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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Tokugawa irezumi-shi: Seme jigoku" or "Inferno of Torture" or "Hell's Tattooers")

 

Directed by Teruo Ishii
Japan 1969

 

Exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (Horrors of Malformed Men, Orgies of Edo) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in this, the sixth in his abnormal love series. Tattoos and torture await women forced into servitude in Ishii's Inferno of Torture.

Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) takes up an offer to serve as a geisha for two years with a promise of freedom once her debt is repaid. She quickly realizes that this is less a house of geishas than an extremely cruel brothel specializing in supplying western visitors with tattooed playthings. Taken under the wing of one of the leading tattoo artists vying for a coveted spot in the Shogun's good graces through his work, Yumi's body becomes a battleground as a rival artist becomes determined not to lose his spot at the top. When the madam, Otatsu (Mieko Fujimoto) trains her eye on the blossoming relationship between the benevolent artist Horihide (Teruo Yoshida) and his model, she makes sure than her stay is less than hospitable, inspiring the torturous inferno of the title.

Following Ishii's legendary Shogun's Joy of Torture and Orgies of Edo, the prolific filmmaker still manages to turn up the heat in this incredibly violent and salacious entry in a filmography unlike any other. From the film's opening scene depicting some of the most perverse violence ever captured on screen, through to the shock ending that will leave the audience's mouths agape, there's nothing quite like Inferno of Torture. Tender romance clashes with vile sadism as a sea of tattooed female flesh floods nearly every frame of this film depicting Japan's Edo period as only Ishii could.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 2nd, 1969

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Review: Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:56.565        
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,777,981,550 bytes

Feature: 29,439,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow Video

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,777,981,550 bytes

Feature: 29,439,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes
Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan s Cult Counterculture - a condensed version of Jasper Sharp's Miskatonic Institute lecture (29:55)
Trailer (2:54)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D.


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 6th-7th, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow Video Blu-ray (July 2020): Arrow Video have transferred Teruo Ishii's Inferno of Torture to Blu-ray. It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. The 1080Pis a bit washed out but has some more pleasing contrast in outdoor sequences. It looks quite good in-motion - very clean in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. There is depth and the overall HD presentation is a positive one all factors considered.

On their Blu-ray, Arrow Video use a linear PCM mono track (16-bit) in the original Japanese language. Effects general centre around violence - whiplashing ropes and bamboo sticks and a score by Masao Yagi (Yakuza Law, An Actor's Revenge, Orgies of Edo) , sounding a bit deeper with more consistent dialogue. Arrow Video offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Arrow Video Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes (author of The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film). He talks about this brand of sexually frank Japanese cinema, compares them to the Italian genre that utilizes torture, the label 'abnormal love line' films, the alternate studio's - Nikkatsu's Roman Porn or 'Pink' films, he discusses the Toei Company, the actresses and how they were treated and much more. It's good. We also get a 1/2 hour condensed version of Jasper Sharp's Miskatonic Institute lecture entitled Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan's Cult Counterculture which is enlightening - especially for fans of the genre. There is a trailer and the package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips and for the first pressing there is a limited edition collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D.

Teruo Ishii's Inferno of Torture isn't Yasujiro Ozu - that's for sure. Sometimes labeled as a 'Toei pinky violence' film (see like Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion or Teruo Ishii's Female Punishment of the Tokugawa), Inferno of Torture is more a curiosity - interestingly unusual cultural exploitation involving fetishism. I didn't find it particularly erotic - there are some pretty Asian gals (Yumiko Katayama is a fox) - they are mostly topless, but the torture sure isn't titillating. There is also a fair amount of blood (see nudity and gore samples at bottom.) The tattooing is interesting and even beautiful. Inferno of Torture is different but also tasteless in spots. The Arrow Blu-ray offers a solid a/v, commentary and lecture plus the limited edition booklet. I do admit to carrying some fascination with this genre merely existing and I watch them with... shocked interest. The dialogue translation seems restrained while still maintaining explicit implications. While these films could be written off as misogynistic - I find them more about power - over men as well. Inferno of Torture is obviously not to everyone's tastes, but I can see many sharing my attraction.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

Examples of Nudity and Gore (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)

 

 


  

Box Cover

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Distribution Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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