Move over Shampoo, You Don’t Mess With Zohan, and all those beauty salon girl gabfests on screen out there. The literally hairy horror creep-out, Hair Extensions (Exte) does extreme makeover on both the genre and all known shapes and styles of that female crowning glory. Or more to the point, crowning gory.
Japanese cult director Sion Sono (Suicide Club) uses bizarre more than bloody notions to energize his scare tactics, in a truly perverse convergence between organ theft and hair follicle revenge. A young woman’s corpse, whose body had been violently harvested by criminals for its organs, is discovered in an airport freight container engulfed in massive amounts of her hair. When she’s taken to the city morgue, Yamazaki (Ren Osugi), a loon attendant there with some sort of combo necrophilia and pathological hair fetish, kidnaps the corpse and takes her home for a kind of crazed companionship. There she continues to grow piles of tresses from every existing body aperture – and all without benefit of over the counter hair loss medication – including a literally and figuratively distasteful bushy tongue syndrome.
Eventually turning up in the, well, crosshairs of this villainous cadaver thief is Yuko (Chiaki Kuriyama), an aspiring hairdresser apprentice caring for her niece, Mami (Miku Sato), who had been a victim of physical abuse and neglect by her uncaring mother. When Yamazaki catches sight of these two females with extraordinary tresses, while prowling around town in a clownish tourist disguise and mop top wig, he kidnaps them in a bondage scheme involving extension hair restraints as deadly weapons. And courtesy of his avenging accomplice corpse back home.
A ‘cut’ above conventional horror fare in terms of innovative weirdness and despite its often plain silly digressions, Hair Extensions builds its wacky premise on the fact that hair does indeed continue to grow on corpses after death. The bald ones among us can breathe a sigh of relief.
Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters Releasing
2 1/2 stars