masters of Horror episode, continuing Tobe’s long streak of pretty awful movies.

A perfectly good backstory about the deadly acid rainstorm that turned most of the world into zombies is wasted on a crappy movie about Jessica Lowndes meeting Jonathan Tucker from the Pulse and Texas Chainsaw remakes, and daring to venture away from her protective mother to attend a club run by Tobe’s old bud Robert Englund. This has got to be the most boring “extreme” nightclub in any horror movie.

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It’s all downhill from there, as Englund drinks the blood of the elderly to stay alive, and the entertainment of the club turns out to be watching zombies “dance” (the, um, dance of the dead) by shocking ’em with cattle prods. Jessica finds out one of the dancers is her druggie sister, who was sold to Englund by their mom… gets revenge by killing/selling the mom. Whatever.

The movie was bad enough before the SHOCK EDITING, which is unrelenting. Besides the usual quick-cut-crap, they keep blurring and sliding the picture with staticky sound effects to add “energy” to the movie. Ugh.

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Loud music by Billy Corgan, I might add. Credited cinematographer and editor have both done other (decent) MoH episodes, so I have to blame the flash editing entirely on you, Tobe.

MOH trademarks: just the naked women.

Katy didn’t watch this one. Katy wouldn’t have liked it. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

A novel plot (and supposedly based on a Lovecraft story, so no wonder). Ezra Godden (of Stuart Gordon’s Dagon) is a poor physics student who rents a room in a very crappy boarding house. After some fun about studying the angles of his walls, a hot nude witch appears with her rat-creature pet to take over his mind and make him do weird things like sleepwalk to the university library and kill his next door neighbor’s baby. After he’s arrested for the baby-killing, the cops find the remains of all the other babies that past residents of the room have killed, and the rat-creature sneaks into prison to bite our hero to death. Oh and the crazy old man downstairs kills himself.

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A lot better than the plot description sounds. Ezra is pretty convincing and the weirdness and atmosphere and pacing are all well held.

MOH trademarks: naked women, eye gouging (the witch’s eyes / ezra’s fingers), and our hero looks like Edward Norton most of the time (and Ben Affleck the other times).

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Katy didn’t watch this one. Katy wouldn’t have liked it.

Fun, memorable Masters of Horror episode. Woman runs off the road, sees other car with trail of blood towards guard rail, follows trail and insane creature leaps out and chases her through the woods. Flashbacks to her survivalist husband and the lessons he taught her, she fights back for a while but is captured along with the woman from the other car. Creature takes them to house where Phantasm‘s own Angus Scrimm is locked up laughing and yelling. Woman takes control, escapes, kills the monster, kills Angus, and in flashback, kills survivalist husband whose body is still in her trunk, and drives away.

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Pretty good looking movie. I was sucked in. Standard super-baddie with a Hostel-referencing eye-drill. Some surprises (traps that don’t go according to plan) and a not-bad-at-all ending. More, more!! Katy didn’t watch this one. Katy wouldn’t have liked it.

Creepy Tall Man:
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MOH trademarks: eye gouging (see above).