Monday, 10 October 2016

Exte (4½ Stars)

What's so wrong with cutting someone's hair?

This is my Halloween Challenge film #10. It's a film by my favourite director, Sion Sono. This is one of his few films that can be described as a horror film.

Yamazaki works in a morgue in a coastal Japanese town. Unknown to the police he's a tricophile. He cuts off the hair of dead women and takes it home with him. The police find a number of dead bodies in a cargo hold, women with their internal organs removed. Yamazaki is particularly excited when he discovers that the hair of one of the dead women is still growing. He doesn't just steal the woman's hair, he takes her body home and lays it in his living room. He's astonished to see that the hair is growing so fast that he can watch it get longer in front of his eyes. He decides to make money by cutting the hair and selling it as hair extensions to local hair salons.

What he doesn't know is that the hair is cursed. It kills anyone who wears the hair extensions. Sometimes it strangles the woman. Sometimes it enters her mouth and chokes her. Sometimes it's so sharp that it cuts the woman open. One thing all the deaths have in common is that before the woman dies she sees visions of the death of the woman from whom the hair comes. She sees how she was tortured and raped before her internal organs were cut out to be sold, and she hears the Christmas song "Silent Night", which was playing on the radio at the time of her death.

Yuko, played by Chiaki Kuriyama, is an apprentice hair stylist in an exclusive salon called Gilles de Rais. Normally she devotes herself completely to her work, but she now has distractions in her personal life. She has to take care of her young niece Mami because she's been dumped on her by her mother. Initially it was only for a few days, but when she saw bruises on Mami's body she decided to keep her.

Yamazaki develops a crush on Yuko because she has perfect hair. I'm not a tricophile, but I have to admit that he has a point. Yuko doesn't need hair extensions, fortunately for her, her hair is perfect as it is.

But it's not just her hair. Don't you think that Chiaki Kuriyama is perfect all over?

Yuko's flatmate Yuki is less fortunate and falls victim to the killer hair.

Despite the film's strange sounding premise, this is a chilling horror film. It's just one of many brilliant films made by Sion Sono.

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