Alexander Lendrum

Editorial curator, born and raised in Hong Kong.

Five Intensely Twisted Cult Asian Films you Might Regret Watching

You may have heard of these titles before… hell, you might have even seen a few of them that still haunts your memories to this day, but for those of you that aren’t yet familiar with the following list of intensely twisted, gruesomely disturbing cult Asian films, then be warned: these are most definitely not for the faint hearted. Everyone knows that when it comes to intense creativity in film, the West holds nothing on other, more liberating countries–hence the countless remakes–and places like Japan and South Korea have been producing some of the most extreme titles out there.

Think Park Chan-wook’s OldBoy, perhaps the most internationally recognized Asian film thanks to its Josh Brolin-starring 2013 American remake. However since you probably already know that one, we’re not including it in our list. Instead, we’ve got a few cult classics for those in the know, but perhaps still something to discover for those that aren’t well versed in the totally fucked up. Running in order of original release year, check out the five films below to consider watching this weekend that you may or may not end up regretting. Heads up: this is definitely not a list for a movie night in date, unless of course they’re also into twisted shit, in which case pour up some red wine.

Battle Royale (2000)

Arguably the most well known from this list, Battle Royal is the demented brainchild of Japanese Author Koushun Takami who came up with the narrative. The film adaptation, directed by Kinji Fukasaku, follows the story of 42 9th graders who have been kidnapped and dumped on a deserted island with a few provisions, including a map, some food, and unique weapons per student, ranging from guns to frying pans. Each kid is fitted with an explosive collar that detonates if any rules are broken. The mission: Kill everyone until you’re the last living survival. The Hunger Games ain’t got shit on Battle Royale.

Ichi the Killer (2001)

Absolutely fucked up in every which way, from the “getting off” on killing, to the grotesquely visual dismemberments, and even some ghostly shit thrown in, Ichi the Killer is without doubt the wildest one of the lot. Directed by Takashi Miike, the film mainly follows Tadanobu Asano, an insane gangster who attempts to find his kidnapped boss. Surrounding Asano, there’s a plethora of other crazy characters, including Ichi himself, a seemingly innocent man-boy who is the most dastardly of them all. If this one tickled you pink, make sure to check out 1-Ichi, the prequel that details how Ichi came to be as messed up as he is.

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club is insane. Let’s just put it at that. It also deals with a sensitive subject (it’s in the name), as it involves planned mass suicidal missions by school kids, that result in some pretty traumatizing visuals. Deeper than that though, the film works as a ghost and crime thriller mystery–a cat and mouse style chase–that unearths more and more weirdness. Give the subject matter and how it’s portrayed, Sion Sono’s Suicude Club is definitely one to not take lightly. Like Ichi the Killer, the Suicide Club universe continues in its sequel Noriko’s Dinner Table, that follows runaway Kazue Fukiishi who joins an Internet cult that rents people out to clients who wants to pretend they have a family–it’s all very messed up.

Brother (2009)

Perhaps more of a gangster film than something horrible twisted, we’ve still included this cult classic because of the sheer amount of hollow bloodshed and disregard for henchmen lives this movie holds. It’s essentially a shoot anything that moves film, orientated around the clash of the Yakuza and the cartel. Brother is also the only film in this list that’s actually in English, but don’t let that deter you as it’s just as bloody as the others. Directed by Takeshi Kitano, Brother may not be the critic’s favorite, but it does a solid job of offering fucked up entertainment.

I Saw The Devil (2010)

Last but not least we have I Saw The Devil, which is perhaps the most aggressive out of the lot. Lead by respected director Kim Jee-woon, the film follows secret agent Kim Soo-hyeon who discovers his wife’s severed head. But while going on a revenge spree is too light for something in this list, you’ll be glad to hear that the agent instead goes bona fide berserk. Also a twisted game of cat and mouse, the film goes down dark roads that are as entertaining as they are bloody, fucked up, twisted, disturbing and all the other synonyms we’ve already used throughout this post.

Alexander Lendrum

Editorial curator, born and raised in Hong Kong.