Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Okasareta hakui (1967)

... aka: Sex Terror
... aka: Violated Angels
... aka: Violated Women in White

Directed by:
Kôji Wakamatsu

A long, silent montage of a man admiring a painting and various close-ups of female body parts opens this very misanthropic pinku eiga ("pinky violence"); one of the earliest examples of its kind. The pinku were Japanese films that began springing up in the mid 60s that contained adult content and nudity. These films covered just about every known genre. The only constant were lots of bare breasts and asses. Full frontal nudity and even glimpses of pubic hair on either gender were not allowed, and this remained a constant throughout the years even in Japan's roman porno, their answer to adult films, which were strictly soft core in nature. Though many sources have this one listed as being just a drama, it's actually one of many examples of a pinku horror film and was clearly inspired by American mass murderer Richard Speck, who'd made international headlines just one year before this was made. On the evening of July 14, 1966, Speck, a rapist and alcoholic who already had a very long criminal rap sheet prior to the murders, had invaded a boarding house and killed eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital. He tied his victims up in one room, led each one out one at a time, raped some of them and then strangled or stabbed them. A ninth proposed victim managed to survive the ordeal by wiggling underneath a bed and hiding and Speck's "Born to Raise Hell" tattoo was a dead giveaway when it came time to apprehend him. Violated Angels is more or less a re-telling of this horrific night, though reducing the number of victims by a few.

It's late at night at the White Lily Nurse Dormitory as a handful of nurses awaken from their sleep to spy on a couple of others ladies making love in another room. One of the girls spots a man (Juro Kara) sneaking around outside their dorm and informs her friends. They all run out, bring him in and then let him spy on the action through a peephole. The man snaps, opens the door, pulls a gun and then shoots one of the women on the shoulder and leaves her bleeding to death on her bed. All of the other nurses are then held at gunpoint. One girl who tries to escape and won't stop crying is shot dead. Another strips off her clothes and offers herself to the psycho. She's led into an adjacent room and, when the man cannot perform sexually, he fires the gun into her crotch. With just three women left, two are tied up and the third - who seems catatonic - is left sitting in the corner. The man takes another of the nurses into another room, ties her to a pole, strips off her clothing and then slashes her to death with a straight razor. The older head nurse (Keiko Koyanagi), who spends a good deal of her time pleading for her life and trying to convince him that he doesn't want to kill nurses because they're "angels in white dresses," is finally silenced with a gunshot. The only remaining girl (Michiko Sakamoto) is the one he didn't even bother tying up. She's surprising calm given the circumstances; even after he tells her he wants to paint her body in blood.

Near-plotless, this doesn't bother fleshing out the victims much and spends more time trying to make us identify with the killer via various aural and visual cues. The opening montage is full of scrappy implication; bombarding us with images of feminine sexuality in the forms of nude paintings, nude magazine layouts and nude body parts. This sequence finally ends with the killer firing a round of ammo from his pistol at the beach. The man's impotence is later made clear when he's unable to perform sexually for one of the ladies and his firearm is clearly the only way he's able to unload, so to speak. He hears echoing laughter, crying and the wind blowing, has visions of each of the girls naked, keeps asking them why they're looking at him (Speck himself had a lifelong fear of people staring at him) and fantasizes they're all naked and laughing at him. When one of the victims asks why he's doing all of this, he simply says "I don't know." The perplexing ending of this mostly black-and-white film explodes with full color moments as well as some tinted scenes and shots of the coastline, water, the military and (I think) wartime activities. I think these are to allude to Speck's later career choice as a seaman, a job he found rather frustrating.

Though much of this is grueling to watch (and there are shots that seem to linger on a bit too long), this material is imaginatively and artistically presented and the ending is rather haunting. It's a good example of providing the audience exploitative thrills while also making an otherwise interesting film to go along with it. The full running time is just 57 minutes.



Bill D. Courtney said...

Hey, never heard of this one and it looks great. Thanks for the great images to go along with it. I am going to try and find it now. Bill

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

You're very welcome. Hope you enjoy it!

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