"Body Bags", a rather weak early 90's horror anthology promoted by John Carpenter, featured one segment with Stacy Keach replacing his balding head with a murderous hairdo. The little story was unbelievably stupid because human hair simply isn't the least bit scary. Sion Sono ("Suicide Club") also clearly realizes the concept of killing hair is goofy, but somehow his natural sense of creativity and knowledgeable approach of the genre resulted in a very entertaining horror/parody film. During his introduction of the movie at the Belgium Horror Festival Sion Sono vividly explained how he found his inspiration in observing young Japanese schoolgirls and their fascination for random and silly fashion trends. According to Sion Sono, the idea of braiding someone's real hair into your own without knowing exactly what happened to this person could lead to a terrifically tense horror formula. The person could be cursed, brutally murdered or be a psychopathic serial killer for all you know! Would you want to wear his/her hair in yours? Interesting idea, indeed, but it definitely raises a few plotting issues. How do you use ordinary human hair as an instrument of murder, for example, and how do you continuously maintain the link with the hair's original "carrier". Well, for all these questions and many more Sono came up with answers that balance perfectly between supernatural horror and plainly absurd comedy.
Custom agents discover the body of a dead girl whose eyes and organs were surgically removed, presumably by the organ mafia. Out of pure and furious anger, her restless spirit still causes the body hair to grow fast and in enormous proportions. The totally demented coroner sees a profitable business and starts selling the girl's hair to salons. Needless to say the extensions promptly take control over the victims, hair starts growing from all bodily openings and the fashionable girls die a very painful death. Most of the horrors take place inside the Gilles de Rais salon, where the ambitious Yuko struggles with work pressure as well as private problems. "Hair Extensions" is a wonderfully odd but original mixture of horror styles and strangely enough the contradictory themes never really collide with each other. The movie is successively scary, comical, gory, downright absurd and scary again and, as a viewer, you simply go with the flow. Still, the absolute greatest aspects in "Hair Extensions" even greater than the unique sense of humor - are the literally stunning and fabulous make-up effects and imaginative visuals. The multiple images of eerie black hair growing out of eye sockets and infected cutting wounds are quite icky and the absolute highlight of the movie shows a girl's hair pinning itself like a spider's web onto the ceiling. Sion Sono clearly dedicated a lot of time and effort to his character drawings. Yuko, her obnoxious sister Kiyomi and her little niece Mami are properly elaborated characters and Gunji the deranged coroner is the most fascinatingly eccentric freak I've ever seen in an Asian horror movie. The lovely lead actress Chiaki Kuriyama continues her unstoppable series of success roles, as avid genre fanatics will definitely recognize her from highlights like "Battle Royale" and "Kill Bill".
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