Versus Director Ryuhei Kitamura Does Body Horror

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Shock Till You Drop has some fun news: Ryuhei Kitamura, who made a name for himself with the fun low-budget Japanese film Versus and recently directed Midnight Meat Train, is directing a film called Teratoma. The writers are Jim Agnew and Sean Keller, who penned Dario Argento’s upcoming Giallo. (And that gives me pause, since the early Giallo reviews haven’t been wildly positive.) A teratoma is a type of tumor in which other…growths…can be identified: hair, teeth, even eyes and limbs. That could put the film right into the realm of body horror, a sub-genre that doesn’t get enough attention these days. Joel Soisson, of co-producers Neo Art & Logic, says “Teratoma is The Fly meets Rosemary’s Baby.”

We’ve seen teratomas in movies before — the Romero adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Half comes to mind — but hearing that Kitamura is doing a film based on the idea suggests many things, primarily a tumor that could develop more than just organs. Maybe it’s just that the director has recently been associated with Clive Barker, who has written a couple short stories about bodies, and parts of bodies, that rebel against their owner. It’s one of the most basic fears there is, and yet still not frequently exploited on screen.

This news resonates with me for two reasons. One is my tremendous apprecation for the films of David Cronenberg, whose early work pretty much defined body horror at one point. The other is that just a couple days ago I finally caught the unrated cut of Midnight Meat Train, and while it’s still not a great movie, there’s a lot of really fun stuff to be found that wasn’t in the original cut. How can you not love a movie where Ted Raimi’s eyes are knocked out of his head with a hammer? If Kitamura can do Teratoma with more practical effects than CGI, I’ll be there.

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