SLASHER MONTH: Shiryô no wana (1988)

Directed by Toshiharu Ikeda (Sex Hunter) from a script by Takashi Ishii (the Angel Guts series), the title of this in Japanese translates as Trap of The Dead Spirits.

The co-star was a bigger name than any of the stars in this movie. Rei Sugiura is one of the most important Japanese AV (Adult Video) idols of all time. Her parent company, Japan Home Video (JHV) (she was part of their AV label Alice Japan) financed the film as a vehicle for her, but Ikeda was unsure if she could act. That’s why Miyuki Ono has the lead, playing Nami Tsuchiya, who hosts the TV show Late Night With Nami, which is all about viewers sending in their strange home videos. When one is a snuff film, she smells a story and her team soon heads to an abandoned factory to get the story.

That tape — addressed to her and for those that can’t sleep — features a woman being murdered (and her eye being slashed out, betraying the influence of Lucio Fulci on Ishii). While the rest of her crew wanders the factory — which really means have sex — a strange man warns her to leave.

After that, the movie lives up to its title, as a series of traps take out the crewmembers one by one, in incredibly inventive ways, often lit ala Bava and feeling like Argento*. I don’t say that in a negative way. I mean it as a high compliment. There’s also a high gore content, as this is 1988 Japan, and if you’re turned off by people being shot in the back of the head with arrows that come right out of their mouth, then this is not the movie for you.

Also, if you’re the kind of person that demands that your slashers are rooted in reality, you’re going to love this movie until the last part, when it decides to stop being a slasher and become pure weirdness, with cojoined and unknown twins, dream sequences and a twist ending that sprays blood all over the place.

You know how fusion cooking combines wildly disparate food cultures? Evil Dead Trap is that, but for gore-drenched giallo slasher hybrids. I loved every drippy, chewy and fatty bite.

Thanks to R. D Francis for giving me the heads up that you can watch this on FShare.

*Sounding, too. You’d swear this movie had the soundtrack of a 1980’s Italian horror movie.

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