Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 03 Apr 2018, 08:24

Watched some more Shogoro Nishimura movies

Lusty Wife: Temptation of Flesh (色情妻 肉の誘惑) (Japan, 1976) [DVD] - 1.5/5
A sexually frustrated housewife runs into a creepy gypsy lady who tells her she's going to die unless she gets laid soon. Oddly enough, she doesn't go on a sex spree but instead gets scared. A rare specimen among Roman Porno, a sex film veering to occult horror. The plot is ridiculous and Shogoro Nishimura's direction utterly mediocre, but there are some bizarre moments especially towards the end that are worthy of some attention.

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Pleasure in the Mirror (鏡の中の悦楽) (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 1/5
A college kid starts spying on his sister's sex sessions thru a magic mirror and of course soon wants to join in. One would assume this film was done after the success of Pink Curtain, Nikkatsu's other similarly themed and slightly classier picture, but "Pleasure" actually came first, by a 14 day margin. With this subject matter, with even more sex than usual packed into 65 minutes, it's guaranteed to leave its audience feeling dirty, even if it looks and sounds surprisingly good. There's a lot of interesting talent behind the camera; director Shogoro Nishimura, assistant director Naosuke Kurosawa (Zoom Up: Rape Apartments, 1980), writer Chiho Katsuura (House, 1977) and cinematographer Yoshiro Yamazaki (Outlaw: Heartless,1968), most of them slacking with the exception of Yamazaki. Actor Nobutaka Masutomi, one of the most recognizable male faces in Roman Porno, seems to have been dubbed by someone else than himself for some reason.

Ran no nikutai (蘭の肉体) (Japan, 1984) [VoD] - 1.5/5
Roman Porno vending machine Shogoro Nishimura must have been trying to entertain himself with this sex film disguised as a gangster flick. Two small time goons and debt collectors (a guy and a girl) accidentally cause a desperate man to jump to his death from a high roof. Other people living in the house retaliate, causing the guy to run and the girl to seek shelter in one of the apartments. Unfortunately what could've been "The Porno Raid" then turns into a standard sex drama with one girl and too many (outlaw) guys with the hots on her. The gangster stuff adds slight curiosity to it, but is ultimately little more than a minor backdrop. How disappointing.

Gate of Flesh (肉体の門) (Japan, 1977) [VoD] - 2.5/5
Nikkatsu's semi-lavish Roman Porno adaptation of the famous novel, produced with a larger than usual budget and released with an exceptional 97 minute running time. It's a good story and there are fine, even poignant moments depicting life in the post war slums. Director Shogoro Nishimura also inserts occasional effective moments of beauty and hope. Ultimately, though, one has to ask exactly how much point was there to the film other than money. Seijun Suzuki's 1964 adaptation was just as violent and erotic despite having less nudity, and twice as stylish. A more realistic touch to the drama is the only new contribution this version has to offer.

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 09 Apr 2018, 09:35

Roman Porno treasure hunt

Eros Schedule Book: Female Artist (色暦女浮世絵師) (Japan,1971) [VoD] - 2/5
A sick artists finds success with dirty paintings he based on sketches done by her wife (Setsuko Ogawa), who in turn was left with a fixation for eros after being raped by a semi-retarded drooling nobility idiot. Passable period film, and director Chusei Sone's debut film. Like many of his early pictures, this one relies on a set of good looking, sometimes unusual (the grittiness of the rapes come as a surprise) images and scenes to carry a film that is not consistently good filmmaking. He did helm some superior efforts though, such as Secret Chronicle: Prostitute Market (1972), before delivering his finest pictures in the late 70s and early 80s (Red Violation, Red Classroom etc.).

Beads From a Petal (花弁のしずく) (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 3/5
Interesting if uneven directorial debut by Noboru Tanaka, whose background in French literature and poetry is worth keeping in mind when watching his early films. This movie, about a traumatized, sexually frigid woman (Rie Nakagawa in her first Nikkatsu film), is constructed as an allegory for the Japan that was defeated in WWII. The film borders on ridiculous at times, especially when it comes to her treatment in the hands (quite literally) of a doctor, but it's so well shot and edited, conveying an almost paranoid sense of mental insecurity, that it easily keeps the audience on board for 70 minutes. It is precisely the kind of film a young director veering towards arthouse would make when given some money and a condition to do something centring around sex. Tanaka, unlike some others, saw Roman Porno as an opportunity to create unique stories and art within certain confinements.

Afternoon Affair: Metamorphosis (Japan, 1973) (昼下りの情事 変身) [VoD] - 3/5
A young woman (Miyoko Aoyama) earns extras cash working as a prostitute at night, unbeknownst to her family and friends. Another good-ish early film by Noboru Tanaka, and a contrast and companion piece to his debut Beads From a Petal (1972). There's not terribly much character depth for a film that is essentially a character study, but Tanaka shows visual ambition again, creating long scenes void of dialogue (and sex), using only music and images as means of expression. Flowers and colours are used symbolically throughout the film. Attempts at depicting the flow of life in a metropolis via various supporting characters (brutish flower shop owner Akira Takahashi, his wife Moeko Ezawa and brother Morio Kazama etc.) fall short though; their lives are overly sexualized for the sake of adding more (boring) sex into the film.

Happinet will be releasing this film on DVD this year.

When at its best, the film looks and sounds really, really good
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Morio Kazama and Miyoko Aoyama
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Akira Takahashi
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Jitsuroku: Ganso manaita show (実録・元祖マナ板ショー) (Japan, 1975) [VoD] - 1.5/5
The birth of the "manaita show" (strippers engaging in sexual acts with the audience on stage) as presented by junk director Katsuhiko Fujii. Still, it is questionable if this "true account" was based on much other than Nikkatsu's budget and box office calculations. It was yet another film that put the word "jitsuroku" (true account, or docu-drama) into its title, a trend initiated by Toei yakuza films in the early 70s and soon adapted by Nikkatsu (Naked Resume: True Story of Kazuko Shirakawa; Gypsy Rose: A Docu-Drama; Jitsuroku Abe Sada aka A Woman Called Abe Sada etc.). The film stars Yuri Yamashina alongside real strippers doing what they do best. There is one amazing strip dance number with genuinely impressive staging, choreography and music. Unfortunately the rest of the film is a series of dull sex scenes linked with meaningless brief dialogue bits, as one would expect from D-grade director Fujii.

Bridal Doll (団鬼六 花嫁人形) (Japan, 1979) [VoD] - 2/5
A young man falls in love with a woman (Asako Kurayoshi, an actress with very expressive eyes) who has been sold as human doll to an slimebag who is into SM. He responds by kidnapping the slimebag's wife and subjecting her to similar treatment. This is junk director Katsuhiko Fujii's arthouse picture, a melancholic, impressionist revenge movie with occasional surreal visual sequences. Fujii paints the frame in red, cuts to historical past and shows a crucifixion, not entirely unlike directors like as Nobuhiko Obayashi, Shuji Terayama and Shunya Ito. But Fujii could never dream of being in their league, and this film is a superficial imitation with lesser execution and little meaning to the images. Still, it's a bit better than most other Oniroku Dan SM junk. The score is quite beautiful at times.

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That's a doll in a horror house, btw.
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Love Beast: Flower of Vice (愛獣 悪の華) (Japan, 1981) [VoD] - 1/5
Other than being a sort of come-back series for actress Jun Izumi, who starred in two Nikkatsu films in 1976 before trying a mainstream career with other studios, the Love Beast series is interesting for being crime films within Roman Porno. The follow-up to this movie, the Naosuke Kurosawa directed neo noir Love Beast: Attack! (1981), was rather successful. This opening instalment by workman director Akira Kato fires blanks, however. What begins as a 'yakuza giving heat to a bar owner and his girl (Izumi)' thriller soon turns into 'abducted girl trained for prostitution' boredom. That is, sex, sex, sex. How disappointing.

Virgin nanka kowakunai (ヴァージンなんか怖くない) (Japan,1984) [VoD] - 3/5
The Warriors (or perhaps more like The Bronx Warriors) goes Roman Porno in a punk action gang chase film! Except there is only one gang, and the runaways are a motorbike riding radio DJ who offended a gang member, and a guy who comes to her rescue. It's certainly a unique film in the Roman Porno series, for the main gang alone, which includes a crazed blonde punk, guys in gladiator clothing armed with blades and nunchakus, and two crazy women who look like pro wrestling escapees, all with ridiculous sex drives. Rikiya Yasuoka also appears as a sort of gang godfather. Luckily and unluckily the film was helmed by Hiruyuki Nasu, a trendy but somewhat talentless director with music video sensibilities, one who was never better than the scripts he worked with. The film is a mess with lots of potential; a better filmmaker could have made something really cool with the material. Still, it's a entertaining ride with punk and rock that earns an extra point for its sheer peculiarity.

Bad guys
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chasing the heroes
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Some some reason I keep thinking of Michael Pare in Streets of Fire...
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Rikiya Yasuoka on the left
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A guy who escaped from an Enzo G. Castellari set
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Ran no nikutai (蘭の肉体) (Japan, 1984) [VoD] - 1.5/5
Roman Porno vending machine Shogoro Nishimura must have been trying to entertain himself with this sex film disguised as a gangster flick. Two small time goons and debt collectors (a guy and a girl) accidentally cause a desperate man to jump to his death from a high roof. Other people living in the house retaliate, causing the guy to run and the girl to seek shelter in one of the apartments. Unfortunately what could've been "The Porno Raid" then turns into a standard sex drama with one girl and too many (outlaw) guys with the hots on her. The gangster stuff adds slight curiosity to it, but is ultimately little more than a minor backdrop. How disappointing.

Seifuku yurizoku - Warui asobi (制服百合族 悪い遊び) (Japan, 1985) [VoD] - 3/5
Cute lesbian schoolgirls in a love triangle! Questionable but functional entertainment by Koyu Ohara, a director capable of going back and forth between roughies and pop flicks. His tender side was always his best side, and that's what puts this film a few notches above the competition. Although the film may have been nothing but an excuse to fill the screen with girls in (and without) sailor uniforms, it's really quite a sweet film with evident sympathies for its heroines. From cute dialogue exchanges ("do you think we're doing something wrong?" heard as best friends Mami Mochizuki and Mayumi Asakura discover girl love by accident) to solid character confrontations (Chie Yamaguchi, delivering an unexpectedly strong performance as a mentally unstable girl in love with an about-to-be-married man, walking into the bride's condo to confess) and plenty of attractive skin, the film somehow achieves the unusual: you start rooting for these girls, and not just to take their clothes off.

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Mami Mochizuki and Mayumi Asakura
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Chie Yamaguchi in all of the caps below. She's really good as a disturbed girl...
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... in love...
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...thinking the world revolves around her only
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Seifuku niku-dorei (制服肉奴隷) (Japan, 1985) [VoD] - 1.5/5
Potential but disappointingly underwritten dark drama about a high school girl (Mami Mochizuki) who is bullied and sexually abused both at home and in school. There are moments powerful filmmaking, many of which have to do with Mochizuki's performance. She was a young actress with seemingly limited acting talent but good screen presence. In fringe and school uniform, playing an alienated and disturbed teenager, she shared much with the early 2000s Chiaki Kuriyama. This was the last of her only three Nikkatsu appearances (followed by a small role in Obayashi's His Motorcycle, Her Island before apparent retirement). It is too bad the film, helmed by the frequently disappointing Junichi Suzuki, features more sex than storytelling. A missed opportunity.

Mami Mochizuki
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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 10 Apr 2018, 13:26

Regarding the upcoming Happinet BD releases:
HungFist wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 16:42
Lesbians in Uniform 制服 百合族 (note: title change. Original is セーラー服 百合族) (1983)
This is now listed under the original title セーラー服 百合族 (Sailor fuku yurizoku) again, instead of the censored re-release title 制服 百合族 (Seifuku yurizoku) which was first announced.

I watched the film recently... a typical Hiroyuki Nasu film. Empty and superficial, with some stylish music video visuals. It does exactly what it the title (Lesbians in Uniforms) promises, and very little else. Koyu Ohara's Seifuku Yurizoku: Warui Asobi (制服百合族 悪い遊び) does the same formula much better, with heart and characterization... sadly no dvd / bd in the existence.
HungFist wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 16:42
Live Act: Top Stripper (本)噂のストリッパー (1982)
I also watched this film a few days ago. Quite a good slice of life drama with a genuinely sympathetic protagonist (mainstream actor Ken Miyawaki). A much better film than Yoshimitsu Morita's other Roman Porno, Pink Cut: Love Me Big, Love Me Deep. I'll post a bit more about the film later.

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Apr 2018, 07:46

Nikkatsu now has a website for the upcoming releases:
https://www.nikkatsu-romanporno.com/bddvd2018/

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by Guro Taku » 20 Apr 2018, 09:34

The nipple censorship notwithstanding these covers are a significant improvement over the eyesores that have previously passed as Happinet covers.

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Apr 2018, 10:15

Indeed. The covers for Afternoon Affair: Metamorphosis (昼下りの情事 変身) and Enka jōshikō: kizudarake no kaben (怨歌情死考 傷だらけの花弁) are pretty stylish, in fact.

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though not on par with the original poster for Afternoon Affair
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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Apr 2018, 05:30

Just got this!

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Can't express how happy I am I finally managed to snatch this after a few years worth of lost auctions. It's a rare item and very much in demand.

Exceptionally, there were two copies for sale at the same time, the one closing first listed with a notably higher starting price. I figured I'd get this for a semi reasonable price by bidding on the more expensive one. That's because that would send other bidders to the cheaper one which, however, because it closes later and it is only human that in a bidding war people end up bidding more than they planned on the last minute, would end up going for a higher price in the end. That's exactly what happened! I got mine for 4600 yen (with shipping), the other copy went for 6300 (with shipping).

I've seen this poster going for 7000 - 8000 yen before... which was too much for my budget.

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by HungFist » 26 Apr 2018, 07:56

The rest of my Roman Porno treasure hunt

White Whore (白い娼婦 花芯のたかまり) (Japan, 1974) [VoD] - 2.5/5
Dark and cold, if not very deep psychological drama by Masaru Konuma. It takes a bit of patience because there's a random filler sex scene right at the start, immediately sending the film off the rails. But there's better things to come. Well, "better". Yuri Yamashina is a hooker, always dressed in white (hence the delicate title), with a brother confined in a wheelchair. She keeps feeding him with young girls (some willing, others not) until one day she's raped (by a laundry delivery boy) in front of him, much to his delight. Things only get more twisted after this sexual awakening. This isn't one of Konuma's best pictures, but the storyline and arty approach work alright once you get over the poor start. His finest films remain the breezy love story Wandering Lovers: Dizziness (1978) and the atmospheric horror drama Woman In the Box 2 (1988).

Notice the billboard for Toei double feature Golgo 13 & Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song which came out Dec. 19, 1973)
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Female Teacher: Boy Hunt (女教師 少年狩り) (Japan, 1975) [VoD] - 2/5
There's a slight promise of something unusual with a title like "Boy Hunt", an anomaly among the more comfortably chauvinist "Woman Hunt" titles. And indeed, an all boy's school set film with a predatory female protagonist seems to have been a bit much for the Roman Porno audiences whose faith in their manhood had to be restored by having dentist Akira Takahashi drilling the fore mentioned heroine, and a bunch of schoolboys target her in the name of vengeance (her ex-student committed a suicide)... All of which largely undo the promise, especially when her misconducts are, despite the title, largely limited to an ex-romance and shaving misbehaving boys' pubic hair as a punishment in one scene! A bit of an odd film, and not really that bad of a movie even if it's a bit pedestrian in execution.

Slave Wife (奴隷妻) (Japan, 1976) [VoD] - 3/5
Kimono wearing wife Naomi Tani is assaulted by hilariously over the top American G.I.s before being abducted by bitter former servant Akira Takahashi. Tolerable direction and focused storyline, effective cross cutting between present and past, unexpected ending, and Takahashi as the abductor make this film more watchable than most of its SM companions. Takahashi was an unsung hero of Roman Porno; a decent actor who spent two decades playing second fiddle to actresses when Nikkatsu went Roman Porno, usually portraying gangsters. Quite often he'd manage to breathe life - even a tiny bit - to characters that were intended as nothing more than plot tools. This film features one of his biggest roles, and he doesn't disappoint.

Gaijin yaro harassing Naomi Tani
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Takahashi
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Rape Shot: Momoe’s Lips (レイプ・ショット 百恵の唇) (Japan, 1979) [VoD] - 2.5/5
This fast paced, surprisingly watchable pop thriller emerges as junk director Katsuhiko Fujii's best film. It's about a sleazy asshole reporter (Noriaki Abe with an amazing 70s moustache and perm) trying to bust pop star Miki (Minako Mizushima) for drugs while she's also being targeted by kidnappers and protected by a Terminator like bodyguard (Toei actor Shinzo Hotta in a ridiculous role). While the film's title is Momoe Yamaguchi exploitation it seems the project itself was influenced by Koyu Ohara breezy pop films and Yasuharu Hasebe's crime films (Abe also starred in Hasebe's tonally similar Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train). It's still sloppy filmmaking with some dull sex scenes and zero depth (you'll notice your attention drops the second there isn't something cool on screen) but it remains more watchable than you'd expect, is finely shot and even has some cool music.

Live Act: Top Stripper ((本)噂のストリッパー) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] - 3.5/5
A genuinely warm slice of life piece following the lives of a small strip theatre staff and dancers, and a very sympathetic young man (mainstream actor Ken Miyawaki) who falls in love with a dancer called Gloria (Kaori Okamoto). Meanwhile, a lonely and sweet girl named Yoshiko (Ayako Ota, looking like an 80s idol ala Hiroko Yakushimaru or Tomoyo Harada) befriends him and falls in love with him. There's a bit of crude sex as a genre burden and the characterization could benefit from a longer running time, but those are relatively minor flaws. This is one of those films people go in expecting a skin flick and come out having experienced something more profound: a good story with decent characters. It also functions as a decent, musically oriented zeitgeist to early 80s Japan. Writer / director Yoshimitsu Morita helmed his most celebrated film The Family Game the following year.

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Kaori Okamoto
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Ken Miyawaki
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Ayako Ota
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Elder Sister's Diary (Japan, 1984) (姉日記) [VoD] - 1.5/5
Hiroyuki Nasu (Bebop High School, 1985) was Nikkatsu's gun for hire for trendy, commercial entertainment in the mid 80s. He helmed pictures like Lesbians in Uniforms (1983) with the audio-visual touch of a music video director (and corresponding character depth). This film is a beach resort set Pink Curtain (1982) meets Sun Tribe lite with no other point than to milk the "brother in love with hot elder sister" concept. The Sun Tribe reference mainly epitomizes in the tremendous, cool as hell closing scene where the protagonist (Kaoru Oda) cuts her hair short and takes off her bikini top as she speeds to open sea in a motorboat operated by her brother who is left speechless by her coolness, all set to blazing pop music. Bravo!

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That's Roman Porno: Smile of Goddesses (ザッツ・ロマンポルノ 女神たちの微笑み) (Japan, 1988) [VoD] - 1.5/5
A 95 minute collection of clips (not trailers, like sometimes claimed) from Roman Porno films, disguised as a "documentary" (which it is not, save for an occasional narrator voice or an screen text), released in commemoration of the series after the series came to its end in 1988. There are no great discoveries to be made for well educated Roman Porno aficionados as all the clips are from relatively well know films.

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Re: Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

Unread post by Guro Taku » 26 Apr 2018, 13:27

HungFist wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 07:56
Slave Wife (奴隷妻) (Japan, 1976) [VoD] - 3/5
Kimono wearing wife Naomi Tani is assaulted by hilariously over the top American G.I.s before being abducted by bitter former servant Akira Takahashi. Tolerable direction and focused storyline, effective cross cutting between present and past, unexpected ending, and Takahashi as the abductor make this film more watchable than most of its SM companions. Takahashi was an unsung hero of Roman Porno; a decent actor who spent two decades playing second fiddle to actresses when Nikkatsu went Roman Porno, usually portraying gangsters. Quite often he'd manage to breathe life - even a tiny bit - to characters that were intended as nothing more than plot tools. This film features one of his biggest roles, and he doesn't disappoint.
I watched this a long time ago on VHS and Tani getting harassed by those dirty Americans is one of the things I remember from it. I swear there is a paper to be written by someone, someday, about the portrayal of Americans in 70ies Japanese exploitation cinema. It's certainly a constant source of amusement for me. The other thing I recall vividly is Tani getting molested with a stuffed raven. Probably one of my favorite scenes in all of Nikkatsu roman porno because of how absolutely weird it is. It can be spotted on the VHS cover below. There was a DVD release of this film in 2012 by YK Pictures and I briefly checked it out but immediately turned it off in disgust after realizing my VHS looked a lot better. I will gladly revisit this film if Happinet ever put it out on a remastered DVD/BD in the future.

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