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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Yōkai hantā: Hiruko" )

 

directed by Shinya Tsukamoto
Japan 1991

 

Archaeologist Takashi Yabe (Naoto Takenaka) discovers the entrance to a cave beneath a burial mound near his son's school. He and pretty student Reiko (Megumi Ueno) enter the cave and are attacked by an unseen force. Later Yabe's son Masao (Masaki Kudou) believes he sees Reiko kissing another boy (who subsequently turns up dead) and suffers an attack in which a mark burns itself into his back. Masao is saved from supernatural attack by his father's archaeologist friend Hieda (Kenji Sawada) whose belief in goblins' claimed the life of Masao's aunt but Masao doesn't need convincing when more of his friends turn up dead (and headless) and the two are soon on the run from a spider-legged goblin wearing Reiko's head. With the help of a crazy old gardener, they discover the entrance to the lair of goblin Hiruko and are pitted against several of the spidery creatures and must find a way to seal the lair forever. Tsukamoto strikes the right balance bewteen horror and comedy in HIRUKO thanks to funny central performances and imagery which manages to be simultaneously derivative and audacious. Likewise, the goblins manage to look both funny and scary at the same time and the attack scenes are still suspenseful even as the animatronic, stopmotion, and bluescreen effects work gets more and more silly and shows its seams. The image of the spider-headed Reiko floating in the pond and singing her siren song manages to be as strikingly beautiful as it is repellent and ludicrous. Besides visual nods to EVIL DEAD (goblin POV), BRIDE OF REANIMATOR (bat-winged goblin head), ALIEN (the Hiruko fish), and THE THING (the spider legged severed heads), Tom Mes in his book on Tsukamoto connects a fiery image of hundreds of heads to a similar tableau in Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS. Neither as "out there" as Tsukamoto's TETSUO films (or even A SNAKE OF JUNE) nor as sedate as VITAL, GEMINI, or even NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE, HIRUKO THE GOBLIN may be Tsukamoto's funniest genre picture and is worth seeking out.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 11 May 1991 (Japan)

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DVD Review: Media Blasters - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Media Blasters

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:51
Video

1.76:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Media Blasters

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.76:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Shinya Tsukamoto (4:3; 7:57)
• Interview with Special Effects Designer (4:3; 4:02)
• Goblin Creation (4:3; 2:28)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:44)
• Stills Gallery
• Trailers for CHOKING HAZARD, ROJO SANGRE, ONE MISSED CALL, and DEADLY OUTLAW REKKA

DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

Media Blasters' transfer of HIRUKO (one of Tsukamoto's earliest 35mm productions) is single layer, anamorphic, and progressive and looks quite nice for a nearly twenty-year old low budget production. Brief interviews are provided with Tsukamoto and the special effects designer as well as some short clips of the construction of the various "hirkuos" and the film's theatrical trailer.

The R1 disc seems to be the best of the bunch as the French disc has no subtitles and only a 4 minute interview with the director while the UK and Chinese DVDs have subtitle but no extras.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Media Blasters

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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