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The Hypnotist

Japan 1999
produced by
Toho, TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System)
directed by Masayuki Ochiai
starring Goro Inagaki, Miho Kanno, Ken Utsui, Takeshi Masu, Yuki Watanabe, Shigemitsu Ogi, Kenta Satoi, Noborou Shirai, Tadao Nakamura, Katsumi Takahashi
screenplay by Yasushi Fukuda, Masayuki Ochiai, based on the novel by Keisuke Matsuoka

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A series of very strange suicides happen, like a runner literally running until she is dead, a man strangling hmself during his wedding celebration, & a man jumping out of a closed window while he & his wife are celebrating her birthday, & all these suicides have jsut one thing in common, that before their deaths the victims saw a horrible green monkey ... which sounds too much to be a coincidence & soon homicide - & inspector Sakurai (Ken Utsui) - is brought in to investigate. & Sakurai soon notices the case is too big for him alone, & brings in an expert, psychotherapist Saga (Goro Inagaki), who is a specialist in multiple personality disorder & hypnotism. Soon, too, they find a trail leading to a slick tv-hypnotist, Jissoji (Takeshi Masu), who seems to have poor Yuka (Miho Kanno) totally under his control, & she gives away stuff about a green monkey, even on tv.

But however guilty Jissoji seems to be, Sakurai & Saga have nothing to pin onto him, so have to leave him alone & instead concentrate their efforts on Yuka.

& while Saga follows her around, soon notices she suffers from multiple personality disorder & (rather unprofessionally) starts an affair with her other self, horny Rieko, Sakurai learns about her background: that she has worked in a bank not long ago but one day left worked for a stay in a hospital  to be treated for anorexia. There she met a social worker nicknamed Rat, who hypnotized her repeatedly, just for a laugh it seemed ... or did he have more sinister motives, to hack into the bank's computer with her help ? & was Rat Jissoji?

... well, nope on both accounts, while Jissoji soon ends up in another bizarre suicide himself (he electrocuted himself at a neon billboard in sight of Sakurai's office), Rat, once he is found, turns out to be a whimpering idiot, half out of his mind.

So the police bring in Yuka for questining, even though Saga strongly opposes especially their fiercer methods of questioning. But then Yuka totally loses it, & via some strange form of mass hypnotism causes them all to faint & stay unconscious for 9 minutes ... enough for her to make her getaway ... & the only clue the cops have left is a concert ticket for Antonin Dvorak's symphony From the New World, that was sent to Sakurai only days before.

& while Sakurai's  already in the concert, Saga finally figures out what post-hypnotic signal triggers all the suicides all of a sudden: distinct metallic noises. & since both he & Sakurai were hypnotized by Yuka, & Dvorak's symphony does include quite a portion of cymbals & triangles, he races to the concert hall to save him from his own suicide ... but comes too late, as Sakurai calmly shoots himself in front of the shocked concert audience.

Now Saga is the only one to fight Yuka's hypnotic powers, but it's a losing battle, since for him she has made up a different triggering signal ... but won't tell him what it is ... but she makes sure that the 2 of them soon meet again, & Saga, foolishly enough, tries to find the real, benign Yuka in Yuka (without knowing if she ever existed), & in the course of this he confesses his love to her ... big mistake, since the triggering signal was "I love you" ... & form now on, he tries to kill himself on any given opportunity ...


A very well-made horror-thriller that twists & turns like nobody's business but manages to stay completely logical & comprehensive throughout nevertheless, & whot's more important, keeps up the suspense as well. Only in the end, when it turns towards the paranormal/spirit world it does get a little far-fetched, but then again, it is not really all that clear if that doesn't happen only in Saga's head.

In all, it's just a great genre movie.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD