Genres: Horror


Country: Japan

Year: 2005

Runtime: 134 minutes

Studio: Kadokawa


Amazon Page
Review done by: Nekra
Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Mikako Ichikawa, Hanae Kan, Ryuhei Matsuda,
Kaiji Moriyama, Tomoya Nakamura, Hiroki Narimiya, Tamaki Ogawa, Yukiko
Okamoto, Nao Omori, Hiromasa Taguchi, & Minori Terada

Director(s): Akio Jissoji "Kagami jigoku", Atsushi Kaneko "Mushi", Hisayasu
Sato "Imomushi", Suguru Takeuchi "Kasei no unga"

Synopsis: 4 horror tales by writer Rampo Edogawa.


The English title for this macabre four story feature is Rampo Noir. All the
stories are written by Taru Hirai (aka Rampo Edogawa), who was inspired by
the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, his name
is a pseudonym for Poe's name, but in a Japanese rendering. I picked up this
movie not realizing that Tadanobu Asano starred in it. I just thought it
sounded interesting so it was a pleasant surprise being that I love Asano.
He's such an incredible actor. Any who, two of the directors appear to be new
comers and luckily the stories they did were not too bad. This will be another
movie that I will choose to tell in different parts. The first story shown is
titled "Mars Canal", which I must note has no sound and is less than five
minutes long. All you really see in it is a naked Asano walking through a valley
with cut scenes of him beating some woman. Not really too sure whats
behind this story but it was one that you wanted to know what was the

Our second story is "Mirror Hell." This story features Private eye Akechi. A lot
of Rampo's stories feature this character. This tale is about women who are
being found dead with their faces burned off and their skulls charred. The
thing that's the same at every crime scene is that an antique mirror is always
laying next to the body. Its starts off at a tea house and switches from place
to place and features very strong actors and characters. This was not my
favorite story but it's still pretty good. The third story is one that you can tell
was possibly written sometime during or after World War II. It tells the story
of a disabled solider and his wife who takes care of him. The thing is that the
husband is just a torso and his wife calls him her Caterpillar, and such is the
title of our story. This is probably the more deranged of the four stories.
You're just sitting there watching a woman torture her disabled husband.
There is even a character in there who is named after the original author,
Taro Hirai.

This one is pretty gruesome as you watch this poor man get his nipple cut
off and then whipped. Not only is he a torso but he is unable to vocalize
anything, so the wife can do as she wishes without him ever being able to tell
anybody. The ending is pretty interesting as well. The last story and my
personal favorite is called "Crawling bugs." This one features Tadanobu Asano
as a germophobe limo driver and his becomingly obsessive love with the
stage actress Fuyu Kinoshita, who he is forced to drive around. This is also
another story that you can see should have been in the 1940s, but then
features such things as cell phones and other modern technology. The first
thing he says to her right before he kills her is
"Ever since I fell in love with
you my life has been hell."
He then proceeds to take his beloved to his
home, but his germ problem is not stopping his means to preserve her body
and attempt to keep it as germ free as possible.

This story was probably the most visually stunning of the four, but not the
strongest performances featured out of all the stories. This would be a movie
I would tell people to go check out. Especially if you are getting pretty bored
with watching long haired ghosts popping out of different areas. It's very
different from the majority of films that have been coming out the past few
years. Mr Rampo had been alive from 1894-1965, I did not know this until I
decided to do a bit of research while writing my review. While thinking about
it you can tell as I had mentioned before, a lot of his stories were probably
written sometime before, during and after World War II. But even with that
the stories looked incredible and could still be widely universal. Kurodahan
Press is rumoured to be releasing english versions of Rampo's stories and I
would definitly want to read them after watching this movie.

Overall: 7/10
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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