Saturday, January 7, 2023

Hentai byôtô: SM shinryo-shitsu (1989)

... aka: 変態病棟 SM診療室
... aka: Pervert Ward: S&M Clinic

Directed by:
Hisayasu Satô

Watching every genre film from a certain time period is occasionally going to take you down some pretty dark alleys, and director Hisayasu Satô's particular alley is darker than most. Meaning, this disturbing, discomforting and psychologically heavy shocker, which is violent, sexually explicit (though not quite pornographic due to Japanese censorship laws) and filled with truly bizarre kinks and fetishes, is unlikely to appeal to many viewers out there.

"Psychological counselor" Dr. Yasukazu Mizumura (Kazuhiro Sano) puts his patients through bizarre "therapy" that involves making them listen to experimental, discordant "alpha wave" music and sounds while staring at their reflections in a mirror and having conversations with themselves. He also secretly records these sessions to both analyze and get off to later. His wife, Ryoko (Kiyomi Itô), is starting to get sick of his demented ways, particular his insistence on her participating in rough, kinky sex ("Isn't that what a wife is for, huh?") He has a particularly strange fetish for fresh fruit, which he likes to chew up and spit in her face before taping an apple core over her mouth (?) while he chains her up and abuses her. Their sex usually involves such erotic acts as slapping, strangulation, snapping rubber bands on her back, eyeball licking (!) and violently jabbing her privates with a sharp instrument (!!) However, Ryoko didn't sign up for any of this when she married covert sadist Yasukazu and was only indulging him for the sake of their marriage. Now fed up, she finally builds up the courage to leave him.

Exactly a week after Ryoko disappears, a woman who looks exactly like her and calling herself Kei Shirakawa (also played by Itô) shows up at the psychiatrist's clinic looking for insight into some strange dreams she's been having. Since Ryoko made mention of having an identical twin sister who'd been adopted out as an infant and is still out there somewhere, Rei may be her or may be a mentally-disturbed / schizophrenic or vengeance-seeking Ryoko back to play some kind of sadistic game. Dr. Mizumura isn't entirely sure himself. Because her handwriting is different, she's a nymphomaniac (propositioning him a mere minute after they first meet) and has a taste for sadomasochism (she stabs her own hand with a pen during their first meeting), he suspects it may be the twin but decides to go along with her either way.

Kei is quickly able to seduce the doctor right on the patient's couch during a sex session that involves snapping bra straps, giving her a wedgie, ass smacking, sodomizing her with her high heel shoe and, apparently doc's favorite activity, jabbing her in the crotch with a pen. Afterward, he's not willing to let the girl go home and instead chloroforms her and makes her his sexual slave. He gives her an injection of some experimental hallucinogenic drug, dresses her in some kinky, spiked leather outfit, ties her to a bed, has her mouth pried open with some kind of contraption, squirts grapefruit juice all over her and then does his patented pen routine again. Later torture involves being threatened with eye gouging and being wrapped in plastic and repeatedly dunked in a bathtub.

Kei reveals that she and her sister were once conjoined twins until they were separated and now she gets turned on any time she's near a scalpel. In fact, before she met this doctor, she regularly used to masturbate with one (!) Her ultimate goal turns out to be having the doctor ejaculate inside of her so she can become pregnant with Siamese twins. This would double the whammy as far as her scalpel fetish is concerned because she'd have to be cut open with one during the C-section and then her offspring would also have to be separated via scalpel. Additional revelations are made about the psychiatrist and a traumatic occurrence from his youth.

So what does it all mean? I'm not entirely sure, but there's a lot of interesting stuff to ponder in this 55-minute film. One thing that automatically leaps out at us is the near-constant use of various reflections; reflections in glass, reflections in mirrors, characters seeing their reflections on screens, watching themselves have sex in mirrors and looking themselves right in the eyes as they unload their secret desires. Sometimes self-reflections are distorted as if seen through a funhouse mirror, there are POV shots from inside mirrors and TV screens and, at one point, the female lead has a mirrored box slipped over her head, forcing her to stare at a fractured version of her own face as she's being tortured.

Childhood trauma suffered by both the doctor and the twin have been the primary driving force in shaping their twisted adult sexual fantasies. The lengthy sex / torture scenes are going to cause more discomfort than arousal for most viewers and the settings are all cold, lonely, orderly and isolating; like everything is taking place in some kind of endless black void. Though this isn't always easy to sit through - I'd even say it's sometimes downright grueling to sit through - it's still pretty fascinating, with convincing performances (particularly from the female lead) and strong, stylish and compelling visuals and direction from Satô on what was obviously a tiny budget.

I was unable to track down any legitimate DVD or VHS release for this title, though at one time it was streamable on the now defunct pinkueiga.com website. That same widescreen copy is also probably the source copy for the DVD-R a few bootleg outlets currently carry.

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