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I was reading a post on a facebook Horror Movie group, and the question was asked, "What Horror Movie Came Out The Year You Were Born?" I didn't know the answer, so looked up horror movies made in 1969. There were quite a few Hammer Horrors, bad b-movies and bland movies that just didn't spark any interest. Then I came across this little beauty (or not as the case maybe).
Horrors of Malformed Men (江戸川乱歩全集 恐怖奇形人間) is a 1969 Japanese film in the ero guro (erotic-grotesque) subgenre of the production company Toei's style of Pink film. Directed by Teruo Ishii, the movie is considered a precursor to Toei's ventures into the "Pinky violent" style in the early 1970s. A genre of film, that I have posted about before, in the article Sukeban: Japanese Girl Bosses & Girl Gangs. So anyway as I say it sparked my interest, and discovered a weird and creepy little gem of Asian horror. Not to everyone's taste, and a horror movie with a foot in surrealist art-house cinema. The narrative (for what it is) is purposely illogical.
Somewhere between tortuous nightmare and that moment of dream-like semi-lucidity, just before you awake. There's some much going in terms of possible influences, maybe too much to untangle. It's been said that there is influence of the Japanese novelist, Edogawa Ranpo. Stylistically there's a hint of Ingmar Bergman, and a soupçon of German Expressionism, but maybe I'm reading too much into it. It does own as much to European cinema traditions as it does Japanese. Well worth a watch for any fan of quality vintage Asian horror.