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

Zoom In: Sex Apartments 
Written by: on July 2nd, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1980
Director: Naosuke Kurosawa
Writer: Chiho Katsura
Cast: Yûko Araragi, Yôko Azusa, Beniko Iida, Hidetoshi Kageyama, Yûko Katagiri, Toshikatsu Matsukaze, Setsu Midorikawa, Erina Miyai, Midori Mori, Yoko Oyagi, Ren Seido, Keijirô Shiga, Rei Takagi, Miki Yamaji, Yûko Ôsaki

DVD released: July 10th, 2012
Approximate running time: 68 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Impulse Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis: Saeko just barely allows her husband a quickie before he goes off to participate in a cycling tournament. On her way to meet a former lover she gets raped by a man dressed all in black. When she gets to the love nest, he’s dressed all in black and possesses the same distinctive piano tuning instrument as left by her assailant: a felt pick. Gruesome murders ensue with all evidence pointing in exactly one direction, but Saeko is so turned on that she cannot bear to notify the authorities.

This time we’re in Giallo country where they serve no gory slaughters of virginal girls before their time. There are a few gratuitous sex scenes featuring our rather sexually obsessed leading lady, but it’s mainly the perverse serial murders involving burning of women’s private parts that soon become the primary focus. Despite the continuous reference to the ‘rapist’ in the subtitles and in the original English title, ‘murdering psychotic fiend wearing black gloves’ is more appropriate.

By 1980, both the Italian Giallo and the US slasher films were spreading like wildfire. This is a rather successful attempt to combine mystery and horror with graphic deaths of random victims with absolutely no backstory. But that’s not all, aside from the adulterous nymphomania displayed by the matrimonially frigid wife, we get all sorts of striking images and bizarre symbolism. A little slow at times, and lacking any character development whatsoever, this is still a mesmerizing little picture that is definitely a walk on the wild side.

SPOILER WARNING: Don’t bother to try and solve the mystery from the clues at hand, because it cannot be done. The ending is a cheater, but very weird and subject to various interpretations. My take is that Saeko is insane, and the entire movie, except for the brief encounters with her husband, are merely manifestations of hallucinogenic wet dreams.

The DVD:

Another great release from Impulse with a nearly flawless anamorphic print, removable English subtitles, and liner notes by Jasper Sharp. This time Impulse includes the trailer which is in excellent condition.

Containing gruesome murders and grisly remains, this one is not for the squeamish. At the same time not overtly gory and leaving much to the imagination, it will fail to appease gore aficionados. But the primary inspirations appear to come from and blend the styles and substance of Dario Argento and Seijun Suzuki. Nuff said?

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