Watcher in the Attic (1976)
Dir. Noboru Tanaka
Written by Akio Ido (from a story by Edogawa Rampo)
Starring Junko Myashita, Renji Ishibashi
|Original title: Bride of Godzilla|
Boy, what to say about this one? It’s about a Japanese boarding house in 1923 owned by one Lady Minako (Junko Myashita) who hangs around sexually pleasuring herself in various ways while a creepy, reclusive tenant named Goda watches from the attic through a peephole in the ceiling. Well, at least the title checks out.
To be honest, this is much more of a porno than a horror film, despite the adaptation from Japanese horror/mystery author Edogawa Rampo (whose name is a phonetic pun on… well, sound it out for yourself). In fact, it’s part of the “Roman Porno” series from Nikkatsu studios, which if wikipedia is to believed were not exclusively sexual films, but I’m, you know, guessing that was a pretty big part. Despite the creepy voyeuristic premise, the majority of the film is taken up with Lady Minako getting off, either by herself, getting eaten out by a clown, being pleasured by a chauffeur sewn up inside a red armchair, etc, etc, you know the routine. She knows (and enjoys) that Goda is watching her, so it’s actually more of an adorable indie rom-com except that one of the things Lady Minako also enjoys is murdering her sexual partners while Goda watches. This inspires Goda to give up his self-imposed isolation and come out of hiding to impress Minako by committing his own series of murders. For awhile it’s kind of unusual because it’s a Japanese sex film where no one gets raped, but thankfully, near the end, they give up and finally rape someone. Whew, that was a close one.
|Boy, what do you get for the woman who has everything?|
The description sounds like a good plot for a horror movie, or maybe some kind of dark Coen brothers murder/comedy, but honestly the film has no sympathetic characters whatsoever, and the people getting murdered are really annoying assholes or clowns, so who cares? There’s not a lot of dark atmosphere, and in fact I honestly think the film actually sort of applauds Minako and Goda rather than condemning them. To the extent that there’s any narrative arc in this thing, it has to be that Goda gradually transitions from watcher in the attic to self-confident murderer who has hot naked sex in the attic. The movie seems to consider this a good thing, or at least admires the guy for growing a sack, poisoning a priest and pleasing his landlord. Good job, guy.
|If the X-files taught me anything, things are about to get really confusing here.|
|This gets saved from 2-hook ignominity purely on the strength of the poison-string scene.|