Just when you thought it was safe to stalk the night, The Infernal Brains Podcast has returned to give you a healthy dose of world cinema knowledge in women dressed as a cat form! Yes, we’re tackling the braintastic Pakistani flick Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay aka Cat-Beast aka essential cinema! Pakistani cinema is a world unto itself, and it’s time for this world to get explored. But that’s not all, there is a brief overview of the different types of Pakistani cinema and discussion of other films from the country, both similar and less than similar. It’s definitely the greatest podcast about a Pakistani film that features a woman who turns into a cat monster to slay Mad Max rejects for revenge directed by a woman that you will listen to this week, so you best not delay!
As usual, we have a kitty litter tray full of ways to listen:
From the deepest depths of nearby space comes the Infernal Brains Podcast! Join Tars and Todd of FourDK as they explore the surprisingly universal phenomenon of Space Ladies from Outer Space! Featuring an extra-special Guest Brain, Carol Borden from The Cultural Gutter! We scour the globe and cover a vast variety of flicks featuring female alien invaders/cultures that run into problems when Earth men come and mess everything up. It’s a surprisingly populous genre that probably speaks to all sorts of subtextual psychoses, which means there will be plenty to talk about.
As usual, there are more ways to get the episode than you can invade a planet with!
aka 怪猫 お玉が池 aka Kaibyo Otama-ga-Ike 1960 Written by Jiro Fujishima and Yoshihiro Ishikawa
Directed by Yoshihiro Ishikawa
One of the oft-repeated tales of Japanese ghost stories (or kaidan if you’re nasty) is the haunted cat tales. Possibly dating back to Segawa Joko III’s 1853 kabuki play “The Story of the Cat Monster of Fair Saga” (Hana Saga neko mata zoshi), a depiction of which can be seen here. These tales are called kaibyo, and generally feature cats that drink the blood of their murdered masters, return for revenge in a ghost story manner. Many kaibyo films feature lakes and haunted mansions, and some borrow other elements from similar famous Japanese ghost tales, like Yotsuya Kaidan. The amount of kaibyo films is in dispute (at least one source quotes over 100, though how correct that is I don’t know, and how many of the older kaibyo films are lost to time I also don’t know. Thanks to a great overview of some of the films by Spectacular Optical, I can tell you that the first known screen adaptation was 1910’s The Night Cherry Blossoms of Saga. Enough of the kaibyo films were made that actresses sprung up who specialized in playing the roles of the vengeful cat spirits.
Kaibyo films can seem repetitive, and the many films are less of a lesson in having a story than about telling it well. Director Yoshihiro Ishikawa filmed at least one other kaibyo film, The Ghost-Cat Cursed Pond, and besides writing that one also wrote Black Cat Mansion and Yotsuya film The Ghost of Yotsuya, so he is familiar with the classical tales. I hope to track those other kaibyo films of his down and compare them to see how he made each one different and how he didn’t. Ghost Cat of Otama Pond is based on a tale by Sotoo Tachibana. Ghost Cat of Otama Pond was screened as part of a Shintoho Film Festival that is making the rounds in the US, it was screened in San Francisco on a double bill with Vampire Bride at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and I attended the screening along with duriandave of SoftFilm.
Ghost Cat of Otama Pond is a color production (rare for a first-time Shintoho director), and really makes use of the colors for atmospheric effects. The lighting and design borrow from the kabuki roots of the ghost tales, with green being the most prominent color for supernatural elements. The ghosts are all let with a spectral green, and green lighting on the wall denotes when something creepy is going on. There is also a shadow of a cat’s head that is projected on the walls repeatedly as the ghost cat is enacting its vengeance. The ghost cat’s greatest weapon is the evilness of its targets, who begin to turn on each other while the cat pulls the strings. Continue reading →
Could it be true? Could Rowan Atkinson be reprising his role as Mr. Bean in an obscure Indonesian pocong comedy? This thought rattled around the internet for a few hours, perpetrated by the producer behind Mr. Bean Kesurupan Depe, until the hoax unraveled and everyone realized this was too crazy to be true, even though it was just crazy enough to maybe be true. After having finally watched Mr. Bean Kesurupan Depe, I am left to wonder why they even bothered with the whole Mr. Bean hoax. In fact, I’m wondering why they even bothered with the film at all! It’s a very quick and dirty half an hour of story stuffed with some pointless filler and jokes that aren’t funny even if you’re Indonesian. The Mr. Bean plot has almost nothing to do with the rest of the film, aside from Mr. Bean occasionally leering at DePe’s character. This is after they’re both dead and pocongs, and while she’s a very very pregnant pocong. But let’s first give a bit of background.
When you think Catwoman, you think skimpy-dressed schoolgirls!
Pocongs are a type of Indonesian folklore, bodies that are wrapped up in their kain kafan (burial shrouds.) They cannot move their legs, so they get around by hopping (like certain other Asian movie monsters) and spend their time spooking people. Recently, there have been a bunch of pocong comedies that have invaded the theaters of Indonesia, the local audience treating them much like how we in America treat the Seltzerberg (Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer) Movie “comedies”, by ignoring them as much as possible, but also wondering how they keep making enough money to justify more. Everyone from Indonesia I have mentioned these films to has had a reaction of utter disdain for the films and sad amazement that they’re beginning to get play outside of Indonesia.
Too late, this is already messed up!
Besides using Mr. Bean for promotion, the main “plot” of the film centers on attending a concert by Catwoman, who in this universe is a famous Indonesian singer on par with Lady Gaga. She’s also played by DePe for added confusion, and also because DePe is an actress not afraid to run around in a skimpy Catwoman costume. As DePe was involved in some of the marketing without shooting down the rumor of Rowan Atkinson’s involvement, many consider her culpable in the fraud they accuse producer KK Dheeraj of. It’s also interesting that the most common comments on Indonesian movie blogs (besides calling this movie garbage) is saying not to blame Indonesian movie producers because KK Dheeraj is Indian. KK Dheeraj’s only attempt to keep from being sued seemed to be not including the title screen on the vcds and DVDs, even though the guy playing Mr. Bean is still credited as “Mister bean”! (Either that, or they just forgot to include the title!) The controversy did serve a purpose, as thousands of people who had never heard of the pocong comedy genre (or even pocongs!) now have a film to look out for. This review calling it awful will only increase the desire to watch it.
Make no mistake, Mr. Bean Kesurupan Depe is terrible. The plot is so thin, it is worshiped as an idol by those anorexia blogs. The actual “story” involving Marni and Parmin takes maybe 30 minutes total. To beef up the running time, Mr. Bean wanders around being “funny” for a bit. and even that wasn’t enough to fill up the running time so there is another pocong couple who add nothing to the film either. The entire movie is filler made to fill running time for filler. It’s like the Twilight Zone of pointless stories. I do give them props for being in focus.
Oh, Knockoff Pocong Bean, you can do one charming thing.
Marni (DePe/Dewi Persik) – Hot young wife of Parmin who is very pregnant. She is a big fan of the famous singer Catwoman and begs Parmin to take her to see her. He relents, and they end up murdered on the way. As a pocong, she’s somehow still pregnant and they expect to have a bouncing baby pocong in a few weeks. Dewi Persik/Perssik is an Indonesian singer and actress who can’t seem to keep out of the scandal headlines. Between risque pictures, dance moves that offend conservative morons, physical altercations with other actresses, multiple marriages, and “secondary virginity” surgery, she’s almost constantly in the news.
Parmin (Doyok) – An older one-eyed rickshaw operator who married Marni despite every guy in town chasing after her, because she knew he was capable of doing good things. And as we find out in the end of the film, he does. Doyok is a comedic actor who has been active since 1985 in Indonesian movies and television. He’s also crossed over into more serious roles during times where comedies were less successful. Doyok once spent time in prison on drug charges.
Catwoman (DePe/Dewi Persik) – The most famous singer in the entire universe. You’ve obviously heard of her so there is no point is talking about her more.
Mr. Bean (William Ferguson) – It’s Mr. Bean! Except not. At all. This “Mr. Bean” is dead and a pocong, but periodically escapes to wander around the living world and cause trouble.
Looks like someone saw the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises just in time for filming!
Everything seems cool until you see her giant kitty litter box!
The Akihabara Trilogy are in essence fetish movies for lovers of girls in costumes. Legend of the Doll and Pretty Maid Cafe are also not very interesting films, and barely even worth mentioning beyond the titles. Cat Girl Kiki, however, has an extra spark of dark what the fuck that makes it memorable, even though it’s completely awful. Cat Girl Kiki will suck the joy out of you and make you question life.
I’m not sure they told Yui Kano anything about her role before they glued cat ears to her head and started filming.
Now, we at TarsTarkas.NET respect when filmmakers take risks. I love it when things happen that are completely different and a director or writer goes against type to try to make something new and magical. And while Cat Girl Kiki could have just been a fun romp with a guy and his magical cat girl having adventures, instead we get a look at a deeply disturbed individual and what happens when you read too much manga and do nothing else.
Psst! I’ll slip you a $20 and some catnip if you break me out of this joint!
Now, it is impossible to discuss the film properly without spoilers, so expect everything to be revealed as I put this film on blast.
Kiki (Yui Kano) – Kiki is a cat girl who appears first as a kitten adopted by Yoshiro, and morphs into a cat girl the next morning. Thus Yoshiro has to teach her how to be human. Too bad he didn’t teach her how to actually exist, because she doesn’t. Spoilers! If anyone is seriously upset over spoilers over a cat girl movie, get a life. Yui Kano is a seiyu. I don’t know what that is. I don’t want to know what that is.
Yoshiro Takagi (Teruaki Uotani) – A loveable loser. Well, not really, he’s more of a pathetic loser with a large collection of prominently displayed porn mangas, costume fetishes, and feline fetishes. His girlfriend cheats on him because he’s so boring, and he withdraws into a freaky fantasy world. A real hikikomori.
Yuka Sanada (Minami Aoyama) – Girlfriend of Yoshiro who decides she needs someone else’s penis inside her. Yet they end up together in the end. Minami Aoyama is a Japanese porn star that you probably saw in Confinement Chair Restriction Trance. Which I think is a subgenre of electronic music…
Shingo Noda (Katsuya Kobayashi) – Yuka’s friend and bathtime fun partner, unfortunately their bathtime fun happens while she is dating Yoshiro, which sends him into a spiral of despair and delusion. Katsuya Kobayashi was also in Kamen Rider Kabuto: God Speed Love and Linda Linda Linda. I would be derelict in my duty to not mention he looks creepy.
2012 Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Halle Berry slashed my tires last night!
Our The Dark Knight Rises review will be in a slightly different format, list form! And not the “Top 6 Bane Pick up Lines that Will Explode and Blow Your Mind” type of lists, just a list of thoughts in semi-sequential format as we go through the film. Thus, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS below the fold!