The Nikkatsu Corporation is Japan’s oldest major film studio, but even though they closed up shop in 1993 their legacy lives on with the careers of the directors and actors they shepherded towards success. They’re like Roger Corman in that way having provided opportunities to talents that have gone on towards bigger and better success.
They shared one other trait with the king of the B-movies… a recognition that T&A sells tickets.
Starting in the early 70s, Nikkatsu began producing romantic pornography, aka Roman Pornos, and the profits soon followed. The films are a mix of sex, nudity, violence and nuttiness, and while they ranged from dramas to comedies the focus never veered very far from the obscene.
Sadly, the sexy times only lasted until 1988, but now Impulse Pictures has taken on the enviable task of re-releasing these classics to DVD so new generations can enjoy the fornicating, fingering, showering (of all kinds) and pig porking fun.
True Story of a Woman In Jail: Sex Hell
“A flower is torn into three pieces. From the bitterness of the seven pieces left behind. The red sun peering from behind the hill is like the cruel rings of the handcuffs at Namida Bridge.”
A bus full of hardened criminals winds its way through the countryside, but before it reaches the prison it pulls over. Why? Because these are female convicts, and women always have to pee on road trips. One visible urine stream later the girls arrive at their new home where they’re promptly stripped, examined and probed. Jail ain’t pretty and neither some of these ladies, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in life’s more carnal pleasures like sex, violence and showering (traditional and golden). Mayumi may be new here, but she’s not going to take her sentence lying down…
Women in prison movies are pretty simple cinematic creations and really only need a handful of ingredients to get right. Women, obviously, and a series of situations that lead to said women disrobing, finger banging, showering, fighting and getting diddled by perverted prison staff. That’s it. But it’s always nice when a filmmaker goes above and beyond the bare minimum, and to that end Sex Hell stands apart from many examples of the genre.
The drama here, from Mayumi’s quest for revenge to Hiromi’s blind devotion to Harumi being the only character with a strong relationship with a man, is well presented and acted. There’s a creativity here too that results in a clay dildo with rice nubs, a stairwell split down the middle so a male guard can stand in the crevice and visually interrogate the prisoners’ own crevices as they pass overhead and some incredibly entertaining dialogue. Only here do you get commands like “Give her the plucked chicken treatment” and questions like “Whose panties are you wearing?”
And, if it’s your particular bag, there’s also an inordinate number of visible urination scenes.
Sex Hell isn’t a pleasant movie, but it’s never truly offensive in its quest to titillate and instead actually manages to entertain along the way. The story, drama and comedic bits work… making the frequently naked Asian women icing on the dildo-shaped cake.
Eros School: Feels So Good
“Beauty queens in particular should exercise extreme caution. My beauty queen rape rate stands at 100%.”
Life can be difficult when you’re the new kid in school, and it’s an experience Ryu is familiar with unfortunately. Sure he’s a few years older than the average student, and of course his country bumpkin clothing make him stand out, and maybe the pet pig he carries around is a bit much, but other than that he’s a swell guy.
Aside from him being an unrepentant rapist I mean.
Ryu’s newest school is one where the girls routinely beat up the boys who cross the line which makes it ripe for rapist in his prime. He quickly sets his sights on Misa, the class president and sports star, and works his way through her best friends on his way to victory. Tadao is a classmate who likes her quite a bit, but if you think that’s enough to get him to protect Misa then you just don’t understand how high school works.
Unlike the women in prison flick above this is the kind of exploitation that could actually offend. Because, you know, rape isn’t cool or generally speaking all that funny. The filmmakers didn’t get that memo though and proceed to show students applauding Ryu for his can-do attitude, teachers wondering aloud if a “tiger” let loose in the class would teach the girls a valuable lesson and a very clear message that girls who say “no” just need a good nipple sucking to change their minds.
If the movie were played completely (or even partially) serious there’s no doubt the shenanigans on display would offend and annoy, but how can someone be upset with a movie that lays old-timey piano music over the fights and assaults and makes the brilliant observation that “there’s nothing sexy about knives?” And let’s be honest, rape could very well be like broccoli in that it’s something a person doesn’t know if they’ll love until they try it. Right? Maybe? No? Well, at the very least the pig is safe.
Wait. Reverse that. The pig isn’t the least bit safe after all.
Both Feels So Good and Sex Hell exist for a very specific audience, and no review is going to sway potential viewers one way or the other. Neither film is one you’d proudly show your mother, but at least Sex Hell is part of a generally accepted realm of exploitation that people know and can comfortably joke about. Women in prison films are fairly mainstream, I mean, Linda Blair made one or two after all… but no such acceptable niche exists for Feels So Good. No matter how goofy it plays the core of the film is still a character who gleefully rapes high school girls into submission while the authorities do nothing about it (aside from leer at the victims). The fact that’s it’s just a silly movie may be enough to for some viewers, but everyone else may want to skip it and go watch Babe or Charlotte’s Web instead.
True Story of a Woman In Jail: Sex Hell is available from Amazon, but Eros School: Feels So Good is not for some reason…