Much like erotic cave art or ancient penis totem relics, it seems that every nation, religion, and culture in the world has its own take on sexploitation. This film is part of Impulse’s NIKKATSU EROTIC FILMS COLLECTION, a release to help commemorate 100 years of NIKKATSU film. If you haven’t guessed by now, DEBAUCHERY is a Japanese import from 1983, the usual sexploitation Cinderella story in reverse, featuring a beautiful woman who forsakes a comfortable life of glass slippers for hardcore bondage apparatuses and anal beads. Let us take a few whacks at this one and read what its subtitled cries say.
The woman who can find no release in simple contentment is named Ami; a bored housewife who voluntarily seeks out the underbelly of Tokyo’s sex scene and joins “Madame Machinko’s Society Club.” From there she is introduced to some of the roughest johns and most evil Japanese men seen onscreen since World War II. With no hint of higher meaning (or something women refer to as foreplay) the strange clients tear her clothes from her, twist and tie her in demeaning bondage positions, and appear to violate her with whatever comes to mind. Note I used the words “appear to violate” because as most Japanese Cinema from this era, much of the naughty action appears to be obscured by a big blur on the camera. Abiding by the laws of their country, this Japanese film shies away from depictions of genitalia or penetration (more on this later). Still, there is no doubt about what is actually going on, and suggestive camera angles all but confirm that sex (or all manner of diddling) is being done, not so much by graphically depicting it, but by various close ups that eventually remove all possible doubt by a process of elimination.
Writing about erotica is always difficult, ponderous, and yields unfulfilling text, but let me just say that there are moments of this movie which are very erotic, but always technically tame in their presentation. There is also a dream sequence scene where Ami self-pleasures while a gigantic, ugly black spider crawls up her body that was absolutely terrifying and yet unforgettable to me, because it fired all my male brain synapses at once for the first time in many films, and will probably serve as the reason why I can’t watch this again. Admittedly, few films have any effect anymore on me whatsoever, especially one as aberrant as this. As always with these “blue confessionals” involving a proper woman of class or virtue who decides to become sexually liberated and adopt the dress and manner of an unrepentant danger slut, DEBAUCHERY doesn’t exactly tell you who or what ultimate destination the life of Ami that the viewer should wish for, other than secretly hoping that it will spare no detail of her degradation so you can vicariously experience her destruction or enlightenment. In some way, I will allude to the fact that she does receive all she has sought all along, even if her “Happy Ending” isn’t exactly the sweet finale of a Chinatown Massage Parlor rubdown.
In closing I have to say this seems like an edited version of a harder film and everyone who has been following my reviews knows how I feel about that by now. The running time is 70 minutes and that damn Japanese blur kept brutally eating the best shots of the movie. This is a more heartfelt tragedy to me than a classic Kaiju Monster Movie about a blob consuming the entire island of Tokyo. “Oh, the horror!” Still, if censorship doesn’t take you out of the mood and you want to see a well written, plot driven work of erotica that probably was single handedly responsible for continuing the myth of the completely subservient hot Asian woman, this may be worth 4 skulls and $24.95 for 70 minutes. As for me, I give it three and admit that its evil edits didn’t exactly leave me “Turning Japanese”.
Special Features include the original theatrical trailer (no way) and liner notes from Japanese film scholar Jasper Sharp.