Gyakufunsha kazoku (The Crazy Family)

Crazy Family VHS box artwork

Yesterday I finally got to watch Sogo Ishii‘s movie “The Crazy Family” from 1984. The movie tells the story of the Kobayashi family who finally get to move out of their tiny Tokyo apartment to a big house of their dreams in the suburbs. On first sight they appear to be a normal Japanese family. Father is a hardworking salary man, the mother is a housewife who talks with her plants, the oldest son is studying hard to get to Tokyo university and the daughter wants to become a popstar/actress. And then there is also the granddad who has not other place to stay than with the family, although everyone wants him to go. A common theme in Japanese movies and also a real “problem” in Japanese society where the children have to take their parents into their home if they get old.

The characters are all a bit over the top stereotypes, like in a typical Japanese comedy. Still this is movie by punk director Sogo Ishii so things will not evolve as you expect them to. Slowly the family turns from normal into crazy into totally maniac horror, where they all try to slaughter each other like the two girls in “2LDK“. From a drama/comedy the movie turns to total weird anarchy. Especially the grandfather who puts on his old war uniform and quotes Nietzsche is a fucking hero. Since Japanese war atrocities is still hardly dealt with in Japanese cinema, it doesn’t surprise that the movie didn’t get a lot of attention in Japan at that time like Sogo Ishii tells in this interview on Midnight Eye.

The grandfather in his Mantsurya uniform

The movie is great parody on materialistic family life accompanied by a great soundtrack with Japanese New Wave music. Which bands are playing? Although punk classic “Burst City” is more well known, don’t forget to check out this movie as well.  Classic.

According to this blog, Sogo Ishii recently changed his name to Gakuryu Ishii. He also has a blog himself. Check!

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