Sunday, October 20, 2013

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (2007)

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Japan, 2007) - Color, Director(s): Kôji Shiraishi
MPAA Rating: NR
[Japan: PG-12]
Approx. 90 min.

Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

As it says on the poster, this movie is based on a Japanese urban legend about a slit-mouthed woman. According to the original urban legend, she was mutilated by her husband in a fit of jealous rage. Kuchisake-onna (The Slit-Mouthed Woman) is a spirit with long black hair who wanders around Japan on foggy nights wearing a surgical mask, asking anyone she encounters, "Am I pretty?" If you were to answer "No" she would stab you to death. If you answered "Yes" she would remove her mask, revealing that her mouth was slit from ear to ear and would ask, "How about now?" If you answered "No" to the second question, she would cut you in half. If you answered "Yes" to the second question, she would cut your face up like hers. If you tried to run away, she would reappear in front of you with superhuman speed. The only chance to surviving the encounter was to tell her "You're average" after her second question, which was supposed to confuse her long enough for you to escape. Another rumor was that you could say "Pomade" 3-6 times and she would leave you alone.

The legend started spreading during the late 1970s and caused such a major panic in different Japanese towns that some schools only allowed children to go home in groups while accompanied by teachers. Even the police took this seriously, increasing patrols in areas where the mysterious woman wearing a trench coat and surgical mask was supposedly spotted. In 1978, a serial killer reportedly left 13 dead and another 52 victims injured, most of which were children. This movie is a fantastic re-telling of that urban legend, giving her the power to possess different people so you couldn't kill her. In the movie, her weapon were a pair of shears (heavy duty scissors) where the urban legend would vary between scissors or a knife. Anyone who grew up in an Asian household, with a mom that sewed or cut fabric with these enormous scissors, can tell you exactly how dangerous these can be!

They were basically two razor sharp daggers attached together!

Nudity: None.

Gore: There's some blood but a lot of these Asian horror movies don't show guts being spilled. Although we do get to see the woman's mouth slit, which is pretty nasty.

Awesome: to the MAX! I didn't know the entire legend behind Kuchisake-onna but I've actually heard The Slit-Mouthed Woman mentioned a couple different times in various Japanese films and media. This is a really interesting movie now that I know some of the history behind this urban legend. Every culture in the world has its own urban legends/myths from Bloody Mary and Lycanthrope to Wendigos, Aswang, and La Llorona. This one was particularly interesting to me because it caused such a panic as recently as the 1970's. Makes you wonder about the sightings and alleged victims of this story. Perhaps, not so much just a myth after all?