F is for Fart: Noboru Iguchi Talks The ABCs of Death, on VOD now and in theaters this March
Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. The ABCs of Death is perhaps the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning fifteen countries and featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children's educational books, the motion picture is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death.
26 different sites spoke to the 26 The ABCs of Death filmmakers (check it out: CLICK HERE), and all the interviews are posting today. We were fortunate enough to get one of our favorite contemporary horror directors, Japan's very own Noboru Iguchi! If you've seen some of his mind-blowing gore-blast horror comedies, you know just how insane this guy can get. He's the maestro behind such neo-classics in the splatstick realm as Mutant Girls Squad, Karate Robo Zaborgar , and the soon to be released Dead Sushi. For The ABCs of Death, Noboru Iguchi took on the Letter F, giving us the stand-out short: F is for Fart.
Will you be able to handle it? Here is our conversation with Noboru Iguchi.
How was it decided which director would get which letter in setting out to put together this film, and how did you wind up with the letter F? Did you have to lobby for it, or did it just fall in your lap?
Noboru Iguchi: We each got to pick our top three choices for the letters, and suggested our own words for them. I didn't care so much which letter I got, but was happy when I wound up with F and Fart.
Having seen your other films, F for Fart seems like the perfect fit for your sensibilities in entertaining an audience. How do you feel this short compares to the rest of your body of work, and what inspires you in creating new art, especially in creating something an audience has never seen, let alone imagined, before?
Noboru Iguchi: Even though the theme this time was "death," I wanted to make a movie where no blood was spilled. I set out from the start to create a story about death that didn't involve the kind of splatter I'd shown in films up to now. Instead, I wanted to draw a lyrical portrait of young girls who are fated to die. Because I tried to include some humor and some fetishistic aspects, it turned pretty substantially into a comedy. And because I also wanted to include the themes of the earthquake in Japan, along with a radioactive gas leak, the "gas = fart " equation came together pretty naturally from within my own interests. Surprisingly, while making the film, I also found myself conscious of young people's feelings and the current state of affairs in society. At least in the way people think about death, that was the case. If you compare it to The Machine Girl, I found myself thinking at that time about the bullying problem in Japanese society. During Karate Robo Zaborgar, it was the problem of unemployed people. I think I always want to bring various problems in modern society to bear upon the plot of what, at first glance, seems to be a totally different subject within a genre movie.
Was a Fart always the predetermined death that you were to direct, or did you get to run through all of the F words, and decide what your death word would be from there? Was Fart your choice or someone else's?
Noboru Iguchi: I chose "Fart" myself.
Do Farts generally get a different response in Japan than they do here in America? Do you think there is a cultural difference in how they are used in jokes, or in social situations? Or is the Fart universally loved and frowned upon with equal measure all over the world?
Noboru Iguchi: In Japan, they've had a humorous effect since ancient times, and farts and other "dirty" things have been a fundamental component of jokes, I think. Farts are perceived as one of the origins of humor. There's also a story in folklore called "The Room" that has farts as its theme. For Japanese people, that's the number one basis for humor, I think. Japan has a lot of particular fetishes, and there's a huge amount of eroticism that doesn't involve anything sexual. For instance, scatology has a firm popularity among some people, and there's even a sub-genre in AV (Japanese pornography) that specializes in farts. And on television variety shows, there are scenes where idols are made to seem to fart on camera, and so on. Japanese people are very lenient about these sorts of things, I think.
There is currently a Fart renaissance going on in comedy and entertainment here in America. Did you look to this current trend in fart gags in constructing the death scene you wanted to have take place?
Noboru Iguchi: I'm always interested in the subject!
There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. That is a lot of content for one movie. What kind of time restrictions were placed on you in creating this short, and how did that hamper or help the story you wanted to tell with F is for Fart?
Noboru Iguchi: We were instructed to keep our short films to about three minutes. That was the only restriction, apart from some technical instructions.
Was there a lot cut out of the short, and if so, can you explain what it was and how it would have helped, or maybe even taken away from the story?
Noboru Iguchi: No! I delivered the movie I intended to make, for the most part.
Has F for Fart inspired any upcoming projects? Will we ever see a full-length Deadliest Fart movie?
Noboru Iguchi: A short film I did for the YOMYOMF YouTube channel in October called "Bad Butt" features some of the same actresses, and could be said to be a related film! You can watch it here: CLICK HERE
Aside from F is for Fart, do you have a personal favorite Letter of the Alphabet as seen in the movie?
Noboru Iguchi: I really loved "T is for Tomato" from the original online contest held to choose the 26th director. It had a unique feeling and a kind of ambiguous, eerie quality about it. I also liked Jason Eisener 's story about the old man ("Y is for Youngblood"). But I think a lot of the shorts were really good. I also liked the masturbation contest ("L is for Libido"), which has proven to be popular with a lot of people.
What has been the overall reaction from American audiences in terms of your body of work? Whenever I put on a film for one of the uninitiated, they are literally blown away by the sheer madness and energy on display. Are you generally greeted with applause? Or do you find some audience members are turned off by your gloriously violent and bloody works or art?
Noboru Iguchi: Generally, when I get invited to various film festivals all over the world, the reaction has been that people laugh a lot. They also seem to enjoy when I get on stage to present the film or do a Q&A, and I can really feel the audience's affinity for my films at those times. It never feels stuffy to me. Though occasionally some particular elements of some of my films may catch people's attention in the wrong way... But when Japanese encounter something they find distasteful or upsetting, they tend to cover it up or pretend it's not there. Overseas, it's more obvious what people like and what they don't. I'm not trying to say that people are disgusted or hate my films or something like that, but maybe they don't like a particular element that doesn't match their own personal tastes sometimes. Whenever I'm overseas at a film festival, I can really feel the difference in taste depending on what things the audiences laugh at. Nevertheless, there will always be a part of me that gives precedence to the feelings and viewpoints I have as a Japanese person.
When American producers get their hands on a talented international filmmaker, and bring them through the Hollywood system, they are usually given a remake to do first. Do you have a movie you'd like to remake, and would you even consider doing a full-length movie for Hollywood and U.S. audiences.
Noboru Iguchi: I'd really love to try to remake Phantasm, a movie I really love. Additionally, movies like The Shining or Carrie or Evil Speak would be things I'd like to try to remake. I usually make films with female protagonists, so when I think of remakes, I'd like to try something with a male leading character. Something like Phantom of the Paradise; since I really love Brian De Palma, that'd be a great one, too!
Instead of an autograph, if I ever meet you in person, is it possible to get a fart sealed in a Ziploc bag? or is that out of the question?
Noboru Iguchi: I'm a little embarrassed about that, but I'll give it my best shot!
The ABCs of Death is available NOW on VOD, iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Xbox Zune and Playstation.