Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 1st, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 2004
Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Tetsuro Tamba, Hisayoshi Hirayama, Little Frankie, Momoka Sakata, Sjinya Tsuamoto, Lily Franky, Reika Hashimoto
DVD released: August 15th, 2006
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Panik House
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: After attending the opera Monzô Kobayashi a writer of mystery novel was hanging out in the park when he saw a dwarf carrying what looked like a human hand. Môjuu is a blind sculptor of the human body who has become infatuated with Ranko Mizuki. The next day the news paper reveals that Ranko Mizuki the lead actress in the opera he saw last night has gone missing and that a woman’s severed hand was found. Monzô Kobayashi intrigued by the mystery unfolding before his very eyes is determined to find out what the blind man and the dwarf have in common and what is their connection to Ranko Mizuki the missing actress?
Teruo Ishii was a renegade filmmaker who put his unique brand on every film he ever directed. He would hit his creative peak in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s by directing Yakuza films. In 1974 he would directed a pair of films The Executioner and its sequel The Karate Inferno with action superstar Sonny Chiba. By the late 1970’s he would step away from filmmaking for over a decade before he returned in 1991 with the feature film The Hit Man. Teruo Ishii a lifelong fan of Rampo Edogawa had previous adapted the author work as the basis for his 1969 film Horror of a Deformed Man. So it is only fitting that he would return nearly thirty years later to the surreal world of Rampo Edogawa for what would become Teruo Ishii swan song. The story from which Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf was previously made into a film by director Yasuzo Masumura whose film is called Blind Beast.
Throughout his career time and again Teruo Ishii has proven that lack of budget would not hamper him from achieving his vision as a filmmaker. Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf is an ambitious production that seriously needed a lot more money then what ever budget was actually spent on the film. The shot on video look of the film is great disadvantage to the imagery Teruo Ishii and many of his compositions come off as static or bland which is in direct contrast to most of his work. The films premise should have been a fertile ground from which Teruo Ishii’s fervid imagination should have really taken advantage of and it is a pity that this is the final thing he directed because this is far from the masterpieces he directed like The Executioner, The Friendly Killer and the Rampo Edogawa inspired Horror of a Deformed Man.
Panik House presents Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf in its original aspect ratio. This shot on video production while only a few years old the transfer shows the limitations of its source material. Overall colors look faithfully reproduced and details at times lack sharpness.
This release comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented here is a Dolby Digital stereo. Outside of few minor moments when the audio seems to a tad to loud before returning to its previous level the overall quality of this audio mix is more then adequate and the fluctuation of the audio is most likely due to the source material provided. Removable English and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include trailers for Screwed, Blind Beast vs. The Killer Dwarf and Tokyo Psycho, production notes and Poster & Stills gallery which is broken up into two separate categories. Other extras include with this release is bios for Teruo Ishii, Edogawa Rampo and a tribute for actor Little Frankie titled “Obituary for a Killer Dwarf”. Rounding out the extras is a section titled “Geaphiles” which includes conceptual art from the underground New York artist Gea and a fourteen minute behind the scenes featurette for Blind Beast vs. The Killer Dwarf. This release like all of Panik House previous releases comes with Bi-lingual menus where you can choose between English or Spanish and a collectable sticker of the DVD’s cover art.
Panik House continues to impress me with each new release. Their latest Blind Beast vs. The Killer Dwarf is fitting farewell to Teruo Ishii one of Japan’s most legendary maverick underground filmmakers.