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Pajiba’s Twisted Masterpieces

She Makes Me Wanna Die

Audition / TK

Twisted Masterpieces | July 2, 2008 | Comments (97)

Let’s just come out and say it: There is something wrong with Takashi Miike, director of Audition. Seriously, deeply, profoundly wrong. I’m not necessarily saying that as a bad thing, mind you… but I’m telling you right now — I’m never eating dinner at his house, or sleeping in his guest room. Because a mind that thinks up the things that his does is a mind I don’t need in my life. Yet the truth is that we are richer, cinematically speaking, for having him.

Japanese horror films have exploded in the last few years, finally making their way to North American shores after languishing for too long in the East. Unfortunately, it took a relatively short time for a fascinating sub-genre to be co-opted and, in many cases, ruined. Two problems have occurred: 1) There has been a preponderance of the prototypical “J-Horror” films — that is to say, films of a somewhat supernatural nature, starring creepy little kids with big eyes. Examples include Ring, Ju-On, and their ilk. I’m not saying they don’t have their merits — both managed to be effective as well as nerve-wrackingly creepy. But it’s spawned a host of imitators, leading us to 2) the American remakes. Both the aforementioned have been remade into American films (with mixed results), and no doubt more are on the way. So we are now faced with an over-saturated market of films that are being remade for a different, Americanized over-saturated market.

Oh, fuck you, Hollywood.

Thankfully, I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about Audition (or Ôdishon, if you wish to be a purist) being remade any time soon. Because while it is a deeply disturbing, wholly engrossing movie, it’s just not paced for the conventional American audience. Based on a novel by Ryū Murakami, Audition is about Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a middle-aged film producer whose wife died several years ago. Sad and dejected, the people in Aoyama’s life are starting to worry about him. His son, Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki), and his business partner, Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura), both express their growing concern for his growing despondence. It’s part of an overall theme of disaffectedness that pervades the film, giving it an air of gloom from the very beginning — “The whole of Japan is lonely,” Yoshikawa solemnly proclaims early on. Finally, Aoyama relents, confiding to Yoshikawa that he wants to remarry. It’s an odd idea, this one, of remarrying simply to be married again, but more importantly it leads to an exchange that significantly demonstrates a segment of the cultural rift between us. Aoyama wants companionship, but he also wants someone “beautiful, classy and obedient.”

Yoshikawa hatches a scheme that serves two purposes — to assist them professionally, as well as to provide Aoyama with a selection of women to peruse. He puts together a fake movie that they will hold auditions for, allowing women to come in and present themselves to the two, showing off their knowledge and abilities, and leting Aoyama glimpse a broad spectrum. Over the course of the auditions, he becomes enthralled by a slight, delicate young woman named Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina). Asami is everything he is looking for — intelligent yet demure, beautiful yet fragile, sweet and wholly interested in him. Despite his friend’s words of caution, Aoyama pursues Asami, and the two find themselves more and more drawn to each other.

Alas, this is where the plot summary must end, for to give away anything more is to ruin the luscious, horrifying surprise. Let’s just say that Asami’s past and present rear their ugly heads, and the tale eventually turns into a lurid nightmare featuring child abuse, torture, dismemberment and some truly astonishing and unsettling hallucination/dream sequences. In case that didn’t make it clear, let me state the obvious: Audition is not for the squeamish. It’s not because it’s gory, though there is certainly a good amount of blood. It’s because it’s just flat-out disturbing. It’s also a masterpiece in its own right. The first thing that I noticed when watching it is that the pace is unlike that of most other horror movies. The first 75 minutes is 100% set-up. It’s a somber, meditative pace, forcing you to understand the characters and their relationships. Not everyone is well-developed — Aoyama’s son as well as his assistant are basically stock characters. But it really gives you a prolonged, focused look at the main players…

… so that it can completely pull the rug out from under you in the final 30 minutes. Films such as Audition are what make movie-watching so engrossing. It’s a sparsely directed, seemingly simplistically set up film. Most of the camera work features long, fixed shots, rarely straying from the speaking actor’s face or upper body. In the rare instance where the camera pans around, the sets are minimalist and almost drab. Yet there are artful splashes of color strewn through every scene, making each shot feel slightly jarring and giving the otherwise drab settings a more surreal quality.

The pacing of the first two acts moves at a slow, steady clip, but somewhere around the middle of the second act, you know something is going to go horribly wrong. You don’t know what it is, but random pieces of the puzzle begin to present themselves, casting a pall over every frame. I found myself watching relatively innocuous scenes — Aoyama taking his dog for a walk, or silently sitting in his study with a glass of brandy — and being filled with a sense of stomach-clenching dread. That’s the beauty of Miike’s brutally efficient, tacit direction — it’s a true play in three acts, but the mood feels like it’s sometimes guiding the film’s trajectory. It starts out quiet and even fun at times — the actual audition scenes have some moments of sly, clever humor. The second act brings with it some discovery, as well as a foreboding sense of crawling, slithering anxiousness. Finally, the third act is where the wheels come off, and the bus heads off a cliff into a terrifyingly honest and nasty realm of nightmare. In many ways, Audition is superior to its contemporaries since there are no ghosts (not literal ones, anyway), no spirits or supernatural events. It makes the fear more gripping, creating a sense of paranoia and revulsion that you don’t get when watching computer generated, shark-eyed, lank-haired children.

The inevitable question presents itself, however: what separates directors like Miike from the likes of Eli Roth? And what makes Audition different from the Saw movies? Well, aside from a fundamental gap in directorial finesse and artfulness, Miike creates a more realized world, and one with something to say. There is shock and terror, but not for terror’s sake — it’s not just to gross you out or make you jump. There is much more afoot here — a forthright criticism of sexism and male/female power dynamics, not to mention a frank look at Japanese culture and societal stresses. All of these are dexterously interwoven within a web of love, deceit, familial devotion, loss, loneliness and yes, horror. After watching it once, and getting over your initial urge to curl into a ball and whimper for a bit, watch it again simply to see all of the parts assemble themselves into a cohesive statement. It makes the eventual stunning unraveling all the more satisfying.

Audition is certainly not for everyone — that’s part of the allure of the Twisted Masterpieces series in the first place. To call it twisted is almost an understatement. But at the same time, it’s not unnecessarily gory, and sometimes its most effective parts involve none of the conventional horror devices — there is an amazing scene of Asami simply sitting on the floor, watching an old rotary phone that made me want to crawl out of my skin, not to mention a sex scene that shows no sex, no sense of the erotic at all, no nothing really, that was so uncomfortable that I could barely sit still through it. That’s not to say that there aren’t scenes of blood and terror, but (and I realize this doesn’t make sense) it’s such a quiet, methodical carnage that it’s far more frightening than any torture porn. In the end, that’s what makes it ultimately so satisfying.

TK can be found wandering aimlessly through suburban Massachusetts, wondering how the hell he got there while yelling at the kids on his lawn. You can find him raising the dead in preparation for world domination at Uncooked Meat.

Arkansas | Pajiba Love 07/02/08


Goddamnit, I really need to see this movie. I love Asian cinema in general (South Korean in particular, for some reason - the Vengeance trilogy, Brotherhood and A Bittersweet Life all rule immensely), and this has been a gap in my collection for an unforgiveable length of time. I mean, I own Miike's Visitor Q (another good candidate for a Twisted Masterpiece, that one) and not this!

Posted by: Dill The Devil at July 2, 2008 1:10 PM

I'M SO CONFUSED. What was this movie about?

No offense, but I really like spoilers.

Sorry bweaves, but I'm a stickler for non-spoliers. You'll just have to see it. Trust me. (cue ominous music). -TK

Posted by: BWeaves at July 2, 2008 1:15 PM

I watched it about a year ago and I still think/have nightmares about the kiri kiri thing.

Posted by: ric at July 2, 2008 1:17 PM

Every time I see the cheese wire in our kitchen drawer, I think of this movie... and shudder.

Posted by: Mrs Smith at July 2, 2008 1:18 PM

there is an amazing scene of Asami simply sitting on the floor, watching an old rotary phone that made me want to crawl out of my skin

YES. God this movie creeped me out.

Posted by: twig at July 2, 2008 1:19 PM

This is by far one of the creepiest movies I've seen. Those of you who dare to see it, wait for this line:

"Deet deet dee deet deet dee dee"

It will haunt your nightmares.

Posted by: Ginger at July 2, 2008 1:23 PM


The combination of your love of country music plus your unexpected review of one of the greatest movies ever, you've become my new hero.

The are the type of man I hope to become.

Thank you.

Posted by: David at July 2, 2008 1:34 PM

I meant "You" not "The"... oof

Posted by: David at July 2, 2008 1:35 PM has now been netflixed. Third in my queue. Awesome review TK bastard...

Posted by: Shadows of Dakaron at July 2, 2008 1:38 PM

Great choice for a fucked up ride of a movie.

Can Tetsuo: The Iron Man be far behind? Please? Someone review Tetsuo?

Posted by: Some Guy at July 2, 2008 1:39 PM

"Deet deet dee deet deet dee dee"

The night that my boyfriend and I first watched it, I started to make that sound and he jumped out of sleep and almost hit me in face. Worth it.

Also, we have bags for laundry that look like the one in her apartment. I woke up one night to go to the bathroom and saw it moving and I screamed and kicked that fucking bag clear across the room. My cat has not forgiven me.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 1:42 PM

I guess this isn't a movie for me, because I'm scared shitless just reading the review.

that might be the nicest compliment I've ever received. -TK

Posted by: Cindy at July 2, 2008 1:42 PM

I first saw this movie about 3 years ago and it SERIOUSLY disturbed me.
I would recommend watching it with a friend.
As far as J-horror goes, yes, it's an over-saturated market, but there are still some gems worth seeing.
If you haven't seen A Tale of Two Sisters (actually K-horror, I guess), or Suicide Club, I highly recommend those as well.

Posted by: Courtie at July 2, 2008 1:45 PM

Wow. I had pretty much forgotten about this flick. Way to dredge up the horribly disturbing scenes I thought I had buried safely away in the darkest corners of my mind. Nice review, TK. I hate you, but nice review nonetheless.

Posted by: Skittimus Maximus at July 2, 2008 1:46 PM

I think I've seen this movie.

I'm not sure, though.

Maybe I blanked it out.

The picture above the review looks familiar, though.

Posted by: BrianM at July 2, 2008 1:47 PM

An AWESOME movie but not for the faint of heart. Try not to watch it alone. I still have freaky flashbacks to the dude in the burlap sack sometimes.......

Posted by: Be Adequite! at July 2, 2008 1:48 PM

jM, if I had seen a laundry bag move like that, I would have pissed myself.
Your cat should know better than to imitate Mr. Whateverhisnamewas.

Posted by: Courtie at July 2, 2008 1:50 PM

TK, I saw it last year and while, cinematically, it's filmed and acted extremely well, did you not think the payoff was trying to be shocking simply for the sake of being shocking? Unlike something like Oldboy (vastly superior, IMO) whose shocking denoument was totally in keeping with the buildup and rest of the film, I found Audition a bit, well, over the top in it's "desire to horrify" (much like a lot of the undeniably talented Miike's work. For some subtle Takeshi, check out Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence).

Posted by: boogs at July 2, 2008 1:54 PM

Great review, TK. I saw this film with my girlfriend right around the time The Ring was big, which led to my seeking out any and all "J-Horror" I could find. My girlfriend and I watched this safe and warm in bed. When the film's horror kicked into high gear my gal, disgusted by what she was seeing (she's not much of a horror buff and expected a more Ring-like film), went out to the living room to read. I stuck out the entire film, and it was the first one in a loooooooooooong time to get me to pull the covers up to my chin and wish the movie would just STOP. For weeks after I was suspicious of everything my girlfriend said and did.

I lent it to a friend who not only loves cult cinema, but finds Asian women extremely attractive. The weekend after I gave the DVD to him, he returned it to me with a nasty look on his face and two words of review: "Fuck you." Another casualty of the Miike-Bomb, he couldn't look at the objects of his desire for a while after.

Audition is easily the most divisive film I've ever seen. The vast majority of women I've spoken to who've seen it think it's disgusting and lousy. But most men I've talked to find the film horrifying - it's a man's worst nightmare realized on the screen. What often gets missed but not by TK (God bless ya!)is that, if you remove the last 40 minutes, the film plays like a bittersweet (but slow-paced) romantic comedy. You actually like the main characters and find yourself rooting for them. However those last 40 minutes are the film equivalent of getting kicked in the groin with a steel-toed boot, followed by several punches to the face. By the closing moments, you're left with a dazed expression, wondering, "What the hell just happened to me???"

Without giving away any spoilers, there were three moments in Audition that made me realize that Miike is the most evil director out there...and hunt down as many of his films as I could find!

Posted by: David at July 2, 2008 1:57 PM

Awesome review TK. This movie fucked me up.

Posted by: Julie at July 2, 2008 2:00 PM

Courtie, I love that cat, but I would do it again in a heart beat.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 2:01 PM

Courtie, good call on Tale Of Two Sisters and Suicide Club. May I also recommend Strange Circus and Noriko's Dinner Table (two films Sion Sono made after Suicide Club), as well as Uzumaki and Battle Royale (a film that - thankfully - will never be bastardized by Hollywood thanks to subject matter alone).

David, I almost picked Battle Royale, but couldn't find the damn DVD! -TK

Posted by: David at July 2, 2008 2:01 PM

Damnit....bumped up to first in curiosity must be satiated!

Posted by: Shadows of Dakaron at July 2, 2008 2:02 PM

No one warned me going into this film. It was described to me, by my sick sonofabitch friends, as a quaint romantic comedy.

Posted by: serena at July 2, 2008 2:04 PM


I ADORE both Uzumaki and Battle Royale.
Battle Royale is, to this day, the only manga I've ever read.
I have not been able to get a hold of Noriko's Dinner Table, though.

Posted by: Courtie at July 2, 2008 2:09 PM

This movie is unbelievably disturbing. I rented it a while back when I was going through a phase of watching the J-horror stuff before it gets remade, American-style... so so so disturbing. Really, I rented it expecting to laugh through the whole thing, and just got so fully creeped out. It truly just sucks you right in. It was an amazing filmic experience. I bought the DVD last weekend, and I still haven't quite been able to bring myself to slip it in the player yet... maybe Friday, before I go have BBQ and fireworks action and lots of laughs. That way I can breathe after.

By the by, one of the other ones I rented was Gin gwai (The Eye, in American remake language), and found it creepily delightful.

Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen at July 2, 2008 2:09 PM

David, I went to Blockbuster to see if they had Battle Royale and they had no idea what I was talking about. When I explained the premise and how awesome the movie is, they looked at me like I rape pandas.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 2:13 PM

Well, I never expected a pajiban to mention Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. I only stumbled upon due to my perpetual Bowie obsession.
And, oh, what a glorious film to fuel such an obsession.

Posted by: serena at July 2, 2008 2:17 PM

When I explained the premise and how awesome the movie is, they looked at me like I rape pandas.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! In all fairness, jM...fuckers won't put out, how else would you do it?

Posted by: Shadows of Dakaron at July 2, 2008 2:19 PM

Shadows, it think it's that come-hither stare, that and the way they were dressed.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 2:24 PM

People who like Battle Royale, I hope you've read the book.
It's approximately 500 times more awesome than the movie, if that's possible.

Posted by: Courtie at July 2, 2008 2:24 PM

I haven't read a single word of anything yet--review or comments. I just have to say this:


Ok, off to enjoy.

Posted by: boo at July 2, 2008 2:24 PM

Excellent, strange movie. Another bizarre one is Dumplings - don't recommend it to anyone who is pregnant (I unfortunately made that mistake - another "raping pandas" moment).

Posted by: Marianne at July 2, 2008 2:26 PM

Around Halloween some channel was airing something along the lines of "50 most terrifying movie moments" or something like that. Perfect thing for an insomniac teenage girl to watch alone in the dark at one in the morning, right? This movie was near the top, particularly the scene with the phone you were talking about.

That is the only scene out of the fifty that I remember still, and needless to say I did not sleep that night. I also described it in detail to all of my friends and creeped them out.

Posted by: erin at July 2, 2008 2:29 PM

Ok. Yes, you are my people. The fact that so many of my favorite flicks have been mentioned in this one comment thread completely seals the deal. I'm having all y'all's babies.

Wizard sleeve. Word association is fun!!!

Like, if I were to say black rubber gloves, you might say big fucking needle. See? I can stay on topic.

Posted by: boo at July 2, 2008 2:38 PM

I am going to be adding this to my Netflix queue as well. I like horror movies, but I usually end up laughing or rolling my eyes. Doesn't sound like I'll do that with this movie.

And I will also be searching for my copy of Pre-Millennium Tension. I haven't listened to it in years, but the singer's voice on "Makes Me Wanna Die" is haunting.

Posted by: sassmouth at July 2, 2008 2:51 PM

Oh man, I actually own Tale of Two Sisters. WHAT THE FUCK. That movie creeped me the fuck out.

Posted by: Snath at July 2, 2008 3:06 PM

I still remember the sex scene best as it really was the one that confused and disturbed me the most. Just wtf? This was a great movie for all the reasons mentioned above.
I'm glad to hear Tale of Two Sisters is good and now I may bump it up in my queue. Still gotta get to the library to get Battle Royal. Many have said the book is infinitely better than the movie adaptation. Nice review :)

Posted by: osmate77 at July 2, 2008 3:08 PM

Nicely done review of what sounds to be an intriguing film. I was going to add it to my Ziplist but...

Miike also directed Ichi The Killer, a movie I haaaaated. And not because of the gore and violence. I just couldn't figure out what the Hell was going on.

I'll probably add Audition to my list anyway. I'm curious to see if it tips more toward Masterpiece instead of (simply) Twisted.

Posted by: Groundloop at July 2, 2008 3:27 PM

Two things:

If you have no desire to watch it for reals or just want spoilers, check wikipedia and it gives a full synopsis.

Also, look up "method acting" in the dictionary. Then watch this movie.
See the female lead?
That gross thing she did with the bowl?

Do yourself a favor and watch this in the daytime.

Posted by: scorzi at July 2, 2008 3:38 PM

Ok, here's the deal. The review was compelling, buuuut...I'm a total chicken shit and I can't stand horror/gore/torture, etc. However, I HAVE to freaking know what happened - help me out somebody. Spoilers, anyone???

Posted by: Megan at July 2, 2008 4:10 PM

i've been lurking around this site for over a year now and just had to come out of hiding to say that seeing the screen shot from this movie when the page loaded gave me chills. seriously, i totally love that there's a review... that there are even other people that have watched the movie makes me all fuzzy and sparkly inside. my introduction to audition was an accident. i was looking for a nice foreign movie on netflix to rent and saw this one and read the synopsis:

"Director Takashi Miike fashions an explosive drama in Audition. Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) has lived as a widower for too long and decides it's time to marry again. But how will he find a wife? When a friend suggests he hold a fake audition to pick the right woman, he takes him up on it -- only to realize that his choice may be a better actress than he bargained for."

hmm sounds interesting. lets put it in the queue. the added loss of hints from the cover art made the initial watching of the movie quite interesting indeed. i settled in to watch with some popcorn and a couple of roommates equally naive and at first thought it was a boring romantic type movie... and then sweet baby jesus what the fuck was that?! ahh!! kiri kiri! oh god... ahh! why? stop it! stop it! wait, what... what the shit is this?! oh fuck! ::roommates go running, then come back, then run away again::

thank you netflix, thank you. that hit me like a ton of bricks and i couldn't have appreciated it more. i'll never trust again. though now when i recommend this movie to people i tell them the same thing. good drama, engaging storyline. it's a quirky sort of romantic movie, you'll love it. mwahahahahaha.

Posted by: yeratomato at July 2, 2008 4:34 PM

"A Tale of Two Sisters" - scary and also really, really sad.

I loved "Audition", but it is absolutely horrifying. What I love about it, though, is that part of you (well, a part of me) enjoyed (to a point) seeing this dude who wanted a much younger, docile, perfectly subservient little thing get his ass handed to him. The violence, of course, goes well, well beyond that.

Posted by: samantha t at July 2, 2008 4:47 PM

I have to say, as much as I love Battle Royale, there were parts that were just so over-the-top ridiculous that I could not get over it. Mostly how it took like a FRILLION bullets just to kill one person.

Audition has SO been on my list for a very long time and really want to see it.
I always tell myself that I can handle scary movies, but then I rediscover how much of a puss I really am.

Posted by: Saint Saturn Sunshine at July 2, 2008 5:12 PM

I lent this to friends and told them it was a heart-warming tale of forbidden love and the redemptive power of forgiveness. They made it right up to Asami's skillful use of acupuncture needles (girl knows her stuff) before throwing in the towel. Interesting movie, with a protagonist you can't help but feel a bit sorry for.

Posted by: antidude at July 2, 2008 5:27 PM

A Tale of Two Sisters is awesome.

I recently saw a Thai movie called The Ghost. Not very inventively titled, but it was scary and also awesomely twisty but not in a desperate Shyamalan way.

Has anyone seen 2LDK? I think you'd really like it. It's not a horror, but goes into a full-on escalating Kill Bill mode that is extremely entertaining.
2LDK means "2 bedrooms, living, dining, kitchen", and is the apartment that these two girls share.

Posted by: Loob at July 2, 2008 5:42 PM

Has anyone seen 2LDK?

Hell yeah, Loob. I did triple feature of that, Audition, and Suicide Club. 2LDK is definitely the lighter of the three and funny, too.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 5:53 PM

Battle Royale was half remade in the US (The Condemned).
I've seen Suicide Club & 3 Extremes, but this has been on my watch list for awhile. Time to move it up.

Posted by: Stew at July 2, 2008 6:05 PM

"Has anyone seen 2LDK?

Hell yeah, Loob. I did triple feature of that, Audition, and Suicide Club. 2LDK is definitely the lighter of the three and funny, too.
Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 5:53 PM"

Cool! :D Yeah, I love it jM! I love the quiet weirdness and the grating tension of roommates, like where Nozomi is marking individual eggs with her sharpie.
I also really liked that it had no musical score at all. It was unusual, but felt very real.

I'll have to see Suicide Club, since you've given it the thumbs-up. :)

Posted by: Loob at July 2, 2008 6:08 PM

Hot damn, TK, you hit the nail on the head with this review. Mr. Pink had to walk out of the room during this movie and didn't come back; that, in my household, is the sign of a k-rad horror movie.

I also throw my vote in for Tale of Two Sisters. It's got the typical supernatural themes present in a lot of Asian horror, but the imagery is some of the creepiest I've ever seen. Stays with you for while.

We saw Battle Royale four or five years ago, when it wasn't even available in the US. We borrowed a friend's VCD version that we had to watch on another friend's DVD player. I'd love to be able to watch a cleaner copy of it. Has anyone confirmed Netflix has it? I haven't even tried looking for it.

Posted by: Alabamapink at July 2, 2008 6:09 PM

this movie is on Youtube, dismembered into 13 parts

Posted by: kam at July 2, 2008 6:11 PM

I REALLY want to see this movie . . . but I'm SCARED!

Posted by: Bev M. at July 2, 2008 6:23 PM

Ok...fine I'll watch it, but if I get scared (and I am a big chicken), I'll tell my mum that you scared me. Panda rapists. I like the idea of panda raping becoming part of our know, that movie raped pandas. Or I'm so angry I could rape a panda. Or what in the panda raping hell are you talking about?

Posted by: Joker at July 2, 2008 6:28 PM

"what in the panda raping hell are you talking about?"


Posted by: TK at July 2, 2008 6:43 PM

this movie has been out forever. catch up.

Posted by: chrissy at July 2, 2008 6:44 PM

@chrissy (? odd name for a troll)
Jackass, no one said it was brand new, and there is no rule that only the latest releases can be reviewed.
I am positive however that you have seen every movie ever made. I can just tell by your aura of pure awesome.

Posted by: Loob at July 2, 2008 6:54 PM

I have one friend who refuses to see Audition just on account of trying to avoid being scared off Japanese girls.

The point, as always, never trust eHarmony.

Posted by: BFFredo at July 2, 2008 7:10 PM

man, that movie raped pandas.


Jumped the Shark = Nuked the Fridge = Raped Pandas

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 7:23 PM

You've started a movement, jM

Posted by: Shadows of Dakaron at July 2, 2008 7:52 PM

Having rented and watched Audition at a very impressionable age, I still can't say enough for this film. I loved it. I'm not a gore hound, I don't wet my panties when a new piece of shit SAW film comes out. Audition is just what dramatic, serious horror is meant to be. "This wire is very thin, it cuts through meat and bone easily." Aughhh. This movie horrified me so much but I was still amazed coming away from it - even though on my first viewing I watched it through the gaps between my fingers.

Posted by: Lola at July 2, 2008 7:57 PM

jM, I just thought of anothery. Have you seen Tomie? If not, you might like it. You know how Jason Voorhies is basically unstoppable? Well Tomie is a pretty and delicate young girl, and basically unstoppable.

Posted by: Loob at July 2, 2008 8:07 PM

I loved this movie. Which is weird because I don't like horror movies. Yes, there are some jaw-droppingly horrifying things that happen in this movie, and if you can't stand any gore at all, you'll hate it. But this is the kind of horror movie I wish they'd make more of. I can't stomach the whole torture porn thing, but a beautifully made movie with some graphic and disturbing stuff I'm okay with apparently.

Posted by: zenhound at July 2, 2008 8:14 PM

So one day I was watching some random movie on IFC, and when it ended I left the TV on and wandered elsewhere in the house for a little while. Audition was on next, so I came back at around the 10-minute mark and got sucked into the film. Sure, it was slow, but there was...something...under the surface that made me want to keep watching.

So I'm watching and watching and I keep hitting the "info" button on my remote to confirm that this is listed as a horror film - that can't be right, right? And then she's sitting on the floor waiting and waiting for the phone to ring and then


I watched the rest of it, then immediately downed a couple of neat whiskey shots. This movie is not okay, you guys.

Great review though, TK. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by: Jen at July 2, 2008 8:31 PM

Loob, i have to see that. I have this compulsion to watch movies with creepy kids. Good for me, bad for young family members. Someday, one of them is gonna look at me eerily and get maced in the face.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 9:11 PM

oh and that should say Raped the Pandas.

Posted by: jM at July 2, 2008 9:14 PM

Definitely fits the bill of Twisted Masterpiece. Thanks, TK

Posted by: Kevin Longrie at July 2, 2008 9:15 PM

Queued on Netflix!

Fake auditions for a prospective wife? It might be too easy (and juvenile!), but Tom and Katie, anyone? Will life be imitating art?

Posted by: Bubu at July 2, 2008 10:17 PM

This was the second of his films I saw, the first being "The Birdpeople of China", a lovely, dreamy, and quiet pastoral film of all things. This meant that when I went into Audition at a film festival way back when, I was unprepared. Not that you can be prepared for the film, even if you had seen Fudoh, Next Generation (awesome!). I hadn't jumped in a movie in a long, long time, but the phone scene in the apartment, and the laundry bag that you just know has a body in it, doesn't it? doesn't it?, put me a foot into the air. Marvelous.
It's a great contrast to his more operatic mode where he throws all that and the cuisinart into the mix. I bought a nice DVD copy and one night girded up to watch it again. It stands up so well. Great to see it mentioned.

Posted by: indfusion at July 2, 2008 10:24 PM

After seeing Audition, see Miike's The Happiness of the Katakuris and prepare to be surprised. The movie has his usual punk sensibility and dark humor, but it is a remarkably sweet and sentimental story. And it's a musical! Katakuris is my favorite Miike movie. (Note: It's based on the Korean movie The Quiet Family by the director of the justly-loved A Tale of Two Sisters.)

Posted by: magsman at July 2, 2008 10:42 PM

Reviews like this make me wish I liked horror movies. But I just can't do it to myself. It disgusts me but there's nothing I can do about it.

But I am disturbed by the idea of this panda raping business. For the simple reason that the pajiba t-shirt that comes out of it may not be fit to wear in public...

Posted by: rach at July 2, 2008 10:53 PM

Oh fellow sick brilliant bastards! I think you forgot one unholy jewel of Korean bizarre cinema:
"The Isle" (In Korean, "Sum"). Ah, the joy of hooks, intimacy, and solitary lake fishing . . . oh, and star-crossed love.

Posted by: tenthumbs at July 2, 2008 11:04 PM

I watch a lot of horror with one of my friends, and when it got to the kiri kiri scene, she ran out of the room screaming. And I'm no longer allowed to watch asian horror movies with her, so I watch them by my lonesome. I still whisper kiri kiri around her and she almost murders me. haha.

I did like this movie, and I definitely think this was the most accurate review I've read of it. kudos.

Posted by: Megan at July 2, 2008 11:35 PM

I didn't know it was based on a Ryu Murakami book. He's also got something wrong with him. He keeps repeating eyeball violence and pins and eyes and pins and eyes and make it stop, please.

Posted by: Pheagan at July 3, 2008 1:09 AM

Ooh I though of another one!
The movie "Stacy" is about a virus called NDH (Near Death Happiness) that makes all girls turn into zombies when they turn fifteen! There's a gorgeous scene with an informercial about a chainsaw that comes in decorator pastel colours, that you should use to murder your daughter immediately after she turns into a zombie, and the chainsaw's product name is "Bruce Campbell's Right Hand"!

Posted by: Loob at July 3, 2008 1:14 AM

I freaked the fuck out of a bunch of friends one Boxing Day, telling 'em to watch a really cool horror movie and then popping this one in. Simply whispering kiri kiri at my boyfriend could bring him to tears.

Am gonna have to check out this Tale of Two Sisters that everyone's been mentioning.

Did anyone here ever see Gozu? Not sure I liked, or understood it, but that film easily contains some of the most horrific scenes I have ever seen (and I enjoyed and sat comfortably through both Ichi the Killer and Oldboy to name just a couple). Screw Hollywood for horror!

Posted by: Lisa S at July 3, 2008 2:50 AM

The movie "Stacy" is about a virus called NDH (Near Death Happiness) that makes all girls turn into zombies when they turn fifteen! There's a gorgeous scene with an informercial about a chainsaw that comes in decorator pastel colours, that you should use to murder your daughter immediately after she turns into a zombie, and the chainsaw's product name is "Bruce Campbell's Right Hand"!

Loob, I love you and whoever made this. I must find it A.S.A.P.

Posted by: jM at July 3, 2008 8:08 AM

My friend and I grabbed this at Blockbuster. She told me she had heard it was a good comedy.

We chuckled our way through the auditions, but then the movie took a scary turn. Who knew watching someone waiting for the phone to ring could have you biting your nails in fear?

We sat there, mouths agape, for about five minutes after the film had ended.

Posted by: Afropique at July 3, 2008 8:16 AM

Loob: Stacy!!! I reccomend that movei to everyone, especially for the most awesome Bruce reference.
AlabamaPink: Not sure if anyone replied but Netflix does have Battle Royal & the sequel, however I didn't find the sequel as good. I own both though, just, you know, because...

Suicide Club, A Tale of Two sisters, Uzumaki - all awesome. I love the imagery in Uzumaki and the way each town member is affected in different way by the spirals. It also makes me think of that They Might Be Giants Song about spiraling shapes making you go insane. And now that song is stuck in my head.
Ichi the Killer was actually an awesome movie - how can you not love Kakihara (sp)? And way violent so definitely not for the squeamish.
Boy... I could go on foerver about these.

Posted by: CherryPie at July 3, 2008 10:14 AM

Jesus panda-raping Christ.

Loob, thanks for mentioning Stacy, I'ma hafta check that out. sounds awesome. Also, I thought about mentioning Tomie yesterday, but wasn't sure it was terrifying enough... it really was the Asian Friday the 13th, wasn't it? I totally thought that while I was watching it. Are any of the sequels any good?

Not really truly a horror film, but hilarious: Battlefield Baseball. Although it does have zombies. And is a musical.

Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen at July 3, 2008 10:55 AM

Boog, you're confusing Takeshis here- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence was directed by Nagisa Oshima and it co-stars Takeshi Kitano while this is Takeshi Miike. And I really enjoy Miike movies, everyone is different from Audition to Happiness of the Katakuras to Sabu to The Great Yokai War. And let me say, in a sick way, I fell in love with Tadanobu Asano-he was HOT in that film! And I must give some love to A Tale of Two Sisters and must say I'm NOT looking forward to the American version. And yes, Anastasia, Battlefield Baseball RULES! As does Versus.

Posted by: Shazza at July 3, 2008 11:40 AM

*Tadanobu Asano in Ichi the Killer, that is

Posted by: Shazza at July 3, 2008 11:44 AM

Ha, I just randomly rented this movie last week and had never heard of it. I was underwhelmed.
Although the scary/morbid parts were truly that, they were too few and far between.

But trust me, at the end of this movie, you will have the urge to punch that evil woman (or date her if she'll have you).

Posted by: CoolWhip11 at July 3, 2008 3:00 PM

"uzumaki" was great.

anyway, this movie gave me the willies...perhaps on par with "cutting moments", which is without a doubt one of the most disturbing films i have ever seen (and i've seen A LOT).

miike is without a doubt disturbed, but he pushes the envelope like few others do. here's looking forward to his next foray into depravity...

Posted by: idiot dentist at July 3, 2008 5:18 PM

jM: Heeehehe! Yay!
I believe Stacy can still be found at

CherryPie: Me too! Especially for the Bruce Campbell reference. :D
Did you catch Agent Bedhead's post about Evil Dead the musical? Hope it's okay to re-link it:

Anastasia: I have several of the Tomie sequels, and I find them all to be pretty awesome. But you're right, they're not terrifying, just weird and funny.
I have a vague memory that Tomie turns some poor girl into a two-headed woman, by sort of conjoining with her and sprouting on her shoulder. I hope that was just a dream sequence. :D

*Snort*! All those poor pandas...!

Posted by: Loob at July 3, 2008 6:45 PM

urgggghhh you guys did not give away anything at all! i wanted to gauge how scary the movie is by your comments, but all i got is laundry bag, and asian women= bad, and cheese wire, and cutting... but seriously, i need details! i am so scared to see this now, but i really really want to. gah.

Posted by: dene at July 3, 2008 9:28 PM

Takashi Miike's "Audition" is considered to be one of his best works. "J-Horror" is only a subset of the larger genre of films known as "Asian Extreme". The whole movement by Asian directors involves taking popular Asian film themes to an "extreme" - these film themes include horror, manga comics, martial arts, and triad/yakuza. The signature directors of Asian Extreme include Chan Wook Park (Korea), Johnny To (Hong Kong), and Takashi Miike (Japan). These directors have taken pop Asian themes to an extreme level, but with cutting-edge artistry as well.

A huge collection of "Asian Extreme" can be found on Tartan Video. For those of you interested in Hong Kong, check out Johnny To, director of the Triad films "Election" and "Triad Election" - brilliant. On "Three... Extremes" there's a short piece called "Dumplings" by Fruit Chan (who I once met in person), and it's easily the most disturbing film I've ever seen. You should also see the full-length feature version of "Dumplings" if you've seen the short.

I've seen a number of Miike's films and they are not for everyone. However, there's a certain way he makes these films - and in terms of sheer aesthetics, he is a genius.

Try them out if you dare... but keep a copy of something sweet & lighthearted like "Clueless" or Ferris Bueller's Day Off" to watch later and cleanse the palate.

Posted by: Piggythewonderdog at July 4, 2008 6:04 AM

I couldn't finish watching this movie because it creeped me the hell out. What I did watch I saw a while back and yet immediately remembered the phone/Asami and "sex" scenes. They were incredibly disturbing.

Posted by: pink doggy dogg at July 4, 2008 9:11 AM

Re the Asian Extreme movies, the Sundance Channel shows an Asian Extreme movie every Sunday night at midnight. They showed Audition earlier this year.

Posted by: Marianne at July 4, 2008 11:56 AM

Piggy and Marianne: Sadly, Tartan Films just went belly up. The US branch was the first to bite the dust, then the UK parent company. Its film catalog has been sold to Palisades Media. Hope that Palisades does right by those movies.

Posted by: magsman at July 4, 2008 4:15 PM

I loved "Audition" because of its sick twistedness. Ditto for "Battle Royale", "Ichi" and "Old Boy" (which is far superior film). "Uzumaki", "Three Extremes" and "The Eye" were good, while "Two Sisters" was meh for me. I couldn't get past the weird bowling/music video scene in "Suicide Club".

When at the Best Buy, I've always been intrigued by the "Tomie" series, so after reading the positive responses about them, I'll have to check that and "Stacy" out.

If you can, try to get the Masters of Horror episode that Miike directed called "Imprint". Creepy. Try to ignore what Billy Drago does instead of acting.

Posted by: pkittie at July 5, 2008 1:45 PM

You panda-raping bastards! You made me download this film, then I only made it to 1:39:50 because I CAN'T EVER GET OVER THE SOUND OF A PIANO WIRE SAWING THROUGH BONE!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!!!!! So...send me your address because my therapist wants to know where to send the bills.

Posted by: Joker at July 6, 2008 9:57 AM

This is the second creepiest movie with a Gigli as a main feature. Where this movie has a Gigli saw the creepiest movie has Ben Affleck playing a character named Gigli. I saw this movie after seeing the Miike's cameo in Hostel and looking up his work which almost made seeing Hostel worth it. As far as creepy Asian cinema this goes well with Old Boy and Battle Royal in carrying on the wonderful tradition of such movies as I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left.

Posted by: OscarTamerz at July 6, 2008 6:27 PM

Nice call on Oldboy, Boogs. Park Chan-Wook trumps Miike to me, any day. Check out his short, "Cut" if you haven't already. Brilliant.

Nice review, TK. For the life of me, I just can't figure out why I can't get into Miike or Audition. I tried. I wanted to. Oh well. It's a very nicely done movie, just not to my taste. Imagine my excitement when I found it in the 5.99 bin at Best Buy.......Maybe I'll try again later.

Posted by: Fkostas at July 9, 2008 10:58 AM

Super late to the party, sorry, but I just had to bring up an interesting trend I've noticed with this movie.

I've seen Audition all the way through about half a dozen times, mostly with a mixed crowd of friends. The gents always always leave the room or ask to turn the movie off, while the ladies seem much less unsettled by it. What do you make of this, Pajibans?

Posted by: Flannery at July 12, 2008 10:59 PM

Since it's never too late to review a movie, is it too late to comment? Anyway, just catching up on some Pajibing and I noticed this. Saw it with a friend who is a fellow Pajibican and I can't even drive on the same roads where we talked about it without thinking about the horrible, horrible things that I thought were stored away in a special place of my brain. Even though the images are horrible and deeply, deeply disturbing it just goes as a testament to the amazing work or Miike.

Also, I think I love you TK.

Posted by: Kash at July 28, 2008 10:37 PM

Ugh. I heard about this movie years ago and I just keep reading about it, thinking I might finally watch it. But thanks to you guys, I'll pass. Really, thanks, I'm the biggest wimp.

Posted by: tsullie at August 6, 2008 3:32 PM

I just watched this tonight and fucken A was it awsome I didnt realize he also directed visitor Q I stumbled upon that movie accidently and it scarred me for life still the most fucked up movie I have ever seen not the creepiest or anything just fucked. I wish I had stumbled upon to this first having seen Q kinda prepared me for this

Posted by: Mitch at August 7, 2008 3:55 AM

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