21 January 2006

Miike And The Meek

The rumours are unfortunately true--Showtime has decided not to air Takashi Miike's "Imprint" as part of its much-ballyhooed "Masters Of Horror" series, which was set to premiere next weekend. Reportedly, some Showtime execs were "disgusted" by the episode and decided to yank it. Uh, that's what you get when you agree to broadcast a show entitled "Masters Of Horror" geniuses...I thought I'd check out Showtime's official site to see what, if any, announcement had been made, but they've made it inaccessible to anyone outside of the U.S.! And these are the folks we're hoping to save "Arrested Development"?

Turns out the man who gave us such devastating works as "Audition" and "Ichi The Killer" is not terribly surprised: "To tell you the truth, I was not surprised to hear that 'Imprint' would not air" Miike told Fangoria.com. Through the experience of directing this episode, I have discovered that while humor can have its limits, fear has no limits. I could not suppress the volume of terror that this film conveys.”

"Imprint", Miike's English-language debut, tells the story of an American (Cannon Films' veteran Billy Drago) who returns to Japan to reunite with his lost love, a prostitute he left behind. But when he reaches his final destination, he is told a graphic tale of his lover’s fate, which is said to involve an intense torture sequence involving a dwarf, a bound prostitute, and a handful of burning incense. It's based on the novel "Bokke Kyoutee" by Shimako Iwai, which means "Really Scary", btw...

Thankfully, Showtime doesn't own any of the episodes, only the American broadcast rights for season one. Series producer Anchor Bay Entertainment has already announced plans to release "Imprint" on DVD this fall--you can read their official statement here.

In Canada, "Masters Of Horror" is aired on Scream TV--so I'm hoping someone at the channel is busy making an arrangement with Anchor Bay to award this much-anticipated entry a proper unveiling on what is still North America's first, and best, horror-themed network...