Shogoro Nishimura – Hana to hebi: jigoku-hen aka Flower & Snake – Sketch of Hell (1985)
Pause for a disco dance in the midst of all the rape and torture
This is the first of the many remakes of Masaru Konuma’s 1974 classic, based in turn upon the writing of Oniroku Dan. Again a big enema scene is at the centre of this telling of the tale and whilst it is a bit wince inducing, it does not quite have the nasty edge of the original. Beautifully, colourfully and gleefully shot, this is an amazingly focused tale of capture, bondage but more especially humiliation. Much is made of the two naked female protagonists being mother and step-daughter and despite the explicit close-ups of the proceedings, there is always room to show the men and women enjoying the ‘spectacle’. The serious tone is set at the start and apart from a pause for a disco dance in the midst of all the rape and torture and the eye popping and completely OTT ending, things remain on that level throughout. Amazing and it is only regrettable that the English language does not seem to have words to describe just how amazing Japanese cinema can be.