Friday, May 28, 2021

Yôsei Mamiko: mashô no yobigoe (1986)

... aka: 陽星真見子 魔性の呼び声
... aka: エキサイティング・エロ 熱い肌
... aka: Exciting ero: Atsui hada
... aka: Exciting Eros: Hot Skin
... aka: Gimme Shelter

Directed by:
Hisayasu Satô

Mother (Ran Minagami) is a stay-at-home upper middle class housewife. Father (Shû Minagawa) is a financially successful though frequently-absent businessman. Their 17-year old twins; son Eiji (Taketoshi Watari, who also wrote the script) and daughter Kiriko (Mamiko Hiboshi), are both in their later years of high school. But that is the only thing "typical" about this very demented family in this very demented 57-minute satire / soft-core sex flick, which may be demented by most standards but it pretty par for the course if you know anything about this particular director.

Things open with a small birthday party where something is evidently really off about all of these people. The parents prove to be comically oblivious to both of their children's needs and problems. Eiji doesn't even bother to come out of his room to have his cake while the parents follow their "Happy Birthday to You" song with pointing out what "hardships" Kiriko has caused them over the years. She responds by merely slipping on her headphones and just ignoring them altogether. Both parents are completely image-obsessed; the father with his role as upstanding, heterosexual breadwinner and the mother with her physical appearance and being a dutiful housewife.

Both of the teenage children have retreated into their own little deranged worlds. Son Eiji stops going to school, seldom leaves his room and keeps his door locked at all times. Inside, he stays busy watching atomic bomb explosions and tinkering around with a telegraph machine sending Morse code messages to someone. Anyone. Maybe no one. He's so dulled by life he eventually sticks live wires up his nostrils just to feel something and eventually goes completely mad, shaves off all his body hair (including his eyebrows), swallows a razor blade, gorges on food and sexually assaults both his sister and his mother, capping one of those attacks off by biting off a tongue!

Kiriko aimlessly rides around on her bike during the day and spends her evenings at home listening to music and masturbating to porno mags next to her stuffed Snoopy doll. She also has some rather unhealthy fantasies about chainsawing her parents and of her brother raping her. At school, she attracts the attention of a sadomasochistic female science teacher (Kiyomi Itô), who turns out to be just as fucked up as the rest of the characters. She sneaks off to the school toilet to masturbate with a Tabasco-sauce covered tampon (!!) and then initiates Kiriko into some kinky sex that involves slapping, choking and demeaning her, licking her eyeballs (??) and eventually full blown sex on the school roof. She caps that off by raping Kiriko with a large syringe and then squirting the blood all over her face afterward!

The father has started to only want anal sex from his wife ("No! Not there!") which ends up being because he's actually a self-hating closet homosexual who hits on men on his bus rides to work, tries to pick up a teenage boy and shoplifts sports magazines so he can knock one out in a public restroom. The mother constantly watches TV until it finally just explodes, works herself up into a sexual frenzy doing an aerobics routine in the kitchen and stuffs herself with lettuce and tomatoes. The entire family eventually descend into an orgy of incest, rape, torture, murder and suicide.

Many people are gonna find this twisted sex flick disgusting and in the poorest taste imaginable... and understandably so! However, it's also so over-the-top in how it shoves its grotesque absurdities in your face that other viewers will enjoy the dark humor and glee it takes in blaspheming the outwardly "respectable" nuclear family who put on one face for the world at large but are something else entirely behind closed doors. In that regard this is actually closer in spirit to some of the work of David Lynch and Todd Solondz than your usual pink film, which are frequently just as sleazy and rape-obsessed as this one yet lack the satirical edge.

This was one of hundreds of releases from busy soft-core studio Shishi Productions and one of dozens of pink films from Satô, who made some of the more interesting films in this category and has rightly been singled out by cult film fans for his transgressive, inventive contributions to the genre. Sadly, most of his early work has never been officially released here in America nor have most been restored and released on DVD or Blu-ray, as is the case here. The best print that's currently available is a washed out VHS copy, though I've seen a lot worse. At least it's widescreen and has English subs.


She tou ren (1975)

... aka: 蛇头人
... aka: Bruka, Queen of Evil
... aka: Devil Woman Part 2
... aka: Manda the Snake Girl Part 2

Directed by:
Felix Villar (uncredited on Chinese print)
Albert (Chi-Lien) Yu

Sequel to DEVIL WOMAN (1973) opens with a brief recap of the previous film, which ended with our tortured, snake-haired outcast Manda (Rosemarie Gil) slipping, falling into a ravine and ending up, we were to assume, meeting her fiery demise in a cave. Instead, she has been rescued by an old snake woman with a HUGE white wig named Bruka (Etang "Ditched" / Discher), who turns out to Manda's long lost grandmother! As opposed to Manda, who basically looks human aside from the Medusa hair, granny is a human head placed on top of a large snake body who is forced to slither around everywhere and uses her tail like a whip!

Bruka also has some other very cool things going on, like a crystal ball she uses to explain to Manda how she came to be and a band of faithful dwarf servants (referred to as "an army of savage midgets" on the poster), rock monsters (!), living trees (!!) and other creatures to do her bidding. She's also in possession of a nifty, magical black stone that Manda can use to give herself normal hair so she can blend into normal society undetected. However, the stone must be kept inside her mouth the entire time or else her hair will revert back to snakes.

Like in the first film, Manda is all-consumed with getting revenge on the remaining villagers for murdering her parents. She surprises her first victim (Charlie Davao) with a shit ton of snakes, who bite him in the face and then suffocate him. She uses her new human hair to ensnare a guitar player (Darius Razon) strolling down a path looking for romance, then removes the stone and has her snake hair do him in. She starts dressing sexy and going out on the town to seduce more men, picks another guy up in a bar and kills him.

Meanwhile, nightclub bouncer Hong Pin (Alex Lung) gets fired from his job after beating up a bunch of hooligans trying to molest some girls. Bad timing for him as he's trying to care for his sick, elderly mother and his kid sister and really needs the money. He hustles trying to find another job but keeps striking out. However, a friend of his has tipped him off about a way to make 50 thousand dollars, which involves rescuing a rich man's missing daughter. Since Hong Pin has formidable kung fu skills, it may be the way for him to get back on his feet again.

Our hero goes to talk to the father, Mr. Tong (Alfonso Cavajal), and beats up several dozen of his henchmen while he's there. Mr. Tong is so impressed he gives him half of the reward money up front. Flashbacks show that the daughter, Louisa (Sandra de Veyra), had been kidnapped on her way to see her auntie by Manda and is being kept prisoner in the cave. A five man search party already went looking for her but were all killed by snakes or the living trees before even making it inside the cave. In other words, Hong Pin's signed up for a very dangerous mission.

As he sets out on his quest, Hong Pin wanders into a village where the streets are filled with corpses of snake bit victims. Only a monk (Ramon D'Salva) and his disfigured hunchback helper have managed to survive. Hong Pin helps them bury all of the dead in a field and then seeks sanctuary in their monastery. Burka, who's been keeps tabs on them using her crystal ball, sends Manda and the dwarfs out with orders to kill them. They easily take care of the hunchback and monk, but Hong Pin manages to escape. As luck would have it, he runs across the little people leading Louisa and another girl through the woods and kicks, punches and even picks up and starts throwing the dwarfs around! The girls get kidnapped again, so Hong Pin gets a rope that can transform into a staff from a blind hermit for his next battle.

While Manda is motivated by revenge, Burka has different objectives, namely sacrificing virgins to her moon god. The ritual involves kidnapped teen girls being stripped topless, put on a stone slab, getting beaten to death by rock men and then eaten by snakes! They send a silly-looking rubber bat after Hong Pin which transforms into an even-sillier-looking man in a brown bat outfit with droopy wings he seems to have a difficult time holding up. He interrupts a dwarf hoe-down and fights one of the trees, some mutant thing with claw gloves and a guy wearing a leopard-print shirt and cut-off jean shorts (?!) And the big finale certainly doesn't disappoint, with screaming virgins running around trying to avoid snakes biting them and horny dwarfs ripping their clothes off as Hong Pin starts bashing everyone with a staff.

This wacko fantasy/horror adventure from the same directors, writer / producer (Jimmy L. Pascual), fight choreographers (Brandy Yuen, Bun Yuen and Corey Yuen), and production company (Emperor Films International), is clearly much "better" than the structurally incompetent, surprisingly dull first film. While it's occasionally bogged down by the kung fu scenes, the pacing is a lot brisker, it manages to weave the plot threads together in a more streamlined and cohesive manner and it's filled with memorably insane bits and cheap-o monster creations to boggle your mind.

The same actors who played Manda's parents in the first film return in a brief flashback and Yukio Someno is in this one, too, though only in one fight scene instead of playing a lead role. The cast also includes Bruno Punzulan as a bald thug, Rocco Montalban as one of Mr. Tong's guards and Gil's real-life son, Michael De Mesa, as a restaurant patron whose noodle dinner is turned into a pile of snakes. Gil's daughter, Cherie, had already played the Manda character as a little girl in the previous entry.

Proving once again there's no justice in this world, the inferior original has a widescreen, restored print that's easy to find on DVD and various streaming services, while this one doesn't appear to have ever been officially released on home video. In fact, this was thought lost for many years until a soft, blurry, full screen print dubbed into Mandarin and with burnt-in English subs turned up. I have no clue where this copy originated from but it's the same exact print currently being hawked on DVD by the disreputable outlet Desert Island Classics. You'd be better off just checking this out on Youtube instead of wasting money on their DVD.

Seeing how several English-language posters for Bruka exist (in fact, I could *only* find English posters), this appears to have played theatrically here in the U.S.. That suggests an English dubbed version probably existed at one time.

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