Eko Eko Azarak

Eko Eko Azarak is a Wiccan chant and the title of a manga from the 70s about the occult. This franchise enjoyed enough popularity to give birth to several movies and TV series in the last couple of decades.

The first movie is pretty fun. Like any good Japanese story, it’s set in high school, lending itself well to the horror genre where youths are gorily whittled down by an unseen enemy. There is some kind of demonic ritual occurring at the school, and it’s up to Misa to stop it. This movie is unique among the series for its (producer-stipulated) lesbian scenes, which are pretty tame (beside the scenes of people losing their heads) and not too distracting. The ending was unfortunately too deus ex machina.

The second movie follows more of an action mold, and with a resurrected witch chasing Misa (our heroine), moves along at a fast-pace. Unfortunately she’s very spaz, doesn’t cotton on to what’s happening for ages and gets the good guys into lots of trouble. To be honest I quite enjoyed the quiet scenes of high school socialisation, and having it broken up by horror-action was disruptive.

The third movie changed sub-genres again, reminding me heavily of stories like Siren, Project Zero (also known as Rei or Fatal Frame), and Silent Hill – all games. Misa has acquired an ally or handler in a coroner, and she seems to be actively investigating occult occurrences again (like in the first movie). She’s far more capable than in the second movie. The storyline moves slowly, but attempts more character depth and a little bit of temporal trickery. There are numerous references to Lovecraftian entitites and the Whately family from “The Dunwich Horror”; however against such potential the main antagonist is disappointing and the final confrontation an anticlimax. The atmosphere is creepy and I liked the simple monster design.

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