OK, so I'm still shockable (see previous post). However when it comes to 70s Japanese exploitation cinema, it would appear that I've become almost completely jaded. Take, for example, Star of David: Beauty Hunting (aka Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls), a late entry from 1979. Here we have a tale of a handsome young sociopath who idolizes Hitler and indulges in serial rape, torture and murder. Oh you'll get your money's worth with this dark little ditty (adapted from a manga, or more precisely gekiga, by Masaaki Sato). In addition to the standard trifecta already mentioned, there's a fair amount of Japanese rope bondage, a bit of necrophilia, some unique scenes of father-and-son psycho-killing, and lots of humiliation (anyone for forced urination?).
And through it all, I hardly batted an eye. This could be due to a certain slickness of production -- the film was directed by Norifumi Suzuki, my favorite Toei exploitation filmmaker (who, in fact, made this film for Nikkatsu). Suzuki was a consummate pro, and a master of tastefully made tasteless films. He had an arty flair that could make just about any abomination palatable (see his Sex and Fury and Convent of the Sacred Beast for other examples). However, one gets the impression that even Suzuki was growing tired of all the lurid horribleness. At one point, in what seems an effort to take the edge off, he inserts a cameo of Bunta Sugawara and Kinya Aikawa, stars of the uproarious Torakku yaro (Truck Guys) film series (ten of which Suzuki directed in the mid-70s). There they are, cruising down the highway in their colorfully painted dekotora, their dialog significantly raunchified for the purposes of the picture (some nonsense about judging a woman's private parts by the size and shape of her nose).
Star of David: Beauty Hunting is a good flick if you're looking to get your kinky psycho freak on, but beyond that, well, let's just say it's an acquired (tastefully tasteless) taste.
Blu-ray Review: Criterion's TAMPOPO Will Make You Hungry - Make sure your noodle-wrangling skills are on point before spinning up this delicious disc. [Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
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