The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Horrors of Malformed Men

Summer of '69: Horrors of Malformed Men

Cult director Teruo Ishii (Blind Woman’s Curse, Orgies of Edo) presents a nightmarish tale drawn from the fevered imagination of Japan’s celebrated pioneer of ero-guro (“erotic grotesque”) literature, Edogawa Rampo.

A dark labyrinth of the monstrous and perverse that fuses mystery and horror while incorporating motifs from a myriad of Rampo’s tales, Horrors of Malformed Men boasts astonishing carnivalesque art design and haunting performances. Withdrawn from cinemas by its own studio after its original scandalous release nearly fifty years ago, the film is among the very best screen interpretations of the author’s macabre brand of horror-fantasy fiction, and a unique oddity of Japanese cult cinema.

Medical student Hirosuke slips out of the asylum in which he has been wrongfully confined, and assumes the identity of a deceased nobleman with whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. But as long-repressed memories bubble to his surface, he’s drawn to a remote isle where he’s confronted by a mad scientist and his malformed men.

To celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary, Frida After Dark presents Arrow Film’s recent 2K restoration of the cult classic, courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive.


“Most of the scenes still disturb not because of gore or jump scares but because of the legitimate and genuine feeling of perversity. At the same time, the choreography used by some of the malformed characters and by Jogoro in particular, who moves like a crab, is eye-catching and at times almost beautiful.” —Ian Jane, Rock! Shop! Pop!

“It has images that are strange, compelling, unique, and when they hit they hit hard.” — Arty Flores, HorrorNews.net

“Wild, perverse, and mesmerizing . . .” — Jason McElreath, DVD Drive-In