Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 7th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1979
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Writer: Jiku Yamatoya
Cast: Shun Domon, Hiromi Namino, Asami Ogawa, Natsuko Yagi, Yuka Asagiri, Yûko Asuka, Hiroshi Nawa, Rei Okamoto, Nagatoshi Sakamoto, Bunta Sugawara, Shôhei Yamamoto
DVD Released: March 31st, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Discotek / Eastern Star
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Escaped rapist Genpei Hirukawa holds a man and woman hostage. He ties the man up and forces him to watch as he rapes his wife. Later after the terrifying ordeal she reveals to her husband that she is pregnant and that the father of her unborn child is the man who raped her. Flash Forward twenty years Tatsuya child conceived on the fateful night is about to celebrate his twenty first birthday. He is about to gain full control of his families estate since the man he had known as his father died during a fishing trip and his mother several years before that committed suicide. With his new found financial freedom Tatsuya a child of rape decides to dedicate his to follow in the footsteps of his rapist father Genpei Hirukawa.
Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls was directed by Norifumi Suzuki whose other notable films include Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack, Girl Boss Guerilla, Girl Boss Revenge, Sex and Fury, Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom, School of the Holy Beast and The Killing Machine. Even though Norifumi Suzuki often work /co-wrote the screenplays for many of his films he did not write the screenplay for Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls, the screenplay was written by Jiku Yamatoya. The screenplay was based on a Manga that was created by Masaaki Sato, who also co-created with Ikki Kajiwara, the Manga that inspired the film, 13 steps of Maki: the young aristocrats.
The plot for Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls centers around a young man named Tatsuya who is the offspring of a rapist. His search for who he really is takes on a darker tone as the film progresses. There are a few turning points in the film where a shift in his persona starts to emerge. His biggest transformation comes after he is reunited with his rapist father. The film’s jarring ending gives the impression that Tatsuya has found what he has been searching for.
Visually Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls is a intoxicating extravaganza of the depraved in which director Norifumi Suzuki puts all the film’s character through the most extreme situations. Two of the film’s more shocking moments are a scene where Tatsuya climax’s after masturbating on pictures of those who have suffered at the hands of others and a scene involving a dog that licks one of the women who is being held prisoner by Tatsuya. The use of classical music throughout the film does a good job counter balancing the brutality that is on display. Also while the majority of the cast are only glossed over and not given much background detail, the film’s lead Tatsuya is a well defined character that by the end becomes sympathetic despite the despicable acts that he orchestrated earlier in the film.
One of the most surprising assets is the films cast who all go above and beyond in their respective performances. Shun Domon is cast in the film’s lead role Tatsuya and cast in the role of his girlfriend is former Miss Japan is Hiromi Namino, in her film debut. The film’s poster art is a perfect example of exploiting its main attraction, in this case Hiromi Namino. The poster depicts a semi nude Hiromi Namino wearing riding gear and suspenders. Director Norifumi Suzuki often goes against genre cliches as he holds back Hiromi Namino nude scene until the film’s final minutes. Japanese film icon and one of Norifumi Suzuki’s most frequent collaborators Bunta Sugawara has a brief cameo in Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls as truck driver who gets advice about women from a rapist. Other notable cast members include Asami Ogawa (Erotic Diary of an Office Lady, Osou!), Rei Okamoto (Assault! Jack the Ripper, Rape! 13th Hour, Beast to Die) and Hiroshi Nawa another one of Norifumi Suzuki’s frequent collaborators.
Visually Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls is filled with all the perverse imagery we have come to expect from these Roman Porno’s released by Nikkatsu Corporation. Also Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls holds up really well for its entire 100 minutes in length. The film is filled with just the right amount of peaks and valleys that help keep things moving at a brisk pace. Ultimately Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls is the most perverse and demented film ever to emerge out of the fertile mind of director Norifumi Suzuki.
Eastern Star presents Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Colors look vibrant and nicely saturated. Flesh tones look accurate and healthy. Black levels are strong and there is a n exceptional amount of detail even in the film’s numerous darker / dimly lit scenes. This is the third DVD release that I know of. The first being Japan Shock’s in 2004, followed by Geneon Entertainment’s in 2007 and now Eastern Star’s DVD release in March of 2009. I have not seen the region 2 DVD release from Geneon Entertainment. It is most likely that the Eastern Star transfer is sourced from the same source as the Geneon Entertainment DVD release. The first release of Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls, under the title Star of David: Beauty Hunting via Japan Shock in 2004 was presented in a letterboxed widescreen, interlaced, details often looked soft and the colors looked muted. The Eastern Star DVD runs exactly 99 minutes and 50 seconds, while the Japan Shock DVD clocks in at 99 minutes and 29 seconds. Both versions feature one scene near the end of the film that has digital fog. The Nikkatsu logo which is missing on the Japan Shock DVD has been reinstated on the Eastern Star DVD. Eastern Stars transfer is superior to the Japan Shock transfer in every way.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been supplied. The audio mix sounds clean, clear and surprisingly full considering its most limitations. The 2004 DVD release from Japan Shock’s also came with just one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and the quality of the audio is a few notches below the quality of the audio included on this DVD release from Eastern Star. Also when comparing the subtitles of the two releases the translation’s are almost spot on.
Extras for this release include trailers for Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls, Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight, Blind Woman’s Curse, A Chinese Torture Chamber Story, Ebola Syndrome and Sukeban Boy. Other extras include a fifteen minute interview with director Norifumi Suzuki who discusses Toei and how he ended up working with Nikkatsu, Masaaki Sato’s Manga that the film is based on, Religious / Christian imagery in his films and Japan cinema’s fascination with Nuns. The main extra for this release is an audio commentary with Norifumi Suzuki, who is joined by a moderator who keeps things moving at a rapid pace. The audio commentary is often scene specific or actor specific as Norifumi Suzuki remembers in vivid detail facts about the film, the cast and crew. This audio commentary is a perfect example of how use this type of an extra to its fullest. Also included with this release is a reversible DVD cover with alternate artwork. Overall this is an exceptional DVD release from Eastern Star that is highlighted by an insightful audio commentary track that leaves no stone unturned, highly recommended.