x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Takashi Miike's hidden fears

He's terrified and shocked multitudes, but the Japanese director of Lesson of the Evil doesn't like being scared himself.

The director Takashi Miike's latest shock-horror film is Lesson of the Evil. Sarah Dea / The National
The director Takashi Miike's latest shock-horror film is Lesson of the Evil. Sarah Dea / The National

You know that if a film festival is screening a Takashi Miike film, there are probably going to be some people unable to get to sleep that night, as anyone who watched the first screening of Lesson of the Evil on Tuesday can no doubt testify. The film follows in the prolific Japanese shock-horror master's blood-soaked footsteps, with a high school romp quickly turning into an all-out massacre. It's not for the faint of heart and, interestingly, it's not exactly Miike's cup of tea, either.

"Most people who make violent horror films like me are great fans of that genre, but I'm not like that," he explains. "I don't think I'd ever pay money to have a scary experience. If I'd seen something that was really scary, I don't think I'd be able to go to the toilet alone at night."

For those who have perhaps seen 2001's Ichi the Killer, a film that came with promotional "barf bags" due to its excessively violent nature (it was banned outright in several countries), knowing that Miike himself gets scared might offer some level of comfort.

And he's got some words of warning for those who might be tempted by Lesson of the Evil but perhaps aren't sure what to expect. "I like to respect serendipity. When you meet a film it's like meeting people. You're discovering some new, and if you're able to appreciate something from its surprise, that's a very intuitive thing. But if you discover that you don't like what you're seeing, you just have to run away."

Lesson of the Evil screens Thursday at Mall of the Emirates, Vox Cinemas 10 at 10.30pm

aritman@thenational.ae