Masters of Horror: Imprint Takashi Miike

Leave it to Takashi Miike to take full advantage of the carte blanche he was given for his contribution to the Masters of Horror series. So far, the results have been lacklustre from the horror director’s showcase — the efforts of Dario Argento and Joe Dante being the only real worthwhile works. It’s no surprise then that the legendary J-Horror director stands out like a needle stabbing a sore thumb (see the movie to understand), as his offering feels more like a proper film than a 60-minute cable TV movie, which is possibly the reason it was banned from airing. Imprint is a twisted, stomach-turning tale set in the 19th century where an American journalist travels to Japan in search of his prostitute lover, Komomo. Instead, he meets a mysterious, deformed prostitute that begins telling him what he doesn’t want to hear: that his love is dead. However, her story is hardly clear-cut and their rendezvous turns into a revelation of torment, torture and the existence of a bizarre twin sibling. The ending is beyond me — what unravels is as clear as mud but as we’ve come to expect, that’s the beauty of this horror master’s work. The ambiguity he leaves hanging may not cause the devastation of Audition’s closure but it’s still a chilling afterthought. Plus: Takashi Miike interview, featurettes, gallery. (Anchor Bay)