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Nothing says catharsis like a man who just ripped out an unborn fetus being choked by that same fetus’ umbilical cord…
…but I digress…A LOT…
The year is 1999 – the human population just passed 6 billion…Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France…the massacre at Columbine High School just happened in April…and Daisuke Yamanouchi just unleashed his cinematic nightmare Akai Misshitsu (heya): Kindan no Osama Geemu or simply Red Room (how that translates to that I have NO idea…) onto the world.
The premise is simple – one (red) room, four people, and 10 million yen (little less than $100,000). The four individuals sit at a table and draw one of four cards, which consist of a 1,2,3, and a king. The individual with the king gets to order 1, 2,and/or 3 what to do for two minutes. Last person standing gets the money.
The rest of the movie is all the subsequent drawings – each time ramping up in both degradation and depravity. What stops the person with the king from ordering 2 and 3 to fight to the death, I’m not quite sure, I guess it would make for a short movie. What starts as playful, schoolboy desires – “you two women make out” quickly escalates into rape, torture, and rather unspeakable deeds…
Also, for the record, I am pretty sure Red Room 2 exists solely to ramp everything up to 11…
Let’s break them down –
Both movies come off as social satire of the mindset of game-show contestants and how they will do anything to win that shiny prize – from crazy back-stabs in whatever Survivor is on to bizarre-as-fuck Japanese game shows that involve having your full bladder beaten repeatedly until the last person stands, everybody wants that prize – who care who gets hurt on the way, gimme that new car! This attitude with the contestants of Red Room 1 and 2 is revealed viaReal World-esque confessionals before the game starts with them talking directly to the camera interlaced with the current round of debauchery. Sure, their motives range from desperation to sheer apathy for the sake of having fun – but each one is a monster.
Red Room consists of a husband and wife (who already hate each other) and two sisters – what better game than to have it all in the family? The most notable of these characters is Togashi – the husband. He is seen joking around and really, for lack of better words, as a total pussy. We the audience know the atrocities that are about to unfold, which makes Togashi’s attitude that much more comical – we KNOW he will have to go through a metamorphosis – and fast – if he wants to survive. His confessional ends with “Either way – I’m going to be as bad as I have to be to win…it was nice to meet you.” WE GOT A BAD ASS OVER HERE!
The game starts with a playful lesbian romp – truth be told, I would tell my wife to make out with another woman if I could, so I guess he is just enacting the male ego there…next up, the dreaded chair spin! A computer chair is duct-taped to the floor and one unlucky card-drawer is subjected to be spun for two minutes – Guinea Pig’s Experiment in Torture anybody? – well, minus the whiskey. Round three is where things get interesting – everybody’s favorite kind of torture – hair dryer torture! I remember burning myself on my mom’s hair dryer when I was a kid – it was such a traumatizing event in my life that I won’t fuck with hair dryers today – and I’m 26. Anyways, Hairdryer. Mouth. Pain.
Round four will please those golden-shower aficionados, and round five involves a rather disturbing bout between Togashi and his wife – pretty intense….this scene also marks Togashi’s metamorphosis into a beautiful (destructive) butterfly – you can actually see the moment that he snaps – like Ralph’s heart breaking in The Simpsons when Lisa denies he is her boyfriend.
From this moment on, it is really anything goes – from straight up rape to cringe-worthy uses of a light bulb to a Tarantino-esque stab-happy ending; you will be surprised how this one unfolds friends.
Strategy seems to be key in this situation – assuming it is against the rules to say ‘player 2 kill player 3,’ then I would focus on the already withering rope that is the unhappily married couple – if I could get them against each other, that takes care of 66% of my enemies. Also, it seems psychological damage is more of a weapon than physical abuse – so by all means, brain-fuck the opposition – find a weakness, and exploit it.
If you could stomach the first one, then why not take it to 11…dropping less than a year after its predecessor, Yamanouchi’s second wtf translated film Shin Akai Misshitsu (heya): Kowareta Ningyo-tachi or rather Red Room 2: Broken Dolls arrived to drive the nail in deeper.
With the IMDB plot keywords ‘death’, ‘torture’, ‘fetish’, ‘rape’, ‘female nudity’, and ‘sexploitation’ it should be no surprise that this is really just more of the same, but with the added intention of topping or one-upping itself. Red Room. King Game. 4 people. Insanity. Madness. And a fetus?
Besides the film starting with a cum-shot – a sign of a quality film…(you laugh…but remember how Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer started? Boom! Score one for BrundleFly!) – we are greeted by two of our new contestants.
“I do not enjoy suffering, but will become a martyr if I must,’ proclaims one of our new contestants during the confessional – tall words – but will they deliver?!
The beauty of both films having four main characters is you never really find yourself rooting for one due to the film making them the main character – therefore you never know who will really win. Compare that with Gela Babluani’s 13 Tzameti– where everybody has an equal chance at Russian Roulette, but the fact that we follow one person throughout, we rather know he will be the winner/survivor – it’s central to story-telling, but is also formulaic in a way that leaves few surprises.
As with Red Room, part 2’s shenanigans start tame and ramp up exponentially as you go deeper into the rabbit-hole – starting with some straight up exposure (boobs!) and escalating rapidly to toothbrush fiascos and a SUPER hot sex scene (maybe it’s just me) involving a blood-splattered woman.
As this one tries to out-do the previous, shit gets…a little out of hand. Somewhere between the vomit eating and the HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT THE FUCK ending, we lost the way. But it’s all in good fun – you won’t see Red Room 2 nominated for best foreign film, so STFU and enjoy the silliness!
One more thing I must mention…whoever did the sound on both of these films is fired. With the first installment starting with the nastiest SLURPS as two women make out, or drink vomit, to the SQUISHY sounds during the multiple rape scenes, the dude really went overboard into cringe territory – but maybe that was the point. I still hate him.
Currently available through UNEARTHED films – or Amazon for like a dollar each, Red Room 1 and 2 exist solely as exercises in bad taste…and I fucking love it. GO SEE THEM!