Two short stories set in Edo during the Shogun era. 1. During a time when Christians are persecuted vehemently, Iori falls in love with young Christian girl. When she and her family are ... See full summary »
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Two short stories set in Edo during the Shogun era. 1. During a time when Christians are persecuted vehemently, Iori falls in love with young Christian girl. When she and her family are captured during a raid, his sadistic master takes her as her personal slave to torment him, and tries breaking her spirit by means of rape, torture and pure sadism. After Iori refuses to participate any longer he is exiled, but vows to get her back. 2. When Sutezo is forced to serve the cruel master of a brothel to repay his debts, he becomes friends with the young girl Sato. Together, they escape and try to get by on scams and theft. Written by
With a name like Shogun's Sadism you rather know what to expect. Or at any rate you should, and if you don't, it probably isn't a film for you. I could wrap up this review in a sentence or two just giving a few select highlights of the frequent torture, but its more interesting than that for me, for a few reasons. The first comes in the opening credits, they play over a montage of sepia toned historical imagery that meant very little to me (some kind of account of nastiness down the ages perhaps though the context was lost on me) but the last of them is of the bomb. Its a puzzling way to start such a film and rather had me scratching my head. Does it make the film an act of prostration, an admittance of the horrors of feudal Japan? Perhaps a sobering reminder of mans limitless capacity for horrifying violence? Me, I thought it over and eventually came to figuring that its a snub, a way of saying "You thought the A-bomb was pretty hardcore? Try some of this on for size", or whatever the dignified Japanese equivalent of that would be. The other points are in the very nature of the thing and the state of nasty horror today. It's interesting to me that commentators from morality humping imbeciles to language abusing soundbiters to morons of most stripes like to throw around the term of "torture porn" when talking about almost any horror these days where the violence is relatively graphic and the intent reasonably nasty. All this nonsense about genre decline, hell the whole danged decline of the arts in general, even humanity in general comes rather into sharp relief when one considers that the Japanese have been making meaner films than the average effort decried as "torture porn" for many years previous. And lastly, I found the character of the evil shogun who drives the film's first half to be a rather prescient creation. A forerunner of the sort of people who made the Saw franchise a runaway success, he bores easily of torture and demands more, ever more and more creative methods in fashion that can't help but make me think of those who ceaselessly glut the multiplexes for their fix of ever dafter traps. Now as well as having some generic interest, Shogun's Sadism serves up two quite decent stories in a manner well made and acted throughout. Firstly we have nice guy samurai Iori falling for a girl who tends to his wounds in an hour of need. Unfortunately she is a Christian, Christians are persona non grata in feudal Japan and the results are terrible for all concerned. Second up we have conman Sutezo, throwing is weight around in a brothel before being forced to serve as he has no money. Eventually things get so nasty he elects to escape with one of the hookers, but things just keep getting worse. And like before, results are terrible. Director Yuji Makiguchi captures all without flinching, only shifting the camera's gaze in cases where an effect might be spoilt by overexposure, he also handles the actors well. Some hand-held camera work goes into the mix as well for moments of action and there's generally fine cinematography it all makes for a classy package. Far classier perhaps than is deserved for a film whose delights include a multitude of stabbing, burning, hacking, maiming and at one point an thoroughly horrid forced abortion, but classiness makes for a smooth watch. This surely won't be for everyone but if really mean spirited Japanese exploitation filth is your cup of tea, its essential stuff.
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