A suburban family – office worker, doting wife, techno-brat son, and budding pop-star daughter – move from their crowded flat into a new home. ‘The Crazy Family’ opens in innocent enough fashion, and seems as if it will develop into a cosy ‘moving house’ sitcom – but then Grandad arrives to stay, father smashes open the kitchen floor, white ants are discovered beneath the property, and everything goes spinning into delirious absurdity. The combined pressures of job and family stress drive the father over the brink; there follows attempted mass murder (dad laces the milk with ant-powder), leading to accusations of hereditary insanity and a frantic every-person-for-themself destructive melee (knives, bayonets, baseball bats and power drills being among the assorted weaponry brought into play!), before a final idyllic scene set amid the concrete pillars of the nearby motorway system – an ending also used in Ishii’s next production, the long-form Einsturzende Neubauten video ‘1/2 Mensch’.
Colourful, fast, and with some startling camerawork, ‘The Crazy Family’ is a breathtaking, punky satire on Japanese salaryman culture. This marvellous movie was given a brief British cinema release in early 1986, but has been barely seen since – frankly, a criminal state of affairs. I’m proud to say that a garish quad poster for the film adorns one wall of my home, but the sight of this particular dysfunctional mob on video or DVD appears to remain sadly elusive.