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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Subtley Violent, Eerily Erotic Tales from the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe
Here we have an oddly unique Asian anthology flick
based on the writings of Edogawa Rampo,
widely considered to be the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe.
All 4 shorts are calm, philosophical, and contemplative
(Each with it's own exceptional conclusion)
The violence in each, comes across as poetic & evasive.
Often taking place entirely off-screen, or...
Published on February 8, 2008 by Captain Insanity

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
My copy had no english subs, so completely understanding this film (for me) was impossible.
Published 1 month ago by Mark Blackmore


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Subtley Violent, Eerily Erotic Tales from the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe, February 8, 2008
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This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
Here we have an oddly unique Asian anthology flick
based on the writings of Edogawa Rampo,
widely considered to be the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe.
All 4 shorts are calm, philosophical, and contemplative
(Each with it's own exceptional conclusion)
The violence in each, comes across as poetic & evasive.
Often taking place entirely off-screen, or in some instances, deviously hinted at.
Regardless of it's presence, it is always significant to the plot.
Even the sex comes across as erotic poetry.
Never vulgar, but none the less intriguing.
Here's a brief synopsis & description of each short.

- "Mars Canal" -
5 minute short with no sound.
VERY, VERY confusing & ultimately forgettable.
(I question why they even bothered including this one in the anthology)
It depicts a naked asian man running toward a giant hole in a field.
The scene quickly flashes to either violent sex/ or a naked beating.
And then back to the hole in the field.
In all honesty you're better off skipping this one,
but...since it's so short,
by the time you reach for the remote it will be over.

- "Mirror Hell" -
Detective Akechi, (the re-occuring character in each short) investigates a series of gruesome murders involving a certain brand of mirror that melts the observers face.
EVERY SCENE in this short contains a mirror in it, or is the reflection off one.
My one gripe is, all the violence takes place off-screen =(
(I only say this, because watching various faces melt would've made my millenium.)
Although... there is an unusually erotic scene involving mirrors, rope, and candle wax.
AS well as a mirrored egg, constructed solely for godly re-birth.

- "Caterpillar" -
(Easily the best)
About a man who returns home from war, a hero, but with no arms & legs.
And his bitter wife, who punishes him, (beatings, & cuttings) for doing this to her;
Taking her huband away and leaving her a caterpillar instead.
So she puts up the appearance of good-wife tending to war-god,
when really she feels like a goddess tending to a caterpiller.
Or is that just how it appears on the surface??
Excellent violence, Unique control-themed sex-scenes, and an amazing story make me wish this one had been a feature length film,
instead of just a short.

- "Crawling Bugs" -
This one had the best soundtrack of the bunch,
but had a straight-foward story with schizophrenic pacing.
This one's about a man in love with a famous woman.
A man who hates human contact.
And what he does to reserve the one he loves.
This one had a GREAT ending.
And a line I will not soon forget.....
"Ever since I met you, my life has been hell"

MORAL OF THE STORY:
Despite it's reputation, Horror can still make you think.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rampo Madness!, December 16, 2009
By 
Derek Greeves (Swansea, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
An excellent compendium of short films, using the stories of Edogawa Rampo as a starting point for some strange explorations of the fine lines separating dream and wakefullness, beauty and grotesquerie. Watched in one sitting the films may become quite overwhelming for the viewer. Myself, I watched a story each night before bed thus ensuring a plentiful supply of odd dreams (and not at all horrific!) My personal favourite in the compilation is 'Crawling Bugs', the final scene is a bit of a shock!

Being a bit of a Rampo buff I've knocked a star off the rating as I would have loved to have seen the films staged 'in period' (1920's - 1930's), but nevertheless each film succeeds in creating a timeless ambience well suited to The Man's work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trying to post this review yet again..., May 11, 2007
This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
(Note: originally reviewed in June 2007.)

Rampo Noir (Akio Jissoji/Atsushi Kaneko/Hisayasu Saito/Suguru Takeuchi, 2005)

I've read a good number of reviews of this film by people who didn't seem to grasp, when they originally saw it, that it was violent and disturbing. It seems they'd just heard other reviewers rhapsodizing over the film's beauty, and decided to check it out because of that. (That, or they simply see everything with Tadanobu Asano, which is a perfectly understandable alternative to the first hypothesis.) So I won't fall into the trap of simply saying what a beautiful film this is, though after I saw it, that was exactly what I had planned to do in this review. Why? Because it's one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen; it is certainly the most so of any film I've seen with multiple directors.

Based on three stories by Rampo Edagawa, a celebrated writer of hardboiled mystery tales, Rampo Noir unfolds in four (five, if you count the exceptionally odd extended intro, which has nothing at all to do with the rest of the film) long chapters, with the third story taking up the last two chapters (it's told from two different points of view). Tadanobu Asano, who's rapidly achieving superstar status, appears in all three. He plays a detective in the first two ("Mirror" and "Caterpillar," with the latter the one that the reviewers mentioned in the first paragraph are invariably most traumatized by), and his character ties the two together. "Mirror Hell" is the most traditional mystery of the three; a series of gruesome deaths are linked to hand mirrors manufactured by a certain company, and Kogoro Akechi (Asano), a private investigator, is called in to uncover the truth. The maker of the mirrors and the detective immediately set themselves up in one of the classic mystery formations: the detective and the criminal respect one another, and become almost friends, but it will stop neither from playing out their appointed roles. Akechi is only on the fringes of "Caterpillar," however, which concerns a disfigured war veteran, his sadistic wife, and her would-be lover, a rich noble who's fascinated as much by her husband's condition as he is by her.

The last story deviates from the pattern, and is in many ways the most interesting of the three. Asano plays the chauffeur of a theatre starlet, Fuyu Kinoshita (Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater's Tamaki Ogawa). The first version of the tale details her story from her point of view as she is stalked by a mysterious murderer; the second tells it from the point of view of the stalker.

The thing that really hit me about this movie is its soundtrack, which is far and away the kind of thing you'll never see here in America. It features noise/ambient gods Otomo Yoshihide and Ryoji Ikeda, and both of them, as well as fellow soundtrack artists Ai Saiko and Kohei Aramaki, turn in some of the finest work of their career here. As well, as has been mentioned in so many other reviews, the film is a visual delight, one of the most flat-out beautiful movies I've seen in a very long time. Also as noted above, however, the empirical beauty of the film does not alleviate any of the disgust the viewer is likely to feel at the movie's subject matter; quite the opposite, in fact. If that doesn't bother you (and even if it does), I cannot recommend this film strongly enough. It is, quite simply, the finest anthology film I have ever seen. **** ˝
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5.0 out of 5 stars happy, October 4, 2013
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This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
Thought it was a great movie for a fair price..it got to m on time and had no scraches..im am very happy with my purchase..thank you..
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, August 13, 2014
This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
My copy had no english subs, so completely understanding this film (for me) was impossible.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rampo Noir... Masters of whacky anthology., February 21, 2010
By 
This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
Rampo Noir (Rampo Jigoku): 4 out of 10: My first thought while watching Rampo was Zardoz, that wacky beyond belief Sean Connery sci-fi film. My second thought was Yoko Ono. Both those thoughts, along with Johnny Got his Gun and Sherlock Holmes, flooded me during the four short stories that make up this J-horror anthology.

First the good news this J-horror is one-hundred percent pasty white ghost free. Yup not an insect screeching wet haired concubine of the damned to be found in any of the pictures. The bad news'. Well let's look at the four pictures.

Mars Canal: 1 out of 10: Naked man in arty picture flashes back at a violent rape while a rare static fills the otherwise mute soundtrack. Yup this was the Yoko picture. Fortunately it's only seven minutes.

Mirror Hell: 6 out of 10: Think Sherlock Holmes but Watson is a dominatrix. Very straight forward narrative and is easily the most accessible of the bunch.

The Caterpillar: 5 out of 10: is the Johnny Got his Gun picture. War hero suffers domineering bride with an over the top amputee fetish. Not as bad as I just made it sound' but close.

Crawling Bugs: 6 out of 10: If this film is ever remade by a Hollywood studio I have two words for the main lead in this segment. Crispin Glover. This tale of obsession over both an actress and the bugs crawling on her skin would make a nifty Showtime Masters of Horror segment. Crawling Bugs is very arty. I could see this written, directed and starring Mr. Glover who certainly shares the films over the top weirdness.

In fact the whole Rampo Noir movie feels a little like a made for cable anthology series except for the first film that defiantly has NEA grant written all over it. Rampo is definitely different, but too often it is a little slow, and overall it simply is not all that good.

The films (outside the fact they are all based on short stories by Japanese author Rampo Edogawa) have virtually nothing to do with each other in tone and are not strong enough to stand on their own merit. The overall package still does kind of remind me of Zardoz. A film to show your jaded friends who think they have seen everything.
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1 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars hmmm, May 19, 2010
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This review is from: Rampo Noir (DVD)
i guess you have to have a taste for it. You know a taste for rotting garbage rolled over in crap smothered in cheap effects.
i didn't even watch the whole dvd before i freely and eagerly gave it away.
think about me when you give it away.
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Rampo Noir
Rampo Noir by Suguru Takeuchi (DVD - 2006)
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