Year of Release - 2006
Rating – Not Rated
Director – Takashi Miike
Running Time – 63 Minutes
Distributor – Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anchor Bay continues to release single edition DVDs from Season 1 of this popular Showtime series with the most notorious (and ironically enough, unaired) episode to date; Takashi Miike’s (Ichi the Killer, Dead Alive) Imprint.
Upon his return to Japan, Christopher (Billy Drago) seeks out his former lover, a young prostitute named Komomo (Michie Ito). Unable to locate her (and through a bizarre twist of fate), he winds up spending the evening with a seemingly timid, yet informed and unnamed disfigured lady of the evening (played by Youki Kudoh). Throughout the course of this one night (over various stories and sips of sake) Christopher learns of the disturbing and unfortunate fate of his former love.
Imprint really personifies what the Masters of Horror series is all about...pure horror. But the real appeal here is that fantastic Miike touch. Miike manages to find the real beauty in total terror. That being said, Imprint is still far from perfect. Drago’s performance is beyond pedestrian (and at times, almost laughable), and a few of the far fetched secrets that are eventually revealed (while fun) require a whole new level when it comes to the idea of ‘suspension of disbelief.’
Komomo’s gruesome fate on the other hand, is anything but. It’s disturbing, viscous and beyond mean spirited - in other words, it’s exactly what one would expect from Miike. It’s extremely effective and Miike does exactly what it is that he does best – the man is a simply amazing storyteller. He’s able to shock, amuse and offend at the drop of a hat, often even in the same scene.
This disc from Anchor Bay is just loaded with extras including a ‘critic’ commentary track, interview with Miike, behind-the-scenes/making of featurettes and more. Expect the same breadth of extras as previous Masters of Horror DVD releases from the series and similar audio/video quality as well, top notch all the way.
Without a doubt the most disturbing episode of Masters of Horror, Imprint also happens to be the most effective. It’s a shame that more viewers didn’t have the opportunity to view and judge for themselves when the series originally aired on Showtime. While there were a few standout moments from Season 1, Imprint manages to lead the pack because it strays from the series norm, and chooses to show unknown horrors rather than those that are more familiar. Exploring the world of unknown horror is something that made the rest of the directors from this series ‘masters of horror’ to begin with. If you’re only going to buy one episode from the series, Imprint is it.