... aka: Captured for Sex 4
... aka: Woman in a Box 2
... aka: Woman in the Box II
It's rare for me to watch a sequel before the original, but this is one of those instances where it doesn't really matter. This follow-up to the same director's Woman in a Box: Virgin Sacrifice (1985) is a sequel in name and basic theme only. While both films feature lots of sex, torture and, as the title implies, women kept prisoner in boxes, they otherwise have nothing to do with one another in regards to characters, setting, story, etc.
A naked female prisoner in a grimy makeshift dungeon eats food scraps, pisses in a bucket, is forced to suck on some pervert's dirty toes and crawls around on the floor with her vagina pixelated out. We then cut to footage of hundreds of cheerful extras wandering around a very busy ski resort town. This immediately had me laughing because all I could imagine was these innocent vacationers having the director come up to them and asking, "Hey, you wanna be in a movie?" and then them excitedly replying "Sure!" and then them later seeking this out to see themselves in their film debut and being like "Oh my Kami!"
Wealthy businessman Kôji Sakaguchi (Shû Minagawa) and his wife Yoshie (Mami Ogawa) show up at the resort and rent a room in a large lodge up in the mountains. Despite all the action going on down at the slopes, this place is nearly abandoned and they appear to be the only guests there. Hints are dropped that, despite the couple only being married for three years, their relationship is on the rocks. For starters, their attempts at having a baby have failed, which could be because he's either impotent or just not interested in sex with his spouse. Secondly, Yoshie easily gives in to the sexual advances of lodge owner Kunihiko Konishi (Ryôta Nakanishi)... and does so on the same bed where her husband has just passed out from one too many cocktails! The following morning, an embarrassed Yoshie demands they leave and the couple high tail it the hell out of there.
Kunihiko also happens to be the same very disturbed guy who's keeping the mentally-broken naked girl in a wooden box prisoner in his specially-equipped dungeon. Growing tired of her because she's stopped resisting him, Kunihiko promises to send her back to her husband, gives her a shot of what he claims is a sedative and then packs her lifeless body into a cardboard box, adds some crinkle paper and disposes of her. Obviously it isn't the first time he's ever done this, nor will it be the last. We learn that Kunihiko's wife has also gone missing. He's told his missing wife's teenage sister Kazumi (Miyuki Kawamura), a competitive fencer who helps him run his lodge, that she ran off with another man. You could say that's given him a pretty cynical outlook on both women ("A wife is an ugly creature...") and marriage ("The bond between husband and wife is complete shit!").
Angry at her sibling for abandoning them and little realizing what a psycho Kunihiko actually is, Kazumi has started to develop feelings for her brother-in-law. He tells her she's too young but that doesn't stop her from stripping off all her clothes, tackling him, dry humping him on the floor and demanding "Do it to me!" When her antics fail to arouse him, she goes down to the resort, gets drunk and revenge fucks a male friend before disappearing from most of the rest of the film.
After getting rid of his latest victim, Kunihiko spots another attractive woman named Hiroko (Shihori Nagasaka), who's vacationing there with her husband, Jun (Takashi Ohara). He punctures their car tire so they're stranded and forced to stay at his lodge. The following day, he takes the inexperienced Jun down a dangerous stretch of mountain and lures him over the edge of a cliff. Though he doesn't immediately die, the prognosis isn't good for poor Jun. The doctor informs Hiroko that the injuries sustained (severe brain damage, multiple broken bones, an injured spine and a punctured lung) are likely to eventually kill him.
As Hiroko is packing her bags to leave, Kunihiko makes his move. He chases her down, corners her in a sauna / Jacuzzi room and then keeps dunking her head under the water while raping her until she passes out. When Hiroko awakens, she's tied up, ball-gagged and trapped inside the wooden box in the dungeon. There, she's groped, raped repeatedly and tortured. He hoists the box up in the air and spins her around in a circle until she gets sicks, beats on the side of the box to annoy her, licks her face, terrorizes her with a chainsaw and dresses up in bandages, pretends to be the ghost of her husband and forces her to give him a blowjob! And, just like with any good abusive relationship, afterward he tries to be all nicey-nice by washing her hair and giving her things like a lemon and a croissant. He eventually relocates her to a smaller box and terrorizes her some more by taking her to the exact location of her husband's accident and threatening to send her over the same cliff.
As was the norm at Nikkatsu, directors were given pretty free rein to do as they pleased so long as they followed basic guidelines in regards to including a certain amount of sex scenes lasting a certain length. Ironically, that's what hurts this particular film most at all. A good number of the supporting characters ultimately feel pretty disposable in the grand scheme of things and you can tell the director feels the exact same way since he rids himself of them as soon as they perform in their sex scenes. However, this starts to improve greatly in its second half when it focuses almost exclusively on its two main characters and their relationship. What's interesting here is that this can be viewed as either a horror tale or as an erotic romance, depending on one's own sexual fantasies / preferences. One thing it will never be accused of being is feminist!
Questionable story content from Kazuo 'Gaira' Komizu (Entrails of a Virgin) aside, this is technically a very well-made film. It's nicely shot with sometimes imaginative camerawork (including an impressive shot of the camera swooping down to the box and closing in on a small hole so we can get a look inside), the locations are nice to look at, some of the psychological components are interesting and there's even some surprisingly good skiing footage throw in. Of course, there's tons of nudity and sex in here too, though all of the below-the-waist stuff is scrambled as it is in every other Japanese sex film.
The director, one of the most prolific of all pink directors, was the subject of Hideo Nakata's documentary Sadistic and Masochistic (2001), which covered his 30+ year career making these films (nearly 50 in total). It includes clips from this and the original as well as better-known films like Flower and Snake and Wife to Be Sacrificed; two milestone 1974 releases starring Naomi Tani. Before moving on to make J-Horror hits like Ringu (1999) and Dark Water (2000), Nakata worked as an assistant to Konuma on a number of these films. I'm not sure if this is one of those, but it seems likely as it falls within the right time frame.