In nineteenth century Japan, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) is balls deep in trouble with a capital “T” and that stands for “loan shark”. Okay, it doesn’t, but a loan shark is on her ass for debts owed. To that end she accepts a job as a geisha… or so she thinks, as it soon becomes obvious she’s workin’ the ass trade.
Yumi ain’t exactly wild about that fact, but in her position she doesn’t have much of a choice. Another thing she has no say in is the tattooing her madam, Otatsu (Mieko Fujimoto), forces the women in her employ to get to appear more exotic to the high paying Caucasian clientele.
Said tattooing is administered by Horihide (Teruo Yoshida), whom Yumi develops a relationship with much to Otatsu’s chagrin. This makes Yumi’s life even more of a living hell, as does the arrival of a rival tattooist that wants to make her body his canvas!
Directed by Teruo Ishii, Inferno Of Torture is never dull, and always visually interesting, but this flick will be an acquired taste for sure. Coming as part of Toei’s torture heavy output of the late 60’s this film features a plethora of hard abuse towards women, naked flesh, and plenty of good ol’ suffering, so viewer beware if that ain’t your bag.
It’s that suffering that seems to be the main focus of Ishii’s intent as while all of the atrocities are doted upon, the narrative takes a hit in comparison. The film features a number of characters who simply come and go (some never return at all), and the various subplots don’t always pay off satisfactorily.
As for extras on this Arrow Video Blu-ray release, first up we get an audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes, who dives into a full blown analysis of the film’s production, it’s place within the Japanese torture film genre, and provides plenty of trivia and anecdotes as well.
Also included are a look at Japan’s counterculture cinema courtesy of expert Jasper Sharp, the film’s theatrical trailer, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by filmmaker Chris D., and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips.
At it’s core, Inferno Of Torture is a pure exploitation experience, and to that end it’s successful, even if the storytelling takes a back seat to the naked flesh and bloodshed.