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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Inferno of Torture: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Teruo Yoshida, Masumi Tachibana, Asao Koike, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1969) 2020 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: 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.

Blu-ray Verdict: My goodness! Well, right from the off and we dive straight, and deeply, into some pictures that reveal the bizarre stuff you are allowing yourself to be "entertained" by tonight!

The cooking of a woman who betrayed her husband. The burning of another woman. The hanging and cutting into a betrayer of the Koga clan, who also served at that same moment as test object (on his body) to try out some new swords!

And the hits keep a'comin'! So, in other words, the movie cuts to the chase from the first second and so you have already been given the chance to cut and run, so to speak.

If you choose to stay, the film continues with the story of the Tokugawa Sjogoen clan, which had a severe punishment system to protect her own feudal system. For the torture they used against Christians consists of some very serious, and very gruesome stuff!

Ergo, 'Inferno of Torture' works on two levels right in opposition to one another and, for all intents and purposes, does it seamlessly.

On one side you have the cruelty of the pain, suffering and torture. Whilst on the other side, the director (Teruo Ishii, 'Rising Dragon's Iron Flesh,' 'Yakuza Law') puts a very charming slant on how beautiful love is.

The love scenes here are nice, gentle and subtle. Thus the atmosphere of happiness accompanied with joyful music ('Emmanuelle-esque' sounds galore) make you feel one minute after the next that you've stumbled into a whole other kind of flick!

Well, that and there's the shot of a young happy couple madly in love followed by the next shot of the burning of a man in some special kind of cooking sarcophagus!

Also the way they carry out an abortion ... well, I wouldn't call it customary! But, and as with oh-so many other things that I could mention, draw mental pictures for you of, 'Inferno of Torture' will have you mind expanded, your eyes on stalks, and your mouth wide open - all at the same time! In closing, 'Inferno of Torture' shows cruel ways in which human beings with power - and, for the most part, a certain believe in religion - can display themselves to others.

It will take you into a realm the voyeur instantly, and have you asking yourself oh-so many questions! Strange, bizarre and not like anything I have EVER seen before, 'Inferno of Torture' is a MUST SEE for every serious collector of this "genre"! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
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
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.

'Inferno of Torture' Original Trailer