So Protocon is now well and truely under way.
Last night saw a screening of the cinematic classic “Manster”.
This forgotten gem of storytelling was ahead of it’s day in many ways.
This carefully plotted script uses subtle allusion, rather than the blatant explanatory exposition, to explore a variety of issues ranging from genetics, to culture (ie. the sadness beneath the convivial outward appearance of the Japanese Geisha, the outsider status of hinin cast members, the role of civilian constabulatory in post-WWII Japan, etc.), the disollution of traditional family structures, and the inner psychological conflict between rational and intuitive modes of thought.
A Japanese researcher discovers a variety of enzymes, probably derived from thermophilic archibacteria, in the remote hotsprings of rural Japan. He theorizes that these enzymes allow certain dormant genetic traits in humans to become active, reecapitulating the phylogenic origins of human genetic history in vivo (as it were). Initially family members are enthusiastic about these pursuits and willingly contribute their flesh to the glorious cause of scientific enlightenment, however when the supply of relatives dry up it’s necessary for the doctor and his beautiful hinin assistant to forcibly recruit a traveling reporter to further the cause.
The American reporter to whom they apply this enzyme becomes violent, and increasingly divorced from his work and wife. Then his hand gets furry and shoulder sprouts an eye. Pretty soon there’s a whole new head on his shoulders and a murderous rampage ensues.
The culminating scene, filmed on the majestic sides of Mount Doraiaisu Kyou Hanabi, sees the man torn asunder as human and ape-heads split the body in twain, each taking on a separate corporeal existance. This idea cleverly portrays the Platonic conception of humans existing as two united halves which become separated violently in some mythic antiquity. In this iteration of the theme the physical struggle after separation sees the Dionysian half, embodied in the ape-creature, thrown into a pit (Kaza Doom style) by the Apolonian half, portrayed in the form of the reporter’s rational human body recovered. This elegantly conveys the prevailent theme of that era whereby science and understanding triumphed over irrationality and uncontrolled emotions.
But while this movie still contains thought provoking depths which would take many more pages of discursis to plumb, it was still nothing to write home about. Really your life will be just as fulfilling if you never watch it.
I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.
No! 5 out of 5 stars!