Hitomi TakashimaKyoko InuiRei AmamiMinoru Kawasaki
Aarghh! This house has no toilet!
Also known as: A! Kono ie ni wa toire ga nai!
Medium: short film
Year: 2007
Director: Minoru Kawasaki
Writer: Minoru Kawasaki, Noboru Yoshimi
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Keywords: comedy, boobs, horror, SF
Actor: Rei Amami, Kyoko Inui, Sayaka Kameya, Teruyuki Sasaki, Hitomi Takashima
Format: 41 minutes
Url: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1310563/
Website category: J-sleaze
Review date: 28 December 2012
It's another absurdist comedy from Minoru Kawasaki, the director of The Calamari Wrestler, The Rug Cop, The World Sinks Except Japan and others.
It looks like throwaway rubbish, but that's the (deadpan) joke.
The film begins with Rei Amami writhing topless. Kawasaki isn't a stranger to boobs and titillation (e.g. Maboroshi panty vs. Henchin pokoider) and there's a fair amount of nudity here, especially if you watch the "making of" special feature on the DVD. Half of the actresses here are AV porn stars, although Hitomi Takashima also has a sideline of semi-regular cameos in Minoru Kawasaki movies.
The story though is ostensibly being played straight. You couldn't even really call it a parody. It's a perfectly workable horror story that's not without points of legitimate interest. Rei Amami (Reverse Soap Heaven, Cinderella Love) is a God-botherer, knocking on people's doors in an attempt to persuade them to join her religion. One day she knocks on the door of a frosty Hitomi Takashima (Woman Inside (Mrs Virgin), Crab Goalkeeper, Executive Koala) and refuses to take "no" for an answer even when Takashima's trying to shut the door in her face. Normally by this point you'd be wanting Amami dead, but Takashima's so relentlessly bitchy and hostile that your sympathies have only one way to turn.
After an hour's preaching (yes), Amami decides she needs the loo and asks if she can use Takashima's. She's refused, but ignores this and goes looking for the smallest room anyway. As a horror premise, I like this. What's more, both Amami and Takashima are both: (a) attractive porn stars, and (b) playing obnoxious characters, so you're happy to go on watching them without any need to care about the question of their continued survival.
Soon, Amami finds that the house (gasp) has no toilet! What it has instead is two creepy small boys, one of whom has his eyes too far apart. That's good casting, not CGI.
This turns into a reasonably well-constructed horror episode, but directed with subtle vandalism. Sometimes you'll merely be thinking Amami's not an actress. (It's odd. She's energetic and in her way watchable, but something about her fails to project. There's nothing underneath.) However Kawasaki's also capable of underlining the anti-acting with deliberately melodramatic editing choices ("gulp") and worse (the montage of Takashima's evil laughter). Amami will sometimes be running away from something scary and, as part of her (ahem) headlong flight from terror, will use the facilities of a children's playground. Why climb that slide? Why scuttle through that tube thing? It's pointless, which of course is why Kawasaki's doing it.
The sex scene is gratuitous, as is the camera's obsesion with Amami's boobs, but it wouldn't have been had the director been taking the story seriously. Amami's religion is bizarre, but on the upside it allows a small role for the tall, striking Kyoko Inui. She's no better at acting than Amami, as you'll see if you watch her when she doesn't have dialogue, but she's more intriguing to look at.
The horror twist is quite good, though, as is the fact that Kawasaki ends on the desperate but forgotten last survivor who'd lost her recently married husband. That creates weight.
Tomoko thought this film was appalling and it's hard to argue with this viewpoint. Minoru Kawasaki is creating a bad film and only occasionally offering any clues to the fact that that's deliberate. The ludicrous alien costume would be an example, as would be the shot where an actor pauses to let the narrator deliver his monologue. What's more, it's part of the Tondemo Horror Series, with "tondemo-nai" being Japanese for (roughly) stupid, preposterous, offensive, etc. In short, don't bother watching it, but this advice is redundant because you'll never get a chance to do so anyway. I can't believe there's the slightest chance of this ever reaching the West.
I think he's brilliant to have made a horror movie with this title, though.