Four-Story Horror

Rampo Noir

They should have put a sticker on Rampo Noir’s (2005) DVD box cover that said, “Warning: Art Inside.” Four short, artsy fartsy Japanese horror stories, one of which is only seven minutes long, with no dialogue or sound, and a naked guy wandering around. Titled, Mars’ Canal, I interpreted it as being a commentary on the escalating price of rump roast.

Rampo Noir

Mirror Hell concerns a guy who thinks he’s cuter than chicks (he isn’t), and makes ornate hand mirrors out of a rare chemical found in dirt. When a woman he’s jealous of looks in the mirror, her faces melts off. They do not show the face-melting, which I felt was a noticeable discrepancy.

Rampo Noir

Caterpillar involves the wife of an army lieutenant coming back from the war as just a torso and head. Oh, he’s still alive, but unable to talk. He can gurgle and make spit bubbles, though.

Rampo Noir

The last one, Crawling Bugs, is about a guy who kills a woman and, in order to preserve her beauty, tries embalming her. That’s a lot harder to do than the instructions indicate. She starts to rot, so he takes acrylic paint and covers her browning skin in lovely hues of red, blue, yellow — all the corpse complimentary colors.

Rampo Noir

But internal gases are building up and she’s looking like a beached Free Willy. When the cops find him, he’s in his underwear, between her legs, with his head buried in a slit he made in her stomach. Best line of the movie occurs when they pull him out, and he turns to look at them: “What?” Couldn’t have summed up this movie better.

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