WTFW: Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WTFW: Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

…And now for one of the odder introductions to any article ever done on this her schlocky movie site, let us discuss hair extensions!

Artificial hair integrations, more commonly known as hair extensions (and rarely referred to as a hair hat), add length and/or fullness to human hair.  I had never hear hair extensions called a hair hat before but I’ll be sure to use that phrase from this point forward.

Hair extensions are methods of lengthening one's hair by incorporating artificial hair or natural hair collected from other individuals.  Hair extensions can also be used to protect one's natural hair.  These hair techniques are advanced and are used to change the hair drastically without looking unrealistic.

Fascinating, I know!  Everyone up to speed on hair hats?  Good, now on to the crappy movie!


Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

  • Original Title: Ekusute
  • Genre: Comedy – Horror
  • Directed: Shion Sono
  • Produced:
    • Shigeyuki Endô 
    • Tsugio Hattori 
    • Mitsuru Kurosawa 
    • Makoto Okada
  • Written:
    • Shion Sono 
    • Masaki Adachi 
    • Makoto Sanada
  • Starring: Chiaki Kuriyama, Megumi Satô, Tsugumi, Eri Machimoto, Miku Satô, Yûna Natsuo, Ken Mitsuishi, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Tetsushi Tanaka, Hikari Mitsushima, Ayaka Onoue, Ryôsuke Nagata, Erika Mine, Mari Hayashida
  • Music:
    • Tomoki Hasegawa 
    • Shion Sono
  • Cinematography: Hiro'o Yanagida
  • Editing: Jun'ichi Itô
  • Studio:
    • Central Arts 
    • Exte Film Partners 
    • Toei Picture Company Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Toei Company  
    • Group Power  
    • Media Blasters
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 17 February 2007 (Japan) 
    • 5 July 2007 (USA)
  • Running Time: 108 min
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

The title is a Japanese slang shortening Romanization of the English term "extension" from "hair extension".

The plot involves an aspiring hair dresser who becomes the infatuation of a tricophilic (Hair fetishism) man who sells hair extensions to nearby hair salons.  The source of the hair comes from the stolen corpse of a girl whose dead body continues to grow beautiful and voluminous black hair that comes alive, driving those who use the extensions insane or killing them.  The movie was released in the U.S. as Exte: Hair Extensions.

In a shipping container, customs agents discover a huge amount of human hair used as materials for hair extensions, along with the dead body of a young girl with a shaved head.  The corpse is transported to the morgue, where the results of the autopsy determine that the girl's internal organs have been harvested, the victim of a black market human organ racketeering ring.  The morgue night watchman, a closet tricophile named Yamazaki, is infatuated by her beautiful hair and steals the body away to his home.  He finds that the girl's body has begun to grow hair—from her head, vacant eye sockets, tongue, and various open wounds.  He is delighted and encourages it to grow, harvesting it to make hair extensions to sell.  However, the hair controls and kills its wearers, causing them to experience the dying memories of the corpse girl, including the last thing she sees on the bloody operating table: the smiling mouth of the man who killed her.

Meanwhile, Yuko is a young apprentice hair stylist at a local hair salon (named after alleged child murderer Giles de Rais1.  One day, her irresponsible older sister, Kiyomi, dumps her eight-year-old daughter, Mami, on Yuko and Yuko's roommate, Yuki.  Mami shows signs of abuse.  Yuko allows Mami to stay with her, telling her to stay home while she goes to work each day, concerned about the abuse she has suffered from Kiyomi.

Out on the street, Yamazaki spots Mami trying to find Yuko's hair salon and finds her hair exceedingly beautiful. He introduces himself and helps her find Yuko's work place.  When he sees Yuko, he is also enchanted by her hair, but quickly runs off.  He returns the next day, explaining that he sells hair extensions.  The workers at the salon are impressed by the hair's quality and try them out.  That night, Kondo, one of Yuko's coworkers who tried on the extensions, is killed when the hair begins sprouting from her eyes, head, and mouth.

Yuko later discovers that Kiyomi has been tricking Mami into letting her enter Yuko's apartment so that she can raid her food and clothing.  Yuko and Yuki refuses to return Mami to her due to the abuse, and Kiyomi returns one last time while they are away, stealing more clothing, one of Yamazaki's hair extensions, and dragging Mami back to her boyfriend's home.  After punishing Mami by locking her in the closet, the extension comes to life and slaughters Kiyomi and her boyfriend.  Mami escapes the hair by jumping out of the window into a bush, injuring herself.  At the hospital, detectives have Yuko identify Kiyomi's body.

Participating in a hair dressing workshop, Yuko uses Mami as her model and attaches one of Yamazaki's hair extensions to her hair.  The workshop is interrupted by the detectives, who are there to inquire about Kondo's death, and Yuki takes Mami home.  After the detectives leave, Yuko realizes that the hair extensions are the linking factor in the various deaths and races home to Mami.  While Mami is playing, hair begins to seep into the apartment.  Yuki rushes Mami to safety, but is strangled to death by the hair and Mami faints.  Yuko enters the hair-filled apartment and tries to free Mami, but is choked unconscious by the hair.  Yamazaki arrives in time and commands the hair to spare Mami and Yuko and takes them back to his living hair-covered home.  There he discovers the detectives caught in the hair, who searched his house when they discovered that he was the one responsible for the deaths.  He kills them as Yuko wakes up.

Yamazaki explains that after her organs were harvested, the girl's hair continued grow, carrying on her grudge against society.  He wishes for Mami and Yuko, two living amongst and making a career around hair, to stay with him and the corpse forever.  Yuko rejects him, and to protect Mami, begins taunting Yamazaki, enraging him and causing him to reveal that he willfully allowed the hair to possess him, his tongue hairy and his blood and limbs replaced by hair.  In anger, he cuts some of Mami's hair, which begins to bleed.  While in wonder of what he has just seen, the blood and Yamazaki's smiling cause the corpse to associate him with the man who killed her and she suddenly sits up, immobilizing him and slicing him to pieces with strands of hair, killing him while Yuko and Mami escape.  Her grudge satisfied, the hair disappears and the girl's body returns to normal, finally at peace.  Having escaped, Yuko and Mami sit on the beach and Yuko asks Mami to live together with her permanently, which Mami happily accepts.


Notes:

1.  Gilles de Montmorency-Laval (prob. c. September 1405 – 26 October 1440), Baron de Rais, was a knight and lord from Brittany, Anjou and Poitou, a leader in the French army, and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc.  He is best known for his reputation and later conviction as a presumed serial killer of children.

A member of the House of Montmorency-Laval, Gilles de Rais grew up under the tutelage of his maternal grandfather and increased his fortune by marriage.  He earned the favor of the Duke of Brittany and was admitted to the French court.  From 1427 to 1435, Gilles served as a commander in the Royal Army, and fought alongside Joan of Arc against the English and their Burgundian (remnants of the military of the deposed Kingdom of Burgundy looking to regain territory) allies during the Hundred Years' War, for which he was appointed Marshal of France.

In 1434/1435, he retired from military life, depleted his wealth by staging an extravagant theatrical spectacle of his own composition, and was accused of dabbling in the occult.  After 1432 Gilles was accused of engaging in a series of child murders, with victims possibly numbering in the hundreds.  The killings came to an end in 1440, when a violent dispute with a clergyman led to an ecclesiastical investigation which brought the crimes to light, and attributed them to Gilles.  At his trial the parents of missing children in the surrounding area and Gilles' own confederates in crime testified against him.  Gilles was condemned to death and hanged at Nantes on 26 October 1440.

Gilles de Rais is believed to be the inspiration for the 1697 fairy tale "Bluebeard" ("Barbebleu") by Charles Perrault.  His life is the subject of several modern novels, and referenced in a number of rock bands' albums and songs.

 

Sources:

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