Saturday, November 27, 2010

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs

Directed by: Yukio Noda Year of Release: 1974 Running Time: 88 min

This legendary "violent pinky" film from Japan is a good place to start for viewers wishing to brave the lurid waters of Japanese explotation. The Japanese authorities enlist the help of a imprisoned renegade female police officer (armed with the titular red handcuffs) to save the daughter of a high ranking government official who is being held for ransom by a demented (aren't they all?) gang of murderous rapists. What sets Zero Woman (and quite a few other J-exploitation films) apart from the standard exploration pic is how genuinely well crafted and artfully shot it is. Like a seedy manga (which this is actually based on) sprung to life, ZW is a real blast; full of sleazy thrills and deliriously violent even by today's standards, this pic is a guilty pleasure of massive proportions. They don't make 'em like this anymore!

Grade: 4/5

In print and available from Discotek

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Devils

Directed by: Ken Russel Year of release: 1971 Run time: 111min

The Devils is a powerful, unforgettable meditation on faith, religion, lust, political corruption and human nature. Directed by Ken Russel it is also a sight to behold; every frame seems to be filled with sometimes beautiful sometimes horrific but always mesmerizing imagery and the atmosphere is one of both sexuality and apocalyptic doom. The acting is spectacular; particularly Oliver Reed who plays the protagonist, a controversial and powerful priest in a plague devastated 17th century French city who becomes a target of the church and the dark sexual obsession of a crippled nun. Both of these forces combine with catastrophic results for both the city and Reeds character. Disturbing, visionary and thought provoking, The Devils is true cinematic masterpiece.

Rating 5/5

Available uncut on Region 1 DVD from Euro Cult