The Happiness of the Katakuris (Katakuri-ke no kôfuku) (2001)

The hills are alive with the sound of screaming.
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The Happiness of the Katakuris - The hills are alive with the sound of screaming

It is a widely little known fact that, despite his reputation for cartoonishly character filled, violent and perverted movies, Takashi Miike is also a creator of children's films and a creator of period movies (as in the corset-cleavage filled movies set in a period of time... not the kind downloadable from Germany). It is a narrower full-size fact that Mr Miike has also indulged in the joyous experience or creating a musical, if you are a fan of the sadistically distorted creations that the master of the peculiar metaphor creates, and you can possibly imagine the uniqueness that he could bring to the musical genre then you would have imagined something like The Happiness of The Katakuris (Katakuri-ke no kôfuku). Just when you think that Takashii Miike can no longer deliver shock and surprise, you see his next movie and relive that first encounter with his exclusively owned brand of craziness and The Happiness of the Katakuris is no exception to his seemingly everlasting imagination prolapses. There's a happy fun-time corpse cover-upping family, zombies, a modeling clay gremlin thingy, a volcano and jazz-hands, which would be surprising to anyone not familiar with Gozu, Fudoh or Visitor Q.

The Katakuris are a four generation family of no-hopers who, using Daddy Katakuris redundancy pay, invest in an inn in a location soon to be on the edge of a new major road which will hopefully attract loads of business and promote the family from losers to innkeepers. Unfortunately for the Katakuris' and their business loan application, the first guest that arrives seems to lack clothing and the will to live and soon dispenses of his pitiful life. Determined not to let a minor mishap such as "on premises jugular suicide" ruin their chances the family decides that the best option would be to conceal the body in the forest whilst singing and dancing to a cheesy little number.

Hoping that the next guest's stay will be more pleasant, the Katakuris welcome a sumo wrestler and his fragile, underage lover into their home. A tragedy strikes the inopportune love making of the latest guest's and Karma Sutra No. 11 expedites their time in the realms of the living. Song, dance and shovels is on the Katakuris todo list as they have to deal with the rising body count.

Just when the failing family thinks nothing can make the current situation any worse they have to deal with the arrival of a con-man, an escaped killer with the police hot on his trail, karaoke, volcanoes, reanimated forest corpses and numerous impromptu musical outbursts from the surrounding population both alive and dead. I think the moral of the story is "fuck it, as long as you have family then zombies are entertaining and shit."

Once again Takashi Miike has completely reinvented a genre, the horror musical, by adding a twist of fuckedupness and some traumatizing situations made good with an injection of over-acted harmonious jolliness and 10ml of dancetastic campiness. The claymation scene at the beginning is a bit abstract but sets up the unpreparedness for the rest of the movie which is rather well put together considering the mishmash of styles thrown in. If you are looking for some horrific torture, manic drug taking, sexual deviants or eccentric Yakuza then Takashi Miike will definitely surprise you with this one, if you are looking to experience an emotion of joviality that makes you feel like you need to shower then watch this movie. Possibly not one for the hardcore horror fans but definitely a Clockwork Orange eye clamp for people uninitiated in the crazy world of Takashi Miike.
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Categories: Asian Horror Movies

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