Watcher In The Attic
(18) 76min (HB Films DVD retail)
Noboru Tanaka’s bizarre and perverse 1974 adaptation of one of Edgowa Rampo’s celebrated horror stories (the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe) has long been unavailable on any format in the west so this release is great news for fans of the Japanese Nikkatsu company’s early ‘roman-pornos’.
Set in 1920s Tokyo and following the doomed progression of a peeping tom boarding house landlord and a murderous aristocratic prostitute as they go a thrill kill spree, the film climaxes in a vision of the 1923 Kanto earthquake (which wiped out the city). The irony and inherent classical analogies of the natural disaster do not escape Tanaka (Rampo’s original story fuses their story with that of Eros and Thanatos).
Beautifully shot on widescreen Watcher in the Attic (also known as Stroller in the Attic) is a beautiful and unforgettable tale of voyeurism and the cruelties of history’s march. Definitely worth checking out. Minimal extras.