Sunday, September 3, 2023

Za ryôjoku (1987)

... aka: ザ・凌辱
... aka: Beast-Man (Wolf)
... aka: Hunting Love
... aka: Rape and Torture

Directed by:
Shûji Kataoka

With titles in his arsenal like S&M Hunter, Subway Serial Rape and Female Prisoners: Brutal Treatment, it was only a matter of time until I took a gander at the filmography of this particular director. Working almost exclusively in the pink / erotica movie realm, Kataoka has amassed around sixty directorial credits stretching from the mid 80s until today, though he was much more prolific as a writer, having penned over a hundred scripts for both himself and other directors. It wasn't until I glanced over his filmography that I realized I'd already watched and reviewed a couple of films he was involved in, though not as primary director. He was an assistant director on HIGH NOON RIPPER (1984) and produced Hisayasu Satô's interesting MUSCLE (1989), for instance. Kataoka would win a number of Pink Film Awards for his work, including Best Director and Best Screenplay. Three of his film were even selected as the Best Film of their respective years.

While I can't speak about the quality of his other work, this one is, uh, pretty memorable. Technically, it's not up to much, but it did at least manage to shock me a few times, which isn't easy to do at this stage!

Teenager Eto (Hiromi Saotome) has had a rocky relationship with her twin sister over the years and even welcomes her absence when she goes on a vacation. That all changes when she receives a phone call from a police officer informing her that her sister is dead. Feeling guilty, Eto travels to the small mountain village her sister was visiting when she died to investigate matters. Upon arrival, she learns that her sister wasn't just killed, she was ripped to shreds and mostly consumed by a wolf. Now only miscellaneous parts and skeletal remains are left of her. During an autopsy it's uncovered that she has semen inside of her from either sex or a rape, though the semen is from a non-human source. Eto offers to pay the policeman to organize a posse of hunters to track down the wolf. He tells her he'll think about it, though he - nor anyone else in the area - has any intention of actually helping her out.

While at her hotel, Eto is surprised when the drunken Dr. Nozawa (Shirô Shimomoto), the local coroner, shows up unannounced. He barges in, informs her that he's the only person in the area on her side and then proves that by attempting to rape her (!) She manages to stop him by biting his tongue and he then calms down long enough to tell her that the villagers won't help because they believe the sister went into the woods willingly looking to have sex with the wolf and got herself killed in the process. The next day, the policeman clues Eto in that Dr. Nozawa, who apparently did something bad enough to lose his license and job in the city, cannot be trusted himself. Determined to avenge her sister's death, Eto whips out a bunch of guns and knives, throws on combat boots, dog tags, a tank top, a headband and camo shorts and heads out into the woods to hunt down the wolf herself.

Caught in a rain storm, Eto seeks refuge in a (she thinks) abandoned hut, which turns out to be occupied by a creepy old woman. The woman eats a live snake, makes Eto strip out of her wet clothes, complements her "juicy body" and then tells her about the wolf attack-plagued history of the area, which we then get to see in two separate flashbacks.

Forty years earlier, a young woman (Kyôko Hashimoto, a pink film regular who also had a small role in EVIL DEAD TRAP) arrived there from Tokyo to buy some goods and instead got gang raped by the landlord's spoiled son (Bunmei Tobayama) and his friend. Afterward, they dragged her deep into the forest, tied her to a tree and left her for dead ("You could have died in the bombing as well. It's all the same!"). A lumberjack eventually stumbled upon her and (of course!) attempted to rape her, but a wolf in shining armor showed up just in the nick of time. After killing the man and indulging in a little romantic moonlight gut-munching, woman and wolf fell for each other and became lovers.

Twenty years later, the now middle-aged landlord's son has his own teenage daughter, who has met and fallen in love with a city boy and brought him home to meet the family. The boy just so happens to be the offspring of the woman and the wolf and he's actually there looking for revenge. After transforming into a (terrible looking!) werewolf that looks more like a Bigfoot, he bites out the father's throat, rips off the daughter's clothes, rapes her and then kills her. Revenge complete! Returning back to present day, the story comes full circle when the wolfman finally shows up at the shack and the old woman reveals her true identity.

Running just 55 minutes, this is packed with more T&A and sex than most feature length exploitation films, and it manages to be more graphic than the vast majority of others despite Japan's ban on showing full frontal nudity. There are numerous lengthy and, quite frankly, pretty boring sex and rape scenes here, but what separates this from the pack are the participants in some of these scenes. First, this boasts not one, but two, werewolf rape scenes. Yep, a fully transformed werewolf gets it on with several human actresses here and, not surprisingly, the were-man likes it rough! This also shows a nice close-up of a furry werewolf erection, which is hilarious considering Japanese censors would have blurred this had it been a human penis.

The most shocking thing here (yes, even more shocking than werewolf rape and werewolf boners), are multiple bestiality scenes featuring several of the actresses and the regular "wolf", which is actually played by a husky. One of the actresses lets the dog "make out" with her (licking all over her mouth), which is gross enough as is, but this goes even further with a long close-up shot of the dog actually mounting her, which has been pixelated out by the censors. Now I'm not sure if this really shows the dog humping the actress or if the censors merely objected to the thrusting motion of the dog, but this is still pretty surprising even if it is simulated. What's perhaps worse than that, and does not appear to be fake, is the dog sticking its snout in a bent-over woman's crotch and licking away, probably trying to clean off whatever tasty substance they coated the woman's backside with.

Aside from that, most of the performances are poor (the actress playing the old woman in the shack does the best job), the plot is minimal and predictable and the make-up effects are weak. The director had clearly seen An American Werewolf in London, THE HOWLING and The Company of Wolves, because he rips off scenes from all three of those. 

The one and only release that I'm aware of was a late 80s Japanese VHS on the Golden More label, though this has leaked online and fan-made English subtitles are now available. Seeing how this has yet to receive enough votes to even register a rating on either Letterboxd or IMDb (which only requires five votes), it appears that almost no one has watched this crazy ass film.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...