Horrors of Malformed Men was a film that flew under the radar for me as it is one of those old cult bizarro films from Japan. The fact that this film was produced in the sixties actually boggles my mind as does the amount of material pilfered from it over the years by both Western and Eastern filmmakers. Horrors of Malformed Men equals part meandering, bizarrely comical, and redundant. I’ll admit that I walked into this expecting rampant nudity and gore and a take on some taboo subjects. What I got was much different. Its plot elements include deceitfully-assumed identities, doppelgangers, family secrets, murder, revenge, unrequited love, adultery, kidnapping, incest, bestiality, dismemberment, torture, cannibalism, human beings purposefully deformed through radical surgery, and almost every other known perversion.
The film’s ‘mad doctor’, Jogoro Komoda kidnaps and deforms innocent men and women so as to surround himself with literal reflections of his own emotional scars and psychosis, is the maddest mad doctor in the long history of world cinema. The climax is so deftly handled that viewers may come to sympathize, however briefly, with Komoda and the passions which has driven him. However, viewers looking for far more traditional horror and suspense fair should probably avoid Horrors of Malformed Men, which they are likely to find obscure, ‘arty,’ and complicated.
Yes, I did say complicated. The Japanese rarely seem to make a simple film. This one is also very complex, even to the point of being convoluted. Along with the complex storyline, there is plenty of bizarre and twisted imagery. It is also an original and unique horror film, even more so that it was made in 1969, and is certain to add that same uniqueness and diversity to your horror dvd collection. However, for me, on trip to this world was enough and repeat viewings will never happen and totally out of the question.
Fans of Takashi Miike are urged to buy this film ASAP and cult cinema/grindhouse afficianados should consider this a must-see as well. The gore is less than one would think, but there is plenty of sex, bizarre visuals, and insane and disturbing material here to make this a memorable experience for any exploitation fan. That’s about all I can say for this film, as you should have a clear idea of what you are getting yourself into here. Definetely an aquired taste but its a good one. The only drawback is the poor makeup. But again, we are talking about a foreign film from the 1960’s here so don’t let that stop you from snapping this forgotten gem up.