Embalming (1999)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Tales of the Gimli Hospital meets Michelangelo Antonioni in this bizarre horror flick directed by auteur Shinji Aoyama. Though the act of embalming is quite rare in Japan -- the first Japanese-born embalmer set up shop in 1997 -- Miyako Murakami (Reiko Takashima) makes a living by preserving the dead. One day, she gets a job from Detective Hiraoka (Yukata Matsushige) -- a teenaged boy named Yoshiki Shigno (Masatoshi Matsuo) fell to his death but it's unclear whether it was suicide or murder. She begins to suspect foul play when she discovers a needle stuck in corpse's flesh. The case gets even weirder when someone breaks into the embalming room and makes off with teenager's head. When Miyako's elderly assistant (played by director Seijun Suzuki) tells her and the detective about a shadowy cabal of body part-dealing embalmers lead by Dr. Fuji (Toshio Shiba), they set out to find him. After a police bust finds a stack of corpses but no head, Miyako tracks down Dr. Fuji, a rail-thin man with a freakish stare, who tells her horrific tales about being a military doctor during the Vietnam War. He also tells her that Yoshiki's stark-raving mad girlfriend is the probable culprit of the crime.

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Keywords

body-parts, detective, embalming