Directed By: Yasuzo Masumura
Starring: Eiji Funakoshi, Noriko Sengoku, Mako Midori
Disclaimer: Arrow Video has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Blind Beast (1969) is based upon a short story by author Edogawa Rampo (Horrors of a Malformed Man) which tells the tale of a blind artist who, along with his mother kidnap a beautiful model. What ensues is a psychological battle of wins in this deeply unsettling late '60s film. Director Yasuzo Masumura who had made a staggering amount of films in his career truly crafts a utterly strange non-traditional horror film.
I have never seen a movie that was this obsessed with tactile sensations and eroticism. This is something that is Michael Mann lightly explored in 1986's Manhunter (based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon). Having said that, this movie delves into this in a way that it more disturbing and perverse. Few movies can truly lay claim to the mantle of psycho-sexual and Blind Beast certainly does. The movie starts out as a off-kilter and surreal dark erotic nightmare and only gets weirder as the narrative spirals into pure madness. Beast doesn't hold back when it comes to tackling some really unnerving subject matters such as incest, sexual domination, and mutilation as sexual pleasure. Masumura takes this theme of art and eroticism and fittingly amps it up to eleven. One of the most amazing set-pieces I think I've seen in a long time has got to be the warehouse that is filled with giant sculptors of various body parts such as, eyes, breasts, lips etc. It's also amazing its almost overwhelming from a visual standpoint but not in a bad way.
The film can be a bit on the talkie side but I think that it has enough bizarre set-pieces and plotting to keep it engaging nonetheless. Highly strange and grotesquely sexual, Blind Beast is a film unlike anything I've ever seen before. A must watch.
Picture: Blind Beast is another stellar restoration from Arrow. Beast features a pretty noticeable brightness and has a high level of clarity especially given the films over forty-years old at this point. It's also impressive that there is almost no artifacts or scratches and fans really do get a nice clean nearly pristine looking print. There are some issues but pretty minor. Images at times have a overly soft look to them and there are a few times when things looks a bit washed out or not as sharp as they could have been. I also noticed some slight pixelization at times.
Sound: Blind Beast has a DTS 2.0 track. Dialogue comes through nicely as does the score and sound design.
Extras: Blind Beast features a commentary track by Earl Jackson, Introduction by Tony Rayns (18mins), Blind Beast: Masumura the Supersensualist (10mins) A Video essay by Edogawa Ramp scholar Seth Jacobwitz, Trailer and Image Galley