Hell

JIGOKU (1960) by Nobuo Nakagawa is this weird, disappointing thing. But from these images you’d think it was the greatest thing ever — like the 2001 of horror movies.

My problem with the Nakagawa movies I’ve seen — those in the kaidan genre — is that they all follow a tiresome, overextended EC Comics pattern — some horrible characters are horrible for two hours, then get a supernatural comeuppance. JIGOKU, which means HELL, varies the usual pattern by killing the whole cast half an hour before the end, and then shows them being tortured in the afterlife. Thirty minutes of plotless wailing. But fantastic imagery.

Nakagawa’s films, populated as they are by conniving shitheels, only become involving when the ghostly revenge kicks in, where he can show off his considerable visual skills in a more-or-less abstract manner. Dullish movies with exciting final ten minute sequences. He tends to overdo the snakes, but that’s a quibble. So the idea of expanding that bit to fill an entire act might seem to make sense. It doesn’t play out that way, though.

3 Responses to “Hell”

  1. The imagery is impressive but from your review, I definitely wouldn’t want to see this. A half-hour long afterlife torture sequence? I don’t know why anyone would want to sit through that. Haha. Thanks for your honest review!

  2. ehrenstein47 Says:

  3. The Olsen & Johnson pit does look more fun.

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