Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS (DVD Review)

 Japan/1980 
 Directed By: Naosuke Kurosawa
Written By: Chiho Katsura
Starring: Erina Miyai, Youko Azusa, Yuuko Ohzaki

The Film
Saeko is a woman with a somewhat mysterious past. After her boyfriend leaves for a trip to "win and come in first place" she is attacked in a barren field by a man in a black mask and black gloves with a rock. She is raped in the field but her life is spared. Shortly after she decides to pay a visit to a man from her past who she recently ran in to and that gave her a key to his apartment in the Kibougahara building. Intending to simply return the key, the couple ends up having sex and she stays with the man. Shortly after a string of incredibly gruesome and violent murders befall the residents of the building. Saeko has suspicions on who the murderer may be but with a madman on the loose who rapes, beats and burns victims alive will she be able to stay alive long enough to figure it out?



ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS caught me totally off guard. The artwork and title revealed nothing of what this film ended up being. Director Naosuke Kurosawa makes his debut here and shows that he is probably too talented to be making the Nikkatsu porno films that really don't require the skill or style on display here. What could have easily been a bland film about a murderer filled with sex is a pleasant surprise filled with surrealism. Kurosawa is an obvious horror fan and if the heart thumping soundtrack, and posters from Hammer horror films around the apartments don't tell you that than the obvious homages and influences from the Giallo film and Dario Argento certainly will. The black gloved, sex crazed maniac is a staple of many of the Italian thrillers that Argento helped make famous a decade before this film and with very similar violence and style. Kurosawa gives such a dream like (or nightmare) feeling to much of the violence within the film that you are able to look passed the disgust you may very well be feeling in your gut and appreciate it as something more. From the chase scene where the passing apartments black out in a sign of foreshadowing to the finale, the entire film could be viewed as images inside a crazy person's head. 



 ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS is 68 minutes of sheer depravity and pure nastiness, and I love it. The obvious Giallo homages, that are well done, pull at my heart strings as they are among my favorite films. The stylish direction, surrealism about the whole thing and attractive naked women make this one a winner.


The Video 
The anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer from Impulse Pictures is crisp and clean and generally looks solid. There are plenty of vibrant colors on display from blood reds to bright fire orange, which really pop. The English subtitles are easy to read and presented nicely. A nice presentation overall. 

 
The Audio
The Japanese 2.0 Mono track, available with or without the English subs, is free of any hiss, crackling or pops. The levels are mixed nicely so you won't have to go reaching for the remote while watching. 

The Extras
The only extras are a theatrical trailer for the film and liner notes from Jasper Sharp. As I've said before (and will probably say again) the liner notes are simply fantastic and provide a ton of insight into these films in just a couple of pages. 



The Bottom Line
If I had to file a complaint with this one it is that ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS is just too short. That isn't a complaint I've registered with any of the other Nikkastu Roman films released in this series of films that all have rather short runtimes but this one could have used another ten to fifteen minutes to really get a bit more in depth with the story. As it is, the film works and it is a minor complaint. The 5th entry into the series by Impulse Pictures is without a doubt my favorite to date.

ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS is available to order HERE

2 comments:

Grimm said...

Wow. I'm going to have to check this out. You're review was awesome and got me wanting to check this one out.

Swing by my page
http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/

Celluloid Terror (Seth Poulin) said...

Thanks man.

I saw you just reviewed Slugs recently, I actually just bought it the other day and am anxious to see how ridiculous it is