DVD Review: The Last Supper
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Distributor: MTI Home Video
· Osamu Fukutani
· Masaya Kato
· Ayaka Maeda
· Hitomi Takumi
· Katsuya Kobayashi
· Zuki Lee
· Hibiki Takumi
· IMDb: Saigo No Bansan
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 22, 2007
There are a lot of scary, creepy, gory, push-the-envelope horror films coming out of Japan these days.
Osamu Fukutani's "The Last Supper" ("Saigo No Bansan") is not one of them.
The film opens with noted plastic surgeon, Dr. Yuji Kotorida (Masaya Kato) giving a sensual massage to a female acquaintance. She's enjoying it, he's enjoying it. Then he tells her that he wants to eat her. Assuming the more sexual meaning of his words, the girl assents to his request. Even when Dr. Kotorida comes back with the huge machete, she's still placidly calm, watching him. It's not until he pulls it back to strike that she finally figures out that -- just maybe -- she's in trouble. And when the strike hits, the target is so obviously a mannequin that the audience simply cannot take the scene seriously. (Yes, we know they substitute mannequins in slasher films -- but most producers at least try to make you think they didn't.)
From there, we cut to a television crew, taping the good doctor in his kitchen, cooking at the stove. The female reporter is intrigued by the aroma, and samples a cut. When asking what kind of meat it is, Dr. Kotorida deadpans, "It is the meat of a woman." Everyone assumes he's just made a joke, however, and the reporter wraps up her spotlight on this Plastic Surgeon to the Stars with the tack-on that he's not only a doctor, but a great cook and eligible bachelor.
As the butchering doctor continues seducing his prey, writing up his accomplishments under an assumed name on the Internet in a forum for other exotic meat eaters, we get a glimpse back into the days when the fine young cannibal was a less-than-suave introverted intern already on his second chance at becoming a surgeon. Just to drive his sad past home, he intones in narration that his parents never loved him -- he was born with bad legs.
Acting on impulse after a liposuction, he takes home the extracted fat, fries it up, and eats the drizzlings. Yumm-o, it was good! He changed his diet immediately to salads with the grease as dressing, and began an exercise regiment of yoga to help him stave off the hunger.
But when he comes across a fresh suicide -- a hanging -- he takes the young woman's body home, butchers it up, and has a ninety-day supply of meat in his freezer. The disassembly scenes were, at least, a bit more realistically done than was the beheading we saw at the film's start.
However, when the supply runs low, the doctor suddenly has to figure out how to shop for more groceries. On a trip to a medical conference in Hong Kong, he follows up on a rumor about a market where human flesh is served. Naturally, he finds it, and we see that there is no shortage of depraved people in the world -- nor of willing victims who will sacrifice themselves for the money. The girl (Zuki Lee) Kotorida hooks up with has agreed to be beheaded and eaten in exchange for $30,000 to be sent to her family.
Recruiting. When an obsessed nurse kills her
rival for the doctor's attentions in a
so-bad-it's-funny stabbing, Kotorida lovingly
instructs her on how to cut up the body.
The cannibal experience is a turning point in Kotorida's life, and he becomes less of a nerd and more of a god. Even one of the nurses comment admirably to him: "You are a god to me."
Enter the detective. Detective Shimoda (Katsuya Kobayashi) is just what you would expect of a Japanese reimagining of Columbo -- rumpled appearance, non-linear conversations, and all. He's investigating the disappearances of women in the area, and he suspects the doctor... but not for reasons you'd expect. It seems the detective is also a connoisseur of "long pig", but his consumption has always been the morgue, where the meat is rotten (resulting in the lovely skin condition and stuttering problem he has.) He'll let the doctor off the hook -- even cover for him -- if he'll be the detective's supplier.
As serial cannibals go, Dr. Kotorida is no Hannibal Lechter. The special effects of the film are unbelievable in either their appearance or their context (butchers don't generally end up spraying their still-living livestock with the blood of the current carcass.) The plot wanders, the characters seldom react with believability, and the ending can't decide whether it wants to be a cliffhangor or not.
Audio is in English (dubbed) or Japanese, with English subtitles.