Short (S)hit List: S & M puppet show from Hell, “Sanzo Hoshi” and “Jyomon Rashomon” (1967)

There is some things in Japanese culture that have me scratching my head saying “WTF?!” And those things, like “Sanzo Hoshi” and “Jyomon Rashomon” make life worth living. I like weird puppets, and I like creepy things, you put them together and I am one happy, perverted SOB. Granted I am not into the whole “whips and leather” thing myself, but I find the topic interesting from a psychological and artistic stand point. I don’t want to be whipped or tortured while fucking, call me vanilla if you want to, I stand guilty. That being said when I first watched these shorts I was mind boggled.

I got this as an extra DVD when I ordered the Japanese “Guinea Pig” movies, the disc had no label or anything written on it, I figured it was some throwaway. I put it in my player and my eyes fell out of my head, I was confused and disturbed and for the longest time I couldn’t find the titles to the two shorts, it was mainly the language barrier. There isn’t much dialogue in these two shorts and the second short “Jyomon Rashomon” had a title card which I put in google translate. From there I was able to find out the titles.

Hailing from the Japanese “Guro” tradition I wasn’t able to find much info on these two shorts, info was very scanty. They were directed by Kentaro Uchida, the first short is “Sanzo Hoshi” it is about a monk by the same name who descends into hell and has his semen milked by female demons, when they drink his semen they get younger by 1000 years. This short visually is the better of the two and disturbing, its like a Jim Henson puppet show from Hell. Two female demons cane and jerk off the unfortunate monk while other demons watch getting aroused or playing strange music. The attention to detail is pretty cool and when I tried to find a date on when this was made I kept on running into “1967”, problem is the film grain, the hair styles and colors of the various demons scream “1980’s”, maybe these shorts were ahead of their time, I don’t know.

As you can see from the above gif these puppets are life size. At first I had to really look to make sure, and as you can see there is puppeteers dressed in black moving them, that is the only off setting thing. You can see them but it is actually amazing this much detail was put into the puppets and the surrounding scenes. Again beware, these are puppet shows are not meant for kids.

The second short “Jyomon Rashomon” is about a brigand who captures a woman and canes her in front of demons in robes who jerk off. In fact, he canes her until she pees, this one gets kind of monotonous but again the attention to detail is amazing. Again I was amazed and repulsed at the same time, I felt kind of dirty watching this short. Some of you out there will probably pop a tent in your pants, I did at first but the S&M stuff turned me the hell off. It just isn’t my thing, you dig?

Very scanty details and info on this one, the details remain a mystery. I want find out why this was made, who it was made for and more about who made it, the director, Kentaro Uchida, seems to only have directed these two shorts and an 1986 film in the tradition of the “Faces of Death” called “Shocks”, I’ll have to track that one down. I can’t find anything else out about the shorts. Did they play at specialty film festivals? Or maybe at Japanese S&M clubs and gatherings? These are the kinds of things that drive me and people think I am nuts for wanting to decode this type of visual white noise. If my mom or grandma ever saw my blog their eyes would fill with tears and they’d go into guilt trip mode and ask me “Why can’t you do a blog about good things? Positive things like kittens, flowers and Jesus? Why do you have to make a blog about gross and sick things?” I’d just shrug, trying to explain this stuff to people who have no ears, eyes or sensations for white noise of any kind is a waste of time, they won’t get it and I don’t expect them to.

So in closing this of course isn’t gonna be for everybody, some will find this disgusting, sexist, nasty etc. I am not talking to everybody though and it is up to you if you want to watch these two shorts. You’ve been warned, if you want to journey into a strange, beautiful and ugly at the same time, weird world than go here: