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TOMIE UNLIMITED
Blu-ray / DVD . Bounty Films.

Tomie UnlimitedThe Tomie series – based in the manga of the same name – reaches its eighth entry with Tomie Unlimited, the first to have any sort of UK release. Like the rest of the films, this is a stand-alone story in which schoolgirl Tomie is killed again and again by those who love her, but keeps coming back.

In this story, we follow Tsukiko (Moe Arai), a shy schoolgirl who lives in the shadow of her older, more glamorous sister Tomie (Miu Nakamura) – until Tomie is killed in a freak accident involving a metal pipe falling from a disused building. A year later, on what would have been her eighteenth birthday, Tomie returns home, welcomed by her parents, but somewhat different – cruel and manipulative. When she threatens to leave again, her father stabs her to death, and her body is chopped up. But the next day, another Tomie turns up at school, and soon, things start to get very, very weird, as all around her, students become possessed and an increasingly strange number of Tomies, spawned by an increasing number of Tomie murders, make Tsukiko’s nightmares become a terrifying reality.

Slickly directed by Machine Girl man Noboru Iguchi, Tomie Unlimited is an increasingly convoluted, surreal and delusional slice of J-Horror that mixes moments of gory excess and visual insanity with more subtle shocks. As it progresses, though, the madness takes over, and the plot is thrown to one side in favour of wild visuals. This isn’t an entirely good thing – while there’s always something mad happening on screen, a potentially interesting horror story has been thrown aside, and if you were looking for the creepiness and sheer terror of much Japanese horror, you’ll be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you want the wild excesses of Machine Girl and its imitators, you’ll also feel short changed.

Tomie UnlimitedIn the end, Tomie Unlimited is an uncomfortable hybrid, perhaps best appreciated by hardened fans of Japanese horror, who will appreciate the surreal insanity and weird visuals that seem a nod to everything from Hausu to One Hundred Monsters, but with added gore. The weird centipede Tomies, the floating heads, the mutant tumours – they all feel like the sort of thing found in those unique, visually bizarre movies.

If you can forget about a coherent storyline, Tomie Unlimited might well be an interesting experience. How it compares to the rest of the series, I couldn’t tell you – and whether or not familiarity with the other films allows this to make more sense is also open to question. As it is, Tomie Unlimited is far from perfect, but never dull, and fans of the more twisted excesses of the genre might well find much to satisfy them here.

The disc also includes a hilarious 55 minute interview with the director, covering his career from scat porn (which he cheerfully admits to having a fetish for) to the forthcoming Zombie Ass – a journey that isn’t actually that far!

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (UK) BLU-RAYDVD

 

 

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