Impulse Pictures in the last half year have released several titles of the Nikkatsu collection. For those who may not be familiar with Nikkatsu let me help you out a little. Nikkatsu is reguarded as Japanâ€™s oldest film studio. In late 1993, they shut their doors but they gained a legacy and word of mouth out of the directors they helped get their breaks. They seemed like a launching pad like maybe certain movie studios that gave breaks to people who went on to bigger and better things. Nikkatsu knows T&A was a popular formula and could get people to see their films. They created soft core porn which tried to pass as maybe meaningful and romantic at times but felt like they were catering to the perverts more than the serious movie fans. Today, Impulse Pictures have taken this legacy to their library and decided to put these on dvd for people to enjoy a taste of what made this label and company such a cult hit with fans from yesteryear. That being said, these films go from an hour to 90 minutes. So, I got my notepad out and decided to go thru all 6 of them. So, this is my 8 hour plus journey into the cult of Nikkatsu. Here are my first three.
Eros School: Feels So Good-So far my experiences before today with Nikkatsu has been women in prison, or women who are not satisfied sexually and have to do odd things to cure their sex addictions like a normal woman becoming a prostitute. Now, comes another animal all together, rape. I will state on record, while a lot of films that I seem to love seem to have some kind of rape scene, or shocking stuff that happens to women, I personally can separate the fake aspect of a film and give it credit when it manipulates me to feel, this film is another story. While playing off the premise of a new kid in school, Ryu stands out because of how he dresses and this pig he carries around all the time. But, when he goes to a school that the woman beat up the guys who cross a line, you just know what is going to come out of it. He sets his sights on a girl named Misa, who is a girl who excels in sports and a class president. On the way to her, he goes thru all her friends.
I think the filmmakers had no idea as to what could offend an audience, so they threw the kitchen sink at us. Like students who are applauding Ryu, and that teachers think the girls need a good nipple sucking to change their minds and teach them a lesson. Pretty hardcore message, but the music in this film during some of the fight scenes and brutal scenes, was pretty ridiculous. It would be like if you watched Jaws and during the shark attacks they busted out some 1900 piano that sounds so incoherent that you would think you were listening to someone trying to learn to play the keys. I wish this film would have taken itself a little more serious to make more of an impact. All in all, there is a few scenes that I really liked and I laughed a lot by the silliness that I almost was going to recommend it more than I should. The message is fucked up, and the characters and acting is pretty bad even for Nikkatsu, but it has a cheese factor that made it watchable.
7 out of 10
Zoom in: Sex Apartments is about a serial rapist who is looking for women and taking care of them pretty nasty and very sleazy. Listen to this, they are not only treated brutally, but they are murdered and their woman parts are set ablaze. Sort of feeling like a retelling of Strip Nude for Your Killer, this film is quite possibly the best of the Nikkatsu releases I have seen so far. There is this giallo vibe all thru this film that I felt was executed fairly and if the plot was better as well as the characters, this film could have been a classic. I loved the sexual violence, and the levels or lows this films stoops to, it was like there was no low this film would not try to top. A little character development and depth in the script could have went a far way, this film needs the shock and violence to get the point across, because the scenes that do not have either shows how bad this film can get in terms of what it tries to offer in terms of acting skill. The fire on the vaginaâ€™s or what I was calling a vagina roast, is pretty cool and impressive. You get from a forest fire type of deal to a cool slow burn. I know that sounds ridiculous and on screen it is just as ridiculous, but I really thought it was fun and cool for what it was.
This film is truly the most ambitious of the Nikkatsu collection, and it comes across as more of a exploration into art house cinema in the 70â€™s then anything else, where film makers were daring and took any chance and did not give a fuck. This will never win any Oscars, but I liked it for just how daring it was and in the wake of bad acting and script, it made up for it with brutality and some creativity.
8 out of 10
A True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues is a sequel to Sex Hell, and continues in what fans love Nikkatsu for the most, the women in prison films. Back for seconds is Kozue Hitomi as Mayumi,this film has a little more of what Sex Hell offered and a little more than normal of the fighting and sexuality that fans will really be happy about. Where Sex Hell was more intent on telling a story and using the violence and sex as a backdrop, this film throws the story aspect out the window and delivers any excuse to get the women naked and fighting that you can think of. There seems to be this flimsy plot that involves some new blood that comes to the prison and the ones who are veterans want to make prison pie out of her, and Mayumi just being released from solitary confinement will not let that happen. Well then the Yakuza gets their two cents in this situation, and Mayumi turns the jail into a riot with a lot of sexuality.
Thank god we get to see these films in 2012 on dvd, could you picture movie theaters in the 70â€™s, it seemed that Corman and every other director had their women in prison or trouble films out daily. It had to feel like today and the found footage and paranormal craze. I think where some directors took the high road; people like Corman and Nikkatsu took the absolute lowest one possible. Anything for a buck, and women nude, fighting, and more sexuality are easy sells. If there is one woman around, good..but if you can get two or three and they are offering nudity, sex and anything else sleazy, it is like they hear the cash registers clicking. We get the usual stuff you expect in a female prison, dildos, trannies, and a shitload of naked fighting. All they needed was golden showers and fisting, and this would have been an instant classic. ( I am joking, I think) All in all, I am a fan of the prison films and you do not really watch this for a script or characters, you watch it for how seedy the film will get. And for soft core this is pretty nasty. I may be called a sexist pig but who cares, I am a fan of these kinds of films.
8 out of 10