Originally released in 2001, The Happiness of the Katakuris is written by Kikumi Yamagishi (Over Your Dead Body) and directed by prolific cult director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) and now has it’s world debut in Blu-ray format, courtesy of Arrow Films.
It has been described as The Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead and it is rather difficult to improve on that summary.
The Happiness of the Katakuris tells the story of one summer in the life of the Katakuri family, narrated by Yurie (Tamaki Miyazaki), the granddaughter of our hero. Masao Katakuri (Kenji Sawada – Hiruko the Goblin) was happy in his work as a shoe salesman, but when he was made redundant, he decided to follow his dream and open a guest house in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Along with his family, wife Terue (Keiko Matsuzaka – Fall Guy), daughter Shizue (Naomi Nishida – Godzilla 2000), son Masayuki (Shinji Takeda – Gohatto, Tokyo Eyes) and father Junpei (Tetsurô Tanba – You Only Live twice), he renovates a run down old building and turns it into an idyllic guest house called the White Lover’s Inn.
Although they have made it anything a guest could possibly want, they still find themselves without any customers. When they do begin to arrive though, things take a very strange turn, as they begin to drop dead from all manner of weird and wonderful causes, leaving our family with only one option, to dispose of the bodies.
It all sounds perfectly reasonable when you say it like that, but throw into the mix a con man called Richard (Kiyoshirô Imawano – The Great Yokai War) who claims to be both a member of the British royal family and a pilot in the US air force and take into account that this is a musical and partially done in animation and you start to get an idea just how delightfully crazy it all is.
The music and staging are extremely cheesy, as they are supposed to be and the songs are very catchy, making you want to sing along even though they are in Japanese.
With a whole host of special features also included, some specially filmed for this release, this is definitely one to add to your collection, fantastic.
“The first time your Dad stayed with me, the next morning he got all my shoes out of the closet and polished them in his underwear. At that moment I decided I wanted to cook for him forever.”
The Happiness of the Katakuris is available to buy on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray from 22nd June 2015.