Masumura Yasuzō’s Blind Beast (1969)

Aki (Midori Mako) is a beautiful young model that is starting to get some recognition for her work, after working with a talented photographer. Michio (Funakoshi Eij) is a lonely, blind amateur sculptor, still living with his mother (Sengoku Noriko) in a wearhouse turned studio. When Michio hears about Aki’s alleged beauty he has to find out for himself. He goes to the exhibition where Aki’s body is displayed in gorgeous black and white pictures, but being blind he will have to settle for the clay replica of Aki’s sensuous forms. Since he realizes that he’ll never the able to work with her otherwise he decides to disguise himself as a masseur and kidnap the lovely lady. Aki of course doesn’t like being held captive and decides to figure out a way to escape from the sick man’s clutches. 

Masumura Yasuzō’s Môjû is an erotic drama/horror that manages to sustain its creepy sexual tension throughout the entire duration of the picture. As far as psycho-sexual films go not many manage to be as intense without being explicit. Yes, there is sex and nudity in this film, but at the same time a lot of it builds up in the viewers mind and isn’t actually shown. Revisiting Blind Beast I also noticed that the violence isn’t as graphic as I remembered it to be, but through mood and editing the director manages to make you think you saw things that weren’t actually explicitly shown on-screen. Everything about this film is beautiful: From the stunning and alluring Midori Mako, to the artful set designs and to the characteristic music; but mostly the actress.

While the story is simple and could be summarized in a few sentences, the emotions and the themes explored by the film are extremely complex. The relationship of Michio and his mother, the relationship between Michio and Aki and Michio’s ideas of women and art: All these elements make the film more than a surface level torture horror. While being a sick and twisted film, the fantasy aspect of the story is a commentary on cinema itself and how we watch movies. What goes on in our minds when we see a film like Blind Beast? The filmmaker knows exactly that while terrible things are shown, the viewer can get pleasure out of them. Similarly, the characters in the film get a great deal of pleasure out physically hurting each other.

The filmmaker’s strength is his ability to make you sympathize with both the villain and the victim at the same time. He never seems to be taking sides and he loves all of his characters. As I’ve mentioned the film is worth checking out for its visual treats and the eye candy alone (Mako is in her underwear, and less, for most of the film). Blind Beast was and remains one of my very favorite genre films and I can’t recommend it and praise it highly enough.

Rating on Second Viewing
(for the October Challenge)
9 out of 10

One comment

  1. Pingback: Good: Shoah (1985), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) and more! | black is white

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