Text below - written after viewings in 2021,
2014 and 2007:
When writing this it's May 2021 and the covid-19 pandemic
is slowly loosing it's grip on the world. This was the 3rd time i watched
this unique marvel of Murder Mystery Horror, this delightful hybrid
of crime-thriller and slasher-horror, or even a
The film is bursting with ideas and visually disturbing but impressive
"Black Kiss" is long, slow and fascinating and Tezka takes
his time telling this bizarre story. I loved watching it in 2021, just
as watching it the first time in 2007, when US Tokyo Shock released
it on DVD. The film had been premiered in 2006, two years after
it being made in 2004. Why ? Maybe because the film being this "unusual"
strange and bizarre and the film company suspected that
the japanese audience probably wouldn't want to see something oddball
And, they were surely right as this fascinating film
completely has slipped below the radar, obscure and ignored. Sadly Macoto
(or Tezuka) never got the chance to make that sequel he had hoped and
prepared for, the film where we would've get to know more
about the killer Black Kiss. This film is so .... so delightfully unusual
and personal for a crime-horror, and a film as unique as this deserves
to be hailed.
I would love to see this film on a Blu-ray or 4K restored but this will
surely never happen so treat this Tokyo Shock 2007 DVD as a gem.
Tokyo Shinjuku Skyline at Night
The film takes place in a beautifully brightly lit but
shady part of Tokyo, in the red light Kabukicho / Shinjuku district.
Director Tezka and
Cinematographer Kazuhiro Shirao have created an amazing atmosphere for
the quarter where the protagonists of the film lives, with the
colors of the night and the neon lights. The film was shot on digital
video and it looks just great.
The story of "Black Kiss" is quite intricate
and with a lot of red herrings thrown at us and with some sidetracks
leading nowhere. A case of
opacity ? Not too much, i like it when you get confused watching a murder
mystery, and the murderer and the motive is revealed at the end,
also the director Tezka explain some of the killings in the extras interview.
There may be some plotholes though and i still don't understand
why the killer didn't leave the room before the police arrived, or what
happened to the girl (it was her finger in the shower) ?
But it doesn't matter, as the unique atmosphere and the visual style
makes it a big winner (for me that is).
The disturbing atmosphere of Fear,
as Black Kiss the killer, if he/she even exists, is a fearful creature
moving like a shadow of the night.
The actors also present fine performances as half-japanese Reika Hashimoto
as the fashion model Asuka, Shunsuke Matsuoka as the crime
cop Yusuke and surely also half-japanese actress Kaori
Kawamura as the ex-model Kasumi. She acts with a quiet
ember and she's full of
soul and i like her a lot. Kaori Kawamura had a russian mother and was
born in Moscow, she was a singer and an actress and she was
diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 (when this film was shot) and she
died in 2009 only 38 years old.
R.I.P. talented Kaori Kawamura
There are not a lot of blood and gore in this film,
but when there are such scenes they are bizarre and rememberable.
The film takes place in a sleazy part of Tokyo and with people connected
to the fashion business, with models, agents and such. In the
intro of the film a fashion model and her sleazy agent Kimura (Shinzen
Okada) goes to a Love Hotel (a lot of them in Kabuki-cho) to have
sex. The woman leaves (maybe, i'm not sure) and Kimura is surprised
by an assailant (maybe a woman dressed all in black) who ties him to
the bed and then murders him with a scalpel in a very disturbing scene.
At the same time in an apartment next to the Love Hotel,
the model Asuka has moved into Kasumi's flat and when she hears the
of the man getting murdered she goes to the window and sees the killer.
A woman dressed in black leather and with black page hair who
smilingly meets her gaze. It's a scary scene and it's Black Kiss, a
killer who spreads Fear.
Is this Black Kiss ?
More macabre murders follow and the
victim at the Hotel, Kimura, had a connection to Kasumi as he was an
ex-boyfriend of hers, and he
stalked her since and he knew the room was situated next to hers and
that she could see him having sex there.
Is it Kasumi who's the killer signing him/her's victims with red roses
and a black kiss with a poisonous lipstick, or is it the paparazzi
photographer Tatsuo (Masanobu Ando) who constantly hang around where
Kasumi and Asuka lives ? Could it be someone of the models,
as e.g. Aoi (Hijiri Kojima) the girl who connected Asuka with Kasumi,
when newly arrived Asuka needed a place to stay in Tokyo ?
The Police runs a massive investigation
of The Case of the Fashion Murders but can't find any clues to the motive
of the murderer, as he/she
confuse them with false clues and red herrings. Police inspector Yusuke
Shirasaki (Shunsuke Matsuoka) contacts the old retired Interpol cop
Takayama for help explaining the strange clues left at the murder scenes,
clues leading to black magic and voodoo.
"Black Kiss" runs for 2 hours and 12 minutes
and during the end credits indie popsinger Aiha Higurashi can be heard
singing the fine song
"Cherish My Life". The film also has a great soundtrack adding
to the atmosphere of fear.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 with japanese
audio and with english subtitles.
Extras: a stills gallery (4 minutes), Tokyo Shock trailers
for other films plus a mini disc with more trailers, Theatrical trailer,
(9 minutes), Mystery of Black Kiss: interview with Macoto Tezka (14
minutes, japanese with english subs), Truth of Black Kiss: where Tezka
tell us what actually happened in some scenes (if we didn't get it,
and I sometimes did not) 9 minutes
Very Recommended for all
lovers of strange crime movies. Unique oddity of a horror slasher, maybe
even a giallo
What I wrote after watching it
for the 1st time in 2007:
A both visually exciting, suspenseful and very skilfully
constructed crime-thriller and horror about fashion model murders and
This felt very fresh and fascinating and I have a hunch that we will
get to see a lot more of Black Kiss in the future.
(Note 2021-05-17: But NO i was very wrong as this film still today
are very obscure and forgotten, and director writer Macoto Tezka
never could make a sequel even though he had plans for it which he tells
us in the interview extras of the DVD)
A TV producer and his mistress are surprised by a female
killer in a hotel room and he's dissected alive with a scalpel. In an
(situated in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo) next to the hotel room
the model Asuka Hoshino (Reika Hashimoto) witnesses
and meets the gaze of the killer. Asuka who shares an apartment with
the ex-model and punk-goth girl Kasumi (Kaori Kawamura).
The police inspector Yasuke is investigating the murders with the help
from senior ex-cop Takayama, an expert on cults and black magic
and the paparazzi photographer Tatsuo is watching Asuka and Kasumi.
Delightfully bizarre it is .... and I just loved it, all 2 hours and
13 minutes of it.
Something adding to the strange atmosphere of the film is that you get
a somewhat un-japanese feeling when watching it, as both Asuka
and Kasumi are Half-Japanese. The first murder victim looks slightly
european too, ex-cop Takayama looks half-japanese and the boss of
Asuka at the fashion agency also looks half-japanese, and also Asuka
practices Flamenco dancing in her spare time dressed in spanish
dress. Kaori Kawamura is very good in her role as a gloomy ex-model
and her acting burns with a quiet ember