Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 21st, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, June 12th, 1976
Director: Noboru Tanaka
Writer: Akio Ido
Cast: Junko Miyashita, Renji Ishibashi, Hiroshi Cho, Aoi Nakajima, Toshihiko Oda, Yumemura Shiro, Kazuko Tajima, Tokuko Watanabe, Yasuji Yashiro
DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 76 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A peeping tom landlord witnesses a woman committing a murder. Instead of being revolted by what he has witnessed. He becomes infatuated with the woman helps him unlock his darker side.
Watcher in the Attic was directed by Noboru Tanaka. During the 1970’s Noboru Tanaka was one of the Nikkatsu’s most prominent roman porno directors. His notable films as a director include A Woman Called Sada Abe and Angel Guts: Nami. The screenplay for Watcher in the Attic is based on the two Rampo Edogawa short stories titled “The Human Chair” and “The Attic-Stroller”. Many of his stories have been made into films. Three of more notable film adaptations of Rampo Edogawa’s fiction include, Black Lizard (directed by Kinji Fukasaku), Horrors of Malformed Men (directed by Teruo Ishii) and Blind Beast (directed by Yasuzo Masumura).
Visually Watcher in the Attic is beautifully photographed by cinematographer Masaru Mori (Wife to Be Sacrificed, Tattooed Flower Vase, Angel Guts: Nami). One thing that immediately impressed me about this film is just how much production value this period drama had considering that many of Nikkatsu’s film’s from this era were made on shoe string budgets. Even though the narrative is abstract the progression of the story is not hard to follow. The visual style of the film lends itself perfectly to the film’s themes of voyeurism. The sexual situations in the film are not as graphic as one would expect when compared to other Nikkatsu Roman Porno’s. There is almost an arthouse feel to the film’s sexual content.
The most memorable part of the film involves a chauffeur driver who has a chair made in which he can sit inside of it. While the lady who he works for sits in it so he can feel her warm naked flesh. The film is filled with unsympathetic characters especially the films two leads characters Minako Sayanomiya portrayed by Junko Miyashita and Saburo Gouda (the watcher in the attic) portrayed by Renji Ishibashi. The performances in this film are all exceptionally good all around with the film’s two leads Junko Miyashita and Renji Ishibashi. Ultimately Watcher in the Attic is a bleak tale about loneliness and obsession.
Mondo Macabro presents Watcher in the Attic in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. All around this progressive flagged transfer fares really well, with robust colors, solid black level’s and razor sharp detail throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio is in good shape, with clear dialog, no distortion or audio defects and everything sounds evenly balanced.
Extras for this release include trailers for Watcher in the Attic, Naked Rashomon, the Sins of Sister Lucia, Assault! Jack the Ripper, Female Prisoner: Caged and the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release. Also included with this release are two essay’s one about Nikkatsu Studios and the other about Watcher in the Attic. Both text pieces are written by Pete Tombs. Other extras include a ten and ½ minute interview with Jasper Sharp who discusses Noboru Tanaka, Junko Miyashita, Renji Ishibashi, Edogawa Rampo and the Angel Guts film Nami. The main extra include with this release is a twenty four minute documentary titled “The Erotic Empire”. This documentary includes comments from actress Kozuko Shirakawa, Jasper Sharp author of “Behind the Pink Curtain”, director Seijin Suzuki, film critic Toshiyuki Matsushima and artist/filmmaker Romaine Slocombe. This documentary gives a well rounded overview of the Nikkatsu Roman Porno genre. This documentary is also included on Mondo Macabro’s DVD release for Assault! Jack the Ripper. A UK DVD release of Watcher in the Attic released by Pagan in 2004 featured a non anamorphic transfer. Overall Watcher in the Attic gets a fully loaded DVD release from Mondo Macabro that is highlighted by a strong audio/video presentation.