Sunday, July 4, 2021

Uma to onna to inu (1990)

... aka: 馬と女と犬
... aka: 馬と犬と貴婦人
... aka: Animal Fucking
... aka: Horses, Dogs and Ladies
... aka: Horse, Woman and Dog
... aka: Mitsuryo no Migiwa
... aka: Poaching by the Water's Edge
... aka: Ruff Sex
... aka: Uma to inu to kifujin
... aka: Uma to onna to inu: Chô-abunômaru 'sanjûku'

Directed by:
Hisayasu Satô

"Everyone just leaves me with nightmares."

The sadistic "Queen" (Emi Uehara) of (we're to assume) an otherwise unpopulated beach has an interesting way of dealing with young female trespassers who sometimes end up there: She either kills them or degrades and sexually abuses to the point where they just kill themselves. Along with her two male goons (Takahiko Kobayashi and Tatsuya Takahashi), the latest victim (Yuri Sasaki) is whipped with a riding crop, smeared with cake and then raped by all four. Oh, I only mentioned three? Well, that's because the Queen then brings in her pet pooch to join in on the festivities. Afterward, the girl wanders into the ocean and drowns herself. Living nearby is a lonely, mentally-disturbed photographer named Ryo (Kazuhiro Sano) who lives in a shack on the beach, photographs then engages in necrophilia with any female corpse he happens to stumble across and is also occasionally used as a submissive sex slave by the Queen, who forces him to join her and her men in group sex.

The next "trespasser" is a nameless young woman (Kanako Kishi) who miraculously washes up on the beach with no memory of who she is, where she came from or how she got there, only a vague suspicion she's somehow connected to the area. Despite her amnesia and the fact she appears to pose them no real threat, the Queen and her men bury her in the sand up to her neck, put duct tape over her mouth and then leave her for dead; hoping the tide will just take care of her. However, she's rescued by the photographer and taken back to his shack.

The jealous Queen hates all women, which seems to stem from a traumatic childhood incident involving her siblings. She claims her sister attempted to push her off a boat, accidentally fell in herself and drowned but it's much more likely she just murdered her as there's also mention of a brother who also died under mysterious circumstances. When she discovers that the amnesiac wasn't killed and Ryo plots to run away with her (after he sucks her toes and the two have sex on an inflatable raft), she arranges to torture and kill them, which culminates in having her men hold the girl down and letting her horse rape her (!!) There's also some last minute revenge and a couple of silly plot twists thrown out at the finale.

The film's true trump card in cult circles is, of course, the fact it contains several amazingly unpleasant and graphic bestiality scenes. Thankfully (at least for this viewer) all of the more extreme shots have been pixelated out, though what's shown is more than enough to give you a good idea of what's going on. However, despite the novelty of containing such scenes and the director's eye for nicely-composed shots (changing the setting from his usual urban hell environment also makes for a nice change of pace), this is less interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining than any of Satô's other films I've seen. For a director who's already proven he can be arty, substantive, exploitative, surprising and subversive all at once, this comparably emptier attempt at surface-level shock just doesn't feel like enough.

The plot isn't very engaging and so paper-thin it can't even sustain just 58 minutes, narrative drive is sorely lacking and even seemingly-outrageous characters like the dominatrix and necro somehow come off as flat, though knowing this director that very well could have been intentional. There's also a bit of technical sloppiness that comes to the forefront at times. We're supposed to believe this is a remote and mostly unpopulated stretch of beach where characters feel trapped yet we then see the goons having a drink on the balcony at night, where you can clearly see headlights from cars on a busy stretch of highway right behind them.

Filmed under the ambiguous title Mitsuryo no Migiwa ("Poaching by the Water's Edge"), theatrical distributor Shintoho opted to change the name to Uma to onna to inu ("Horse, Woman and Dog") to highlight the animal scenes. That ended up working brilliantly as the film became one of the director's biggest financial successes, one of the most profitable pink films of its time and one of the most profitable films in Shintoho's history. The studio then immediately bankrolled a second bestiality-themed film for Satô: Umagoya no reijô (1991), which has been given a number of English-language titles like Lady of the Stable, Wave and (clearly the best of the three) Neigh Means Yes.

While not difficult at all to find online nowadays if you know where to look, this was never officially released outside of Japan to my knowledge. There, it received a VHS release in 1999 (which gives the English-language title of "Animal Fucking"!) plus was available to stream on pinku specialty sites.

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