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The Red Snake (1974?): Hideshi Hino’s Early Days

Hideshi Hino, Hino Horror, vol. 1: The Red Snake (DH Publishing, 2004)

photo credit: Amazon

I’ve read some of the Hino Horror series before, but I’ve never attempted a systematic approach; this is the first time I’ve read the first volume in the series, and of those I’ve read, it’s the one that seems most like Hino’s earlier, more graphic/misanthropic work. The narrator of the tale is a young boy who lives in a house with his crazy family, including a grandmother who believes herself to be a chicken, a father who raises chickens (so mother can use the eggs as a treatment for a huge growth on grandfather’s face) and bugs to feed them (for which his sister has a sexual fetish). They live in a small portion of the house, the rest closed off by a huge mirror that, grandfather says, holds back demons. And one night, our humble narrator has a dream that he goes beyond the mirror…

If you’re not used to Hino, who made his mark with such brutal manga as Panorama of Hell and as a director of extreme gore films (he was the director on the first two movies in the infamous Guinea Pig series), then you may find this pretty shocking. (One way or the other, there’s something in here to gross you out.) Veterans of Hino’s earlier work who know what they’re in for won’t have the same reaction, but he’s still at least reaching for, if not pushing, the envelope at this point. *** ½

 

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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