I'm a big fan of Japanese horror films--the cognoscenti are starting to refer to it as "J-horror"--so I just knew I had to check out "Entrails of the Virgin" and "Entrails of the Beautiful Woman" when the friendly folks over at Synapse Films released them to DVD. These two films, made all the way back in the 1980s by some chap named Kazuo Komizu, have a reputation most hardcore horror film producers would give their right arms to possess. I heard and read the most enthusiastic comments regarding these two movies, about the insane levels of gory mayhem coupled with sex of the variety not often seen outside an adult film theater. You certainly don't see those two themes put side by side in movies made in the United States, at least not anymore. No one over here would dare make a film like these atrocities. First of all, such a film would never pass the ratings board, let alone secure a spot in the theaters. Too, the watchdog groups would drop on the filmmakers' heads like a ton of bricks. Then there is NOW and the other feminist groups to contend with. Those bonecrushers would grind any filmmaker into powder over a movie that looked like Komizu's movies.
"Entrails of a the Beautiful Woman" follows up Komizu's "Entrails of the Virgin," but only in a general sense. In this outing, we meet an unfortunate lass named Yoshimi (Seira Kitigawa) who falls prey to a ruthless band of yakuza. These Japanese goons run a female slavery ring in which they kidnap young women, brutally abuse them, and then sell them to the highest bidder. Yoshimi is only their latest victim. She manages to escape the clutches of the group, despite the fact that they shoot her full of a powerful narcotic/aphrodisiac called "Angel Rain," and finds refuge with a female psychologist named Hiromi (Megumi Ozawa). Yoshimi, in horrific shape due to her captivity and subsequent torture, manages to fill in the psychologist about the slave ring before taking her own life. Hiromi's outrage knows no bounds. She quickly makes plans to confront the yakuza killers herself and put an end to their reign of terror. It's not going to be easy, not at all, considering these guys are trained killers without an ounce of compassion for anyone outside of their small clique. Hiromi makes her move by hypnotizing one of the members into killing his compatriots (!), but things backfire and the yakuza abduct her for an evening of fun and games.
What follows is tough to watch, as the yakuza goons systematically break down Hiromi the only way they know how, namely through rape and torture. Even a woman associated with the group takes part in the hijinks. To keep their new play toy engaged in the shenanigans, the yakuza break out a few doses of good old Angel Rain. They keep shooting Hiromi up with the stuff, so much so that something sinister happens when she ultimately dies. Her remains meld with the shattered corpse of a gangster to form an unearthly creature bent on revenge. Why does this happen? Who knows? Anyway, the creature, which resembles the one we saw lumbering around that cabin in the first film, is even more oozing and disgusting here. This thing--a hermaphrodite to boot--proceeds to kill all of the yakuza members in extraordinarily gory ways. An exploding head, a nasty scene involving the sole female member of the gang, and various other atrocities bring the film to its ignominious conclusion. What should we make of "Entrails of the Beautiful Woman"? Is Komizu making a statement about the poor relationship between men and women in Japanese society? Maybe. More likely he's just trying to make a few bucks with a hardcore exploitation flick.
And "Entrails of the Beautiful Woman" IS a hardcore flick. Komizu throws in endless scenes of sex and violence, much of the latter reveling in depravity and aimed at shattering taboos. Like the first movie, optical fogging of certain body parts appears, although such censorship is far less prevalent here (Komizu uses the positioning of his actors and actresses to cover up a lot of what's going on). The plot, editing, and special effects achieve heights here sorely lacking in the first film--which isn't saying much. "Entrails of the Virgin" made little sense. In this movie, the director at least gives us a fairly standard revenge plot to wrap our minds around. He also gives us better gore scenes, truly nauseating kill sequences that really turn the stomach. If you're not reaching for a barf bag during the queasy conclusion to the film, you're far more jaded than I. Yet the movie still suffers from tepid sex scenes that run on and on for what feels like forever. Whenever the plot starts to move, we have to pause for yet another sex scene. Sure, some of them disturb in a graphic sort of way, but most feel more like filler to keep a movie with an already short runtime (68 minutes) afloat.
Synapse Films releases "Entrails of a Beautiful Woman" on DVD with extras and a great picture transfer. We get the essay on optical fogging again as well as another interview with the wacky Kazuo Komizu. Again, he rambles on for what feels like an eternity without making a lick of sense, let alone explaining anything tangible about his warped movies. And what is it with his computer? Every few seconds the thing squawks out some electronic tone that makes Komizu giggle uncontrollably. Anyway, Komizu apparently lensed a third entry in this "series," but Synapse hasn't released it to disc yet. I'm not sure I'd watch it if they did. Two of these movies are enough, even for this hardcore horror fanatic.