Friday, February 5, 2010

REVIEW: Entrails of a Virgin

処女のはらわた (Shojo no harawata)

Released: 1986

Kazuo Komizu

Saeko Kizuki
Naomi Hagio
Megumi Kawashima

Osamu Tsuruoka
Daiki Katô

Running time: 73 min.

Reviewed by Marc Saint-Cyr

"Entrails of a Virgin", the first film directed by Kazuo Komizu (AKA Gaira), is quite a piece of work. When I read up on it, it was described as a pink film of the same sort as the notorious "Guinea Pig" series, giving me some idea of the cinematic treat that awaited me. However, there is something unique about the awfulness of the film, particularly in the way it marries the sexual, the brutal and the nonsensical.

"Entrails" begins with an erotic photo shoot taking place on a rocky hillside in the middle of nowhere. Scenes of the photographer snapping away at a scantily-clad model are intercut with flashbacks to various sexual activities, including a fellatio session administered on a grassy field. The crew wrap up and begin driving back home in their van, smoking pot, drinking beer and listening to horrible faux reggae as they go. Of course, their journey is hampered by thick clouds of fog, and they are forced to stop at a conveniently abandoned house in the middle of the woods and spend the night there. Before long, the men start going after the ladies, seducing them while promising better job opportunities for them. Yet they are soon interrupted by the arrival of a human-shaped, dirt-smeared, well-endowed monster that proceeds to have sex with them and kill them off one by one.

As one can probably tell from the above description, "Entrails" shares a fair bit in common with Sam Raimi’s horror classic "The Evil Dead", released just five years previous. Besides the young-people-stranded-in-the-woods plot, there are also fast-moving POV shots and a fair selection of imaginative death scenes. Yet there are also liberal amounts of sex and nudity, both often fogged out. Thus, it is hard to tell whether you’re watching a porno with blood and gore sprinkled throughout or a by-the-numbers horror flick with a remarkable amount of sex thrown in.

Either way, there isn’t much that makes a whole lot of sense in the film. The thin wisp of a story mostly consists of the women being lured into having sex – and being cheated on – by the men. The monster’s presence is never fully explained, though there are some indications that he is trying to create an offspring, the fetus of which shown briefly at the end amid clouds of fog, perhaps as a laughable homage to "2001: A Space Odyssey". In fact, as bad as "Entrails" is, there are quite a few moments and elements to it that come across as extremely entertaining, if only because they are so hilariously terrible. The sexual action at the house is initiated by a ridiculous, overtly erotic wrestling match in which one of the men seems to vent his anger towards the photography industry on one of the women. The soundtrack is most often filled with the high-pitched squeals of pleasure (and sometimes discomfort) from the women, and there is an unusual amount of female ejaculation featured throughout the film. Many of the characters wander through the woods in states of near undress only to meet comically grotesque deaths, including a sudden decapitation and a very fake-looking impalement. Perhaps the most amusing moments stem from the aforementioned female wrestling opponent, who inexplicably goes crazy, leading her to lick and make out with the bloody decapitation victim’s head; roam the woods while rolling her eyes and licking her lips and do unspeakable things with a severed arm shortly before being subjected to one of the most horrendous disembowelments perhaps ever filmed.

With its despicable male characters, pitifully helpless (or deranged) female characters and the sex-crazed creature between them, there isn’t much, if anything, overly likable about "Entrails of a Virgin". And yet, I found myself laughing at the film’s absurdities just as often as I frowned at their utter tastelessness. While by no means a good movie, it bears an undeniable WTF quality that is bound to draw at least a few chuckles and gasps of stupefaction during its mercifully short 73-minute running time.

Read more by Marc Saint-Cyr at his blog.

1 comment:

Marc Saint-Cyr said...

Correction: in fact, contrary to the above review and the Internet Movie Database, Kazuo Komizu's first film was not "Entrails of a Virgin," but rather "Modern-Day Sex Theory: Rape Me," which he made in 1970 for Koji Wakamatsu's company Wakamatsu Pro. He also directed 1980's "Rabbit Sex: Female Student Group Rape Incident" for Kokuei.

Source: Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema by Jasper Sharp.