A Japanese Horror Zombie Musical by Takeshi Miike.
That is literally all you need to put on the DVD to warn people about how batshit insane this film is. Of course, it has become a bit of a racial stereotype that Japan is lumped in with the “crazy country” description. Japan has supplied us with game shows, music and fashion that have exceeded the sane quota so much so that we are speak about Japan in that tongue in cheek judging way, “only in Japan.” Negating the fact that economically, Japan is raking it in and has also developed some evocative art and mentality that continues to see its success whilst it honours its traditions too.
But no, regardless of all this, Miike’s Happiness of the Katakuris is still the craziest thing you’ll ever watch.
Over the top ludicrousness, this film is one to be watched. Miike isn’t a director who plays softly with his work and with The Happiness of the Katakuris, he makes sure this is his wackiest yet. Which is saying something because this is the director who did Ichi The Killer. Here is a combination of aspects that seems stupid and so insane that it wouldn’t work in the hands of another director. There’s Claymation, there’s zombies, there’s a conman who convinces them he is British, that’s a singalong moment and an erupting volcano. In fact, there is one scene where the entire family turn into plasticine bar the granddad and his only reaction is to say “where’s the dog?” Oh - and did I mention there’s music too? This is a fully fledged musical and the over the top entity of tunes and jazz hands often appears so crazily throughout the movie such as discovering the body or one where the dead rises and join in. There is not one element of this that isn’t coated in absurdity.
You’ll never see a movie like this again. And, certainly, the Western world will continue to struggle to produce this kind of uniqueness. The Happiness of the Katakuris is full of mystery and comedy, but above all - song. It’s so hard not to fall in love with a film like this.
Read our list of Alternative Musicals too