15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Dark Mechanicus JSG
- Published on Amazon.com
Kichiku Dai Enkai ("Banquet of the Beasts) is a vicious, brutal, nasty, psyche-scarring flick that sneaks up on you from the woods over to your left, lets you enjoy your little mid-afternoon snack, waits until you curl up for a nap, and then pounces, tearing out your viscera and shoving them down your throat.
It's that kind of movie. If "Kichiku" were a dog, it would be a large, faithful family hound, maybe a Black Lab or a St. Bernard, known for its even-tempered disposition. It would be good with kids. It would be friendly and huge and totally reliable. It would even be a little timid.
And then, all Stevie King's 'Cujo'-style, it would get rabies, go apesh*t, and decide to turn your neck into 100% ground beef by way of its super-masticating choppers.
It is 1969, Japan: a staid society is in turmoil as radicalized students stage protests, shut down the universities, and riot, rebel, grow their hair, and---those steeped in the darker shadows of the Counterculture, anyway---foment bloody rebellion.
Some more so than others, including the shadowy Aizawa's revolutionary gang, because if a movement for Progressive Social Change is about anything at all, it's about Justice, Freedom, Equality, and the right to go Jim Jones on your camp followers, fold, spindle, mangle and mutilate them, and sample their brains and guts. Right?
Right! Pol Pot and Mao Tse-Tung didn't go all soft and weepy over cracking a few souls for the good of the People, did they?
Neither does Miyame, girlfriend of jailed gang leader Aizawa, who has now taken total power over the gang. Aizawa dispatches henchman Fujiwara to check in on his little group, and to bear tidings of the Fearless Leader's imminent release from prison. And, you know, just to make sure the pot hasn't boiled over.
Which is a good thing, as it turns out, because the pot is bubbling furiously. Miyame has a few other plans percolating in her moral pressure cooker besides Truth, Justice, Motherhood & Apple Pie, including seducing as many of Aizawa's gang as she can get her hands on, assuming iron-fisted control over the group, dancing around in a creepy demon-mask, and giggling hysterically between bouts of depraved violence.
Oh yeah, and getting her hands on a stash of guns.
Before you can say "think global, act local", Miyame has seized total control, isolated her little band in the mountainous woodlands, and is engaging in her own little experiment on the finer points of human anatomy combined with scraping the last vestiges of human decency or scruple from her increasingly bloodthirsty pack. And then the Fun really begins.
"Kichiku Dai Enkai" is divided into three parts, three 'Dai Enkai' parties: you could think of the whole movie as Appetizer, Lunch, and Dinner. Each 'party' begins with a Dance (Miyame with her demon-mask): following each dance, there's a sort of wilding, a descent into savagery.
There's no room for dessert, in this case, and you'll probably be full afterwards. That or Dead.
Director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri has created, concocted, distilled and injected a Dark Night of the Soul here, a savage howl of anger and Evil and savagery and cruelty.
Kumakiri is working on the low-end of low budget filmmaking here, and he does so masterfully, marshalling his scanty resources in such a way as to occlude the paucity of funds, or name-actors, or high-end effects. Lose yourself in this flick---in the spare, atonal shrieks and drum rattles of its soundtrack that punctuate the traipse into madness, in the grainy film quality that permeates, suffuses, and melds into a world of seamy, stinking dorm-rooms and seamier bungalows.
And the acting: for a low-budget flick, the acting is superb. It works. The students are zoned-out, goofy, giggling, smirking: kids who have too little supervision, too much time, too much access to gonzo drugs and not enough access to common sense.
Particularly good is Miyame (played by Mikami Sumiko), who sinks her choppers into her role as crazed tigress and purring, calculating dictator. It would be a tough gig in more accomplished hands: Sumiko is not an attractive creature---she's puffy and dumpy at best, with a lumpy, clayish head---but she has a raw, feral, bestial charisma, and charisma comes across in any tongue.
A warning: "Kikichu" takes its own sweet time bringing things to boil; it is almost serene, monastic, meditative. It took me three tries to get into its well-paced, reflective mood, and I'm glad I took the time to settle into the madness.
Gorehounds, in particular, will be well paid for their patience: as a tableau of pure, unfettered human cruelty, I don't think any film has approached "Kichiku" in sheer, bloody brutality. It has just about everything: depravity, torture, decapitation, dismemberment, exploding heads, castration, even cannibalism. It all positively stinks with the realism of yesterday's mass grave.
And as in any breviary of bruality, there is beauty among the madness: Kumakiri is an amazingly competent director, spinning out some truly haunting sequences, among them a trot down a bleak dorm-hall that conjures up a death camp hallway, or a doomed man, tortured eyes staring skyward, glimpsing the serene beauty of a sunset through the trees.
Kumakiri has captured, in this raw, bleak, damned world, precisely what Wes Craven might have accomplished---or might have been trying to accomplish---in his "Last House on the Left" or "The Hills Have Eyes". "Kichiku" is parts a glimpse into the inner workings of a gulag, a death camp, and the shadow-haunted forests of the "Blair Witch Project".
"Kichiku" is a sick, feral thing of beauty, and it is very hungry, and very human. Proceed with caution---but do proceed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I experienced a viewing of this at a friends house and let me just say, disappointing is too kind of a word. He had bought the film after reading the glowing reviews on this site; which we are now entirely sure are planted by the company releasing this. This is the most disjointed, incoherent, sloppy, poorly executed piece of schlock I've seen in a long time. Contrary to the description of the movie, there is no plot. There is no rebellious school youth who perform social experiments. There is no message, and there definitely is no "challenging society". The first hour and a half are a bunch of supposed juveniles who sit around, smoke, drink, and have sex with the most butch oriental woman I've ever seen. Then finally, during the last half hour, they finally start showing the gore. At that point though, it really doesn't matter. You're so mentally drained and uncaring about any of the characters that you'd wish the shotgun blast was aimed at your own head. It doesn't fall into the category of so bad it's good, it just falls into regret and wasted time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
C. Christopher Blackshere
- Published on Amazon.com
Whoa. Director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri has officially graduated to the bloody big leagues. Kichiku dai Enkai (Banquet of the Beasts) was his student project, and has now become a violent cult classic. Although this graphic, low budget project has unfortunately remained obscure, it did recieve astounding critical acclaim in several film festivals.
Kichiku has a thin political backdrop, derived from a documentary the director watched as a kid. The timeframe is in the late 60's/early 70's, when some left wing students with violent political ideas made plans to overthrow the government. This film concentrates on the turmoil within the group. Their tyrannical ways explode as paranoia mounts and frenzy blinds their ambition. Brutal repurcussions as friends turn against friends. Absolute chaos.
The beginning of this film is slow paced, as it tracks the group's slow regression into a state of violent hysteria. Miyame is the psychotic female leader that uses sex to manipulate and mold the group to do her bidding. In the second half, the mayhem explodes like you've never seen. The group's plans unravel into some severe distrust, betrayal, anarchy, torture, and cold-blooded murder. The violence pounds your senses like a jackhammer, some really gruesome special effects that will make even the jaded gorehound wince. There is some over-the top blood spewage and decapitations that will give you quite a jolt.
I will admit, Kichiku dai Enkai is far from perfect. It's main weakness is the first half, where some plot elements could have been better thought out. Some of the characters motivations aren't explained very well. But the extreme violence in the second half makes you forget all that. Simply put, this is one of the most wickedly brutal and disturbing pieces ever committed to celluloid. Low budget cinema at it's absolute finest.