There are a couple of things you need to know before we get going. First, despite the title, FEMALE DEMON OHYAKU is not a horror film; however, it is quite violent. It is, rather, of the “pinky violence” genre of Japanese cinema; it boils down to sex, violence and a strong female lead. Well, those are the defining components, anyway. This first installment in the LEGENDS OF THE POISONOUS SEDUCTRESS film series can hardly be said to “boil down” to just those things, for it is far more than exploitation. It contains exploitationesque elements, but it’s not merely that. Not by any stretch. This tragic revenge drama is serious, smart, heady and compelling. I found myself absorbed by the movie; it is one of those rare films that can bring about a sense of rapture, at least in places. This is quality. At times, it almost felt like what might come out at the end of the creative process if Akira Kurosawa directed a pinky violence flick. It’s not Kurosawa, though one could argue it’s as good in its way as Kurosawa’s films are in their ways. Even that might be a lopsided comparison, giving in to the idea that genre movies are definitively inferior. Tell me, though, what’s a non-genre picture? Genre isn’t as important as how well made the film is. FEMALE DEMON OHYAKU is a terrifically well-executed picture. It has a story, for one thing, and said story has got hook. The sequences of violence and torture are borderline extreme but don’t feel excessive. Likewise, the sexual component of FEMALE DEMON OHYAKU isn’t gratuitous. There is more violence than nudity in the film, but that’s not to suggest there’s a deficit of eroticism. This is an incredibly sensuous movie; it thrums on the right wavelength, plucking an emotional chord within us and finding the depth of eros even as it stirs our more physical urges. There’s nothing purely prurient about FEMALE DEMON OHYAKU. Every bit of grown-up material, from blood, as in gore, to blood, as in boiling – every last drop of “pinky violence” – is an integral part of the story. And, as I’ve said, the story is a good one, with the female vixen seeking revenge for awful ordeals I’ll leave unmentioned as I wouldn’t want to ruin any of the excitement FEMALE DEMON OHYAKU has to offer. From start to finish, this is one of the finest proofs yet – in my viewing history, anyway – that art and exploitation make perfectly fine bedfellows if the right talent is involved.
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