Masters of Horror: Imprint (2006)

Imprint has the questionable honour of being the episode of Masters of Horror that wasn't actually shown on American TV during the first run of the series. And it's pretty easy to see why: though many of the episodes featured violence -- even graphic violence and sexualised violence -- none of them went quite so far as Imprint. Anyone who's familiar with Takashi Miike's body of work (notably Ichi The Killer and Audition) would probably expect as much from him; and Imprint is just as violent and downright nasty as both of the aforementioned movies.

Sadly (you knew that was coming, right?) it lacks many of the redeeming factors those movies had. It's visually stunning, sure, but it's not quite as compulsively watchable as Ichi The Killer, nor as quietly menacing as Audition. This is just splatter.

Interestingly, it's filmed in English, rather than Miike's native Japanese. Or at least it claims to be filmed in English. If you witnessed Miike's cameo in Hostel, you'll know that his English isn't brilliant, and between the Japanese girls speaking English with impenetrable accents and Billy Drago mumbling the whole time, this is all but incomprehensible. It's not helped by the fact that the sound on the DVD is dreadful: one minute everyone's speaking so quietly you can't make out what they're saying, and the next we've cut to a torture scene so loud your neighbours will probably be calling the police before you've found the remote control to turn it down. To add insult to injury, there aren't even any subtitles on the DVD.

Once you've battled past all of that, the story isn't even worth it. Sure, the torture is horrible, the heartbreak is pretty touching, but the girl with the hand growing out of her head is just fucking stupid. Seriously, this series has a terrible habit of starting off promisingly before blowing it all with one crushingly retarded move, and that was Imprint's mistake.

A girl with a fucking hand growing out of her head. A talking hand, at that. Someone get me a drink. A strong one.


Jason Arnopp said...

Billy Drago is simply hilarious in this. Oh God, yes, he kept me going. What was he - and Miike - thinking?

Ron said...

Billy Drago was beyond awful. You'd think they would have cast at least one native English speaker in the thing!