I have often commented that I sometimes worry that someday I may hit the bottom of the well, that nothing strange will exist any longer in film to delight me. That said, thanks to movies like this, which I didn’t even know existed until Arrow Video was kind enough to send me a copy, prove to me that there will always be something odder, stranger and more screwed up to watch.
Teruo Ishii made movies like Yakuza Law and Horrors of Malformed Men, but this was the sixth in his series of abnormal love movies. It’s all about the high demand for tattooed geishas and the rivalry that builds between two highly skilled masters of tattoo.
Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi is serving as a kept woman for two years, but soon learns that this is a house of pain, not pleasure. From the moment this movie begins, there’s a shocking amount of violence displayed. But the main reason to stick around is that there is so much incredible tattoo art on display, as the women’s bodies become the space where war is declared bweeen the two artists. And when the madam learns that one of them, Horihide, has noble intentions, she plans on making everyone pay.
There’s a scene in this movie where a geisha has glow in the dark tattoos that come to neon life the drunker she gets on sake. For that alone, this is totally worth a watch.
Ishii made two other movies before this that are in the same genre, Shogun’s Joy of Torture and Orgies of Edo. From most accounts, he went way beyond the bounds making this one, depicting Japan’s Edo period in perhaps the most perverse — and one assumes, crowd pleasing — ways possible.
You can get this from Arrow Video, who have given this grimy movie all the attention that Criterion would bequeath to an Oscar winning classic from the 1940’s.
DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by Arrow Video.