Pet Shop Of Horrors on DVD
Buy it on DVD (USA & Canada)
Buy it on DVD (UK & Europe)
The four adventures in this collection originally aired as very brief installments in a serial on a Japanese channel similar to MTV. Although there’s a fair amount of gore, these tales are not so much horrifying as creepy, with unhappy characters seeking emotional solace from the bizarre creatures found in a mysterious Chinatown store. Presiding over the shop is the transvestite Count D; his cool, unruffled manner frustrates detective Joel, who keeps finding victims of unusual crimes among the shop’s recent customers. A grief-stricken couple purchases a rabbit that looks like their late child, with terrible results in “Daughter.” Like the hilariously inept American feature Night of the Lepus, “Daughter” attempts to turn rabbits into deadly monsters–and fails. “Delicious,” in which the spirit of a wronged bride returns in the guise of a mermaid, recalls the folk tales that have inspired Japanese artists and writers for centuries. The Hollywood rags-to-riches-to-rags saga “Despair” and the less-effective political thriller “Dual” combine elements from Eastern and Western myths.
Chinatown’s most unique pet shop offers everything from dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles to the most rare and unusual mythological beasts. Choose anything you would like, but remember, there is a price to be paid and rules to be followed. If the rules are broken in any way, the pet shop cannot be held responsible for what happens….. The Pet shop is run by the enigmatic Count who sells each customer the pet that will not only grant their wishes, but teach them a terrible lesson as well.
Pet Shop of Horrors was originally presented on Japanese television in small 1-2 scene segments on a music video channel. The DVD releases do a wonderful job of blending them together. All four self contained episodes are on the DVD release, along with deleted material (a music video style opening that was thankfully not used) the usual assortment of trailers, and extremely informative audio commentary by the English language director and several of the voice actors. These offbeat tales may not be for everyone, but I found them to be very entertaining. It owes a lot to “Friday the 13th: The Series” and even “Gremlins”, but it does manage to create a palpable sense of mystery, and I found myself wondering just how the pets would reveal their true colors and what horrible thing would happen to the owners.
A handful of anime’s best and brightest worked on the project including Rintaro (Final Fantasy), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Wicked City, Ninja Scroll) and Hishashi Abe (Vampire Hunter D). While this series does not break a lot of new ground, if you can appreciate the supernatural with a great sense of intrigue and characterization, then this is a series for you.