Audition Director Takashi Miike Loves Making Horror Films, But He Doesn't Watch Many Of Them

It may be unfair to refer to filmmaker Takashi Miike as a horror filmmaker, given how prolific he is. Since he first started directing movies in 1991, Miike has accrued 112 directing credits. To save you from doing the math, that averages out to about three and a half films a year. He has made horror movies, yes, including the notable "Audition" in 1999, perhaps his best-known film in the United States. He also directed an episode of "Masters of Horror," as well as "Over Your Dead Body," the original "One Missed Call," the David Lynch-adjacent "Gozu," "Lesson of the Evil," and "As the Gods Will." His polarizing "Visitor Q" might also be considered a horror film depending on your personal interpretation of the premise.

Among those films, however, Miike has also made a superhero film, a partly animated musical, a few historical epics, coming-of-age dramas, and many, many crime movies. One might even be hard-pressed to find a genre that Miike hasn't worked in. 

The director's association with horror, however, is likely pronounced because of his propensity for extreme, graphic violence. Anyone who has witnessed the final scenes of "Audition" can speak to Miike's talent for presenting pain and mutilation in excruciating detail. 

'I'm even a little afraid of the dark...'

In a 2019 interview with Bloody-Disgusting, Takashi Miike admitted that, while he may have the stomach to film extreme acts of violence and unsettling scenes of surreal grotesquerie, he actually doesn't watch too many horror films. One might not assume so, but Miike describes himself as being skittish and anxious, easy to scare, and often startled. For every scene of spilled bodily fluids one might see in a Miike film, know that the filmmaker was probably even more scared to make it. He said: 

"I'm actually quite a scaredy cat, myself. Since a child I've been this way [...] I'm even a little afraid of the dark. If I'm alone in the dark I'll sometimes feel that there's a presence behind me and I'll even be afraid to turn around. But then if I do get the courage to turn around, I'll just be scared that whatever was there has just jumped over to the other side of me."

These fearful impulses might be relatable for many kids who tend to let their imaginations get the better of them on dark and stormy nights. Miike, 59 at the time of the interview, has seemingly never outgrown such thoughts. Indeed, his fearful demeanor, paired with his boundless imagination, seems to have been a useful directing tool. Once his scary movies are finished, however, he's too afraid to revisit them. He continued:

"This sounds really silly, but as a child, I've always been a bit of a coward so I don't watch many horror films myself. I personally don't want to pay money to go to a theater to get horribly frightened! [...] Even after I finish making horror films, I usually don't go to a theater to watch them myself."