10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Inferno of Torture 
Written by: on December 6th, 2007

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1969
Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Mieko Fujimoto, Reiichi Hatanaka, Yuki Kagawa, Kamiko Katayama, Asao Koike, Miki Obana, Masumi Tachibana, Haruo Tanaka, Teruo Yoshida

DVD released: 2004
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono Dutch
Subtitles: English, Dutch, German
DVD Release: Japan Shock
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL
Retail Price: $27.95

Synopsis: Japan, Edo period a young woman named Nami is forced to work at the brothel of Nagasaki when her family is unable to pay its debts. All the women in the brothel are given tattoos and two rival tattoo artists vie for the chance to work on Nami’s perfect white flesh. Nami falls in love with one of the tattoo artists and when his rival finds out he devises a plan to keep them apart forever.

Even if your knowledge of Japanese exploitation cinema from the 1960’s and 1970’s is limited chances are you have seen or are at least familiar with the films of director Teruo Ishii. His most famous films are Horrors of Malformed Men, The Blind Woman’s Curse, Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture and three Sonny Chiba films The Executioner, The Executioner 2: The Karate Inferno and The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge.

Inferno of Torture quickly establishes itself with its grotesque and brutal images in the opening credits like spears in a woman’s vagina, sawing off heads and burning women alive. There is plenty of cruelty in this film and all of the torture scenes are down with the utmost care and style. The plot is the film weakest asset and it feels as though it merely exists to facilitate the films numerous torture scenes. Visually Inferno of Torture is filled with many spectacular compositions and an abundance of style. One of the more memorable shots is when the girls are all being looked over before they are sold and the camera shoots up through a glass floor to show the action above.

The acting in Inferno of Torture is very good and like most films from this era in Japan it is amazing to see just how much time and effort was put even into secondary roles. If you are a gore hound don’t expect violence in that is similar to Dario Argento expect something that is more sensual or perverse. The reason why this film and those like it work so well is that they do not depict the violence as something horrifying instead they kind of romanticize the torturing that is going on. Ultimately Inferno of Torture is another solid entry in the “Joy’s of Torture” series.

The DVD:

Japan Shock gives Inferno of Torture an anamorphic widescreen transfer which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The transfer is the best looking from Japan Shock which I have seen to date and it its leaps and bounds ahead of quality wise of their video presentation for Japan Shocks Shogun’s Joy of Torture.

The two audio minxes included with this release Japanese and Dutch are at bets above average in quality. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.

Extras a slideshow are sparse and four Lobby Cards/Postcards. Nothing to get excited about. Despite its shortcomings Japan Shock’s Inferno of Torture is the best English friendly version currently available.

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