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New to Me is a series here at The Nerds Templar where we discuss a film that has been out for a while. It’s most likely available on DVD or streaming services, but it’s our first time seeing it. Hence, it’s “New to Me”!

katakuri

Synopsis:

The Katakuris are a four-generation family of failures (grandfather, father and mother, children and granddaughter, who narrates the film) who use the father’s redundancy pay to buy a guest house in the country. Somehow, each of their guests ends up dead – by suicide, accident or murder – and once they have made the decision to save their business by burying the bodies and concealing the deaths, they find themselves sucked into a nightmare of lies and fear. None of this is helped by the arrival of the daughter’s con-man boyfriend, an escaped murderer with police in hot pursuit, and an erupting volcano. Filled with surreal musical numbers, disturbed animated characters, killer zombies and an array of gruesome deaths, this delirious black comedy has to be seen to be believed!

What We Thought:

As a fan of Takashi Miike, I was excited to watch The Happiness Of The Katakuris, as I had never seen this particular film. Having a total of just about 100 films under his belt, it is really easy to have missed some of his films. Especially since I don’t think all of them make it here to the US or are at least not readily available here. The Happiness Of The Katakuris was made during one of Miike’s very prolific years, 2001, when he made 8 films, Ichi The Killer and Agitator among them. The movie is loosely based on the Korean film The Quiet Family (which is now on my list of movies to watch).

The Happiness Of The Katakuris goes off the rails right from the beginning and never really goes back on them. It starts with a crazy claymation sequence that ends up really having nothing to do with the rest of the film. We are treated to a little exposition, explaining all the members of the family, delivered to us by the family’s youngest member. What follows is another 100 minutes of insanity! Guests start finally showing up at their establishment, only to meet varying gruesome deaths. Some purposeful, some accidental, and all outside the control of the family, who try to hide it. We are treated to multiple claymation sequences, musical numbers complete with choreographed dancing (some were very reminiscent of the Bollywood style), dream sequences, a fight scene and even a scene done in a sing-a-long karaoke style.

I just can’t describe the spectacle that is The Happiness Of The Katakuris. It is something that one must see to truly understand. I couldn’t stop watching. I couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t stop reacting in awe and surprise to what would come next. I was rooted to the screen, afraid to miss anything, until it was over.. THEN I saw the plethora of special features!

Obviously I highly recommend this one! If I could force everyone to stop what they are doing immediately, and watch it, I would!

Special Features:

  • The Making Of The Katakuris
  • Interviews
  • Animating The Katakuris
  • Dogs, pimps and Agitators
  • Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Commentary by Takashi Miike
  • Commentary by Tom Mes

Notable Cast & Crew:

  • Takashi Miike
  • Naoto Takenaka
  • Kiyoshiro Imawano
  • Kenji Sawada
  • Tetsuro Tanba
  • Keiko Matsuzaka
  • Shinji Takeda
  • Naomi Nishida

Recommended If You Like:

  • Takashi Miike Films
  • Dark Comedy
  • Offbeat musicals
  • The Quiet Family
  • Crazy Family
  • Comedy Horror

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