Review: Blind Woman’s Curse / Cert: 15 / Director: Teruo Ishii / Screenplay: Teruo Ishii, Chûsei Sone / Starring: Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda / Release Date: Out Now
Arrow Films have made quite the name for themselves re-releasing cult not-quite-classics for a modern audience, beautifully packaged and laden with special features. It’s brought us such gems as Deranged, The Stuff and White of the Eye, among many more. Truly, we are living in the golden age of cult fandom. As odd as anything they’ve ever brought us so far is Blind Woman’s Curse, a supernaturally tinged Japanese Yakuza film, with an added touch of horror and erotica for good measure. It is, frankly, bizarre.
When gang leader Akemi slashes out the eyes of an opponent during a battle with gangland rivals, a sinister black cat appears to lap up the blood and set the titular curse in motion. Akemi is now cursed; doomed to watch her minions die, one by one before her, their dragon tattoos peeled off and licked by the Blind Woman’s grudge-holding kitty and ghastly shadow-dwelling hunchback.
A forbearer to the work of Takashi Miike and Quentin Tarantino, Blind Woman’s Curse is a thoroughly enjoyable oddity. It seamlessly (and at other times, not so seamlessly) crosses genres without pause for thought. It’s always effective, the horror and the humour working just as effectively as the crime drama and the erotica. It’s bound to put off or annoy some, but plenty more will love it for its bizarro sensibilities.
Crude and juvenile as it sometimes might be (we could do without the repeated flashing of its villain’s sort of speedo-clad, apparently stinky arse cheeks), the story is always gripping, its shocks frequently effective and vividly depicted. The more surreal horror imagery works best; most notably during a stage show in which our Blind Woman reclines with her kitty while a hunchback tramp alternately licks and washes her bare feet. If the film rambles on a bit, it is forgivable, since everything else it does is so enjoyable and original. Kinky, weird, scary and funny in equal measures, Blind Woman’s Curse is an excellent re-release of a true cult gem that many won’t even know existed in the first place. Some will overlook it due to its age and subtitles (shame on you) but those who do give it a chance should find much to enjoy. Even better, old fans and horror aficionados can bask in its all-new high definition glory. The Blind Woman and her curse have never looked better.
As you’d expect from Arrow, the film comes accompanied by a whole host of extras, including an audio commentary by Japanese film expert Jasper Sharp and a lovely looking collector’s booklet. Gorgeous to look at and utterly bonkers to boot, Blind Woman’s Curse is the cat’s whiskers.
Extras: Audio Commentary / Trailer reel / Booklet