6 July 2002 | Bogey Man
Rare, often sleazy and fully infamous Japanese sex classic
Norifumi Suzuki's Star of Dave aka Beautiful Girl Hunter (1979) has been released in Europe by Japan Shock as Beautiful Girl Hunter, and the version is in widescreen, uncut and with original language. However, one sex scene has been optically censored/blurred as they always are in Japan. The film is based on 5-part animated series which itself was based on Masaaki Soto's adult manga. A young student is seemingly normal, but keeps a savage torture/bondage chamber in his cellar (he lives alone in a big house once his father died), and kidnaps school girls there for torture, sex games, rape and usually murder. There is one significant plot turn dealing with the film's brutal prologue, so there is no point in describing the plot anymore without spoiling this, and also beware other reviews which I've seen spoil this very badly.
This is very Japanese film in its themes, as once again the subject matter is the darkest sides of humanity, and the film tries to ask are these things "inherited" or is human nature just rotten anyway and based on instincts. There is one character, a pure incarnation of evil which is very close to the main character, too, and their relationship is the main point in the film. This same theme of darkness is even more brutally and very disturbingly handled and depicted in Katsuya Matsumura's All Night Long trilogy, and especially in part two, Atrocity (I have seen only the first two films, haven't seen part 3 yet). Once human being gives power to his instincts to kill and enjoy other people's misery and pain, all hell literally lets loose. All Night Long 2: Atrocity is definitely among the most depressing and disturbing films I've ever seen, and it was even denied a theatrical release in Japan due to its dark and extreme nature. All Night Long trilogy has also been released by Japan Shock, but only on DVD. They are very worth purchasing for fans of extreme (and also intelligent, but hard to take) Japanese cinema. In Beautiful Girl Hunter, the Nazi crimes and WW2 is handled and mentioned couple of times, so the theme of evil is global in this film as it is in our world.
Beautiful Girl Hunter uses some interesting camera techniques and details, and thus becomes even more noteworthy and worthwhile. At the end of the film, there are some elements found usually in Takeshi Kitano's films, like people between and among flowers and scenes at the sea etc. so it is obvious Japanese films are very unique and they have a style of their own. Camera is sometimes very twisted and used creatively, so this movie is technically very inventive.
It is a must to tell that the film is definitely not for all audiences, since there are many vicious scenes of bondage, rape, torture and whipping of hapless girls captured by the disturbed youngster. The sex scenes are among the most realistic and natural I've ever seen, and if you've seen for instance Gaira's "Guts" series, then you know what I mean about the authenticity of those sex scenes. Women masturbate, and as it is so realistic, it is perhaps not just acting, so if someone feels this kind of sexual, violent and also perverse imagery is off putting, don't ever try to watch this film, or others of its kind. There is also one bloody killing as the boy stabs one of the victims in the heart with Naked Blood like geysir of blood. Despite these elements from extreme horror films, Beautiful Girl Hunter has its message and theme, and also some cinematic elements, but due to its imagery, the film is very hard to understand.
The film is very slow moving, so it is not wise to try to watch this tired. There is not too much talk in many scenes and the film is very contemplative as a whole. I like this film and gladly give it 8/10 rating, and recommend it for fans of Japanese cinema, which is something that would never be made in any other culture, Western included.