Junk Food Dinner: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Niku Daruma, one of our Randomizer 5000 picks this year for Ghoul Summer. How'd you first come across Niku Daruma, and what was your reaction to it?
Louis Justin, Massacre Video: No problem, guys! I first saw Niku Daruma around 2004 - someone sent a bootleg copy to me, I can't really recall who... but I feel like it was my buddy Brian who made the shockumentry Facing Reality. The first time I popped it in, I only watched the first half. I assumed it was just a boring Japanese fetish porno and stopped. A few months later on a long road trip I decided to watch it all. This time around, once I saw that ending and the closing songs... I was hooked!
JFD: How would you describe the style of director Tamakichi Anaru's movies? Are they all in this vein?
LJ: The horror movies, yes. They are all semi-documentaryesque and all feature tons of graphic violence. However, I have not seen all of his AV work.... but those are rather interesting and grotesque in their own right.
JFD: What do you think Anaru was trying to achieve with this movie? Just to shock and offend, or did he have additional motives in mind?
LJ: I read in an interview this was his answer to Flowers of Flesh and Blood. I can honestly see that; he took all of the elements from Flowers and added sick sexual scenes. I think the end goal was to shock and offend... and this film sure does do that!
JFD: Niku Daruma was produced by Anaru's production company Psycho, which was given its own kind of sublabel via Aroma Planning. What happened with Psycho Video? How did this sublabel come about and what happened to it?
LJ: Well, no one is really sure... but both Niku Daruma and Suicide Dolls have the PSYCHO badge on screen. But his other horror film, Women's Flesh: My Red Guts, has the Baroque label. Baroque was an off shoot of Aroma Planning which sold some odd fetish porn, Anaru's horror films and a bunch of real life death shock films... such as Mute and Rare: A Dead Body!
JFD: What's Tamakichi Anaru up to now? Is he still making movies? How does he feel about this movie now?
LJ: It is a mystery. I acquired his cellphone number from a Japanese filmmaker and the number was disconnected. Aroma has not heard from him in years. I have heard rumors he is either dead or in jail, but no one seems to know!
JFD: This seems like the kind of movie that might be a career-ender. Did any of the 3 actors in this other than Anaru (who cast himself as the director in the film) ever resurface?
LJ: Yes - actually, both of the main actors had pretty long careers after. One of them even made a pseudo-sequel to Niku Daruma! I have only connected with the two of them and both seem to not really have any interest in these films.
JFD: Japan seems to have a long and varied history in the world of extreme adult entertainment, from historical woodblock prints of tentacle rape to more recent developments like genki porn videos. Did Niku Daruma find an audience at all in Japan upon release, or was it too extreme even for Japanese tastes?
LJ: From the scarcity of these movies, I don't think they really ever found an audience. Now a days, Aroma is trying to separate themselves from the death and more extreme films, so they are discontinued in Japan. When I talk to Japanese horror fans, most don't get why I like these movies - hell, even the cast is the same way!
JFD: I guess the exciting news of the season for serious ghouls out there is that Massacre Video will soon be releasing Niku Daruma here in the states. Can you tell us more about your upcoming release?
LJ: It was a back and forth with Aroma for years. I had to have friends in Japan handle the conversations for me, which helped because one of them had worked for Aroma in the past. It's going to be the first time to see these films subtitled in English, plus the quality of the presentation will be miles ahead of the old bootlegs everyone is used to. I am also working on setting up some interviews with the cast, but I'm not sure if that will come to fruition.
Thanks again to Louis for taking a minute for this installment of GhoulChats! Check out his upcoming release if you're a superghoul, or listen to our upcoming episode if you're not sure you can hang.