What do you get for the exploitation fan that’s seen everything? Actually, that question might be better unanswered, but should the situation arise, consider “Entrails of a Virgin”. Although showing its age after nearly 20 years, this archetypal sleaze film from Japan still has the power to shock and entertain. Despite not quite living up to the delirious atrocities suggested by its title or wonderfully lurid cover, the film is still a potent mix of sex, violence, and more sex (albeit with traditional Japanese optical censoring), with a number of unique scenes that will make even the most jaded viewer sit up and take notice.
Basically a sex film with added gore, this is without a doubt the oddest film ever to be inspired by Descartes and Japanese candy. Those are the director’s words, by the way, not mine. One of the few ways in which “Entrails of a Virgin” saves itself from being nothing more than sadistic porn is that it actually has a plot of sorts.
A group of photographers and their models finish a hard day of soft porn work in the mountains and head home. However, while driving through a forest they get lost in some mysterious fog and are forced to take shelter in an abandoned building. Naturally, they decide to drink it up and have a little party, including some kinky sex games, humiliation, and a lot of wrestling. Unfortunately for them, some kind of swamp monster emerges from the darkness and kills them one by one, subjecting the women to awful acts of perversion before they die.
This all sounds incredibly sadistic on paper, though in practice, whilst certainly misogynistic, “Entrails of a Virgin” thankfully lacks the casual contempt for women displayed by so many Hong Kong Category III films. This is probably due to the fact that director “Gaira” (Kazuo Komizu, who hasn’t made anything of note beyond the 3 “Entrails” films) is actually trying to make a point about commercialism in cinema. Although this point is not particularly obvious while watching the film and any meaning is drowned by the sheer weight of the film’s exploitative content, it at least gives the proceedings an added dimension.
To tell you the truth, pretty much everything in this film is drowned by the incredible amount of sex on display. These scenes take up around two thirds of the scant running time, and are so frequent that they rapidly become boring and dull. Some viewers may find this hard to believe, but the film simply contains far too much sex. Honestly, if that’s what you are after, rent some proper porn. As noted above, although there is a great deal of nudity, the actual sex in the film has optical “fogging” over the offending parts. This censoring is present in the original film, and does not mean that any recent versions are edited or specifically altered.
The avalanche of sex in the movie is kind of a shame, as the neglected horror elements are quite effective, and Gaira manages to sneak in a few atmospheric scenes. Although most of the film is shot like the porn it resembles, Gaira does appear to have some skill. Having said this, I couldn’t understand his penchant for throwing in completely unrelated footage during some of the kill scenes. For example, prior to one character getting his head smashed in with a hammer, we are shown some clips of a guy on the street falling down. Why? I have no idea.
The film doesn’t contain as many stomach-churning moments as I had been led to believe, though there are a few standouts, including the infamous scene where a sex-crazed woman makes interesting use of a severed arm. Most of the gore is quite cheap and unconvincing, and more likely to make viewers laugh rather than cringe. In fact, most of the film is unintentionally quite amusing, with some terrible acting, awful lines and wacky sound effects.
The wrestling fetish that keeps cropping up throughout the movie is both funny and strange, with the actors shouting things like “pile driver” at quite inappropriate moments. The swamp monster itself goes a long way to reducing any chance the film has of being taken seriously, being that it is in fact just a guy covered in mud and a little white face paint. Since this is a Japanese film, there is of course a bizarre ending in which the monster finally speaks, taking on a Darth Vader-style electronic voice and spouting some hilarious and incomprehensible philosophies.
Overall, “Entrails of a Virgin” is very entertaining, and has value as a curio piece if nothing else. Though the sex smothers the rest of the film, there are enough outrageous and perverse moments to make it well worth checking out for fans of exploitation cinema.
Kazuo ‘Gaira’ Komizu (director) / Kazuo ‘Gaira’ Komizu (screenplay)
CAST: Saeko Kizuki …. Rei
Naomi Hagio …. Kazuyo
Megumi Kawashima …. Kei
Osamu Tsuruoka …. Itomura