HungFist wrote: ↑
11 May 2019, 15:51
I'll probably never end up seeing most of these films, but the reviews are much appreciated.
I haven't really reviewed (m)any must-see Sato films in this thread so far. Office Lady Rape: Disgrace! (ＯＬ暴行汚す, 1986)
is the closest to that kind of thing of the titles covered above. The rest is more for the already converted and the Sato completists.
HungFist wrote: ↑
11 May 2019, 15:51
Keep em coming!
I fully intend to.
First, here's the long overdue picture quality comparison between the old Japanese DVD release (top) of Lolita Vibrator Torture (1987)
from 2002 and Synapse/Impulse Picture's US DVD from 2019 (bottom):
So yeah, this is clearly the same exact master that was first struck for the film's VHS release 32 years ago. Synapse encoded it anamorphically and with improved contrast and black levels. It's ugly (and I actually prefer the skin tones on the Japanese DVD) but it's still the best the film has yet looked on a home video format.
Of course, Synapse either opted out of putting any extras on their DVD or weren't granted access to them. A shame, to be sure, since the Japanese DVD is stacked with delicious goodies. After revisiting the film via the US DVD, I went for the Japanese disc and gave the commentary a spin. As mentioned above, it's with Sato, screenwriter Shiro Yumeno and actress Kiyomi Ito. It proved to be surprisingly easy to understand. Sato is really easy to follow. Yumeno speaks faster and sometimes strings sentences together, which makes him more difficult to follow. Ito doesn't talk much, unfortunately.
Things covered in the commentary include the true-crime inspirations for the film (a homicidal taxi driver in Korea, pesticide in school lunches in Japan), the old chestnut of art imitating life imitating art, how Sato initially met Kiyomi and her debut as a corpse in Yojiro Takita's High Noon Ripper (1984)
, getting the vibrator custom made for the film, the exact hight and age of all the principal actors and actresses - everyone involved was in their 20ies since, as they speculate, people like to finish college before the embark on a career, the fact that Kiyokmi Ito kept the photos made for the film and, by her own admission, likes to show them to people, the limitations of the schedule and the shoot, which was only 5 days, Sato's cameo appearance as a camerman at the end of the film...
Lots of good stuff! It really answered pretty much all the questions I had about the film with the exception of who really does the music for Sato's films. I suspect it's either himself or one of his other principal contributors.
There's also a few amusing bits, like when they comment on Kiyomi Ito's looks 15 years on and Sato is like "Well, in terms of what's inside the head, there hasn't been any growth..." and Kiyomi goes "Huh? Who are you talking about?! Yourself or me?"
When they discuss the true-crime inspirations of the film and Shiro Yumeno mentions the Korean taxi driver Sato interrupts him and says that he already used the taxi driver story for an earlier film called Wife Collector (人妻コレクター, 1985)
, which was written by Shuji Kataoka. Yumeno gets kind of pissy and says "Back then I didn't have time to pay attention to your films!"
And a classic Sato-ism: "I think a camera is a weapon that changes the way we look at facts."
The above shot got a great reaction from Sato: "Why are his socks yellow?! Who shot this?!" The context is that he spent a fair amount of time establishing that he was going for a monochromatic look with the film.
There is also a roughly 30 minute "Recording & Talk" featurette on the DVD that is about one third making of the commentary and then another 20 minutes of the three discussing their careers. Some great info here as well, as well as the amusing fact that Kiyomi Ito is apparently habitually late for any and all appointments.
As for Lolita Vibrator Torture (1987)
, which I hadn't seen in many years, I think it still holds up after all these years. It's sleazy and bleak but it has this recurring theme of Yumeno's scripts of a male psycho running into a cute girl who is not only his match but, quite possibly, even more fucked in the head than he is. So while it may initially seem like the film wallows in misogyny, the way it plays out could quite easily be read as a feminist statement. Or you can disregard all that and just enjoy it as a bit of exploitation cinema that hasn't lost any of its bite 30+ years after it was made.