30th Anniversary—New 2K Restoration! Following the success of his trailblazing independent cyberpunk debut, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Shinya Tsukamoto directed this wonderfully bizarre adaptation of Daijiro Morohoshi’s Yokai Hunter manga as his first studio project. Called to an idyllic countryside town, disgraced archaeologist Professor Hieda (pop idol Kenji Sawada) teams up with high schooler Masao (Masaki Kudou) when a series of disappearances—including those of Masao’s father (Naoto Takenaka) and classmate crush Reiko (Megumi Ueno)—take place. Together, the unlikely duo discover that the local high school sits atop an ancient burial mound that may very well be a subterranean gateway to hell. Offering a raucous mashup of genres—ranging from campy adventure to Lovecraftian body horror—Hiruko the Goblin delivers pulse-pounding thrills with over-the-top visuals including stop-motion animation and practical effects that recall the early works of Sam Raimi and John Carpenter.
“Hiruko-chan is my cute first daughter. It’s also a very precious film for me for that reason. If Tetsuo is my first-born son, then Hiruko is my first daughter. She is more polite and was born with the wish to be loved by others. Actually she isn’t loved that much by other people, but I love her a lot. The film is also a cherished memory of one summer. The feelings I had while living that summer are entwined with it, they are part of the film. Hiruko also contains the spirit of boys’ adventure stories and for all of these reasons it’s a precious film for me. It was the first time I shot a film for a big company and every day I felt excited and enthusiastic about almost anything that happened.”—Shinya Tsukamoto