Friday, July 13, 2012

Red Account: My Bloody Angel (Japan, 1988)

Original title: Akai Hokokusho: Senketsu no Tenshi. Under whatever title or language, ultimately the film must be called dreadful. And that less because of the filthy after-taste the film leaves in your mouth than from its overall dreariness. For all its transgressive elements, it is so lifeless and boring that it could easily make you fall asleep – indeed, it is truly startling just how tediously eternal 60 minutes can sometimes be.
The DVD cover proclaims "In the style of the infamous Guinea Pig series" which, as you surely know, is that infamous series of Japanese gore films (seven between 1985 and 87) from Hideshi Hino, an instalment of which once had Charlie Sheen running to the FBI claiming that he had found a real snuff film. Red Account: My Bloody Angel carries on the tradition of excessive and realistic gore of the better-known template, but utilizes even less plot and jacks-up the sex. Seeing that the film was directed by Sato Toshiki, a man who went on to gain minor fame doing pink films, the addition of so much sex is not surprising. What is mildly surprising, perhaps, is that the dreary sex scenes are mostly hardcore – although, as is common in Japan, the details of the (excessively long and oddly nauseating) sex scenes are pixilated out. (One truly surreal sight of the film is how the money shot squirts out from the pixilated circle and all over the girl's pale rump, a sperm-heavy scene trumped by a later one in which, amidst the blood and guts of her vivisected husband, she spits out a mouthful of white juice she just sucked out of the "exorcist".)
Next to the virtually non-existent plot and lack of dramatic development, it is the sex that actually makes the film so unbearable. My Bloody Angel is slightly less than 60 minutes in long, and probably about 20-30 interminable minutes of it are dedicated to sex scenes. In general, we here at A Wasted Life have nothing against a good porn film – in fact, let us go on the record as liking porn – but there is nothing good about the porn in this film: filmed with all the professionalism and artistic sensibility of a badly lit, grade-Z home video and dubbed with the most idiotic of moans and groans, neither protagonist is particularly attractive nor do they exude any eroticism or believability or affection or even simple horniness – it is, in the end, the kind of porno that makes hard men limp and the horny hetro asexual. And, in turn, it makes a relatively short film seem endlessly long.
The bare-boned and illogical strand of a plot that supplies the excuse for the sex and gore concerns the ugly Tomoko and her ugly musician husband Masao. Once a happy couple, when he starts concentrating on his music again, she realizes that he has been possessed by the devil. And his friend Kawakami not only agrees, but does the exorcism. But wait! The demon, which originally resided in Masao's eye, has moved to his innards, so the only way free Masao of the evil spirit is to kill and vivisect him...  
How Tomoko comes to the realization of the possession flies over the head of the viewer, as does Masao's tacit agreement and all subsequent actions of all those involved. Still, the illogic and stupidity of the slim plot is so played out with such consequence that it gives the film an oddly Dadaistic touch, a minor plus that is drowned by the equally incessant lack of humour, pacing and noticeable talent on part of either the director or the "actors".
That said, once the gore cuts in, the special effects team is for the most part on par with vintage Savini. But the good comes way too late, and the last ten minutes of blood and entrails – and one retardedly fake-looking head – really doesn't balance out all the other bad factors forced upon the viewer the prior 40 minutes, so it does little in way of making the film any less tedious or aggravating. 
Perhaps there are some aspects of Akai Hokokusho: Senketsu no Tenshi that could be argued to be comparable to those found in the transgressive art horror/porn films like those by Richard Kern – Fingered (1986 / scene), for example – but the directorial incompetence of Sato Toshiki's badly framed, garish video never achieves any of the visual seductiveness, artistic integrity or technical proficiency (!) of Kern's multi-violent B&W sex film. As offensive as Fingered might be, it nevertheless offers much more in intention and execution – not to mention basic thespian and directorial skills – than this Nippon-made turd.
 Akai Hokokusho: Senketsu no Tenshi is for undemanding gore-hounds only... In all truth, though, the scene where the ugly and talentless lead actress uses the bone of the chopped-off hand of her dead husband to masturbate does get brownie points.

No comments: