Imprint (Masters of Horror episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Imprint
Series = Masters of Horror

Caption = Cover of the DVD release of "Imprint"
Season = 1
Episode = 13
Airdate = Unaired
Production = 112
Writer = Daisuke Tengan (screenplay)
Shimako Iwai (original novel)
Director = Takashi Miike
Music = Kôji Endô
Photographer = Toyomichi Kurita
Guests = Billy Drago Youki Kudoh Michie Itô Toshie Negishi Mame Yamada
Prev = Haeckel's Tale
Next = The Damned Thing

"Imprint" is the twelfth episode of the first season of "Masters of Horror". Directed by Takashi Miike, the episode was scheduled to premiere on January 27, 2006 but was shelved by Showtime over concerns about its extremely graphic and disturbing content. It was later released to DVD on September 26, 2006.


Christopher (Drago), a Victorian era American journalist, is traveling through Japan looking for Komomo (Itô), a lost girlfriend whom he had promised to rescue from prostitution and bring to America. Landing on an island populated solely by whores and their masters, he is solicited by a syphilitic tout (Yamada). She claims no knowledge of Komomo, but Christopher decides to spend the night, requesting the company of a girl (Kudoh) lurking back in the shadows, who joins him in his room.

Disfigured and disturbed, the girl claims a closer connection with the dead than the living. She tells him that Komomo was there, but hanged herself after her love never came for her. Distraught, Christopher seeks solace in sake. Falling asleep, he requests a bedtime story. The girl recounts her past — her mother, a midwife, was forced to sell her on after her father died, and eventually she wound up on the island. Komomo was the most popular girl there, making others jealous. When the Madam's jade ring was stolen, Komomo was tortured to confess. After suffering hideously — underarms burned, needles driven under fingernails — she killed herself in shame and torment.

Christopher refuses to believe it, pleading for the full truth. The girl starts again, and in the second telling, her family is no longer happy nor loving — her father was an alcoholic, her mother an abortionist. She was taken in by a Buddhist priest, who presumably molested her and inspired an obsession with hell. Her father never died of lung disease — she beat him to death for raping her. She tells again of being sold into prostitution, but gives a new version of the dark fate of Christopher's beloved. Despite the kindness of Komomo, who befriended her, the disfigured girl stole the jade ring and planted Komomo's hairpin to frame her — and after Komomo was tortured, killed her. She explains to Christopher that she intended to save Komomo from hell: as Komomo would be doomed for having such an evil friend, only through betrayal could she sever the friendship and ensure Komomo a deservedly beautiful afterlife.

Christopher, losing control, is desperately convinced something has been left out. He begs for the whole awful truth. The woman then reveals her most horrifying secret: a tiny second head in the center of a hand hidden beneath her hair — her "Little Sis". Her mother and father had been brother and sister, "Little Sis", the fruit of their incest. It was "Little Sis" who commanded her to kill her father, and to steal the ring. As the hand begins to talk like Komomo in a high-pitched voice, Christopher is overcome and shoots the girl in the heart and head. Before dying, the body turns into that of Komomo.

The epilogue finds Christopher in a Japanese prison, kept company only by the ghosts of his past.


Japanese director Takashi Miike was among the filmmakers chosen to create an episode for "Masters of Horror". Considered to be a "deliberately and spectacularly transgressive director whose work is lionized by a substantial share of the young generation of Internet critics and horror film fans, while routinely rejected as repulsively sadistic by much of the mainstream media", Miike crafted "Imprint" based on a traditional Japanese story, "Bokkee Kyotee", by Shimako Iwai. He explained the reasons he chose the film: "It had a simplicity that I liked. Also, it had that kind of story I imagined the audience telling their friends after seeing the film. It's a story that could have been told before the horror genre existed -- it's more like a kaidan -- a traditional scary story."cite web |url= |title=Takashi Miike makes his mark |first=Mark |last=Schilling |work=Japan Times |date=2006-06-23 |accessdate=2008-08-10 ]

It included graphic depictions of violence and aborted fetuses, but Miike believed he was staying within the boundaries of acceptability: "I thought that I was right up to the limit of what American television would tolerate. As I was making the film I kept checking to make sure that I wasn't going over the line, but I evidently misestimated."

After previewing the episode, Mick Garris, the series creator and executive producer, requested that it be edited to tone down the content, but, despite some changes being made, Showtime felt it was too disturbing to air on television. The episode, scheduled to air January 27, 2006, was canceled and became the only one of the series to remain unaired in the United States.cite web |url= |title=Horror Film Made for Showtime Will Not Be Shown |first=Dave |last=Kehr |work=New York Times |date=2006-01-19 |accessdate=2008-08-07 ]

Media information

The DVD was released on September 26, 2006. It was the thirteenth episode of the first season and the tenth to be released on DVD. The episode appears on the fourth volume of the Blu-ray compilation of the series.

The American and some international editions of the DVD feature a controversial audio commentary by Chris D. and Wyatt Doyle of the web salon New Texture.Fact|date=August 2008


External links

* [ Official "Imprint" website] ja
*imdb title|id=0757061|title=Imprint

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