With more and more movie streaming services popping up, it can feel impossible to keep track of what’s showing where. So to help, this October I’ll be recommending a different film every day from one such service that embodies the spooky spirit of the season. From classic Halloween movies to indie horror to campy dark comedies, this is 31 Days of a Very Chingy Halloween.
It’s Manami’s 22nd birthday, and all she wants is a pleasant evening with her friends. But suddenly, everyone around her is murdered by two warring vampire clans, the Draculas and the Corvins, before they try to hunt her down. Meanwhile, a Corvin vampire named Yamada has gathered droves of young human men and women at the Hotel Requiem for a party, but when everyone arrives, he locks the doors and informs them that the world is ending and the only safe place is exactly where they are. Also, this luxurious hotel exists in an interdimensional pocket deep within the depths of a magical vampire queen’s pussy.
Soon, it becomes clear that Manami is a child of prophecy meant to help the Draculas overcome the Corvin enemies that have driven them underground. As for the hotel, Yamada plans to make all the humans fuck and procreate, creating an unlimited supply of blood for the Corvins in the coming apocalypse. It’s up to the humans to decide whether or not to fight back.
Understanding these plot points doesn’t really matter when it comes to appreciating this 10-episode miniseries. With too many characters and storylines to keep track of, any synopsis can really only cover the most surface level of Tokyo Vampire Hotel’s dense and incomprehensible story. Instead, the key appeal of the miniseries is not its narrative, but its decadent style and lavish presentation. Sion Sono’s trademark maximalist sincerity is on full display, with the gore and violence being at B-movie believability. It’s a masterwork of color-blocking, with each room of the pussy palace painted in cartoonish primary hues and decorated with baroque collages and furnishings. It’s all incredibly stimulating, and it perfectly intensifies the series’ chaoticly erotic bloodshed.
Sono, always an appreciator of where the erotic meets the grotesque, understands exactly how to make horror turn us on. Gorings and beheadings are committed by gorgeous goth villains decked out in bubblegum pink zoot suits and décolletage-accentuating cocktail dresses. And from its magical vaginal setting to the vampire’s forcing humans to bang each other at gunpoint, the sexuality stays aggressive, with one scene featuring K (one of the “good” vampires fighting the Corvins) trapped in the walls of the vampiric vulva with hundreds of other women all writhing and moaning while drenched in blood. As Manami metamorphosizes into some kind of demonic ultra-vamp, she’s horrified at her inability to control her lust and bloodlust alike.
Overall, the series is best enjoyed by letting go of concern of plot threads and focusing more on the sumptuous sadistic visuals and the bacchanalian bloodbath of action. Because in the Tokyo Vampire Hotel, everything is sexy and everything hurts.