Synapse Films presents
Entrails of a Beautiful Woman (Bijo no harawata / Guts of a Beauty / Guts of a Virgin 2) (1986)
"We can't live without doing awful things."- Yoshioka (Ken Yoshizawa)
Stars: Mogumi Ozawa, Ken Yoshizawa, Kazuhiro Sano
Other Stars: Junko Ishii, Seira Kitagawa, Shingi Sekigawa, Yoshinari Yoshie
Director: Gaira (Kazuo Komizu)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, extreme gore, sadism, rape, nudity, sexuality, mutilation)
Run Time: 01h:07m:57s
Release Date: 2004-07-27
DVD Review[Editor's note: THIS REVIEW SHOULD BE AVOIDED BY SENSITIVE READERS.]
Few cultures can stand up to the Japanese when it comes to repellent, over-the-top gore when combined with lurid and bizarre sex; frankly I doubt that Western taboos will ever be broken down enough to permit quite the nastiness that can be present in this picture, though Borowczyk comes close with such items as The Beast. This film (better known in previous video incarnations as Guts of a Beauty), one of the nastier in the genre of extreme sex and violence, comes to DVD in a new transfer from Synapse that will allow the cult fan to toss those bootleg tapes and import discs.
Yoshimi (Seira Kitagawa), a young woman, investigates the disappearance of her sister Keiko by tracking down her boyfriend Kenji Higashi (Kazuhiro Sano). Unfortunately for Yoshimi, Higashi is part of a Yakuza drug ring pushing the nasty narcotic Angel Rain, which is not only highly addictive but instills a desperate desire for sex. Captured by the gang, Yoshimi is given Angel Rain and raped repeatedly, but she escapes to the office of psychologist Dr. Hiromi (Megumi Ozawa) and tells her tale before jumping to her death. Dr. Hiromi, desiring to avenge Yoshimi, psychologically manipulates Higashi to turn on his compatriots. But when the gang learns who's behind this attempt, boss Yoshioka (Ken Yoshizawa) lays a trap for Dr. Hiromi.
For most of the notorious film's short running time, it plays like a bloody soft-core Yakuza drama, and isn't anything special. However, it's the last 12 minutes that are truly berserk. Dr. Hiromi, her veins full of Angel Rain, somehow combines with the mutilated corpse of Higashi to become a bizarre, meat-covered monstrosity with a gigantic fanged penis, not to mention an enormous head-swallowing vagina. This sequence defies belief, and all but the most hardened will be turning their eyes away during the subsequent nastiness. If you've ever had an urge to see utterly perverse hentai (tentacle sex) in a live action film instead of anime such as Urotsukidoji, here's your chance.
The special effects are pretty impressive for a low-budget effort, with some memorable gore effects that include partial decapitations and brutal mutilations. The sex gets a bit tiresome at times, though the impotence of leader Yoshioka is played for humor, with his nymphomaniac girlfriend (Junko Ishii) going to desperate lengths to obtain satisfaction. The rape sequences are plentiful and hard to watch, and there's plenty of sadomasochistic abuse to go around. But, for the most part, the sex really is an integral part of the story, so despite the leering emphasis upon it there's some socially redeeming quality here.
The cast is pretty good, with the women in particular being effective in some difficult and often dehumanizing situations. Despite gaping logical holes in the finale, the justification of the film is its nasty and vicious setpieces, and they definitely live up to their brutal reputations. Sources differ on whether this was filmed before or after Entrails of a Virgin (Synapse describes this as the followup picture), but it makes little difference since they really have nothing much to do with each other beyond their thematic materials and over-the-top gore and sex.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.78 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Previous video versions of this notorious film have not only featured the typical optical "fogging" of pubic hair demanded by the Japanese censors, but additional heavy digital pixelation to hide nastiness. Happily, Synapse has brought the film to DVD without the pixelation that formerly obliterated a sequence of silhouetted (simulated) fellatio, among other scenes. Two brief shots are still optically fogged, but as the liner notes indicate, this fogging is present on the original elements themselves, so there's nothing to be done about it.
The transfer is very nice, with a sharp and filmlike appearance. Colors are excellent, with good black levels and shadow detail. Edge enhancement is not visible, and only occasionally is aliasing notable. Very attractive for a low budget gorefest.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono track is quite noisy and full of hiss. The music has reasonably good depth for mono, and the dialogue is generally clear enough. Occasional crackles and pops come through, but it's tolerable for the most part.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: A 17m:51s interview with the director, apparently shot in summer 2002, is the principal extra. It's not terribly informative, other than delving a bit into the director's theories about corruption and the self-destructive process of seeking revenge. He tends to ramble aimlessly quite a bit, and some editing down probably would have helped. A Japanese anamorphic widescreen trailer (which includes snippets of quite a few scenes not in the film) is included, as well as a substantial set of liner notes discussing the Japanese censorship laws requiring "fogging."
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsIf excess in gore and sexuality is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. Synapse provides a very nice transfer, without pixelation of the nasty bits, making this an essential upgrade for fans of the extreme. Definitely not for the squeamish.
Mark Zimmer 2004-07-28