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Japanese exploitation

Related: anime - ero-guro-nansensu - Japan - Japanese erotica - Japanese erotic films - Japanese horror

Connoisseurs: Stephen Barber - Roland Domenig - Andrew Grossman - Jack Hunter - Tom Mes - Mark Schilling

Directors: Yasuzo Masumura - Teruo Ishii - Masaru Konuma - Koji Wakamatsu - Hisayasu Sato - Ryu Murakami

Titles (non fiction): Eros in Hell (1988)

Titles: Blind Beast (1969) - In the Realm of the Senses (1976) - Tetsuo (1988) - Tokyo Decadence (1992)

Japanese exploitation films

Back in the 1970's Japanese exploitation films tended to be fairly arty affairs. Their American equivalents, the blaxploitation films, the women in prison films, and the rape-revenge films, usually made some stab at having a moral. Bad behavior was punished, virtue rewarded. Japanese exploitation was usually a tad more cynical. But both strategies, artistic virtue and moralizing, were probably employed to deflect criticism that exploitation films were complete trash. These films might have lots of blood and boobs, but they had a point too. --http://www.stomptokyo.com/movies/s/scorpions-revenge.html [Oct 2005]

Entrails of the Virgin (1986) - Kazuo 'Gaira' Komizu

Shojo no harawata/Entrails of the Virgin (1986) - Kazuo 'Gaira' Komizu [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0222817/ 4.5/10 [Apr 2005]

Despite the best efforts of author Jack Hunter to intellectualise this one with phrases like "a bleak, muted document of sexual hysteria with hallucinatory montages" (in Eros In Hell, 1998 - published by Creation Books), what we have here is a piece of unadulterated über-exploitation.

The crew and models of an erotic photo shoot hide out in a deserted house at night after dense fog makes the country roads inaccessible. There, they embark on power games and lengthy sex sessions (voluntary and otherwise), while unbeknownst to them a monster risen from a nearby swamp is creeping up on them.

Since sex and death are always an effective combination, this monster is not only out to kill every single member of the party by any means available (including but not limited to shards of glass, meat hooks and jackhammers), but also to rape the females with the rather gigantic organ dangling between its legs. Cue a million sexual positions, gouged-out eyes, girls covered in monster cum, decapitation, masturbation with a severed arm, a fistfuck ending in disembowelment and more of the like.

Director Komizu, working under his usual pseudonym Gaira, is one of the modern-day masters of the ero-gro genre and if one summarises the film's contents, he certainly seems to deliver here. If the term 'erotic-grotesque' is to be interpreted literally, then Guts of a Virgin goes far beyond. This splatter/porn flick is too far gone to be either erotic or grotesque. 'Graphic-absurd' would be a more appropriate label. Because for all its sexual and violent explicitness, it is above all absurd, due in no small amount to a ridiculously laughable monster, which in actuality is little more than a naked man covered in grime and mud, with a huge fake penis tied in front.

As a result, Guts of a Virgin sounds more offensive than it is. Yes, it will be met with more than a raised eyebrow by the uninitiated, but hammy acting, clumsy direction and special effects, and none too subtle Eirin censorship (the hardcore close-ups are all there, only resolutely fogged), drastically diminish its impact. Guts of a Virgin almost works as absurd comedy, but those looking for the ultimate porn/horror kick will be better served by a double bill of Deep Throat and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. -- Tom Mes via http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/gutsvirg.shtml [Apr 2005]

see also: Tom Mes

Further reading

  1. Eros in Hell: Sex, Blood & Madness in Japanese Cinema (Creation Cinema Collection Vol. 9) - Jack Hunter [1 book, Amazon US]
    An illustrated guide to Japanese exploitation cinema. Profusely illustrated with over 200 explicit and rare photographs, Eros in Hell comprises a unique guide to the most prolific, fascinating and controversial underground/ alternative cinema in the world. --Book Description

    This is a highly distressing book. For as much information as the reader discovers, the sense of lacking mounts, creating more questions than this book has means, or intent, to answer. It is best to think of Eros in Hell as a primer for the reader interested in getting a taste of extremism in Japanese cinema. The high points of the book include the chapter on Koji Wakamatsu and the "underground" films of Shinya Tsukamoto, Shojin Fukui, et. al. Meanwhile, the rest of the book founders under the weight of excessive footnotes¹, goofy interviews of Japanese filmmakers by Parisian photographer Romain Slocombe² and a pedantic chapter covering the minutia of Nagisa Oshima's AI NO CORRIDA (IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES).
    For readers with more than a passing interest in the Japanese New Wave Cinema, I recommend picking up David Desser's Eros plus Massacre (named after Yoshishige Yoshida's film). Hampered by its aggressively wide scope and passive acceptance of misogyny, Eros in Hell does a terrific job of stressing the need for a comprehensive look at the radical reaches of Japanese Cinema. (ISBN: 1871592933)
    ¹ All of the footnotes in Eros in Hell would work much better if integrated into the text.
    ² Slocombe is best known for his photographs of Asian girls in bandages and, apparently, he feels a need to bring up his fetish with everyone to whom he speaks. -- impossiblefunky for amazon.com [...]

  2. Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films - Thomas Weisser, Yuko Mihara Weisser, Yuko Mihara Weisser, Naomi Tani (Introduction) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This is absolutly one of the bibles for anyone into strange cinema. Whilst the book has its faults (hence not a full 5 star rating) it does provide a major survey of a little regarded (even in Japan) aspect of world cinema. It contains details of so many mouthwatering films, that one feels compelled to foregive the numerous mistakes in the film synopses. However the main difficulty with this book is that films are listed under the literal translation of their Japanese titles, so be prepared to examine your video cases to try and work out what title the film is listed under (a cross index of titles in English/ International release titles would be v. welcome). Having said that it is an utterly invaluable volume, which sets a benchmark for the rest of the Weissers' series. Recommended for anyone into World Cinema not just exploitation anoraks!

TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion (2001) - Patrick Macias

TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion (2001) - Patrick Macias, Happy Ujihashi (Illustrator), Takashi Miike (Afterword), Kinji Fukasaku (Introduction) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From the Inside Flap

"Back Jacket copy - blubs"

"In this book you will find as good an analysis of what we were trying to do as I have ever read. Patrick Macias has written very keenly and with much understanding about Japanese films, mine included." ‹Kinji Fukasaku, director of Battle Royale

"When it comes to Japanese cinema, there are quite a few books out there if you want to know a lot about Godzilla or Akira Kurosawa. But if you want to know about yakuza films, or great actors like Sonny Chiba and Bunta Sugawara, or Kinji Fukasaku, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, then there's really only one book to turn to‹TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. An invaluable treasure chest of information regarding films practically unknown to Western audiences, TokyoScope will open you up to a whole new world of cult cinema. Author Patrick Macias writes with an authority that is both informed and entertaining without ever coming across as stuffy or overly academic. Macias is obviously a film fan writing to other film fans, and the only short coming of his book is that over two hundred pages it just isn't long enough.TokyoScope is the best film book to come along this year." ‹David Walker, Bad Azz Mofo

"This authentic recovery of the previously scorned underside of Japanese exploitation cinema delivers the material the way we enthusiasts like it‹ obsessively researched, breathlessly detailed, and jam-packed with critical insights. The writing fairly ripples with specialized intelligence, subcult savvy, and just the right amount of irony‹irresistibly seducing us into the restless and garishly neon-lit Shinjuku streets. Macias¹ unapologetic embrace of this aggressively outsider cinema bursts with bold graphics and bolder adjectives. At last resituates the works against the true psychic tensions of the time‹a search for a national mythology of honor and identity against the angst of a too rapidly modernizing metropolis." --Craig Baldwin, director of Tribulation 99

Book Description

Patrick Macias' TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. TokyoScope is the first book of its kind: an elegantly designed, engagingly written introduction to the world of Japanese pop films covering Godzilla, karate, gangster, horror, Japan's infamous "pink" movies, and more.

Did you know that Samuel L. Jackson's Biblical speech in Pulp Fiction was borrowed from the brain-damaged Sonny Chiba karate flick The Bodyguard? Or that the design for the Smog Monster in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster was based on a bathroom sketch of female anatomy? TokyoScope is a densely packed and illustrated volume full of trivia, biographies, poster art, and reviews of some 100 of the top films to see. It provides an attractive and accessible introduction to the world's most notorious movies and is an indispensable reference that belongs in the library of any true cult film fan.

Battle Royale director Kinji Fukasaku, who penned the Foreword to TokyoScope, writes, "In this book you will find as good an analysis of what we were trying to do as I have ever read. Patrick Macias has written very keenly and with much understanding about Japanese films, mine included."

Sexy Killer (1976) - Chung Sun

Sexy Killer (1976) - Chung Sun

If you're a fan of blaxploitation movies, or just a regular reader of my reviews, you will probably have noticed that The Sexy Killer is a fairly faithful remake of Coffy. At one time it was fairly common for producers to just remake American films, since such imports had virtually no presence at the Hong Kong box office. Coffy, with all its grindhouse sleaze and violence, was a perfect candidate. --http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.thomas41/Sexy%20Killer.htm [May 2005]

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074435/ [May 2005]

The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films (2003) - Mark Schilling

The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films (2003) - Mark Schilling [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
Yakuza films, with their "endless variations on the theme of revenge," have influenced American directors from Francis Ford Coppola to Quentin Tarantino. These Japanese gangster genre pics are a "great guilty pleasure," says Japan Times film reviewer Schilling, and though they had their "Golden Age" in the 1960s and 1970s, they're now enjoying renewed popularity in the West. Schilling has compiled profiles of and interviews with directors and actors, along with 100 reviews of yakuza movies, to present what the publisher calls the first book in English devoted entirely to this genre. Schilling charts yakuza's development, explains the origin of Japanese gangs, the various styles and qualities of the films, and the ways in which fans-in Japan and elsewhere-have responded to these movies. Each film review lists the director and cast members and offers a plot summary and Schilling's own critique; 60 black-and-white photos complement the text. It's a comprehensive package, sure to be of value to fans of yakuza and other gangster movies. --Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

see also: crime

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