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October 6, 2012

Movie Review: Zoom In: Sex Apartments (1980)

Directed by Naosuke Kurosawa

Starring Yuko Araragi, Yoko Azusa and Beniko Iida

After a quickie with her husband before seeing him off for a bicycling race, Saeko (Yuko Araragi), is hit with a rock by a masked man with black gloves and brutally raped while on her way to visit her lover. Her life is spared but five years later shocking murders begin to befall the residents of the Kibougahara Apartment building.  The masked psycho is busy at work, torturing, raping and setting his victims genitals on fire.  It doesn't take Saeko long before she realizes her lover is the culprit, and she is caught in a world between fear and arousal.....a world filled with sex, lies and gruesome murders.

This is number five in Synapse Films release of the  Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection, and having seen the first and second releases I can say with confidence this is the edgiest of the films I’ve reviewed in the collection. Yes, even stranger then Debauchery (1983), as this one takes the soft-core porn theme and adds a classic Giallo twist to the “bored and horny housewife” story. So along with the gratuitous sex scenes (standard, lesbian and rape themed) we are treated to quite a bit of bloodletting as well. And although the identity of the culprit is never really in question, the rampaging murderer story-line basically takes over the film and Saeko’s raging sexual desires fill in the rest of the space.

The rape scenes are surprisingly brutal for a non-x rated movie. Along with the brutality of some of the sex scenes,  the torture and murder scenes are also pretty graphic for a movie made in 1980. I’ll be the first to admit, even I squirmed a bit when the killer stuffs a gasoline soaked rag into a girls hoo-ha and sets it on fire. There's a lot of stuff to like about this DVD, it packs quite a bit into its 67 minutes and there are only a couple brief moments when you feel like the flow of the film starts to stall out. Its got a sort of surreal feel to it from start to finish and the ending is actually quite bizarre, with Saeko making love to two leather-clad killers and a scene where a woman bursts into flames after passing our horny starlet on a bike path. Fun & wacky stuff for sure.

It's another winning release from Impulse, with a great restoration done to the print. The included trailer looks great as well. This, along with the other films in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection all deliver something most soft-core porno’s lack, a lot of style and a definite edge to them. If your a fan or collector this DVD is a must-have, and even fans of old-school slasher movies will probably give this one a big thumbs-up. It's quality smut with more to offer then just sex. (Gratuitous violence! Woohoo!)

Highly Recommended

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