A popular nude model, Aki, is kidnapped by a blind sculptor and his mother, and kept in a room filled with his absurd art. His plan is to create the world's first sculpture piece for the blind - a sculpture for the art of touching.
A couple of years after the marvellous "Red Angel", director Yasuzô Masumura tackled a very strange story originally written by Japanese author Edogawa Rampo (the author a lot of us know of due to his name being the Japanization of Edgar Allen Poe). I come back to "Red Angel" because that's basically where my reference point is at currently. There's a fascinating contrast between the two films, especially considering they are just 3 years apart. One is a really strong period piece, and the other is a weird art/drama/horror mix. But one thing they share is some personality traits, and perhaps that's something present in some of his other films as well? Or maybe it's coincidental.
"Blind Beast" sets off as a kidnapper thriller where a young model is kept in a warehouse by a crazy blind sculptor. His entire warehouse is filled with sculptures depicting certain body parts (one wall is for eyes, one is for noses, one is for breasts, and so on) of the female body. The reason for this is because his blindness has made him obsessed over how things feel, and he used to do occasional work as a masseuse simply to be able to touch them. Then he got the idea to go home and recreate all of these women, and put them in this warehouse. In the middle of the room are two huge body sculptures. Our model, Aki, is of course treated as your typical prisoner - kept in one room and fed to make sure she is alive. But the artist's plan is to convince her to model for him. As he has heard rumors of her fantastic body, he wants to recreate it, and create the first piece of art aimed to touch - a piece of art especially for the blind. Aki is in no way interested, but she soon realizes that if she wants to get out of there at some point, she has to trick him into trusting her. This goes on for most of the movie, and it's not until the end that "Blind Beast" turns into the twisted arthouse horror that it really is.
Although I won't go into detail on the last part of the movie, it's a complete turn-around. You'd almost think it was a different movie, since so little is left of the kidnapping thriller that we started out with. And this is very interesting, and the reason you hear about the film still to this day. I think it deserves credit for the first parts as well, though. They're actually really intense and provoking still, and I would've given this a glowing review even if it never twist it up completely towards the end.
What can I say that is negative about it? I think there's only one thing I reacted towards in the entire film, and that is that it comes off as silly in a few scenes. Especially those early on when he's chasing Aki in the warehouse among all the sculptures. Can't put my finger on what it is, but it might be the performance that just seems a bit off.
I'd love to go on and on, but frankly, I think you should leave this awful website and go purchase "Blind Beast", and come back to thank me later. Its suspenseful, artistic and erotic touches makes it a thriller/horror way beyond most you'll find from any era. It's a film to experience, and one that keeps you guessing. Quite frankly it's brilliant in its oddness, simply because it's not just sadistic, but it manages to make the sadism a form of art and love.