Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wicked City (1987)

Wicked City (Yôjû toshi) is an animated horror neo-noir directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, based on Hideyuki Kikuchi's novel of the same name. In a sense Wicked City is a fascinating title to revisit for those interested in the evolution of Japanese animation. For starters it represents the conjunction and culmination of several strains of 80s fantasy cinema. Phallic tentacles sprout from chests plunging into flesh, bodies twist and split in two, heads fly off and eyeballs explode from their sockets. In an early scene, a raven-haired temptress picked up casually from a bar writhes in post-coital bliss, her limbs elongating and entwining her victim as she assumes the form of a spider before they part to reveal a Venus Flytrap-like vulva arrayed with fangs, the overt manifestation of Freud's most deep-rooted and primal male fear, the vagina dentata. They certainly don't make them like this any more, and certainly not as feature-length cartoons...

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