Daisuke Yamanouchi spent six years (1998-2003) making a dozen films that at their worst were truly vile, full of the worst kinds of sex and violence. This is one of them.
Mind you, these days he seems to have abandoned all that. He hasn't directed anything since 2003, while his only scriptwriting credit during that time is as a co-writer on All Night Long: Anyone Would Have Done (2009). I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. Surprisingly the title doesn't refer to pornographic content, but instead to the villains' motivations in a stomach-turning horror film. Nice to know he hasn't forgotten his traditions.
Update: I was wrong. He's been directing pink films and porn.
However despite this, Yamanouchi's ouevre isn't one-note. He made Red Room
and its sequel
, which attain a kind of brilliance and at the time were the sickest things I'd ever seen. He also made Muzan-E
, which apparently makes Red Room
look frivolous and which I've just discovered to my delight has an English title of Celluloid Nightmares. I'd wondered why my internet searches weren't coming up with anything. However he also made relatively light-hearted gore flicks, which you can imagine as Dogme 95 versions of The Machine Girl
. They have no budget. He makes Noboru Iguchi look like Cecil B. DeMille. If you and I bought a hand-held video camera and spent a few months making a movie with some uninhibited friends, this is what it would look like. The effects aren't special. The plot is modest. The soundtrack is untreated, so for instance no one's bothered to remove the hum of the air-conditioning.
However it's also quite fun, if you're not expecting another Muzan-E
. I liked it.
Kyoko is an assassin who may or may not be a robot. The answer might be in the Japanese text at the beginning, but I wasn't going to pause the film and start consulting my kanji dictionary to find out. I'll probably never know. If she is a Terminator, she's a cut-price model who's no stronger than humans and can receive bloody injuries. However if she's human, then we'll need to explain the blank-faced Schwarzenegger impersonation, the possibility that she can hunt by smell and the Freddy Krueger approach to DIY medicine. (She also never gets naked, suggesting the unlikely possibility that Yamanouchi might have cast an actress who isn't a porn star.) He has form with robots that are pretending to be women in his films, incidentally.
Yuki is a lesbian prostitute played by Yoko Satomi, who in real life definitely is a porn star. Her clients are men, but her customer service leaves a lot to be desired. (I laughed when she walks across the room to embrace her lover and en route treads on the stomach of her latest client, tied up on the floor.) Meanwhile her girlfriend, Kinako Sato, has actually appeared in quite a few films I've seen, from directors like Takashi Miike and Shion Sono, but her involvement is still the most pornographic of anyone's and she has not one but two lesbian sex scenes. Now you might be imagining that even a second-rate Terminator should have the upper hand in a fight with a schoolgirl prostitute, but in fact Yuki is one tough cookie and carries an extensible baton that could probably fracture skulls.
The ensuing film plays out exactly as you'd want it to, except with cheaper fight scenes and bizarre, off-putting sex. Despite his chosen genre, Yamanouchi is a surprisingly good writer. Even with this lowbrow material, he manages to get both Kyoko and Yuki sufficiently pissed off that by the end it's cool to see them approaching each other at a distance in the electric guitar version of a Wild West showdown. This film is quite well constructed if you can see past its guerilla production values and wilfully trashy subject matter.
Weirdest are the sex scenes. (Note: they're all softcore.)
1. Even the vanilla lesbian scene has a soundtrack that sounds more like frogs trying to free themselves from mud, because Yamanouchi appears to have put high-powered microphones about three inches away from his actress's tongues. There's also a double-headed ridged dildo on which is written (in Japanese) "for use of Yuki".
2. The middle one involves a fat lesbian in a body-stocking with a strap-on, wearing make-up so extreme that I thought she was a transvestite. She also loves Kentucky Fried Chicken.
3. What would you do if you found your lover's murdered corpse? Clue: it's still warm.
I wouldn't go so far as to call this a comedy, but it's a million miles away from Yamanouchi's more harrowing films and every so often it does manage to be funny. They're not elevated gags, but at least you're unlikely to have seen them before. It's Cheesy Excess Comedy. You've got to admire the sleazy cheerfulness of having one of your protagonists remove her bra in mid-fight to turn it into an improvised garotte, while the umbrella gore effect made me laugh too. I'd be astonished if you managed to find a copy of this with English subtitles, let alone a dubbed audio track, but it's not as if the dialogue's particularly important. I liked this one. No production values at all and it's basically trivial time-wasting nonsense, but it has its own gutter style and I'm turning into a Yamanouchi fan.