The best weird films made in Japan.
written by Souranath Banerjee
It’s interesting to notice that the word ‘weird’ actually doesn’t have any specific definition. Even the dictionary tries to explain it by using other synonymic words like uncanny, eerie, unnatural, bizarre, strange, abnormal, surreal, supernatural e.t.c
According to me if you really want to learn the true meaning of ‘weird’, you should watch some of these Japanese films!
Yes. Every country has their share of peculiar films but Japan totally dominates the weird-cinema category. Comedy, violence, Sci Fi, erotica – you name it and Japan has the weirdest film for each and every genre.
Just remember, none of these films are made to please the so-called general audience – so better watch them at your own risk!
And the list begins.
10. Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3wQio3fbqE
A comedy to start with but this is no ordinary laugh riot.
Directed by Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine and Shunichiro Miki the film is insanely surreal – probably a satire of Japanese pop-culture.
With no actual plot as such but trust me, if you ever dare to watch this film – storyline will be the last thing on your mind.
9. Battle Royale (2000)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0p1t-dC7Ko
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, this is probably the most innovative film in this list.
A film that first introduced the dystopian arena concept where you have to kill to survive and eventually win. The never ending series of Hunger Games is the most successful american rip off till date.
Extreme violence, school children killing each other in every possible way (if) you can imagine.
8. Branded to Kill (1967)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oou1UmrDlyg
A crazy, stylish Japanese film noir!
Directed by Seijun Suzuki, the film is about this hired killer who wants to be No 1 in his profession.
Well, i won’t give away any visual insanity of the film but just to stress the fact – the film was so unconventional and weird that the director’s contract was terminated by the studio after the final edit came out!
7. A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn (2003)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wskcQ_ETr6Q
The most psychologically creepy concept ever.
After the death of his favorite cow an old man believes his daughter-in-law to be that cow and yes – he attempts to milk her on a regular basis.
Directed by Daisuke Gotô, the film contains extreme nudity and sex, often disturbingly spooky and of course weird.
6. Rampo Noir (2005)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYtN_m1V_BE
An anthology film that adapts four short stories by Japan’s foremost mystery writer Edogawa Rampo (the so-called “Japanese Edgar Allen Poe”).
Four films by individual directors Akio Jissôji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Satô and Suguru Takeuchi – each more horrifying and peculiar than the other.
Beautiful visuals but extremely weird and gory concepts.
5. Survive Style 5+ (2004)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEH7nDkiPEk
Directed by Gen Sekiguchi, the film involves five stories each competing for the most-weird award; they apparently doesn’t connect with each other but again, may be they does in some eccentric manner.
Considered as a black comedy, the film is a potent mixture of violence, laughs and colorful visuals.
Very stylish and super cool acting but again odd and quirky as hell.
4. Blind Beast (1969)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG34PFaQJgE
Often refereed to as a Japanese art-house classic directed by Yasuzô Masumura,
A psychotic blind man, a sculpter by profession becomes obsessed with a model whom he kidnaps and falls in love with.
Such a concept is later used in many other films (even in William Wyler‘s film The Collector) but never with such violent and raw fashion.
3. Suicide Club (2001)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2Rhrp_b5bM
Graphic, eerie and spooky as hell.
A number of people are committing suicide all across Japan. A detective is desperate to find out why/what/who/how is this mass suicide is being triggered?
Directed by Shion Sono, the film is not only weird but damn scary, specially the train-sequences (do watch the film to know why).
Also check out Cold Fish (2010) and Love Exposure (2008) from the same director.
2. Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uROMTzJsfOI
A black and white nightmare of technology (or rather the fear of it). It’s the story of the strange rebirth of a ‘metal fetishist’ who was supposed to be dead.
Wacky, nerve wrecking, crazy visuals that will be burned into your head for ever.
Directed by Shin’ya Tsukamoto, the film has stretched the limits of being weird to a new level.
- Visitor Q (2001)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRc6dN7s1w4
And now it’s time for the celebrated director Takashi Miike.
Most of his films are so weird that he probably deserves a separate list all together!
This film though takes the cake for being super-disturbing and for it’s total madcap visuals.
Highly sexual in content and often considered as sick and disgusting.
Also check out Gozu (2003), Ichi the Killer (2001) from the same director.
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique and bizarre one. A must watch).
+1. Cat Soup (2001)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZOvNuvS1hg
Considered as a masterpiece, this one is a short animated film (duration 34 mins) but more importantly it’s also the weirdest animation film that ever exists.
Directed by Tatsuo Satô, the film is about two cat siblings on a psychedelic journey. And they are in search of a soul.
If you find Hayao Miyazaki‘s films a little weird, please try this one!