CC: Audition (1997) (1999)

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Friday, September 5, 2014

CC: Audition (1997) (1999)

Well I knew it would come at some point, After three years I have run out of Lovecraft inspired films.  So while I research into other authors in the Mythos and whether their work has been adapted into movies I will be switching gears a little and present films based on other author’s novels.  Tonight a film that not only I think is a masterpiece of modern horror but may also be the most psychologically disturbing thing I have ever seen.  I want to be clear, it has been over ten years since I have seen this movie and just finding the photos for tonight’s article brought back memories of things I saw and had forgotten out of a defensive measure.  Everything Takashi Miike has done is gory and bloody and insane but his other movies are over the top gore and fun.  This is done as straight horror and when his talents are exercised without the black humor found in most of his other movies he is capable of some of the most emotionally scarring visuals ever committed to film.  This is an amazing film that I think everyone should see at least once but be aware that you may not make it to the end and if you do you will leave the experience changed.  This is nightmare fuel at it’s most concentrated!

Ryū Murakami (born Ryūnosuke on February 19, 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki) is a Japanese novelist, filmmaker and talk show host.  The name Ryūnosuke was taken from the main character in Daibosatsu-tōge, a piece of fiction by Nakazato Kaizan (1885–1944).

He attended primary, middle and senior high school in Sasebo.  While a student in senior high, Murakami helped form a rock band called Coelacanth, in which he was the drummer.  After the band’s breakup, he went on to join the rugby club, which he found especially grueling.  He soon left the rugby club and transferred to the school’s newspaper department.  In the summer of his third year in senior high, Murakami and his colleagues barricaded the rooftop of his high school and he was placed under house arrest for three months.  During this time, he had an encounter with the hippie culture which influenced him greatly.

Murakami graduated from high school in 1970, around which time he went on to form yet another rock band and produce 8-millimeter indie films.

Murakami went to Tokyo and enrolled in the silkscreen department in Gendaishichosha School of Art, but dropped out halfway through the year.  In October 1972, he moved to Fussa near the base of the U.S. Air Force and was accepted into the Musashino Art University in the sculpture program.

In the early 1990s, Murakami devoted himself to Cuban music.  He introduced it to Japan and produced the concerts of Cuban musicians in Japan.  Then he established his label, Murakami's in Sony Music.

Since 2006 he has hosted a TV talk show on business and finance called Kanburia Kyuden which is broadcast on TV Tokyo.  The co-host is Eiko Koike.  In the same year, Murakami began video streaming service, RVR (Ryu's Video Report).  Murakami establishes the new company G2010 to sell and produce eBooks on November 5, 2010.  Murakami launched the new private brand of G2010 which published his writing and produce work to adjust the start of the iBookstore Japanese version in 2013.

Audition is a Japanese novel by Ryū Murakami published in 1997 and published in English in 2009.  It was the basis for the film by Takashi Miike released in 1999 and an upcoming English-language film adaptation.1

Aoyama is a documentary maker who hasn't dated anyone since the death of his wife, Ryoko.  He lives a placid existence with his teenage son, Shige, dreaming of remarrying.  One day, his best friend Yoshikawa comes up with a plan to hold fake film auditions for young women looking for a breakout role.  Of the thousands who apply, Aoyama only has eyes for the young, beautiful Yamasaki Asami - a shy, modest girl whose dreams of becoming a ballerina were cut short by an accident.  Aoyama is infatuated by her and instigates several dates with her after the audition.  Despite learning about her troubled past, which included consistent abuse as a child by her crippled step-father, Aoyama believes he is falling in love with her.  He is given warnings by Yoshikawa that Asami may not be all that she seems, but Aoyama ignores him, seeing only the perfect woman he imagines Yamasaki Asami to be.  It is only when it is possibly too late, that Aoyama discovers the horrifying truth about his new girlfriend...

Audition (1999)

  • Original Title: Ôdishon
  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Takashi Miike
  • Produced:
    • Satoshi Fukushima 
    • Jun'ichi Shindô 
    • Akemi Suyama 
    • Toyoyuki Yokohama
  • Written:
    • Ryû Murakami (Novel) 
    • Daisuke Tengan (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda, Toshie Negishi, Ren Ohsugi, Shigeru Saiki, Ken Mitsuishi, Yuriko Hiro'oka, Fumiyo Kohinata, Misato Nakamura, Yuuto Arima, Ayaka Izumi
  • Music: Kôji Endô
  • Cinematography: Hideo Yamamoto
  • Editing: Yasushi Shimamura
  • Studio:
    • Basara Pictures 
    • Creators Company Connection 
    • Omega Project
  • Distributed:
    • American Cinematheque  
    • Art Port  
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  
    • Maple Pictures  
    • Metro Tartan Distribution Ltd.  
    • Palisades Tartan  
    • Shout! Factory  
    • Tartan Video  
    • Vitagraph Films  
    • Vivendi Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 3 March 2000 (Japan) 
    • 11 June 2000 (USA)
  • Running Time: 115 minutes
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

Shigeharu Aoyama, a middle-aged widower of seven years, is urged by his 17-year-old son, Shigehiko, to begin dating again.  Aoyama's friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, a film producer, devises a mock casting audition in which young women audition for the "part" of Aoyama's new wife.  Aoyama agrees to the plan and is immediately enchanted by Asami Yamazaki, attracted to her apparent emotional depth.

Yoshikawa has a bad feeling about Asami as he cannot reach any of the references on her résumé.  The music producer she claimed to work for is missing.  However, Aoyama is so enthralled by her that he pursues her anyway.  She lives in an empty apartment, containing a sack and a phone.  For four days after the audition, she sits perfectly still next to the phone waiting for it to ring.  When it finally does, she answers pretending that she never expected Aoyama to call.  After several dates, she agrees to accompany him to a seaside hotel.  Asami reveals that she was abused as a child and shows burn scars on her body.  A deeply moved Aoyama pledges his love.  In the morning, Asami is nowhere to be found.

Aoyama tries to track her down using her résumé, but as Yoshikawa warned, all of the contacts are dead ends.  At the dance studio where she claimed to have trained, he finds a man with prosthetic feet.  The bar where she claimed to work has been abandoned for a year, following the murder and dismemberment of the owner.  A passerby tells Aoyama that the police found three extra fingers, an extra ear, and an extra tongue when they recovered the body.  Meanwhile, Asami goes to Aoyama's house and finds a photo of his late wife.  Enraged, she drugs his liquor.  Aoyama comes home, pours a drink, and begins feeling the effects of the drug.  A flashback shows that the sack in Asami's apartment contains a man missing both feet, his tongue, one ear and three fingers on one hand.  He crawls out and begs for food.  Asami vomits into a dog dish and places it on the floor for the man. The man sticks his face into the vomit and hungrily consumes it.

Aoyama collapses from the drug.  Asami injects him with a paralytic agent that leaves his nerves alert, and tortures him with needles.  She tells him that, just like everyone else in her life, he has failed to love only her.  She cannot tolerate his feelings for anyone else, even his own son.  She inserts needles into his eyes, giggling "kiri, kiri" ("deeper, deeper") as she does so.  She then cuts off his left foot with piano wire.  Shigehiko returns home as Asami begins to cut off Aoyama's other foot, and they struggle.  Aoyama has a dream that he is waking up after he and Asami made love, and that his ordeal was only a nightmare.  He awakes from the dream to see his son still struggling with Asami.  Shigehiko kicks her down a flight of stairs, breaking her neck.  Aoyama tells his son to call the police and stares at the dying Asami, who repeats what she said on their second date about her excitement on seeing him again.

For its unflinching graphic content, the film has been likened to the film adaptation of Stephen King's Misery and Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses2.  However, the torture scene in the movie is very brief, and only a few shots show the actual torture, focusing more on Asami's sadistic enjoyment of it.

Audition had its share of audience walk-outs.  When shown at the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival, one enraged female viewer confronted Miike, shouting at him, "You're evil!"  On Rotten Tomatoes, Audition is "Certified Fresh", with 79% of critics giving it a positive score, with an average rating of 7.2/10.

Among filmmakers featured on US TV channel Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments (on which the film appeared at number 11), notable horror directors Eli Roth, John Landis and Rob Zombie claimed to have found the film very difficult to watch, given its grisly content; Landis said that the film was so disturbing that he could not enjoy it at all.  Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fourteenth in their list of the top 20 horror films of the 2000s, with the article saying, "Considered by many to be Takashi Miike's masterpiece, this cringe-inducing, seriously disturbed film boasts one of the most unbearable scenes of torture in movie history... It's revolting in the best possible way; the prolific Miike goes for the jugular here, and he cuts deep."  In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films.  Audition placed at number 18 on their top 100 list.

One seriously messed up film, but very good.



1.  Terminator, Rambo, and Basic Instinct exec producer Mario Kassar is assembling an English-language adaptation of Audition, the infamous 1997 novel by Japanese author Ryū Murakami about a lonely widower who gets more than he bargains for when he puts out a fake casting call to find a new girlfriend.  Audition was, of course, adapted in 1999 into a cringe-inducing cult film in its own right by Japanese helmer Takashi Miike.  The new Kassar-produced version is based on the original Murakami novel and will transplant the story to an American setting.

2.  In the Realm of the Senses (French: L’Empire des sens) is a 1976 French-Japanese art film directed by Nagisa Oshima.  It is a fictionalized and sexually explicit treatment of an incident from 1930s Japan, that of Sada Abe.  It generated great controversy during its release; while intended for mainstream wide release, it contains scenes of non-simulated sexual activity between the actors (Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda, among others).

Sada Abe was a Japanese woman who is remembered for erotically asphyxiating her lover, Kichizo Ishida, on May 18, 1936, and then cutting off his penis and testicles and carrying them around with her in her handbag.  The story became a national sensation in Japan, acquiring mythic overtones, and has since been interpreted by artists, philosophers, novelists and filmmakers.



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