Toshiaki Toyoda once commented that the creatures in Monsters Club were an equivalent to that of Studio Ghibli’s own Totoro. These were beings that could not only represent abstract themes such as life and loss but also present an opportunity for the characters to assess their own actions. What he failed to mention however that somewhere along the line his version of Totoro was transformed into a nightmarish monster made of shaving cream and raw meat with piercing eyes and a penchant for apples. Welcome to the world of Monsters Club, where things are just a little bit different.
Telling the story of Ryochi (Eita) as he lives out his life in the snow drenched log cabin in the Japanese country side, Monsters Club tells the story of one man’s descent into madness as Ryochi begins to manufacture and deliver home made bombs to the CEO’s of multi million dollar companies. Packaged in hand carved cigar cases and inscribed with the initials M.C. Ryochi plans to change the hypocrisies he witnesses in modern Japanese society. Over the course of the titles slim 72 minute runtime we begin to learn what drove the protagonist to committing such abhorrent acts as well as witnessing visitations from the aforementioned monsters.
Shot over a period of two weeks and inspired in part by the work of Japanese performance artist Pyuupiru; Monsters Club isn’t afraid to take the road less travelled as Toshiaki Toyoda explores the Uni Bomber’s manifesto through the use of dreamlike imagery and expositional voice over. Well known for his previous work on titles such as 9 Souls and Blue Spring, Toshiaki Toyoda is a director that is not afraid to explore the often dark reaches of human psyche. Having been through a tumultuous period of life himself Toyoda’s vision feels like the work of an artist coming to terms with his own demons in an act of tearing down the old to replace with the new.
Beautifully lensed but rather abstract in its presentation, Monsters Club knows not to outstay its welcome. Whilst it’s meagre run time makes the viewer feel somewhat short changed, Monsters Club paints a picture drenched in Black and Red with a soundtrack that’s as chilling as it is beautiful in its simplicity. To truly get the most out of Monsters Club it seems pertinent to mention that to go to a movie such as this with expectations for traditional cinematic storytelling or a closed ending you are setting yourself up for disappointment. For those however looking for a film that is both hauntingly beautiful yet elegantly ghoulish in its proceedings look no further than this great indie title.