Horror Brought to Life: Lesson of the Evil (2012) at the CUT!
“We haven’t had one with buckets of blood for a while now”, says Mr Chainsaw.
Yes, the Hothouse is back down in the dungeon at London’s Horse Hospital for our monthly fix of cult movie creepiness. There’s nothing quite like the prospect of a Japanese Horror movie to put bums on seats and the place is packed as Billy leaves the stage and cranks up the DVD player for Takashi Miike’s Lesson of the Evil.
Mr Hasumi (Hideako Ito) is the young charismatic English teacher, popular with students and his colleagues. Hasumi soon gets a handle on the school’s ring of exam cheats and puts a stop to the games teacher’s sexual abuse of Miya, but none of this comes without a price. The kids really should have worked all this out much earlier, since Hasumi lives in a run-down shack with a pair of ravens and drives a battered old pick-up, surefire clues of a mega dangerous loony in my book.
Pretty soon Miya is in his bed, the kids and some of the staff are being blackmailed. Things take a turn for the very, very bad when a complaining parent gets incinerated in a house fire and the physics teacher links Hasumi with a chain of supposed suicides at his former school. Turns out that Hasumi has the whole school bugged, so when those rumours start circulating, Hasumi starts eliminating. An interrupted attempt to fake Miyo’s suicide and frame the PE teacher, tips Hasumi over the edge at a school sleepover party (Don’t any of these kid’s parents ever watch horror movies?), “Best I kill the lot of them then”, he thinks as he loads a couple of shells into his shotgun – cue an absolutely massive body count.
At over two hours Lesson of the Evil takes a while to get going, and despite the big pre-credit reveal about Hasumi’s psychopathic tendencies you do find yourself wondering where many of the plot elements are going. However, once Hasumi snaps and the violence kicks in the film really hits its stride galloping through a frenzied half hour of complete bloody mayhem to the conclusion.
Technically its nicely shot, edited and lit and the extensive use of Kurt Weil’s Mack the Knife (both jazz and the much superior Weimar variations) to accompany Hasumi’s wicked deeds is a masterstroke. Although perhaps not quite as disturbing as a PE teacher who is also a drummer.
Initially confusing and perhaps a touch overlong, I give Lesson of the Evil a 444/666.
Lesson of the Evil is released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on 29 September.
Screenings at the CUT! include one free drink plus entry into a free draw to win all kinds of strange promotional stuff. Entry is free, but strictly limited. To get on the guest list e-mail email@example.com.
Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here.