Tôyama, a weak-willed businessman, is in debt to the Yakuza; they also have a video of him bribing a government minister. To clear his debts, he agrees to let them drug and kidnap his wife ... See full summary »
Thrown together by chance during the robbery of a jewelry store by a Yakuza gang, five women take advantage of the situation to make off with the heist's loot, while a man hunts the same ... See full summary »
Ikko, the six year old daughter of a yakuza gang boss witnesses the brutal slaying of her parents and is only saved from sharing their fate by an underground hitwoman who goes by the ... See full summary »
Jiro (Naoto Takenaka) is a man who can do anything for you for a price. Part odd jobs man and part private eye he takes on tasks as simple as clearing out storage lockers to tracking down ... See full summary »
According to the Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia by Thomas & Yuko Mihara Weisser, there are 5 other films in the series: Rouge Red Rope(Akai Nawa Hateru Made) Red Vertigo(Akai Memai) Red Prostitute(Akai Tensho) Night is Falling Again(Yoru Ga Mata Kuru) But what of this other one, Red Lightning(Akai Senko) not available in any but it's home region? I'vie seen most of the films Ishii has directed, and a few of the films he got his start writing the scripts for. A lot of his trademarks can be traced back to these early films, so much so that watching while watching these films you forget that Ishii didn't direct them himself. Soumai Shinji's Love Hotel (which I firmly believe is one of the best films I'vie ever seen) is so much like Ishii's own films in execution, the visuals (think long takes & gorgeous lighting), the use of music and Ishii would later use the actors again in his own films (Terada Minori as the villain in Alone In The Night, Hayami Noriko as the woman who Nishiyama Yumi's character's husband has an affair with in Gonin 2, and even Sato Koichi who is limited to a very small role here would get an extremely meaty role in Gonin) that you could honestly be forgiven for thinking Ishii had directed the film, not Soumai (who was a superb director, and remains underrated to this day) But before then, and probably more importantly, is the Tenshi no Harawata - Angel Guts - series. Love Hotel was made in 1985 and was heavy going but still a genuinely heartbreaking drama, but before then Ishii cut his teeth writing (and would eventually direct) this series of lurid drama/thrillers. And there are some weird stuffs going on with what looks like masturbation with the the leg of a table (? - the video is poor quality so it's hard to make out) and a scene where a woman wipes the cum of herself with some tissues (see also the aforementioned Love Hotel and Original Sin) Angel Guts also saw the beginning of Nami and Muraki. Basically, Nami is the name he used to give all his main female characters but unfortunately after Gonin he gave this away (and Muraki for the males) I think Freeze Me is, in a way, kinda to Ishii as Femme Fatale was to De Palma (and I'vie often people compared the two directors in reviews). After making Gonin 1&2, Black Angel 1&2 and Tokyo GP, Freeze Me showed Ishii going back to rape thrillers he knows so well and really feels like an Angel Guts film & the main character of Chihiro is a Nami if I ever saw one, just under a different name (a shame, because it would'vie been the perfect opportunity to bring back the name with a vengeance) He made his directorial debut with Angel Guts: Red Vertigo in '88 (which incidentally starred Katsuragi Mayako, who was in Toxic Avenger II) but wouldn't make another film until the v-cinema flick Gekka no Ran (aka Orchids Under The Moon) in '91.
In the nineties, he was on fire. Unfortunately, two of his finest films, A Night In Nude and Alone In The Night, are unavailable with subtitles. He had a hit with the awesome "Postman Always Rings Twice"-like Original Sin in 1992 (see linked thread for more) coming hot off the heels of the Angel Guts films and he would follow this up with A Night In Nude in '93 and Angel Guts: Red Lightning (the final in the series, and sadly unavailable anywhere) and Alone In The Night, both in '94 (before really carving out a name for himself with the ever popular Gonin in '95) I'vie heard RED FLASH referred to as the apotheosis of Angel Guts, it's a brilliant film, a truly beautiful dreamlike (or perhaps nightmare-like would be more appropriate) thriller with touches of Lynch/Cronenberg weirdness, and notable for being the film in which Shiina Kippei would win acclaim (and an award) for his role and become the big-time actor he is today (Ishii gave him good roles in RED FLASH and Gonin as well) The film also starred Takenaka Naoto (crazed salary-man in Gonin) who's been with Ishii for a long time now, same goes for Nezu Jinpachi (who memorably portrayed the ex-cop turned bouncer in Gonin, and also the lead in Gekka no Ran four years earlier, not to mention the leading male role in RED FLASH and Black Angel vol. 1) and the absolutely wonderful Yo Kimiko, who plays one of the best Nami's of all (she can also been seen in a cameo in RED FLASH, and as one of the five leading femmes in Gonin 2) Everything in this film is spot-on brilliant, I can't believe it. The eye candy cinematography, watery imagery and stunning long takes are all there, the rape scene (followed by an obvious nod to Psycho), superb and very memorable score by Yasukawa, great use of songs - just check out the second scene of the film (one of these songs would turn up, albeit faintly in the background, in Gonin 2), great characters (it's little wonder Shiina got a gong for his violent homosexual thug) "Red Lightning" is a bootleg title for Ishii's Angel Guts: Red Flash (Tenshi no headwater: akai senkô). Both that film and his Alone in the Night (Yoru ga mata kuru) were produced by Video Champ (a division of Suntory), King Records, and TV Tokyo. They were released theatrically in Japan by Argo Pictures (also a division of Suntory).
Hiroyuki Nasu's Rouge (R¯uju) was distributed by Nikkatsu. Jun'ichi Suzuki's Akai nawa: hateru made was produced and distributed by Nikkatsu.
The Angel Guts series is a (titular) hexalogy, not an ennealogy - all six of the films in it were originally entitled, in part, "tenshi no headwater".
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