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WTF Wednesday: The Happiness of the Katakuris

Posted on February 13, 2013 AT 08:57pm

Last week was all about turning WTF Wednesday on its ear with weird anime. This week, we’re staying in the Land of the Rising Sun, and making things a bit more lively. And deadly.

The Happiness of the Katakuris is a Japanese horror/comedy/musical/stop-motion hybrid which was one of my first introductions to the madness of Takashi Miike. Miike is known for a number of cult films, including Ichi the Killer, Audition, One Missed Call, and the recent Gyakuten Saiban [Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney] live action movie. He never sticks to a single genre when going from movie to movie, but Happiness takes that to the next level. It’s technically a remake of the 1998 Korean film The Quiet Family, but once you get past the basic plot, the similarities stop there.

The movie starts with a simple story: Masao Katakuri is laid off from his job in the shoe department of a big department store. He opts to retire, and cashes in his redundancy pay by purchasing a large old house built on a decommissioned garbage dump near Mount Fuji. The house is converted into a bed and breakfast, which he and his family name the “White Lover’s Inn”. There is to be a road extended to the house, but that never happens, thus they get no guests. When they finally do get a guest, it’s a distraught TV anchor [who arrives in his skivvies], and overnight he commits suicide. That’s just the first disaster. More guests come, but they all die, one by one. From suicide, to accident, to murder, nobody seems to be able to survive a night at the Katakuri’s inn.

In the midst of all this chaos are musical numbers, cuts to clay stop-motion scenes, and riotously funny [albeit dark] humor. It may be a truly odd movie, but darned if it isn’t an enjoyable and unique one. Oh, and there’s zombies.

I so wish that I could give you a link to the entire movie and tell you to have at it, but you may just need to Netflix this one.

In the meanwhile, though, here’s the trailer! [With subtitles, cuz I'm a nice guy]

Bryan Todd [aka DieselBT] -- This is where I'm supposed to say something clever about myself. Let's pretend I did, and it conveniently mentions all of my top interests, such as anime, video games, crazy gadgets, electronic music, voice acting, sound editing, and countless other ridiculously fascinating topics. I also like to write stuff about things, which is why I'm here.

...That, and I like your shirt.

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