Thursday, 22 January 2015

J-Horror January: Zoom In: Sex Apartments (aka Zûmu in: Bôkô danchi) (1980)

Zoom In: Sex Apartments (aka Zûmu in: Bôkô danchi) (aka Zoom In: Rape Apartments)
Director: Naosuke Kurosawa
Starring: Erina Miyai, Yôko Azusa, and Yûko Ôsaki
Running Time: 68 min

  I get a lot of weird stuff at work and originally when I was scanning through this title "Zoom In: Sex Apartments", I thought it was going to be your usual Japanese erotic soft core porn.  Boy was I wrong,  when I got to the part in the film where a man sets someone's genitals on fire, I thought dammmmn, and by the time the bizarre ending arrived I was totally sold into having to watch the whole thing.  So, I'm putting on my fire proof pants and checking out the Sex Apartments.

  Before Saeko's husband leaves on a business trip, he wants to get randy with her for good luck.  She obliges and lets him hump and grunt on her until he is satisfied and then he grabs his bags and waves goodbye!  Frustrated, she climbs on her bicycle and heads out to her friends place but on the way there, her bicycle gets hit with a rock, which knocks her off her bike.  A man comes over and using a what looks like an awl, forces her on the ground, blindfolds her and then rapes her.  When he is done, he leaves and after a few minutes, she gets back on her bicycle and continues to her friends apartment.
  When she arrives at her friends, no one is there but luckily she has a key, so she lets herself in.  After a few minutes, Sachi arrives home and is surprised to see her there.  Apparently, they had been lovers and Saeko left him without saying goodbye and only recently, had they seen each other again at the train station.  She thanks him for sending her a key in the mail, but she tells him that she must return it and she is happily married and then the have sex. I guess she will be keeping the key.
  That night, a school girl is on her way home from somewhere and she is attacked.  She is thrown on the ground and the attacker, who happens to have the same awl looking thing, stuffs a gasoline doused rag in the girls' genitals and then lights her on fire.  Sadly, this isn't the only attack like this in the area and over the next few days, there are a number of women being attacked and set on fire.
  During this time, Saeko discovers that Sachi is a piano tuner and he has a similar tool to the awl that the rapist/killer is using.  Could it be that she is in love with a sick killer or is this just a strange coincidence, he can't be the only piano tuner in town, right?

 This movie is totally messed up and is an incredibly violent pink film.  It is a cross between an explicit soft core porn and extremely violent horror film or an ero-gro, (erotic-grotesque) and reminds me a lot of "Entrails of Virign" which have a similar amount of sexuality/violence in the film.
 Considering the theme and the content, it's hard to say that this movie was fun but there is some extremely weird shit that goes on here that I think director Naosuke Kurosawa must have been using to lighten the tension.  At one point, a girl is peeing in a garbage dump area and she sees the killer trying to stuff a women into a furnace.  Instead of being terrified and running for help, she watches intrigued and starts eating the garbage around her. Wtf?  Also, the ending and epilogue are pretty messed up too.  The ending comes out of nowhere and is a little shocking and then epilogue goes from horrendously violent to a somewhat brilliant looking artistic nightmarish love scene. It's just really really bizarre.
  I should note that this film isn't like "I Spit On Your Grave", where a person or people are being raped constantly through out the film.  There is only on rape scene in the film, which is at the beginning with Saeko and the rest of the killer/rapist's victims are only shown being either being burned or the results of the burning after the bodies are found.  The majority of the sex scenes in the film are with the Saeko character having consensual sex with many, many people while her husband is away on a business trip. 

  The story starts off very interesting but as it progresses, it really goes downhill.  Director Naosuke Kurosawa sets up a very terrifying set of circumstances but like the rest of the audiences, he gets lost in the sex and forgets where he is going with the horror angle.  Characters show up out of nowhere and even the ending is somewhat confusing and it just seems to be tacked on because Kurosawa doesn't set up any of the outcomes in the beginning or in the middle of the film. 
  Also, there are some scenes that kind of make sense but are badly done.  Like the one with Sachi, who is getting in shit for not tuning the piano either fast enough or correctly.  A woman is humiliating him by yelling at him for his shoddy work.  This is suppose to be a scene where you might be getting reasons that Sachi could be the killer, but the whole scene is done with a wide shot and you can't really see the anger, frustration or rage that may or may not be on his face as he is being reamed out by this female character that we don't know if it's his boss, client or just a crazy lady who likes to yell at people for no reason.  The whole scene loses it's purpose when you don't know who the people are and the shot is so flat with one camera angle.

  This film is definitely not for everybody and there may be too much sex or excessive violence for some horror fans.  Also it lacks a cohesive plot line, that can seem ridiculous and weird, which then makes it humorous and silly at times.  However, there are some impressive visuals and some very bizarre twists and kills in this film, which makes it hard not to enjoy.  So, if you dig pink films and you're cool with seeing people being set on fire, then you should definitely check this out but if you don't think that's your bag, then you should avoid this film. 

Head up, this is an 18+ trailer, you've been warned humans.

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