10 Batsh*t Crazy Japanese Movies You Have To See

Nobody does it weirder...

You only need a passing interest in world cinema to realise that no other country makes as many crazy movies as the Japanese. This is a culture which sells used underwear from vending machines and celebrates Christmas with a bucket of KFC, so it isn't surprising they approach filmmaking a little differently. Japan's unique culture is a reflection of its unique history: after centuries of isolation from the outside world, the defeat at the end of the Second World War and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was quickly followed by a huge influx of Western culture. The impact this had on Japanese cinema was enormous, with many films exploring the collective trauma of the war while simultaneously borrowing heavily from American genre movies. Japanese directors have continued to make films which explore the history and mythology of their country to this day, pushing the boundaries (and often the censors) and fusing a wild variety of influences to create some truly unique cinematic experiences. From surreal, erotic animation to disturbing tales of incest, here are ten completely batsh*t crazy Japanese movies you have to see.

10. Funky Forest: The First Contact

Directors Katsuhito Ishii, Shinichiro Miki and Hajime Ishimine joined forces in 2005 to bring together their idiosyncratic styles for Funky Forest: The First Contact, a film full of surreal bite-sized vignettes which become increasingly ludicrous over its two and a half hour running time. Susumu Terajima (a regular fixture in the films of Takeshi Kitano) leads the cast of oddballs and eccentrics, a roster of characters who are distinctly Japanese in their mannerisms (if you're unfamiliar with the more wacky side of Japanese culture and comedy then chances are you'll find this even weirder). Funky Forest discards plot almost entirely, with each vignette toying with song and dance, animation and physical comedy. The running time can make Funky Forest a bit of a slog to watch in one sitting (although there's a handy intermission if you want to take a break), but the format allows for it to be watched in small chunks - a full dose might be too much crazy to take in one go.
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